Today is a big day for the health care bill. The news from this week:
(ABC) Uncommitted Republicans put Obamacare overhaul in jeopardy (3/21)
- There are a reported 22 Republicans in the House that oppose or are undecided on the AHCA. This is enough to prevent the passage of the bill. Some are still arguing that the bill doesn’t do enough.
(ABC) Trump warns Republicans: Don’t be ‘fools’ on health care votes (3/21)
- Trump, in a closed-door meeting that took about 40 minutes, rallied support for the AHCA on final time before Thursday’s expected vote in the House. Trump warned members that if the bill doesn’t pass, there is potential that Republicans could lose their seats in the 2018 midterm election.
- Sean Spicer followed by adding, “I think there’s going to be a price to be paid. It will be with their own voters. They’ll have to go back and explain why they made a commitment to them and then didn’t follow through.”
(CNN) Republicans change health care bill in search for votes (3/21)
- A series of amendments were introduced Monday evening to appease conservatives and moderates who have been opposed to aspects of the GOP health care bill. One of the largest changes made by the amendments are to Medicaid, allowing states the option to require able-bodies Medicaid recipients to work and participate in job training programs or complete community service. States would also have the option to opt to receive federal Medicaid funding as a block grant for adults and children in the program. There is also a change to the way Medicaid is funded.
(CNN) Trump warns GOP on health care: ‘We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done’ (3/21)
- Trump, in a close-door meeting with House Republicans, warned that the representatives could lose re-election if they don’t vote for the health care repeal legislation. Trump said, “We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” and “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.” Trump is still claiming he thinks he can get the votes he needs.
- The Freedom Caucus has announced that they are not taking an official stance against the bill but instead that there were enough “no” votes to prevent the passage of the bill.
(FOX) House GOP tweaks health care bill with eye to helping seniors (3/21)
- Late Monday, House Republicans attempted to gain the support of the GOP’s rank-and-file by adding the “manager’s amendment,” a 43-page amendment that would appease Republicans who are unhappy with the nonpartisan analysis that costs would increase for older people. This offers a more generous tax credit for people age 50 to 65. $85 billion would be set aside over 10 years to guarantee this.
- The bill also accelerates the repeal of tax increases on higher earners, the medical industry and others this year instead of 2018, curbs future Medicaid growth, allows the states to impose work requirements on some recipients.
(FOX) Trump tells Louisville rally GOP health bill is chance to end ‘Obamacare catastrophe’ (3/20)
- Trump at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky stated that the GOP health bill “is our chance to end Obamacare and the Obamacare catastrophe.” Trump also stated, “I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill pass — in some form.” It was also declared that the repeal and replacement of Obamacare is the step before enacting tax reform.
(CNN) Trump to visit Republicans as leaders put final touches on health care bill (3/20)
- On Tuesday morning, President Trump is scheduled to attend a close-door House GOP conference meeting to pitch the healthcare bill and gain any additional GOP “yes” votes. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday. The whip count is in “full motion.”
(CNN) Trump may move GOP health care bill to the right, dooming it in the Senate (3/19)
- The Trump administration may be guaranteeing that the latest version of the healthcare bill is dead in the Senate by negotiating with Republicans in the House. By moving it further to the right, the proposal’s passage is jeopardized in the Senate due to the GOP’s razor-thin majority.
(FOX) Top Hill Republicans meets with Bannon on Obamacare replacement, sources say (3/19)
- Republicans skeptical about the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan met with WH strategist Steve Bannon and other administration Saturday at Trump’s south Florida club Mar-a-Lago. Among the Republicans were Rep. Mark Meadows, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. The meeting was scheduled to discuss how the bill could be altered so that it will pass in the Senate while accomplishing the goal of lowering insurance premiums for American.
(Fox) Trump, in deal-making mode, says conservatives backing health bill after ‘changes’ (3/17)
- According to Trump, the House conservatives who had previously been opposed to the Obamacare replacement legislation are now in support of the bill. He stated, “We are doing some incredible things…I am 100 percent behind this. All of these no’s, or potential no’s, are all yes’es. Every single person sitting in this room is now a yes.” Participants involved in the meeting confirmed that those who attended are now a “yes.”
(FOX) Trump admin challenges Hawaii judge’s halt on new travel ban (3/18)
- The Justice Department requested the federal judge in HI to limit the scope of his ruling to allow the U.S. to immediately stop taking in refugees worldwide. In a motion Friday, Justice Department attorneys argued that U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s temporary order is based on the idea that it appears to unconstitutionally target Muslims, therefore, it should be restricted to the part of Trump’s March 6 executive order that temporary bans visas to travel from six mostly-Muslim countries into the U.S., not the temporary refugees ban. Watson’s ruling goes further than the Maryland judge’s ruling, so it has a greater impact on Trump’s intended actions.
(CNN) Partisan chasm builds at center of House Russia investigation (3/21)
- The first hearing on Russia held by the House Intelligence Committee uncovered a growing rift between Democrats, who are pressing for more information, and Republicans, who want details on who leaked information of the FBI’s investigation to the press. Democrats also warned Republican colleagues that they should not prevent witness like Flynn and Manafort from testifying.
