This past week in politics, the Trump administration has been hammering away at a final healthcare plan to replace Obamacare. The new federal agenda includes several new provisions that will dramatically change the future of healthcare in the United States. In addition, the federal administration will slash the budget of several key climate research agencies; several organizations like NOAA are planning to cope with major budget reductions. If you missed the news this week, here's a recap from Fresh U:
1. Trump's Administration Finalizes the GOP Healthcare Plan
Republicans in the House and Senate have finally laid down a concise plan to replace ObamaCare, and aim to reduce federal spending on tax credits. The new GOP healthcare plan will eliminate the individual mandate that requires all citizens to buy insurance. In addition, Trump's administration will repeal all of the taxes that are encoded within the Affordable Care Act, such as the taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and medical devices. Trump is extremely pleased with the new healthcare agenda, and called it "The World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017". However, reproductive rights groups and organizations like Planned Parenthood are concerned that the new healthcare plan will remove all federal funding for clinics that provide abortion.
2. GOP Proposes Massive Budget Cuts to Climate Change Agency
The White House is planning to drastically cut the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The organization provides critical environmental services, such as external research, oceanic monitoring, and coastal management. Due to the new budget cuts, the NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research could lose almost $126 million in federal funding. In addition, the GOP budget cut will also completely eliminate "Sea Grant", which supports multiple coastal programs in 33 universities across the country. The GOP is cutting back on various climate change programs like the NOAA to generate more funding for the nation's military and infrastructure.
3. Federal Agencies Cope with More Security Leaks
The Central Intelligence Agency is scrambling to assess the damage from an internal cybersecurity leak. Thousands of Wikileaks documents were released on Wednesday that revealed the agency's involvement with "cyberspying" on American citizens. These documents suggested that American spies had cultivated technology to tap into any information from personal smartphones, computers, and televisions. Investigators have concluded that an American citizen was responsible for leaking the information from a server outside the main C.I.A. office. Sean Spicer has stated that this unprecedented leak "should be something that everybody is outraged about in this country.”
- 4. Federal Administration Works to Quickly Improve Missile Defense System
The United States military has announced that it plans to deploy a new missile defense system at Osan Air Base in South Korea. The United States is building this new technology in South Korea in order to shoot down short and intermediate range missiles. The new system, which is part of the Terminal High Area Altitude Defense (THAAD), has caused much anxiety in China and South Korea. Chinese officials are highly concerned about the missile defense system's radar system, and are worried that it will give the United States a competitive advantage against Asia in defense technology. Some policymakers are calling for South Korea to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization.
5. Trump Claims that Obama Wiretapped Him During Election
President Trump has repeatedly claimed that Obama wiretapped him during the election in order to lower his chances of winning the Presidency. Sen. Lindsey Graham has stated that he is ready to subpoena several intelligence agencies to prove whether or not Trump was really wiretapped by Barack Obama. Graham and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse have both sent a letter to FBI director James Comey to request any information regarding Trump's claims. Vice President Mike Pence has avoided any questions concerning Trump's allegations of wiretapping in the past election, and stated that his administration will examine issues from the 2016 election "in a thorough and equitable way".
Trump's administration has been working arduously to improve the military and infrastructure in this country; to do so, his staff has introduced massive budget cuts to several environmental agencies. Trump's unsubstantiated claims about wiretapping has raised suspicions about the administration's truthfulness with the American public. To this end, the C.I.A. has been forced to assess the state of national security after a recent WikiLeaks release. Improving cybersecurity will probably be a top priority for the American government in the coming weeks.
Lead Image Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons