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Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced this evening that she will vote "no" on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, becoming the third Republican to do so and likely dooming the GOP's latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations," Collins said in a statement. "The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem."

Collins joined Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Collins said she had three “major concerns” with the proposed legislation from Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Among them were what she called the "sweeping changes and cuts" in the Medicaid program.

“The CBO’s analysis on the earlier version of the bill, incomplete though it is due to time constraints, confirms that this bill will have a substantially negative impact on the number of people covered by insurance,” Collins quipped.

Off the floor, Collins told reporters President Donald Trump called her in an attempt to sway her vote. She said she told him she's a likely "no" but would take another look at the revised bill. Vice President Mike Pence also called the senator at her home in Maine over the weekend, she said.

"It would be a shorter list to ask me who didn't call me," Collins joked.

Just minutes before Collins announced her vote, the Congressional Budget Office released a preliminary analysis of the latest version of the Graham-Cassidy estimating that “millions” would lose health care.

“The number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions compared with the baseline projections for each year during the decade, CBO and JCT estimate,” the analysis released Monday states. “That number could vary widely depending on how states implemented the legislation, although the direction of the effect is clear.”

Collins’ "no" vote may well be the final nail in the coffin for the Graham-Cassidy bill. The bill needs 52 votes to pass before the Sept. 30 deadline, and with three Republican senators standing in opposition, the bill is essentially dead on arrival.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Tuesday, Alabama Republicans will vote in a primary runoff for the Senate seat previously occupied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A first round of voting failed to yield a majority for a single candidate. Now the top two candidates are competing for the GOP nomination in a race that has gained national prominence and become what some are calling a proxy war between the populist and establishment wings of the Republican Party.

Here's a look at what to know about the Alabama primary runoff:

Why the Senate seat is open

The seat was previously held by Alabama native Jeff Sessions, who served as senator for 20 years before his nomination by President Trump to serve as attorney general.

Following Sessions' confirmation in February, then-Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley appointed the state's attorney general, Luther Strange, to temporarily fill Sessions’ Senate seat until the general election. Bentley later resigned after allegations that he used state resources as governor to hide an affair with one of his top aides. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey replaced Bentley as governor following the resignation, and called for a special election in April.

A history of support for Republicans

Sessions was first elected in 1997, and since then, the state has been represented by two Republican senators. In his last election, in 2014, Sessions was unchallenged and won the general election with more than 97 percent of the vote. The senior senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby, was elected for the first time in 1987 and is not up for reelection until 2022.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won Alabama with 62 percent of the vote.

Who is running

Among the nine Republicans who originally ran for the vacant seat, two emerged at front-runners and were sent to the runoff: now-incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and former judge Roy Moore.

Luther Strange

Strange officially stated his candidacy for Sessions’ seat on Dec. 6, just 18 days after Trump announced he would be picking Sessions for attorney general. He was appointed in February to temporarily fill the seat left by Sessions. Previously, Strange served as the attorney general for Alabama. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2006 and won the Republican primary, but lost the general election.

In August, Strange was endorsed by Trump, who tweeted that Strange "has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!"

Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017

Since then, Trump has periodically tweeted his support and encouragement for Strange. He appeared with him Friday at a campaign rally in Huntsville.

Strange has come under fire from his rival for the substantial advertising support he has received from the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC that has been known to support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Politico reported that Steven Law, the PAC's president, said, “While he doesn't direct what we do, McConnell has made it very clear that Luther's race is his number one political priority right now.”

According to Politico, the fund had spent $3.5 million on the race as of late July, including an ad tying then-rival Rep. Mo Brooks to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

During the GOP debate, held last Thursday without a moderator, Strange was also attacked for how he became a United States senator. When he was tapped by Bentley for the Senate seat, Strange was the very man leading the investigation into the Alabama governor's misconduct, raising questions about the appropriateness of the appointment.

Roy Moore

Roy Moore previously served as the chief justice for the Alabama Supreme Court, but was suspended in November 2003 for refusing federal court orders to take down a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building.

He was reelected to the position in 2013 but was again removed in May 2016 for ordering other judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses, although the state’s ban on the matter had been overturned. He announced his Senate bid in late April.

