POLITICS
03/13/2017 06:01 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - CBO Confirms Trump And Hillary The Same, Basically

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

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The CBO projects that the GOP’s Obamacare replacement would cause 24 million people to lose their health insurance, but it failed to mention all the job opportunities that will open up when a bunch of people die. A low-pressure system is moving up the East Coast, and tonight’s forecast is calling for clouds with increasing chances of Senate stunt snowballs. And Kellyanne Conway said microwaves may be spying on the president. At the very least, the White House’s increasingly paranoid tone jibes with that mason jar of Steve Bannon’s urine that was nominated to be Army secretary. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 13th, 2017:

CBO RELEASES AHCA ESTIMATES: 24 MILLION LOSING CARE - Our estimate: Sean Spicer is going to say something dumb about this tomorrow and that thing will end up on t-shirts worn by your favorite woke Instagram stars. Jeffrey Young: “The Republican plan to repeal and ‘replace’ the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of Americans without health coverage by 24 million and reduce the federal budget deficit by $337 billion by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Monday. The American Health Care Act, conceived by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and endorsed by President Donald Trump, has already been approved on party-line votes in two House committees. These negative findings give lie to Trump’s repeated promises that the Republican alternative would provide universal coverage and lower prices for Americans. Shortly before taking office, for example, Trump told The Washington Post that ‘we’re going to have insurance for everybody’ that would be ‘much less expensive and much better.’” [HuffPost]

Amazing that the guy who had to settle all those fraud suits isn’t on the level about things like this: “For the last several years, Trump himself has appeared to be a big fan of the CBO and its analysis. In fact, he frequently cited the office’s work in attacks against former President Barack Obama’s record on health care, jobs, the unemployment rate and the economy...Based on his advisers’ recent comments, Trump appears to be having a change of heart with respect to the CBO now that he’s president. Republicans are bracing for a report that will show millions of Americans losing health coverage under the plan that GOP leaders, and Trump himself, are championing as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.” [HuffPost’s Igor Bobic]

STEVE KING EXPLICITLY ENDORSES WHITE NATIONALISM, IS STILL IN CONGRESS - Shout out to Paul Ryan’s kindler, gentler brand of Republicanism. Hayley Miller: “Longtime civil rights champion Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) slammed Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) Monday for ‘bigoted and racist’ comments that appeared to support white nationalism. King landed himself in hot water Sunday when he retweeted an Islamophobic cartoon and praised the illustrator for understanding ‘that culture and demographics are our destiny.’ ‘We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,’ King tweeted, apparently an attack on Muslims and immigrants entering the U.S. The backlash intensified on Monday after an unbowed King appeared on CNN’s ‘New Day.’  ‘I meant exactly what I said,’ King told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, adding that he’d like the U.S. to be ‘so homogenous that we look a lot the same.’” [HuffPost]

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OH, AND WHAT ABOUT HIS TAX RETURNS? Amanda Terkel: “The House Intelligence Committee has asked President Donald Trump to submit evidence of his allegation that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower by Monday. But it’s still not clear whether he or his administration will comply ― or whether there’s any evidence to offer.  ‘We are reviewing the letter and will decline further comment at this time,’ said Justice Department spokesman Pete Carr. Trump asked Congress to investigate his claim, which he tweeted about on March 4, that Barack Obama personally ordered surveillance on Trump Tower before the election. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said the committee would look into the matter as part of a broader inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.  So far, there is no evidence that Trump’s allegation was anything but a conspiracy theory, perhaps picked up from a right-wing website. If there is proof, Trump seems to be the only person to have it.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP TO CALL FOR RADICAL CUTS IN FEDERAL WORKFORCE - But the Trump steak each bureaucrat will get will more than make up for the social collapse. Damian Paletta:  “President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce. This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said. The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government. Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role.” [WaPo]

PRESS: ROOK TO D7, SEAN SPICER: *SMASHES CHESS BOARD* - This administration’s media strategy basically boils down to waiting a few seconds after a question is asked and then replying, “...or is it?” Christina Wilkie: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that President Donald Trump means what he says. Except when he doesn’t. This includes when Trump uses quotes around his words, Spicer told reporters. He was referring to a series of tweets that Trump wrote earlier this month, in which he accused his predecessor, President Barack Obama, of wiretapping the phones at Trump’s campaign headquarters last fall. The president hasn’t provided any evidence to support his claims. On Monday, Spicer insisted that when Trump used the term ‘wiretap,’ he meant any sort of surveillance. “There’s a whole host of things that fall into the category [of wire-tapping],’ he said, and “a wide range of ways in which somebody can be monitored or followed up on.’ This, however, is incorrect. Wiretapping is a specific term used to refer to a third party intercepting telephone or internet conversations and or monitoring them.” [HuffPost]

