Immigration, Healthcare and Wiretaps, Oh My! — The Beltway Times

D.C. BELTWAY

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President Trump is sitting firmly at the helm of an administration devoted to fulfilling its obligations to the American people, and this week has been a busy one.  With the Trump administration tackling so many issues at once, it has the media scrambling to keep up.

The week started with an allegation of wiretapping by the Obama Administration.  In a tweet, President Trump accused the former administration of eavesdropping in Trump Tower. A spokesperson for the former president denied the claims, but President Trump has not backed down from his claim.

The allegations have created more questions than it has provided answers. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich only added to the speculation in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. He made reference to the recently leaked conversation between Russian officials and Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former National Security Adviser. Gingrich reminded listeners that Flynn’s location during this conversation was in fact at Trump Tower. Lawmakers have not announced any formal investigations, but the matter is sure to see more scrutiny.

Next, President Trump signed an executive order outlining travel restrictions for those traveling to the United States from six countries. Much like the previous order, it targets countries deemed to be state sponsors of terrorism.

This order differs from the previous one by removing Iraq from the list of restricted countries. The administration cites Iraq’s strides in diplomatic relations and its willingness to repatriate nationals being sent back from the United States.

The order also allows anyone holding a lawful visa prior to January 27, 2017 to enter the country. Foreign nationals seeking asylum and refugee status are also exempt.

The administration outlined the need for the new order, citing that 300 individuals admitted under the refugee program are now under investigation for potential terrorist activity.

Finally, Republicans offered up a bill to replace the fledgling Obamacare today. The bill, known as the American Health Care Act, has been highly anticipated by many Americans struggling under the current system. The bill will remove subsidies implemented by the Affordable Care Act and replace them with tax credits.

The credits are worth $2,000-$14,000 depending on an individual’s age and the size of families.  Lower and middle class Americans, who often do not get insurance through an employer, can use the credits to purchase coverage.  The bill also continues the ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions and prevents insurance companies from charging more as well. Parents will still be able to keep their children on their insurance plans until the age of 26, a stipulation supported by both parties.

Republicans also want to give $100 billion to the states to design and implement alternatives to Medicaid expansion programs.  They also want to increase the amount a family can contribute to Health Savings Accounts. In addition, federal funding for abortions will be eliminated.

Some Conservatives still argue that the bill is merely a toned down version of Obamacare. They have called for a full repeal of Obamacare, followed by a replacement option. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) went so far as to call it “Obamacare Lite”.

President Trump called the proposal a wonderful new bill, but also stated it is open to negotiation.  In a series of tweets, he reminded Americans that his administration would continue to work toward a full repeal and replacement. He promised to open up state lines to help generate competition and lower cost, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, called this a great starting point to discussions about the final bill.

 

The weeks and months ahead will be challenging, but it seems the people finally have a leader worthy of stepping up to the many challenges the country has seen coming for years.