1 Dems Revving Up As U.S. District Court Judge In Texas Guts Obamacare
U.S. District Court judge in Texas is agreeing with Republican state attorneys general that Obamacare is unconstitutional. A coalition of 20 states successfully argued they were harmed by the increase in the number of people on state-supported insurance rolls. The judge agreed with them that when Congress repealed the individual mandate, it made the law unconstitutional. But if you thought Democrats were going to sit back, you’d be wrong. In fact, watchers are already saying the decision is likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. As such, Democratic officials in 17 states are defending the law after the Trump Administration sided with the Republican states – and heading to court. A coalition of attorneys general is asking the judge who ruled on the case to make it clear that the Affordable Care Act is still the law until the case goes through the appeals process. The move will ensure that Americans relying on Obamacare for health insurance won't have their care disrupted.
2 Former FBI Director Comey Challenges Republicans
Former FBI Director James Comey is challenging congressional Republicans to stand up for the rule of law…he’s also showing that he’s not above taking pot shots at Congress – or the White House. After another closed meeting with some members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees yesterday, Comey positively lit off when speaking with reporters. Among his statements:
Comey said Republicans need to "stop being numb" to President Trump's actions and words.
He said Trump has lied repeatedly about the FBI – and when it comes to Trump’s rhetoric, Comey offered. “Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you have to stand on your feet,” he noted. “Overcome your shame, and say something.” Comey argued that Republicans should not be "cowed by mean tweets" and fear of the GOP base. When asked if he felt his behavior demeaned the FBI in any way, Comey said remains very proud of the agency, adding that the damage to FBI’s reputation “has nothing to do with me." "People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth,” Comey told reporters. “There is a truth and they're not telling it. Their silence is shameful."
3 Senate Moves Forward on Sweeping, Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Bill
Senators are moving forward on a sweeping criminal justice reform bill. The measure cleared a key procedural hurdle today. President Trump strongly supports the bipartisan measure. The bill aims to improve rehabilitation programs and give former prisoners more opportunities to find work and stay out of trouble. The measure would also give judges more discretion in sentencing for nonviolent crimes. Senators are pressed as there is little time to complete the bill before the end of the year and the start of the new Congress. But there are two amendments that could be a potential fly in the ointment. One would require authorities to track arrests of ex-convicts after they’re released from prison early – the other would limit those who can participate in the earned-time credit program. The Bureau of Prisons would also be required to notify victims when a prisoner is released early. The vote is expected to happen later today.