Climate marches draw hundreds of thousands on Donald Trumps 100th day in office

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities around the country marking President Donald Trumps 100th day in office with protests against his environmental policies.

In Washington, organizers of the climate march estimated some 200,000 people showed up to march, clogging the streets and snarling traffic on a sweltering day where temperatures threatened to break records.

The marches occurred as a slew of executive orders and policy moves from the Trump Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (along with the proposed budget for the EPA) reveal a disregard for climate science (and science in general), while pursuing a pro-business agenda that even some conservative pundits say poses health hazards for the US.

In an editorial forThe Atlantic(its worth reading the whole thing),Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA Secretary under President George W. Bush writes:

There are a number of health risks inherent to the proposed budget cuts, thanks in part to Trumps promises to leave only a little bit of federal regulations. For example, the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention runs a program that screens and tests endocrine disruptors, which are harmful chemicals that pose a threat to reproductive health and childrens growth and development. Under the Trump budget, funding for this program would be cut from $7.5 million to $445,000rendering the program inoperable and ineffective. Trump also wants to significantly cut the federal radon program to the tune of 80 percent. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is believed to cause lung cancer and is linked to 21,000 deaths annually. An estimated one in 15 homes has high levels of the gas, and this small program promotes radon testing in homes.

Pollution poses an undeniable threat to public health, as the Supreme Court has validated. A 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study reported that roughly 19,000 more people die prematurely from automobile pollution each year than die in car accidents. The same year, Harvard University researchers found that pregnant women living in areas with elevated levels of air pollution were up to twice as likely to have an autistic child, compared with women in low-pollution locations. And a new study released in January found that air pollution increases the risk and expedites the onset of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline.

Just yesterday the EPA removed pages related to climate change research from its website. In a statement explaining the changes, the EPA said that the website was being updated to reflect outdated language.

Much of that outdated language reflects the consensus of what can best be described as a supermajority of scientists, according to a December 2016 study by an energy professor from the University of Houston.

Speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania this evening, Trump said that there would be an announcement on the Administrations continued participation in the Paris Accords in the next two weeks.

Rallies werent limited to Washington as thousands of protestors also marched in Boston;


and Seattle.

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Trump rallies his base on his 100th day

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump hit on some of the biggest issues he has tried to tackle during his first 100 days in office at a rally Saturday in Pennsylvania, where he struck a consistently divisive and determined tone.

The threat from North Korea, getting a health care bill passed and possibly renegotiating the Paris climate accord were among the big talking points of Trump’s nearly one-hour speech on his 100th day as President, which he delivered to a crowd in Harrisburg.
“I’ll be making a big decision on the Paris accord over the next two weeks, and we will see what happens,” Trump said on the same day that protesters backing action on climate change took to the streets in Washington and other cities across the country as part of the “People’s Climate March.”
    While Trump’s raucous rally was straight out of his campaign playbook, he also did something he rarely does — call out, by name, US congressmen from Pennsylvania who were in attendance.
    “We’re going to give Americans the freedom to purchase the health care plans they want, not the health care forced on them by the government,” Trump said. “And I’ll be so angry at Congressman (Mike) Kelly and Congressman (Tom) Marino and all of our congressmen in this room if we don’t get that damn thing passed quickly.”
    Trump, who found his stride in front of large, cheering crowds across the country in states where his populist message resonates, took the stage Saturday night alongside Vice President Mike Pence.
    “There is no place I’d rather be than right here in Pennsylvania to celebrate our 100-day milestone, to reflect on an incredible journey together,” Trump said.
    In addition to speaking at the rally, Trump signed two executive orders in Harrisburg, one directing a review all US trade agreements and the second establishing the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.
    Among the crowd favorites at Trump rallies are the President’s attacks on the press, and this especially rang true at Saturday’s event because many members of the press are celebrating at the White House Correspondents’ dinner in what Trump calls the “swamp” of Washington — setting up a prime-time duel with what has become his No. 1 foe, the media.
    “A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” Trump told the crowd. “They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ dinner — without the President. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.”
    Trump held that divisive tone throughout the speech, prompting former presidential adviser and senior CNN political analyst David Gergen to call the remarks “deeply disturbing” in a special prime-time edition of “CNN Newsroom” with John Berman and Poppy Harlow.
    “This was the most divisive speech I have ever heard from a sitting American president,” Gergen said. “Others may disagree about that. He played to his base and he treated his other listeners, the rest of the people who have been disturbed about him or opposed him, he treated them basically as, ‘I don’t give a damn what you think because you’re frankly like the enemy.’ I thought it was a deeply disturbing speech.”
    This marks the first time in 36 years that a sitting president has not attended and spoken at the dinner. President Ronald Reagan missed the dinner while recovering in the hospital from an assassination attempt, but he still made remarks by phone. Richard Nixon was the last president to skip the dinner completely.
    The last time Trump attended the dinner was in 2011, when he was a New York real estate mogul and reality TV star who had just jumped into politics by getting involved in the “birther” movement, calling for President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate. Trump ended up being the butt of the jokes that night from comedian Seth Meyers and Obama himself.
    But no matter where he was, the spotlight was on Trump on Saturday since the day also marked a significant milestone in the career of a president. After serving as commander in chief for 100 days, his achievements, as well as shortfalls, were being closely scrutinized.
    On paper, Trump lacks a major legislative achievement, has the lowest approval ratings of any new commander in chief since World War II, has seen several key immigration goals held up by the courts and has failed to deliver the health care overhaul he promised again and again on the campaign trail.
    Trump’s sole big win has been the successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — something a president hasn’t done in his first 100 days since James Garfield appointed a justice within that time frame 136 years ago.
    Trump, a longtime critic of the number of Obama’s executive orders, issued more executive orders in his first 100 days than any other president aside from Harry Truman.
    It’s also been 100 days plagued with controversy, from appointing his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to key White House posts to dealing with allegations of possible ties between some of his campaign aides and Russia.
    His campaign promises on such major items as repealing and replacing Obamacare and overhauling the tax code — things he rallied crowds with for months all over the country — have yet to be enacted. Even his promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico is caught up in a spending debate, with no support from Democrats and little to no progress being made.

