Politico’s Running List Of What Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking [Updated 1/13/18] | Blog#42

Politico’s Running List Of What Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking [1/13/18] | Blog#42

In June 2017, Politico’s Danny Vinnik began publishing a weekly list of things Trump did while we hyperfocused on the scandal du jour. I’ve been curating Danny’s weekly post for the past few months. The archive for 2017 can be read here. I will continue to update this curation every Friday until Politico discontinues it.

Please note that each entry includes only a portion of the original text of the articles curated here. Please do click through to Politico to read the entire article..


Week 2: (January 8-13)

5 things Trump did this week while you weren’t looking

News on Medicaid, trade and unpaid internships.

A relatively quiet week in Washington exploded on Thursday after The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump referred to “shithole countries” in a meeting with lawmakers, suggesting that the U.S. should take in more people from Norway. The comment provoked an immediate backlash at a moment when the administration was trying to sustain its political momentum after getting a major tax-reform law signed. On Capitol Hill, Congress made little progress toward a budget deal, as lawmakers stare down yet another government shutdown deadline next week.

Beneath the firestorm over the president’s language, the Trump administration made a number of real policy moves—including a big one on immigration. Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to rescind Barack Obama’s legacy and enact a new conservative agenda, including one of the most radical Medicaid reforms in the program’s history. Here’s how Trump changed policy this week:

1. Trump ends protections for 200,000 Salvadorans
Almost forgotten after the “shithole” comment was Trump’s big immigration move on Monday, when the Department of Homeland Security revoked a special immigration status for more than 200,000 citizens of El Salvador who have lived and worked in the U.S. since that country was hit by a massive earthquake in 2001. They will be required to leave the U.S. by September 9, 2019. The Salvadorans are just the latest group of immigrants to lose temporary protected status— a program that was designed to be temporary, but has been repeatedly extended under both Democratic and Republican administrations. […]

2. A new era for Medicaid 
Congressional Republicans don’t appear interested in taking another shot at repealing and replacing Obamacare this year, after they eliminated the individual mandate in tax reform. But the Trump administration continues to chip away at the law in other ways, using its executive powers.

This week, the administration announced perhaps its biggest reform yet when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued policy guidance for states seeking to implement work requirements in their Medicaid programs. Under the guidance, states would be allowed to require able-bodied Medicaid beneficiaries to work or participate in a work-related activity, such as job training, for at least 20 hours a week to stay covered. People with severe medical conditions would be exempt. Republicans have long supported adding work requirements to the Medicaid program, arguing that they would help move beneficiaries into work and off the government dole. Democrats have long opposed the idea, noting that most Medicaid beneficiaries already work or have a disability and arguing that the proposal will lead to more hardship with little increase in economic self-sufficiency. […]

3. Commerce sets duties on Canadian paper
Trump has spent much of his presidency complaining about Chinese trade practices, vowing to impose new penalties for Chinese steel dumping and intellectual property theft. So far, though, he’s taken few real actions against Beijing. Instead, he’s focused his trade ire on a surprising target: Canada.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration took another shot at our northern neighbor when the Commerce Department imposed preliminary duties on uncoated groundwood paper, arguing that Canada was unfairly subsidizing producers. […]

4. Florida gets an exemption from Interior’s drilling plan
When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced last week a major expansion of offshore drilling, he received a predictable backlash from environmentalists. But the overwhelmingly reaction didn’t just come those quarters; he also drew friendly fire from one of Trump’s closest political allies: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who said new drilling would threaten the state’s tourism industry.

This week, faced with Scott’s criticism, Zinke quickly backtracked and gave Florida an exemption from the plan, which opens up vast stretches of federal waters to oil and gas drilling. Far from quieting the backlash, the move only raised more questions about why Florida got the exemption, as opposed to other coastal states that criticized the drilling proposal. […]

5. DOL loosens rules on unpaid interns
In 2010, the Department of Labor implemented a six-part test to determine when companies must pay their interns. The new fact sheet didn’t actually change the underlying law but held that employers should consider an intern an employee—and thus pay them the minimum wage and overtime pay—unless they met all six conditions of the test, including that the internship mirror an educational experience and the internship is not a substitute for a paid employee.

