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20 июля, 07:09

Турбины для Крыма: как избежать новых подозрений

Только активное участие государства в развитии отрасли и проведение системной промышленной политики поможет снизить зависимость электроэнергетики от поставок импортного оборудования и комплектующих

18 июля, 23:19

Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, 7/18/2017

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 2:34 P.M. EDT MS. SANDERS:  The second door was already open.  You guys must be ready for me.  I apologize for the delays.  Good afternoon.  Today, the Trump administration continued to shine a spotlight on the people, products, and principles that have made this country great with an event hosted by Secretary Zinke, celebrating the American outdoor recreation industry.  The United States has a long tradition of preserving the all-American outdoor experience, dating back to the days of President Theodore Roosevelt.  And we've developed a booming industry to support that tradition that employs 7.6 million across the country, building boats and RVs, or supplying campers, fishers, and hunters. The importance of exploring, innovating, and building here at home has always been a central part of our country's heritage.  And President Trump is proud that his administration is highlighting its continued significance to both our economy and our culture. Yesterday, the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, took the next step in renegotiating the outdated and unfair North American Free Trade Agreement by releasing the administration's negotiating objectives. President Trump promised the American people, during the campaign, that he would renegotiate NAFTA to get a better deal for our workers, or he would withdraw from the deal.  These objectives are a framework for what the administration sees as a more fair NAFTA -- one that maintains the benefits for American farmers and ranchers who have obtained much-needed market access but provides relief for the manufacturing industry that has suffered particularly hard under the current agreement.   They include addressing the United States' persistent trade imbalances in North America and obtaining reciprocal market access; eliminating unfair subsidies, market-distorting practices by state-owned enterprises, and burdensome restrictions on intellectual property; updating provisions throughout the agreement to support U.S. manufacturing; expanding market access for U.S. agriculture; adding a digital economy chapter; incorporating and strengthening labor and environment-side agreements; calling for the establishment of appropriate mechanisms to combat currency manipulation; and strengthening trade remedies, including the ability of the United States to enforce rigorously its trade laws.   Politicians have been promising to fix NAFTA for years, but this is the first time that a modern United States free trade agreement has been renegotiated.  USTR will be making an announcement soon on the first round of negotiations as we work towards a NAFTA that benefits all Americans -- our workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers. This morning, the Treasury and State Departments took strong action as part of the administration's broader strategy to keep America safe from the threat of Iran's destabilizing influence.  The Departments designated several individuals and entities for contributing to that influence.  These actions are separate and on top of the President's direction to work with our allies to explore options for addressing the serious flaws of the JCPOA. Even as we continue to work to prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon, we cannot look away while Iran threatens our country and our allies in ways beyond their nuclear threat.  All of these elements will be part of the comprehensive integrated strategy that the Trump administration is developing to address the full spectrum of Iranian threats to our national interest.  And, finally, yesterday Sean was asked about the administration's position on the concept of net neutrality, and he said we'd get back to you.  The administration believes that rules of the road are important for everyone -- website providers, Internet service providers, and consumers alike. With that said, the previous administration went about this the wrong way by imposing rules on ISPs through the FCC's Title II rulemaking power.  We support the FCC chair's efforts to review and consider rolling back these rules, and believe that the best way to get fair rules for everyone is for Congress to take action and create regulatory and economic certainty. And with that, I will take your questions. Eamon. Q    Thanks, Sarah.  The President seemed fairly blindsided yesterday by the defections on the healthcare bill.  As the White House pivots and moves over to tax reform later in the summer, what are you going to change at the White House to make sure that he has a pretty good sense of where the votes are on tax reform as that legislative train tries to move (inaudible)? MS. SANDERS:  The same thing we’ve been doing, and that’s continue to have ongoing, regular, consistent contact with members of Congress.  Ideally, some Democrats will want to participate in the process moving forward on a number of issues, including tax reform.  And maintaining that open line of communication, as the President often does, meeting here with members of both the House and Senate as well as having regular calls and also having members of his administration in touch daily with both leadership and members of both houses. Q    And as you know, the debt ceiling vote is coming up later this year.  Is there any plan to have the President reach out and make a case personally?  And if he does, what is that case to lawmakers up on Capitol Hill on the debt ceiling talk? MS. SANDERS:  In terms of actual tactics, I think we’ll make those decisions as we get closer to that point.  Certainly, I would expect the administration to be engaged in that process throughout. Blake. Q    Thanks, Sarah.  Let me ask you a couple of questions about healthcare.  The President said a couple times in his remarks a little while ago that at this point he’ll just let “Obamacare fail.”  Why is it acceptable policy to let Obamacare fail? MS. SANDERS:  I think in large part -- look, Democrats have refused to join in fixing the healthcare problems that have plagued our healthcare system, specifically in large part due to Obamacare and Obamacare’s failures.  And that sort of, I think, behavior is simply unacceptable, and hopefully with the collapse of the program that they put in place, they’ll be more willing to come to the table and help clean up the mess. Q    I want to ask you -- another comment about the timing going forward.  The President said, “Something will happen and it will be good.  It may not be as quick as we had hoped, but it is going to happen.”  He also started talking about 2018 and the need for more Republicans to get elected.  So I guess in the short term, is it realistic for some sort of healthcare agreement to happen before the August recess, even, as the administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill had been hoping for?  Is this a much longer-term horizon now? MS. SANDERS:  Again, as we’ve said many times before, we’re less focused on the timetable and making sure we actually get it right and get it done.  We’re continuing to focus on repealing and replacing Obamacare with a system that actually works, and those priorities and principles haven’t changed. Q    So is it possible that this is a post-recess -- maybe even a 2018 event? MS. SANDERS:  Ideally I think it happens as soon as possible.  But again, we’ve been clear about not saying "by X date, by X date," but more about "let’s get better coverage, let’s get a better plan and a better program."  That’s been our focus, not the timetable.   John. Q    Sarah, three Republican senators -- Collins, Murkowski, and Capito -- have come out against this idea of repeal.  Collins, not surprising, she voted against it in 2015.  However, Murkowski and Capito both voted for repeal in 2015, and now they’re saying they’re against it.  Is this thing dead before it even leaves the barn? MS. SANDERS:  I think the thing that’s dead here is Obamacare.  I think we’ve seen that it’s completely failed, and at this point Congress needs to do their job and they need to do it as quickly as they can, because every day that they don’t, we go further into collapsing under Obamacare.  And so I think that, at this point, inaction is not a workable solution, and so they need to come to the table and figure out how to reform the system and fix it. Q    So what do you say to these two senators, Murkowski and Capito, who voted for repeal in 2015 but now say they won’t vote for it in 2017? MS. SANDERS:  I think we say what the Vice President said today:  Do your job.  It’s time for Congress to do their job and do it now. Q    Speaking to members of the House, Paul Ryan a short time ago said it’s pretty difficult to explain to your constituents why you voted for something two years ago but aren’t voting for it now.  Is that the tact that this White House will take, as well?    MS. SANDERS:  I think that’s something that those senators will have to answer to their constituents.  That’s not something that the White House has to answer on behalf of those members. Q    Sarah, will the Trump administration take actions to move Obamacare towards collapse, like stopping CSR payments or other things that have been threatened before? MS. SANDERS:  I don’t think that the White House has to take any actions for Obamacare to collapse.  I think you see the evidence every single day.  You’ve got dozens and dozens of counties that have no options on the exchange; premiums continue to skyrocket.  I don’t think the White House needs to do anything for the failure to continue. Q    But what about the CSR payments to insurance companies? MS. SANDERS:  I don’t have anything further than where we’ve been the last several months on that.  Nothing new to update. Q    Can I ask one more question about -- MS. SANDERS:  Sure.  Why stop now?  We’re on such a roll.  Everybody is having a good time.  (Laughter.)  Q    The Afghan girls' robotic team is here competing down the street.  Ivanka Trump went there and visited today and met the girls.  How does the President find out about some of these individual cases that he’s interceded on, like Aya Hijazi or the Afghan girls’ team?  And sort of what ends up moving him on these individual cases?   MS. SANDERS:  I mean, I can’t speak to every single way that he finds out about information.  Obviously, he has a large staff and an administration that pays close attention to a wide range of issues, and this is something that was flagged and something that he took a great deal of interest in, in making sure that the problem was solved.  And it was, and we're excited that they're here. Matthew. Q    Thanks, Sarah.  Two questions, if I may.  First, who is responsible -- primarily responsible for what appears to be the failure of this healthcare legislation? MS. SANDERS:  I would say Democrats.  They're responsible -- Q    Can you explain to me how -- MS. SANDERS:  Sure.   Q    -- given that they're in the minority? MS. SANDERS:  Absolutely.  They're responsible for passing Obamacare.  They're responsible for creating the mess that we're in.  They're responsible for being unwilling to work with Republicans in any capacity to help fix a system that they know is completely flawed and have publicly said so.  I think that it’s pretty clear, and I think the responsibility lies on their shoulders. Q    Great.  So then just a quick follow-up.  A bipartisan group of governors, including the Republicans John Kasich, Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker, Brian Sandoval, are calling for a seat at the table and a bipartisan process in healthcare reform.  Is the President open to that specifically, sort of starting over with a bipartisan look at this, bringing governors to the table? MS. SANDERS:  The President has met with a large number of governors, talked to them regularly.  That certainly won’t stop at this point of the process -- not just on healthcare, but on a wide variety of issues.  In terms of bipartisan, I think the President laid out pretty clearly from the beginning of this process he was more than willing to sit down with Democrats.  I think they've been the ones that have been completely unwilling to even come to the table to be part of the discussion. Hopefully now that Obamacare continues to completely collapse, maybe they’ll decide that they want a part of this process. Steve. Q    Sarah, what is the President’s level of frustration with Republicans since they control both houses of Congress? MS. SANDERS:  I think he’s frustrated.  He spoke about this earlier today.  Again, I think his primary frustration is that there is no progress in terms of over the last 24 hours of moving this further down the road and giving Americans the system that they deserve.  But I think he laid out pretty clearly that there’s a small number of people that he’s probably frustrated with.  But I think in large part, most of the frustration lies with the Democrats who created the mess but don't want to help fix the problem.  Q    And when he says he’s not going to own it, what does he mean by that? MS. SANDERS:  I think he’s not going to own the failure of Obamacare.  I think exactly what I just said to Matthew.  The failure of Obamacare I think rests solely on the shoulders of Democrats.  They created the program.  They pushed it through.  They made this legislation happen, and they need to own the failure of it. Jon. Q    Sarah, back during the transition, at the press conference the President had at Trump Tower, he was asked about healthcare.  He said that there would be repeal and replace the same week, but probably the same day, could be the same hour.  Did this turn out to be a lot more difficult than he anticipated? MS. SANDERS:  Certainly I think that after hearing members of Congress talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years, I think that most people thought that it would probably move a little bit faster. Q    What did he learn about the way Congress works in this process?  What did he learn about this town?  What did he learn about the legislative process? MS. SANDERS:  Probably that government always moves slower than it should.   Zeke. Q    Thanks, Sarah.  Two statements from the President.  One -- MS. SANDERS:  If you can speak up? Q    Sorry.  Two statements from the President, one from him a year ago this Friday at the Republican National Convention as he accepted that party’s nomination.  He said, "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it."  So if the President knew the system so well, does he owe his supporters an apology?  MS. SANDERS:  For what?  For -- Q    That he couldn’t get healthcare across the finish line? MS. SANDERS:  For what?  Having the stock market at an all-time high, creating jobs, putting ISIS on the run, getting rid of countless regulations that have made the business climate better?  Should he apologize for that?  Absolutely not.  We should be very proud of the progress that we've made in the first six months and the continued progress that we're going to make over the next seven and a half years. Q    And second question, another statistic (inaudible) your response to Matt.  This is from November 8th, 2013, from the President:  "Leadership, whatever happens, you're responsible.  If it doesn't happen, you're responsible." So why is the President trying to shunt responsibility over to Democrats?  Doesn't he own any of the blame here? MS. SANDERS:  The blame of a program that was created and forced through before he took office?  No.  But the process of reforming healthcare is certainly not over, and we're going to continue to focus on reforming the healthcare system and putting one in place that isn’t a failure, like Obamacare.  Hunter. Q    Thank you, Sarah.  This seems like a multi-question day, so I’ve got two.   MS. SANDERS:  I thought they were all multi-question days.  (Laughter.)  I didn't know that there was an option that we could do it different from day to day. Q    We could also do it on camera, but just an idea. MS. SANDERS:  I’ll consider that one, too. Q    Is the failure of this Senate bill going to change the President’s approach on this at all going forward?  Will we see him take a more public role with rallies and speeches calling for healthcare legislation?  And also, how much should we expect to see him meeting with senators about this? MS. SANDERS:  Again, the President has laid out the priorities of what he wants to see in healthcare reform.  And now it’s Congress’s job to legislate, and we're looking to them to work through some of that process.  But we're going to continue to be incredibly engaged, specifically on providing technical assistance, as well as looking at all options for best repealing and replacing Obamacare. Q    And the second one.  One thing I’ve been hearing a lot is this notion that it might have been smarter to pursue infrastructure first because that had more bipartisan appeal and more likelihood of passage.  Do you think there’s any regret about not going for another agenda item first? MS. SANDERS:  No, not necessarily. April. Q    Sarah, a couple questions.  One, is the President going to go to the NAACP convention next week in Baltimore? MS. SANDERS:  I’m not sure, April.  I’ll have to check and get back to you. Q    Is he considering? MS. SANDERS:  I honestly don't know.  I haven’t see the schedule for next week. Q    Okay.  When it comes to ACA, you're blaming Democrats.  But Democrats are saying there were 99 amendments by Republicans in ACA.  What do you say to that? MS. SANDERS:  This is still a Democrat piece of legislation.  It was written -- it was forced through. Q    But 99 written amendments.  MS. SANDERS:  Ninety-nine amendments to how many hundreds of pages of legislation?  It’s outrageous to make this a bipartisan bill.  I think everybody knows exactly who was part of that process, and it certainly wasn’t Republicans. Q    And last question.  Some congressional leaders -- particularly Democrats -- are very concerned about the trust factor when it comes to Jared Kushner and his security clearance, and also still remaining in the job.  What does the President have to say about his son-in-law, right now, in the midst of this storm -- the fact that more information continues to come out after he gave his initial statements, and their concern about the trust factor when he has a critical piece of security clearance that deals with issues of trust?  Is the President considering allowing him to stay or leave?  And should he keep his security clearance? MS. SANDERS:  I don’t know of any changes that would be made.  The President has confidence in Jared, and I'm not aware of any changes at all. Q    Sarah, is it fair to say the President was blindsided last night?  Can you walk us through a little when he found out, when his senior staff found out?   MS. SANDERS:  I'm not going to get into the process piece and the tick-tock and the back-and-forth.  Again, as we've said a dozen times, our focus is on the repeal and the replace, not the process piece of it, but making sure that we get this done. Q    Also, Sarah, can you confirm the President did tell lawmakers again last night that they would look like dopes if they did not vote for repeal and replace? MS. SANDERS:  I'm not sure.  I'll have to check and get back to you. Q    Thanks, Sarah.  I want to ask you about the President's pledge to get more Republicans elected in 2018.  He said earlier today that he's going to be working very hard to make that happen.  Does that go for two Republican incumbent senators, Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, who were not onboard for this healthcare plan? MS. SANDERS:  Due to legal restrictions, I'm not going to get into any potential election questions. John Gizzi. Q    Thank you, Sarah.  Two questions, please. MS. SANDERS:  John Roberts is bored today.  He's headed out.  (Laughter.)  Q    John, stick around. Q    If it were on camera, I might not.   Q    Ooh --  MS. SANDERS:  Nice.   Q    Two questions.  Even before Senator McConnell's statement last night and Speaker Ryan's press conference, the concept on an outright repeal was cause du jour in the House of Representatives at least.  There was this meeting of conservative lawmakers on Thursday who were adamant about it.  Congressman Biggs has since introduced the bill for a direct repeal.  Is there any possibility the administration would at least sit down and join the cause for a direct repeal before it pursued any new kind of legislation? MS. SANDERS:  I think we're certainly open to having conversations on all fronts and the best way to move this process forward. Dave. Q    All right, my second question -- MS. SANDERS:  Oh, sorry, number two. Q    One of the things -- it's been concluded that the meeting that Ms. Veselnitskaya had with Donald Trump, Jr. was about eventually lifting all of the Magnitsky sanctions, which targeted top officials in the Kremlin.  Now, since January, Secretary Tillerson has said none of the sanctions will be lifted.  Many of the Russian expatriates and opponents of the Kremlin regime had suggested that if the President could put this issue behind him by supporting further Magnitsky sanctions.  Are there any plans to do that? MS. SANDERS:  Specific sanctions, I can't speak to that today.  But once we have an announcement, I'll certainly let you know. Dave. Q    Sarah, thanks.  The President has said many times in the past six months that we needed to get the healthcare legislation done first so we could go on to massive tax reform to help the economy.  Can you now proceed with massive tax reform that will give the biggest bang to the economy without having done the Obamacare part of it? MS. SANDERS:  We're going to continue pushing forward on tax reform and laying out that plan.  I know this will surprise a lot of people, but we can walk and chew gum at the same time.  We're not done with the healthcare battle.  We're going to continue pushing forward on that and hopefully get that completed, and then transition fully to tax reform after that's over. Kristen. Q    Sarah, thank you.  You continue to say that this is the Democrats' fault.  The reality is, they were willing to sit down at the table with you guys and negotiate and try to improve Obamacare.   MS. SANDERS:  I missed all of those phone calls -- Q    But they said they weren’t going to work with you guys on repeal and replace.  So isn’t it fair to say that you guys were dug in and wouldn’t find common ground with them as well? MS. SANDERS:  Not at all.  We've been very clear from the beginning we're willing to sit down with Democrats and talk about how to reform the healthcare system.  And until they recognize the fact, I think, that Obamacare has completely collapsed and failed, I think it will be hard for them to move forward in the process.  I think that their unwillingness is pretty well documented. Q    In 2012, @RealDonaldTrump’s Twitter account tweeted, “Obama’s complaints about Republicans stopping his agenda" -- and I'm quoting -- "are BS since he had full control for two years.  He can never take responsibility.”  Doesn't the President need to take some responsibility for this moment, Sarah?   MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think we’re taking responsibility in terms of pushing new legislation through, but not the failures of legislation that happened before the President got into office.  I think you also have to take into account the outrageous obstruction that we’ve talked about pretty frequently up here, not just on healthcare but across the board in just allowing the President’s administration to be fully staffed and be able to fully carry out the duties of the office. Q    And I understand what you’re saying, but this moment is not about the legislation that was passed before the President took office.  This moment is about the President and Republicans who campaigned on a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare for seven years -- the President for the time he was on the campaign trail -- not living up to that promise to the American voters.  Doesn’t he need to take responsibility? MS. SANDERS:  Like I said before, the debate and the battle over healthcare isn’t over.  We’re continuing to push forward to repeal and replace Obamacare, and we’re going to continue fighting for that every single day.  So you’re speaking as if this is over and done, and it certainly isn’t. Charlie. Q    Just curious whether the President would be willing to sign a repeal-only legislation if that ended up on his desk.    MS. SANDERS:  You know, I don’t have any announcement to make on specifics that hasn’t hit his desk, but I think right now we’re certainly open to considering all options to reform healthcare and make sure that Americans get the best care possible.   Alex. Q    The President earlier today had a luncheon with servicemembers and said he wanted to hear ideas from them about the war in Afghanistan.  Can you tell us any of the ideas that he heard?  Also, he’s clearly not happy about how long the U.S. has been in Afghanistan.  Would he reject a plan from Mattis of keeping the U.S. there long term?    MS. SANDERS:  In terms of specifics that were discussed at the meeting, I’ll see if I can get any of those ideas if that’s something that those individuals want to share.  But the President felt like it was important to talk directly to some of the servicemen that have been on the ground and hear some of their feedback and some of their thoughts about what’s taking place there and some of the progress being made. Q    And (inaudible) Mattis came forward with a plan that kept the U.S. there long-term.  Trump has been complaining -- President Trump has been complaining that the U.S. has been there for 17 years.  Would he be supportive of a plan that kept the U.S. there longer? MS. SANDERS:  The President is still reviewing what options he wants to take and what decisions he’ll make, and we’ll keep you guys posted when we have an announcement on that. Jon Decker. Q    Thanks a lot, Sarah.  Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act was perhaps the biggest campaign promise that the President made when he was President.  Does the President believe, does he fear, that failing to do so will impact the Republicans' ability to hold on to the House and the Senate in 2018?  Is this something that he’s conveyed to members of Congress in his conversations with them?   MS. SANDERS:  Again, we’re going to get the job done.  We’re still focused on doing what we set out to do.  But I would also argue that the President laid out a lot of priorities during the campaign:  creating jobs, creating a better job environment; getting rid of burdensome regulations; putting ISIS on the run; securing the border; protecting our country; taking steps every single day to help improve the lives of the forgotten man.  And I think he certainly delivered on a lot of those things, and we’re going to continue to do that every single day that he’s in office.   Q    And then, Sarah, also, in terms of what the President said a little bit earlier and also what he tweeted earlier, he spoke about coming together.  Does that indicate that the President is open to some sort of bipartisan solution to fixing what is wrong with the Affordable Care Act? MS. SANDERS:  Absolutely.  The President said all along that his primary goal is to find a solution, and he’s happy to work with Democrats to get that done.   Francesca.   Q    Thank you, Sarah.  You said that the administration would want Congress to finish work on healthcare and then it would move on to taxes.  Previously, the White House had said that it wanted to see a draft plan for that tax reform before the August recess.  Is that still the case?  And do you still expect to get tax reform done this year, in light of what we learned about the healthcare bill yesterday? MS. SANDERS:  We’re still very focused on moving forward on tax reform.  It's still a big priority for the administration.  And that certainly has not changed. Q    In terms of getting it done before the end of the year? MS. SANDERS:  We want to get the biggest tax reform as possible -- tax reform plan in place.  And we'll, you know, keep you guys posted on the timeline and announcements for that happening. Q    One other topic, since it's multiple-question day.  I wanted to ask about the legal fees.  Is the President paying for his lawyers that are defending him in the Russia case or in the Russia allegations that are outside of this White House?  And is the President paying Mark Corallo, the spokesman, for -- Marc Kasowitz and Jay Sekulow and the lawyers on his team? MS. SANDERS:  I'm not sure what the structure is for that. Q    Sarah, didn't the President, though, himself, as a candidate and as President, raise significant expectations about this legislation, saying it was going to be a beautiful plan, everyone was going to be covered?  And did he ever really have a plan?  And what does that say about his true knowledge regarding the healthcare system? MS. SANDERS:  I think the President has shown he has extensive knowledge.  He's laid out the priorities that are important for him to be included in the legislation.  And once again, this is not a game-over situation.  We're continuing to push forward every single day and work hard to make sure that the American people get the type of healthcare that they need and deserve. Alexis. Q    Can I just clarify:  As long as the Affordable Care Act remains law and replacement legislation is in abeyance, is the President committing, through HHS, to support the subsidies, the executive sustenance that the law -- the existing law requires? MS. SANDERS:  As has been the case since we got here, we'll continue to keep you posted as decisions and changes are made, or if they're not. Q    And can I follow up?  You just said a few minutes ago, we are taking responsibility in terms of pushing new legislation through.  That sentence seemed to conflict with what you were saying earlier.  Can you clarify what you mean by "we're taking responsibility"?  What happened last night is the President's responsibility -- that's what you're saying? MS. SANDERS:  I'm saying that our goal is to continue to push to repeal and replace Obamacare.  We're committed to doing that.  That hasn't changed.  Throughout the campaign, that was something we talked about and something we talk about every single day -- that we're here, we're focused on doing that, and we're going to continue pushing forward.  That's it.   Abby. Q    So, outside of the White House, a couple of weeks ago, Mitch McConnell said either Republicans will agree to change the status quo or the markets will continue to collapse and we'll have to sit down with Senator Schumer.  So he was suggesting that sitting down with Democrats would be a consequence of Republicans failing to repeal and replace Obamacare.  Is McConnell and the President -- are they on the same page about whether or not they really do want to work with Democrats on this?  McConnell seemed to indicate that that was the plan B, not the plan A. MS. SANDERS:  The President has said all along that he's happy and willing to work with Democrats on repealing and replacing Obamacare. Q    But do you guys believe that that's the way the process has actually unfolded in the Senate? MS. SANDERS:  In terms of Democrats being unwilling to come to the table, yes. Q    In terms of whether the Senate Republican leaders have been open to Democrats participating in the process. MS. SANDERS:  I think Democrats laid out very clearly from the very beginning of this process they were unwilling to come to the table and have that conversation. Q    Sarah, I want to ask you about the Iran deal.  It's been reported that the President was reluctant to certify that Iran is in compliance.  Can you give voice to that reluctance?  Just how reluctant was he? MS. SANDERS:  I think, as everybody in the room knows, the President has talked about this pretty extensively, and his opinions and his feelings on this deal have certainly not changed.  He still very much thinks it's a really bad deal and that the Iranians have not been fully compliant.  And we're going to continue through this process.  And I refer you back to his statement to see where he lays that out pretty clearly. Q    One more question.  To follow up on the lunch today, he sat with enlisted men and he heard from them what they think should happen.  Was the President seeking a second opinion from what he's hearing from the commanders?  I'm just curious why he wanted to hear from the enlisted men. MS. SANDERS:  I wouldn't call it a second opinion.  I think it's important for him to have that type of engagement.  I know that's something that matters to him, not just on specific policy issues, but just to be able to have that type of open dialogue with the guys that have the boots on the ground.  And he'll want to probably be able to continue to do that throughout, you know, his time in office. Q    Sarah, both you and the President have suggested that Obamacare is simply dead.  In fact, though, there are millions of people who still depend on it.  And the President has decisions to make -- as was noted earlier, the payments to insurance companies and subsidies.  He can push this over the cliff.  As Senator Schumer said a short time ago, he has the power to do that.  It’s not simply going to fail on its own.  He has the power to do it. MS. SANDERS:  I disagree with you.  I think we're seeing it fail day after day after day as millions of people --  Q    Well, if it’s already failed, it can't fail day after day after day.  You're saying it’s dead.  You're saying it’s dead.  It’s not dead.  There are still millions of people -- many of them, the forgotten men and women you like to talk about -- who still depend on it. And he has the power to kill it, dead.  He has the power to push it over the cliff.  Are you saying he’s already made the decisions on subsidies and payments to insurance companies that would finally kill it? MS. SANDERS:  No, that's not what I’m saying.  Again, in terms of Obamacare being dead, it’s an unsustainable program.  When something is unsustainable and it can't be revived --  Q    So you're saying it’s dying, you're not saying it’s dead.  There are people who depend on it, millions of people, many of them your supporters, his supporters. MS. SANDERS:  Right, and that's why --  Q    How could it be dead? MS. SANDERS:  That's why the process of repealing and replacing would need to make sure that those people continue coverage.  And that's been a big focus and one of the priorities of this process throughout -- from the beginning. Q    Is he going to help push it over the cliff? MS. SANDERS:  Again, I think this is already going over the cliff and doesn't need a push by the President.  Q    Sarah, when you've spoken, you've spoken to the President earlier today -- said that this system will continue to collapse and we’ll get to a point where Democrats have to come back to the table and join in trying to find a way to fix it.  What specifically does the administration think would be that point where he would get a group conversation that has not happened yet? MS. SANDERS:  I think that's a question, frankly, you’d have to ask the Democrats.   Q    No, no, no, it's your -- MS. SANDERS:  I think they're the only ones that know what’s going to bring them to the table. Q    No, you're the ones who keep saying that there’s going to arrive a point at which the system has failed to such a degree that suddenly there’s a willingness to compromise.  So, like, what are you envisioning? MS. SANDERS:  Well, I can't imagine that --  Q    Failures of individual plans? MS. SANDERS:  I can't imagine -- that as this program, as he laid out, goes deeper and deeper off the cliff, that -- Q    You're either off the cliff or not off the cliff.  (Laughter.)  You don't go deeper and deeper off a cliff. Q    What is the point you're describing? MS. SANDERS:  The point is Obamacare is simply unsustainable.  We've said this a hundred times.  It’s not a program that can be revived. Q    But you're saying you're going to arrive at that point -- MS. SANDERS:  It’s not a program that can be revived.  It is essentially a dead program in terms of being able to provide the type of healthcare that Americans need and deserve. And our point is the priorities that the President has laid out, we have to have a plan in place that actually provides care -- not just coverage; that brings the cost down; lower deductibles; across-the-board reform.  And at this point, hopefully Democrats will see how bad the system is and come to the table. Q    But what specifically is going to happen to bring them back to the table?  You're saying it’s unsustainable, it can't be supported.  And the President is saying it’s going to get to a point -- MS. SANDERS:  I would think that those things alone should wake up Democrats and make them want to come to the table.  I would -- again, I’m not going to speak for the breaking point of Democrats, but I can't imagine that as we continue down this road, they don't come to the table to try to help save healthcare in this country.  Q    Sarah, you spoke before of -- a question about Syria.  You spoke before about progress made (inaudible) ISIS.  And U.S.-backed forces have taken a couple more neighborhoods in western Raqqa recently.  I was wondering, does the President have an opinion on who should control the city after ISIS is expelled? MS. SANDERS:  I haven’t had that conversation, but I would certainly refer you to members of the national security team, and they might be able to help lay that out more clearly. Thanks so much, guys. END  3:11 P.M. 

