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Trump’s pick to head the SEC debuts –> Jay Clayton will appear before the Senate Banking Committee today. He has built his career as a lawyer defending large Wall Street firms and is now Trump’s nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, one of the primary agencies regulating Wall Street. His wife will continue to work at Goldman Sachs while Clayton is SEC chief.
But at Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi writes that there’s more substance in Clayton’s financial disclosures than relationships with defenders of Wall Street. Clayton and his family are involved with a firm that “can be used to create chains of legal entities, sometimes ending in offshore accounts, that make tracing financial transactions difficult, if not impossible.” Firms like these are regulated by the SEC.
Race to the finish line –> Republicans — and, apparently, Trump himself — worked late into the night, revamping their health care bill in an attempt to come up with something that would pass the House today.
To satisfy the Freedom Caucus, reports indicate, Republican leadership may add to the bill language that overturns an Obamacare provision requiring all insurers to cover 10 basic areas of care, including prescription drugs, mental health and maternity care. “It would simultaneously be an enormous blow to the sick and a boondoggle for taxpayers that would turn the entire individual insurance market into an opportunity for insurers to skim money from the government by selling junk coverage,” Jordan Weissmann writes for Slate.
They’ve got their back –> As Republicans scramble to figure out what will be in the bill, the Koch network is promising to defend those Republicans who vote it down. Kevin Robillard reports for Politico that Koch groups and allies have raised seven figures to spend defending members of Congress who hold out for a bill that the billionaires like better. “Republicans have been promising to fully repeal Obamacare since it became law. This bill doesn’t do that,” an official with Freedom Partners, the Koch umbrella group, told Politico.
More and more smoke –> “The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN,” Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Jim Sciutto report. The FBI is reviewing “human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings.”
Baltimore city council passes a $15 minimum –> The victory is the first of the year for the Fight for 15 movement. A number of cities and states have passed laws raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. But Baltimore differs from other cities on the list, like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, DC in that it is far poorer, writes Byrce Covert. It’s still unclear whether the mayor will sign the law.
Still shrinking –> Winter, when ice is supposed to be at its highest point, is ending in the Arctic, but this year’s high point set a record low for the third year in a row. Repeated heat waves this year meant that the top of the planet was missing enough ice to cover California and Texas combined, Andrea Thompson reports for Climate Central.
The search for Wayne continues –> A New York state judge ruled yesterday that Exxon would have to cooperate with the New York attorney general and produce emails from “Wayne Tracker,” an alias Rex Tillerson used while he was CEO of the company.
Go west, dispirited public servant –> California is recruiting EPA employees who fear for the fate of their agency under Trump. The Golden State is even positioning recruiters outside the EPA’s building in Washington to hand out fliers reading, “fight climate change; work for California.” Elizabeth Shogren reports for High Country News.
Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Kristin Miller.
We produce this news digest every weekday. You canto receive these updates as an email.