Senate Republicans unveiled their Obamacare replacement bill today, which would drastically increase the number of uninsured but also the ability of rich people to buy boats. Rand Paul said he would refuse to vote for the bill because nobody had let him cut it up with a chainsaw. And President Trump revealed that he doesn’t have any tapes of his conversations with James Comey. He previously revealed that he is a birther who says vaccines cause autism. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 22nd, 2017:
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BREAKING: THE SENATE HEALTH BILL TAKES FROM POOR, GIVES TO RICH - The secret is out! Jeffrey Young and Jonathan Cohn: “Americans are finally getting a look at the much-anticipated, heretofore-secret Senate Republican health care bill. As expected, the bill released Thursday amounts to a massive rollback of the federal commitment to promote health care access and would instead pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. The Congressional Budget Office isn’t expected to weigh in on the Senate bill, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act, until next week. That means there’s no official accounting of what the legislation would do to the health care system, how many people stand to lose their coverage and how much the federal government would spend on health care programs. And the 142-page bill consists of complex legislative language that will require days for other analysts to fully digest. But the plain truth already is clear: This legislation would result in millions of people losing their health benefits and would shrink the safety net over time. Wealthy people and health care companies would see their taxes go down. And although some consumers may pay less for insurance, an untold number of people wouldn’t have access to the coverage and medical services they have under the existing health care law.” [HuffPost]
The House version of the bill remains extremely unpopular.
BUT IS IT GOOD FOR THE CRUZ? Adam Cancryn, Burgess Everett and Jennifer Haberkorn: “Just hours after Republicans were briefed on the bill, four conservatives put out a statement saying they were withholding their support for the plan. A number of moderate GOP senators, meanwhile, said they were still poring through the the 142-page bill, which was crafted after weeks of work behind closed doors.... GOP Sens. Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee and Rand Paul said in a statement Thursday that they are ‘not ready’ to support the measure, though they remained open to voting for it after further negotiations. ‘It does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs,’ they said.” [Politico]
@MEPFuller: John Thune: “I’m not sure that Rand will ever be there.”
QUESTION MARKS - Matt Fuller: “The biggest question marks in McConnell’s gambit to get 50 Republican senators are those who have not said where they stand. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) released a statement that raised ‘a number of concerns,’ particularly over the effect on insurance premiums and the changes to Medicaid. But she said she was reserving judgment until the Congressional Budget Office released a score of the bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who sped out of the meeting Thursday morning, is unlikely to comment before she better understands how the legislation affects Alaska, which would greatly suffer as a result of changes to how individual insurance plans would be subsidized. Both senators have also expressed frustration that the legislation may defund Planned Parenthood, which, as written Thursday, the legislation would. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), perhaps the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election in 2018, has also said he had ’serious concerns about the bill’s impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid.′ He may end up opposing the bill, particularly if it’s clear McConnell doesn’t have the votes for passage.” [HuffPost]
OBAMA WEIGHS IN - From the former president’s Facebook page: “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.” [Facebook]
@ericawerner: John Cornyn: “I can’t imagine a more transparent and open process.”
THIS SUCKER COULD BECOME LAW - We talked about the Republican health care bill’s prospects on the HuffPost Politics podcast.
CONGRATS TO ‘VERY SMALL OLD COUNTRY BOY’ - Sam Levine: “President Donald Trump quietly announced Wednesday evening he intended to appoint three more people to a commission to investigate voter fraud, but two of the people he wants to appoint don’t seem to have any expertise in voting issues or elections. ... In a Thursday interview, [former Arkansas Democratic state lawmaker David] Dunn sounded openly stunned he was chosen for the role and admitted he did not have any expertise in elections or voting issues. ′I don’t know why this has fallen on my shoulders,′ he told HuffPost, adding that he was concerned about voters’ access to the polls, particularly in rural areas of the state. ′I’m just a very small old country boy from Arkansas in this bigger commission with Vice President Pence, and I’m just going to do the best I can, to be honest.’” [HuffPost]
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PELOSI FEISTY - Igor Bobic: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday defended her leadership amid growing frustration within her caucus in the wake of a stinging special election loss in Georgia. Some Democratic lawmakers and political operatives have said Pelosi contributed to Democrat Jon Ossoff’s loss to Karen Handel in the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday. Republicans aired numerous ads tying Ossoff to the San Francisco congresswoman, who, like other congressional leaders, is viewed unfavorably across the country. ′My decision about how long I stay is not up to them,′ Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill, adding that she welcomed the prospect of a fight. ‘I love the arena. I thrive on competition, and I welcome the discussion.’” [HuffPost]
