Day: February 11, 2017

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Media return from soul-searching empty-handed


Anybody who blinked after the 2016 election likely missed all the “soul-searching” the news media said it so desperately needed.

When Trump launched his campaign in the summer of 2015, journalists said he was a racist windbag going nowhere.

In September of that year the New York Times literally ran the headline, “Donald Trump is not going anywhere.”

A few months into 2016, Trump was clearing the Republican field and the national media were finally admitting that they missed something. (About half the voters, but better late than never.)

In an appearance on CNN last March, Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch said that “too much of our, at least, mainstream elite media news coverage is driven by columnists and pundits who aren’t out in the field. They’re talking to the consultant class at places like the Capital Grille and [with] consultants who are fighting the last war, who expected Trump to collapse.”

Times columnist David Brooks wrote that month that the media “expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. He said that for him as a journalist, “It’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.”

On Election Day, after two years of journalists telling the public that Trump would lose, the opposite happened.

In a tone of deep remorse, CNN’s media reporter Brian Stelter told his audience the following Sunday that it was “one of the biggest media failures in many years” and that reporters should accept that the public would lose confidence in the press.

“So, we on the other side of this screen over here have to reckon with that,” he said, “not just for a week or two but for the long term.”

Trump vows to bring price of wall 'WAY DOWN!' following high-cost estimate

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president says he’ll succeed just like how he brought down the price of the F-35 and Air Force One.

02/11/17 8:58 AM

This new enlightenment didn’t make it through the commercial break.

News media have made no changes in how they operate, even as a man with no experience in public office just rode a populist wave to the world’s top job.

Trump single-handedly reoriented the political landscape and shone a light on a massive portion of the electorate that the media had long forgotten.

Maybe some changes to the press are in order.

Nah!

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Fake news' is 'killing people's minds'

Also from the Washington Examiner

Apple CEO says rise of fake news is a “short-term thing.”

02/11/17 8:32 AM

“We’re covering this president as we’ve covered presidents in the past,” Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron bragged to the website Business Insider last week. “We haven’t changed how we do our jobs.”

In that spirit, the Post’s editorial board in late January compared Trump to Hitler.

If there is one thing everyone will remember years from now about Trump’s campaign, it was his promise to restrict illegal immigration. Contrary to the opinion of Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristof, who compared taking a pause on taking in Syrian refugees to the internment of Japanese Americans, a more orderly and selective immigration policy is pretty popular.

But after one illegal immigrant who had been living in the U.S. for decades using a fraudulent Social Security number was deported last week, all three network prime-time newscasts put together packages on “the family she leaves behind” (CBS correspondent Carter Evans’ words).

Trump’s message to “Make America Great Again” (or as the media recall it, “The End Times”) was powerful enough to overcome the minor controversies and tiffs that journalists covered so extensively.

It behooves the Times or the Post to get a writer who sees something good about Trump’s appeal and the people who support him.

Instead we get Charles Blow who twice each week thinks he’s making a smart and principled statement by referring to Trump as “president” in quotes.

We get Buzzfeed’s top editor, Ben Smith, offering that for the media to cover Trump thoroughly, it may sometimes require “publishing unverified information.”

That’s not fake news. He said that after his website was torched for publishing the now infamous dossier of unsubstantiated claims about Trump’s personal and financial life.

To admit a readiness to repeat that episode requires more soul-searching. Maybe the media will find something next time.

Eddie Scarry is a media reporter for the Washington Examiner. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

Trump agencies ready 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Schumer, Sanders call for rallies against Obamacare repeal


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are calling for rallies nationwide in late February to push against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In a letter to their colleagues in the Senate, the pair call for their fellow Senate Democrats to lead and participate in rallies on Feb. 25. They also argued that the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare is mired in “chaos” and that the majority of Americans do not want the healthcare law repealed.