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    Tapper: These Americans have had a rougher 100 days than Trump

    (CNN)“Many Americans” had a tougher past 100 days — coinciding with the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency — than the President himself, CNN’s Jake Tapper said on “The Lead” Friday.

    Tapper responded: “The notion that President Trump thought the job of President of the United States of America would be easier than hosting ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and running the Trump business empire is pretty stunning.”
    Tapper then went on to name a handful of Americans who have had a difficult past few months — many of them as a result of Trump’s policies.
      “There’s Kraig Moss, who lost his son Rob in the opioid crisis in 2014 and believed Trump when he said he would do something about the crisis. In fact, Kraig supported Trump so strongly he traveled the country to Trump rallies singing the candidate’s praises. After the health care bill, Moss says he will never vote for Trump again,” Tapper said.
      The White House attempted to revive a health care reform package ahead of the President’s 100 days in office, but that has not come into fruition.
      Tapper then mentioned Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, one of the so-called DREAMers — people brought to this country illegally by their parents. The President has said he feels sympathy for DREAMers in the past.
      “Frutos was brought here when he was 6. Recently, he was held in detention for 18 days. He and other DREAMers live in constant fear as the President cracks down on illegal immigration and they don’t know what’s going to happen to them,” Tapper continued.
      Then there’s cancer patient Melissa Nance, who’s worried about losing her health insurance.
      “She’s covered by Obamacare now, but insurers are pulling out of her state of Tennessee. Trump said he would take care of this, he said he would fix it, he said it would be easy. but Congress has passed nothing,” Tapper said.
      “I could go on and on,” Tapper continued, “The factory workers who were told by the President that he would bring their jobs back though he has not introduced a jobs bill yet. The troops in harms way wondering if the President has any actual foreign policy strategy or if he’s just winging it with them on the front lines.”
      “These Americans are depending on you, Mr. President,” Tapper said, “These are the people who have had a rough 100 days.”

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      The first 100 days in LGBT rights

      (CNN)Even before US President Donald Trump took office, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans feared his administration would roll back gains they made in the Obama administration.

      Now, 100 days into Trump’s presidency, advocacy groups say their concerns have been realized through Cabinet appointments and policy decisions that undermine civil rights for LGBT Americans.
      Here’s a timeline of key actions affecting LGBT Americans from the first 100 days.

