Protective Life
21 декабря 2017, 23:28

Trump administration sought to block abortion for undocumented teen who alleged rape

HHS official said allowing immigrant to terminate pregnancy would amount to 'killing a human being in our care.'

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10 декабря 2017, 16:16

Grenfell Tower fire: Equality watchdog EHRC to launch inquiry

The equality watchdog will look at whether the authorities failed in their duty to protect life.

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09 декабря 2017, 23:30

Human rights commission to launch its own Grenfell fire inquiry

Dramatic intervention will examine whether government and local council failed in duty to protect life and provide safe housing Britain’s human rights watchdog is to launch an inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire that will examine whether the government and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea failed in their duties to protect life and provide safe housing.The dramatic intervention by the independent Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has the potential to draw damning conclusions about the role of the state, could foreshadow the official inquiry, ordered by Theresa May and chaired by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, which has been criticised for excluding social housing policy from its remit. The commission’s recommendations are due to be published in April, considerably earlier than the official inquiry’s full findings. Continue reading...

07 декабря 2017, 00:36

Trump and the Ethics of Foreign Aid - People and Power

One of US President Donald Trump's first acts in office was to sign an order tying US foreign aid to the issue of abortion. Under the new policy, "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance", any foreign aid organisation that wants US funds cannot "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in foreign countries". For Trump supporters, this was a major victory from a pro-life president. For opponents it was a "global gag rule": the reinstatement of an aid and abortion policy that's been part of the American political landscape for decades, introduced by successive Republican presidents, rescinded by Democrat administrations. Critics have claimed Trump's version goes far further than previous edicts extending the abortion and aid rule to a huge range of international initiatives on HIV, TB, and even advice on clean water. The US administration has also faced allegations that far from "protecting life" the Trump policy could lead to a global increase in maternal deaths and unsafe abortions. Sarah Spiller and Callum Macrae travelled to Mozambique in southern Africa to investigate the impacts of the new Trump policy and the questions it raises. - Subscribe to our channel: - Follow us on Twitter: - Find us on Facebook: - Check our website:

13 октября 2017, 02:59

Trump’s pick for NOAA chief causes a storm

As a top executive at AccuWeather, Barry Myers has pushed for limits on the kinds of products that the National Weather Service offers to the public, saying they offered unfair competition to his industry.Now, President Donald Trump's nomination of Myers to lead the weather service's parent agency could allow him to make those kinds of restrictions mandatory — to the benefit of his family-run forecasting company.The AccuWeather CEO's nomination to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is stirring criticism from people who worry he would hobble the weather service, which provoked an industry backlash more than a decade ago by making hour-by-hour forecasts, cellphone alerts and other consumer-friendly data widely available online. A bill that Myers supported 12 years ago, sponsored by then-Sen. Rick Santorum, would have prohibited the agency from competing with private providers in most circumstances.Myers, who has served as a NOAA adviser, has more recently spoken of cooperation with the agency, including industry's advocacy for Congress to fund its budget. But his critics expressed misgivings nonetheless.“I fear that he’ll do irreparable harm to an agency whose primary mission is to save lives,” said Daniel Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, which strongly opposes Myers’ nomination. “There seems to be a huge conflict of interest considering his business background and belief system.” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) agreed, calling Myers a “questionable” choice.“As the CEO of AccuWeather, Barry Myers views NOAA as a direct competitor that provides high-quality forecasts for free,” Schatz said in a statement Thursday. He added that “Mr. Myers will have to work very hard to persuade me that he will run NOAA for the public good.”Myers’ defenders say they hope he’ll use his long experience running a major weather enterprise to modernize NOAA, which also oversees fisheries, marine sanctuaries, endangered species, climate research, satellite data and its own uniformed officer corps."In past decade, AccuWeather has embraced 'Big Data' and become an advertising & digital innovation behemoth under Myers' leadership," wrote Ryan Maue, the chief operations officer at the website, in a post on Twitter. Maue separately told POLITICO: “I expect Myers to bring that same vision to NOAA and enhance collaboration with the private sector especially in the role of space-based remote sensing and satellites.”Myers did not return a call to his office Thursday, and a lobbyist who works with AccuWeather did not respond to emails seeking comment. Myers, whose brother Joel founded AccuWeather in 1962, would join a roster of other business leaders whom Trump has installed atop his agencies — many of them bringing considerable potential conflicts of interest to the job. He has degrees in law and business, not the science and math degrees that Bush’s and President Barack Obama’s NOAA chiefs had.Richard Painter, who served as the top ethics official for President George W. Bush, said Myers can probably meet the legal requirements to separate himself from his business. But, he added: “The appearances are awful. He should recuse from any matter that could have a financial impact on the company. And he should sell the stock.”Myers indeed “will be liquidating all of his private sector holdings,” said a spokesman for NOAA’s parent agency, the Commerce Department, adding that he’ll “be subject to the same ethics and recusal requirements as any federal official."The spokesman also rejected suggestions that Myers would clamp down on the weather service's public offerings. He said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who chose Myers for the job, “sees the provision of timely, accurate data to the public as one of the Department’s core missions. This includes weather data provided by the NWS, so there is no risk that Myers will restrict NWS provision of data to the public."“Myers has also been a strong proponent of free and open weather data to the public,” the spokesman added.But in 2005, Myers supported Santorum's widely panned bill, which would have prohibited the weather service from offering a product or service “that is or could be provided by the private sector” — a provision that would have benefited companies like AccuWeather. The bill made some exceptions, including information needed to protect life and property, but weather entrepreneurs, hobbyists, airline pilots and open-government advocates said it would have choked off a wealth of data that the National Weather Service had begun making widely available. The legislation would have countered a 2004 policy change by the Bush administration that had eased restrictions on the weather service's ability to offer new products and services.“It is not an easy prospect for a business to attract advertisers, subscribers, or investors when the government is providing similar products and services for free,” Santorum said when introducing his bill. Critics, including Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), noted that taxpayers had already paid for the weather service’s data.Myers told The Palm Beach Post at the time that he wanted the weather service to return to its “core mission … which is protecting other people's lives and property," rather than spending “hundreds of millions of dollars a year, every day, producing forecasts of 'warm and sunny.'""We work hard every day competing with other companies and we also have to compete with the government," he told ABC News a month later. Myers had donated $1,000 to Santorum’s Senate campaign in 2004 and 2005, though the executive also has a track record of donating to both Democratic and Republican politicians, including Trump, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney. Santorum and Myers are both prominent alumni of Penn State University, and AccuWeather is based near the school’s main campus in State College, Pa.Santorum’s bill went nowhere, however — an outcome that Maue said turned out to be “the best thing that could have happened for Accuweather as they were on the ground floor of the digital/smart phone App revolution for weather apps.”More recently, Myers testified to the House Science Committee last year about the need for "embracing free and open data in all situations," while maintaining that "the best public facing forecasts and information comes from the weather industry." Still, he said government, industry and academia each bring their own strengths to the relationship, adding that "NWS need not do everything to keep Americans safe. Others can share the load."Myers estimated that cooperation among the federal government, the private weather industry and academic researchers had saved 1 million to 2 million lives since the late 1950s. But Sobien, the union chief, expressed skepticism about the kind of partnership Myers envisions. "In the past, he has supported proposals that essentially made it so the National Weather Service’s only function was to provide data to companies like AccuWeather who would then repackage that data and sell them," Sobien said.AccuWeather, which says its forecasts appear on more than 200 major television stations, 900 radio stations and 180,000 websites, has also been aggressive over the years in criticizing the weather service for what it sees as its shortcomings. Among other incidents, the company complained that the weather service had underestimated the strength of Hurricane Claudette before it hit Texas in 2003, and it said the federal agency was late to issue warnings about a 2015 tornado in Oklahoma.As recently as February, AccuWeather’s website highlighted an incident in which some of NOAA’s weather data suffered a “significant outage,” while noting that “AccuWeather-produced services remained available and reliable.”AccuWeather’s sharp-elbowed approach also extends to competition with its rival The Weather Channel, which it replaced two years ago on Verizon’s FiOS television lineup. AccuWeather’s website has also inspired eye-rolling among some in the weather community by offering 90-day forecasts, which one meteorologist blogging for the American Geophysical Union dismissed as “scientifically indefensible” and “even worse than the Farmer’s Almanac.”Members of the small community of weather watchers, who never forgot AccuWeather's support for Santorum’s bill, contend it will be nearly impossible for Myers to fully eliminate his conflicts of interest.Myers’ brother Joel still serves as the company's president and chairman of the board. Their brother Evan is the chief operating officer.“His family owns the business and he knows the decisions he makes are going to affect the business for years and potentially decades to come,” said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy. He added, “My biggest concern is not that somebody has a business background, but do they genuinely recognize that a job in government is a fundamentally different one from managing and running a private business for profit.”Others are reserving judgment. David Titley, a former NOAA official during the Obama administration, said he prefers not to comment on personnel decisions. "We will all have to wait & see in what direction Barry wants to take NOAA," he said in an email.