Moore was endorsed by actor Chuck Norris, who said, "Judge Roy Moore is the real deal. The Washington establishment knows they won’t be able to count on him, but Alabama voters can ... That’s why the Washington establishment is spending millions trying to defeat Judge Moore."

Moore's other notable endorsements include several Trump supporters such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former White House strategist Steve Bannon and Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson.

Moore has released advertisements highly critical of Republicans in Washington including McConnell, Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"Send them all a message," one ad says, calling out the majority leader's "D.C. slime machine."

Recently, Moore has come under fire for appearing to refer to Native Americans and Asians as "reds" and "yellows" in a campaign speech.

Why this race matters

At a time when the president’s support within his own party wavers, the Alabama special election could reflect how much influence Trump has had in the first year of his presidency.

Political science experts say the outcome could be symbolic of voters' current view on Trump.

Cynthia Bowling, chair of the political science department at Auburn University, told ABC News this summer that "if there is ever going to be an election that would signify a movement away from Trump, it would be an election where Trump's ratings are really low," and in a solid Republican state, like Alabama.

According to Richard Fording, a professor of political science at the University of Alabama, this election "will continue to be influenced by Trump" and that "it will flat out be a referendum on his performance as president."

The race has further significance for Republicans; a loss could potentially shift Republicans' tenuous authority in the Senate. The GOP currently holds 52 seats in the Senate, while Democrats hold 48 and two independents caucus with the Democrats.

An upset win in the December 12 general election for Democrat and former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, who won his party's primary in August, would be a significant gain for Democrats and make it even more difficult for Republicans to pass tightly contested legislation, such as on health care reform.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Sarah Sanders deflected questions Monday about the specific words employed by President Donald Trump to describe NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, saying only that it's "always appropriate" to defend the flag and national anthem.

On Friday at a campaign rally for Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama, Trump diverged from talk of the state's forthcoming Republican primary runoff to share his thoughts on the protests as he explained that he and Strange share the "same great American values."

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now, out, he's fired, he's fired'?" asked Trump.

Questioned multiple times at Monday's White House press briefing whether the president regrets his word choice or whether the use the term "son of a b----" constituted going "too far," Sanders would not specifically address the description, instead choosing to issue a defense of Trump's greater critique.

"I think that it's always appropriate for the president of the United States to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it," said Sanders.

Later asked by ABC News' Cecilia Vega if Trump considered some of the football players who chose to kneel during the anthem to be "very fine people" -- a term used by the president in describing some of the people who took part in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August -- Sanders argued that the situations were dissimilar.

"I think you're trying to conflate different things here," said Sanders. "Look, we certainly respect the rights that people have, but I think we also need to focus. Again, this isn't about the president being against something, which is what everyone wants to draw.

"This is about the president being for something," she continued. "This is about the president being for respect in our country through symbols like the American flag, like the national anthem and the hundreds of thousands of people that actually stand versus the few hundred that may have knelt."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two Republican senators have introduced a new bill that addresses the status of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, potentially offering them a 15-year path to citizenship.

The bill, known as the SUCCEED Act, would also prevent recipients from sponsoring family members, an attempt to address concerns from immigration hawks and President Trump.

"This, I believe, is a fair and orderly method for providing a permanent solution for the DACA children," Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told reporters on Monday.

To be eligible, participants would have to pass a criminal background check and have a high school diploma or equivalent. They would also have to have been in the U.S. since June 15, 2012, and entered before the age of 16. To qualify, applicants would need to submit biometric and biographical data to the Department of Homeland Security. The SUCCEED Act would also require participants to pay off any tax liabilities and sign a waiver for future immigration benefits if they were to violate their status.

Under the proposal, Dreamers would have "conditional permanent residence" for 10 years before becoming eligible to apply for a green card, and that status could be renewed after five years. Dreamers would only be able to apply for citizenship after holding a green card for five years.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said he spoke with President Trump about the proposal shortly after Trump decided to end the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Lankford told reporters the president had said of the SUCCEED Act: "'That's the right way to go.'"

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have six months to reach an agreement on a legislative fix to address the end of the DACA program in March.

