Is Trump bolstering his infrastructure push?
President-elect Trump’s decision to tap Ms. Chao to be his secretary of transportation could prove to be a deviously shrewd mobilization of domesticity as he pushes to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges, airports and transit systems.
The biggest opposition to the plan could come from Republicans, mindful of rising budget deficits and skeptical of the economic benefits of federal jobs programs. Enter Ms. Chao, the wife of the Senate majority leader. As secretary of transportation, she would lead the infrastructure push, possibly against her husband.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, took note.
Conservative ascendancy: women-and-the-draft edition.
Mr. Trump may be nearly two months from the White House, but conservatives seem emboldened already: After a fierce policy debate, conservatives yanked a requirement that young women to register for the draft out of the annual defense policy bill.
The United States has not used the draft since 1973 during the Vietnam War. The Senate, under the leadership of Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, passed a bill this year that would have compelled women turning 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018, to register for Selective Service, as men must do now, a move that reflected the expanding role of women in the armed services.
While most Republican senators — including Mr. McConnell and the women on the Armed Services Committee — agreed with the move, it was rejected in the House version of the bill, after attack from some of Congress’s most conservative members. The members of the House committee “felt strongly” that provision not be in the final bill that Congress is expected to consider next month, Mr. McCain said Tuesday, so it was removed.
Beyond Ms. Chao, Mr. Trump formally tapped Representative Tom Price of Georgia, who worked as an orthopedic surgeon and a fervent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, on Tuesday to be his secretary of health and human services.
And word is that Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington is getting a “hard look” as secretary of the interior.
Mr. Price, who has focused much of his work in Congress on trying to insulate physicians from the dictates and price controls of agencies that would be under his control if he is confirmed, responded on Tuesday
But because Senate Democrats gutted the filibuster rule for presidential appointees, there may be little opponents can do to stop Mr. Price’s confirmation.
A leavening influence?
Rounding out his health care appointees, Mr. Trump also said on Tuesday that he had chosen Seema Verma, a health policy expert in Indiana, to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Working in state government and later as president of a consulting company, she helped Indiana expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, with conservative policies that emphasized “personal responsibility.”
Ms. Verma worked closely with Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, the vice president-elect, and with the former governor of that state, Mitch Daniels, also a Republican. She has won praise from health care providers and state legislators of both parties. She has also provided technical assistance and advice to Medicaid officials in other states.
also led efforts to carry out the Affordable Care Act, supervising most of the online marketplaces where people can buy health insurance and obtain subsidies to help cover the cost.
Abortion rights groups in full panic.
Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-Choice America know Mr. Price well — and they know he is their enemy.
From his perch as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Mr. Price led efforts to withdraw federal funding from Planned Parenthood and impose more restrictions on abortion. Medical research on embryonic stem cellscould be endangered as well, and some forms of contraception could be in for rough sledding.
Conservatives, especially colleagues of Mr. Price in the House, have rallied strongly to his side. Not so the abortion rights community.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was once in the running for something big in the Trump administration, possibly attorney general. But since he was driven out of the transition, his name rarely surfaces.
At his first press conference since his ouster, he let reporters know why. Well, now that Mr. Christie cleared that up …
Communiqués, in the form of tweets, on flag burning and citizenship.
Mr. Trump on Tuesday used one tweet to make two proposals the Supreme Court has long since ruled unconstitutional: barring protesters from burning the American flag and stripping people of their American citizenship.
Even if Mr. Trump could persuade Congress to enact a criminal statute making such a shift in the balance between government power and individual rights, anyone convicted and sentenced under it could point to clear Supreme Court precedents to make the case that the new law violated the Constitution.
In a landmark 1989 case, Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court struck down criminal laws banning flag burning, ruling that the act was a form of political expression protected by the First Amendment. And in a 1967 case, Afroyim v. Rusk, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not allow the government to take away Americans’ citizenship against their will.
It started just after 9 p.m. Monday and kept coming: The man who will lead the free world could not stop attacking CNN.
Or rather, he kept affirming other attackers, by retweeting posts from one user who described himself as an “unbiased, unfiltered voice against Islamist Terror & Stupidity on the far left AND far right!”; by another who defined himself as “Family, God, country, Patriot, 2-A, Harley Owner. Siberian husky Lover. Certified R.V. Tech”; and by a 16-year-old fan of the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Angels, Anaheim Ducks and Charlotte Hornets.
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