Supreme Court allows parts of travel ban to take effect – CNN

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Supreme Court allows limited version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect and will consider case in fall – Washington Post

By ,

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to allow a limited version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect and will consider in the fall the president’s broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raises fundamental issues of national security and religious discrimination.

The court made an important exception: It said the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

In the unsigned opinion, the court said that a foreign national who wants to visit or live with a family member would have such a relationship, and so would students from the designated countries — Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — who were admitted to a U.S. university.

The court said it would hear the case when it reconvenes in October. But it also indicated in the ruling that things may change dramatically by then. It asked the parties to address whether the case would be moot by the time it hears it; the ban is supposed to be a temporary one while the government reviews its vetting procedures.

[Federal appeals court says Trump travel ban violates Constitution]

And the justices said they “fully expect” the government to be able to conduct its review within the 90-day span the executive order proposes.

That affects the ban on travel from the six countries and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States, with the exceptions noted by the court.

Trump said last week the ban would go into effect 72 hours after receiving an approval from the courts.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch would have let the ban take effect as written and objected to what they called the court’s “compromise.”

A partial stay will “burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country,” Thomas wrote.

Such a compromise, the justices said, will lead to a “flood of litigation” over what constitutes a “bona fide relationship” before the overall case is resolved after oral argument in the fall.

They added that the court has made an “implicit conclusion” that the administration will prevail.

The proposed travel ban has been a major point of contention between Trump and civil rights groups, which say it was motivated by unconstitutional discrimination against Muslims.

Trump contends the ban is necessary to protect the nation while the administration decides whether tougher vetting procedures and other measures are needed. He has railed against federal judges who have blocked the move.

Because the executive order was stopped by lower courts, travelers from those countries have been entering the United States following normal visa procedures. Trump first moved to implement the restrictions in January in his first week in office.

[Analysis: Trump travel ban wouldn’t have kept out anyone behind deadly terrorist attacks]

His first executive order went into effect immediately and resulted in chaos at airports in the United States and abroad, as travelers from the targeted countries were either stranded or sent back to their countries.

Lawyers for challengers to the order rushed to federal courts, and the order was stayed within days. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit eventually said the order could not be implemented, infuriating the president, who said he would take the case to the Supreme Court.

But instead, his administration regrouped and issued a second order in March. It added a section detailing national security concerns, removed Iraq from the list of countries affected, deleted a section that had targeted Syrian refugees and removed a provision that favored Christian immigrants.

His lawyers told courts that the new order was written to respond to the 9th Circuit’s concerns. But new lawsuits were immediately filed, and federal judges once again stopped the implementation.

A federal district judge in Maryland stopped the portion of the order affecting travelers from the six countries; a judge in Hawaii froze that portion and the part affecting the refu­gee programs.

Appeals courts on both coasts upheld those decisions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond agreed with U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland, who sided with opponents in finding that the ban violates the Constitution by intentionally discriminating against Muslims.

In a 10-to-3 decision, the court noted Trump’s remarks before and after his election about implementing a ban on Muslims and said the executive order “in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

The president’s authority, the court said, “cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory wrote.

Meanwhile, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said Trump had not adhered to federal law in which Congress gives the president broad power in immigration matters.

The 9th Circuit opinion did not dwell on Trump’s public comments, nor did it declare that the president had run afoul of the Constitution because his intent was to discriminate. Instead, the judges ruled that the travel ban lacked a sufficient national security or other justification that would make it legal, and that violated immigration law.

“There is no finding that present vetting standards are inadequate, and no finding that absent the improved vetting procedures there likely will be harm to our national interests,” the judges wrote. “These identified reasons do not support the conclusion that the entry of nationals from the six designated countries would be harmful to our national interests.”

They added that national security is not a “ ‘talismanic incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power.”

In both appeals courts, a minority of conservative judges had said their colleagues were making a mistake. Judges should look only to whether the executive orders were proper on their face, they said, without trying to decide if the president had ulterior motives and defer to national security decisions made by the executive branch.

“The Supreme Court surely will shudder at the majority’s adoption of this new rule that has no limits or bounds,” wrote dissenting 4th Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer.

