POLITICS
03/14/2017 05:53 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2017

HUFFPOST HILL - Americans To Save Millions On Health Care By Being Dead

Aaron Bernstein / Reuters

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Today is International Pi Day, when we celebrate the geometrical constant 3.14 and, in the interest of both sides, remind you that it could also be 73. When it comes to the GOP’s health care overhaul, Tom Cotton is trying to have his birthday cake and eat it, too. And snow blanketed the Washington area last night, affecting a white transformation not seen since Mike Pence arrived from Indiana. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 14th, 2017:

SENATORS FROM MEDICAID EXPANSION STATES NOT CRAZY ABOUT AHCA - Tom Cotton’s beard keeps reminding us of the person who lived in a group house WAYYY too deep into their 30s. Igor Bobic: “Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is quickly becoming the most vocal Republican critic of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Just days after warning the plan could cost House Republicans their majority in the 2018 midterm elections, Cotton ripped into the GOP’s three-pronged approach to replacing the law with tax credits and health savings accounts ‘There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,’ Cotton said in a Tuesday morning interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt…. Several other GOP senators have also spoken out against the legislation in recent days. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), whose state expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, said he wants ‘to see costs and premiums go down to make health care more affordable for Montana families.’ Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) also panned the bill during a meeting with constituents on Saturday.” [HuffPost]

Congratulations to Journalism: “Inbox: Fox News says Jesse Watters will sit down with Trump for an interview to air on the March 18th edition of Watters’ World” [@AlexPappas]

TRUMP CITES NWS, DESPITE PROPOSED CUTS - Chris D’Angelo: “As a winter storm barreled down on the Northeast, President Donald Trump encouraged the public to heed warnings from the National Weather Service – an agency whose budget he has proposed slashing. The president shared the agency’s snowfall forecast and winter warning and advisory map to Twitter on Monday. ‘Everyone along the east coast be safe and listen to local officials as a major winter storm approaches,’ Trump wrote…. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has proposed making significant cuts to the budgets for both the NWS and its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s overall budget could be slashed by 17 percent, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post. The OMB has also suggested cutting the agency’s satellite data division by $513 million, or 22 percent. NOAA satellites are crucial to today’s weather forecasts and monitoring climate change.” [HuffPost]

PELOSI CALLS FOR TOUGHER ACTION ON KING -  Steve King on the subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights is too perfect. Daniel Marans: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Republican leaders to remove Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) as chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights in the wake of the Iowa congressman’s white nationalist comments. Pelosi first called for King to be stripped of the powerful position after King praised Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders on Sunday for understanding that ‘we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.’ King subsequently refused to apologize for the remarks, saying Monday that, ‘If you go down the road a few generations, or maybe centuries, with the inter-marriage, I’d like to see an America that is just so homogenous that we look a lot the same.’ Also on Monday, King told a radio show that ‘the Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before’ they overtake the white population in size.” [HuffPost]

SHUTDOWN! SHUTDOWN! Does Schumer not know voters always blame the party calling for the shutdown? Elana Schor: “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Republicans on Tuesday that they’d risk a government shutdown if they try to attach money for President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall to a must-pass bill to keep the government open. The same applies to any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, Schumer said…. ‘If they put these poison pill amendments in and try to shove them down the American people’s throat,’ Schumer told reporters, ‘of course they might be responsible for shutting the government down.’” [Politico]

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CBO REPORT HASTENS TRUMP/RYAN SHOWDOWN - Jonathan Cohn: ““Insurance for everybody.’ When President Donald Trump made that boast in January, in an interview with The Washington Post, nobody took it literally. But Trump had promised universal coverage many times before, suggesting, at the very least, he wanted to replace Obamacare with something that would provide better coverage to more people.His allies said similar things. Just this past Sunday, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price vowed that even more people would have insurance if the repeal went through. Monday’s report by the Congressional Budget Office revealed that boast ― and seven years of similar Republican arguments – to be fraudulent. It also called into question whether the GOP’s real mission with repeal is to help people get health care – or simply to shrink government programs, reduce taxes and protect the haves at the expense of the have-nots.” [HuffPost]

Spicey says we were supposed to take Trump seriously, not literally, on universal health care.

