Battle Over Affordable Care Act Intensifies As North Korea Ratchets Up Tensions With Trump

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Time is ticking on the newest health care bill, and Republican lawmakers are desperate to hold on to every vote as it seems the proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare is in deep trouble.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, protesters disrupted the start of a Senate hearing Monday on the latest Republican healthcare bill. When the hearing finally got underway, the bill’s co-sponsor, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), defended his legislation.

“We’re gonna send the money back to the states,” he said. “You can’t spend it on roads and bridges, gotta spend it on healthcare. So you’re gonna have flexibility but you’re gonna have accountability.”

Senators John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky announced they were against the bill, and late Monday Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced she too would oppose the proposal.

The new version of the bill sweetens the pot for states with wavering senators, with more money going to Arizona, Maine, and Alaska. But some on the Hill insist it won’t matter.

“I would have to vote against this health care bill, because it cuts $19 billion in Medicaid to New York, but I see as far as I can tell, this is dead, there is no chance,” New York Republican Congressman Peter King said.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s top diplomat says President Donald Trump’s tweet that leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” was a declaration of war against his country by the United States.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters Monday that what he called Trump’s “declaration of war” gives North Korea “every right” under the U.N. Charter to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country.”

Ri referred to Trump’s tweet Saturday that said: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Ri said: “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.”

Trump also replaced his revised travel ban by imposing new restrictions on travel to the U.S. from eight foreign countries that the administration says are lacking in vetting and information sharing.

The president signed the executive order on Sunday. The restrictions apply to Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea.

Certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate families are also barred from entering the U.S. Each country has its own tailored restrictions.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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