Trump thundered on Twitter after the judicial setbacks that the second executive order was a “watered down version” of the first. And while his lawyers in court described the action as a temporary pause in immigration, and administration officials corrected reporters who called it a travel ban, Trump did not agree.

“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” he wrote.

Ann E. Marimow contributed to this report.

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Supreme Court Turns Down Case on Carrying Guns in Public – New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a California law that places strict limits on carrying guns in public.

As is their custom, the justices gave no reasons for deciding not to hear the case. The court has turned away numerous Second Amendment cases in recent years, to the frustration of gun rights groups and some conservative justices.

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, dissented. The court’s refusal to hear the case, Justice Thomas wrote, “reflects a distressing trend: the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right.”

The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep guns at home for self-defense.

Since then, the court has said little else about what other laws may violate the Second Amendment. In the lower courts, very few challenges to gun control laws since the Heller decision have succeeded.

But legal experts say that it is only a matter of time before the court confronts the question of whether and how the Second Amendment applies outside the home.

The question has divided the lower courts. The federal appeals court in Chicago struck down an Illinois law that banned carrying guns in public, while federal appeals courts in New York, Philadelphia and Richmond, Va., upheld laws that placed limits on permits to carry guns outside the home. The Supreme Court turned away appeals in all three cases.

The California case, Peruta v. California, 16-894, concerned a state law that essentially bans carrying guns openly in public and allows carrying concealed weapons only if applicants can demonstrate good cause. The challengers, several individuals and gun rights groups, sued San Diego and Yolo Counties, saying that officials there interpreted good cause so narrowly as to make it impossible to carry guns in public for self-defense.

San Diego, for instance, defined good cause to require proof that the applicant was “in harm’s way,” adding that “simply fearing for one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause.”

In a 7-to-4 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, said there was no Second Amendment right to carry a concealed weapon.

“Based on the overwhelming consensus of historical sources, we conclude that the protection of the Second Amendment — whatever the scope of that protection may be — simply does not extend to the carrying of concealed firearms in public by members of the general public,” Judge William A. Fletcher wrote for the majority.

The court did not decide whether the Second Amendment allows leeway for states to ban carrying guns in public.

“There may or may not be a Second Amendment right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm openly in public,” Judge Fletcher wrote. “The Supreme Court has not answered that question, and we do not answer it here.”

In dissent, Judge Consuelo M. Callahan said the majority had engaged in a kind of shell game.

“In the context of California’s choice to prohibit open carry,” she wrote, “the counties’ policies regarding the licensing of concealed carry are tantamount to complete bans on the Second Amendment right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense, and are therefore unconstitutional.”

In urging the justices to hear their appeal, the challengers said that “this case presents perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question,” that of whether it “secures an individual right to bear arms for self-defense outside the home.”

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Supreme Court allows limited version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect, will consider case in fall – Washington Post

By ,

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to allow a limited version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, and will consider in the fall the president’s broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raised fundamental issues of national security and religious discrimination.

The court made an important exception: it said the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The court also said in the ruling that it would consider whether the case will be moot by the time it hears it; the ban is supposed to be a temporary one while the government reviews its vetting procedures.

[Federal appeals court says Trump travel ban violates Constitution]

The action means that the administration may impose a 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States, with the exceptions noted by the court.

Trump said last week the ban would go into effect 72 hours after receiving an approval from the courts.

The proposed travel ban has been a major point of contention between Trump and civil rights groups, which say it was motivated by unconstitutional discrimination against Muslims.

Trump contends the ban is necessary to protect the nation while the administration decides whether tougher vetting procedures and other measures are needed. He has railed against federal judges who have blocked the move.

Because the executive order was stopped by lower courts, travelers from those countries have been entering the U.S. following normal visa procedures. Trump first moved to implement the restrictions in January in his first week in office.

[Appeals court keeps freeze on Trump travel ban in place]

His first executive order went into effect immediately, and resulted in chaos at airports in the U.S. and abroad, as travelers from the targeted countries were either stranded or sent back to their countries.