Meanwhile, Democrats have pushed for a vote on the Dream Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. But Republicans have been leery of supporting the Dream Act in the past, and conservatives have derided it as a form of "amnesty."

"We think it's a balanced resolution for a vexing problem that hasn't been solved for 30 years, and we'll have to take the hits," Tillis responded when asked to address the expected criticism of the SUCCEED Act.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a senior legislator and longtime advocate of the Dream Act, told reporters Monday: "We all need to focus on a bill that has a chance of passing."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the White House would release immigration reform principles in the coming days to help guide lawmakers working to address the end of the DACA program.

Trump and top Democrats reached an agreement earlier this month on the framework of an agreement that would pair a legislative fix for Dreamers with border security provisions.

Republicans have begun internal discussions about possible legislative proposals on border security and the status of Dreamers as well.

Tillis and Lankford said they don't see their proposal as a standalone bill, and want to see it incorporated into a larger agreement.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After President Donald Trump issued a new proclamation Sunday prohibiting or limiting travel from eight countries, the United States Supreme Court removed cases related to the previous travel ban from its calendar.

The arguments were scheduled to be heard on October 10, after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the travel ban, with some exceptions, could be enforced until it returned to session this fall. Two district courts had previously halted the ban, which was the second such attempt by Trump to restrict travel from parts of the Middle East and Africa. His administration's original order encountered its own legal roadblocks.

The Supreme Court instructed the parties in the cases, Trump v. International Refugee Assistance and Trump v. Hawaii, to file briefs addressing "whether, or to what extent" the latest proclamation renders the issue moot.

The newest travel ban adds Chad, North Korea and Venezuela to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen to the list of countries from which people are restricted from traveling to the U.S. The new proclamation includes specific conditions that restrict travel on a country-by-country basis and goes into effect Oct. 18.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The authors of the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare have released a revised version of their health care legislation after spending the weekend finessing the numbers in their bill with the hope of winning over the last few Republican holdouts in the Senate.

The newest draft from Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., rejiggers how changes in federal funding provided to states for health care would be phased in over time.

As a result, there would likely be less of a gap between the states poised to get additional federal dollars from this bill and the states that would lose out on funding.

The concept of block granting federal funding remains the centerpieces of the legislation. Starting in 2020, the federal government would end stop providing additional money for states that specifically expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. The bill would also end the cost-sharing subsidies the federal government currently pays to insurance companies to help keep premiums for lower-income Americans buying health insurance. Instead, the plan would designate some federal funds to be divided up to states based on their resident’s poverty levels and other factors that impact health care costs like population density.

The authors have argued it is unfair that under current law, some states receive more federal funding to help provide health insurance than others, though all states were offered the same opportunity and access to additional funds to expand their Medicaid rolls. Many Republican governors refused that available funding under current law.

The new Republican plan would essentially equalize federal funding between states that expanded Medicaid and states that did not, but the latest version makes those changes more gradually.

States that expanded Medicaid would still likely lose billions of dollars in federal funding, and the overall pot of total federal funding would still be approximately $160 billion less over the next 10 years as compared to current law, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The new draft would also appropriate $500 million specifically to states that set up waiver systems under Obamacare, which only includes Hawaii and Alaska. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski still remains undecided on the Graham-Cassidy bill and her vote is vital to the bill’s passage.

The new draft also would allocate an additional $750 million a year to states that expanded Medicaid recently, while punishing states that expanded Medicaid when first given the option under the Affordable Care Act. The states that would most likely benefit the most from this include Montana and Cassidy's home state of Louisiana.

Before the revised bill was released, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced their opposition to the bill, putting Republicans' efforts to pass a repeal of Obamacare in the Senate at risk of failing once again. McCain said he could not "in good conscience" support the bill because it doesn't have bipartisan support and didn't go through the regular order, which includes committee markups, hearings and debates. Paul wants further cuts than Obamacare and wants block grants removed from the bill. With 52 Republicans in the Senate, the Graham-Cassidy bill cannot afford another "no" vote.