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17 июля, 17:08

Zynga продавала дополнение для своей игры по случайной цене

Издатель Zynga провёл необычный эксперимент в своей мобильной игре CSR Racing 2. Дня неё было выпущено дополнение с машиной из "Форсажа 8", цена которого варьировалась от 5 до 35 долларов случайным образом для каждого игрока. После того как пользователи заметили, что цена на машину оказалась неодинаковой для всех, Zynga начала получать многочисленные жалобы. Компания извинилась за произошедшее. По словам Zynga, в играх издателя постоянно тестируются разные аспекты, но в этот раз эксперимент негативно сказался на опыте пользователей.Те, кто приобрёл дополнение по "Форсажу 8" для CSR Racing 2 по максимальной цене в 35 долларов, вскоре получат внутриигровую компенсацию. Сам Zynga после тестирования решила остановиться на ценнике в 15 долларов.

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13 июля, 14:00

Three Ways To Unleash The Power Of Serial Reciprocity

Build serial reciprocity into your CSR approach; it will show your company the great responsibility that comes with its power.

06 июля, 21:44

Gay Pride Month 2017 Was Overkill

Allow me to tell you the tale of two different gay men.The first is about my long time friend, "The Talented Mr. Le."  There really isn't a story to tell about him aside from the two decade's worth of anecdotes and experiences I have with him being my friend.  He is an avid hiker, and outstanding artist, and to make money offers his services as an architect.  He's incredibly intelligent and there's not much more I enjoy in life that hiking with him and sparring intellectually.  Mr. Le is defined by his artistic ability, philosophical mind, child-like mischievousness, passion for hiking, and passion for life.  He just happens to be gay, and most people don't know that about him as he doesn't really bring it up.The second is about some dickwad that walked into what was yet-until-that-moment a quiet bar me and the GF were trying to enjoy a cocktail at.  We were in the middle of a conversation and, like some cars or loud jet engines, you heard him LOOOONG before you saw him.  He had the perfectly forced and faked gay accent "HELLLLO EVERYONE!!!!!"  His attire was so loud it drowned out the fact his fashion was originally meant to convey he was gay.  And he made sure to have a conversation loud enough with the bartender so everyone in the bar KNEW his thought process on choosing a drink.  These boisterous traits duked it out between one another to let you and everybody in earshot that this man, was indeed gay.Did you know he was gay!?HE'S GAY DAMNIT!!!!HE'S GAAAAY!!!!!!!!Did he tell you he was gay?These two drastically different gay men convey an important lesson for those in the gay community, as well as those who are not.  One is about achieving equality, acceptance, and right to a normal life, the other is one of attention whoring, virtue signaling, politics, professional victim-whoring, ulterior motives, and preferential treatment at the expense of society.  And Gay Pride Month for 2017 indicates it is the latter at least the "professional" gay community wants, which raises some interesting questions as to where the larger gay community wants to go and what they want to accomplish.Understand the best and most optimal outcome for gay or any other marginalized group in society is parity.  One of equality.  To be normally accepted into the culture.  You can go down and get a fish sandwich at "Bob's Sandwiches" and nobody is going to raise an eyebrow.  This is what most struggles for equality have been for, and they've largely been achieved.  A black man can go and sit in a theater with white people.  Gays can attend a baseball game with straights.  Women can drive and vote.  But the question is when is this goal of parity achieved?  When is this movement "successful?"  And therefore when can people from said aggrieved group go back to living a "normal life" with the rest of society?  And though there are certainly instances of religious people not willing to cook a cake here, or a particularly close-minded city or state denying gays the right to marry there, the gay community has been largely successful in getting equal treatment within society.This is exemplified with The Talented Mr. Le.  He lives a normal life.  He does normal things.  He doesn't flash his sexuality in people's faces or demand celebration because he has more going on in his life than his mere sexuality.  Additionally, and I know this is going to hurt a lot of you in the "professional" or "activist" gay community, but...nobody cares you're gay.Gays have been so successful in getting society to accept them that you are now very welcome, even celebrated in many parts of society, and so celebrated nobody really cares anymore."You're gay?  Meh."  And thus is the incredibly boring, yet accepted life of The Talented Mr. Le. However, like many movements in society, many people make their living off of it.  And once the movement is over and achieves its goals, these people are faced with the prospects of finding a new career and a new job.  Sadly, many of these people would rather keep an obsolete movement going, no matter how unnecessary it is, even if it damages the group/people/original members of the movement, because they're, frankly, too lazy to return to the real world of work.For example, is there a more hated group in the world than feminists?  Sure, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton were feminists, but at a time when they were calling for the right to vote and the right to own property.  Once those rights were achieved, the women's rights movement has since morphed into a warped and twisted monster where everything is rape, women are always oppressed, the false "wage gap" is constantly hounded upon, and men are enemy #1.  The costs to society of propagating this obsolete movement past its usefulness are horrible.  Families are now broken up.  Divorce is on the rise.  False rape accusations are more common than real ones on college campuses.  Government checks have replaced fathers.  Schools have replaced mothers.  Men don't trust women.  Women don't trust men.  And we've effectively ruined the sexes for one another.  But it's all alright, you see, because thousands of women's studies professors, activists, lawyers, and other professional feminists got decades-long careers out of this past-its-due-date movement.And do not think it's merely the temptation of a life-long job as an activist or professor that keeps obsolete movements alive.  There are many and HUGE entities and institutions within society that can profit off of obsolete movements. For example, similar to the financial incentives associated with an activist career is the point, purpose, and agency in life that a "crusade" or "movement" offers people.  You can work in an cube writing TPS reports for Initech, or..."YOU CAN FIGHT THE SYSTEM AND WIN FREEDOM FOR ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLES!!!!"This sexier, more romantic career has condemned millions of college students to join political crusades that don't pay as much had they majored in Electrical Engineering and just worked a boring job at General Electric.  And if you know any professional "activists" you know the pursuit of their passion has cost them mightily in compensation and finances, but arguably more in life and mental health.  Placing your entire life's value on a trait you were born with (female, skin color, sexual preference) and nothing you earned (built a business, become an accountant, raised a family) is an express ticket to depression and other mental problems.Politicians, shocking, I know, like to divide people into groups so they can advertise directly to said groups.  And the strategy they most often employ is how one group of people is "oppressing" the other group of people, and by god, the only way that will end is if you elect Joe Blow for another 30 years in the senate.  You may think the politician espousing his or her support for "Group A" really like's "Group A," but just look at a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or any other professional politician and ask if they really helped, let alone cared about the people they purported to.And then there's corporations.No more than a decade ago I can still remember when corporations were "The EVIL CORPORATIONS MAAAAAAN!"  But now, corporations like politicians, have realized the marketing potential of (predominantly) leftist politics.By gosh, these corporations just care so much about diversity, and feminisms, and women, and the children, and the environment, and going green.  They've even dedicated entire departments within their corporate structure to virtue signal to you sheep the people just how great and caring and green and pro-women and pro-gay they are.But in the end, no matter what they call it ("CSR," "carbon foot print," "diversity,") it's just lies and marketing to get you to part with your money because they think pandering to your skin color, you sexual preference, your ethnicity, or your politics will loosen your purse strings.  It's truly insulting when you think about it.When you tally this up, it behooves the question, is this where the gay community wants to go?  Because if June of 2017 was any indication, it most certainly seems it is.  I've been a life long supporter of gay rights and gay marriage.  I (obviously) have gay friends.  I want gays to live normal and unharassed lives just like straights.  I wish the gay community nothing but the most success and happiness in life.  But I don't need the entire City of St. Paul putting rainbow flags on the bridges for the entire month of June.  I don't need to see two lesbians, who I've never heard of, throw the "starting pitch" at a baseball game because it's gay pride month.  I don't need commercials, advertisements, billboards, or every form of media reminding me it's gay pride month.  Not because I'm against gay rights, but because I don't need political sermoning or lectures shoved down my throat.  I don't need that loud, boisterous dickwad ruining my time at the bar.Gay Pride Month of 2017 was that loud boisterous dickwad.  May I suggest a Gay Pride Day just like St. Patrick's Day or Cinco De Mayo?  The Irish and the Hispanics are accepted into this culture, and they only have one day.  Gay are also accepted into this culture, may I suggest paring it down to a day as well?______________________Aaron Clarey is a mean evil right wing libertarian who supports gay marriage.  Check out his other works below:PodcastAsshole ConsultingYouTube ChannelTwitterBooks by Aaron Amazon AffiliateHHR4HM7ZPMV3

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27 июня, 15:00

Three Ways To Mature Your Company's CSR Outlook

Leaders need to employees in the decision-making process if they want to enforce corporate social responsibility.

