News Digest – August 1, 2017

In the news this last week, ACA Repeal is defeated (again), increased tensions with Russia as Congress passes sanctions bill, and Dems put together a new agenda.

Healthcare “vote-a-rama”

*Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were also decisive in defeating the skinny repeal.  And unlike Senator McCain, Senators Collins and Murkowski voted against the procedural vote to allow debate in the first place.  


Transgender Americans in the military

  • In a series of tweets on Wednesday, President Trump purported to announce a new federal policy not “to accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
  • Senator Cardin blasted the announcement, saying “[t]he thousands of transgender Americans currently serving in our military are patriots” who “deserve better than this from their Commander in Chief.”
  • The military’s highest-ranking officer told senior leaders Thursday that there would be “no modifications” to the current policy on transgender service members until further direction was received from the president.

Democratic agenda

Democratic Party leaders on Monday rolled out a new agenda featuring proposals on jobs, prescription drugs prices, and more.  Senator Van Hollen said, “People need to know not only what we’re fighting against, they need to know what we’re fighting for.”

House Democrats are trying to hitch a slate of amendments to the appropriations minibus, all targeting the business, family members and scandals of President Donald Trump.  “Democrats need to use whatever tools are at their disposal,” said Representative John Sarbanes (MD-3), his party’s point man on ethics. Using the appropriations process, he added, is “fair game.”

Chesapeake Bay

Senator Cardin penned this op-ed about the need for legislation benefitting the Chesapeake Bay.  


Following media reports throughout the week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was considering jettisoning the State Department’s cybersecurity office, 24 House Democrats sent a letter Friday imploring him not to, including Representative Ruppersberger (MD-2).

Conflicts of interest/Corruption “generally”

Representative Cummings (MD-7), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), are seeking documents related to President Donald Trump’s interest in the nation’s largest government-subsidized residential property, Starrett City.

Democrats warn of ‘constitutional crisis’ as Trump publicly humiliates own attorney general.  “Given all that the President has said and done to date, the Senate must not allow anyone to assume the position of attorney general without its advice and consent, and it should take the appropriate steps procedurally to stay in session to block such a move,” Cummings said.

Reps. Cummings (Md.) and John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), the top Democrats on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, respectively, wrote in an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun on Friday that their Republican colleagues had all but abdicated their congressional oversight duties.  “[The] failure of congressional Republicans to sufficiently keep tabs on the actions and authority of President Trump “represents a clear and present danger to the Republic.”

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