Scaramucci goes on vulgar attack against own communications team, calls Priebus ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ – New York Daily News

Anthony Scaramucci went on the offensive Wednesday night calling White House adversary Reince Priebus “schizophrenic” and threatening to fire his entire communications staff.

He hurled invective at supposed leakers within the administration after New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza tweeted, citing “a senior White House Official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and former Fox News executive Bill Shine.

The tweets prompted a furious Scaramucci to call Lizza — and go on a tirade against administration officials whom he believes are responsible for leaking information about the dinner, and also his publicly available financial disclosures.

Scaramucci threatened to fire his staff when Lizza refused to reveal his source.

Anthony Scaramucci quotes Joe Paterno while discussing ‘honor’

“What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said.

“O.K., I’m going to fire every one of them, and then you haven’t protected anybody, so the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks,” he continued, after he failed to persuade Lizza to speak up.

Scoop: Trump is dining tonight w/Sean Hannnity, Bill Shine (former Fox News executive), & Anthony Scaramucci, per to 2 knowledgeable sources

— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) July 26, 2017

“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow,” he said.

An increasingly incensed Scaramucci then blew through certain named adversaries.

Anthony Scaramucci takes shot at financial disclosure leakers

Scaramucci disclosed that he believed Priebus was worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited.

“Reince is a f–king paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said.

He imitated Priebus, saying, “’Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the f–king thing and see if I can c–k-block these people the way I c–k-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’”

Scaramucci launched attacks on other adversaries, too, including Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, saying, “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c–k.”

Scaramucci goes to war with Priebus over financial form report

“I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f–king strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”

Scaramucci said he suspects Priebus of the leak after he also accused him of leaking his financial disclosures.

“In light of the leak of my financial info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45.”

The tweet went viral before he deleted it two hours later.

Preibus, left, and Bannon were the two targets of Scaramucci

Preibus, left, and Bannon were the two targets of Scaramucci’s attacks. 

(Getty Images; EPA)

He posted a new tweet denying that he was calling Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, the source of the leak.

“Wrong!” he said along with a screenshot of an Axios article that said, “Scaramucci appears to want Priebus investigated by FBI.” “Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks @Reince45.”

Scaramucci called Lizza again as he appeared on CNN, claiming he had tagged Priebus in the original tweet so that the pair could work together to identify leakers within the administration.

“He’s the chief of staff, he’s responsible for understanding and uncovering and helping me do that inside the White House, which is why I put that tweet out last night,” Scaramucci said. 

He said media misinterpreted his tweet because “journalists know who the leakers are.”

“So, if Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.” 

Scaramucci tweeted Thursday after his initial conversation with Lizza wad made public, saying, “I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump’s agenda. #MAGA.”

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Senate Health Care Vote: Revolt Over Narrow Repeal Measure – New York Times

• Senate Republicans closed in on a “skinny repeal,” a narrow measure to roll back parts of the Affordable Care Act.

• At least three Republican senators say they won’t vote for “skinny” plan without assurances that it will not become law.

• Speaker Ryan tried to reassure senators, but he left the door open for “skinny” passage.

The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

• The health insurance lobby came off the sidelines Thursday to warn Republicans against repealing the individual mandate.

Three Republicans: No ‘yes’ votes without assurances of a conference.

Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin declared Thursday evening that they would not vote for a slimmed-down partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act that is being pushed by Senate leaders without ironclad guarantees that the House will negotiate a comprehensive measure.

The senators were unsparing in their criticism of the so-called skinny repeal, which would repeal the mandates that most individuals have health insurance and large employers cover their employees but leave most of the health law in place. Such a bill would crater the health insurance market and send premiums skyward, they said.

“The skinny bill as policy is a disaster,” Mr. Graham said. “The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud.”

Senator Johnson said: “The skinny bill in the Senate doesn’t come close to meeting our promises.”

But they feared that House Republican leaders could just take the stripped-down bill, pass it and send it to President Trump.

