Tracking Donald Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

From Marie Claire

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The White House would like you to know it has accomplished things

Donald Trump’s team sent out an email blast this morning to the press titled “President Trump’s 100 Days of Historic Accomplishments.” The list, which includes headings such as “getting the government out of the way,” contains comparisons to what former presidents had completed at this point in their terms. The list also highlights that Trump has signed 30 executive orders since taking office in January, compared to former President Barack Obama’s 19.

WH blasting out new email this morning listing first 100 days accomplishments

Trump’s email blast comes despite criticism from the president about the concept of using the first 100 days to judge effectiveness. In the last week, Trump has called the benchmark “not very meaningful” and suggested it’s overrated as a tool of evaluating a presidency.

Key tweet of the day:

Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!

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Key tweet of the day:

The two fake news polls released yesterday, ABC & NBC, while containing some very positive info, were totally wrong in General E. Watch!

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The public weighs in

A new poll has some bad news for the president. Donald Trump’s approval rating is at 42 percent with just days left until he reaches his 100-day mark, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday. That’s the lowest for any president at this point in their term since pollsters began tracking it in the 1940s. For comparison, former President Barack Obama had a 69-percent approval rating at this juncture of his first term.

Key tweet of the day:

Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.

Key tweet of the day:

I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!

 

 

Trump unhappy with ‘100 days’ benchmark

The president has a bone to pick with the “first 100 days” benchmark used to evaluate how a presidency is going. Donald Trump criticized the standard in a tweet Friday, calling it “ridiculous” and insinuating the media would not give him credit for his successes. Trump’s main victory since entering office, which he highlighted in his post, has been the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. Many of his other notable moves, such as his travel ban or healthcare replacement, have failed to be instituted.

Key tweet of the day:

No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!

 

Key tweet of the day:

Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.

 

Patriots visit the White House

With just 10 days left of Trump’s first 100 days in office, the White House played host to the New England Patriots today. The visit is in honor of their victory earlier this year at Super Bowl LI. The president met with the team’s players and gave remarks where he singled out around seven team members for their performance. But one player not in attendance was quarterback Tom Brady, who cited personal family matters as his reason for staying home. Donald Trump has long touted his friendship with Brady, but Brady wasn’t the only player to skip. Several team members opted out of the visit due to political disagreements with the president.

Key tweet of the day:

Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th.

 

New executive order says ‘Buy American’

On Tuesday, Donald Trump signed a new executive order essentially stating “Buy American; Hire American.” The order is meant to reduce the number of low-wage foreign workers in the country and improve the amount of job opportunities for American employees. The initiative is in line with his “America First” theme for his first 100 days in office, but defies his campaign rhetoric, where he suggested it would be unfair to crack down on H1-B visa holders.

Key tweet of the day:

Just learned that Jon @Ossoff, who is running for Congress in Georgia, doesn’t even live in the district. Republicans, get out and vote!

 

Next target: Jon Ossoff

The president stepped into campaign mode once again when he got involved in the Georgia special election. The election is being held to fill Tom Price’s congressional seat, following his confirmation as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Trump began tweeting about the main Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, after polls made it clear that Ossoff was the leading character in the race. The district in question isn’t exactly a Republican stronghold; Trump won by less than 2 percent back in November. Nevertheless, it was expected that Ossoff would fall short of the 50 percent marker he needs to avoid a runoff election later this year.

Key tweet of the day:

With eleven Republican candidates running in Georgia (on Tuesday) for Congress, a runoff will be a win. Vote “R” for lower taxes & safety!

 

Key tweet of the day:

I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?

 

Trump’s White House visitor logs will be private

The White House has announced that most of the visitor logs for those stopping by the Oval Office will remain private. Citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns,” the Trump administration will not willingly disclose the names of the president’s vistors. Unless the White House amends this policy, it could take years for that information to be revealed.

 

Key tweet of the day:

 

Trump signs off on defunding Planned Parenthood

The president signed off today on a resolution that will allow states to defund family planning centers such as Planned Parenthood if they provide abortion services. The resolution overturns a late Obama-era policy that prevented the government from defunding these providers for any reason other than lack of “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”

Though Republicans have long held a stance against taxpayer money being used to pay for abortion services, it’s a solution without a problem. The Hyde Amendment has prevented tax dollars from being used for abortion services for decades.

Key tweet of the day:

Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!

 

Key tweet of the day:

Jobs are returning, illegal immigration is plummeting, law, order and justice are being restored. We are truly making America great again!

 

The president is disturbed by the United Airlines video

The White House said Tuesday that Donald Trump has seen the viral video of United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao being forcibly deplaned and that Trump is “disturbed” by the video. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing that he believes anyone would be bothered by how Dao was treated. “I don’t think anyone looks at that video and isn’t a little disturbed that another human being is treated that way,” Spicer said.

No troops in Syria… for now

In an interview set to air Wednesday morning on Fox Business, the president said that the U.S. is not putting ground troops in war-torn Syria. Literally. “We’re not going into Syria,” Trump told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. Trump’s interview comes amid questions about the White House’s next move, after he ordered missile strikes last week against a Syrian airbase. The strikes were a response to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, who is suspected of using chemical weapons against his people last week in an attack that killed dozens.

“Look, what I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it,” Trump said. “And you would have had a much better – I think Syria would be a lot better off right now than it has been.”

Key tweet of the day:

North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.

 

Trump makes his mark on SCOTUS

Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch was sworn onto the highest bench in the country Monday. His swearing in marks the president’s first landmark success with Congress since taking office. Gorsuch will serve as the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, more than a year after Scalia passed away. Gorsuch is considered very similar to Scalia in how he will decide cases, being a constitutional originalist.

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Key tweet(s) of the day:

So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great…

So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great…

…confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly.

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Key tweet of the day:

The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!

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U.S. conducts airstrike on Syria

The president ordered airstrikes on the Al-Shayrat airbase in Homs, Syria on Thursday, in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack that killed more than 100 people. The attack is suspected to be the work of Bashar Assad’s government, and these airstrikes are the first targeted U.S. action against Assad since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

The administration says the site of the strikes was chosen because U.S. officials tracked the planes that carried the chemical weapons using radar. In remarks shortly after the strikes, Trump said they were “in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Eleven weeks in, Trump says he’s had the one of the most successful 13 weeks…?

Donald Trump said Thursday that he thinks his administration has had “one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency.” There are just two problems: First, he’s had one of the most controversial terms in history to date, with multiple Cabinet picks stepping down, ongoing investigations into his campaign’s ties with Russia, a failed healthcare bill, and low poll numbers.

Second, he’s only been in office for 11 weeks.

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Bannon removed from the National Security Council

White House senior adviser Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council, according to reports. On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order reorganizing the NSC. In it, he restored the director of national intelligence, CIA director, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to full participation and removed Bannon from the panel. The White House did not announce the move publicly, so it wasn’t reported on until Wednesday. A White House source said Bannon can still attend any meeting where his expertise is needed, CNN reported.

As a reminder, Bannon has zero national security experience; rather he previously served as the publisher of alt-right white nationalist new org, Breitbart. His appointment did not require senate approval. We do not yet know why Bannon was removed, but we’re chalking it up to common sense.

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Key tweet of the day:

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Trump is *still* tweeting about Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump is not done tweeting about Hillary Clinton. On Monday morning, the president tweeted about his former Democratic rival and her campaign manager, saying “Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?” Shortly after, he followed up with a sarcastic question about whether or not Clinton apologized for an instance where she was provided questions in advance of an interview. The tweets appear to be an attempt to deflect growing criticism of his administration’s ties with Russia. Clinton has largely remained out of the spotlight since losing the election in November.

Key tweet of the day:

Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!

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Key tweet of the day:

The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.

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Key tweet of the day:

When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?

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White House financial disclosures show that everyone is rich.

The White House released its employees’ financial disclosures Friday night; and to no one’s surprise, they showed enormous wealth. According to the documents, senior adviser Steve Bannon has more than $1 million in his bank account and has made significant income from his rental properties. Bannon values his consulting business at somewhere between $5 and $25 million, the disclosures show.

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both list far higher numbers. Because Ivanka Trump was only just given an official title, her personal disclosure hasn’t been completed yet, but her assets appear on her husband’s forms. The two could be worth as much as $740 million, reports show. Much of their fortune comes from Kushner’s real estate holdings and Trump’s business.

The president’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is also a financial success. The disclosures show that she was worth as much as $40 million before she was named a White House staffer.

Key tweet of the day:

Great meeting with a wonderful woman today, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice! 🇺🇸

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Donald Trump’s new enemy is… the far-right?

The president revived his fight against the Freedom Caucus on Thursday morning, tweeting that the ultra-conservative congressional group would damage Republicans in 2018. Trump has been highly critical of the Caucus since they aligned against his replacement healthcare plan, despite the fact that many moderate Republicans were also opposed to the bill.

Key tweet of the day:

The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!

