Issues, Politics

Ryan’s Health Care Bill Passes by Razor Thin Margin of 4 Votes

Speaker Paul Ryan’s prediction came true just a few hours ago when the House approved the AHCA bill with a razor thin 4-vote margin, passing finally 217-213.

Though the bill does not officially repeal Obamacare, it does rework the bulk of Obama’s signature legacy.

What’s of greater intrigue now is whether the bill will survive the Senate where Democrats are almost certain to filibuster the Republican measure.

Will the GOP exercise another nuclear option and kill Democrat stonewalling again?

It’ll be a banner showdown.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

House Republicans passed a revised version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Thursday.
The bill passed after moderate Republicans fretted this week about how well the bill will protect patients with pre-existing conditions. Many, including former Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), previously came out against the bill, but now support it after GOP leaders agreed to add an amendment adding $8 billion to help cover people with pre-existing conditions.

The vote comes after a tumultuous process for the bill, which has seen previously scheduled votes pulled after Speaker Paul Ryan failed to accumulate enough Republican support. Speaker Ryan received widespread criticism after drafting the bill in secret and retaining many parts of Obamacare. Pundits dubbed the original bill, “Ryancare.”

House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) stepped up and brokered a revised version of the bill, known as the MacArthur amendment, along with Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). The addition of the amendment collected enough Republican votes to pass the bill.

Meadows’ efforts in no small part seem to have succeeded where Ryan failed, rallying his House Republican colleagues behind a years-long campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare–despite the fact that this bill does not constitute a full repeal of the previous president’s signature law.

Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and others have worked alongside congressional Republicans, especially Meadows–who has emerged as a force in the negotiating process so strong that some have begun calling him the acting speaker of the House in the wake of Ryan’s failures–to bring the new bill to the brink of passage.

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Politics

Breaking: Susan Rice Refuses Senate Request to Testify

Surprise, surprise. Susan Rice instructed her attorney to send regrets to Sen. Lindsey Graham with a refusal to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about Russia’s role in the election.

Her excuse? She doesn’t think the hearings will be sufficiently bipartisan.

This may signal more than anything in her testimony could.

If she were indeed innocent of politically motivated unmasking of Trump campaign officials, then there would be no reason to worry about offering testimony.

Guilty a little are we?

Here’s more from Gateway Pundit…

Wednesday, Susan Rice, the former National Security Adviser under President Obama, declined a request from Senator Lindsey Graham to participate in a judiciary subcommittee hearing regarding potential Russian interference.

A letter obtained by CNN exclusively from Susan Rice’s lawyer outlines Rice’s reasoning for not appearing. The letter was addressed to Sen. Graham and Sen. Whitehouse.

From CNN:

A source familiar with Rice’s discussions told CNN that when Graham invited her, Rice believed it was a bipartisan overture and was prepared to accept. However, Whitehouse indicated to her that the invitation was made without his agreement, as he believed her presence was not relevant to the topic of the hearing, according to the source.

Rice considered the invitation a “diversionary play” to distract attention from the investigation into Russian election interference, including contacts between Trump allies and Russians during the campaign, the source said.

Graham first told CNN before the letter was sent that he had invited Rice before the Senate panel to determine whether the Obama administration “tried to politicize intelligence” — part of his broader investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are set to testify.
Despite declining the appearance, Rice’s lawyer assured Graham and Whitehouse in the letter that she was “prepared to assist Congressional inquiries into Russian election interference because of the important national interests at stake, provided they are conducted in a bipartisan manner, and, as appropriate, in classified session.”

The current concern is that Rice acted “improperly” as national security adviser by gathering the identities of Trump administration/transition officials. Rice is now infamous for the unmasking scandal as well the Benghazi scandal and many other scandals.

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Issues, Politics

‘We Have The Votes’: Speaker Ryan Claims AHCA Will Pass Today

Speaker Paul Ryan yanked the AHCA bill from the floor schedule last month at the 11th hour before it could go down to dismal defeat.

And most expected that all hope of repealing Obamacare was lost.

But yesterday Ryan issued assurance that, after endless negotiations, he’s finally secured enough votes from key members including the Freedom Caucus to get passage today.

Keep in mind, however, that AHCA is not a repeal.

It’s simply a step in the right direction toward fixing health care in America.

Whether Congress will have the gumption finally to pass a repeal still remains to be seen.

Here’s more from Redstate…

As was reported earlier, the House announced it will vote on the American Health Care Act on Thursday. While going through with a vote would necessarily imply Republicans have the necessary votes to pass the bill — a failure to pass tomorrow would be a huge embarrassment to the White House and House Republicans — many have wondered whether or not the votes are actually there.

Both Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy insist they do indeed have the votes they need to send the bill to the Senate.

When asked if the House had the votes, the Majority Leader said a definitive “Yes, we have the votes.”

Passing a replacement to Obamacare through its first hurdle will mark a major step in not only fulfilling one of President Trump’s campaign promises but in the touted agenda of every sitting Republican in Congress.