Over the weekend, two more senators appeared to be leaning against voting for the Graham-Cassidy bill unless changes to the legislation were made.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Cassidy and Graham "don't have my vote" yet and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it would "very difficult" to "envision a scenario" where she would vote for this bill.

Republicans are pushing the Graham-Cassidy bill quickly through the Senate in hopes of meeting the Sept. 30 deadline that allows them to pass health care on a party-line simple majority vote. After Sept. 30, Republicans will need 60 votes.

The Senate Finance Committee plans on holding the first hearing today on the bill. Congress is still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to release its score of the bill, which would indicate how much the legislation will affect the government’s deficit.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump asserted Monday that his criticism of players who kneel during the national anthem "has nothing to do with race."

Rather, the president said the issue is "respect for our country, flag and national anthem."

Trump appeared to be responding to critics who say his slam of players who kneel in protest is about race.

The president sparked the controversy at a rally Friday night when he declared that football team owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now, out,'" the president said. in Huntsville, Alabama, before a largely white crowd.

The president's comments spurred a strong reaction by NFL players and owners, with many players kneeling or locking arms during the "Star-Spangled Banner" on Sunday as a rebuke to him.

Kneeling during the anthem was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 preseason, a practice he said was to protest against the treatment of blacks in the United States. Kaepernick is black.

The president on Monday continued hammering his argument that kneeling during the national anthem is unpatriotic.

"It is about respect for our country, flag and national anthem," he tweeted. "NFL must respect this!"

The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017

He also returned to his claim that NFL fans don't support the player protests.

Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017

Trump also sought to contrast the NFL with NASCAR, whose fans he said wouldn't "put up with disrespecting our country or our flag,"

So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017

But one of NASCAR's biggest stars staked out a different position that Trump. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted Monday morning that all Americans have a right to protest peacefully.

All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- A vast 86 percent of Americans support a right to residency for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, with support crossing the political spectrum. Two-thirds back a deal to enact such legislation in tandem with higher funding for border control.

See PDF with full results here

Possibly in light of President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, disapproval of his handling of immigration overall reaches 62 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll. Just 35 percent approve.

Additional hurdles for Trump are his demand for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico -- again 62 percent oppose it -- and substantial concerns about his immigration enforcement policies.

Americans were asked whether they support “a program that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they arrived here as a child, completed high school or military service and have not been convicted of a serious crime,” all elements of DACA, established by Barack Obama by executive order in 2012. Support spans demographic groups, including three-quarters of Republicans and conservatives, 86 and 87 percent of independents and moderates, and 97 and 96 percent of Democrats and liberals.

Support reaches 94 percent among Hispanics, 93 percent among blacks and 84 percent among whites. Strong support, 87 percent among Hispanics and 85 percent among blacks, declines among whites to 61 percent.

Trump early this month said he would rescind DACA, giving Congress a six-month window to act before nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants lose protection from deportation. He later reached a tentative agreement with top congressional Democrats for DACA legislation accompanied by upgraded border security.

As noted, 65 percent support that potential compromise -- a bipartisan result, with 76 percent support among Republicans, 66 percent among independents and 59 percent among Democrats. Similarly, 71 percent of moderates, 66 percent of conservatives and 56 percent of liberals back the deal. Just 27 percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, are opposed.


Just 30 percent of Americans say Trump has immigration enforcement “about right,” compared with the 44 percent who say this was so before he took office. Nearly half (45 percent) say immigration enforcement under Trump is “too tough,” much higher than the 6 percent who say this was the case before he took office. That said, 49 percent say enforcement was “not tough enough” before Trump took office; just 22 percent say so now.

Matching the number who disapprove of Trump’s handling of immigration overall, 62 percent oppose his promise to build a wall along the Mexican border; this has held steady since Trump first proposed it. Fifty-five percent also oppose cutting legal immigration by half, another proposal backed by Trump. In contrast, 79 percent support requiring employers to verify that new hires are here legally – a current requirement, with stricter enforcement on the table.

In a general measure of suspicion, just 12 percent of Americans think undocumented immigrants commit more violent crimes than other people in the country. The vast majority instead say they commit violent crimes at either an equal or lesser rate than U.S. citizens (64 percent and 19 percent, respectively). Approval of Trump’s handling of immigration is stronger among those who think undocumented immigrants commit more violent crimes than U.S. citizens (78 percent); it drops to 33 percent among those who think crime rates are the same, and 12 percent among those who think they’re lower among undocumented immigrants.