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Key tweet of the day:

.@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to stop by the Women’s Empowerment Panel this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse. http://45.wh.gov/5v2Pc1 

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Who needs the environment, anyway?

If climate change was a hoax, it won’t be for long. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing many of former President Obama’s climate change regulations. The order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation that called for the replacement of coal-powered plants with new wind and solar farms.

The order also calls into question whether Trump will abide by the landmark Paris climate change agreements that the U.S. signed just a short time ago. The U.S. has agreed to cut its emissions by 26 percent over the next decade. Experts say such measures are essential to prevent the temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature they agree spells global catastrophe down the line.

Key tweet of the day:

Why doesn’t Fake News talk about Podesta ties to Russia as covered by @FoxNews or money from Russia to Clinton – sale of Uranium?

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Travel Ban 2.0 may get its day in court

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is reportedly considering hearing the revised travel ban case with its full bench-rather than the panel of three judges who would normally hear it. In an order on Monday, the court asked both the government and the plaintiffs to address whether the full bench should hear arguments.

If all 15 active judges hear the case, it could potentially spell good new for opponents of the ban. The 4th Circuit is made up of nine Democratic appointees, five Republicans, and one appointed by a Democratic and later confirmed under a Republican. Basically: It skews left.

Key tweet of the day:

The Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds – not long. Do not worry, we are in very good shape!

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Key tweet of the day:

General Kelly is doing a great job at the border. Numbers are way down. Many are not even trying to come in anymore.

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Key tweet of the day:

ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!

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Trumpcare crashes and burns

Donald Trump’s landmark replacement for Obamacare was shot down Friday when the House of Representatives decided not to even bother voting on it. The president and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decided to pull the bill from consideration after it became clear it would fail if it went to vote.

The American Health Care Act’s rejection means that Obamacare will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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Key tweet of the day:

Just watched the totally biased and fake news reports of the so-called Russia story on NBC and ABC. Such dishonesty!

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White House bans laptops in carry-ons for eight Muslim countries

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that people flying nonstop to the U.S. from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries would no longer be allowed to bring laptops in their carry-on luggage. Passengers are allowed to check them in with their baggage, however. The airports are spread across eight countries: Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar.

The administration has cited the need to do so for security but didn’t say there was any specific new threat or intelligence. Several hours after the announcement, the U.K. made a similar move, though their ban affects some different airports than the U.S. ban does.

Key tweet of the day:

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Today on , we honor our great American farmers & ranchers. Their hard work & dedication are ingrained in our nation’s fabric.

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Trump goes after Russia allegations… again

Donald Trump went after allegations that he has ties to the Russian government again Monday, just hours before FBI director James Comey is set to testify in front of Congress. In a series of tweets, Trump wrote that the “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign.” He added that “the real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!”

Comey is expected to testify about Russian involvement in November’s presidential election, which committees in both houses of Congress have been investigating.

Key tweet of the day:

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

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A fifth weekend in Florida

On Sunday, Donald Trump concluded his fifth weekend in Florida since taking office. Though Trump was regularly critical of former President Obama taking vacations, he has spent more than half of his weekends as president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. Trump also spent time holding meetings at his local golf club, according to his press pool, where he may have stepped out “to hit some golf balls,” the Palm Beach Post reported.

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Key tweets of the day:

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..

…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

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Key tweet of the day:

North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years. China has done little to help!

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Sooo, Trump’s budget is cool if you don’t like PBS or the environment

Donald Trump released his budget plan Thursday, and it cuts pretty much everything people expected. Among the agencies that would take hits are the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and many more. Almost no departments are spared from cuts-the only ones without any cuts are Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. But Trump did manage to find $2 billion for a down payment on the wall.

Key tweet of the day:

A budget that puts must make safety its no. 1 priority—without safety there can be no prosperity: http://45.wh.gov/NF9wr4 

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Second ban suspended

A federal judge in Hawaii blocked Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Wednesday evening, just one night before it was set to take effect. The new ban was a watered-down version of the first, excluding some of the more controversial policies-like the ban on green card holders. The Trump administration argued that the new executive order addressed all the legal criticism of the first, but Judge Derrick Watson was unimpressed. Watson wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would still view the ban as an attempt to discriminate against members of one religion (despite Trump’s statements to the contrary.)

A second judge ruled similarly in Maryland just hours later.

Key tweet of the day:

Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!

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White House responds to Trumpcare estimates

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released it’s official estimates on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan today, and the news wasn’t good. According to the report, it’s projected that 14 million people would lose coverage next year under the new House bill. The number of uninsured would grow to 24 million by 2026.

The White House pushed back hard on the report, saying it disagrees “strenuously.” Health Secretary Tom Price said it will cover more individuals and lower costs. As for the estimate that 14 million people would lose coverage, he said, “It’s just not believable is what we would suggest.”

Trump endorsed the plan last week, despite the fact that, back in January, Trump told the Washington Post his health-care law would include “insurance for everybody.”

Key tweet of the day:

It is amazing how rude much of the media is to my very hard working representatives. Be nice, you will do much better!

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Trump absent from Twitter

Red alert! The president went an entire day without tweeting on Sunday, capping off a contentious weekend with radio silence. That may not seem notable; but as The Hill reported, Trump has tweeted more than 260 times since his inauguration, meaning he averages more than five per day.

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The first thing we do, let’s fire all the lawyers

Over the weekend, the Trump administration asked for the immediate resignation of 26 U.S. attorneys from the Obama era. That’s pretty normal for a new administration, but Trump is drawing rebuke from Democrats for his handling of one specific case. Preet Bharara, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to resign from his post and was fired-even though Trump had reportedly personally asked him to stay in his role. Bharara announced that he was fired on Twitter:

I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.

Key tweet of the day:

We are making great progress with healthcare. ObamaCare is imploding and will only get worse. Republicans coming together to get job done!

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It’s halftime

Friday marked the halfway point in Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, the time period generally used to determine how effective a new administration has been. In that time, Trump has signed 16 executive orders, which is on pace with former President Barack Obama. But unlike Obama, Trump’s first 50 days have been marred with controversy. Protests and court battles derailed his first travel ban, the replacement plan for Obamacare has been almost universally panned, and several members of his administration are under investigation for ties to Russian officials.

Trump has made strides toward keeping some of his more realistic campaign promises. His administration has caused either the repeal or delay of more than 90 Obama-era federal regulations, and he withdrew the U.S. from the TPP trade deal. An executive order he signed allowed work to recommence on the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite ongoing protests in North Dakota.

One thing Trump has not accomplished is a major legislative victory. At this point in his presidency, Obama had passed an $800 billion economic stimulus package through Congress as well as a law making it easier for women to sue over equal pay discrepancies. Trump is looking to make a repeal of the Affordable Care Act his first landmark achievement in Congress, but he has so far been unsuccessful.

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Key tweet of the day:

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!

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Trump picks Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia

Donald Trump has chosen Jon Huntsman, a Republican who ran for president in 2012, as his ambassador to Russia. This will be Huntsman’s third ambassadorship: He represented the United States to Singapore under George H.W. Bush, and to China under Barack Obama. It will also likely be his most heavily scrutinized role, as the Trump administration is investigated for alleged ties to Russian officials during his presidential campaign. Huntsman originally endorsed Trump for office, but had called on him to drop out after the release of a vulgar tape where Trump described grabbing women to Billy Bush.

Key tweet of the day:

I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.

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Sean Spicer tries to explain what Trump is talking about

Donald Trump has “no regrets” about accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him, at least, not according to Sean Spicer. The White House press secretary gave a news conference on Tuesday where he attempted to explain some of the president’s more controversial recent statements. Spicer said the president is waiting for the results of an investigation into his claims, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support his accusations.

Spicer also touched on Trump’s claim that Obama released 122 “vicious” Guantanamo Bay inmates that have since returned to fighting. In reality, Obama released just nine of those prisoners; the other 113 were released by George W. Bush’s administration. Spicer acknowledged that Trump’s comments were incorrect.

Key tweet of the day:

Don’t let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin. We are getting along great, and getting major things done!

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Travel Ban 2.0

Donald Trump signed a new executive order today banning people from six Muslim-majority countries from applying for visas to the United States. The new ban, which no longer includes Iraq, bars citizens from those six countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. It will also slash the number of refugee admissions for this year from 110,000 to 50,000.

The new ban comes as a response to legal criticism of the first version, which argued that Trump’s ban amounted to little more than religious discrimination. It also opens the door to adding more countries. Trump will ask the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to determine whether any other countries should be included in future travel bans, the Daily Beast reported.

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Key tweet of the day:

Is it true the DNC would not allow the FBI access to check server or other equipment after learning it was hacked? Can that be possible?

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Key tweet of the day:

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

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“Witch hunts,” everywhere

Donald Trump and a Russian official’s rejection of the Jeff Sessions allegations are weirdly similar.

