<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Political News, Bay Area Politics]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usFri, 23 Jun 2017 01:30:05 -0700Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:30:05 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Podesta to Answer Congressional Questions in Russia Probe]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:33:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-621866370.jpg

John Podesta will answer questions next week in a closed session from the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the Russian meddling in last year's election, NBC News reported.

Podesta was Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign manager. The committee will likely focus on the emails from his Gmail account published by WikiLeaks during the closing months of the campaign. 

That time period is a key part of the hacking attack that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was carried out by Russians.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Intel Director Says Trump Seemed Obsessed With Russia Probe]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:30:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17143501331059.jpg

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told House investigators Thursday that President Donald Trump seemed obsessed with the Russia probe and repeatedly asked him to publicly assert there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. 

Coats’ account is not an entirely new revelation, as NBC News and other outlets have previously reported similar accounts of this interaction. This is according to a U.S. official familiar with the conversation who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Trump’s requests of both Coats and National Security Adviser Mike Rogers as part of an investigation into whether the president obstructed justice.

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump’s Approval Remains Low But Steady]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:38:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trumponsaudiarabiafeuerherd.jpg

Between the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump has managed to maintain a historically low but stable approval rating, according to a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

NBC News reports that 55 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the president, while 40 percent approved. While the approval rating is low for a new president, the numbers have remained steady since polls from May and April.

Support from Republicans has kept the president afloat, with 82 percent of the party approving of the president. Of those Republicans, 80 percent believe that Trump’s failings can be attributed to "the establishment in D.C." that opposes the president.

Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Senate GOP's Health Care Plan Would Bring 'Pain': Obama]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:10:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-672311826.jpg

Former President Barack Obama on Thursday posted a long statement on Facebook condemning the Senate Republicans' health care overhaul plan and urging Americans to work to prevent its passage.

"I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did," he wrote.

"We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course."

The Republican proposal would dismantle much of Obama's health care law, cut Medicaid and erase tax boosts that helped Obama finance his expansion of coverage.

The bill would provide less-generous tax credits to help people buy insurance and let states get waivers to ignore some coverage standards that "Obamacare" requires of insurers. And it would end the tax penalties under Obama's law on people who don't buy insurance — the so-called individual mandate — and on larger companies that don't offer coverage to their employees.

In his post, Obama spells out some of the parts of the plan he opposes, and writes that "to put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need."

"The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else,” he wrote.

He said Americans can make a difference, "If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family. After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose House Health Plan: Poll]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:07:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-688363060-ryan.jpg

Americans disapprove of the House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by a 3-to-1 margin, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that comes as the Senate reveals its plan to replace Obamacare. 

NBC News reports that 16 percent of adults believe that the American Health Care Act, supported by President Donald Trump and passed by House Republicans last month, is a good idea. Forty-eight percent say the plan is a bad idea. The poll surveyed 900 adults between June 17-20.

Obamacare continues to be viewed in a more positive light, with 41 percent supporting the 2010 Affordable Care Act, versus 38 percent who say it’s a bad idea.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Senate Releases Health Care Bill]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:09:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+SENATE+HEALTHCARE+BILL+THUMB.jpg

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell released the GOP's health care overhaul on Thursday. The 142-page proposal includes massive cuts to Medicaid, cuts in taxes for the wealthy and defunding of Planned Parenthood for at least one year. The Congressional Budget Office has not had a chance to score the Senate's bill yet. Under the House bill, the CBO found found that 23 million Americans would lose their   coverage by 2026.

<![CDATA[Disabled Protesters Removed From Mitch McConnell's Office]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:43:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/HealthProtest_Thumb.jpg Disabled protesters were physically removed from a sit-in outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office Thursday morning, hours after the GOP Senate bill to dismantle the the Affordable Care Act was unveiled.

