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The entire Senate took coach buses over to the White House, and even money says Ted Cruz was the only person to raise his hand when the driver asked if anyone wanted to watch the movie. Ivanka Trump is starting up her own Clinton Foundation, but don’t expect your Facebook feed to fill up with posts from your aunt about how Ivanka is hiding a Parkinson’s diagnosis or runs a child sex ring in a pizzeria. And until this week, the three things we were most surprised hadn’t materialized were smartphones with built-in projectors, a domestic fast-casual chain that sells poutine and a cascade of racial discrimination allegations against Fox News. Well, we can cross one off our list. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, April 26th, 2017:
CONGRATULATIONS TO RICH PEOPLE - Look, it was either expanding Medicaid or making sure that Harvard-Westlake’s alumni network had enough left over to endow a new standalone lacrosse field. Zach Carter: “President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers on Wednesday proposed trillions of dollars in tax cuts for millionaires under a plan billed as the biggest tax reform in over 30 years…. They did insist on three major perks for the wealthy, however ― reducing the tax rate on stocks, bonds and real estate investments; eliminating inheritance taxes for millionaire heirs and heiresses; and bringing down the tax rate on the largest corporations to less than half of what it is now. The inheritance tax ― disparaged by conservatives as a ‘death tax’ ― only applies to millionaires. Magnates must will at least $5.45 million to their heirs ($10.9 million for couples) to qualify for the tax. Heirs and heiresses pay an average rate of 16.6 percent on these inheritances, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, generating about $275 billion for the government over 10 years.” [HuffPost]
HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS THIRSTY FOR MORE UNINSURED - But some “moderate” Republicans don’t want people to know they made them uninsured, so there’s an impasse. Matt Fuller: “House Republicans appear closer than ever to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, after the House Freedom Caucus formally endorsed a revised version of the GOP health care bill and moderates looked to be largely going along with the changes. It’s still a real question whether Republicans have the votes. There were almost enough moderates publicly opposing the health care bill before an amendment worked out between co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) dragged the legislation even further to the right. But those changes, which would significantly undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, have won over a large swath of conservatives.” [HuffPost]
This is still the bill everyone hated last month, only it’s even worse for sick people. “Apparently yanking away the funds that allow millions of people to get health insurance isn’t enough for some House Republicans. Now they also want to gut the Affordable Care Act’s protection for people with pre-existing conditions.” [HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn]
Also, the Senate exists. “While House Republicans have reanimated their push to repeal the Affordable Care Act by crafting a plan to appease conservatives, Senate moderates on Wednesday were already expressing serious doubts about the new proposal.” [HuffPost’s Michael McAuliff]
TRUMP’S LATEST EMPTY THREAT: BLOWING UP THE INSURANCE MARKET - He won’t do it...for the time being. Jeffrey Young and Jonathan Cohn: “The White House walked back its threat Wednesday to explode the Obamacare market by halting crucial payments to health insurance companies, just hours after signaling it might take that drastic step within weeks…. The consequences of halting these payments to health insurance companies would be devastating for people who buy coverage on their own, rather than through employers. Insurers would face higher costs leading to bigger premium hikes, and in many states could respond by cancelling coverage for the rest of 2017. The administration’s sudden shift marks the latest example of President Donald Trump issuing a threat, and then withdrawing it when it doesn’t result in the deal he wanted.” [HuffPost]
BERNIE BROS SUDDENLY REALIZE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HILLARY AND TRUMP - RIP to your CoD multiplayer parties, brahs. David Shepardson: “The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday proposed overturning the landmark 2015 Obama-era net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to certain internet services over others. A plan to reverse the rules approved by the FCC under Democratic President Barack Obama is expected to set off a fight over the future of the internet regulation. Ajit Pai, who was named chair of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January, said at a speech in Washington he was aiming to reverse rules that gave the government greater regulatory powers over internet service providers, arguing they cost jobs and depressed investment.” [Reuters]
TRUMP LOOKING TO LEAVE NAFTA - Congratulations to the Republican Party on staying true to its commitment to free markets. Tara Palmeri, Adam Behsudi and Seung Min Kim: “The Trump administration is considering an executive order on withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA — and initial reaction on Capitol Hill to the planned move has been mostly negative. A draft order has been submitted for final stages of review and could be unveiled late this week or early next, two White House officials told POLITICO. The effort, which still could change in coming days as more officials weigh in, would indicate the administration’s intent to withdraw from the sweeping Clinton-era pact by triggering the timeline set forth in the deal… The approach appears designed to extract better terms from Canada and Mexico. But it raises the possibility the Trump administration could walk away from one of the largest trade deals on the planet.” [Politico]
