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Thursday's Mini-Report, 1.19.17

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:30:09 PM Steve Benen
Today's edition of quick hits.

Transition to Trump: Chief of Staff to...

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:03:47 PM
Andrew Card, George W. Bush's chief of staff who played a role in the transition of power, looks ahead to inauguration day on MTP Daily.

Worst. President-Elect. Ever.

Thursday January 19th, 2017 09:38:00 PM Steve Benen
I can't say what kind of president Donald J. Trump will be, but it's tough to deny he was a cringe-worthy president-elect.

The Presidential Inauguration

Thursday January 19th, 2017 09:07:50 PM MSNBC staff
Everything you need to know about Donald Trump's inauguration.

Patricia Arquette will attend Women's March

Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:50:14 PM
Actress Patricia Arquette will be marching at the Women's March in Washington, where 200,000 people are expected to attend.

Long-time inauguration announcer won't be...

Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:15:54 PM
Long-time Inauguration parade announcer Charlie Brotman was not chosen to do the job at Donald Trump's inauguration. Kate Snow speaks to Brotman about the Trump team's explanation.

GOP Rep on cabinet picks, inauguration

Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:07:25 PM
Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., discusses Donald Trump's cabinet picks and the inauguration.

Trump prepares to take over 'nuclear...

Thursday January 19th, 2017 07:29:21 PM
Max Boot, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow, joins to discuss Donald Trump's preparations to take over the "nuclear football," and concerns over unfilled security posts.

Fmr. WH Chief of Staff talks Trump...

Thursday January 19th, 2017 07:03:10 PM
White House Chief of Staff for George W. Bush, Josh Bolten, talks to Katy Tur about what to expect during Donald Trump's inauguration.

Colorado family heads to DC women's march

Thursday January 19th, 2017 06:47:01 PM
NBC News' Jacob Rascon reports live from the vehicle a Colorado family, who are traveling to Washington, D.C. for the Women's March on Washington.

Cornyn: No One Covered Under Medicaid Expansion Will Lose Coverage

Thursday January 19th, 2017 11:06:39 PM
A group of Republican governors met with Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, and some expressed concerns about the number of people who could lose insurance once GOP lawmakers repeal the Affordable Care Act. One of the top concerns is what will happen to individuals who became eligible for Medicaid with its expansion under Obamacare. The Senate's No. 2 Republican, however, promised that no one who got coverage under Medicaid expansion will lose it. When Conrnyn was asked if he was concerned about people who've benefited from Medicaid expansion losing coverage, he said it was a shared concern. "Were all concerned, but it ain't going to happen," Cornyn said. "Will you write that down... It ain't gonna happen."Reporters followed up. "You're saying nobody's going to lose coverage?" one asked."Nobody's going to lose coverage," Cornyn said. "Obviously, people covered today will continue to be covered. And, the hope is we'll expand access. Right now 30 million people are not covered under Obamacare."It's a point that not all Republicans are willing to go ahead and promise. After the same meeting, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) said he couldn't make any guarantees, but that he was in Washington to try to see what could be hashed out. "I can't guarantee anything. I'm down here trying to do my best to make sure we have a good plan," Kasich said.

Trump: 'I Think In My Mind I Know Who' My SCOTUS Pick Is

Thursday January 19th, 2017 11:01:52 PM
President-elect Donald Trump told the audience at a luncheon Thursday that "I think in my mind I know who" my Supreme Court nominee is. He said that the announcement would come "within two to three weeks" of the start of his administration, according to cellphone video of his remarks obtained by CNN."I put out the list of 20, all highly responsible and highly talented, very talented judges ... Replacing somebody that was somebody I had great respect for as an intellect, Justice [Antonin] Scalia," Trump said, according to CNN.The first part of the luncheon had been broadcast by the press pool, but the pool reporters had been escorted from the event before Trump's Supreme Court comments, CNN said. Trump will be filling the seat left open after Scalia's death last February. The Senate GOP, led by Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), launched an unprecedented blockade of President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, and refused to even hold confirmation hearings for him.

READ: GOP Guvs' Letters To Congress On Obamacare Repeal

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:44:00 PM
A handful of Republicans governors met Thursday with GOP senators who will be overseeing the repeal of Obamacare to express their concerns and hopes about the process. The meeting came after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had asked governors across the country to weigh in on the effort to dismantle of the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion, which some but not all red states had opted into.Not surprisingly, many GOP governors said they supported repealing Obamacare, but some still warned against doing so swiftly without a replacement ready. Others highlighted the gains their states made under their Medicaid expansion. Read some of the letters sent to McCarthy below:Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R): "We support a single repeal-and-replace package, but are concerned that a strategy to repeal now then later replace the ACA could have serious consequences."Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R): "I chose to expand the Medicaid Program, to require managed care for most enrollees and to implement a state based health insurance exchange. These decisions made healthcare accessible to many Nevadans who had never had coverage options before."Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R): " Any changes to the Affordable Care Act must also take into account the impact changes would have on the Medicaid program…Proposals that suggest states may be provided with more flexibility and control must not result in substantial and destabilizing cost shift to states."Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R): “We encourage you to look to Arkansas Works, our state’s new innovative approach to Medicaid expansion, as a model for programs that help individuals move up the economic ladder and off of Medicaid, while smoothing the transition into the commercial market.”Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R): "Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a clear replacement could raise concerns among insurers nationwide and cause some to withdraw from the market, limiting consumer choice."

