When members of Congress return to Washington next week after their long spring recess, both parties plan to focus on passing a spending bill to keep the federal government running past April 28. When Congress returns next week, President Trump wants House Republicans to take up the American Health Care Act again, with a new amendment, so he will be able to point to a concrete accomplishment in his first 100 days in office; his 100th day is April 29.
"Congress usually cannot take on two big things at once," The New York Times says. Five days to pass a spending bill, The Washington Post adds, is "a tight timeline under the most generous of circumstance that would be nearly impossible to meet if House leaders also try to force a vote on the repeal legislation." In theory, Democrats and Republicans could pass a very short-term stopgap spending bill, but a new GOP push to pass the AHCA, which repeals large parts of the Affordable Care Act, would not put Democrats in a very cooperative mood.
The first attempt to pass the AHCA failed very publicly last month. But at a news conference on Thursday, Trump said "the plan gets better and better and better, and it's gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot," adding he thinks the House can pass that as well as a spending bill. "We have a good chance of getting it soon," Trump said of the AHCA. "I'd like to say next week, but it will be — I believe we will get it."
Hopes of passing the health-care bill rest on an amendment negotiated by relative moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). The draft plan would allow states to seek waivers to requirements that insurers offer essential health benefits and not charge more to people with pre-existing conditions, if the state maintained a high-risk pool. (Jeff Spross has more details at The Week.)
Even if House Republicans get the plan translated into legislative language and get it scored by the Congressional Budget Office, there's no guarantee it would pass. The amendment "really doesn't address the concerns that I had," Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) told The New York Times. Fellow moderate Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) agreed it "does nothing to change my views," criticizing any focus "on an arbitrary 100-day deadline." Peter Weber
The White House Correspondents' Dinner carried on in President Trump's absence Saturday evening, and Reuters' Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, took the occasion to push back against Trump's "fake news" accusations. "We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations, and we are not the enemy of the American people," Mason said. "Freedom of the press is a building block of our democracy. Undermining that by seeking to delegitimize journalists is dangerous to a healthy republic."
The dinner's host was The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj, who did address free speech — "Only in America can a first generation Indian American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the President!" — but spent much of his time skewering the absent Trump, "the elephant not in the room."
"Trump is liar-in-chief, and remember, you guys are public enemy number one," Minhaj said. "You are his biggest enemy. Journalists. ISIS. Normal-length ties. And somehow, you're the bad guys."
Full Frontal's Samantha Bee held a competing event, "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner," addressing similar themes. Watch Minhaj's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) April 30, 2017
President Trump celebrated his 100th day in office with a cheering rally crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Saturday evening, skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner in favor of a return to the campaign trail.
"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," he told supporters in a speech ranging from North Korea to ObamaCare to Hillary Clinton. "The media deserves a very big, fat, failing grade."
Trump reiterated his trademark promise to build an enormous wall along the southern border — "Don't even worry about it," he assured his audience — and mocked the "fake news" people "trapped" at the "very, very boring" dinner in Washington. Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 30, 2017
President Trump announced last weekend he would "be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania" to mark his first 100 days in office, an event scheduled for Saturday that also gives the president alternative plans to the White House Correspondents' Dinner he has declined to attend.
The host of this year's dinner is The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj, whom Reuters' Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, asked to focus on "the importance of a free press" instead of simply taking the opportunity to "roast the president in absentia." Mason added, "That doesn't mean there can't be some jokes about the president, but just that there should be some jokes on the press."
The dinner in Washington, D.C., and the rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, both begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be streamed live online. Watch the dinner via C-SPAN and the rally via CBS News. Bonnie Kristian
Leaders of the 27 nations remaining in the European Union after the United Kingdom's forthcoming Brexit on Saturday agreed unanimously to the terms of the exit process. "We are ready," said Michel Barnier, the EU27's chief negotiator. "We are together."
Formal negotiations will begin this summer, and the guidelines approved Saturday set March 29, 2019 as an end date. Among other requirements, the terms specify negotiations must address the U.K.'s financial obligations — Brussels seeks tens of billions of euros from London on its way out — as well as creation of an EU-U.K. border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Pope Francis on Saturday celebrated Mass with a crowd of about 15,000 in Cairo, Egypt, a visit made at the invitation of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar and a leading moderate cleric and academic of Sunni Islam. The trip follows the Palm Sunday bombings of two Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt that claimed at least 45 lives.
"God is pleased only by a faith that is proclaimed by our lives, for the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity!" Francis said in his homily. "Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him."
Francis will visit the Egyptian Catholic community later Saturday. His has used his visit to Egypt to urge peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. Bonnie Kristian
The Turkish government has blocked access to Wikipedia, watchdog organizations said Saturday.
"After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an administrative measure has been taken for this website," said a statement from the Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority, which did not provide an official reason for the block. The law the statement cited permits the government to ban websites deemed obscene or threatening to national security.
Turkish media reported authorities took issue with Wikipedia content "supporting terror" (or perhaps suggesting ties between Turkey and terrorist groups). When Wikipedia refused to remove the content in question, local stories said, the ban was Ankara's retaliation.
President Trump hit the 100-day mark of his presidency Saturday, a milestone he enthusiastically hailed in his weekly address the afternoon before.
"I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country's history," Trump said in the brief video. "Our country is going up, and it's going up fast. Our companies are doing better. They just announced fantastic profits all because of what's happened in this rather short period of time, and that's just the beginning."
While other assessments of Trump's first 100 days have been rather more mixed, Trump is indisputably leading by one metric: He has signed more executive orders so far than any president since Harry Truman. Trump will spend his 100th day signing yet another order, this one ordering a study of the effects of current U.S. trade agreements, including the World Trade Organization. Bonnie Kristian