Late last Friday—yes, we know, not quite this week—the Trump administration officially abolished the six-part test and reverted to the “primary beneficiary test,” which allows for unpaid internships as long as the intern benefits more than the employer. […]

Read the full article on Politico

Week 1: (January 1-7, 2018)

In one big week, Trump delivers for conservatives

On issues from marijuana legalization to oil-and-gas drilling, it was a week of red meat for Trump.

President Donald Trump’s first week of 2018 was a big policy gift to his conservative base, wrapped with a bow.

Most of Trump’s administration has been defined by the huge gulf between its political theatrics and its real-world impact—a reality-show White House that occupies the headlines without really driving policy, while a serious but less-heralded conservative agenda marches forward behind the scenes at federal agencies.

Not this week. With three huge moves—tightening up marijuana law, opening new waters for oil-and-gas drilling, suspending aid to Pakistan—Trump handed big victories to red-meat conservatives, the kind of wins that GOP voters might have expected from far more conventional candidates.

Strategically, the moves were a mixed bag for the GOP: As many commentators have noted, Republicans trying to hang onto their seats in blue-ish states in 2018 are going to have to toe a narrow line, distancing themselves from an administration whose approval rating is hovering below 40 percent. But for the issue-driven right, the week was a big signal that the law-and-order, drill-baby-drill brand of politics that Trump promised has clearly planted its flag in the White House.

1. DOJ ends Obama’s lenient policy on marijuana
The rapid expansion of legal and quasilegal pot in U.S. states was enabled by aDepartment of Justice move, back in 2013, to deprioritize the enforcement of the federal prohibition on marijuana sales. Though marijuana is still federally outlawed, the move effectively limited the risk to people and businesses selling pot legally under their state laws. It was a victory for advocates and states that wanted to legalize commercial marijuana sales, which can bring in billions of dollars in tax revenue, but it was a huge defeat for law-and-order conservatives who have warned about the dangers of marijuana and the need for a tough enforcement policy. […]

2. A big expansion of drilling
In 2015, the Obama administration announced that it would allow oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast, a move that immediately drew fire from environmentalists and states like North Carolina and Florida that worried about the environmental damage from such a move. Facing a backlash, in 2016, the Interior Department reversed those plans.

But this week, with the Interior Department—now led by former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke and his resource-based conservatism—the agency announced it would open vast stretches of federal waters to oil and gas drilling, including off the coasts of Florida and California. […]

3. Trump withholds aid to Pakistan
In August 2016, as Trump unveiled a new strategy in Afghanistan, he used his prime-time speech to also rail against Pakistan, which he accused of sheltering organizations that “try every day to kill our people.” If Pakistan didn’t change its ways, he warned, the United States would review and perhaps withhold the hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance it delivers to Islamabad each year.

This week, Trump followed through on those threats when the State Department announced it was withholding nearly all security assistance to Pakistan, which could total up to $1.3 billion, and suspending all deliveries of military equipment to the country. […]

4. HUD delays fair housing rule
In July 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published a long-awaited rule requiring states and localities to report to Washington how they use federal funds to reduce housing segregation and to develop new goals to further reduce such discrimination. The announcement was a victory for housing and civil rights advocates who had long pushed for tougher federal fair housing standards.

But those celebrations might have been premature. On Friday, HUD delayed the compliance date of the Obama-era rule until at least 2020, and advocates are worried that HUD Secretary Ben Carson will repeal the rule altogether in the intervening years. […]

5. Trade sanctions on China ramp up
During 2017, Trump surprisingly took a tougher line on trade with Canada than China, hoping that Beijing would pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. But as China has been unable or unwilling to cajole North Korean leader Kim Jong Un into such a move, Trump has indicated that he’s ready to move forward with trade sanctions against China.

On Wednesday, the International Trade Commission voted 4-0 to approve duties as high as 96 percent on Chinese tool chests and cabinets. […]

Read the full article at Politico


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Politico’s Running List Of What Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking [2017] | Blog#42