Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) faced intense questioning from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Wednesday over his decision to purchase Innate Immunotherapeutics stock after a conversation with Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.). "Rep. Price, recent press reports about your investments in the Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, raise some curious questions about your judgments, and I want to review the facts," Murray began. "You made the decision to purchase that stock, not a broker, yes or no?"
"That was a decision I made, yes," Price answered.
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) January 18, 2017
Murray continued to push in her questioning: "Congressman Chris Collins, who sits on President-elect Trump's transition team, is both an investor and a board member of [Innate Immunotherapeutics]. He was reportedly overheard just last week off the House floor bragging about how he had made people millionaires from a stock tip," she said. "Congressman Price, in our meeting, you informed me you made purchases based on conversations with Rep. Collins, is that correct?"
Price has denied the accusation, claiming he had spoken to Collins simply about the company in general — but it's certainly not a great moment for the congressman. "[Innate Immunotherapeutics'] drug could benefit from the 21st Century Cures Act, which Mr. Price voted for. The law, signed in December, will speed up the Food and Drug Administration's approval of new medicines," The New York Times reports. "At the very least, Mr. Price exercised abysmal judgment by trading the shares of companies over whose fortunes he exercised so much control." Jeva Lange
Hours after Thursday's scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act was postponed, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said President Trump is demanding a vote on Friday. Mulvaney also said that should the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fails, Trump is ready to move forward and leave ObamaCare in place.
In order for the Republican's plan to pass, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) can only lose 22 votes on the floor, and more than two dozen members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, as well as some moderate Republicans, have already said they will vote no. Catherine Garcia
The Toronto District School Board, the largest in Canada, announced Thursday it has made the "difficult decision" to indefinitely cancel all future trips to the United States, due to President Trump's temporarily blocked travel bans that keep people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
"It's about inclusion, equity, and fairness," school board spokesman Ryan Bird told BuzzFeed News. "We don't want some of our students stopped and not being let in at the border for no legitimate reason." The board serves 245,000 kids at 584 schools, and every year, students takes dozens of trips to performances, sporting events, and conferences all over the United States. Bird said 25 planned trips will move forward, but should one of the 900 students participating be detained at the border, they "will turn back." The school system is one of the most diverse in the world, Bird added, "and we're committed to promoting that." Catherine Garcia
In South Sudan, about 5.5 million people — almost half the population — face food shortages, and the U.S. is casting blame on the government.
"The famine is not a result of drought, it is the result of leaders more interested in political power and personal gain than in stopping violence and allowing humanitarian access," Deputy U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. "The government's continued unconscionable impediments to humanitarians seeking access to famine-stricken populations may amount to deliberate starvation tactics." Recently, South Sudan increased the price of work permit fees for foreign aid workers to $10,000.
Joseph Mourn Majak Ngor Malok, South Sudan's deputy ambassador, said his government is not to blame for the famine and called on the "international community to assist in addressing this urgent matter." In 2013, two years after South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, civil ware broke out, following the firing of President Salva Kiir's deputy, Riek Machar; Kiir is an ethnic Dinka and Machar a Nuer. Over the past four years, the U.N. says at least one-quarter of the population has been displaced. Catherine Garcia
The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released a revised report on the American Health Care Act, the Republican proposal to replace ObamaCare. The CBO's new estimate considers revisions made to the GOP health bill since the original report issued two weeks ago.
"This estimate shows smaller savings over the next 10 years than the estimate that CBO issued on March 13," the report reads, while "the estimated effects on health insurance coverage and on premiums for health insurance are similar to those estimated [originally]." The changes to the bill incorporate several manager's amendments, mostly pertaining to changes to Medicaid.
The CBO's original report estimated the American Health Care Act would leave 52 million uninsured by 2026, compared to just 28 million under ObamaCare. Thursday's report leaves that number unchanged, but says the revised bill would reduce the federal deficit by $150 billion, a decrease from the initially projected $337 billion in savings. Read the CBO's full revised report here. Kimberly Alters
The news that Republican leadership canceled a planned Thursday night health-care bill vote had already spread like wildfire across the internet and TV, but one important person was still left in the dark: President Trump.
"Today the House is voting to repeal and replace the disaster known as ObamaCare," Trump said, not realizing that his statement was already outdated. "It's going to be a very close vote."
A GOP aide told the media Thursday afternoon that there will no longer be a vote Thursday on the Republican health-care bill, after hours of desperate vote-rallying by House leadership and the White House appeared to have fallen flat.
BREAKING: AP Source: House GOP leaders delay vote on health care repeal bill, in setback for President Trump and Speaker Ryan.
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 23, 2017
Earlier Thursday, roughly two dozen members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus announced they would not support the American Health Care Act, which was drafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Several Republicans outside the conservative caucus also indicated they would not vote for the measure, narrowing its chances of passage considerably; GOP leadership could not lose more than 22 Republican votes and still pass the bill.
The White House has thrown its support behind the bill, with President Trump meeting with the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday morning to attempt to strike a deal on the bill. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted earlier Thursday that as far as he knew, the vote would not be delayed and the bill would pass. "We continue to see the number [of Freedom Caucus members who support the bill] go up, not down," he said. Jeva Lange
On Thursday afternoon, the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced it had not reached a deal in discussions with President Trump over the American Health Care Act, the Republican health-care bill that is expected to be put to a floor vote Thursday night. Losing the support of the conservative caucus narrows the bill's chances of passage considerably: Republican leadership cannot lose more than 22 Republican votes and still pass the bill through the lower chamber, but roughly two dozen Freedom Caucus members have said they would not support the plan. At the time of publication, NBC News' tally had a total of 31 "nos" from Republican congressmen.
"Something seismic would have to happen in the next few hours to turn this bill around," Politico estimates. "At this point, if a deal emerged, it would be very late tonight. In the midnight hour, perhaps."
But when questioned about the bill Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted it would pass. "We continue to see the number [of Freedom Caucus members who support the bill] go up, not down, and that's a very positive sign," he said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 23, 2017
The same cannot be said for American voters, a new Quinnipiac poll of 1,056 voters found. Fifty-six percent of American voters disapproved of the ObamaCare replacement, the poll found, while just 17 percent supported it. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Jeva Lange