Since Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote in 2010, Republicans ran on the promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare if given the necessary trifecta: the House, Senate, and White House.

While the AHCA is far from being a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, with the new amendments it at least takes a step in the right direction of reducing health care costs for most Americans.

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Issues, Politics

Rebuked NSA Still Collecting Millions of Americans’ Phone Records

After Edward Snowden’s leak of internal intelligence practices by the NSA, senior federal officials promptly began the process of reining in the agency’s ability to monitor and collect private information on innocent Americans.

But according to a new FISA transparency report, the NSA still collected over 151 million phone records of American citizens.

But here’s the kicker: only 42 warrants were issued for suspected terrorists.

The growing tension between saber rattling around the world and freedom at home isn’t going away soon.

Here’s more from NYT…

The National Security Agency vacuumed up more than 151 million records about Americans’ phone calls last year via a new system that Congress created to end the agency’s once-secret program that collected domestic calling records in bulk, a report disclosed Tuesday.

Although the number is large on its face, it nonetheless represents a massive reduction from the amount of information the agency gathered previously. Under the old system, it collected potentially “billions of records per day,” according to a 2014 study.

The new report, an annual surveillance review published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, offered the first glimpse of how the new system is working. That the National Security Agency still collected such a large volume of calling data, even if it was only a fraction of what the agency once gathered, showed the challenge of conducting 21st-century surveillance and data monitoring within constraints set up to protect Americans’ privacy.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the agency has analyzed large amounts of communications metadata — records showing who contacted whom, but not what they said — to hunt for associates of terrorism suspects. For years, it did so by collecting domestic call records in bulk.

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Politics

Paul Ryan: Spending Bill Doesn’t Fund Planned Parenthood

House Republicans are taking more than a few arrows from conservatives this week after the one trillion budget deal was announced over the weekend.

But the fact that Democrats are running around crowing about the deal should give Republicans reason for pause.

And the fact that Planned Parenthood is still funded is salt in the wound.

But now Speaker Paul Ryan is denying that there’s funding for Planned Parenthood in the bill at all, and that complete defunding will come in the next bill.

Which of course leaves one to wonder: if there’s no funding in the bill then what’s the need for de-funding?

Here’s more from Daily Caller…

House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a Tuesday press briefing that “Planned Parenthood is not funded” in the current budget deal, clashing with statements made by other Republicans Monday.

Just yesterday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said that the spending bill “absolutely” funds Planned Parenthood and that the House is more focused on defunding the organization through a budget reconciliation bill later this year.

“If you’re a lawmaker serious about voting to defund Planned Parenthood, then your opportunity to do that is in the AHCA…we decided not to fight the Planned Parenthood battle on this funding bill because it’s contained in the AHCA, which we hope to take up this week as well,” Mulvaney explained.

During Tuesday’s briefing with Ryan, a reporter mentioned that conservatives are “disappointed” that Planned Parenthood remains funded in the spending bill.

Ryan began his response by ensuring that defunding would be in the reconciliation bill, echoing what Mulvaney said previously.

“Look at what all of our pro-life groups are saying. The Planned Parenthood legislation needs to be in the reconciliation bill as it is, because that’s how you get it into law,” Ryan stated.

However, Ryan also asserted that the spending bill itself doesn’t fund Planned Parenthood.

“This bill does not have funding for Planned Parenthood,” he said. “That’s important. The reconciliation bill advances the pro-life cause even further.”

“These two efforts in conjunction with one another advance our cause and our principles quite a bit,” he finished.

Here’s the video:

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Politics

Congress Agrees on One Trillion Budget Plan to Avoid Shutdown

After more partisan rancor and infighting, heads of the Republican and Democrat caucuses in the House agreed on a 10-figure budget deal that would avoid a government shutdown and keep things at bay.

The problem is that it doesn’t really do much good.

First, it doesn’t fund the border wall promised by President Trump, but it DOES fund sanctuary cities, Planned Parenthood and countless other pork projects.

When both Democrats and Republicans are praising a deal, it’s usually not a good deal for the American people.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Lawmakers on Monday unveiled a huge $1 trillion-plus spending bill that would fund most government operations through September but would deny President Donald Trump money for a border wall and rejects his proposed cuts to popular domestic programs.

The 1,665-page bill agreed to on Sunday is the product of weeks of negotiations. It was made public in the predawn hours Monday and is tentatively scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday.

The catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s short tenure in the White House. While losing on funding for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump won a $15 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, though that too fell short of what he requested.

The measure funds the remainder of the 2017 budget year, through Sept. 30, rejecting cuts to popular domestic programs targeted by Trump such as medical research and infrastructure grants.

