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First Read’s Morning Clips: McConnell Lacks the Votes

TRUMP AGENDA: McConnell lacks the votes on Obamacare

NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell, with last night’s breaking health care news. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged Monday night that he lacked the votes to pass the Senate health care bill after two more Republican senators came out against it, leaving the party short of a majority. Instead, he said the Senate would vote on a full repeal of Obamacare, with two years before the repeal goes into effect to allow time to create a new system. The new plan may appear to fulfill a seven-year GOP promise, but it faces extremely difficult odds after many moderate Republican senators have already come out against repeal without an immediate replacement. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah set the chain of events in motion Monday night when they announced on Twitter that they both would oppose the current bill, which was released just last week.”

The New York Times, on what comes next: “With four solid votes against the bill, Republican leaders now have two options. They can try to rewrite it in a way that can secure 50 Republican votes, a seeming impossibility at this point, given the complaints by the defecting senators. Or they can work with Democrats on a narrower measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, conceded Monday night that “the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” He outlined plans to vote now on a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with it taking effect later. That has almost no chance to pass, however, since it could leave millions without insurance and leave insurance markets in turmoil.”

From POLITICO: “Trump had no idea the statements were coming, according to several White House and congressional officials. His top aides were taken aback, and the White House was soon on the phone with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

The AP: “House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a 10-year budget blueprint that would dramatically increase military spending while putting the GOP on record favoring Medicare cuts opposed by President Donald Trump.”

The Washington Post notes that Steven Mnuchin is facing down a potential crisis on the debt ceiling.

The Wall Street Journal: “The Trump administration released its road map for remaking the North American Free Trade Agreement that aims to preserve “Buy America” provisions and reduce the U.S. trade deficit, but steps back from some of President Donald Trump’s most fiery campaign rhetoric on trade with Mexico and Canada.”

The New York Times reports that a Russian master of “Kompromat” is believed to be behind the Donald Trump Jr. meeting.

“The Trump administration told Congress for a second time Monday that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal and can keep enjoying sanctions relief, even as it insisted Tehran would face consequences for breaching “the spirit” of the deal,” the AP writes.

From NBC’s Andrew Rafferty: “President Donald Trump celebrated U.S.-made products on Monday, and in doing so he brought renewed attention to his own family's production and sale of goods made overseas.”

A new NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll shows that three-quarters of Americans are worried about the U.S. entering a major war in the next four years.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK), Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Mia Love (R-UT), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Doug Collins (R-GA) are joining the Justice Action Network– the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system– Google, and the Brennan Center to present Women Unshackled: The First Ever Policy Forum to Address the Growth of Female Incarceration. You can watch a livestream of the event here.

OFF TO THE RACES: Steve Bullock and 2020

The New York Times talks to Montana’s Steve Bullock, who’s thinking of a presidential run: “Many elected Democrats have drifted left since the party’s shattering defeat last November, turning to a brand of progressive politics that is closer to Senator Bernie Sanders’s democratic socialism than the more market-friendly liberalism that characterized the Obama era. But when the nation’s governors gathered here over the weekend for their annual summer meeting, a group of pragmatic Democrats took center stage. And now one of them is taking the first steps toward seeking the presidency in 2020. “I believe the time is right to lend my voice, the voice of someone that after getting elected has been able to govern in what’s viewed as a red state,” Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana said in an interview. ‘Some of the things that I’ve been able to do in Montana can also translate beyond just the state’s border.’”

The Washington Post: “The former managers of Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns are leading a new initiative called “Defending Digital Democracy” in the hopes of preventing a repeat of Russia’s 2016 election interference. Robby Mook, Clinton’s 2016 campaign chief, and Matt Rhoades, who managed the 2012 run of GOP nominee Romney, are heading up the project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in one of the first major efforts outside government to grapple with 21st century hacking and propaganda operations — and ways to deter them.”

IA-GOV: The Des Moines Register writes that Democrat Fred Hubbell is officially in the governor’s race.

IL-GOV: “Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner hired a new “body man” — the government staffer who spends long days with governor — Monday but fired him the same day after it was discovered he has a history of writing racially-charged, homophobic and sexually explicit tweets,” POLITICO reports.

Here’s more on his staff shuffles, from the Chicago Tribune.

NM-GOV: The Santa Fe New Mexican: “Recent filings by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce show the Southern New Mexico Republican is starting his bid for governor with a war chest from his congressional campaign totaling more than $1 million. But will it do him any good?... But New Mexico law is unclear on whether candidates for federal office can give more than just a few thousand dollars to campaigns for state office, potentially setting up a showdown over New Mexico election laws that could leave the only GOP candidate in the governor’s race so far without the large sums of money he raised serving on Capitol Hill.”

TX-GOV: The Texas Tribune has the latest on Texas’s special legislative session.

VA-SEN: Tim Kaine is staffing up for his reelection bid.