×
September 19, 2017

Louisiana Secretary of Health Rebekah Gee sent a letter on Monday to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) expressing her "deep concerns" about his proposed Graham-Cassidy bill. "In its current form, the harm to Louisiana from this legislation far outweighs any benefit," Gee wrote about the health-care bill, which was introduced last week by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as the Republican Party's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Gee wrote that she's particularly concerned about the consequences that ending Medicaid expansion in 2020 would have for Cassidy's home state. She noted that in "only one year," Louisiana has been "able to provide more than 433,000 Louisianians with coverage, resulting in more than 100,000 primary care visits, tens of thousands of screenings for cancer, and thousands of new mental health services." "This would be a detrimental step backwards for Louisiana," she wrote, warning that the bill's proposal to end the expansion could cause "thousands" of Louisianians to "lose coverage and access."

She also worried that the Graham-Cassidy bill includes the "same per capita cuts" as the summer's failed health-care bill, which would have resulted "in profound cuts to Louisiana's most vulnerable citizens, including children, the disabled, and pregnant women." Also problematic, Gee wrote, is the fact that the plan makes it easier for states to waive essential health benefits and price protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions or "complex and costly conditions." "Finally, this bill, like ones before it, uniquely and disproportionally hurts Louisiana," she wrote.

Republicans have until Sept. 30 to pass the bill with a majority vote. Three 'no' votes in the Senate would kill it. Already, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has come out firmly as a 'no,' and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is expected to oppose it, too.

Read Gee's letter in full below. Becca Stanek

November 20, 2018

The January 2019 issue of Glamour will be the magazine's final monthly print edition, Condé Nast announced Tuesday.

Launched in 1939 as Glamour of Hollywood, the magazine will be shifting to an entirely digital presence. Glamour has a print circulation of about two million and an online audience of 20 million, Variety reports. Last year, Condé Nast ended the print editions of Teen Vogue and Self. No layoffs are planned, and the magazine will still print special issues on occasion.

Samantha Barry, the magazine's new editor-in-chief, told staff in a memo that Glamour is "doubling down on digital — investing in the storytelling, service, and fantastic photo shoots we've always been known for, bringing it to the platforms our readers frequent most." Barry came to Glamour in January from CNN Worldwide, where she was executive producer for social and emerging media. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Taylor Energy Co. has been ordered by the Coast Guard to do something about its damaged oil platform that for the last 14 years has been leaking thousands of gallons a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

The order came on Oct. 23, following The Washington Post's report that the spill was larger than the Interior Department estimated. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed Taylor Energy's former platform 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana. A Justice Department analysis found that since then, 10,500 to 29,000 gallons of oil a day have leaked into the Gulf. Previously, the government went off of reports by contractors hired by Taylor Energy, which claimed anywhere from 42 to 2,300 gallons leaked per day.

The Coast Guard's order calls for Taylor Energy to "institute a ... system to capture, contain, and remove oil" from the site or pay a daily $40,000 fine for failing to comply, the Post reports. Taylor has plugged nine of the 28 wells at the platform, but argues that because the wells are buried under 100 feet of mud, they can't be the cause of the oil spill. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Two weeks after Election Day, the final results are in for Utah's 4th congressional district, with Democrat Ben McAdams defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love by fewer than 700 votes, The Associated Press projects.

Love is the first and only black female Republican in Congress, and was seeking a third term. About 269,000 votes were cast in the election, and had Love received 20 more votes, under state law she would have been able to request a recount.

A Utah native, McAdams ran as a moderate in the solidly red state. He practiced law in New York before returning to Utah, and was elected to state Legislature in 2008. He now serves as mayor of Salt Lake County. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) announced on Tuesday she will not challenge Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the role of speaker of the House and is offering her endorsement.

"I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, [Rep. Steny] Hoyer, and [Rep. James] Clyburn," she said in a statement. Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn are the three highest-ranking Democrats.

Fudge said she was concerned about "voter protection and voter integrity," and the Democratic Party "should reflect the diversity of our changing nation and guarantee all our citizens the unfettered right to vote and to have every vote count." Pelosi, she said, has "assured me that the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party, black women, will have a seat at the decision-making table" and "protections of the Voting Rights Act will be reinstated and improved."

Last week, 16 Democrats signed a letter saying they will oppose Pelosi for speaker. So far, no challengers have emerged, with House Democrats set to vote to select a nominee next week. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

President Trump has given Special Counsel Robert Mueller written responses to questions asked about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Trump's lawyers said Tuesday.

Attorney Jay Sekulow said copies of the questions and Trump's answers, as well as correspondence between Trump's legal team and Mueller's office, will not be released to the public. Another attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said it is now "time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion." This is the first time Trump has directly cooperated with the probe, The Associated Press reports.

It took about a year for Mueller's office and Trump's attorneys to reach the compromise of Trump answering Russia-related questions without having to appear for a sit-down interview. Part of the compromise included Mueller setting aside for the time being questions about obstruction of justice in relation to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, AP reports. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security is paying undercover informants inside the migrant caravan headed to the southern border, two DHS officials told NBC News on Tuesday.

There are about 4,000 migrants in the caravan, most of them from Central America, and to communicate, they are using WhatsApp to text. DHS personnel are monitoring those messages, the officials said, as well as working with the Mexican government to keep track of the size of the caravan and any possible security threats.

On Monday, DHS announced that on Sunday night, it had gathered intelligence indicating that some migrants planned on running through the lanes at the border crossing near San Diego. The northbound lanes were closed for three hours, and no migrants attempted to rush through.

It's not known how much the Department of Homeland Security is spending on the informants. In a statement, DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman told NBC News the department has "an obligation to ensure we know who is crossing our borders, to protect against threats to the homeland, and any indication to the contrary is misinformed." Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn apparently had a very hard time convincing President Trump to leave Hillary Clinton and James Comey alone.

This spring, Trump told McGahn he "wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute" the former secretary of state and former FBI director, two sources tell The New York Times. McGahn immediately shut the president down, reportedly saying he didn't have the power to order a prosecution. Trump could try investigating his political rivals, McGahn said, but that could "prompt accusations of abuse of power" and potential impeachment charges, the Times writes. McGahn then reportedly made White House lawyers wrap up all that advice in an official memo.

But McGahn's words didn't seem to sink in. Trump has "continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel" to investigate Comey and Clinton, the Times writes. The president had also reportedly hoped his FBI Director Chris Wray would take action against Clinton, but Wray let him down.

It's unclear what Trump exactly would like to prosecute Comey and Clinton for. But the matter displays how Trump "views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies," the Times writes — something that could become particularly relevant with the appointment of loyalist Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general.

The White House declined to comment to the Times. McGahn's lawyer would not comment on any legal advice relayed to the president, but said to McGahn's knowledge, "the president never ... ordered that anyone prosecute" Clinton or Comey. Read more at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads