Politics & Government

Former President Obama took a victory lap Thursday on seventh anniversary of his signature health care law even as Republicans had planned to formally begin the process of gutting it in celebration.

But now, it's the GOP replacement plan that remains on life support. Republicans postponed a planned evening vote in the House, denying them a symbolic chance to make good on their years-long promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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I'm going to turn things over to Kelly because we have a congressional member on the line at the Capitol now, right, Kelly?

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To help us unpack what's happening on Capitol Hill is NPR's Ron Elving. Welcome to the studio, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Hey there, Audie.

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The outlook for a key congressional investigation into potential ties between President Trump and Russia's election meddling remained in doubt Thursday, after an unusual, high-profile flap involving its top two members.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

The U.S. Senate has a lot going on: confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, negotiations on repealing the Affordable Care Act, votes on gun sales regulations and bear-hunting rules for Alaska.

A bill that would ban discrimination in housing or employment based on sexual gender or identity has been introduced in the legislature. And it’s not the first time.

There’s a new bill being considered at the Statehouse that would restrict the way police agencies could use drones. The legislation has bipartisan support for different reasons.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

On the final day of the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Senate Democratic leader announced his opposition to the Supreme Court nominee.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer said Gorsuch "will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation," setting up a showdown with Republican leaders who may attempt to change Senate rules.

Meals on Wheels brings food to hundreds of thousands of homebound seniors and people with disabilities. But President Trump's proposed budget has this community-based program, like many others, facing cuts.

On a hazy morning, Alan Zebker and and Vicki Kysella are organizing packages of food in the back of Zebker's SUV. They're volunteers with Meals on Wheels West in Santa Monica.

They've got their routine down.

"Alan packs the bags; I make the deliveries," Kysella says.

"When she's delivering, I pack more bags," Zebker says.

Thursday was the fourth and final day of the confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch. Testifying about the Supreme Court nominee were experts and outside groups. Gorsuch himself did not take questions, or appear in the hearing room.

Those who spoke on his behalf were judges and former law clerks he has worked with, along with some law school professors and other attorneys. Witnesses called by Democrats, who have concerns about Gorsuch, included other law professors, and representatives from women's and environmental groups.

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New U.S. Census Bureau estimates say Franklin County has surpassed Cuyahoga to become the most populous county in the state.

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Having heard from Neil Gorsuch, the Senate Judiciary Committee soon votes on his nomination to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch is from Colorado, and we have one of his home-state senators on the line, Republican Cory Gardner. Senator, welcome back.

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Republicans will be tested today on the strength of party unity in the Trump era and their party's ability to deliver on the promises they've made to the voters that sent them here.

"This is our chance and this is our moment. It's a big moment," House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters earlier this week. "And I think our members are beginning to appreciate just what kind of a 'rendezvous with destiny' we have right here."

The Affordable Care Act replacement plan championed by President Trump would hurt low-income people in rural areas that voted heavily for the Republican last fall, according to an NPR analysis of data on proposed subsidy changes from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Angela Chen makes money hawking her ties to important people, running a consulting firm that helps companies connect with Asia's power players.

So it inevitably attracted notice when Chen spent nearly $16 million recently to buy a four-bedroom Park Avenue penthouse owned by President Trump himself.

The February deal, which was first reported by Mother Jones, underscores one of the problems posed by Trump's ongoing business interests.

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During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump's outreach to black voters essentially came down to this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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