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Disabled Health Care Protesters Dragged From Senate Hallway]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:07:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mcconnellprotesters.jpg

Capitol Police removed protesters, many of whom are disabled and use wheelchairs, from outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office after text of the GOP Senate health care bill was released Thursday. 

Police made a total of 43 arrests at the demonstrations, the Capitol Police said. They were charged with crowding, obstructing, or incommoding, authorities said.

The Protesters were organized by a group called ADAPT, which identifies itself as a nonprofit for people with disabilities.

Video of the protest showed the protesters being carried away by police officers as they chanted "no cuts to Medicaid." Empty wheelchairs remained in the hall after the arrests, the video shows. 

Just prior to the protest, Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama's health care law. 

The Senate bill would, beginning in 2020, phase out over four years extra money that Obamacare offered to the 32 states that expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income people, The Associated Press reported. It would also limit, beginning in 2020, the federal funds that states get each year for Medicaid. That money now covers all eligible recipients and procedures.   

President Donald Trump's $4.1 trillion budget proposal for 2018 also includes $600 billion in decreases to Medicaid, apparently on top of health care bill cuts. Medicaid provides health care not only to the poor, but also to elderly and disabled Americans, who account for 60 percent of the cost.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[President Pivots Conversation Back to Russia]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:16:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trumponsaudiarabiafeuerherd.jpg

As we wait for details on the Senate healthcare plan, President Trump reminds people of the investigation in an early morning tweet. Scott McGrew reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Appointee Is Still a Saudi Government Lobbyist]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:18:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trumponsaudiarabiafeuerherd.jpg

One of President Donald Trump's newest appointees is a registered agent of Saudi Arabia who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on the kingdom's behalf, according to U.S. Department of Justice records reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity.

Longtime Republican lobbyist Richard Hohlt was appointed by Trump to the Commission on White House Fellowships, a part-time advisory body responsible for making final recommendations to the president of candidates for the prestigious White House fellowships.

Since January, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has paid Hohlt about $430,000 in exchange for "advice on legislative and public affairs strategies," according to The Center for Public Integrity.

Trump's decision to appoint a registered foreign agent clashes with the president's vow to clean up Washington and limit the influence of special interests, The Center for Public Integrity reports.

Trump singled out lobbyists for foreign governments for special criticism, saying they shouldn't be permitted to contribute to political campaigns. Hohlt is himself a Trump donor, though his contributions came before he registered to represent Saudi Arabia.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gianforte Gets Orange Jumpsuit in Mail on First Day as Rep.]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:03:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/687778708-Greg-Gianforte-Montana-Special-Election.jpg

Newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte received a bright orange jumpsuit in the mail on his first day working on Capitol Hill Wednesday, NBC News reported.

The Montana Democratic Party sent the representative the package after Gianforte was arrested for assaulting a Guardian reporter the night before he was elected. Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to community service and anger management training.

"As a convicted criminal, he will be hidden by his leadership and not given any position of influence in Washington,” Roy Lowenstein, spokesman for the Montana Democratic Party, told NBC News. "So, we got Mr. Gianforte a welcome gift to help his new colleagues identify him."

Lowenstein added that Montana Democrats sent the Jumpsuit to draw attention to the assault and the Congressman's attempt to blame the altercation on the victim.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[5 Key Issues to Look for in the Senate Health Care Bill]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 22:44:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mcconnell3.jpg

With Senate Republican leaders expected to release details of their health care bill in a 9:30 a.m. meeting Thursday, NBC News rounded up five big issues that are at the heart of the proposed legislation. 

Medicaid has been a major talking point in the health care debate. Republican leaders have been contemplating a slow winding-down of the program, making it less generous or creating carve-outs so certain groups don't lose coverage, such as children with chronic health problems.

Lawmakers are also looking at taxes. The Senate is trying to correct the House's version of the bill that gives tax credits based on age. But some lawmakers also want to repeal the taxes they believe increase the cost of premiums, including the tax on insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and more.