“The Republican Party’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is in chaos,” Schumer and Sanders said in the letter. “The American people increasingly understand that throwing 20 million people off health insurance, privatizing Medicare, raising prescription drug costs for seniors and doing away with life-and-death patient protection provisions is not acceptable. The overwhelming majority of Americans want to improve the ACA, not destroy it,”

“We are encouraging Democratic senators to lead rallies in their states. This is not a Democratic issue, a Republican issue or an Independent issue. The overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of political persuasion, understand that we have to go forward on health care, not backwards,” the letter said.

The rallies would piggyback off similar rallies held by Democratic senators on the issue on Jan. 15.

Throughout the first three weeks of President Trump’s tenure in the White House, Democrats have been outspoken about their support for the ACA and critical of Republicans for not being ready with a plan to replace the law upon its possible repeal.

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Democrat calls Trump 'the most significant test of our time' in weekly address


House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley on Saturday deemed the past three weeks since President Trump was sworn into office “perhaps, the most significant test of our lifetime.”

Speaking on behalf of congressional Democrats in the party’s weekly address, the New York representative claimed the Republican commander in chief has launched attacks on the Constitution and America’s democracy.

“There’s been a lot of talk lately about what is America, and what is American,” Crowley said.

“What’s American is people welcoming refugees and families at arrival gates. It’s lawyers upholding the Constitution from an airport floor and a laptop. It’s young people discovering the need for civic engagement. And children learning that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or what you believe, you are welcome here.”

Trump had issued an executive action on Jan. 27 that temporarily suspended immigration from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa. A number of state attorneys general sued the administration, alleging the action discriminates against Muslims, who make up the majority of those countries’ populations.

The Washington state suit escalated to an appeals court, which ruled in favor of a Seattle judge on Tuesday to continue a restraining order on the lower judge’s ruling.

“In attacking our Constitution, the fundamental tenets of our democracy and who we are as a people, President Trump has dismissed everything we stand for. Everything our ancestors fought for,” Crowley said.

Trump said the order was put into effect until stronger vetting protocols for those countries can be put into place to ensure terrorists do not embed as refugees or asylum-seekers to enter the U.S.

Crowley charged that the country has rallied behind Democrats’ principles and will continue to “resist,” though he did not state what a victory for the party would look like.

Trump vows to bring price of wall 'WAY DOWN!' following high-cost estimate

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president says he’ll succeed just like how he brought down the price of the F-35 and Air Force One.

02/11/17 8:58 AM

“My fellow Americans, this is not a political fight – this is a fight for our future. This is about our democracy. This is about our country. This is about our people – and making our voices heard,” Crowley finished.

“And let me tell you: it’s working. And I know this is a fight we will win.”

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Fake news' is 'killing people's minds'


Apple CEO Tim Cook has a dire warning about the effects of “fake news.”

“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” the technology leader told the Daily Telegraph. He added that these faux reports are “killing people’s minds in a way.”

The proliferation of fake news is a burgeoning issue, most notably during the 2016 election, thanks in large part to sharing on social media. The phenomenon has led to politicians on both sides of the aisle to complain that these misleading stories have been damaging. Both Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama blamed fake news, in part, for Clinton’s loss in the presidential election to President Trump.

Cook pinned the responsibility of curbing fake news on technology companies.

“We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader. Too many of us are just in the complain category right now and haven’t figured out what to do,” Cook said.

He added that a crackdown will help “truthful, reliable, non-sensational, deep” news outlets “win” in their struggle to convey real news against the tide of fake news click bait.

“The [rise of fake news] is a short-term thing — I don’t believe that people want that at the end of the day,” Cook said.

Some social media outlets, like Facebook, have already taken steps to stem the tide of fake stories, but it is yet to be seen how effective these efforts will be.

Trump tweets: 'Our legal system is broken!'

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president’s ban is getting another look in court as soon as next week.

02/11/17 7:31 AM

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Media impulse to ice out Conway would undermine transparency


Early this week, CNN’s communications team flat out confirmed reports the network hesitated to book White House counselor Kellyanne Conway over “concerns about [her] credibility.”

