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REVISE AND REPLACE: Frustration with the inability of Congressional Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare has led to the president taking the first steps himself. He signed an Executive Order to limit the guidelines of Obamacare, offer more choice to patients, and revise limitations on short-term health plans. The main provision came from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who has been fighting to expand a measure that allows small businesses and other groups to buy insurance under associations. The association health plans do not have to follow Obamacare rules and thus offer cheaper, less comprehensive packages. While Republicans see this as a victory for the free market, Democrats warn that it may raise the cost of insurance plans for those left in the Obamacare exchanges.

TAXING CHRISTMAS: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has spent the week on the tax reform campaign trail. He is asking all Republicans to go on the offensive when talking tax, and even called a study from the Tax Policy Center that said the framework helps the wealthy more than the middle-class, made up. Ryan went on to talk about the significance of this rare opportunity for tax reform - saying half the country is living paycheck-to-paycheck so if Congress has to stay until Christmas, they will. While the end of 2017 used to be both an ambitious and artificial deadline - establishment Republicans are worried about the havoc Roy Moore may wreak should he win the Alabama special election on December 12th and find himself in Congress shortly thereafter.

DODGING RUSSIA: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) laid into the president for failing to meet a deadline over Russian sanctions. A bill he and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) crafted required the Administration to notify them by October 1st which targets would be punished for Russia’s role in interfering in the U.S. presidential election. McCain believes the Administration has had a significant amount of time since signing the Iran, North Korea, and Russia Sanctions bill to come up with an answer and is intentionally avoiding sanctions on Russia. While the Administration has not fired back yet, they are focused on punting action on Iran sanctions to Congress if the president announces his intent not to certify the Iran nuclear deal as he is expected to do later today.

RELIABILITY PAYS OFF: The Department of Energy is pushing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to compensate coal and nuclear generated power for providing grid reliability. This is the first proposal under Secretary Rick Perry (R-TX) that aims to guide FERC policies, but will not be the last. An interesting split in the energy industry, many companies are strongly against this proposal - believing the free wholesale power market compensates the best electric producers naturally. This would artificially prop up coal and nuclear generators following a time when utilities have been converting their generators away from coal. Read more about the proposal from our Senior Energy Analyst Joe McMonigle here.

RELIEF AT LAST: Puerto Rico is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis with only 15% of the island having power and 40% without potable water. Speaker Paul Ryan is traveling with a bipartisan coalition today to assess the damage in person. This comes as the House passed a relief bill with even more funding than FEMA requested and a $4.9 billion loan for the territory. On the heels of the House passage of hurricane and wildfire relief, came some pretty strong tweets from the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. President Trump criticized Puerto Rico’s condition prior to the storm and said that FEMA and the National Guard could not stay there forever. Let’s see what Mr. Ryan and others have to say about that.


DEFENSE INDUSTRY LOOKING AT MORE $ FROM NEWLY FOCUSED ARMY: Our Senior Defense Analyst Emo Gardner writes that defense companies, large and small, are zeroing in on the Army's capability to fight a more sophisticated enemy. Read the full piece here.

SENATE DEMS TARGET T-MOBILE/SPRINT (TMUS, S, T, VZ): Our Senior Telecom Analyst Paul Glenchur writes Senate Democrats want the DOJ and FCC to prep now for the coming deal, but Capitol Hill influence on deal review is limited. Read the full piece here.

EVENT | 4Q 2017 HEALTH CARE THEMES: Our Senior Health Analyst Emily Evans invites you to watch live here.

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