Trump Watch: Day 125 Wrap-Up

Good evening, Trump watchers. Here is the latest Trump-related news from Tuesday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 24, 2017:

— Today the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the latest Republican-constructed, Trump-backed Healthcare Bill. The news isn’t good. An estimated 23 million Americans will lose their health insurance if the new plan is enacted. The report says that in some parts of the country, people with preexisting conditions or those who are seriously ill “‘would ultimately be unable to purchase’ robust coverage at premiums comparable to today’s prices, ‘if they could purchase at all’” according to the Associated Press. Despite the dire warnings of the CBO report, some Republicans seem oblivious to the actual damage the bill will do to many Americans. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit. It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.” The new bill passed a vote in the House earlier this month, and now the Senate is working to revise the bill before they vote on it. Stay tuned.

— Trump’s first full budget proposal was released on Tuesday, and sure enough, it involves deep cuts to “domestic programs focused on science and research, the arts and, most notably, social welfare programs” according to CNN. Which areas of the budget will receive more funding? Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs. Which areas will be eliminated entirely? A lot. Here’s a list of agencies and programs that would be eliminated entirely under Trump’s budget: Chemical Safety Board, Corporation for National and Communication Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (bye, bye, NPR and PBS), Institute of Museum and Library Services, International Development Foundations, Legal Services Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, several Regional Commissions, the U.S. Institute of Peace, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, allocations to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, McGovern-Dole International Food for Education, Rural Business and Cooperative Service, Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program account, Single Family Housing Direct Loans, the Rural Economic Development Program, the Economic Development Administration, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Minority Business Development Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grants and Education, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Impact and Payments for Federal Property, International Education, Strengthening Institutions Program, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, Teacher Quality Partnership, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program and Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility Termination, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Community Services Block Grant, Health Professions and Nursing Training Programs, Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program, Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program, Transportation Security Administration Law Enforcement Grants, Choice Neighborhoods program, Community Development Block Grant, Home Investment Partnerships Program, Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program Account, Abandoned Mine Land Grants, Heritage Partnership Program, National Wildlife Refuge Fund, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Training, OSHA Training Grants, Senior Community Service Employment Program, Development Assistance, Earmarked Appropriations for Non-Profit Organizations, P.L. Title II Food Aid, Green Climate Fund and Global Climate Change Initiative, National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER), Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, Energy Star and Voluntary Climate Programs, Geographic Programs, Five Earth Science Missions, NASA Office of Education.

DAMN. That took forever to type out. I thought it was important to include the full list, though, just to illustrate the impact this budget could have. You can read more about any of these cuts at this page on CNN.

— While Trump claims his budget will eliminate the national deficit entirely in 10 years, economists aren’t so sure. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the economic gains that the administration has said it would use to pay for tax reform is apparently also being counted on to pay for deficit reduction. Some people call that double-counting.” The article goes on to quote several economics experts who say that the numbers don’t add up. President Clinton’s former Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, called it an “egregious accounting error.” http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-economists-say-trump-s-budget-proposal-1495566789-htmlstory.html

— In Trump’s budget, education receives a $10.6 billion slash to after-school programs, teacher training, and federal student loans and grants, but it includes $1.4 billion to “expand school choice” through the use of vouchers and charter schools. Today Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before a House appropriations subcommittee regarding the budget. According to NPR, she attempted to deflect skepticism and continued to push for the vouchers and charter schools. Some representatives questioned DeVos about whether private schools that deny entry to certain populations would receive federal funding. A Congresswoman from Massachusetts, Katherine Clark, brought up an example of a school in Bloomington, Indiana, Lighthouse Christian Academy, which denies entry to children with LGBT parents, yet receives $665,000 in state vouchers. DeVos would not answer the question.

The New York Times reported today that, “American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence.” Apparently the Russians were targeting Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, as well as Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser. Both men have denied any collusion with Russia. All of this is being investigated by the recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller. The White House, FBI, and CIA all declined to comment on the story.

— Finally, Trump met with the Pope at the Vatican today. The Vatican put out a statement saying that the two discussed healthcare, education, assistance for immigrants, and the promotion of world peace. Trump made brief remarks to the press after the visit, in which he said it was an honor to spend time with the Pope, and “He is something.” Next up for Trump and his entourage: a trip to Brussels.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for the next wrap-up on Friday evening.