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12 сентября, 12:15

‘Everybody Needs to Stand Up’

Texas Rep. Will Hurd loves bipartisan deals, wants President Trump to call out racists and urges him to save the Dreamers. This is what it’s like to be one of the most vulnerable Republicans of 2018.

11 сентября, 18:22

Pope Francis: Trump may not be 'pro-life' if he ends DACA

President Donald Trump may not be as “pro-life” as he has previously professed himself to be, Pope Francis said Monday, if he does indeed rescind a program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, thereby exposing them to possible deportation."The President of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected," the Pope said Monday, according to a CNN report, aboard his plane as he returned to the Vatican from a trip to Colombia.The Trump administration announced earlier this month that he would end DACA, the Obama-era program that shielded so-called Dreamers from deportation, citing concerns about its constitutionality. The White House has framed the move as a compassionate one, allowing for a six-month wind down of the program instead of leaving it open to an immediate end via the courts.The six-month window, the Trump administration has said, leaves Congress time to act and more permanently protect Dreamers. The president, who once vowed to deport every single undocumented immigrant in the U.S., has vowed to treat Dreamers with “great heart” and has suggested that he wants Congress to find a more permanent solution for them. If Congress fails to act, Trump has pledged to “revisit this issue.”Aboard his plane Monday morning, the Pope put the onus back on the president to make sure that Dreamers are protected. "I think this law comes not from parliament but from the executive," the Pope said. "If that is so, I am hopeful that it will be re-thought."During last year’s campaign, Pope Francis suggested that Trump was “not Christian” because of his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. During a visit to Mexico, the Pope also celebrated mass in Ciudad Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, and prayed near the U.S.-Mexico border.In a statement released by his campaign, Trump responded to the Pope’s “not Christian” remark by saying that “if and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”More recently, the two men met face to face last May at the Vatican, exchanging gifts during a meeting that the president characterized as “fantastic.” As their time together ended, Trump promised the Pope “I won’t forget what you said.”

30 июня, 12:42

The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise

The residents of Colorado Springs undertook a radical experiment in government. Here’s what they got.

26 июня, 18:11

Supreme Court Tosses Case On Cross-Border Shootings Back To Lower Court

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to decide on whether non-citizens have constitutional rights at the border, and ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to reconsider the question of whether the families of Mexican nationals killed by U.S. border authorities can sue in federal court. The lower court will again decide whether the family of Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican national fatally shot by a U.S. border patrol agent near the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010, has the right to sue the agent. Previously, the 5th Circuit found that Hernandez didn’t have constitutional protections. On Monday, the Supreme Court vacated that ruling and ordered the lower court to reconsider the case.  “The facts alleged in the complaint depict a disturbing incident resulting in a heartbreaking loss of life. Whether petitioners may recover damages for that loss in this suit depends on questions that are best answered by the Court of Appeals in the first instance,” reads the ruling.  Three justices dissented: Clarence Thomas, who was in favor of upholding the lower court ruling, and Steven Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who in a joint dissent penned by Breyer said they would reverse the lower court ruling with regards to the Fourth Amendment question and allow the Hernandez family to seek damages. Because oral arguments were heard prior to Justice Neil Gorsuch joining the Supreme Court, just eight justices considered the case. On July 7, 2010, Hernandez was playing with friends along the Rio Grande, between the U.S. city of El Paso, Texas, and the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. A U.S. Border Patrol agent, Jesús Mesa Jr, saw the boys and assumed they were attempting to illegally cross the border. Mesa grabbed one boy, but others fled. A Justice Department investigation found that some of the boys began to “hurl rocks” at Mesa. (There is no evidence that Hernandez threw anything at Mesa.) Mesa then saw Hernandez, who was taking cover behind a bridge on the Mexican side of the river, and shot him in the face, killing him. The Justice Department declined to prosecute Mesa in 2012, arguing that he acted in self-defense. The U.S. government declined to extradite him to Mexico for prosecution. A civil liability claim is the family’s last option in seeking justice for the killing. Hernandez’s parents, María Guadalupe Güereca and Jesús Hernandez, sued Mesa in federal court with the help of a Texas law firm, arguing that the agent violated their son’s constitutional rights. Federal judges repeatedly rejected the family’s claims, saying the Constitution does not apply to a non-citizen not on U.S. soil. Those rejections relied on a 1990 Supreme Court ruling, United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, that found non-citizens must have a “substantial connection” to the U.S. in order to be granted constitutional protections while in a foreign country. (Another key Supreme Court decision, Boumediene v. Bush, found in 2007 that foreign-born detainees held at Guantanmo Bay have due-process rights to challenge their detentions.) There was no specific legal standard, however, for whether constitutional rights apply in cross-border situations involving non-citizens. If Hernandez was a U.S. citizen, his constitutional rights would be assured, no matter where he was at the time of the shooting. And he would have been afforded those same rights had the shooting occurred on the U.S. side of the river. But because the shooting took place in what lawyers representing Hernandez’s family described as “a unique no-man’s land—a law-free zone in which U.S. agents can kill innocent civilians with impunity,” Hernandez’s rights were murky. In 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit sided with Mesa, concluding that because Hernandez was on Mexican soil and was “a Mexican citizen who had no significant voluntary connection,” he had no U.S. constitutional protections. Last year, the Supreme Court agreed to take on the case. The court heard oral arguments in February, appearing split over whether the Constitution should apply in cross-border situations. Justice Department lawyers argued that the matter shouldn’t be for courts to decide, due to foreign-policy implications. “You have a cross-border incident, which necessarily gives rise to foreign-relations problems, which are committed to the political branches,” Justice Department lawyer Edwin Kneedler argued. The justices, meanwhile, grappled with how to establish a standard narrow enough to not open up the U.S. government to civil liability for other incidents on foreign soil. “How do you analyze the case of a drone strike in Iraq, where the plane is piloted from Nevada?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked Hilliard during arguments. “Why wouldn’t the same analysis apply in that case?” But Hilliard, the attorney representing Hernandez’s parents, argued that the standard could be specific enough to not apply to military operations. Domestic law enforcement officers, such as Border Patrol agents, should be subject to the Constitution, he argued. “Right now, while they’re in the United States, their boots never leave the country, and it’s the government’s position that the Constitution turns off like a light switch at the border, and they are unconstrained by our U.S. Constitution,” Hilliard said. Read more background of the case here. -- 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.

23 июня, 23:19

Trump Administration Backs Texas In Immigration Crackdown Challenge

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); The Trump administration asked a federal judge on Friday to uphold the constitutionality of the controversial state immigration crackdown passed by the Republican-dominated Texas legislature.   The U.S. government isn’t a party in the lawsuit challenging Texas Senate Bill 4, which bans so-called sanctuary policies that limit local police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. But the Texas law has become a prominent test of whether courts will approve strong-arm tactics endorsed by President Donald Trump to pressure local jurisdictions into complying with federal deportation efforts. “President Trump has made a commitment to keep America safe and to ensure cooperation with federal immigration laws,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday. “The Department of Justice fully supports Texas’s effort and is participating in this lawsuit because of the strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.” SB 4 bars local jurisdictions in Texas from denying requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold suspected undocumented immigrants on the federal government’s behalf. Adopting a policy of refusing such requests, known as “detainers,” can land public officials in jail for up to a year under the new law. SB 4 also allows local police officers to ask the immigration status of anyone they stop, drawing comparisons to an Arizona law derided by critics as the “show me your papers” law. Several jurisdictions ― including Austin, San Antonio and El Paso ― filed lawsuits to overturn SB 4 shortly after Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law last month. The legal challenges accuse Republican lawmakers of trampling multiple constitutional principles. Several federal judges have ruled in recent years that holding someone on an ICE detainer in a local jail if they would otherwise be allowed to go free violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantees against illegal search and seizure. And because the federal government alone is charged with crafting immigration policy, the state of Texas can’t create its own, or dole out criminal penalties for refusing to follow a state policy, critics argue. The flurry of lawsuits were consolidated into a single case that will have its first hearing on Monday, when U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will consider whether to block the law from taking effect on Sept. 1 while the legal challenges move forward. The Justice Department will try to convince the judge to give the law a chance. “Cooperation with federal officials is plainly permitted under the [Immigration and Nationality Act] and the Constitution,” the statement of interest filed by DOJ reads. “Parties may disagree with the state legislature’s policy determinations in enacting SB 4, but nothing in federal immigration law precludes a state from directing law enforcement officers in the state to cooperate with the federal government, rather than merely permitting them to do so on an ad hoc basis.” The filing hinges on the argument that ICE detainers have changed in the months since Trump took office. The Department of Homeland Security started issuing administrative arrest warrants in April, along with detainer requests, in an apparent effort to make ICE holds less vulnerable to legal challenges. That argument may not convince Garcia. He ruled earlier this month that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas violated the Fourth Amendment by refusing to release an undocumented immigrant for more than two months on the basis of an ICE detainer. The ruling appeared to strike a major blow against SB 4, which aims to force local jurisdictions to honor all such requests from ICE. The Justice Department’s filing took note of that ruling, but countered that the case began last year, before Trump took office. The Trump administration’s new policy of including administrative warrants with ICE detainers solves the problem and is “fully consistent with the Fourth Amendment,” the filing says.   But avoiding the constitutional pitfalls presented by ICE detainers requires a warrant in a criminal case, not an administrative warrant for a violation of civil immigration law, according to Nina Perales, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “The Fourth Amendment in this context requires probable cause that the individual has committed a crime in order to deprive that person of liberty,” Perales, one of several lawyers representing SB 4’s opponents, told HuffPost. “DOJ cannot hang its hat on the new detainer form when it comes to the stringent requirements of the Fourth Amendment.” Read the Justice Department’s statement of interest below.   (function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "https://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })() -- 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 июня, 23:00

Will Strategic Efforts Lead Publishing Stocks to Growth?

