Bump Stocks

Wednesday, February 21, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.39.32 AM

Good Wednesday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump ordered the Justice Department to propose a ban on bump stocks, which make semiautomatic guns more lethal. We cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference, Mr. Trump said.

  • A lawyer has been charged with lying to the special counsel investigating Russian election interference. His firm was accused of whitewashing abuses by the former president of Ukraine in cooperation with Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.

  • Jared Kushner is resisting giving up his access to highly classified information, prompting an internal struggle with John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, over who should be allowed to see some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets.

  • Trying to shift the blame for Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump suggested that the previous administration did not do enough to prevent the influence campaign.

  • The Trump administration took another swipe at the Affordable Care Act, proposing new rules making it much easier for consumers to buy cheaper policies that do not comply with coverage requirements of the law.
         — The First Draft Team
The Upshot

The New Pennsylvania House Districts Are In. We Review the Mapmakers’ Choices

By NATE COHN, MATTHEW BLOCH AND KEVIN QUEALY
Perhaps no event will do more to reshape the fight for control of the House than the new congressional map just released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
At stake was the fate of a Republican gerrymander that intended to cement a 13-5 Republican advantage in an evenly divided state. Now the Republicans will have little to no advantage at all.
Democrats couldn’t have asked for much more from the new map. It’s arguably even better for them than the maps they proposed themselves. Over all, a half-dozen competitive Republican-held congressional districts move to the left, endangering several incumbent Republicans, one of whom may now be all but doomed to defeat, and improving Democratic standing in two open races.
Based on recent election results, the new congressional map comes very close to achieving partisan balance.
Read more »
A special award given for coverage of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia was shared between staffs at The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Polk Awards Honor Articles on Russia Investigation and #MeToo Movement

By EMILY COCHRANE

Journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times who uncovered ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were among the winners of the George Polk Awards.

The state of California argued that the waiting period was justified by the need to conduct background checks and the desirability of a “cooling off” period for gun buyers inclined to commit immediate violence.

Justices Won’t Hear Case on Waiting Period for Gun Purchases

By ADAM LIPTAK

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the court had turned the Second Amendment into a “constitutional orphan.”

Alex M. Azar II, the new secretary of health and human services, drafted the new rules with the Treasury and Labor departments.

Administration Moves to Relax Rules on Cheaper Health Insurance

By ROBERT PEAR

Under current rules, such “short-term, limited-duration insurance” cannot last for more than three months. Under the proposal, drafted by Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, the limit would be 364 days.

The country’s financial giants hold more sway over the gun industry than any politician. If banks and credit card companies were to stop doing business with gun shops that sell assault weapons, the supply of such firearms would be greatly reduced.
DEALBOOK

How Banks Could Control Gun Sales if Washington Won’t

By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN

As corporate America espouses “social responsibility,” the financial industry could help limit sales of assault weapons, our columnist writes.

David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has called on lawmakers to enact tougher restrictions on guns.

Right-Wing Media Uses Parkland Shooting as Conspiracy Fodder

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Jack Kingston expressed suspicion toward the teenage survivors of the school shooting in Florida. The website Gateway Pundit claims they were coached.

Soldiers enjoying a moment at the beach next to Zikim, a kibbutz in southern Israel. Military weapons are a common sight in the country, but civilian firearms ownership is strictly controlled.
FACT CHECK

Is Israel a Model When It Comes to Guns, as Huckabee Says?

By ISABEL KERSHNER

Gun-rights supporters like Mike Huckabee, a former governor, have cited Israel as a potential model. But while it has compulsory military service and firearms are a common sight, personal gun ownership is tightly restricted.

A detainee at the United States Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, last year.

U.S. Misses Deadline to Repatriate Detainee Who Pleaded Guilty

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

The lapsing of the deadline for the Guantánamo detainee was another blow to the military commissions system, although the Pentagon was still hoping to transfer him to Saudi Arabia.

Senator Joni Ernst said she supported the idea because it would provide an option for new mothers who might otherwise leave the work force.

Why G.O.P. Plan for Paid Leave Has Stirred Concern on Social Security

By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD AND CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

A proposal supported by Senator Joni Ernst and others would allow people to collect Social Security after a birth, but there’s a catch.

George Clooney and his wife, Amal, at the October premiere for “Suburbicon” in Los Angeles.

Clooney, Winfrey and Spielberg Donate to March Against Gun Violence

By LIAM STACK

A string of celebrities pledged donations of $500,000 each to the March for Our Lives, organized by student survivors of the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

Lining up for a job fair in Manhattan in February 2009, when the nation’s unemployment rate surpassed 8 percent. It peaked later that year at 10 percent.
ECONOMIC SCENE

Come the Recession, Don’t Count on That Safety Net

By EDUARDO PORTER

Republicans seek a leaner welfare system tying government benefits to hard work. But such benefits are worthless when there is no work to be had.