Trump went off on Twitter on Thursday night. In his tweet-storm, the POTUS attacked Democrats for what he called their “witch hunt” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The tweets came several hours after Sessions held a news conference recusing himself from any investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.

Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not….

…intentional. This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed…..

…to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality. The real story…

…is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total “witch hunt!”

Then, Friday morning, a Russian official seemed to agree with Trump’s assessment. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov borrowed a phrase from Trump and told a Russian state media outlet that the investigation was a “witch hunt,” Reuters reported.

Key tweet of the day:

We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!

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Trump is pretty much ignoring Sessions allegations

UPDATE (4:52 PM EST): Jeff Sessions held a news conference Thiursday afternoon where he announced that he would recuse himself from any investigation into Russia’s actions during election season. In the conference, Sessions said “that since [he] had involvement with the campaign, [he] should not be involved in any campaign investigation.”

UPDATE (2:38 PM EST): The president has spoken out. On Thursday, Trump reportedly said he has “total confidence” in Jeff Sessions and that he “doesn’t think” the attorney general should recuse himself from the investigation into possible Russian activity.

ORIGINAL STORY: On Wednesday night, reports broke claiming that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador twice before the November election, despite saying he didn’t during his confirmation hearing. Democrats are up in arms, demanding Sessions’ resignation from his post. Even some Republicans are saying Sessions must, at a minimum, recuse himself from investigations into whether Russia attempted to interfere in the election.

One person not demanding answers, however, appears to be the president. In a statement Thursday morning, the White House denounced the allegations, saying “This is the latest attack against the Trump Administration by partisan Democrats. General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony.”

And Trump hasn’t spoken out on Twitter, either. His only tweet (so far) since the news broke was an early-morning message about the stock market.

Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!

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(Only) tweet of the day:

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Trump signs two women-focused bills

The president signed two bills Tuesday to “empower women.” The bills are H.R. 321, which “directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science technology engineering, mathematics, and aerospace” and H.R. 255, which “authorizes the National Science Foundation to use existing entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women.”

Trump’s daughter Ivanka reportedly has been pushing for women-focused legislation. She released a statement about the bills, saying she “[looks] forward to working alongside [her] father to champion the economic empowerment of women and girls and encouraging gender diversity in STEM fields is critical to that mission.”

Trump gives a presidential speech

Donald Trump gave a speech Tuesday night in front of a joint session of Congress, where he took a much more conciliatory tone than any speech to date. In his speech, Trump discussed a healthcare overhaul, rebuilding the military and asked both sides of the aisle to put aside their fights and work together.

One of the most emotional parts of his speech came as he addressed Carryn Owens, the wife of Ryan Owens, who died in a raid in Yemen shortly after Trump took office.

But the speech was not devoid of his usual rhetoric: Trump also made some of his frequent claims, suggesting immigration enforcement makes us safer (studies show it drives crime up), saying 94 million people are unemployed (a misleading statistic), and claiming most terrorists are foreign-born (that’s false).

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White House will no longer contest Texas voter ID law

A lawyer for a voting rights group said Monday that the Justice Department told them it will no longer challenge Texas’ voter ID law in court, the Associated Press reported. The move represents an about-face from the Obama administration’s stance; in 2013, former President Obama’s government joined a lawsuit challenging the statute.

Last summer, a federal appeals court found that the law discriminates against minorities and the poor and ordered changes before the presidential election. The Trump administration’s position under new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not necessarily surprising. Voter ID laws generally are divided on strict party lines.

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Another one bites the dust

The president lost yet another one of his Cabinet appointees Sunday when Philip Bildren, his nominee for Secretary of the Navy, withdrew from consideration. Bilden cited difficulties meeting the government’s ethics guidelines and the financial sacrifice he would have to make as his reason for withdrawing. Bilden isn’t the first Trump nominee to remove themself from the running; Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, also dropped out over business interests earlier this month.

Rumors that Bilden would quit were first reported February 18 by CBS, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed on Twitter at the time that the report was false.

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Trump breaks up with the Correspondent’s Dinner

Donald Trump is following in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps by becoming the first president since to skip the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Of course, when Reagan bailed on the press, he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Trump announced his plans via Twitter on Saturday, writing “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”

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The White House tries to literally stop the presses

The New York Times, CNN and Politico were among the news outlets banned from attending today’s White House press briefing-an escalation of the already historically poor relations between the media and the Trump administration. Press secretary Sean Spicer handpicked which outlets would be allowed to attend an off-camera media huddle. NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News were allowed to attend, along with conservative outlets like the Washington Times and Breitbart, but other outlets chose to boycott the event.

The White House Correspondents Association released a statement condemning the action, saying “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”

Trump’s CPAC speech, in a nutshell

The president spoke today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, and repeated some of his favorite talking points.

Trump used a large chunk of his speech to continue his attacks on the “mainstream media,” to criticize NAFTA, suggest that Sweden’s crime rate is going up (it’s not), and claim that intelligence agency leaks are made up.

He also discussed the Affordable Care Act, saying that “Obamacare covers very few people” and claiming that many Americans had their healthcare taken away from them. In reality, roughly 20 million Americans became insured under the Affordable Care Act, and there are no reliable studies suggesting that “many” people lost their healthcare plans.

Trump also spoke about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, once again claiming that the agency endorsed him for president. Numerous outlets have debunked that claim; federal agencies cannot endorse political candidates. A union representing ICE employees did endorse Trump, but not the agency itself.

White House wants the FBI to help them handle the press… Sad!

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is in hot water after asking a top FBI official to dispute reports that Trump’s campaign advisers were talking to Russian intelligence agents during the election. A White House official reportedly said Priebus made the request after hearing from the FBI that it believed a New York Times report detailing the allegations was inaccurate. The FBI has not taken a public stance on this issue.

Democrats are angry about the request, arguing that the contact was inappropriate. “The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers,” said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the AP reported.

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Trump makes it one whole (work) day without Twitter

Stop the presses. For the first time since taking office, Donald Trump made it a whole day without tweeting… sort of. The president was noticeably absent from Twitter until 5:53 PM on Thursday, when he broke his nearly 34-hour silence to tweet out a link to a Fox Business report about the stock market.

‘S&P 500 Edges Higher After Trump Renews Jobs Pledge’ http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/02/23/s-p-500-edges-higher-after-trump-renews-jobs-pledge.html 

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S&P 500 Edges Higher After Trump Renews Jobs Pledge

U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by energy stocks and a renewed pledge by President Donald Trump to chief executives of major U.S. companies to bring back millions of jobs to the United…

foxbusiness.com

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Spicer says Trump will lift transgender bathroom protections

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today that Donald Trump will rescind federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. This would be a major reversal of an Obama administration policy that trans advocates say is necessary to protect transgender students. In a press conference, Spicer said “The president has made it clear throughout the campaign that he is a firm believer in states’ rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reportedly resisted the idea at first, until Trump sided with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked her to drop her objection. In addition to its impact on schools throughout the country, the new guidance could affect future Supreme Court cases, particularly one scheduled to be heard next month that involves a transgender student from Virginia who was denied bathroom access.

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Trump administration drastically expands deportation rules

The White House released expanded immigration guidelines today that will dramatically increase the number of people targeted for deportation. Under former President Obama, immigration officials focused their efforts of undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of violent crimes. The new directives target people who have been convicted of any crime, including those who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” reported The New York Times.

Bizarrely, administration officials reportedly confirmed that the U.S. plans to deport anyone who enters the country illegally from Mexico back there, even if they are not actually from Mexico. The new guidelines will not affect people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but the new policy is likely to result in a major increase in deportations.

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One month down

Monday marked the end of the chaotic first month of Donald Trump’s presidency. In his first month in office, Trump has signed 23 executive orders, the most notable being his Muslim travel ban, which is currently mired in court proceedings. He faced his first staff shakeup just 24 days in when his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned over controversial dealings with Russia. So far, he has spent one-quarter of his presidency in Florida, where he raised eyebrows for receiving a classified security briefing at a public dinner table at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and his campaign is under investigation by intelligence agencies for alleged collusion with Russia to hack the Democratic National Committee and influence the outcome of last year’s election.

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#LastNightInSweden

The Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C. is asking the State Department for an explanation over comments Donald Trump made yesterday suggesting there was a terror attack in Sweden. During his rally in Florida, Trump discussed national security and said, “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.”

The only problem is that nothing happened Thursday night in Sweden. After the rally, the hashtag “#LastNightInSweden” went viral, and former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”

The White House has not yet clarified Trump’s remarks.

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Trump begins campaigning for 2020, because that’s a good use of his time

Although Donald Trump has been in office for less than a month, he’s already kicked off his re-election campaign. Despite a difficult week in the White House, Trump held a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, where he doubled down on his feud with the media-at-large and reiterated his campaign promises. The rally drew roughly 9,000 to see Trump speak but garnered criticism for taking precious time away from his duties when the White House is in flux. Trump has not yet nominated a replacement for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The event was hosted by his campaign group rather than the White House, which is highly unusual this early in a presidency. Trump filed paperwork for his re-election bid shortly after taking office. In contrast, it took former President Obama more than two years to file for his own re-election campaign.