“Right now, I am voting no,” Mr. McCain said.

Mr. Graham was emphatic.

“I need assurances from the speaker of the House and his team that if I vote for the skinny bill, then it will not be the final product,” Mr. Graham said. “I’m not going to vote for a pig in a poke.”

Ryan tries to calm Senate nerves.

With senators pleading for reassurance, Speaker Paul D. Ryan did his best.

“If moving forward requires a conference committee, that’s something the House is willing to do. The reality, however, is that repealing and replacing Obamacare still ultimately requires the Senate to produce 51 votes for an actual plan.”

He then said whatever compromise comes out of the House-Senate conference would have to pass the Senate first before the House picks it up.

That might not be all that reassuring. If the Senate failed to pass that conference agreement, the House could still pass the Senate passed “skinny repeal” and send it to President Trump for the signing ceremony he desperately wants.

Senate Republicans trim sails on ‘Repeal and Replace.’

The turmoil came as Senate Republicans, unable to reach consensus on broad legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, looked instead at chipping away at it.

Besides the mandates, Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said the other item under discussion for the so-called Skinny Repeal is rolling back a tax on medical devices imposed by the health law.

But to avoid a 60-vote threshold for passage, the bill must meet specific deficit reduction targets. It’s still not clear how those targets will be reached.

Then there’s the question of what would come next. Republican leaders are assuring senators that the narrow repeal would be merely a vehicle to begin negotiations with House Republicans on a broader compromise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But some senators worry that they are being asked to vote for legislation they don’t like on a promise that it won’t become law — but they have no guarantee that the House won’t take it up and pass it.

This might not have helped.

As Republican senators seek assurances that the bill they are being asked to vote on won’t become law, the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, may have sent shivers down a spine or two in the upper chamber with this announcement.

“While last votes are currently scheduled to take place tomorrow, Members are advised that — pending Senate action on health care — the House schedule is subject to change. All Members should remain flexible in their travel plans over the next few days. Further information regarding potential additional items will be relayed as soon as possible.”

That doesn’t sound like a man preparing for lengthy House-Senate negotiations on a comprehensive health care bill. So maybe the “skinny repeal” could become law after all?

Parliamentarian takes another scalp.

Senate Republicans also would have liked the “skinny repeal” to include a measure that would make it much easier for states to waive federal requirements that health insurance plans provide consumers with a minimum set of benefits like maternity care and prescription drugs.

Then the Senate parliamentarian stepped in. The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, objected on Thursday to the waiver provision, saying it appeared to violate Senate rules being used to speed passage of the bill to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans want to make it easier for states to get waivers for two reasons: State officials can regulate insurance better than federal officials, they say, and the federal standards established by the Affordable Care Act have driven up insurance costs.

But Republicans are learning the limits of the fast-track rules they are using. The Senate is considering the repeal bill under special procedures that preclude a Democratic filibuster, but the procedures also limit what can be included in the bill.

“The function of reconciliation is to adjust federal spending and revenue, not to enact major changes in social policy,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont. “The parliamentarian’s latest decision reveals once again that Republicans have abused the reconciliation process in an attempt to radically change one-sixth of the American economy by repealing the Affordable Care Act.”

The Senate bill would give states sweeping new authority to opt out of federal insurance standards established by the Affordable Care Act. It builds on a section of the law that allows states to obtain waivers for innovative health programs. But it would relax many of the requirements for such waivers that Democrats put into the law, signed by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Insurers come off sidelines with warning.

The health insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, came off the sidelines on Thursday to warn Senate leaders against repealing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that most Americans have insurance without approving some mechanism to pressure people to maintain their coverage.

“We would oppose an approach that eliminates the individual coverage requirement, does not offer continuous coverage solutions, and does not include measures to immediately stabilize the individual market,” the group wrote.

AHIP played a major role in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 but has been reluctant to intervene in the fight over its repeal. On Wednesday, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a narrower insurance lobby, weighed in with a similar warning.

