Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Done deal: “The House voted overwhelmingly to pass the compromise health care overhaul aimed at slashing wait times at Veterans Affairs facilities. The bill is expected to easily pass the Senate and head to President Barack Obama’s desk before Congress leaves for the August recess.” The final vote was 420 to 5, with all 5 opponents coming from the House GOP.
* Gaza: “Palestinian health officials said at least 20 people were killed by what witnesses and United Nations officials said was the latest in a series of strikes on United Nations facilities that are supposed to be safe zones in the 23-day-old battle between Israel and Hamas and other militants.”
* The complexities of the Middle East: “After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states – including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan – that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.”
* West Africa: “The spread of the deadly Ebola virus has prompted the Peace Corps to evacuate volunteers from three West African countries, the organization announced today.”
* Voting rights: “The Justice Department is lending its support to lawsuits filed by activists in Ohio and Wisconsin against Republican-backed voting laws that they say have a negative impact on minority voters.”
* Not helpful, Europe: “Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe. While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.”
* Does this make passage more or less likely? “The White House threatened to veto the House’s $659 million border supplemental Wednesday, saying it could actually make the child migrant crisis worse. The veto threat could buck up Democrats looking to kill the bill in an effort to push Republicans to pass a more generous version.”
* I can see the fundraising letters already taking shape: “Former IRS official Lois Lerner cursed conservatives in emails released on Wednesday, leading House Republicans to intensify their push for criminal charges. Lerner, in an email conversation with an undisclosed person, suggested that listeners to conservative talk radio were ‘a–holes.’”
* Apparently, last fall, there were some problems with healthcare.gov: “A series of management failures at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services led to the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov and $840 million in costs, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.