28 июня 2017, 00:48

Press Briefing by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 2:31 P.M. EDT MS. SANDERS:  Good afternoon.  Nice crowd.  I know everybody is excited about Energy Week; we certainly are here at the White House.  And that's why we've got Secretary of Energy Rick Perry here to talk to you about what the President and others in the administration are doing all this week to emphasize our commitment to American energy dominance, and he'll take some of your questions after that.  And, of course, I will be happy to step back up after that and answer questions on other non-energy-related topics.   SECRETARY PERRY:  We'll be ecstatic -- ecstatic. MS. SANDERS:  And be nice to him -- he's from Texas.  Not quite Arkansas, but still a good neighbor.  SECRETARY PERRY:  A good neighbor. Sarah, thank you.  And my privilege to be here today to share with you a little bit of the observation that I have relative to Energy Week.  This week, the Trump administration will bring together state, tribal, business, labor -- all together, one room -- happily sitting down and discussing how we're going to go forward, what the path forward is for U.S. energy dominance.    And President Trump wants America to achieve energy dominance by utilizing our abundant resources for good, both here and abroad.  And an energy-dominant America means self-reliant, it means a secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations who seek to use energy as an economic weapon.  An energy-dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and our influence.   At DOE and across the administration, we're ending the bureaucratic blockade that has hindered American energy creation.  The United States has been a net energy exporter -- excuse me, a net energy importer since 1953, almost as long as I've been alive.  But thanks to innovation and technology advancements, we're on the brink of changing this, and in very important elements of an American energy portfolio.  Ten years ago, people would never have guessed that by 2018 the United States is expected to be a net energy exporter of natural gas.  American companies can and already have exported U.S. LNG to our international trading partners in Europe and Asia.  Unleashing our full energy potential in this country will lead to robust job growth and expansion in every sector of our economy. This week we will also reaffirm our commitment to clean energy.  That binary choice between pro-economy and pro-environment that has perpetuated -- or, I should say, been perpetuated by the Obama administration has set up a false argument.  The fact is, we can do good for both -- and we will.  There was one fact missing from the headlines about the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and that is that the United States already leads the world in lowering emissions.  And we've done this through innovation and technology, not by signing agreements.  The Paris Agreement put the taxpayer on the hook for a costly deal.  There was a billion dollars already out the door.  Thankfully, this President has the good sense to step in before billions more had been committed.    We've already seen the fruits of innovative, clean technology, like CCUS -- carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.  The Petra Nova plant, just on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, uses a process to remove 90 percent of the carbon dioxide after coal is burned to generate energy in a clean way.  Then it uses that captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery.   Instead of preaching about clean energy, this administration will act on it.  I believe no clean energy portfolio is truly complete without nuclear power, and so does the President.  If you want to see the environment and the climate that we live in affected in a positive way, you must include nuclear energy with zero emissions to your portfolio.  Do it safe, do it thoughtfully, do it economically.  Under the leadership of the United States, the world can benefit from that. This administration believes that nuclear energy development can be a game-changer and an important player in the development of our clean-energy portfolio globally.  I believe we can achieve this by focusing on the development of technology, for instance, advanced nuclear reactors, small modular reactors.  Under President Trump's leadership, we will continue to advocate for a very broad, all-of-the-above energy portfolio to allow the United States to achieve energy independence, dramatically reducing our trade deficits, and create jobs beyond the 6.4 million Americans who are currently employed in that sector. We look forward to hearing from Americans this week about how we can best move forward to reduce unnecessary government regulation and bureaucracy to promote jobs and economic growth in the energy sector.  For years, they have been overregulated by Washington politicians and bureaucrats who believed they knew best.  The lecturing is over with, and now it's time that we listen.  With that, I will attempt to answer your questions. Q    On nuclear power, what specifically do you want to do to accelerate its development?  And as has been seen in Georgia, there are still problems.  The Obama administration greenlighted two plants; they're bogged down primarily because a lot of Americans haven’t built a nuclear power plant in three decades.  There's a technology gap there.  So how do you deal with that?  Number one. And number two, if this administration does advance production of nuclear power, does it believe Yukka Mountain needs to be opened up, or that needs to be reconsidered as a repository for nuclear waste? SECRETARY PERRY:  Well, it's I think a very astute question you ask about the issue.  For 30 years, the supply chain basically was stagnant.  It was allowed to atrophy, if you will. This administration truly believes in an all-of-the-above approach, allowing nuclear energy to come and play an important role in a very diverse portfolio.  So the idea that overregulating an industry -- that is one of the challenges.  And it's not just about the United States from the standpoint of our being able to have an energy source that is reliable, that is zero emission.  It's about America maintaining -- or regaining may be a better word -- our leadership role in nuclear energy, because the Russians and the Chinese are very actively engaged across the board, globally, to go put their technology to gain and leverage their political place, if you will, using nuclear energy as one of the levers. So this is a lot bigger issue than just allowing the United States a couple of plants in the southern part of the United States.  It's a lot bigger than that.  It's a lot bigger than just making sure that Westinghouse continues to be a stable American company.  This is a massively important issue for the security of America and the security for America's allies. So keeping that in place, I think it's important for us to look at the options, clearly having a plan to keep America engaged in the development of nuclear energy.  One of the things we want to do at DOE is to make nuclear energy cool again, from the standpoint of -- if you remember when we were kids -- well, sorry, you’re nowhere near my age -- but when I was younger in the '60s and a lot of kids wanted to go into the nuclear energy field.  At my alma mater there were a lot of young boys and girls who wanted to be nuclear engineers.   That’s not so much the case today because this industry has been strangled all too often by government regulations.  But we need as a county, I think, to again bring us to that place where the nuclear energy is a part of a portfolio and to be able to sell it in great truthfulness and honesty about what it can add to America both from an environmental standpoint and from a security standpoint.  Q    What about Yucca Mountain?  What about Yucca Mountain?   SECRETARY PERRY:  Well, you know, we’ve made no decisions at DOE, nor has this administration, from the standpoint of where we’re going to look.  Obviously, those are all options but there’s been no decision made about where it will be going. Yes, sir.  Q    Mr. Secretary, two questions for you.  You mentioned the Paris -- SECRETARY PERRY:  Why do you all get two questions?   Q    We like to get in as much as we can.   SECRETARY PERRY:  Kind of the game we play now?  (Laughter.)  Q    He only gets two.  The rest of us get three.  (Laughter.)  Q    You mentioned the Paris Agreement.  Do you believe, sir, that climate change is happening and that human activity has made it worse? SECRETARY PERRY:  Here’s what I believe -- and I’m pretty much on the record but I love getting the opportunity to talk about it again -- is the climate is changing.  Man is having an impact on it.  I’ve said that time after time.  The idea that we can’t have an intellectual conversation about just what are the actual impacts.  I mean, as late as this last week, an undersecretary for the Obama administration, Steve Koonin -- he believes that we need to have a sit-down and have a conversation.  That the data is not, from his perspective -- and obviously he was a good enough scientist to be asked by the Obama administration to come in and be an undersecretary at the DOE -- he doesn’t think that the science is settled.  So why not have a conversation about that?   I mean, what is the other side?  The people who say the science is settled, it’s done -- if you don’t believe that you’re a skeptic, a Luddite.  I don’t buy that.  I don’t think there is -- I mean, this is America.  Have a conversation.  Let’s come out of the shadows of hiding behind your political statements and let’s talk about it.  What’s wrong with that?  And I’m full well -- I can be convinced, but let’s talk about it.  Yes, sir.  Q    Hold on, just to finish your thought.  You said that you do believe that climate change is happening and you do believe that human activity is contributing to it.  So the discussion you’re asking for is just what to do about it? SECRETARY PERRY:  Sure.  Is that okay?  I mean, don’t you think we ought to do that? Q    It’s not up for me to say whether it’s okay -- SECRETARY PERRY:  But why?  I mean, you’re an American citizen.  You ought to have part in that. Q    Secretary Perry, you have a lot of energy.  (Laughter.)  SECRETARY PERRY:  I come from a place with a lot of energy. Q    Yes, sir.  My one question is on U.S.-India energy relations, which Prime Minister Modi had a discussion here with President Trump.  Energy was the major discussion of issues and also, of course, pending civil nuclear energy between the U.S. and India.  So can you talk, sir -- where do we stand as far as energy is concerned?  Because India is still waiting when the U.S. talks will move as far as nuclear and clean energy is concerned. SECRETARY PERRY:  Well, let me address the global issue of the United States and India and the relationship between the Trump administration and the Modi administration.  And I happen to think -- there was a picture yesterday that I happened to see that I thought was very reflective, and it was of these two individuals embracing each other.  And I think that was a clear message around the world that the United States and India are going to be substantially closer.  Energy is going to play a very, very important role in that.   Last night at dinner, we talked about the three areas of which there will be great back-and-forth cooperation -- deal-making, if you will.  One of those is in LNG.  The other side of that is in clean coal.  Thirdly is on the nuclear side.  So there is great opportunity for India and the United States to become even stronger allies, stronger partners -- energy being the glue that will hold that partnership together for a long, long time. Yes, sir. Q    Mr. Perry, quick questions.  Well, two actually.  First of all, those who -- SECRETARY PERRY:  Our gentleman over here is the only one who that had an honest look on his face.  (Laughter.)    Q    I have two for you, sir.  You had said that it’s not binary -- the environment and energy coexisted.  But the real question is, as far as fracking and clean coal -- opponents to that say that, in fact, that it isn’t environmentally safe and that fracking and coal are going to destroy the environment.  I’d like to get your comments on that before the second question. SECRETARY PERRY:  Coming from a state that probably did as much hydraulic fracking as any other state in the nation -- and interestingly, a number of things happened in Texas over the decade-plus that I was the governor.  One was, there were more jobs created in the state than any other.  There were 7 million people added to population roles while I was governor.  There arguably, economically, that the state led the country.    There’s also a lesser-known story that you probably don’t know about but I’m going to share it with you, and that is that during that period of time you had this massive job growth, you had this population growth of 7 million -- you know what 7 million people is?  That’s a lot of pickup trucks on highways.  That’s a lot of non-point source pollution, correct?   Your conventional wisdom would tell you because of where you are geographically, the latitude, that you’re prone because of that big petrochemical manufacturing capacity along the Gulf Coast, to really drive up ozone levels.  There’s a lot of reasons that conventional wisdom would say you did a really fine job of creating wealth and jobs, but you played hell with the economy -- or, excuse me, with the environment.  And the fact is we didn’t.  We drove down nitrogen oxide levels by over 60 percent, SO2 levels in the mid-50s, and carbon dioxide levels by almost 20 percent reduction.  Isn’t that our goal? My point is, Texas, which is the 12th largest economy in the world, did exactly what I said.  You can have economic growth and you can have the environment affected in a positive way.  It can happen. Q    Hold on, I had a second question.  I just want to follow up on Jeff when he was talking about climate change.  Just to be straight, you’re saying that -- SECRETARY PERRY:  Really be straight. Q    As straight as possible.  Climate change is a fact but you want us to have a discussion about exactly what has to be done about the climate change?  It’s not up for discussion, that part of it? SECRETARY PERRY:  I have no idea what you just asked.  (Laughter.)  Q    I asked you to be as straight as possible.  Climate change affected by man -- SECRETARY PERRY:  One more time, you get one more chance.  (Laughter.)  Q    All right.  I’m only speaking English.  I can try a different way.     SECRETARY PERRY:  (Inaudible) about how you’re putting this out here.  Q    I’m putting it out this way.  You are saying that climate change -- man has affected climate change, and that the discussion is about what we do with it, not whether or not we've affected it.  So going forward, that’s resolved. SECRETARY PERRY:  No, what I said was:  Climate is changing, always has.  Man at this particular point of time is having effect on it.  How much effect is what’s at debate here? And more importantly, what is the United States going to do to affect that?  Are we going to sign an agreement with somebody that really doesn’t call anybody to making any changes?  You look at that agreement and what China and what India are required to do and they’re nothing.  How many coal plants? Q    300. SECRETARY PERRY:  300-plus coal plants we built in India.  So why would we sign on to an agreement that is not holding other people to account and asking us to give $3 billion?  I mean, that’s the first ante.  And the Trump Administration said that’s nonsense.  I agree with them it's nonsense.   Now, can we agree we ought to have a conversation as a people?  Intellectually engaged, not screaming at each other, and not standing up in the middle of my speeches and saying you’re a climate denier, when the fact is, I just want to have a conversation about this. Q    Isn’t that what the scientists have done?   SECRETARY PERRY:  No, they haven’t.  Because when you have a scientist like Steve Koonin who stands up and says the science isn’t settled yet, I can say, okay, well let’s have a conversation and get these guys together.  In my Senate committee, I said let’s -- Senate hearing -- I said let’s have a conversation about the blue team and red team getting together and talking this out.   Okay, you’re up.    Q    Secretary Perry, thanks for being here.  I want to ask you about coal specifically.  The  EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, earlier this month said -- and he was quoting -- he appeared to be quoting the Department of Labor’s statistics.  He said, very simply, that the U.S. has added almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector.  In fact, the coal portion -- he was referring to since the fourth quarter -- in fact, the coal portion itself has only grown 2,400 jobs, and in the last month it only great 400.  There are only a total of 51,000 coal jobs in this country right now.  So is it misleading Americans -- is the administration misleading Americans about where the real job growth is right now in this industry? SECRETARY PERRY:  I don’t think so.  And I was -- Q    Is coal a growth industry? SECRETARY PERRY:  I was governor a long enough period of time that job numbers come and go.  They go up and down, back and forth.  What this administration wants to do is to send a message across the country and around the world that America is going to use all of its energy resources in a thoughtful, appropriate, and economically feasible way. The coal industry is part of that.  When I had conversations with my counterparts in Rome at the G7, when I go to the clean coal ministerial in China, in Beijing earlier this month, we talked about coal.  And we talked about the opportunity of American coal to be sold globally. So the idea that we’re going to be continuing to develop that fossil fuel, that’s a reality.  That’s real.  We’re going to use coal as a producer of energy for years to come.  I think the question for us is, are we able to do it in a way that is economically feasible, environmentally sensitive?  And I think the answer is yes.  Petra Nova in Houston, great example of that.   So the point is, taking that snapshot and saying, okay, this is a static picture may be a little bit unfair. Q    And then following up quickly, if I can, since you get behind the scenes in ways that we don’t.  During the campaign, you famously said of candidate Trump that his candidacy was a cancer on conservatism. SECRETARY PERRY:  That has nothing to do with energy today.  (Laughter.)   Q    But he’s been here for six months.  Mr. Secretary, what do you make of it?  QYou get to see him in person.  What do you make of his conservatism?  It’s a simple question, I think. SECRETARY PERRY:  How are you?  Good to see you.  You asked -- Q    Did you call on me? SECRETARY PERRY:  Yes, sir. Q    Okay, great.  I thought you were talking to Tom. SECRETARY PERRY:  I was.  I was just saying hi to Tom.  He’s just a great American.  (Laughter.)    Q    So maybe you help us resolve something.  Questions have been asked here a lot in this briefing room.  The President himself during the campaign called climate change a “hoax.”  Have you had that conversation with him?  Do you know if he shares your view that, in fact, the climate is changing and human activity at this point in time is contributing to that change? SECRETARY PERRY:  I have not had that conversation with him.   Q    Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time.  I want to ask you about your concerns about the electrical grid and what you all are doing to ensure not just its safety, but further growth and development.  And on gas prices, are you concerned about the direction they’re going?  Should American people expect gas prices to continue to fall? SECRETARY PERRY:  So let’s get over on the grid.  Obviously, the Department of Energy has a both scientific, they have a historic reason to be involved with that.  One is that, at one of our national labs, we have a test grid of which we are able to go out -- one of the reasons that the Department of Homeland Security and DOE is involved with grid security is that DOE operates a substantial grid -- a test grid, if you will -- where we can go out and actually break things.  We can infest it with different viruses and what have you to be able to analyze how we’re going to harden our grid so that Americans can know that our country is doing everything that it can to protect, defend this country against either cyberattacks that would affect our electrical security or otherwise. So the ability for us to be able to continue to lead the world -- I think we all know the challenges.  We saw the reports as late as today of what’s going on in Ukraine.  And so protecting this country, its grid against not just cyber, but also against physical attacks, against attacks that may come from Mother Nature, weather-related events -- all of that is a very important part of what DOE, DHS is doing together.   What was your second? Q    Gas prices.   SECRETARY PERRY:  You know, I’m not in the business of trying to tell people what’s going to happen on gas prices.  I mean, they may go up, they may go down, just like they’ve always done.  Our job is to make sure that America has a diverse energy portfolio so that we have as many options as we can have -- whether it’s developing -- we went and developed huge wind energy portfolio in Texas while I was the governor.   One of the reasons we were driven that way was because gas prices went to $12, $13 an Mcl.  And we had way too much invested, if you will, in just one or two sources of energy and we thought it made sense to look at these renewables from the standpoint of having diversity in our grid. So that’s our job, to try to have as diverse an energy portfolio as we can in this country.  The market will manage the cost of gasoline, and supply and demand will work. Q    On that cyberattack you were taking about, can you give us an update?  Do you think that the U.S. energy grid is being targeted with this particular cyberattack?  And can you give us an update on U.S. utilities and -- SECRETARY PERRY:  Listen, I don’t have any reason to be different from you that think and know that there are cyber actors out there, cyber terrorists.  They may or may not work with nation states.  They may be lone-type rangers, attackers, if you will, that would try to get in to hold companies, countries hostage in some form or fashion. So whether it’s a particular country, I don’t have any reason to point at one country and say this one is -- we know that they're involved in certain places in the world.  They're out there.  Instead of worrying about who they are and what’s going on, and then here in a public setting, doing the work to make sure -- as he asked -- he made a point about having the best security that we can, have the best defenses that we can to be able to identify and to protect our grid. Q    Mr. Secretary, thank you.  You've mentioned the Paris climate agreement a number of times.  President Trump said he wanted to get a better deal.  Has he or you or anyone in this administration begun that process?  And do you think it’s possible, given that a number of leaders have said it’s a deal that can't be renegotiated?   SECRETARY PERRY:  I’m pretty sure the President of the United States wakes up every day thinking about how to get a better deal in a host of different things.  Specifically to that, I never said, Mr. President, let’s talk about what the better deal is. With that said, I don't have a problem -- whether it was renegotiating NAFTA, which some of you have been around here long enough to know that I was involved with the original NAFTA negotiations -- and I think renegotiate the deal.  Get a better one.  That's what President Trump does.  That's his mindset.  And I think our allies and/or those that may not be our allies need to understand that that's where we're going to be coming from. Q    On renewables, Mr. Secretary, you mentioned that you did this work in Texas.  What do you see as the role -- you've mentioned at greater length, whether it’s fracking or clean coal, as you cited it, or nuclear -- where do you see the role for renewables moving forward from this administration?  SECRETARY PERRY:  I think that renewables are proving themselves to be a valuable part of a diverse portfolio.  So I full well expect solar and wind and maybe some forms of energy that we don't even know yet that one of our extraordinary national labs is being looked at right now that may give us some potentials that we don't even realize we have. Yes, ma’am.  Right in the middle. Q    And a follow-up on Peter’s questions about jobs, because that's where a lot of the jobs are happening now.  We especially see in solar and wind.  So do you see this as a growth for the American job market? SECRETARY PERRY:  Sure. Q    Sir, I want to go back to a piece that really has not been talked about -- the issue of coal.  There are some critics who are saying this administration wants to make coal great again.  Talk to me about -- and us about your plans with coal.  It is basically being wanted by many countries around the world, and we still have yet to figure out a clean enough use for it as you're dealing with climate change issues. SECRETARY PERRY:  Well, I’m not sure if I agree with your observation that we haven’t figured out a clean use for coal yet from the standpoint --  Q    Is it clean enough?  It’s a challenge --  SECRETARY PERRY:  There’s some that you can't make it clean enough, so -- and I guess that's who I’m referencing to.  But when you can take 90 percent and upwards of the CO2 out of the air when you're burning coal, I don't know how high you have to raise the bar to make some people happy. With that said, let me share with you some of the things that we're seeing in our national labs, for instance, being able to -- coal is the root source of rare earth minerals.  