Wake Up To Politics - March 7, 2017
Wake Up To Politics
This is your wake up call.
Monday, March 6, 2017
610 Days until Election Day 2018
1,379 Days until Election Day 2020
Good morning! Reporting from WUTP world HQ (in my bedroom), I'm Gabe Fleisher: this is your wake up call.
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- House GOP unveils Obamacare replacement Almost seven years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, House Republicans finally introduced their long-awaited bill to repeal and replace the health care legislation on Monday.
- What stayed in?
- People with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage
- Young people can stay on their parents' plans until age 26
- Ban on lifetime coverage caps
- What's new?
- System of age-based tax credits to help individuals buy health insurance, replacing Obamaca're income-based tax credits
- Insurers can now raise premiums by 30% on individuals who let their insurance lapse, replacing the individual mandate (which penalized people who did not buy health insurance)
- States will receive set amounts of money each year for Medicaid (starting in 2020), as opposed to the larger-scale expansion of Medicaid that was offered to all states (and taken by 31)
- Employers are no longer required to offer full-time employees insurance
- One-year prohibition on federal funds to Planned Parenthood
- The American Health Care Act, as the 123-page GOP replacement bill is known, will be marked up on Wednesday by two House committees (Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce). Republican leaders hope the House will be able to vote on the measure in the next month. "The American Health Care Act is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said in a statement praising his caucus' bill.
- However, the measure was ripped by Democrats, who seized on the likelihood that many Americans will lose health insurance they gained under Obamacare. "Republicans will force tens of millions of families to pay more for worse coverage - and push millions of Americans off of health insurance," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.
- The bill also faces critics on the Republican side: the conservative House Freedom Caucus, as well as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), are holding a press conference today to call for a clean repeal of Obamacare, opposing the GOP alternative. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) called the proposal "Obamacare 2.0" on Twitter.
- In the Senate, if no Democrats support the bill, opposition by three Republicans would defeat the replacement. That many conservative senators have already shown misgivings about the tax credit plan in the bill: Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Paul. In addition, other GOP senators have denounced the bill from the other end of the spectrum, calling for parts of Obamacare to remain.
- Republican Sens. Rob Portman (OH), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Cory Gardner (CO), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday indicating that they would vote against any bill that does not preserve Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. "We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states," they wrote. Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) also indicated opposition to the provision effectively defunding Planned Parenthood.
- President Trump, however, tweeted his support this morning: "Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast!"
- Today in the Senate 10am: Convenes and resumes consideration of a resolution striking down a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule reorganizing guidelines of land planning and management, continuing the GOP's attack on Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act. The House passed the BLM resolution last month, 234-186.
- Also today: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will meet with Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (NJ), Bill Nelson (FL), Martin Heinrich (NM), and Al Franken (MN).
- And on the committee level: the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Rod Rosenstein to be Deputy Attorney General and Rachel Brand to be Associate Attorney General, the No. 2 and No. 3 jobs in the Justice Department.
- Both positions have enhanced importance in light of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself in the investigation of the Trump Administration's ties to Russias. Democrats plan to grill Rosenstein, who would oversee the inquiry with Sessions recused, on his plans for the probe.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said Monday that he will "use every tool available to block his nomination" if Rosenstein does not endorse a special prosecutor to investigate the Russian ties.
- Rosenstein is currently the nation's longest-serving U.S. Attorney, having been appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland by George W. Bush in 2005 and retained by Barack Obama. Brand, who served as Assistant Attorney General under Bush, also served in the Obama Administration, on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
- Today in the House 12pm: Convenes for member speeches and legislative debate.
- 6:30pm: Votes on four bills:
- H.R. 1262, renaming a VA clinic in the American Samoa after the territory's longtime Delegate, Eni Faleomavaega, who died last month
- H.R. 375, renaming a courthouse in Nashville after the late Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), who died in 2015
- the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act, which requires that all public buildings with public restrooms provide a separate lactation room for breastfeeding
- the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act, the NASA funding bill, which requires the agency report to Congress by December on travel plans to send a human to Mars
- Trump signs updated travel ban President Donald Trump signed a new version of his executive order on immigration on Monday, after the initial order was blocked by a federal court.
- What's different?
- Travel from only six countries (Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iran) is prohibited for 90 days, removing Iraq from the original list of seven
- The order only affects new visa applicants: those who already have green cards or visas (from those or any countries) will not see their immigration status change, a source of chaos in the rollout of the initial order
- The Syrian refugee program will not be permanently suspended, although the entire U.S. refugee program will again be suspended for 120 days
- Priority to religious minorities in majority-Muslim countries removed, a provision in the original order that was seen as helping Christians enter the U.S. but not Muslims
- The order will not take effect until March 16, while the original was effective immediately (at the time, Trump and aides insisted any other date would cause terrorists to enter)
- The new executive order was enacted with much less fanfare than the first one: President Trump was not photographed signing the document, and three Cabinet secretaries announced the order instead. In addition, there has not been any of the protests and chaos at airports that came after the first order was signed, although March 16 (when it takes effect) will be a crucial test to see how the order will work.
- A legal battle over the revised order is still expected, although it may have an easier time being held up in court with some of the legal issues removed. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Monday that it plans to move "very quickly" to challenge the new order.
- The President's schedule 10:15am: Speaks with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya by telephone, Oval Office
- 10:45am: Receives his daily intelligence briefing.
- 12:30pm: Has lunch with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who ran against Trump in the presidential primaries and has been one of his leading congressional critics, in the Presidential Dining Room
- 1:30pm: Leads a policy discussion with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) in the Oval Office
- 3:30pm: Leads a meeting with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and his whip team, likely on the Obamacare whip count.
- 4:30pm: Meets with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.
- 5pm: Visits with the Boy Scouts of America.
- Court will not hear transgender rights case The Supreme Court announced on Monday that a high-profile case on transgender rights in schools will not be heard. The court was set to hear oral arguments later this month in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., in which transgender student Gavin Grimm, 17, was suing for the right to use the boy's bathroom in his high school.
- Grimm was suing under an Obama Administration directive requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity. The Trump Administration revoked the directive last month, leading the Supreme Court to remove the case from its docket.
- Both Grimm and the New Jersey school board had still asked for the case to be considered, with activists on both sides of this debate clamoring for a definitive ruling. An appeals court in Richmond, Virginia will now take up the case.
- Today's Question Which President signed the most executive orders, excluding the long-serving Franklin Roosevelt?
- Email me with your answer (email@example.com); correct respondents get their name in tomorrow's newsletter!
- Yesterday's Answer On Monday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, I asked for at least one of the two justices who dissented in the case.
- The answers...John McLean and Benjamin Curtis, who ruled in favor of Scott while a majority of seven ruled that African-American slaves were not citizens.
- GREAT JOB...Bill Sisson, Marlee Millman, Joe Bookman, and Frank Teltsch (who answered Curtis); Joan Zucker, Sarah M-M, Garrett Cohn, Steve Gitnik, Rick Isserman, and Dan Filliol (who answered both).
- Jordan Burger answered, "John."
For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.