        Reversing course

        February 10: In the first sign of a new Justice Department with different priorities, the agency dropped its defense of Obama-era protections for transgender students in a key lawsuit.
        After the departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance in May 2016 directing schools to let transgender students use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, officials in a dozen states sued to block their implementation.
        A federal judge in Texas granted the states’ request for a nationwide injunction to halt the guidelines’ enforcement. The Obama administration’s Justice Department appealed to reduce the injunction’s scope to states involved in the lawsuit while the case was alive.
        Then, the day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in, the Justice Department said it withdrew its appeal so it could decide how to “best proceed” with the lawsuit.
        February 22: A few weeks later, the Trump administration withdrew the guidelines entirely, in a joint decision from the departments of Justice and Education.

          Protections pulled from trans school restrooms

        MUST WATCH

        March 27: Trump signed an executive order that nullified an Obama administration initiative to ensure that federal contractors complied with labor and civil rights laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
        March 28: Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s efforts to collect data on LGBT Americans had begun to unravel.
        Advocates have long pushed for the government to gather data on LGBT Americans, including how numerous they are. There’s no official national count of gay, bisexual or transgender Americans. Therefore, advocates welcomed the inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Census Bureau’s road map for 2020 data collection. But celebrations were premature. The agency later said it found “no need” to collect the data.
        The reversal came days after Secretary Tom Price’s Department of Health and Human Services eliminated questions about about sexual orientation and gender identity in proposed versions of two critical health-care surveys addressing the needs of the elderly and the disabled.
        Advocates said their inclusion in surveys helps assess needs within the LGBT community and collect data to support policy changes.
        April 14: After North Carolina repealed and replaced its so-called bathroom bill with another measure that prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, the Justice Department halted its litigation related to the laws.

        Meanwhile, a handful of state and district courts have sided with transgender students in lawsuits against schools. And, observers are waiting to see what’s next for transgender teen Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. The withdrawal of the guidance led the Supreme Court to return the case to a lower court to consider whether anti-discrimination protections extend to gender identity.

          The teen at the center of the transgender bathroom debate

        MUST WATCH

        Trump’s appointments

        Presidential appointments speak volumes about what an administration will stand for, said Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at legal aid group Lambda Legal.
        LGBT advocacy groups opposed the nominations of then-US Sen. Jeff Sessions and then-US Rep. Tom Price to head the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services based on their legislative track records on gay rights issues.
        As lawmakers, both supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006, though Sessions promised in his confirmation hearings that he would follow the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality. It didn’t come up in Price’s hearings, and observers are waiting to see whether he upholds anti-discimination measures in the Affordable Health Care Act that protect LGBT Americans.
        When in Congress, Sessions and Price co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, the so-called religious liberty bill preventing the federal government from punishing businesses for denying services to same-sex couples. They voted against expanding federal hate crime statutes to include sexual orientation, gender and disability. They condemned the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that forbade gay and lesbian service members from serving openly.
        LGBT advocates are concerned about the White House appointment of former Heritage Foundation employee Roger Severino to lead the Health and Human Services civil rights office. He came out against a provision of the Affordable Care Act banning discrimination against transgender patients, saying the rule would “threaten the religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and independent medical judgment of health care professionals.”

          Transgender identity, in their words

        MUST WATCH

        The road ahead

        From the President to the attorney general to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the administration has said it’s trying to balance civil rights with states’ right to set their own policies.
        But advocacy groups say the administration’s actions are efforts to erase them from America narrative.
        “One hundred days of Trump translates into 100 days of erasure for the LGBTQ community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of advocacy group GLAAD.
        “From the census exclusion, to rescinding Obama’s guidance for trans youth in schools, and lack of any LGBTQ mentions on the White House website, he has spent the early days of his administration trying to remove us from the very fabric of this country, and we must resist.”

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        GOP’s health care push tests Democratic resistance

        Washington (CNN)The most conservative congressmen in the country were a major roadblock in President Donald Trump’s first push to replace Obamacare. Now, a second attempt’s fate is in the hands of a moderate Republican faction — putting to the test the power of Democratic resistance.

