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First Read’s Morning Clips: A ‘Venting Session’ In Iowa

TRUMP AGENDA: “Venting session” in Iowa

In Iowa yesterday, Trump promised to work to prevent immigrants from receiving welfare benefits for at least five years. NBC’s Ali Vitali: “But those requirements, or something similar to them, already exist. Legislation backed by then-President Bill Clinton, called the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996," states immigrants are "not eligible for any federal means-tested public benefit" for five years beginning when they come into the country. However, the law has exceptions and additional legislation since its passage has also affected eligibility.”

The New York Times: “The rally, Mr. Trump’s first since the end of April, served as a venting session for a pent-up president who has stewed and brooded from inside the gilded cage of the White House over attacks from investigators, Democrats and the news media, his interview schedule drastically pared down and his aides imploring him to stay off Twitter. Style-heavy and substance-light, the speech went over an hour: an epic version of the fact-challenged, meandering and, even for his detractors, mesmerizing speeches he gave during his upstart presidential campaign.”

Leigh Ann Caldwell previews today’s look at the Senate GOP health care bill. “Senate Republican leaders are set to release details of their legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after weeks of closed-door negotiations. Republican senators will receive the legislation first in a meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday with the first public glimpse at the proposed bill coming shortly afterwards. The process could then move quickly, with a vote on the bill coming as early as next week.”

Here’s what the Washington Post reports about the bill so far: “The Senate proposal largely mirrors the House measure with significant differences, according to a discussion draft circulating Wednesday among aides and lobbyists. While the House legislation would peg federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income, as the Affordable Care Act does. The Senate proposal would cut off expanded Medicaid funding for states more gradually than the House bill but would enact deeper long-term cuts to the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also would eliminate House language aimed at prohibiting federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions, a provision that may run afoul of complex Senate budget rules.”

And from Bloomberg: “The plan will differ from the legislation passed in May by the House in some key ways, including a three-year phase-out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion beginning in 2020, according to a source familiar with the plan that was outlined to key congressional aides Wednesday night. That’s designed to appeal to senators from states that elected to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion and didn’t want a more immediate phaseout. At the same time, the measure would provide a lower reimbursement rate for states under Medicaid.”

And from the New York Times: “Abortion flared up Wednesday as the latest hot-button issue to complicate passage of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which Senate Republican leaders hope to unveil on Thursday and pass next week. The repeal bill approved last month by the House would bar the use of federal tax credits to help purchase insurance plans that include coverage of abortion. But senators said that provision might have to be jettisoned from their version because of complicated Senate rules that Republicans are using to expedite passage of the bill and avoid a filibuster. If that provision is dropped, a bill that has already elicited deep misgivings among moderate Republicans — and stiff resistance from Democrats, health care providers and patient advocacy groups — could also generate concern among abortion opponents, as well as conservative lawmakers.”

The Wall Street Journal notes that a significant group of Republicans are voicing concerns about the health care bill.

The Washington Post notes that some Democrats are nervous that Russia has been a distraction from the health care debate.

From the Center for Public Integrity: “One of President Donald Trump's newest appointees is a registered agent of Saudi Arabia earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on the kingdom's behalf, according to U.S. Department of Justice records reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity. Since January, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has paid longtime Republican lobbyist Richard Hohlt about $430,000 in exchange for ‘advice on legislative and public affairs strategies.’”

“House Republicans are struggling to agree on a plan to fund the federal government for 2018, a critical task that they must tackle before moving ahead with ambitions for a tax overhaul,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “The debate has delayed GOP efforts to move forward with a budget resolution—which Republican lawmakers plan to use as a tool to advance their tax plan—as well as spending bills needed to keep the government running once its current funding expires Oct. 1.”

The Congressional Black Caucus won’t meet with Trump again.

Democrats are asking why Jared Kushner’s security clearance hasn’t been suspended.

The AP on Trump’s threat of Comey “tapes” : “This is far from the first time that Trump, the former star of reality TV and tabloids, has manufactured a melodrama that begins with bluster but often ends with a whimper.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Pelosi under fire

Nancy Pelosi is facing heat from within her own party after Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia this week. Alex Seitz-Wald: “A number of Democrats are renewing their calls for Pelosi to step aside, demanding a change to the trio of septuagenarians that have been leading the House Democratic caucus for years. She is a prodigious Democratic fundraiser and consummate legislative tactician with loyal allies across the ideological spectrum of the party, and is in no real danger of losing her leadership post, at least at the moment. Pelosi has raised a massive $568 million for Democrats since she joined leadership in 2002, according to her office, and $142 million in the past election cycle alone.”

And from the New York Times: “Democrats scrambled to regroup on Wednesday after a disappointing special election defeat in Georgia, with lawmakers, activists and labor leaders speaking out in public and private to demand a more forceful economic message heading into the 2018 elections. Among Democrats in Washington, the setback in Georgia revived or deepened a host of existing grievances about the party, accentuating tensions between moderate lawmakers and liberal activists and prompting some Democrats to question the leadership and political strategy of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.”

POLITICO notes that Reince Priebus is keeping a close eye on the RNC.

NJ-GOV: Chris Christie says he’s unbothered by his record low approval ratings.

VA-GOV: Northam starts the general election with an eight-point advantage over Gillespie, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.