Lawyers for challengers to the order rushed to federal courts, and the order was stayed within days. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit eventually said the order could not be implemented, infuriating the president, who said he would take the case to the Supreme Court.

But instead, his administration regrouped and issued a second order in March. It added a section detailing national security concerns, removed Iraq from the list of countries affected, deleted a section that had targeted Syrian refugees and removed a provision that favored Christian immigrants.

His lawyers told courts that the new order was written to respond to the 9th Circuit’s concerns. But a new round of lawsuits were immediately filed, and federal judges once again stopped the implementation.

A federal district judge in Maryland stopped the portion of the order affecting travelers from the six countries; a judge in Hawaii froze that portion and the part affecting the refu­gee programs.

Appeals courts on both coasts upheld those decisions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond agreed with U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland, who sided with opponents in finding that the ban violates the Constitution by intentionally discriminating against Muslims.

In a 10-to-3 decision, the court noted Trump’s remarks before and after his election about implementing a ban on Muslims, and said the executive order “in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

The president’s authority, the court said, “cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory wrote.

Meanwhile, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said Trump had not adhered to federal law in which Congress gives the president broad power in immigration matters.

The 9th Circuit opinion did not dwell on Trump’s public comments, nor did it declare that the president had run afoul of the Constitution because his intent was to discriminate. Instead, they ruled that the travel ban lacked a sufficient national security or other justification that would make it legal, and that violated immigration law.

“There is no finding that present vetting standards are inadequate, and no finding that absent the improved vetting procedures there likely will be harm to our national interests,” the judges wrote. “These identified reasons do not support the conclusion that the entry of nationals from the six designated countries would be harmful to our national interests.”

They added that national security is not a ‘talismanic incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power.”

In both appeals courts, a minority of conservative judges had said their colleagues were making a mistake. Judges should look only to whether the executive orders were proper on their face, they said, without trying to decide if the president had ulterior motives, and defer to national security decisions made by the executive branch.

“The Supreme Court surely will shudder at the majority’s adoption of this new rule that has no limits or bounds,”wrote dissenting 4th Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer .

Trump thundered on Twitter after the judicial setbacks that the second executive order was a “watered down version” of the first. And while his lawyers in court described the action as a temporary pause in immigration and administration officials corrected reporters who called it a travel ban, Trump did not agree.

“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” he wrote.

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On the Supreme Court’s Last Day, Waiting for Trump Travel Ban Ruling – NBCNews.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court heads into Monday, its last day of the current term, with two important questions so far unanswered: What’s to become of President Donald Trump’s travel ban and will 80-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy retire?

The court will also announce the remaining decisions of the term, including the fate of laws in 39 states that bar direct taxpayer aid to churches and the ability of the parents of a 15-year-old boy to sue the federal border agent who killed him.

The Justice Department has urged the justices to lift bans imposed by lower courts blocking enforcement of the president’s executive order on travel. It called for a 90-day ban on issuing visas to citizens of Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen who want to come to the US.

The administration argued that the measure had a legitimate national security purpose, allowing the government to assess the reliability of background information on visa applicants from six countries associated with terrorism.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, said the executive order amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination. Its ruling cited campaign statements by Trump, who originally called for a ban on Muslim immigration.

Separately, a panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the order violated federal immigration laws that require a more substantial national security justification than the White House offered.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will take up the appeal of those lower court orders and, in the meantime, allow the government to enforce the executive order while the appeal is pending.

Speculation about a possible retirement by Kennedy also has been swirling for months, partly fueled by rumors. Sen. Charles Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said in April that he “would expect a resignation this summer,” but added that he had no definitive information.

Image: Trump listens as Justice Kennedy speaks before swearing in Judge Neil GorsuchImage: Trump listens as Justice Kennedy speaks before swearing in Judge Neil Gorsuch

President Donald Trump listens as Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks before swearing in Judge Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Supreme Court Justice at the White House on April 10, 2017.Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

Kennedy will turn 81 in another month. A Ronald Reagan appointee, he has served on the Supreme Court for 29 years. Some friends say he has suggested that he might retire. But he has given no outward sign that he might, and he has hired his normal complement of law clerks for the coming term.