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Key tweet(s) of the day:

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

Thank you for all of the nice statements on the Press Conference yesterday. Rush Limbaugh said one of greatest ever. Fake media not happy!

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Trump tried to appoint Bob Harward, but he said no, no, no

Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down an offer Thursday from the Trump administration to become the new national security adviser. Harward was considered a top pick for Michael Flynn’s vacated post, and had previously served as Defense Secretary Mattis’ deputy when Mattis was in charge of U.S. Central Command. The White House said Friday that Harward turned down the offer because of the time commitment, but severalnews outlets are reporting that Harward was concerned about not being allowed to form his own team. The national security adviser role is often a highly sought-after position, so Harward’s rejection is notable.

Today’s news conference was… interesting

Donald Trump held a news conference this afternoon where he attacked the media (again), falsely claimed that he won the election in a landslide (again), asked a veteran black reporter if she was friends with the Congressional Black Caucus and criticized intelligence agencies for their “absolutely real [leaks]” of fake news.

He also made bizarre comments about uranium, asking reporters: “You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”

Trump’s conference was impromptu and puzzling, perhaps a harbinger of new media practices from the White House.

Trump set to announce new labor secretary pick

Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump’s labor secretary pick Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination, Trump is set to name a new one. He is expected to nominate Alexander Acosta, dean of Florida International University Law School. Acosta served as assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush, where he worked in the civil rights division. If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet.

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Trump picks the option “both parties like” to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Donald Trump threw away decades of diplomatic policy on Wednesday when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a joint conference, Trump said he was “looking at two-state and one-state” options to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before adding “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.”

Of course, there is not really an option that “both parties like,” which is part of the reason the conflict has lasted more than 50 years. The Palestinians are unlikely to accept any deal that doesn’t give them a sovereign state, and Netanyahu is facing pressure from far-right members of his government to annex parts of the West Bank. Trump, for his part, did tell Netanyahu during the conference that he wants Israel to stop expanding settlements while they work on a deal and emphasized that both sides will need to compromise. But this message is somewhat undercut by Trump’s refusal to commit to a two-state solution.

Intelligence agencies reportedly withholding intel from Trump

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials have withheld information from Donald Trump because “they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.” The report cites anonymous current and former officials and underscores that none of the sources know of an instance where information about security threats was withheld. This is not unheard of; intelligence agencies have withheld information from past presidents when they deemed it necessary to protect sources. What makes this instance different is the officials citing the president’s discretion as their reason for withholding.

Andrew Puzder withdraws his labor secretary nomination

Donald Trump’s secretary of labor nominee Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination today, just one day before he was scheduled to appear before the Senate. Puzder, a fast-food executive, had been facing growing pushback from Senate Democrats and Republicans alike after several scandals. Among them: that his family once employed an undocumented immigrant and past abuse allegations that rocketed into the public sphere after Politico obtained tape from an episode of Oprah where his ex-wife accused Puzder of leaving “permanent” damage from physical abuse.

Puzder’s withdrawal is the latest blow to the Trump administration, after a chaotic week that saw the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn less than one month into his tenure.

It wasn’t just Michael Flynn

Several of Donald Trump’s allies, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, were speaking with Russian officials during the election season, the New York Times reports. The “repeated contacts” between Trump allies and Russia were leaked by four current and former American officials, who intercepted the communications last year. Intelligence agencies have not yet found anything to suggest that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to interfere with the election, but the agencies were reportedly worried because of the amount of contact that came while Trump was speaking highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail.

Manafort strongly rejected these claims. “I have no idea what this is referring to” he said in a statement. “I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.” He then added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.'”

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PSA: Do not shine cell phones at classified documents

Donald Trump is facing criticism from Democrats and security analysts after reports broke that he read sensitive documents in public at his Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend. A member of the resort, Richard Agazio (who has since deleted his Facebook), posted photos online of Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviewing the documents at a dinner table while staff shined cell phones lights on them. As many have pointed out, aiming an internet-connected cell phone at classified documents is extremely inappropriate, as these devices’ cameras and audio can be hacked. Furthermore, it’s troublesome that Trump chose to receive classified information in a room full of his resort guests, most of whom likely do not have security clearances.

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*Mike drop*

UPDATE (11:21 PM EST): National security adviser Michael Flynn abruptly resigned from office Monday night after the Justice Department told the White House it believed he could be subject to blackmail by Russian entities. Flynn was in office for less than a month when reports began to circulate that he had deliberately misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration. Keith Kellogg will reportedly serve as the interim national security adviser until President Trump selects a new nominee.

Trump loves Flynn, loves him not

No one really knows where President Trump stands on his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Late last week, reports surfaced suggesting Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with Russia’s ambassador about lifting sanctions. Since then, Trump’s response-and the responses from his administration-have been mixed. Trump first suggested Friday that he was unaware of the controversy. Since then, several prominent members of his Cabinet have hedged, refusing to give a direct answer on whether Trump is considering replacing Flynn. Such an early staff shakeup would be very unusual, particularly because Trump has left the National Security Council with an unprecedented amount of vacant positions.

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Key tweet of the day:

Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!

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Hundreds arrested in immigration raids around the U.S.

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants were arrested this week in raids across the country, marking the first major move toward enforcing President Trump’s campaign promise to deport the 11 million people living in the U.S. without visas. The raids, which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) called “routine,” targeted people living in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and the Carolinas.

Similar raids during the Obama administration targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal records. The new raids are different, because ICE officials also rounded up immigrants with no convictions. In January, Trump broadened the criteria the Department of Homeland Security can use to target undocumented immigrants, allowing them to include people with minor or no criminal records.

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Key tweet of the day:

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Ninth Circuit says no to Trump’s travel ban

The 9th Circuit Court is not here for Donald Trump’s travel ban. In a unanimous decision released Thursday evening, the appeals court ruled againstthe government, meaning Trump’s ban will remain suspended. The court’s decision said that the government “had not shown a likelihood of success on its merits,” or, in other words, the appeals court doesn’t believe the law will be upheld in court. Although this is a setback for Trump’s travel ban, it is not expected to be the end of the legal battle over the executive order. The government is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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The president has strong opinions about Nordstrom

Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s fashion label, tweeting “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person-always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” (The official POTUS account then retweeted it.) His attack on the company raised eyebrows over the ethics of the president using his platform to criticize a company over a deal with his daughter.

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Trump’s legal battle with Washington State continues

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday night over Donald Trump’s immigration ban. The government is appealing a decision handed down by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who ruled last Friday that the ban was temporarily suspended nationwide. The three-judge appeals court panel is expected to rule in the next few days on whether the ban should be “immediately” reinstated or if the lower court’s suspension should remain in place. If they choose not to reinstate the ban, then it’s possible that the case would move forward with Robart. However, it’s more likely that the government will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Trump gives out fake news to the National Sheriffs Association

Donald Trump was criticized by media Tuesday for once again citing inaccurate murder rate statistics-this time, during a speech at the National Sheriffs Association. During his speech, Trump said “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” This is patently wrong; the murder rate in the U.S. is actually at its lowest, according to FBI crime data. Trump has been repeatedly critiqued in the past for claiming the murder rate is up but appears to be sticking with his claim.

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Trump escalates his feud with the media

President Trump continued his attacks on the media Monday, accusing the New York Times of “making up stories [and] sources” and later accusing the press of intentionally covering up terrorist attacks in Europe. Though Trump has called the Times a “failing” newspaper regularly since he began campaigning in 2015, today’s unsubstantiated accusations are an escalation of his feud with the outlet.

In the afternoon, Trump gave a speech at United States Central Command, where he suggested the media is refusing to report on terrorism in Europe. He did not specify what attacks he is referring to and offered no evidence to support this claim, but said “In many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” It’s troubling that Trump continues to attack the legitimacy of any news company that publishes negative coverage about him; earlier in the day, he called “any” negative polls about his immigration ban illegitimate.

Russia wants an apology over Putin being called a “killer”

Russia is asking for an apology over comments Fox News host Bill O’Reilly made in an interview with Donald Trump that aired Sunday. In the interview, O’Reilly called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer,” and Trump did not disagree. He instead responded that “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized Trump for his refusal to condemn Putin and his authoritarian style of governing.

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Trump says Obamacare replacement could take a year

Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that a replacement for Obamacare could take “till sometime into next year,” a notable walk-back from his earlier promises to have the Affordable Care Act repealed quickly. As recently as January 11th, Trump was suggesting that former President Obama’s landmark healthcare act would be overturned as soon as his pick for secretary of health and human services was confirmed. The walk-back suggests that the protests from Americans nationwide-as well as some members of Congress-who argue that repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan would be disastrous are having an effect.