And if we hadn’t done this work on clean coal technology, we would not have realized that there are ways that we can extract these rare earth minerals out of coal, coal ash.   And so again, I ask people to be open-minded about innovation.  You all remember 15 years ago, and we were hearing this fella travel around the country giving a speech about peak oil.  We had found all the oil there was.  Sarah, your dad and I went to lots of Republican governors’ meetings, and one of them, this guy came and gave a speech and he said, we've found all the fossil fuels, all the oil and gas has been found, it’s a downward slope, that's a fact.  Settled science may have been his word.  I don't recall that, but he might have said that.   That was the point, though, that all the oil and gas had been found.  Except George Mitchell didn't read the -- he didn't read that, didn't believe that.  Innovation, technology drives this country.  It always has.  And I think we ought to be a little skeptical when somebody says, this is the end of this, this is bad.  It’s okay to ask those questions.   So my point is that with coal, there may be some uses of coal that we never even dreamed of before that can really make a big difference.  Because when you think about the rare earth minerals that are controlled by countries outside of the United States, and our being able to come up with the technology to retrieve those may be a real game changer. So with that, I’m --  Q    One last question, sir.   SECRETARY PERRY:  Yes. Q    You're a former governor, and people are talking about states as it relates to repeal and replace of Obamacare.  If you had states’ rights -- so thank you.  SECRETARY PERRY:  By and large, I wasn’t going to talk about anything outside of energy, but you've touched on one of my favorite subjects.  (Laughter.)   Q    Well, thank you.  SECRETARY PERRY:  And that is federalism.  And I had --  Q    Uh-oh. SECRETARY PERRY:  Yes, here we go.  (Laughter.)  You asked.  I mean, thank you, ma’am.  Thank you, ma’am. Q    I’m ready for it.  I’m ready for it. SECRETARY PERRY:  So I happen to believe that the states are laboratories of innovation.  They're innovators just like we have at our national labs.  Governors I think have within their states and their bright young people who work with them and the private sector, they will come up with ways to deliver healthcare that can put more people under coverage for less money and give options to their citizens.   I know for a fact that Connecticut is not like Texas.  They're just not.  And to say that Washington, D.C. can come up with a one-size-fits-all solution to healthcare that's going to address all this and do it in an economically feasible, thoughtful way is just so much nonsense.  It's just -- you know that's not true.  Let the states have this Medicaid opportunity, the ones that want it.  If somebody says, oh, I'd rather have Washington take care of me, then that's okay, that's their call.  But the states ought to be given the opportunity.  And I will suggest to you it can save substantial amounts of money, come up with options for their citizens that are substantially better for the citizens of their state, and save this country mountains of money.   Q    Mr. Secretary, going back to the threats against the power grid, what about the threats of an EMP attack?  What are the steps being taken to prevent against that, or to protect against that sort of attack? SECRETARY PERRY:  I think our national labs are looking at all options, that being one of them. Q    Mr. Secretary, one quick follow-up on your comments earlier about Westinghouse -- an American company.  Obviously it's been owned by Toshiba for more than a decade now, but Westinghouse is in the middle of these bankruptcy proceedings and several buyers are on the market.  You sit on (inaudible).  Are you saying that you would block efforts by any foreign company to purchase what remains of Westinghouse Electric? SECRETARY PERRY:  I know the process, and that is a classified piece of information that I will not give here. Q    If I can follow on cybersecurity.  Have you been given reports about a current cyber break-in at a number of U.S. nuclear plants?  It’s been confirmed by the grid monitor.  The investigation, I think, is codenamed Nuclear 17.  Do you have any information about that? SECRETARY PERRY:  No, sir. Q    Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  This morning, President Macron of France called President Trump and invited him to come to Bastille Day, July 14th.  Do you see this as a way that the French are taking up his suggestion for negotiating a new climate change agreement?  And would you urge him to make the trip?   SECRETARY PERRY:  I would always look at an invitation to a party as a good thing.  (Laughter.)   Q    Mr. Secretary, you’re very enthusiastic about nuclear power and the potential that it has.  A lot of people are still scared of nuclear power because of nuclear waste and nuclear plant safety.  And this has been happening since the ’60s, when one television documentarian said that really it hasn’t changed in terms of what we know to do with nuclear waste, which isn’t much.  Can you assure the American people that nuclear waste and nuclear plant safety are such that we should expand nuclear power in this country? SECRETARY PERRY:  You know, I would reflect that -- or deflect that, if he was here, to President Macron of France, who gets 70-plus percent of their power from nuclear energy. Now, this is the country that wouldn’t buy Texas beef for some reason, yet 76 percent of their energy comes from nuclear power.  So the French, who I’ve always thought were a little bit different -- (laughter) -- and that’s in a good way.  You know, they recognized us as a state back in the 1830s, so we actually have a really close, personal relationship with the French.  We like them.  We had an embassy in Paris.  They had one in Austin; as a matter of fact it’s still there, called the French Legation.  Invite all of you to come and see it. But the French are a little different when it comes to some things.  And one of those I would find it really interesting -- our French friends are very comfortable getting 76 percent, thereabouts, of their energy from nuclear, and I can assure you they’re very fond of getting it at the rate they’re getting it. Q    Can I ask a question about Yucca Mountain, please?  A Yucca Mountain question, please?  Right over here. SECRETARY PERRY:  One last question.  I’ll just go back to this side.  You’re the last question.  Yes, sir. Q    Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, thank you.  You mentioned federalism, the power of governors.  Recently, as you know, the Trump administration has scrapped the Clean Power Plan, which was hampering many states.  Now you’ve got governors, who you just said have a certain authority -- you’ve got governors that are saying, we’re going to go ahead and institute the Clean Power Plan in our states anyway regardless of what the EPA says.  Doesn’t that put those states at a tremendous economic disadvantage?  And what would be your message, sir, to those governors? SECRETARY PERRY:  I think governors and their citizens need to be given that right to make those decisions.  I said many times that I thought that Colorado was wrong in allowing for the use of marijuana, which they’ve decided to do.  But that’s their call.  I will defend that right robustly.  But that ought to be their call.  If they want to put -- I mean, Jerry Brown, we were together at the -- in China, at Beijing for the clean energy ministerial.  We saw each other, shook hands, walked -- as we were going by.  Jerry has decided he wants his state to be involved with the Paris agreement, however that works, which is fine.  That’s his call.  Texas will still be there to take any businesses that would like to relocate. And that’s the beauty of all of this:  Allow America to be competitive.  Allow Americans to pick and choose where they want to live, under what types of governments, and we’ll figure it out.  But this idea that we’re going to have one-size-fits-all out of Washington, D.C. -- one of the reasons I came to serve with President Trump was because I knew he believed in that and he believes in competition.  And the future of America is brighter because we have a President who believes in American exceptionalism, American competition, and making America great again. Thank you. Q    Please come back. Q    Come on back. SECRETARY PERRY:  It was enjoyable.  MS. SANDERS:  I don’t think anybody will question whether or not Secretary Perry is a high-energy guy, that’s for sure.  Great guy.  Wrong football team, but that’s probably for another day.   On top of Energy Week and everything that Secretary Perry and other Cabinet members have on the agenda for that, we’ve got a full schedule of events and actions from the President’s Cabinet today, on everything from global human trafficking to assistance, funding for small communities.  This morning, Ivanka Trump joined Secretary Tillerson at a State Department event releasing the 2017 Trafficking and Persons Report.  As Ivanka said this morning, human trafficking is a human rights issue that affects millions, and this report is an important tool for the administration to combat this tragic problem.  The full report is available on the State Department website.  I encourage you guys to take a look. Also this morning, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Shulkin hosted a meeting of robotics experts for a robotics and healthcare roundtable.  The VA is embarking on the largest transformation and modernization effort in recent history, and part of that will be developing a robust robotics program within the Department. Yesterday, the Interior Department announced a record $464.6 million allocation to help small communities, further demonstrating the Trump administration’s commitment to all Americans.  In states like Utah, which received nearly $40 million, and Nevada, which received $26.2 million, these investments are an important part of the federal government’s role as land manager and neighbor to local communities, including many of those that play a big role in feeding and powering our nation. Many of these small communities in states like Nevada are also being hit particularly hard as healthcare insurance premiums rise and insurers flee their Obamacare exchanges.  It’s because of the people who will have no choice for themselves or their families that it’s so critical that the Senate votes to repeal and replace Obamacare.  Every day, a new announcement is made that puts health insurance out of reach for thousands of Americans, whether insurers are hiking up rates or leaving markets entirely. Today, the Vice President is on the Hill to attend the Senate policy lunch and hold additional meetings.  And he’ll be hosting senators at dinner tonight in his residence.  Both the President and the Vice President are fully engaged with the Senate and are helping to create a consensus that will push this bill over the finish line.   As Sean said yesterday, the President talked extensively with several Republican members over the weekend, including Senators Cruz, Paul, Capito, and Johnson.  He spoke to Senator McConnell this morning, and he’s invited all Republican senators to the White House later this afternoon to continue these discussions.  The President is optimistic that Republicans will live up to the promise that they’ve been making to the American people for seven years by repealing and replacing Obamacare.  I know you guys are probably a little bit tired since we’ve been here a while, so you want to skip on the questions?  (Laughter.)  I figured it was worth a shot.  And with that, I’ll take your questions. Charlie. Q    Recently, Breitbart News challenged the accuracy of a CNN story, and afterwards it was retracted, deleted and the editors responsible were fired, as well as -- the network apologized for the story.  The target of this -- one of the targets of the story accepted the apology.  The President went on Twitter this morning and repeated that CNN was fake news.  Why isn’t their response good enough for the President? MS. SANDERS:  I don’t know that it’s that the response isn’t good enough for the President.  I think it’s the constant barrage of fake news directed at this President probably that has garnered a lot of his frustration.   You point to that report; there are multiple other instances where that outlet that you referenced has been repeatedly wrong and had to point that out or be corrected.  There’s a video circulating now, whether it’s accurate or not I don’t know, but I would encourage everybody in this room, and, frankly, everybody across the country to take a look at it.  I think if it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism.   I think that we have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America.  And I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary and certainly more disgraceful.  And I hope that that’s not the direction we’re headed.  I hope that outlets that have continued to use either unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all -- we’ve been going on this Russia-Trump hoax for the better part of a year now with no evidence of anything. Things like the success at the VA barely get covered.  They may get covered for an hour at a time, but this story gets covered day in, day out.  And I think America is, frankly, looking for something better.  They’re looking for something more.  And I think they deserve something better from our news media. Q    Does the President actually expect -- MS. SANDERS:  I’m sorry? Q    Does the President actually expect us not to report on stories of a foreign country trying to influence the presidential election? MS. SANDERS:  I don’t think it’s that it’s expected that you’re not to report on, again, actual news if there’s something there.  But again, I think that there are a lot of things happening in this world that, frankly, a lot of people would like to hear about -- whether it’s job growth, whether it’s deregulation, whether it’s tax reform, healthcare.  I think a lot of those things deserve a lot more coverage than they get. And all we’re saying is I think that we should take a really good look at what we are focused on, what we are covering and making sure that it’s actually accurate and it’s honest.  If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it is just an absolutely tirade from a lot of people in this room.  But news outlets get to go on day after day and site unnamed sources, use stories without sources, have -- you mentioned the Scaramucci story -- Q    But, Sarah they can -- MS. SANDERS:  -- where they had to have reporters resign. Q    Sarah, that’s -- come on.  You’re inflaming everybody right here and right now with those words.  This administration has done that as well.  Why in the name of heavens -- any one of us, right, are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us.  You have been elected to serve for four years at least.  There’s no option other than that.  We’re here to ask you questions, you’re here to provide the answers, and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, see, once again, the President is right and everybody else out here is fake media.  And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job.   MS. SANDERS:  Well, I just -- I disagree completely.  First of all, I think if anything has been inflamed it’s the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media.  And I think it is outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to his question. Kevin. Q    Thank you, Sarah.  I just -- rapid fire because I don’t -- we’ve had a bit of a long briefing here.  With the -- let me ask it this way -- how would you describe the President’s mood on healthcare?  Concerned, still encouraged?  And what did you make of the CBO score, if you’ve talked to him about that?  And then secondly, I want to ask you about the warning to Syria.  What’s the message that the administration wants to convey, not just to the world community but also to the American people who see headlines like that and they wonder are we hurtling headlong into a major situation in that part of the world. MS. SANDERS:  I’ll start with healthcare first.  Obviously, we’re continuing to be optimistic.  The President is committed, he said, and all the members of the administration have said repeatedly, to repealing and replacing Obamacare, working with the Senate, working with the House, making sure we get the best bill.  For us it’s never been about the timeline but about getting the best piece of legislation that helps the most Americans.  And that’s what we’re continuing to do day in, day out.  That’s the reason the President has asked members of the Senate to come here today, so that they can talk through that, so that they can figure out the best way to move the ball forward.  That’s the goal of the meeting this afternoon, and that’s the goal of the administration. In terms of the CBO score, as we said yesterday, the CBO is a budget office.  And while it does very well at times predicting things on budget -- whether it’s revenue or spending -- I don’t think it does a great job -- and I think the administration has been clear and consistent that we don’t always agree that it does a great job predicting coverage. I think we saw that, given their history -- they projected that Obamacare, there would be 24 million people that were part of that; there were only 11 [million], and that number is dropping every day.  So I don’t have a lot of confidence in that number on that part, but I do think that some of the places where they do a good job again are on the budget and the revenue side.  And the CBO score that they pointed out was that it would cut deficits by $300 billion and cut taxes by $700 billion. I think those are good things, and I think when they focus on the budget side, that’s probably a good thing.  And I think you had a second part, sorry. Q    Syria, the warning to Syria.  What’s your message to the international community and also to the American people who may be concerned when they read a headline like that they’re thinking, well, we may be hurtling toward a situation that involves the U.S. in that part of the world? MS. SANDERS:  I think that the message from the statement yesterday was extremely clear.  I don’t think it was a gray area; it was pretty black and white. Major. Q    Can you explain -- because you went on the record this morning -- what the process was that led to that statement last night?  Were members of the team at the State Department or the Defense Department taken aback by that statement, or were they fully involved?  Can you give us an idea of how the process internally worked to deliberate that statement and then create the statement for public release? MS. SANDERS:  Right.  I can tell you that leadership from the State Department, DOD, DNI, the CIA, as well as members of the administration within this building were part of that process from the very beginning and fully aware. Q    Can you give us a timeline from the very beginning?  Was that on yesterday or is it -- MS. SANDERS:  I’m not going to walk through the detailed process of a timeline on how that was released for intelligence purposes. Q    And on healthcare, you just said you accept or find valid the CBO numbers on the budget side.  Is that true --   MS. SANDERS:  I mean, there are budget -- Q    In its -- assessment yesterday? MS. SANDERS:  They’re a budget office.  And I think on the initial numbers that we saw, from that, -- the cutting of the deficit, the cutting of taxes -- I think that that’s where historically they've been more accurate as well.  It’s not just my -- like I’ve decided that.  But historically, that's where they've been -- Q    And for the purposes of the public looking at this, would this administration accept the budget and revenue numbers that were published yesterday as, generally speaking, valid and worth taking seriously? MS. SANDERS:  I would think so.  For the most part, I think -- in large -- yes. Jennifer. Q    Two things, one on Google and one on the economic forecast.  So European officials have slapped Google with this $2.7 billion fine.  Is the White House cool with European regulators hitting a U.S. company with a fine when our own Federal Trade Commission hasn’t accused them of anti-competitive behavior? MS. SANDERS:  At this point, I don't have anything for us to weigh in on the regulations of a private company.  But if anything changes, I’ll let you know.  Kristen.  Oh, sorry. Q    Okay, and also on the International Monetary Fund.  So they lowered their forecast for U.S. economic growth down to 2.1 percent, which is lower than what the President has been -- hope for.  Can you share some reaction on what you think about this new IMF forecast? MS. SANDERS:  I haven’t had a chance to dig into that, but we’ll certainly circle back with you on it. Jim Stinson. Q    Sarah -- you called on me, Sarah. MS. SANDERS:  Oh, sorry.  Jim, let me take Kristen.  I did call on her.  I’ll come back to you. Q    Thank you.  I appreciate it.  If Syria is poised to launch another chemical weapons attack, isn’t that an acknowledgement that the airstrikes in April didn't work, Sarah? MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think that our goal every day is to do what we can to protect life in all forms and to take steps to move the ball forward in defeating ISIS, defeating all efforts of terrorism, and I think the statement yesterday helped to do that. Q    Why will a paper statement work, though, when airstrikes didn't dissuade Bashar al-Assad?   MS. SANDERS:  I don't know that it didn't based on what we know at this point. Q    And just to follow up very quickly, was there a principals’ meeting, a deputies’ meeting before that statement was issued by Sean Spicer last night? MS. SANDERS:  I know that there was a routine meeting that took place yesterday.  I don't believe that there was anything beyond that yesterday. Q    Sarah, two questions, just like NBC.  Given the news about CNN’s -- MS. SANDERS:  Be careful about letting NBC set your standard.  (Laughter.)   Q    Given the news about CNN’s erroneous story about Anthony Scaramucci, does the White House believe there are other Russia-related stories from major outlets that have not been retracted and are just as false, including the February 14th story in The New York Times about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which James Comey called into question, which many believe the CNN story was based upon? MS. SANDERS:  I would have to look back at that specific story.  There have been many by The New York Times that I would probably disagree quite a bit with.  I think you could take it pretty straightforward that this administration disagrees with all of the stories that claim that the President and his campaign colluded with Russia in any capacity. So I think he’s been extremely clear that he believes that's a hoax and certainly something that's not true and didn't take place.  And any story related to that you would I think find frustration from this team here. Q    On the CNN retraction, does the White House now believe the news media have an obligation to review stories on the Russian-Trump issue and retract questionably sourced stories on the topic? MS. SANDERS:  I’m sorry?  I’m not following the --  Q    Do you believe that the media should go back and look at anonymously sourced stories on Russia and Trump and maybe start a review process and retract where necessary? MS. SANDERS:  I think that would be a great idea.  I certainly don't think that you would get arguments from us if there were retractions from outlets on fake stories.  But I also think that there’s a moment where we can all do better, and I certainly think that's what we strive to do every day.  And hopefully that's the goal -- I know it is -- of many, and hopefully it will continue to be of not just the news media but everybody involved in the process to continue to do better, to continue to strive for excellence, and to continue to deliver the best we can for the American people.  Mara. Q    Thank you, Sarah.  Two healthcare questions.  Okay, so you accept the budgetary calculations of the CBO, but not the projections on how many people would be insured.  What about their projections on what would happen to premiums and deductibles?  Is that something you accept or not accept? MS. SANDERS:  I mean, I think they said yesterday that the premiums would go down roughly 30 percent by 2020.  That seems, based on what we've done internally, pretty consistent, so --  Q    Well, they also said that for people of certain incomes they would go way up.  So you only accept them if they go down?  MS. SANDERS:  No, but I think in general and largely they predicted that they’d go down 30 percent by 2020. Q    Okay, and then another question.  The President promised that his healthcare plan would not have cuts to Medicaid.  Does he believe that a family of four making $60,000 makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid?  In other words, that that's just too high an income to be getting Medicaid? MS. SANDERS:  I don't know about a specific -- like a level breakdown.  And again, there’s a reason he’s bringing senators over here today to talk through -- we know there’s going to be changes.  We know there’s going to be adjustments.  The thing that the President was committed to was making sure that anybody that currently receives Medicare -- that's not -- Medicaid, sorry -- Medicaid that's not touched.  And that is consistent with what’s in the bill, and that will continue to be what he fights for. Q    Does he believe -- he said the House bill was too mean.  Does he believe that the Senate bill is less mean, as mean, more mean?  Like what does he think? MS. SANDERS:  I honestly haven’t asked him whether or not he thinks the Senate bill -- the mood of it yet but I’ll check on that, Mara, and get back to you. Thanks, guys, so much.  Have a good day. END  3:29 P.M. EDT