24 июня, 00:12

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 6/23/2017, #56

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 1:51 P.M. EDT  MR. SPICER:  I want to start with some good news.  We continue to see great progress by Congressman Steve Scalise, but additionally, it’s great to note that just a few minutes ago George Washington Hospital has announced that Mike Mika, who was also involved in that shooting, has been upgraded to good condition.  So we continue to keep an eye on the situation and wish him a speedy recovery on his way to getting out of the hospital.  And so that’s a great way to start this. Back to business here.  This morning, after a series of meetings with Secretary of State Tillerson, Homeland Security Secretary Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Mattis, the President was honored to sign the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act surrounded by a group of our nation’s great veterans and their brave families. As we all know, the VA scandals exposed unacceptably long wait times for our nation’s veterans and issues with tracking their care.  In response, Congress passed the Veterans Access Choice and Accountability Act in 2014, which has since brought many more instances of poor performance and misconduct by the VA to light.   The bill the President signed this morning further empowers Secretary Shulkin and the VA to protect our veterans from this kind of misconduct in the future.  It’s one part of the President’s comprehensive plan to modernize the VA so that it gives the veterans the care, treatment and support that they so richly deserve. Back in March, many of you may remember they signed the Veterans Choice Improvement Act so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice and they don’t have to travel long distances or wait for care.  Already under the Choice program, this year, veterans have received 42 percent more approvals to see a doctor that they have chosen.  And he signed an executive order in April creating the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the VA to hold employees who fail our veterans accountable.  At the same time, this office rewards and retains the many VA employees who do a fantastic job and it protects the honest employees who expose wrongdoing. At the signing, he called on Congress to pass legislation then that he signed this morning with Secretary Shulkin to give the authority he needed to best protect those who protect us.  Since taking the reins at the VA, Secretary Shulkin has carried through a thorough review to uncover all of the problems and challenges it inherited from the previous administration.  He’s imposed new standards of accountability and transparency, and just this month he announced that the VA will finally sync up its medical records with the Department of Defense so that veterans will be treated as a single patient across the system, a long-overdue step, giving them the seamless care that they deserve throughout their service and beyond. As he said many times, the President cares deeply about the men and women who have served our country, and he was glad to sign the VA Accountability Act this morning that takes another step toward shaping the VA into a department that is truly worthy of our veterans. Also this morning, the Department of Justice expressed its full support for Texas’s efforts towards improving public safety by mandating that statewide -- towards improving -- by mandating statewide cooperation with federal immigration laws that require the removal of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.  The President has made a commitment to keep America safe, and Texas’s SB4 law is critical to maintaining cooperation from state and local enforcement partners in that mission. The federal government must have the proper assistance from state and local authorities to effectively enforce immigration laws and keep our communities safe.  And that’s, frankly, what Texas’s law does.  Given the strong federal interest in facilitating this cooperation, the Trump administration is glad to be putting its full support behind Texas’s effort. As he said yesterday, the President is very supportive of the draft Senate healthcare bill, which represents the next step in repealing and replacing Obamacare.  It’s time to -- for all Republicans to unite and fulfill this promise that we’ve been talking about for over seven years, and that we would rescue them from the mess that they -- was created by imposing a risky healthcare experiment on our country several years ago. With costs rising and options dwindling, it’s clear that the risk that we were given didn’t pay off.  Just ask the people of New Hampshire, where another insurer just announced that it will stop offering insurance on the state’s Obamacare exchange.  The President and his entire team will be looking forward to working with all senators who are willing to come to the table to amend, finalize and pass the bill so that we can deliver a world-class healthcare system in place of the failing system that we have now. And with that, let’s get into some questions.  John. Q    The President this morning, in an interview with Fox and Friends, seemed to indicate that he thinks that the special counsel may have some conflicts of interest, one being his friendship with Comey; another being the fact that one of the people that he’s hiring, bringing on -- special counsel’s officer were either Hillary Clinton supporters, and the President said even some of them are -- even worked for Hillary Clinton.  Is he still ruling out firing this special counsel? MR. SPICER:  Nothing has changed on that in terms of his position on it. Q    And his position is? MR. SPICER:  That while he retains the authority -- anyone who serves (inaudible), I believe -- Steve and I had a healthy exchange with -- but that he has no intention of doing that.   Q    And does -- he seemed to suggest this morning there might be a circumstance under which Mueller should take himself out.  Can you tell us -- MR. SPICER:  Yeah, that’s one.  Obviously, I would refer to Marc Kasowitz in terms of the President’s legal strategy on that.  But I’ll just leave it at that.  But good try. Q    Sean, on healthcare, what is the President’s current outlook on the Senate bill, given some of the reservations that some of the senators raised yesterday?  And does the President feel that Senator McConnell should pull the bill next week if he doesn’t have the number that -- the numbers to pass it, or is time to vote? MR. SPICER:  Well, we'll approach that in the same way that we approach the House bill.  I’m not going to be -- I wasn’t prescriptive then with Speaker Ryan in terms of when they’re ready to vote, they’ll vote.  Senator McConnell has said that he wants a vote next week, and that’s up to him to run the chamber the way he sees fit.  But the President is very supportive of the bill.  He wants to work with all the members to improve it in any way that can help facilitate that passage and make it a stronger bill.  And he intends to work with all the individuals -- he’s got a lot of respect for the four senators in particular on the Republican side that have come forward -- wants to work with them. But I know Senator Manchin talked about potentially getting some Democrats together, and the President welcomes that.   Q    Sean, thank you.   MR. SPICER:  Welcome. Q    Thank you.  What is the President’s level of involvement at this point in terms of trying to push the bill forward or not?  Can you give us a sense of whether he's taking calls? MR. SPICER:  He's not -- he's had a couple calls with Majority Leader McConnell.  As you'll recall, I think last week we had six senators here.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see that continued involvement.  As you recall, it's a very similar situation as to what it was in the House, right -- that he had several House members come in and out prior to the lead-up of the vote.  And as the vote got closer, in working with the whip team in the House and the legislative affairs team here, he identified members that had concerns, or continued to call them. I expect a similar process at this point.  But he's had meetings with members.  He was on the phone with Senator McConnell.  But also Secretary Price, Seema Verma, the legislative affairs staff, the chief and staff, and others are intimately engaged in this, having conversations with senators, providing feedback to the President.  He's providing guidance back, as far as he'll continue to tweak it.  But I think we have a fairly robust discussion going on right now. Q    Sean, what is the Vice President's role in the Senate healthcare bill?  How involved has he been?  And how involved do you see him being going forward? MR. SPICER:  The Vice President has played a very important role.  He's been up there.  He goes to the policy lunch once a week.  He's constantly on the phone with him.  And he's been a huge asset, as he was in the House side. But again, to Maggie's question, I'd say right now it's a fairly similar process.  The legislative affairs team is identifying concerns that individual members have, or ideas and suggestions that they have, feeding them back to the team and asking for the President's input, technically, on some of those technical matters, and providing feedback. So as we get closer to that vote, we've been pleasantly surprised with a lot of the support that's already come out, and I think we'll continue to work through, in particular, the four individuals who have expressed some ideas and concerns.  And we'll get to it. Steve. Q    So you're saving the President for the tail-end of the process?  Is that what you're saying? MR. SPICER:  No.  I think -- and Maggie can correct me if I'm wrong -- but I think she was asking what the process was.  And I think that we're following a similar pattern, which is he has engaged with them.  I mean, I think we've talked about the number -- the individuals that he's had over to the White House and met with, and he's also had some pull-asides here and there when they've come over for different things.  So he has personally engaged with them. The question about -- Maggie had specifically asked about phone calls.  And I think that while he has addressed it here and there, the type of push that you saw at the end of the vote, before the House, we're not at that phase where --  Q    (Inaudible.)  MR. SPICER:  Yeah.  And just because of the nature of -- these are individuals -- I mean, because of the numbers, the Senate being what it is, and the numbers that we have to get to fifty plus one is in a different place than the House, where you had many more members to address. Q    When you look at the House bill and the Senate legislation, is the Senate legislation the preferred vehicle for this going forward? MR. SPICER:  I think the President is very supportive of the Senate bill.  There's a lot of ideas in there.  He's talked about having heart, and he likes a lot of the reforms that have been in there.  He's committed to making sure that no one who currently is in the Medicaid program is affected in any way, which is reflected in the Senate bill, and he's pleased with that. So I think he is very pleased with that bill, and he wants to continue to push it forward.  But in the same way, the way he dealt with the House -- I mean, if there's other ideas and amendments as the bill moves forward that would strengthen it, he's all ears. Athena. Q    And what is the argument he's making, or plans to make, to the senators he's trying to get on board?  Is it a policy-focused argument, getting the nitty-gritty?  Or is it a larger argument about this being the last best chance, or the best chance to keep a campaign promise? MR. SPICER:  It's a good question, because I think it depends on the senator and what their concerns are.  I mean, if you look at some of the individual senators that have expressed concerns, from Rand Paul to Ted Cruz, there are differences in what their individual concerns are.  And so it's not a holistic approach.  But I think the overarching point that he's made very consistently is that Obamacare is dead and that it is not a binary choice.  It's not "keep this or take that."  It's "this system is failing and we must act."  That is the overarching point that he's made to all of these individuals. One interesting point is that when you actually look at the House side in particular, you've got 113 members of the Democratic caucus that are co-sponsors of single, universal care, the Bernie Sanders bill.  It's a $32 trillion alternative.  So if you think about it, the bill that the House -- the House bill that got passed, that's the basis of what the Senate worked off of as a net savings. What the majority of House Democrats support is not maintaining Obamacare, but the majority of that conference is actually supporting the Bernie Sanders universal healthcare bill, which is a $32 trillion, one-size-fits-all, government-run, no-competition-forces, no-market-forces bill.  And I think that that is really what the choice has become. If you think about this, the majority of Democrats in the House aren't backing Obamacare.  What they're backing is a government takeover of universal care that doesn’t have any market forces and is going to cost our country $32 trillion.  And I think that that's the real choice that exists. Q    Just in response to tapes, did you see that Congressman Schiff said yesterday something about, 'I don’t think we can accept this as a complete answer, referring to the President's tweet.  His problem with it was that the President was really talking about him, and that Schiff would like to see, in writing, a response that covers the entire White House.  Because the tweet suggested that maybe someone else has recordings.  Does the White House plan to deliver some sort of official written response to Schiff in the House Intel Committee? MR. SPICER:  I believe -- and I have to follow up -- but I believe that there was some communication we have to have by close of business today.  So I'll figure out if that's going out.  But, I mean, I think the President was clear -- he was asked -- he said he would follow up on whether he knew of this, and I think he's answered it very clearly. Janet. Q    Just real quick on Medicaid.  You mentioned a moment ago something about Medicaid.  I want to make sure I'm clear.  So is the President comfortable with the changes to the Medicaid program in the Senate bill, and how that would roll back the expansion at a certain date?  Is he comfortable with that aspect? MR. SPICER:  I think right now, as I said, he's very supportive of the current bill. Q    And real quick on Qatar.  Does the White House have any response to the demands that the Saudis have made of the Qataris? MR. SPICER:  The four countries that are part of that, we believe it's a family issue and that they should work out.  If we can help facilitate those discussions, then so be it.  But this is something that they want to and should work out for themselves. Zeke. Q    Thanks, Sean.  Just following up on Janet's question there.  One of those demands would be shut down Al-Jazeera.  The United States generally has spoken out in favor of free and independent press -- (inaudible) about Al-Jazeera one way or the other in this case.  But does the White House believe that it's appropriate that the free press is something that's on the table for restoration of diplomatic relations? MR. SPICER:  Again, we're not -- we're willing to play a facilitating role in those discussions.  But that's a discussion that those countries need to have amongst themselves.  And so until we’re asked to join that and facilitate it, I’m not going to get in the middle of that discussion. Q    And second question.  In this morning’s Washington Post there’s an item about some friends of the President inquiring about his health.  I’m wondering, is Dr. Jackson of the military office -- of the medical unit, the President’s personal physician -- has the President seen him?  And will the White House commit to releasing sort of the annual physician’s letter that has been customary of presidents for years? MR. SPICER:  I know Admiral Jackson travels everywhere with the President, so he consults him regularly.  I don’t have an update on his particular vitals but I will follow up on the letter.  But I know that Dr. Jackson -- Admiral Jackson is intimately involved in the President’s care and provides him feedback -- whatever medical issues he has. Alex. Q    Does President Trump think Special Counsel Robert Mueller is partisan? MR. SPICER:  I think his comments this morning speak for themselves as to his views on Robert Mueller. John Gizzi. Q    Thank you, Sean.  Two brief questions.  First, it was reported on one of the networks that the President referred to the American Healthcare Act as a mean bill and he wanted more money that was coming in.  Did he actually say that, or could you confirm or deny whether he used that term to describe it and call for greater funding for parts of it? MR. SPICER:  I will tell you that I don’t comment on private conversations that the President has. Q    All right.  And the other thing I do want to know was, on Tuesday night, in a public conversation, his speech that he delivered in Cedar Rapids, the President called for legislation that would deny welfare benefits to illegal immigrants for five years.  It has been widely reported that that has been on the books for 21 years, going back to when President Clinton signed the omnibus welfare reform legislation in 1996.  Was that a misstatement on the President’s part, or was he aware that this is already on the books? MR. SPICER:  The President is aware that that law exists.  I think the President’s concern generally speaking with all the immigration laws is that they’re not being enforced. We’ve got several laws that are on the books but they’re not being enforced.  I think the President believes that we need to do what we can -- I mean, obviously, he’s been very clear on immigration and on -- especially from our southern border.  But that law, while on the books, has not been enforced and clearly either needs to be reexamined, enforced, or new legislation needs to be introduced. I’m sorry -- Hallie. Q    I have two questions for you.  One is a follow-up from earlier in the week.  You were asked whether the President believes Russia interfered with the 2016 election, and said you hadn’t had a chance to have that conversation.  So I’m wondering if you’ve had that conversation.  And if so, if the President is concerned about that interference. MR. SPICER:  I have.  Thank you.  And the only point that I would make, just as a point of clarification, he commented I think it was January 5th or 17th, something like that, on that at the time.  And he said Russia probably interfered but maybe some other countries did as well. Q    He said, “I think it was Russia but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.” MR. SPICER:  There you go.  Thank you. Q    And so does he stand by that?  Is he concerned about that, Sean? MR. SPICER:  Of course.  He’s concerned about any country or any actor that wants to interfere in elections.  I confirm that he stands by that.   But he’s -- and he’s taken two I think very large steps.  One is cybersecurity, to make sure -- he signed an executive order.  His homeland security advisor is working diligently to make sure that we take steps to protect the integrity of our election system and all of our other cyber defenses.   And then secondly, he instituted an election commission that is making sure that we look at all of how we’re voting, and to make sure that we maintain integrity in all of our voting process to make sure that we have faith in it.  And that includes cyber, it includes voter I.D., it includes all sort of systems.  I expect that commission to have several announcements in probably the next two weeks, and potentially some hearings in July. But there’s going to be continued activity.  But the President takes that very seriously, and I think those two actions in particular point to his commitment to it. Q    So to follow up on that then, Sean, what do you say -- we’ve talked to dozens of state officials who say they simply have not heard much from this administration regarding how to protect their own voting systems.  What do you say to those critics who say you’re not doing enough? MR. SPICER:  I think those official -- state and county, and I think down to the municipal level -- will get a letter next week from the commission asking them to help facilitate some transfer of data back to us so we can begin the process of a thorough review of the systems.  And we will continue to engage them and find out ways that we can strengthen the integrity of our system and make sure that we have the utmost confidence in our voting system. Blake. Q    Thanks, Sean.  The front row gets an A for effort.  Let's see how the back row (inaudible).    MR. SPICER:  All right.  You have a lot to live up to.  (Laughter.)   Q    This question is on healthcare.  Obviously, the House bill and the Senate draft discussion, they’re similar but they’re different.  Does the President at this point have a preference to either one?  And if so, which one? MR. SPICER:  I think right now he’s, as I mentioned, very supportive of the Senate bill.  Let’s get that passed, and then, obviously, we’ll go to conference.  And so there’s elements of the Senate bill that he’s very pleased with, but let’s -- our goal is to work through the process, get it passed through the Senate, and then have that discussion in conference. Q    And let me ask you -- comments that you made this morning.  You talked about -- you were asked about the strategy and you talked about how several high-level people within the administration have been provided technical assistance, working with members and Senate leadership to ask -- or to talk, rather, about additional changes that might be necessary.  I’m curious as to what those -- specifically what those additional changes in the Senate bill that you view might indeed be necessary. I think you’ve got four Republican senators in particular that have expressed -- each one of them has concerns, and in order to get over 50 votes we’re going to -- we’ll listen to them and to others that will help strengthen the bill and get us to that point.  But that’s -- part of that -- that’s part of the process.  Same thing that we did in the House side too. Q    So nothing specific from the White House point of view as far as -- MR. SPICER:  Well, I don’t want to -- I mean, again, this is a discussion that we’ll have with those senators, but I’m not going to telegraph it right now.  As I mentioned -- correctly quoting me from earlier this morning -- that we’re going to have those conversations with them, find out what additions, suggestions, ideas they have that strengthen the bill and help it move forward. Q    Real quick wanted to follow up on healthcare.  Is the President eager enough to get rid of Obamacare that he would accept a bill that he doesn’t like?  Or if he doesn’t get what he wants out of the Senate and/or out of conference, would he veto it and make them go back to the drawing board? MR. SPICER:  Well, of course -- in theory, if he doesn’t like something, he’s not going to sign it.  As I’ve said, he’s very supportive of the Senate bill as it stands.  So I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. Q    And the follow-up to that is there are four members of the Republican Party who say that the problem with it is that it’s really too much like Obamacare and they want to see it completely jettisoned.   MR. SPICER:  That’s not entirely accurate. Q    Well, all right, I’m paraphrasing -- MR. SPICER:  Again, he’ll work with them and our staff will work with them, and we’ll look at issues that can get us there.  But I think -- you know, and I mentioned Senator Manchin himself also noted that he would like to sit down and work, and I think if we can find -- if we can grow that number even larger, he would love to do it. Q    Will he sit with Democrats? MR. SPICER:  Senator Manchin is a Democrat. Q    I mean, other than -- MR. SPICER:  He mentioned that he might have some additional folks that have expressed to him a willingness to work together.  And I think the President has been clear, if anybody has a willingness to move this forward and get it done, he’d love to be -- work across party lines. Q    Thank you, Sean.  