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Daily Reads: Trump’s Deeply Unpopular Around the World; Trumpcare Gets Devastating CBO Score

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Daily Reads: Trump's Deeply Unpopular Around the World

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks as Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) looks on during a press conference about the Senate Republican health care bill on June 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. According to the Congressional Budget Office report released on Monday, the Senate GOP health care bill could result in 22 million fewer Americans with health insurance. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Scored (and it ain’t pretty) –> The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) much-anticipated score of the Senate GOP’s tax cutting ACA repeal bill is in. The headline numbers: 22 million fewer people with insurance by 2026 (and 15 million fewer in 2018); $772 billion in reduced Medicaid spending over that same time; all to finance $701 billion in tax cuts. This will reduce federal budget deficits by $321 billion through 2026. Vox has the lowlights. Here’s the full report if you want it from the horse’s mouth.

A few things we’d like to highlight: First, per the CBO, 4 million people who get coverage through their employers would lose their insurance next year.

Also, the GOP bill would use a different formula to reduce the rate of Medicaid growth significantly. But that provision only kicks in in 2025, so the impacts of that measure are outside the CBO’s 10-year window. Now, AARP estimated how this would affect Medicaid over the next 20 years, and the numbers are stunning. “We project that the Senate bill would cut between $2.0 and $3.8 trillion from total (federal and state) Medicaid spending over the 20-year period,” according to the study. And those numbers only include cuts to non-expansion Medicaid. According to AARP, this would all but destroy Medicaid as we know it over the next 20 years: “A cut of this magnitude threatens the viability of the program in unprecedented ways and will increase the number of people who no longer have access to essential health care services and critical supports.” Most media outlets are sticking with the CBO’s ten-year estimate and not reporting these eye-opening numbers.

Premiums would rise in the first years, and then drop, but not in a good way

Trump regime officials are claiming that the CBO’s analyses are unreliable. We’d note that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price helped hand-pick the CBO’s director. And Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy responded on Twitter:

And Vox’s Sarah Kliff and Javier Zarracina have created an incredible visualization that really drives home the point that “the 400 top income households alone would receive $33 billion in tax cuts between 2019 and 2028,” which “is equivalent to the amount that the federal government spends on Medicaid expansion in four states: Alaska, Arkansas, West Virginia and Nevada.”

At The Nation, Joan Walsh writes that “the lies came fast and furious on the Sunday shows this weekend, as Republican lawmakers and their surrogates reckoned with a tough truth: The only way to sell the Senate’s cruel and deeply unpopular health-care bill is to absolutely misrepresent what is in it.”

But the GOP leadership appears to be at least one vote shy, with more senators expressing various degrees of skepticism…

But as Josh Dawsey and Burgess Everett report for Politico, the Senate bill reduces the deficit by $188 billion more than the House bill would over the next 10 years, which gives leadership the ability to “explor[e] potential deals to divvy up billions of dollars to individual senators’ priorities in a wide-ranging bid to secure votes for the imperiled GOP health care bill.”

Meanwhile, at SCOTUS –> Lots of action at the Supreme Court yesterday. The White House is “gloating” over the partial reinstatement of Trump’s Muslim travel ban, but Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post that “this is what you might call the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Blake goes on to explain why “if this is what passes for a big Trump win, it’s going to be a long four years for him.”

Buzzfeed’s Nidhi Prakash and John Hudson spoke to immigration attorneys to see what they think might come next.

And while Chief Justice John Roberts portrayed Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer as a minor case involving a playground, Scott Lemieux writes at The Week that “Justice Sonia Sotomayor saw the… decision for what it is: a fundamental reshaping of the relationship between church and state in the United States, and not for the better.”

Amy Howe runs down the rest of the day’s action at ScotusBlog.

Shady –> A Russian official who earns $75,000 per year, and whose business partner is a Russian intelligence operative, has bought up $8 million worth of Trump branded condos in Florida, according to Lily Dobrovolskaya and Nicholas Nehamas at The Miami Herald. We should note that these were resales, and those revenues are not going to Donald Trump’s companies. But it certainly appears that some sort of sketchy business is going on in the Sunshine State.

Shadier still –> Jay Sekulow, Trump’s bulldog of an attorney and regular TV surrogate, steered millions of dollars in donations for his “Christian nonprofit” to members of his family. Jon Swaine reports that “documents obtained by the Guardian show Sekulow… approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60 million to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.”And “telemarketers for the nonprofit… were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a ‘sacrificial gift.’”

Best democracy money can buy –> The AP reports that “no agenda items mattered more to the conservative Koch network than the GOP’s promise to overhaul the nation’s tax code and repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law.” With those agenda items stalled for the moment, the Koch brothers are ramping up their political work. “Already, Americans For Prosperity claims a paid staff of more than 400 full-time activists in 36 states. Koch officials said that the network’s midterm budget for policy and politics is between $300 million and $400 million.”

Speaking of the Koch brothers–> Mark Hand reports for Think Progress that “the Trump administration has recruited officials to fill its top energy and environmental staff positions from fossil fuel lobbying groups, Koch brothers-funded think tanks, and climate-denying lawmakers’ offices, according to a new database from the Center for American Progress Action Fund.”

And Coral Davenport reports for The New York Times that “the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers, his emails show.” Most of the EPA’s 68 scientific advisers have been dismissed by the regime, and the head of the agency, Scott Pruitt, recently called the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change into question. “I was stunned that he was pushing me to ‘correct’ something in my testimony,” said Dr. [Deborah] Swackhamer, a retired University of Minnesota professor. “I was factual, and he was not. I felt bullied.”

Did we say democracy? –> An analysis by the Associated Press found that partisan gerrymandering gave Republicans as many as 22 more House seats than they would otherwise have had. “The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted US House districts.”

Who said Trump is unpopular? –> Sure, a new Pew survey finds that “Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the US have declined steeply in many nations.” And it’s true that in the survey, which spanned 37 nations, “a median of just 22 percent has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs,” which is a sharp decline from the median of 64 percent who said the same about Obama. But that’s not true everywhere. He’s still popular in Israel and parts of Asia and Africa — and in one other country

Wag the dog? –> We’re not quite sure what to make of this one. Julian Borger reports for The Guardian that the White House issued an “unusual public warning” that the Syrian regime may be preparing another chemical weapons attack, and promised harsh retribution, but “several US news outlets quoted unnamed US military sources as saying they had been taken by surprise by the announcement and had no independent knowledge of chemical weapons preparations.” Borger says it may be a signal to Russia or Iran, but you don’t need a tinfoil hat to consider the possibility that the saber-rattling may be intended for a domestic audience.

Amid all the suffering and death that’s occurred since, it’s easy to forget that the Syrian civil war started with the arrests and subsequent torture of a group of teenagers for writing anti-regime graffiti. At The Guardian, an anonymous author writes of his experience, at age 15, of being locked up and tortured for 10 months in a series of brutal prisons in Syria.

Obey –>  Mary Emily O’Hara reports for NBC News that “the New Jersey state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would require schools to teach children how to interact with police ‘in a manner marked by mutual cooperation and respect.'” Opponents of the measure “say children shouldn’t be the ones being taught accountability amid heightened scrutiny over controversial police shootings of African-Americans and other minorities.” The bill still has to pass the state Senate.

Headline of the day –> “Missouri lawmaker explains chicken beheading video.”

 
Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.

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