27 июня 2017, 22:13

Why Are so Many White American Men so Easily Grifted?

The first thing you need to know is that ZeroHedge is a grift: the idea is to tell gullible people that the elites are hiding the truth from them and that only ZeroHedge dares tell the TRUTH!!—the first words I see on ZeroHedge right now are "Worst Crash In Our Lifetime Coming This Year Or Next". And if you scare your gullible readers enough, you can keep their eyeballs glued to the screen and sell them to advertisers—many of whom will be selling their own grifts to an audience already selected for being easy to grift: Gold. Physical gold. Kept in Singapore. For a small fee, of course. Also ammunition. And so I wondered when I heard that the smart and thoughtful **Alexandra Scraggs** of FT Alphaville was going to the "ZeroHedge Live Fight Club and Symposium". I wondered even more when I read in her piece that the organizer "repeatedly told" attendees that it "wasn’t an official blog event". To grab something's name and use it for something that is not the thing—or that wants to credibly deny that it is the thing—is itself a second-order grift, composed of that subset of those susceptible to ZeroHedge who are also...

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20 июня 2017, 22:26

Flooding hits Georgia special election

Parts of Georgia's 6th District are under a flash flood warning as voters head to the polls Tuesday afternoon for a closely watched special congressional election contested fiercely by both parties.Rain is falling throughout the district, prompting worries that inclement weather could depress Election Day turnout. Democratic-leaning sections of the district seem to be most acutely affected by the rain, and the flash flood warning is concentrated in places where Democrat Jon Ossoff is expected to run ahead of Republican Karen Handel.At DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, which sits in the state's 5th District but is close to a heavily Democratic part of the 6th District, 3.43 inches of rain fell between noon and 3 p.m. Eastern Time — almost as much as typically falls in the entire month of June.But in Cobb County, home to more Republican voters, far less rain has fallen. As of 3 p.m. at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, just 0.81 inches of rain had fallen.The flood warning was issued at 1:11 p.m. by the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Ga. The warning is in effect for parts of Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties north of downtown Atlanta.Reports of flooding began streaming in during the early afternoon. According to the weather service, there were 1 to 2 inches of standing water on Interstate 285 — the highway loop that encircles Atlanta and is known as "The Perimeter" — leading to major backups in Cobb County. Cars were reported stranded in Fulton County under a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority service bridge. In DeKalb County, one person was rescued from a vehicle stranded in floodwaters at an intersection.The flash flood warning is set to expire at 7:15 p.m. — 15 minutes after polls are scheduled to close in the district. Authorities are warning those in the area to "move to higher ground immediately. Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property."

24 мая 2017, 18:28

Kenyan Medics Say U.S. Health Aid Cuts Will Mean More Abortions

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); President Donald Trump’s dramatic expansion of a policy blocking U.S. aid to organizations offering abortion services will have one sure result, say medical workers in this city: more abortions. The United States reinstated the “Mexico City Policy” in January, cutting some $600 million in funds for family planning programs overseas. Last week its scope suddenly mushroomed. Trump expanded it to affect $8.8 billion worth of global health funding, including programs on HIV/AIDS, malaria and child health. The extension requires all health organizations receiving U.S. aid to guarantee they do not provide abortion services or discuss abortion policy, even if the abortion-related activities are funded by non-U.S. government sources. The policy means cuts to programs like the one run by Kenyan nurse Monica Oguttu, who founded the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust to help poor women get health care and education in the country’s third largest-city. The trust had been scheduled to receive a total of $2 million from USAID from 2017 to 2021, around 56 percent of its budget. It now expects to lose all its U.S. funding. Oguttu founded the organization after discovering that half of the women in her gynecological ward in a Nairobi teaching hospital were there because of the damage done by backstreet abortions. “One in five of them went home in a coffin,” she said. “There was a 17-year-old girl who had lost her uterus and had damage to her rectum. She went home with a colostomy bag . . . We would like to save these women.”  The Mexico City Policy, started in 1984, has in the past been routinely rescinded under Democratic administrations and reinstated under Republican ones. Oguttu said she remembered when President George Bush reinstated the policy in 2001. Aid groups had to shut eight clinics in Kenya and hike prices in others, according to a study by the Washington D.C.-based Population Action International. “Suddenly there were no contraceptive methods,” she said. “We had so many more complications having to do with post-abortion care from unsafe abortions . . . We saw it happen last time and we dread it coming again.” Cuts will force Oguttu’s trust to start charging for contraceptives which are currently free, she said. The Kenyan health ministry, recently rocked by strikes in public hospitals and a major corruption scandal, did not return calls seeking comment.  AFRICA-WIDE STUDY A 2011 Stanford University study looked at the effects of the Mexico City Policy on 261,116 women in 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. It found a dramatic jump in abortion rates during 2001-2008, when the policy was in place, compared to 1994-2001, when it was rescinded. Abortions went up, on average, from 10.4 per 10,000 women to 14.5 per 10,000. In poor countries most dependent on U.S. money for reproductive health services, abortions more than doubled. Joyce, 24, had an abortion at the Kisumu clinic last year so she could continue her university studies. Afterwards, it gave her an IUD contraceptive. “My life would have been miserable. It (pregnancy) would have forced me to drop out of school,” she whispered. Sitting next to her at the clinic, bright-eyed Margaret Apiyo, 27, said she did not use its abortion services but came for check-ups and to give birth. Despite complications, she has had two healthy daughters. “They took good care of me, together with the baby I was carrying,” she said happily. “Finally I was safe.” The Trump administration says overseas aid for health programs will continue, but might be redirected to different providers. “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance does not reduce the amount of global health assistance the U.S. Government makes available, and funding previously obligated will not be affected,” the State Department said in a statement. On a continent with hundreds of millions of Christians and Muslims, some African anti-abortion groups applaud the U.S. measures. “If prevention (abstinence) information was given out widely then we could curb these abortion cases,” said Joseph Peter Kamande, director of programming at charity Abstinence Kenya. “We think pro-life is better for us in Kenya.” A U.S. government-funded study released in 2007 found abstinence-only programs to be widely ineffective. In response to the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, the international campaign She Decides was launched in January with the goal of making up the initial $600 million shortfall in funding. Led by Dutch development minister Lilianne Ploumen, it has since raised $181 million. “The impact on millions of women and men will be huge,” she said in a statement on the U.S. policy. “The number of abortions will not fall, as the U.S. wants, but will in fact rise.” Chimaraoke Izugbara, at the Nairobi-based Africa Population Health Research Centre, said that even if other donors replaced U.S. funding, the money would come at the expense of other health needs. “While funding may go into the provision of safe abortion services, that will divert attention from other things that they are doing, like nutrition, like child health,” 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.

15 мая 2017, 21:09

Donald Trump Drastically Expands 'Global Gag Rule' On Abortion

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); WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s administration announced the details Monday of the president’s unprecedented international anti-abortion policy, which drastically expands the “global gag rule” that past Republican presidents have placed on U.S. health assistance funds.  The gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, blocks international family planning assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development to any groups or programs that provide or even mention abortions to women, or speak out about abortion laws in their own countries. It was last implemented by President George W. Bush and then was repealed by President Barack Obama. Trump’s plan, called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, goes much further than that. The policy applies the anti-abortion rule to $8.8 billion in global health funding furnished by the State Department, USAID and the Department of Defense, instead of only $600 million in family planning funding. This means that a clinic receiving U.S. assistance for HIV or Zika relief will lose all that money if it so much as gives pregnant women information about safe abortion care. “The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health,” a White House official told Christian Broadcasting Network News.  CBN News’ David Brody called the policy “yet another evangelical victory under this administration.”  Unsafe abortion accounts for 13 percent of maternal deaths ― about 47,000 deaths per year ― worldwide. And because the U.S. is the largest funder of global health programs in the world, the policies governing U.S. foreign aid can have a significant chilling effect on abortion and contraception access for women and girls in developing countries.  Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) called Trump’s expansion of the gag rule an “ideological crusade” that ignores “decades of research” on preventing unplanned pregnancies and protecting maternal health.  “Today, the Trump administration confirmed our worst fears regarding this new, drastically expanded global gag executive order,” Shaheen said. “This administration’s pathetic rebranding of this policy ‎is a thinly veiled attempt to hide the tremendous harm it has around the world. President Trump’s dangerous obsession with rolling back reproductive rights has severe consequences for millions of vulnerable women and children, and grossly undermines our nation’s humanitarian leadership around the globe.” This article has been updated to note the announcement of the policy. -- 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.

15 мая 2017, 13:25

THE TRUTH about Trump’s tapes -- POLITICO INVESTIGATION: Stock trades ‘leaves Congress rife with conflicts’ -- About that White House shakeup … -- ADRIENNE ELROD’s new firm -- B’DAY: Rachel Kelly

