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Wake Up To Politics - December 4, 2015

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Friday, December 4, 2015
59 Days until the Iowa Caucuses
340 Days Until Election Day 2016 I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    Capitol Hill News

  • Senate Votes to Repeal Obamacare and Defund Planned Parenthood, Reject Gun Control Amendments In a huge victory for congressional Republicans, the Senate finally succeeded Thursday in sending an Obamacare repeal bill to the President’s desk.
  • Although the House has passed 50+ measures striking down all or parts of the Affordable, none of them passed the Senate until the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, by a 52-47 margin.
  • Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Mark Kirk (IL) joined all 45 Senate Democrats in voting against the bill; all other Senate Republicans voted for the bill. Because the measure was a budget reconciliation bill, it could not be filibustered, and only required 51 votes for passage (as opposed to 60 in a cloture vote), squeaking through a win.
  • The Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act is not a full repeal of Obamacare, however: “The measure guts the law by repealing authority for the federal government to run healthcare exchanges, and scrapping subsidies to help people afford plans bought through those exchanges,” according to The Hill. “It zeros out the penalties on individuals who do not buy insurance and employers who do not offer health insurance.”
  • The bill also cuts off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, a provision added to assuage conservatives who would otherwise attach the issue to the omnibus spending bill, forcing a government shutdown. Collins and Kirk both cited Planned Parenthood for their rebellious “nay” votes.
  • Before final passage of the bill was voted on, the Senate held a “vote-a-rama” on 18 different amendments to the budget reconciliation measure. These votes included three gun control amendments, in light of the San Bernardino shooting. One, by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), to “improve mental health and substance use prevention and treatment,” failed 47-52, with Collins and Kelly Ayotte (NH) the only Republican “yea” votes. One, by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would deny the right to purchase firearms to those on the Terror Watch List, failed 45-54, with Kirk voting “yea” against party lines, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) voting “nay” against her party.
  • Finally, the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment, increasing background checks, resurfaced but failed in the Senate again, by a 48-50 vote. Heitkamp was the only Democrat to vote against the amendment; Collins, Kirk, Pat Toomey (PA), and John McCain (AZ) were the only Republicans to vote in favor.
  • Senate Approves Five-Year Transportation Deal In an 83-16 vote, the U.S. Senate approved a $305 billion, five-year transportation bill Thursday, the first long-term infrastructure funding measure to pass Congress in a decade.
  • The bill authorizes $205 billion to be spent on highways and another $48 billion to be used for transit projects. This money will be collected by a 18.4 cents per gallon tax on gas bought by drivers, which will go to the Highway Trust Fund.
  • Handing a major victory to Democrats, the bill also reauthorized the Export-Import Bank until 2019 – after the controversial agency’s charter expired a few months ago, Republicans refused to reauthorize it.

2016 Central

  • Today on the Trail Where in the world are the 2016 presidential candidates today?
  • Iowa (6): Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum West Des Moines, Jefferson, Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Johnston, Mason City, Waukee, Cedar Falls, Urbandale
  • New Hampshire (4): Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, George Pataki, Marco Rubio Lebanon, Keene, Manchester, Greenland
  • North Carolina (1): Donald Trump Raleigh
  • Despite their outsized importance in the presidential primary process, Iowa and New Hampshire aren’t that big, leading to inevitable overlap among the presidential candidates.
  • Christie, Clinton, and Paul will all visit Ford Dodge, Iowa today (with Christie and Clinton both headlining events at the Iowa Central Community College); Graham, Kasich, and Pataki will all visit Lebanon, New Hampshire (with Graham and Pataki both speaking at the “Connecticut River Run” rally hosted by the Grafton County and Coos County Republican Committees); and Graham and Pataki are also both speaking at a “GOP Holiday Party” in Keene, New Hampshire, hosted by the Cheshire County, Sullivan County, and Windham County Republican Committees).
  • Notable Event Ted Cruz is holding a “2nd Amendment event” at a gun store, Crossroads Shooting Sports, in Johnston, Iowa today. Despite Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Cruz is still set to address the event (which was scheduled before the San Bernardino shooting).
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light