Will Strategic Efforts Lead Publishing Stocks to Growth?

17 июня, 04:00

What Housing Recovery? Real Home Prices Still 16% Below 2007 Peak

Since the financial crisis, home equity has gone from being America’s biggest driver of (illusory) wealth to one of the biggest sources of economic inequality. And while the post-crisis recovery has returned the national home price index to its highs from early 2007, most of this rise was generated by a handful of urban markets like New York City and San Francisco, leaving most Americans behind. To wit: home prices in the 10 most expensive metro areas have risen 63% since 2000, while home prices in the 10 cheapest areas have gained just 3.6%, according to Harvard’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report. And while nominal prices may have returned to their pre-recession levels, when you adjust for inflation, real prices are as much as 16 percent below past peaks. Despite seven years of rock-bottom interest rates, valuations in 3 out of 5 metropolitan areas remain below their pre-recession peak. Outside, of a few rich coastal cities, the only advantage that this “housing recovery” has brought is that some homes remain affordable for some Americans. However, thanks to the disproportionate rise in home valuations in certain densely populated areas, the number of Americans paying more than 50% of their income in rent is near a record high. US house prices rose 5.6 percent in 2016, finally surpassing the high reached nearly a decade earlier. Achieving this milestone reduced the number of homeowners underwater on their mortgages to 3.2 million by year’s end, a remarkable drop from the 12.1 million peak in 2011.But as Bloomberg reports, nationally, just 1 in 3 homes has recovered peak value. Meanwhile, in the country’s most densely-populated markets, housing supplies are incredibly tight following nearly a decade of historically low construction. The lack of inventory for sale is evident in both the new and existing segments of the market. In 2016, the typical new home for sale was on the market for 3.3 months, well below the 5.1 months averaged since recordkeeping began in 1988. Meanwhile, only 1.65 million existing homes were for sale in 2016, the lowest count in 16 years. And with sales volumes picking up, the inventory represented just 3.6 months of supply, an 11-year low. Conditions are particularly tight at the lower end of the market, likely reflecting both the slower price recovery in this segment and the fact that fewer entry-level homes are being built. Between 2004 and 2015, completions of smaller single-family homes (under 1,800 square feet) fell from nearly 500,000 units to only 136,000. Similarly, the number of townhouses started in 2016 (98,000) was less than half the number started in 2005. Renters, it seems, are bearing the brunt of the US housing stock crunch. Despite a relatively strong pickup in multi-family housing, rental markets are tighter than they’ve been in more than 30 years, though there has been some softening on the high end. According to the Housing Vacancy Survey, the rental vacancy rate fell for the seventh straight year in 2016, dipping to 6.9 percent—its lowest level in more than three decades. MPF Research reports that the vacancy rate for professionally managed apartments was also just 4.4 percent. While some rental markets showed signs of softening in early 2017—most notably in San Francisco and New York—there is generally little indication that increases in supply are outstripping demand. Meanwhile, the number of Americans exceeding the 30%-of-income “affordability threshold” has declined for five straight years, but while homeowners have enjoyed greater financial freedom, rates for renters have barely budged. Indeed, 11.1 million renter households were severely cost burdened in 2015, a 3.7 million increase from 2001. By comparison, 7.6 million owners were severely burdened in 2015, up 1.1 million from 2001. The share of renters with severe burdens varies widely across the nation’s 100 largest metros, ranging from a high of 35.4 percent in Miami to a low of 18.4 percent in El Paso. While most common in high-cost markets, renter cost burdens are also widespread in areas with moderate rents but relatively low incomes. Augusta is a case in point, where the severely cost-burdened share of renters was at 30.3 percent in 2015. In summary, the US housing market's gains since the crisis have disproportionately benefited certain cities, which creates two problems: Renters in markets that have seen the strongest comebacks are being squeezed as wages fail to keep up with runaway rents; and,   Cities in the south and midwest, typically post-industrial towns, are filled with homeowners who might still be struggling with an underwater mortgage, and with only tepid gains in housing prices, many are trapped in their homes.

08 июня, 21:19

Chief Justice In Connecticut Asks ICE To Stay Out Of Courthouses

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); Connecticut’s top judge penned a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last month asking them to stop making immigration arrests at courthouses.   The May 15 letter from Chase Rogers, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, marks the latest instance of a high-ranking judge telling federal immigration authorities that their intrusion into courthouses undermines the justice system. The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, a group that has lobbied to keep the state from cooperating with federal deportation efforts, sent the letter to HuffPost on Wednesday. Rogers asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement to include courthouses as one of the “sensitive locations” ― like churches, funerals or public demonstrations ― that ICE generally avoids when detaining immigrants. “I am fully cognizant of the authority that ICE officers have to detain someone, and we are in full compliance with federal law regarding detainer requests for the surrender of defendants held in custody,” the letter reads. “However, it is of great concern when they take custody of individuals in the public areas of our courthouses.” “I believe that having ICE officers detain individuals in public areas of our courthouses may cause litigants, witnesses and interested parties to view our courthouses as places to avoid, rather than as institutions of fair and impartial justice,” the letter adds. The chief justices for the state supreme courts of California, New Jersey and Washington have all made similar requests. [Detaining] individuals in public areas of our courthouses may cause litigants, witnesses and interested parties to view our courthouses as places to avoid. Chase Rogers, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court For years, ICE has avoided making arrests at locations of religious significance or where people have a right to go regardless of their immigration status, like public schools and hospitals. While ICE has not officially classified courthouses as a sensitive location in the past, under the Obama administration, the agency specified that agents should only make arrests at courthouses in “priority cases” and that they should try to take people into custody outside public areas. Shortly after President Donald Trump took office, however, ICE scrubbed the section covering courthouses from the sensitive locations policy posted on its website. ICE has carried out several high-profile arrests inside courthouses since Trump took office, raising concerns from some immigrant rights groups and local officials who argue, like Rogers, that those actions will make undocumented immigrants fearful of going to court. Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, a member of the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, described courthouse arrests as “disruptive to our judicial system.” Immigrants have increasingly called CIRA to report courthouse arrests since Trump took office, she said. “The public isn’t very eager to participate in our judicial system if they feel like when they go, they’re going to be apprehended by immigration officers,” Rivera-Forastieri told HuffPost. “Victims of domestic violence and folks that are hoping to serve as witnesses are not showing up to court.” The growing number of courthouse arrests has led advocates and some public officials to accuse the Trump administration of violating the spirit of the sensitive locations policy. In one particularly controversial case, immigration officers arrested a transgender woman seeking a protective order from an alleged abuser at a family courthouse in El Paso, Texas, in February. Victims of domestic violence and folks that are hoping to serve as witnesses are not showing up to court. Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance Despite the concerns raised by judges, immigrant rights groups and some elected officials, ICE has increasingly looked to courthouses as a convenient place to arrest undocumented immigrants. Kelly and Sessions defended the practice in March in a joint letter saying that courthouse arrests allowed ICE to circumvent so-called “sanctuary” policies in which local jurisdictions limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.   “Some jurisdictions, including the State of California and many of its largest counties and cities, have enacted statutes and ordinances designed to specifically prohibit or hinder ICE from enforcing immigration law by prohibiting communication with ICE, and denying requests ICE officers and agents to enter prisons and jails to make arrests,” Sessions and Kelly wrote. “As a result, ICE officers and agents are required to locate and arrests these aliens in public places, rather than in secure jail facilities.” The letter argued that courthouses are safe places to make arrests since most people are screened before entering. Connecticut passed a statewide law, called the TRUST Act, in 2013 that instructs local law enforcement to disregard ICE’s requests to hold immigrants unless they are accompanied by a judicial warrant. Local police may hold immigrants for ICE without a warrant if they have been deported before, if they have felony convictions or if their names appear on the terrorist watch list, according to the Connecticut Post. CIRA argued that Connecticut legislators should expand the state’s TRUST Act in response to the Trump administration’s more aggressive deportation efforts.   Such changes will have to wait until next year. Connecticut lawmakers declined to take up a bill to expand the state’s TRUST Act before the legislative session ended on Wednesday.   “The legislature’s failure to act represents a lack of political will,” Rivera-Forastieri said in a statement. “As Trump wages war on immigrants around the country, not a single bill that addresses attacks against immigrants in Connecticut was raised by the committee.” -- 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.

05 июня, 22:49

Lawyers Ask Judge To Block Texas Immigration Crackdown While Lawsuits Move Forward

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); A state immigration crackdown passed last month by the Texas legislature presents too many constitutional problems to be implemented on Sept. 1 as scheduled, lawyers for two heavily Hispanic jurisdictions argued in a court filing Monday.   Calling the legislation, known as SB 4, “patently unconstitutional,” the filing on behalf of the South Texas town of El Cenizo and county of Maverick asked a federal court to keep the law from going into effect. If successful, the filing ― known as a request for preliminary injunction ― would keep Texas from enforcing the law while lawsuits from a handful of local governments play out in court. “This thing has to be stopped before Sept. 1,” Luis Vera, the national general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens and the lead attorney for the lawsuit, told HuffPost. “The immigrant community in Texas right now is living in fear.” Lawyers in the other cases are likely to file similar requests to stop the bill’s implementation. The Texas attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  The Republican-dominated Texas state legislature envisioned SB 4 as a way to crack down on so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Under the bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law last month, any Texas jurisdiction that disregards requests to hold undocumented immigrants on the federal government’s behalf would face the loss of state grant money. Under the new law, elected officials who adopt “sanctuary” policies could be removed from office and face up to a year in jail. SB 4 also gives local police the authority to ask about the immigration status of people they stop. El Cenizo and Maverick County, along with LULAC, a civil rights group, filed the first lawsuit against SB 4 less than 24 hours after Abbott approved it. They argued that the state government doesn’t have the authority to craft its own immigration policy ― a power that belongs to the federal government. The American Civil Liberties Union is helping to litigate the case. LULAC’s Hispanic members also fear the law will spur racial profiling from police officers, who, “due to their lack of training, may use skin color or language as a proxy for immigration status,” according to the filing. “Making matters worse, SB4 is written in such vague and ambiguous terms that local officials will inevitably be left to guess whether any particular action violates the law,” the filing reads. “If they guess wrong and do not engage in full-bore immigration enforcement (such as asking every single motorist about their immigration status), they risk massive penalties and removal from office.” Tom Schmerber, the sheriff of Maverick County, spent 26 years working for the U.S. Border Patrol. Now, he worries that his campaign statements and actions in office to de-emphasize immigration enforcement ― actions that were legal until recently ― might get him dismissed from his position. “Given the lack of clarity in SB4, I fear that I will be required to divert critical and scarce law enforcement resources away from what I believe is necessary to ensure public safety for my constituents,” Schmerber wrote in a declaration that accompanied the request for preliminary injunction. “SB4 will take away my ability to limit my deputies’ participation in immigration enforcement when I believe that resources should be focused on local priorities, such as answering calls for service and investigating and preventing violent and property crimes.” Many law enforcement officials across the state expressed similar concerns as the law was debated this year. Police chiefs and sheriffs for several of Texas’ major cities ― including Austin, San Antonio and Houston ― told lawmakers in committee hearings that the bill would damage their relationships with immigrant communities. Victims of domestic violence and other crimes would avoid calling the police or telling police sensitive information for fear of deportation, the officials argued. But their criticisms did little to deter Republican legislators who have craved a statewide crackdown for years, and who were emboldened last year by the election of Donald Trump ― a hard-liner on immigration whose signature issue as a candidate was a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. El Paso County filed a lawsuit last month challenging the constitutionality of SB 4 on similar grounds. The county also argues that SB 4 would obligate local law enforcement to abandon a policy of not asking about citizenship status ― a policy the county adopted in 2006 to settle a federal lawsuit over alleged racial discrimination. Last week, the cities of Austin and San Antonio became the latest to take Texas to court over SB 4. Travis County, which encompasses the state capital of Austin, is the only Texas city that has a formal policy limiting which detainer requests it will honor from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. All of the lawsuits seeking to overturn SB 4 have been filed in federal court in San Antonio, according to Vera. They will likely get consolidated and heard together before a single judge, he said.  -- 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.

05 июня, 22:40

Tesoro Closes Western Refining Merger, To Be Named Andeavor

Tesoro Corporation (TSO) recently announced the much-awaited completion of $6.4 billion acquisition of Texas-based oil refiner Western Refining Inc.

30 мая, 15:13

Texas Democrat Threatens To Kill Republican On Legislative Floor After He Called ICE On Protesting Illegal Immigrants

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com, (Pictured: Texas State Representatives Panco Nevarez (Left) and Matt Rinaldi (Right) Came To Blows On The House Floor Over Illegal Immigration) We’ve repeatedly warned that the division festering among the Left and Right could soon lead to violence across America and the real possibility of a civil war. Earlier this year we reported that Anti-Fascist groups were beginning to arm themselves for physical violence after taking a beat down in Berkeley. And while attacks have thus far been limited to protesters clashing on college campuses and speaking venues for Republicans, things have now taken a drastic turn. Hours ago, as supporters of illegal immigration massed to protest the policies being put into place by the new White House administration and the Texas State government, two Texas legislators nearly came to blows in the Capital. According to Republican legislative representative Matt Rinaldi, he was accosted by Democrat Poncho Nevarez. The argument stemmed from the fact that scores of protesters were waving signs in Austin, TX, with many identifying themselves as illegal immigrants. Rinaldi reportedly had enough of the disturbance and contacted ICE agents. When Rinaldi advised the House Floor that the agents had been contacted, Nevarez apparently lost total control of his faculties and began assaulting him, to the point that other legislators had to step in to break up the fight. Nevarez then directly threatened violence against Rinaldi because of his call to ICE. Reports claim that not only did Nevarez threaten Rinaldi’s life but indicated that he would wait for Rinaldi to leave the legislature and would get him on the way to his car. Rinaldi, who is a concealed handgun licensee, responded by saying that he would shoot in self defense if forced to and reportedly said that he would put a bullet in the head of Nevarez if confronted. But even after the protest ended, tensions remained high. Rep. Ramon Romero, a Democrat from Fort Worth, said he was standing with fellow Democratic Rep. Cesar Blanco of El Paso when Republican colleague Matt Rinaldi came over and said: “This is BS. That’s why I called ICE.”   Rinaldi, of Irving in suburban Dallas, and Blanco then began shouting at each other. A scuffle nearly ensued before other lawmakers separated the two.   Later, a group of Democratic lawmakers held a press conference to accuse Rinaldi of threatening to “put a bullet in the head” of someone on the House floor during a second near scuffle. They said the comment was made in the direction of Democratic Rep. Poncho Nevarez, from the border town of Eagle Pass.   In a subsequent Facebook statement, Rinaldi admitted saying he’d called federal authorities and threatened to shoot Nevarez — but said his life was in danger, not the other way around.   “Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said ‘I am illegal and here to stay,'” Rinaldi wrote. He said Democrats were encouraging protesters to ignore police instructions and, “When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues.”   Star Telegram Rinaldi took to Facebook to share details of the incident and express his concerns: Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said "I am illegal and here to stay." Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement.   When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues.   During that time Poncho told me that he would "get me on the way to my car." He later approached me and reiterated that "I had to leave at some point, and he would get me."   I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, "get me," I would shoot him in self defense. I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me. Supporters of undocumented and illegal immigration will no doubt applaud the threats made by Poncho Nevarez, underscoring just how tense the situation has become across the country. The only question now is… how long until the shooting starts?

17 мая, 02:13

Lots Of People To Sue Texas Over Immigration Crackdown

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); AUSTIN, Texas ― Democratic elected officials from across the state gathered in front of the Capitol Tuesday to announce plans to challenge a Republican-backed immigration crackdown that opponents describe as unconstitutional.   Activists and politicians, surrounded by dozens of chanting supporters, said they’d spend the summer rallying opponents of Senate Bill 4 to fight the new law in the courts, and to oppose Republican lawmakers who passed it. “They want elected officials like the ones standing behind me to back down,” Austin City Councilman Greg Casar said. “We’re going to give them a summer of resistance.” Once SB4 takes effect in September, local officials like Casar could find themselves facing criminal charges. Under the law banning sanctuary cities, any jurisdiction that declines to hold an undocumented immigrant in custody on behalf of federal immigration authorities would face fines and the loss of state grant money. Officials who enact such policies face the possibility of prosecution and up to a year in jail. SB4, drawing comparisons with Arizona’s 2010 immigration crackdown bill, allows police to question the immigration status of anyone they stop.   But the anti-sanctuary bill signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this month is already facing so many legal battles that opponents said they’re confident the bill will be blocked in court before it’s implemented. “We’ve heard a lot of reasons why SB4 is bad policy,” Marisa Bono, a lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said. “But let’s be clear. It’s also illegal. It’s unconstitutional.” Critics say there’s no way the law will stand up in court. Federal judges have already ruled that requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants on their behalf, known as “detainers,” violate the Constitution’s 4th Amendment, if the person would otherwise be eligible for release on bond or because criminal charges were dropped. Imposing state criminal penalties onto federal immigration law likely tramples over the U.S. government’s exclusive authority to set immigration policy. And the provision allowing police to ask for proof of legal residency opens the door to racial profiling in a state where a majority of residents are people of color, critics said. “This law creates a fake narrative that criminalizes an entire ethnicity,” Austin City Councilwoman Delia Garza said. Two local jurisdictions ― the town of El Cenizo and the county of Maverick ― have already filed a lawsuit against the state. They’ll soon be joined by others. El Paso County Commissioners voted Monday to file a challenge. Austin City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday to direct the city’s lawyers to take any action necessary to fight the law in court in order to preserve Travis County’s “sanctuary” policy, which directs local jails to disregard requests to hold undocumented immigrants on the federal government’s behalf unless the suspect is convicted of or charged with one of a few serious felonies. Dallas City Council will also consider whether to take legal action this week. It’s unclear whether the lawsuits will proceed separately or will become consolidated. Hours after Gov. Abbott signed SB4, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to preemptively declare the law constitutional and limit legal challenges the state could face.  Opponents emphasized that legal challenges were only one part of their strategy. They also plan a summer-long campaign to drum up opposition to the Republican-dominated legislature’s hard-line efforts to make life harder on immigrants.  Pointing out that conservatives passed SB4 over the objections of some of the state’s top law enforcement officials, state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) described the bill as an attempt to score political points by targeting immigrants and the state’s Hispanic community. “If it’s not about law enforcement, then it’s about something else,” Anchia said. “It’s about conflating immigrants with lawlessness and criminality.” Karla Pérez, an organizer with the immigrant youth-led United We Dream group and a participant in the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, said she viewed laws like SB4 as symptoms of an effort to push people like her out of the state. “This is my home,” Pérez said. “I am prepared to defend it.” -- 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.

09 мая, 23:09

Our Schedule for the First ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club In Marfa, Texas, June 16-18

"Believe me, folks, we do not know it all, and no one should be surprised at that revelation."James BunnellHunting Marfa Lights   The First ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club In Marfa, Texas, next month, is going to beat the crap out of Burning Man, Davos, Jackson Hole, Berkshire Hathaway's Annual Meeting, and Milken's Global Conference.   Here, at last, is the schedule: Thursday, June 15 Everything is bigger in Texas, including the art.  Come a day early to experience some of it. Purchase tickets in advance: https://www.chinati.org/ 10:00am - 4:30pm Chinati Foundation - Full Collection Tour 10:30am - 5:00pm Chinati Foundation - Full Collection Tour 11:00am - 1:30pm Chinati Foundation - Selections Tour 11:30am - 2:00pm Chinati Foundation - Selections Tour   After dark, go out and try to see The Marfa Lights.   http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/the-truth-is-out-there/   Friday, June 16 Marfa Activities Center105 N. Mesa St. (btwn W. Texas St. & W. El Paso St.)Marfa, TX 79843 9:00am Sound check 10:00am ZH Symposium Opening Rant 10:45am Healthcare: hedgeless_horseman,  Negotiating directly with physicians and hospitals   1:45pm Real estate: Forrest Noble, The truth and consequences of being a landlord 3:30pm Distilling and brewing: Ned Rutland, One man's experience with more than 50 years at the still     The University of Texas McDonald Observatory Purchase tickets in advance: https://mcdonaldobservatory.org/calendar 8:15pm Twilight Program 9:45pm Star Party   Saturday, June 17 6:00am Yoga at El Cosmico, under the trees by the community kitchen   9:00am Education: Russell Fish, Disintermediated education in your home and community 10:45am Crypto currencies: Ken Griffith, The Death of Banking and the Rise of New Financial Ecosystems - How to Make it Work For You   1:45pm Media: Robert Gore, Breaking alternative media's dependency on the MSM 3:30pm Agriculture: Susanne Friend, Make backyard and commercial aquaponics easy and inexpensive   8:00pm Free Live Music at the MAC, Shane Walker and Kelley Mickwee, BYOB and wear you best cowboy boots.      Sunday, June 18 9:00am Personal security: Brian Hoffner, When seconds count, the police are only minutes away 10:45am Project Mayhem   This schedule is subject to change.   The symposium is free and open to the public.  No badges.  No registration.  Entry to the symposium is on a first come, first serve, come and go as you like, and space available basis. If more than the max capacity of 1,000 people show up, we have several options, and will just work it out as we go.  Nobody will be, "reaccomodated."  Please donate if you can!  https://www.gofundme.com/2017-hall-rental-in-marfa-for-zh This is a three-day-long Fight Club, and many of you haven't been training.  Fortunately, we may bring in our own Herman Miller Aeron chair, camp chair, inflatable couch, actual couch, bean bag, Persian rug, chunk of old AstroTurf, coolers, mini bar, picnic, drinks, friends, yoga mat, children, grandparents, dogs*, desk, and trading platform.  There will probably also be a couple of hundred folding chairs available for use.  *I am told that dogs are allowed, per City Ordinance #95-05 - It shall be unlawful for any owner to fail to exercise proper care, restraint and control of his animals to prevent them from becoming a public nuisance, by running at large, molesting passersby or attacking other animals.  Basically - dogs stay on leashes, and humans pick up after their dogs. I imagine that there is no smoking in the MAC.  Please, also, go outside to vape.   Allegedly, we can BBQ in Coffield Park, adjacent to the MAC, but the food and beverages in town are pretty darn good.  Some food trucks may show up. We are guests of the people and City of Marfa.  Please clean up after yourself.   All speaker times are West Texas "ish" time, some or all of the speakers may say things you do not agree with, try to get you to change your mind or your life, not show up, show up late, or be under the influence of mind altering substances.  No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied.  This symposium is nothing more and nothing less than a peaceable assembly of the public.  However...anything can happen...and probably will.   Don't DOX people.  Respect others privacy and anonymity, even if our government does not.  If anyone tries to yank off my wig and dark sunglasses, then I am going to be quite upset. Treat others as you want to be treated.  Look out for yourself.   We don't rent pigs! Peace, prosperity, liberty, and Godspeed! h_h

08 мая, 16:08

Western Refining (WNR) Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates, Rise Y/Y

Western Refining, Inc. reported first-quarter 2017 results, wherein the company reported earnings of 19 cents surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 14 cents.

05 мая, 13:42

TRUMP’S BIG QUESTION: Are you with me? -- House health care bill DOA in Senate -- Behind-the-scenes at the First Lady’s Lunch – CINDY MCCAIN to State? – ‘SHATTERED’ optioned for TV -- B’DAY: Ryan Heath

