Tag Archives: Congress

Trump hire’s and send’s people to work without Congressional confirmation…

He’s Donald Trump….

The King….

He doesn’t need Congress to ok his hires, right?…That just the Law….

The Trump administration is pushing the limits of an obscure federal law that restricts nominees from serving in federal positions before they’re approved by the Senate.

A POLITICO review has identified four officials at three different agencies doing substantially similar work to the position for which they have been nominated – despite not yet getting a green-light from the Senate.

The hires reflect increasing impatience in federal agencies that key jobs remain unfilled nine months into the new administration.

President Donald Trump has complained repeatedly that Democrats are moving too slowly to confirm his nominees, though he’s also said he intends to leave many jobs empty. Democrats counter that the onus is on Trump, who has not yet announced nominees for a slew of key positions across the government.

Either way, lawyers and other experts said the moves – including by the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget – to have unconfirmed nominees show up for work appears to skirt the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which prohibits most people who have been nominated to fill a vacant government position from performing that office’s duties in an acting capacity.

It’s unclear whether the officials in question are in direct violation of the law, but some experts said the administration appears to be defying its intent…..

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The US NAVY is looking for a Two Aircraft Carrier buy…..

To be built at the SAME Time…..

 President Donald Trump has ordered the USS Ronald Reagan to the Korean peninsula

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said he asked companies to develop plans to reduce the cost of buying warships. The companies suggested that buying two aircraft carriers at the same time could yield savings, and the proposal is starting to look attractive enough for the Navy to back the plan, Mr. Spencer told the Wall Street Journal.

Congress typically allows the Pentagon to buy only one carrier at a time. Carriers can cost as much as $13 billion each.

The Navy is hoping that providing clearer requirements to industry and working with companies to improve efficiency will translate into cost savings.

Mr. Spencer would not say how much savings defense contractors are offering on the carrier deal, but said it could be significant. Getting Congress to commit in advance to an additional carrier could be difficult because it strips lawmaker of some control over funding.

“They are right at the cusp of making it worth heavy, heavy lifting,” Mr. Spencer said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

President Donald Trump has pledged to push for lower costs as he backs expansion of the Navy to a 350-ship fleet, more less than 300 vessels…..

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image of The strike groups of USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan j..scout.com

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AG Sessions goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee….

It was the former Senator’s old stomping grounds…

Things will polite…But different I’m sure…

We’ll follow up on his visit later…

“The attorney general will earn his money that day,” said committee member John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican.

Senate Democrats have plenty of fodder to put the former Alabama Republican senator on the spot. The Justice Department under Sessions has argued in courts against civil rights protections for LGBT individuals, moved to bolster protections for religious liberties and sought to withhold grant funding for so-called sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The DOJ flipped positions on key voter rights litigation under Sessions’ leadership and has defended the Trump administration’s evolving versions of immigrant and refugee travel bans. Sessions backed more use of a civil asset forfeiture process that is criticized by lawmakers from both parties and announced a crackdown on leakers of classified information after President Donald Trump griped about it to the media.

Sessions declined to defend an Obama-era program that provides deportation relief to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. He also recommended Trump fire James B. Comey as FBI director, and wrote a legal memo that the Trump administration used last week to announce it would end key subsidies in the 2010 health care law.

“It’s a long list,” said Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, a committee member who said he will focus on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program. “It’s good to see him back after a long period of time, and there are so many questions to be asked about policies.”….

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Is Trump actually gonna push Congress to support Obamacare?

While the media chorus has been anti-Trump on the Affordable Healthcare law know as Obamacare….

There does seem to be a plan afoot to get Congress to work on fixing the countries healthcare program….

It seems that Trump in his own way  IS pushing Republicans and Democrats to get together and work out  a ‘deal’…..

Trump stopping of insurance payments to insurance companies puts the onus on Congress to do so….Trump wants to stop having ok the monthly payments and he’s right…The monthly thing was a dig at Obama , who is gone….

The problem is now where it should be…In Congress….

Republicans cannot do this alone…

So Democratic leaders WILL have to sit down and work out a deal with the Republicans to make the payments a longer term thing that comes from them , Not the White House and yes….Like things are supposed to be?…Democrats are gonna have to let the states  have more flexibility ….

This won’t hurt blue state healthcare users….But it WILL hurt red sate state users, some who surely lose some coverage…. Red state Democrats might be able run on those cuts since the Obamacare program has gained support by more Americans even in Red states….

The last few years actions by Republican against the nations healthcare system have come home….

Here’s the latest….

Congressional Democrats have to decide how badly they want an ObamaCare deal.