We saw the President’s tweet about China’s role in the North Korea crisis.  He just met with Mattis and Tillerson, who met with their Chinese counterparts yesterday.  He characterized at this point what he thinks about China’s role in North Korea and whether he’s preparing to impose what are called secondary sanction on Chinese entities that are flouting international sanctions. MR. SPICER:  I will not comment on the second part of that for obvious reasons, but good try. Look, he remains hopeful that we can work with China, both politically and economically, to apply the pressure on North Korea.  He commented personally, and I’ll reiterate, that he continues to be very troubled by what happened to Otto Warmbier and would like to see China do more.  Q    So you’re not hopeful -- I’m sorry.  He’s hopeful, he’s not impatient at this point?  He hasn’t lost patience with China? MR. SPICER:  I just would say that he remains hopeful that we can find a way forward. Q    Sean, on the -- MR. SPICER:  Steve. Q    I want to ask you about Russia, because this week the Russians cancelled planned talks in St. Petersburg.  It’s been widely reported that two weeks from now, in Germany, the President and Vladimir Putin are supposed to have some kind of talk on the sidelines of the G20.  Is it the President’s intention to have a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Germany?   MR. SPICER:  Obviously, Steve, we have a lot of countries that we will probably have bilaterals with on the sidelines of the G20, as well as during the visit to Poland.  Not -- that wouldn’t happen during that, but there are countries that we are planning bilats with both during the stop in Poland as well as during the two days that we’ll be at the G20. Q    Does the President want to meet with Vladimir Putin? MR. SPICER:  I think that he understands that we have a role -- to the extent that we can work with Russia to solve some problems and to cooperate, if we can find that willingness that we’d like to do it.  And when we have an update on the schedule as we grow closer to the G20, I’m sure we’ll provide that to you. Q    How would you describe the current state of American-Russian relations? MR. SPICER:  I don’t know what word you’re -- I mean, they have -- we maintain a -- I’ll give you a good example.  We continue to have de-confliction with them in Syria.  I think that’s a positive thing.  I think we enjoy normal diplomatic relations with them.  And, as the President has said very -- on numerous times that if we can find areas of agreement with Russia, especially with respect to the fight against ISIS, safe zones in Syria, then we’ll do it.  But it’s got to be on terms that are in the best interest -- in our national interest. John Decker. Q    Thanks a lot, Sean.  When the President tweeted out earlier this week that China’s efforts at applying pressure on North Korea, in his words, has not worked out, was he referring to the idea that China has not applied the necessary pressure on North Korea, or that North Korea has received that pressure and it has specifically not responded to whatever pressure China has applied? MR. SPICER:  I will just say that, as I mentioned to Olivier, he remains hopeful that they will continue to apply additional pressure that will seek a better outcome in terms of North Korea.  But I’ll leave that tweet for itself and continue discussion through diplomatic channels. Q    So when he seemed to sort of abandon the idea of getting China to apply that pressure to North Korea, at the same time it’s -- let me just finish -- at the same time, it seems as if Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson are going to continue that effort.  Is there a conflict there in terms of what the President wants to perhaps not do and what the Secretaries of Defense and State want to do in applying that pressure to North Korea through China? MR. SPICER:  So can you just expand on that, just to -- Q    Well, it seems like the President has given up on trying to get China to apply pressure -- MR. SPICER:  No, I don’t think that’s true.  As, I mean, I mentioned, he remains hopeful that they will apply both diplomatic, political and economic pressure to force North Korea to do the right thing. Q    Sean, two questions for you.  One, just on the tapes, in an interview this morning, the President said he believes his tweet about the tapes influenced Comey to tell the truth in his testimony.  So two-pronged question here.  Is his position now that Comey was truthful in that testimony?  And is he conceding that he used Twitter in a way he believes to change the behavior of a congressional witness? MR. SPICER:  I’m not going to comment any further than the comments that he made this morning. Q    Separately -- on a separate topic.  On the briefings, you said Monday about your decision to hold these off-camera briefings, off-audio briefings, “There are days that I’ll decide that the President’s voice should be the one that speaks, and iterate his priorities.”  Today the President spoke, so did you this morning -- had an interview with Fox News.  What’s the reasoning for not answering questions on camera today? MR. SPICER:  The President gave lengthy remarks today on camera, spoke about the VA bill.  Hope you carried it. Q    You spoke on camera, too, earlier. MR. SPICER:  I know, I did.  See how much on-camera there is?  I mean, look, I think -- as I said, you referenced the comments I made on Monday; I made the same comments -- similar comments in December and January.  And some days we’ll do it.  I think it’s great for us to come out here and have a substantive discussion about policies. I don’t think that the be all and end all is whether it’s on television or not.  We’ve made ourselves available a lot of times and will continue to do.  But I’d rather sit here and have a very enjoyable conversation with you on issues on a Friday afternoon, and let the President’s comments stand on the great things that he’s doing on behalf of our nation’s veterans. Alex. Q    A follow-up on the tapes.  You were also on Fox this morning -- MR. SPICER:  I was.  Thank you for watching. Q    Yeah.  But you indicated that the President's tweet on the tapes successfully influenced Comey to tell the truth in his testimony.  So do you believe that he lied about -- is it the White House's position that he still lied about the President pressuring him to end the Flynn investigation?  Is that still the White House position? MR. SPICER:  I believe that the President's remarks on Fox and Friends this morning reflect the President's position. Q    So that would mean that he believes that Comey told the truth. MR. SPICER:  I don’t think I need to do any further analysis than what the President himself said the intention was. Yes. Q    Thank you, Sean.  I have two questions, if I may.  First is about -- during yesterday's meeting between President Trump and the Chinese State Councilor, Yang Jiechi, President Trump expressed his interest in joining Belt and Road Initiative.  Could you tell us more about their meeting? MR. SPICER:  I can't.  I mean, obviously I think we sent a representative to that conference, but I'm not going to get any further than the discussion that they had. Q    So we heard that Jared and Ivanka have accepted an invitation to visit China by the end of this year.  Could you comment on that, as well? MR. SPICER:  They have.   Q    Take one question, Sean? MR. SPICER:  I know because Goyal has got a visit coming on Monday, so he gets a question on Friday. Q    Thank you, sir.  Two questions.   MR. SPICER:  Are you excited? Q    This will be the first face-to-face meeting -- MR. SPICER:  It will. Q    Yes, sir.  This will be the first -- MR. SPICER:  Better get ready. Q    -- face-to-face meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi.  So is President Trump ready to accept him and welcome him, because both have the same dream?  Prime Minister Modi is saying "Make in India," and President Trump is saying "Buy American," and make in America -- or "Hire American."  So my question is, so much is there on the plate when Prime Minister Modi arrives here.  He's saying that he will have a great meeting with the President because we have many things in common, as far as U.S.-India relations are concerned.  So what can we expect between the two leaders? MR. SPICER:  Well, first, I want to wish the people of India a happy 70th anniversary on their independence.   But during the meeting, the President and the Prime Minister will discuss ongoing cooperation, including counterterrorism, defense partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, global cooperation, burden-sharing, trade, law enforcement, and energy.  I think it's going to be a very robust discussion. Q    And a separate question, please -- MR. SPICER:  Yeah. Q    Thank you.  On Wednesday, June 21st was the International Day of Yoga, which was declared by the United Nations three years ago under the leadership -- initiative by Prime Minister Mode.  Any citation you think President Trump will issue?  Or what he has -- any message as far as yoga is concerned?  Because yoga means less trips to the doctors and hospitals.   MR. SPICER:  I don’t have -- (laughter) -- anything on yoga at this point.  But I appreciate the -- Q    Show us a stance.  (Laughter.)  MR. SPICER:  Trey. Q    Thank you.  I have two questions -- one on North Korea and one on healthcare.  Starting with healthcare, does the President consider the Senate bill a full repeal of Obamacare?  The four senators you talked about, they say that they don't feel it's a full repeal, which is why they're not supporting the current draft.   MR. SPICER:  Obamacare is -- I mean, I think I've said it before -- Obamacare is dead.  So it is -- you have no carriers, the premiums are skyrocketing.  So whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is, it is a dead healthcare system.  There isn’t a question about whether or not -- what to do with it.  We have to act.  I think the President has made clear that we need to actually get a system in place. Q    On North Korea, the government of North Korea said that Otto Warmbier's death is a mystery to them.  How does the White House respond to these comments?   MR. SPICER:  I don’t think it's a mystery.  I think we know very well what happened.  And I think, as the President said, it's a disgrace. Alexis. Q    Sean, I had a couple questions.  First, on healthcare.  The order in which the Senate was going to vote will occur after the CBO score, and the White House was very critical of the Congressional Budget Office back in March, during the House process.  So my question is, does the President believe that his discussions with lawmakers about what they want and their concern about the legislation should be guided by the CBO score?  And will it influence his thinking as he looks at the bill? MR. SPICER:  I think one of the points that I made last time, Alexis -- which stands -- is that the CBO core function is budgetary and fiscal impacts, not on people.  And they've been wildly off by a huge percentage when they've tried to score people.  Their track record on doing that is not good.  And so we maintain what we have all along:  we want to do the right policy.  And the CBO score should be used by members in the Senate to decide -- to the extent that they think that that helps them make a decision.  But I think we all understand -- look, Obamacare promised it was going to drive premiums down $2,500, it was going to bring down deductibles.  It did none of that stuff.   I think the way that this bill has been constructed has done so in a way that it's actually going to achieve the goals that the American people were promised. All the way in the back. Q    Can I just follow up on another topic? MR. SPICER:  Of course. Q    Hallie was asking about Russia and the interview.  I just wanted to ask you, because you were just commenting that the President does believe Russia was behind the interference in the election, that he is concerned, that the administration is taking steps.  So to follow up on her question and Steve's question -- is it the President's desire to speak directly to Putin, if he gets that chance, to say that U.S. officials believe that Russia poses a risk to the 2018 and 2020 elections, and the United States would like Russia to be on notice or on warning that the United States disapproves of this? MR. SPICER:  If and when there's a meeting, we will have a readout for you. Yes, ma'am. Q    Thank you, Sean.  There's a play rendition of Julius Caesar in New York City where the character portrayed as President Trump gets assassinated.  Is the President aware of this play?  And if so, what's his reaction?  And also, is the Secret Service investigating it? MR. SPICER:  That's a question for the Secret Service.  You can call Kathy over there and ask her.   Look, I think it's troubling whether it's that or Johnny Depp's comments.  We've seen this.  And, frankly, as far as I'm concerned, I know that the President and the First Lady weighed in on Kathy Griffin's comments.  I don’t know that he's aware about the play in particular that's going on there.  But it is, frankly, my belief, a little troubling the lack of outrage that we've seen in some of these instances where people have said what they've said with respect to the President and the actions that should be taken. The President has made it clear that we should denounce violence in all of its forms.  And I think that if we're going to hold to that standard, then we should all agree that that standard should be universally called out.  And so when those actions are depicted -- and I think we saw a couple folks in the media and some other places tweet out their support for that show -- I'm not sure that that's a smart thing to do.  We either all agree that violence should be called out and denounced, or not.  And I think that it's concerning when you see a pattern that these comments get made, these actions get depicted, and the lack of attention that they get when it's on our side. Q    Sean, thank you.  With regard to the bill signing from this morning, do you see this as a -- because the President talked a lot about during (inaudible) federal employees and so forth.  Do you see this as maybe a larger point of going through civil service reform, and which you could look at holding career-level federal employees to higher standards, and making it easier to fire certain people for certain conduct? MR. SPICER:  I think it's a good start, yeah.  This is the first step.  I think it's important that we start with our veterans.  But I think everyone who serves in the public trust has an obligation to serve the public and do what they can, whether it's our veterans or people looking for an education loan or whatever.  And if you're not doing your job, I think that we should, as a government, have a standard that if you're not doing what the job is supposed to be doing, and you're not helping your fellow Americans achieve what that department or agency is after, that we should make sure that there's a process by which we can have that person removed and put in place somebody who will do it. The President's step this morning was a big step forward.  And I think to your question, the impact of that, the signal that it sends isn’t just about veterans, obviously, but it is -- it should resonate government-wide that we expect people who serve in government to do what they can to serve our country. Q    You mentioned veterans would be a good start.  What would be the next step?  I mean, would it be the (inaudible) misconduct? MR. SPICER:  We’ll wait and see.  I think we’ve got a fairly robust legislative agenda right now, but if the House and the Senate wanted to move forward with something else, I’m sure we could find a way to work with them. Q    Thank you, Sean.  The Carrier plant the President visited right after the election has told employees that it would lay off more than 600 people between now and the end of the year.  Its employment would actually fall below the agreement that it has with the state.  Would the President reengage in that situation?  Should the state claw back some of those incentives? MR. SPICER:  We’re talking about 632 jobs in this instance.  This was announced last year, so what we’re hearing now is nothing new.  Carrier remains committed to retaining 1,069 Hoosier jobs over the next 10 years, consistent with the deal that was reached after the election. By maintaining these jobs in Indiana, Carrier is showing confidence in the business climate and the future of the American economy. Q    So in terms of the deals that the White House is making with individual companies, though, earlier this week you addressed Ford and you said, “At some point in the future, tax reform is what would incentivize companies to operate here.”  But what sort of enforcement mechanisms does the White House have to keep these companies honest? MR. SPICER:  Well, again, remember, that deal that you’re talking about with Carrier is consistent with the deal that they struck.  This is just the manifestation of the deal that was struck back in, I think it was November of last year; it could have been early December. So this is consistent with what they said they would do back then, but I think both in terms of regulatory policy and tax policy, we need to do what we can to incentivize more companies to not just stay here, but to grow here. Francesca. Q    Thank you, Sean.  Two separate policy topics.  First of all, you said that Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, is going to be looking at potentially getting some Democratic votes for the Senate healthcare bill.  The President has said repeatedly that no matter how good this bill is, that he doesn’t think that he would get any Democratic votes for it.  It now sounds like you’re saying that you do expect potentially to get some Democratic votes for it, and therefore you might not even need these four Republican senators who say that they can’t support it. MR. SPICER:  I didn’t say that. Q    Okay. MR. SPICER:  But what I said -- and just to be clear -- is it’s obviously -- the President believes, and for good reason -- I don’t think that -- he doesn’t believe that we’ll end up getting any.  I think it’s encouraging that, as we evolve through this process, that you see someone like Senator Manchin say, I agree that the system is broken and I’m willing to fix it. Now, whether or not we ultimately can get his vote, that’s another question.  But I think it’s encouraging that someone like him wants to step forward and engage in a discussion about -- if there’s a potential of getting his vote.  And obviously that’s a discussion that -- whether it’s him or someone else -- I noted the other day, I think, to Hallie that a couple of times already, Senator Schumer has been very clear that there would be no engagement from Democrats. So to see this progress I think is -- I don’t want to get too far in front of it, but it’s also -- it’s good to see at least one senator publicly say that they’re willing to have that discussion. Jordan. Q    Sorry -- I said two policy questions, sorry.   MR. SPICER:  You did. Q    Totally separate subject, I wanted to follow up on what John Gizzi had asked about the -- MR. SPICER:  That’s a first.  (Laughter.)  Q    Follow up on what John Gizzi had said about the President’s speech on Tuesday night and the welfare requirement for immigrants.  What specifically would the proposal that the President was talking about do that’s different than what is already a part of the federal law?  You said he wanted to reexamine it, maybe even put in a new law.  What was he proposing?  How is that different? MR. SPICER:  Well, when we have an announcement on that, I’ll let you know. Q    You said he'd be he putting in legislation soon. MR. SPICER:  I understand that.  And so when we do, we’ll let you know.  But at this point, we don’t have that. Jordan. Q    Thank you, Sean.  If he White House is concerned about the message of Julius Caesar and stuff that’s said by Johnny Depp, then why was Al Baldasaro, who said that Hillary Clinton should be shot for treason for the handling of Benghazi, invited to the VA event today at the White House? MR. SPICER:  Well, obviously, as I mentioned, we also -- I’d make it very clear, I don’t -- I condemn all acts of violence.  I don’t believe that any -- and the President has said this as well -- that anybody who goes out and tries to highlight those kind of actions should not be welcome.  I don’t -- I’m not aware of the comments he made. But again, I’ll say it right now, that I don’t think that we should be resorting to that kind of language with respect to anybody in our country.   Q    You mean you do condemn it. Q    You do condemn it. MR. SPICER:  I do.  Thank you.   Q    Let me ask you about -- one on Russia, one on healthcare.  The Russia sanctions bill -- can you talk at all about what your goals are for that bill, even a sense of timing?  Is it helpful to have that bill sooner or later from this White House? MR. SPICER:  You mean the one that the Senate passed that is -- got pulled back with the -- I mean, that’s -- right now -- the Senate passed the bill, the parliamentarian rule that it had a revenue component to it and it had to have originated in the House.  So now the House is looking at it.   But right now, I mean, there’s not a -- there’s nothing to comment on in the sense that the Senate parliamentarian rule that because of the revenue nature -- Q    What (inaudible) opinion on whether -- MR. SPICER:  Well, I mean, let’s see what it looks like.  I think obviously the concern that we will have is whether or not the executive maintains the authority and the flexibility with respect to implementing sanctions both going forward to pulling back to effectively achieve a goal. And so -- Q    It’s not a timing issue for you guys. MR. SPICER:  No, I think it’s a policy -- it’s -- how it’s crafted.  And I think that’s something that we’re going to look at as it -- assuming that the House takes up its legislation, and then when it goes to the Senate.  But I think our main concern overall with sanctions is how they -- how the Congress crafts them, and any potential erosion of the executive branch’s authority to implement them. Q    And just real quick, these contested Obamacare payments -- MR. SPICER:  The CSRs. Q    -- that the administration looked through this month, the President has referred to those as “ransom.”  Is there any reason to believe that those will -- won’t keep -- won’t be approved every month until there’s a change to the healthcare law? MR. SPICER:  I think we committed to making them last month, and that’s as far as we will go at this time.  We’re not committing to them this month.  Obviously -- Q    Why is it a month-to-month thing to you guys? MR. SPICER:  Because I think that the question is, if we believe -- again, I’m not going to -- last month, obviously, if we can pass healthcare overall then that changes that.  And part of it is going to be where we are in that process.  But it ultimately -- up to the President to decide.  But the reason it’s a month-to-month is because exactly what you said, he doesn’t -- the court has ruled very clearly on this instance. Q    Can you say why he decided to make -- authorize these payments? MR. SPICER:  Because again, part of it is -- our goal is to ultimately transition to a healthcare system that doesn’t need them and isn’t a bailout to the insurance companies.  So we want to get to that system as quick as possible.  And our hope is that that transition can take place. Q    It seems like a -- to threaten these payments on a month-to-month basis, does this risk the President’s -- MR. SPICER:  It’s not a -- there’s no threat.  It’s just a fact.  As soon as we can get it done, it’s in the best interest of a healthcare system, it’s in the best interest of the American taxpayer.  And as soon as the President decides that we either have a system or he doesn’t want to continue the bailout, then we’ll stop.  But it wouldn’t make -- Q    So (inaudible). MR. SPICER:  I don’t think -- look, I’ll give you the flip side.  If the President were to hypothetically say that he’s going to make the payments in perpetuity or for a year, I think that continues to prop up a failed system.  It continues to do wrong by the American taxpayer.  And it also doesn’t lend itself to the expediency that I think we want to -- help get a new healthcare system in place. Thank you guys very much.   END 2:36 P.M. EDT  