A Kennedy retirement would give Trump the ability to profoundly reshape the court. In many divisive cases, the court lineup tends to be four conservatives and four liberals, with Kennedy casting the fifth and deciding vote.

With Kennedy joining the conservatives, the court gutted the Voting Rights Act, reduced federal regulation of money in political campaigns, and declared that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to gun ownership.

Kennedy’s votes with the liberals produced rulings striking down state laws against same-sex marriage, upholding abortion rights, and limiting the use of the death penalty.

“A Kennedy retirement would be an epic change,” said Tom Goldstein, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and publisher of SCOTUSblog. “Kennedy is a conservative but has moderate tendencies. A replacement chosen by President Trump would give conservatives the solid majority on the court they’ve been hoping for since the Nixon administration.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84, and Stephen Breyer, 78, have shown no signs that they intend to step down.

Also Monday, the court will likely announce whether it will take or reject several appeals that have been piling up for months, including the right to carry a gun outside the home and whether businesses can refuse to provide their services for same-sex marriage ceremonies.

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Philando Castile’s family reaches nearly $3 million settlement in his death – Washington Post

Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, speaking last year after the police officer who shot her son was charged. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The family of Philando Castile, the Minnesota man fatally shot by a police officer during a July 2016 traffic stop, reached a settlement of nearly $3 million with the city that employed the officer at the time, officials said Monday.

The announcement comes a week and a half after the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted in the fatal shooting, the aftermath of which was broadcast on Facebook Live video and seen worldwide.

Valerie Castile, the driver’s mother, will receive $2.995 million as part of the settlement, the city of St. Anthony, Minn., said in a statement Monday morning.

“The city and [Valerie Castile] were able to reach this agreement avoiding a federal civil rights lawsuit which may have taken years to work its way through the courts exacerbating the suffering of the family and of the community,” the city said in its statement.

[What the police officer who shot Philando Castile said about the shooting]

An attorney for Valerie Castile did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

Yanez had said he feared for his life during the encounter, which began as a routine traffic stop in the Twin Cities area. After being pulled over, Castile told Yanez that he had a firearm on him. What happened next was captured in a graphic dashboard-camera video recording released last week: Yanez yelled at Castile not to “pull it out,” and Castile said he was not, which his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, echoed from the passenger seat.

Yanez, who said afterward that he thought Castile was pulling out his gun, thrust his own weapon into the car and fired a series of shots, fatally wounding Castile. Reynolds pulled out her phone and began streaming on Facebook, saying that Castile was reaching for his license rather than his gun. Her recording reverberated worldwide, spurring outrage and protests.

[Video footage shows Minn. traffic stop that ended with Philando Castile’s death]

After a jury acquitted Yanez on June 17, St. Anthony officials said he was not welcome back to the city’s police force. On Monday, in announcing the settlement, city officials said they were committed to improving trust between residents and the officers policing the community.

“The death of Philando Castile is a tragedy for his family and for our community,” the city said in its statement. “The parties moved expeditiously to resolve potential civil claims resulting from this tragedy in order to allow the process of healing to move forward for the Castile family, for the people of St. Anthony Village, and for all those impacted by the death of Philando Castile throughout the United States.”

Further reading:

The Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings in 2017

For Diamond Reynolds, trying to move past 10 tragic minutes of video

Protocol for reducing police shootings draws backlash from unions, chiefs group

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‘No Barnett formula money for Scotland’ through DUP deal – BBC News

There will be no additional funding for Scotland or other parts of the UK as the result of the deal struck between the UK government and the DUP.

The agreement will see an extra £1bn for Northern Ireland in return for the DUP backing the minority government.

But Downing Street said the money will not be subject to the Barnett formula.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has previously said he would not support funding which “deliberately sought to subvert the Barnett rules”.

Speaking to BBC Scotland last week, he added: “We have clear rules about funding of different parts of the United Kingdom.

“If the funding falls within Barnett consequentials, it should come to Scotland.”

Mr Mundell was also quoted in newspapers over the weekend as saying that he would block any “back door funding” for Northern Ireland if it meant the other devolved nations missing out.