Listen to the Playbook Audio Briefing http://bit.ly/2qLsqj7 ... Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6Eay ... Visit the online home of Playbook http://politi.co/2f51JnfGood Friday morning and happy Cinco de Mayo.FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP attended the annual First Lady’s Lunch hosted by the Congressional Club at the Washington Hilton. This year’s theme was a “New Direction,” complete with compass table clothes. HIGHLIGHTS: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s wife Marie Louise got a huge round of applause when she walked the runway escorted by a military officer, as is the tradition. Melania Trump broke with tradition and did not walk the runway. Instead she went to the dais in a soft blue pantsuit after everyone was already at their chairs. SPOTTED: Kellyanne Conway, Karen Pence, who introduced the first lady, Paul Pelosi, Janna Ryan and several female ambassadors. THE GIFT BAG: A custom-made Congressional Club tote filled with goodies. The bag http://bit.ly/2qJJCW6 … The label http://bit.ly/2pKZkAX Not custom-made: The cream shawl with a “Made in China” label on the back of each chair that attendees were encouraged to take. **SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/2lQswbh‘ARE YOU WITH ME?’ -- That was the question President Donald Trump asked wary House Republicans as he tried to turn them to vote for the health care bill. Make no mistake: this is a big win for Trump. It wasn’t him alone who pushed this bill across the finish line, but he, VP Mike Pence and their staff worked hand in glove with House GOP leadership. ONE GREAT DETAIL: Trump called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy with a list of Republican lawmakers he thought the Californian should talk to. McCarthy was taken aback, because he was the whip and knows the conference like the back of his hand. Turns out that Trump’s list was pretty accurate, and after some conversations, they all ended up voting for the bill.PIC DU JOUR – Philip Bump (@pbump): “I feel like this photo from Carlos Barria of Reuters may pop up a lot over the next 18 months.” http://bit.ly/2pGCYSIDEPT. OF DEAD ON ARRIVAL … -- NYT’s TOM KAPLAN and ROBERT PEAR: “The House measure faces profound uncertainty in the Senate, where a handful of Republican senators immediately rejected it, signaling that they would start work on a new version of the bill virtually from scratch. ‘To the extent that the House solves problems, we might borrow ideas,’ said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate health committee. ‘We can go to conference with the House, or they can pass our bill.’” http://nyti.ms/2p3G30v -- POLITICO’s BURGESS EVERETT and JEN HABERKORN: “‘We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill,’ said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). ‘We’ll take whatever good ideas we find there that meet our goals.’ … ‘Like y’all, I’m still waiting to see if it’s a boy or a girl,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). ‘Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours, going to be debated three or four hours, not scored? Needs to be viewed with suspicion.’ … ‘I turned the volume off some time ago and have no idea what the House is even passing,’ Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said shortly before the House vote was scheduled.” http://politi.co/2p3GFDB -- THE STRATEGY: The top-level aides we talk to say Senate Republicans will put forward their own package, in order to get into a formal negotiation between the Senate and House. The end product will invariably be a more liberal bill, but when you’re that close to the goal line, Republicans will try mightily to push each other over for the touchdown. Only time will tell if that will work.THE TICK TOCKS …-- WAPO: “How the House got a health-care bill after Trump and Ryan stepped back,” by Karen Tumulty and Bob Costa: “The rescue effort that pulled the Republicans back from the brink of failure on health care began quietly, with two House members who are not exactly household names trying to find common ground on a little-noticed issue. They were Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), a leader of the moderate House Republican bloc that calls itself the Tuesday Group, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative and hard-line House Freedom Caucus. The question at hand was giving states more flexibility by allowing them to come up with their own ways of achieving cost savings and providing coverage. ... While staying at the beach with his family over the House’s two-week Easter recess last month, ‘I took pen to paper,’ MacArthur recalled. ‘I presented it to the speaker and talked about it with Mark Meadows, and it got life. It moved.’” http://wapo.st/2pNdkfF-- POLITICO: “‘The White House just couldn’t let this go’: The inside story of how Trump and the Republicans got Obamacare repeal through the House. (Hint: It wasn’t pretty.),” by Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey: “Sitting in the Oval Office Tuesday evening, Trump dialed Upton in his congressional office. The president raised his voice and swore at Upton several times during a 10-minute conversation, sources familiar with the call said. But Upton stood his ground. He explained that he, like Trump, wanted to ensure people with preexisting conditions were protected, even quoting the president verbatim talking about the need to do so. … “Upton and Trump convened at the White House on Wednesday for a much more pleasant meeting. ‘The president was happy to sign off on their deal,’ one senior administration official familiar with the meeting said. ‘It was all peace and love.’” http://politi.co/2pfT2s7 GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMAN -- LEAD OF THE DAY -- “The Republican health care overhaul might never become law, but it has already changed the life of one American: Reince Priebus, who knew it was his best and perhaps last hope of becoming an empowered White House chief of staff. …“[H]e viewed it as a personal make-or-break moment, and interviews with two dozen West Wing aides and Republican officials confirmed that another big loss on health care would probably have been an unrecoverable blow to an already weakened Mr. Priebus. … He responded by texting, calling and buttonholing Republicans, especially Mr. Ryan -- badgering him for weeks to bring some version of the bill to the floor and demanding votes despite being short of support, with an angry insistence that tested their two-Cheeseheads-are-better-than-one friendship.” http://nyti.ms/2pcQ86RTHE POLITICAL IMPACT … -- NYT’S CARL HULSE: “Is G.O.P. ‘Staring Death in the Face’ After Repeal? Democrats Hope So”: “‘I think they are staring death in the face,’ Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, said about the political prospects of dozens of House Republicans who were persuaded to back the bill by Republican leaders anxious to deliver a legislative win. ‘They asked their vulnerable members to take an enormous gamble and risk on an act of faith that I guarantee will not pay off.’” http://nyti.ms/2p3YWAv -- POLITICO: “The House Republicans who could lose their jobs over Obamacare repeal,” by Kevin Robillard: “Rep. Darrell Issa of California … Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona … Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida … Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois … Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota … Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas … Rep. John Katko of New York.” http://politi.co/2qHeLu1 -- WAPO’s PAUL KANE (P.K.): “Republicans didn’t like their health-care bill but voted for it anyway” http://wapo.st/2qHmFnf TRUMP FOR GOV’T RUN HEALTH CARE -- @Bencjacobs: “Per pooler @tarapalmeri, Trump praised Australia, which has a universal public health care system, as having better health care than the US”HOW IT PLAYED -- TAMPA BAY TIMES (centerpiece package): “House GOP gives Trump a victory … The health care bill passes by four votes. It now faces an uncertain future in the Senate and unknown political fallout.” http://politi.co/2pNlx3y … N.Y. POST: “GOP plays ‘Rocky’ theme before they pass health-care bill … Dems sing ‘Na na hey hey goodbye’ … CHILDREN, THEY’RE ALL CHILDREN” http://nyp.st/2p3K9G9 … PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: “What Prognosis? … NEXT MOVES: After narrow approval in House, a steep climb seen in Senate. … LOCAL FALLOUT: Pennsylvania and New Jersey could be big losers.” http://politi.co/2pg35gY TOM PERRIELLO, who is running for governor of Virginia, released an ad about the health care vote roughly an hour after the legislation passed. Perriello is a one-term congressman who lost his job after voting for much of the Obama agenda. The ad shows an ambulance being crushed. Watch the spot: http://bit.ly/2q5SRE2HERE COME THE REINFORCEMENTS -- “GOP nonprofit launches $2 million campaign thanking Obamacare repeal backers,” by Kevin Robillard: “American Action Network, a nonprofit with ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, will spend $2 million over the next 11 days in 21 districts running TV ads to thank House Republicans who voted for the GOP's Obamacare repeal bill Thursday. The ads will thank only members who voted for the legislation. Vulnerable members who voted against the bill — such as Reps. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Mike Coffman of Colorado and others — won't receive any help from the $7 million fund AAN has set aside for health care.” http://politi.co/2p3UAt8VIDEO DU JOUR – A “Daily Show” video shows news anchors singing “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” to report on the House Democrats singing at Republicans after the health care vote – 30-second video http://bit.ly/2pfMrhf (h/t Matt Negrin)OOPS -- “Congressman admits he didn’t read full health care bill before voting,” by CNN’s Christina Manduley: “Republican Rep. Chris Collins admitted Thursday that he did not read the full health care bill before voting for it. ‘I will fully admit, Wolf, I did not. But I can also assure you my staff did. We have to rely on our staff,’ Collins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on ‘The Situation Room.’” http://cnn.it/2qGSWuU-- “Even red states are wary of ditching Obamacare protections: Governors could be blamed for abandoning patients with pre-existing conditions,” by Rachana Pradhan: http://politi.co/2q67ruYVIDEO of Rupert Murdoch introducing Trump at last night’s dinner honoring Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the USS Intrepid last night in NYC http://bit.ly/2p3LWLr--SPOTTED IN NYC: Steve Schwarzman speaking to Rudy Giuliani at that dinner ... John Travolta was also spotted.CLINTON 4.0? -- “Hillary Clinton to launch political group as soon as next week,” by Gabe Debenedetti: “Six months after losing the presidential election, Hillary Clinton is ready to wade back into politics. The former secretary of state is building a new political group to fund organizations working on the resistance to President Donald Trump’s agenda, spending recent weeks in Washington, New York City, and Chappaqua, N.Y., meeting with donors and potential groups to invest in, and recruiting individuals for the group’s board of directors, multiple people close to the two-time White House hopeful and people familiar with the group’s planning told POLITICO. She is looking to launch the group, expected to be called Onward Together — a nod to her campaign slogan, Stronger Together — as soon as next week ...