Appeals court delivers a blow to Trump’s immigration ban

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused early Sunday morning to immediately reinstate Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban, delivering a blow to the administration. Instead, the appeals court asked both sides-the Department of Justice and the State of Washington-to file legal briefs by Monday afternoon before the court makes its final decision. What this means is that the ban will remain suspended until at least Monday, and anyone affected by it can continue to enter the country. But regardless of how the appellate court rules, it is likely this case will quickly make its way to the Supreme Court.

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Federal judge puts a stop to Trump’s immigration ban

The Department of Homeland Security announced this morning that they are suspending “any and all actions implementing…the Executive Order” after a Republican-appointed federal judge suspended the ban nationwide. The State Department also announced this morning that they have begun re-issuing visas to travelers from the seven countries affected by Trump’s ban, and have notified Customs & Border Protection that approved refugees, travelers with valid visas, and green card holders are to be admitted. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has already announced that the Department of Justice will appeal the court’s order.

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Trump rolls back financial regulations because his friends “can’t borrow money”

President Trump signed an executive order Friday that scales back large portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which were designed after the recession to prevent banks from speculating with consumers’ money. Trump-and the financial industry-have been critical of Dodd-Frank for a long time, with Trump promising on the campaign trail to overturn it.

At a meeting with business leaders Friday, Trump said, “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that had nice businesses, they can’t borrow money.” Though people commonly disagree over how much the financial industry should be regulated, it is noteworthy that the president has openly stated that he’s making policy to help his friends.

States plan to sue the president over the immigration ban

Hawaii has reportedly joined the growing number of states suing Donald Trump over his immigration ban. The state’s attorney general, Doug Chin, announced at a press conference that they would file paperwork in court today to challenge the ban. Several other states-Washington, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts-have already filed a suit, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. Current legal challenges against the ban surround everything from due process to the establishment clause, which prohibits laws that favor specific religions. If these challenges are successful in district court, it is likely they will be appealed and potentially make their way up to the Supreme Court.

House Republicans repeal a ban on mentally ill people buying guns

The House GOP has overturned an Obama-era gun control regulation that would have helped prevent people with documented mental illnesses from buying guns. The policy meant that people who can’t manage their finances because of a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder would be reported to the FBI so their names would appear during background checks. The National Rifle Association, as well as some disability advocacy groups, opposed the measure for being discriminatory-and now it’s off the table.

Kellyanne Conway makes up a massacre on MSNBC

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s immigration in a TV interview Thursday by saying that people didn’t know “that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. It didn’t get covered.” That’s true; it didn’t get covered-because it didn’t happen.

First of all, former President Obama never banned Iraqi refugees. Instead, he ordered a re-vetting of more than 57,000 Iraqi refugees, which caused a temporary delay in admitting new ones.

Second, there was no massacre at Bowling Green. Conway later clarified that she meant “Bowling Green terrorists,” but the two men she’s referring to-Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, who settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky-never carried out (or even planned) an attack on U.S. soil. They were arrested for trying to get weapons to Al Qaeda in Iraq.

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Spicer uses attack Iran didn’t carry out to justify putting them “on notice”

At a press conference Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that Iran attacked a U.S. naval ship, which would be an act of war. In reality, the attack was carried out by Houthi rebels on a Saudi Arabian ship, the Intercept reported. Spicer’s comments were an attempt to justify the White House putting Iran “on notice” several days before, and he has not yet addressed his false statement that Iran was behind the attack.

Trump wants to build a bridge between church and state

Donald Trump said at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast that he wants to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that prevents tax-exempt churches from engaging in political activity. Trump had promised evangelical voters that he would overturn the amendment during his campaign, but to do so as president would require approval from Congress. It also would mark a serious move away from the separation of church and state that has been a traditional hallmark of American democracy.

Trump prays for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings

Trump is now feuding with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, the president referenced leaving The Apprentice and how “the ratings went right down the tubes.” He then said he wanted to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger, “for those ratings.” Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, fired back on Twitter, saying “Hey Donald. I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, cause you’re such an expert in ratings. And I take over your job, so that people can finally sleep comfortably again.” Trump’s comments may have been a joke, but they represent a departure from how former presidents have addressed the breakfast.

Republicans suddenly care about having a full Supreme Court

The New York Times reported yesterday that President Trump is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “go nuclear” with the Supreme Court vote if Democrats try to stall his pick. The so-called nuclear option would allow Republicans to approve Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch by simple majority, rather than with the traditional 60 votes. This would be an expansion of an action Democrats took in November 2013, when they used the nuclear option to eliminate filibusters on executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments other than the Supreme Court. But Democrats are furious that Republicans are asking for a smooth confirmation process after stalling action on Obama nominee Merrick Garland for almost a full year.

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U.S.-Australia relations go down under

On Wednesday, Donald Trump threatened to break an international deal on Twitter.

Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!

The tweet was the latest in a new dispute between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after Trump shouted at Turnbull during a scheduled call, told Turnbull it was “the worst call by far” that he’d had with a foreign leader, and then hung up 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hourlong talk. Australia is one of the United States’ staunchest allies, so Trump’s treatment of Turnbull raised some eyebrows, and some worry this could cause a rift in the countries’ relationship.

Republicans push Trump nominees through without Democrats present

The Republican-run Senate Finance Committee approved two of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks-Steve Mnuchin for the treasury and Tom Price for the department of health and human services-by overriding a rule that requires at least one Democrat to be present. (Democrats were boycotting the committee meeting for a second straight day.) The move is an unusual about-face from normal procedures-and will likely increase tensions between the parties.

Trump’s Black History Month speech is about everything but black history

Donald Trump gave a speech today in honor of Black History Month, but spent most of it talking about himself, how he did with black voters in the election, and why CNN is “fake news.” Although Trump referenced several African-American heroes, most mentions were brief. He also seemed to claim during his speech that he got “substantially more [black votes] than other candidates who had run in the past years.” This is false; exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton won around 88 percent of the black vote.

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Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

In a primetime livestream, Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s nearly year-long vacant seat on the Supreme Court. He’s very much in the mold of Scalia, a “textualist” conservative who many believe-based in part on his famous decision to allow Hobby Lobby to deny employees contraception coverage for religious reasons-could put women’s reproductive rights in jeopardy if confirmed. (Read 10 key takeaways about Gorusch here.)

Now, the confirmation process begins in the Senate, where Gorsuch needs 60 votes-eight of which must come from Democrats-to be confirmed.

Trump meets with his potential Supreme Court nominees ahead of announcement

The New York Times reports that Trump is meeting with his top two choices for Supreme Court nominee today ahead of his official announcement, which will take place at 8 p.m. The two judges are Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman.

Trump won’t touch LGBT rights

Despite rumors that the Trump administration had drafted a new executive order that would affect federal benefits, adoption rights, and access to services for LGBT citizens, the White House issued a statement this morning saying the president would let Obama’s protections stand. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the statement said.

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Trump fires acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Just over two hours after she told the DOJ not to defend Trump’s immigration ban, he fired her. In a press release, he claimed that Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to enact the order. His administration swore in Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, as her replacement.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells Department of Justice not to defend the immigration ban

Because she doesn’t believe it’s lawful, Obama-appointed Attorney General Sally Yates-who will be replaced by Jeff Sessions if and when he’s confirmed by the Senate-told the Department of Justice not to make legal arguments defending President Trump’s immigration ban.

Trump says the media is “the opposition party”

In a tweet, the president referred to the mainstream media as “the opposition party,” an idea introduced by Steve Bannon last week in an interview with the New York Times. Trump’s ongoing feud with the media is unusual; though most presidents conflict with media outlets at some point, Trump’s statements about what the press’ role is, comments about holding reporters “accountable” for treating him “unfairly” (which is to say reporting on his actions), and repeated attacks on the legitimacy of certain legacy news outlets are a notable escalation.

Trump announces that he’ll announce his Supreme Court nominee tomorrow

In a bit of reality-TV flair, President Trump teased that he will announce his Supreme Court pick tomorrow at 8 p.m. (two days earlier than originally planned, which may be an attempt to shift the news narrative away from the immigration ban). Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley also announced today that Democrats will filibuster any pick other than Merrick Garland, who was Obama’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago, and who Republicans have actively resisted confirming so Trump could make the pick instead.

Trump institutes new federal regulation swap

Trump signed an executive order this morning that for every new federal regulation, two must be revoked.

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The White House softens the immigration ban-but only for green card holders and permanent residents

Senior White House official Reince Priebus appeared to reverse the administration’s position on green card holders Sunday. In an interview, Priebus said that the immigration and travel ban would not apply to permanent residents “moving forward.” But he also added that people traveling to and from the listed countries-potentially including U.S. citizens-could be subject to extra questioning if Customs officials deem them “suspicious.

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People continue to be detained at airports

Customs and Border Protection is reportedly ignoring the court order and continuing to detain people with valid visas at airports across the country.

