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American Leadership Is on the Line

The following article by Rudy deLeon and Stefanie Merchant was posted on the Center for American Progress website May 24, 2017:

AP/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, in black dress shoes, walks with U.S. Army leaders across a NATO logo, April 2017.

About every 10 years, Washington resonates with a debate on the relevancy of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO). Then-candidate Donald Trump revived this debate during the 2016 campaign, declaring the organization “obsolete” and blaming its members for not “paying what they should.” Yet, since the inauguration, the vice president, secretary of state, and the secretary of defense all affirmed the significance of NATO to U.S. national security and its importance in the current and future security environment—and their hedging in favor of NATO soon paid off. Following the Trump administration’s military actions in Syria in response to President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons, America’s NATO partners quickly rallied behind President Trump. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement of support backing the U.S. president, saying, “President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored.” The leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Italy, and Poland all lined up with similar statements of support.

Shortly after this outpouring of international support, President Trump met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House. In a joint press conference with Stoltenberg, the president offered a sharp change in his opinion of NATO: “It’s no longer obsolete.” However, the president reiterated that NATO members need to contribute necessary levels of investment in the security partnership. This point is well made and has been voiced by bipartisan leaders in Washington for many years. (more…)

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Fact-checking a rosy portrait of the American Health Care Act

Note:  A similar commercial has been airing in the Twin Cities supporting Rep. Erik Paulsen.

The following article by Glenn Kessler was posted on the Washington Post website May 24, 2017:

“As a mom, rising health-care costs are a big concern. My family lost our insurance and doctor because of the Affordable Care Act. But now, we have hope.”
— California resident Elizabeth Jacinto, in an ad sponsored by the American Action Network

In a $2 million ad campaign to support the House GOP health plan, the right-leaning American Action Network (AAN) features a California woman named Elizabeth Jacinto who says she suffered under Obamacare and expresses enthusiasm for the American Health Care Act. The ACHA only narrowly passed the House and was greeted lukewarmly by the Senate, so a key part of the effort appears to assist 21 GOP lawmakers who cast a tough vote to support the proposal. (more…)

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CBO gives a brutal diagnosis of GOP’s health plan

The following editorial was posted on the Star Tribune website May 25, 2017:

There’s no honor in keeping a promise to repeal Obamacare if replacement is a giant step backward.

House Speaker Paul Ryan at a March 7 news conference regarding the American Health Care Act. From left: Rep Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Ryan, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

A point of clarification for Reps. Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis, the three Minnesota Republican U.S. House members who voted for their party’s health reform plan: When you vowed on the campaign trail to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the expectation was that the replacement plan would improve upon former President Obama’s signature health care law.

But for the second time now, one of the nation’s most authoritative voices has confirmed that the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) would be a disastrous step backward when it comes to cost and quality coverage, particularly for older and sicker Americans. There’s no honor in keeping a promise to repeal the Obama law, which is how Lewis and others have defended their AHCA support, when the replacement would gut Medicaid, a safety-net program for children and the elderly, and would leave millions more Americans without health insurance. (more…)

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President Trump’s Budget is A Litany of Broken Promises to the American People

May 26, 2017


This week, President Trump released his budget for fiscal year 2018. His proposal makes draconian cuts to programs that help working Americans get ahead in order to give enormous tax cuts to the wealthy. This budget has been rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who have called it “dead on arrival.” Democrats will continue to urge Republicans to work across the aisle to make investments that will help ensure all working families can make it in America. (more…)

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How Trump’s budget helps the rich at the expense of the poor

The following article by Max Ehrenfreund was posted on the Washington Post website May 23, 2017:

For President Obama, the gap separating rich and poor Americans was, as he put it in a speech in 2013, “the defining challenge of our time.” He and his administration labored against Republican opposition and stubborn economic realities to shrink that disparity for eight years, making reducing inequality a central goal of national policymaking.

Despite those efforts, the United States remains among the most unequal developed countries, and on Tuesday, President Trump decisively abandoned his predecessor’s attempts to narrow inequality.

[Graphic: What Trump’s budget cuts from the social safety net] (more…)

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