March 21, 2017: TrumpCare, Gorsuch, Russia
- House Republican leaders released a "manager's amendment" to the AHCA last night, in an attempt to gain more support from conservative members of their party.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee resumes its hearing today on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
- FBI Director James Comey debunked the White House's claims that Donald Trump had been wiretapped.
In an effort to gain more support for the TrumpCare bill House leaders made some last-minute changes ahead of tomorrow's hearing in the House Rules Committee. These changes would allow states to choose a Medicaid block grant over the current bill's cap system, and would also allow states to require Medicaid recipients to work. Additionally, a special provision targeted at enticing New York Republicans would shift Medicaid costs from counties to the state, but only in the state of New York. The amendment did not implement any changes to increase assistance to seniors, expecting rather that those changes would be inserted once the bill made it to the Senate.
As of this morning, the New York Times reports that 47 House Republicans have expressed concern or opposition to the TrumpCare bill, while the bill can only pass if 21 or fewer Republicans defect.
- Manager's amendment (section-by-section summary)
- Manager's amendment (full text)
- GOP leaders unveil changes to healthcare bill (The Hill)
- House Republicans Turn to Upstate New York to Lure Votes for Health Bill (New York Times)
- How House Republicans Are Planning to Vote on the Obamacare Replacement (New York Times)
In his first day of confirmation hearings, Neil Gorsuch went to great lengths to present himself as relatively moderate and independent of political considerations. Today, as hearings continue, he has faced questions about his willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade, his connection to billionaire Phil Anschutz, workers' rights, and judicial independence. Notably, when asked by Senator Feinstein about his having advocated a Bush signing statement which defended the use of waterboarding and sleep deprivation, Gorsuch declined to answer whether he thought such techniques were lawful.
- Senate Judiciary Committee hearing (includes live video stream)
- Gorsuch Tries to Put Himself Above Politics in Confirmation Hearing (New York Times)
- Day 2 Hearing Highlights, with live updates (New York Times)
Yesterday in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI is, indeed, investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence. Additionally, both Comey and NSA Director Michael S. Rogers firmly dismissed the White House's claims that Trump and his campaign had been wiretapped, stating that neither the FBI nor the NSA, nor the Department of Justice had been involved in any such eavesdropping. Rogers also debunked claims that a British spy agency had been asked to intercept Trump communications.
During the hearing, Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) used his opening statement to lay out all of the currently alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, in order to highlight the need for a full investigation. Republican members of the committee, however, focused on information leaks as their top priority for investigation.
- Highlights From the House Hearing on Russian Interference in the U.S. Election (New York Times)
- Five takeaways from Comey's big day (The Hill)
- Feinstein: Comey Testimony Reinforces Need for Thorough Investigation (Feinstein press release)
- Rep. Peters: FBI Investigation Underscores Need for Independent Congressional Probe, Special Prosecutor (Peters press release)
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
As noted yesterday, the House Rules Committee will be voting on the TrumpCare bill tomorrow, March 22, at 10:00 AM EDT, and a full vote on the House floor is expected on Thursday. So I strongly recommend calling your representative every day this week and asking her or him to oppose the AHCA. Because my representative has already shown a strong commitment to opposing ACA repeal, I will thank him for that, and instead focus on asking him to take further action toward an investigation of the President's ties to Russia by co-sponsoring H. Res. 186. (See the March 13 update for details on H. Res. 186.)
I will also call my senators and ask them to oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court.
Please note, calls about TrumpCare are especially important if you are represented by one of the following Republican House members:
- Justin Amash (MI-3): (202) 225-3831
- Mark Amodei (NV-2): (202) 225-6155
- Lou Barletta (PA-11): (202) 225-6511
- Dave Brat (VA-7) (202) 225-2815
- Mo Brooks (AL-5): (202) 225-4801
- Ken Buck (CO-4) (202) 225-4676
- Steve Chabot (OH-1): (202) 225-2216
- Paul Cook (CA-8): (202) 225-5861
- Warren Davidson (OH-8): (202) 225-6205
- Charlie Dent (PA-15): (202) 225-6411
- Scott DesJarlais (TN-4): (202) 225-6831
- Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-8): (202) 225-4276
- Tom Garrett (VA-5): (202) 225-4711
- Louie Gohmert: (TX-1): (202) 225-3035
- Paul Gosar (AZ-4): (202) 225-2315
- Darrell Issa (CA-49): (202) 225-3906
- Walter Jones (NC-3): (202) 225-3415
- Jim Jordan (OH-4): (202) 225-2676
- John Katko (NY-24): (202) 225-3701
- Peter King (NY-2): (202) 225-7896
- Steve King (IA-4): (202) 225-4426
- Raúl Labrador (IN-1): (202) 225-6611
- Leonard Lance (NJ-7): (202) 225-5361
- Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2): (202) 225-6572
- Tom MacArthur (NJ-3): (202) 225-4765
- Thomas Massie (KY-4): (202) 225-3465
- Tom McClintock (CA-4): (202) 225-2511
- Thomas Massie (KY-4): (202) 225-3465
- Mark Meadows (NC-11): (202) 225-6401
- Bruce Poliquin (ME-2): (202) 225-6306
- Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48): (202) 225-2415
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27): (202) 225-3931
- Mark Sanford (SC-1): (202) 225-3176
- Claudia Tenney (NY-22): (202) 225-3665
- Daniel Webster (FL-11): (202) 225-1002
- Rob Wittman (VA-1): (202) 225-4261
- Ted Yoho (FL-3): (202) 225-5744
- David Young (IA-3): (202) 225-5476
- Don Young (AK-1): (202) 225-5765
If you are not from California, you can find contact information for all U.S. Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your Representative in the House, you can look it up here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Script for Calling Dianne Feinstein
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to thank Senator Feinstein for pushing to get answers from Neil Gorsuch in his hearings yesterday and today. I believe that Gorsuch's record on women's rights, worker's rights, immigrants' rights, LGBTQ rights, and the environment are all deeply concerning, especially considering that Supreme Court Justices serve for life. I'm especially concerned about his unwillingness to answer questions about the legality of torture. I don't believe we can afford to have a Justice like Gorsuch on our highest court, and I would like to ask Senator Feinstein to please oppose his nomination as strongly as possible. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to ask Senator Harris to oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. I believe that Gorsuch's record on women's rights, worker's rights, immigrants' rights, LGBTQ rights, and the environment are all deeply concerning, especially considering that Supreme Court Justices serve for life. I don't believe we can afford to have a Justice like Gorsuch on our highest court. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to thank Congressman Peters for issuing another statement in support of an investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia. I noticed, though, that the Congressman still hasn't co-sponsored H. Res. 186, and I want to ask him again to please do so, because although I think statements are important, I also believe that we need more than words on this matter. I also want to thank the Congressman for repeatedly speaking out on the GOP's disastrous healthcare bill, and to make sure that he will continue opposing it in Thursday's floor vote. Thank you."