Travel ban updated, health care bill introduced
Executive order on travel updated
President Trump signed an executive order Monday to ban international travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days.
This order is a revised version of an order Trump signed Jan. 27 that banned travel from seven countries. Iraq has been removed from the list in the revised order.
Other changes to the revised order include the exemption of permanent residents and current visa holders from the travel ban and the removal of phrasing that prioritized the entry into the U.S. of religious minorities.
The new order also changes the indefinite ban on refugees from Syria into a 120-day ban that must be reviewed and renewed to continue for any longer.
The text of the order was revised after the original was blocked by a federal appeals court.
The order retains its central component.
The number of refugees permitted to enter the United States each year will be cut from about 110,000 to about 50,000.
It also continues to call for the data collection and publication of crimes committed by immigrants.
It will be implemented gradually in the next two weeks rather than being put into action on the day of issue as was attempted with the original order.
Trump administration rescinds transgender bathroom protections
Last Wednesday, Trump removed protections that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice in schools.
The Obama administration had put these protections in place in a directive based on nondiscrimination laws.
The current justice department and education department said in a joint letter on Feb. 22 that the previous protections were created without “due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”
The reversal of federal position on this issue prompted the Supreme Court to refuse to decide a case on whether a transgender boy in Virginia can use the boys’ bathroom at his school.
The Supreme Court had originally agreed in October to hear the case. Arguments were scheduled to be heard by justices this month.
The case has been sent back down to the lower courts, which means there will be no Supreme Court decision on transgender rights in the near future.
“Obamacare” replacement introduced
Republicans in the House of Representatives presented their plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law Monday.
The new plan would remove the current healthcare bill’s requirement that most Americans have health insurance and eliminate the tax penalties currently in place for those without insurance.
It would also scale back funding for widespread Medicaid expansions and no longer require larger employers to offer insurance for full-time employees.
The tax credit system for health insurance would be revised. Tax credits for health insurance are currently based on income. Under the new plan, they would be distributed based on age.
The new plan would allow individuals to put more money into tax-free health savings accounts.
Several parts of “Obamacare” would not be changed under its replacement. Children will still be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies until the age of 26. Insurers must still fully cover individuals regardless of pre-existing conditions and offer 10 health benefits to everyone they insure.
House Republicans offered no estimate of how much it would cost to repeal and replace the current health care law or of how many people would lose or gain health insurance. House committees plan to vote on the bill without such estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
Several senators, including Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and representatives such as Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, have voiced concerns that the current version of the new bill would not adequately cover most Americans.
The replacement plan would be fully implemented by 2020.
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