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Daily Reads: Trumpcare May Not Be DOA in Senate; Churches, the New Super PACs?

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

Trumpcare May Not Be DOA in Senate; Churches, the New Super PACs?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Trumpcare 2.0 rammed through –> “The final language put up for a vote Thursday had been inked less than 16 hours beforehand,” observed Dave Wiegel at The Washington Post. Many Republican members admitted that they hadn’t had time to read it, and shrugged off the need for a CBO report. Sarah Kliff offers a comprehensive breakdown of the bill at Vox.

The bill that passed yesterday is even harsher than the previous bill that failed in March, Patrick Caldwell reports for Mother Jones. “Last week, Republicans added an amendment that would allow states to opt out of preexisting condition protections and requirements for essential benefits coverage. Republicans have claimed that people with medical problems would be taken care of through so-called high-risk pools, but the Republicans’ bill is light on details requiring states to implement those risk-pools and would only devote a small portion of the funding necessary to cover everyone with preexisting conditions.” At Stat News, Lev Facher has a list of who wins with this bill — insurance companies, rich people and young, healthy people — and who loses (everyone else).

Is the bill dead on arrival at the Senate? Maybe. Mitch McConnell is urging patience, and some Republican senators are eager to write their own bill and disregard the House’s. But Slate’s Jim Newell isn’t optimistic. “The wildly irreconcilable, slapstick House Republican Conference was able to pass a bill that more than a few of them thought was not just bad but a political existential threat. They chose to keep it moving, anyway, because they felt they had to. Why wouldn’t the Senate — whose Republican leader possesses far more competence than the House leadership combined — do the same?”

Churches are the new super PACs –> Trump signed an order getting rid of the Johnson Amendment yesterday, which has been in place since 1952 and bars religious groups from getting involved in political races. As Betsy Woodruff writes for the Daily Beast, this decision has more to do with parties need to raise huge sums, post-Citizens United, than it has to do with “religious liberty.”

The order “is just an expansion of the disastrous Supreme Court Citizens United decision” said Common Cause president Karen Flynn. “By funneling their political spending through charities and religious groups, big money donors will also get a tax deduction, forcing other taxpayers to foot the bill for this subsidized political activity.”

Time to “raise hell” on net neutrality –> At The Nation, Victor Pickard writes that big telecom companies’ false claims must be debunked if a free and open internet is to be preserved. “In addition to raising holy hell on the streets and online and contacting the FCC, we need to relentlessly expose and challenge absurdities like the claim that net neutrality amounts to government control of the internet,” he writes. “And we need to clarify that what’s at stake is nothing less than the internet’s democratic potential. Losing this potential will disproportionately hurt communities of color, activist groups, and small publishers.”

Welcome back –> This week, the Trump administration hired back a pair of private student debt collection agencies that had been fired during the Obama administration after an audit showed they gave false information to people who were trying to get their loans out of default.

Wrecking ball to-do list –> Steve Bannon keeps a white board in his office where he tracks progress on the Trump administration’s plans for dismantling the administrative state. Part of that list was captured in the background of a recent selfie that rabbi and reality TV performer Shmuley Boteach tweeted on Tuesday. The Los Angeles Times’ Colleen Shalby has transcribed it — and has an assessment of how Bannon’s agenda is progressing. She noted that whoever is updating the white board has very good penmanship.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley.



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.