Both groups were pulled into the fray by expectations that the Senate could end up voting in the early morning hours of Friday on a narrow bill that repeals a few important parts of the Affordable Care Act but leaves much of the law in place. Two of the pieces that would be repealed are the mandates that individuals have health insurance and that large employers cover their employees. The Senate had intended to repeal those mandates but create a new rule that anyone who allows coverage to lapse would have to wait six months before getting a new policy.

That lock out period was supposed to be enough to convince people not to simply wait until they were sick to buy insurance, a prospect that could send insurance markets into a tailspin, since only sick people would have insurance.

But it looks certain that any bill that can emerge from the Senate would not have the lock out provision, a deep concern to insurers who say that without it, insurance premiums would soar.

The American Medical Association piles on.

The American Medical Association, by far the largest physicians’ advocacy group, has stood firmly against each of the bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now the A.M.A. has come out against the “skinny repeal.”

“There has been considerable speculation regarding a so-called ‘skinny package’ that would primarily eliminate penalties related to the individual and employer mandates and provide tax cuts to device manufactures and the health insurance industry. Eliminating the mandate to obtain coverage only exacerbates the affordability problem that critics say they want to address. Instead, it leads to adverse selection that would increase premiums and destabilize the individual market.

“We again urge the Senate to engage in a bipartisan process – through regular order – to address the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act and achieve the goal of providing access to quality, affordable health care coverage to more Americans.”

Oh, and so does AARP.

Protesters make their voices known.

Across the Capitol on Thursday, supporters of the Affordable Care Act tried to reach out to senators, sometimes through mass protests, sometimes through their stories.

“I had epilepsy as a kid. I would not have been able to be covered under what you’re proposing,” one man told Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama.

The senator replied: “I think we need to have — not just for you but for any group that is underserved medically — we ought to protect them.”

Vigils broke out throughout the Capitol and around lawmakers’ offices.

Protesters in the Senate gallery chanting “kill the bill” disrupted proceedings on Tuesday just before the Senate voted, 51-50, to begin the health care debate. Democrats, including Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, spoke to crowds on the steps of the building. Hundreds of protesters flooded the lawns outside the Capitol.

“The message was: we are not backing down,” Nora Franco, campaign organizer at Planned Parenthood, said in the Capitol. She added, “Now is not the time to throw in the towel. Now is the time to literally be harassing your senators.”

Seven years ago, similar scenes unfolded before the votes on the Affordable Care Act, but then, the passion came from the opponents. Those voices now are little in evidence.

Has Alaska’s delegation crossed Trump?

President Trump went after Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who was one of only two Republicans to vote against starting debate on health care this week, with a Twitter post on Wednesday.

But that might not be the end of it.

Ryan Zinke, the Interior secretary, called both Ms. Murkowski and Alaska’s other senator, Dan Sullivan, “letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy,” The Alaska Dispatch News reported. Mr. Sullivan, also a Republican, voted in favor of beginning debate.

“I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop,” Mr. Sullivan said, according to the newspaper.

But the leverage goes both ways.

Ms. Murkowski is the chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has oversight of the Interior Department. She is also the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the department.

She likely can do more to Mr. Zinke than he can do to her.

DELAYED: Hearing to confirm a series of nominees to Zinke’s Interior. Murkowski also controls Interior $$ via approps subcom chair

— Kasie Hunt (@kasie)July 27, 2017

Tracked down by reporters on Capitol Hill, Mr. Sullivan called for the administration and Alaska’s small but powerful congressional delegation to “get back to cooperation.”

No word yet from Ms. Murkowski.

Where did the Senate leave off on Wednesday?

Wednesday’s big vote was on a measure to repeal major parts of the existing health law — but without swapping in something new.

Republicans have struggled to agree on the contents of a replacement for the law, so a “clean repeal” bill seemed like a good alternative to some of them.

But the measure was soundly rejected. Seven Republicans — including Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate health committee — joined Democrats in voting against it.