KNIVES OUT AT BREITBART FOR RYAN - [smash cut to John Boehner cutting grass, being rich and happy] Michael Calderone: “On the recording from a private conference call in October, Ryan is heard telling House Republicans that he couldn’t defend then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump at that moment or ‘in the future.’... That Breitbart would drop this 5-month-old recording now – as Ryan and the Trump administration make their case for a health care bill to repeal and ‘replace’ Obamacare – may appear surprising…. But Breitbart News emerged as a force in Washington through its sustained attacks on Republican establishment…. Breitbart News has noticeably blamed Ryan for any problems with the Republican bill to replace Obamacare, knowns as the American Health Care Act. The site has portrayed the bill as part of an effort by the speaker to mislead the president into supporting legislation that betrays conservative principles. Still, Breitbart’s opposition to the health care bill ― which it has called ‘Obamacare Lite’ and ‘Obamacare 2.0’ – runs the risk of antagonizing Trump, who publicly supports the bill, and administration officials arguing on its behalf.” [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE STILL PUSHING WIRETAPPING CLAIM - Marina Fang: “More than a week after President Donald Trump alleged without evidence that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered wiretapping at Trump Tower, White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday continued to insist that Trump could prove the claim through a congressional investigation and findings from the Department of Justice. ‘I think he is extremely confident,’ Spicer told reporters of Trump’s belief in his unsubstantiated claim. “I’ll let them do their job – I’ll let the House and Senate, I’ll let the DOJ report this, but as I’ve commented in the past, I think there is significant reporting about surveillance techniques that have existed throughout the 2016 election. I’ll leave it to them to issue their report, but I think he feels very confident that [what] will ultimately come of this will vindicate him.’ The House Intelligence Committee gave the Department of Justice until Monday to provide evidence of the claim, but on Monday afternoon, the DOJ said it needed more time.” [HuffPost]

DEMS STILL LACKING A TOEHOLD AGAINST GORSUCH - Maybe a different tactic is just releasing a series of web ads featuring Merrick Garland crying in the shower. Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett: “President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has breezed through more than 70 meetings with senators. Opponents who’ve scoured his record have found little to latch onto. And some Democrats are privately beginning to believe that Gorsuch – barring a blunder at his Senate confirmation hearings next week – will clinch the 60 votes he needs to be approved without a filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has been taking the temperature of the Senate Democratic Caucus but hasn’t begun whipping hard against Gorsuch, sources familiar with the matter said…. Some embrace the tactics advocated by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to wage a filibuster and bait Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into trying to change Senate rules. The gamble would be that the Kentucky Republican doesn’t have the votes – or, if he does, that Democrats will win the next presidential election in 2020 and ultimately benefit from the new rules. Or Democrats could wave Gorsuch through, reasoning that confirming him won’t change the balance of the court – but the next vacancy would, and they’d be left without a 60-vote threshold as a weapon.” [Politico]

GET OUT YOUR TINIEST VIOLINS -.Colin Campbell: “Former Gov. Pat McCrory says the backlash against House Bill 2 is making some employers reluctant to hire him but he’s currently doing consulting and advisory board work. McCrory has been appearing frequently in interviews with national media outlets to defend the controversial LGBT law…. In a podcast interview recently with WORLD, an Asheville-based evangelical Christian news website, McCrory talked about his challenges on the job market. The former Republican governor says HB2 ‘has impacted me to this day, even after I left office. People are reluctant to hire me, because, “oh my gosh, he’s a bigot” – which is the last thing I am.’” [News & Observer]

WHITE HOUSE STILL DOING GREAT JOB AT SHRINKING GOVERNMENT - Shout out to half our government offices, which are currently being managed by tumbleweeds and a drinking bird desk toy left behind by a Treasury deputy secretary. Karen DeYoung: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has withdrawn retired senior diplomat Anne W. Patterson as his choice for undersecretary for policy after the White House indicated unwillingness to fight what it said would be a battle for Senate confirmation. U.S. officials said that two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), were strongly opposed to Patterson’s nomination because she served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2011 to 2013, a time when the Obama administration supported an elected government with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that was ultimately overthrown by the Egyptian military. The withdrawal leaves Mattis with a still-empty bench of Trump-appointed senior officials, a situation that stretches across the administration as Cabinet secretaries have not chosen, or the White House has not approved, nominees. Although Obama administration holdovers remain in a few jobs, after eight weeks in office, President Trump has not nominated a single high official under Cabinet rank in the Defense or State departments.” [WaPo]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog transformed into a sled.

MEANWHILE - But where is the GOP’s hip-hop BBQ that will create jobs? Eric Garcia: “Longtime hip-hop fan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio criticized a new video from rap legend Snoop Dogg. A new music video for the song ‘Lavender’ shows the Dogfather pulling a gun on a someone playing President Donald Trump dressed as a clown. But the Florida Republican wasn’t having any of it. ‘I think people can disagree on policy but we gotta be very careful about that kind of thing,’ Rubio told TMZ outside Reagan National Airport. ‘because the wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea and you can have a real problem so I’m not sure what Snoop was thinking.’” [Roll Call]

COMFORT FOOD

- Cooking the best burgers from “Bob’s Burgers.”

- The economics of airline classes.

- Child’s hug request is denied by the harsh demands of collegiate sports.

TWITTERAMA

@phranqueigh: Pi Day is just a fake holiday created by math companies to sell more math.

@tylercoates: Being mad that the weather isn’t as terrible as you were promised is Peak Twitter.

@alexburnsNYT: An actual, entirely relevant question in the WH briefing: “Does the president believe he was surveilled through microwave technologies?”

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