        If they’ve convinced those lawmakers in swing districts their passion is real — and could cost them their seats in the 2018 midterms — it could translate into a long-term Democratic victory over conservatives in setting the nation’s health care policy.
        As President Donald Trump makes another push to repeal Obamacare around the 100-day mark of his tenure in office, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republicans appear to have solved their problems with hardline conservatives but haven’t yet rounded up enough support from moderates to give Trump the 216 votes he needs.
          Already, the White House’s hopes of a vote this week were dashed, with mostly moderate Republicans either opposing the measure or refusing to take a public position and Ryan saying he won’t move forward with a bill that’s at risk of being defeated on the House floor.
          “What we’re seeing is that the famed negotiator can’t deliver,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York said at an event hosted by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. “And the consequences are no longer limited to shareholders or investors. It’s the American people who suffer.”
          While Trump and Ryan have the most on the line, the strategies and tactics that have driven the Democratic resistance to Trump — particularly on health care — in recent months also face a stress test.
          A deal that got hardline conservatives on board with Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation they’d previously opposed has left the bill’s fate solely in the hands of more moderate Republicans.
          Those Republicans are the lawmakers who typically face the toughest re-election fights — and are the ones progressives have targeted most heavily through town hall protests and more.
          “I spent the whole work period hearing from people pissed about pre-existing conditions,” one moderate lawmaker told CNN on Wednesday.
          The progressive groups leading these protests — Indivisible chapters, and others — say they’ve seen signs of turning enough moderates to block Trump and Ryan from ever moving an Obamacare repeal.
          “You have anonymous Republicans walking around the Capitol and telling reporters they’re scared to vote for Trumpcare because they’ll lose their job,” said Indivisible chief communications officer Sarah Dohl.
          Pointing to moderate Republicans from Colorado and Pennsylvania who have recently announced they oppose the new legislation, Dohl said: “Just look at Mike Coffman, Pat Meehan, who were previously ‘yes’ or undecided on Trumpcare last time around and have now announced they’re opposed — these are two men who have been endlessly pressured by local groups of constituents at home. The pressure is working.”
          Two moderate lawmakers who had supported an earlier version of the bill say a new one with tweaks to appease the Freedom Caucus could cost the GOP their support.
          Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, said he is trying to understand how changes — in the form of a Rep. Tom MacArthur amendment — makes things better, but has some concerns.
          “There are a lot of red flags,” he said.
          Another moderate House Republican, Brian Mast of Florida, told CNN he’s undecided on the latest health care tweak, saying he still needed to read it. He was a “yes” on the last version of the bill.
          The MacArthur amendment gives states broader ability to opt out of Obamacare regulations and roll back protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
          Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, called it “an exercise in blame shifting.”
          To be sure, the left isn’t casting a potential vote on health care as a do-or-die moment — saying they’ll have an opportunity to force moderate Republicans to pay a price in the 2018 midterms if they do repeal Obamacare and replace it with a law that removes cost protections for those with pre-existing conditions, among other changes.
          “You will see the impact of the resistance in one of two ways: either this bill will fail, or voters will send many of the Republicans who voted for this bill packing in 2018,” said Anna Galland, the executive director of
          “We hope it’s the first,” Galland said, “but the second is possible too.”

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          House punts health care vote on eve of shutdown deadline

          Washington (CNN)The House of Representatives will not vote on health care this week, despite a White House attempt to revive a health care reform package ahead of President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office.

