The Latest: Trump says health bill is 'coming along great'

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2017 12:26 PM
The Latest: Trump says health bill is 'coming along great'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that contrary to some media reports, plans to overhaul health care are "coming along great."

Trump tweets that, "Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture."

The White House and Republican leaders are facing a party badly divided over the high-stakes overhaul campaign. Opposition comes from conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul who say the party should simply repeal President Barack Obama's health care law.

Conservative lawmakers and allied outside groups claim the bill takes too timid a whack at Obama's law. Numerous GOP centrists and governors are antagonistic, worried their states could lose Medicaid payments and face higher costs for hospitals.

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11:52 a.m.

President Donald Trump says access to capital must be preserved because small businesses provide nearly half of all private-sector jobs.

Trump spoke at a White House meeting with members of the National Economic Council and CEOs of small and community banks.

Trump says the discussion is crucial to his jobs agenda. He says community banks are important job creators because they provide half of all loans to small businesses. But he says that loan activity has been dwindling.

Trump also highlighted a recent executive order that he says will help these banks make loans.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) and Gary Cohn, the council's director, attended the meeting, along with bank executives from Massachusetts, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Washington state and Texas.

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10:16 a.m.

The Trump administration vows to maintain an "unwavering" commitment to locating an American citizen who disappeared from Iran's Kish Island a decade ago.

The White House says in a statement it "will spare no effort" to bring Robert Levinson home. The former FBI agent was working on an unauthorized CIA mission when he disappeared in Iran in 2007.

The statement issued Thursday says his "family has suffered too much during the last decade" due to Levinson's absence.

A $5 million reward is available for information that leads to Levinson's location and safe return.