‘America First’ at the U.N.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 8.39.38 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
The Upshot

One Reason to Take the Latest Obamacare Repeal Seriously, and Three Reasons It Could Fail

Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham in July. The two Republican senators are the originators of the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham in July. The two Republican senators are the originators of the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

How seriously should Americans take the Republicans’ last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act?
The party has until the end of the month to repeal the health law without needing 60 Senate votes. That’s why the latest proposal, by Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, is getting so much attention.
Their bill would eliminate the two big coverage programs created by the Affordable Care Act (Medicaid expansion and the Obamacare marketplace) and instead give blocks of money to state governments, with few limitations on how they can distribute them to provide health coverage to their residents. States would be free to eliminate Obamacare rules requiring that insurance cover a minimum package of benefits, and they could charge sick customers more than healthy ones.
It would also make major changes to Medicaid, reducing federal funding even for populations that were covered before Obamacare. The results would most likely be substantial reductions in the number of Americans with health coverage, and new challenges for Americans with pre-existing health problems in some states.
Read more »
Ty Cobb (right), a member of President Trump’s legal team, discussing details of the team’s response to the Russia investigations with John M. Dowd, the president’s lead outside attorney in the investigations, at BLT Steak in Washington.

‘Isn’t That the Trump Lawyer?’: A Reporter’s Accidental Scoop


Kenneth P. Vogel overheard a conversation at a Washington steakhouse that led to a story on the White House legal team’s internal discord over the Russia investigations.

Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, made a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards on Sunday.

Trump Takes to Twitter to Pan the Emmy Ratings


Politics dominated the awards event, and on Tuesday, the president tweeted that he “was saddened to see how bad the ratings were.”

A Foxconn-owned building in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, in 2012. The company’s plans to build one of the world’s biggest manufacturing hubs in Brazil have stalled.

Before Wisconsin, Foxconn Vowed Big Spending in Brazil. Few Jobs Have Come.


The Taiwanese company’s manufacturing model has not translated easily to other countries, where it faces different social, political and labor conditions.

Janet L. Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, ends a four-year term in early February. President Trump has not announced whether he will nominate her for a second term.

As Economy Grows, Fed Set to Shrink Bond Holdings


The Federal Reserve is expected to announce on Wednesday it will begin to reduce its bond holdings, signaling confidence in the economy’s health.

Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Navy Leaders Pledge to Solve Problems Stretching Limits of Sailors


Navy officials cited extended deployments and 100-hour workweeks as among factors plaguing sailors as senators demanded answers for deadly accidents this year.

A worker monitoring an embroidery sewing machine at a mattress factory in New Jersey.

Unemployment Is So 2009: Labor Shortage Gives Workers an Edge


Earnings are rising at a pace not seen in almost two decades. Will it be enough to draw more people off the bench and into the job market?

Michael L. Dourson, nominated by President Trump to oversee the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical safety programs, was on Capitol Hill last week. Mr. Dourson has spent years helping companies fight restrictions on the use of potentially toxic chemicals in consumer goods.

Chemical Industry Ally Faces Critics in Bid for Top E.P.A. Post


Michael L. Dourson, who has long run a premier firm for the chemical industry, is set for a confirmation hearing before a Senate panel.

President Jimmy Carter speaking at the United Nations in 1977.

From Truman to Trump: How U.S. Presidents Have Addressed the U.N.


With President Trump’s first address to the United Nations on Tuesday, here’s a look at past presidents’ first speeches.

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s lawyer, was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday. The session was canceled.

Senate Panel Cancels Meeting With Trump Lawyer Over Public Comments


The lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, said the rush to presume guilt was “un-American.” Senators had asked that he not speak publicly, and they quickly shut down the meeting.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been opening up about herself to satisfy the electorate’s hunger for personal connection.

As Warren and Sanders Jockey for Support, One Takes a Road More Traveled


Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are taking different paths to win new fans ahead of 2020. The outcome will say much about the Democrats’ future.

Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts in January. She is one of only five state attorneys general who are Democratic women.

Democrats Mount Effort to Recruit Women as State Attorneys General


Few Democratic state officeholders are women, a shortfall the party is seeking to fix.

Senators John McCain, left, and Lindsey Graham at the Capitol in February. “I can’t think of anything I’ve done of consequence, politically, that hasn’t been with John,” Mr. Graham said.

Health Bill Tests a Signature Senate Bond: John McCain and Lindsey Graham


The bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act bears the name of Mr. Graham, but Mr. McCain, who helped sink an earlier repeal attempt, has remained undecided.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Kyle Smith in National Review:
“The real subject of this 500-page chunk of self-congratulation and blame-shifting — its real title — is ‘Why I Should Have Won.’”
“Guardedness is not what one wants in a memoir,” Mr. Smith writes, but that’s exactly what we get in “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton’s account of her presidential campaign. One has to dig deep “to find a few gems, those rare, unintentionally revealing glimpses of why Clinton failed.” Ultimately, he argues, Mrs. Clinton fails to write anything new about her loss, and peels back the layers of the “phony, power-addled political hack” only to find the “real, power-addled political hack underneath.” Read more »
From the Left
Jeff Spross in The Week:
“Clinton had, in her hands, the sort of big policy platform that could’ve trounced Trump, and even one-upped [Senator Bernie] Sanders in ambition. But she abandoned it out of what seems to be a genuine sense of obligation to getting the details right.”
There was one detail in “What Happened” that Mr. Spross suggests should have gotten more attention: Mrs. Clinton’s consideration of a universal basic income as a central plank of her platform. Ultimately, Mrs. Clinton explains in her book, she could not make the math work to justify a “no-strings-attached monthly check” to every American citizen. However, according to Mr. Spross, perhaps “a bold and expansive vision to rally voters” would have been more important than “getting all the policy details nailed down.” Read more »
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