CNN’s statement came on the heels of Conway’s now-infamous reference to a nonexistent “Bowling Green” massacre, comments she chalked up to misspeaking.

By Thursday morning, Conway had waded into yet another controversy, this time committing a potential breach of ethics after she encouraged Americans to buy Ivanka Trump products in an interview on “Fox & Friends.

Conway’s repeated utterances of questionable statements, however, is precisely the reason networks should jump at the opportunity to book her. Icing Conway out of the news media would only damage transparency between the White House and the public.

Sure, the administration has a roster of additional spokespeople, but Conway is clearly one of President Trump’s closest and most influential advisors. The opportunity for journalists to directly engage her in conversations about important issues provides the public a unique window into the president’s inner circle.

Conway is not a pundit, nor is she a journalist. It is more than reasonable for networks to ensure on-air guests in both of those categories are providing viewers with fact-based reporting and analysis. But CNN should trust its viewers enough to understand that Conway is spinning on behalf of the White House.

The way she approaches that duty — her word choice, her hesitance to offer to direct responses to certain questions, her impulse to change topics on others — tells viewers a great deal about the administration’s perspective on the issues.

To CNN’s credit, the network did bring Kellyanne Conway back on-air for a heated interview with Jake Tapper Tuesday afternoon, proving the value of those very confrontations between journalists and people in positions of power.

If a White House spokesperson cannot provide credible analysis, the public should know about it. It is the media’s job to provide that essential platform, not to rescind it.

Sanders experiences 'technical issue' after joking CNN is 'fake news'

Also from the Washington Examiner

The senator was discussing Michael Flynn during a CNN interview.

02/11/17 6:57 AM

Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Trump tweets: 'Our legal system is broken!'


"Our legal system is broken!" tweeted President Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump panned the U.S. legal system as being “broken” after a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled this week to keep a restraining order on his travel ban in place while the courts consider the merits of Washington state’s case against the ban.

“Our legal system is broken! “77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries.” (WT) SO DANGEROUS!”, Trump tweeted early Saturday morning, citing a report from the Washington Times.

However, Trump’s ban is getting another look as soon as next week after it was revealed late Friday that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will vote on whether the full federal appeals court should vote on lifting the block on Trump’s executive order that bars citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa with high terror risk.

Right after the federal appeals court made its initial decision on Thursday, Trump vowed, “SEE YOU IN COURT,” on Twitter.

The president also suggested on Friday he might consider a “brand new order” on immigration and refugees as a way around the courts’ block of his travel ban.

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM

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What life is like under a tweeting president


President Trump’s relationship with the political press corps is unconventional, to say the least. He tweets at will, leaving reporters to wonder if he’s breaking new ground or sending a political smoke signal to his loyal voting base. He also doesn’t hesitate to publicly badger reporters — by name — who have fallen out of favor, while praising those he likes for friendly coverage.

To try to get a better sense of Trump’s take on the media, and how the president’s unusual approach impacts his staff that has to deal with the fallout, the Washington Examiner spoke to Boris Epshteyn, special assistant to the president and assistant White House communications director.

Washington Examiner: Talk about the president’s unconventional and confrontational approach to the media.

Epshteyn: The president has been unbelievably transparent. He’s had a great media presence throughout the campaign, the transition and now as president, doing interviews with ABC, with Sean Hannity, with CBN. So of course he has a good relationship with media, as well as speaking to some print reporters.

Now, as far as the criticism: The president is an American citizen, and he has the right to criticize the media when he thinks that they’re being unfair. And, as the president, from his position, his goal and concentration is on reaching the American people. It’s not about pleasing the media. It’s cutting, in a lot of ways, cutting through the veneer and any of the distractions that sometimes are put forth by the media and going right straight to the American people. Twitter goes a long way toward that.

And, sometimes when he does feel that criticism is deserved, criticizing those in the media for unfair coverage [is warranted]. Again, look at the story on the Martin Luther King, Jr., bust. That was a typical story from a left-wing media, which was meant to connote somehow or suggest that the president of the United States is somehow biased, or even racist, and it was completely made up. So, the coverage from the media sometimes is skewed, and the president of the Unites States has the right to call it out.

