(via The New Yorker)
House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1. I’m sure that, coupled with the Trump team’s efforts to find individuals in the Department of Energy who’ve been involved in climate science and in the State Department who’ve worked on women’s issues, this could never be used harmfully!
A majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment, but opponents and supporters agree that it puts agencies and the public on notice that their work is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.
House GOP rules package bars CBO from counting spikes in deficit spending spurred by an ACA repeal.
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 5, 2017
Wait, what? The House rules package prevents the CBO from… counting? Indeed, it is so, says Fox News:
But Republicans tucked a provision into the plan which bars the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from counting a dramatic spike in deficit spending spurred by an ObamaCare repeal. Language in the resolution bars the CBO from tallying the cost of any ObamaCare repeal bill that bloats deficit spending by more than $5 billion over the next decade and $20 billion over the next four decades.
in other words republicans are making it officially impossible to ask how much money a repeal of obamacare would cost us https://t.co/Gk0giMz0Gw
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) January 5, 2017
Ryan Confirms the ‘Obamacare Repeal’ Bill Will Also Defund Planned Parenthood.
There’s no line item in a budget that goes to Planned Parenthood — simply reimbursement for care rendered, like other health providers. pic.twitter.com/SaTIpE9PUh
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) January 5, 2017
US Congress just made it easier to ditch science for politics. Because they were so great at taking science into account before.
Trump is in depositions today, so news on him personally will be fairly light.
Trump said he had $315 million in debt. He left out $1.5 billion.
A report this afternoon from the Wall Street Journal, however, revealed that Trump’s disclosure was the tip of the iceberg. The FEC required Trump only to report debt from entities he fully controls. The disclosure left out “more than $1.5 billion lent to partnerships that are 30%-owned by him.” That debt has been securitized and is owed to at least 150 financial entities.
“President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day,” including career diplomats whose kids are close to finishing their school years and have historically been granted extensions.
Head of nurses union ‘counting on’ Trump for single-payer system. … Huh. Granted, he’s said in interviews that he favors universal health care, but I don’t see him swaying Congress.
Sources: Trump will ask Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall. I know you’re all shocked–shocked–to find that after Mexico told him to fuck off, Trump had to seek funding at home.
Transition Team & Cabinet Appointees
You might remember Vincent Viola, Trump’s choice for Army secretary, as the owner of the Florida Panthers and someone who’s not really qualified for the job. But his day job is running a trading firm that basically exists to flout trading rules:
Virtu Financial, the giant Wall Street high-frequency trading firm run by President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, has a record of violating the rules of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act, the Nasdaq Stock Market, the New York Stock Exchange and other exchanges that extends back nearly as long as the firm has been in business, according to U.S. market regulatory filings reviewed by Newsweek.
The latest filing, dated December 20—just one day after Trump nominated Viola to take charge of the Army’s weapons systems, personnel, finances and other key functions—shows that Virtu, which Viola founded in 2008, quietly settled disciplinary proceedings involving more than 50,000 instances of trading violations from April 2013 to December 2015.
1) Trump illegally uses charity money to donate to Bondi 2) Bondi declines to go after Trump U 3) Trump hires Bondi https://t.co/sId7DYyJaL
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 5, 2017
Bondi is also an elector for Florida.
Congress has scheduled six confirmation hearings for next Wednesday, hoping that if they do them all at once, no single nominee will grab too many headlines: Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly, and Elaine Chao (Mitch McConnell’s wife). McConnell has scheduled a big budget vote for the same day, including some Obamacare repeal nonsense, AND Trump is set to hold his first press conference since last July. If I were a journalist, I’d be looking for what else might be going on that day; good lord. Any news outlet with fewer than ten people covering Washington is going to be utterly fucked. It’s a DDOS for airtime and citizens’ attention.
“A new rule, written by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), establishes as fact that any legislation to dispose of public lands and natural resources would cost taxpayers exactly $0.” The House just made it a lot easier to sell off national parks.
At Least 50 Trump Electors Were Illegitimately Seated as Electoral College Members. Yikes. Congress meets in a joint session tomorrow to ratify the Electoral College’s vote, so if you want to call your representatives, now’s the time.
More than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders.
What you can do
Call. Keep calling. Text your ZIP code to (520) 200-2223 and get you’ll a reply with your state and federal representatives’ numbers.
Keep in mind who’s doing what:
- There’s a joint session Friday to ratify the Electoral College vote; you can talk to both Senators and Representatives about that.
- The Senators are working on Affordable Care Act repeal and all those confirmation hearings.
- The House of Representatives is the group that passed that poison rules package that included $1 salaries for any federal workers they don’t like (the Holman Rule), barred CBO tallies of ACA deficit increases, and (from yesterday) allows staffers to question citizens under oath. They’ve passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act and REINS. They’re also meeting Monday to discuss defunding the UN and are working toward selling off National Park lands.
If you’re in Texas, Virginia, or Kentucky, you have anti-transgender bathroom bills being debated, so tell your state reps how you feel about those.
First visit to your site, so I hesitate to post anything here for concerns about backlash, however I feel compelled to correct some information about Vincent Viola. He is, in fact, qualified to lead the army. He is a West Point graduate – not just an NHL team owner and successful businessman.
Just a few points:
He donated the national counter-terrorism center for the United States located at the Academy after 911. He has been involved with the Army and veterans for more than 30 years in various capacities and is truly a good man who has a great reputation.
The SEC violations you reference are for markers left off of trades and 50K sounds like an awful lot. What is missing is what is the total number of trades in that period. My inclination is that because the trades are primarily computer initiated (I could be totally wrong here), there could be millions of trades in that period. I am shocked that you would state his company exists only to get around the rules. Do some more research – you missed the mark on this one!
For the record, I am not a Trump fan and have had serious concerns over the past months. I am not a friend of Mr. Viola’s but know a bit about his life and he earned his way to where he is – no rich parents. I agree with much on this page, however, you apparently formed an opinion based on a small fraction of information. I hope you’ll do some more research and revise your opinion since you are trying to provide information and influence others – it is your responsibility.
Stephanie Leary says
Thank you for the thoughtful comment, KM. You’re right that 50,000 trades is not a huge percentage of the company’s volume: fair criticism.
I have no doubt that Mr. Viola is an upstanding person, but no amount of Army and veteran involvement as a civilian is the slightest bit comparable to the current Army secretary’s experience.