House GOP Pushes Through Zombie Trumpcare

On Thursday afternoon, House Republicans successfully pushed through a repeatedly revised version of the American Health Care Act—the divisive, unpopular legislation championed by President Donald Trump and House GOP leadership. The bill, aimed at gutting Obamacare, passed the House with 20 Republicans voting against it, and without a single Democratic vote in favor. Republican leadership announced on Wednesday evening that they would finally hold a vote, even though the Congressional Budget Office would not be able to score the bill until days after the scheduled vote. Ever since the original form of Trumpcare failed in late March, House Republicans have negotiated several changes to the bill in efforts to sway hardline-conservative members, including in the House Freedom Caucus, and more moderate holdouts. The current bill, which has been slammed by both Democrats and Republicans for throwing into jeopardy coverage for sick people with pre-existing conditions, now advances to the Senate—where it is destined for a dramatic makeover if not an outright shredding.—Asawin Suebsaeng

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EDITION
4
May
 
1. IT’S ALIVE
House GOP Pushes Thru Zombie Trumpcare
On Thursday afternoon, House Republicans successfully pushed through a repeatedly revised version of the American Health Care Act—the divisive, unpopular legislation championed by President Donald Trump and House GOP leadership. The bill, aimed at gutting Obamacare, passed the House with 20 Republicans voting against it, and without a single Democratic vote in favor. Republican leadership announced on Wednesday evening that they would finally hold a vote, even though the Congressional Budget Office would not be able to score the bill until days after the scheduled vote. Ever since the original form of Trumpcare failed in late March, House Republicans have negotiated several changes to the bill in efforts to sway hardline-conservative members, including in the House Freedom Caucus, and more moderate holdouts. The current bill, which has been slammed by both Democrats and Republicans for throwing into jeopardy coverage for sick people with pre-existing conditions, now advances to the Senate—where it is destined for a dramatic makeover if not an outright shredding.—Asawin Suebsaeng
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. MIDTERM WARNING
Dems Taunt GOP With ‘Goodbye’ Chant
As soon as the deciding House vote was cast in favor of repealing Obamacare on Thursday, Democrats on the floor began chanting the chorus to “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”—a late-’60s rock tune that has long been used as a sports taunt—at Republicans, implying that the House members who voted for the repeal-and-replacement bill are endangering their prospects at re-election come midterms in 2018. Republicans have similarly chanted the tune at Democrats on the House floor in the past.
 
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GOP to Sick People: Drop Dead
BY Michael Tomasky
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. NOT SO ANONYMOUS?
Suit: Fired for Using Fox News Hotline
Former Fox News radio correspondent Jessica Golloher alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the network terminated her employment within 24 hours of her using the corporate “hotline” allegedly set up for employees to register complaints about inappropriate workplace behavior. The hotline was often touted by the network as a method for employees to complain about discrimination, bullying, etc., while ex-host Bill O’Reilly referenced it to dismiss sexual-harassment allegations against him by saying he hadn’t heard of any women using the hotline to discuss his behavior. Golloher’s lawsuit alleged that her bosses—Mitch Davis, vice president of Fox News Radio Network; and Hank Weinbloom, director of news programming—retaliated against her complaint to the hotline by firing her. Additionally, the suit notes that, “according to media reports, [Davis] was fired from his prior job at ABC News following an ‘incident of improper use of an on-line account’ that involved a sexually explicit photo sent through ABC servers that was turned over to the FBI in connection with possible violations of pornography laws.” Golloher alleged a long history of sexist comments towards her from her bosses and colleagues, as well as a disparity in workplace treatment based on gender.
 
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4. HOLY
Trump Signs Religious-Liberty Exec Order
President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that loosens the restrictions on political activity for religious groups. “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore, and we will never ever stand for religious discrimination,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith.” The Johnson Amendment prevents religious leaders from engaging in politics, and punishes them for doing so by revoking their tax-exempt status with the IRS. Trump called the amendment “very, very unfair” and said it constitutes a “crippling financial punishment.” The executive order directs the IRS to use its discretion in enforcing the Johnson Amendment, effectively loosening the regulations to give religious leaders more freedom to speak their mind.
 