Senate Republicans are open to renewing the insurer payments that President Trump canceled last week, but, in return, they want to expand a program that allows states to waive Affordable Care Act regulations.

That asking price could be hard for Democrats to swallow.

While Democrats want to protect ObamaCare, they fear that expanding the waivers would allow states to chip away at the bedrock protections of the law, including the rules on what an insurance plan must cover.

The politics of the health-care debate are also shifting.

While ObamaCare used to be a liability for Democrats, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in August found that 60 percent of respondents think Republicans are responsible for problems in the Affordable Care Act going forward. Only 28 percent said the responsibility rests with Democrats.

Polls like that make some Republicans nervous about an ObamaCare backlash in the 2018 elections. And Democrats, hopeful of winning back the House and potentially even the Senate next year, are eager to hang ObamaCare’s problems around the GOP’s neck.

“Republicans in the House and Senate now own the health-care system in this country from top to bottom, and their destructive actions, and the actions of the president, are going to fall on their backs,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Friday.

Negotiations over an ObamaCare bill have been going on for weeks, with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) seeking an agreement to stabilize the markets and protect people’s coverage options.

Democrats say they are pushing for a deal, and Murray said Friday she was “optimistic” that one could be reached…..

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Note….

Anybody rmention Bernie Sanders ‘Single Payer’ rants?

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How Congress helped the Drug companies and let the Opiod crisis get worst…

The Republican guy coming in the head the nation’s Drug programs was the guy who helped deny the DEA the ability to to something about the drug problem which has grown by leaps and bounds…

He’s getting rewarded for doing so…

As with Healthcare and the Environment also?

Republican pushes to enrich business interests often work to harm Americans personally….And most GOP lawmakers REALLY do NOT give a shit….

Image result for Rep Tom marino

In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

The chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA was Rep. Tom Marino,a Pennsylvania Republican who is now President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar. Marino spent years trying to move the law through Congress. It passed after Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) negotiated a final version with the DEA.

As Rep. Tom Marino’s Pennsylvania district was reeling from the opioid crisis, he sponsored a bill that, current and former Drug Enforcement Administration officials say, undermined the DEA’s efforts to stop the flow of pain pills. (Video: Alice Li/Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

For years, some drug distributors were fined for repeatedly ignoring warnings from the DEA to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills, while they racked up billions of dollars in sales.

The new law makes it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies, according to internal agency and Justice Department documents and an independent assessment by the DEA’s chief administrative law judge in a soon-to-be-published law review article. That powerful tool had allowed the agency to immediately prevent drugs from reaching the street…..

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NRA against outright ban of ‘bump-stock’ auto firing device for assault rifles…

What a SURPRISE!….

NOT REALLY….

Anybody who even thought the National Rifle Assoc. was gonna back any legislation against anything doing with gun ownership was sadly mistaken….

The powerful U.S. gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, said on Sunday it would oppose an outright ban on bump-stock devices that the killer in the Las Vegas massacre of 58 people used to turn rifles into automatic weapons and strafe a crowd with bursts of sustained gunfire.

The NRA, which has seldom embraced new firearms-control measures, stunned gun control advocates last week when it issued a statement voicing willingness to support a restriction on bump stocks.

On Sunday, the organization said it was open to regulation but opposed any legislation banning the devices.

“We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything. What we have said has been very clear – that if something transfers a semiautomatic to function like a fully automatic, then it ought to be regulated differently,” Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, said on “Fox News Sunday.”…..

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn will run for Corker’s Tenn US Senate seat…

Republican Bob Corker has had enough, so he won’t run for re-election….

As expected?

Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee will run to replace him in the US Senate…She is a true beliver conservative anti-establishment type….

Image result for rep blackburn

Rep. Blackburn continues a trend of conservative, anti-establishment Republicans hoping to claim a Senate seat.

Roy Moore, the Alabama candidate backed by Breitbart and Steve Bannon, beat incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in last month’s special election — even after Trump and Mitch McConnell endorsed him. Blackburn will similarly go after Democrats and establishment Republicans alike…..

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No Repeal….No other action…Healthcare Insurers move to raise rates for individual’s….

Republicans have failed to repeal the law….

And have NOTHING to fix it…..(they could do something later…Congress is NOT good on deadlines)

So in a lot of states?

They are allowing the insurance companies to raise their rates by up to 60%…..

Of course this is a effort to get Congress to continue to subsidize the insurance companies …..But?

In the end?

The Republicans are trying to get what they wanted in the first place…

To make something that people have come to like and depend on?