Washington Examiner: Is there a danger that when the president criticizes reporters by name, he puts a target on their back that could endanger their security?

Epshteyn: The president of the United States never intends to put any members of the media in a negative spotlight, or, absolutely, not in harm’s way. It’s a give and take, and it’s a discussion, and members of the media are, of course, are public figures. They go on TV and in print — their names are out there, so, the president of the United States is not putting anything out there that’s not in public view.

Washington Examiner: The president likes to tweet without advance notice. How does that affect your job?

Federal Election Commission calls on Trump to share evidence of voter fraud

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president on Friday asserted that illegal votes were cast against him in New Hampshire.

02/11/17 1:22 AM

Epshteyn: I love my job; I love working here. I love working for a man who’s authentic and who’s all in on helping the American people and making America stronger. And him being as authentic as he is and able to connect to, and with, the American people as much as he does, it makes me love my job even more. So, I’ve got no qualms about that whatsoever.

Washington Examiner: But does it make your job difficult?

Epshteyn: I wouldn’t say “difficult,” no — no. What I would say is it’s a part of the job and Twitter has been something that’s been sort of a new development, of course, over the past several years. But it’s a very effective tool and a tool that has been used obviously, strongly by the president during the campaign and continues to be used now, as president, to deliver key messages.

Washington Examiner: President Trump has only been in office for two weeks. From the outside it has at times appeared chaotic, at other times as though you’re humming right along. What does it feel like to be in the cauldron?

Epshteyn: It’s such an honor. It’s an honor, an opportunity and it’s really the greatest thing I’ve ever done, I think, in my life, professionally. In terms of operations, it’s been unbelievably productive. You see everything that we’ve accomplished so far.

Exclusive: Internal poll says Dems can sway voters against Gorsuch

Also from the Washington Examiner

The summary of the poll said there is “limited initial support for Gorsuch.”

02/11/17 12:54 AM

The president’s delivering everything that he said he would and of course, the very, very strong nomination of Judge [Neil] Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, so it has been resolute and productive. So, whatever media coverage is out there, what’s negative is just media left-wing spin.

Washington Examiner: What does the president want to have accomplished after his first 100 days? What is most important to him?

Epshteyn: It’s the gamut of topics that we talked about throughout the campaign and the transition, right? What’s great about this first time period we’re through now is we’ve been delivering on promises. So, it’s national security and the economy are the top two topics that the president is concentrated on.

Washington Examiner: The rollout of the executive order impacting refugees was chaotic. By contrast, the rollout of the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court went smoothly. Talk about the president’s management style.

Epshteyn: The concentration is not how things are playing on the morning shows; the concentration is on the content. The content is what’s important to the American people and both of these actions — the pause on refugee and immigrant entry to this country, 90-120 days, really a pause and a reassessment — and of course, the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to be the ninth associate justice, are both actions which are key for making America stronger and moving it farther into being a leader in the world and for Americans to be employed and safe and secure.

So, again, the concentration is on what the action entails, and what both those actions entail is betterment for the American people.

Washington Examiner: Address criticism from Republicans in Congress who want to be supportive of the president but feel as though the White House doesn’t always loop them in.

Epshteyn: We’ve been in great communication with the Senate and the House. We’ve been having briefing calls, we’ve been having meetings. Just yesterday, I had the pleasure of being up on the Hill for the meetings that Judge Gorsuch was having. So there’s a lot of coordination. [Former] Sen. Kelly Ayotte shepherding the nomination is something that’s a very, very strong development and something that shows that President Donald Trump is president for all Americans.

Sen. Ayotte was not always in agreement with the president during the campaign, but now, she’s out there saying that this is our president and she’s excited and honored to be working on behalf of the nomination and making sure that Judge Gorsuch is confirmed. So there’s a lot of coordination with the Senate, as there has been with the executive orders. So, we are working well, hand in hand together.