Downing Street said the Barnett formula does not apply to the new money as it is being provided as an addition to the Northern Ireland Executive’s block grant.

In a similar way, the formula did not apply to city deals in Scotland and Wales, or previous packages of support for Northern Ireland, a Number 10 source said.

The city deals saw £500m spent directly in Glasgow, £125m in Aberdeen, and £53m in Inverness, but the investment did not impact on Barnett consequentials elsewhere in the UK.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson argued it was “absurd” to criticise UK government spending on top of Barnett in Northern Ireland, when “the exact same thing happens in Scotland”.

But the SNP said the “grubby” deal between the DUP and the government would see Scotland being thrown “little more than scraps from the table”, and demonstrated “how little the Tories care about Scotland”.

The party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, added: “Only 24 hours ago, David Mundell was categorically assuring us that Scotland would be in line for Barnett consequentials as a result of the DUP deal.

“So he has seemingly either been deliberately misleading people, or he is completely out of the loop even in Theresa May’s crumbling government.

“This was the first big test of the new Scottish Tory MPs, but despite all of their bluster, they clearly have no authority and no influence – and now they have no credibility.”

‘Shameless deal’

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale warned that the prime minister risked “weakening the bonds that unite the UK” if she did not provide extra money to tackle austerity in Scotland, Wales and the regions of England.

Carwyn Jones, the Labour first minister of Wales, said the agreement “further weakens the UK” and “all but kills the idea of fair funding for the nations and regions.”

And Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie called on Mr Mundell to resign as secretary of state for Scotland over the government’s “shameless deal with the homophobes and climate deniers of the DUP”.


What is the Barnett formula?

  • Since the late 1970s the Barnett formula has been used to determine annual changes in the block grant to each nation of the UK
  • When there is a change in funding for devolved services in England, for example health or education, the Barnett formula aims to give each country the same pounds-per-person change in funding
  • But the formula is not set out in law, and in practice the Treasury decides how to apply it
  • The UK government also provides other grants to devolved administrations outside of the block grant, which are not covered by Barnett
  • These grants are for less predictable demand driven spending, and are negotiated between the UK government and devolved administrations

The deal, which comes two weeks after the election resulted in a hung parliament, will see the 10 DUP MPs back the Tories in key Commons votes.

Theresa May fell nine seats short of an overall majority after the snap election, meaning she is reliant on other parties to pass legislation, including relating to the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

DUP leader Arlene Foster insisted the “wide-ranging” agreement was “good for Northern Ireland and for the UK” and predicted it would deliver a stable government as the country embarks on the Brexit process.

‘Unique history’

The agreement will see a total of £1.5bn in funding – consisting of £1bn of new money and £500m of previously announced funds – to be spent over the next two years on infrastructure, health and education in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Foster said the money was needed to address the challenges from Northern Ireland’s “unique history”.

The prime minister said the pact was a “very good one” for the UK as a whole, adding: “We share many values in terms of wanting to see prosperity across the UK, the value of the union, the important bond between the different parts of the UK”.


Where will the £1bn of extra money to Northern Ireland go?

Health: A minimum of £250m, with £200m directed to health service transformation and £50m towards mental health provision. It will also receive £50m to “address immediate pressures”

Education: £50m to “address immediate pressures”

Infrastructure: £400m for projects including delivery the York Street Interchange, plus £150m to provide ultra-fast broadband across Northern Ireland.

Deprivation: £100m over five years targeted to deprived communities

VAT and Air Passenger Duty tax: Agreed to further consultation

Corporation tax: Agreed to work towards devolving the tax to Stormont

City deals and Enterprise Zones: Agreed to “comprehensive and ambitious set” of city deals and “limited number” of Enterprise Zones

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If Kennedy retires, Donald Trump’s legacy is set – CNN

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PROMISES, PROMISES: What Trump has pledged on health care – Washington Post

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar | AP,

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is not known for plunging into the details of complex policy issues, and health care is no exception. Since his campaign days, Trump has addressed health care in broad, aspirational strokes. Nonetheless he made some clear promises along the way.

