GOP Finishes Doctoring up Health Bill


GOP Finishes Doctoring up Health Bill

June 20, 2017

Republicans may be celebrating more than July 4th after next week. If the Senate gets its act together and successfully deals the health care debate, America may be looking at its independence from Obamacare! According to sources, there's light at the end of the tunnel for GOP leaders, who've spent the last six weeks in a bill-writing frenzy. The plan's great reveal is scheduled for Thursday or Friday, when both parties will finally get a peek at Republicans' vision for one-sixth of the U.S. economy. At today's policy lunch, the GOP was expected to get its first look at how the chairmen drew up the big-ticket items like tax credits, Medicaid changes, and Planned Parenthood funding.

"The Senate will soon have a chance to turn the page on this failed law," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters. "We have to act, and we are." Despite the tight turnaround, he promises that the Senate will have "ample opportunity to read and amend the bill." Of course, Democrats are already complaining about the timeline and vowing to gum up the process. That's ironic, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pointed out, since Obama's party dropped its bill on Republicans on Christmas Eve. If all goes according to plan, senators will have 20 hours of debate, followed by a rapid-fire vote-a-rama, where parties can offer an unlimited number of amendments without much discussion.

The margins for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are razor thin. With three senators threatening to defect -- including the two pro-abortion Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) -- the dance for GOP support is a delicate one. The surest way to lose it, the House Republican Study Committee warned, is stripping any of the pro-life protections. More than 70 members signed on to a letter setting their own conditions for a Senate plan. And keeping taxpayers out of the abortion business is one of them.

"While there have been differences of opinion on the best way to fix our nation's health care system, the pro-life majority in the House of Representatives has reached consensus that any health care legislation must abide by the overarching principle that abortion is not health care, and that therefore, elective abortion, abortion providers, and health plans that include abortion should not be subsidized..."

"The House-passed American Health Care Act of 2017 applied these principles by including statutory protections against funding abortion under any current and future tax credits utilized under this bill, or any form of government assistance for the purchase of health care; and reallocating funds away from certain abortion providers to community health centers... We encourage your continued prioritization of these pro-life principles."

Translation? Pass a plan that doesn't protect the unborn, and it's dead on arrival. Even if McConnell makes it past the Senate's landmines (and there are plenty of them), he'll still have to hash out the plan's rewrite with the House in conference. That gives House leaders plenty of sway in what and how much the upper chamber changes -- which, on core values, we hope isn't much.

FRC, which worked with the House Freedom Caucus to smooth out the American Health Care Act's rough edges, was as pleased as voters that the House's final product wasn't just pro-life, but pro-family. After taking a bite out of Americans' wallets for years, House leaders struck a compromise that drops costs and boosts freedom too. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) thinks even more can be done on that front, telling the media, "...[I]f we focus on lowering premiums we can bring together conservatives, we can bring together moderates, we can unify Republicans, and actually fulfill the mandate the American people sent us here to do."


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Media's Coverage only Spin Deep

June 20, 2017

The liberal media has a philosophy on all things Trump: Guilty before proven innocent. Even the most innocuous stories become headline news from a far-Left press desperate to smear the administration -- whether it deserves it or not. But don't take our word for it. Everyone from Newsbusters to Harvard University have been astounded at the hostile coverage of the Trump administration, which is outpacing every president in history! By the end of Trump's first 100 days, the major broadcast networks' stories were 89 percent negative. Compare that to Barack Obama, who the media "gushed" over, and you'll understand why trust in the press is at an all-time low.

Months into Trump's first year, the Left's spin is starting to color even routine government studies. Just this week, the press started fanning the flames of a non-story about the Civil Rights Commission. NBC News took one of the first swipes, claiming that the president was the subject of another investigation for his refusal to enforce civil rights laws. Claiming Trump is under the microscope for underperforming in the area of discrimination, the article goes on to suggest that the two-year probe was the result of the White House's indifference on "discrimination."

Hardly, fired back a member of the Commission. Peter Kirsanow could only shake his head at the liberties taken by the media. According to his column in National Review, this probe wasn't triggered by anything the Trump administration did or didn't do. "Not only is such review unremarkable, the Commission is required by statute to produce an annual civil-rights-enforcement report. Such report was done in each of the 15 years I've served on the Commission. And each year, the media yawned, if they bothered to report about them at all." Still, he complained, the Left latched on to the news as if there'd been "some wrongdoing, scandal, or nefarious conduct by the Trump administration related to civil-rights enforcement." Not so, Kirsanow wrote. "...[T]hese reviews are not unique or peculiar to this president."

Unfortunately for Trump, the media isn't the only one sharpening its knives. The liberal majority on the Commission itself, without waiting for the actually review, appears to already be issuing verdict on the White House's record. The majority's statement might as well have been straight off of a DNC press release, blasting the president for his proposed cuts to the office, which they claim would "result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination." That's interesting, Kirsanow points out, since President Trump's budget proposal actually "increases funding for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division."

Like so many agencies where Obama appointees are still burrowed into government jobs, the Civil Rights Commission is setting out to paint Trump in the worst possible light. Based on their statements -- which Kirsanow explains were issued without calling even one witness or analyzing a single document -- they've already made up their minds about this administration. If anything should fan the flames of uprooting these Obama holdovers, it's stories like this one!


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Texans Shower Praise on Bathroom Push

June 20, 2017

Texas leaders have a month to get ready for the state's special session -- and a new University of Texas poll is giving them plenty to think about while they do. Turns out, House Speaker Joe Straus is in the minority when he says the privacy act doesn't matter. "There's no evidence of a problem," he said March. "We will always have public debate, but this is not an issue that rises to a level of extreme importance."

Tell that to Lone Star State voters, who think the gender debate matters a lot more than they did in February. The University of Texas/Texas Tribune polled voters and found that 44 percent of all locals think the topic is important, including 57 percent of Republicans. That may not sound like a lot, but it's a significant jump over the last few months, analysts point out. "Lt. Governor Dan Patrick led the charge in... making it more salient to Republicans," said Jim Henson, who heads up the Texas Politics Project at UT. "It worked. Whatever their attitudes are, when we ask if it's important for the Legislature to act, the number of Republicans who thought so increased 13 points from February to June -- and 31 points among Tea Party Republicans [to 70 percent]."

Like most Americans, Texans agree that men shouldn't be allowed to use girl's restrooms, showers, or locker rooms. Sixty-nine percent, to be exact (and that includes 56 percent of Democrats!). "When Texans were told that some businesses believe legislation prohibiting men from using women's bathrooms 'might look discriminatory and could hurt businesses,' opinions do not change substantially as 68 percent still support the proposed law to prohibit men from entering a public women's shower, locker room or restroom."

We congratulate Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Lt. Governor Patrick for taking the concerns – and privacy -- of Texans seriously. Let's hope politicians like Straus can put aside their personal agendas long enough to do the will of the people.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


FRC in the Spotlight

June 20, 2017

FRC's Ken Blackwell has been tracking the Trump administration's new vision for welfare, and you won't want to miss his take in the Christian Post, "Trump and Welfare Reform: No More Free Lunch," and CNS News, "Trump Set to Follow in the Gipper's Footsteps, Making Work Center of Social Welfare Policy."


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.



Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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