The House of Representatives voted to halt an action that would keep states from defunding Planned Parenthood in their respective states. Given the makeup of the Senate and the executive branch, the effort is likely to succeed.
Right as now-former president Barack Obama left office, he signed a bill that wrapped up Planned Parenthood’s funding in Title IX legistlation, essentially keeping states from removing public family planning funds on the grounds of abortion. At the time, 13 states had defunded Planned Parenthood by keeping Title IX funds from going to the organization, which is the nation’s largest provider of on-demand abortions by far. Obama amended Title IX to take away state’s ability to do that.
Yesterday the House voted 230-188 to overturn the new Title IX rule using what’s called the Congressional Review Act (the act, according to Vox, lets Congress fast-track or disapprove of newly introduced federal rules). Now the “resolution of disapproval” will head to the Senate, where it requires a 51-vote majority, and then to president Donald Trump’s desk.
It’s likely that Trump will sign the bill, given his previous statements about defunding Planned Parenthood.
This isn’t a move to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level, though those efforts are likely to follow. Currently, some $500 million federal dollars go to Planned Parenthood annually receives more than $500 million annually.
Yesterday, a unanimous three-judge appeals panel ruled that the Trump administration cannot reinstate its ban on immigration from the seven countries in its executive order from two weeks ago.
In a 29-page decision, the judges said that the ban was not a true measure of national security and that "no evidence" had been presented to say that any immigrant from those seven banned countries had committed prior acts of terrorism. It did not address whether or not it was an act of discrimination against Muslims, saying it was too early to make a judgment on that.
The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States. Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.
Soon after the decision went public, Trump responded on Twitter:
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!
Kellyanne Conway told Fox News: “This ruling does not affect the merits at all. It is an interim ruling, and we’re fully confident now that we’ll get our day in court and have an opportunity to argue this on the merits, that we’ll prevail.”
The Justice Department, which is working on behalf of the administration, released a statement saying it was "reviewing the decision and considering its options."
The next appeal would go to the Supreme Court, which is still split evenly and a tie would keep the appeals court decision in place. The Justice Department could also ask for the full appeals court to review the case. Discuss
At today's National Prayer Breakfast, among other things, Trump promised to "totally destroy" the law that keeps tax-exempt churches from making political commentary.
The law, called the Johnson Amendment, was enacted in 1954 and says that nonprofits, which includes churches, cannot participate in political campaigns for or against any candidates. That includes restricting ministers from endorsing candidates in sermons for fear of losing the tax-exempt status.
The law came through a Republican legislature and was signed by a Republican president—it wasn't controversial at the time, but now many Republicans want to repeal it, and to cater to his base of religious conservatives, doing so would be in his best interest.
The argument is that the law violates free speech protections, but courts ruled against them historically.
Trump told the breakfast's attendees: "I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”
He went on to add that “freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is under serious threat.”
Trump also spoke about his temporary ban of people from predominantly Muslim countries, saying that terrorism threatens religious freedom.
“America is a nation of believers,” he told the crowd. “The quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success ... I tell you that as someone who has had material success.” Discuss
When Hillary Clinton—the former first lady, Secretary of State and president-elect Donald Trump's Democratic opposition—arrived at today's inauguration ceremonies, she took to Twitter to elaborate on her presence:
I'm here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values. I will never stop believing in our country & its future. #Inauguration
This election has brought a lot of firsts. The word "unprecedented" was one of the most used in coverage surrounding President-elect Donald Trump's election and The Washington Post reported there's another break in convention in the incoming administration.
For the first time in 29 years, the Presidential Cabinet will not include a Latino among his Cabinet nominees. This ends three decades of Latino secretaries, top ambassadors and administrators in previous administrations.
Roger C. Rocha Jr., national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, spoke out against the break in precedent and said the lack of a Latino cabinet secretary “is a failure to ensure that the government is truly representative of the people it serves.”
Latino leaders met in Capitol Hill last week in an effort to urge the Trump transition team to find a Latino to include in the Cabinet nominations. On Wednesday, Trump transition officials confirmed the incoming President will nominate Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia, as the next agriculture secretary which completes the traditional White House Cabinet with the least diversity since the Reagan era.
The incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that Trump “has continued to seek out the best and the brightest to fill his Cabinet, but I don’t think that that’s the total reflection. We’ve got 5,000 positions. I think you’re going to see a very, very strong presence of the Hispanic community in his administration.” Discuss
Tomorrow, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president (as you've probably heard). As part of the ceremony, he'll swear on the Bible—in this case, two Bibles. The president-elect announced earlier this week that he plans to use his own Bible in addition to the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln during his first inauguration in March of 1861.
The significance of Lincoln's Bible speaks for itself. As for Trump's own Bible, it's a Revised Standard Version he says his mother gave him when he graduated from Sunday school back in 1955.
Swearing on a Bible is a presidential inauguration tradition that goes back to George Washington. But not all presidents have chosen to swear on the Bible: Theodore Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams and Lydon B. Johnson are among those who didn't use a Bible in their inauguration ceremonies. Trump will be the fifth president, including Barack Obama, to swear on two Bibles.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will conduct the ceremony. Discuss