Below please find the link to the just released Senate Healthcare Bill, so that you can read for yourself. I have included a video below from Senator Mitch McConnell (R) Majority Leader. Half way through he enumerates all the advantages that are included in this new “DRAFT” Bill.
I am paraphrasing Mitch McConnells comments below:
This is a draft that includes many members input. There will be ample time to analyze and discuss and provide thoughts before the legislation comes to the floor. All senators are invited.
Next week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release the score, followed by a robust debate and an open amendment process on the Senate floor and all are invited to participate in.
When legislation comes to the floor, it will present Senate Democrats to do what is right for the American people. They can choose to stand by or bring relief to the American people.
It’s time to act. Obamacare is a direct attack on the Middle Class and American families deserve better care. That’s just what we are going to continue to work to bring them.
WE AGREED TO FREE AMERICANS FROM OBAMACARE’S MANDATES SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO BUY INSURANCE THEY DON’T WANT OR NEED. REPEAL THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE
REPEAL THE EMPLOYER MANDATE
IMPROVE THE AFFORDABILITY OF HEALTH INSURANCE
ELIMINATE COSTLY OBAMACARE TAXES THAT ARE PASSED ON TO CONSUMERS – PUT DOWNWARD PRESSURE ON PREMIUMS
EXPAND TAX-FREE HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT and
DEPLOY TARGETED TAX CREDITS TO DEFRAY OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS
SHIFT POWER FROM WASHINGTON TO THE STATES SO THEY HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY TO PROVIDE MORE AMERICANS WITH THE KIND OF INSURANCE OPTIONS THEY WANT.
WE AGREE ON THE NEED TO STABILIZE THE INSURANCE MARKETS THAT ARE COLLAPSING UNDER OBAMACARE AND THESE NEW POLICIES WILL IMPLEMENT STABILIZATION POLICIES SO WE CAN BRING FINANCIAL CERTAINTY TO INSURANCE MARKETS AND HOPE TO AMERICANS WHO FACE THE POSSIBILITY OF LIMITED OR ZERO OPTIONS NEXT YEAR UNDER OBAMACARE
TRANSITION AWAY FROM OBAMACARE SYSTEM ENTIRELY SO MORE AMERICANS WILL NOT BE HURT.
PRESERVE ACCESS TO CARE FOR PATIENTS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
AND ALLOW CHILDREN TO STAY ON THEIR PARENTS HEALTH INSURANCE THROUGH THE AGE OF 26.
President Trump has been warning Americans all along that Obamacare is imploding. Also, Obamacare premiums have doubled and the victims are innocent, hard-working Americans.
“The House of Representatives has passed on to the Senate and the Senate is getting ready to do something, hopefully it will get done where we will come up with a solution and a really good one to healthcare.” We will not get any obstructionist votes, no matter how good it is, if it’s the greatest healthcare plan ever devised, they will not support it. President Trump will not give up the fight until a new plan is created to help Americans families.
Obamacare has led to higher costs and fewer health insurance options for millions of Americans.The 2010 healthcare law has brought the American people rising premiums, unaffordable deductibles, fewer insurance choices, and higher taxes. President Donald J. Trump promised to repeal and replace this disaster, and that is exactly what he is working with Congress to achieve.
Americans’ Health Insurance Options Are Disappearing At a Startling Rate
Under Obamacare, Americans’ health insurance options are disappearing at a startling rate. Illustrating just how dire the situation really is, the Administration recently released a county-level projection of health insurance exchange participation for 2018. The map shows that plan options will continue to decline and, in some areas, Americans will be left with no health insurance options on Obamacare exchanges.
The map below shows that forty-seven counties nationwide are currently projected to have no insurers, meaning that Americans in these counties could be without coverage from the exchanges next year. In more than 1,200 counties – nearly 40% of counties nationwide – Americans could be left with only one option and no choice of health insurance provider under Obamacare. Currently, at least 35,000 active exchange participants live in the counties projected to be without coverage in 2018, and roughly 2.4 million participants are projected to have only one issuer. It’s clear that Obamacare is an inefficient and unsustainable way to provide health insurance to the American people.
And we very much admire your leadership, your very effective steps…….. President Poroshenko to President Trump
President Trump met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday at the White House regarding tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
President Trump’s Treasury Department issued sanctions on Russia back in February of this year. The White House was accused of rolling back sanctions on Russia. At that time President Trump said the following:
“I haven’t eased anything,” President Trump told reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
Vice President Pence had a full meeting with President Poroshenko and briefly with President Trump. The two men seemed to really have very good discussions.
THE US has shot down a Syrian warplane in ‘self defence’ following an attack which left coalition-backed fighters injured. EXPRESS
A few days ago, Russia sent a warning to the U.S. that it would hit coalition aircraft and drones in western Syria in response to U.S. downing of a Syrian warplane. The Syrian regime’s S-22 aircraft was said to have dropped bombs near coalition-backed fighters, the U.S. protected the coalition fighters.
This was a very positive meeting between President Trump, Vice President Pence and Ukrainian President Poroshenko.
Remarks by President Trump and President Poroshenko of Ukraine
11:09 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be with President Poroshenko of the Ukraine — a place that we’ve all been very much involved in. And you’ve been seeing it and everybody has been reading about it.
And we’ve had some very, very good discussions. It’s going to continue throughout the day. And I think a lot of progress has been made. And it’s a great honor to have you, Mr. President. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Would you like to say something?
PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: That’s a great honor and a great pleasure to be together with you, Mr. President — one of the most reliable supporters and partners — strategic partners for Ukraine.
We’re really fighting to bring freedom and democracy with your very strong support in security and defense — support of our defense, support of my 45 million nation, of the country who is the biggest in the European continent. And I’m absolutely confident that Ukraine is a story of success. I’m proud to have you, Mr. President, and United States as a co-sponsor to this story of success.
And we very much admire of your leadership, of your very effective steps, because today includes two historic days — five months of your presidency and — when we launched the first peace plan — peace plan of Ukraine. And I’m absolutely confident that our effective coordination will bring the peace to our nation, to our land, and can support our territorial integrity and sovereignty.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you. It’s a great honor. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Q How will you respond to the death of Otto Warmbier?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think Otto — it’s a disgrace what happened to Otto. It’s a total disgrace what happened to Otto. That should never, ever be allowed to happen. And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the result would have been a lot different. He should have been brought home that same day. The result would have been a lot different.
But what happened to Otto is a disgrace. And I spoke with his family. His family is incredible, what they’ve gone through. But he should have been brought home a long time ago.
Per Fox News, Press Secretary Sean Spicer will soon be taking on a new role at the White House, overseeing the entire communications operation including the press office while giving up some of his day-to-day duties at the podium. His new role will be a promotion to a position at the level of Deputy Chief of Staff. No name has been provided for a replacement, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be a great addition to that role.
Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 6/19/2017
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:38 P.M. EDT
MR. SPICER: Good afternoon. A belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Hope you enjoyed your day. I also want to extend a very happy birthday in absentia to Jeff Mason. Sorry he can’t be here, but I’m sure he’s enjoying his birthday a little bit more.
Q Slacker is what he said. (Laughter.)
MR. SPICER: I do want to start by saying that the President and the entire administration extends our thoughts and prayers to the sailors — the seven Navy sailors who lost their lives this past weekend. Their deaths while on patrol in the Western Pacific are a sobering reminder of the dangers that the men and women of our military face every day.
The President has been made aware of the attack in London and is receiving consistent updates from the staff. His counterterrorism advisor and other senior White House staff continue to track the situation and have been in frequent contact with their British counterparts since it occurred. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and we’ve made it very clear to our British allies that we stand ready to provide any support or assistance that they may need.
Today, as you may have seen, is the beginning of Tech Week here at the White House, in which we’ll see the President and his Cabinet and staff traveling both inside and outside the Beltway to highlight how government can take advantage of new technologies and ways of thinking to provide better services to all Americans, and at the same time encourage our economy to grow quickly and efficiently. The incredible ingenuity of American innovation and technology has provided us with more efficient solutions to problems large and small — from making it easier to get a ride across town, to safely shifting lifesaving medications around the world.
But the federal government has been able to take advantage of these advances, leaving citizens stuck with an outdated and ineffective system that makes it more difficult to access critical services. Just a few examples that have been highlighted by others: Americans spend about 35 hours a year filling out government forms. The veterans who appeal a disability claim wait an average of five years for a decision. And the VA has over 1,000 different support phone numbers.
Last week, the Office of Management and Budget decided to pull 59 of its 253 guidance and policy documents, which included an ongoing report requirement for Y2K. And I know some of you may be too young to remember, but Y2K occurred 17 years ago, which completed — that completed the first phase of OMB’s war on waste.
So, this week, we’re particularly emphasizing how we can use technology to improve government services. It’s part of the administration’s wider goal to modernize and streamline our federal government to make it more respectful of taxpayers. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of room for optimization in the federal government.
Today, the President will hear from leaders in the private sector about what they’ve done in their businesses and organizations to adapt their services and practices for the constantly changing landscape of the American economy. And throughout the week, the administration will be discussing how to become more adaptable to new technologies that can help our government work better for our people, with state and local officials, job creators, and educators throughout the country.
Outside the Beltway, while in Arkansas to visit the Fayetteville Medical Center, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shulkin will also visit Walmart headquarters to learn about their logistical supply chain program and how its best practices can be adapted to help the VA deliver better practices and care to our nation’s veterans. We’re also looking at ways that the federal government can act as a partner for the private sector to encourage future innovation.
Here in Washington, Secretary Ross of Commerce is at the SelectUSA investment summit where over 1,200 international firms, attendees from 64 markets, are gathering to promote and facilitate high-impact business investment from the United States — in the United States from foreign investors. SelectUSA is the only national-level foreign direct investment promotion program in the United States, and by leveraging the influence of the United States government on the world stage, it has created a powerful catalyst for state, regional, and local economic development.
Throughout this week, we’ll be highlighting the opportunities for government to combine its potential for large-scale change with technological advancement, such as the ones produced by the private sector to move our economy forward and make our government work better for every American.
And the American people can see that the President is making the right moves to get the economy going again. Just this morning, CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey showed that economic optimism has reached historic levels. It’s clear that the President’s pro-growth economic message is resonating with the American people, and he will continue to unleash the private sector, level the playing field for American businesses abroad, and invest in the technology of the future.
And before I wrap up, I just want to mention that, earlier today, the President and the First Lady released a statement commemorating Juneteenth, a historic day recognizing the end of slavery. They share their warmest greetings with all those separating — celebrating this historic moment. On June 19th, 1865, that the residents of Galveston, Texas first heard the words the Emancipation Proclamation, as President Lincoln’s message finally reached the southern states.
And with that, I’ll take some questions. In honor of Jeff, I will call on his colleague, Steve Holland.
Q Thanks, Sean. How are you responding to this Russian threat to shoot down American planes over Syria?