Listen to the Playbook Audio Briefing ... Subscribe on iTunes ... Visit the online home of Playbook TRUTH ABOUT THE TAPES -- President Donald Trump’s quip that he might be taping conversations in the White House -- and Sean Spicer’s follow up that he had nothing more to say about it -- could have a real impact for his agenda in Washington. Democrats are already whispering about trying to slow legislation unless the president hands over tapes, or certifies he doesn’t have them. Democrats can force procedural votes on this topic, which could prove to be tough for Republicans. Who would vote against legislation to get to the bottom of whether the president is surreptitiously taping conversations? Democrats are looking for a quick and easy message. Many think this is it. Good Monday morning. ONE THOUGHT ON THE PROSPECT OF A WHITE HOUSE SHAKEUP: If Trump fires a bunch of staffers, he has to replace them with other people. And K Street and Capitol Hill are filled with aides and operators who took a pass in joining the administration. We’ve heard countless stories about people saying “thanks, but no thanks” to queries about joining the Trump team. The administration has little structure, the president refuses to adhere to decades-old conventions and prides himself on doing things his way. People fall in and out of favor daily. Finding people to work for a White House like that won’t be easy. **SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: THE ROOM -- “How Trump gets his fake news,” by Shane Goldmacher: “White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a stern warning at a recent senior staff meeting: Quit trying to secretly slip stuff to President Trump. Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.“Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it. The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life.” MUST-READ -- POLITICO INVESTIGATES -- “Reckless stock trading leaves Congress rife with conflicts: After the furor over Tom Price’s investments, four more members quietly bought shares in the same firm,” by Maggie Severns: “On the very day that [Sen. Ron] Wyden was decrying [Tom] Price’s bad judgment, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, bought shares of the same tiny Australian company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. Within two days three more members also bought in — Republicans Billy Long of Missouri, Mike Conaway of Texas and John Culberson of Texas. Conaway added more shares the following week.“These brazen decisions to gobble up shares of a little-known firm at the very moment when such trading was being decried as an abuse of power reflects Congress’ anything-goes culture around stock investments. In the pursuit of wealth, even obvious conflicts of interest are routinely ignored by members who feast on daily trades. Long, for instance, serves on a committee overseeing Obamacare, and Conaway is a deputy House whip. The health care lawmakers who invested in Innate Immunotherapeutics are hardly alone in trading in companies that have a major interest in federal legislation, according to a three-month investigation and examination of all stock trades by members of Congress.“POLITICO found that 28 House members and six senators each traded more than 100 stocks in the past two years, placing them in the potential cross hairs of a conflict of interest on a regular basis. And a handful of lawmakers, some of them frequent traders and some not, disproportionately trade in companies that also have an interest in their work on Capitol Hill.” UP! -- “Cyberattack Aftershock Feared as U.S. Warns of Its Complexity,” by NYT’s David Sanger, Sewell Chan and Mark Scott: “The components of the global cyberattack that seized hundreds of thousands of computer systems last week may be more complex than originally believed, a Trump administration official said Sunday, and experts warned that the effects of the malicious software could linger for some time.“As a new workweek started Monday in Asia, there were concerns the malicious software could spread further and in different forms, with new types of ransomware afflicting computers around the globe. There were initial reports of new cases found over the weekend in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. President Trump has ordered his homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, who has a background in cyberissues, to coordinate the government’s response to the spread of the malware and help organize the search for who was responsible, an administration official said Sunday.” -- HELP FROM FRIENDS: In addition to three authors, this story has nine contributors: Austin Ramzy, Motoko Rich, Keith Bradsher, Joe Cochrane, Steve Lohr, Paul Mozur, Richard C. Paddock, Ceylan Yeginsu and Choe Sang-Hun.THE BIG PICTURE, WAPO A1 -- “Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment for Moscow,” by WaPo’s Greg Miller: “Russia has yet to collect much of what it hoped for from the Trump administration, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions and recognition of its annexation of Crimea.“But the Kremlin has collected a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year’s election: chaos in Washington. The president’s decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey last week was the latest destabilizing jolt to a core institution of the U.S. government. The nation’s top law enforcement agency joined a list of entities that Trump has targeted, including federal judges, U.S. spy services, news organizations and military alliances.” -- DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “Is it time for Trump staff to lawyer up?: Veterans of Washington’s scandals say that with subpoenas coming from Congress and an FBI investigation still active, staffers would be wise to seek counsel.” FOR YOUR RADAR -- “North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke,” by AP’s Foster Klug in Seoul, South Korea: “North Korea on Monday boasted of a successful weekend launch of a new type of ‘medium long-range’ ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead. Outsiders also saw a significant technological jump, with the test-fire apparently flying higher and for a longer time period than any other such previous missile. Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, a jubilant North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that his country’s weapons could strike the U.S. mainland and Pacific holdings.“North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness -- Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a ‘sea of fire,’ for instance -- but Monday’s claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North’s goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Some experts, including officials in Tokyo, estimate that Sunday’s launch successfully tested a new type of missile, potentially the longest in Pyongyang’s arsenal.”’S WASHINGTON -- “Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin: “The Trump administration has removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses. Some of the information relates to enforcement actions taken by federal agencies against companies and other employers. By lessening access, the administration is sheltering them from the kind of ‘naming and shaming’ that federal officials previously used to influence company behavior, according to digital experts, activists and former Obama administration officials.” LATEST ON THE TRAVEL BAN -- “Mosque snooping suit could impact Trump travel ban case,” by Josh Gerstein: “The stage is set Monday for another major legal showdown over President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban executive order as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in Seattle on whether to keep in place an injunction against key parts of that directive. What’s less well known is that for nearly a year and a half, the 9th Circuit has already been wrestling with one of the core issues in the travel ban dispute: whether and when it’s legal for the government to target Muslims on the basis of their religion. …“Because of the precedent-setting nature of appeals court rulings, the timing of the release of the long-awaited decision in the Southern California suit could impact the 9th Circuit’s travel ban case. If the ruling emerges in the coming weeks, it would amount to a precedent the three-judge panel considering the travel ban would be obliged to follow where it’s relevant.” JUICE … -- ADRIENNE ELROD’S NEW FIRM: Former Hillary Clinton aide and Capitol Hill alum Adrienne Elrod is launching a new communications firm called Elrod Strategies. Elrod Strategies will specialize in online engagement and strategic communications for corporate and non-profit clientele, as well as progressive organizations involved in “the resistance.” Elrod worked with surrogates on the Clinton campaign, and built a network of progressive "influencers." She most recently served as director of strategic communications for Hillary for America and is a former Hill chief of staff, DCCC alum and served in President Bill Clinton’s administration.-- DIPLOMACY WORKS, an organization aimed at saving the Iran deal, is launching today with the backing of John Kerry, Anthony Blinken, Nick Burns, Jon Finer, Jen Psaki and other top national security experts. Iranian elections are Friday, and a deadline for sanctions waivers is Thursday. -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Hollywood Reporter’s new cover, “SNL’s Yuuuge Year -- 21 stars and creators take THR backstage on a wild-and-crazy season: Lorne Michaels’ post-election pep talk, Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Spicey’ secrets, Alec Baldwin’s future as Trump and the drama behind the biggest ratings in decades: ‘You almost feel like war profiteers’” TRUMP’S MONDAY -- He’s on the Hill for remarks to the Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. He then has Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan of Abu Dhabi at the White House.SENATE WATCH -- “Rep. Mo Brooks expected to announce Senate run,” by Daniel Strauss: “Rep. Mo Brooks is teeing himself up to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Monday. On Sunday evening, Brooks’ congressional office released a set of four media availabilities for Monday, all in Alabama. The move, according to top Alabama operatives close to the congressman or other declared or likely candidates for U.S. Senate, is Brooks’ plan to announce that he's running for the Senate seat now held by Luther Strange. Strange was appointed to the Senate by former Gov. Robert Bentley after Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general earlier this year. Strange, a Republican, is now running for the seat. Brooks' office would not say whether the media events indeed meant he was running for Senate, only that more information would be available tomorrow.” -- “Preet Bharara: Are there still public servants who will say no to the president?” in WaPo: THE WORLD STAGE -- “BRODY FILE EXCLUSIVE: Trump Administration to Significantly Expand Pro-Life Mexico City Policy,” by CBN News’ David Brody: “‘The Brody File’ has learned that the Trump Administration will significantly expand the pro-life Mexico City Policy by drastically increasing the amount of global health assistance funds and government programs that will be covered under the policy. A White House official tells The Brody File that on Monday, they’ll announce a policy called, ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,’ in which $8.8 billion dollars will be appropriated through various federal agencies and departments. In essence, President Trump is taking the pro-life policy to a whole different level. This is much more extensive than when President George W. Bush reinstated it back in 2001.” GLOBAL POLITICO PODCAST -- CONDOLEEZZA RICE sits down for an interview with Susan Glasser for this week’s Global Politico podcast. The former secretary of state acknowledges her concerns about a president accused of eroding democracy at home and ignoring it abroad and says Trump, a novice in world affairs, has a “steeper learning curve than most” presidents. Rice also offers her personal revenge theory of Vladimir Putin’s 2016 U.S. election hacking, says she’s not going to serve as Trump’s FBI director, and tells the backstory of how she met Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. … Transcript ... Listen and subscribe … Sign up for our Monday morning Global Politico newsletter TALK -- “Apple’s New Headquarters Is a Sign of Tech’s Boom, Bravado,” by WSJ’s Tripp Mickle and Eliot Brown: “[T]he 2.8-million-square-foot circular building ... resembles a spaceship. It features a seamless, curved-glass exterior and a theater that architects said was designed to look like a MacBook Air. ... Apple Park is the most lavish in a spate of glitzy new architectural projects by tech titans at a time when their businesses are booming and market valuations are soaring to new heights. Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have tapped top architects Frank Gehry and Bjarke Ingels for expansions, Amazon is building giant glass globes containing an indoor forest in Seattle, and business-software company Inc. paid to put its name on a new, 61-story tower that will be the tallest building in San Francisco.” – NYT Business Day front, “Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars,” by Mike Isaac: “As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up. Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has signed a deal with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft ... The deal calls for the companies to work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts ... The partnership highlights the fluid nature of relationships in the self-driving-car sector. From technology companies to automakers to firms that manufacture components, dozens of players are angling for a slice of an autonomous vehicle market that many believe will ultimately be a multibillion-dollar industry.” – GABE SHERMAN in NYMag’s work issue, “Women Can Wear Pants on Fox News Now, But Not Much Else Has Changed”: “The Murdochs are quietly looking for a new programming executive to run the network. ... James wants to recruit David Rhodes from CBS News (Rhodes is under contract). Rupert is interested in Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker, or Rebekah Brooks. One source said Rupert’s daughter Elisabeth is also being discussed as a candidate. ... A seasoned television executive in her own right, Elisabeth has positioned herself as a firm critic of the scandals that have resulted from her father’s management choices.” ... See the cover “Lawrence O’Donnell’s Future At MSNBC Is Unclear,” by Yashar Ali in HuffPost: “O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word,’ has just four weeks left in his contract, and the cable network does not appear to be interested in renewing his deal. Four well-placed sources tell HuffPost that MSNBC has not been in contact with O’Donnell’s team of representatives to negotiate a new deal. The absence of active negotiations weeks before a contract expires is highly unusual and often a sign that a contract won’t be renewed. ... According to three sources, Trump has pressured MSNBC President Phil Griffin to fire O’Donnell on multiple occasions.” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao boarding a Southwest Airlines flight Sunday afternoon from Louisville to BWI. “She boarded like any other passenger in Louisville with a carry-on bag and found a seat in the rear of the aircraft.” … Former CIA director John Brennan in first class on a late-night United flight from Dulles to LA. Also on the flight: a bunch of congressional staffers headed to LA for the Internet Association staff trip … Jason Miller brunching yesterday at the Trump Hotel. At another table: Josh and Ali Rogin. TRANSITIONS -- Rachel Millard has been named communications director for the House Agriculture Committee ahead of the upcoming 2018 farm bill. She most recently worked on public affairs and corporate communications strategy at the Glover Park Group and is a John Thune alum. ... Miles Halpine is starting today as communications coordinator for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- Daniel Vajdich, a Republican national security strategist who previously worked for Bob Corker, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz and now runs political risk consultancy Yorktown Solutions, married Brittany Howard, who works at S&P Global in their public affairs shop, on Saturday. They met 25 years ago in second grade and got married in Napa Valley at Carneros Resort and winery. Pics ... SPOTTED: groomsman Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), Kori Schake, Robert O’Brien, Courtney Geduldig, Jessica Elledge, Igor and Theda Khrestin.-- Taylor Barden, former scheduling director for Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), married Ian Golden, former personal aide to Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), Maryland campaign staffer and Iraq veteran at the National Museum for Women in the Arts on May 6. They both have stopped working in politics. Taylor is now a real estate agent at The Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates and Ian is operations lead at REI. The two met on a blind date six years ago at the now-closed Utopia. Pic --James (Jamie) Durnil, got married on Saturday to Lindsey Schaefer at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School chapel in Austin, Texas. The multi-denominational ceremony was performed by both an Episcopal priest and Jewish Rabbi. A black tie reception followed at the new Archer Hotel. Jamie is a Bush 43 advance, Presidential Inaugural Committee, and Department of Commerce alum. Following the administration, he moved to Austin to become an entrepreneur, opening Austin Terrier restaurant and startup Covieme innovative automobile seat covers. Pics ... TO THE WORLD -- Kate Weinograd, associate at Mapetsi Policy Group, and Charles Weinograd, associate at Arnold & Porter, welcomed Jacob Ryan Weinograd to the world on Friday at 4:12 a.m.BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times D.C. bureau chief and columnist – how she’s celebrating: “Where: In Santa Monica, Calif. With: My high school buddy Judy and other Los Angeles pals. What: I’ll start Monday with a five mile-plus speed walk on a path along the Pacific Ocean. Then a hike up in the Los Liones trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. Dinner with friends. In between, likely file a column.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: BIRTHDAYS: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 8-0 (hat tip: Alexis Krieg) ... Roger Ailes is 77 ... NYT’s Elisabeth Bumiller, Mark Mazzetti, and Nick Confessore ... former HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 69 ... Giselle Fernandez is 56 … Rachel Kelly of Rep. Jim Himes’ office ... Ruth Marcus, the pride of Livingston, N.J. (h/t Jon Haber) ... The Washington Post’s Lisa Dubler is 3-0 -- she and Grant celebrated Saturday night at Tiger Fork in Blagden Alley, followed by a private cocktail tasting at the Columbia Room (h/t Lisa’s new hubby of two weeks) ... WaPo’s Eli Saslow is 35 ... Chloe Schama, senior editor at Vogue Magazine ... Jim Connaughton, president and CEO at Nautilus Data Technologies ... Nick Papas, director of public affairs PR at Airbnb ... Jen Stout ... Eileen McMenamin ... Toni Bouchard ... Jenna Mason …... Walter Dellinger, a partner at O’Melveny and Myers ... Anne Marie Malecha ... Holly Fournier ... EE News’ Hannah Hess ... Hillary Flynn ... Zach Ratner ... Jacqueline Cortese ... Scott Montgomery … Jay Hulings … NRCC’s David Watts ... Elliot LaVera ... Alejandro Gonzalez-Stewart ... Aaron Morrissey … Dan Rothschild, executive director at GMU’s Mercatus Center … Pamela Reeves ... James Glueck ... Philo Hall ... Kristine Simmons … Jennifer Jose ... Terry Godfrey ... Shira Phelps ... Mimi Castaldi ... Jessica Grounds (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... Diane Cullo ... Mason George … Brittany Hackett … Tom Sneeringer … Mary Lucia Di Martino ... Daniel Carlson ... Tariq Mir ... Steve P. Goldenberg ... Jason Bogovich ... JoDee Winterhof ... Sanjay Bhutiani ... Jean Hessburg ... Debbie Tinnirello ... Juan Altamirano ... tennis player Andy Murray is 3-0 (h/t AP)

07 мая 2017, 14:15

Tomi Lahren Will Not Shut Up

Glenn Beck cut loose the right’s hottest new media star. But she’s not going away quietly.

03 мая 2017, 23:30

Speaker Ryan: Funding Bill Turns the Page on the Obama Years

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of legislation to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year. Below are the speaker’s full remrks: “First of all, I want to thank the chairman, I want to thank the ranking member, and the ranking members, and the chairmen of the subcommittees, and all the staff for their very hard work in putting this big body of work together. “I urge all my colleagues to support this package. I want to explain why. “A few things: many of our priorities—not all—but many of our priorities, are advanced in this. And that’s because this is a bipartisan piece of legislation. And so each side doesn’t get everything they want, but we’re able to come together and find a package that advances many of our important goals. “For me, I think it’s important because it turns the page on the last administration—on the Obama years. It completes the unfinished business of the previous administration. Remember, we came to December, we had a continuing resolution, we’re halfway through the fiscal year now. We’ve got to do the job of actually getting the government specifically funded—meeting more of our priorities. This does that. “This marks the beginning of a new era. No longer will the needs of our military be held hostage by the demands for more domestic spending. In my mind that is what is most important here. Having negotiated budget agreements in the prior administration, this to me is paramount and first among all things. “The rule we lived under under the previous administration basically says, you want more money for the women in the field who are in our military who need more resources to do their jobs? Ok, but we’re going to need more money for Washington programs. And not just more money for Washington programs, the same exact amount of money. “So no matter whether we need more money for our troops—we might need more ships, more bullets, more gas, more planes—we had to have the exact same dollar amount, whether it was needed or not, for domestic spending. That’s the old formula we had under the prior administration, and that is not in here. That is really important. “And I think that’s one of the most important game-changing accomplishments that are in here, because we really believe our military needs help. We believe our military has been hollowed out in so many areas, and this bill helps fix this. So that dollar-for-dollar parity rule is a rule no more. “With this bill, we do not have that arbitrary standard—the standard that has contributed, in my opinion, to hollowing out of our military and declining our readiness.  “While we have much more work to do to fully rebuild our military, this is a critical first step. With this bill, we will spend 25 billion dollars more this year than last year on defense so that we can begin to rebuild our military readiness and our preparedness. And we will do so without a corresponding increase in domestic spending. And that to me is a new day under this new administration that we have with President Trump. “Of course, this legislation also addresses many other priorities for Republicans and for this administration. For starters, there’s a big and a solid down payment on securing our border. In fact, it’s the biggest increase in border security in a decade. Funding for the DC Scholarship Opportunity Program, which reverses the Obama-era crusade against school choice. That’s in here. “National resources to fight the opioid epidemic, which is something that is ravishing communities across America. No new money for Obamacare and no bailouts for insurance companies. This bill protects life.  “This bill is a bipartisan compromise, as I mentioned, but it is indeed a good one for conservatives. And that is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill. “We all must agree that funding the government at all like this—and this is the last point I want to make—this is not a process we want to continue. Yes, we are finishing unfinished business from last year. But let’s all work together and endeavor to do these appropriations bills one at a time. That is the system we’re supposed to have. And that is the system that I think we all agree—Republicans and Democrats—that we need to have.   “So let’s work together to make sure that we don’t just do one big bill. That we do this individually. So that individual debate can occur. So that individual priorities can be met. And so that we can get back to regular order, and we can better guarantee and maintain our Article 1 powers as the legislative branch of government exercising the power of the purse. “I challenge every one of us to commit to that process. In the meantime, let’s bank these wins, let’s get this done, let’s turn this page on this last year, and let’s make sure we give the troops the support they so desperately need. With that, I yield back and ask everyone to support this bill.”

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03 мая 2017, 18:39

A Win for Republicans

The funding bill is a win for Republicans. Here’s why, as laid out in documents from our office: 10 Things You Should Know About the Funding Bill 1. It is a game-changer for our military. 2. It reforms government and prioritizes defense. 3. It targets terrorism and foreign threats. 4. It strengthens our borders. 5. It reforms the IRS. 6. It protects life. 7. It tackles crime. 8. It encourages American energy development and limits EPA overreach. 9. It supports local communities and education. 10. It fights against the nation’s opioid epidemic. A CONSERVATIVE APPROACH As conservatives, we believe that the federal government should have a strong role in national security and a secondary role in domestic policy. This philosophy shapes our government-funding priorities. ENDS PARITY FOR DEFENSE/NON-DEFENSE SPENDING Democrats have long demanded that any increase in defense funding must be equally matched with more non-defense spending. That harmful precedent ends this week—a significant departure from the Obama years, and a big win for the new administration. NO NEW MONEY FOR OBAMACARE It eliminates cost-sharing reductions. It prevents a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies. It eliminates funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It prevents the Prevention and Public Health Fund from being used as an Obamacare slush fund. It restricts federal funds from being used to lobby for Obamacare. A STRONGER BORDER It provides for the biggest increase in border security funding in a long time. This means more boots on the ground, the end of “catch and release,” and stronger investigations. It also provides Trump administration limited flexibility in approaching H-2B visas. EXPANDS SCHOOL CHOICE It promotes the start-up, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools. It funds implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which shifts control and accountability for schools to states and local districts. FIGHTS THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC The bill provides a big boost in resources for fighting the opioid epidemic—including grants, treatment and prevention, and support for law enforcement. STRONGER AND SAFER America will be stronger and safer because of this government funding bill. It acts on President Trump’s commitment to rebuild our military for the 21st century and bolster our nation’s border security to protect our homeland.