A failure….(They are sure to place the blame for the increased premiums on Obama, not their none efforts…)

Health insurers are aggressively increasing prices next year for individual policies sold under the federal health care law, with some raising premiums by more than 50 percent.

By approving such steep increases for 2018 in recent weeks, regulators in many states appeared to be coaxing companies to hang in there, despite turmoil in the market and continuing uncertainty in Congress about the future of the law, the Affordable Care Act.

In Georgia, the state insurance commissioner, Ralph T. Hudgens, an outspoken critic of the law, often referred to as Obamacare, said the rates he approved would be up to 57.5 percent higher next year. The state had already lost Anthem, the large insurer that offers for-profit Blue Cross plans in several states, which left many markets in Georgia.

“Obamacare has become even more unaffordable for Georgia’s middle class,” Mr. Hudgens said in a statement. “I am disappointed by reports that the latest Obamacare repeal has stalled once again and urge Congress to take action to end this failed health insurance experiment.”

In Florida, the average rate increase will be about 45 percent, according to state regulators. And in New York, where officials said prices would still be below where they were before the law took effect, premiums were expected to increase by an average of about 14 percent. Many states have not made insurers’ rate increases public, and experts said the rise in costs for consumers could run from 10 percent to nearly 60 percent…..

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to intro a sweeping Federal background Check Bill…Update…Gun Stocks Rise…

In light of the  mass violence in Las Vegas Sen Murphy is getting ready to sponser a bill in Congress requiring increased background checks ….

The Bill will go nowhere just as other efforts after similar mass shootings….

Murphy acknowledged that it’s not yet clear if stronger background checks would have prevented Sunday’s shooting, but argued that it could have saved dozens of others who are shot, on average, each day in the United States.

“The fact is 80 other people died from guns yesterday and stronger background checks laws would have saved many of them,” he said.

Murphy noted he was still working out the timing of when he would introduce the legislation.

A group of Democratic senators, including Murphy, introduced legislation in 2016 that would have required a background check for nearly every sale or transfer of a gun.

But senators rejected both that measure, and a GOP alternative, last year, just days after the shootings at the Pulse.

Given those votes, any background check or gun control bill faces an uphill and unlikely path forward in a GOP-controlled Congress. ….

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Note….

Murphy is looking for a background check law…

He is CAREFULLY NOT looking to ban certain types of weapons …

Update….

Gun stocks rose Monday following the deadliest mass shooting in American history late Sunday night. A gunman in a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas killed at least 58 people attending an outdoor concert and wounded over 500 more.

Shares of Sturm Ruger (RGR) were up 4%, while American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson, gained more than 3%. A company named Olin(OLN), which owns the Winchester brand of ammunition, rose 6% to an all-time high.

The stocks have tended to rally in the immediate aftermath of mass killings, which sadly have become more routine…..

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Republicans are working to defy Trump on Dreamers deal with Democrats…

Stung by President Donald Trump’s efforts to cut a deal with Democrats on keeping the 800,000 to 1.2 million Dreamers from being deported from this country?

The Republicans are setting out to do what they did to President Obama ….

Rolling Him…..

The House memebers GOP Speaker Paul Ryan (who is trying to keep his anti-immigration people happy) has given the task of writing legisition on Trump’s request is balking at any support for a bipartisan deal….

The House Democrats are well aware of this and have dug in their heels also….

There is support for Trump’s wishes…

But that support has yet to come forward….

And some the Dreamers have to decide what to do soon with no guarantee if signing up to continue in the program is just giving the govermnment a way to find them and ship them out….

Trump is gonna have to come back and work this against rightleaners in his own adopted party to get what he wants…

Ironically?

The rightleaners are holding out for Trump’s own ‘wall’ somethingb they KNOW Democrats won’t support….

Stay tuned for the give and take that is gonna occur to get this done….

“We are ready to work with Republicans to get the bipartisan DREAM Act signed into law,” Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in an op-ed Friday, where they reiterated their agreement with Trump not to include border wall funding as part of the deal.

But GOP leadership’s partisan approach isn’t surprising. Immigration is one of the most sensitive topics for the right. Ex-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) got burned by his conference when he even flirted with the notion of a bipartisan immigration solution a few years ago, and then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor was ousted in a primary in part because of the issue.

When Ryan became speaker, he promised his right flank that he would never make them vote on an immigration bill that doesn’t have the support of a majority of the majority. Should he put Trump’s DACA deal up for a vote, he could very well face a mutiny.

Republicans want more than just a fortified border in exchange for codifying the program. Many conservatives are still enamored with Trump’s wall. And even GOP leaders are talking about hiking the number of border enforcement officers and enacting a program requiring employers to certify the legal status of their workforce known as E-Verify.