The repeal-only measure was expected to fail. But the episode demonstrated the problem facing Republican leaders: They don’t have enough votes to pass a broad replacement of the health law. They also don’t have the votes to simply repeal major parts of it.

What happens on Thursday?

Senate Republicans have been trying to push through a repeal by using special budget rules that limit debate to 20 hours. That time is expected to be exhausted on Thursday.

After it expires, the Senate will move into what is known as a “vote-a-rama” — a marathon series of votes on amendments.

Typically, Democrats would be expected to offer a barrage of amendments. But on Wednesday night, the minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said Democrats would not offer any amendments until Mr. McConnell revealed the final bill he wants the Senate to consider.

“We ought to see it soon, in broad daylight, not at the 11th hour,” Mr. Schumer said.

The vote-a-rama could begin late in the day on Thursday. If Democrats do offer a blizzard of amendments, it could stretch overnight. But it remains unclear when, exactly, Mr. McConnell plans to reveal his legislation.

Republicans seem increasingly likely to try to pass a slimmed-down bill that would repeal only a small number of the existing health law’s provisions. By passing a so-called “skinny” repeal bill, Senate Republicans would keep the repeal effort alive long enough to try to negotiate a broader compromise bill with the House of Representatives.

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Congress sends Russia sanctions to Trump’s desk, daring a veto – Politico

Donald Trump is pictured here.

The White House has avoided taking a clear position on the sanctions legislation all week. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The Senate on Thursday delivered Donald Trump the first big bipartisan rebuke of his presidency, giving final approval to a package of sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea that constrains his bid to defrost relations with Moscow.

The Senate voted 98-2 to approve the sanctions bill that cleared the House earlier this week. Trump must now decide whether to sign a measure that allows Congress to block any attempt to ease or end penalties against Vladimir Putin’s government and imposes new sanctions in response to a Russian electoral disruption campaign that the president continues to dispute.

Story Continued Below

The House passed the sanctions package on Tuesday in an overwhelming 419-3 vote, and an intra-GOP squabble that threatened to delay its passage was quickly resolved Wednesday night.

The White House has avoided taking a clear position on the sanctions legislation all week, with communications director Anthony Scaramucci telling CNN on Thursday that Trump “may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians.”

If Trump does decide to veto the bill, Congress has shown it could easily override him.

In stark contrast to the partisan warfare that has marked the health care debate, senior Republicans and Democrats paid tribute to their counterparts across the aisle Thursday for cooperation on the sanctions bill.

“This bill has taken passion, tenacity and all of us working together to bring out the best in this body,”Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on the floor before the bill’s final passage.

The only no votes on the bill wereKentucky Republican Rand Paul and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders.

Corker also hailed the congressional oversight language that the White House had resisted as a bid by lawmakers to grow “more and more relevant, to garner back the powers we have given to the executive branch.”

Corker, a longtime ally of the Trump administration, said he has talked to both the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the sanctions bill in recent days and “gotten no indication from them that they plan to veto it.”

“It’s just not a good way to start a presidency to veto something and then be soundly overridden,” Corker told reporters. “It wouldn’t be something I would do, but they may choose to do it.”

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Senate Republicans hope their own Obamacare repeal won’t become law – Politico

Sens. Steve Daines and Mitch McConnell are pictured. | Getty

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), pictured with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), likened it to a “motion to proceed” to conference rather than concrete policy.

Updated, 5:45 p.m.: Three Republican senators said they will block the GOP’s “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill without an ironclad guarantee from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the bill will go to conference committee and not simply be passed by the House and sent to President Donald Trump.