(FOX) Spicer denies Comey was fact-checking presidential tweets (3/21)
- Sean Spicer is challenging James Comey fact-checking of Trump’s tweets during the congressional hearing discussing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
- Trump recently tweeted on the W.H. account, “ The [National Security Agency] and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.” Comey was questioned about Trump’s tweet during the congressional hearing and stated, “It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today because we don’t have any information on that subject.”
- Spicer added, “At some point there has to be a distinction between an investigation tht goes into allegations Russia was trying to influence the 2016 election and this continued narrative that tries to falsely link the Trump campaign to it.”
(Yahoo News) FBI Director James Comey confirms investigation of potential Trump-Russia ties (3/20)
- Comey confirmed that an investigation into whether there was Russian interference in the election, leaks of classified information and wiretap charges is underway. Comey continued by mentioning that it is not customary for the FBI to confirm ongoing investigations. He was authorized to do so by the Justice Department.
(Yahoo News) White House tries to shift discussion amid FBI director’s testimony (3/20)
- Sean Spicer, according to Yahoo News, tried to shift reporters away from asking about a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Spicer was quoted saying, “Following this testimony, it’s clear that nothing has changed. Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm that there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion.
(ABC) Key moments from today’s hearing with FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Rogers (3/20)
- Comey informed the panel that the FBI is investigating “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election—and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated w/ the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
- Comey and Rogers both stated that they did not know of any evidence of President Obama wiretapping Trummp tower.
- Comey warned that the U.S. should be prepared for a potential attempt to intervene in the 2018 midterm elections or 2020 presidential election.
- Comey mentioned that Putting “hated Secretary Clinton” and so there was “a clear preference to the person running against” her.
(FOX) White House stands ground after Russia probe confirmed, says no ‘collusion’ (3/20)
- Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that there is “no evidence” of possible “links” between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign associates. He followed by adding, “Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm that there’s no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion… and we take them at their word.”
- In addition, Spicer told reporters that Trump was not prepared to withdraw and apologize for his allegation that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
(YAHOO NEWS) FBI Director James Comey confirms investigation of potential Trump-Russia ties. (3/20)
- FBI director James Comey confirmed that the bureau investigators were looking into Trump’s presidential campaign interaction with Moscow during the election. Comey said, “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigation the nature of any links between any individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
(FOX) Trump: Russia story is ‘FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!’ (3/20)
- President Trump Monday morning denied Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election in November just hours before FBI Director James Comey was set to testify to Congress. Trump tweeted, “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” He then followed with a tweet stating, “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” Despite Trump’s claims, Rep. Adam Schiff said that there is “circumstantial” evidence that existed.
(CNN) GOP Sen. Jeff Flake: Trump should apologize for wiretapping claim (3/21)
- Jeff Flake stated that he believes President Trump should apologize to former President Obama for making allegations that Obama ordered the wiretap of Trump tower. Flake was one of Trump’s biggest Republican critics during his campaign.
- Flake does not believe Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton.
(ABC) White House digs in on Trump wiretapping claims despite Comey testimony (3/20)
- Press Secretary Sean Spicer reported, “We started a hearing. It is still ongoing.” He also added that the President would not withdraw his allegations against former President Obama. Dozens of lawmakers and intelligence officials, including Comey, NSA Director Mike Rogers, bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate, and members of the chambers’ intelligence panels, have declared there to be no evidence to support Trump’s claim
(CNN) GOP rep: ‘Haven’t seen any evidence’ of wiretapping (3/20)
- A Republicans on House Intelligence Committee said, “We haven’t seen any evidence at this point.” Rep. Frank LoBiondo added, “If there is evidence, we need to see it.” LoBiondo also referred to the allegation by Trump as a “big distraction.”
(CNN) FBI: Trump campaign, Russia ties investigated, no wiretap evidence found (3/20)
- Comey declared Mondy that the bureau is investigating any potential coordination that occurred between the Trump campaign and Moscow while Russia was interfering the presidential election. Comey also established that he had “no information” to support Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped by President Obama. It is the first time that he publicly confirmed that the agency is investigating a collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
(ABC) ‘It never hurts to say you’re sorry,’ a GOP House member advises Trump (3/19)
- Will Hurd (R-TX) told George Stephanopoulous, “To quote my 85-year-old father…”It never hurts to say you’re sorry.” He added, “And it’s not just sorry to [Obama] but sorry to the [United Kingdom] for the claims –or the intimation- that the U.K. was involved in this as well.” Rep. Hurd was referring to Trump’s allegations against President Obama.
(YAHOO NEWS) Top Dem on House intel panel hopes Comey ends ‘wild goose chase’ over Trump wiretap claims (3/19)
- House Intelligence Committee leaders still do not have proof of Trump’s claims against former President Obama. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (chairman of bipartisan committee) said, “Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, there never was. And the information on Friday continues to lead us in that direction.”
