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Congress

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed Friday as the 113th justice to serve on the nation's highest court. The final vote was 54-45, mostly along party lines.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want the Trump administration to outline a broader strategy in Syria following the president's decision to authorize U.S. missile strikes Thursday night in response to the apparent chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says he is temporarily stepping aside from the committee's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the House Ethics Committee opens an inquiry into whether he improperly disclosed classified information.

Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take the lead on the Russia investigation.

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

Would opening the door to cheaper, skimpier marketplace plans with higher deductibles and copays attract consumers and insurers to the exchanges next year? That's what the Trump administration is betting on.

In February, the administration proposed a rule that would take a bit of the shine off bronze, silver, gold and platinum exchange plans by allowing them to provide less generous coverage while keeping the same metal level designation.

President Trump escalated a Twitter war with lawmakers in his own party on Thursday evening, calling out three members of the Freedom Caucus by name.

"If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform," he tweeted.

Sara Melikian / Flickr

Members of the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey team threatened to sit out the 2017 IIHF World Championships over a labor dispute, but the team will now play in the event after agreeing to a four-year wage agreement with USA Hockey.

Attention is on President Trump’s failed health care plan and possible ties to Russia. But U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., says the Trump administration is quietly sending hundreds of new troops to Syria. Murphy took issue with the troop increase in an op-ed for the Huffington Post and the Hartford Courant.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut activists who oppose President Donald Trump's agenda say they're energized by the defeat of the Republicans' health care overhaul, and ready for the next fight.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The head of the House Intelligence Committee secretly went to the White House grounds to meet with a source, before he surprised his colleagues by briefing the president — and the press — on information they hadn't seen.

The revelation, first reported by CNN and later confirmed by a spokesman for the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, is the latest twist in the strange saga of Nunes' unorthodox actions last week.

President Trump was downright low energy.

The look on his face, as he meandered through unscripted remarks Friday after the defeat of the Republican health care plan he supported, told the story. The unusually subdued Trump called the loss a "learning experience." Then he seemed to shrug it all off and said he was moving on.

The House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Trump campaign's potential connections to Russia's election meddling isn't dead — but it's not exactly dancing a jig, either.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

House Republicans scrapped a vote on their health care replacement plan on Friday after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass.

"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."

A last-minute attempt by conservative Republicans to dump standards for health benefits in plans sold to individuals would probably lower the average person's upfront insurance costs, such as premiums and deductibles, say analysts on both sides of the debate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

But it will very likely also induce insurers to offer much skimpier plans, potentially excluding the gravely ill and putting consumers at greater financial risk if they need care.

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