TRUMP’S WALL IS MAYBE HIS WORST DEAL YET - And, again, we’re talking about a guy who sold steaks in an electronics catalog. S.V. Date: “On Day One as president, candidate Donald Trump promised last year, he would start working on his ‘great wall’ along the southern border. It would be 35 feet tall ― at least. It would be 1,000 miles long, and extend deep enough underground to prevent Mexicans from tunneling beneath it. And it would be impenetrable: ‘It’s going to be made of hardened concrete, and it’s going to be made of rebar. That’s steel,’ he explained to a Virginia audience.... Early specifications call for only an 18-foot wall, although 30 feet is preferable. The material is unspecified, and the Cabinet member in charge of building it has said in some places it might be more a series of sensors than an actual structure. As to who will pay for it, it turns out Mexico is not particularly interested in doing that, leaving U.S. taxpayers on the hook ― if and when work actually starts. Except that Congress isn’t that eager to spend tens of billions of dollars for Trump’s project either.” [HuffPost]
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TRUMP LOOKING TO GUT 9TH CIRCUIT - Forget separation of powers, we could use some separation of pouters, amirite? Amirite?? Sarah Westwood: “President Trump said Wednesday that he has ‘absolutely’ considered proposals that would split up the 9th Circuit, where judges have blocked two of his executive actions. ‘Absolutely, I have,’ Trump said of considering 9th circuit breakup proposals during a far-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at the White House on Wednesday. ‘There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It’s outrageous.’ … His comments came one day after U.S. District Judge William Orrick temporarily blocked Trump’s efforts to withhold funds from any municipality that refuses to cooperate with immigration enforcement officers.” [Washington Examiner]
THE TRUMPS ARE DOING *LITERALLY* EVERYTHING THEY RAILED AGAINST DURING THE CAMPAIGN - We cannot wait for Chris Cillizza to weigh in on this one. Paul Blumenthal: “Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, plans to start a fund to help female entrepreneurs worldwide, using money from private-sector donors and foreign governments. According to Axios, the first to report the first daughter’s plan, the fund will be run by the World Bank. ‘Canadians, Germans and a few Middle Eastern countries have already made quiet commitments, as have several corporations,’ Axios previously reported. The fund will provide ‘working and growth capital to small- and medium-sized enterprises.’ … [T]he Ivanka Trump-World Bank fund sounds like it will mimic the work of a private organization that got a lot of (bad) publicity in 2016: the Clinton Foundation…. The foundation was seen as a major conflict of interest for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, whose critics claimed her decisions as secretary of state benefitted foundation donors.” [HuffPost]
Paul Blumenthal notes that the level of nepotism and corruption exhibited by the Trump family is typically found in third-world countries.
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND (TO OUR HYPERSENSITIVE NORTH KOREA BRIEFING) - Bet you Orrin Hatch pulled the power move where he went to the back row with 4 contiguous seats and laid down like a boss. Matthew Pennington and Vivian Salama: “The Trump administration hosted senators for an extraordinary White House briefing Wednesday at a perilous moment with North Korea, marked by nuclear threats from the unpredictable nation and stern talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States. All 100 senators were invited and taken in buses for the unprecedented, classified briefing. President Trump’s secretary of State, Defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director were to outline for them North Korea’s escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options, officials said. The briefing team was to meet later with House members in the Capitol.” [AP]
FOX NEWS ANCHOR ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION AT NETWORK - We Report. You Get Passed Over For A Promotion. Michael Calderone: “Fox News veteran Kelly Wright, the only black man with an anchor position at the network, on Wednesday emotionally described being demeaned, marginalized, and prevented from advancing in his career due to racial bias.... Wright was speaking out, he said, because Fox News leadership had ‘lost their way’ and ‘failed to be fair and balanced to all of our employees regardless of race, gender, faith, creed, or color.’ ... Wright is the most high-profile employee of color to join a growing group of current and former Fox News staffers alleging racial discrimination inside the company. On Tuesday, 11 current and former employees filed a class action suit against the network, parent company 21st Century Fox, Fox News general counsel Dianne Brandi, and former Fox News comptroller Judith Slater.” [HuffPost]
Make sure you read Jason Fagone’s powerful Highline piece on how trauma surgeons bear witness to America’s gun violence epidemic.
WHEN YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR METRICS ANYMORE - Sarah Emerson: “[I]n a blog post today, The Wilderness Society…a national conservation nonprofit, noticed something strange. As of March this year, the BLM was no longer posting images of rivers, forests, deserts, and mountains. Instead, its Flickr page now exclusively shares portraits of oil wells, mining pits, and construction — the kind of development that stands to devastate the very places the agency exists to protect.” [Motherboard]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a beaver herding some cattle.
TYPICAL BIG GOVERNMENT REPUBLICANS: WANTING TO CONTROL WHAT YOU EAT - Joseph Erbentraut and Arthur Delaney: “According to a study released Wednesday by the Voice of the People, a nonpartisan polling group, and conducted by University of Maryland researchers, an overwhelming majority of American voters of both parties favor restricting SNAP benefits from being used to buy soda and candy, as well as incentivizing fruit and vegetable purchases and increasing the overall amount of SNAP benefits available. The study found that of the 7,000 voters polled, 76 percent of respondents agreed that SNAP benefits should not be used to buy candy. For Republican respondents 85 percent approved of banning the sweets, while 68 percent of Democrat respondents agreed.” [HuffPost]
- A country-by-country guide to personal space.
- Turns out there’s a universal poop constant.
- In case you’d ever wondered what a Starbucks location the size of a Nike Store would look like, now you know.
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