When A Study Cast Doubt On A Heart Pill, The Drug Company Turned To Tom Price

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:40:34 PM
The $3 pill known as BiDil was already a difficult sell when a Georgia-based pharmaceutical company bought the marketing rights a few years ago. A treatment for African Americans suffering from heart failure, BiDil had never really caught on, forcing the drug company that developed it to take a buyout offer. One strike against the drug was a 2009 study that raised questions about its safety and effectiveness.So last summer, the new owner of the drug, Arbor Pharmaceuticals LLC of Atlanta, sought to get the study taken down from a government website. For help, the company turned to the office of a congressman to whom the CEO had given the maximum $2,700 campaign donation 2014 Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican nominated by Donald Trump to become head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Over the next few months, one of Price's aides emailed the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at least half a dozen times, asking at one point "what seems to be the hold up" in getting the study removed from the website, which aims to help patients, health care providers and policy makers make "better treatment choices." In the end, the agency, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, kept the study online but added a note: "This report is greater than 5 years old. Findings may be used for research purposes but should not be considered current."The exchange over the BiDil study, obtained through public records requests and not previously reported, is the latest example of how public policy and industry matters converged in the congressional career of Price, who is a physician. Price was questioned extensively yesterday during his confirmation hearings about reports that he took legislative action affecting companies that donated to him or in which he held shares.Neither Price's office nor officials at Health and Human Services responded to requests for comment. Edward Schutter, chief executive of Arbor Pharmaceuticals, told ProPublica he was not aware his company had requested anything from Price. He said he never discussed the issue with the congressman.NitroMed, the original maker of BiDil, a combination of two generic drugs already on the market, was initially turned down for approval in 1997 by the Food and Drug Administration, which concluded that a study showing it was associated with a reduced chance of death was not statistically significant. But the drug was vetted again and approved in 2005, after a clinical study of 1,050 black patients published in the New England Journal of Medicine found patients who took it had a 43 percent better chance of survival.The drug made waves as one of the first treatments targeting a particular racial group. Its supporters hoped it would be a pioneer in pharmaceuticals catering to particular genetic makeups, but skeptics panned the notion that race was an effective biological predictor. In any case, the drug flopped amid little interest from patients or doctors. NitroMed failed in 2009, and Arbor Pharmaceuticals bought the rights.The study led by Karl Hammermeister, a cardiology professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and originally published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics in 2009, found that BiDil was not actually associated with a significant reduction in death or 2009 hospitalization. The study found that in all but one of its test groups the drug was associated with significantly increased risk of hospitalization for heart failure.Arbor, a privately held firm that employs about 600 people, is headquartered in Price's district. In August of 2015, Schutter donated $2,700 to Price's campaign. In February 2016, a woman named Linda Schutter, who lives at the same address as the CEO, also gave $2,700, federal records show.Gary Beck, a policy assistant to the congressman, first reached out to the federal research agency about the study in July, emails show. "I have been in contact with representatives from Arbor Pharmaceuticals based in Georgia in regard to some issues they have with the study that is linked below," he wrote, adding that the company told him "the study might be outdated" and they wanted it removed from the website."I wanted to get in touch with you to get a better grasp on the situation and what seems to be the hold up," Price's aide wrote.Francis Chesley, an official at the agency, responded to Beck, saying he would check into the matter. Three days later, Beck followed up again. Chesley told him the agency was examining its website archiving policy to ensure the public had access to up-to-date information, and offered to talk to the pharmaceutical company directly.Beck then pressed him: "Is it in the opinion of the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement," he wrote, referring to the division doing the review, "that the BiDil study could be determined as out-of-date once the examination is completed?"Beck sent four more emails over the next four months. In November, seemingly exasperated by the fact that the study was still online, he asked: "Would someone else at AHRQ be able to provide me with an update to this situation?"Jonathan Kahn, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota who wrote a 2013 book about BiDil's fraught history, has been a critic of marketing BiDil as a race-specific drug, arguing it was pitched as such for legal and commercial reasons, not to improve patient outcomes. He said he hasn't independently assessed the 2009 study posted by the federal agency, but added in an email, "there is NO WAY this study is outdated. It is much more recent than the studies underlying the approval of BiDil itself."Price, who will oversee what could be a massive overhaul of the nation's health care system if he is confirmed, faced harsh questions from Democratic lawmakers yesterday about allegations in recent months that he used his office to help donors and companies he invested in. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Price had traded more than $300,000 in shares in health-related companies as he played a role in legislation that could have affected their share prices.Last week, Kaiser Health News reported that Price was given a "sweetheart" deal to invest in an Australian biotech company 2014 a stake that has since showed a 400 percent gain. That company could benefit from the 21st Century Cures legislation Price supported. And this week, CNN reported that Price invested in Zimmer Biomet before introducing a bill that could have helped the medical device manufacturer. The company's political action committee then donated $1,000 to Price's campaign.The Trump camp has since said the Zimmer Biomet purchase was made by Price's broker, and that Price did not know about the transaction at the time he introduced the legislation that could have given the company a boost. Price has maintained that he abided by the law and took no legislative action for personal profit.Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for an ethics investigation into Price's conduct, and has cast doubt on Price's defense. "Now they say there's a broker," Schumer told CNN this week. "It's kind of strange that this broker would pick this stock totally independently of him introducing legislation that's so narrow and specific to this company."Price's actions have come under scrutiny in the past. In 2010, the Office of Congressional Ethics, an official government watchdog, found that there was "substantial reason" to believe that Price solicited or accepted donations at a fundraiser in a manner that could have created the appearance that "special treatment or access was provided to donors or that contributions were linked to an official act."The day before the 2009 financial reform bill was voted on by the House, Price held a fundraiser he called the "Financial Services Industry Luncheon" that appeared to target lobbyists on the legislation. Price's fundraiser offered those groups private meetings with the congressman. The House committee that receives referrals from the watchdog group decided not to pursue the concerns.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

