Health Effort Collapses

Tuesday, July 18, 2017Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.09.12 AM

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

Departing Ethics Chief: U.S. Is ‘Close to a Laughingstock’

By ERIC LIPTON AND NICHOLAS FANDOS
As director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub Jr. has often gone head-to-head with the Trump administration over conflicts of interest.

As director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub Jr. has often gone head-to-head with the Trump administration over conflicts of interest. Vanessa Vick for The New York Times

Actions by President Trump and his administration have created a historic ethics crisis, the departing head of the Office of Government Ethics said. He called for major changes in federal law to expand the power and reach of the oversight office and combat the threat.
Walter M. Shaub Jr., who is resigning as the federal government’s top ethics watchdog on Tuesday, said the Trump administration had flouted or directly challenged long-accepted norms in a way that threatened to undermine the United States’ ethical standards, which have been admired around the world.
“It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility,” Mr. Shaub said in a two-hour interview this past weekend — a weekend Mr. Trump let the world know he was spending at a family-owned golf club that was being paid to host the U.S. Women’s Open tournament. “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”
Mr. Shaub called for nearly a dozen legal changes to strengthen the federal ethics system: changes that, in many cases, he had not considered necessary before Mr. Trump’s election. Every other president since the 1970s, Republican or Democrat, worked closely with the ethics office, he said.
Read more »
Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana at the National Governors Association meeting in Providence, R.I., on Friday. “Some of the things that I’ve been able to do in Montana can also translate beyond just the state’s border,” he said.
POLITICAL MEMO

As Party Drifts Left, Pragmatic Democratic Governors Have Eye on White House

By JONATHAN MARTIN

The election of 2016 may have empowered the party’s left, but a cluster of Democratic governors is emerging as a pragmatic voice.

Employees at a wire harness and cable assembly plant in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, that exports to the United States.

U.S. Calls for ‘Much Better Deal’ in Nafta Overhaul Plan

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

The Trump administration sent a list of objectives to Congress that emphasizes the reduction of the United States’ trade deficit with Canada and Mexico.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, center, suggests the delays are in protest of Republicans’ actions on the health bill.
ON WASHINGTON

Democrats Perfect Art of Delay While Republicans Fume Over Trump Nominees

By CARL HULSE

Some Republicans say stonewalling could be counterproductive if the White House leaves “acting” officials in administration posts without Senate review.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, center, wrote the majority opinions in all four of the court’s landmark gay-rights rulings.
SIDEBAR

Gay Rights Groups Seek One More Win From Justice Kennedy

By ADAM LIPTAK

With Justice Anthony M. Kennedy rumored to be considering retirement, groups want the Supreme Court to take up an employment discrimination challenge before he leaves.

The conservative commentator Ann Coulter excoriated Delta Air Lines after she was removed from a seat that she said she had specifically booked.

Delta Air Lines Fires Back at Ann Coulter on Twitter, but Refunds Her $30

By CHRISTOPHER MELE

After a seat mix-up, the conservative commentator posted a barrage of criticism about Delta on Twitter. Delta responded that her actions were “unnecessary and unacceptable.”

Danielle Kang tees off on the 18th hole at the Women’s P.G.A. Championship golf tournament in July.
ON THE RUNWAY

From the L.P.G.A. to Congress, Dress Code as a Cause Célèbre

By VANESSA FRIEDMAN

Paul D. Ryan has promised less restrictive guidelines for the speaker’s lobby, the golf association is adding restrictions, and social media is up in arms over “appropriate dress.”

McMurdo Station, an American research center in Antarctica.

Where Else Does the U.S. Have an Infrastructure Problem? Antarctica

By JUSTIN GILLIS AND JONATHAN CORUM

The United States has had the most ambitious research program in Antarctica for 50 years. But our reporters journeyed there and found the infrastructure is aging and deteriorating, and the new prices are high.

The Top Jobs in Trump’s Administration Are Mostly Vacant: Who’s to Blame?

By KAREN YOURISH AND GREGOR AISCH

President Trump has filled far fewer top jobs in cabinet or cabinet-level agencies than President Barack Obama had at this point in his presidency, according to a New York Times analysis.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden September 28, 2015.

Joe Biden’s New Book to Be Released in November

By CONCEPCIÓN DE LEÓN

“Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” will reflect on the challenges of governing while mourning.

Workers making swimwear at a factory in Jinjiang, China, this month.

U.S. and Chinese Executives to Meet on Nations’ Economic Relations

By KATE KELLY

A meeting of more than 20 business leaders from the United States and China will focus on issues that trouble economic relations between the countries.

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
• John Fund in National Review:
“I’m glad the news media is pursuing the Trump-Russia scandal, but let’s not forget the differences between how they are covering Russia compared with how they reported a similar story — this one involving Communist China — that developed during Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.”
Mr. Fund doesn’t let us forget. He concisely and authoritatively summarizes the specifics of the Clinton-China episode as he makes the case for perspective. The Trump campaign is not the first to have questions raised about its relationships with a foreign state.
Read more »
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From the Left
• Eliza Newlin Carney in The American Prospect:
“Wherever federal and congressional investigations lead, the danger posed by foreign interference in U.S. elections goes beyond the Trump campaign.”
Ms. Carney wants to draw more attention to the regulatory proccess at the Federal Election Commmission. The F.E.C. is grappling with questions about what Russia’s reported interests in American elections could mean — independent of any discoveries made during the current investigations — in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 that lifted the limits on political contributions from corporations, some see a potential loophole for foreign citizens to exploit. When Ms. Carney looks to how the F.E.C. is handling these questions, she finds a partisan divide. Read more »
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