“Clinton has been working with Dennis Cheng, her campaign’s finance director who was previously the Clinton Foundation’s chief development officer, to bring donors into the fold. Meanwhile, Judith McHale, who served as an undersecretary of state under Clinton, has been working with her to find groups to fund, as has former [DNC] chairman, presidential candidate, and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.” http://politi.co/2qyvEtSFOGGY BOTTOM WATCH -- “Official: Cindy McCain eyed for senior State Dept. role,” by AP’s Josh Lederman: “Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, is expected to be offered a prominent role in the Trump administration’s State Department, two individuals familiar with the discussions said Thursday. Although it wasn’t clear what position she would fill, one possibility under discussion is McCain serving as an ambassador-at-large in Washington, focusing on a specific issue such as human trafficking, according to the administration official and another individual familiar with the talks. McCain, a philanthropist and global humanitarian activist, has been a vocal advocate for victims of human trafficking for several years.” http://apne.ws/2pfuTlA SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.VA.) sat down with us for a Playbook Interview Thursday, a conversation made possible by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Here are some highlights of the fascinating conversation:-- ON BECOMING A REPUBLICAN: “Let’s put it to rest, this. I have a brand. I’ve been around a long time, so the people of West Virginia know who I am. They know that Joe is extremely independent, he’s going to do what he thinks is right and what he can explain it, and I’m not afraid to change my mind. I was raised in a family, if you can’t change your mind you can’t change anything. So if you see the facts, and you’ve had the facts wrong, then you change, okay? And so I’ve been always trying to look for how to get things accomplished. So, I’ve been asked that question, been asked that question by the president of the United States. ...“I just said, ‘Mr. President, think about this. My brand is who it is. Fiercely independent, looking at trying to make things happen. My identity is a D. Democrat, a West Virginia Democrat. You think it would be advantageous for me to change my identity to be a Republican. Don’t you think if I change my identity, I almost change my brand and I’m not the person I was?’” -- ON HEALTH CARE IN THE SENATE: “There’s some things that can be done, but I can’t get—and I told Bill Cassidy, he’s really been trying hard, talking to me. I said, ‘Bill, I’m happy to. All you have to do, Bill, is get you five or six or seven—whatever you want—Republicans to say, hey, we’re not voting for repealing. We want to sit here and work with you, and I’ll guarantee you I’ll get that many if not more Democrats. We’re here to fix it with you.’”-- ON THE FUTURE OF TAX REFORM: “Use the template [the White House] gave us, and that’s where we have the Petersons now. I have different people running models. Tell me what numbers work. If 15 [percent] doesn’t work -- and I don’t think it works -- maybe 25 works for corporate net. Territorial works. Inversion basically reverses itself and people come back. Maybe 25 pass-through versus a 15 pass-through. Take a lot of the junk out of the box. Reducing some of the top rates down, but basically you have a Buffett floor we’ll call it. The Buffett floor could be at 25 or 29. So the super wealthy can’t fall below that.”THE JUICE …-- SPOTTED: KING CARL XVI GUSTAF of Sweden having dinner in D.C. at Occidental Thursday night. -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- JIM SUROWIECKI, The Financial Page columnist at The New Yorker, is joining Vice as a senior story producer. Vice’s Josh Tyrangiel on the hire: “Jim’s a great ideas person -- interested and knowledgeable about so many things we cover -- but he’s also incredibly collaborative. As we got to know each other he confessed that one of the downsides of being a columnist is that it’s really just him and the words. TV requires so many people working in harmony, and we’re all really excited to see how his voice blends in.”-- PLANNED PARENTHOOD is launching a six-figure ad campaign targeting Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Cory Gardner (Colo.). The TV, radio and digital ad buys are focus on “the impact of ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood and lift up PP patients who would be impacted.” The ads http://bit.ly/2p3Y0fq … http://bit.ly/2q6h7pc -- BOB COSTA’S BILLBOARD at DCA. Pic http://bit.ly/2p40uL5 TROUBLE IN PARADISE – “Lewandowski quits lobbying firm,” by Ken Vogel and Theo Meyer: “Donald Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, on Thursday resigned from his lobbying firm amid scrutiny of its efforts to capitalize on his relationship with the president, said Barry Bennett, the firm’s other co-founder. Lewandowski and Bennett, also an ex-Trump campaign aide, started the firm, Avenue Strategies, soon after the election, boasting that they could use their understanding of the new administration to benefit clients. But Lewandowski had not formally registered to lobby for the firm, even though he pitched prospective clients and boasted often about his access to the White House. Bennett on Thursday suggested Lewandowski’s reputation and questions about his adherence to lobbying disclosure requirements might have hurt the firm. ‘He’s such a huge target in town, and to own a chunk of a lobbying shop and not do any lobbying — it’s just always going to create questions,’ Bennett said. ‘Everything the firm did was him and why he didn’t register.’” http://politi.co/2qLcUnb --Bloomberg’s Jen Jacobs and Ben Brody: “Lewandowski said Thursday that his partner, Barry Bennett, and others among the firm’s eight operatives have used his name without his authorization and sought business with foreign clients that he doesn’t want. ‘The most important thing is my reputation, and I’ve worked really hard in the face of adversity to try to be successful,’ Lewandowski said in an interview.” https://bloom.bg/2pcQRVq TRUMP AND THE WORLD -- “Trump goes soft on Saudi: He used to trash the kingdom, but now the president is making it his first foreign stop,” by Michael Crowley: “President Donald Trump has said that Saudi Arabia ‘blew up the World Trade Center’ and wants ‘women as slaves and to kill gays.’ He has also insisted that the oil-rich Arab kingdom provide the United States with free oil for a decade. But when Trump takes his first overseas trip later this month, Saudi Arabia will be his first stop. It’s just the latest example of how Trump—who will continue to Israel and then the Vatican—is largely shelving his incendiary campaign views about the world in favor of more traditional diplomacy. It’s also a reminder that however much politicians love to bash Saudi Arabia, they wind up realizing that the country’s oil wealth and regional influence make it virtually impossible to shun.” http://politi.co/2pMQfIdHMM … -- “The mystery behind a Flynn associate’s quiet work for the Trump campaign,” by WaPo’s Matea Gold: “Jon Iadonisi, a friend and business associate of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, had two under-the-radar projects underway in the fall of 2016. One of his companies was helping Flynn with an investigative effort for an ally of the Turkish government — details of which Flynn revealed only after he was forced to step down from his White House post. At the same time, Iadonisi was also doing work for the Trump campaign, although his role was not publicly reported, according to people familiar with his involvement. The project Iadonisi was engaged in for Trump’s campaign focused on social media ... [FEC] reports show that the Trump campaign paid $200,000 on Dec. 5 for ‘data management services’ to Colt Ventures, a Dallas-based venture-capital firm that is an investor in VizSense, a social-media company co-founded by Iadonisi.” http://wapo.st/2pN4ejaPOLITICO MAGAZINE FRIDAY COVER -- TIM ALBERTA on Will Hurd: “Will Hurd Is the Future of the GOP* -- *If he can hold on to the toughest seat in Texas”: “Drifting amid the sea of bodies in the poorly lit pavilion is Will Hurd, the congressman who represents Texas’ behemoth 23rd District, which stretches from this suburb north of San Antonio, all the way to El Paso some eight hours west. Of the 36 congressional districts in Texas, 35 are safely controlled by Republicans or Democrats; Hurd’s is the outlier. Not only is his district the biggest in the state—encompassing 58,000 square miles, covering all or parts of 29 counties, and including 820 miles of U.S.