Texas Lawmaker Sends Muslim Leaders A 'Poll' About Sharia Law

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:37:09 PM
A Republican lawmaker in Texas recently sent out a letter to Muslim faith leaders and student associations that contained a poll about their religious beliefs, including Sharia law, local news outlets reported Thursday. State Rep. Kyle Biedermann asked recipients of the letter, dated Jan. 11, whether they support three things: Sharia law, persecution of people who leave Islam and designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, Mustafaa Carroll, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relation's Houston chapter told The Houston Chronicle. At first, a representative for Biedermann deflected The Texas Tribune's questions about the letter, pointing to a “homeland security summit” Biedermann is slated to host at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 26 that he said will "thoroughly understand the critical threat of radical Islamic terrorism in Texas.”The office later sent the Tribune a statement that confirmed any responses to the letter would be used for the summit. "The poll that went out was paid for with private funds and was sent out to gather responses in advance of my upcoming Homeland Security Summit," the statement read. The summit is scheduled to occur just days before Texas Muslim Capitol Day, a biennial event for members of Muslim communities, on Jan. 31. Carroll told the Tribune that the organization would still be moving forward with the event despite how "silly" he found the letter.“If they really wanted to understand American Muslims, they’d talk directly to us instead of sending these silly polls to test people in some propaganda that you put out there or that you're getting,” Carroll told the Tribune.Caroll told the Chronicle that he is advising recipients not to return the poll lest the information be used against them "I hate to sound trite but some of these things people are throwing out are just really silly," he told the paper. "I think the whole thing is just a set-up."

WATCH LIVE: Trump Speaks To Crowd The Night Before Inauguration At 5:30 PM ET

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:17:31 PM
President-Elect Donald Trump is expected to address the crowd gathered at his pre-inauguration concert on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET.Watch live below via NBC News:

Anti-Gay, Anti-Muslim Pastor To Deliver Inauguration Day Sermon To Trump

Thursday January 19th, 2017 09:57:56 PM
A conservative evangelical preacher with a history of making inflammatory statements about gays and Muslims is expected to preach at the traditional pre-inaugural morning service Friday at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Rev. Luis León, rector of St. John's Episcopal, told CNN about the plan to have Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist and a fervent supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, deliver a sermon in the private service. Another unnamed source involved in the service told the network that Jeffress was scheduled to take part in it. Jeffress has built a reputation for attacking other religions over the years, especially in his capacity as a commentator on Fox News. In 2010, Jeffress said Islam promoted pedophilia, violence and the oppression of women, claims he has often repeated. The worst thing about Islam, he said at the time, “is that it is a deception that leads people from the true God."He has also called Mormonism a "cult", including during the 2012 presidential campaign. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a Mormon, was the Republican Party’s nominee for president that year.In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide, Jeffress compared gay relationships to incest. Later that summer, he claimed that Christians in America “are being marginalized the way Jews in Germany were.”Jeffress said in July of last year that he would have preferred Trump to “a candidate who embodies the teaching of Jesus.” “I would run from that candidate as far as possible, because the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a governing principle for this nation,” he said, as quoted by RawStory.The pre-inaugural service has been attended by every incoming president since Franklin Roosevelt, with the exception of Richard Nixon. Though Trump's transition team would not confirm or deny to CNN that Jeffress would preach on Friday, one unnamed transition official defended Jeffress to the network."Pastor Jeffress is a unifying figure representing a diverse spectrum of Americans,” the person said. “Any attempt to vilify this religious leader is deeply disappointing and misplaced."