          “We are not voting on health care this week,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters late Thursday.
          Hours before a Friday deadline, Congress was working to pass a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown while they worked on a broader deal to fund agencies through September. Republicans were readying to pass the week-long funding bill on their own after Democrats, who tend to back these short-term bills, threatened to oppose it if Republicans did in fact move a fresh Obamacare repeal bill.
            A top Democrat — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — issued a statement Thursday morning saying he would advise his fellow Democrats to oppose the one-week bill if Republicans tried to pass their latest version of health care reform. On Thursday, Republicans had reached new agreements within their own caucus to improve their chances of passing their health care bill — but ultimately decided against bringing it to the floor this week.
            The short-term government funding bill, planned for a vote Friday, must be passed by midnight to keep federal agencies open through May 5.
            House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference that the House would act when Republicans feel they “have the votes” to pass their bill, though he gave no indication of a time frame.
            House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t directly confirm whether there was a Democratic strategy underway to block the short-term bill. She said her party was still pushing to resolve “outstanding areas of concern” in the one-week bill, but she insisted Democrats “don’t even have the power” to shut down the government.
            The uncertainty has spread renewed alarm on Capitol Hill after tensions had already eased earlier in the week. Following President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap certain demands over health care spending and the proposed border wall, progress appeared to be in the works.
            In anticipation of the one-week spending bill from the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to get unanimous consent agreement Thursday night to pass it ahead of time.
            But, playing some hardball, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer objected.
            He said Republicans must first agree to remove “poison pill” riders — or amendments that have little-to-no bipartisan support — in the long-term bill before getting an agreement to pass a short-term bill. He did this to try to put pressure on GOP negotiators to cut a deal, according to a Democratic leadership aide.
            While talks will continue, senators who wanted to leave town for the weekend will have to stay in Washington Friday and possibly vote on this short-term bill sometime before the midnight deadline.
            In the meantime, negotiators in both parties are close to an agreement on a much larger, longer-term spending package that would wrap several funding measures for different agencies into one giant bill.
            The goal is to pass the omnibus bill during the one-week extension, but differences remain and leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are still haggling over the final points — with input from bipartisan leadership and the White House.
            Ryan said Thursday he was “confident” the government would keep running, but placed any threat of a shutdown on Democrats.
            “I would be shocked that they’d want to see a government shutdown,” Ryan said referring to Democrats during a news conference when asked about Hoyer’s comments.
            The speaker blamed Democrats for the lack of a spending deal, saying they were “dragging their feet” and in some cases failed to show up for meetings about the spending bill.
            At about the same time Hoyer made his threat, Schumer was on the floor praising the talks and vowing to work to keep the government open.
            “There are a few remaining issues to be settled,” he said. “But I believe that there we are close to a final agreement. Our side will continue to work in good faith to see that an agreement is reached to keep the government open by tomorrow’s deadline.”
            Like Pelosi, Schumer also wouldn’t say whether he was pushing the same threat as Hoyer. He said he doesn’t believe Republicans should try to rush “through a health care bill in the dark of night,” but when pressed whether he’d urge Senate Democrats to try to block the short-term bill, he demurred.
            “We’re not up to that yet,” he said in a press conference, holding his hand up.
            At the same time, Trump unleashed a tweetstorm Thursday putting pressure on Democrats and blasting them for what he described as untenable demands on a range of issues from national parks to health benefits for coal miners.
            While waiting for a deal to be struck, Republican senators munched on lazy lobster and Maine potatoes with blueberry pie for dessert at a luncheon in the Capitol put on by Maine’s Susan Collins. Republican senators rotate sponsoring a lunch for their colleagues — each with food themes from their states — and Collins’ lobster offering is considered one of the most popular. Forty-three of the 52 Republican senators were on hand.

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            CNN/ORC Poll: At 100 days, Trump approval rating shows no sign of growth

            WASHINGTON (CNN)As the 100-day mark of Donald Trump’s presidency approaches, a new CNN/ORC poll finds the President reaches this milestone holding on to the lowest approval rating of any newly-elected president at this stage, amid sharp partisan divides and a failure to capitalize on post-election strengths.

            Overall, 44% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, 54% disapprove. That’s about the same as in each of the two previous CNN/ORC polls taken after his inauguration. That 44% marker puts Trump last among approval ratings for newly-elected presidents at the 100-day point since modern polling began, a trendline that runs back to Dwight Eisenhower. Trump is last by a significant margin, trailing Bill Clinton’s previous low by 11 points.
            The poll finds declining ratings for Trump’s handling of two issues that have been top priorities since he took office — health care and immigration. About 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of each of those issues, and both have tilted more negative since early March. His numbers have held steady, however, on his handling of foreign affairs, national security and the role of commander-in-chief, after taking several high-profile actions on those fronts during the last month. Assessing his overall use of the military, most (52%) say he’s used it responsibly since taking office.
              Two measures of the country’s progress have shown signs of improvement since Trump took the helm. Most, 54%, now say things in the country are going well, up from 46% in February. That matches last year’s high of 54%, reached in October. Likewise, almost 6 in 10 now say economic conditions in the country are good, an uptick compared with mid-January, and the highest mark on that question since May 2007. Behind the overall increases in these numbers, however, there have been sharp partisan shifts, with the share of Democrats offering a positive assessment dropping since Barack Obama left office while the share of Republicans on the positive side has risen rapidly.
              Still, majorities offer negative impressions of Trump’s presidency so far across a range of questions about his handling of the job.
              Most say he hasn’t paid enough attention to the nation’s most important problems (55%) and that he isn’t working hard enough to be effective (51%). They say he’s done a poor job of assembling a team of top advisers in the White House (56%) and keeping his campaign promises (52%). Further, 61% say world leaders don’t have much respect for him and 52% that his approach has unnecessarily put the country at risk.
              But looking ahead, about a third of all adults say they aren’t sure their current judgment of Trump will hold (including 20% who currently disapprove and 11% who approve). That suggests there’s room for Trump to gain ground, but very little in this poll indicates that he’s attracted new supporters since taking office on January 20.
              Trump’s favorability rating is stagnant and negative — 45% have a favorable view, 53% unfavorable. At the same time, Trump’s numbers across key personal attributes have dipped since a post-election boost that appears to be the closest thing Trump had to a honeymoon. Fewer see Trump as honest now (37%) than said so in November (41%). He’s fallen 6 points on being an effective manager of the government (from 50% to 44%), 5 points on uniting the country (from 43% to 37%) and 4 points on empathy (from 46% to 42%). And a previous even divide on whether Trump can bring the kind of change the country needs now tilts narrowly negative (51% say he can’t, 48% that he can).
              Fewer now say they hold deep confidence in Trump to handle the economy (35%, down from 40% in November) or appoint the best people to office (27%, down from 32%). But confidence has held roughly steady on handling foreign affairs (27% now and in November) and providing real leadership for the country (31% now vs. 33% in November).
              The political and demographic divisions that drove the 2016 presidential campaign have hardened into chasms in perceptions of Trump: Among Republicans, 85% approve, while just 8% of Democrats agree. Most men, 51%, approve, while only 38% of women do. Whites generally approve (52%) and non-whites mostly disapprove (68%), but among whites there’s a deep gap by education, with 59% of those who do not have college degrees saying they approve vs. 38% of whites who hold at least a Bachelor’s degree. In rural areas, 58% approve, but just 33% of urbanites approve.
              Trump’s overall strength among Republicans masks some declining ratings among his own partisans. While most Republicans do continue to hold positive views of Trump regardless of the question, much of his decline on several of these items stems from a drop among Republicans.
              In November, 82% of Republicans said they had a lot of confidence in Trump to handle the economy, that’s fallen 10 points.
              Likewise, GOP confidence in Trump’s ability to appoint the best people to office has dropped 13 points, while confidence in his ability to provide leadership is down 9. The percentage of Republicans who think Trump will unite the country has fallen from 81% to 68%, that he can effectively manage government from 93% to 85%, and that he cares about people like you from 91% to 81%.
              The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone April 22-25 among a random national sample of 1,009 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

