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The Latest: Obama argues for preserving health care law


NewsHubThe Latest on Congress (all times EST):
10:30 a.m.
Democrats say President Barack Obama is making the case for keeping his health care law.
Obama made a rare trip to the Capitol on Wednesday to meet with House and Senate Democrats.
New York Rep. Louise Slaughter says Obama focused on how well the law is working, and on how many letters he’s gotten in support of it.
She calls it “a very nostalgic speech. ”
Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin says Obama’s message is that the individual parts of the law are popular, and that repealing it would affect all Americans.
“We need to personalize this,” Cardin says — echoing the president.
Republicans promise to move quickly to repeal the law, but they’ve failed to coalesce around a replacement.

10 a.m.
Once he’s sworn in, President-elect Donald Trump will move swiftly to undo Democratic President Barack Obama’s policies.
That’s the message from Vice President-elect Mike Pence to House Republicans at a Capitol Hill strategy session Wednesday.
On Jan. 20, Trump will use his power through executive orders to target the health care law and other policies.
New York Rep. Chris Collins and Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner specifically mentioned health care, though it’s unclear what changes could be made through executive order on the nearly 7-year-old law.
Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold says Pence told the GOP: “What can be done with a pen and a phone can be undone with a pen and a phone. ”

9:40 a.m.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a closed-door briefing Thursday for members to learn more about the Obama administration’s response to suspected Russian interference in the 2016 election and harassment of U. S. diplomats.
Also, U. S. intelligence officials, including national intelligence director James Clapper, are set to testify Thursday in an open session by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
President Barack Obama struck back at Moscow last week with a set of punishments targeting Russia’s leading spy agencies that the U. S. has accused of meddling in the presidential campaign. The U. S. also kicked out 35 Russian diplomats in response to what the White House says has been Russia’s harassment of American envoys.

9:30 a.m.
President Barack Obama is at the Capitol to give congressional Democrats advice on how to combat the Republican drive to dismantle his health care overhaul.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is meeting with GOP lawmakers to discuss the best way to send Obama’s cherished law to its graveyard and replace it with — well, something.
The separate strategy sessions come on the second day of the new GOP-led Congress.
In 16 days, Republican Donald Trump replaces Obama at the White House, putting the party’s longtime goal of annulling much of the 2010 health care overhaul within reach.

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