Kasich 'Can't Guarantee' Ohioans Won't Lose Insurance After ACA Repeal

Thursday January 19th, 2017 09:55:33 PM
Republican senators heard from Republican governors Thursday on Capitol Hill in an effort to ease concerns that repealing the Affordable Care Act would decimate state budgets and leave individuals across the country without health insurance coverage. .The governors laid out their own proposals for curbing Medicaid costs in their states, including the idea of limiting requirements for essential benefits packages.Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) also floated the idea of reducing the number of people on Medicaid. The ACA insured people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level through Medicaid; Kasich suggested covering people up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, and then putting the rest on the exchanges"Right now we cover people up to 138 percent of poverty. I think we ought to cover them up to 100. Let those above 100 go on the exchange," Kasich said. "We can look at the benefits package the administration passed is just very expensive and it's kept people who are younger from buying insurance. It's another thing that can be looked at. That benefit package is, frankly, too rich."Kasich said he also was open to scrapping the exchange for tax credits, but he was clear he wanted to ensure the tax benefits were generous enough."If you put them on the exchange and you subsidize it or you give them a tax credit, at the end of the day,you still get the health care," Kasich said. Kaish said at the end of the day there had to be changes made to the ACA. "I'm not out to make it difficult for people to get primary care and to get help, but we also have to measure it against ok what is really essential here," Kasich saidWhen asked if he could guarantee that everyone covered under ACA wouldn't lose their insurance in his state, Kasich was frank."I can't guarantee anything. I'm down here trying to do my best to make sure we have a good plan," he said before saying he was done talking.


Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:52:50 PM
Trump plans to kill the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and sell off the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Obama Makes One Last Plea To Congress Over Guantanamo

Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:47:37 PM
President Barack Obama is criticizing Congress for refusing to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying there's "simply no justification beyond politics" to keep it open. Obama pledged at the start of his presidency to close the facility in his first year. Lawmakers of both parties blocked the effort.The president has significantly reduced the number of inmates being held there from several hundred to under 50 in hopes of making a financial case for closing the Bush-era facility. But that argument has not swayed lawmakers who object to moving inmates to U.S. prisons on the mainland.In a letter to Congress the day before his term ends, Obama tells lawmakers they have put "politics above the ongoing costs to taxpayers" in keeping the prison open.Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WATCH LIVE: Trump, Pence Lay Wreaths At Arlington Cemetery At 3:30 PM ET

Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:31:12 PM
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are scheduled to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at 3:30 p.m. ET.Watch live below via NBC News:

Expansion Update

Thursday January 19th, 2017 08:26:52 PM
Over the years one of the great pleasures of running TPM for David Kurtz and I is how many great young journalists have come through the organization, how we've been able to have some role in bringing their talents to the fore and the great careers they've gone on to at a whole slew of great news organizations like The Washington Post, Salon, The New Republic, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Propublica, Politico, Huffington Post, NowThisNews and just a slew of other pubs. What is a particular pleasure is being able to welcome one of our greats home. Yesterday, I announced we were adding a new editor to our team as part of our expansion. David Taintor first joined TPM just out of college as an intern in the fall of 2010. We hired him as a full time staffer right out of his internship. And he worked his way up to reporter before leaving in 2013. We are now really excited, happy and lucky to be bringing him back as our new News Editor. David rejoins us from NBC News. He'll join Catherine Thompson, David Kurtz and me as our team of editors going into this new phase of the organizations history. David will be rejoining TPM in early February.

