It is hard to keep up with the news as the Whack a Mole administration pops up all over the place but Russians, surveillance, and health care dominated the news but, like my basketball bracket, maybe NATO, North Korea, or one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will leap forward this week. (Thanks to my colleague Heather Day for helping to collect)
(CNN) GOP leaders try to hold party together on Obamacare repeal (3/16)
- According to a whip count, there are 19 Republican House members who are against or leaning against the bill as it is written. Speaker Paul Ryan is still insisting that the bill will pass. Said, “We’re going to keep our word.” He avoided questions about what may be incorporated into the bill in the next few days.
|GOP leaders try to hold party together on Obamacare repeal – CNNPolitics.com
House Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team continue to work around the clock to pass their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, realizing that they may need to make significant changes to their legislation if they are going to pass it on the House floor as soon as next week.
(CNN) Which Republicans are opposing the Obamacare repeal bill? (3/15)
- Needs 216 to be approved in the House. House Speaker Paul Ryan cannot afford to lose more than 21 Republicans. According the CNN’s ongoing whip count, there are 11 House Republicans have said they will vote against current version of the bill. 8 have indicated that they are likely to oppose it. There are others who have serious concerns about the bill.
|Which Republicans are opposing the Obamacare repeal bill? – CNNPolitics.com
The House Republican bill to repeal Obamacare hangs in a delicate balance as concerned GOP lawmakers publicly come out to express their opposition to the legislation.
(CNN) How Democrats will use the GOP healthcare bill against Republicans in 2018 (3/15)
- Plans to target three different “at-risk Republican lawmakers:” those running in areas Hillary Clinton won in 2016, those campaigning in states w/ higher number of senior voters and those in states whose governors decided to expand Medicaid under 2010 ACA. Last two are a direct result of opportunity the CBO’s report provided in the evaluation of GOP’s repeal and replace plan.
|How Democrats will use the GOP health care bill in 2018 – CNNPolitics.com
Democrats, armed with new numbers outlining the millions of Americans expected to be uninsured if the GOP health care plan goes into effect, are on the attack
(YAHOO NEWS) Key GOP senator: House may change bill after CBO projected hikes for seniors (3/14)
- In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, House Republicans supposedly told senators that they may attempt to amend the health care bill to address concerns of increase costs for seniors. Some Republicans, like Senator Bill Cassidy, said that they are waiting to see the final piece of legislation before deciding whether they will support the bill.
(ABC) How the GOP health care plan would affect women (3/14)
- Democrats claim that the new AHCA will negatively affect the advancements made in women’s health care. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the new bill “would take us back to those days where essentially being a woman was a pre-existing condition.”
- Ways the new bill may affect women and girls: prohibit women from using any federal tax credits to buy plan that covers abortion (consistent w/ Hyde Amendment). Promise to defund Planned Parenthood. Under current law, insurers required to cover cost of preventive services, including copays, including birth control. Department of Health and Human Services could potentially redefine what qualifies for this category of care. Bill could get rid of cost-sharing standards that determine how much patients pay for specific services, like maternity care.
(CNN) The Republican health care struggle is real (3/14)
- The CBO report estimating that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured over the next decade could affect the quick passage of the bill. A head GOP source reported, “The headlines are terrible.” The White House and GOP leaders continue to discredit the CBO’s analysis.
(CNN) How CBO report could help Democrats beat Trump (3/14)
- “New ammunition” for Democrats is the CBO report estimate that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 under GOP healthcare plan. Premiums would affect the most vulnerable, the low-income elderly. After report release, the Democrats began to mobilize, criticizing the Republican’s proposal and defending the ACA. The report also found that 14 million fewer people would enroll in Medicaid by 2026.
(FOX) Trump voters taking hit? Health bill estimates show seniors facing high costs (3/14)
- A CBO report released Monday estimated that under the Republican’s Obamacare repeal bill elderly Americans will experience higher health premiums. The report showed that 64-year olds making $26,500 could see their premiums increase by 750% by the year 2026. Currently, under the ACA they pay $1,700, and the new bill could force them to pay an estimated $14,600. CBO Director Mick Mulvaney suggested “clear losers” of AHCA would be Trump voters between ages of 50 and 64.
- AARP wrote letter to House Republican Leadership expressing “serious concerns” about the new health bill.
(CNN) OMB director: The CBO is ‘terrible at counting coverage’ (3/14)
- CBO predicted that millions of Americans would be uninsured under the Republican’s new healthcare plan that is to replace Obamacare. The Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said, “This is exactly what we thought the CBO would come forth with. They’re terrible at counting coverage.” Mulvaney did admit that his office doesn’t have the ability to make accurate estimates either.
