When members of Congress return to Washington next week after their long spring recess, both parties plan to focus on passing a spending bill to keep the federal government running past April 28. When Congress returns next week, President Trump wants House Republicans to take up the American Health Care Act again, with a new amendment, so he will be able to point to a concrete accomplishment in his first 100 days in office; his 100th day is April 29.
"Congress usually cannot take on two big things at once," The New York Times says. Five days to pass a spending bill, The Washington Post adds, is "a tight timeline under the most generous of circumstance that would be nearly impossible to meet if House leaders also try to force a vote on the repeal legislation." In theory, Democrats and Republicans could pass a very short-term stopgap spending bill, but a new GOP push to pass the AHCA, which repeals large parts of the Affordable Care Act, would not put Democrats in a very cooperative mood.
The first attempt to pass the AHCA failed very publicly last month. But at a news conference on Thursday, Trump said "the plan gets better and better and better, and it's gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot," adding he thinks the House can pass that as well as a spending bill. "We have a good chance of getting it soon," Trump said of the AHCA. "I'd like to say next week, but it will be — I believe we will get it."
Hopes of passing the health-care bill rest on an amendment negotiated by relative moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). The draft plan would allow states to seek waivers to requirements that insurers offer essential health benefits and not charge more to people with pre-existing conditions, if the state maintained a high-risk pool. (Jeff Spross has more details at The Week.)
Even if House Republicans get the plan translated into legislative language and get it scored by the Congressional Budget Office, there's no guarantee it would pass. The amendment "really doesn't address the concerns that I had," Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) told The New York Times. Fellow moderate Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) agreed it "does nothing to change my views," criticizing any focus "on an arbitrary 100-day deadline." Peter Weber
Bill Nye the Science Guy says lawmakers are 'deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science'
"Without scientifically literate citizens, the United States — any country, in fact — cannot compete on the world stage," Bill Nye the Science Guy told a cheering crowd at the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. "Yet today we have a great many lawmakers — not just here, but around the world — deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science. Their inclination is misguided, and in no one's best interest."
Nye touted the ways scientific discoveries have improved global quality of life, arguing that science is not merely "purview of a different, or special, type of citizen." "Our numbers here today show the world that science is for all," he said, and government must come to recognize that "science serves every one of us."
The Washington event where Nye spoke was one of more than 600 marches scheduled around the globe on Saturday. "I think the profession of science is under attack," said scientist Lucky Tran, who helped organize the rallies, in an interview with NPR. "We haven't engaged in politics, we've left that open for politicians to come in and really hijack and obfuscate science for their own selfish needs."
Crowd size estimates are still in the making, but you can see scenes from a few of the marches below. Bonnie Kristian
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) April 22, 2017
— Tom McKay (@thetomzone) April 22, 2017
— Megan Fieser (@mfieser7) April 22, 2017
— Dan Renzetti (@DanRenzetti) April 22, 2017
President Trump is planning 'a BIG rally in Pennsylvania' during the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017
The last president to miss the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981; he sent a phone message instead of appearing personally because he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Trump's decision to decline has been widely interpreted as retribution for press coverage he considers unfair. Bonnie Kristian
The United States will proceed with an agreement with Australia to help resettle refugees, Vice President Mike Pence pledged Saturday at joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney. The arrangement requires the U.S. to accept up to 1,250 refugees, many from Iran and Syria, from their present location in offshore detention centers in Australia. In return, Australia will accept refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
"Let me make it clear that the United States intends to honor the agreement, subject to the result of the vetting process that has now applied to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America," Pence said. "President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement, but it doesn't mean we admire the agreement."
Earlier this year, Trump suggested he might abandon the arrangement. "Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia," he tweeted in February. "Why? I will study this dumb deal!" Turnbull said Trump's willingness to honor the deal anyway "speaks volumes for the commitment, the integrity of President Trump." Bonnie Kristian
Eyewitnesses of an altercation between an American Airlines employee and a passenger say the flight attendant "violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby" and was then observed "hitting her and just missing the baby." The attendant has been suspended as the airline investigates.
Video filmed in the aftermath of the initial dispute, which reportedly concerned whether the stroller could come on the flight, shows the mother in tears and a male passenger arguing with the employee. "Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat!" the male passenger yells in one clip. "You stay out of this!" the attendant yells back, adding, "Hit me! Come on, hit me!"
"We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident," said an American Airlines statement. "The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care."
This incident comes a little more than a week after United Airlines employees violently removed a passenger from a plane the company initially said was overbooked. United did not immediately apologize for its employees' behavior. Bonnie Kristian
Two Harvard researchers on Friday presented their discovery of a rare parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence discovered in a small town in southern England last year. "The Sussex Declaration," as the document has been dubbed, is believed to have been made in America in the 1780s. It is one of only two known parchment copies of the Declaration worldwide.
— Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) April 22, 2017
"I was just looking for copies of the Declaration of Independence in British archives," said researcher Emily Sneff, when she noticed a record office listing mentioned "parchment," suggesting a rare find. "I reached out to them a bit skeptically," Sneff recalled. "The description was a little vague, but once we saw an image and talked to a conservator we started to get excited."
The Sussex Declaration differs from the parchment copy at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., mainly in the order of the signers' names. In the Washington copy, the names are organized by state; in the Sussex copy, they are not. "The list of names was intentionally scrambled," Sneff suggested, "to drive home the point that the signers of the Declaration of Independence signed as individuals, as a community" rather than solely as representatives of states. Bonnie Kristian
Large-scale, anti-government demonstrations continue in Venezuela Saturday in what opposition leaders have called the "mother of all marches." An estimated 22 people have been killed during the demonstrations, with 13 dying on Thursday alone. Most of Thursday's victims were killed while attempting to loot a bakery.
The socialist state is suffering massive shortages of food and medicine, as well as skyrocketing inflation. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has responded to popular uproar by attempting to consolidate his own power, and authorities have met protesters with cannons and tear gas.
Read more about "Venezuela's socialist hell" from The Week's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, and see scenes from the protests below. Bonnie Kristian
Tens of thousands protested in Venezuela's "Mother of All Marches." pic.twitter.com/Ay6IA4bGdG
— VICE News (@vicenews) April 22, 2017
Thousands of people are expected to protest Saturday in Washington, D.C., and in cities around the world in March for Science events timed for Earth Day.
The rallies are intended to promote popular interest in science, recognize scientific achievements, and protest the Trump administration's proposed cuts to research funding as well as policy-making around issues like climate change which marchers argue disregards the best available evidence. Some scientists have criticized the marches, expressing worry that science as a discipline will be negatively politicized.
March for Science, London pic.twitter.com/WhNinoSXa9
— Pro Udin (@ProUdin2016) April 22, 2017