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5. AMERICA FIRST
Trump to Visit Saudis, Israel, and Pope
In a pointed message to Iran and ISIS, President Donald Trump will take is first foreign trip starting with Saudi Arabia, Israel and Rome, senior administration officials told reporters Thursday. Trump will meet with a “gathering” of Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, before going on to meet leaders in Israel and finally the Pope in Rome. The trip is about “making sure the three faiths work together” to combat radicalism, deprive terrorists of funding, and tackle intractable issues like Syria, the continuing Israeli Palestinian conflict, and the interference of Iran throughout the Mideast, one of the officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s travel. The officials said it’s a message to Iran that countries in the region are unified against their support of terrorist groups, and also a message to terrorist groups that the regional powers are working together against them.—Kimberly Dozier
 
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Conspiracy in the Curia!
BY Barbie Latza Nadeau
Trump Vs. the Volcano
BY Barbie Latza Nadeau
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. FINALLY
Morning Joe and Mika Are Engaged
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, cohosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, are engaged. The network confirmed the engagement on Thursday. The couple went on a romantic vacation to the south of France over the weekend to celebrate Brzezinski’s 50th birthday and, while overseas, agreed to tie the knot. The 54-year-old Scarborough proposed on one knee at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes with an oval diamond ring. The couple has already released engagement photos with the ring, via Vanity Fair. After the ring was placed on her finger, “It looked like it was meant to be there,” Scarborough said. The couple had not ever formally confirmed their relationship in public before the engagement, but both of them chatted with the magazine about the big step. President Trump offered to let them conduct the ceremony at the White House or Mar-A-Lago, according to the magazine. The couple is still working through how to blend their homes, and where they will find space for their “combined three dogs, three cats, two rabbits, and chickens.”
READ IT AT Vanity Fair  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. ALLIANCE
Obama Backs France’s Emmanuel Macron
Former U.S. President Barack Obama has endorsed the progressive Emmanuel Macron in French’s presidential election run-off. “I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run. He has stood up for liberal values,” Obama said in a video posted by the Macron campaign on Twitter. In a jab at Macron’s far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, Obama said Macron “appeals to people’s hopes, and not their fears.” The former president added that he does not plan on taking a side in foreign elections, but said the French campaign was “very important to the future of France and the values that we care so much about.”
 
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8. ‘HUGE’
GOP Add-On Lets Employers Gut Coverage
A little-noticed amendment to the Obamacare repeal effort now before the House would let U.S. employers gut health coverage, The Wall Street Journal reported. Such a provision would affect about half the country, and the amendment lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act regulations, freeing insurers from a mandate stipulating that they cover 10 types of health services, including prescription drugs, mental-health treatment, hospitalization, and maternity care, and set lifetime limits. “It’s huge,” said Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “They’re creating a backdoor way to gut employer plans, too.” Still, other experts said the impact would be much smaller. “The real question is, would employers do this? Many wouldn’t,” said Larry Levitt, who serves as a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Many employers offer quality benefits to attract employees. But employers are always looking for ways to lower costs.” The House is set to vote on the measure Thursday.
READ IT AT The Wall Street Journal  
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. ADMIT IT
‘No Evidence’ of Migrant-Boat Collusion
An Italian prosecutor who has alleged nongovernmental rescue ships in the Mediterranean are colluding with migrant traffickers was forced Thursday to admit he had no evidence to prove his claims. Carmelo Zuccaro, chief prosecutor in the Catania region, told a parliamentary inquiry that he had no proof NGOs were doing anything wrong. Zuccaro made claims that some of the newer groups rescuing migrants have murky finances and suspected some funds came from traffickers in Libya. He also claimed NGOs were in contact with traffickers, essentially acting as a taxi service for illegal immigration. When pressed, he admitted “no evidence has yet been found. The profiles of some NGO crew members are not exactly philanthropic.” The groups deny wrongdoing and say they are filling a vacuum created by the lack of European Union strategy to handle people escaping war and poverty. Nine NGOs account for about a third of the rescues at sea, with the Italian coast guard, merchant ships, and the EU’s Frontex border guards picking up the rest. So far this year, more than 1,000 refugees and migrants are known to have died making the crossing to Italy and Greece. The arrival numbers are up by a third over last year at this time. In 2016, 362,376 people made it and more than 5,000 died trying.
READ IT AT Reuters  
 
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10. RETIRING
Prince Philip Stands Down
Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband on Queen Elizabeth, is to retire completely from public life, it was announced Thursday morning. Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying that while Philip would attend “previously scheduled engagements” between now and August, “thereafter, the Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time.” Philip is patron, president or a member of more than 780 organizations, with which he will continue to be associated, although “he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements,” the palace said. Philip, Elizabeth’s husband of nearly 70 years, has a history of making politically incorrect quips in public; while on an official visit to China, he famously told a group of British exchange students living in the city of Xian: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”  However, he has also earned a reputation as tireless working royal. As recently as Wednesday, he was doing official business, opening a new seating area at a London cricket ground and declaring: “You’re about to see the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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