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PRESIDENT CLEARS UP CONFUSION HE CAUSED FOR NO REASON - Dan Merica and Jeff Zeleny: President Donald Trump did not record his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, he tweeted on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation kick-started by the President himself. ’With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,′ Trump tweeted. The statement ended speculation about whether the President recorded conversations in the Oval Office. Comey, who Trump fired last month, said he had hoped there were recordings of their conversations.” [CNN]
PRESIDENT BLAMES PREDECESSOR FOR RUSSIAN HACKING (IF TRUE) - Sam Levine: “Trump’s tweet came a day after Jeh Johnson, who served as secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama, testified that Russian President Vladimir Putin had directed officials to interfere in the U.S. election. The intrusion, Johnson said, was ′a fact, plain and simple.′ Johnson’s testimony on Russian intrusion is consistent with the assessment of several U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency. Despite the overwhelming consensus within the intelligence community, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he didn’t know if Trump believed Russia was behind the attacks.” [HuffPost]
BERNIE SANDERS SAYS WE’RE DRIFTING TOWARD TOTALITARIANISM - Woe if true. Dave Weigel: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned that the Trump administration’s approach to governance was putting the United States on ′a drift toward authoritarianism,′ arguing that criticism of the media and new restrictions on voting rights were making the country less democratic. ′Our country is moving in an authoritarian direction and the very nature of American democracy is under attack,′ Sanders said Thursday morning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ‘His rhetoric has the effect of casting grave doubts on the electoral process in our country, and delegitimizing any president who might follow him — just as he tried to delegitimize the president who preceded him.’” [WaPo]
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE COMPUTERS - Eliot Nelson: “We’re living in a veritable golden age of political tech literacy (or long, national nightmare, depending on your view) ― just this week, three Senate Democrats live-streamed their hunt for the GOP Senate’s Obamacare replacement. However, some House Armed Services Committee staffers worry that its members didn’t get the memo. Staffers for Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) sent committee staff a PDF with VERY LITERAL instructions on how their bosses should navigate and update an internal Windows directory containing NDAA amendments. In the PDF, members are instructed how to use their laptops’ touchpad (‘You will only need to use the LEFT mouse button to DOUBLE CLICK on the files. DO NOT USE THE RIGHT mouse button.’) and arrow keys (‘Use the UP and DOWN arrows pictured here to scroll up or down to read the amendment.’). Attached to both instructions are photos of a laptop’s touchpad and keyboard.” [Read the PDF]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - The Bad News Babes won last night’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
PIZZAGATE SHOOTER GOING TO PRISON - The people who pushed the theory continue to be rich and unashamed. Ryan Reilly: ”A North Carolina man who took a gun to a family-oriented pizza restaurant in northwest D.C. so he could look into a conspiracy theory that the eatery was home to a child sex trafficking ring was sentenced on Thursday to four years in federal prison. Federal prosecutors sought 4.5 years for Edgar Maddison Welch, who pleaded guilty in March in connection with the December 2016 attack. They argued a stiff sentence would ‘deter other would-be vigilantes’ who might be motivated by ‘the next internet-inspired conspiracy theory.’ They said Welch “traumatized the employees and customers” of Comet Ping Pong, and that ‘his crimes affected an entire community, leaving many people feeling threatened.’ The time he has already spent behind bars, including nearly two months in solitary confinement, will count toward his sentence.” [HuffPost]
RICH PERSON PREFERS OTHER RICH PEOPLE - Trump did not state his view on people who are neither poor nor billionaires. Eugene Scott: “President Donald Trump offered an explanation Wednesday for why he has one of the wealthiest Cabinets in history. ‘I love all people ― rich or poor ― but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,’ he said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. ‘Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it ― but I like it better this way.’ Trump named billionaire Wilbur Ross, who has made a fortune cobbling together dying companies, as his commerce secretary, and Todd Ricketts, part of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs, as deputy commerce secretary. The Cabinet also includes billionaire Betsy DeVos as his pick for education secretary and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs executive.” [CNN]
- Trusty’s is one of D.C.’s best dive bars.
- Two female elephants dramatically rescue a baby elephant from drowning.
- A cop dressed as Batman stopped a man from stealing the “LEGO Batman” movie.
@ashleyfeinberg: as someone who majored in communications AND english, it is now up to me to explain the dynamics of the healthcare legislative process 1/384
@trillballins: Hello, I am BonerGoku420, an expert on healthcare policy online
@danwlin: TRADITIONAL GOP SENATOR: I will vote for this bill
CONCERNED GOP SENATOR: I have Very Serious Concerns. I will vote for this bill.
@mattyglesias: Interestingly there ARE tapes of Donald Trump promising to cover everyone, cut deductibles, and lower premiums.
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