MR. SPICER: Well, obviously, we’re going to do what we can to protect our interests. And this is something that we’re going to continue to work with — keep the lines of communication open. And ISIS represents a threat to all nations, and so we’ve got to do what we can to work with partners. And we’re going to continue to keep an open mind of communication with the Russians.
Q So will the U.S. change its flight patterns or behavior in Syria?
MR. SPICER: I’m going to refer — I mean, I think this is a question more for DOD to answer. But I think, obviously, it’s important and crucial that we keep lines of communication open to de-conflict potential issues.
Q Thanks, Sean. Following up on that — and a second one for you, as well — what would the U.S. government’s response be? Is the White House going to issue a warning to the Russian government if they were to follow through on this threat? It seems that your statement — would that be a provocation or something worse, potentially?
MR. SPICER: I mean, I think that the escalation of hostilities among the many factions that are operating in this region doesn’t help anybody. And the Syrian regime and others in the regime need to understand that we will retain the right of self-defense, of coalition forces aligned against ISIS.
Q And just a separate question, given that we’re off-camera and off-audio today, the President isn’t speaking in a formal setting later. So can you explain why our friends in television and radio can’t use this live?
MR. SPICER: I’ve said it since the beginning — the President spoke today, he was on camera. He’ll make another comment today at the technology summit. And there are days that I’ll decide that the President’s voice should be the one that speaks, and iterate his priorities.
Q Thanks, Sean. You got some of the most high-profile CEOs on the planet here today. They’re from the tech industry, though, and there’s been a lot written about the fact that the tech industry has been doing a lot to eliminate jobs in terms of automation and self-driving cars, eliminating staff at retail outlets — that sort of thing. This administration is all about creating jobs. Can you tell me what the President’s message is to the tech industry, broadly, in terms of the need to create jobs in the United States?
MR. SPICER: Yeah, I mean, if you look at the collection of individuals that’s here that you mention, you’ve got 18 CEOs that represent over $3.5 trillion of market value. I mentioned just a minute ago, you have an OMB report that we’re talking Y2K. I can’t speak certainly, but I would imagine that much of that market value in those companies has come post-Y2K. So we have an ever-changing economy.
There are things that — if you think about all of those things that they’re creating, some of the companies were in their infancy back 17 years ago. But they are creating new opportunities for Americans, as I just mentioned. And I think that they have allowed us to live better lives, in many ways; allowed us to be more efficient, and provided services.
So there are certain things that we’re not going to do anymore. The market for typewriters has probably gone down. But we have added a whole new technological sector. Several of the companies that are represented there not just have services, but products that have come to light in the last decade or so.
So I think that’s part of the reason the President wants to bring them here is to talk about how they can utilize those levels of innovation and entrepreneurship to help our country grow.
Q Is there any concern that they’re not doing enough to create jobs?
MR. SPICER: No. I think the idea is to make sure that we have an economy and a government that is giving them the most opportunity to create jobs, whether it’s the regulatory system or a tax reform system. We need to be having that conversation with this sector, the technology sector, the manufacturing sector, the mining sector.
I mean, I think American industry and companies from coast to coast want to be hiring more, want to be growing, want to be expanding here in this country. And I think the message that the President has heard over and over again has been give us a lower regulatory burden, take the shackles off of us, and we want to grow and create, pay higher wages, expand in this country. So that’s part of it.
But obviously the big goal out of today is to figure out how we can use some of that innovation to make our government more effective and efficient for our citizens.
Q Eric Schmidt obviously campaigning pretty aggressively for the President’s opponent in the last campaign. Any particular message from the President to Eric Schmidt today?
MR. SPICER: Help us make a more efficient and effective government. I think it’s pretty telling that the President brings these kind of people together. We will work with individuals, regardless of what their past political beliefs are, to further the President’s agenda and to bring ideas to the table. And that’s what, I think, a lot of these folks are coming to do.
And there’s a few things — I don’t want to get ahead of the comments — but when you look at a lot of the services — and one that didn’t come out of this but it’s a perfect example; I highlighted it last week — you have veterans’ medical records, something that has been talked about for literally decades, and this administration getting it done. And Dr. Shulkin, working with some of the folks here, taking the President’s charge, figuring out how to make it happen.
But that is such a — something that has been a huge obstacle for the military and veteran community for a long time. And to have that kind of innovation come forward will improve the lives and safety of so many of our veterans and the impact it has. That kind of thinking — how do we take a process, an interaction with the government that is unwieldy right now, and figure out a way to make it easier for someone to schedule an appointment to get to the VA, or get a mortgage or a student loan. There are so many issues.
And when you hear a lot of the ideas that are being talked about today, it’s pretty fascinating to think if we can solve just a fraction of them, what a better government we will have for our people.
Q Thanks a lot, Sean. We got a reaction today from Cuba’s foreign minister as it relates to U.S.-Cuba policy, which was announced by the President last week. And one of the things he said is, under no circumstances will Cuba release any of those fugitives that President Trump asked Cuba to release. What kind of pressure can be brought to bear on the Cuban government to get that particular element of what the President wanted actually taking place?
MR. SPICER: The number-one piece of what the President did was to lay the groundwork for empowering the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty. That was at the heart of what this did. It was a promise that he made during the campaign trail. And I think instead of empowering the Cuban military and its ability to control the money that goes through, which was not getting to the people, the President’s actions that he took on Friday are going to help empower the people and make sure that not only does he maintain a promise that the American people follow the law, but the bigger result is that we empower the Cuban people. And I think that’s the real big takeaway that I have.
