POLITICS
01/27/2017 05:48 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Wow, Trump's First Two Years Went By Fast

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!

The March For Life filled the National Mall today, in which a bunch of people fine with keeping war-scarred refugees from safety made some noises about the sanctity of life. Mike Pence told the crowd that “Life is winning in America,” and considering all the carnage America was experiencing earlier in the week, it’s been a real up-and-down stretch for the country. And the White House released a Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that didn’t mention the Jews ― we look forward to its Passover message, “Why is this night different from all other nights? ― but, no really, why?” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 27th, 2017:

REPUBLICANS STILL NOT OFFERING OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT DETAILS... Matt Fuller: “Republicans left town Friday with still more questions than answers on an Obamacare alternative, and the only thing lawmakers truly seem to agree on is that the Affordable Care Act needs to go. On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) laid out a timeline for repealing major parts of the 2010 health care law through a reconciliation process before April. At that point, the secretary of health and human services would begin issuing new guidance on Obamacare, which the lawmakers seem ready to consider part of a ‘replacement.’ And then ... they’ve offered little idea what happens next, how long it will take or what it will end up.” [HuffPost]

...THE GOP IS AWARE OF THIS - Mike DeBonis: “Recordings of closed sessions at the Republican policy retreat in Philadelphia this week were sent late Thursday to The Washington Post and several other news outlets from an anonymous email address. The remarks of all lawmakers quoted in this story were confirmed by their offices or by the lawmakers themselves. ‘Our goal, in my opinion, should be not a quick fix. We can do it rapidly — but not a quick fix,’ said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). ‘We want a long-term solution that lowers costs.’ budget savings from passing the Obamacare repeal bill — which Republicans say could approach a half-trillion dollars — are needed to fund the costs of setting up a replacement. ‘This is going to be what we’ll need to be able to move to that transition,’ he said. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) worried that one idea floated by Republicans — a refundable tax credit — would not work for middle-class families that cannot afford to prepay their premiums and wait for a tax refund.” [WaPo]

Despite what you’ve heard, Obamacare isn’t already dying, HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn explains.

It’s good being a senator: “PPA Refused to Ticket Republican Senator’s Illegally Parked Car: And then the car almost ran over another senator — Pat Toomey.” [Philadelphia Magazine]

TRUMP WILL ONLY TORTURE US WITH HIS TWEETS - David Nakamura: “President Trump said Friday that he continues to believe torture methods can be effective to combat terrorism, but he pledged to defer over whether to implement such tactics to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, who has opposed them. ‘He will override,’ Trump said in a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House. ‘I’m giving him that power.’ During his campaign, Trump had expressed support for enhanced interrogation techniques, in particular simulated drowning known as waterboarding, which was forbidden by the Obama administration.” [WaPo]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to eliot@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

ER, HOLA - Well this must’ve been awkward. Paige Lavender: “U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke over the phone Friday morning about the construction of a border wall. During a press conference Friday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said the call ― which took place around 9:30 a.m. ET, according to the Washington Post ― lasted about an hour and was ‘very, very friendly.’ A Friday statement from Peña Nieto’s office said the two had a ‘constructive and productive conversation’ and have ‘agreed at this point not to speak publicly about’ the wall. The White House put out what it called a joint statement soon after with near-identical language ― except for the line about speaking publicly about the wall, which the Trump version omitted.” [HuffPost]

KEEP THE GOVERNMENT’S HANDS OFF MY AVOCADOES! Willa Frej: “Now that President Donald Trump has floated the idea of taxing goods imported from Mexico in order to pay for the ‘Great Wall’ along the United States’ southern border, many favorite household items could get a lot more expensive…. Seventy-nine percent of the 750,000 metric tons of avocados that Mexico exported in 2015 went to the U.S., according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. And 95 percent of all tomatoes the U.S. imports come from Mexico.” [HuffPost]

First they came for the ― wait, who did they come for? “A statement from President Trump marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism, an apparent oversight that marks a departure from recent bipartisan precedent set by previous presidents. The statement calls for remembrance of ‘victims, survivors and heroes,’ but nowhere does it mention the millions of Jewish people killed during the Holocaust nor does it mention the ideology of anti-Semitism that led to the killings.” [WaPo’s Abby Phillip]

SPEAKING OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION AND CRUELTY - Trump signed the Muslim ban and some other executive order about the military or something. Phil McCausland and Courtney Kube: “President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on Friday that dramatically expand the nation’s military and so-called ‘extreme vetting’ of visa seekers from terror-plagued countries — moves aimed at strengthening the U.S. response to terrorism both home and abroad. In signing the order, Trump pledged to ‘keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.’” [NBC News]

COPS WORRIED ABOUT THE LAW-AND-ORDER PRESIDENT - Ryan Reilly: “[W]ith the Trump administration reportedly considering killing off a Justice Department office that has distributed billions in federal funding to local police agencies across the country, even some of president’s law enforcement supporters are worried. Concerns about the future of DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, grew out of a report in The Hill last week on the Trump administration’s budget plans. The new administration’s working budget, The Hill said, closely matched a budget blueprint from the conservative Heritage Foundation ― a budget that calls for eliminating the COPS Office altogether.” [HuffPost]

