The DC: Trump signs 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund extension, and... 💊 Do you support 'Medicare for All' that preserves private insurance?
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by Countable | 7.30.19
Welcome to Tuesday, July 30th, domestic and international house of pancakers...
Whose voice will rise? Who will sing their swan song? We find out over the next two nights during the second round of Democratic debates.
Tonight, the two liberal front-runners - Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont - will face off at the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit.
They'll be joined by eight other candidates, including Mayor Pete Buttigieg and self-help guru Marianne Williamson.
On the Radar
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
In a White House ceremony on Monday, President Donald Trump signed the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act into law.
Trump delivered remarks to first responders at the Rose Garden on Monday:
“To every 9/11 hero, you poured out your heart, your sweat, your soul, and everything you had for your country. You ran toward the wreckage, into a ball of flames, like, frankly, nobody in this country had ever seen. You searched for survivors. You went back day after day and night after night to save lives and return the fallen to their families, to rebuild and recover, and to show the entire world that nothing will ever break America’s spirit."
The bill’s enactment extends the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) through FY2090 and will reimburse victims suffering from 9/11-connected illnesses whose benefits have been reduced since February 2019 because of a funding shortfall in the VCF. The bill is named after three 9/11 first responders who advocated for the legislation and were among the 2,000 first responders to die from 9/11-related cancers and illnesses.
‘Medicare for All’ x Private Insurers
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has released a “Medicare for All” plan that stops short of eliminating private insurance.
Harris’ proposal, which comes days before she takes the stage for the second Democratic presidential debate, calls for transitioning to a Medicare for All system over a 10-year period.
“At the end of the 10-year transition, every American will be a part of this new Medicare system. They will get insurance either through the new public Medicare plan or a Medicare plan offered by a private insurer within that system,” Harris said.
Harris’ plan positions her to the right of progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who wants to cover all Americans with a government-administered healthcare plan.
"It's bad policy, bad politics, and compared to Medicare for All it vastly expands the ability for private insurance corporations to profit from over-billing and denying care to vulnerable patients who need it the most," Sanders’ policy director, Josh Orton, told CNN.
Under the Radar
Campaigns & Social Media Bots
Candidates, campaigns, and political organizations would be required to disclose information regarding social media bots if Congress passes Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act of 2019.
Social media bots are software programs that replicate human activity on social media platforms, often tricking users into believing they are interacting with another human.
“We know Russia used social media to influence the 2016 election, particularly the deployment of bots that provide content to fake accounts,” Feinstein said. “These bots were used for one purpose: to deceive voters. This bill prohibits bots from being used in any effort that seeks to subvert future elections.”
Jamie Lee Williams, a lawyer at digital rights' advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the measure presents a perilous reduction in free-speech rights.
“What scares me a lot is this idea that First Amendment protections are too great and we should whittle it back and relax our standards and allow more government restrictions on speech—giving the government the power to police speech is a dangerous thing," Williams said.
Medicare & Medicaid Anniversary
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, which created America’s first federal health insurance programs: Medicare and Medicaid.
They were part of LBJ’s Great Society, a collection of domestic policies and programs his administration pursued which set a goal of eliminating poverty. Medicare was conceived to provide health insurance for people over age 65, while Medicaid offered coverage to poor families.
After more than a half century of service, Medicare is in need of an overhaul as spending on insurance under the program is expected to outpace incoming tax revenue. Given the distance between Democratic and Republican proposals on the issue, it’s likely that safety net programs such as these will remain a political flashpoint well into the future.
Read about the programs' history, then join the conversation:
Your Gov at a Glance 👀
The White House: President Trump in D.C. & VA
- At 11:15am EDT, the president will deliver remarks at the 400th Anniversary of the First Representative Legislative Assembly in Williamsburg, Virginia.
- At 4:00pm EDT, the president will sign the Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service (LEGION) Act (S. 504).
The House of Representatives: Out
- The House will return Monday, September 9th.
The Senate: In
- Voting on the confirmation of U.S. district judges for Arizona & North Dakota.
- Taking a procedural vote & potential confirmation vote on the nomination of a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Texas.
- Additional votes are possible.
What You're Saying
Here's how you're answering Should Homeland Security Conduct an Annual Study of ‘Deepfakes’?
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But wait, there's more!
- Trump to Nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to Replace Dan Coats As DNI
- World Powers Hold Crisis Talks in Bid to Salvage Iran Nuclear Deal Amid U.S.-Tehran Tension
And, in the End…
On July 30, 1956, the phrase "In God We Trust" was adopted as the U.S. national motto. It replaced the unofficial motto E pluribus unum ("Out of Many, one").
The motto first appeared on the 1864 two-cent piece. The 1956 law, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, declared "In God We Trust" must appear on all American currency.
Catch up on some reading in honor of Paperback Book Day,
Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.
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