WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News' Rick Klein
"Forget about votes; this has nothing to do with votes," President Trump declared in one of his recent Fox News interviews. The president is right but also very wrong. Of course, it's all about the votes in the Senate, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to orchestrate a Kabuki dance with a limited number of moves. When it comes to the president's involvement, "We're trying to hold him back a little bit," Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters, with a smile, on Sunday. (Maybe that's because the president is calling the House bill he once celebrated "mean," even while his super PAC allies go to war with one of the "very fine senators" who might say the same about the current bill.) Yet as the focus turns to deal-making, this is not really about handouts or kickbacks. This bill is deadly serious policy; it could be law by the end of the week, with the House poised to capitalize on any Senate momentum. This is where political muscle is measured, in influencing this week on actual votes, not at vague points in the run-up to 2018. The human consequences will jostle for attention with the political ones in the coming quite interesting days.
THE IMPACT ON MEDICAID
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., would not commit to voting one way or another on the health care bill over the weekend. He called the legislation less "repeal-and-replace" and more Medicaid reform. Under the Senate bill, funding for those covered under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would dry up in 2024, depending on the state. Those are people who earn between $12,000 and $16,000 a year (slightly more if pregnant or in nursing home), and after that the government would increase Medicaid funding at rates significantly lower than the actual growth rate of medical costs. The U.S. population is aging rapidly and already, under current law, the program covers over 6 million low-income elders. Almost 2 million Americans rely on Medicaid for nursing home or other long-term care costs. About 35 million children depend on the program as well. Should the federal government stop providing funds, cash-strapped states will either have to cut folks off their Medicaid rolls or fix their balance sheets another way. Republican lawmakers have talked for decades about shrinking and adjusting programs like Medicaid but they are finding even Republican governors pushing back, having come to rely on the federal dollars to cover the poorest in their states, ABC News' MaryAlice Parks writes.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
President Trump hosts India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House today and the two will give a joint statement tonight.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"These are not cuts to Medicaid, George. This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility with Medicaid dollars because they're closest to the people in need," Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway on the Senate health care bill on ABC News' "This Week"
NEED TO READ with ABC News' Adam Kelsey
Trump: "I think we are going to get there" on health care. As five Republicans have come out in opposition to the current GOP health care bill, President Trump, in an interview with Fox News Sunday, expressed optimism that the Senate will pass the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. "I don't think they're that far off — you know, famous last words — but I think we are going to get there," the president said. http://abcn.ws/2tJ4HCk
WH "paying very close attention" to SCOTUS' last decisions of term: Conway. Amid speculation that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may announce his retirement, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway declined to say whether President Trump or the White House has heard from the justice about his plans. "I will never reveal a conversation between a sitting justice and the president or the White House," Conway told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. http://abcn.ws/2s541u0
Sens. Susan Collins, Rand Paul express doubts about Senate health care bill. Sen. Rand Paul, one of the key Republican senators in the ongoing health care battle, said Sunday that his party has "promised too much" in trying to fix the health care system and assuring that the cost of premiums will be lowered. "They've promised too much. They say they're going to fix health care and premiums are going to go down," Paul said on ABC News' "This Week." http://abcn.ws/2tJGUlK
Democrats "better stand for something," says party's Senate leader. "Here's the number one lesson from Georgia Sixth," Sen. Chuck Schumer said on ABC News' "This Week." "Democrats need a strong, bold, sharp-edged and commonsense economic agenda — policy, platform, message that appeal to the middle class … and unite Democrats." http://abcn.ws/2t58E6v
Koch brothers plan stepped-up spending: "More optimistic now about what we can accomplish." The Koch brothers' political network plans to pick up the pace of spending in the run-up to 2018, despite major policy disagreements with the Trump administration that include skepticism of the health care bill now being debated in the Senate. http://abcn.ws/2t7Wev5
No Ramadan celebration at White House, though Trump said during campaign he was open to it. For the first time in over two decades, the White House did not host an Iftar, or Eid, celebration dinner to mark the month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when Muslims fast during daylight hours. Last year, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in an interview that he would be open to continuing the tradition of hosting an Iftar dinner. http://abcn.ws/2sHfsXg
@Acosta: WH says Monday briefing will be off-camera. #democracyindarkness
@yashar: NEW: Kushner firm's $285 million Deutsche Bank loan came just before Election Day@PostKranish reports http://wapo.st/2s7tyCK
@JordynPhelps: Trump returns to attacking @SenWarren, calling her a "highly overrated voice": "I call her Pocahontas and that's an insult to Pocahontas"
@mviser: My look Jared Kushner's stint in Somerville real estate while at Harvard. Angry tenants. Big profits. A $50k mistake http://bit.ly/2tLH4sM
@evanmcmurry: NEW: Sen. Ben Sasse uncommitted on Senate GOP health care bill, he says at Koch brothers conference in Colorado Springs. – @rickklein
@realDonaldTrump: Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.