Senate Bill Targets Patients in Nursing Homes
Reluctant Republicans. Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their healthcare bill as opposition continued to build inside and outside Congress, and as several Republican senators questioned whether it would be approved this week. At least five Republican senators have said they can’t support the Senate version of Trumpcare or Wealthcare as some are calling it. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said it cuts coverage too much. Four other senators said it doesn’t do enough to lower healthcare costs. Senators are expected to vote on the bill this week. About 51% of Americans now think favorably of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Republicans could end up crippling state budgets and wreaking havoc on hospitals with Trumpcare. Retirees could be booted from nursing homes because of proposed cuts to Medicaid, the insurance program for our nation’s poor and disabled.
Following the money. One month before Election Day, First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s real estate company finalized a $285 million Deutsche Bank loan as part of a refinancing package for property near Times Square in New York, The Washington Post reported. The loan came as Kushner was playing a key role in the Trump presidential campaign and as Deutsche Bank was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January. Kushner’s association with Deutsche Bank, which is one of Trump’s biggest lenders as well, is among a number of financial matters that could come under focus as his business activities are reviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining Kushner as part of a broader investigation into possible Russian influence in the election.
Muslim ban. The Supreme Court could rule this week on Trump’s Muslim ban, Trump’s effort to bar visitors from six mostly Muslim countries from visiting our nation. Trump did not participate Saturday in celebrating the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting to commemorate the Quran being revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Trump’s slight marks the first time in almost two decades that the White House hasn’t acknowledged Ramadan with an Iftar, the meal eaten after sunset when Muslims break their fast. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all acknowledged Ramadan by holding an Iftar at the White House.
Grizzlies. Yellowstone’s grizzly bears will no longer be protected under the Endangered Species Act. States could allow hunting the bears outside the national park. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Yellowstone’s grizzlies don’t need special protection anymore. Grizzly bears in Glacier National Park are still listed on the Endangered Species Act. Trump’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has also taken manatees, slow-moving, aquatic relatives of the elephant, off the endangered species list. Modern-day Republicans say the act “is not working today.”
Methane. Extremist Republicans failed to get enough senators to go along with nullifying a rule to curb methane pollution so they’ve suspended it for two years. The methane waste prevention rule would prevent about 180,000 tons of methane a year from escaping into the atmosphere. Northwestern New Mexico has a methane hotspot the size of Delaware, mostly from natural gas wells and coal mining.