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              Plain cigarette packaging could drive 300,000 Britons to quit smoking

              Review by research organisation Cochrane suggests impact of UKs ban on branded packs could echo results seen in Australia

              Plain cigarette cartons featuring large, graphic health warnings could persuade 300,000 people in the UK to quit smoking if the measure has the effect it had in Australia, scientists say.

              Standardised cigarette packaging will be compulsory in the UK from 20 May. A new review from the independent health research organisation Cochrane on the impact of plain packaging around the world has found that it does affect the behaviour of smokers.

              In the UK, the tobacco industry has become increasingly innovative in the design of cigarette packets as other controls on sales and advertising have taken hold, according to Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at Kings College London. The tobacco industry has been focusing its efforts on the tobacco packs, she said.

              Among those that will be banned are vibrant pink packets, targeted at young women, and gimmicky cartons that slide rather than flip open. The rules that come into force next month require all packs to look alike, with graphic health warnings across 65% of their surface.

              The Cochrane reviewers found 51 studies that looked at standardised packaging and its impact on smokers, but only one country had implemented the rule fully at the time. Australia brought in plain packs in 2012.

              Analysing the evidence from Australia, the team found a reduction in smoking of 0.5% up to one year after the policy was introduced. According to the Australian government, that translates to 100,000 people no longer smoking. The decline was attributable specifically to plain packaging, after taking into account the continuing drop in the numbers of smokers caused by other tobacco control measures.

              Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce of the Cochrane tobacco addiction group at Oxford Universitys Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences said: We are not able to say for sure what the impact would be in the UK, but if the same magnitude of decrease was seen in the UK as was observed in Australia, this would translate to roughly 300,000 fewer smokers following the implementation of standardised packaging.

              The review found signs that more people were trying to quit smoking as a result of plain cartons, rising from 20.2% before to 26.6% after introduction. There was also evidence that standardised packs were less attractive to those who did not smoke, making it less likely that they would start.

              However, the researchers say variations in the way countries are introducing standardised packs may affect the outcomes. Some allow different colours, slightly different carton shapes and the use of descriptive words such as gold or smooth.

              Cancer Research UK backs plain packaging. Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK every year, so we support any effective measure which can help reduce this devastating impact. The evidence shows that standardised packaging works and helps to reduce smoking rates, said George Butterworth, the charitys tobacco policy manager.

