Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 25, 2017

House GOP cancels do-or-die health-care vote, President Trump blames Democrats for health-care bill failure, and more


House GOP cancels do-or-die health-care vote

House Republican leadership pulled the American Health Care Act from the lower chamber floor Friday afternoon, backing out on a scheduled vote just moments before it was set to begin. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press conference Friday he recommended to President Trump that the bill be withdrawn, and Trump agreed. As many as 34 Republicans opposed the GOP-backed health-care bill ahead of Friday's vote; if the legislation lost more than 22 Republican votes, it would not have passed the House. Ryan said Friday the withdrawal means the GOP is "moving on" from the issue of health-care reform, echoing an ultimatum the president issued to House Republicans late Thursday: Pass this bill, or live with ObamaCare.


President Trump blames Democrats for health-care bill failure

President Trump told reporters Friday afternoon the de facto defeat of the American Health Care Act was "perhaps the best thing that could have happened." ObamaCare is "exploding," Trump argued, and the real "losers" are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who "own ObamaCare." Trump ultimately blamed "no votes from the Democrats" for the bill's demise, despite the fact that more than enough Republicans to sink the bill were also opposed. Several members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which was prominent among the AHCA's GOP critics, on Friday pointed instead to the president's rushed timeline and uncompromising attitude as the source of the bill's failure.


Democrats cheer GOP health-care implosion

Democratic leaders were gleeful Friday over the implosion of the GOP's American Health Care Act. The bill's de facto loss is "a victory ... for the American people" and a "great day for America," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), "for our seniors, for people with disabilities, for our children, for our veterans." New Jersey's Sen. Bob Menendez (D) took to Twitter to assure Republicans "that burn is covered under the Affordable Care Act," while the House Democratic Caucus tweeted a snarky gif of a building being demolished.


White House 'agenda moves on' after health-care loss

The Trump administration is ready to move on to addressing tax policy after the downfall of the health-care plan it supported, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday. Trump is "disappointed" by the loss, Spicer conceded, but is now motivated by "a desire to do fundamental tax reform, something we haven't seen since 1986," Spicer told Fox News. "The agenda moves on." Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chair of the House tax committee, affirmed he is prepared "to work with the administration to get this done." The health-care bill failure "made a big challenge more challenging," he said, "but it's not insurmountable."


Mosul assault paused over civilian casualty concerns

U.S.-supported Iraqi forces paused their fight to retake the Islamic State-occupied portion of the city of Mosul on Saturday in response to concerns about a high civilian casualty rate. "The recent high death toll among civilians inside the Old City forced us to halt operations to review our plans," said a representative of the Iraqi troops. "It's a time for weighing new offensive plans and tactics. No combat operations are to go on." At least 200 people were reportedly killed in a single U.S. coalition airstrike in Mosul, and the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights counts an unconfirmed 700 civilian deaths attributable to coalition strikes and forces since the siege on the western half of the city began in mid-February.


Manafort to testify before House in Russia investigation

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Friday announced President Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, offered to be interviewed over ongoing questions about Trump campaign staff's alleged collusion with Russia. FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers have also been asked to return for a private, classified interview with the committee, Nunes added. Ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) lashed out at the decision to make the hearing private, slamming Nunes for an "attempt to choke off public info" and speculating the decision was made at the White House's behest. A poll released Friday found most Americans prefer an independent investigation.


2 remain in custody in connection to London attack

Two men remain in custody Saturday for questioning in connection to the deadly attack at Westminster Bridge in London on Wednesday. The attacker, a 52-year-old English native born Adrian Russell Ajao but known as Khalid Masood, was fatally shot by police at the scene of the crime. Police are now investigating whether Masood "acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him." The two men currently detained were among 11 people arrested so far; of the others, seven have been released without charges and two women have been released on bail.


Eric Trump to share 'quarterly' business updates with President Trump

President Trump will receive regular updates on his family business, his son Eric Trump indicated in an interview with Forbes published Friday. While maintaining he is "deadly serious" about avoiding any conflicts of interest, Eric also revealed he is keeping his father apprised of some business matters. "Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports, and stuff like that, but you know, that's about it," Eric said, noting the updates would likely be "quarterly." President Trump previously indicated he would not talk to his sons about the business at all.


Google to shutter Gchat

Google announced Friday it will shutter its beloved Google Talk service this summer. All remaining clients using Google Talk — colloquially known as "Gchat" — will be transitioned to the newer communications app, Hangouts, by June 26. Google Talk was created in 2005 as a way for Gmail users to exchange instant messages, but in 2013 the company began prompting users to switch to Hangouts, a more modern and integrated messaging system. Users still communicating over Google Talk will receive prompts to voluntarily switch to Hangouts in the coming weeks, but any remaining holdouts will be automatically transitioned.


Florida bests Wisconsin in nail-biter 84-83 game

The Florida Gators bested the Wisconsin Badgers in a nail-biter 84-83 game of the NCAA basketball tournament's Sweet 16 round late Friday night. After lagging behind Wisconsin for the first half of the game, the Gators pulled ahead for much of the second half. A concerted comeback by the Badgers produced a tied game with just four seconds left on the overtime clock when Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes scored two points. The game seemed finished — until Florida's Chris Chiozza sprinted down the court to make a running 3-pointer just as the buzzer rang out in Madison Square Garden. Florida will next face South Carolina on Sunday.


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