May 2, 2017: TrumpCare, HR. 1180, HR. 669
- Republican leaders are continuing to try to bring TrumpCare to a vote this week, despite lacking sufficient support for the bill within their own party.
- Today the House will vote on HR. 1180 ("Working Families Flexibility Act"), a bill that would allow employers to offer time off instead of overtime pay.
- In a recent interview, when asked whether he could start a war with North Korea, the President said "We'll see."
Reporting from The Hill indicates that House Republican leaders are still trying to bring TrumpCare to a vote this week. The recent MacArthur Amendment appears to have been largely successful in winning over the far-right House Freedom Caucus, but a number of more moderate Republicans have expressed concerns. According to The Hill's most recent reporting, as many as 22 House Republicans have stated that they will not support the bill.
- Short on healthcare votes, GOP leaders try to ease concerns (The Hill)
- The Hill's Whip List: 22 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill (The Hill)
- MacArthur Amendment (full text of discussion draft)
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on HR. 1180, a bill misleadingly titled "the Working Families Flexibility Act." This bill would allow employers to offer extra time off to workers instead of overtime pay. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer included the following as part of his recommendation to vote against the bill:
"The [Fair Labor Standards Act] already allows employers to let their employees earn paid time off. However, under this bill, employers can take all of those wages earned above 40 hours and put them towards future time off controlled by the employer. Employees would not get paid for the overtime work they perform during the current pay period. Instead, they would receive time off later; if that time is unused, they would be paid back at the end of the year. This amounts to a no-interest loan to employers from workers and would encourage employers to demand longer hours because they would receive the benefits of overtime work at no additional cost. Further, there is no language guaranteeing that a worker’s compensatory time would be paid out in the event of bankruptcy or if a business shuts down."
A vote on this bill is expected around 2:30 PM Eastern Time (11:30 AM Pacific Time).
Tensions between the United States and North Korea appear to be increasing, and the President is apparently unwilling to rule out the possibility of pre-emptive war. In a recent interview on CBS's Face the Nation, when asked whether another nuclear test from North Korea would prompt a military response, Donald Trump said "I don't know. I mean, we'll see."
Under current law, the President of the United States can unilaterally authorize the use of nuclear weapons, both as a retaliatory measure and pre-emptively. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) have introduced bills in the House and Senate, respectively, which would require the President to seek Congressional approval before authorizing a nuclear first strike. These bills would not prevent the President from being able to unilaterally authorize a retaliatory nuclear strike.
As of today, none of the San Diego House delegation has co-sponsored the House version of this bill. Senator Feinstein has co-sponsored the Senate version, but Senator Harris has not.
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
Today I will be calling my Congressman and asking him to release a public statement condemning the latest version of TrumpCare, and asking him to oppose it as strongly as he opposed the first version. I'll also ask him to co-sponsor HR. 669.
I will also call Senator Harris and ask her to co-sponsor S. 200.
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 Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I'm very concerned about the increasing tensions between the US and North Korea, and given the President's unilateral actions in Syria, I'm worried about the possibility of him pre-emptively using nuclear weapons. I'd like Senator Harris to please co-sponsor S. 200 in order to limit his ability to authorize a nuclear first strike. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I'm very concerned about the House Republicans' efforts to bring TrumpCare to a vote this week, which I've read that they still intend to do. I'd like Congressman Peters to please release a statement condemning the MacArthur Amendment, which would roll back protections for pre-existing conditions and unfairly raise premiums on seniors. I'm also very concerned about the President's comments about North Korea, and I would like the Congressman to co-sponsor HR. 669, which would limit the President's ability to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Thank you."