01 мая 2017, 19:20

10 Things You Should Know About the Funding Bill

1. It strengthens our military. It makes important progress in ushering our military into the 21st century. It includes a substantial increase in defense spending, which includes new warships, aircrafts, weapons, and missile defense systems. It also gives our troops the largest military pay raise in six years and reverses the Obama administration’s personnel cuts. 2. It reforms government and prioritizes defense. The bill provides for increases in defense spending without making corresponding increases in non-defense spending, something Democrats had insisted on for years. Additionally, the bill rescinds, consolidates, or terminates more than 150 federal programs or initiatives. 3. It targets terrorism and foreign threats. The bill provides additional funding to defeat ISIS and counter radical extremism around the world. It provides aid to our allies to combat Russian aggression. It strengthens our relationship with Israel. 4. It strengthens our borders. The bill provides $12.2 billion for Customs and Border Protection. It prioritizes increased fencing, roads, and innovative technology to keep our border secure. 5. It reforms the IRS. The IRS was a hotbed of corruption, fraud, and abuse under the Obama administration. This bill freezes the IRS at current funding levels—$1 billion less than the Obama administration requested. The bill contains structural changes to the agency to increase transparency, safeguard free speech, and protect the tax-exempt status of non-profit organizations. 6. It protects life. The bill reaffirms the Hyde amendment and prohibits federal funding of abortions. It also specifically limits the District of Columbia from using federal funds for abortion in the district. 7. It tackles crime. The bill will help get criminals, drugs, and traffickers off the streets. It increases funding for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms—while strengthening second amendment protections. 8. It encourages American energy development and limits EPA overreach. The bill supports an all of the above energy strategy—with specific focus on coal, oil, natural gas, and increasing our nuclear capabilities. It eliminates all funding for the Green Climate Fund, U.N. Climate Change panel, and eliminates aid to Paris Climate Change institutions. Additionally, the bill reduces EPA funding by $81 million, taking the agency back to spending levels from eight years ago. It also puts strict limitations on the way the EPA regulates certain industries. 9. It supports local communities and education. Centralized federal control is not the way to help communities. The bill takes a different approach by funding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which gives states and local school districts more control over the education of their kids. It also gives $3 billion back to local communities through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which supports locally-driven solutions to economic and social problems. And it renews the groundbreaking DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. 10. It fights against the nation’s opioid epidemic. The bill provides an additional $650 million to address the prevention and treatment of opioid and heroin use, including increased funding for Mental Health Block Grants.

27 марта 2017, 19:38

Tomi Lahren 'Banned Permanently' From TheBlaze After Abortion Comment: Report

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); Commentator Tomi Lahren’s time is apparently up at TheBlaze, according to a new report from the New York Post’s “Page Six.” Glenn Beck’s network suspended the 24-year-old Lahren’s show, “Tomi,” last week after she called anti-abortion conservatives “hypocrites.”  “I’m pro-choice,” Lahren said during an interview on “The View” earlier this month, “and here’s why: I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women should do with their bodies.” The suspension was reportedly supposed to last one week, but “Page Six” writer Richard Johnson said unnamed sources told him that Lahren’s show was permanently banned. “Glenn is reminding the world of his conservative principles by sidelining Tomi after she insulted conservatives by calling them hypocrites,” the source said, according to Johnson. “He just couldn’t sit by and watch as Tomi Lahren said there’s no way for conservatives to justify anything other than being pro-choice.” After her “View” appearance and the backlash from conservatives that ensued, Lahren tweeted that she would “never apologize.”  I speak my truth. If you don't like it, tough. I will always be honest and stand in my truth.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 I have moderate, conservative, and libertarian views. I'm human. I will never apologize, to anyone, for being an independent thinker.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 Beck then spoke out against Lahren’s sentiment on his radio show.  “I would disagree that you’re a hypocrite if you want limited government and yet you want the government to protect life of the unborn. It’s very, very clear,” he said. “But it takes intellectual honesty, and it takes a willingness to actually think these things through and to do more than just read Twitter or Facebook to get your news and your political opinions.” Reps for Lahren and Beck were not immediately available for comment, but Lahren, who has been criticized for her vitriolic rhetoric since joining TheBlaze in 2015, shared a photo on Instagram on Sunday about being a warrior.  Fate whispers to the warrior, "you cannot withstand the storm" and the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm." #TeamTomi #igotthis #texassky A post shared by Tomi Lahren (@tomilahren) on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:23pm PDT -- 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.

27 марта 2017, 19:38

Tomi Lahren 'Banned Permanently' From TheBlaze After Abortion Comment: Report

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); Commentator Tomi Lahren’s time is apparently up at TheBlaze, according to a new report from the New York Post’s “Page Six.” Glenn Beck’s network suspended the 24-year-old Lahren’s show, “Tomi,” last week after she called anti-abortion conservatives “hypocrites.”  “I’m pro-choice,” Lahren said during an interview on “The View” earlier this month, “and here’s why: I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women should do with their bodies.” The suspension was reportedly supposed to last one week, but “Page Six” writer Richard Johnson said unnamed sources told him that Lahren’s show was permanently banned. “Glenn is reminding the world of his conservative principles by sidelining Tomi after she insulted conservatives by calling them hypocrites,” the source said, according to Johnson. “He just couldn’t sit by and watch as Tomi Lahren said there’s no way for conservatives to justify anything other than being pro-choice.” After her “View” appearance and the backlash from conservatives that ensued, Lahren tweeted that she would “never apologize.”  I speak my truth. If you don't like it, tough. I will always be honest and stand in my truth.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 I have moderate, conservative, and libertarian views. I'm human. I will never apologize, to anyone, for being an independent thinker.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 Beck then spoke out against Lahren’s sentiment on his radio show.  “I would disagree that you’re a hypocrite if you want limited government and yet you want the government to protect life of the unborn. It’s very, very clear,” he said. “But it takes intellectual honesty, and it takes a willingness to actually think these things through and to do more than just read Twitter or Facebook to get your news and your political opinions.” Reps for Lahren and Beck were not immediately available for comment, but Lahren, who has been criticized for her vitriolic rhetoric since joining TheBlaze in 2015, shared a photo on Instagram on Sunday about being a warrior.  Fate whispers to the warrior, "you cannot withstand the storm" and the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm." #TeamTomi #igotthis #texassky A post shared by Tomi Lahren (@tomilahren) on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:23pm PDT -- 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.