Q Do you anticipate the President announcing any further sanctions on the Cuban government to get various things related to Cuban rights solved or these fugitives brought back to America?
MR. SPICER: I think — let’s let the first — we’re one business day into these actions that the President took. I think they’re being widely hailed as a step in the right direction to accomplishing — empowering the Cuban people. Let’s give it a little time. But as the President says on a variety of subjects, let’s not project what we’re going to do and make sure that we see how things — and reserve the right to go forward.
Q Thanks, Sean. Obviously, a major escalation over the weekend in Syria. What message does President Trump have for the government of Russia as these tensions continue in the region?
MR. SPICER: Well, I think I mentioned it — I think it was to Zeke earlier — but, I mean, the escalation of hostilities among all of the factions that are operating there doesn’t help anybody. And so making sure that people understand that, while we want to deescalate the situation there, that we have to understand that we will always preserve the right of self-defense.
Q And just a quick follow-up on the Middle East. Can you talk about how the President was involved in the decision to send Jared Kushner to Israel and Palestine later this week?
MR. SPICER: So both Jared and Jason Greenblatt — Jason is already — I think he should have landed. I’m trying to remember the time change in my head. But Jason is headed over there; Jared will join him later this week. This is a continuation of the President’s trip and conversations that he began in Israel to further Middle East peace and make incremental changes in the right direction.
Q I wondered if the — the President called the H1-B visa “very, very bad” for workers during the campaign, and I noticed that it’s part of the agenda today. Is the President going into this meeting today open to the idea of expanding H1-B visas?
MR. SPICER: I think the President is going into this meeting to listen, primarily as — again, remember the focus is really going to be on making sure that — how can we harness some of the technological innovation and entrepreneurship of these successful companies to help our government. That’s pretty much the focus.
But I think there’s also a worker component to this. We’ve talked a lot about visa reform in the past, and I think the President wants to make sure that he listens to the various people who have interest in this subject.
Q Does the President have a position on EB-5 visas?
MR. SPICER: The President is — I think — I’ll leave it at this: The President believes that we have to do a lot to overhaul our entire visa process, whether it’s — well, I’m not going to get into the —
Q So a visa overhaul will be included in this?
MR. SPICER: No, no. I’m sorry. I think the question you were asking wasn’t specific to the summit. So I just want to be clear. But I think he has made it clear in the past that, looking at all the visa programs and how we apply them and who gets them, and whether or not we’re doing it in the smartest way, is something he addressed in the Joint — if you remember, that he talked about it a little in the Joint Address as well. And so we’ll continue to have that conversation.
Q Just to follow up, firstly, on Jared’s trip. Can you talk just a little bit more about what the specific goal is here? I mean, is this the first step to potentially setting up some kind of meeting here, to bringing the leaders back to the U.S.? What specifically are his aims?
MR. SPICER: Well, look, as I just mentioned, I mean, I’m not going to get — let’s let them get over there and have these conversations. They’re going to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and senior officials on his team. They’re going to meet with President Abbas and officials on his team later in the week. And I think part of it is to figure out how to make incremental change that results in a lasting peace.
And that’s — but I don’t want to get ahead of this. Part of this is really to utilize the trust that has been built up, and not have these negotiations out in public. But I think that they had a very successful visit when the President was over there and they’re going to continue to build on that.
Q Okay. And then secondly, we heard from one of the Sunday shows, a member of the President’s legal team mentioned something about us potentially seeing some answer on this question of recordings of conversations between the President and Comey. Can you explain to us what he meant when he said that we might get an answer in the week ahead? Are you planning to do some kind of release, some kind of announcement?
MR. SPICER: I do not have a specific answer to that, but I will tell you I believe the President will comment in the next couple of weeks. So it’s possible that we have an answer to that by the end of this week.
Q Thank you, Sean. Tomorrow is zero-hour in Georgia’s sixth district. And earlier this morning, the President tweeted out a very robust endorsement of Republican Karen Handel. The Democratic nominee, right up to the end, has called this a way of sending a message to the President. Does the President view this as a referendum on his administration? And will he have a response tomorrow to any outcome in Georgia?
MR. SPICER: Well, look — as you know, in the past, I’ve made it clear it would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific political races from this podium while they’re ongoing. So that being said, I will just say, obviously the President is going to do whatever he has to help support growing his majorities in both Houses. But let’s wait and see how that turns out. And I’m sure we’ll have some kind of readout. We’ll be able to provide that.
Q Do you feel good about it?
MR. SPICER: I haven’t spent a ton of time thinking about it. I know it’s obviously garnered a lot of attention. We feel very good. The President has been very helpful down there. But I’m not going to go any further from this podium.
Q Two issues. One, can you clarify, last week DHS put out the memo regarding DAPA, and said that DACA DREAMers were status quo. What is the status of that? Is there a certain amount of time that the administration is going to study that and decide what to do with that?
MR. SPICER: As I recall, the DAPA issue was in reference to a pending court case. So it just was that the DAPA announcement and action was due to a pending case. The DACA thing is still something that is ongoing.
Q Yeah. And how long — I mean, is there a timetable on that study?
MR. SPICER: I think it’s — as I mentioned, I mean, there is an entirety of immigration that deals with visa reform and other aspects, including that, that the President continues to review. Members of the team are working on. I don’t have anything for you at this time.