Views on Trump’s handling of immigration are highly partisan. Three-quarters of Republicans and 61 percent of conservatives approve, vs. a third of independents and moderates, 10 percent of Democrats and 8 percent of liberals.

Differences also emerge by demographic groups. Forty-three percent of men approve, vs. 28 percent of women. Americans over age 40 are more apt than younger adults to approve, 42 vs. 24 percent among those younger than 40. And while 46 percent of whites approve, this drops to 13 percent among both blacks and Hispanics alike.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Sept. 18-21, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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Zach Gibson - Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has used a private email account to communicate with White House staffers, his attorney confirmed to ABC News.

"Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than a hundred emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account," Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement.

Lowell said the emails were "usually forwarded news articles or political commentary" and "most often occurred" when someone "initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal" account.

The news of Kushner's personal email account was first reported by Politico.

The statement makes no mention of classified information, but does say that copies of the emails were sent to his official account for recording.

"All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event," Lowell said.

A White House official conducting business on a personal email account is not unprecedented.

During the campaign and even as president, Trump eviscerated his opponent Hillary Clinton for handling classified information on a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought to defend his controversial use of military jets for domestic business travel and challenged ABC News' reporting that it costs $25,000 an hour to operate the aircraft by suggesting the network check those figures with the Pentagon.

Pentagon documents show it costs $25,000 per hour to operate the Air Force's C-37 jet -- the same jet that flew Mnuchin from New York City to Washington D.C. on August 15.

"You can check with the Pentagon, because that's not what they charge," Mnuchin told This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz. "But it costs a lot of money," he added.

According to Mnuchin's spokesman, it appears the secretary was referencing the reimbursement rate the Pentagon charges outside agencies to fly on its aircraft -- which is about $10,000 an hour.

While that figure is also accurate, it doesn't change the fact that it costs the Air Force -- and therefore the American taxpayer -- $25,000 an hour to operate the aircraft.

See DoD's hourly cost to OPERATE one of these C-37 (Gulfstream equivalent) military jets vs. the reimbursement rate @stevenmnuchin1: pic.twitter.com/7mG4B1zL9h

— Justin Fishel (@JustinFishelABC) September 24, 2017

However, Mnuchin said in his interview that cost is "not the point," adding that he needed to fly on a military jet in order to make a secure phone call.

"I had a secure call that day that was critical, and set up, and needed to be done at that time," Mnuchin said. "And that's why I used the plane."

Mnuchin's travel habits -- including a business flight to Kentucky during the solar eclipse and a request for a military jet to take him and his wife on their European honeymoon, are under review by the Treasury Department's inspector general. Mnuchin says he welcomes the review and denies any wrongdoing.

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Leigh Vogel/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Sunday that it would "very difficult" to envision herself voting for the Graham-Cassidy bill, which appears to put the Republicans' latest effort to repeal Obamacare in jeopardy.

"It's very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill," Collins said in an interview with reporters. "I have a number of serious reservations about it."

Collins said she wants to wait for the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill before she makes a final decision.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona have already publicly come out against the GOP health care bill.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he does not yet support the bill, which appears to put the Republicans' latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy.

"Right now, they don't have my vote," Cruz said during an interview at TribFest at the University of Texas in Austin on Sunday.

"And I don't think they have Mike Lee's either," Cruz said of the Republican senator from Utah.

Cruz said he wants to be a "yes" vote on Republicans' latest push to repeal Obamacare, the health care law he called a "disaster."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended his use of a costly government jet to make the short journey from New York City to Washington D.C. following an August meeting in Trump Tower.

When asked about the travel by co-anchor Martha Raddatz on ABC News’ This Week, Mnuchin responded that it was necessary for national security purposes.

“There are times when I need secure communications to be in touch with the president and National Security Council,” Mnuchin said. “I had a secure call that day that was critical and set up. It needed to be done at that time, and that’s why I used it.”