- Report found that 64-year-old could see his/her premiums on the individual market skyrocket 25% under GOP’s plan. (Due to insurers under new plan to charge older enrollees more).
(CNN) GOP senator on health care plan: ‘That’s not what President Trump promised’ (3/14)
- Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Lousiana) was furious after the CBO’s report was released. As he stated, “That’s not what President Trump promised. That’s not what Republicans ran on.” The past weekend Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, promised that “nobody will be worse off financially.”
(ABC) CBO: 14M more Americans won’t have health insurance next year if GOP plan adopted (3/13)
- 14M uninsured next year under Republican proposal. Jump to 24M in 2026. Biggest difference is that there wouldn’t be a penalty for people who do not have health insurance. That is considered to be the biggest contributing factor increasing the number of uninsured. Plan would decrese federal deficit by $337 billion from 2017 to 2026 according to CBO.
(FOX) Paul Ryan: CBO report on ObamaCare repeal ‘exceeded’ my expectations’ (3/13)
- House Speaker Paul Ryan accepted the CBO’s analysis of the Republican’s healthcare bill by claiming that it “actually exceeded my expectations.” Ryan reported that by 2018 14 million more Americans would be uninsured due to the bill’s removal of the Obamacare’s insurance mandate. “It will lower premiums 10%. It stabilizes the market. It’s a $1.2 trillion spending cut, and $883 billion tax cut and $337 billion in deficit reduction,” Ryan said. “So, this compared to the status quo is far better.”
(YAHOO NEWS) ‘Robin Hood in reverse’: CBO report on GOP health care plan supports Democrats’ charges (3/13)
- Democrats, after CBO released report, claim that republicans should abandon their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Speaker Ryan has positively addressed the report arguing that it “confirms” that the legislation “will lower premiums and improve access to quality, affordable care.”
- One argument is that millions who are estimated to lose care may not want the coverage in the first place.
(YAHOO NEWS) CBO: 14 million people would lose coverage next year under GOP health care plan (3/13)
- CBO estimates 14 million more w/o health care insurance by 2018 and 24 million more by 2026.
- 28-page report stating that AHCA would decrease premiums for young policyholders it would drastically increase premiums for older Americans.
(FOX) Trump steps up ObamaCare repeal push, meets with law’s ‘victims’ (3/13)
- At the White House, Trump met with “victims” and vowed the R proposal would “drive insurance costs “down, down, down.” Trump claims, “More competition and less regulation will finally bring down the cost of care.” The Administration was wary about the forthcoming estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. One Republican source told Fox that they expected the score to be “terrible.” Trump accused media of unfairly attempting to make ObamaCAre look better.
(FOX) Trump gives CIA power to launch drone strikes (3/13)
- Trump has given the CIA secret new authority to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists, U.S. officials said, changing the Obama administration’s policy of limiting the spy agency’s paramilitary role and reopening a turf war between the agency and the Pentagon.”
(ABC) Trump calls Hawaii judge’s ruling against revised travel ban ‘unprecedented judicial overreach’ (3/15)
- President Trump, two hours after federal judge issued temporary restraining order on the revised travel ban, is slamming the decision. Watson’s ruling cited that “a reasonable, objective observer would conclude that the ban was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.”
- Trump claimed the “makes us look weak.”
(CNN) (TRAVEL BAN 2.0) Federal judge blocks new travel ban; Trump calls it ‘judicial overreach’ (3/15)
- 43-page ruling, US District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the new executive order failed to pass legal muster at this stage and the state had established “a strong likelihood of success” on their claims of religious discrimination.
- Trump at the Nashville rally discussed what he called “the bad, the sad news.”
- The ruling is applicable nationwide.
(FOX) (TRAVEL BAN 2.0) Trump lashes out at latest travel ban ruling: ‘It makes us look weak!’ (3/15)
- Trump called the ruling “unprecedented judicial overreach.” And claimed it made us look week.
- “This new order was tailored to the dictates of the Ninth Circuit’s, in my opinion, flawed ruling,” Trump said.
(NY TIMES) (TRAVEL BAN 2.0) Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide (3/15)
- Federal judge in HI issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening which now blocks Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim word. Trump, in response, said that he may reissue the initial version of the order. He described the second version as “a watered-down version of the first one.”
- Federal Judge Watson (based in Honolulu) found that the challenge to the order could be made on the grounds of religious discrimination. For that reason the travel ban could cause “irreparable harm” if it were to go into effect at midnight.