Some House members have suggested the plan could be quickly approved by the House after the Senate passes it. “I need a guarantee,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who was joined by John McCain of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Story Continued Below

Original story:

Mitch McConnell is making one last frantic plea to his Senate Republican members to advance the party’s scaled-back Obamacare repeal, assuring them at a private lunch that the vote is merely aimed at getting to conference with the House rather than immediately becoming law.
The Senate majority leader picked up some key votes at lunch, with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) endorsing the shriveling repeal effort as a bridge to bicameral negotiations. Not everyone was sold, but GOP leaders were emphasizing that the bill, which would slash Obamacare’s coverage mandates and result in millions more uninsured, is not the ultimate goal.

“I believe the leader has been in communication with Speaker [Paul] Ryan on that topic,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). “The request to go to conference has to come from the House so that would probably be the best people to talk to. But I have every expectation we will.”

Still, rank-and-file GOP senators struggled to explain whether there is any guarantee that the bill they are set to vote on would not actually become law. There is real concern among wavering Senate Republicans that the House was adopting a “martial law” procedure that would allow them to quickly take up and pass the health care bill.

The House Rules Committee adopted a “martial law” procedure that extends through Tuesday. Republicans on the panel defeated a Democratic attempt to limit fast-track motions to go to conference.

The House is set to begin its August recess Friday, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a note to lawmakers Thursday instructing them to keep their schedules flexible for the next few days in case the Senate passes Obamacare repeal legislation and the House decides to act on it.

“Just the term martial law worries me,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Of the thought that the House could just pass the Senate’s latest repeal plan, “That would concern me.”

Earlier, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) likened the Senate bill to a “motion to proceed” to conference rather than concrete policy, though Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said “theoretically there’s no way” to get a concrete assurance that the House won’t just pass the bill and send it to the president.

“We want assurances of that. And I think they will get them. I know Mitch is planning to give that and I think people will support whatever it is that can keep our efforts alive,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

Other Senate Republicans were upset that the House could just adopt the “skinny” repeal package and declare victory.

“How can the House say, ‘We’ll just pass it.’ Pass what?,” asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has opposed both the House and Senate GOP bills. “I think it signals they don’t like very much what they passed.”

McConnell was short of the votes as of Thursday afternoon, although it was clear he and Cornyn were picking up support as the day wore on.

Republicans must get 50 of their 52 members on board; Vice President Mike Pence would break a 50-50 tie to pass the bill.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who indicated earlier support for the effort because it skirts the issue of Medicaid, was noncommittal on Thursday afternoon after Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval savaged the bill. So were Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — who served cheeseburgers, french fries, onion rings and fry sauce from Hires Big H in Sandy, Utah during the GOP lunch — wants a “fatter repeal” than has been presented, a spokesman said.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he was “certainly not” a yes and needed to talk to his governor.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he would vote against it unless he is assured that the parliamentarian will allow his proposal to block grant federal health care money to the states and keep Obamacare’s taxes.

Graham and other senators said they are wary of voting for a proposal that is not good policy and is being sold as a bridge to conference.

“I cannot tolerate our skinny bill being the final answer on health care. … No way. If you passed it as a standalone proposition it would destroy the insurance markets and we would own the failure of Obamacare,” Graham said. “I’m a no” if it’s not allowed in conference.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Portman said they would vote “yes.” Portman’s governor, Republican John Kasich, also urged against voting for the bill on Wednesday, though Portman said he would vote for the bill only if it leads to negotiations with House Republicans.

But Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a top health care legislator, said “All options are on the table.”

The bill itself was evolving rapidly, as Senate Republicans’ once ambitious Obamacare repeal effort kept narrowing, with growing doubts over whether the GOP can fully eliminate the health law’s coverage mandates or any of its taxes.

The GOP’s “skinny” repeal bill, in other words, was getting even skinnier.

“I don’t know whether at the end of this process it’s going to be fat, skinny, bulimic, anorexic, I don’t know. This is not being orchestrated, I can assure you,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).

Sources on and off Capitol Hill on Thursday described a blueprint that would repeal the law’s individual mandate and partially delay its employer mandate. It also would defund Planned Parenthood and give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations; the law’s Prevention and Public Fund is also expected to be sharply cut. But there are growing concerns among Republicans that budget requirements will prevent the Senate from repealing any of Obamacare’s taxes.