How The Obamacare Town Hall Script Totally Flipped This Week

Thursday January 19th, 2017 10:32:03 PM
Darren Knowles never met with Mike Coffman in the seven years the congressman had been serving Colorado's 6th Congressional District. But Knowles and his wife, concerned about congressional Republicans’ imminent plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, made the decision to drive over to Coffman's town hall event Saturday at Aurora Central Library.A special education teacher who said he voted for George W. Bush twice and cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the November election, Knowles was surprised to find the lobby filled beyond capacity with Coloradans from across the ideological spectrum hoping to get reassurance from Coffman that they would not lose health care coverage. He observed that many attendees were white and older, and that a number were physically disabled. The Knowleses waited two hours to speak to their congressman, who met with constituents in groups for four or five minutes apiece, but never got the chance. A local journalist called to the scene by the frustrated crowd eventually caught Coffman sneaking out the backdoor of the library before his scheduled time had expired.Knowles left exasperated, and was further irritated by a statement Coffman released blaming “partisan activists” for trying to disrupt his event.“That really got my blood boiling,” he told TPM in a phone interview. “He said he’d stand up to Trump and this is like Trump’s playbook right here: blame the people who stand up to you. I don’t know what representative Coffman wanted. If we’re concerned, are we not supposed to show up and voice our concerns?”The August congressional recess prior to the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act was marked by testy town hall clashes between lawmakers and constituents who opposed the health care legislation. Now, more than seven years later, Republicans' attempted repeal of that legislation is unfolding in the same public, messy way.Since Congress passed a budget resolution last week allowing repeal to proceed, voters who have personally benefited from the law have appealed to Republican members of Congress at town hall events in their districts. Others have linked up with members of local progressive groups formed since the election to pressure the incoming Trump administration, or participated in nationwide rallies organized by Democratic leadership. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was drowned out with chants of “save our healthcare” as she spoke at a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rally in Spokane. More than 250 people turned out to the Gerald R. Ford Library in Grand Rapids on Tuesday to question Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) about Medicaid cuts and the details of an ACA replacement plan, prompting security to turn dozens away. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) was surprised to find himself facing angry questions from a group of 50 at a Houston Chamber of Commerce session billed as an opportunity for locals “affected by Obamacare” to share stories about “rising costs and loss of coverage.”With all three branches of government soon to be under GOP control, these voters know they may not be able to prevent Republicans from charging ahead with repeal. But they aren’t going to let it happen without a fight.After learning about the meeting with Brady through a progressive Facebook group, Emily Hopper said she showed up with her 2-year-old son to ask how women’s health care would be affected by the millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements that Planned Parenthood stands to lose when the ACA is repealed.“Rep. Brady did not adequately address anyone's questions, in my opinion,” Hopper told TPM in an email. “He repeatedly assured attendees that they would not lose the parts of ACA that they like (protections for pre-existing conditions and coverage of dependent adult children) while simultaneously promising to do away with the mandate and taxes. That's a two-legged stool waiting to fall over.”Other progressives were working alongside the national Democratic Party to kick up a public fuss over ACA repeal. Thousands showed up to a Sunday “Save Our Healthcare” rally led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in Macomb County, Michigan, which went for Trump. Numerous smaller satellite demonstrations were held across the country as well.In Keene, New Hampshire, multimedia artist and diehard Sanders fan Heather Stockwell helped draw around 200 people out to a Sunday rally. The support from the national Democratic party was “great for getting numbers out,” Stockwell told TPM.After being involved with a number of regional liberal organizations over the course of the 2016 election, Stockwell this week helped consolidate several of those groups into the Monadnock Progressive Alliance, an umbrella organization focused on taking an issue-oriented, hyper-local approach to progressive change. Stockwell said she drew inspiration for the MPA in part from the Indivisible Guide, an online handbook put together by former Congressional aides that encourages Democrats to take a page out of the tea party playbook in order to derail the Trump-Paul Ryan policy agenda. Their advice boiled down to the following: confront your representatives on their home turf, organize locally and direct resources towards stopping specific pieces of legislation.Harvard University professor Theda Skocpol, who co-wrote “The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism,” said she saw some tea party tactics at play in this week’s coordinated protests in favor of the ACA. “In the past, Democrats have tended to focus on Washington” when they disagreed with elected officials on policy issues, Skocpol told TPM. “Democrats also see protest as something that’s aimed at the media," she said. "I think the added ingredient here borrowed from the tea party is that it’s really effective to speak up both publicly and in terms of contacting local offices of their representatives in Congress.”The key distinction, according to Skocpol, is that the tea party coalesced in backlash at the institutional GOP that allowed Barack Obama to be elected, while Democratic leadership is actively encouraging and participating in the current public outcry over ACA repeal. Health care is also a uniquely easy rallying point for progressives hoping to mobilize resistance against the new administration because the need for health insurance transcends political boundaries.“Any cuts that occur in this law are going to hit Trump voters very hard, and the areas that supported him too,” Skocpol said. “They’re going to hit older, non-urban whites just as hard as they’re going to hit the Democratic constituencies.”After using the ACA as a political punching bag for years and failing to agree on a replacement plan, Republican lawmakers are finally facing the real-life consequences of inaction, from voters on both sides of the aisle.Have more stories about lawmakers facing pushback over ACA repeal or organizing efforts around the issue? Let us know at