(FOX) (TRAVEL BAN 2.0) Federal judge in Hawaii halts Trump travel ban (3/15)
- The revised travel ban was put on hold by a federal judge in HI hours before it was to take effect. Trump spoke out about the judge’s move at a rally in Nashville, TN by calling it “unprecedented judicial overreach.” He continued by stating, “We’re going to win. We’re going to keep our citizens safe. The danger is clear. The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear.”
- The Department of Justice released a statement late Wednesday night saying they strongly disagreed w/ the ruling and called the move “flawed both in reasoning and scope.”
(CNN) (TRAVEL BAN 2.0) Judges address legal future of travel ban Wednesday (3/15)
- The new travel ban is scheduled to take effect on Thursday, but courts in MD and HI plan to hear oral arguments from both sides on Wednesday and a decision could be issued on the same day.
(FOX)Trump signs executive order to made fed agencies ‘lean,’ more ‘accountable’ (3/13)
- A top-to-bottom audit of every Executive Branch department and agency was ordered on Monday to attempt to save money and improve services. Trump stated, “There is duplication and redundancy everywhere. Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted on activities that are not delivering results.” The review will be led by the Office of Management and Budget and will include public input.
(ABC) President Trump pivots on wiretapping accusation, brushes aside tax leak (3/15)
- In an interview w/ Fox, Trump said that “’Wiretap’ covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”
(ABC) House intel leaders say no evidence Trump was wiretapped (3/15)
- According to the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, there is no evidence of wiretapping at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign. Rep. Adamn Schiff (D-CA) stated that there is “no basis” for Trump’s allegations.
(ABC) AG Jeff Sessions gave Trump no reason to believe wiretap claim (3/15)
- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he never gave President Trump evidence or reason to believe that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower.
(CNN) Spicer: Trump didn’t mean wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping (3/14)
- Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping. He said, “I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election. The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.” Spicer also claimed that Trump was referring to the Obama administration broadly and not Obama personally. A week earlier Spicer was quoted as saying the tweet “speaks for itself.”
(ABC) Spicer says Trump was talking about general surveillance in his wiretapping tweets (3/13)
- Sean Spicer claimed that Trump was not talking literally or specifically when accusing Obama of “wiretapping” his campaign.
- “The president was very clear in his tweet, it was wiretapping. That spans a host of surveillance options,” he said. “The House and the Senate Intelligence Committees will now look into that and provide a report back. I think there’s been numerous reports from a variety of outlets over the last couple months that seem to indicate that there has been different types of surveillance that occurred during the 2016 election.”
(FOX) Justice Department asks for more time on Trump wiretapping claim (3/13)
- Justice Department requested more time to gather evidence about the claims by President Trump that President Obama ordered wiretaps on the phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. The Justice Department was given until March 20th to comply by the House Intelligence committee. If the Justice Department doesn’t meet the deadline, the panel may subpoena power to gather the information itself, according to committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
(YAHOO NEWS) ‘Microwaves that turn into cameras’: Conway defends Trump claim by implying wider domestic surveillance at play (3/13)
- Kellyanne Conway has openly defended Trump’s allegations against Obama for wiretapping. Sunday, Conway suggested that there were many ways to surveil each other. She stated, “There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through certainly their television sets — any number of different ways. Microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that is just a fact of modern life.”
- In interviews Monday, she admitted that there has been no evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping claim or her spy theory.
(FOX) Conway brushes off McCain demand to prove wiretap claim or retract (3/13)
- On Monday, W.H. Counselor Kellyanne Conway “brushed off” a demand by Sen. John McCain to release evidence of Trump’s wiretapping claim or retract the allegation. Conway said, “We will comment further after those findings are made clear.”
(YAHOO NEWS) McCain says Trump has 2 choices on wiretap claim: Provide evidence or retract (3/12)
- “President Trump has to provide the American people — not just the intelligence community, but the American people — with evidence that his predecessor, former president of the Unites States, was guilty of breaking the law,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
- McCain said that he has no reason to believe that Trump’s charge is true.
(CNN) Moderates await, prep for window on immigration reform (3/15)
- Discussions are taking place between a “loose coalition of like-mind Republicans.” The group is a mix of veterans who are attempting to reform America’s immigration laws. “I’ve been saying for several months that the President is going to be the person who’s going to bring us together to fix the immigration problem,” Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, a former immigration lawyer, told reporters in the Capitol earlier this month.