PUTIN EVIDENTLY HASN’T TOLD TRUMP WHAT TO DO YET - Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper and Jonathan Weisman: “President Trump said on Friday that it was ‘very early’ to be talking about lifting sanctions on Russia, deflecting a question about whether he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on Saturday morning even as his British counterpart flatly rejected such a move…. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Theresa May, the British prime minister, Mr. Trump did not say whether he supports keeping sanctions that were put in place following Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine and its interference in the 2016 election. But he said he hoped to have a good relationship with Mr. Putin.” [NYT]

CHUCK DISSES REX - Which isn’t the title to some lost Archie comic. Alexander Kaufman:  “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday that he plans to vote against former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. ‘I will oppose his nomination, and I encourage the full Senate to do the same,’ Schumer said in a statement released shortly before President Donald Trump was scheduled to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin about sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine. ‘Mr. Tillerson’s refusal to back new sanctions on Russia, and his refusal to even pledge to fully defend the current sanctions regime is unacceptable but not surprising given his closeness to Vladimir Putin and the depth of Exxon’s investment in Russia,’ the Senate minority leader said. Schumer said the oil magnate’s record on climate change and his refusal to break with Trump on a possible registry of Muslims would inflame already tense relationships with other countries.” [HuffPost]

MCCAIN WALKS LOUDLY, CARRIES LITTLE STICK - Jennifer Bendery: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) sent a clear message to President Donald Trump on Friday amid speculation that he may lift sanctions against Russia: Don’t even think about it or I’ll lead a congressional effort to pass them into law. ‘For the sake of America’s national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course,’ McCain said in a statement. ‘If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.’ McCain’s warning comes a day before Trump is scheduled to talk to President Vladimir Putin by phone. It’s Trump’s first known conversation with the Russian leader since becoming president, after an election in which Russian hackers intervened and influenced its outcome to benefit Trump. U.S. counterintelligence agents have investigated Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as part of a probe into the role of the Russian government in the hackings.” [HuffPost]

Special relationship: “In a White House memo detailing the duo’s Oval Office meeting and joint press conference on Friday, staffers from the Office of the Press Secretary repeatedly spelled her name wrong. Instead of writing ‘Theresa’ with an ‘h,’ they wrote ‘Teresa.’ In doing so, they confused May with the former British adult actress and model Teresa May of (almost) the same name.” [HuffPost]

THESE TRUMPS LOVE LAWSUITS - Plaintiff or defendant ― doesn’t matter. It’s like their favorite thing. Laura Jarrett: “A Maryland judge has ruled that First Lady Melania Trump’s libel suit against a blogger who posted statements about her alleged past involvement in a ‘high-end escort’ service will move forward, but it remains unclear whether her claims against The Daily Mail will be allowed to proceed. Trump sued The Daily Mail and Maryland blogger Webster Griffin Tarpley in September 2016 for allegedly false and defamatory statements about her past. Both The Daily Mail and Tarpley retracted their stories.” [CNN]

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WANT TO BE DNC CHAIR - One of them is Tom Perez. Daniel Marans: “Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez on Friday announced the support of several prominent Texas Democrats for his bid to chair the Democratic National Committee, including three voting members of the DNC. The voting DNC members endorsing Perez are Celina Vasquez, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa and Texas state Sen. Jose Rodriguez. U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker also endorsed Perez’s bid to lead the Democratic Party.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a kitten in a skirt.

MARCH ON LIFE JUST ANOTHER GOD FORSAKEN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO TALK ABOUT CROWD SIZE - “Tens of thousands of demonstrators arrived in Washington Friday for an anti-abortion march that’s shaping up as a triumphant affair under President Donald Trump — who made an ambitious projection of crowds as large as 600,000. Washington’s WMATA transit agency said that ridership on Friday was 237,000 as of 11 a.m., which includes daily commuters and was slightly below an average weekday. That’s more than at the same time on Trump’s inauguration day — 193,000 — and less than for the Women’s March last Saturday, when 275,000 people had boarded Metro by that time. It was also slightly below average for a regular weekday…. Pence, the first vice president to address the gathering, took the stage to enormous applause and declared that, after recent elections delivered Republicans full control of Washington, ‘Life is winning in America.’” [Politico]

COMFORT FOOD

- History’s greatest basketball flop.

- Your latest Trump photoshop.

- A look at NASA’s tribute to the lost Apollo 1 mission.

TWITTERAMA

@SimonMaloy: v. excited to go back to not hearing about Metro ridership numbers

@THerwees: every time u think about joining the muslim registry why don’t u just venmo me, a muslim, and fund my relocation to the maldives

@aedwardslevy: WALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com)

CONVERSATIONS