Reports: Trump To Name NY Jets Owner Woody Johnson As Ambassador To UK

Thursday January 19th, 2017 07:55:20 PM
President-elect Donald Trump said on Thursday that he will name Woody Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, to be his ambassador to the United Kingdom, multiple outlets reported. During a luncheon in Washington, D.C. honoring his supporters, Trump introduced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as "sitting next to the ambassador Woody Johnson, going to Saint James," as quoted in a WNBC report. All ambassadors to the U.K. are officially known as ambassadors to the Court of St. James's.Reuters also reported Trump's remarks, and CNBC cited an unnamed transition official who confirmed Trump's plans.Johnson had joined Trump's fundraising team in May 2016. But Trump also previously singled out Johnson, who first served as finance chairman on Jeb Bush's campaign, for criticism. Trump slammed Bush for taking "special interest" donor money and suggested that Johnson's fundraising would influence Bush's positions on prescription drug policies. Johnson's family founded the powerhouse Johnson & Johnson medical and pharmaceutical company.Notably, the NFL has scheduled four games in London this year for the first time. The league has also suggested that it could open a franchise in the U.K.'s capital as early as 2022.

Rick Perry Lightens Up Hearing With Cringeworthy Joke About Al Franken (VIDEO)

Thursday January 19th, 2017 07:31:37 PM
During former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) confirmation hearing Thursday, the energy secretary nominee accidentally let slip a “'Saturday Night Live' sound bite” that temporarily derailed questioning. “Did you enjoy meeting me?” Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) asked Perry.“I hope you’re as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch,” he responded, to a grimace from Franken. “May I rephrase that, sir,” he asked after a beat."Please,” Franken replied dryly. “Please. Oh my lord.”“Well, I think we found our 'Saturday Night Live' soundbite,” Perry told the senator, who was a cast member on the famed comedy show.Watch the exchange below:

Report: Trump Team Targeting NEA, NEH And CPB In Budget

Thursday January 19th, 2017 07:18:41 PM
Donald Trump's transition team has been discussing plans to make dramatic budget cuts to government entities conservatives have long tried to hamstring, according to The Hill.The Hill reports that the proposed budget would completely eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and would privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The Trump team is also looking to make major budget cuts at the Transportation, Justice, and State departments, The Hill reported. The plan in the works would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, according to The Hill. The NEA, NEH and CPB have long been targets of conservatives. The NEA in particular has been under attack from conservatives since the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan unsuccessfully tried to abolish it. Then in the 1990s, the endowment's funding was threatened under George H.W. Bush when the Corcoran Gallery displayed work by artist Robert Mapplethorpe that offended Republican lawmakers. The incident prompted Republicans to pass a bill that restricted the grantees that the NEA could fund. The NEH has also been target by Republicans for a while, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed eliminating funding for the endowment in the past.Funding for public broadcasting has also been on the chopping block for years. When Newt Gingrich served as House speaker in the 1990s, he tried to eliminate funding for public broadcasting, but ultimately failed. Almost 20 years later, Republicans passed a budget in 2011 that would have eliminated the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.The Hill did not name its sources but indicated that "staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House" to discuss the budget.The report in The Hill did not include a document but the outlet reported that the proposal is similar to budgets offered by the Heritage Foundation and the Republican Study Committee in the past.Cabinet nominees have not yet reviewed the proposed budget and will have a chance to review and appeal for changes after taking office, The Hill reported.

Grassley: OMB Nom's Tax Issues 'Could Create Problems' For Confirmation

Thursday January 19th, 2017 06:28:35 PM
A Republican senator who sits on the committee that will consider the nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) as the director of the Office of Management and Budget said Thursday that the revelation that Mulvaney had failed to pay income tax on a household employee may "create problems" for his confirmation."It could create problems," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told CNN. "I don't know for sure, but I've had problems with former Cabinet people under both Republicans and Democrats where that's either been straightened out -- or if there wasn't justification for it oppose it."According to CNN, he did not say whether he believed Mulvaney should withdraw. Grassley sits on the Budget Committee, which will host hearings on Mulvaney next week. Typically a nominee is approved by the committee that holds jurisdiction over his or her agency before heading to a floor vote, but it is possible that the committee can be bypassed for a full Senate vote.Mulvaney confessed on his Senate confirmation questionaire that he had neglected to pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee -- reportedly a sitter for his children -- between 2000 and 2004, and had since paid back taxes, according to the New York Times.President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is continuing to defend Mulvaney's nomination."The fact of the matter is that nobody is more qualified and more prepared to fight to rein in Washington spending and fight for taxpayers than Mick Mulvaney," transition spokesman John Czwartacki said in a statement, according to CNN. "Congressman Mulvaney raised the issue surrounding the care of his premature triplets immediately upon being tapped for this position, and has taken the appropriate follow-up measures."

