Daily dose

Friday News: Dictator dictates

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TRUMP GIVES ULTIMATUM TO CONGRESS ON HEALTHCARE BILL: Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Mick Mulvaney were dispatched from the White House to tell House Republicans that if the bill passes, it will move on to the Senate. If it fails, the White House is prepared to move on from one of its biggest campaign promises and keep Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, we will have a vote tomorrow,” Bannon said. The gambit is a high-stakes political scare tactic. White House leaders are warning rank-and-file members of Congress that if they vote against the bill on political principle, they will be responsible for keeping Obamacare on the books, not President Trump.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article140365083.html

Thursday News: Unhealthy developments

CONSERVATIVES WANT PREGNANT WOMEN AND VERY ILL REMOVED FROM INSURANCE COVERAGE: In a count by The Associated Press, at least 25 Republicans said they opposed the current House attempt at a health care overhaul, and others were leaning that way, enough to narrowly defeat the measure. The number was in constant flux amid eleventh-hour lobbying by the White House and GOP leaders. Most opponents were conservatives asserting that the GOP legislation demolishing former President Barack Obama's health care law did not go far enough. They insisted it must repeal the law's requirements that insurers pay for specified services like maternity care and cover all comers, including the sickest, which they say drive up premiums.
http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20170323/rise-crucial-health-care-vote-could-come-today/1

Wednesday News: Trump vs. Meadows

TRUMP CALLS OUT MARK MEADOWS OVER HIS REFUSAL TO SUPPORT AHCA: Trump singled out Mark Meadows (R-NC), who is the Freedom Caucus Chairman. Meadows has said that his group has enough votes to block the measure. “I think Mark Meadows will get there too," Trump told the GOP House members, according to The Hill. "...Because honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks," Trump said. The Hill reports that Trump added, “Oh Mark, I’m coming after you. I hope Mark will be with us in the end." The President also indicated to the group that a failed vote on Thursday could result in members losing their seats during the primaries.
http://wlos.com/news/local/trump-calls-out-rep-meadows-im-coming-after-you

Tuesday News: "It's not evil enough"

REPUBLICAN LEADERS COURT FREEDOM CAUCUS EXTREMISTS ON HEALTH CARE BILL: House Republican leadership released a slew of amendments to the Obamacare replacement bill on Monday evening, an attempt to wrangle conservative votes for the party’s biggest campaign promise which is set to go in front of the full House for a vote on Thursday. The amendments include overtures to conservatives such as immediately halting the ability for new states to expand Medicaid and allowing states to implement “reasonable” work requirements for Medicaid recipients. But some conservative members were undeterred by the proposed changes, and Mark Meadows, R-N.C, said he thinks the legislation won’t have enough votes to pass. If 21 Republicans vote against the bill, it will fail.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article139774798.html

Monday News: United in resistance

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CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS HOLDS SUMMIT OF LIBERALS AND PROGRESSIVES: The session, organized and co-hosted by the Center for American Progress’ political arm, is ostensibly meant to share best practices with these volunteer-driven groups, on subjects ranging from fundraising to organizing. But it also reflects the effort underway within the Democratic Party, where operatives who have battled Republicans for years are now trying to cooperate with newcomers who have been more successful capturing the energy of anti-Trump Americans than the professional class was during the 2016 campaign. “We’re trying to merge these two worlds, between the institutional left and the energy in the field,” said Emily Tisch Sussman, the Center for American Progress’ senior director of campaigns and advocacy. “I don’t think we should treat them as separate, but we have to be intentional about how we merge them.” It’s a process both sides say needs to go well if Democrats want to turn the so-called anti-Trump “resistance” movement into a force that can win elections.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article139232523.html

Sunday News: Counting the costs of institutional bigotry

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A YEAR OF SHAME AND EMBARRASSMENT THANKS TO HB2: As North Carolina marks the first anniversary of House Bill 2 next week, an ongoing political stalemate is making a prolonged economic backlash – and future anniversaries – likely. The law, widely criticized as anti-LGBT, has cost North Carolinians jobs, money, performances and events, including this month’s NCAA basketball tournament. “The longer it stays on our books, the more difficulty we will have repairing the damage,” Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said last week. “It’s hard to quantify the damage.” Through research and interviews with economists, Politifact estimates that HB2 has cost North Carolina between $450 million and $630 million. But in perspective, that accounts for 0.1 percent of the state’s annual gross domestic product, notes Michael Walden, an N.C. State economist. “So we know that it’s hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs, but it could be worse than that because what we’re not getting is what we don’t know,” Cooper said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article13...

Saturday News: 2 out of 3 ain't bad

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THREE JUDGE PANEL RULES AGAINST 2 GOP POWER GRABS, OKAYS 3RD: The N.C. General Assembly’s attempt to revamp the state elections board and ethics commission weeks before Democrat Roy Cooper was sworn in as the new governor violates the state Constitution, a three-judge panel ruled on Friday. The judges also found unconstitutional the legislature’s shift of managerial and policy-making employees from former Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration to positions where it’s more difficult to replace them. But the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s attempt to have a say in who joins Cooper’s Cabinet was not found to be a violation of the separation of powers clause in the state Constitution. The 42-page order is the latest in an escalating power struggle between the Democrat at the helm of the executive branch and the Republicans leading the two chambers of the General Assembly.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article139231588.html?utm_conten...

Friday News: Slumlord in Chief

TRUMP BUDGET SLASHES AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAMS: In Charlotte, for instance, cuts in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) would adversely impact a Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte program that fixes damaged owner-occupied homes, the organization’s leaders say. “It would pretty much gut the program,” said Phil Prince, Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte’s director of marketing and communication. “It would have traumatic consequences if (cuts) would pass in this form.” Trump is trying to overhaul federal government spending, placing a priority on the military and national security. He’s dubbed the his spending proposal a “skinny budget” for the federal government and it has won early praise from conservative groups and Republican lawmakers.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article138978168.html

Thursday News: And yet, we still have Berger

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NC CITIZENS GIVE THEMSELVES HIGH MARKS FOR DETECTING FAKE NEWS: North Carolinians think fake news is a problem, report that they see it frequently and think they’re good at spotting it, a poll finds. Meredith College polled 876 registered voters Feb. 19-28 by phone and email and found that more than 88 percent say they think fake news confuses Americans about politics and government. All groups believed in the effect of fake news roughly equally – there were no significant differences in the results regardless of participants’ political affiliation, age, race or ethnic group, or where a person is from, according to the poll released by Meredith this week.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article138669243.html

Wednesday News: The height of irresponsibility

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NC SENATE APPROVES CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM FOR INCOME TAX CAP: Senate Bill 75 would ban lawmakers from raising the income tax rate higher than 5.5 percent – if voters approve the constitutional amendment in a ballot referendum, which would be held during the November 2018 election. Currently, the constitution caps income tax rates at 10 percent. Lawmakers have set the personal income tax rate at 5.499 percent – so the amendment would prevent any future tax hikes. The Senate voted 36-13 Tuesday in favor of the bill, which now goes to the House. Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer of Cary broke ranks with her party and voted no, while Sen. Joel Ford of Charlotte and Sen. Ben Clark of Raeford were the only Democrats who supported the measure.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article138483278.html

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