Senate Republicans are also considering language to allow people to buy insurance with pre-tax money, favored by conservatives. Leaders have not been decided if it will be included.

McConnell emailed GOP senators on Thursday outlining the current provisions in the bill; the message noted that the employer mandate would be repealed for a minimum of six years, according to a source who viewed the email. Another GOP source said the employer mandate would be halted for eight years.

And it’s unclear whether there will be a complete CBO score of the Republican plan in time for the vote. Republicans say if there isn’t, they would rely on prior CBO scores of provisions of the bill and Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi would make a ruling.

Not everyone said they were familiar with the bill.

“I don’t know what it looks like,” Murkowski said.

Even as the chamber careens toward a final decision on whether to repeal, replace or revise Obamacare, with no certain outcome, Republican leaders are desperate to get rid of their political headache after several failed votes earlier this week.

“We have to pass something,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the most senior GOP senator and chairman of the Finance Committee.

The Senate will begin a series of votes later Thursday afternoon designed to test what senators will support for an Obamacare replacement bill, dubbed a “vote-a-rama.” This will help determine whether Republicans can reach a consensus among themselves. The session could last until Friday morning, depending on GOP and Democratic maneuvers, and culminates in a final passage vote.

A GOP effort to see whether Democrats support a single-payer health care system garnered zero “yes” votes. Most Democrats voted “present,” though some moderates, all up for reelection in 2018, voted against it.

McConnell is expected at some point to unveil the GOP’s highly anticipated “skinny repeal” bill — the narrowest effort to dismantle Obamacare that can win at least 50 votes.

“We all know this is likely to be a long night. It’s part of a long process that has taken a lot of hard work from a lot of dedicated colleagues already,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he’s been assured by senators in both parties that if the bill fails, the Senate will start over in committee. But Republicans want to get the issue off their plate and are seeking a bridge to negotiations with the House, not necessarily a final policy solution.

They want to pass something — anything — and hope they can forge a broader deal in conference committee with the House and White House, even if it could reopen painful party divisions on proposed cuts to Medicaid spending and efforts to slash Obamacare regulations.

McConnell and his top lieutenants started from a bare-bones plan that would repeal Obamacare’s individual and employer coverage mandate, as well as the medical device tax. There are now major questions about whether those three things can pass Senate rules.

Republicans are seeking to repeal as many of Obamacare’s taxes as they can, but doing so would blow holes in the budget. Some sources doubted Republicans would even be able to repeal the medical device tax.

Some GOP senators were pushing for billions of dollars in new funding for fighting opioid addiction to be included in leadership’s package, part of an effort to restore the $45 billion in such funding already promised by McConnell in previous bills. But that has been ruled out as spending too much money to hit budget targets; the Senate must hit at least $133 billion in savings, as required under Senate rules, GOP sources said.

The parliamentarian has found that language allowing states to undo some of Obamacare’s consumer protections might not be allowed under reconciliation rules, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee.

“We’re trying to come up with a package that does the things that we want and I think principally those are going to be the mandates,” said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-ranking Senate Republican. Asked if that would include tax cuts he said: “At the moment, it doesn’t look like it.”

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War Inside the White House: Scaramucci Takes On Priebus Over ‘Leaks’ –

An escalating White House war between two top advisers to President Donald Trump entered a new stage Thursday after Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci lobbed a grenade of leak accusations that were seen as an attack against chief of staff Reince Priebus.

The fracas began Wednesday night after Politico published Scaramucci’s financial disclosure forms from his employment at the Export-Import Bank, where the former financier had a post before being tapped last week as Trump’s new communications director.

Image: White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci attends a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House after former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned, in Washington, DC, July 21, 2017.Image: White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci attends a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House after former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned, in Washington, DC, July 21, 2017.