              Its too soon to see the impact in the UK, as the new legislation will only be fully implemented in May, but we hope to see similar positive results as the UK strives towards a day when no child smokes tobacco. Cancer Research UK is continuing to evaluate the impact of standardised packaging in the UK and will share the lessons with other countries who are considering introducing them.

              Simon Clark, director of the smokers group Forest, said the idea that plain packaging would have an impact on the number of smokers in the UK was based on hope and anecdotal evidence.

              Since plain packaging was introduced in Australia, smoking rates have fallen, but only in line with historical trends, he said. Its grasping at straws to credit plain packaging with the continued reduction in smoking rates, because the most significant anti-smoking measure in recent years in Australia has been a massive increase in tobacco taxation. Like graphic health warnings, the novelty of plain packaging quickly wears off.

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              Republicans aim to revive health care with new amendment

              (CNN)House Republicans are hoping they can revive Obamacare negotiations once again.

              GOP lawmakers in the House have taken the crucial step of putting their latest hope for a health care compromise on paper, circulating legislative text that could launch yet another round of health care talks just in time for the last of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.
              A draft amendment obtained by CNN, first reported by Politico, gives renewed insight into where the GOP may be moving next. The amendment would allow states to seek waivers to weaken several key Obamacare insurance reforms that protect those with pre-existing conditions, including the benefits insurers must cover in their policies and the ban on allowing carriers to charge more based on a person’s health background.
                The amendment is an effort to once again try and bridge the gap between hardline conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and more moderate Republican members — a divide so wide that that when the compromise first emerged last week GOP aides remained skeptical that it would be enough to get leadership to the 216 votes it needs to pass the bill.
                The amendment was negotiated between Tuesday Group leader Tom MacArthur, a New Jersey Republican, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, with consultation from the White House and House leadership. But there is still little proof that the amendment will finally be the breakthrough that gets the health care bill passed in the House.

                The politics haven’t shifted

                The math problem House leadership has always had remains the same. Any changes aimed at garnering support of conservative House Freedom Caucus members could deter moderates from the bill.
                “We still don’t know how this amendment changes the net vote total,” a senior GOP aide told CNN. “The only ‘deal’ that matters is the one that gets us 216 votes.”
                Leaving the Capitol Tuesday night, Meadows told reporters that he was still working with his group to garner support for the amendment.
                “We’re evaluating this amendment and we’re looking to debate this as a caucus before we make a final decision,” Meadows said.

                Members in the dark

                Many members coming back into town Tuesday night knew little about the proposed amendment except for what they’d seen in news reports. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican who’d been supportive of House leadership’s bill before, described the process as “very frustrating.”
                “All I’ve seen is what I’ve read in the paper,” Barletta said. “Nobody should take any vote for granted.”
                Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from a swing district in Colorado, said he’d been supportive of leadership’s first bill, but without seeing the amendment, which had not yet been leaked widely to the media, he said he didn’t know where he stood on it.
                “It’s a change,” Coffman said. “I think certainly for the Freedom Caucus people, it moves them closer, but for somebody like me, it doesn’t.”

                What’s in the amendment

                The amendment would also allow insurers to charge enrollees in their 50s and early 60s more than younger ones.
                States that requested these waivers would be required to put in place protections to minimize cost increases for those with pre-existing conditions, such as high risk pools.
                Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” provision requires insurers to provide 10 services, including maternity coverage, substance abuse and prescription drugs, in all plans. And its community rating measure prevents insurers from charging more to people based on health history or gender.
                The health reform law also limited insurers from charging older enrollees more than three times younger ones. The original GOP repeal bill would have widened that ratio to five-to-one. This provision prompted a lot of backlash from moderates and advocacy groups, such as the powerful AARP.
                While MacArthur stressed that states would not be allowed to waive the Obamacare rule that requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, health policy experts say the amendment would greatly affect those who are sick or have had medical issues in the past. It would allow insurers to charge them more for coverage, and also it would let insurers once again offer skimpy policies. That would make it harder for the sick to find comprehensive policies that cover their treatments.
                Obamacare’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions are among the law’s most popular provisions.

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                Government shutdown: Trump shows ‘reasonableness’ on border wall

                (CNN)Congressional Republicans have privately proposed a funding bill that does not include money for the border wall, a Congressional source told CNN on Tuesday, a sign congressional Republicans are willing to buck the President to avoid a government shutdown.