08 июня, 09:59

Чиновников хотят сократить

Во вторник в Администрации президента началось обсуждение плана Центра стратегических разработок (ЦСР) по реформе государственного управления. Команда Кудрина предлагает к 2024 году сократить госаппарат и расходы на него примерно на 30% — и в АП, кажется, не против. В среду утром в телеграм-канале созданного при АП Экспертного института социальных исследований (ЭИСИ) была опубликована презентация, посвященная организации проектного управления в различных странах и регионах — вместе с ней был небольшой сопроводительный пост, в котором утверждается, что «выбор стратегических приоритетов, как и качество их реализации, становится ключевым вопросом будущего успеха страны». «Многие страны обращаются к повышению эффективности госуправления через внедрение проектных методов. В этот тренд вписывается предложенная Алексеем Кудриным реформа госуправления, основой которой становится создание "стратегического блока" — механизма проектной деятельности государства. Проект реформы предполагает концентрацию на нескольких ключевых стратегиях: нацбезопасности, научно-технического развития, социально-экономического развития и пространственного развития. Реализовываться стратегии будут за счёт интеграции в них "портфелей проектов"», — говорится в сообщении ЭИСИ.   А. Кудрин в Центре стратегических разработок / csr.ru В целом, о концепции реформы госуправления ЦСР мы знаем из статьи, которая в среду опубликована в «Коммерсанте». Проект ЦСР, на первый взгляд, подчеркнуто нереволюционный, но, как указывает издание, при ближайшем рассмотрении там обнаруживаются планы довольно существенных изменений практик работы федеральной исполнительной власти. Заявленные цели программы до 2024 года — повышение уровня цифровизации процессов в госуправлении с 5-10% до 50%, снижение доли расходов на обеспечения работы госаппарата в общих госрасходах с 2,5% до 1,74%, участие в проектной части работ не менее половины госаппарата, а работы по поручениям (вне рутинных процессов и проектов) — до 20%. Кроме этого, общее число госслужащих должно снизиться, сейчас на 10 тысяч граждан приходится 148,3 чиновника, цель — иметь всего лишь 103,6 чиновников, на 30% меньше. В проекте ЦСР пять самостоятельных блоков. В первом говорится, что число госстратегий первого уровня должно быть сокращено до четырех (нацбезопасность, научно-техническое развитие, социально-экономическое развитие и пространственное развитие). Роль поручений президента, решений и поручений правительства в работе госаппарата предлагается сократить, а в аппарате правительства выделить «стратегический блок» под руководством вице-премьера. Иными словами, предложения ЦСР предполагают перенос части полномочий из АП в правительство.   Карандаш и блокнот / pixabay.com Второй и третий блоки — создание цифровой экосистемы госслужбы и цифровизация информпроцессов в госуправлении. Новым можно считать предложение создать «бэк-офис» для системы госслужбы («Общего центра обслуживания», занятого в том числе рутинными операциями документооборота и делопроизводства), а также идею «административного трибунала» для быстрой процедуры отмены избыточного госрегулирования Четвертый и пятый блоки проекта посвящены кадрам и кадровой культуре, целью их является, в том числе, рост оценки престижности госслужбы для населения с нынешних 6% опрашиваемых до 60%. Предлагается централизация федеральной (Федеральное кадровое агентство) и региональной (на уровне региональных правительств) кадровой политики с нормативной моделью работы. Сейчас часть кадровой политики на высоких уровнях официально и неофициально реализуется АП, аппаратом Белого дома и спецслужбами, но большая — предельно фрагментирована.

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06 июня, 19:05

Inducible CTCF insulator delays the IgH 3' regulatory region-mediated activation of germline promoters and alters class switching [Immunology and Inflammation]

Class switch recombination (CSR) plays an important role in adaptive immune response by enabling mature B cells to switch from IgM expression to the expression of downstream isotypes. CSR is preceded by inducible germline (GL) transcription of the constant genes and is controlled by the 3′ regulatory region (3′RR) in...

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03 июня, 12:58

No Surprise At All - Corporate Social Responsibility Reduces Profits

The logic is impeccable here, corporate social responsibility programs reduce profit, simply because CSR is the name we give to the use of scarce resources not in the pursuit of profit.

02 июня, 09:43

Cisco CSR 1000v: Надёжность – залог успеха. Часть 2

В нашей предыдущей статье о маршрутизаторе в виртуальном исполнении CSR 1000v от Cisco Systems мы постарались в максимально простой и краткой форме описать основные возможности этого замечательного продукта. Идеология подобных решений (и этого, в частности), на самом деле, очень проста и эффективна, т.к. виртуальное исполнение позволяет задействовать и максимально утилизировать имеющиеся вычислительные мощности. А, если учесть, что целевая область применения CSR – облачная инфраструктура, то ресурсов для его работы должно быть достаточно. При этом, повышается гибкость применения такого «устройства», т.к. его можно использовать на границах виртуальных сетей. Однако, в этой статье хотелось бы поговорить о том, как максимально повысить надёжность сети, минимизировать или даже свести к нулю время возможного простоя и не допустить появления единой точки отказа даже для небольшой группы виртуальных машин. Читать дальше →

24 мая, 15:00

How NetSuite + Oracle Quietly Built a CSR Program That Roars

As someone who had long worked in open source communities, Geilhufe knew that one of the best ways that a tech company could help a nonprofit achieve its mission is by applying next generation solutions to the old-school challenges for nonprofits.

24 мая, 02:30

Trump Threatened To Let Obamacare 'Implode.' That's One Promise He's Keeping.

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); President Donald Trump has been telling us all along that he believes his best course politically is to do what he can to ensure that Obamacare breaks. What you may not have noticed is that he’s actually been executing that plan. The Affordable Care Act has had its share of problems, some them serious ― like health insurance premiums that middle-class families can’t afford, and swaths of the country with little to no competition among insurers. Since the beginning of the year, the actions of Trump and his team have exacerbated those problems. And unless they start doing something different, much of what some consumers don’t like about Obamacare is going to be even worse next year. Premiums will be higher than they would have been. Fewer insurance companies will sell policies to people who buy their coverage directly or through an exchange like HealthCare.gov (as opposed to people who get health benefits at work or from a government program like Medicare or Medicaid). “We could see less progress in covering the uninsured, or possibly even some areas of the country could see increases in the uninsured rate with people being priced out,” said Cynthia Cox, an associate director at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. And this is only tangentially related to the push from Trump and the Republican-led Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with a new bill that would cover millions fewer Americans, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and severely cut back on aid for low-income households. When Trump became president, he took stewardship of the federal government and all the programs it runs. When it came to the Affordable Care Act ― a law the GOP has vowed to kill for over seven years ― Trump faced a choice: Manage it as best as he could while Congress debated what would come after it, or deliberately mismanage it. He has chosen the latter. This all fits a pattern dating back to the ACA’s enactment in 2010. Republicans in 19 states have refused to expand Medicaid, leaving millions uninsured. GOP-led states put roadblocks in front of insurance enrollment counselors tasked with assisting people shopping for coverage. The Republican Congress cut funding for insurance companies that greatly contributed to their financial difficulties with the exchanges, and to the closure of many nonprofit “co-op” insurers created under the law. And Republicans have led or championed a slew of legal challenges to the law, including two cases that went to the Supreme Court and a cost-sharing lawsuit still causing uncertainty. Rather than take steps to mitigate premium increases and insurers exiting the exchanges, Trump and the GOP have cheered them along. Rather than reassure insurance companies that the federal government will honor its agreements with them, Trump is going out of his way to make them believe it won’t. Rather than consider the millions of people who rely on this coverage, Trump declares Obamacare “dead” and washes his hands of it. Governors, state insurance regulators, insurance companies, health care providers and the business community are pleading with the Trump administration (and Congress) to provide some clarity about what’s going to happen next year. They aren’t getting it. State insurance commissioners and companies are saying they don’t even know who to talk to, and can’t get straight answers from anyone in the administration. Health insurance companies have already started hitting deadlines with state governments to state their intentions for next year about whether they’ll participate in these markets and how much they’ll charge. More deadlines are looming in the coming weeks with state and federal regulators. Unless Trump changes course, it’s looking more and more likely that everyone will assume the worst, and either abandon the health insurance exchanges or jack up prices even more to protect themselves. Trump told us he was going to do this Trump warned everyone about this. At a January news conference nine days before his inauguration, Trump articulated his thinking on this very clearly. Standing by and doing nothing to make the health insurance exchanges function better would help him politically, in his view, because Democrats ― many of whom were actually concerned about the welfare of people covered under the Affordable Care Act ― would flock to him and agree to his plan to repeal the law. “The easiest thing would be to let it implode in ’17,” Trump said at the time. “They would come, begging to us please, we have to do something about Obamacare.” When the House failed at its first attempt to pass a health care reform bill in March, Trump talked about this some more. “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” he said. Statements like these are echoed by GOP lawmakers, and by the two officials chiefly in charge of Affordable Care Act programs ― Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. It therefore seems clear that the political leaders of the health care bureaucracy aren’t spending a lot of time worrying about the Obamacare marketplaces or the people currently using them to get covered. The damage done Actions, of course, speak louder than words, and the Trump administration’s actions have caused real harm to this part of the health insurance system. The reckoning will come in autumn, when consumers set out to shop for next year’s policies. On his first day as president, Trump issued an executive order instructing the agencies responsible for the Affordable Care Act to relax regulations and enforcement of its rules. The IRS responded by announcing it wouldn’t reject tax returns that left the part about health coverage ― a key enforcement mechanism for the law’s individual mandate ― blank. That was merely a continuation of the agency’s previous policy, which the IRS had planned to change this year. But it signaled to insurers, tax preparers and consumers that Trump wouldn’t enforce the mandate, which functions as a way to nudge healthy people into the insurance pool lest they pay a fine for being uninsured. “Most of our CEOs and plans, based on communication from the IRS, are doubtful about enforcement,” said Ceci Connolly, CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, a trade group representing insurers including Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health Plan. Also in January, the administration canceled advertising intended to promote the end of the sign-up period on the health insurance exchanges, for which President Barack Obama’s administration had already paid. When the final enrollment numbers came in, they were lower than for 2016, an outcome partially attributable to lost sign-ups during the final days, which had proved busier during the first three annual enrollment campaigns. Most damaging has been Trump’s cavalier attitude toward paying health insurance companies that serve the lowest-income exchange customers money they’re owed. Anthem, a big Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer with a major presence on the exchanges, has said it plans to keep selling policies on these marketplaces ― unless these payments go away, which could make the company reconsider. “We remain pretty confused as to what the administration’s position on cost-sharing reductions is, exactly,” Connolly said. “The messages have been so radically different from day to day and hour to hour that it’s nearly impossible for any responsible business to make plans for the future based on the commentary.” Because of a lawsuit that House Republicans brought in 2014 and won in lower court last year against the Obama administration, Trump has the power to unilaterally make or refuse to make these payments, which totaled $7 billion in 2016. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments for poor enrollees, and the federal government is supposed to reimburse them for the expense. Almost 60 percent of exchange customers, or about 7 million people, qualified for these cost-sharing reductions this year. So far, Trump has kept the money flowing ― but he keeps threatening not to. And even though Trump and House Republicans requested a delay in the lawsuit proceedings from a federal appeals court Monday instead of agreeing to halt the payments, all this uncertainty is making health insurance companies very nervous. There’s a good chance that will lead them to price next year’s coverage under the assumption they won’t get paid for the cost-sharing reductions. “Health plans in the rest of the nation are sitting on edge of their seats waiting to see what the federal government is going to do,” said Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the Golden State’s health insurance exchange. “A decision [to stop paying] CSRs is an early indicator that the federal government is maybe ready to walk away from the individual markets.” Amid all this, the administration has taken a few positive steps with respect to the exchanges, such as issuing an insurer-friendly regulation that, among other things, make it harder for consumers to cancel insurance policies right after receiving costly treatments. But those efforts haven’t balanced out the administration’s other actions, and have even contributed to the confusion about how Trump and his team will run these programs. Obamacare versus Trumpcare Whatever Trump’s actions and statements, the health insurance exchanges struggled before he took office. Rate increases for 2017 were substantial. Analyses from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Standard & Poor’s, the Congressional Budget Office and others have concluded the financial performance of these marketplaces and the insurers that use them are improving this year, in part because insurers have priced their policies more in line with their customers’ medical costs. On Tuesday, for example, Health Care Service Corp., which runs Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in five states, announced it had reversed its losses on the exchange markets and earned a profit during the first quarter of this year. The messages have been so radically different from day to day and hour to hour that it’s nearly impossible for any responsible business to make plans for the future based on the commentary. Ceci Connolly, CEO, Alliance of Community Health Plans “There’s a bit of irony here in that the individual market was starting to stabilize,” Connolly said, even though it remains “far from perfect.” Insurers in some regions are still losing money and fleeing the markets, and more premium increases would have arrived next year, regardless. The question is, how much of this is attributable to Obamacare’s lingering problems and how much is because of the way Trump has overseen it (or failed to)? “We don’t know what the premium increases would’ve been in Earth 2,” Cox said. “But it seems fair to say that some portion of these premium increases and some portion of the insurers’ decision to leave is because of the uncertainty they’re facing for next year.” Accurately quantifying what share of rate hikes is because of the law itself, and what share is because of Trump, would be hard, if not outright impossible. But one at least one insurance company tried. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield asked Maryland regulators for a huge average premium increase next year ― 52 percent ― and said 15 percentage points of that is related to fear that Trump won’t make the cost-sharing reduction payments. In other words, what was going to be bad will probably be worse as a direct result of the administration’s posture. Most premiums won’t go up as high as CareFirst is requesting ― and it’s a good bet Maryland will squeeze the company to accept less. But considering just the cost-sharing reduction payments issue, the Kaiser Family Foundation projects that would force insurers to raise premiums by an average of 19 percent above and beyond what they would’ve done next year if Trump stops reimbursing them. And, ironically, ending the payments would increase total federal spending, because the higher insurance prices would entitle qualified consumers to larger tax credits to defray their monthly premiums, the foundation also found. Not too late There’s still time, although not much, for Trump or even Congress to intervene and reassure health insurance companies and consumers that the federal government will resume active stewardship of the exchanges. “It can still be salvaged,” said Christina Pearson, a senior vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health. Making clear that the cost-sharing reduction payments will be made through the end of next year, and that the IRS will enforce the individual mandate, would go a long way toward making 2018 better for insurance companies and their customers. But if Trump doesn’t change his mind about all this, it will lead to to a health insurance market that simply doesn’t work as well as it could. And that will be a result of the administration caring more about highlighting the market’s failures than trying to make it as good as possible for the millions of people who use it. The consequences, Cox said, are straightforward: “We could see less progress in covering the uninsured, or possibly even some areas of the country could see increases in the uninsured rate with people being priced out.” Jonathan Cohn contributed reporting. Politics hurt too much? Sign up for HuffPost Hill, a humorous evening roundup featuring scoops from HuffPost’s reporting team and juicy miscellanea from around the web. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

