Vulgar Terms

Friday, January 12, 2018Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 8.48.28 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump demanded to know why the United States should welcome immigrants from shithole countries like Haiti and not from countries like Norway. Mr. Trump made the remarks at a meeting with lawmakers at the White House, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.

  • It is exceedingly rare for the country’s biggest news organizations to publish a quote that includes an expletive. Here’s why an exception was made.
  • The House of Representatives voted to extend the legal basis for the warrantless surveillance program by six years with only minimal changes.
  • Federal officials said they would support state efforts to require able-bodied adults to work as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.
  • Diverging decisions this week by federal judges in North Carolina and Pennsylvania are certain to draw the Supreme Court’s interest as it mulls whether to curtail partisan gerrymandering.
— The First Draft Team

A Year Later, Trump Is Less Popular Across Voting Blocs

See by How Much

President Trump’s approval rating fell across a wide swath of demographic groups over his first year in office, including among those seen as important to his base, like white voters, evangelical Christians and rural residents.
The data is from Morning Consult, a polling company that conducted daily tracking of Mr. Trump’s approval among all adults.
Despite losing some support across many groups, Mr. Trump remains popular with many of the constituencies that helped usher him into the White House. His largest declines were among groups that never supported him much to begin with.
Read more »
Seema Verma, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has backed the plan to let states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

Can Requiring People to Work Make Them Healthier?


The Trump administration wants to make a major change to Medicaid, but there’s not a lot of evidence for one of its key assertions.

Julian Assange speaking at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London last year.

Ecuador Gives Assange Citizenship, Worsening Standoff With Britain


Ecuador wants the WikiLeaks founder to leave its London embassy, but Whitehall insists that he face justice, which could include extradition to the United States.

President Trump signed the tax bill into law last month. On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued new guidance to help companies carry out the changes.

To Lift Paychecks, Treasury Urges Companies to Act Quickly on New Tax Law


The Treasury Department took the first steps toward carrying out the $1.5 trillion Republican tax overhaul with the release of new tax withholding tables.

Melania Trump Hires Policy Director Amid Scrutiny From New Book

Melania Trump has so far given few clues to where she may focus her policy efforts, but she has publicly expressed interest in helping children affected by the opioid crisis, advocating anti-bullying measures and aiding disaster relief efforts.By KATIE ROGERS

For months, Mrs. Trump’s East Wing had undergone a search for a policy director who could advance an agenda that has been broadly defined as helping children.

State Representative Norma Smith, a Republican, has introduced one of two net neutrality bills in Washington. “This is not a partisan issue here,” she said.

States Push Back After Net Neutrality Repeal


At least six, including California, New York and Washington, are considering bills to restore protections that the F.C.C. ended, but political and legal obstacles may stand in the way.

Federal regulators said Thursday that Texas’s decision to set a “target” for the maximum percentage of students who should receive special education services violated federal laws.

Texas Illegally Barred Special Education for Thousands, U.S. Says


A state “target” meant to limit the number of students receiving special education services violated federal law, regulators said in a letter ordering the state to make amends.

A Walmart employee in Fulton, N.Y., stocking shelves last year. The retailer said Thursday that it would use some of the money it expects to save under the recently passed tax bill to pay for wage increases and enhanced benefits.

Walmart’s Bumpy Day: From Wage Increase to Store Closings


The company cited the new tax law in announcing better pay and benefits, immersing itself in the partisan debate over tax policy. Then it closed 63 stores.

Officials in front of a Cold War-era civil defense exhibit at the Port Authority Bus Terminal showing New York City aflame. Unlikely as nuclear war may be, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will present a workshop detailing what survivors should do after a nuclear weapon detonates.

The C.D.C. Wants to Get People Prepared for Nuclear War


The nation’s public health agency says a workshop was scheduled months ago, before President Trump’s recent tweets about nuclear buttons and North Korea.

A group of young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers at the Capitol on Wednesday to support legislation that would allow them to stay in the United States without fear of deportation.

These Claims About ‘Chain Migration’ Are Not Accurate


President Trump said “22 to 24 people” immigrated to the U.S. with visas sponsored by the suspect in the Manhattan truck attack, but this is implausible.

Trump Boasts of Very Good Relationship With North Korean Leader

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump have traded taunts for months.By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

The president’s rosy description of his relationship with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, was a jarring reversal in tone after months of the two leaders trading taunts.

Representative Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, is not the only strong challenger to back out of a Senate race to unseat a Democrat in a state President Trump won in 2016.

Republicans’ ‘Tough Cycle’ Now Spreads to Senate


Republicans are facing challenges in recruiting Senate candidates, even in states that President Trump won easily in 2016.

Pressed on False Claims About Muslims, U.S. Ambassador Goes Silent


In an exchange with Dutch journalists, Peter Hoekstra declined to clarify his prior remarks. “This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions,” one reporter said.

Treasury Inspector General Finds No Political Meddling in Tax Analysis


The Treasury Department’s failure to provide an economic analysis of its $1.5 trillion tax plan had prompted an inquiry into whether political interference played a part.

Retailers in the United States are having trouble keeping “Fire and Fury” in stock. Pirated copies of the book are already circulating online in Asia.

North Korea Praises ‘Fire and Fury’ Book on Trump Administration


The popularity of the book, which describes dysfunction in the White House, “foretells President Trump’s political demise,” North Korean state media said.

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
Jim Banks in The Washington Examiner:
“As a conservative, I am committed to both protecting our national security and our civil liberties. As a matter of national security, we cannot return to a pre-9/11 footing by reinstituting barriers between national security and law enforcement.”
Mr. Banks, a Republican congressman from Indiana, explains why he supports the decision by Congress to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The statute allows the government to continue conducting warrantless searches of communications of foreigners abroad, even when they are talking to American citizens. Mr. Banks argues that the provision is an “irreplaceable tool” crucial for the intelligence community to protect the nation. Moreover, he counters arguments that Section 702 compromises the privacy of Americans by explaining that it “is subject to extraordinary checks and balances, including oversight from all three branches of government.” Read more »
From the Left
Alex Shephard in New Republic:
“Trump’s FISA tweets betray a deep ignorance of the program, suggesting that he is getting his policy briefings not from White House staffers, but from television.”
Mr. Shephard takes on a particularly odd moment in the battle over the law’s reauthorization when, on Thursday morning, President Trump posted seemingly contradictory Twitter messages on the issue. To Mr. Shephard, the president’s walking back of his initial message against reauthorization was a sign that he was out of step with his own administration. He says it shows that Republican legislators have decided that, on policy, they will just ignore what their party’s leader has to say. Read more »
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