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EPA To Gut Water Protections

Trump EPA proposes major rollback of Federal water protections. NPR: “Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration. The proposal, announced Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, would change the EPA’s definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, limiting the types of waterways that fall under federal protection to major waterways, their tributaries, adjacent wetlands and a few other categories. The proposed change stands in stark contrast to the definition put forward by the Obama administration in 2015, which aimed to widen federal clean water protections to include not only those large waterways, but also the smaller streams and tributaries that feed into them. For years, Republican opponents, agriculture groups and real estate developers have decried that move as a regulatory overreach.”

Trump’s Stealth Attack On Preexisting Conditions

The Trump administration unveils a stealth attack on people with preexisting conditions. LA Times: “Trump administration officials apparently are prepared to go to their graves insisting that they did everything possible to protect Americans with preexisting medical conditions, even as they pull out the stops to undermine those protections. The latest example of this subterfuge came in late October, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new rules for states contemplating alterations in the Affordable Care Act. The administration followed up a few weeks ago with further guidelines. ‘This administration remains firmly committed to maintaining protections for all Americans with preexisting conditions,’ that document says. The ‘concepts presented here do not open any flexibility for states to undermine these protections.’ Unfortunately, according to an analysis by Jennifer Tolbert and Karen Pollitz of the Kaiser Family Foundation, the administration’s proposals could do just that. ‘They seem to be aiming to lay out a path for state officials who are interested in undermining the ACA,’ Pollitz told me.”

Trump VA Exec Did No Work

Trump loyalist at VA forced out after collecting pay but doing little work. WaPo: “The Trump administration has forced out a senior White House political appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs who spent months on the federal payroll doing little to no work. Peter O’Rourke’s departure marks an unceremonious fall for a Trump loyalist once seen as a rising star at VA, where he nonetheless had a rocky tenure, first leading a high-profile office handling whistleblower complaints, next as chief of staff and then, for two months, as the agency’s acting secretary. Since August he has held the nebulous role of senior adviser, with an uncertain portfolio and a senior executive salary as high as $161,000. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asked for his resignation Friday, O’Rourke said. Asked why he was getting paid not to work, O’Rourke said he was ‘available for anything the secretary asked me to do’ and acknowledged that ‘there were times I didn’t have a lot to do.”

Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Wall

‘I am proud to shut down the government’, Trump tells Schumer. Reuters: ” U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said U.S. President Donald Trump has made clear that he wants to shut down the federal government over his long-promised border wall even as they sought a deal to keep the government running. Schumer and Pelosi, speaking to reporters at the White House after their meeting with the president, said they had offered Trump two proposals to avoid a shutdown: passing six current appropriations bills and a one-year extension of current funding for the Department of Homeland Security, or passing a one-year extension of all seven appropriations bills.”

WH Appeals Asylum Ruling To SCOTUS

Trump admin appeals asylum policy ruling to Supreme Court. The Hill: “The Trump administration on Tuesday made an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to allow the enforcement of its asylum policy. The appeal comes after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday decided not to lift an injunction preventing the asylum ban from being enforced. Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in the appeal to the Supreme Court that the injunction is “unwarranted because it virtually guarantees that the harms the rule addresses will continue to occur during litigation.”‘At a minimum, this Court should narrow the injunction to cover only specific aliens respondents identify as actual clients in the United States who would otherwise be subject to the rule,’ Francisco also wrote. The Trump administration in November attempted to crack down on asylum by prohibiting certain people who cross into the country between ports of entry from claiming asylum. But Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California later ruled against the policy, writing in his ruling that Trump can’t ‘rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.'”

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