20 мая, 01:49

Trump's On The Verge Of Exploding The Health Insurance Market

President Donald Trump has had his finger on the detonator of the bomb to blow up Obamacare for months. Now he may be about to press it. Trump told advisers earlier this week that he wants to cut off billions of dollars in payments to health insurance companies that serve the poorest enrollees in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, Politico reported Friday.  If Trump follows through on this threat, he could wreak havoc on the health insurance system. Insurance companies are likely to hike premiums or to stop selling to people who buy coverage via the exchanges, like HealthCare.gov and Covered California, or directly (rather than obtaining coverage through their employers or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid). The results would be higher prices and fewer, if any, choices for consumers, and the effects could be felt quickly because many states would allow insurers to drop their customers right away in the absence of these payments. In short, this part of the health insurance market could fall apart under Trump’s watch if he doesn’t pay the money the federal government owes. At issue are what’s called cost-sharing reduction payments ― these are essentially reimbursements to health insurance companies, which are required to reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments for low-income customers. A pending lawsuit brought by House Republicans against the Obama administration in 2014 has challenged the legality of these CSR payments. “The White House has told Congress that it will make the May CSR, but has not made any commitment on further payments. No final decisions have been made at this time, and all options are on the table,” a White House official wrote Friday in an email to HuffPost. The White House’s caginess about these payments has driven health care and business groups to seek relief from the legislative branch. “We urge Congress to take action now to guarantee a steady stream of CSR funding through 2018. Such action would represent a strong, positive step for all consumers who buy their own insurance by eliminating the single most destabilizing factor causing double-digit premium increases for 2018,” reads a letter sent to Senate leaders on Friday from a coalition including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other health care, business and patient advocacy groups. “At this point, only Congressional action can help consumers.” Health insurance companies, state regulators, governors and congressional Democrats have been on edge about the exchange markets since Trump said during a pre-inauguration press conference in January that “the easiest thing would be to let it implode in ’17 and believe me, we’d get pretty much whatever we wanted.” Trump has made similar comments many times since becoming president, including during an interview with the Economist this month. “We’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will,” he told the Economist. Trump has also inaccurately referred to this money as a “bailout” of the insurance industry, rather than as a reimbursement of money the government owes insurers. According to the Los Angeles Times, a senior Trump health official told insurers that the administration would promise to make these payments if the industry backed the health care bill the House passed last month ― a quid pro quo offer that the administration denies. No final decisions have been made at this time, and all options are on the table. A White House official To Trump’s thinking, dealing this major blow to Obamacare could force Democrats to the negotiating table over repeal of the entire Affordable Care Act. Congressional Democrats have loudly rejected that idea. What’s more, 60 percent of Americans don’t approve of negotiating tactics that disrupt insurance markets, according to an April survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Nearly three-fourths think Trump should work to keep the Affordable Care Act running while Congress considers a new health care law, and almost two-thirds ― including a majority of Republicans ― believe Trump and the GOP are responsible for any future problems with Obamacare. Yet Trump, against the advice of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and others, still favors cutting off the cost-sharing payments, Politico reported. And the Trump administration could make its intentions known in mere days. The Obama administration had appealed a trial court judge’s ruling in favor of House Republicans’ claims that the federal government is unlawfully making those payments without an explicit congressional appropriation. In the meantime, the judge allowed the Obama and then Trump administrations to continue reimbursing insurers. The appeals court has granted delays in the case this year as the Trump administration pondered what to do. But now the two parties face a deadline of Monday to update the court on their plans. Congress could resolve the issue at any time by simply appropriating the funding, but it hasn’t. The time to act is now. Wisconsin insurance commissioner Theodore Nickel and Tennessee insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak Exchange enrollees earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level ― which amounts to $30,015 for a single person ― are eligible for cost reductions, which can transform deductibles of thousands of dollars into just hundreds of dollars for the consumer. The Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers pay the cost difference to medical providers and subsequently get paid back by the federal government themselves. More than 7 million people ― 58 percent of exchange enrollees ― received the subsidies this year. The cost-sharing reduction payments are crucial to the finances of insurance companies. Without this money, insurers would raise premiums by an average of 19 percent next year, on top of whatever the increases otherwise would have been, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated. Early rate filings in several states are consistent with those projections, which some insurers citing uncertainty about the cost-sharing reduction payments as a reason they’re asking for higher premiums next year. During his early months in office, Trump has gone out of his way to raise insurance companies’ concerns about whether they would ever get their money. The consequence has been heightened confusion and worry in the health insurance industry, as state officials complain they can’t get straight answers from the Trump administration. The White House threatened to cut off the money during negotiations with Congress over a spending bill in April, but relented. Still, Trump has never stopped talking about it, to the consternation of the health care industry and state officials. In letters delivered Wednesday, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which represents state officials from both political parties, urged Senate leaders and the White House Office of Management and Budget to make sure the money doesn’t stop flowing. The bipartisan National Governors Association asked Congress to address the cost-sharing reduction payments last month. “The time to act is now,” Wisconsin insurance commissioner Theodore Nickel and Tennessee insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak wrote Wednesday on behalf of the insurance commissioners group to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. It was Mulvaney who issued the April threat to halt the payments. “Carriers are currently developing their rates for 2018 and making the decision whether to participate on the exchanges, or even off the exchanges, in 2018. Assurances from the administration that the cost-sharing reduction payments will continue under current law will go a long way toward stabilizing the individual markets in our states while legislative replacement and reform options are debated in Congress,” Nickel and McPeak wrote. Trump, as the Politico report indicates, doesn’t seem inclined to provide those assurances or to take any steps to manage the insurance markets that his government is responsible for overseeing. Sam Stein contributed reporting. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

20 мая, 01:49

Trump's On The Verge Of Exploding The Health Insurance Market

President Donald Trump has had his finger on the detonator of the bomb to blow up Obamacare for months. Now he may be about to press it. Trump told advisers earlier this week that he wants to cut off billions of dollars in payments to health insurance companies that serve the poorest enrollees in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, Politico reported Friday.  If Trump follows through on this threat, he could wreak havoc on the health insurance system. Insurance companies are likely to hike premiums or to stop selling to people who buy coverage via the exchanges, like HealthCare.gov and Covered California, or directly (rather than obtaining coverage through their employers or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid). The results would be higher prices and fewer, if any, choices for consumers, and the effects could be felt quickly because many states would allow insurers to drop their customers right away in the absence of these payments. In short, this part of the health insurance market could fall apart under Trump’s watch if he doesn’t pay the money the federal government owes. At issue are what’s called cost-sharing reduction payments ― these are essentially reimbursements to health insurance companies, which are required to reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments for low-income customers. A pending lawsuit brought by House Republicans against the Obama administration in 2014 has challenged the legality of these CSR payments. “The White House has told Congress that it will make the May CSR, but has not made any commitment on further payments. No final decisions have been made at this time, and all options are on the table,” a White House official wrote Friday in an email to HuffPost. The White House’s caginess about these payments has driven health care and business groups to seek relief from the legislative branch. “We urge Congress to take action now to guarantee a steady stream of CSR funding through 2018. Such action would represent a strong, positive step for all consumers who buy their own insurance by eliminating the single most destabilizing factor causing double-digit premium increases for 2018,” reads a letter sent to Senate leaders on Friday from a coalition including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other health care, business and patient advocacy groups. “At this point, only Congressional action can help consumers.” Health insurance companies, state regulators, governors and congressional Democrats have been on edge about the exchange markets since Trump said during a pre-inauguration press conference in January that “the easiest thing would be to let it implode in ’17 and believe me, we’d get pretty much whatever we wanted.” Trump has made similar comments many times since becoming president, including during an interview with the Economist this month. “We’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will,” he told the Economist. Trump has also inaccurately referred to this money as a “bailout” of the insurance industry, rather than as a reimbursement of money the government owes insurers. According to the Los Angeles Times, a senior Trump health official told insurers that the administration would promise to make these payments if the industry backed the health care bill the House passed last month ― a quid pro quo offer that the administration denies. No final decisions have been made at this time, and all options are on the table. A White House official To Trump’s thinking, dealing this major blow to Obamacare could force Democrats to the negotiating table over repeal of the entire Affordable Care Act. Congressional Democrats have loudly rejected that idea. What’s more, 60 percent of Americans don’t approve of negotiating tactics that disrupt insurance markets, according to an April survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Nearly three-fourths think Trump should work to keep the Affordable Care Act running while Congress considers a new health care law, and almost two-thirds ― including a majority of Republicans ― believe Trump and the GOP are responsible for any future problems with Obamacare. Yet Trump, against the advice of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and others, still favors cutting off the cost-sharing payments, Politico reported. And the Trump administration could make its intentions known in mere days. The Obama administration had appealed a trial court judge’s ruling in favor of House Republicans’ claims that the federal government is unlawfully making those payments without an explicit congressional appropriation. In the meantime, the judge allowed the Obama and then Trump administrations to continue reimbursing insurers. The appeals court has granted delays in the case this year as the Trump administration pondered what to do. But now the two parties face a deadline of Monday to update the court on their plans. Congress could resolve the issue at any time by simply appropriating the funding, but it hasn’t. The time to act is now. Wisconsin insurance commissioner Theodore Nickel and Tennessee insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak Exchange enrollees earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level ― which amounts to $30,015 for a single person ― are eligible for cost reductions, which can transform deductibles of thousands of dollars into just hundreds of dollars for the consumer. The Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers pay the cost difference to medical providers and subsequently get paid back by the federal government themselves. More than 7 million people ― 58 percent of exchange enrollees ― received the subsidies this year. The cost-sharing reduction payments are crucial to the finances of insurance companies. Without this money, insurers would raise premiums by an average of 19 percent next year, on top of whatever the increases otherwise would have been, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated. Early rate filings in several states are consistent with those projections, which some insurers citing uncertainty about the cost-sharing reduction payments as a reason they’re asking for higher premiums next year. During his early months in office, Trump has gone out of his way to raise insurance companies’ concerns about whether they would ever get their money. The consequence has been heightened confusion and worry in the health insurance industry, as state officials complain they can’t get straight answers from the Trump administration. The White House threatened to cut off the money during negotiations with Congress over a spending bill in April, but relented. Still, Trump has never stopped talking about it, to the consternation of the health care industry and state officials. In letters delivered Wednesday, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which represents state officials from both political parties, urged Senate leaders and the White House Office of Management and Budget to make sure the money doesn’t stop flowing. The bipartisan National Governors Association asked Congress to address the cost-sharing reduction payments last month. “The time to act is now,” Wisconsin insurance commissioner Theodore Nickel and Tennessee insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak wrote Wednesday on behalf of the insurance commissioners group to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. It was Mulvaney who issued the April threat to halt the payments. “Carriers are currently developing their rates for 2018 and making the decision whether to participate on the exchanges, or even off the exchanges, in 2018. Assurances from the administration that the cost-sharing reduction payments will continue under current law will go a long way toward stabilizing the individual markets in our states while legislative replacement and reform options are debated in Congress,” Nickel and McPeak wrote. Trump, as the Politico report indicates, doesn’t seem inclined to provide those assurances or to take any steps to manage the insurance markets that his government is responsible for overseeing. Sam Stein contributed reporting. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

17 мая, 14:05

Samsung, Shame, and Corporate Atonement

For the past several months, South Korea has been roiled by accusations of corruption in its government and major businesses. The role of the country’s family-run businesses, and whether or how they are held to account for wrongdoing, is under intense scrutiny. In February Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was arrested on bribery charges. Lee is accused of donating $36 million to nonprofit foundations operated by a friend of the former president in return for political favors. Lee has denied the charges. Then, in March, South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office, in part because of accusations that she helped a friend, Choi Soon-sil, pressure companies into making donations to nonprofits controlled by Choi and gave her access to secret government documents. The outrage at these and similar scandals helped propel liberal candidate Moon Jae-in to the presidency; he campaigned on promises to clamp down on the country’s family-controlled business dynasties in the wake of Park’s cronyism and corruption scandal. Many South Koreans feel envy and resentment toward family-run conglomerates such as Samsung, SK, LG, and Hyundai. Known as chaebol, these businesses make up more than half the value of the companies traded on South Korea’s stock exchange. However, their contribution to the world’s 11th-largest economy is overshadowed by repeated cases of bribery, weak corporate governance, and complicated shareholding plans that help the families accumulate wealth and inherit management. (Most of the chaebol are in their third generation of family control.) Moon has vowed to stop families from using such methods to keep control of these ostensibly public companies. The political scandal and ensuing election rekindled the public’s anger at the chaebol for previous misdeeds; many people feel they never properly sought redemption. But to rectify that and repair their reputations, Samsung and others need to chart a different path than their Western corporate peers. The hidden rules of atonement differ greatly across cultures. Redemption in Guilt Culture In guilt culture, which exists mainly in Western countries, redemption derives from the individual’s recognition that their conduct has violated the laws of society. When the individual believes they are innocent, denial and proving their innocence in court is expected. However, if they are found guilty, jail time serves to make things right. That’s why in some major corporate scandals in the United States people expect executives to serve jail time to make amends. For example, after the Enron scandal former CEO Kenneth Lay was convicted of fraud and conspiracy and received a 45-year sentence. Former president and CEO Jeffrey Skilling appealed to shorten his 24-year sentence. Andrew Fastow, the former CFO, was sentenced to six years in prison. Admittedly, guilt culture showed little enthusiasm for criminally sanctioning executives involved in the 2008 banking crisis. For example, nine years after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, former CEO Richard Fuld is a free man; in fact, no executives were jailed for their role in the U.S. financial crisis. Three former Anglo Irish Bank executives were sentenced to just a few years for conspiring to mislead investors, depositors, and lenders. (The fraudulent €7.2 billion transaction eventually led to Ireland’s financial crisis.) In the UK, a few former executives of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS were stripped of their knighthood but avoided criminal charges. Sometimes the absence of criminal prosecutions can be attributed to unease over the wider implications such actions would have on the national economy. Other times, it seems that, in guilt culture, you can hate the crime and still respect the criminal. The UK’s Financial Services Authority declared that it would be unjust to single out individual wrongdoers for punishment; that the bankers’ actions around the financial crisis were the product of a pervasive culture; and that a one-off symbolic punishment would be of little significance. Even so, in guilt culture the punishment of serving prison time is still seen as a way for individuals to “pay their debt to society.” Similarly, companies can be hit with big fines or settlements by government regulators. Time behind bars for executives and big-figure forfeitures such as Volkswagen’s $4.3 billion guilty plea act as targeted punishments that restore the corporate reputation. Redemption in Shame Culture By contrast, in places like South Korea and Japan, CEOs are not often sent to jail. Toshiba’s former CEO Hisao Tanaka and the other executives who resigned over $1.2 billion in financial fraud received only suspended prison terms. Similarly, Hyundai Motor chair Chung Mong-koo, Samsung chair Lee Kun-hee (the father of the arrested Lee Jae-yong), and SK former chair Chey Jong-hyun were each convicted on separate occasions of corruption but were granted presidential pardons. If a business executive is accused of a crime, punishment begins as soon as the suspicion is made public, through the photos in handcuffs or sensationalized news stories about their detention. That’s because, in shame culture, face metaphorically means honor. The more an unethically behaving CEO gets shamed, the more the public is prepared to forgive. A leader recovers honor more sincerely through a deep, bowing apology than through a multiyear jail term. In extreme cases in shame culture, losing face can even lead to suicide. For example, former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun threw himself off a cliff in 2009 after his wife was accused of receiving payments from businesses, while he claimed he was transforming the chaebol. His suicide changed his status from criminal to hero, and the investigation was closed. This is usually only possible in a shame culture. The need for people in many Asian countries to save face and avoid shame is often difficult for Westerners to understand. For example, researchers have found that, in Japan, an apology is a sign of personal remorse; in the U.S., it’s more likely to be seen as an admission of culpability. Samsung’s Situation What could Samsung do to improve its reputation in its home country? The corporation needs to actively accept moral and social responsibility beyond defending itself in court. Following the arrest of Lee Jae-yong, Samsung decided to disband its Future Strategy Office, considered the family’s most loyal body — and that’s a good start. But it’s not enough. The company’s existing social contribution department, which focuses on marketing activities, should also be overhauled. A more authentic CSR program and a more public commitment to ethical leadership by the controlling Lee family would signal to the government and the public that Samsung is taking change to heart. To see such reforms through, Samsung could draw on a historic strength: its superior internal reputation. My research work suggests that Samsung’s superior employee loyalty was key to surpassing Sony as a global electronics firm. However, I believe now is the time for the executives’ culture of loyalty to the family to be replaced by a culture of loyalty to the organization. That’s a transformation that will need to be thoughtfully designed and carried out. Samsung has a long history of turning crises into opportunities. Without learning from the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Samsung wouldn’t be the global powerhouse it is now. Its stock hit an all-time high during the Galaxy Note 7 recall. If the company takes the right steps to repair its reputation, employees and South Korean citizens alike can again fully respect the “three-star” brand that started in 1938 with an investment of just two dollars. There’s plenty of blame to go around when it comes to Samsung’s situation and the wider reputation of the chaebol. Certainly, South Korean politicians and news outlets deserve criticism for their role in hyping scandals. Even so, the decisive election of Moon Jae-in and the ongoing investigation of Samsung’s heir show that political leaders and prosecutors are determined to correct the country’s reputation for being too lenient on business executives. Unlike past attempts to reform the chaebol, this new government effort should start by focusing on policies that reduce corruption and cronyism, rather than finding a scapegoat to appease public anger. And, importantly, this is an opportunity for Samsung and the other chaebol to redeem themselves in the eyes of the South Korean public and the world.

10 мая, 00:29

Reflections On Mother's Day

About a month ago, I spoke at Lilly School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis about millennials ― people born roughly between 1980-2000 ― and their sizable impact on the social sector. Some stats I mentioned that day have stuck with me. The first was this: an astounding 9 out of 10 millennials would switch brands to businesses associated with a good cause. (That translates to 91 percent of millennials vs. 85 percent of the general U.S. population). The data for millennial moms was equally impressive. A whopping 94 percent of them were “very or somewhat likely” to switch brands based on the cause it supported, as reported in the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study. These findings give me hope in the many ways that this younger generation is changing our world for the better. Those of you working at nonprofits, foundations, or B-Corps might should tap into these powerful trends around consumer purchasing power, if you haven’t already. A final stat warrants mention. A resounding 85 percent of females control their family’s shopping budget. This fact underscores the idea that women have substantial leverage to advocate for causes they strongly believe in. Mother’s Day, May 13, is just around the corner. That day, millions of families across America will find themselves without enough food to eat. Why not honor your own mom by helping other mom whose families may be food insecure? You can donate to my organization, Feeding America, or volunteer at one of our member food banks across the nation. However you celebrate the day, remember the power of the purse strings. Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a few minutes to closely examine what you’re buying. Make this holiday a chance to support whatever good cause your mother believes in. Follow me on Twitter at @diaviv. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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09 мая, 14:00

How To Get Executive Buy-In For Corporate Social Responsibility In Four Steps

CSR isn’t just the ethical thing to do — it’s also the savviest business practice.