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Sheriffs dismiss a major Democratic talking point on sanctuary cities


Sheriffs from around the country are dismissing Democratic claims that sanctuary cities help give illegal immigrants the confidence to report local crimes to police, without fear of being deported.

Democrats have put forward that argument for the last several months in the face of Republican efforts to block cities from creating safe zones for illegal immigrants. But sheriffs reached by the Washington Examiner say they’re not aware that this kind of cooperation really exists between law enforcement and illegal immigrants, or that cops in sanctuary cities get more assistance from illegal immigrants.

Many of the sheriffs who are skeptical don’t work in sanctuary cities. But National Sheriffs’ Association executive director Jonathan Thompson, who represents a wide geographical range of law enforcement officers, said he has never seen any statistics indicating that illegal immigrants are a significant source of information for police.

“I’ve not even seen anecdotal evidence,” Thompson told the Washington Examiner. “The sad thing is that [the Democratic claim] suggests that people here are aware of criminal activity and are not reporting it. We have to give them specific dispensation so that they’re reporting crimes? … I find the irony thicker than anything I can cut with a knife, that somebody here illegally is going to report a crime.”

Others who don’t work in sanctuary cities have similar doubts that guaranteed protection for illegal immigrants would help those immigrants reach out to police with information about crimes.

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, Md., who was called last April to testify in a House of Representatives hearing on the effectiveness of immigration policies, said he’s heard the Democratic argument many times over the years. Jenkins, in his 12th year as mayor in Maryland’s largest county, said he doesn’t buy it because his experiences on the job point to a different reality.

“I believe the illegal alien community is smart enough to know that there are protections in place that if they are victims, not to put them into removal custody,” Jenkins said. “They can request a U-visa — basically gives them asylum from any deportation or removal.”

Jenkins added that most jurisdictions do not actively try to identify the immigration status of someone who comes forward, “so the whole argument doesn’t really make sense.”

Sam Page has been sheriff in Rockingham County, N.C., for nearly two decades and has not seen illegal immigrants with tips for solving local crimes come forward to help. He also said it makes no sense for politicians to choose which laws to enforce, and which can be ignored.

Exclusive: Internal poll says Dems can sway voters against Gorsuch

Also from the Washington Examiner

The summary of the poll said there is “limited initial support for Gorsuch.”

02/11/17 12:54 AM

“Some people in government at those levels want to be able to pick and choose what laws they enforce,” said Page. “If there are laws on the books, then we enforce the laws. And the legislature and Congress, they enact legislation. If they don’t like the laws, then they need to change the laws, but you don’t pick and choose which laws you enforce.”

About 500 miles northeast, in a Pennsylvania county that borders upstate New York, Bradford County Sheriff Clinton Walters said he has not observed anything that validates lawmakers’ and pundits’ claims, and doesn’t see why someone here illegally would come forward.

“They’re here illegally and they’re doing whatever, whether it’s the drug business or work or whatever brought them here. I don’t think they’re trying to be Good Samaritans and report crimes,” Walters said.

Page said a majority of illegal immigrants come from countries where police cannot always be trusted, which stays with them when they move to the U.S.

“Some people won’t report, but I think a lot of that’s driven by the culture where they come from, they don’t trust them [police],” Page said. He added that U.S. has nearly a million law enforcement officers “that do it right every day,” assisting all communities in the same manner.

What life is like under a tweeting president

Also from the Washington Examiner

Comms director Boris Epshteyn: “I wouldn’t say ‘difficult,’ no, no. What I would say is it’s a part of the job.”

02/11/17 12:39 AM

Jenkins said another reason some may not come forward to report crimes is because they are intimidated by the violent criminals and “thugs” in their communities. The Maryland sheriff said in his experience as a former criminal investigator who worked a number of high-profile cases in the 1990s, he regularly saw the potential for payback as a factor in why people did not work with police after a crime was committed.

Due to the lack of statistical information of who reports crimes, the Democratic messaging continues.