A federal judge assists detained refugees and requests further legal review of the ban

A federal judge ruled around 9 p.m. that the government could not return refugees to their country of origin until further legal review of the ban. Several other judges have since ruled along similar lines.

Steve Bannon gets unprecedented power on the National Security Council

The Trump administration downgraded the national director of intelligence and joint chiefs of staff from their permanent positions on the National Security Council and replaced them with White House senior adviser Steve Bannon, the former publisher of alt-right white nationalist news hub Breitbart. Restructuring the National Security Council this way puts the controversial Bannon-whose appointment to Trump’s administration did not require Senate confirmation-in a key decision-making position about war and other critical threats to the country.

Protests erupt amid refugee ban outrage

Thousands of protesters demonstrated across the country in reaction to what Democrats-and Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani-are referring to as the “Muslim ban,” the implementation of which has resulted in the detention of refugees and green card and visa holders at airports across the U.S. Because the executive order was drafted without the input of various government agencies, it took officials by surprise, and they’re struggling to determine who can enter the country and who, now, cannot.

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Trump signs a monumental executive order preventing citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States

President Trump signed a controversial refugee ban that, under the auspices of preventing radical Islamic terrorists from committing crimes against our citizens, bars all Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely, halts the remaining refugee program for 120 days, and blocks any entry by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen for 90 days, regardless of visa status. It’s worth noting that the ban excludes countries where Trump has business ties.

The White House shows unprecedented support for the March For Life demonstration

President Trump tweeted out his support for the anti-abortion March For Life, saying their demonstration is “so important.” Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the rally, making him the highest ranked public official to ever speak at the annual March For Life event.

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancels his meeting with President Trump

President Trump tweeted Thursday that if Mexico is unwilling to pay for his proposed border wall-one of his campaign promises-that they should cancel the planned meeting between the two countries. Following this announcement, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto did cancel the meeting, saying “This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS.”

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Trump does his first White House interview

The president’s first interview-with ABC’s David Muir-aired tonight. He doubled down on false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd and the amount of voter fraud in the United States. See the interview’s five most talked-about moments here.

Trump orders the construction of the wall

He’s making good on what is perhaps his most notorious campaign promise: to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Today he signed an executive order that directs the government to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control…”

What remains to be seen-but is hotly contested-is who will pay for it.

Trump orders an immigrations and customs enforcement hiring increase

The president directed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to hire 10,000 additional officers.

Trump orders large-scale investigation into voter fraud

Despite all evidence to the contrary, President Trump remains convinced that millions of Americans voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election-and maintains that none of these alleged illegal voters cast ballots for him. After reporters point out that if it were true, it would be a massive blow to democracy (and suggest that he put his money where his mouth is and investigate if he truly believes it), he announced that he will, in fact, order an investigation.

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Trump orders approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction project

Trump released a memorandum restarting construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which the Obama administration had effectively squashed. The Dakota Access Pipeline has faced significant opposition from environmentalists and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe because the pipeline crosses through the Tribe’s sacred land and could impact the quality of their drinking water.

Trump signals that the Keystone XL pipeline will resume construction again

President Trump released a memorandum allowing TransCanada to re-submit its petition to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which has faced serious opposition from environmental activists.

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Trump signs a federal hiring freeze

Donald Trump signed a presidential memo freezing hiring on all federal government roles, excluding military and national security positions.

Trump reinstates an international abortion gag order

The president has implemented a Reagan-era policy preventing foreign NGOs from receiving U.S. funds if they perform or promote abortions. This policy has flip-flopped with every recent president-Bill Clinton revoked the rule during his time in office, George W. Bush reinstated it, and Barack Obama revoked it again in 2009.

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Kellyanne Conway says the White House’s crowd size claims are “alternative facts”

Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and told Chuck Todd that President Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s false claims about the size of President Trump’s inaugural crowd are “alternative facts.” Shortly afterward, #alternativefacts went viral online.

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Trump speaks about his crowd size and the media at the CIA

President Trump visited the CIA and, in front of the Memorial Wall commemorating fallen agents, gave a seemingly unscripted and wide-ranging speech. He said the media is to blame for making it sound like he “had a feud” with the agencies, although Trump personally criticized the intelligence community several times prior to the meeting.

Women protest Trump with the March on Washington

Far more than the originally estimated 200,000 people flooded the streets of the capitol (and cities around the globe) for the Women’s March, a protest of Trump’s anti-woman rhetoric and policy plans, causing the inevitable comparisons between today’s crowd and yesterday’s.

Press secretary Sean Spicer rails against the media in first briefing

At his first press briefing after the inauguration, in his first official capacity as journalists’ liaison to the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer lambasted the media for what he claims is unfair reporting about the inauguration crowd size. Watch here.

View photos

 

Trump waives rules that would prevent cabinet members from serving

Among his other day-one moves: a regulatory freeze asking agencies not to submit any new regulations and signing waivers allowing certain members of his Cabinet-such as Secretary of Defense James Mattis-to serve in his administration despite conflicts.

And the Executive Orders begin

Donald Trump’s first executive order suspends a planned decrease in mortgage rates for first-time home buyers that was announced in the final weeks of former President Obama’s term. While Republicans say the move is an effort to prevent another taxpayer bailout of Wall Street, Democrats argue that it only raises costs for low-income and middle-class home buyers.

The administration also releases an executive order directing federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of any part of the Affordable Care Act that creates an “economic burden” for states.

Inauguration Day gets a special name

Among his first official actions is to declare January 20, 2017, the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” Other presidents have named their inaugural days; historically, the names are chosen to mark an American value. Former President Obama, for example, named his 2009 inauguration the “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation.”

Trump takes office

Today Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. In his speech, he promises to end “American carnage” and says that his administration will prioritize “America first.”

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American Health Care Act of 2017

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“HR 1628” redirects here. For the star, see List of stars in Lepus.
American Health Care Act of 2017
Great Seal of the United States
Acronym AHCA
Colloquial name(s) Trumpcare, Ryancare, Republicare
Introduced in 115th United States Congress
Introduced on March 20, 2017
Effects and codifications
Act(s) affected Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, Social Security Act, Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, Public Health Service Act
Legislative history

The American Health Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1628), referred to by the acronym AHCA and nicknamed variously Trumpcare,[1]Ryancare,[2] Obamacare-Lite,[3] and Republicare,[4] was a United States Congress bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). It was based on a plan first publicly released by House Republicans on March 6, 2017, and the first part of what its proponents claim was a 3-phase plan to repeal the act. The AHCA would have repealed the parts of the Affordable Care Act within the scope of the federal budget, including provisions contained within the Internal Revenue Code such as the individual and employer mandates and various taxes, and also modifications to the federal Medicaid program.

The bill was withdrawn on March 24, 2017, after it failed to gain sufficient House Republican support to pass it.[5][6]

Background

The ACA, a major reform of health care in the United States, was passed during the 111th United States Congress. During the 2012 presidential election, Republican nominee Mitt Romney promised to repeal the ACA.[7] After Romney’s defeat, the ACA remained in effect for the duration of Obama’s presidency despite Republican efforts to repeal it. In the 114th United States Congress, Republicans passed a bill that would have repealed much of the ACA, but the bill was vetoed by President Obama.[8] After winning the 2016 presidential election, President Donald Trump promised to “repeal and replace” the ACA with a new law.[9] The 2016 elections left Republicans in control of the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, but with fifty-two seats in the one-hundred member Senate, Republicans would still have to rely on at least some Senate Democrats to overcome a filibuster.[10] However, Senate rules provide for a special budget rule called reconciliation, which allows certain budget-related bills to bypass the filibuster and be enacted with a simple majority vote.[10] Republican leaders were seeking to pass the AHCA through the Senate by using the reconciliation rule.[10][11]

Overview

Logo for the American Health Care Act of 2017

The act would have allowed states to continue to enroll persons in the ACA Medicaid expansion through January 1, 2020, and would disallow further enrollment after that date.[12] The AHCA will include age-based tax credits for those who earn less than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers.[12] The bill would have required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. The AHCA used a standard of ‘continuous coverage’, defined by a 63-day coverage gap, where an individual who currently has insurance and is changing insurers will not pay a higher rate with their new insurer. Individuals who wished to buy insurance but were outside of the coverage gap would have paid a 30 percent premium surcharge for one year and then return to standard rates.[13] Both healthy and the sick were required to pay the surcharge, which may have caused healthier persons to remain outside of the market, causing overall health care costs to rise (see adverse selection, risk pool).[13][14]

Views of experts

Health care experts from across the political spectrum— liberal, moderate, and conservative —agreed that the House Republican health care bill was unworkable and suffered from fatal flaws, although specific objections varied depending on ideological perspective.[15] Experts agreed that the bill fell far short of the goals laid forth by Trump —”Affordable coverage for everyone; lower deductibles and health care costs; better care; and zero cuts to Medicaid”—because the bill was (1) “almost certain” to reduce overall health care coverage and increase deductibles and (2) would phase out the Medicaid expansion.[15]