Q And then the second question — this was actually from last week but I don’t think I had an opportunity to ask you. The President was quoted as saying that the House healthcare bill was “mean.” I’m just wondering, forward-looking here, does that hurt the prospect of getting something through the Senate? If you could just comment on that. How does that help or hurt?
MR. SPICER: Well, I think this is something that Senate Majority Leader McConnell is working very closely with the administration on. He’s mentioned scheduling a vote. He’s working with his Senate colleagues. And we’ve had some senators over here to discuss it. We feel very good about the progress that’s happening and a lot of the meetings that are happening behind the scenes to further that. And I think the House looks forward to taking up the next piece of this when it comes out of the Senate.
Q What about the President’s comment?
MR. SPICER: I’m not going to comment on rumors that came out of a private meeting.
Q Are you saying it’s not true?
MR. SPICER: No, I’m just saying I’m not going to comment on rumors of alleged comments that were from a private meeting with the President.
Q Sean, does the President have full confidence in his Deputy Attorney General?
MR. SPICER: The President has confidence in everyone who serves him in this administration.
Q Including Rod Rosenstein?
MR. SPICER: He serves in this administration.
Q Following on that, last week Sarah told us that the President has no intention of firing Rosenstein as the Deputy Attorney General, but he has the right to do so. Rosenstein testified that only — I’m sorry, right to fire Rob Mueller, the special counsel. Rosenstein testified that the regulations give him that power. So how is the White House concluding that the President has the right to fire the special counsel?
MR. SPICER: I mean, I think the broader point here is that everyone who serves the President serves at the pleasure of the President. It may take — I get there may be a technicality as to whom reports to whom. But the bottom line is, is that everybody who is in a status of that serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States.
Q Even though the regulation says that —
MR. SPICER: Again, I understand your question that, on an org chart, the FBI goes to the Deputy Attorney General. But at the end of the day, that person then reports to the President. So, ultimately, everybody who is a political appointee of some sort reports to the President, right?
Q Sure. I’m just wondering if you think that the regulation enjoins the President —
MR. SPICER: Again, I’m not here to argue the HR component of this. I do know that, again, if you look at the org chart, the Deputy Attorney General, who is appointed by the President, the FBI director reports to him.
Q The special counsel.
MR. SPICER: The special counsel — I apologize. So yeah — so, I mean, that’s how —
Q As you know, in 2016, when the President visited Las Vegas, he didn’t have a position on Yucca Mountain, this nuclear waste facility. He said he’d articulate something, but he didn’t then. He still hasn’t quite said anything, but we have had money in the “skinny budget,” things seem to be moving forward. And I just want to know, what informed the President’s thinking on Yucca Mountain? Does he want it to be a nuclear waste facility? And if so, what kind of checking did he do to get there?
MR. SPICER: That’s a great question. I probably need to do some following up on that. I don’t have an answer right now for you on that. I can try to get you —
Q Do you know when you’ll have an answer?
MR. SPICER: As soon as I — I will follow up with our team to find out on the policy side where we are on that and what conversations we’re going to have.
Q I have a question for you, following up on healthcare, and then another one. A lot of criticism this is happening behind closed doors. This is something that Republicans criticized Democrats about a few years ago when Obamacare was being worked out. The Senate is working, obviously, some say in secret on this. Is the President comfortable with that?
MR. SPICER: I can’t say I’ve actually asked him. I mean, this is more of a Senate process question. I will say — and I don’t have the quote in front of me — but I believe that at the beginning, Senator Schumer made it very clear that something along the lines of “I don’t intend to work with anyone who seeks to repeal and replace Obamacare.” So it’s not that they were shocked that after he let it be known that they didn’t want to work with people, it’s a little odd that now they’re saying, you’re not working with us.
Q But the President is comfortable leaving this —
MR. SPICER: I don’t think the President gets involved in deciding how the Senate does its business —
Q Okay. The second question for you: Does the President think it’s appropriate for his campaign, just this month, to cite to an organization, Infowars, that called Sandy Hook a hoax and says 9/11 was not —
MR. SPICER: I’m not familiar with that. Obviously, it would be better to contact the campaign on something like that.
Q Does the President have plans to meet the Ukrainian President, Poroshenko?
MR. SPICER: I believe that the Vice President — he will be meeting with the Vice President. We’ll have a readout after that. And then if we have any updates on the President’s schedule, I’ll let you know later today as far as what his schedule looks like for tomorrow.
Q A couple of weeks ago, we asked you if the President believes in climate change, and I don’t think we got an answer on that. And what’s going on with the tapes?
MR. SPICER: I answered the —
Q Sorry, I missed it.
MR. SPICER: Oh, I just said, the President, I believe it was in the two-and-two, said that he would have an answer shortly. That would probably mean by the end of this week. And so —
Q And the climate change question?
MR. SPICER: I have not — I mean, it really has not been a focus of —
Q So is he meeting with the Vice President today?
MR. SPICER: No, that’s tomorrow.
MR. SPICER: Yeah.
Q Real quick follow-up. With Russia — I’ll ask all three of them. On Russia, are we saying we’re on the brink of war with Russia? Are you saying that that’s a possibility?
MR. SPICER: No, I didn’t say that.
Q Okay. And number two, as far as what we’re talking about with what Jim asked — or I guess the question there is, is he reserving the right to fire everyone down the line until it gets to the special prosecutor? Or is he saying he’s going to leave him alone to do his job?
And three, on days that you come out here and there’s not a camera and there’s not a microphone, and the President speaks, could you ask him if he’d be ever so kind as to step up here and answer some questions from us on that day?
MR. SPICER: I’ll let him know you’re — I’ll be sure to share your sentiments with him.
