The Michigan legislature is mulling a proposal to address exorbitant higher education costs. The plan would allow Michigan students to attend college for free if they agree to pay a fixed percentage of their future income to a special fund that would help pay other students' bills.
The pay-it-forward plan would require community college students to pay 2 percent and university students 4 percent of their future income, provided their salaries are above the federal poverty line. If the Michigan legislature approves the plan, a pilot program of 200 students will be implemented. Michigan would provide $2 million in startup money for the students. Though it's is still in its nascent stages, more than 20 states are studying the pay-it-forward plan. Monica Nickelsburg
Donald Trump made his superior health a focal point of his presidential campaign, going as far as to reveal his medical records on a Dr. Oz TV special, where he was ruled to be in ship-shape, if slightly overweight. And Trump — who loves fast food and considers giving a speech to be sufficient exercise — was even praised as being "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" by his own physician.
Randomly, Friday brought even more praise of President Trump's glorious wellness. In a morning discussion with Axios' Mike Allen, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin effused that Trump has "got perfect genes."
Mnuchin added that Trump has stopped eating KFC and McDonald's. "He has incredible energy and he's unbelievably healthy," Mnuchin shared. Jeva Lange
Trump's budget director advises voters to direct their ire to state politicians if they don't like the GOP health bill
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's best advice for people whose home state may no longer require maternity benefits, thanks to Republicans' health-care proposal? Figure it out yourself. "Why do we look to the federal government to try and fix our local problems?" Mulvaney said Friday on CBS This Morning.
Mulvaney defended the American Health Care Act's new provision that repeals the essential health benefits requirement, which Talking Points Memo explained demands insurers "cover a list of 10 essential benefits, including maternity care." "If you live in a state that wants to mandate maternity coverage for everybody, including 60-year-old women, that's fine," Mulvaney said, noting some states already require the coverage of select essential benefits.
"But what if you live in a state that doesn't do that?" CBS This Morning co-host Alex Wagner asked. "Then you can figure out a way to change the state that you live in," Mulvaney said.
"So you should move?" Wagner asked. "No, they can try to change their own state legislatures and their state laws," Mulvaney replied. Watch the interview below. Becca Stanek
A scheduled House vote on the Republican health-care bill was delayed Thursday evening after conservative Freedom Caucus members announced a "no" stance on the legislation following an afternoon meeting with President Trump. Losing the support of the Freedom Caucus, which believes the GOP health-care replacement is too similar to ObamaCare, ultimately left Republicans with too few votes for the bill to pass. By Thursday evening, Trump had issued a frustrated ultimatum: Either Republicans approve the American Health Care Act on Friday, or ObamaCare stays.
By Friday morning, Trump had taken to Twitter in an attempt to crank up the pressure on the mutinous Freedom Caucus:
The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2017
Some observers have pointed out that Trump's attempts to coerce the Freedom Caucus could easily backfire. "I can't think of a Freedom Caucus member who would change their vote as a result of this attack," tweeted Axios reporter Jonathan Swan. "If anything would just enrage [and] solidify." Jeva Lange
The CIA reportedly developed software to turn Mac computers into "listening posts," with the spy agency apparently able to track users' activities whenever they connected to the internet, a new WikiLeaks document dump has revealed. The information comes on the heels of an initial group of CIA documents, released by WikiLeaks on March 7, that showed the CIA could hack iPhones, Androids, Microsoft Windows computers, Cisco routers, and Samsung smart TVs, The New York Times reports.
Apple said that it discovered the vulnerability in its Mac computers and fixed it in all computers released after 2013. "We have given [WikiLeaks] instructions to submit any information they wish through our normal process under our standard terms," Apple said in a statement Thursday. "Thus far, we have not received any information from them that isn't in the public domain. We are tireless defenders of our users' security and privacy, but we do not condone theft or coordinate with those that threaten to harm our users."
While "all of the surveillance tools that have been disclosed were designed to be installed on individual phones or computers," The New York Times adds that Cisco Systems, for one, "warned customers this week that many of its popular routers, the backbone of computer networks, could be hacked using the CIA's techniques." The CIA has defended its techniques as being an "innovative" and "cutting-edge" means of protecting the country from adversaries.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 88, was freed Friday from imprisonment, six years after he was ousted from his three-decade reign by Arab Spring protesters, The New York Times reports.
Mubarak's fall had once been seen as a hopeful model of Arab citizens holding their leaders accountable for human rights abuses and corruption, only for Mubarak's example to eventually fizzle out in court, where he received just one conviction on a minor corruption charge. "At this point, I really don't care," said activist Ahmed Harara, who lost sight in both eyes after being shot by police in the 2011 Cairo protests. "I realized years ago that this is not just about Mubarak and his regime — it's an entire system that has now resurrected itself." Jeva Lange
The Trump administration issued a presidential permit on Friday approving the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, The Associated Press reports.
President Trump had earlier signed an executive order to move the project forward, arguing that the pipeline would create thousands of jobs, although the State Department expects it to eventually only employ 35 people after construction is completed. The $8 billion pipeline has also faced fierce protest from environmental activists, who point to its use of Alberta's carbon-laden tar sands as a contributor to climate change. "We cannot let the Trump administration undo the progress that people all over the country have made to ensure we avoid catastrophic climate change," said Greenpeace's Diana Best.
Former President Obama blocked the project in 2015, claiming it would contribute to climate change and would not reduce fuel prices for American drivers. Jeva Lange
House Republicans plan to hold a vote on the American Health Care Act on Friday, probably in the late afternoon, and they are apparently still tinkering with the legislation. On Thursday night, President Trump sent White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to Capitol Hill with an ultimatum: He would agree to no more changes, the dealmaking is done, and House Republicans can take it or live with ObamaCare. House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) wasn't buying it. "Anytime you don't have 216 votes, negotiations are not totally over," he said.
So what will be in the final bill? House Republicans already started amending the original bill on Monday, agreeing to moderate-wooing sweetheart deals for upstate New York and Illinois, a quicker end to the Medicaid expansion, an option to let states require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work in order to get benefits, $85 billion set aside to possibly help people 50 to 64 afford insurance, and other changes to win over holdouts.
The House Rules Committee is meeting Friday morning to discuss more amendments, notably one filed Thursday night by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). According to Catherine Reynolds at CBS News, the four-page amendment would scrap ObamaCare's 10 "essential health benefits" that every insurance plan must offer — a key demand of the Freedom Caucus — and let states decide what insurance companies have to cover for individual plans; add $15 billion more to a "stability fund" that will help states subsidize coverage for benefits dropped by insurers, most likely maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services; and delay the repeal of a 0.9 percent Medicare tax for wealthy Americans until 2023.
The heart of the bill remains — repealing the individual mandate that all adults have health care, scrapping subsidies that help most individual insurance buyers for less-generous tax credits, making significant cuts and changes to Medicaid, allowing insurers to charge older people more, pulling funding for Planned Parenthood, and repealing taxes on health companies. "In my district right now, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what it is we're doing, and once we get it done," Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y), one of Trump's biggest backers in the House, told MSNBC on Thursday, "then we can have the chance to really explain it." Peter Weber