Mnuchin also confirmed that his use of the private jet on Aug. 15 is now under review, as are at least two other requests for government travel involving the secretary.

“The inspector general is reviewing my travel,” Mnuchin said. “If there’s suggestions, we’ll follow it.”

ABC News previously reported on Mnuchin's August trip on a U.S. Air Force C-37 jet, which took less than an hour. Mnuchin was in New York to attend the now-infamous press conference in Trump Tower during which the president made highly controversial remarks on the violence in Charlottesville. Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who also flew on that government jet, flanked the president during his remarks.

The Treasury Department's review of Mnuchin's travel habits was triggered after ethical questions were raised about a military jet that he and his wife, Louise Linton, used to travel to Louisville and Fort Knox, Kentucky, in August. It was speculated that they may have used that taxpayer-funded trip to catch a prime view of the solar eclipse.

Investigators are also examining why Mnuchin, an independently wealthy former banker at Goldman Sachs, requested a government jet to take the couple on their European honeymoon in early August. Mnuchin has strongly denied that he used the Kentucky trip to view the eclipse, and a spokesman for the Treasury Department said the honeymoon request was made so he could communicate securely with Washington. They added that the honeymoon request was later withdrawn.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ABC News on Sunday that President Trump is ready to defend the United States from North Korean nuclear threats, both economically and militarily.

“The president has said all the options are on the table. The president has lots of alternatives that have been presented to him, and he will make decisions at the time,” Mnuchin told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on This Week.

Trump signed an executive order last week that expands economic sanctions on North Korea, limiting the isolated totalitarian state’s trade with other countries.

Mnuchin called the sanctions “the most strong sanctions that have ever been done,” but said they are only one form of action.

“Military is one form, economics is another form -- and the president will pursue all the options,” Mnuchin said.

During a four-day visit to the United Nations General Assembly last week, Trump said the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies. In response, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said leader Kim Jong Un is considering testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

Mnuchin called the threat of that potentially devastating test “unbelievable.”

“This is about someone who’s testing nuclear weapons, a hydrogen bomb that is dramatically bigger than any bomb that has been used,” Mnuchin said. “This is about sending ballistic missiles across Japan’s airspace. These things are not going to continue to be allowed, and the president has made that very clear.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended President Trump's comments calling for NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to be fired, saying players "have the right to have the First Amendment off the field."

“This isn’t about Democrats. It's not about Republicans. It's not about race. It’s not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time," the treasury secretary said in an interview with ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on This Week Sunday. "This is about respect for the military and first responders and the country."

"They have the right to have the First Amendment off the field," he added.

Mnuchin said NFL team owners and league administrators should create and enforce rules to have players stand for the anthem.

“The NFL has all different types of rules. You can’t have stickers on your helmet; you have to have your jersey tucked in,” Mnuchin said. “I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem.”

Mnuchin also accused the NFL of "picking and choosing" rules they want to enforce.

"This is a job. And the employers have the right, when the players are working, to have rules. So, you know, why didn't they wear stickers? Why didn't the Dallas Cowboys -- why were they allowed to wear stickers in response to people they wanted to pay respect to? " Mnuchin said. "So the NFL is picking and choosing what they want to enforce."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., directly addressed fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky over his opposition to the latest bill aiming to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying the new legislation would "save a lot of money."

"Rand Paul objects to the taxes, but when you look at the bill, Rand, we save a lot of money over time for Medicaid," Graham said in an interview with ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on This Week Sunday. “We've put a cap on Obamacare growth to make it more sustainable, more affordable, more flexible.”

Graham and fellow Republican Sen. Cassidy of Louisiana both appeared on the show to talk about their legislation, the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

Despite the announced opposition of Paul and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona -- as well as all Senate Democrats -- Graham said he is optimistic that Republicans will be able to pass the bill.

"We're moving forward, and we'll see what happens next week. I'm very excited about it. We finally found an alternative to Obamacare that makes sense," Graham said.

“I think we're going to get the votes next week,” Graham added. “And the fight goes on. It is a fight worth having.”

McCain announced his opposition to the legislation in a statement Friday, saying he cannot in “good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy” bill.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.




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