January 19, 2017

Top Stories

Before His HHS Nom, Price Had Employer Health Insurance In His Sights

The Gist: For years Republican critiques of the Affordable Care Act have zeroed in on the effect it has had on the individual heath insurance market. But the GOP lawmaker who will likely lead the Department of Health and Human Services has long championed a major overhaul to the much bigger employer-based insurance system in order to push consumers to buy their own plans.

NYT: Perry Didn't Fully Understand Role Of Energy Secretary At First

The Gist: Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not realize exactly what the position of energy secretary entails when he accepted Donald Trump's offer to lead the department, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening.

McConnell: Senate On Track To Confirm Just 3 Nominees On Inauguration Day

The Gist: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has lowered his expectations for confirmation votes in the Senate on Inauguration Day, blaming Democrats for slowing down the process.

From The Reporter's Notebook

Rep. Justin Amash was one of several GOP lawmakers confronted at a town hall meeting this week by constituents upset over congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal of Obamacare. Amash is a tea party Republican who easily won reelection to a fourth term in Congress last year. As TPM’s Allegra Kirkland notes, the pressure he is now under from both Democratic voters and conservative ones who have personally benefited from the healthcare law indicates how politically ruinous a botched repeal could be for the GOP.

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "There are countless people in the criminal justice system who deserve mercy, for myriad reasons - extreme sentences, injustices that are beyond the reach of the appeals process, simple mercy, exceptional transformations during incarceration. They are as unique as the millions who serve in prisons. This is not an indictment of the criminal justice system in itself. One can believe in punishment and accountability and yet recognize that there must be a pressure valve, a source of mercy that goes beyond the narrow confines of the letter of the law. Without that possibility of mercy, acted on with some frequency, justice can't be justice."

Say What?!

"I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don't need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you."

- President-elect Donald Trump said that after receiving briefings on global threats, he realized that he has "got to get it right." Despite that apparent revelation, he specified that he prefers his briefings to come in listicle form.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "This is a little like the baby and the bathwater analogy. Of course there will be miscalculations and mistakes, winners and losers, corruption and malfeasance - but that’s like maintenance and repairs on your car. When it’s time for a tune-up, or we get a flat tire, we don't therefore say: 'See, cars are horrible! Terrible! Cars are the enemy!' Government, like a car, needs regular maintenance and repairs, and sometimes breakdowns happen. The good news is that in a strong, constitutional democracy, the people have the power to make those repairs and tune things up. People who don’t live in a constitutional democracy... they’re not so lucky. So, yes, I hear what you’re saying. There are bad policies, and even good policies that have real negative outcomes for some subsets of people. We need to be honest and acknowledge those issues, and, most of all, find real solutions for those people. That’s good governance at work."

Related: Obama To America: 'We're Going To Be Okay'

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What We're Reading

From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece (The New York Times)

Beware the Man With the Flying Car (Slate)