Happening Today: Health Care, Border Wall, Coffee, Sleep Quality, Kermit the Frog, Colin Kaepernick

What to Know

  • A House panel unveiled legislation to begin building President Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S-Mexico border
  • Studies have found that people who frequently enjoy a cup of coffee could live longer lives, according to researchers
  • There's a frog in a lot of throats across the country as news has circulated that Kermit the Frog is getting a new voice

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New GOP Health Bill Likely Keeping Obama Tax Boosts on Rich

A revised Senate Republican health care bill will likely retain a pair of tax boosts President Obama imposed on wealthier Americans that have helped finance his law's expansion of coverage, a leading Senate Republican said. The two levies — one on investment income and another on the payroll tax that helps finance the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly — are among the biggest that Obama's 2010 statute imposed. Some of the money would be used to increase a fund the GOP bill would disperse to states to help insurers contain consumers' premiums and deductibles, said No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas. Preserving those taxes "seems to be where we're headed," Cornyn told reporters. He said the reworked bill will also provide $45 billion over a decade to help states combat abuse of drugs including opioids, and make it easier for states to get federal waivers to decide how to spend money under their Medicaid health programs for the poor, elderly and nursing home patients. Cornyn spoke after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he will introduce his party's altered health care bill and begin trying to muscle it through the Senate next week.

House Panel Unveils $1.6B Plan for Building US-Mexico Wall

A House panel unveiled legislation to begin building President Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S-Mexico border. Mexico, however, will not be footing the bill. The move by the House Appropriations Committee again puts the Trump administration and its allies on Capitol Hill on a collision course with Democrats who oppose the wall and succeeded in blocking a request by Trump to deliver the money when passing an omnibus spending measure earlier this spring. Democrats objected to the funding and significant opposition surfaced among Republicans as well, many of whom have problems with the wall. The administration and congressional Republicans took a pass on forcing the issue in May but vowed to fight for the wall this summer and fall. During last year's campaign, Trump bragged that Mexico would pay for the wall but he's never come up with a serious plan to deliver on his boast. Instead, the $1.6 billion down payment for the wall will be added to the government's almost $20 trillion debt.

Coffee Drinkers Seem to Live Longer, According to Researchers

Go ahead and order that second cup. Studies have found that people who frequently enjoy a cup of joe could live longer lives, according to researchers. Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and respiratory and kidney disease for African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites, according to the study that used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Don't do caffeine? The study still stands regardless of whether you enjoy regular or decaffeinated coffee. People who drink one cup daily were 12 percent less likely to die from these diseases. People who drink up to three cups a day had an 18 percent lower risk of death.

Companies Target Sleep Quality With With High-Tech Sleep Products

Pillows that track your snoozing patterns? A bed that adjusts based on how much you twist and turn? Companies are adding more technology into their products, hoping to lure customers craving a better night's sleep. Some specialized businesses are making gadgets that promise to measure and improve the quality of slumber, while mass-market retailers like Best Buy are offering simpler ideas like the effect different lighting can have on falling sleep. But with ever-growing options, people may find items that are getting more sophisticated — but may still not be accurate. The interest in sleep has intensified. The number of sleep centers accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine nearly tripled from 2000 to 2015, the group says.

Kermit the Frog Will Have a New Voice After Actor Steps Down

There's a frog in a lot of throats across the country as news has circulated that Kermit the Frog is getting a new voice. ABC News and The Hollywood Reporter report that Steve Whitmire has left his role giving life to the iconic green Muppet. Whitmire has voiced and made the character move since Muppets creator Jim Henson's death in 1990. A Muppets Studio spokeswoman told the outlets that longtime Muppets performer Matt Vogel will be taking over the role. Vogel has voiced such characters as Big Bird, Robin the Frog and The Count. Joe Hennes, the co-owner, senior contributor and editor of , a website for Muppet fans, said the reaction among fans has been cautiously optimistic. Representatives for Disney, which owns Muppets Studio, didn't return a request for comment about the motivation behind the move. The Muppets have been putting out short weekly YouTube videos called "Thought of the Week " and Hennes said the new Kermit will likely debut there next week.

Incompletions, Not Politics, Cost Colin Kaepernick Spot in NFL, Joe Montana Says

San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana is the latest to weigh in on why former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick is still waiting on the sidelines for his next NFL gig. And Montana doesn't think Kaepernick's controversial decision to kneel during the national anthem is the primary reason he's persona non grata in the NFL. Montana, in New York speaking as part of a partnership with FanDuel’s new fantasy golf offering, said he just doesn't think Kaepernick is good enough to be in the NFL. According to Pro Football Reference, Kaepernick completed just under 60 percent of his passes while starting 11 games for the 49ers last season. His career passing completion percentage in six seasons is 59.8 percent. While Kaepernick has said his kneeling would not carry into the upcoming NFL season if he's back in the league, that hasn't stopped him from being vocal on social media. Most recently he tweeted on the 4th of July that he couldn't celebrate a holiday that "intentionally robbed our ancestors" of their independence.

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