By Zeke J Miller
March 13, 2017

It’s report card week for the House GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan, as the Congressional Budget Office is set to release its analysis of the American Health Care Act. Republicans are bracing for some bad news, as the estimate is expected to show significant negative budgetary impact. A deficit boost would test the loyalties of House conservatives and fiscal hawks, who are already no big fans of the bill, and increase the tensions in the fractured Republican conference. It could also derail the bill under technical rules in the Senate. The White House and some Republicans have worked to try to lesson the impact of the “score” by trying to undermine the nonpartisan, independent agency. But the current director was backed by Republicans.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer continued the Administration’s efforts to discredit institutions Friday, as he addressed Trump’s frequent campaign condemnation of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobless numbers after touting Friday’s positive report. “I talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now,’” Spicer said.

Trump to host Xi at Mar-a-Lago. The truth about the “Trump bump.” And Conway claims “microwave” surveillance.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

House Conservatives Are Warming Up to the Obamacare Replacement
But the bill faces a turbulent road ahead [TIME]

Manufacturers Say They’re Already Seeing a ‘Trump Bump.’ But It’s Not That Simple
Much of the growth has been years in the making [TIME]

Republicans Brace for Downbeat CBO Analysis of Health Bill
Estimate could doom bill in Congress [Associated Press]

Want to Keep the President at Bay? Two Consultants Have an Inside Track
Drain the… [New York Times]

Trump’s Pushing Deals, But His ‘Surround-Sound’ Political Group Isn’t
Halfway through the president’s first 100 days, the group launched to boost his agenda has been mostly absent. Now others are considering stepping in. [Politico]

Trump Lets Key Offices Gather Dust Amid ‘Slowest Transition in Decades’
Delays impact his ability to shape policy [New York Times]

Sound Off

“I’m not inspector gadget. I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign. However, I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for.” —Kellyanne Conway to CNN after suggesting to her hometown paper that microwaves were being used to spy on the Trump campaign

“Of course I meant exactly what I said as is always the case.” — GOP Rep. Steve King to CNN on his tweet in support of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders

Bits and Bites

President Trump Once Said Angela Merkel Was ‘Ruining Germany.’ Now He Wants Her Advice on Russia [TIME]

President Trump’s Transition Team Was Told Michael Flynn Likely Needed to Register as Foreign Agent [Associated Press]

Trump to host Xi at Mar-a-Lago [Axios]

John Kasich Says New Health Care Bill Isn’t ‘Sustainable’ Without Bipartisan Support [TIME]

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Says He Was Fired By Justice Department After Refusing to Resign [TIME]

Rep. Steve King Tweets Support for Far-Right Dutch Politician: ‘Culture and Demographics Are Our Destiny’ [TIME]

Jeff Sessions Wants 46 U.S. Attorneys Appointed During Obama Administration to Resign [Associated Press]

Trump Wants Faster Growth. The Fed Isn’t So Sure. [New York Times]

Fact Check: Cabinet members go rogue on science, history [Associated Press]

Kellyanne Conway suggests even wider surveillance of Trump campaign [USA Today]

Following Conway interviews, Trump slams ‘rude’ media [Politico]

The Five Big Numbers to Look For in the C.B.O. Report on Health Care Reform [The Upshot]

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