Ivanka Trump: It's 'Inappropriate' To Say I'll Be The Real First Lady

Thursday January 19th, 2017 06:16:05 PM
Ivanka Trump said in an interview released Thursday that suggestions she'll fill the first lady's role in her father's incoming administration are "inappropriate." "What's your reaction, though, when you hear people say 'she's going to be essentially the real first lady'? Does it offend you?" ABC's Deborah Roberts asked Trump on “20/20.”"Well, I think it's an inappropriate observation. There's one first lady, and she'll do remarkable things," Trump replied, apparently referring to her stepmother Melania Trump.Ivanka Trump had announced that she would move her family to Washington, D.C., as her husband Jared Kushner takes on the role of senior White House adviser to her father.Melania and Barron Trump do not plan to move to the White House right away.Watch the interview below via ABC News:

Really, Really Unpopular

Thursday January 19th, 2017 06:01:08 PM
On the last full day of the Obama presidency and on the eve of President-Elect Trump's inauguration, let's look at where the new President starts in the public's estimation. The answer is, Trump is really unpopular and has gotten more unpopular as the transition has gone on.We have some new numbers. CNN: 40% Gallup: 44% ABC/WAPO: 37% Quinnipiac: 37% CBS: 37%These are dramatically lower numbers than any president in modern polling history. For benchmarks, CNN had Obama at 84% approval, Clinton 67% and Bush at 61% at inauguration. The best comparison here is probably to Bush who lost the popular vote and won in a highly controversial way. Much of what would have been the transition period was eaten up by the recount. Even here, Bush is 20 points higher than Trump.

Ex-Trump Staffers Behind New Lobbying Firm To Start Pro-Trump Super PAC

Thursday January 19th, 2017 05:24:03 PM
Two Donald Trump loyalists behind a new lobbying firm explicitly founded to help businesses navigate the President-elect’s administration will also launch a pro-Trump super PAC intended to drum up support for his agenda and administration picks, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The Great American Agenda PAC will “build grass-roots energy and support for the Trump agenda, the Cabinet nominees, and the Supreme Court pick,” former Trump adviser Barry Bennett, who cofounded Avenue Strategies with onetime Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, told Bloomberg.Lobbying firms do not typically set up super PACs, and the explicit focus on supporting the agenda of one presidential administration is particularly unusual. Lewandowski and Bennett’s work also seems contradictory to Trump’s campaign vow to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and inside fixers who operate in Washington, D.C.’s corridors of power.Lewandowski denied any inherent conflict, telling Bloomberg that his firm’s goal was merely “to help companies grow and expand, which falls directly in line with the goals of this administration.”Trump himself gave Avenue Strategies his blessing in a statement to Bloomberg, saying, “Corey is a terrific and talented guy, and I wish him well.”The 11 clients the firm has acquired thus far include Ohio payday lender Community Choice Financial and the incoming governor of Puerto Rico, according to Bloomberg. Lewandowski and Bennett said they will only accept clients who agree with Trump’s agenda.When the firm first launched in December, Lewandowski told Fox News that draining the swamp was “somewhere down at the bottom” of Trump’s list of priorities. Trump ally Newt Gingrich also said that the President-elect thought the phrase was “cute” but no longer uses it, prompting Trump to send a tweet affirming that he will “always be trying to DTS.”

Labor Department Finds Evidence Microsoft Discriminated Against Female Employees

Friday August 5th, 2016 05:28:29 PM Lauren C. Williams
A Labor Department investigation found preliminary evidence of gender discrimination at Microsoft. The post Labor Department Finds Evidence Microsoft Discriminated Against Female Employees appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Looking At Brazil’s Economic Fall From The Top

Friday August 5th, 2016 04:07:43 PM Alejandro Davila Fragoso
In less than a decade Brazil went from miraculous growth to a historic collapse. The post Looking At Brazil’s Economic Fall From The Top appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Scott Walker Is ‘Proud’ Of Gutting University Of Wisconsin Budgets

Friday August 5th, 2016 03:13:24 PM Aaron Rupar
Fact is he has nothing to gloat about. The post Scott Walker Is ‘Proud’ Of Gutting University Of Wisconsin Budgets appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Trump Campaign Circulates Misleading Video Claiming Clinton Promised To Raise Taxes On Middle Class

Friday August 5th, 2016 02:54:26 PM Bryce Covert
Context clues. The post Trump Campaign Circulates Misleading Video Claiming Clinton Promised To Raise Taxes On Middle Class appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Donald Trump Announces Economic Policy Team: 13 Men

Friday August 5th, 2016 02:11:17 PM Josh Israel, Evan Popp
While the list does not include any women, it does include five Steves. The post Donald Trump Announces Economic Policy Team: 13 Men appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Economy Shrugs Off Signs Of Trouble With Strong Job Growth In July