21 марта 2017, 23:42

Daily Press Briefing by the Press Secretary - #25

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room  1:56 P.M. EDT MR. SPICER:  Hi, guys.  The hearing is still -- Judge Gorsuch’s hearing is ongoing, and considering the significant attention, I'm going to try to keep this a little on the shorter side today. The President is making a full day of progress towards some of his biggest promises that he’s made to the American people.  This morning he met with the House Republican Conference members on Capitol Hill, ahead of the House’s scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act, which is currently scheduled for Thursday. During the meeting, the President reminded members of the House Conference that repealing and replacing Obamacare has been a promise that Republicans have been making to voters for years. Members have made it clear that if voters put a Republican in the White House and continue Republican majorities in the House and the Senate that we would repeal and replace this ill-advised legislation. And for every member who pledged to the American people that they would deliver on this promise, this is really their chance. This is the repeal of Obamacare that Republicans have been working on for years, and voters have been waiting for this for some time. On Thursday, as the House gathers on the floor and casts their votes for the ACH, it will be exactly seven years after President Obama had signed Obamacare into law.  We’re hoping to make this the last anniversary Americans will have to endure Obamacare.  Republicans have been working to repeal and replace this misguided law ever since.  And now, under President Trump, we will finally be able to take this step towards fundamental reform of our healthcare system.  I think most Americans remember the lines that were used to sell Obamacare seven years ago:  “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan.”  But for millions of Americans, those lines proved to be nothing more than empty promises.  Plans that their families had relied on for years were suddenly cancelled.  Premiums and deductibles skyrocketed, leaving many who had plans unable to actually use them.  And insurers fled the marketplace.  Nearly one in five Americans only have one insurer offering plans on their Obamacare exchange. President Trump and Republicans in Congress will keep their promise by reforming the system once and for all.  And that’s exactly what we’re doing with the American Health Care Act, which, along with the additional legislative and administrative action that is part of the three-prong approach that we continue to outline, will finally give all Americans the healthcare system they deserve, where market-based competition leads to more affordable, higher-quality care opportunities. This is an ongoing process, and the President has made it clear to Congress that they should be open to incorporating some of the common-sense policy proposals that have been suggested by members in both chambers who share their commitment to improving the healthcare system.  To that end, the House introduced several technical and policy amendments to the legislation last night, which the President acknowledged on Capitol Hill this morning.  They include:  Delivering more immediate relief from Obamacare’s taxes, accelerating the repeal of these taxes from 2017 rather than from 2018, and ensuring that millions of Americans who paid Obamacare’s penalties or taxes can reclaim their hard-earned dollars from the IRS. It's making it easier for Americans to deduct more of the costs of their medical expenses.   Protecting life by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to help purchase insurance plans that currently cover abortion. Giving states additional flexibility for their Medicaid program covering traditional adult and children populations, while maintaining baseline funding for elderly and disabled populations. Giving states the ability to implement optional, reasonable work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents as part of their Medicaid programs. Freezing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion while allowing for a responsible unwinding, so that people who enroll before 2020 will continue to be supported by the program. And providing a more generous reimbursement for elderly and disabled Medicaid enrollees, recognizing that those populations have unique needs that must be taken care of. After a return to the White House from the House -- speaking to the House Republican Conference, the President received his Daily Intelligence Briefing.  Then the President signed S.442, the NASA Administration Transition Authorization Act for 2017, acting on another of the President’s most ambitious promise to the American people.  Many may recall in his joint address, the President said of a dream.” And with this bill, he is taking the latest step towards making that dream a reality by reiterating NASA’s mission to ensure America remains a leader in space exploration.  This bipartisan, bicameral legislation provides NASA with the full support it needs to fulfill this and many other important missions, including:  supporting NASA’s plan to explore deep space and sending astronauts to Mars, including an endorsement of launching the Mars 2020 Rover.  The rover will explore a site that is likely to have been habitable, seeking signs of past life and testing compelling samples and techniques for future robotic and eventual human exploration of Mars. Reaffirming that NASA remains a fully multi-mission agency with a balanced set of core missions in space science, space technology, aeronautics, human space flight, exploration, and education.   Endorsing NASA’s continued progress towards launching the James Webb Telescope, which will be a giant leap forward in our ever-evolving quest to understand the universe, and establishing an astronaut occupational healthcare program, something that NASA has considered a priority for years. After the bill signing, the Vice President also announced that the President will be taking action shortly to relaunch the National Space Council, which the Vice President will chair.  The President was honored to sign this new bill into law so that NASA can continue its work towards making America the world leader in space exploration once again. Also this morning, the President -- the Vice President, rather, hosted a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister al-Abadi of Iraq.  We provided a readout on the President’s meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday as well, and I believe there has been a readout of the Vice President’s as well. At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, the President will meet with members of Congress who are part of the House Tuesday Group to discuss the American Health Care Act.  And this evening, the President will speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner. Over on the Senate side of the Hill, the President’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch has been doing a phenomenal job in the Senate today during his first day of questioning.  The judge’s eloquent testimony yesterday was widely praised from both sides of the aisle, and it’s clear that everyone agrees, from a broad spectrum, that Judge Gorsuch is a very qualified person to serve on the Supreme Court. As the Judge noted today, “a judge is there to make sure that every person, poor or rich, mighty or meek, gets equal protection of [under] the law.”  His records show that he has lived up to this commitment throughout his entire career, and he’s continuing to prove that he is exactly the type of jurist we need on the Supreme Court throughout the questioning that’s started today. Today is also National Agriculture Day, for those who are keeping note.  The world needs America’s farmers and ranchers to lead, just as the world needs America to lead.  Global food demand is expected to increase by 50 to 97 percent by 2050.  The world can’t afford for America’s farmers and ranchers to retreat, but the agriculture industry has met its share of challenges in recent years.  While our farmers are the most efficient in the world, margins have been tightening, regulations have been multiplying, and exports, which have historically counted for over one-fifth of U.S. farm production, have been declining due to unwise trade policies. The President promised the many people in the agriculture industry and throughout rural America that he would not allow this to continue, and he will continue to pursue policy changes that will reverse this disturbing trend. Quickly, in terms of follow-up from yesterday, I was asked about North Korea, and I wanted to provide an update from the NSC: “The United States, in coordination with our allies, is exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures in response to the grave and escalating threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.” And before I open it up for questions, let me run through a few scheduling updates.  Tomorrow, the President will stop by the Women in Healthcare panel hosted by CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  There will also be a series of meetings with members of Congress tomorrow.  In the morning, the President will meet with members to discuss the American Health Care Act.  And in the afternoon he will meet with congressional -- members of the Congressional Black Caucus. On Thursday, the President will have lunch with Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin before hosting a meeting with truckers and representatives from trucking companies on healthcare that we discussed yesterday.  In many states throughout the country, trucking happens to be one of the largest employers, and it’s important to understand the impact of healthcare legislation on this important industry. I’ll have updates on the weekend schedule for you hopefully tomorrow.  And finally, yesterday, pursuant to the President’s executive order on interior enforcement that he signed on January 25th, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, ICE, released its first weekly list of detainee requests, which local law enforcement agencies have failed to comply with.  These examples where criminal illegals who have been arrested or convicted, in many cases, of serious and violent crimes threaten public safety.  In each instance, local law enforcement is refusing to cooperate with ICE in its efforts to remove illegal immigrants who have committed a crime.  It is part of the President’s continued efforts to keep our communities safe. A copy of this report is available on the ICE website that details all of the municipalities where there has been an issue and the crime that has been committed, and the person -- not necessarily the person’s name, but the offense in which they were convicted for. And with that, I’d be glad to take a few questions.  Since we’re talking Supreme Court -- John Roberts.  (Laughter.)  Come on.  That was good. Q    Unless there’s an Alito in the audience.  On healthcare, the President came away from Capitol Hill sounding pretty positive about where he was going to go on Thursday, but then at the same time, Heritage Action came out and said it was going to encourage members to vote “no.”  Club for Growth is taking out ads attacking this bill.  Jim Jordan said the President’s great, but it’s still a bad bill.  This is going to go to a vote day after tomorrow.  What gives the President the sense of optimism that he can get this through, and might he request more changes from Speaker Ryan before it goes to a vote? MR. SPICER:  Well, we’ve talked about this for days.  There’s been a lot of input from members of Congress, and I think that the meeting this morning really was a huge sign of support. There was a lot of enthusiasm and optimism, not just for the bill itself but for something that, as I noted, conservatives and Republicans and a lot of Democrats, frankly, have been fighting for for a while, which is a more patient-centric healthcare system. I think the President is continuing to engage with members. He will continue to do that all the way through Thursday.  But as I also noted, there were a lot of changes that were made by the Speaker last night, additional legislation -- the three-pronged approach that we’ve talked about in the past has been put forward to actually make sure that members understood the comprehensive nature of this. This is one vehicle. There’s a huge administrative piece that Secretary Price will administer through administrative action that was given to them when they passed this bill and gave that authority to Kathleen Sebelius, then the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to implement pieces that they couldn’t get done legislatively. We can now unwind a lot of that and add a lot of consumer-based and competition measures through the administrative thing. But then the third prong, all the other stuff that we've talked about for years as Republicans -- buying across state lines, expanding health savings accounts, et cetera, et cetera -- all of that has now been introduced as well.  And I think that he continues to meet with members and walk away with a very, very optimistic view of where the bill is headed.  I think a lot of the measures that have been changed and tweaked and updated have assuaged members who had concerns or wanted to see some additional tightening.   But keep in mind, if you are a conservative who has been fighting for repeal and replace, this is your chance.  If you are a conservative who has been looking to address out-of-control entitlement spending, this is the first attempt -- this is the first reform of an entitlement program in terms of Medicaid in 30 years.  These are a truly conservative set of principles that we are fighting for.  The competition that's in the bill, the ability to allow prices to come down and choice to go up, there is nothing more conservative than there is in this bill.  And I think as members continue to talk about ideas that have been included in this bill, and the principles of it, we feel very good going into the final stretch. Q    But may he seek more changes in order to further assuage some -- MR. SPICER:  It's possible.  But I think that we've made some very positive steps forward.  So I don’t want to rule anything out, but I will say that I feel very good about this where it stands now.  And I think the more and more that members meet with the President, the more they understand how important this is to the overall agenda that we're seeking to pass.  And I think if we can -- as the President noted this morning to members, if you can repeal Obamacare, replace it with a healthcare system that does what conservatives and independents, and, frankly, some Democrats have talked about it for years, that does exactly that kind of thing -- instill choice, drive down costs, allows people to actually get care that they've been promised, and then get on to things like tax reform -- we will have an amazing first year in office. And I think the President reminded them this is the first step in an amazing agenda that he set forth and that we can work together on. Eamon. Q    Thanks, Sean.  Members of this administration have talked about the stock market as a real-time barometer for how the administration is performing.  But this afternoon, though, the stock market has been off as much as 200 points on the Dow.  Some commentators on Wall Street are suggesting that's because traders are starting to sense a lack of progress in the Trump legislative agenda, worried that he might not be able to accomplish everything he set out to do.  Does the President believe that today's dip in the Dow is the result of his performance as President of the United States? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think to look at any one day is nothing that we've ever -- we've always cautioned.  I think overall it still continues to be up tremendously.  And I think when you look at not just that one indicator -- I think if you want to get a -- I mean, you probably know better than anybody in terms of what you guys cover -- that you can't look at one indices and say that that is the benchmark of an entire economy.  But you see confidence levels, both in small business and in other surveys, that show that there is continued confidence in the market and optimism in the market.  You see manufacturers coming back to America, talking about investment; major CEOs and small businesses trying to grow the economy and talking about job creation.  Those are the real indicators.   And again, I think the numbers that we saw last month -- again, one month doesn’t make a record.  But I think that it was very promising, not just because of what the number was, but what it had been forecast to be -- right?  So it was expected to be 200,000; it came in at 235,000.  So, again, when you're over-performing, I think that shows a sign of optimism and confidence in the market. I think -- again, I just want to make sure that we're clear before we go into -- as we continue through the months.  One report does not make something to base an entire record off of.  But I think that we feel very good about where things are headed and the direction things are going, not just in terms of the indices and the ups and downs in the market, but also in terms of the number of manufacturers that are walking in and restating their commitment to grow jobs, expand, et cetera, in the market.   Q    -- feel confidence that President Trump will be able to get a tax cut done this year that would be in place for next year, is that something we should worry about at all? MR. SPICER:  Look, I think we're well on our way to seeing this agenda done.  The President has rolled out the budget, which I think reaffirmed his commitment to fiscal austerity and to the priorities he set out of defending this country, making the increases in national defense and homeland security that he promised, prioritizing other things in the budget.  We've got Obamacare done, on immigration, executive order-wise.   And I think that when you're doing big things -- Obamacare, tax reform -- I mean, the healthcare system is a fifth of the economy; that's not small fee.  And I think in terms of what you've seen so far -- going through three committees, moving along -- the Senate ready to take it up, his pick of Neil Gorsuch -- the agenda is moving along at a very brisk pace in terms of what his priorities were and where I think we're headed. Q    Sean, last month, I guess, you talked to us about the consideration, potentially, of the carbon tax, which I guess was discussed in a meeting at the White House.  We're hearing some reports that there's a pretty lively internal debate.  Gary Cohn might be someone who's more prone to that.  Can you just discuss, is the President considering a carbon tax?  And what are sort of the various things that are going on in the White House with that? MR. SPICER:  I think there's a robust debate going on with respect to comprehensive tax reform.  And as we've mentioned, I mean, our goal right now is to get through Thursday, and that's what the President has talked about very publicly.  We need to get Obamacare repealed and replaced, and move on to tax reform and some of the other trade reviews that we've talked about -- immigration.  There's a lot of things on the agenda.  But I'm not going to comment on specific prongs of that.  I will just tell you that obviously there's a lot of people who recognize that we haven’t have comprehensive tax reform since 1986, and that there’s a lot of pieces in this that we need to examine and get to and there’s a lot of voices and opinions that get shared with him. So I’m not in a position where I’m going to get into commenting piecemeal on where it is, but I will say that’s even more reason that we -- let’s get past Thursday.  When you look at the week ahead real quick, Glenn, in terms of this, the repeal-and-replace aspect and Gorsuch, I think, from a legislative standpoint -- going back to Eamon’s question -- I think it’s a pretty big week for the White House to seeing all this done. Hunter. Q    Thank you, Sean.  President Trump has previously indicated that he wanted to appoint pro-life judges who would be willing to overturn Roe vs. Wade, yet in his testimony today Judge Gorsuch said he would have walked out the door if President Trump asked if he had this position.  Is President Trump still confident that Judge Gorsuch would be willing to overturn Roe vs. Wade?  And is this position still important to him? MR. SPICER:  I think the President’s comments speak for themselves.  I think the President’s list that he’s put out on 20 are jurists that both the Federalist Society and Heritage have deemed to be people who interpret the Constitution as originalists, as people who aren’t looking to legislate from the bench.  And I’m not going to take the bait during a live hearing to comment on that but I appreciate the effort. Ronika. Q    Thank you, Sean.  I have two questions on the same story.  Recently a 14-year-old girl, she was raped in the boy’s bathroom of her high school.  A 17- and 18-year-old boy have been charged.  One of the boys we know unlawfully entered the country; both of them have outstanding orders with ICE.  So here’s my first question about it:  Currently, schools are prohibited from denying access to public education based on immigration status.  Does the President hear a story like that and think that it should change or be addressed in a future executive order? MR. SPICER:  I think first, let me just say that this is a tragic event, and it’s horrendous and horrible and disgusting what this young woman in Rockville went through.  I can’t possibly imagine.  So first of all, let’s remember the human side of this, that this is a tragic event that no child, no person, no parent should ever have to deal with.  Schools should be a place where a parent puts their child on a bus or drops them off or sees them off and knows that they’re safe.  And the idea that this occurred is shocking, disturbing, horrific, and whatever other words that come to mind that someone can think of. Because this is not -- schools should be a safe place where children are there to learn and to feel safe.  In that kind of environment -- to know that this happened and the circumstances  -- this young women in particular fought to come to this country legally because of the freedoms and the treasures of this nation. And to think that this kind of tragedy would occur to someone who’s personally endured that kind of struggle to come to this nation and then face this is reprehensible.  And it is not who we are as a country.   I think it is troubling, and I think further, to your question, the President recognizes that education is a state-run and a local-run issue.  But I think it is pause for concern what happened there, and I think the city should look at its policies. And I think that this is something that authorities are going to have to look at. I think from an immigration standpoint, clearly to see somebody -- there are so many facets of this case that deserve question -- why was there a -- I think he was 17 or 18 years old -- 18, thank you -- and how does that person get put into the ninth grade?  Why was -- there are so many issues that come up in this case. I will leave it to authorities to get to, but I think that we are in the early stages of this and there’s a lot that needs to get addressed with respect to this case in particular.   Q    So I hear you about it being a state issue.  Let’s talk about something, though, that the President has implemented and introduced VOICE -- VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement -- is that enough to support a -- MR. SPICER:  No, it’s one piece.  The President understands that victims need a voice, which is why he brought it in there, to help them when they’re specifically targeted or victims of a crime by people who are here illegally.  But I think part of the reason that the President has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this. We act so many times when we talk about this and say -- how is the President going to -- why is the President dealing with this -- because of this priority.  Well, part of the reason is because of the tragedy that this young girl dealt with, had inflicted upon her, whatever the word is -- this is why he’s passionate about this, because people are victims of these crimes in terms of them -- they’re victims of the economic pieces, there’s a national security.  But immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s not done legally. And this is another example, and it’s why the President is so passionate about this.  But he recognizes that it’s multifaceted, why we have to be tough at the border, why I just read off that this executive order is dealing with people who have committed crimes who local enforcement agencies, our municipalities of -- at the state level are not dealing with it. And if you go to the ICE website and download this, you’ll see it’s over 30-something pages of cases where there’s a person that is convicted of a crime that local people -- local municipal law enforcement, for whatever reason -- and in some cases they’re prohibited but for one reason or another are not enforcing the law and not turning that individual over to federal authorities to be deported.  And I think this is another example of why this issue needs to be addressed.   Jon.   Q    Sean, is the President going to hold Republicans who vote against healthcare accountable?  Are they going to pay a price if they vote against this bill? MR. SPICER:  I think they’ll probably pay a price at home, meaning I think that you can’t go promise over and over again, since 2010 -- in the case the member has been there that long, but at least for those who have been there that long and at least -- and even the new ones -- this was a major component of the last election.  And I think there is probably not a single Republican member in itself who went out and talked about this.   And I think when you realize the components of this bill and that the President worked with the House and the Senate to put something together that achieved a promise that was made to voters, yeah, I think there’s going to be a price to be paid, but it’s going to be with their own voters.  And they’re going to have to go back and explain to them why they made a commitment to them and then didn’t follow through. And one of the things that’s interesting that people who agree or don’t agree with the President in terms of legislative agenda, at least give him high remarks regardless of whether or not they subscribe to his agenda, for keeping his word and his promises.  And I think that’s one of the things that he’s made very clear this morning. We pledged to the American people at the congressional level, at the Senate level, at the presidential level to go do something.  And this bill, while probably not everybody got everything they wanted, does exactly what we said.  It’s repealing it and replacing it with all of the principles and the aspects that we discussed throughout not only last cycle but in a lot of these cases back through 2010. Margaret. Q    Will he campaign against those Republicans? MR. SPICER:  Let’s get through the vote.  I think one of the things that he made clear this morning was that he was going to make sure that the people who did support this, he would be out there supporting them.  And so I’m not going to focus on the negative as much as the positive today.  And he made it clear to members that for those of you who go out there and keep your word and support it, we’re going to make sure that we remember those who stood by us and who stood by the word that they gave to their voters. Margaret. Q    Thanks.  Okay, so I was actually -- that’s one I was going to ask, but let me try to -- MR. SPICER:  Oh. Q    No, that’s okay, I’ve got another one, don’t worry.  So my other one -- but I’m going to go back to that -- is on the laptop restrictions by the U.S. and now the UK, it certainly sounds like that may have been in response to some kind of a specific security threat.  What can you talk about from the podium in as much specificity as you can, and if you can’t do specifics at least to help us to understand -- are there multiple threats, is there one threat, what is going on here? MR. SPICER:  So yesterday the TSA announced new enhanced measures on flights inbound to the United States from 10 of more than the 250 countries that have flights coming into the United States that serve as the last point of departure.  I think even ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who we’ve not always shared the same point of view with, even agreed by saying, “These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat.” Elevated [Evaluated] intelligence that we’re aware of indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressive in pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks to include smuggling an explosive device in various consumer objects.  Base on this information, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the TSA administrator determined that it’s necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last-point-of-departure airports.   That being said, I’m not going to go any further than that, and I would refer any further comment to the TSA. Q    Can I try what I was going to try out earlier then?  Mark Meadows -- seems like a nice guy -- and the President seemed like he was kind of joking, but has the President decided in his own mind yet whether he thinks it would be appropriate potentially to mount primary opposition, to campaign for primary opposition in Republican congressional midterms? MR. SPICER:  Mark Meadows is a long-time early supporter of the President.  He had some fun at his expense this morning during the conference meeting, and I think he continued to express hope that Congressman Meadows, who’s the head of the Freedom Caucus, would continue to see the efforts that have been made to make this better and address a lot of the concerns out there. But he has made it very clear that he was having fun with him.  The President is committed to making sure that this gets passed.  We’ll go from there. Vivian. Q    Thanks, Sean.  First a follow-up to Margaret’s question.  Why wait for the new aviation regulations 96 hours to implement it?  Isn’t the President’s mantra on counterterrorism that we have to kind of sneak up on our enemies, not let them know our tactics? MR. SPICER:  So I’m going to ultimately you refer you back to TSA, but I will tell you that -- remember that these are 10 airports of last point of departure to the United States out of 250 that come here.  Part of it is to allow -- you have to provide appropriate notification to the host country, to the host airlines, and give them opportunity to get those procedures in place. I’m not going to comment any further about the security measures that have been taking place or are taking place just to continue to refer you back to TSA.  But I will tell you that I think that implementing something of this nature in that timeframe is pretty darn quick. Q    Okay, and one more -- sorry, I had a follow-up -- MR. SPICER:  Of course. Q    Sorry.  Something totally unrelated.  I wanted to ask, has the White House Counsel approved Ivanka Trump getting a West Wing office and clearance?  And so what is the administration’s thinking behind this?  What is she going to do as the -- MR. SPICER:  I don’t think the counsel actually approves office space, but I get your questions. Q    Right. MR. SPICER:  Ivanka has taken on several measures to promote high standards of ethical conduct.  Even though she’s not a federal employee, she’ll follow the restrictions that would apply if she were.  She’s taking these steps with advice of counsel and in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics. Hallie. Q    Two for you.  One on healthcare, to follow up on the follow-ups.  You’ve made very clear that the President was going to be supporting those who supported the bill.  And I want to talk about the flip side of that, but when he talked this morning in the closed-door meeting about people paying a price, losing seats, not get the majority -- is that an implied threat from the President to the members that don't back this bill MR. SPICER:  No, I think it's a political reality.  I think if you go out and promise the American people something and your voters something, especially on a scale like this -- and, frankly, as I said, there’s obviously members that have been there one term, two terms, three terms, but this is something that as a party we've made very clear -- if you give us this, American people, we will get this done.  And I think that to go and make a promise and a pledge of this magnitude and not to follow it through, I'm sure that voters would be upset. And we've seen this in the past.  And it's something that I think the President, as I mentioned earlier, has staked -- has earned high marks for, is keeping his word.  And I think the President was stating a political reality -- if we go out there and make these pledges to the American people and don't do what we've said we've done on these big things, then I don't think they’re going to continue to want to see us in the majority and they’re going to look for an alternative. Q    And the second, just about -- will he remember the names of those who don't back the bill?   MR. SPICER:  (Laughter.)  We’ll see. John Gizzi. Q    Actually, on yesterday, I just wanted to clarify that. MR. SPICER:  -- on counting -- it's like CBO.  (Laughter.)  Sorry.  Come on, that was -- Q    Do you want to elaborate on that one? MR. SPICER:  No, I don't.  Please go ahead. Q    I do want to ask about the Russia testimony from yesterday.  I know you obviously addressed it from the podium hours ago, but there was sort of this interesting moment that happened a little bit after the briefing, where Director Comey was asked about the live tweets coming from the President in his account at the same time that the hearing was happening.  And Director was fact-checking the President in real time, essentially saying he was incorrect in what he was tweeting.  Is there concern on the part of the White House about the President’s credibility in that situation, that his own Director is correcting his tweets and what he’s saying in real time? MR. SPICER:  Well, I mean, let’s just be clear.  I mean, he was answering questions.  I mean, it's not like he was out there -- he was responding to a question.  But again, I think it's important to note, with respect to this -- and I saw a couple comments yesterday -- Senator Coons took issue with a couple of the comments that we made.  Let me just read you -- I know you guys love this when I do this, so I'm just going to entertain you for a second -- Senator Chris Coons -- this is his quote, direct quote -- “I have no hard evidence of collusion.”  Director Clapper, “Not to my knowledge.”  Senator Tom Cotton, “Not that I've seen and not that I'm aware of.”  This is in reference to any type of collusion with Russia that occurred. Obama’s Acting CIA Director Morell, “There’s smoke but there’s no fire.”  Senator Chuck Grassley after the Comey briefing -- I can say #POTUS and #Clapper are both right, no evidence of Trump collusion with the Russians. So we've now gone over this on multiple occasions, but at some point there is a distinction between an investigation that goes into Russia’s involvement in 2016 and this continued narrative that falsely tries to link the Trump -- the President or the White House into any of it.  They continue to see that there is nothing there.  Every single person who has been briefed who has come out and publicly talked about it -- Republican, Democrat, former DNI, former CIA directors, Obama appointees -- have said no evidence. And so I get that -- we keep getting asked -- Q    That's not my question. MR. SPICER:  But my point is, is that -- that was one of the tweets, though, that he addressed.  He said, former DNI continues to note -- and that was actually true.  These are their quotes.  This is what they’ve said.  So it's not a question -- I think sometimes you come back to us -- at some point, the question has to be to the individuals who said this -- whether it's Chris Coons from Delaware, or former Director Clapper, or former CIA Acting Director Morell -- they’re the ones who’ve said these things on the record.  They’re the ones who’ve been briefed by the intelligence community, by the FBI, and come out and said there is no collusion. And so, at some point, to fact-check the President for merely quoting them is not -- the question should be directed at them, not us.  But over and over again, it's come to the same conclusion.   So, Kaitlan.  All right, John.  Then Kaitlan.  That was very nice of you.  It's National Ag Day afterwards -- Q    Thank you, Sean.  Thank you, Kaitlan.  I have two questions.  First, the author David Horowitz, in his book, The Big Agenda, writes of what he calls “a deep state,” in which he said these are Obama holdovers in government who are trying to undercut the President’s agenda.  This has been widely repeated on social media.  Does the President himself believe in this deep state? MR. SPICER:  Well, I've been asked this question before and I'll give you the same answer I've given before, which is I think there are people that burrow into the government after an administration -- this is going back since the beginning of time. They used to call it ramspecking -- it's suddenly no longer permitted in terms of that same way.  But this has been going on since the country was -- country came to be, where people burrow in after an administration into a civil servant job.  But, sure, there’s people, after eight years of Obama that found their way into government, so it should be no huge secret. Okay? Q    Yes.  Another question on --  Q    What was that again? Q    -- that word? MR. SPICER:  Ramspecking?  Oh, Google it. Q    I remember -- I remember when -- Q    How do you spell it? MR. SPICER:  You ever seen my spelling?  Come on.  (Laughter.)  Ramspecking.  It was named after -- we're going to go through a history lesson here, guys. Q    My other question was, over the weekend, Governor Graco Ramirez, the head of the Mexican Governors Association, was again in Washington, and in a much publicized statement said that Mexico had scored its first victory over the proposed wall.  He said that in the President’s budget there’s a line item for $2.6 billion -- MR. SPICER:  In FY’18. Q    -- in tax dollars, and no mention of Mexico paying for the wall in any way.  He’s claimed a victory in that.  Your response to Governor Graco Ramirez? MR. SPICER:  It's a little early to be claiming victory.  I think the President has made it clear that he was going to use the current process to start the construction of the wall and that there would be ways that that fulfillment of that pledge would come true. Kaitlan. Q    Thank you.  The administration and the President have repeatedly said that over the next few weeks they will present evidence that he was wiretapped.  And last week he said it would be coming this week and he may speak on it this week.  Can we expect the President to, this week, present evidence that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama?  Or will he speak about it?  Because he didn’t mention it last night in his rally. MR. SPICER:  Let’s see how the week goes.   Margaret. Q    Sean, when we heard from the President before talk about the need for this healthcare plan to pass, he’s talked about the important steps of tax reform and the rest.  At what point do you think that his agenda could be imperiled as you look at the vote count?  Because you're also going to have a further fight, of course, to get any of this through the Senate. MR. SPICER:  So, at what point will the vote count -- Q    This seems to be such a centerpiece of the rest of the President’s agenda.  So given that it’s still not any -- there’s no certainty in terms of passage at this point, how concerned are you that Thursday could imperil the President’s agenda? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think it’s -- the President’s visit this morning was very well received.  I think we continue down the path to get the votes.  We got a ways to go.  We got to get to the Senate next.  But I think members understand that this is something that has been at the heart of what Republicans have campaigned, and I feel we -- I feel very good headed into this.  The President continues to talk to members, and we're going to make sure that we grow the vote as much as we can. But with respect to the rest of the agenda, I think all of the issues that the President campaigned on are things that the House and the Senate both look forward to taking up.  Whether it’s trade or immigration or comprehensive tax reform, all of these issues are stuff that many Republicans have campaigned on for a long time and are eager to get going. The President has made it very clear, as he did last night, as well, that, look, part of the -- we've got to keep moving along if we want to get big things done.  There’s a lot that can be done during this administration, during the first term, and he wants to get as much of it done as possible.  And so the quicker we get repeal and replace done, and put the American Health Care Act in place, the better.  I mean that's just the nature of it. But I think when you look at the speed in which we've moved, it’s been very responsible.  We've allowed the committees to work their will.  The House has taken up the amendments.  It’s been online.  So this is -- there’s always a balance between jamming it down and getting it done and over with, which is how the Democrats operated at one point when they finally moved on their bill versus how this is done.  But I think we've stricken a very nice balance on this. Q    At which point will be it Trumpcare?  The President said today it could happen when we asked during the photo spray. MR. SPICER:  We’ll have to see.  Right now it’s the American Health Care Act, and we're trying to get it done. Anita. Q    Two questions.  First, the Kansas legislature is on the verge of possibly passing a Medicaid expansion, and the current version of the healthcare bill does not allow states to pass that.  And so I’m wondering -- as you know most legislatures are currently meeting across the country.  Will there be an exception for states if they expand before any new bill comes to -- MR. SPICER:  It would have to be addressed in the legislation.  I don't believe there’s an exception clause, so I don't -- but I also don't -- it would be -- far be it from me to say at this point, the bill is getting ready to move to the House, the legislation is meeting.  I don't want to prejudge the outcome yet.  But I don't believe from my understanding that there is any kind of like clause that says “if.”  Q    And secondly, tomorrow -- you mentioned the Congressional Black Caucus.  Is there a specific topic -- healthcare, five topics?  What can you tell us about the President’s message to them?  And how did it come about?  I know there’s been some back and forth on getting a meeting going, how did that come about?   MR. SPICER:  (Laughter.)  April is -- okay, don't drag April into that.  (Laughter.)   Q    Didn't say a name, didn't say a name. MR. SPICER:  This has been something that the President has talked about for a while.  He met with Congressman Elijah Cummings.  He started off in a phone call probably a month or so ago where they discussed prescription drugs and the need to get it down; and then the conversation continued.  Our legislation affairs team early on went to some of their meetings and started having a dialogue with them, and that dialogue continued.  And there was a desire to have a meeting.  The President wanted to have them down. I think there’s going to be a range of issues that get discussed that range from drug prices to infrastructure, investment in education, HBCUs.  There will be a range, and I think that's part of it.  There’s no set agenda to say we must talk about these things.  And obviously, I think healthcare is going to come up, too.  The President wants to get their idea. Before April jumps out her seat, we'll give her --  Q    Thank you for giving a follow-up.  I want to follow up on the CBC, and I have another question on another subject.  So with the CBC, since you're saying you went through all of this prior to the fact that he became President, that there was an effort to reach out to the CBC.  So with all of this understanding that they are an important to deal with in handling some of the issues, the urban issues, or issues that pertain to their community, how does the President plan to move forward in working with them, particularly as some just don’t see eye-to-eye with him? MR. SPICER:  I think part of it is it continues to have a dialogue, April.  I mean, it's simply sitting down with people, talking about issues, talking about common ground.  I think if you look at the conversation that he began and continued with Congressman Elijah Cummings, they found common ground.  The President talked about areas where, despite some of the narratives that are out there, there were issues that they probably both share concern for and that they can work on together.  And maybe they won't agree on 100 percent or 60 percent, but maybe there's 15, 20, or 30 percent of the issues.  Maybe there's one bill in particular that they can work on.  But there's a willingness to sit down and talk, and I think that's the first step in the process of any of these.  It's not just your own party -- and the President has shown this on several of these meetings -- where it's not just business leaders.  He's brought in the union leaders.  We talked about healthcare; yesterday, he had Dr. Zeke Emanuel in.  It's not about just bringing in people who agree with you, it's about people across the spectrum who can offer ideas.  And the President -- and I get it that inner cities aren’t exclusive, the rebuilding of inner cities aren’t the only issue.  But he's talked about -- he's elevated the status of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, bringing that office into the White House to help coordinate some of the federal government activities.  He's talked about rebuilding the inner cities.  He's talked about school choice.  A lot of issues that -- Q    Law and order. MR. SPICER:  Law and order, and healthcare.  And there's issues that impact urban areas, minority communities, whether they live in rural areas or urban areas.  But I think that that dialogue needs to continue because it can only help, and I think that that's what we look forward to tomorrow. Q    And the second subject -- as you're talking about bringing in groups, you're also bringing in truckers.  And there is a concern in the trucking industry about something like e-logs that's going to happen at the end of the year, where truckers -- be it truckers with commercial trucks, or mom-and-pop businesses -- all of them are going to have computers to log in, to monitor the time you drive, the stop and speed, et cetera.  And many people are saying that it cuts into their income.  Where does the President stand on that?   MR. SPICER:  Yeah, I think let's see if that comes up in the meeting, and I'll have a readout.  But I know -- Q    But even whether it comes up in the meeting -- MR. SPICER:  I understand.  That's more of a DOT issue, so I would refer you to the Department of Transportation. Q    They're very concerned about it.  Would he at least -- MR. SPICER:  I understand that.  And I hope that that comes up. Jeff Mason. Q    Just a follow-up on the DHS airline issue.  If there is a danger to Americans or to fliers generally with having laptops or things that are bigger than a cellphone in planes from those 10 countries, why would that also not be a danger from other countries? MR. SPICER:  As you can imagine, I can't talk about the intelligence that we have.  I can just tell you that the steps that are being taken are appropriate and commensurate with the intelligence that we have.  And I'd refer you to the Department of Homeland Security and, specifically, the Transportation Security Administration. Q    One other question.   MR. SPICER:  One out of two. Q    Okay.  The President has traditionally issued a greeting to those celebrating the Iranian New Year, Nowruz.  Will President Trump be doing that today?   MR. SPICER:  Let me get back to you.  I know that -- I don’t want to get ahead of myself on that, but we may have something for you later.  I've got to check on that. But thank you, guys, very much.  Let's get back to watching Neil Gorsuch.  And I will see you tomorrow.  We're going to have a week full of briefings.  I'm excited.  And, by the way, I am very happy that the individual in the press corps who took Tom Brady's jersey -- (laughter) -- that that has been returned properly.  Another bad on the press, but we have righted that wrong.  Thank you. END   2:41 P.M. EDT

