While You Were Sleeping

Senate Republicans took a vote allowing the process of repealing the ACA to start. Senate Democrats didn’t go down without a fight but still, Senate Republicans managed to pass the budget resolution that will provide the path for repealing the Affordable Care Act and stripping health coverage from 30 million people. This resolution paved the way for repealing the law, but the real votes are expected to come at the end of the month.

During the debate over the resolution last night, Senate Republicans took several other votes proving (surprise!) they aren’t on your side. They voted against amendments that would protect people with pre-existing conditions, let young adults stay on their parents’ plan, have affordable access to contraception, or protect children’s and veterans’ care. Get the full details here.

TRANSITION TRACKER

Taking the Stand. The flurry of Trump’s cabinet confirmation hearings continued today, with simultaneous hearings for Gen. James Matthis (Secretary of Defense), Rep. Mike Pompeo (CIA director), and Dr. Ben Carson (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), all beginning this morning. The divisions between some of Trump’s cabinet picks and the boss man himself continue to stand out. A few key takeaways:

  • Trump’s pick for CIA Director Rep. Pompeo (R-KS) may be hardline Tea-Partier with a history of extreme rhetoric, but at today’s hearing he seemed willing to break with Trump on a number of key matters, including torture, the integrity of the intelligence community, and the Iran deal. Unclear how long that will last. More here.
  • Perhaps the most universally well-liked and well-qualified of Trump’s picks, DOD pick Gen. James Mattis also expressed significant splits from his boss during today’s confirmation hearing, particularly on Russia (he wants to take a hardline) and NATO (he wants to support it). Still, Mattis’ pick remains troubling because it would violate the long-standing principle of civilian control of the military and requires a special waiver from Congress.
  • Last but certainly not least, Dr. Ben Carson. Carson, a neurosurgeon, has no experience in government OR housing OR urban development policy. He pretty much summed up his qualifications and goals for HUD today when he said, “it will not be my intention to do anything that will benefit any American.” Splendid.

WHAT’S TRENDING

#SaveACA. Despite the fact that Senate Republicans were able to pass the budget resolution paving the way for ACA repeal, it’s clear they are in total disarray. Just this morning, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Republicans “don’t have total agreement” on a replacement plan. You don’t jump off a cliff without knowing where you’re going to land. Call on the Senate to #ProtectOurCare.

Opioids. Opioid overdoses caused nearly as many deaths as traffic accidents and twice as many as homicides in 2015. Trump has pledged to get every individual with addiction “access to the care and the help that he or she needs,” which sounds great. The problem is he has also pledged to repeal the ACA, which, according to a new CAP report, could make the opioid epidemic even worse.

#ExxonKnew. Yesterday, while all eyes were on Exxon CEO and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, a Massachusetts court ordered ExxonMobil to turn over documents related to its decades-long campaign to mislead the public about the effects of climate change.

Coretta Scott King. Yesterday was not Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions’ first (or second) time in front of the Judiciary Committee. In 1986, Sessions was appointed to be a federal judge, but the committee deemed him too racist to be confirmed. A key piece of evidence for the 1986 hearings was a letter from Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said Sessions would “irreparably damage the work of my husband.” You can read her full letter here. King’s words ring true today as Sessions is getting tremendous pushback from the civil rights community because of his history of racism and voter suppression.

ACTION OF THE DAY

#DumpDevos. Trump’s pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her family have given millions in campaign contributions to Republican lawmakers, many of whom will vote on her confirmation next week. Begging the question: Can $4 million buy Betsy DeVos her confirmation? It shouldn’t. Demand these 21 Senators recuse themselves from her confirmation.

GOOD NEWS

Michelle Obama. Last night, Jimmy Fallon asked people to record a message thanking the First Lady and then surprised them with Michelle Obama. Like all things FLOTUS does, this will make you feel better.