04 мая, 01:03

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 5/3/2017, #44

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 2:25 P.M. EDT MR. SPICER:  Good afternoon.  Another busy day here at the White House.  As you know, the President has been talking to members of Congress the last few days about the American Health Care Act, up through this morning.  The Vice President just left a bit ago to meet with some of the lawmakers on Capitol Hill about healthcare and the rest of the President's legislative agenda.  The President was glad to meet this morning with Representatives Long and Upton who voiced their support for the AHCA earlier this morning. It's especially important that we continue to make progress on repealing and replacing Obamacare, as rates skyrocket and insurers keep fleeing the market around the country in anticipation of this impending implosion.   Earlier this week, Aetna announced that it will scale back its presence on Obamacare exchanges even further in 2018, withdrawing from the Iowa exchange.  Aetna had already cut its participation in the exchanges from fifteen states to four in 2017.  Iowa is going to be hit particularly hard by these recent developments as Medica, the last insurance for most of the state, also announced this week that it will likely stop selling individual healthcare policies in the state, which will affect tens of thousands of Americans. With reports like these seemingly coming every day, it couldn’t be clearer that it's time for action on healthcare.  We're glad that so many members are with us, and look forward to welcoming even more on board. Also, earlier today, the President dropped by an event focusing on school choice that was hosted by the Vice President and Secretary DeVos with students ranging from kindergarten to high school.  Most of the students who visited the White House today are some of the thousands of local children who will benefit from the three-year extension of the D.C. School Choice scholarship secured by the President and congressional allies in the budget deal.   The District of Columbia's Opportunity Scholarship program, which was launched in 2004, provides vouchers to D.C. students whose family either received benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, or earned less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level.   And this program gets results.  Last year, 69 percent of D.C. public school students graduated from high school.  That's compared to an incredible 98 percent of the D.C. scholarship students who received their high school diplomas last year.  Funding for the Opportunity Scholarship was one of our priorities during these budget negotiations, and the Trump administration is glad to have ensured that the program's extension was taken care of through this appropriations bill, on top of the increases in military spending and funding for border security. Today, the President welcomed the President of the Palestinian Authority to the White House for an official visit.  The visit stemmed from a phone call the two leaders had on March 10th, when President Trump invited President Abbas to Washington so they could discuss, in person, ways to move forward on a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.   The two leaders made their own statements just a little bit ago.  But to give you a few additional details, some of the topics that were discussed during their meeting and the lunch were: advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace; preventing incitements to violence, particularly media outlets directly associated with the Palestinian Authority; strengthening efforts to combat terrorism, including defeating ISIS; measures to empower the Palestinian economy and provide economic opportunity for the Palestinian people.  And, additionally, the President raised concerns about the payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed acts of terror, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue.  Later this evening, the President, along with the Vice President and Mrs. Pence, will host members of the White House Evangelical Advisory Board in the residence for a discussion, prayer, and dinner.  The President is proud to welcome these faith leaders to the White House for the first time and thank them for their steadfast support ahead of the National Day of Prayer, which is tomorrow. Later tonight, the Vice President will also deliver a keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List 2017 Campaign for Life Gala.  The Vice President's office has more details on that.   And with that, I'll take your questions.  Ken. Q    Sean, on healthcare, does the President feel like we've reached an inflection point here with the House?  Is this a make-or-break moment in terms of getting the bill through the House?  And what precisely is the President doing, and what arguments is he making to members on why they should support this bill? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think he's making several points.  One is that Obamacare if failing and that, as I just mentioned with that note, that with so many cases around the country, the need to have a provider is becoming greater and greater.  Two is that costs are out of control.  These are two basic tenets that you've heard us talk about.  But I think overall the efforts that were made, and especially the effort this morning with Congressman Long and Upton, help bring more people into this effort and make it even a stronger bill, and ensure that Americans have a healthcare system that gets them the care that they need at a price that's affordable. Q    Is this a "now or never" kind of moment, though, with the bill?   MR. SPICER:  I don’t want to put it there.  The President has made it clear before that he's not trying to set a date for certain.  Obviously, that's up to the Speaker and the House leadership to determine when that time is appropriate.  But as you have seen, we continue to move closer and closer to that time, and the number of members who are supporting it continues to grow further and further, and I think that's a very promising sign. Q    Yesterday, the President tweeted that FBI Director James Comey gave Hillary Clinton a "free pass" for many bad deeds. Is the President comfortable having an FBI director that gives out free passes serve during his administration? MR. SPICER:  The President has confidence in the director.  But I think, clearly, his point was after some of the comments that were made yesterday regarding the reason for the outcome of the election, I think he just wanted to make it clear what exactly happened. Q    On healthcare, the President appears to be directly involved behind the scenes.  How much responsibility does the President plan to take for the outcome of the vote if it does occur this week? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think if we have a vote -- which is looking greater and greater every day; but again, I'm not going to get ahead of the House leadership in deciding when that is -- my assumption is the House leaders will call that when that number will put us over the top.  And I feel like -- again, you saw two votes come down today.  The President has been on the phone constantly.  The Vice President, the Chief of Staff, other members of the legislative affairs team calling members, talking to them, hearing their concerns.  But I think we have made this an unbelievable bill and an unbelievable replacement for Obamacare, which is failing, and that’s what we’ve sought to do from the beginning. Q    Sean, there was a report in Politico yesterday that seemed pretty well sourced indicating that President Trump plans to sign an executive order tomorrow in the name of religious freedom.  Will the President sign a religious freedom executive order tomorrow?  And will it enable discrimination against LGBT people? MR. SPICER:  So I know we’ve talked about EOs for a long time -- executive orders.  Tomorrow is National Day of Prayer.  There will be a proclamation the President will sign.  We’re looking forward to having religious leaders from a multitude of backgrounds come to the White House and celebrate this day with us, but I’ve never gotten ahead of executive orders and I’m not going to start now. Q    But you can’t deny that the executive order -- the President is a friend of the LGBT community.  Isn't that a law? MR. SPICER:  I answered the question.  Thank you. Q    How can the President be a friend of the LGBT community if the President is considering this executive order? MR. SPICER:  Blake. Q    Thanks, Sean.  I want to get the reaction to former President Obama.  He tweeted yesterday after Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue that went viral -- a monologue you’ve probably seen about his child.  Kimmel talked about the need to cover preexisting conditions that need funding for the NIH.  And Mr. Obama said, “Well said, Jimmy.  That’s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.”  Your reaction to both of them would be what? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think we share that concern for the Kimmels' child, as well as any child that needs care, and that’s frankly why the President fought so hard to improve the bill like he did this morning, to make sure that there was that extra layer of protection for anybody with a preexisting condition, no matter their stage in life.  That’s why we’re fighting so hard for this. But I think, most importantly -- and I think at the end of Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue, he said that there is no -- you know, we need to have some of these things that aren’t Republican or Democrat, that they’re American policies.  And I think that’s what the President is fighting for right now, is to make sure that we have a healthcare system that doesn’t matter where you live or your background, that it takes care of people.   We’re making sure right now -- we’ve talked about this endlessly over the last month or so -- but we’ve got a healthcare system that’s not doing what it’s supposed to.  It’s failing.  It’s costing people too much.  It’s giving people a card, not coverage.  And what the President is trying to do by working with these members of Congress is to make sure that we have the strongest possible healthcare system that covers them, that gives them the care that they need, that allows them to go see a doctor, that covers preexisting conditions, and does so in a way that’s not going to be out of range and unaffordable for most Americans. Q    And I’ll ask you about what Hillary Clinton said yesterday.  She said, “If the election had been on October 27th, I would be your President.”  And on the Hill today, James Comey, testifying, said -- speaking about October 28th -- he said, “Would you speak, or would you conceal?”  Did James Comey make the right decision on October 28th? MR. SPICER:  Well, look, I’m a Patriots fan, and I think if games ended in the third quarter, there would have been a different team here last week.  But you play a game four quarters, you play an election until Election Day.  So with all due respect to her, that’s not how it works.  You don’t get to pick the day the election is on.  It’s set by the Constitution.  The President won 306 electoral votes.  And I think there’s been plenty of analysis on the election and where people chose to spend their time and their resources and their messaging.  And I think it’s somewhat sad that we’re still debating why the President won in the fashion that he did. Q    "Speak or conceal" -- did he make the correct decision? MR. SPICER:  I think, with respect to the election, I think the American people made their decision.   Eamon. Q    Thanks, Sean.  There’s been a lot of focus recently on Ivanka Trump’s role in this White House.  Can you clarify for us what exactly her areas of responsibility are here, and what her qualifications are for those responsibilities? MR. SPICER:  Sure.  I mean, I think Ivanka has built a very successful business.  She’s been working with women to talk about empowerment and education for quite some time.  It’s a passion of hers.  And I think for her to bring both her business acumen and success, her passion for women empowerment and education and entrance into areas that they haven’t been able to get to is one of the reasons that Chancellor Merkel reached out to her and asked her to come to the W20 Summit.   Because I think she can use her voice to help bring attention to issues.  She can use her resources and knowledge of individuals to help break down some barriers that young women, older women face in education and business.  That’s where she has always had her passion.  That’s what she’s working on now. Q    But what specifically are her responsibilities here?  For example, The New York Times reported this morning that she has a weekly meeting with the Treasury Secretary.  What’s that meeting for? MR. SPICER:  Again, I think that I’ve mentioned it.  I think there’s a lot of times where she’s meeting with folks to understand an issue, to get up to speed.  But I think her primary focus, which she has always said -- where her passion is, where her time is going to be spent -- is figuring out how to empower women, how to break down barriers for women -- whether that’s in small business, in education, young women in poverty or families, and figuring out how to help them. But of course, I mean, part of that is to have conversations with people in government and figure out what programs exist, where we can help additional folks using government, or fix a government program that might be not properly being utilized.  But there’s a lot of that. Matt. Q    Thank, Sean.  Back to healthcare.  An analysis from AARP showed that the sickest patients will pay nearly $26,000 a year in premiums under the new healthcare law, and that $8 billion, which was included in that amendment this morning, is not nearly enough to lower those costs.  So I’m wondering, how does that, which would be a major premium hike on the sickest patients, square with the President’s promise to both lower premiums and take care of those with preexisting conditions? MR. SPICER:  So it sounds interesting to me there are so many variables that are unknown -- that to make an analysis of that level of precision, it seems almost impossible. Q    But --  MR. SPICER:  Well, hold on.  Let me give you an example.  So right now preexisting conditions are covered in the bill.  They always have been.  We’ve talked about that before.  States have the right to receive a waiver.  If someone has continuous coverage, that’s never going to be an issue, regardless of -- no circumstance is anyone with continuous coverage would ever have a problem with preexisting conditions.  If someone chose not to have coverage for 63 days or more, and they were in a state that opted out, and they had a preexisting condition, and they were put into a high-risk pool, then we’ve allocated an additional $8 billion over five years to help drive down those costs. So for someone to know how many people that is, what number of states are going to receive a waiver -- ask for it, and receive a waiver is literally impossible at this point.  So to do an analysis of any level of factual basis would be literally not --  Q    Two follow-up questions.  One, would the President prefer -- does he have a preference as to whether or not states opt out, given that option?  And two, yes or no, will people with preexisting conditions pay higher premiums under this bill than they currently do? MR. SPICER:  I think everything that we’ve done, including the additional $8 billion this year -- everything that I’ve seen shows that the cost curve goes down for them in a lot of ways.  So if you have preexisting conditions -- and again, remember what a small pool that is.  If you have a preexisting condition currently, the bill protects you.  The only factor would be if you live in a state that potentially asks for a waiver and then is subsequently granted it, and if you’ve gone 63 days without continuous coverage. So if you have continuous coverage, if you live in a state, it’ll never, ever be a factor.  But the President has worked to make sure that in every single scenario -- anybody, everybody -- he has kept true to his word that preexisting conditions are covered and that the cost curve continues to bend down. Q    And then on the other question, the congressman, this morning, from Michigan was saying he’s confident, from conversations with his governor, that his state will not ask for a waiver.  Does the President have a preference as to whether or not states ask for waivers? MR. SPICER:  The President’s preference -- and I’m not -- the President believes in states’ rights, number one.  Number two, not just preference, his goal is to make sure, as he stated repeatedly, is that preexisting conditions are covered, care coverage goes up, and costs go down.  Those are the principles that continue to guide him. Cecilia. Q    Thank you.  I want to go back to Director Comey on the Hill today, and some things he said about Russia.  One of the things that he said was, the Russian government is still involved in American politics.  Is that the view of this White House?   MR. SPICER:  I think that's the view of the FBI.  I'm not -- Q    Is that different than the White House? MR. SPICER:  We rely on them and the rest of the intelligence community to provide the President with updates on what they're learning.  So it doesn’t go that way.  The director and the intelligence community update the President on all of the threats that the United States faces and all of the intelligence activity that needs to be briefed.   Q    And in that particular one, does then he accept that assessment from the FBI? MR. SPICER:  Again, I don’t know what he has briefed the President on.  I'm not trying to be coy on this, but I'm just saying, like, I don’t know what he recently briefed or how -- I know that the question was asked during the testimony.  I don’t know what new evidence, beyond what they shared with the President in the December, has happened between then and now. Q    Okay, and just one more thing on that front.  He called Russia "the greatest threat of any nation on Earth."  Is that something the President agrees with? MR. SPICER:  The President has been very clear that he thinks the threat that North Korea poses with the potential nuclear weapon that has range capacity is something that he finds to be threatening to the lives of Americans and our allies. Alexis. Q    Sean, I have two healthcare questions.  Can I follow up on what you were saying about the President's conversation with Congressman Upton?  Until yesterday, the President thought there was sufficient funding, and Congressman Upton came to him and suggested a billion dollars more.  You were just saying that it's impossible to estimate what would be needed.  My question is, why did the President think that there was sufficient protection for those individuals who have preexisting health conditions yesterday, but today he now believes $8 billion will cover it?  What persuaded him that the number that he had embraced yesterday was not sufficient and that $8 billion is going to do it? MR. SPICER:  So, in this particular case, Congressman Upton and I think Congressman Long addressed that he, through a series of conversations that he had with the President, shared with the President a concern that he had in their shared goal of covering preexisting conditions.  The President, as Congressman Long discussed outside, expressed that -- the President expressed to him that the preexisting conditions were covered, and went through the various scenarios.  Congressman Long felt as though there were scenarios in which -- potentially the high-risk pool.  It wasn’t a question of coverage, it was a question of cost.  And so the President engaged in a conversation with them and, through some of the analysis that Congressman Upton and Congressman Long had done, the President agreed that if we add an additional safety net, which is, frankly, what that is -- not on the coverage, but on the cost -- that that could ensure that the cost curve gets further bent downward.  And the President agreed. Because at the end of the day -- look, the President has talked about this from the beginning, that he wants to work with members to make it the strongest possible bill, to have the strongest outcome for the American people, and a healthcare system in which both the cost continue to go down.  And I think that's one point, Alexis, that we keep forgetting in this discussion with what we're trying to do.  It's not just replace Obamacare.  Obamacare is dying on the vine.  The costs are spiraling out of control, deductibles are going up, and carriers -- again, this isn’t a theoretical discussion.  Aetna, as we just discussed, is pulling out of states, and counties around the country are now going down to one and, in some cases, zero choices. So this isn’t a question of just replacing something.  We are actually at a point where if we don’t do something, some people in this country will have no options for coverage.  We've got to do something, and that's where the President has been willing to work with members, pick up the phone, and figure out how do we get this done to make sure that every American has got the coverage that they need. Q    I want to also ask about the next step.  There are members of the House who are concerned on the Republican side that they could vote for something that will change dramatically in the Senate.  What is the President's message to those members who are concerned about that?  Is he going to press the Senate to embrace whatever may or may not come out, but you hope may come out of the House? MR. SPICER:  Well, of course.  I mean -- Q    Would be adopted by the Senate in whole. MR. SPICER:  I mean, I think the legislative process works -- the Senate will take up the House bill and then they'll go to conference.  And then that’s when both sides, again, will have an opportunity to discuss any potential changes.  The President feels really good about where this bill -- how this bill has evolved, how much stronger it's become, to achieve the goals that he set out.  And he'll continue to work with Leader McConnell and others when it gets to the Senate to make sure that anything -- and there could be issues that come between now and then.  But our number-one goal is to get it out of the House, focus, and then have those conversations with the Senate, and then go to conference.   But for right now -- and in a perfect world, they would just take it straight up and we would go.  But I have a feeling the Senate is going to want a say at this, so we'll go from there. John. Q    Thanks a lot, Sean.  Chairman Upton and Congressman Long were very pleased to (inaudible) floor with this legislative fix.  They say they've turned their "nos" into "yeses."  Do you believe there's additional legislative fixes that are still to come before this bill actually hits the House floor? MR. SPICER:  Look, the President always said he's willing to hear ideas.  This is a question for Speaker Ryan, Leader McCarthy, and Congressman Scalise in terms of when is the appropriate time.  If they feel that they've gotten to a place where they have the votes necessary to take it to the floor based on the number of suggestions and fixes and updates, then that will be up to them.  But I'm not going to prejudge, in this case, through those conversations -- and the President has constantly been on the phone for the last several days and continues to do so, to hear members' issues and concerns.  And so if there's a point -- but I think we're getting to that number closer and closer.  But that will be ultimately a decision that Speaker Ryan and Leader McCarthy have to make.   Q    Sean, on timing, I've heard different things from the President over the course of the past two weeks.  At one point I heard the President say he wants the bill to be taken up now; other times, it's not important, just get the bill right.  What's your view?  Is it very important, as far as the administration is concerned, that this vote take place sooner rather than later? MR. SPICER:  Well, obviously, the sooner the better, right? But we don't want to put it up for a vote -- I mean, the goal is to pass it, which we continue to get closer and closer to every day.  But you don't want to put it up and not move forward.  So the President wants to make sure that the leadership is confident that it can pass a bill, and I think he’s done everything he can in terms of speaking with members of the House to get there.  But ultimately, it's going to be their decision to do it.  And I think we continue to feel optimistic about the direction that we've seen the legislation go. Mike. Q    I want to revisit the President’s comments in his tweets about the omnibus spending bill.  He campaigned on his business record, on his ability to make good deals, make better deals than politicians in the past have.  Does the President view the spending bill as a good deal? MR. SPICER:  Yes.   Kristen. Q    Sean, can you say definitively that no one with a preexisting condition will pay more under the amendment? MR. SPICER:  I think we've done everything we can to do that.  And every measure that the President has taken further not only ensures that people with preexisting conditions get covered in every scenario, but does so in a way that bends the cost curve down.   Q    Can you guarantee it? MR. SPICER:  I think -- with all due respect, to answer a question and say can I guarantee something -- but I can tell you that every single thing that the President has done, including the action that he took this morning to work with members of Congress, does everything by every account to bend the cost curve down, to help anybody that would potentially fall into that small group of individuals to get -- to bend the cost curve down who have preexisting conditions. So the answer is, yes, that we have done every single thing possible to get that down and to ensure that, number one, that that potential is as small as possible.  Because the bill covers people with preexisting conditions, number one.  Number two, it does everything to ensure that if a state seeks a waiver that they are still covered.  But it looks at every single possibility to ensure that people get the care that they need. Q    Is there a concern -- you criticized former President Obama rushing through his healthcare plan.  Is this not being rushed through?  This legislation hasn't even been scored yet by the CBO or put up for public debate -- this latest piece of legislation. MR. SPICER:  Well, every piece of legislation evolves as it goes through the process.  We saw that this morning.  I think we had a piece that makes it an even stronger bill.  But the underlying principles that we have been talking about have been something that Republicans have been talking about and have had the contours of for the last seven years.  This was something that has been part of the process for a long time. Q    Does he expect to see a vote this week? MR. SPICER:  The President -- I've answered this a lot of times.  The President expects to see a vote when the Speaker and the Leader and the Whip call a vote because they believe they have the votes to go on. John. Q    Sean, it looks like we're on the precipice of a vote on the omnibus spending bill.  Senator Lindsey Graham said a short time ago that Republicans got their clocks cleaned on this bill. It looks like as many as 100 House Republicans will vote against it.  How do you square that with the pronouncements out of this White House that this was a big win for Republicans? MR. SPICER:  I think Director Mulvaney addressed that extensively yesterday.  But to get back to Mike’s point, this is a good deal -- a great deal for the President.  He got $21 billion in military funding.  That is a huge campaign pledge that he made very clearly to modernize and update the military.  It fully funds the largest military pay raise in six years.  It ends the Obama-era sequestration policy of pairing increases in domestic spending for every dollar to dollar.  It got $1.52 billion in border security, which is the first installment in securing our nation’s southern border.  It got $1.3 billion to coalminers, which delivers on another promise that he made.  There’s no Obama bailout -- Obamacare bailout, those CSR payments, which was something that the Democrats wanted.  There’s a three-year extension of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Choice, which -- you saw the children that will benefit from that this morning.  It increases funds for the opioid crisis.  It eliminates, rescinds and terminates 150 programs or initiatives. I think when you -- and Director Mulvaney laid this out yesterday -- when you look at what the President came forward with a month or so ago and said these are my priorities, he got what he asked for.  And I think that's big.  So this is a -- the President feels very good about what he got.   And again, I think it's important to underscore two points. Number one, in the Senate we needed 60 votes.  This had to be a bipartisan action because it is a spending bill, so, therefore, we needed to get Democratic votes with us.  But if you look at -- as Director Mulvaney pointed out yesterday -- it used to be a one-for-one spending increase if we wanted a military increase.  We got that down from a dollar to 20 cents.  That is a huge win for the President.  He negotiated a fairly strong deal when it comes to what they got versus what we got. The other thing that's important to understand is that this is just the final five months of FY18 [FY17].  Any President coming into office wouldn't get the first shot at a budget until the end of September of the year after they got elected.  So, in theory, he got to push for his priorities -- military spending, border security, D.C. schools -- all the things I mentioned right out of the gate.  And for the last five months of this fiscal year, something that should have happened during the Obama administration, he got his priorities -- a down payment on them. Q    Quick second topic, if I could.  This is at least the fourth White House, fourth administration in a row that has come in with optimistic predictions of how Middle East peace will go. What’s going to be different this time? MR. SPICER:  I think the man is different.  You look at what -- the President’s diplomacy style is paying dividends, whether it's getting someone who has been held for years in Egypt released; whether it's the action that China has taken.  The relationships and the foundation that the President is rebuilding are going to pay huge dividends for this country in terms of our economic interest, our national security interest.  But this President’s style is one to develop a personal bond with individuals.  And I think you saw that today with President Abbas, him talking so kindly about the President.  You saw that.  The relationship that exists and is only getting stronger between him and Prime Minister Netanyahu.  You have two individuals who, because of this President, are increasing their desire for peace.   You’ve got an individual in President Xi in China that has taken fairly significant action to help the -- work with the United States, especially with respect to our desire to end the threat in North Korea that has been unprecedented.  The President’s ability to connect with an individual, to work with them towards a shared goal, to have back-room diplomacy is something that is going to continue to pay dividends and get results for this country.   Q    Can I follow up on John’s question? MR. SPICER:  Charlie. Q    In January, the President did an interview deriding the "little toy walls" along the southern border -- that's a quote -- and said, I don't know why they’re even wasting their time.  Why is the government focused so much on existing border security measures rather than fighting for the wall that he promised that he would build? MR. SPICER:  Thank you for the opportunity to show you some things.  So if I can get the first image up.  (Laughter.)  You asked.     Q    Did you guys coordinate? MR. SPICER:  No.  But, you literally could not have (inaudible) on it.  This is what exists right now throughout our country.  This is the kind of barrier that exists throughout the country.  You see a place where cars can literally create little things and drive over.  You’ve got places that can get burrowed under.  That one they’ve cut through.  That one doesn’t seem to be too effective at keeping people.  Those images represent our nation’s current border security. According to a GA report from earlier this year, from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015, the Customs and Border Patrol recorded a total of 9,287 breaches in pedestrian fencing at an average cost of $784 per breach to repair, right.  So every time that they cut through, break through, put something over, it’s costing just under a thousand bucks for us to go out and have to fix. Now, to the next slide.  (Laughter.)  You had no idea you were getting this, did you? So the bill that is about to get passed, Title 6 -- which pertains to the Department of Homeland Security’s funding on additional appropriation -- states that an additional $497.4 million “for procurement, construction, and improvements.”  Of that total, $341.2 million are to -- and this is literally what it says in the bill -- “to replace approximately 40 miles of existing primary pedestrian and vehicle border fencing along the southwest border using previously deployed and operationally effective designs such as currently deployed steel bollard designs that prioritize agent safety.”  So that’s your answer, Charlie. Q    So -- MR. SPICER:  So hold on, hold on, let me just -- we have a porous border right now with broken fences, things that can be cut through, places that can just literally be driven over.  And to replace this with a 20-foot high bollard wall will protect our country, something that the DHS has designated the most effective way to do this.  So that’s what we got out of this bill. Q    Just one question about the photos.  Are those photos of fences or walls? MR. SPICER:  That is called a bollard wall.  That is called a levy wall. Q    So that’s the wall the President promised? MR. SPICER:  No, no, no -- there are various types of walls that can be built.  Under the legislation that was just passed, it allows us to do that. Q    What's that? MR. SPICER:  That is called a levy wall on the left.  That is called a bollard wall. Q    So that’s not a wall, it’s a levy wall? MR. SPICER:  That’s what it’s actually called.  That’s the name of it. Q    He's building fencing, not a wall. MR. SPICER:  No, no.  In this current bill, it allows us to do the following.  So to be clear, in several areas along our southern border we have what was in the first slide, which are areas in which someone can literally cut through with a pair of wire cutters or put a little barrier over that a car can drive over the top.  Okay?  What we’ve done is taken the tools that we have to replace -- and if you look at that one in particular, you’ve got a chain-link fence is what is currently at our southern border.  That is literally down there now.  We are able to go in there, and instead of having a chain-link fence, replace it with that bollard wall.  That's what it is.   Q    But it’s not the wall the President promised? MR. SPICER:  No, no, hold on.  Hold on, Jim.  We’re going to take turns.  But just to be clear -- because Charlie asked the same thing so I’ll give you a little help on this one -- that this is the 2017 budget.  This is a down payment on what the President is going to prioritize in the 2018 budget that starts October 1st. And as I mentioned to John Roberts, the idea that we even got a shot at this is something that should have been done last term under President Obama.  We have an opportunity to use the last five months of the FY17 budget to get the President’s priorities jumpstarted.  So he is using the current bill to get his priorities moving and put it down. To answer the question, it is currently being built in Naco, Arizona; Sunland Park, New Mexico; and we are going to be starting to do this in San Diego, El Paso, and Rio Grande Valley. Q    So you’re basically just telling supporters, the President’s supporters, to be satisfied with this existing tough-guy fencing until he’s ready to build the wall? MR. SPICER:  No.  What I’m telling anybody is that the President said he was going to build the wall and he’s doing it, and he’s using the best technology and what the Department of Homeland Security, under Secretary John Kelly, says is the most effective way to keep people out, to stop drugs, to stop cartels, to stop human trafficking, and to prevent illegal immigration.  That’s what I’m telling you. Q    Mahmoud Abbas stood next to the President today and said he wants to see East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian State.  Yesterday, Vice President Pence said you’re still looking at moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.  What is the White House view on those remarks?  I mean, we didn’t hear anything from President Trump in response to that. MR. SPICER:  I think the Vice President, as you noted, commented yesterday that it’s still something that is being discussed and considered by the President.  It will continue to be a discussion that he has with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.  But obviously, we’re not going to -- Q    On the Palestinian --  MR. SPICER:  Again, I’m not going to -- they had a series of private discussions.  That is why the President is able to effectively get things done for this country is to not negotiate out in public.  He’s going to continue to have discussions with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas moving forward, and he feels confident about where that relationship was and developments that were made today. Q    He doesn’t object to what President Abbas said, it’s just not decided? MR. SPICER:  It’s not a question of not decided.  I’m not going to negotiate what they are talking about in private from this podium.  So that’s --- Q    (Inaudible.)  That’s why I’m asking. MR. SPICER:  I understand it.  I’m just telling you that we are not going to negotiate from the podium. Jim. Q    Just to follow up on the President’s meeting with Abbas, he did say at one point, “Frankly,” talking about Middle East peace and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “maybe it’s not as difficult as people have thought.”  Why does he believe that the toughest -- arguably the toughest foreign policy challenge in our lifetime may not be as difficult as people have thought? MR. SPICER:  I think both of these leaders have very publicly expressed the confidence they have in the President’s negotiating skills, in the President’s desire to work to get peace, the relationship that he’s built with them individually and the trust and respect that they have for him. And I think that he, in discussions with them, in private discussions with them, feels very optimistic about the shared goal that everybody has.  Obviously, there’s a lot of issues that have to get covered, but the President understands that they respect his ability to want to get this done -- his relationships and respect that have been developed. And I think this is something that he really wants to have happen. Q    And getting back to healthcare, why even monkey around with preexisting conditions?  That’s the most popular thing in Obamacare.  Why are you guys spinning your wheels messing around with preexisting conditions? MR. SPICER:  I wouldn’t call it “messing around,” or however you phrased it.  I think the President wants to do everything -- Q    Right now, people with preexisting conditions are covered.  They’re not discriminated against. MR. SPICER:  No, no, just hold on -- Q    You’re going to change to a system where who the hell knows what’s going to happen.  It depends on what state they live in.  If they live in this state over here, that governor may seek a waiver and all of a sudden they’re thrown into this system where hopefully that fund is going to cover their preexisting conditions.  It is a big change for people who live with those kinds of illnesses, is it not? MR. SPICER:  Well, look, the big change -- I guess we have a very different view of this.  Because my view, and I think the President’s view, is that Obamacare -- if you have a preexisting condition and you no longer have a healthcare provider, or your premiums or deductible are going through the roof, then you don’t have coverage.   And we just read it out.  I mean, I don’t -- if you have -- Q    So you’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.   MR. SPICER:  No, no, what I'm saying to you right now -- Q    Repeal Obamacare because you’re saying it’s not working, but then why change preexisting conditions?   MR. SPICER:  We're not.  No, no, we’re strengthening -- I think -- look, we have done everything to not only strengthen but to guarantee -- Q    Is it strengthening it if -- MR. SPICER:  Absolutely.  Q    -- a governor can say, here’s my waiver and no more preexisting conditions? MR. SPICER:  Sure you can.  Jim, I walked through this.  But I think the fundamental point that seems to be getting lost is that if you have Obamacare right now, in case after case you are losing it.  So if you have a preexisting condition and you have a card that says “Obamacare” but no one will see you or you can’t afford it, then you don’t have coverage. Q    Why not fix that?   MR. SPICER:  We are.  We’re guaranteeing it.  But I don’t know how much -- Q    Why does the preexisting condition component have to be altered?  Why not just keep that protection in place? MR. SPICER:  The President has made it very clear that preexisting conditions are covered in the bill under every scenario.  I don’t know how much clearer we can state it. Q    So anybody who has a preexisting condition under Trumpcare, they’re going to be fine, without question? MR. SPICER:  Yes.   Q    Thank you, Sean.  I want to follow up on healthcare.  I just want to know why the White House is pushing so hard for a vote on this healthcare bill at a time when, as you just said a few minutes ago, it’s literally impossible to analyze its impact on the healthcare system.  Why not wait for that analysis to come out? MR. SPICER:  The vote is going to happen, as I’ve said, like eight times now, when the Speaker and the Majority Leader and the Majority Whip want to.  Our job is to work as hard as we can to work with members of Congress who want to see their healthcare system improved.  That’s what we’re doing.  That’s what we’ve done.  And so it will be up to the House leadership to decide when to vote. Zeke. Q    Thanks, Sean.  Two questions for you; one following on Jordan real quick.  You just made a guarantee to the American people on behalf of the President regarding preexisting conditions, but you told Matt and then Jordan earlier that it's literally impossible to know the impact of this law.  So how can you make that guarantee? MR. SPICER:  No, no, he was asking -- they were asking about cost.  The President has made it very clear on numerous occasions that he’s going to make sure that preexisting conditions are covered. Q    And so then the White House has the analysis to back that up, is what you’re saying? MR. SPICER:  In every scenario, yes.   Q    And then to just follow up on something that Director Mulvaney said yesterday regarding the President’s tweet about calling for a “good shutdown” potentially in September.  He said the reason the President sent that tweet was he was frustrated by Democrats spiking the football and thereby poisoning the well for future negotiations.  The President, when he was campaigning, said he was going to win for all Americans.  Why did the President’s feelings matter at all? MR. SPICER:  It’s the process that I think he’s frustrated with.  Because he does want to win for every American, and I think that’s why he’s fought so hard for this.  But you’ve seen time and time again Democrats obstruct routine things that they supposedly are for, but do everything they can to obstruct.  I think the President is frustrated with the system.  He’s talked about how archaic it is in the Senate in particular.  Because he’s out there working to try to get, whether it’s healthcare or tax reform or his Cabinet, through the Senate. There are various things that the President is trying to do that are -- issues when he’s having conversations with members of the Senate or the House who will say, I’m with you on this great idea but I just can’t vote with you.  He is, I think, understandably frustrated with how hard he’s working to achieve the promises, goals and objectives that he set out with the American people to make the country better and to deal with multiple layers of obstructionism. Sarah. Q    Thanks, Sean.  So you’ve cited the 60-vote threshold as a reason why funding for the wall wasn’t pursued in this spending bill, but what’s going to be different in September?  I mean, presumably the legislative conditions would be the same, so what will change between now and September to give you confidence that we’ll get funding for the border wall then? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think there’s multiple things.  When you come in -- this CR, there was a lot that was already carried over from last time in terms of the -- because it’s not just a continuing resolution, it’s a total omnibus package, meaning that there are multiple bills that are a part of the underlying package that already have increases or underlying policy in them from the previous fiscal year, from the previous Congress, from the President administration. This bill will reflect in 2018 the President’s priorities in working with a Republican House and Senate.  Thank you guys very much.  We’ll see you tomorrow in New York.  Have a good one.  END  3:05 P.M. EDT