(YAHOO NEWS) Mexican presidential candidate Lópex Obrador takes anti-Trump message to New York (3/14)
- “We did not come here in search of votes,” the white-haired López Obrador stated in Spanish, his calm yet commanding tone quickly silencing the enthusiastic crowd before him. “The purpose of this” visit, he continued, “is to express our support for, our solidarity with you, the migrants. Those who, for necessity, not for preference, have abandoned your pueblos, your places of origin, to come look for life with honest work in the United States.”
- “I have said it in other places and I’ll repeat it now: it is a [low blow] by Trump and his advisers that they [refer to] Mexicans like Hitler and the Nazis referred to the Jews,” he said.
(YAHOO NEWS) Republicans condemn King’s incendiary comments on immigration (3/14)
- W.H. press secretary Sean Spicer said that King’s comments are “not a point of view” that Trump shares. “He believes he’s the president for all Americans.”
- Republicans have been condemning King. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), son of Cuban immigrants, responded via twitter, “What exactly do you mean? Do I qualify as ‘somebody else’s baby?”
- Arab-American Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich) tweeted, “I’m an American no less than you are. I love our Constitution and traditions. Am I ‘somebody else’s baby because my parents are immigrants?”
- King was asked to clarify his tweet and he responded, “I meant exactly what I said.” “I’ve said to them, ‘You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. You’ve got to keep your birthrate up and … you need to teach your children your values and in doing so, then you can grow your population and you can strengthen your culture, you can strengthen your way of life.’ And that’s not happening in any of the Western European countries.”
(YAHOO NEWS) Steve King has a model of the border wall he wants to build to protect our ‘superior civilization’ (3/13)
- Rep. King is under fire for a series of statements he has made lately, such as protecting our “superior civilizations” from immigrants “living in enclaves” and “refusing to assimilate.” King has discussed a miniature model of a wall for the southern border, which he claims his family’s construction company is prepared to start work on the real thing.
- Quoted in article: “I built that model more than 10 years ago because people were saying, ‘We can’t build it. It’s too hard.’ And so I just put the model together,” King explained, adding, “I just put it together piece by piece to show them how easy it is to build a wall.”
(YAHOO NEWS) Rep. Steve King: ‘We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies’ (3/12)
- The Iowa representative is facing backlash over a tweet posted Sunday that embraces white nationalism. The tweet read, “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” The tweet included a political cartoon with Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician with anti-Muslim rhetoric. In the cartoon, Wilders is plugging a hole in a wall protecting “Western Civilization.”
- King’s tweet had been retweeted by David Duke, who is a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
- King was the same rep. who said that al-Qaida would be “dancing in the streets” if Barack Obama became president because Obama’s middle name is Hussein.
(FOX) Trump budget seeks defense spending boost, major cuts in other agencies (3/16)
- $1.15 trillion budget proposal released seeking increases in military and other security spending. Spending for EPA and State Department are to be cut. Trump calls his budget blueprint “American First” and in that plan, there are “deep cuts to foreign aid.”
- The military will see a $54 billion (10%) increase, the largest since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
(FOX) Trump budget calls for billions for border wall with Mexico (3/16)
- discretionary budget plan that is to be released includes a request for $2.6 billion in funding to begin planning and building “physical wall” along Mexican border. Billions in new spending is to be earmarked for immigration enforcement. The border wall is estimated to cost $21 billion.
(CNN) Trump wants to cut the smallest part of the federal budget (3/15)
- cutting the funding for the IRS, the Coast Guard and legal aid for the poor will do little to reduce the long-term debt problem. Cuts are also expected to take place for the EPA, State Department and the National Endowment for the Arts. Spending for nondefense discretionary programs is already historically low. It is at it’s lowest level since 1998, and below where it was 50 years ago (according to CBO).
(CNN) White House demands deep cuts to State, UN funds (3/14)
- White House demanded the State Department and US mission to UN to cut budgets for UN programs in half. This includes peacekeeping and development assistance. The cuts include a 37% ($20 billion) decrease in funding for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. This is reflective of Trump’s commitment to reduce the US involvement with international organizations. A timeline for the cuts has yet to be released.
(CNN) EPA cuts may be deeper than previously reported (3/14)
- Cuts could be more significant than originally predicted, more than the 25% of agency’s budget already discussed. These cuts are expected to include grants to states that are designed to protect air, water and land. Could lead to layoffs, including military veterans employed by agency.
(YAHOO NEWS) Millennial engagement: Youth are spurred by causes, not party loyalty. (3/11)
- The 2016 Millennial Impact report shows that partly loyalty is less important to millennials. Terms like “liberal” and “conservative” “fail to capture the diversity of contemporary political affiliations.”
- (Explanation of study in article)