The dramatic difference between Trump and some in the House GOP was on full display during a Capitol Hill event with conservatives last week. Members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus discussed at length demanding an end to birthright citizenship or chain migration before even considering a continuation of DACA.

“When we’re talking about DACA, it’s the cream on the cake. You got to get to the meat and potatoes first,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said. “You have to talk about chain migration. You have to talk about birthright citizen for an illegal.”

“If it’s just, ‘Let’s-give-some-more-amnesty-to-illegal-aliens’ kind of legislation, then it has zero chance of getting my support,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said.

Comments like these are why Ryan started his working group, which is comprised of immigration hard-liners and moderates alike. Sources say they are likely to make a proposal that goes well beyond Trump’s framework and might include the physical southern structure Trump campaigned on.

For now, Democrats say they’re waiting on the White House to send over a list of legislative priorities the administration would like to see in any final deal. Several Democrats said they were rattled by the leak of a White House document last week that included many hard-line immigration ideas Democrats would never support.

But a Democratic aide later said the plan, written by White House adviser Stephen Miller, an immigration hard-liner, is believed to have been drafted before Trump had dinner with Schumer and Pelosi on Sept. 13…..

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First Trump articles of impeachment vote could be coming next week….

It will fail….

But it COULD the first of many attempts to vote him out of office…..

Image result for Rep Green/Trump

Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) was enjoying a cup of tea in his Washington living room Friday night, watching TV coverage of President Trump’s Alabama rally when the subject turned to the scattered protests that professional athletes have engaged in during the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now?’ ” Trump said.

For much of the political world, it was typical Trumpian bombast, an opening salvo in a culturally divisive battle that would only endear the president to his strongest supporters. To Green, however, it was the final insult to be tolerated after months of them.

Green said Tuesday that he plans to introduce articles of impeachment next week and use special House procedures to bring them to a rapid floor vote, marking the first time that Trump would be subjected to an impeachment vote in Congress.

The gambit is not expected to succeed, or even attract more than token support from Green’s colleagues. Democratic leaders have sought to tamp down impeachment efforts pending the outcome of various congressional and criminal investigations into the Trump campaign’s dealings…..

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The House wants to redirect the Defense Intelligence Agency back to just helping the troops…

The Defense Departments Intelligence shop has experienced a major case of ‘mission creep’…..

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency is in the cross hairs of the House Intelligence Committee, which is aiming for a radical overhaul of the military’s spy arm.

The committee sees it as bloated and ineffective. But how far such an effort would go remains to be seen as several other congressional oversight panels that would have a say are waiting for a fuller assessment to emerge before they sign off on major changes.

The House Intelligence Committee’s report accompanying the fiscal 2018 intelligence authorization bill takes aim at the DIA by calling for the elimination of a handful of missions that are “tangential to the DIA’s core missions and responsibilities” or are “duplicative of functions conducted elsewhere.”

The report lists a handful of offices and missions targeted for elimination, including the Information Review Task Force, the Identity Intelligence Project Office, the Watchlisting Branch, the Counter Threat Finance Branch and the National Intelligence University. Many of those functions would be transferred to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other federal agencies such as the Treasury Department, according to the report.

This year’s recommendations are only the first step in a much broader change being contemplated, said a congressional official familiar with the panel’s work.

The committee is undertaking a comprehensive assessment, asking the DIA and the consumers of its intelligence to conduct self-evaluations and reviews, the official said. Based on those evaluations, the committee expects by next year to overhaul the DIA along the lines of what the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act did to reorganize the Pentagon, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the proposals are still under discussion among the various congressional committees.

The DIA has been assigned missions, both by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as well as the Pentagon’s undersecretary for intelligence, “that don’t necessarily fit anywhere else,” the official said. On its website, the agency says it has 87 distinctive missions…..

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US Senate green lights Defense Bill….

The US Senate has agreed on a preliminary $692 billion Defense spending bill joining the US House….

The next step is for members of both legislative bodies to sit down and work out the differences between both bodies bills…..

The spending is above the sequester cap that Congress had set during  President Obama’s terms …..

The Senate sidestepped controversy Monday and overwhelmingly passed a sweeping $692 billion defense policy bill for the new fiscal year.

Scrapped without votes were a handful of contentious proposals to prevent transgender troops from being kicked out of the military, eliminate across-the-board budget cuts, bar indefinite detention of U.S. citizens and launch a new round of military base realignments and closures.