“It’s a whisper campaign. You tell a lie once it goes around the world in 20 seconds,” Thompson said. “I think it makes a nice soundbite. It’s nice for some in law enforcement who want to believe that all criminal aliens want to support local law enforcement. That may be true, but I don’t know of any statistics … that suggest that this is a wealth or reserve ocean of confidential informants.”

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Price can chart a path to Obamacare repeal and replace


The confirmation of Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is an important victory in the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare.

A former orthopedic surgeon and congressman from Georgia, Price has been one of Obamacare’s most thoughtful and effective critics. His “Empowering Patients First Act,” introduced in 2015, remains one of the best Republican replacement plans on offer.

But the real work of repealing and replacing Obamacare has hardly begun. That work starts in Congress. Lawmakers must roll back as much of the health law as possible through “budget reconciliation,” and then quickly repeal and replace the rest of the law through the conventional legislative process.

Price can only do so much to undo Obamacare from his position atop the Department of Health and Human Services. He can certainly alter the way the law is implemented and enforced by, say, weakening enforcement of the individual mandate and reevaluating which specific benefits must be part of the “Essential Benefits” package.

But he can’t change the fact that Obamacare — its state and federal exchanges, Medicaid expansion and regulations — are the law of the land.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says that Congress could consider a reconciliation measure by the end of March. Reconciliation allows the Senate to vote on legislation affecting the federal budget without the threat of a filibuster. Republicans, of course, have the majority in the House and 52 Senate votes, so they could repeal the components of Obamacare that affect the federal budget.

Those include Obamacare’s income-based insurance subsidies, its raft of taxes and the mandates requiring individuals to secure coverage and employers with more than 50 employees to offer it. Taxes such as the HIT, Medical Device, and Cadillac taxes could also be repealed. Republicans are also exploring how they can include elements of their replacement plan in this reconciliation bill.

But they can’t repeal Obamacare entirely via reconciliation. The Senate’s rules allow Democrats to filibuster any bill that repeals the law’s exchanges or its insurance market regulations, like the “guaranteed issue” rule forcing insurers to accept all customers regardless of health status and the “Essential Health Benefits” requirements.

Republicans will need to attract eight Senate Democrats’ votes to overcome a filibuster and repeal measures like these. To do that, they’ll need to convince them that they have a workable replacement immediately ready.

Federal Election Commission calls on Trump to share evidence of voter fraud

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president on Friday asserted that illegal votes were cast against him in New Hampshire.

02/11/17 1:22 AM

Fortunately, they do.

Both Price’s “Empowering Patients First Act” and Ryan’s “A Better Way” health proposal would replace Obamacare’s complicated income-based insurance subsidies with a straightforward age-based refundable tax credit, expand Health Savings Accounts, and convert Medicaid to a block-grant model. They would also permit the sale of insurance across state lines and eliminate Obamacare’s onerous insurance market regulations, including guaranteed issue and the essential health benefits rules.

These policies would inject choice and competition into the health sector, and expand access to affordable, quality insurance in the process.

Equally important, they should be able to attract support from at least some Democrats.

For starters, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has already said to Republican leadership that he’s “happy to sit down with you to see if we can find a pathway forward.”

Exclusive: Internal poll says Dems can sway voters against Gorsuch

Also from the Washington Examiner

The summary of the poll said there is “limited initial support for Gorsuch.”

02/11/17 12:54 AM

Manchin is one of five Democratic senators from solidly “red” states who will be up for re-election in 2018. Another five Democrats are from states that went for Obama in 2012 but flipped to Trump in 2016. Trump, of course, promised unequivocally on the campaign trail that he’d work to repeal and replace “disastrous” Obamacare.

That’s 10 senators who could lose their jobs if Democrats successfully filibuster the GOP’s repeal-and-replace effort. Indeed, if they refuse to break with their party, Republicans could easily paint these lawmakers as deliberately obstructing the healthcare reforms that voters have demanded.

