The Senate healthcare overhaul bill has run into trouble. Meanwhile, President Trump’s travel ban is partially back in business. I'm Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
The CB-Uh-Oh: 22 Million More Without Insurance
In its 49-page report, the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t have a metric for “heart,” the X-factor President Trump says he wants in a new healthcare bill. Instead, we have this analysis for the Republican plan in the Senate: 22 million more Americans without coverage, higher medical costs for millions of other poor and sick people, lower average insurance premiums in 2020 (albeit for less medical care), and a $321-billion deficit reduction. The top-line numbers aren’t helping Sen. Mitch McConnell’s push for a vote this week on the bill, which has been decried by physician groups and hospitals.
-- The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad as it claimed “potential” evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack. Syria has denied the allegations.
-- Sergey Kislyak, D.C.’s most famous (or infamous) ambassador, is on his way out. Where’s he headed? Kislyak says he thinks he will just go back to Russia. “My wife wants to go home.”
-- Three journalists from CNN’s investigative unit are leaving the network after the retraction of their June 22 story connecting an ally of President Trump to a Russian investment fund.
After lower courts had blocked Trump’s efforts to ban foreign arrivals from six Muslim-majority countries, the Supreme Court took a pragmatic approach: It allowed much of the travel ban to take effect but set aside the bigger questions about religious discrimination and presidential authority until the fall. By that first Monday in October, the ban theoretically will have expired. In the meantime, immigration attorneys are strategizing. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the court is allowing those with “bona fide relationships” into the U.S. and what to expect down the road.
This Case Is No Piece of Cake
Amid its flurry of decisions (Travel ban! Guns! Religious liberties!) before summer recess, the Supreme Court said it will hear the case of a Colorado “cake artist” who, according to his lawyers, will “not create cakes celebrating any marriage that is contrary to his understanding of biblical teaching.” Jack Phillips says he politely declined to make a wedding cake for two men; they, in turn, filed a complaint. When the high court reconvenes, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will be the one to watch. He’s been a strong supporter of gay rights and a defender of religious liberty.
Which Wage Is Up?
The debate over the minimum wage got some fresh fodder this week when a University of Washington study found that jobs and work hours fell for Seattle’s lowest-paid employees after the city raised the minimum wage to $13 last year. That finding differs from past studies in Seattle and elsewhere, which have found relatively little effect on employment. So what does it mean for L.A., which goes from $10.50 an hour to $12 an hour next week? These economists try to explain.
Politicians working behind closed doors. A fast track to vote. It’s not just for congressional healthcare bills, apparently, as Los Angeles city officials are looking to approve a new deal giving 9,000 union workers at the Department of Water and Power six raises in five years. The union also will continue to contribute nothing toward healthcare costs from workers’ paychecks. Though some activists are concerned, there appears to be little opposition on the City Council.
-- Inside the grand opening of the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, an animal adoption center in Playa Vista.
-- Rep. Brad Sherman stands alone in Congress on impeaching Trump, but protesters outside his office made him feel a little less lonely.
-- Lakers GM Rob Pelinka explains his decision to select Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick at the NBA draft.