White House Communications Director Anthony ScaramucciMichael Reynolds / EPA

Scaramucci took to Twitter, and made a reference to Priebus as the communication director railed against the public disclosure of the forms, which showed Scaramucci is enormously wealthy.

“In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45,” Scaramucci tweeted late Wednesday, tagging Priebus in the post.

Scaramucci later deleted the tweet. After reports on that tweet were published — many of which interpreted Scaramucci as fingering Priebus as the leaker — the communications director, shortly before 1:00 a.m., posted a new tweet.

“Wrong! Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks. @Reince45,” Scaramucci posted.

The financial disclosure forms were not leaked but were publicly accessible upon request, Politico noted.

“This was actually a pretty routine story in most respects,” Lorraine Woellert, the reporter who wrote the story, said on MSNBC. “Whenever someone joins any administration they have to file a financial disclosure. Everybody, every reporter in town goes in and gets copies of those financial disclosures. They become public about 30 days after they’re filed. So Mr. Scaramucci joined the (Export-Import Bank) about a month ago and so I filed to get his disclosure it was as simple as that.”

Scaramucci and Priebus have been known to butt heads in the past, and Priebus, NBC News previously reported, did not want Scaramucci hired inside the White House. Two sources told NBC News last week that Priebus even took his objections about Scaramucci to Vice President Mike Pence but found no support.

Priebus has not made any public statements on the matter.

“When I put out a tweet and I put Reince’s name in a tweet, they’re all make the assumption that it’s him because journalists know who the leakers are,” Scaramucci said Thursday on CNN’s New Day.

“So if Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him do that,” said Scaramucci, who earlier in the interview he admitted that he had “odds” and “differences” with Priebus.

“When I said we were brothers from the podium (last week), that’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel,” he said. In the biblical story referenced by Scaramucci, Cain kills Abel.

Meanwhile, a Justice Department spokeswoman released a statement Thursday describing “an astonishing increase” in leaks.

“We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months. We agree with Anthony (Scaramucci) that these staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect this country,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

“Like the Attorney General has said, ‘whenever a case can be made we will seek to put some people in jail,’ and we will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead,” she added.

On Thursday morning, during his interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Scaramucci said he “talked to Attorney General Sessions” about leaking, adding, “I’ve got buddies of mine in the FBI that I’ll be calling.”

In addition, he said he understood that his financial disclosures that Politico requested were publicly available.

“I understand the law. I know that there was a public disclosure mechanism in my financial forms,” he said. “What I’m upset about is the process and the junk pool, the dirty pool … in terms of the way this stuff is being done, and the leaking won’t stop.”

New Yorker journalist Ryan Lizza, who received a phone call from Scaramucci Wednesday night, wrote in a piece published Thursday that their chat left little doubt Scaramucci was out for blood when it came to Priebus.

“Reince is a f—— paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci told Lizza in an expletive-filled conversation.

Lizza wrote that Scaramucci said he thought Priebus would resign soon and that the new White House communications director would move forward with his plan to stop leaking from the executive branch.

“What I want to do is I want to f—— kill all the leakers,” he said.

Lizza wrote that their chat ended when Scaramucci said he had to go “because I’ve gotta start tweeting some s— to make this guy crazy.”

Scaramucci’s initial, since-deleted tweet appeared on Twitter “minutes later,” Lizza wrote.

Meanwhile, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said Thursday that Scaramucci’s tweet made it clear that “somebody” didn’t want him working in the White House.

“I think the most important part of Anthony’s tweet was when he talked about the FBI and the DOJ. He’s making clear that even though these documents are eventually procurable publicly, that somebody doesn’t want him here,” she told Fox News Channel.

“And somebody is trying to get in his way, and scare him off from working here, which is a huge mistake,” she added.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who is close friends with Priebus, told reporters Thursday that he is doing a “fantastic job at the White House and I believe he has the president’s confidence.”

“If those two gentlemen have differences, my advice would be to sit down and settle your differences,” Ryan said.

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