Among the key concerns identified by health-care experts were that (1) the tax credits funded at the level proposed in the bill are insufficient to pay for individual insurance, and could lead to Americans dropping out of the health care market;[16](2) the bill’s elimination of the ACA’s community rating provision (barring insurance companies from charging older people more than three times what they charge younger people) would increase cost disparities between age groups and would increase premiums for Americans more prone to illness;[16] (3) the dropping of healthy people from the health insurance market (adverse selection[15]) could lead to insurer “death spirals” that would decrease choice; and (4) the phaseout of the Medicaid expansion was likely to result in a loss of healthcare for poorer Americans.[16]

Effect on health coverage and the budget

Original CBO estimates

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score (analysis) of the bill on March 13, 2017, concluding that:[17][18]

  • Persons with healthcare insurance coverage would be reduced by 14 million in 2018, 21 million in 2020, and 24 million in 2026 relative to current law.
  • The AHCA would reduce the deficit relative to current law by $337 billion over a decade. Approximately $1.2 trillion less would be spent over that time, while $900 billion less in tax revenue would be collected. Medicaid spending would be cut considerably. Taxes on the roughly top 5% of income-earners under current law would considerably drop.
    • In negotiations after the initial report, the law was modified such that the CBO estimated the deficit reduction would total about $150 billion over a decade.[19]
  • Insurance premiums would rise initially relative to current law, but would be reduced in the future moderately: “Starting in 2020, the increase in average premiums from repealing the individual mandate penalties would be more than offset by the combination of several factors that would decrease those premiums: grants to states from the Patient and State Stability Fund (which CBO and JCT expect to largely be used by states to limit the costs to insurers of enrollees with very high claims); the elimination of the requirement for insurers to offer plans covering certain percentages of the cost of covered benefits; and a younger mix of enrollees. By 2026, average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market under the legislation would be roughly 10 percent lower than under current law…”
  • Premium changes would vary significantly by age: “Under the legislation, insurers would be allowed to generally charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones rather than three times more as under current law, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and substantially raising premiums for older people.” This would lead to a mix of younger enrollees, one of the reasons for the lower overall premiums over the longer-term.
  • Under both current law and the AHCA, CBO assumes the health exchange marketplaces would remain stable (i.e., no “death spiral”).[17]
  • Social Security expenditures would decrease due to earlier mortality: “CBO also estimates that outlays for Social Security benefits would decrease by about $3 billion over the 2017–2026 period.”
  • Medicaid expenditures would increase due to reduced access to birth control. “By CBO’s estimates, in the one-year period in which federal funds for Planned Parenthood would be prohibited under the legislation, the number of births in the Medicaid program would increase by several thousand, increasing direct spending for Medicaid by $21 million in 2017 and by $77 million over the 2017–2026 period.”

CBO estimates including amendments

The Congressional Budget Office released an updated analysis of the bill, including changes found in several amendments on March 23, 2017, concluding that:[20]

  • The updated bill would have similar effects on health insurance coverage, differing by no more than half a million in any category in any year over the next decade.
  • The bill’s impact on health insurance premiums would be approximately the same as was previously estimated.
  • The proposed amendments would reduce federal deficits by $150 billion over a decade, compared to $337 billion previously.
  • Changes to the Medicaid program would reduce the estimate of savings by $41 billion over a decade.

Other estimates

Outside organizations have published analyses of the effect of AHCA passage:

  • A Brookings Institution analysis projected that under the AHCA as introduced, 15 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage over 10 years. The Brookings analysis estimated that at least 6 million would lose coverage from the public exchange; 2 million from employer coverage; and 7 million currently covered under Medicaid.[21][22]
  • A Standard & Poor’s analysis projected that under the AHCA as introduced, between 6 and 10 million Americans would lose coverage by 2024, with 2 to 4 million losing coverage from the exchange and 4 to 6 million losing coverage under Medicaid.[21][23]
  • David Cutler, professor of applied economics at Harvard University and former administrator at the National Institutes of Health, believed that this figure could be even higher, as many as 20 million people.[16]
  • Two reports from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that the ACHA would have shifted $370 billion in Medicaid costs to the states, which would have then be forced to cut coverage and services,[24] and would make health insurance far less affordable in high-cost states, particularly 11 states in which tax credit would have been more the halved.[25]
  • According to a report viewed by Politico, the White House Office of Management and Budget‘s own analysis of the AHCA estimated that 26 million people would under AHCA lose coverage over the next decade.[26] According to White House Communications Director Michael Dubke, the analysis tried to use similar methodology as the CBO.[26]

Legislative process

Trump discussing with lawmakers on replacing the ACA at the White House, March 2017.

The two bills that constituted the AHCA were introduced into the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on March 8, 2017[27] and passed both committees the next day.[28][29] Both committees approved the AHCA on a party-line vote without a CBO report, prompting criticism from Democrats.[30][31] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued that the bill should not proceed through Congress until the CBO completed its analysis of the bill.[31]Representative Richard Neal, the ranking Democratic member of the House Ways and Means Committee, stated: “To consider a bill of this magnitude without a CBO score is not only puzzling and concerning, but also irresponsible.”[30] Trump administration officials, including budget director Mick Mulvaney and economic adviser Gary Cohn, preemptively attacked the CBO, with Cohn saying that the CBO’s score would be “meaningless.”[32][33] According to David Lawder of Reuters, these criticisms from the White House are unusual: “Prior administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have steered clear of attacking the credibility of the agency, which many lawmakers regard as a neutral arbiter.”[32]

The bill next went to the House Budget Committee, which passed it on March 16 by 19 to 17 votes, with three Republicans from the conservative Freedom Caucus joining Democrats in opposition.[34] It next went to the Rules Committee, which sets the terms of the debate before a bill comes to the full House.[35][36] A House vote was initially scheduled for March 23, but was delayed for at least a day after Republican leaders were unable to find enough votes for passage.[37] On March 24, with both moderate and far-right Republican lawmakers opposing the bill, Speaker Ryan and President Trump chose to withdraw the bill from consideration rather than go through with a full House vote that would have failed.[38]

The comparatively “lightning fast” legislative movement for the AHCA through the House was in contrast to the Affordable Care Act, which took months of negotiations, committee markup, and debate before passage in 2010.[39] The quick process prompted complaints from Democrats “that the Republicans were rushing to approve a repeal bill without hearing from consumers, health care providers, insurance companies or state officials — and without having estimates of the cost or the impact on coverage from the Congressional Budget Office.”[39]

Division among House Republicans and withdrawal of bill

In the days leading up to the vote, which was originally scheduled for March 23, 2017, there was increased division among House Republicans over the replacement, causing concerns among Republican Party leadership over having the votes needed to pass the bill. Among Republican defectors from the bill, the largest opposition came from members of the House Freedom Caucus, which consists of some of the most conservative members in the House.[40][41] The Freedom Caucus members, among their primary objections to the bill, were not convinced that the healthcare replacement effectively abolished some elements of the Affordable Care Act, most prominently the essential health benefits.[42] To achieve success in the House, Republicans could not afford more than twenty-one members of their own party voting against the bill, and several days before the vote, dissent within the party, largely from the Freedom Caucus, was a significant threat to its passage.[43] Beyond the conservative members of the Freedom Caucus, there was continued opposition to the bill from more moderate Republicans in the House, such as from members of the center-right Tuesday Group, where there were concerns about loss of coverage and the potential of rising insurance costs.[42]

Amid the division between the Republicans, the party leadership, which was led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, attempted to ease concerns among the Freedom Caucus and others.[44] President Trump also held numerous meetings with Republicans in the House leading up to the vote, though after negotiations with the Freedom Caucus over the ACA’s essential health benefits, there was still a considerable amount of opposition from moderates and members of the Freedom Caucus alike.[44] On the day of the scheduled vote, which coincided with the seven-year anniversary of the ACA’s signing into law, party leadership continued to struggle with getting the required votes for the bill, and the vote was rescheduled for the following day, March 24, 2017, as requested by the White House.[45][46]

The night before the rescheduled vote, President Trump, in a final effort to negotiate with those opposing the bill, announced to the House Republicans that the vote the following day would be their only chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a goal long sought after by Republicans in Congress.[47][48] The following morning the bill was brought to the House floor after being approved by the House Rules Committee for four hours of debate preceding the vote, which was expected in the afternoon.[49] It was reported that a couple hours before the expected vote, Ryan made a sudden visit to the White House to meet with Trump, in which Ryan told Trump that the bill did not have enough votes to pass the House.[50] Shortly after the time of the expected vote it was announced that the Republicans were withdrawing the AHCA from consideration, a decision made after Ryan met with Trump.[51][52] Following the withdrawal, Ryan stated in a press conference that the country is “going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future”, while Trump said that it was tough to pass the bill without support from Democrats; Ryan and Trump both said they were going to move forward on other policy issues.[51]

