GOP tax bill adds big nix in Bam­care

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY DE­NIS SLAT­TERY

IF AT FIRST you don’t suc­ceed, try to cram Oba­macare re­peal into your tax plan.

Se­nate Repub­li­cans an­nounced Tues­day that they will add lan­guage to their tax re­form bill that will re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­di­vid­ual man­date, elim­i­nat­ing the penalty on those who don’t buy health in­sur­ance.

GOP lead­ers be­lieve the re­peal, which Pres­i­dent Trump pushed for, will give them enough votes to pass their tax bill.

“We’re op­ti­mistic that in­sert­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date re­peal would be help­ful,” Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell (R-Ky.) said.

The Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice es­ti­mated that the re­peal will lead to 4 mil­lion more unin­sured peo­ple by 2019 and 13 mil­lion more by 2027.

A non­par­ti­san anal­y­sis of the Se­nate bill de­ter­mined it would in­crease taxes for roughly 13.8 mil­lion mod­er­ate-in­come Amer­i­can house­holds even though Repub­li­cans claim it will help the mid­dle class. The bill pro­vides deep cuts to cor­po­rate taxes, dou­bles the stan­dard de­duc­tion used by most Amer­i­cans and re­peals the fed­eral de­duc­tion for state and lo­cal prop­erty, in­come and sales taxes.

“They’re so de­ter­mined to pro­vide tax give­aways to the rich that they’re will­ing to raise pre­mi­ums on mil­lions of mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans and kick 13 mil­lion peo­ple off their health care,” said Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). A TESTY At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions de­fended him­self on Tues­day, deny­ing that he lied to Congress about his knowl­edge of Trump cam­paign con­tacts with Rus­sian op­er­a­tives.

“I will not ac­cept, and re­ject ac­cu­sa­tions that I have ever lied. That is a lie,” Ses­sions told the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee be­fore be­ing grilled by mem­bers of both par­ties on a va­ri­ety of top­ics.

“My story has never changed. I’ve al­ways told the truth,” Ses­sions said, de­spite re­peat­edly amend­ing his pre­vi­ous tes­ti­mony.

Ses­sions, dogged by his own for­eign con­tacts dur­ing the cam­paign, tes­ti­fied that he now re­calls a meet­ing at which a Trump cam­paign ad­viser pro­posed a face-to­face be­tween Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin af­ter talk­ing with a Krem­lin-con­nected pro­fes­sor.

Ses­sions, at the time an Alabama sen­a­tor, pre­vi­ously said he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of the March 2016 meet­ing he chaired as the head of Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­eign pol­icy ad­vi­sory coun­cil.

Court records re­lated to the guilty plea of cam­paign ad­viser Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los, since un­sealed, re­vealed that he pro­posed Trump and Putin meet dur­ing the sit­down.

It was re­ported that Ses­sions shot down the pro­posal, some­thing he claimed he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of un­til it was re­ported in the me­dia.

“Af­ter read­ing his ac­count, and to the best of my rec­ol­lec­tion, I be­lieve that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not au­tho­rized to rep­re­sent the cam­paign with the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment, or any other for­eign gov­ern­ment, for that mat­ter,” Ses­sions said.

When pressed to ex­plain why he never thought to bring up Pa­padopou­los’ of­fer when asked about Rus­sian con­tacts in past tes­ti­mony Ses­sions said it slipped his mind.

“I did not re­call this event, which oc­curred 18 months be­fore my tes­ti­mony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have re­ported it had I re­mem­bered it, be­cause I pushed back against his sug­ges­tion,” he said.

Ses­sions blamed his hazy mem­ory on his time with the Trump cam­paign it­self, call­ing it a chaotic jour­ney that af­forded lit­tle time for sleep.

“It was a brilliant cam­paign, I think in many ways. But it was a form of chaos ev­ery day from day one,” he said.

De­spite his new­found rec­ol­lec­tions, Ses­sions in­sisted that he has been con­sis­tent and straight­for­ward in his an­swers in the past.

Ses­sions was asked about Rus­sia dur­ing his Jan­uary con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, in which he re­sponded that he was “not aware” of any com­mu­ni­ca­tions by any­one in the cam­paign with Rus­sians.

Ses­sions an­grily de­nounced ac­cu­sa­tions that he in­ten­tion­ally mis­led mem­bers of Congress.

“No­body, not you or any­one else, should be pros­e­cuted . . . nor ac­cused of per­jury for an­swer­ing the ques­tions the way I did in that hear­ing,” Ses­sions said af­ter Rep. Ha­keem Jef­fries (D-Brook­lyn, photo in­set) re­minded him that he had once bragged of pros­e­cut­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer for mak­ing false state­ments that he later cor­rected.

Repub­li­cans pep­pered Ses­sions with ques­tions about the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s han­dling of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hil­lary Clin­ton’s email prac­tices, as well as an Obama-era ura­nium deal, and asked why a special pros­e­cu­tor hadn’t been ap­pointed for those.

It would take “a fac­tual ba­sis that meets the stan­dard of a special coun­sel” for the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to make such an ap­point­ment, he said dur­ing a heated ex­change with Rep. Jim Jor­dan (R-Ohio).

He also sidestepped ques­tions about Trump’s in­flu­ence on the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s re­view of AT&T’s $85 bil­lion at­tempt to buy Time Warner Inc., which owns CNN.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment re­port­edly de­manded CNN — a fa­vorite tar­get of Trump’s — be sold off for the deal to be com­pleted.

“The Jus­tice Depart­ment does not re­veal priv­i­leged con­ver­sa­tions or con­ver­sa­tions with the White House,” Ses­sions said.

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