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TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE...: The Russia sanctions bill is one step closer to President Trump’s desk and there are conflicting messages coming from the White House on what he will do. While Congress all but unanimously agrees (House 419-3, Senate 98-2) on the bill, our allies in Europe are not so confident. German Chancellor Merkel has been a vocal opponent, worried it will hurt international relations. Even if the president wants to listen to her or doesn't support it himself, vetoing it will make him look weak on Russia, captive to Putin, and would likely be overturned by Congress.

WE’RE ON A ROAD TO NOWHERE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled off a victory with a motion to proceed on health care - kicking off 20 hours of debate, followed by 'vote-a-rama.' The Senate will spend the next days hashing out the details of a repeal and replace bill. After a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act failed last night, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will push a vote on a ‘repeal only’ plan, holding Republican Senators to their 2015 vote. But we’re confident it won’t garner enough votes to pass as a group of Senators are still a firm no on a repeal without a replacement. Whatever they do, it won't be bipartisan and it will still need the support of the House - whether they go to conference or not. At this point, anything could happen. Our Senior Health Policy Analyst Emily Evans wrote on where we go now, get the piece here. Hedgeye will also be hosting a flash call on what to expect from Senate - TODAY JULY 26th at 11:30am ET. Get the event information here.

TRADING PLACES: U.K. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has been touring the U.S. promoting a U.K./U.S. free trade agreement. The two countries have started a working group to form a deal, despite it not being possible until BREXIT is complete. President Trump tweeted his support for a deal - seemingly contrary to campaign rhetoric centered around eliminating trade agreements. His actions (same as with NAFTA) indicate a softening of messaging; he just wants to be in control of the deal, not eradicate free trade. But the president returned to his campaign style last night at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio - a town and state he won by promising to end trade deals that sent manufacturing jobs overseas. Check out the latest on trade policy here.

PAPER TIGER: The Senate Appropriations Committee got to work on their Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development spending bill which encompasses most of the government's infrastructure spending. Their plan ignored President Trump’s request to slash funding from the Department of Transportation and Amtrak. It also failed to eliminate a federal infrastructure grant program known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), but did include a highly controversial provision - raising the cap on passenger facility charges (PFCs) which go directly into airport infrastructure. The bill will move to full committee Thursday with the Senate now starting to make progress on their spending bills.

ROLLBACK THE RED TAPE: President Trump believes the economy is hindered by the amount of federal regulations put on businesses. There is no question that complicated legislative procedures can be a barrier to entry, or at least costly to new businesses. The Administration is planning on taking action; outside of executive orders, the OMB is eliminating or suspending 860 pending regulations. They range from safety standards to procedural red tape. This is part of Trump’s executive order requiring two regulations be removed for every new one. There are still many the Administration cannot touch because they were written by Congress, but we expect more deregulation from that branch as well.

EVENT INVITE | U.S. ENERGY SANCTIONS & VENEZUELA: IS IT TRUMP'S RED LINE? White House raises the stakes for Maduro if he goes through with July 30th election. Big impact for Gulf refiners, oil markets, and bond holders. Please join us for a black book style call TODAY JULY 26th at 1:30pm ET. Get the event details here.

STILL WAITING FOR DISH NETWORK COURT RULING: Our Senior Telecom Analyst Paul Glenchur writes DISH hopes a federal court will uphold bid credit eligibility from the AWS-3 auction, cutting potential FCC liability. Read his full piece here.

OPEC MANAGING HEADLINES NOT WELL-HEAD: Our Senior Energy Analyst Joe McMonigle wrote that the Saudis shift focus to exports as they try to impact draws in EIA weekly data, but global supply picture is unchanged. Get more of his insight here.

CMS RELEASES PROPOSED HOME HEALTH PAYMENT UPDATE | NEW PAYMENT SYSTEM INCLUDED: Our Senior Health Policy Analyst Emily Evans wrote that CMS is proposing to adopt a new payment system in a non-budget neutral manner; shift to HHGM will reduce reliance on therapy. Read the full piece here.