July 18, 2017 Last Updated 10:25 am

Republican alternative to ACA fails in Senate; Next challenge — raising the debt ceiling

Morning Brief: Newspapers in North Carolina won a battle when the state’s governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed allowed local governments in one county to publish their notices online rather than in local newspapers

The Republican effort to replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed Monday evening when two additional Republican senators, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Mike Lee of Utah, jointly announced their opposition to its replacement. Their reasons were contradictory, a result of the conflicting goals of the new legislation: both expressed a desire to repeal the ACA completely, while also not wanting to take health care away from those who the ACA benefited.

How the those opposed to the new legislation, but who also want to repeal the ACA, can achieve these two goals is a mystery.

But not passing this one bill is the least of the government’s concerns. With Congress wasting time on legislation that will to nowhere, the real business of the Congress, to pass a budget and manage the nation’s debt has slipped under the radar. Coming up in September is a deadline to raise the debt ceiling, an always contentious act that will be even more contentious now that one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House.

The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan:

Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect

By defecting together, Mr. Moran and Mr. Lee ensured that no one senator would be the definitive “no” vote…

…House Republicans in competitive districts who supported their version of the bill will now have to explain themselves — and Democrats are eager to pounce.

“Make no mistake, Paul Ryan can’t turn back time and undo the damaging vote he imposed on his conference,” said Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “House Republicans all own a bill that would strip health care from 23 million Americans and raise costs for millions more, and it will haunt them in 2018.”

The Washington Post, Damian Paletta:

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, is hurtling toward his first fiasco

Unlike other issues facing the Trump administration — such as passing a health-care bill and overhauling the tax code — raising the debt limit comes with a hard deadline of late September, according to Mnuchin. Failure to do so could lead the U.S. government to miss paying its obligations, causing what analysts would consider a historic, market-rattling default on U.S. government debt.

“We’re going to get the debt ceiling right,” Mnuchin said in an interview Monday. “I don’t think there is any question that the debt ceiling will be raised. I don’t think there is anybody who intends to put the government’s ability to pay its bills at risk.”

…One former Treasury official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive agency deliberations, said officials are now “brushing up on options in the ‘crazy drawer.’ ”

The health care bill isn’t the only area where Republicans have been stymied. In several states, governors or legislators have tried to repeal rules that require that local governments publish their legal notices in local newspapers. Calling the practice outdated and a waste of money, several states controlled by Republicans have seen their efforts halted by vetoes or a failure to get enough support to pass their proposed legislation.

Yesterday, North Carolina’s Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a House bill that would have affected newspaper legal notices in on state county, Guilford County, and would also have eliminated a worker’s compensation exception for newspaper carriers.

State newspapers and organizations strongly opposed the legislation, and because the bill barely passed the House, a veto override is unlikely.

Winston-Salem Journal, Richard Craver:

Cooper vetoes controversial bill that could force community newspapers out of business

In a statement, Cooper said: “Time and again, this legislature has used the levers of big government to attack important institutions in our state who may disagree with them from time to time. Unfortunately, this legislation is another example of that misguided philosophy meant to specifically threaten and harm the media.

“Legislation that enacts retribution on the media threatens a free and open press, which is fundamental to our democracy,” he said.

Wade issued a statement in response to Cooper’s veto in which she said the bill was an action “of eliminating special carve-outs for the newspaper industry.” Cooper’s veto, she said, “makes it clear his number one priority is brown-nosing those who cover him — to the detriment of the newspaper employees (contractor workers) denied workers compensation coverage.”

One of the first important earnings reports hit after the bell yesterday, with the results from Netflix surprising many.

The streaming video service reported revenue of $2.79 billion, up 32 percent from the same period last year, results that drove the company’s stock up sharply in after hours trading.

But it was its subscriber numbers that were the surprise, with the company able to report that it had now surpassed 100 million subscribers.

“In Q2, we underestimated the popularity of our strong slate of content which led to higher-than-expected acquisition across all major territories,” the company said in its report. “Our international segment now accounts for 50.1% of our total membership base.”

But while investors were celebrating, a closer look at the P&L shows costs grew in all areas, cutting into operating income, and net income was respectable mainly due to the benefit from income tax, which added $51 million to the bottom line.

Still, it was a good start to the earning season for digital media companies. Apple and others report later in the month, with most media companies reporting in late July into early August.

America’s image abroad is falling fast, and travel agents are reporting sharp declines in tourism as a result. The shooting of Australian Justine Damond will not help.

Damond was shot by a Minneapolis police officer and the details of the shooting — that both body cameras and dash cams were turned off, and that she was shot multiple times — has both investigators and the media wondering why Damond was a victim.

ABC (Australia), Riley Stuart:

Justine Damond’s father says there is an ‘ugly truth’ about his daughter’s death

Yesterday, Ms Damond’s friends expressed tears and confusion at how police could shoot someone who taught meditation, and “spread love”.

She had moved to the US to start a “new life” with Mr Damond, who she was to marry next month.

“We are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine,” Mr Damond said.

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