It’s Thursday. Let’s dig in.
1) Republicans think they have enough votes to dismantle Obamacare.
Brace yourselves. From The New York Times:
House Republican leaders planned to hold a showdown vote Thursday on their bill to repeal and replace large portions of the Affordable Care Act after adding $8 billion to the measure to help cover insurance costs for people with pre-existing conditions.
“We have enough votes,” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, said Wednesday night. “It’ll pass.”
Should this train wreck pass, millions of Americans will suffer.
The American Medical Association and 10 organizations representing patients, including the American Heart Association and the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society, reiterated their opposition to the House Republican bill on Wednesday, as did the retirees’ lobby AARP.
“None of the legislative tweaks under consideration changes the serious harm to patients and the health care delivery system” that the bill would cause, said Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, the president of the American Medical Association. The latest changes, he said, “tinker at the edges without remedying the fundamental failing of the bill — that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance as a direct result of this proposal.”
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, also criticized the latest version of the legislation. “The proposed Upton amendment is like administering cough medicine to someone with stage-four cancer,” he said in a statement. “This Republican amendment leaves Americans with pre-existing conditions as vulnerable as they were before under this bill.”
Related: Don’t let it happen.
2) Comey felt “nauseous” thinking he had influenced the election.
Nobody feels bad for you, James. From the NYT:
James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, sharply defended his decision to notify Congress about new emails in the Hillary Clinton investigation just before Election Day, reopening on Wednesday the still-raw debate over whether he cost her the presidency.
Mr. Comey’s remarks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing were his first public explanation for his actions, which roiled the campaign in its final days and cast a harsh spotlight on him. He acknowledged that revealing the renewed inquiry and enduring the torrent of criticism that followed had taken a toll.
“It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” he told the senators. “But honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.”
So why did he do it?
By turns animated and defensive, at one point throwing his arms up to punctuate a point, the typically unflappable Mr. Comey argued that he had been left with no choice when he sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28 disclosing that his agents had just uncovered emails that might have been relevant to the Clinton investigation.
“Concealment, in my view, would have been catastrophic,” he said, adding later that he knew the decision would be “disastrous for me personally.”
3) Stephen Bannon’s whiteboard is frightening.
Thanks to social media—and a selfie Bannon took with a well-known Orthodox rabbi—we now know quite about about what the president’s chief strategist is trying to get done. Here’s a look:
There are check marks next to these items:
Suspend the Syrian refugee program
(That suspension, issued as part of an executive action, has been stymied by the courts, however)
(Yep, the Department of Justice is hard at work stepping up deportations and prosecutions)
Hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and
Triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents
(That’s in the works, but has encountered some hurdles, as CNNMoney has reported)
Restore the Secure Communities program
Achieved as part of an initial raft of executive orders, this is aimed at making local law enforcement share biometric data with the feds.
Other bullets under immigration may have check marks too, but they’re not visible.
Some of the bullets are targeted at legislation, like the tax reform and Obamacare sections, neither of which has any check marks.
Others are targeted at specific bills, like the Davis-Oliver bill, which would give local law enforcement more responsibility to detain the undocumented. There’s mention of “Kate’s Law,” which would send foreigners who re-enter the country illegally after being deported, to jail for at least five years.
There’s also mention, mostly obscured, of the Iran nuclear deal and moving the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. Under what must be “Pledges on Trade,” it mentions withdrawing from something, negotiating something else and renegotiating a third thing.
4) The Raleigh Police Department says Smithfield Chicken employees were not, in fact, singing ‘Fuck tha Police.”
From the INDY:
Here are some of the Facebook posts people left for Smithfield’s after the fake news was posted by RPPA. Spoiler alert: They are pretty disheartening.
Have a good one.