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Vox Sentences: AHCApocalypse Now

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The American Health Care Act vote is pulled at the last minute; the State Department okays the Keystone pipeline; Le Pen meets with Putin.

AHCAtasrophic end to the Republican health care bill

House GOP Pulls Vote On Trump's American Health Care Act Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • This afternoon, President Trump called a Washington Post reporter to say that the American Health Care Act is officially dead, in case you were worried it would die in something resembling a normal fashion. [Washington Post / Robert Costa]
  • Trump gave a very in-character ultimatum Thursday night — he demanded that House Republicans pass their health care bill or drop the subject entirely. [Wall Street Journal / Kristina Peterson, Siobhan Hughes, Louise Radnofsky]
  • It set off a day of wild activity and speculation in Washington, with some at first suggesting Trump’s pressure might be enough to consolidate Republican support. [Washington Post / James Hohmann]
  • But it quickly became clear that the author of The Art of the Deal was rapidly losing interest in making a deal on this, once it became clear how complicated the endeavor would actually be. [New York Times / Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman]
  • Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence canceled a trip within the country to stay in Washington and help Republican leadership try to get the bill over the finish line. [Reuters / Jeff Mason, Susan Heavey]
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan rushed to the White House in person just hours before the vote was scheduled to tell the president he didn’t have the votes needed to secure passage. [New York Times / Robert Pear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Jennifer Steinhauer]
  • The vote was set for 3:30 pm, but within moments of the vote’s designated start time, news broke that Trump and Ryan had determined the bill would be pulled. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • In Ryan’s press conference Friday afternoon, he insisted that the House “came really close today, but we came up short.” For now, he says, “Obamacare will remain the law of the land.” [The Hill / Ben Kamisar]
  • President Trump, on the other hand, blamed everyone but himself for the bill falling through, casting blame particularly on House Democrats — who stayed almost totally silent on the bill, and who had ostensibly nothing to do with the overwhelming lack of Republican support that actually sank it. He also predicted that Obamacare will collapse on its own, which is not even a little bit true. [Vox / Matthew Yglesias]
  • Trump concluded his remarks saying he hoped for a bipartisan health care effort next time, but don’t hold your breath waiting for that deal. His track record speaks to how consistently terrible he is at making deals, no matter what he says. [Vox / Ezra Klein]
  • Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina and leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, suggested it might be time for Democrats to celebrate: “Probably that champagne that wasn’t popped back in November may be utilized this evening.” [New York Times / Robert Pear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Jennifer Steinhauer, Thomas Kaplan]

Who wants to bet Trump renames it Keystone XXL

President Trump Meets With Truckers And CEO's At The White House Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images
  • In a reversal of the State Department’s position under President Obama, the department granted a permit on Friday for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. [New York Times / Clifford Krauss]
  • Trump pledged to approve the pipeline back on the campaign trail in May 2016, to a room full of oil executives. [Reuters / Valerie Volcovici, Emily Stephenson]
  • And sure enough, one of his first executive orders in January was to reopen the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline as well as the Dakota Access pipeline. [Washington Post / Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin]
  • Trump has made stunning big, impossible promises about what the Keystone pipeline will do for the economy, not least that will be “an incredible pipeline, greatest technology known to man.” [Wall Street Journal / Christopher M. Matthews, Rebecca Ballhaus, Anne Steele]
  • The Obama administration refused to grant the permit, citing not only environmental concerns, but also — specifically — the unimpressive number of long-term jobs the pipeline was estimated to create. (Estimates varied widely, but the State Department put it at 50 jobs total.) [The Washington Post / Philip Bump]
  • Environmentalists plan to fight the next stage in the process bitterly. The company building the pipeline still needs permits from the states it would run through: Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. So the fight is not over yet. [Vox / Brad Plumer]
  • Meanwhile, one of Trump’s much-touted promises on the pipeline — requiring that it be built using American steel — is not actually going to be kept, which is probably not a surprise to people who have ever seen anything Trump has done in his entire life. [Wall Street Journal / Kris Maher, Ted Mann, Christopher M. Matthews]
  • And this week, it was reported that Trump actually threatened to terminate the pipeline project if TransCanada did not drop a $15 billion lawsuit against the US for blocking it. Indeed, TransCanada suspended the case for one month in late February, and today’s permit comes just days before the month-long suspension would have expired. [Washington Post / Damian Paletta, Steven Mufson]
  • At the end of the day, no matter how many construction jobs are created by the pipeline, the biggest winner if it is built will be Canadian oil interests: The pipeline is expected to bring in about $2.4 billion a year, a portion of which will be government revenue. [Reuters / Ethan Lou]

