News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Obamacare-lite, DeVos Under Fire, and Much, Much More

Donald Trump introduces his pick for Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, during a rally Dec. 9, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Good Thursday Morning!

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Trump arrives in Paris and will head to the U.S. ambassador’s residence.
  • The President will have lunch with U.S. military leaders.
  • Next, the President will participate in an arrival ceremony at Les Invalides and then take a tour.
  • The President will head to Elysee Palace and meets with President Macron.
  • Afterwards, the President will participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with Macron.
  • The President will hold a joint press conference with Macron and later have dinner at Le Jules Verne.

Here comes the Senate healthcare bill

This morning, the Senate Republicans will release their much anticipated band aid for the gaping, bloody wound known as Obamacare.

The latest draft is expected to include an amendment proposed by conservative Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah that would allow health insurance companies to offer less-expensive plans that do not include Obamacare’s essential health benefits as long as they provide at least one plan that includes them.

It is also expected to include a $45 billion fund for states to use in the battle against the opioid epidemic and would maintain Obamacare’s 3.8 percent investment tax and 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on upper-income earners.

“It is a variation of what we already had,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaking Wednesday. “This is going to be a much closer variation. I don’t think there will be that many dramatic changes.”

The new bill is expected to repeal the mandate requiring consumers to purchase insurance but:

keep in place changes to Medicaid, including a rollback of federal support from states that have expanded it to low-income residents. It is expected to give states a fixed rate of funding for traditional Medicaid rather than matching the need each year and to tie the program’s growth rate to overall inflation rather than to its current, faster-increasing medical inflation.

Next week is when the action will start:

Before heading to a floor vote, which Senate leaders hope to have next week, Republicans will need to vote on a motion to proceed that would bring the legislation forward for debate. Several Republicans are likely to wait to voice their support or opposition for proceeding until they see how the Congressional Budget Office scores the bill early next week.

Some senators have also said they will not vote for the bill. Senator Rand Paul said that based on what he knew he would not support the Obamacare replacement. Senator Richard Shelby rightly pointed out that senators campaigned on repealing the dumpster fire bill. “I wish we had repeal straight up, and that is what I would vote for today,” he said.

Stay tuned.

DeVos “under fire” for taking wrong side in campus sexual assault cases

We all know what is going on within the snowflake villages called college campuses.

A high-ranking official from Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education is under fire for appearing to side with the accused in college sex assault cases.

Candice Jackson, acting assistant secretary of the civil rights division, told the New York Times on Wednesday, “Rather, the accusations — 90 percent of them — fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’”

Appearing to side? What does one do with a he said/she said situation? (Or whatever the proper pronouns are on the college scene; I don’t know what all of them are.) Convict the party that society has decided is guilty?

Jackson, a sexual assault victim herself, told the Times that college investigations are not “fairly balanced between the accusing victim and the accused student.”

She argued that students who have been accused in sexual assault cases are labeled as “rapists when the facts just don’t back that up.”

This ought to be interesting.

Attorney General Sessions meets with hate group

Not really, but that’s what ABC News wrote in its headline. With “quotes” around the hate group part.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a speech to an alleged hate group at an event closed to reporters on Tuesday night, but the Department of Justice is refusing to reveal what he said.

Sessions addressed members of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was designated an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016, at the Summit on Religious Liberty at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, in Dana Point, California.

Now why would ABC News use the SPLC (an actual hate group with a mission to scare people into agreeing with their lefty agenda or face being labelled with bad words) designation for the Alliance Defending Freedom? Who cares what they say? There are plenty of groups that lean right that have designations for groups ABC News covers, but the “news” organization doesn’t use those to describe its subjects.

The group is representing Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who is challenging the state’s nondiscrimination protections after he was found in violation of the law for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case in June 2017.

So, the group fights for religious liberty and the SPLC doesn’t want there to be any religious liberty for Christians in America.

The SPLC also explains that the ADF group “is a legal advocacy group founded in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1994 that ‘specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally.'”

This is why the media faces constant accusations of bias: because they are biased and they do the bidding of the lefty progressive groups like the SPLC against anyone who doesn’t parrot the sanctioned RIGHTTHINK.

In a recent blog post on its website titled “Hate-group labelers are the ones spreading hate,” the Alliance Defending Freedom called the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” designation a “lie.”

“We at ADF condemn all such manifestations of true hate,” the post reads. “They have no place in our society.”

ABC News and the SPLC are just smearing people and groups with which they have policy and political differences.

Our own Deb Heine has a deep dive on this RUSSIAN lawyer at the center of the latest controversy

Deb writes:

A false narrative about Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met briefly with Donald Trump Jr. and a few other members of the Trump team in June of 2016, is being pushed by some on the right this week.

Read the whole thing.

And for those following this saga and the proclamations of the armchair lawyers and Twitter litigators, here’s a link to the Federal Election Commission’s guide to foreign nationals.

Other Morsels:

Grassley: Senate panel wants Paul Manafort to testify next week

U.S. confirms it has lifted laptop ban on EgyptAir flights

New York City declares war on rats with $32 million plan

Sanders won’t take 2020 presidential bid ‘off the table’

Satanic monument to be installed on public property for first time in US history

Damned Right Republicans Don’t Trust Colleges

House dust might be increasing your body fat: study

5 king cobras found in express mail package at JFK airport

IRS boss Koskinen backs tax reform, calls system ‘a mess’

Qatar airlifts in cows after Arab embargo cuts milk supplies

The governor of California and Michael Bloomberg launched a new plan to fight climate change — with or without Trump

And that’s all I’ve got — now go beat back the angry mob!