Successful votes later this week would also clear away any remaining threat of a government shutdown — at least until the Oct. 1 start of the 2018 budget year. Trump has submitted a partial 2018 budget promising a whopping $54 billion, 10 percent increase for the Pentagon from current levels, financed by cutting to foreign aid and other nondefense programs by an equal amount. Negotiators on the pending measure, however, rejected a smaller $18 billion package of cuts and instead slightly increased funding for domestic programs.

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Politics

Trump Effect: EPA Pulls Down Climate Science Website

Over the weekend Denver got nailed with a foot of snow, well after ski season has typically ended.

So it’s appropriate that it was the same week the EPA announced it is pulling down the agency’s climate science webpages to “reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”

In other words, no more taxpayer dollars will be wasted on a site used to promote global warming hysteria.

According to an anonymous insider, EPA head Scott Pruitt personally approved the move.

Three cheers!

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed several web pages about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions from its homepage as the agency announced Friday that it would be “undergoing changes” to better reflect the Trump administration’s priorities.

Officials took down one website that appeared to contradict EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s statements on climate change and removed another that provided information about the Clean Power Plan, an initiative of the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported.

“As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land, and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” J.P. Freire, the agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, said in a statement. “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”

The agency also said it would archive pages from the previous administration.

The climate change website now redirects to a page that says that “this page is being updated” and that “we are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”

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Issues, Politics

Trump Names Hard Core Pro-lifer to Key HHS Post

Liberals are apoplectic this week after President Trump named a key pro-life leader to a top post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Recall this is the same department that Obama used via Kathleen Sebelius to press his radical pro-abortion agenda.

Now Trump has started to reverse that reality.

Charmaine Yoest will now serve as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs having served formerly as President for Americans United for Life.

NARAL and Planned Parenthood are foaming at the mouth.

Here’s more from Redstate…

Yesterday, President Trump appointed a strong pro-lifer, Charmaine Yoest, as Assistant Secretary of HHS for Public Affairs.

Charmaine Yoest, tapped to be assistant secretary of public affairs, is a senior fellow at American Values. She is the former president of Americans United for Life, which has been instrumental in advancing anti-abortion legislation at the state level to restrict access to the procedure.

AUL’s website — which states that the group offers state lawmakers 32 different pieces of model legislation to restrict access to abortion — characterizes Yoest as “public enemy #1” for abortion rights organizations.

Yoest’s appointment does not require Senate confirmation, which is too bad because we could sell PPV tickets to the confirmation.

After the announcement the left went completely batty on Twitter…

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Issues, Politics

Trump: ‘I Will Never, Ever Infringe on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms’

As promised, President Trump delivered the keynote address to the annual NRA convention yesterday becoming the first POTUS since Reagan to do so.

During his remarks he thanked the NRA for backing him up during the election and promised to return the favor, “I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

While poking fun at Sen. Elizabeth Warren — aka ‘Pocahontas’ — and other liberals, he detailed the litany of executive orders and decisions he’s made to undo Obama’s gun-control legacy.

The crowd went wild.

Here’s more from CNSNews…

President Donald Trump pledged to never infringe on the 2nd Amendment during a speech at the National Rifle Association’s meeting in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday.

“We all took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, and that means defending the 2nd Amendment. So let me make a simple to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience today: as your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms – never, ever,” Trump said.

“Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God,” he added.

Trump said he was “proud to receive the NRA’s earliest endorsement in the history of the organization” and also “proud to be the first sitting president to address the NRA Leadership Forum since our wonderful Ronald Reagan in 1983.”

“When I spoke to this forum last year, our nation was still mourning the loss of a giant, a great defender of the Constitution – Justice Antonin Scalia. I promised that if elected, I would nominate a justice who would be faithful and loyal to the Constitution. I even went one step further and publicly presented a list of 20 judges from which I would make my selection, and that’s exactly what we did,” Trump said.

The president kept his promise by nominating Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

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Politics

Trump On Being President: ‘I Thought It Would Be Easier’

Building a massive, trans-continental real estate empire was nothing particularly special for Donald Trump.

Being leader of the free world is imminently more difficult apparently.

In an interview this week with Reuters, President Trump offered a rare moment of candor explaining that the job of Chief Executive is quite a bit harder than he expected it would be.

Round the clock security detail, incessant phone calls and meetings and political bickering all make his business operations look like a walk in the park.

Welcome to Washington, Mr. President.

Here’s more from Daily Caller…

Donald Trump was surprised by the difficulties that come with being president.

“I loved my previous life,” the president said during an interview with Reuters as he nears his 100th day in office. “I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life.”

“I thought it would be easier.”

He said he is adjusting to his new life — and round-the-clock protection from the Secret Service.

“You’re really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere,” he said. “I like to drive. I can’t drive any more.”

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Trump said being a leader was much different than being a businessman.

“In business, you don’t necessarily need heart, whereas here, almost everything affects people,” he said. “So if you’re talking about health care — you have health care in business but you’re trying to just negotiate a good price on health care, et cetera, et cetera. You’re providing health. Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government, involves heart, whereas in business, most things don’t involve heart.”

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