-Mexico border—it’s easily the most competitive, with both parties pumping millions of dollars into the 23rd every election cycle. “Hurd has agreed to let me drive with him across his district; over the next three days we will traverse infinite stretches of flat and long-forgotten highway, zigzagging between dusty outposts for discussions with constituents and local officials about issues as remote as the real estate they occupy. This is all part of the routine for Hurd, who, as a Republican in a 71 percent Hispanic district, must wage what is essentially a continuous, day-in-and-day-out campaign to keep his job. Serendipitously, before we depart on this odyssey, he wants to acquaint me with the stylings of Robert Earl Keen. The road goes on forever, and the party never ends.” http://politi.co/2qyMgSlFOR YOUR RADAR -- “Refugee admissions plummet under Trump, USA TODAY analysis finds,” by USA Today’s Alan Gomez: “The number of refugees arriving in the United States has dropped sharply this year because of President Trump’s threats to bar their entry, even though his order for a total 120-day ban has been blocked twice by federal courts, a USA TODAY analysis of government figures shows. The U.S. accepted 2,070 refugees in March, the lowest monthly total since 2013, according to State Department data. April ended with 3,316 refugees admitted, the second-lowest total since 2013.” https://usat.ly/2pfP56ROFF MESSAGE PODCAST: In a bonus episode, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) believes America’s standing has been restored thanks to President Trump’s foreign policy. To Cotton, Trump is doing everything right on the foreign policy front, telling Isaac Dovere “President Trump showed that he was willing to enforce an American red line. One that he didn’t even draw, to begin with, I think reverberates around the world.” http://politi.co/2p3DoEm ... Listen and subscribe http://apple.co/2nEa7y0VALLEY TALK -- “Uber faces criminal probe over software used to evade authorities,” by Reuters’ Dan Levine and Joseph Menn in San Francisco: “The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a criminal investigation into Uber Technologies’ use of a software tool that helped its drivers evade local transportation regulators, two sources familiar with the situation said. Uber has acknowledged the software, known as ‘Greyball,’ helped it identify and circumvent government officials who were trying to clamp down on Uber in areas where its service had not yet been approved, such as Portland, Oregon. The company prohibited the use of Greyball for this purpose shortly after the New York Times revealed its existence in March, saying the program was created to check ride requests to prevent fraud and safeguard drivers.” http://reut.rs/2pfJQnAMEDIAWATCH -- “Scope of Federal Probe into Fox News Broadens,” by WSJ’s Joe Flint and Michael Rothfeld: “Federal authorities have interviewed current and former Fox News employees and on-air talent in a widening inquiry into the nature of sexual-harassment settlements and alleged intimidation tactics at the network, according to people familiar with the probe. ... Former Fox News communications chief Brian Lewis, once a top aide to [Roger] Ailes, was also subpoenaed and met with investigators earlier this spring ... U.S. investigators have focused on how settlement payments over sexual-harassment accusations were structured at Fox News and which executives helped engineer them ... But in their questioning, prosecutors also have shown an interest in alleged intimidation tactics authorized by Mr. Ailes, including the hiring of a private investigator to dig up negative information on women who complained, according to one of the people familiar with the probe.” http://on.wsj.com/2pMEvVTWHAT JON AND AMIE ARE READING – “‘Shattered,’ Book About Clinton Campaign, May Become TV Series,” by NYT’s Sydney Ember: The book “has been optioned by TriStar Television, a division of Sony Pictures Television, and Davis Entertainment for a limited series.” http://nyti.ms/2pNAqCVGUIDE TO FEDERAL BUDGET & APPROPS PROCESS: The federal budget process is complicated; brush up on your knowledge so you’re ready to act as the budget winds its way through Congress. The guide http://politi.co/2pr4J1CSPOTTED -- Nikki Haley dining last night at the Partisan. She was also spotted at the W Hotel … Steve Schwarzman speaking to Rudy Giuliani at last night’s big dinner honoring Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the USS Intrepid ... John Travolta was also spotted at the dinner … last night at Capital Grill: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Mick Mulvaney having dinner … Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at DCA going on an American 6:30 am flight to Boston … Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) yesterday heading to a flight at Reagan Airport -- pic http://politi.co/2pMAxfPSUNDAY SO FAR -- “Fox News Sunday”: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Power Player: Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics. Panel: Brit Hume, former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Newt Gingrich, Juan Williams.--CNN’s “State of the Union”: HHS secretary Tom Price ... Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ... Ohio Gov. John Kasich--ABC’s “This Week”: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney--NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Tom Price. Panel: Matt Bai, Eliana Johnson, Rich Lowry, Kristen Welker--CBS’ “Face the Nation”: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) ... former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, author of “Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom.” John Dickerson will also moderate a focus group with Philadelphia, PA area residents reflecting on the President, the country, and politics. OUT AND ABOUT -- More than 500 guests attended a fundraiser last night for the inaugural DC Yellowstone Forever Young Patrons Benefit sponsored by Advoc8 and Poolhouse at Fritz Brogan’s Hawthorne. Mitt Romney and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) were special guests. 5-min. video of Mitt speaking to the crowd -- he was greeted with shouts of “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt” http://bit.ly/2qzmvkM … Pic http://bit.ly/2qLc7mt --SPOTTED: Jackie Rooney, Griff Harsh, Jill Barclay, Tammy Haddad, Kelli and Will Ritter, Ryan Williams, Ashley Parker, Kevin Sheridan, Jamie and Matt Rhoades, Michael Falcone, Phil Rucker, Zeke Miller, Matt Gorman, Ben Ginsberg, Catherine Carlstedt, Ted Newton and Megan Sowards Newton, Zac Moffatt, Abe Adams, Tim O’Toole, Lisa and Charlie Spies, Benny Johnson, Josh and Melissa Sharp, John Legittino, Katie Glueck, Jake Kastan, Jahan Wilcox, Devin O’Malley, Christyn and Gerrit Lansing, Derek Gianino, Chad VonLuehrte, Brian Bartlett, Jake Kasten, Natalie Boyse, Olivia Perez-Cubas, Andrew Rafferty, Jenna Sakwa, Lauren Fritts, Michael Ahrens, Rich and Katie Beeson, Colin Reed, Amanda Henneberg, Sarah Pompei, Phil Rucker, Leah Malone, Josh and Blair Holmes, Jeremy Adler, John Arundel, Meridith McGraw, Alex Wagner, Raul Alvillar.-- On Thursday evening, Laura Nichols and Mark Mazzetti hosted a party at Fathom Gallery to toast Helene Cooper and her new book, “Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.” On hand were Helene’s family, including her mother and sister, Marlene Cooper Vasilic. $16.28 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2pMSZ84 SPOTTED: Carl Hulse, Elise Labott, Eric Schmitt, Jeffrey Goldberg, Mark Leibovich, Christina Sevilla, Ben Chang, Kim Ghattas, Yuri Kim, Mark Landler, Anne Gearan, Nadia Bilbassy, Jackie Calmes, Farah Stockman, Steve Clemons, Andy Oros, Neil Grace, Nick Kulish.-- Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas hosted a post-ACHA vote happy hour at Stanton and Green. SPOTTED: Sage Eastman, Mike and Kristy Robinson, Lauren Aronson, Sohini Gupta, Mike Collins, Marissa Padilla, Diana Naylor, Christina Ives, Amy Soenksen, Christina Radio, Kristin Flukey, Erik Komendant, Jason Mahler, Jena Gross, Bret Wincup, John Scofield, Shane Karr, April Boyd, Leah Hirsch, Lyndsay Hollerbach, Elise Pickering, Keith Stern, Mark Henson, Vince Jesaitis, Norberto Salinas, Solveig Monson, CR Wooters, Andy Halataei, and Jon Hoganson. PHOTOS from the Playbook Power List party at the Newseum on Wednesday night. http://politi.co/2qL29RV TRANSITIONS – OBAMA ALUMNI – CARL WOOG, former spokesperson at the Obama NSC and previously senior adviser to Ash Carter at the Pentagon, will lead policy communications for WhatsApp, part of the Facebook family. A stunning 1.2 billion people currently call or chat with one another over WhatsApp. Carl is moving back to California with his family next month.--KOFA Public Affairs, a strategic communications and advocacy firm based in Baltimore has hired Beth Levine to the company’s leadership team. She previously served as communications director for Sen. Chuck Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee where she most recently led communications efforts in the Senate to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Richard Lawson, a senior producer at BBC News, and Catherine Knowles, a lawyer at Exchange Chambers in Manchester, have welcomed Elliot Austin Lawson, born 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. Pic http://bit.ly/2pctRWwHAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY to Achim Bergmann, partner at Bergmann Zwerdling Direct and Emily Bergmann, formerly of Perkins Coie in DC and now a local fitness celebrity in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Mark McKinnon, co-creator, co-exec. producer, co-host of Showtime’s “The Circus,” is 62. How he’s celebrating: “One of the great things about my birthday besides the unique date, 5/5/55 (guess what all my secret codes are?), is that it falls on or near the Kentucky Derby every year. And I love me some racing ponies. So every year, I gather some of my best pals and we congregate at a track, get blitzed, and watch the Derby.” Read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2pNEvqD BIRTHDAYS: Dan Balz, the pride of Freeport, Illinois ... Brian Williams is 58 ... Brussels Playbook author Ryan Heath – send him a birthday gift by subscribing to the best newsletter in Europe http://politi.co/1FZeLcw (hat tip: Gabe Brotman) ... former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 83 ... John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, and CBS alum, is 59 ... Sacha Haworth, spokeswoman for Jon Ossoff ... Mike Dorning, deputy White House editor for Bloomberg News ... Christine Pelosi ... Politico’s Alex Guillen ... Julian St. Patrick Clayton, in Northeast civic engagement at JPMorgan Chase ... Happy Cinco de Madden: Colin Norris Madden is 8 (h/t Mom and Dad, Jaclyn and Kevin) ... Morgan Pehme, executive director of EffectiveNY and co-director of “Get Me Roger Stone,” which comes out on May 12 on Netflix ... Michael Bars, a member of the Freedom Partners comms team, is 4-0 (h/t Rebecca Coffman) ... ... Dustin Walker, comms. director for Senate Armed Services, is 28 ... Dan Hornung, fellow at Emerson Collective’s Chicago CRED and an Obama WH alum … Daniel Massey, SVP at BerlinRosen … Mission: Readiness’ Rachel Wein, the BEST field hockey player in DC and the pride of Perryville, Maryland, is 26 (h/ts Jamie Lockhart, Maria Randazzo and Ben Goodman) ... Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) is 56 … Ann Saybolt, partner at Health Impact Strategies (h/t Jon Haber) ... Mike Dennehy of N.H. and McCain fame ... Katie Quinn … Barry Piatoff ... Jeff Hellerman ... Urooj S. Raja ... Michael Hamrick ... Jackson Sump ... Cris Selin … Nathaniel Haas, USC law student, HuffPo contributor and Politico alum ... AP’s David Sharp ... Jesse Thomas is 35 ... Kim Palmese ... Janet Piraino ... Lisa George (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)