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21 марта 2017, 19:32

Health Care Bill Restores Pro-Life Principles

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) fulfills a lot of promises. It repeals Obamacare—the taxes, the mandates, the subsidies. It replaces Obamacare with a conservative system—one that empowers the individual and utilizes the free market. Here’s one more important thing that the AHCA does: It defunds Planned Parenthood. That’s right, the AHCA blocks more than $500 million of federal dollars currently going to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, for one year, and instead sends money to community health centers, which far outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics. That's why the National Right to Life, Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America have all expressed support for the bill. Women’s health will not be neglected. Instead, the AHCA will redirect $422 million to community health centers around the United States—ones that do not perform abortions and have a proven record of helping women. The AHCA restores pro-life principles to the health care system—a system that should inherently protect life, not seek to destroy it. House Republicans have made a commitment to life. The time is now to make that commitment a reality. RELATED: National Right to Life Sends Letter of Support for American Health Care ActConservative Health Care ReformHouse to Vote to Protect Taxpayers from Funding Abortion FACT: The American Health Care Act restores pro-life principles to our health care system. #PassTheBill — Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 21, 2017

01 февраля 2017, 04:21

Gorsuch pick affirms Trump vow to pick 'pro-life' justice

Judge Neil Gorsuch has never ruled directly on abortion rights, but he has decided twice against Obamacare’s contraception coverage requirement and written a book on the value of human life — signs that he conforms to President Donald Trump’s pledge to appoint “pro-life” justices.The choice of Gorsuch for the Supreme Court was immediately praised by anti-abortion groups and chastised by supporters of abortion rights.“President Trump has kept his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “Judge Gorsuch is a distinguished jurist with a strong record of protecting life and religious liberty, as evidenced by his opinions in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, and in his doctoral dissertation in which he wrote that ‘human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable.’”If confirmed by the Senate, Gorsuch would not change the high court's balance on abortion because he would replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia — a consistent vote against abortion rights. But with three justices over the age of 78, Trump may have the opportunity to fill additional seats and change the balance of the court on abortion and other issues for decades.Gorsuch wrote an extensive defense of the “inherently valuable” human life in a 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” The book provides a moral and legal argument against assisted suicide, arguing that all intentional killing is wrong, and includes an analysis of the Supreme Court’s major abortion rulings.Gorsuch said the Roe v. Wade decision created a “new right” to abortion access, a suggestion that the court crafted the right out of the 14th Amendment's privacy protection, a criticism frequently leveled by anti-abortion groups. Indeed, anti-abortion groups cite the book as proof of his support for their cause.But he also seemed to suggest the court’s 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision — which upheld the right to abortion but created a more clear framework for state regulation — repaired the mistakes in Roe, making it settled law.“The plurality in Casey expressly sought to provide a firmer basis for the abortion right and to shore up the reasoning behind Roe’s result,” Gorsuch wrote. “In doing so, the Casey plurality purposefully eschewed any effort to examine the history of abortion regulation, stressing instead the importance of ‘reasoned judgment’ in assessing whether to continue recognizing the constitutional right to abortion.”The book will surely be examined in the run-up to Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings.Trump pledged to appoint "pro-life" judges and while he did not directly commit to getting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion overturned, he insinuated that if the Supreme Court did so, the question of whether abortion is legal would go back to the states to decide. Supporters of abortion rights immediately decried his selection."Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States and must never wear the robes of a Supreme Court justice," NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. "With a clear track record of supporting an agenda that undermines abortion access and endangers women, there is no doubt that Gorsuch is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade and the promise it holds for women's equality."Gorsuch ruled twice on the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement, both times siding with the challengers, who argued that it violated their religious freedoms.Gorsuch ruled in 2013 in support of Hobby Lobby Stores, which protested the requirement that it provide no-cost access to contraception in its health insurance plans. Gorsuch and his colleagues on the 10th Circuit issued an injunction to block the government from fining the store and its owners for not complying with the controversial provision.Gorsuch, in a concurring opinion, wrote that the owners of the store had a right to challenge the requirement, which forced them to decide whether to provide contraception or face fines. “This sort of governmental pressure to compromise an article of religious faith is surely sufficient to” give the owners the right to sue, he wrote.When the related Little Sisters of the Poor case came before him two years later, Gorsuch doubled down on his opposition to the contraception mandate, signing on to a dissenting opinion that said the mandate imposed a “substantial burden” on the nuns’ religious rights.Gorsuch also weighed in on a case involving the funding of Planned Parenthood.Last year, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert tried to cut off state funding to the organization in the wake of the sting videos by the Center for Medical Progress, which argued the organization was selling fetal tissue. Gorsuch said he would have allowed the funding blockade to proceed. But a majority of his colleagues on the 10th Circuit let stand a lower-court decision to block the governor's order. They argued that Herbert was taking retaliatory action against Planned Parenthood because he was a long-time opponent of abortion. The majority of the court “inferred that he wanted to punish the group for its lawful abortion advocacy,” Gorsuch wrote in his dissent defending the governor’s decision as legal. “But it is undisputed that the governor has held office since 2009 and had taken no action against [Planned Parenthood] until shortly after the release of the videos in 2015.”One anti-abortion activist, Andrew Schlafly, a lawyer at the Legal Center for Defense of Life and the son of a late conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, has waged a shadow campaign against Gorsuch. Schlafly argues that the selection of Gorsuch would “break Trump’s pro-life pledge," arguing that he doesn't use "pro-life" language and is too beholden to precedent to undo the Roe decision.“Neil Gorsuch is NOT pro-life,” he wrote in a newsletter last week. “His selection would violate Trump's pledge to nominate a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade won't be overturned for 40 years if the 49-year-old Gorsuch is picked.” However, Schlafly’s blog posts have been discredited by former Scalia law clerk Ed Whelan and haven’t picked up support among mainstream anti-abortion groups.Conservative groups have already pledged to back Gorsuch’s nomination. The Judicial Crisis Network announced a $10 million ad buy before the nominee was announced.Susan B. Anthony List said that it would be mobilizing support as well. “Should pro-abortion Democratic senators choose to filibuster this immensely qualified nominee, they do so at their own political peril,” Dannenfelser said.