Those promises come under two big headings. First, what Trump would do about the Affordable Care Act, his predecessor’s health care law, often called “Obamacare.” Second, the kind of health care system that Trump envisions for Americans.

On repealing Obama’s law, Trump seems to have a realistic chance to deliver. But he’s nowhere close to fulfilling his generous promises of affordable health care for all.

A look at some of the president’s major health care promises, and how the Republican legislation advancing in Congress lines up with them:

REPEAL ‘OBAMACARE’

Repealing President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement has been a clear and consistent promise from Trump. Under the Obama law, some 20 million people gained coverage through a combination of subsidized private insurance and a state option to expand Medicaid for low-income people. Costs have been a problem, as are shaky insurance markets for people buying their own policies. But the nation’s uninsured rate is at a historic low, about 9 percent.

Both the House and Senate GOP bills would largely fulfill Trump’s promise to repeal Obama’s law.

Both bills end Obama’s unpopular requirement for individuals to carry health insurance or risk fines. The legislation also phases down the Medicaid expansion and repeals hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes on upper-income people and health care industries, used under Obama to finance coverage. And it opens the way for states to seek waivers of federal health insurance requirements.

Some Republican critics on the right say the congressional bills leave other major parts of “Obamacare” in place, such as subsidies for people buying private insurance, and too many rules. While the subsidy structure would remain, much less taxpayer money is invested in it.

“INSURANCE FOR EVERYBODY”

In a Washington Post interview before his inauguration, Trump distilled his vision for health care into a few visionary goals.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” he said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

Trump said he was close to finishing a plan of his own that would have “lower numbers, much lower deductibles.”

But the White House never delivered a health care plan from the president.

And the congressional plans are likely to increase the number of uninsured people, because even if all Americans have access to coverage, some may no longer be able to afford it.

Deductibles are likely to rise for many people with individual coverage because the congressional plans would end subsidies under Obama’s law that reduced out-of-pocket costs for those with modest incomes.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that, on average, premiums for individual policies would be lower over the long run than under current law. But there would be winners and losers. Younger adults and those in good health are likely to find better deals. Older people and those requiring comprehensive coverage could well end up paying more.

TAKING AWAY THE LINES

During the presidential campaign, Trump called for a system in which insurance plans would compete nationally, offering Americans choice and lower premiums.

“What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state,” he said at one of the presidential debates.

Many experts say Trump’s vision of interstate competition is unrealistic because health insurance, like real estate, reflects local prices. In any case, it remains unfulfilled in the GOP legislation.

Some congressional leaders have promised that cross-state insurance will be addressed in follow-on legislation. Such a bill, however, would likely have to meet a 60-vote test in the Senate.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES

During the presidential campaign, and since becoming president, Trump called for action to bring down the cost of prescription drugs.

The GOP bills in Congress basically sidestep that.

At one point in the campaign, Trump called for giving Medicare the authority to directly negotiate prices with drug makers, an approach favored to some extent by Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump also proposed letting Americans import prescription drugs from other countries, where prices are usually lower because of government regulation.

But Medicare negotiations are a nonstarter for most congressional Republicans, and Trump’s call for allowing drug importation has faded.

MEDICAID

In a 2015 interview with The Daily Signal, Trump said: “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

But last year, his campaign started backtracking on the Medicaid promise, endorsing the idea of limited federal financing for the federal-state program that covers some 70 million low-income people, from newborns to elderly nursing home residents, from special-needs kids to part-time workers lacking job-based health insurance.

The Republican bills in Congress would phase out Obama’s financing for Medicaid expansion and limit future federal payments for the entire program as well. The Congressional Budget Office said the House bill would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years, and the program would cover about 14 million fewer people by 2026, a 17 percent reduction.

Several Republican governors have joined their Democratic counterparts calling that a massive cost-shift to the states.

OPIOID CRISIS

The Trump White House says it’s serious about confronting the nation’s opioid epidemic, which shows no sign of letup.

“The president is all in,” health secretary Tom Price said on a recent visit to New Hampshire. “He has such passion for this issue because he knows the misery and the suffering that has occurred across this land.”