Q But can you answer the other one about —
MR. SPICER: Well, what Steve said was — he asked about — I’m sorry, you were —
Q On Rosenstein, you’re saying that —
MR. SPICER: No, I was explaining to him how it works.
Q So everyone is ultimately responsible to the President. He reserves the right to fire everybody on down the line until he gets to the person he wants. Is that what you’re —
MR. SPICER: No, what I’m saying is that the way it works is if you’re appointed — if you serve at the pleasure of the President, you serve at the pleasure of the President. That’s a fact.
Q So I get that. But would he work his way down the line if he was —
MR. SPICER: That’s a hypothetical question. I mean, the bottom line is, I answered a question as to how the system is set up. That’s it.
Q Thanks, Sean. Last week, the United States took action to begin extradition of the former Panamanian President Martinelli, who’s been living in Florida and faces corruption charges back home in Panama. Was the White House aware of that in advance of this meeting? And was that sort of a condition for this meeting?
MR. SPICER: I’m not going to — obviously, the White House was aware of it. I’m not going to comment any further on it, though.
Q Sean, when it comes to London, what is the intelligence community doing in helping with trying to solve some of the terrorist acts there? And have we been getting any information, like in past administrations, on the chatter — hearing things prior to it? What can you tell us from an intelligence standpoint?
MR. SPICER: Well, respectfully, I’m not going to get into anything —
Q I mean, just on the basics, that you can give.
MR. SPICER: Obviously, there’s a lot of cooperation that continues to happen. One of the reasons that the President was so pleased to see the terror finance center set up in Saudi Arabia was looking at techniques. There is so much recruiting that goes on online and communication. The center that got stood up is a real positive step forward of being able to utilize tools and experiments to figure out if we can reverse engineer that same propaganda and figure out if there’s a way to help deter people from doing that or detect it.
But there’s a lot of things that are happening in the intelligence community where they’re monitoring things at all times and trying to get ahead of the situation.
Q And a follow-up on this. Since 9/11, we’ve heard it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” it would happen here in the States. Is this still a thought in this community, in the intelligence community and here at the White House, with the ramp-up of terror acts overseas — is there a concern here that — are you still using that philosophy “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’”?
MR. SPICER: I know that both the President and Secretary Kelly in particular, as well as the NSC team, this is what they — is what is their top priority. I mean, if you talk to Secretary Kelly — and the reason that the President has taken the actions that he has, including the travel ban and including — is to make sure that we’re looking at both enhancing and reading the intelligence piece, but taking steps to secure this country, to make sure that the people who are coming here are doing so with the intention of coming here peacefully.
So I think the bigger question is — or the bigger answer is that everything that we do and the President does and Secretary Kelly does — obviously, Secretary Mattis, General McMaster, the entire team — is to protect the people and to make sure that there is not an attack here, and that not only do we prevent anything from happening on our homeland, but eradicate it where we can in places throughout the world.
Q Can you be successful in protecting the people with that equation off the table at this moment?
MR. SPICER: What equation?
Q The travel ban.
MR. SPICER: Well, yeah — I mean, we’re going to do — I mean, that’s why the President is going to continue to fight for it. He’s going to use every tool possible to make sure that we vet people, that we have the proper studies, that we use the proper tools and techniques. But, yeah, we’re going to do everything we possibly can.
Q Sean, six individuals resigned over the weekend from the President’s advisory council on HIV/AIDS, saying the President doesn’t care about the disease. What’s your reaction to that?
MR. SPICER: Well, I mean, respectfully, the President cares tremendously about that and the impact it has. Obviously, the individuals that he’s appointed here in the White House have been in communication with various stakeholders in that community to help develop policies and formulas going forward, but we’re going to continue to do what we can from a government standpoint.
Q What is the President’s strategy to combat HIV/AIDS?
MR. SPICER: As you recall, I think it was HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell came in and fired all of the Bush appointees. So this is — if you look at how that happened, it probably wasn’t the best sign, either.
Q What is the President’s strategy to combat HIV/AIDS?
MR. SPICER: Again, I know that they are working from the White House standpoint, from a policy standpoint, hand in glove with the commission and other members throughout the government to continue to develop a strategy and provide — I think it’s a holistic approach, both in this country and helping people abroad where that’s a big issue.
Q And one more question. Will the President replace those six members who resigned from that council?
MR. SPICER: I really don’t have a personnel update. I’ll try to get you something on that.
Q There’s been a lot of talk since last week’s shooting about whether the divisive political climate contributed to it. What does the President think about that?
MR. SPICER: I don’t believe that we have the intelligence at this time to make it formal. I think there’s obviously an investigation that’s ongoing and it would be highly inappropriate to stand up here and determine the exact nature of the cause while that investigation is happening.
Q What does he think about the shooter’s reported support for Bernie Sanders and being a —
MR. SPICER: Again, I think that it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation in terms of the motives until investigators have an opportunity to do their job.
Q At last word, the FBI and the CIA were still not handing over to the House Intelligence Committee the information they had requested on unmaskings and leakings. Does the administration believe that there should be a special counsel appointed to look into those issues separately, or do they have faith that Mueller will look at those —
MR. SPICER: That’s a question that is best directed towards the special counsel that exists right now. I don’t know if that’s the case. I’m not — I don’t have an update on that, so I don’t have —
Q The President has tweeted his desire to look into —
MR. SPICER: I understand that. I know what the President’s goal is. I don’t know the status between the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and what information they do or do not have with respect to those agencies.