Friday August 5th, 2016 12:30:43 PM Bryce Covert
Analysts had expected 180,000 jobs to be added. The post Economy Shrugs Off Signs Of Trouble With Strong Job Growth In July appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Apple Store Employees Are Diverse, But Their Silicon Valley Co-Workers Lag Behind

Thursday August 4th, 2016 09:07:48 PM Lauren C. Williams
Racial and gender diversity in retail has jumped significantly since 2014. The post Apple Store Employees Are Diverse, But Their Silicon Valley Co-Workers Lag Behind appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The States That Do Nothing To Help Working Parents

Thursday August 4th, 2016 02:50:26 PM Bryce Covert
Many states haven't passed a single law or program that would make life easier for parents. The post The States That Do Nothing To Help Working Parents appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Brownbacklash Is Finally Here: Kansas Primary Voters Send Conservatives Packing

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 08:00:58 PM Alan Pyke
Gov. Brownback might finally be facing a revolt from Kansas Republicans. The post The Brownbacklash Is Finally Here: Kansas Primary Voters Send Conservatives Packing appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Student Suspended For Sexual Assault Complaint Argues The College Practiced ‘Anti-Male Bias’

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 07:37:28 PM Casey Quinlan
This Columbia University student, who was disciplined for sexual assault, is arguing that he is the victim of "anti-male bias." The post Student Suspended For Sexual Assault Complaint Argues The College Practiced ‘Anti-Male Bias’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Why Trump Can Bully Paul Ryan And Get Away With It, In One Chart

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 02:32:31 PM Ian Millhiser
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) endorsed his party’s racist presidential nominee. Now that nominee has publicly humiliated Ryan by refusing to endorse the speaker back. Sad! The post Why Trump Can Bully Paul Ryan And Get Away With It, In One Chart appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Trump Family Has Very Predictable And Unhelpful Advice On Sexual Harassment

Tuesday August 2nd, 2016 03:28:49 PM Laurel Raymond
The Trump family's reactions place the blame for the harassment squarely on the victim's shoulders. The post Trump Family Has Very Predictable And Unhelpful Advice On Sexual Harassment appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Massachusetts Becomes First State Ever To Ban Employers From Asking For Salary Histories

Monday August 1st, 2016 06:06:54 PM Bryce Covert
The state will be the first in the country to ban employers from asking prospective hires for their salary histories. The post Massachusetts Becomes First State Ever To Ban Employers From Asking For Salary Histories appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Paid Sick Days Movement Is Already Paying Off. Here’s the Proof.

Monday August 1st, 2016 03:03:53 PM Bryce Covert
New data shows the effort to pass paid sick leave laws is working. The post The Paid Sick Days Movement Is Already Paying Off. Here’s the Proof. appeared first on ThinkProgress.

6 Common Assumptions About ADHD That Aren’t Helping Students

Monday August 1st, 2016 12:15:24 PM Casey Quinlan
Teachers can help students with ADHD if they set aside stereotypes. The post 6 Common Assumptions About ADHD That Aren’t Helping Students appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Analysts Say Clinton Proposals Would Strengthen The Economy

Friday July 29th, 2016 02:52:29 PM Bryce Covert
The economy would benefit in particular from some unique policy platforms Clinton has proposed. The post Analysts Say Clinton Proposals Would Strengthen The Economy appeared first on ThinkProgress.

A Kentucky Politician Called Out Her Daughter’s School For Banning Cornrows And Dreadlocks

Thursday July 28th, 2016 03:18:08 PM Casey Quinlan
A Kentucky politician is unhappy with her daughter's school after she noticed it bans cornrows and dreadlocks. The post A Kentucky Politician Called Out Her Daughter’s School For Banning Cornrows And Dreadlocks appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Debt Collectors’ Harassment Tactics Are Put On Notice For First Time In 40 Years

Thursday July 28th, 2016 02:58:37 PM Bryce Covert
The country's consumer watchdog issued brand new regulations to crack down on debt collectors. The post Debt Collectors’ Harassment Tactics Are Put On Notice For First Time In 40 Years appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Democrats Grapple With The Economic Anxiety Fueling Trump’s Campaign

Thursday July 28th, 2016 12:46:21 AM Alice Ollstein
"There is a widespread alienation and disinterest in politics." The post Democrats Grapple With The Economic Anxiety Fueling Trump’s Campaign appeared first on ThinkProgress.

New York City Is About To Take A Step Toward Ending The School-To-Prison Pipeline

Wednesday July 27th, 2016 08:37:17 PM Evan Popp
The move could help begin to address the school-to-prison pipeline. The post New York City Is About To Take A Step Toward Ending The School-To-Prison Pipeline appeared first on ThinkProgress.

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