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September 21, 2018

As support for elements of the Affordable Care Act has increased, political attacks against the bill have quietly retreated. The Daily Beast reported Friday that Republican lawmakers have slowly scrubbed ACA criticism from their websites in recent years, opting instead to promise constituents extended protections on health care.

Republicans, especially ones who are in danger of losing their seats, have further altered their messaging to support some aspects of the ACA, often called ObamaCare. The Daily Beast found 20 instances of GOP House members eliminating ObamaCare criticism from their websites between 2014 and 2018.

But just because lawmakers like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) have softened their anti-ObamaCare rhetoric, HuffPost notes, it doesn't mean that they're suddenly fans of former President Barack Obama's signature health-care bill. Just three of the 20 lawmakers who changed their websites voted against a 2017 GOP replacement bill that would have unraveled ObamaCare; the repeal bill passed in the House but faltered in the Senate. But their continued opposition to ObamaCare is now obscured as they face close midterm races, their websites show.

Democratic analyst Jesse Ferguson suggested that Republicans were more willing to openly attack the ACA when there was a lower chance of Obama's health-care bill actually being rolled back. Now, GOP lawmakers are going on the defense to assure constituents that they don't want to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions — a provision of the ACA that Americans have increasingly come to value. "If you ask a Republican why they voted for health-care repeal, they'll change the topic faster than you can blink your eyes," Ferguson told The Daily Beast.

Unfortunately for those Republicans, the internet never forgets. Read more at The Daily Beast. Summer Meza

11:39 p.m.

Former Daily Show Jon Stewart host lambasted Congress in Congress last week for slow-walking funding for 9/11 first responders, and "because the situation is urgent, yesterday Jon then met with the only constituents the Republican lawmakers listen to, Fox News," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. Stewart singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the main obstacle, and McConnell went on Fox & Friends Monday morning to respond: Members of Congress "have a lot of things going on at the same time," he said, and "many things in Congress happen at the last minute," and Stewart appears to be "looking for some way to take offense" and shouldn't get "so bent out of shape."

Stewart popped up from underneath Colbert's desk to respond. "Honestly, Mitch McConnell, you really want to go with the 'we'll get to it when we'll get to it' argument for the heroes of 9/11?" he asked. "Listen, senator, I know that your species isn't known for moving quickly," he deadpanned, explaining that the turtle joke was "just a little red meat for the base. But damn, senator, you're not good at this argument thing."

Stewart, it turns out, is pretty good at it, and he left McConnell with a suggestion — that he meet with 9/11 first responders tomorrow — and some food for thought: "If you're busy, I get it. Just understand the next time we have a war, or you're being robbed, or your house is on fire, and you make that desperate call for help, don't get bent out of shape if they show up at the last minute, with fewer people than you thought were going to pay attention, and don't actually put it out — just sort of leave it there, smoldering for another five years, because that's show s--t's done around here, mister. I'm sure they'll put it out for good when they feel like getting around to it." Watch below. Peter Weber

10:56 p.m.

Just hours after announcing the United States planned on cutting off aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, the State Department on Monday night said it will move forward with $432 million in projects and grants already approved by Congress.

The Trump administration said it was stopping aid as a way to pressure the countries into doing something about the high number of undocumented migrants from Central America coming to the United States. The asylum-seekers are fleeing poverty and violence, and several lawmakers argue that cutting off aid is cruel and won't do anything to slow down migrants flows.

The funding comes from the 2017 budget, and supports health, poverty alleviation, and education programs. The State Department said the Trump administration will work with Congress to determine what to do with an additional $200 million being diverted from the three countries. Catherine Garcia

9:47 p.m.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) on Monday shared that after "weeks of study, deliberation, and conversations with Orange County families," she has "decided to support an impeachment investigation of the president."

Porter was the first Democrat ever elected in her Republican-leaning district, and she is now the first freshman House member from California to call for President Trump's impeachment. "I have not come to this easily," she said. "I come to this decision after much deliberation, and I know — deeply — what this means for our democracy."

Most of the more than 60 House Democrats who have voiced their support of impeachment come from liberal districts, and Republicans are already hoping to flip Porter's seat back to red next year, the Los Angeles Times reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she wants to hold off on an impeachment inquiry, and would rather see voters oust Trump in 2020. Catherine Garcia

8:42 p.m.

In response to recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, an additional 1,000 U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Monday.

The U.S. says Iran is behind the attacks, and "hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups...threaten United States personnel and interests across the region." These troops, who will join 1,500 other soldiers sent to the region last month after similar tanker attacks, are "for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East."

Earlier Monday, Iran said within 10 days, it will go over the 300 kg of low-enriched uranium it can have under its 2015 nuclear deal. Catherine Garcia

7:55 p.m.

Four people were shot Monday in Toronto during a rally celebrating the Raptors' NBA championship.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said the victims sustained minor injuries, and other people were wounded as they tried to run away from the gunfire. Two people "with firearms" have been arrested, Saunders said, and he asked that anyone who witnessed the shooting or took video contact authorities.

Police originally said two people had been shot. The incident took place while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Raptors players were onstage. Catherine Garcia

7:04 p.m.

A student who survived the shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and became a conservative activist said Harvard University has rescinded his acceptance, after racist remarks he made two years ago were made public.

Kyle Kashuv, 18, tweeted on Monday that he made the "egregious and callous comments" online when he was 16, in an attempt to "be as extreme and shocking as possible." He said he apologized to Harvard, and blamed his "former peers and political opponents" for contacting the school and convincing them to drop him.

Kashuv also said he requested a face-to-face meeting with someone from Harvard in order to explain his actions further, but he was rejected. He expressed his irritation at the university, and said "deciding that someone can't grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning." He might not be going to classes in Cambridge, but one Twitter user told Kashuv he "did learn via Harvard. They taught you accountability." Catherine Garcia

4:50 p.m.

The United Nations has condemned itself for its conduct surrounding the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, The Guardian reports.

A new report commissioned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, written by Gert Rosenthal, a Guatemalan former foreign minister, and seen by The Guardian before publication, reportedly concluded that there was a systemic failure on behalf of the organization, including competing strategies between agencies, a "culture of mistrust" in relations with Myanmar's government, and "mixed and incomplete signals coming from the field," all of which prevented the UN from adequately responding to the alleged genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya minority. Thousands of people have been killed, and villages razed, while more than 70,000 Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh.

The report places particular emphasis on between the variance in approaches among U.N agencies, The Guardian writes — some practiced quiet diplomacy with the Myanmar government, others publicly condemned the human rights abuses. "Even at the highest level of the organization there was no common strategy," Rosenthal wrote in the report. The different approaches also reportedly devolved into "unseemly fighting."

Rosenthal's report also addresses the actions of former U.N. resident coordinator for Myanmar, Renata Lok-Dessallien, who was accused of downplaying concerns about worsening abuses against the Rohingya. He found that there were, in fact, "instances of deliberately de-dramatizing" the situation by Lok-Dessallien.

The report is expected to be made public this week. Read more at The Guardian. Tim O'Donnell

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