With the indictments coming down against Paul Manafort and his partner, Rick Gates, I turned on CNN just in time to see Mr. Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, stating that few people have been prosecuted by the Department of Justice for failing to file under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which will evaluate the impact of the Senate’s health care bill, could come out as early as today. That CBO score should give us a better idea of exactly how many people might lose insurance, how much premiums might rise for working Americans under this plan, and the impact on those covered by Medicaid.
There are reportedly five GOP holdouts on the bill including staunch ObamaCare opponent Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. (Those of you from Kansas: Sen. Jerry Moran is reportedly “on the fence.”)
I’ve been offline a bit this week as I have been in the middle of a pretty exciting and substantial move. I hope to be able to announce more about that soon, but I hope you’ll accept my apology for being out of the loop a bit this week. In the meantime, I wanted to take some time to do a roundup on the issue of health care.
The Senate Republicans finally released the text of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” — the health care plan that 13 male members have been drafting in secret. I thought I would do a quick rundown in regards to what is being said about this bill, as well as point everyone to resources that spell out the differences between the Senate Bill, the House Bill and ObamaCare.
First of all, here’s the link to the full bill if you want to read the complete version.
Before I get started on the week in review, I want to say something about Washington, D.C. in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting. I’ve been in D.C. for almost two years now and I can’t help but think about the contrast between the rhetoric you hear about D.C. versus the people I’ve actually met here.
There’s been a narrative characterizing D.C. as the “swamp” and that people are corrupt. I can say there is some swampy activity here. No doubt. However, the vast majority of people I have met came to D.C. because they wanted to make a difference in the world. They’re working on projects like curing the Zika virus, figuring out how to combat climate change, and making sure that veterans and seniors get the benefits they need.
It’s time for my weekly roundup, which may actually be a wrap-up of the last 24 hours. Like every week since the inauguration, it has been quite a week in Washington: the confirmations of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions; the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s explanation; and the Nordstrom ethics kerfuffle. There were more ethics issues from Kellyanne Conway promoting Ivanka Trump’s line on Fox News, and, ultimately, the subsequent crash of the Office of Government Ethics website (again).
Happy Friday, everyone! I’m going to end the week doing a quick roundup of some interesting things that you might put on your “ice storm survival reading/viewing/listening list” (for those of you back in the Midwest). I’m purposely avoiding some of the other main national stories because I figure you have already seen coverage of them, especially those relating to the hearings.
So here are just some interesting things to end the week with:
We need a public investigation: Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has a thoughtful look at all of the swirling rumors about Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 campaign. He points out all of the conflicting information that needs sorting out, including this startling report from Israel’s Ynet saying that Israel is being advised not to share intelligence with the Trump Administration out of fear it will be passed to Russia, who will then pass it on to Iran. David Ignatius of The Washington Post outlines four questions that need to be answered about the situation as well.
The intelligence community released its report Friday about Russian meddling in the 2016 election. For people who follow Russia and social media propaganda, most of this information wasn’t new. What was new was the intelligence community connecting the dots publicly.
It underscored the important lesson we all know but often forget: Not everyone on the internet is real.
The Washington Post broke a story last night that is deeply troubling. Apparently while the Republicans were trying to pass the rule to dismantle the Office of Congressional Ethics, they also resurrected a rule from 1876 that allows a member of Congress to introduce an amendment to reduce an individual federal employee’s salary down to one dollar. According to the article, “a majority of the House and Senate would still have to approve any such amendment,” but it still sends a chilling message to government employees.