Q They seem to feel they’ve been stonewalled.
MR. SPICER: Again, I just don’t have an update as far as what information they do or don’t have. A lot of that is classified, so I wouldn’t be able to share it if I could. But that’s obviously something that’s ongoing.
Q Thank you, Sean. Has the President or members of his legislative team seen the text of the healthcare bill?
MR. SPICER: I don’t know. I’ve not asked that question. That’s a good question. I just have not talked to the legislative affairs guys, so I know they are in constant communication. So whether they’ve seen the final draft, I know that is something that we’ve been working very closely with the Senate on. So I know that there’s been a level of involvement.
Q So what informs the view of the White House that you feel very good about a vote being held by recess? And do you believe that not only a vote will be held, but that it will secure 50 votes?
MR. SPICER: I think Senator McConnell — no one probably knows the Senate better than Senator McConnell when it comes to getting things done. He knows his members, he knows the Senate, he knows the issue, and he is completely committed to the goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare with a patient-centric bill that will bring down costs and increase access. So we have every confidence in Senator McConnell’s ability to get this done.
This was an excellent meeting wherein President Trump welcomed leaders of the American Technology Council. President Trump has been working with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Kelly, Administrator Verma and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to make big changes to modernize critical IT systems and to make government more transparent. This includes the transfer of veterans’ medical records from the Defense Department to the new system and working with Congress on immigration to fulfill the staffing needs of these companies.
Remarks by President Trump During Roundtable with the American Technology Council
State Dining Room
5:22 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It’s great to have you at the White House. And I just wanted to pass on word — Otto Warmbier has just passed away. He spent a year and a half in North Korea. A lot of bad things happened. But at least we got him home to be with his parents, where they were so happy to see him, even though he was in very tough condition. But he just passed away a little while ago. It’s a brutal regime, and we’ll be able to handle it.
But I want to thank you all for being here, special people. I’m really thrilled to welcome many of you for the first time, and certainly the first time meeting as the American Technology Council. We’re joined by an incredible group of leaders on the absolute cutting edge of innovation, including many CEOs from the world’s most successful businesses.
We have approximately $3.5 trillion of market value in this room — but that’s almost the exact number that we’ve created since my election. (Laughter.) In fact, I think we have you beat by a little bit, which is a pretty good number. But I congratulate you all. Done an amazing job. Thank you for lending your time and your talent to the American people. A lot of ideas have come out of the room today, and a lot of ideas will over the next short period of time.
I also want to welcome Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Kelly, Administrator Verma, and my Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney. Thank you all. Done a great job. I want to thank Jared and Chris — Chris Lindell — for assembling such a spectacular group of people. They’re working very, very hard. I want to thank Ivanka for working so hard on it; it’s a real passion.
Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens, stronger protection from cyberattacks — which we were just discussing in the Oval Office with a little bit smaller group. That’s a big problem, there’s no question about it. We’re going to be working on it and we’re going to solve the problem — and up to a trillion dollars in savings for taxpayers over the next 10 years. Over a trillion.
We’re embracing big change, bold thinking, and outsider perspectives to transform government and make it the way it should be, and at far less cost.
My administration has already taken very historic steps to modernize critical IT systems and make government more transparent. As an example, you’re seeing what we’re doing with the airports, with all of the billions and billions of dollars that have been spent on planes flying all in the wrong directions — we’re getting a change. They’ve spent many billions of dollars, and we are getting that whole system fixed. Money wasted over the last six or seven years — billions.
VA Secretary Shulkin recently announced that we’re upgrading technology to allow the seamless transfer of veterans’ medical records from the Defense Department, which has been a huge problem for decades and decades for our great veterans. We’ll have it fixed very soon, but it’s been a problem for many, many decades. Across government, we’re fixing problems in months that others have not fixed in many, many years. And we’re just getting started.
Fifty years ago, our government drove the innovation that inspired the world and put Americans on the moon. Today, many of our agencies rely on painfully outdated technology, and yet, we have the greatest people in technology that the world has ever seen right here with us in this room. And most of them are just nodding as I say that. They’re actually agreeing with me, which — (laughter) — that’s interesting, Eric, right?
Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution. We’re going to change that with the help of great American businesses like the people assembled. The businesses represented here today employ hundreds of thousands of American workers. Your innovation has shaped the modern world and created millions of jobs. America should be the global leader in government technology just as we are in every other aspect, and we are going to start our big edge again in technology -– such an important industry. I view it from the standpoint of jobs and other things; you view it somewhat differently. But we’re all in the same ballpark. It’s so important. So important.
My administration is embracing a new spirit of innovation that will make life better for all Americans. And when it comes to what we’re here for today, American technology, we’re working very diligently with everybody, including Congress, on immigration so that you can get the people you want in your companies. And it’s been a tremendous problem that you’ve had over the past long period of time. So we’re working very hard on that and we’ll be able to solve that problem.
I want to thank everyone in the room for lending your time, again.
It is reported by Fox News that a suspect INTENTIONALLY and deliberately crashed a car into a police van that then caught on fire on the Champs-Elysees shopping district in Paris Monday afternoon. French authorities state that an anti-terrorism investigation has been started.
The suspect was arrested and then questioned and is now dead – The area has been sealed.
This is the fifth time in four months that security forces have been attacked in Paris.
This is the fifth time in four months that security forces have been targeted in Paris.
— Last month, a man attacked an officer with a hammer at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, proclaiming, “This is for Syria,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. The officer’s injuries were not serious.