Le Pen and Putin sitting in a tree

French Presidential Elections - The Launch Of The Marine Le Pen Campaign Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
  • France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been running a campaign fueled by dystopian, Islamophobic rhetoric that is reminiscent of a certain American politician. [New York Times / Adam Nossiter]
  • As if to complete the analogy, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Le Pen today, making it clear he has picked a favorite in France’s race too. [ABC / Vladimir Isachenkov]
  • Le Pen came out of the meeting criticizing Russian sanctions by the European Union, and Putin came out insisting he was … totally not going to meddle in France’s election. [Bloomberg / Henry Meyer]
  • Le Pen has said in the past that Trump’s stunning win “made possible what had previously been presented as impossible” — that a far-right fringe party could win a major election in a Western democracy. [BBC]
  • France will have a first round of presidential voting on April 23, after which the top five candidates will run against one another a final time in a runoff race in May 7. The conventional wisdom is that Le Pen will make it through the first round of voting, but that she will not win the presidency. [Guardian / Catherine Fieschi]
  • But what might a Le Pen win look like? If she can sufficiently weaken centrist Emmanuel Macron, her likely runoff opponent and the favorite in the race, and secure the presidency, her top legislative priorities will likely include: limiting immigration, increasing the French police force, and withdrawing France from the EU — but that’s assuming any center-right politicians will work with a President Le Pen, still an unlikely possibility. [New York Times / Matthew J. Goodwin]


  • In November, Helen Beristain voted for Donald Trump. Now her husband, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, is being deported. [BuzzFeed / David Mack]
  • Alabama is attempting to become the "new Detroit," a huge hub of auto jobs. But where Detroit's jobs were (and are) good-paying, with solid benefits and union representation, in Alabama the hours are long, the pay is low, and the work is horribly unsafe. [Bloomberg Businessweek / Peter Waldman]
  • "Conversation pits" — sunken sitting areas in the middle of living rooms — were a touchstone of modernist interior design in the 1950s-'70s. Now they're making a comeback, and it's about time. [Curbed / Kyle Chayka]
  • Police departments are using Twitter and Facebook as "the new millk carton" to find missing kids. But the new publicity is fueling public panic that disappearances are on the rise. [Vice / Suzy Khimm]
  • John Searle is one of the most influential philosophers of mind of the past century. He is also, according to a new lawsuit, a serial sexual harasser. [BuzzFeed / Katie J.M. Baker]


  • "You'd think someone who grew up on a dairy would know how not to step in it. Did you catch yesterday's news? Devin Nunes is the talk of the town (Washington, D.C.), but not in a good way." [Visalia Times-Delta / Jim Reeves]
  • "Marvel and DC superheroes didn’t openly flaunt their attraction to members of the same sex until the late 1980s, starting with DC’s gay male character, Extraño, who wore flamboyant clothes, had a lisp, called himself 'Auntie,' and was infected with HIV by a vampire." [Pacific Standard / Katie Kilkenny]
  • "These Soviet spies are tasked with smuggling biological weapons out of the country, decoding secret communications, and bugging the homes of American diplomats, but they can’t keep track of a single teenage boy." [NY Mag / Brian Moylan]
  • "She wanted a 'fun, little' project to put on her resume, so she coded a site called where users click on Donald Trump’s face to punch him with tiny kitten paws. … Three weeks after the site went live, Lucy was served a cease and desist letter from Trump’s general counsel stationed in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in NYC." [New York Observer / Sage Lazzaro]
  • "During my first few late shifts, at age 23, I couldn’t keep up with his pace, and remember the great shame of chugging Diet Cokes in the office at midnight to stay awake, while Bob, then 84, clamored for news reports and transcripts and detailed descriptions of various apps he had seen mentioned on TV." [n+1 / Madeleine Schwartz]

Watch this: Trump’s budget could be devastating to news stations in rural areas

In some places, high-speed internet cannot replace local journalism. [Vox / Matteen Mokalla and Dean Peterson]