03 мая, 17:35

Speaker Ryan Touts Conservative Wins in Funding Bill with Hugh Hewitt

Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan joined The Hugh Hewitt Show, where he discussed how the government funding bill will reduce EPA employment levels, include no new money for Obamacare, and increase defense spending and border security. Listen to the full interview here. EPA reform“There are no funds for this grant to the climate front, so we have no funds going to the Green Climate Fund, which was kind of an Obama-era pet project. We reduced the EPA staffing levels to pre-Obama, back to 1989. So we knocked the staff down to what we had in 1989. So there are the people who I would argue are kicking out regulations that are harmful to the economy. This gets at that. There are things in the EPA that deal with infrastructure. Those things are maintained, because you know, their infrastructure things are important. But we defund, we zero out the Green Climate Fund, knock the employment levels back to 1989 levels.” No new money for Obamacare“There are no CSR payments here. Those are called cost-sharing reduction payments. Those aren’t in here. And obviously, the Democrats wanted that, and we didn’t do that.” A win for defense“If you look year over year from 2016, it’s $25 [billion] based on what we did earlier in the year. ... What we really wanted to do is break the parity requirement that we endured under Obama, where if you wanted to put a dollar into the military for a ship, for a plane, for bullets, for gas, you had to give the domestic spending of federal government another dollar. That is the parity requirement we lived under with Obama. It held the military hostage for more bloated domestic spending. We broke that parity, and that to me, is the biggest thing here. That is the biggest accomplishment. I negotiated the Murray-Ryan budget deal four years ago, and we lived under the fact that with a Democrat president, and in many cases, a Democrat Senate, we had to hit parity. We broke that. We don’t have parity. We’ve got a big Defense increase. It’s a really good down payment. ... That’s very important. And that, to me, the breaking of that parity requirement shows that we’re now back to fixing defense, and we’re not going to allow it to be held hostage for more bloated domestic spending.” Increase in border security“It’s actually the biggest increase in border security in a decade. It gets spent by a whole number of things. Mick [Mulvaney] ran through it. They call it bollard fencing, which is what, in many areas, the border security thinks is the smartest way to go so you can see through it, so you can see what’s happening on the other side of the border. . . . It’s also cameras. It’s detention facilities. We have an increase in detention facilities so we can end catch and release. There are lots of things that are in here like this to help us get a huge down payment on border security. . . . fences, cameras, people, more ICE agents, more detention beds, those kinds of things.”

18 апреля 2015, 09:10

5 самых быстрых поездов в мире

Современные поезда быстрее машин. Но насколько быстрее? На самом деле, даже суперкарам за составами, получившими статус bullet-train, не угнаться. Соревнуются они между собой. И ради победы готовы даже взлететь.