Come 2018, these 10 Democrats would have to defend a health law that has saddled Americans with rising premiums, high deductibles, narrow provider networks, and dwindling insurance choices. Worse, they’d be doing so before an electorate that voted decisively to end Obamacare.

Democrats who side with Republicans will certainly face criticism from their own party. But they’ll have to ask themselves if they’d rather bow to the whims of Democratic leaders or keep their jobs.

Republicans have a clear path to repealing and replacing Obamacare. Price can help put their plan into practice. But first, Congress must act by passing legislation that simultaneously ends Obamacare and replaces it with reforms that give all Americans access to quality, affordable coverage. Repair or delay tactics will only ensure “Obamacare Forever.”

Sally Pipes (@sallypipes) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is president, CEO and Thomas W. Smith fellow in health care policy at the Pacific Research Institute.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

Federal agencies weigh how to satisfy Trump's demand for 'extreme vetting'

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The executive order gives departments 90 days to review screening measures.

02/11/17 12:33 AM



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Exclusive: Internal poll says Dems can sway voters against Gorsuch


Progressive activists who oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination are armed with internal polling that they believe shows swing-state voters in battleground states can be convinced that Gorsuch should not be confirmed.

The Washington Examiner obtained a detailed Hart Research Associates survey and two-page summary distributed by the Alliance for Justice, a liberal group pushing Senate Democrats to oppose Gorsuch. The research was sent to “interested parties.”

The summary of the poll, which was conducted Feb. 1-3 in 10 states represented by a Democratic senator that President Trump won, said there is “limited initial support for Gorsuch.” That creates an opportunity for Democrats to convince voters in these states that he would not represent average working men and women’s views in the Supreme Court.

The summary from Hart pollsters Geoff Garin and Guy Molyneux argued that Gorsuch is receiving support from far less than a majority of battleground voters in those 10 states.

“Just 42 percent say the Senate should confirm Neil Gorsuch, while 58 percent either oppose confirmation or are not yet ready to decide,” they wrote. “Significantly, once voters learn a bit more about Neil Gorsuch’s record and philosophy, opposition to his confirmation doubles, while support is virtually unchanged.”

After hearing arguments both for and against the nominee, battleground voters divide even on the confirmation, 44-44 percent, the poll found. People who are initially undecided later reject Gorsuch by an “overwhelming” 59-14.

“While many Democrats and independents are withholding judgment in these early days, the survey findings suggest that the coming debate will move most of them to opposition,” they concluded.

Liberal activists are circulating the research to ease some of the pressure on red-state and swing-state Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018, who may be worried that a vote against the well-qualified nominee could alienate independent voters.

With Republicans controlling 52 Senate seats, they need eight Democrats to vote with them to advance Gorsuch’s nomination to a final vote.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of Senate Republicans, is already targeting 14 Senate Democrats in 13 states with ads aimed at highlighting the importance of their vote on the Supreme Court nominee.

The ads will focus on ratcheting up the pressure on Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Michael Bennet of Colorado.

The vulnerable Democrats can take some solace that voters in their states appear to want the Senate to take some time to fully vet Gorsuch’s qualifications and judicial philosophy, instead of rushing the nomination through.

“By a commanding 43 points, [battleground voters] say the Senate should ‘take the time needed to carefully review the nominee’s qualifications and judicial philosophy before confirming a lifetime appointment,” the memo stated.

The poll also pushed back on the widely held GOP belief that Gorsuch’s qualifications are so impeccable that vulnerable Democrats in swing or red states who vote against him could pay a political price for it.

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“If a senator concludes that Trump’s nominees cannot be counted on to protect [working individuals’] rights, a large majority of voters say it is then acceptable for the senator to oppose confirmation – even if the nominee is professionally qualified to serve on the Supreme Court,” the poll found.

“Six in 10 (60%) say a senator may vote no if he believes the nominee would consistently vote to weaken legal protections for civil rights, the environment, workers’ rights, consumer safety, and women’s rights, despite having the professional qualifications to serve,” the poll found.

Read the poll here:

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