FAITH IN OUR INSTITUTIONS: IT SURE WAS NICE WHILE IT LASTED - Ariel Edwards-Levy: “If President Donald Trump still thinks the unemployment rate is a sham, he’s got lots of company: Most Americans either say they’re unsure about the government’s jobs numbers or actively lack confidence in them...But on Friday, after the department announced a national unemployment rate of 4.7 percent, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump considers the number ‘very real now.’ Americans’ skepticism hasn’t dissipated so easily, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. Just 29 percent of Americans polled say they’re confident that the currently reported 4.7 percent unemployment rate is correct. Forty percent say they’re not confident, and another 31 percent say they’re unsure ― a finding that tracks with the public’s widespread distrust of most major institutions. Among those who lack confidence, 82 percent believe that the real unemployment rate is actually higher.” [HuffPost]

HERE’S ANOTHER BAD THING THAT’S HAPPENING - Ryan Reilly and Julia Craven:  “Under a provision of The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act passed in 1994 in the wake of the videotaped beating of motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, the Justice Department can investigate systemic problems within law enforcement agencies to identify ‘a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers’ that ‘deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.’ These sorts of independent federal investigations allowed the healing process to begin in cities that were ‘in real pain because of a gulf in trust between the police and certain segments of that community,’ says Jonathan Smith, a former DOJ Civil Rights Division official. But under the Trump administration, the future of broad investigations into police departments is in doubt. On the campaign trail, Trump frequently pledged to back law enforcement. The Trump administration has vowed to eliminate America’s “anti-police atmosphere.” And the nation’s new top cop, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has long been a skeptic of broad civil rights investigations of police departments.” [HuffPost]

IT’S ALMOST AS IF THIS WHITE HOUSE ISN’T GOOD AT ORGANIZING THINGS - It could be that the pro-Trump outside group is going all in on creating a robocall that begins with that disturbing fog horn sound. Shane Goldmacher: “A political group launched by some of President Donald Trump’s top campaign advisers to boost the White House in its biggest policy fights has been conspicuously absent as Trump begins to sell his agenda, hobbled by staffing delays, internal jockeying for control and a struggle to win the favor of big donors. Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway once promised the organization, now known as America First Policies, would provide a ‘surround-sound super structure’ to boost the president’s goals. After nearly two months, there has been little activity aside from a press release announcing the group’s formation and a recent smattering of posts on Twitter and Facebook. ‘To say that the folks inside the White House are disappointed that there’s been no air support in the first 50 days is an understatement,’ said a person involved with the nonprofit, one of ten Trump officials engaged with the group or at the White House who spoke about the group with POLITICO. ‘Things have moved very slow and there’s a lot of frustration that things need to move faster.’’ [Politico]

KELLYANNE CONWAY, GOD BLESS YOU - Can someone bottle the way she perceives the world and sell it? Life is stressful and we’d like to drink five units of that. Marina Fang: “In an interview with the Bergen County Record on Sunday, Trump’s counselor claimed without evidence that the supposed wiretapping could have gone further and suggested that one method of surveillance could include ‘microwaves that turn into cameras.’ ‘What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately,’ Conway said in response to a question about the wiretapping claims. ‘There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, etc., so we know that that is just a fact of modern life.’ On Monday, she clarified that she did not mean that Trump and his campaign were being surveilled by microwaves and was just speaking about ‘surveilling generally.’” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog who is a little too excited.

TFW YOUR TERRIBLE ECHO CHAMBER GETS EVEN WORSE -  Jordan Freiman: At some point in the last 24 hours, President Trump unfollowed Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ on Twitter. While the pair were some of Trump’s earliest supporters when he first declared he was running for president, some recent negative coverage has apparently gotten underneath POTUS’s notoriously thin skin. Scarborough and Brzezinski have been highly critical of Trump’s baseless claim that President Obama ordered a wiretapping on Trump Tower in the closing months of the 2016 campaign. The MSNBC hosts took issue with the way former national security adviser Michael Flynn was fired, noting that it appeared Trump only got rid of Flynn because he supposedly lied to Mike Pence.” [Death and Taxes]

COMFORT FOOD

- Someone asked every member of the Irish Parliament about their thoughts on Beyonce.

- History’s simultaneously greatest and worst pair of blue jeans.

TWITTERAMA

@AdamWeinstein: “The hugely powerful nation’s fatal decline began as a reaction to its first black president seeking universal private health insurance”

while i nodded, nearly napping,

suddenly there came a tapping,
as of some one wiretapping,

tapping my microwave door

@lizzieohreally: [tune of Edelweiss]
CBO, CBO, what’s the bill’s bottom line?
CBO, CBO, will you have it by deadline?

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