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politics

President Trump quietly signed legislation Thursday that rolls back an Obama-era rule protecting certain federal funds for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide legal abortions.

Repeal and replace is on-again, off-again, but that doesn't mean the rules affecting your insurance will stay the same in the meantime.

The Trump administration late Thursday issued a final rule aimed at stabilizing the existing health law's insurance marketplace that could have rapid, dramatic effects — perhaps as soon as early summer — on people who do not get insurance through work, and buy it on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges instead.

activists
Wenmei Hill

KUOW's politics team recently asked listeners: Has Donald Trump's election inspired you to get politically active for the first time? Here's a selection of responses we received. 

The Trump administration is lifting a federal hiring freeze as of Wednesday morning.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the policy change in a briefing to reporters Tuesday.

Cautioning "this does not mean agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly," Mulvaney said the across-the-board hiring freeze the president imposed by executive order three days after taking office in January is being replaced with a "smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan."

A special election in Kansas on Tuesday has Republicans sounding worried about an enthusiasm gap in the Trump era.

Trump himself was apparently worried enough that he cut a robo call for Republican state party Treasurer Ron Estes.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The Seattle City Council is not commenting on child sex abuse allegations against Mayor Ed Murray.

A lawsuit filed last week in King County accuses Murray of repeatedly raping and molesting a 15-year-old boy in the mid-1980s.

The Affordable Care Act's worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage the law created. They're also discussing changes that could affect a wider net of employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for seniors.

Although Republicans failed last month in their first attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Donald Trump vows the effort will continue. And even if Congress does nothing, Trump has suggested he might sit by and "let Obamacare explode."

Kevin Tubbs and Pauli Bailey embrace different forms of activism.
KUOW photo/Amy Radil

Embracing political activism can be tough on a relationship. Just ask Kevin Tubbs and Pauli Bailey. Both are liberals who felt a huge wake-up call from the presidential election.


KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Before Chris Hayes became an Emmy Award-winning MSNBC host and a best-selling author, he was a kid trying to navigate New York City in the 1990s. His experience of borders, between neighborhoods and classes of people, informed his world view.

President Trump's updated executive order, the one restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries, is blocked for now.

But administrators at Northeastern University in Boston aren't taking any chances.

"We're in a state of limbo," says Mike Armini, who oversees government relations. "We don't quite know what's going to happen next, so we've advised them to stay here," he says, talking about the 250 Northeastern students from those six countries.

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

The U.S. Senate could make history this week, but no one is feeling particularly good about it.

"It is depressing; I'm very depressed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "We're all arguing against it, but we don't know any other option."

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP blockade against Merrick Garland before him are forcing another showdown over whether to invoke the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate to make it easier for a president to get all of his nominations approved.

Washington lawmakers are working this year to craft a solution to the state’s school funding crisis. Much of their work is happening behind the scenes and in closed door meetings. So who’s in those meetings and who’s trying to influence the outcome? The top four leaders of the legislature denied a public records request to see their emails and calendars. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says initiative promoter Tim Eyman violated campaign finance laws for personal gain. Ferguson filed a lawsuit Friday against Eyman and a signature-gathering firm he worked closely with. 

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET Friday

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is negotiating with the House and Senate intelligence committees to testify about any Trump campaign dealings with Russia — after he is given immunity from prosecution, according to his lawyer.

Two separate high-profile incidents broadcast this week highlighted the criticism black women regularly face in the workplace and spurred many to share their own experiences on social media.

President Trump is expected to sign into law a decision by Congress to overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers.

Passed by the Federal Communications Commission in October, the rules never went into effect. If they had, it would have given consumers more control over how ISPs use the data they collect. Most notably, the rules would have required explicit consent from consumers if sensitive data — like financial or health information, or browsing history — were to be shared or sold.

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George Frey/Reuters

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday rolled back a slew of environmental protections enacted by Barack Obama, in a bid to untether the fossil fuel industry.

In a maiden trip to the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump signed an "Energy Independence Executive Order," a White House official told AFP.

The new president unveiled a series of measures to review regulations curbing oil, gas and coal production and limiting carbon emissions.

Officials in New York, California and elsewhere say they'll fight Attorney General Jeff Sessions' move to cut off billions in federal grant money to cities that don't share the Trump administration's strict approach to enforcing immigration laws.

"The Trump Administration is pushing an unrealistic and mean spirited executive order," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Monday night. "If they want a fight, we'll see them in court."

At the very southernmost tip of Illinois, the pancake flat cornfields give way to the rolling, forested hills of the Delta.

Here, at the windy confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, it feels more southern than Midwest when you arrive at the old river port and factory town of Cairo, once made famous in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But Twain might not recognize Cairo today.

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

The wide-ranging order seeks to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change.

It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change.

In a symbolic gesture, Trump signed the document at the headquarters of Environmental Protection Agency.

The Justice Department is following through on an executive order to withhold as much as $4.1 billion in federal grants from so-called "sanctuary cities," generally defined as places where local law enforcement limit their cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner is going to talk to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his meetings with Russian officials, Senate sources tell NPR.

The committee is looking into Russia's attempt to meddle in last year's presidential election, as well as possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

President Trump was downright low energy.

The look on his face, as he meandered through unscripted remarks Friday after the defeat of the Republican health care plan he supported, told the story. The unusually subdued Trump called the loss a "learning experience." Then he seemed to shrug it all off and said he was moving on.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump billed himself as a master negotiator who would make the "best deals" for the American people.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

Photo courtesy of Nikki Barron

What difference can a day make? For half of the world’s population who struggle with social, economic, and political inequity, a day honoring women may be only symbolic, but could be life changing.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

On the final day of the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Senate Democratic leader announced his opposition to the Supreme Court nominee.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer said Gorsuch "will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation," setting up a showdown with Republican leaders who may attempt to change Senate rules.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

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