But state officials say rolling back Obama’s Medicaid expansion would deal a heavy blow to their efforts to treat addiction and get its victims back to jobs and family. Among the group of low-income adults made eligible for Medicaid under Obama are many younger people struggling with drug problems. They’ve been able to get treatment and support services through Medicaid.

The Senate bill would set up a $2 billion fund to help states fight the epidemic; some GOP senators had sought $45 billion. The House bill does not address it.

___

Associated Press researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report.

An occasional look at the promises public officials make _ and how well they keep them

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Pam’s Points: In this administration secrecy, lies start at top – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Whom do we believe?

The Senate’s health care bill — which was drafted in secrecy and should be named the Tax Care Reconciliation Act — was just the most recent Trump administration assault on transparency in government.

Despite Trump’s “drain the swamp” pledges, this regime’s mantra is hide from public scrutiny at every opportunity.

Examples: Agency officials have withheld internal documents from even friendly Republicans, Trump continues to forbid the release of his tax returns, the White House now refuses to release visitor logs, and media aides have started banning cameras at otherwise routine news briefings.

But why not? Tweets are now “official” statements, and it’s perfectly clear that we shouldn’t trust them.

As he feuded publicly with former FBI Director James Comey in the days after firing him, Trump on May 9 tweeted: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Then Thursday, when it was clear the bluff aimed at intimidating Comey had failed, Trump chose the day that the secretive Senate health care bill was released to tweet again: “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”

It seems like a rather lawyered statement for our president. After all, it contains several multi-syllable words. And they’re all spelled correctly.

So who really wrote it? Who knows. Perhaps we’ll just have to take this as part of the continuing pattern of secrecy.

Even the lawyers have lawyers

While Russiagate may be the single largest job threat for federal prosecutors and attorneys general (James Comey, Sally Yates, 46 Obama-era prosecutors gone in pretty much one fell swoop, and who knows — maybe yet special counsel Robert Mueller and the guy who appointed him, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein), it may however be something of a full employment stimulus package for defense attorneys.

After all, “outside counsel” is the phrase of the day in the White House.

The president has at least a couple of outside counsel defense lawyers now, and even one of them has done his own lawyering up. Trump’s longtime attorney and adviser Michael Cohen recently hired a lawyer to represent him in the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Cohen told CNN. The move came after Cohen was subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee as part of the committee’s probe into Russian meddling in the election.

Vice President Mike Pence has hired outside counsel, as has Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo. Some news outlets have reported that son-in-law Jared Kushner is in the market for one.

At least the Trump administration is good for one jobs sector.

Yes, it is all embarrassing

When is the last time you were embarrassed by your president?

If polling is right, that most recent time might be now.

Even in March, a poll by the McClatchy news organization and Marist College found that 60 percent of Americans said they are “embarrassed” by President Donald Trump. To the question: “Does Donald Trump’s conduct as president so far make you feel: proud, embarrassed, unsure,” only 30 percent said they felt “proud.”

A few weeks later, another poll by Quinnipiac University found similar feelings: 52 percent of voters polled said they were embarrassed that Trump is leading the nation, while only 27 percent stated they were proud.

The Quinnipiac poll also found that Trump appears to be losing popularity within key factions of his voter base — men and white people. Fifty-one percent of the white male voters surveyed and 48 percent of all white voters polled said they disapprove of the way Trump is handling his new job.

Yes, that’s old news. But things aren’t looking up.

Last Tuesday, a CBS poll found the president with only a 36 percent approval rating, overall. And on Wednesday, a Reuters poll gave him 38 percent approval.

On Friday, The New York Times editorial staff “catalogued nearly every outright lie the president has told publicly since taking the oath of office.”

In summarizing the list, the Times wrote: “Trump told public lies or falsehoods every day for his first 40 days” as president, ending the streak only on March 1. Since then he has said something untrue on at least 74 of 113 days, according to the Times.

In that same time, polls show he’s paid at least some price for it. The Times notes that 53 percent of Americans told pollsters “no” they would not say Donald Trump was honest when he took office. Today, 60 percent of Americans say no, the president is not honest.

Imagine what those “are-you-embarrassed” questions might look like today?

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