President Trump: ‘Sen. Manchin was a puppet for Schumer, Pelosi during impeachment hoax’

FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2020, file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters after President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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UPDATED 6:40 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

President Trump said he was very surprised about Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) vote for conviction during the impeachment trial. In a string of tweets, the president said Manchin voted against him in the Democrats’ “totally partisan impeachment hoax.”

He added that “no president has done more for the great people of West Virginia than me.”

The president went on to say “every Republican, except Romney,…voted against impeachment.” He then took a jab at Manchin by saying “he was just a puppet for Schumer and Pelosi.”

This came after Manchin said he would consider endorsing President Trump for reelection. On Thursday, the senator emphasized “everybody can change” and that he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters after President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This seeming reversal of opinion left many scratching their heads following his vote for conviction just weeks earlier.

“Over the duration of this trial, I have listened carefully,” Manchin previously stated. “The House managers have presented a strong case, showing what the president did was wrong.”

Manchin has been known to be a leader in the Senate and often crossed party lines to vote for what he believes is right. He’s even used his swing vote in critical situations to help push conservative issues, such as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

However, this new reversal has many questioning his belief system.

He has called this switch “the most difficult and serious decision any senator could face.” He also voted to pass the controversial War Powers bill this week, which would limited President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.

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Pelosi backs President Trump’s warnings on Huawei

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, speaks on the first day of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Friday, Feb.14, 2020. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

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UPDATED 6:25 PM PT — Friday, February 14, 2020

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged foreign nations to completely cut ties with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. At a security conference in Germany, Pelosi stated that choosing to do business with the company is essentially choosing autocracy over democracy.

Pelosi noted that Huawei is becoming more dangerous than ever as it builds its 5G network, which could bring in new business partners. She encouraged the international community to come together to create alternatives to the company.

“If you want to build a collective conscience of values and respect for human rights, don’t go Huawei,” she said. “Instead, let’s internationalize, build something together that will be about freedom of information.”

On Thursday, the U.S. filed new charges against Huawei, including the company’s alleged theft of trade secrets from U.S.-based companies.

Officials said the company’s successful efforts to steal trade secrets and technology gave it a “significant and unfair competitive advantage.” This comes just days after officials said Huawei has covert access to mobile phone networks.

FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2019, file photo, the logos of Huawei are displayed at its retail shop window reflecting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Meanwhile, the deadline for U.S. businesses to cut ties with the Chinese tech company has been delayed for the fourth time. Earlier on Thursday, the Trump administration granted Huawei a temporary license to continue working with American companies for another 45 days.

The Commerce Department said a number of rural broadband carriers rely on the tech company.

Huawei was blacklisted by the administration last May after it was deemed a national security risk. The company has responded to these allegations by accusing the Justice Department of attempting to “irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation” and business.

“The U.S. Department of Justice’s new charges against Huawei are part of this campaign, this is political persecution, plain and simple,” read their latest statement.

Original Article

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plans to vote against Pelosi drug pricing bill without changes

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D. N.Y., said Tuesday she plans to vote against a bill put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would allow the government to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs.

Ocasio-Cortez and other liberal lawmakers have been urging Pelosi for months to make the bill more progressive and have threatened to delay the bill without the changes, including making negotiated drug prices available to those without insurance, Politico reported.

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“As the bill stands, she plans on voting no,” an Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson said, according to CNBC.

The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.

“Make my day,” moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said over the potential delay, according to Politico. “I think the speaker understands the politics better than some of our progressive colleagues.”

House leaders have resisted the changes over fears of losing moderates, especially in vulnerable districts critical to keeping a Democratic majority, Politico reported.

Mitch McConnell likely won’t take up the bill in the Senate and President Trump has planned to veto it if it passes through Congress.

In a statement, Trump said the bill would “likely undermine access to lifesaving medicines.”

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The Congressional Budget Office said the bill likely would save Medicare $345 billion over a decade, CNBC reported.

Original Article

Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation

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President Trump says his new transparency plan will bring down health care costs

The Trump administration says forcing hospitals and insurance companies to disclose, up front, the full cost of all medical treatment will bring prices down by helping people shop for better deals; critics say studies show most Americans will skip or delay medical treatment if they know it's going to cost them a lot of money.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is facing intraparty opposition ahead of a vote on drug pricing legislation that progressives have complained doesn't go far enough in regulating costs for Americans.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) — along with progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — pushed for more aggressive cost control.

According to Politico, CPC co-chairs Pramila Jayapal, D-Wa., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., have privately said they had enough votes to reject the bill.

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While the bill likely won't gain traction in the GOP-led Senate, it could serve as an opportunity for Democrats to advance a drug pricing plan as the administration advocated its own.

The Democrats' legislation would focus on allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on the most expensive drugs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would save the agency $345 billion over a decade.

But according to the White House, it would block 100 drugs from reaching the market by threatening a 95 percent excise tax on sales of drugs that don't abide by Health and Human Services' pricing. Pelosi's plan would presumably have a more wide-reaching impact in that it would make negotiated drug prices available to everyone — not just those with Medicare.

If progressives shoot down the legislation, it would likely feed the White House's narrative that progressives are thwarting the will of the leadership. "Is anyone surprised their socialist 2020 candidates want to drive their party even further left?" Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Michael Joyce told Fox News.

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On Monday, Pelosi reportedly called the potential insurrection a "bad idea." She's currently leading her caucus in what appears to be a united front in impeaching President Trump. A progressive revolt could disrupt that unified image as Democrats head into the 2020 primary season. Leading candidates have promised bold reform like "Medicare-for-all," a prospect that could look even less likely if House Democrats are unable to compromise on drug pricing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an icon of the House's progressive wing, will likely oppose the legislation. “They stripped out everything that looked like progress,” spokesperson Corbin Trent said, according to The Intercept. Jayapal, in particular, has pushed for cost controls that would block price hikes beyond the rate of inflation.

Ocasio-Cortez previously clashed with leadership over a bipartisan bill funding immigration enforcement agencies during the migrant crisis. Pelosi has also indicated that the New York congresswoman wouldn't get leadership's support while pushing her signature Green New Deal. She's also said she's "not a big fan of Medicare-for-all," a policy favored by Jayapal, Warren, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.

Pelosi's office has described the bill — titled the "Lower Drug Costs Now Act" — as "bold action to level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers."

But according to the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the plan would result in shortages and hurt new research and development.

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"Exorbitant healthcare costs are a direct product of decades of increasing government interference in the marketplace," CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said in a statement to Fox News. "Ratcheting-up this interference, particularly with simplistic price controls, has predictable and undesirable results.”

On Monday, House Republicans introduced an alternative for drug pricing — the "Lower Costs, More Cures Act" — that would limit annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, among other things.

Original Article