Opioid treatment could also lose funding, though some senators are weighing the option of creating a pool of money to be available for that purpose. And Planned Parenthood is facing strict opposition from Republicans, but moderates don't want the organization to lose funding.

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Homeland Security Chief Offers New Details on Russian Hack]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:42:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ex_Homeland_Security_Chief_Offers_New_Details_on_Russian_Hac.jpg

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson provided new information to a House committee, saying Russian cyber-attackers attempted to hack voter data from 21 states. NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston breaks down the new info. 

<![CDATA[Pelosi Strikes Back: ‘I Think I’m Worth the Trouble’]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:41:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pelosi14.jpg

Longtime House leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back Thursday after a handful of Democratic party members called for her to step aside from her position following the party's loss in a Georgia special election, NBC News reported.

"I feel very confident about the support that I have in my caucus,” Pelosi said during a press conference. 

Republican Karen Handel, who defeated Jon Ossoff, ran an ad in Spanish attacking Pelosi, while an outside group aired another featuring San Franciscans thanking Ossoff for his campaign.

Critics say change is needed but Pelosi insisted she’s already done that by bringing younger members into leadership.

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Women Keep Dressing Like ‘Handmaids’ at Statehouses]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:02:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handmaidslegislation_1200x675.jpg

Women across the country are using creative methods to get their message on reproductive rights to their local and state legislative bodies by channeling the characters from the dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale," NBC News reported.

Groups of women gather in legislative rooms and hold discussions dressed in long red robes and white bonnets, just like the characters in the Margaret Atwood novel and current Hulu series.

"The Handmaid’s Tale is based on what actually has happened to women throughout history, where women have been essentially narrowed down to their reproductive abilities," said Stephanie Craddock Sherwood, executive director of the Ohio abortion fund Women Have Options (WHO).

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump to Hold First Re-Election Fundraiser at His DC Hotel]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:09:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16338465729777.jpg

President Donald Trump's first re-election fundraiser will be held at his own Washington, D.C., hotel, NBC News reported.

The event, supporting the joint fundraising committee of the Republican National Committee and Trump's 2020 presidential campaign, will be held on June 28th at the opulent Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to campaign executive director Michael Glassner.

"We'll fly you out to D.C. and even put you up at a beautiful hotel for the night. All he asks is that you make a contribution to be automatically entered to win," a post on Donald J. Trump's Facebook page said.

Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pentagon Wasted Millions on Afghani Army Uniform: Watchdog]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:06:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/afghanarmy_1200x675.jpg

For the past decade, the Pentagon has authorized an apparently unsuitable uniform choice for Afghan soldiers, one that has cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $28 million, a U.S. government watchdog on Afghanistan said Wednesday.

The questionable uniform features a woodland camouflage pattern that "may be inappropriate," given that just two percent of the nation is forested, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a 17-page report.

Timothy O'Neill, a camouflage consultant and retired longtime Army officer, notes in the report that "desert designs don't work well in woodland areas and woodland patterns perform poorly in the desert."

Moreover, the design was purchased despite the fact that several adequate options were available at no cost to the militaries, the watchdog found.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA['Secret' GOP Health Care Proposal Takes Shape]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:20:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_trump0620a_1500x845.jpg

Only a handful of Senators currently know what's in the Republican health care plan they're expected to vote on next week. Senators from both sides of the aisle are raising complaints about the closed door process. 

<![CDATA[AG Rosenstein Praises Sessions at Crime Summit]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:17:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AG_Rosenstein_Voice_Strong_Support_for_Law_Enforcement-149797358070800001.jpg

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein voiced strong support for law enforcement, as well as praise for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during an address at Tuesday's National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. 

<![CDATA[Kushner Speaks to Tech Execs About Modernizing Government]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:23:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_KUSHNER_SPEAKS_061917_1-149790295509400001.jpg

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, spoke to top tech company executives Monday on the importance of finding new ways to modernize government systems.