05 мая, 12:15

Will Hurd Is the Future of the GOP*

*If he can hold on to the toughest seat in Texas.

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, 22:50

Trump Isn’t Fighting Human Trafficking, He’s Facilitating It

This article was originally published on Just Security   In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, President Donald Trump argued that we need his border wall to fight human trafficking, which he described as “probably worse than it ever was in history, if you think about it.” He added it’s “a problem that you should write something about at some point.” Trump’s reading of history disregards the transatlantic slave trade, but, I agree with him on this last point: More attention can always be brought to the problem, and I applaud any president for raising awareness about it. However, Trump’s focus on it belies the fact that his policies are only exacerbating the situation. Although his executive order on human trafficking, which he signed in February, might suggest that he’s  serious about the issue, Trump should be aware that his “America First” agenda–including aggressive immigration enforcement, the refugee ban, and disengagement from international institutions – has the effect of facilitating the enslavement of vulnerable people, in the U.S. and around the world. The Threat of Deportation Deters Victim Reporting Before getting into the ways that Trump’s policies empower traffickers, it’s important to recognize that a wall would do nothing to stop the enslavement of undocumented victims who are already living in the U.S., victims who lawfully immigrate to the country in the future, or the U.S. citizens who fall victim to slavery. Unlike smuggling, which requires crossing international borders and is almost always consensual, trafficking occurs when individuals are forcefully exploited, regardless of whether any movement is involved. But Trump’s agenda is worse than ineffectual, it is positively harmful. One of the primary ways it promotes human trafficking is through aggressive immigration enforcement, which makes victims even more afraid to report abuse to the authorities. The more credible the threat of deportation, the greater control a trafficker has over his victims.  One of the primary ways [Trump's agenda] promotes human trafficking is through aggressive immigration enforcement, which makes victims even more afraid to report abuse to the authorities. The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), a coalition of 14 leading anti-trafficking organizations, recognizes that “vulnerability to human trafficking is rooted in the ability of…employers to underpay and mistreat immigrant workers” and has explained how “traffickers…use immigration status as a tool of coercion to exploit immigrant communities, both documented and undocumented.” The presidentially appointed U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking has also suggested that threat of deportation may contribute to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.  In that same vein, Saket Soni, executive director of the membership organisation National Guestworkers Alliance, told The Guardian that Trump’s aggressive immigration enforcement is “a gift to human traffickers”: Criminalising immigrants makes them more vulnerable to forced labour, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery. Trump’s mass criminalisation will drive immigrants further into the shadows, where increasing numbers of them will face forced labour conditions. This sentiment was echoed by Sarah Mehta, a human rights researcher for the ACLU, who noted (also in The Guardian): Heightened immigration enforcement will push people underground and create a significant chilling effect on reporting labour abuses….There are consequences for all workers, including US citizens, when the ability to organise and report abuses is thwarted by the threat of deportation. Crucially, traffickers don’t just benefit from the fear deliberately created by Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric and high-profile raids; they benefit from an increasingly credible threat of deportation ushered in by concrete policy changes. First, Trump has directed the government “to ensure the faithful execution of the immigration laws…against all removable aliens” and has radically expanded the definition of who is considered a “priority” for deportation. As Cornell Law Professor Steve Yale-Loehr notes in The New York Times, in Trump’s America, “If someone is here illegally they are targets for removal.” As the widely publicized arrest of an undocumented woman at a courthouse in El Paso shows, victims of exploitation are not safe from deportation, and they are under threat even when engaging with the legal system to report domestic abuse. Recently, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security defended its practice of deporting crime victims: Just because they’re a victim in a certain case does not mean there’s not something in their background that could cause them to be a removable alien…. Just because they’re a witness doesn’t mean they might not pose a security threat for other reasons.’ Relatedly, due to the resurgence of “collateral arrests,” victims of human trafficking may face arrest and deportation, even as a direct result of human trafficking investigations. Under Obama, ICE agents were usually instructed to arrest only the individuals targeted by an investigation–those for whom they already had an arrest warrant. But under Trump, any suspected undocumented people encountered in the field during operations are fair game for removal, including the victims of trafficking. Finally, Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on Sanctuary Cities, which threatens to cut off federal funds to cities that limit cooperation with federal law enforcement on immigration, is a grave threat to victims who might otherwise seek help from state and local enforcement. ATEST’s statement in response to Trump’s EO makes this clear: Local enforcement of immigration law, as mandated under the executive order for “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” will irreparably damage law enforcement’s ability to identify, investigate and prosecute traffickers. Both executive orders will result in an imbalanced approach that is likely to exacerbate immigrants’ vulnerabilities and assist traffickers preying on these communities. Even if this EO is found unconstitutional, the threat alone may deter countless victims from seeking help, and has already encouraged some jurisdictions to cooperate more fully with ICE. “Victim Visas” Don’t Solve the Problem In theory, special immigration enforcement waivers should protect trafficking victims and other crime victims from the threat of deportation (and the abuse facilitated by that threat). DHS’s campaign to fight human trafficking, which pre-dates Trump, highlights the three forms immigration relief that are technically available to trafficking victims. In reality, this temporary relief depends on the discretion of the law enforcement system, which is extremely hostile to and suspicious of immigrants, and that systematically fails to provide the legal representation and due process that is essential to accessing this relief. The T-visa program, which is designated specifically for human trafficking victims, has done little to  protect the vast majority of trafficking victims. According to a 2013 report by Cronkite News (Arizona PBS), of the 50,000 T-visas that have been technically available over the prior 10 years, the government issued only 6,206. Compare that to the State Department’s 2004 estimate that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every single year— and that doesn’t even include the countless others who are victimized after they arrive. To qualify for a T-visa, applicants must provide proof of the crime as well as certification from a law enforcement agency that they are cooperating in the investigation and prosecution of the case, and as ICE itself recognizes, cooperation can be terrifying. Here is part of a victim’s testimony, included in an ICE news release: “It was really terrifying. I never thought I’d see him again,” G said. “It was the worst thing someone could have to go through. To have to live that pain again was a struggle.” Nevertheless, unless the victim is under the age of 18 or is deemed “unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma,” DHS requires them to cooperate in trafficking prosecutions as a condition of receiving the visa.  Furthermore, victims are required show that they would suffer “extreme hardship” involving “unusual and severe harm” by being deported. With requirements like these, it’s no wonder that so many victims decline to turn to law enforcement.  Trump’s aggressive immigration policy doesn’t just expose people to trafficking in the U.S., it facilitates the trafficking of the world’s most vulnerable people: refugees. The other forms of relief, “continuing presence” relief and U-visas, suffer from similar issues. “Continuing presence” relief (provided by DHS) is temporary, granted only for the length of the investigation/prosecution, and can be revoked at any time. U-visas, which are technically available for victims of a wide array of crimes (including trafficking) also require cooperation from the victim, and proof of “substantial physical or mental abuse.” In practice, victims have to deal with the presumption by law enforcement officials that they are simply seeking a “free pass” to stay in the U.S. Once again, the numbers suggest a massive disparity between the number of people that may deserve relief and the number of people who actually get it. For example, the NYPD said its Domestic Violence Unit certified only 152 U visas in 2015 out of 580 applications. At the federal level, there is also a huge backlog. The federal government limits U visas to 10,000 a year, and in September 2015, there were nearly 64,000 applications pending. In sum, the temporary and uncertain nature of immigration relief–and the risky and sometimes degrading process that is required to get it–leaves trafficking victims feeling extremely reluctant to report abuses to law enforcement. The Refugee Ban Exposes Vulnerable People to Trafficking Overseas Trump’s aggressive immigration policy doesn’t just expose people to trafficking in the U.S., it facilitates the trafficking of the world’s most vulnerable people: refugees. In her testimony before the Senate, Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of the nonprofit Human Rights First explained how Trump’s refugee ban hurts the very people who are “most vulnerable to slavery” “Traffickers are opportunistic and ruthless. They are drawn like sharks to those in distress, and it’s hard to imagine people in more distress today than the refugees,” she said. “In fact … nobody benefits more from the refugee crisis than those in the business of modern slavery.” Other attempts to curb legal immigration, including Trump’s travel ban, may have dire consequences for those unable to emigrate from places (see this map showing the prevalence of trafficking around the world) where the risk of falling victim to trafficking is extremely high, like Somalia and Sudan, both of which are on the administration’s list of temporarily banned countries. Threats to USAID, State Department, and International Institutions Hurt Anti-Trafficking Efforts The Trump administration’s hostility to international human rights –including the potential defunding of and disengagement from international human rights institutions, and the funding and staffing threats to the State Department– pose major threats to the global anti-trafficking movement. The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children –ratified by the United States– recognizes that we cannot fight human trafficking without international cooperation. And as recently as 2013, there a was broad consensus in the UN General Assembly that greater international cooperation was needed to combat the threat. The Trump administration’s draft plans to defund international organizations could create a major impediment to that coordination. Anti-trafficking efforts are deeply integrated into the work of dozens of UN agencies and other international organizations that depend on the U.S. for funding and political support. The Trump administration’s disuse of the State Department – through budget cuts and lack of senior appointments – may create significant barriers to international and domestic anti-trafficking efforts. Additionally, the Trump administration’s disuse of the State Department – through budget cuts and lack of senior appointments – may create significant barriers to international and domestic anti-trafficking efforts. In addition to leading our international diplomacy on trafficking, the State Department “supports the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government.” The Secretary of State actually chairs The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF), which coordinates the anti-trafficking efforts of 15 departments and agencies across the federal government. While it is possible that similar to counterterrorism programs, anti-trafficking initiatives-will get special treatment under Trump, it’s hard to see how drastic budget cuts and staffing deficiencies won’t have ramifications for policy initiatives across the board–including human trafficking efforts. The same goes for cuts to USAID, which has spent over $200 million to counter human trafficking globally since 2001. The upshot: Unless Trump reverses course on immigration enforcement, the refugee ban, and disengagement from international institutions, the Trump administration will be remembered more for facilitating human trafficking than fighting it. -- 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.

03 мая, 13:00

The Parts of America Most Susceptible to Automation

No, they’re not in the Rust Belt.