Reaction

President Trump endorsed the bill after its release, calling it “our wonderful new Healthcare Bill” on Twitter.[53] Speaker of the House Paul Ryan referred to the bill as a “conservative wish list” that would provide for “monumental, exciting conservative reform.”[54] Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin described the AHCA as “a good start.”[55]

But conservative members of the Republican Party quickly raised skepticism about the proposed reform as they would prefer a complete repeal of the PPACA. The White House sent Mick Mulvaney, executive of the Office of Management and Budget, to convince members of the House Freedom Caucus to support the legislation. According to numerous reports, Mulvaney was unsuccessful. Shortly after the meeting caucus chairman Mark Meadows said, “No new position tonight. Our position is the same. We believe we need to do a clean repeal bill.”[56]

A number of conservative groups have also criticized the bill for not being enough of a repeal, calling it “Obamacare 2.0.”[57]The Koch brother-supported organizations Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners have indicated their intention to put together a multi-million dollar fund in support of re-election campaigns for conservative lawmakers who take a stand against the bill.[58]

The AARP released a statement opposing the bill. Stating, “On top of the hefty premium increase for consumers, big drug companies and other special interests get a sweetheart deal.”[59] The American Medical Association released a statement opposing the bill.[60] America’s Essential Hospitals, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Children’s Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems also stated their opposition in a joint letter.[61]Conservative groups, including Heritage Action, the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and the Tea Party Patriots all oppose the bill.[62]

Progressive groups, including MoveOn.org, American Bridge, the Center for American Progress, and Our Revolution, were resolutely opposed to the bill, as expected.[62] Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman stated that the bill’s “awfulness is almost surreal,” writing that what Republican congressional leadership “came up with instead was a dog’s breakfast that conservatives are, with some justice, calling Obamacare 2.0. But a better designation would be Obamacare 0.5, because it’s a half-baked plan that accepts the logic and broad outline of the Affordable Care Act while catastrophically weakening key provisions.”[63] On March 23, 2017 (the seventh anniversary of ACA and one day prior to the vote on the American Health Care Act), former President Obama hailed the successes of the Affordable Care Act, including 20 million more Americans insured, preexisting conditions covered, young people staying on their parents’ plans until 26, lowered costs for women’s health care and free preventive care.[64][65]

Comparison between ACA and AHCA

The following table describes major differences and similarities between the ACA and the AHCA, as originally proposed in the House

Differences and similarities between the ACA and AHCA[66][67][68]
ACA AHCA
Insurance mandates Individual mandate
Employer mandate on larger companies
No individual or employer mandate
Insurers can impose a one year 30% surcharge on consumers with a lapse in coverage
Aid for insurance consumers Income-based subsidies for premiums that limit after-subsidy cost to a percent of income
Tax credits for out-of-pocket expenses
Age-based refundable tax credits for premiums, phased out for higher incomes
No tax credits for out-of-pocket expenses
Medicaid Matching federal funds to states for anyone who qualifies
Expanded eligibility to 138% of poverty level income
Federal funds granted to states based on a capped, per-capita basis starting in 2020
States can choose to expand Medicaid eligibility, but would receive less federal support for those additional persons
Premium age differences Insurers can charge older customers up to three times as much as younger customers Insurers can charge older customers up to five times as much as younger customers
Health Savings Accounts Individuals can put $3,400 and families can put $6,750 into a tax-free health savings account Individuals can put $6,550 and families can put $13,100 into a tax-free health savings account
Cadillac” tax Cadillac tax on high-cost employer plans implemented in 2020 Cadillac tax on high-cost employer plans implemented in 2025
Other taxes 3.8% tax on investment income
0.9% tax on individuals with an income higher than $200,000 or families with an income higher than $250,000
Repeal of both taxes
Essential health benefits[69] Insurers are required to offer ten essential health benefits Private plans are required to offer the ten essential health benefits.
Some Medicaid plans are not required to offer mental health and substance abuse benefits
Pre-existing conditions Insurers are banned from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions
Dependents staying on plan Dependents can stay on health insurance plan until age 26
Annual and lifetime limits Insurers are prohibited from setting annual and lifetime limits on individual coverage

Whats Next

32% Tax reform

22% Immigration

34% infrastructure

14%

Trumpcare: What Happens Next, In One Chart

Overnight, House republicans released their long-awaited proposed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, which many have already dubbed Trumpcare. We laid out some of the key changes and proposed provisions as part of the new law which will now be debated, first in committee as soon as Wednesday, and then will seek the approval of the House and Senate. It is here that things may turn more complicated.

In terms of next steps, there are five immediate action items that politicians and pundits will focus on, courtesy of Axios:

  • How will the conservative Republicans react? They’re the ones who threatened to vote against anything less aggressive than the 2015 repeal bill, which this definitely is. Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said on Hannity last night that “we’re making progress,” but other early signs aren’t good: Rep. Jim Jordan reportedly doesn’t like it, a Republican Study Committee memo calls it a “Republican welfare entitlement,” and Rep. Justin Amash tweeted that it was “Obamacare 2.0.”
  • Will there be a Medicaid backlash? That looked like a serious danger after four GOP senators from states that expanded Medicaid said they wouldn’t support the changes they saw in an early draft. But they softened their tone after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday night, Caitlin Owens reports. “It’s moving in the right direction,” said West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito, one of the worried senators.
  • How many people would be covered? Normally, the Congressional Budget Office would tell them that. But not this time — because the committees are plowing ahead without waiting for the cost and coverage estimates.
  • No Congressional Budget Office score? Really? They’re going to take a lot of heat from Democrats for that decision — Democrats are already accusing them of trying to hide the likely losses of coverage. The key, though, is how many Republicans are uncomfortable with it too. “That seems problematic.” Sen. Bill Cassidy told Caitlin, adding: “I’m trying to be diplomatic.”
  • Do they actually know how to pay for it? Here’s what House Republicans answer the “how will you pay for it” question in their FAQs: “We are still discussing details, but we are committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with fiscally responsible policies that restore the free market and protect taxpayers.”

A bigger picture question is how long will the entire process of repeal and replace take. Conveniently, over the weekend Goldman’s Alec Phillips address this issue. Here are this thoughts:

We think there is a good chance that Congress will resolve the ACA debate in Q2. Activity on the issue will intensify over the next few weeks; House committees may begin to vote on legislation as soon as the week of March 6. This could allow for passage by the full House by late March or early April, if plans remain on track. However, even on that timetable, the Senate is likely to take longer, and the odds that the Senate sends the President a bill prior to the congressional spring recess (April 10-21) seems fairly low. If so, final resolution could be pushed until May, in light of the upcoming debate on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch and the April 28 expiration of federal spending authority, which will require new spending legislation to avoid a temporary government shutdown.

That’s the best case scenario. Here is the worst-case:

If Republican leaders cannot send the President an ACA bill by April or May, they will face two politically unpalatable options. First, they could continue to press for a solution, delaying consideration of tax reform for an indefinite period. This delay would occur because both proposals are expected to be considered under the “budget reconciliation” process. However, since only one tax bill and one spending bill can be considered under that process in each budget cycle—and ACA repeal legislation is expected to have tax and spending provisions—Republican leaders plan to consider the ACA bill in the FY2017 budget cycle, and to begin the FY2018 budget cycle, including instructions to pass tax reform, once the ACA bill has passed. A second option would be to postpone ACA legislation and move to tax reform, essentially reneging on a campaign commitment. 

Goldman also notes that beyond the timetable, the ACA debate is a reminder that enacting ambitious structural reforms on a partisan basis is difficult, for two reasons. First, shared accountability allows lawmakers to take greater political risks. Over the last few decades, most of the major fiscal reforms were enacted under divided government, as this allows for shared responsibility: the Social Security amendments in 1983, the Tax Reform Act of 1986, and the various deficit reduction measures of the late 1980s and 1990s all come to mind. Of course, this is not always the case; the ACA passed along party lines in 2010.

Second, relying on only Republican votes results in a very thin vote margin, particularly in the Senate. Republicans in that chamber have 52 seats, and will need 51 votes (potentially including Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote) to pass ACA or tax legislation through the budget reconciliation process. Although this is often sufficient on issues where there are clearly defined differences between the parties, it makes it quite difficult to pass legislation where lawmakers have more idiosyncratic concerns, as is often the case in tax reform.

As to why a potential Trumpcare slowdown is relevant, the answer is simple: delays would likely lead to substantial delays for the bulk of Trump’s proposed economic agenda, putting prompt implementation of his tax reform in jeopardy, as Phillips explains:

the slow process on ACA repeal signals that tax reform is likely to take longer than initially expected and that the final tax legislation that Congress enacts is likely to be less radical than the early proposals from House Republicans and the Trump campaign. That said, while tax legislation looks likely to be delayed we expect it to move forward eventually.”

Finally, putting it all together, here is Goldman’s chart showing “the long year ahead