— In April, a man shot at police officers — also on the Champs-Elysees — killing one officer and wounding two others. Police shot and killed Karim Cheurfi as he tried to escape on the busy tourist boulevard. ISIS said the man was one of its fighters, and Cheurfi had a note defending ISIS in his pocket.
— In March, a man holding a gun on a French female soldier at Orly Airport shouted, “I am here to die in the name of Allah … There will be deaths,” before two of the soldier’s comrades shot the attacker dead.
— In February, a soldier shot a machete-wielding man who rushed toward a group of soldiers and guards near the Louvre museum.
US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near US backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State militants.
A Syrian army statement released on Syrian state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing. It said the incident took place on Sunday afternoon near a village called Rasafah.
U.S. Central Command issued a statement saying the Syrian plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,” identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqah.
It said that “pro-Syrian regime forces” had earlier attacked an SDF held town south of Tabqa and wounded a number of fighters and driving them from the town.
Coalition aircraft in a show of force stopped the initial advance. When a Syrian army SU-22 jet later dropped bombs near the US backed forces, it was immediately shot by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet, the statement said.
Before it downed the plane, the coalition had “contacted the its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established “de-confliction line” to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing.” The coalition does “not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces” but would not “hesitate to defend itself or its “partnered forces from any threat,” the statement said.
The US-led coalition, which has in recent weeks escalated its aerial bombing campaign in northern Syria and Raqqa province. US-backed forces have encircled the city of Raqqa and captured several districts from the militants.
The Syrian army has also taken territory from retreating Islamic State militants in the western Raqqa countryside and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the militants’ control for almost three years.
U.S. shot down a Syrian aircraft after a day of fighting on the ground in an area near Raqqa. Syrian regime forces attacked U.S. backed fighters and had driven them from a key town. A lot of fighting on the ground between pro-regime forces and the U.S. backed forces. U.S. came in and conducted a show of force with fighter jets, trying to scare off the pro-regime advances. Later a Syrian SU22 came back in and dropped bombs near the U.S. backed fighters and the U.S.F18 came in and shot down that Syrian jet as part of a defense mission to protect the U.S. backed fighters on the ground, all of this in a critical location essentially ISIS last stand.
CNN states the following:
The Syrian Armed Forces claims that their planes were attacked “while it was carrying out a combatant mission against ISIS terrorist organization.” The general command called the action a: “flagrant aggression” that affirmed the United States’ “real stance in support of terrorism,” according to Syrian Armed Forces.“The attack stresses coordination between the US and ISIS, and it reveals the evil intentions of the US in administrating terrorism and investing it to pass the US-Zionist project in the region.”
“There is dignity in every honest job and there is nobility in every honest worker.” DJT
Transcript: My fellow Americans, This week, our nation was shocked and horrified when a gunman opened fire on a Member of Congress. Five people were wounded in the assault, including a member of House Leadership – my good friend, Steve Scalise. Steve is beloved across Washington, he embodies everything public service is about – he’s dedicated to his constituents, devoted to his values, and deeply committed to his country. I visited Steve, his wife, and his family in the hospital as he continues to fight for his recovery. 435 Members of Congress, and 300 million Americans, are pulling for him, praying for him, and pledging to him our full and total support. We continue to hold all of those wounded and fighting for recovery in our hearts and prayers, including Matt Mika, who was also badly wounded. In that terrible crime, we also witnessed the incredible heroism of Capitol Police. Special Agent Crystal Griner – who I also had the honor of meeting during my visit to the Hospital – raced into gunfire, along with Special Agent David Bailey. They saved the lives of our Members of Congress and prevented that dark day from becoming a tragedy beyond imagination. They, like so many other courageous police officers, represent the very best of us. We salute them, and we also salute members of Alexandria Police, Fire and Rescue. Though we have our differences, what unites us is so much stronger: our love of country, our devotion to its people. Now more than ever, these values must guide us – and bring us closer together. Let us always remember that our job is to serve and represent the whole American People – and that we are all children of the same God. This week, my Administration continues our focus on providing economic opportunity for all. On Thursday, I signed an Executive Order to launch a groundbreaking new Apprenticeship Initiative that will help young Americans learn the skills they need to find a rewarding career, earn a great living, and support themselves and their families. We are celebrating the dignity of work and the greatness of the American Worker. American citizens have worked every job, every occupation, no matter what it might be – no matter how grueling, how challenging, or even how dangerous. They wash the windows on our tallest skyscrapers; they create works of art from burning fire and molten steel; they mine the earth and dive the ocean depths to bring energy into our cities and towns; they care for the sick, the elderly, and the wounded; and they lay the bricks, mortar, rebar, and concrete that give us places to live, to work, and to thrive. Today, this is the message I want every young American to hear: there is dignity in every honest job, and there is nobility in every honest worker. Our Apprenticeship Initiative will make it dramatically easier for employers, industry groups and unions to create exciting new apprenticeship programs that place students into high-paying careers. Instead of being racked with crushing student debt, those who participate will earn while they learn – think of that: earn while they learn. Under our plan, young Americans will have a pathway to exciting and fulfilling careers. They will become brilliant technicians who revitalize American manufacturing. They will become welders who forge from fire amazing works of iron and steel and art. And they will become entrepreneurs who revolutionize entire industries. And these striving American citizens, including millions of talented young American women with tremendous potential, will become the programmers who change the world with the next great technological advance. Every American deserves a path to a great job that they truly love. That begins with the right education – one that gives students the foundation for a lifetime of success. Every day, as your President, I will be committed to this goal. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.