(FOX) House intel committee chairman: ‘There never was’ Trump tower wiretap (3/19)
- Chairman of the House Intelligence committee declared that Trump’s campaign headquarters in Manhattan were never tapped. Nunes said, “There was no FISA warrant I am aware of to tap Trump tower.” Trump told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that “very soon” he would release the evidence of his wiretapping claim.
Confirmation Hearing of Supreme Court Nominee:
(ABC) Supreme Court nominee seeks distance from Trump administration, says attacks on federal judges ‘disheartening’ (3/22)
- During his second day of a confirmation hearing, Gorsuch made comments that he was offended by Trump’s language and questioning the legitimacy of a federal judge who temporarily blocked his travel ban. Gorsuch stated, “When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening. I find that demoralizing, because I know the truth.”
(CNN) Durbin: Gorsuch lacks necessary Democratic support (3/22)
- Senate Minority Whip Dick Durban has stated that he doesn’t believe Neil Gorsuch has the votes to be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice.
- R’s hold a 52-48 majority.
- 60 votes to overcome filibuster by Dems
- If a filibuster were to take place, Republicans could invoke the “nuclear option.”
- Lindsey Graham is firm in his believe that Gorsuch “will be on the court, no matter what it takes.”
(CNN) Neil Gorsuch hearings day 3: ‘I don’t speak for Justice Scalia. I speak for myself’ (3/22)
- Gorsuch has been reported trying to “avoid issuing opinions” and remaining independent, even when questioned on Scalia’s stances in previous cases and on specific issues during his confirmation hearings.
- Gorsuch maintained, “I don’t speak for Justice Scalia. I speak for myself.”
(Yahoo News) Gorsuch calls same-sex marriage decision ‘settled law’ (3/21)
- When asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn) to explain how his views on marriage equality has changed since 2004, Gorsuch responded that his personal views would send a misleading signal. Gorsuch referred to the same-sex marriage decision as “settled law.”
(ABC) Key moments form SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing (3/21)
- refused to clarify whether he’d support or undermine travel ban
- Denied any promise to Trump prior to nomination
- On Roe V. Wade, “It is a precedent in the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed many times.”
- Was questioned about a $10 million dark money political ad campaign that works in his favor. Gorsuch established that he speaks for himself.
- Gorsuch was questioned about alleged comments he made last year about women abusing maternity leave for benefits. Was also asked about a case he heard about truck driver who believe he was wrongly fired.
(FOX) Gorsuch rebuffs Leahy on Trump travel ban questions (3/21)
- Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy attempted to determine where Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch stood on Trump’s travel ban. Instead, Gorsuch avoided the question by responding that he would advocate for religious liberty and apply the law accordingly. Gorsuch, after further questioning on the issue, refused to respond because it may be an issue he sees before him if confirmed.
- Gorsuch stated, “Anyone, any law is gonna get a fair and square deal with me.”
(FOX) Gorsuch voews independence at confirmation hearing, says won’t be ‘rubber stamp’ (3/21)
- After being questioned for hours at the Senate confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch replied that his job is to follow the law, and set aside his personal beliefs. Gorsuch stated, “I’m a fair judge. A good judge doesn’t give a whit about politics, or the political implications of his or her decisions.”
- Gorsuch is a 10th Circuit judge who asserted that he would never be a “rubber stamp.”
- Gorsuch made claims that he wouldn’t have difficulty ruling against or for any party and his decisions would be based on the law and facts of the case before him.
(ABC) New airplane electronics rule stem from ISIS-associated threat (3/21)
- Based on a new threat indicating that ISIS associates were attempting to smuggle explosives-laden electronics onto US bound flights, a restriction on electronic devices on flights from specific overseas airports has been put into effect.
- The information is based on information the government deems “substantiated” and “credible.”
- The airports are in 8 Middle Eastern and African counties.
- Electronics bigger than a cellphone are banned from cabins aboard some direct flights to US from 10 specific airports located in Muslim-majority countries.
(CNN) Trump drops 220 spots on the Forbes Billionaires List (3/20)
- Trump first billionaire president. Forbes list published Monday but his net worth at $3.5 billion, down $1 billion reported a year ago. Dropped him 220 spots, and tied him w/ 19 others as the 544th richest person in the world. Decline is thought to be caused by “softness in the midtown Manhattan real estate market.”
(CNN) Gallup: Trump job approval drops to 37% (3/20)
- Trump’s job approval rating dropped to 37%
- 58% of Americans disapprove of his performance as president so far.
- Approval ratings are the worst since taking office. (Approval rating lingered at a mid-to-low 40s at the beginning of his presidency.)
- (based on telephone interviews w/ about 1,500 national adults. Marging of error:3%
(ABC) Trump approval rating sinks to new low (3/19)
- approval rating fallend to 37%, lowest since taking office, according to Gallup.
- Disapproval rating hit 58%
- During President Obama’s first term, his approval rating was in the low 60’s and President George W. Bush’s was in the mid 50’s.
- Trump’s current rating is lower than any other President at this point in his first term since 1945 when Gallup started tracking the issue. (Harry Truman in office then).