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White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll and More in Politics Today

by Countable | 5.22.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll

The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose any ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists who now work in the White House or federal agencies.

The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.

Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers are working in the Trump administration, which has hired them at a much higher rate than the previous administration. Keeping the waivers confidential would make it impossible to know whether any such officials are violating federal ethics rules or have been given a pass to ignore them.

Read more at the New York Times.

2. Supreme Court strikes down North Carolina congressional district maps

The Supreme Court struck down two congressional district maps in North Carolina Monday, holding that the state had engaged in an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

As a result, the ruling sends the North Carolina legislature back to the drawing board -- with significant potential implications for the 2018 midterm elections. The state has been nearly split along partisan lines in recent statewide elections -- such as for governor and president -- but Republicans control 10 US House seats compared to only three for Democrats.

Read more at CNN.

3. Trump administration to continue funding insurer subsidies

A federal appeals court on Monday granted the Trump administration a 90-day delay on its decision to appeal a case brought by House Republicans against ObamaCare subsidies paid to insurers.

The payments will continue during the appeals process, which avoids an immediate crisis with the ObamaCare insurance market but still leaves insurers uncertain about the future.

Read more at The Hill.

4. Bill to loosen financial rules would save $24 billion — and slash consumer protection bureau funds

The House Republican legislation scaling back Dodd-Frank financial regulations would reduce federal budget deficits by $24.1 billion over the next decade — in part by slashing funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The Financial Choice Act, which was approved by a House committee this month, would subject the bureau to the congressional appropriations process instead of allowing it to draw the funds it needs directly from the Federal Reserve. That change would reduce federal spending by $6.9 billion from 2018 through 2027, the CBO said in a report issued Friday.

Read more at LA Times.

5. Trump to propose big cuts to safety net in new budget, slashing Medicaid and opening door to other limits

For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 10 million people over the next decade.

The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors. Many anti-poverty programs have elements that are run by both the states and federal government, and a federal order allowing states to stiffen work requirements "for able-bodied Americans" could have a broad impact in terms of limiting who can access anti-poverty payments — and for how long.

Read more at the Washington Post.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Creative Commons )

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(103)
  • John
    05/23/2017
    ···

    At some point our National leaders (you guys) need to stop this crook and kick him out of the White House. Giving lobbyists more power IS NOT the answer to a better Democratic process. Or, is that not a big concern to you?

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  • Sallie
    05/23/2017
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    Thought he was going to drain the swamp! Looks like he has flooded the swamp. You guys will be held accountable!

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  • Thomas
    05/23/2017
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    We must know about the ethics waivers. This is yet another action of the White House that is highly questionable. If there are no ethics in the White House then why should members of congress follow anything the White House proposes?

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  • Linda
    05/23/2017
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    Where is your backbone to provide oversight to your own party's administration as they stonewall review of ethics violations in their hiring of ex-lobbyists, breaking yet another campaign promise from the "outsider"/billionaire. Between that and a cabinet packed with billionaires, you have shown us who you truly represent. Thank you for showing your true colors of hypocrisy, greed and far right agenda. I am disgusted about new legislation from your party on a daily basis that is intended to make the average American sicker, poorer and less free. I have never been politically active before, but that has changed. I truly believe all of you struck this deal with the President at the beginning: "This is win-win. You make money, we make money. You don't bother us and we won't bother you. Oh yeah, and let's strip the rights of every non-white, non-male group in America for bonus points." And then out came the cigars to celebrate. You may think you can buy your way into remaining in power, I hope we prove you wrong, or our democracy is dead at the feet of plutocrats and ignorance.

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  • Ticktock
    05/23/2017
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    Why does this not surprise me? Ex-Lobbyist in the Trump Administration? Let's see Trump has appointed all millionaires, an Exxon CEO, someone who knows nothing about education, someone who didn't even know what the Department of Energy was or did, appointed someone who wants to end the EPA and I could go on and on. (Didn't even mention his family.) Trump flouantes every law, rule, norm or regulation that has been used for 200 years to prevent special interest, favoritism, nepotism, corruption and much, much more in our government. (Note that I didn't mention the Russian thing as Trump calls it.) Trump doesn't act as the President but as though he's Julius Caesar just elected as the Emperor of Rome and Congress kowtows to his every whim. Although the Ethics Committee relies on Congress for enforcement, it's about time they begin upholding some standards. They are going to be remembered for their flaccid behavior.

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  • Annie
    05/23/2017
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    Don't allow White House to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll. We want transparency and watchdogs to ensure ethics.

    Like (15)
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  • Thomas
    05/23/2017
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    Slashing Medicaid would be catastrophic to Louisiana residents. If cuts are made the cost of healthcare will skyrocket. Do NOT allow any cuts to Medicaid.

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  • Ochoninja
    05/23/2017
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    This is outrageous, especially since so many people Trump placed in White House are members of what he called the swamp and stated if Hillary won she would be adversely affected by Wall Street and he hired many whose ethics could be questionable

    Like (9)
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  • Brian
    05/23/2017
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    Do your job and shut these crooks down. Trump is running for cover. Don't give him a thread!

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  • Joanne
    05/23/2017
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    Say NO, NO, NO to trumps budget. I am sick and tired of the 1% rich getting richer and the other millions and millions of people getting poorer!!!

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  • Jennifer
    05/23/2017
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    Enough is enough. We need the ethics watchdogs to keep this sham administration at least partially in check. Even if they can't stop him they can tell us what all crap he's getting up to. DO NOT ALLOW THIS BOGUS BLOCK TO HAPPEN

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  • Joanne
    05/23/2017
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    We must have an ethics inquiry into lobbyists on White House payroll. This crap has got to STOP!!! Let's get moving and get these people OUT of there!!! Enough is enough!!!

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  • Debbie
    05/23/2017
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    For God sakes, what is going on , this corrupt administration is just over the top, are you just waiting and watching for our Democracy to die?! Get on board and STOP this insanity, so disgusting.

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  • Kirby
    05/23/2017
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    If you vote to steal then you too are a thief! Do not remove any checks and balances, please!

    Like (4)
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  • Diane
    05/23/2017
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    I am so sick of all of this. We are becoming a country without ethics. The Democratic Party needs to take a position. No money for influence. Get rid of lobbyists! Get honest! Take care of the average American. Earn our trust. Do not build a platform on opposing Trump. Build a platform on honesty, transparency and taking care of the average American.

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  • Sharon
    05/23/2017
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    The lobbyists are a big part of the problem in our government process. Why is this administration doing everything it can to not answer to the rules and ethics of our government? And why is the Republican Party letting it continue?

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  • Fidel
    05/23/2017
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    Please take action to make this White House Administration follow the Ethics regulations! This latest action by the Trump administration further undermines the people's trust in the Government and supports the fact that they make decisions that benefits the wealthy. I hold you accountable and complicit with them if you don't take action.

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  • Chuck
    05/23/2017
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    This move is just another example of the corruption with the Trump administration. As our representatives please ensure proper oversight is maintained

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  • Donna
    05/23/2017
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    BLOCK ethics inquiries? At a time when this administration becomes les and less ethical? I think not. OF COURSE NO!

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  • TheAndiShow
    05/23/2017
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    We need transparency for this shady administration. Continue to inquire into anything questionable!

    Like (3)
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