The annual National Defense Authorization Act was passed 89-8, setting up what could be contentious negotiations with the House over a series of key policy differences on the must-pass legislation.

The House passed its version of the bill in July. And the two chambers are expected to soon form a joint conference committee to hammer out their differences and negotiate a final compromise.

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, who managed the bill on the Senate floor, while undergoing treatment for brain cancer, had been pushing for votes on four key amendments dealing with defense spending, indefinite detention, Buy America requirements and restrictions on defense medical research. But with the chamber deadlocked on the issue, Senate leaders instead moved to finish the bill quickly……

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Democrats still wishing for a chance to make Senate Schumer Majority…

The chances are VERY SLIM….

But?

But?Image result for schumer

Democrats’ path to 51 Senate seats in 2018 is exceedingly narrow. They would have to defend all of their Trump-state incumbents, including five in states the president won by double-digits. They would have to successfully pick off Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), the only two battleground-state Republicans up for reelection next year — though Flake in particular looks more vulnerable than expected after conflict with Trump this year. Then, Democrats would have to pull off a major upset in a state like Alabama, Texas or Tennessee, victories that would make their 2012 wins in states like Indiana, Montana and North Dakota look easy.

Yet the party is investigating potential candidates in those states and preparing to aid them if the right circumstances arise. And already, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is plotting primary challenges against incumbents, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is mulling retirement and picked up a potential primary challenger on Thursday, and Republicans are fighting a bitter and expensive primary in Alabama’s special Senate election.

This wouldn’t be the first time Democrats prepped for a wave that never came. In 2016, they got top-tier recruits in Arkansas and Kentucky in the form of former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. Both men lost by double-digits, despite outrunning Hillary Clinton.

Republicans, for their part, don’t find Schumer’s plotting plausible…..

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Bill would cut American aid to the Palestinian Authority until they stop supporting terrorists…

The Bill , which could pass in Congress would have America move to stop the  Palestinian Authority from paying what seems to be protection money to keep terrorists working instead of taking money to go back to doing terrorist acts for money from other sources /states?….

Things aren’t THAT simple….

The Taylor Force Act is gathering momentum in Congress. Named for a West Point graduate who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian during a 2016 trip to Israel, the bill would cut American aid to the Palestinian Authority until it takes “credible steps to end acts of violence” and stops paying stipends to convicted terrorists. The legislation recently passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with rare bipartisan support, and last week Sen. Lindsey Graham attached it to the 2018 Foreign Operations budget, all but guaranteeing it will go into effect next year.

That means the clock is now ticking for the Palestinian Authority, which receives around $350 million from the U.S. each year. The Taylor Force Act wouldn’t block humanitarian or security aid, meaning U.S. funds wouldn’t be zeroed out, but our sources say the total could fall as low as $120 million, depending on how far Congress and the Trump administration want to go. At the same time the PA’s support from other donors is dropping, putting further strain already on the government in Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his coterie say they cannot roll back the practice of paying convicted terrorists, which dates to 1964. They say failing to pay the salaries—estimated at around $350 million a year—would create an opening for the terror group Hamas or even Iran. They further argue that pulling the funding would deprive thousands of families of their livelihoods, which could spark protests and threaten the Palestinian Authority’s rule….

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Note…

This is a gamble by Republicans to help Israel thru a back door….

It is also against the domestic good of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who must do a balancing act between the arab history of fighting Israel and controlling the various terrorist factions in the Middle East…

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Governors Ask Congress to fund the Individual Health Care Market program…

With an outright Repeal of the nations’s healthcare program Governors  are asking  national lawmakers to get serious about making sure the program’s individual insurance market doesn’t fall apart …

Governors are calling for multiyear funding for cost-sharing payments and for federal assistance to launch reinsurance programs as part of a bipartisan measure to stabilize the individual insurance market.

The conversation among governors and senators in a Sept. 7 hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee echoed what insurance commissioners told the same panel earlier in the week about how to bring stability to the individual insurance market before the fifth open enrollment period.

The committee’s leaders hope to advance a narrow, bipartisan package before insurance companies finalize contracts with the federal government for the 2018 coverage year on Sept. 27.

HELP Chairman Lamar Alexandersuggested the contours of a package could include funding for the health care law’s cost-sharing reduction payments, which the state officials have pleaded for, and additional restructuring of the law through waivers or through allowing certain consumers to buy basic catastrophic coverage.

The Tennessee Republican has sought to fund the cost-sharing payments through 2018, but state officials told his panel last week they should be funded at least though 2019 to provide additional stability for the marketplace. Alexander said a package would need to include more than just that funding to win support from Republicans….

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