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March 20, 2017
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Hoping to appeal to more conservative members of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) submitted amendment packages to the Republican health-care plan on Monday night, three days before the scheduled vote on the House floor.

The changes include sharper cuts to Medicaid, including giving states the ability to impose work requirements for recipients; repealing tax increases this year instead of in 2018; and letting the Senate approve tax credits for people between the ages of 50 and 64. While Ryan's camp believes this will help him get to the 216 votes needed to pass the bill to the Senate, several conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus say there still are not enough votes. Catherine Garcia

10:46 a.m. ET

After President Trump declared himself "like, really smart" and "a very stable genius," the enterprising pollsters at ABC News and The Washington Post availed themselves to ask voters if they agree. The results are unlikely to please the president: Three in four respondents said they do not consider Trump a genius, and about half do not believe him mentally stable.


(ABC News)

Republicans specifically are confident in Trump's stability — only 14 percent say he is not mentally stable — but less convinced of his genius, as only 50 percent of GOP voters agree with that claim.

The same survey found white women, whose votes were key in securing Trump's victory in 2016, now favor Democrats by a large margin when presented with a generic ballot. Read The Week's breakdown of that part of the poll, including what it means for Democrats' chance to retake Congress this year, here. Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m. ET
Screenshot/CBS News

"Everyone admits and acknowledges the president did not want this shutdown, actively worked to prevent this shutdown," said Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in a Monday appearance on CBS This Morning.

His assessment of Senate Democrats was rather less positive. Mulvaney argued immigration policy should be settled separately from spending, and that Democrats' insistence on addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before backing a funding bill puts them in the strange position of opposing a bill whose provisions they support.

"This is something the likes of which Washington has never seen before. This is a bill that Democrats support. Yet they are still not voting for it. They oppose the bill but they don't really oppose the parts of it," Mulvaney said. "Maybe it speaks to how bad the dysfunction is within the Senate Democrats." Watch his comments in context here. Bonnie Kristian

10:07 a.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence's address before the Israeli parliament Monday was interrupted by protests, The Times of Israel reports. As Pence took his place in front of the Knesset, ministers from Israel's Joint Arab List — a coalition of Israeli-Arab lawmakers — held up signs that read "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine," protesting the Trump administration's decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's rightful capital. Security scrambled to remove the protesting ministers from the chamber as most of the other lawmakers in the Knesset applauded loudly:

After the commotion died down, Pence reportedly made note of Israel's "vibrant democracy." Later in the speech, the vice president reaffirmed the decision to recognize Jerusalem and announced that the U.S. would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv by the end of next year.

Palestinians want Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, and some experts believe the Trump administration's policies are a barrier to peace efforts between Israel and Palestine. Read more about the Joint Arab List protests at Haaretz. Kelly O'Meara Morales

10:01 a.m. ET
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is officially on hold due to the government shutdown, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told NBC News. Trump is not likely to be particularly missed at the conference, though, where the theme of the year is "Creating a Shared Future in Fractured World" and where Trump had planned to bring his "America First" message, The Associated Press reports.

"I find it quite sad he's coming to the WEF, but I imagine nothing can be done about it," said Buddhist monk and Dalai Lama disciple Matthieu Ricard ahead of Trump's decision to put his visit to the forum on hold. WEF founder Klaus Schwab had said earlier Monday that it would be "good to have the president here, if the snow conditions and the situation in Washington allow us."

The United States' 12-person delegation to the forum was to include two women, not an entirely surprising number when considering that just 21 percent of the WEF's attendees are women. Still, the conference is making history this year with an all-woman team of co-chairs, NDTV reports, including "a union boss, a nuclear physicist, two company heads, a financial organization leader, an economist, and the prime minister of Norway."

