Lowering the Cap

Wednesday, September 13, 2017Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 8.52.46 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The Trump administration is considering reducing the number of refugees admitted to the country over the next year to below 50,000, the lowest number since at least 1980.
  • Median household income rose by 3.2 percent in 2016 as the recovery delivered growing prosperity. Health coverage broadened and poverty declined. The numbers introduced a new twist to the emerging debate over taxes.
  • Senate Democrats warned they would work to block any rewrite of the tax code that repealed the estate tax and the deduction for state and local taxes, arguing that those moves would make a mockery of Republican promises to target tax relief to the middle class.
  • The House and Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution urging President Trump to denounce racist and anti-Semitic hate groups, sending a message of dissatisfaction with his initial response to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va.

  • Mr. Trump gave Congress six months to pass legislation protecting young immigrants brought here as children. If anything, the effort is moving backward.
— The First Draft Team
The Upshot

Blaming Medicaid for the Opioid Crisis: How the Easy Answer Can Be Wrong

“These data appear to point to a larger problem,” Senator Ron Johnson wrote. “Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic in communities across the country.”

“These data appear to point to a larger problem,” Senator Ron Johnson wrote. “Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic in communities across the country.” Cliff Owen/Associated Press

The theory has gained such prominence that a United States senator is investigating it.
“Medicaid expansion may be fueling the opioid epidemic in communities across the country,” Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, wrote recently.
Some conservative opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been passing around the same theory for months. It’s a politically explosive (and convenient) argument, but is it true? Substantial evidence suggests the answer is no, but let’s give it a fair hearing.
Read more »
Prince Khalid bin Salman of Saudi Arabia was greeted by Maj. Gen. Peter E. Gersten as he toured Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas last month.

He’s 28, a Prince and Representing a Kingdom: Meet Washington’s Newest Ambassador


Prince Khalid bin Salman will rely on his royal status to promote Saudi Arabia’s interests in Washington, but his track record is unproven.

Activists in Hong Kong protested Stephen K. Bannon’s visit to the city on Tuesday. Mr. Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Trump, was invited by a company with ties to the Chinese government.

Stephen Bannon, Outspoken Critic of China, Has Subtler Message in Hong Kong Visit


The former Trump strategist, speaking to investors at the invitation of a firm with ties to Beijing, called President Xi Jinping a wise leader.

Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, at the White House last week. Mr. Cohn is convening a meeting of climate and energy ministers from about a dozen nations.

Top White House Official to Discuss Climate Change at U.N.


Gary D. Cohn, the White House economic adviser, has invited climate and energy ministers to a breakfast in New York as part of the annual United Nations meeting.

Revelations about the National Security Agency’s activities changed the political debate over surveillance and prompted closer oversight of intelligence agencies.

Lawmakers Want Limits on Wiretaps Despite Trump Administration Objections


House Judiciary leaders want to temporarily extend and curb an expiring surveillance law, but national security officials want it made permanent without changes.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, during a briefing on Tuesday.

White House Says Justice Department Should Look at Charging Comey


The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that the president was proved right in firing the F.B.I. director in May.

Eric Trump and his wife, Lara, at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland in April.

Eric Luke Trump, the President’s Newest Grandchild, Is Born to Lara and Eric Trump


President Trump shared a rare bit of personal news on Twitter: The first grandchild of his presidency, a boy, was born on Tuesday morning.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey is on trial on charges that he helped a wealthy doctor and political donor in exchange for luxury gifts.

In Testimony, Women Describe Robert Menendez’s Role in Getting Visas


One of the women said Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy friend of Mr. Menedez, told her he would contact the senator after her initial visa application was denied.

Six Baltimore police officers will face no federal charges in the death of Freddie Gray. The officers are, top row from left, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, and bottom row from left, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White.

Baltimore Officers Will Face No Federal Charges in Death of Freddie Gray


The Justice Department has closed its investigation into possible civil rights violations by six police officers in the 2015 death of Mr. Gray.

Voters in San Antonio, Tex., in 2014.

Splitting 5-4, Justices Put Texas Redistricting on Hold


A lower court had ordered Texas to redraw maps found to be discriminatory. The Supreme Court blocked that order while it considers an appeal.

Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, on Monday during a White House memorial for the 9/11 attacks.

Hope Hicks Is Formally Named White House Communications Director


Hope Hicks, one of the president’s most trusted and longest serving aides, was named communications director, among several personnel announcements.

President Trump and other top American officials, left, met at the White House with Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia and his delegation, right, on Tuesday.

Trump Welcomes Najib Razak, the Malaysian Leader, as President, and Owner of a Fine Hotel


Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is under investigation by the Justice Department for corruption allegations.

Stephen K. Bannon on Friday at his Capitol Hill townhouse. He has agreed to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, this month.

Bannon Expected to Address Berkeley, a Hotbed of Conflict Over Free Speech


Stephen K. Bannon has agreed to speak this month at the invitation of a conservative student publication at the University of California, Berkeley.

Posts taken from “Secured Borders,” a Kremlin-tied Facebook page that posed as an American activist group and spread provocative anti-immigrant messages.

Purged Facebook Page Tied to the Kremlin Spread Anti-Immigrant Bile


The page, posing as an activist group, was one of hundreds of fake accounts Russia used in an information campaign during the election, a revelation that has put Facebook on the defensive.

Ms. Windsor gestures to supporters on the steps of the Supreme Court building as justices were hearing her case in March 2013.

Edith Windsor, Whose Same-Sex Marriage Fight Led to Landmark Ruling, Dies at 88


Ms. Windsor’s case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.

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
Ashe Schow in The Federalist:
“If today’s activists think due process is so terrible, what would stop them from working to remove it from our courts?”
The education secretary, Betsy DeVos, seeks to establish a firmer definition of sexual assault, which Ms. Schow says she hopes will stop the trend “creating victims out of students who aren’t actually victims.” Due process can never be an impediment to justice, Ms. Schow writes, and “removal of due process” might have consequences beyond college campuses. Read more »
From the Left
Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post:
“The proof will be in the details of what the Trump administration produces. Still, you don’t have to be a DeVos-like conservative to have serious qualms about the existing approach — and to bristle at the dismissal of such concerns.”
“There is every reason not to trust” Ms. DeVos and the Trump administration when it comes to policing sexual assault on college campuses, Ms. Marcus writes. However, she still finds herself praising — “albeit tentatively and preliminarily” — the education secretary’s attempt to address the “seriously flawed” way in which colleges handled assault investigations, an “overcorrection” in response to the Obama administration’s attempts to get colleges to “take sexual-assault allegations seriously.” Read more »
More selections »