ICYMI: new health care bill killed, old climate policy reversed


U.S. President Donald J. Trump walks back to the Oval Office as he returns to the White House on March 2 in Washington, D.C. Tribune News Service and Tribune News Service and Tribune News Service

In national politics in the last week, a new federal health care bill was abandoned, an executive order made plans to undo climate change policy from the previous administration, and the investigation of alleged Russian hacking continues. Here’s a rundown of what happened and why it 

Trump signs order to roll back Obama climate policy

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan was put into action by the Obama administration and planned to close coal power plants and replace them with wind and solar farms. This was an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and comply with the 2015 Paris Agreement that bound many countries to take steps to combat climate change.

Trump’s executive order plans to reverse this policy and revive the coal industry.

Trump has not formally withdrawn the United States from the Paris agreement, but this executive order would be in noncompliance with the agreement.

GOP pulls health care bill from House

The Republican party pulled its plans for an overhaul of former President Barack Obama’s health care law from the House of Representatives floor last Friday before it could be voted on.

Concerns about the new bill’s viability were raised by both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate after it was introduced.

The new bill would have scaled back Medicaid expansions, removed requirements for larger employers to require health insurance and removed requirements for most Americans to have health insurance.

Republican authors of the bill had offered no estimate of how much it would cost to repeal and replace the current health care law.

After the bill was pulled, House Speaker Paul Ryan-R Wisconsin, took much of the blame for its failing from other Republicans and conservative news outlets.

Investigation into alleged Russian hacking continues

The chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes-R California, refused Tuesday to step back from the committee’s investigation into potential Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. election.

Many Democrats say Nunes’ loyalty and close ties to Trump prevent him from leading a fair investigation.

When asked Tuesday if he would recuse himself from the investigation, Nunes said, “Why would I?”

The Senate intelligence committee, which is also investigating Russian 
involvement with the U.S. election, has contacted 20 people for interviews, according to committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr-R North Carolina.

Among those individuals is Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Kushner has acknowledged that he met with Russian officials during the Trump administration’s transition to the White House.

On Monday, FBI director James Comey confirmed that his agency is also investigating potential Russian influence on the election.

Trump and press secretary Sean Spicer continue to dismiss questions on the subject.

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