Depending how the week goes in Washington, Trump could potentially still make it to the conference, which runs Tuesday through Saturday. He is scheduled to speak at the forum Friday, although getting Trump to Switzerland gets "more and more logistically challenging every day," Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, told CNN. Jeva Lange

9:32 a.m. ET
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When President Trump announced a new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office and hotline in last year's joint address to Congress, he said he would be "providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests." Almost a year later, VOICE, run by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has improperly released private and legally protected information about people who call into the hotline and the people they are calling about, potentially undermining the trust of crime victims. Callers are additionally improperly treating the hotline as a crime tip line, The Arizona Republic reports.

Last year, ICE posted summaries of call logs on its website that included names, addresses, and phone numbers of crime victims and immigrants accused of being in the U.S. illegally or crimes, plus identification numbers and employers of the immigrants. The Arizona Republic said that for its part, it filed a Freedom of Information Act request for "any and all criminal activity" called in to the VOICE line in July, received a spreadsheet with 643 callers on Sept. 8, then got a "clawback response" letter on Oct. 4 saying the September release inadvertently contained "personally identifiable information of third parties, law enforcement sensitive information, and potentially deliberative information."

The Republic illustrated the problems with the case of Elena Maria Lopez, who called the VOICE hotline to improperly report that her Dutch ex-husband had married her for a green card and then threatened her; was told that there was nothing VOICE could do; then received a call informing her that the information she had provided in confidence was released to the newspaper. "The same agency that claimed it had to protect my ex-husband's rights just destroyed my privacy and my safety," Lopez told the Republic. David Bier, an immigration analyst at the Cato Institute, called this a predictably "serious problem" that has undermined trust in the government on immigration issues. Peter Weber

9:27 a.m. ET
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats can thank women voters for their surging advantage on a generic ballot ahead of the hugely important 2018 midterm elections, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll has found. Although white women supported Trump by nine points in 2016 and Republicans by 14 points in the 2014 midterm, the demographic has since swung to favor Democrats over Republicans by 12 points on a generic ballot.

Overall, women voters now favor Democrats by a 26-point advantage, double Hillary Clinton's margin in 2016. Independents have also swung to favor Democrats, 50 percent to 34 percent. "The swing group has been decisive in three consecutive midterm election waves, backing Republicans by 19 points in 2010 and 12 points in 2014, but supporting Democrats by 18 points in 2006 as they retook control of the House," The Washington Post writes.

Across the board, Democrats have a 15-point advantage over Republicans on a generic ballot among likely voters. In the same Washington Post/ABC News poll in November, that margin was slightly smaller, at 11 points. Experts caution that none of this means the Democrats will necessarily take back the House, qualifying a flip as "possible" but not "likely." Even though the margin looks impressive — and Democrats are only thought to need about an eight-point advantage to gain the 24 seats to win the House — some experts say the party could nevertheless "fall five seats short even if they won all contests the Cook Political Report classifies as solidly Democratic, leaning Democratic, or toss-ups," the Post adds.

The poll reached 1,005 adults between Jan. 15-18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 points. Read the full results here. Jeva Lange

8:58 a.m. ET

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos was a man of relatively few words during his interview with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday morning, but what he did say raised serious questions about President Trump's own potential hand in the ongoing government shutdown.

Sanders began the interview by using Stephanopoulos' opening question to blast Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for the shutdown. "I know sometimes members like Sen. Schumer need a little help and guidance getting through big policy negotiations like that," she told Stephanopoulos, "but the president's laid out what he wants and if they need help understanding it, we'd be happy to send some people over there to explain it to them."

Stephanopoulos didn't take the bait. "Do you really want to be questioning Sen. Schumer's knowledge of this legislation?"

Sanders laughed the question off, but Stephanopoulos followed up by asking why Trump hasn't called "everyone down to the White House today, Democrats, Republicans, together in the Oval Office."

"The president has been engaged," Sanders replied. "Different circumstances call for a different type of leadership."

"No meetings this weekend, Sarah," Stephanopoulos simply interrupted. Watch the full back-and-forth below. Jeva Lange

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