                But there are still obstacles to passing a spending bill by Friday, sources tell CNN.
                Congressional negotiators are now trying to work through another major issue: what to do about cost-sharing reduction payments, money the government pays to health insurers to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of low-income people. The payments are a major way Democrats ensured low-income people would be covered under the Affordable Care Act, but with a new Republican administration, their future is uncertain.
                  White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” that Trump would be willing to sign a bill without money for the border wall and stave off the threat of a government shutdown.
                  “We just thought that it would be a good first step to get these things that everybody agrees on and take that idea of a government shutdown off the table,” Mulvaney said.
                  White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Tuesday evening that Trump is “showing some reasonableness on the wall and border security” in an effort to avoid a government shutdown.
                  “As long as we get a significant amount of border security money for Secretary (John) Kelly to do his job between now and September and continue the conversation on more money for the physical wall itself, it’s something that the President made clear he’s willing to talk about,” Priebus told CNN and reporters from several news organizations.
                  In his West Wing office, Priebus touted the administration’s accomplishments in the countdown to the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. He said the President’s flexibility on funding for his signature border wall put Democrats “on their heels.” He did not address the mixed messages sent throughout the day from top administration officials about whether the President would accept a spending measure without funding for the border wall with Mexico.
                  “I think that, obviously, was a bit of a surprise to some of the Democrats, who now have to calculate whether or not they can fashion some fake controversy for us to fight over to shut the government down and blame us,” Priebus said.
                  On CNN, Mulvaney said he hoped that would be enough to keep the government running, but had yet to hear back from Congressional Democrats. He also said Democrats had made their request on Obamacare subsidies too late in the negotiating process.
                  “They dropped this Obamacare bailout, these insurance company payments, about two weeks ago,” Mulvaney said. “These are things they’ve brought to the table very late.”
                  Without the payments, health insurers would likely pull out of the Obamacare marketplace and could leave many Americans without a choice of insurers, but the payments are politically fraught. They are the subject of a lawsuit between House Republicans and the Obama administration that President Donald Trump inherited. Trump has waffled over whether Republicans should make them at all, even as Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have signaled they are necessary to stabilize the insurance market.
                  Democrats want assurances in the spending bill that Republicans will continue making the payments. A senior Democratic aide told CNN that “the position of House and Senate Democratic negotiators is that the omnibus must include the CSR language.”
                  Insurers are also desperate to get some clarity on the issue and make sure the administration continues making the payments.
                  But, Republicans argue that the payments are part of mandatory spending and therefore shouldn’t be part of the negotiations.
                  The CSR payments are just the latest snag to roil the spending negotiations. There is a growing possibility on Capitol Hill that lawmakers may need to fall back on a week-long funding bill to avoid a shut down and keep the negotiations moving forward.
                  On Tuesday afternoon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remained coy about what he would do.
                  “I don’t want to start talking about a short-term CR on a Tuesday. We’re hoping to reach an agreement in the next few days on how to process the entire bill through Sept. 30, and I don’t want to speculate about whether that can actually clear this week,” Sen. Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
                  Over the recess, Republicans and Democrats worked carefully to craft a must-pass spending bill that all parties could agree on and could be signed by the President, but the delicate negotiations have hit a few roadblocks in recent days.
                  With just days to go before the government runs out of money, Trump’s mixed messages on a border wall, sources tell CNN, may not ultimately doom the bill, but they certainly caused consternation on Capitol Hill.
                  “The President and his advisers are every day, I think learning new lessons about how delicate and complicated this process is. And, it’s a whole lot more art and balance than it is science,” one Republican senator said noting that it will be imperative to watch the administration over the next few days.
                  “Let’s see how the White House deals with the next day or so,” the member said. “Either we come to an agreement or don’t, but they seem to be working now to get an agreement.”
                  The President continued to stand by his promise to build the wall Tuesday afternoon, though he did not specify when it would happen after being grilled by reporters.
                  “The wall’s going to get built, folks,” Trump said at the White House, when asked if he’d sign a continuing resolution without funding for his border wall. “In case anybody has any questions, the wall is going to get built.”
                  When asked when the wall would be built, Trump said, “Soon. We’re already preparing. We’re doing plans, we’re doing specifications, we’re doing a lot of work on the wall, and the wall is going to get built.”
                  It’s not unusual for the White House to have a stake in the legislative agenda or try to influence it, but with a spending bill deadline only three days away, the confusion over the border wall was a complicating factor.
                  Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said Trump’s interest in legislating is a good thing, but he did offer a warning.
                  “He’s put a focus on border security unlike any other president. That’s a good thing. Just don’t overplay your hand,” Graham said.

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