The Senate’s new ACA repeal bill dominated the news this past week, along with more on Trump-Russia, foreign affairs, and the environment. Here’s your weekly news digest:
“Health”care (or tax cuts for the wealthy)
- Senate Republicans finally released their proposal for replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), after weeks of closed-door drafting by an all-male group of thirteen Republicans. The bill would end the individual mandate, make deep cuts in Medicaid, eliminate taxes on the wealthy, and defund Planned Parenthood.
- Here’s a detailed look at how the Senate legislation would change the Affordable Care Act.
- The Washington Post has this great live updates feed, and reports that four of the more conservative Republicans oppose the bill as introduced. If more than two Republicans oppose the bill, it’s dead. Here’s the New York Times roundup of senators’ positions.
- Senator Cardin called the introduction of the legislation “a shameful day in the US Senate.” Senator Van Hollen has vowed to fight the legislation “tooth and nail.” He spoke to the PBS News Hour and WBAL Radio about the legislation.
- The bill is expected to come to the Senate floor next week. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders have begun a series of stall tactics, including a request to block consideration of the measure until it’s been on a website for 72 hours and received a Congressional Budget Office score. So far, all such tactics have failed. But Schumer has vowed that Democrats will launch “full-scale warfare” against the legislation.
- Senator Van Hollen is hosting a health care forum at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24, in Bowie.
- Representative Cummings (MD-7) on the secrecy; reaction to the plan: “Now the American people can see why this this Republican monstrosity was being hidden away, with no hearings, no amendments, and no debate.”
- Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) statement
- Senator Cardin told Politico that America is in danger of “stumbling into wars” under the Trump administration.
- The Senate is working to fix a procedural snafu in legislation to impose sanctions on Russia. Senator Cardin was instrumental in drafting the sanctions legislation.
- Senator Cardin is part of a bipartisan group of senators asking the Trump administration to review whether a potential Russian takeover of Citgo is a threat to national security.
- Representative Cummings (MD-7): Flynn didn’t disclose foreign contacts on security clearance form; more here
- Federal investigators probing the lobbying work of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn are focused in part on the role of Bijan Kian, Flynn’s former business partner; Representative Cummings (MD-7) also looking at Kian
- Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Friday he doesn’t plan to probe Russia’s interference in the 2016 election or look into whether President Trump obstructed justice.
- Representative Cummings (MD-7) is requesting information pertaining to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and senior advisor Jared Kushner’s security clearances, citing concerns about whether the Trump administration is properly safeguarding classified information; more here and here.
- Reps. McCaul, Ruppersberger (MD-2), Sens. Coons, Rubio: To keep America safe partisanship must still stop at the water’s edge
- Representative Cummings (MD-7) introduces bill on thrift savings plan which would allow federal retirees to make multiple age-based and post-separation withdrawals.
- Representative Cummings (MD-7): Office of Management and Budget’s move to reduce agency burden by eliminating or amending scores of its policies too broad of a sweep. More here.
- Representative Cummings (MD-7) sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday criticizing him for doing nothing on high drug prices. The letter comes as the White House is reportedly drafting an executive order expected to be friendly to the pharmaceutical industry; more here.
- U.S. Democratic lawmakers, including Representative Sarbanes (MD-3), asked Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt on Wednesday to disclose procedures to prevent billionaire Carl Icahn from influencing U.S. biofuels policy for personal gain.
Lawsuit against Trump
- Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) joins lawsuit against Trump for violating U.S. Constitution’s anti-corruption clause