Chaos continued today on Capitol Hill, as Trump and GOP House leadership were unable to amend their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") as promised, in time to hold their planned vote today, the 7th anniversary of the signing of Barack Obama's landmark health care insurance bill. In a "stinging setback" Republicans were forced to delay the floor vote after failing to whip enough support from both Republican "conservatives" and "moderates" alike to ensure passage.
The vote has now been rescheduled for Friday, though that too remains uncertain at the moment, even after Trump and Ryan agreed with the far-right Freedom Caucus to do away with the 10 Essential Health Benefits — basic services like outpatient, emergency room, hospital, mental health, prenatal care and prescription drug coverage — required to be included with each policy sold under ObamaCare. And all of that played out today as a devastating new Quinnipiac poll revealed the GOP's deadly healthcare plan is wildly unpopular among American voters (including Republicans).
As that mess was happening in the House, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate announced his intention to vote against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the President's nominee to fill the GOP's stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and urged his colleagues to join him in filibustering to block Gorsuch. Some Democrats, however, are reportedly hoping to cut a deal with Republicans to support Gorsuch in exchange for not doing away with the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the future. (You can call your Senator — particularly Democratic Senators up for re-election next year in states said to have been won by Trump last year — at 202-224-3121 if you've got an opinion about that, or just to let them know how you expect them to vote.)
In the meantime, receiving far less coverage, Trump's push for two new massive oil pipelines is moving ahead apace. The Dakota Access Pipeline is reportedly set to start sending crude from North Dakota to Illinois any day now. But the controversial KeystoneXL pipeline to send dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico for export, may soon run into a number of problems. In fact, though it's expected to receive approval from Trump's State Department very soon, the $8 billion pipeline may never actually be completed at all, according to our guest today, James Wilt, freelance reporter at DeSmog Canada.
Wilt details the three main obstacles — economics, land owners and climate/environment — that, he reports, could end up delaying or permanently derailing the completion of the Canadian-owned pipeline which the Obama Administration had previously rejected. Finally, we finish up today with some listener mail in response to a number of recent shows regarding the stolen SCOTUS nominee and Citizens United.
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