President Trump’s Offer of $25,000 for a Fallen Soldier’s Father Is a Page From George Washington’s Playbook

As part of an ongoing controversy over whether and how President Donald Trump has reached out to the families of fallen American troops, one anecdote stands out: the father of a soldier who died in Afghanstan told the Washington Post that the President, after hearing that the family was struggling financially, offered to write a personal check for $25,000.

“I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this,” the soldier’s father, Chris Baldridge, said. “He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.’”

Though Baldridge has said the money never arrived, the White House told the Post that the check, “a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President,” was in the mail.

While the private nature of such a gesture does make it difficult to fact-check Trump’s statement, the idea is not quite as unprecedented as it was framed — and at least one “something like this” moment goes all the way back to the very first President of the United States. While this episode occurred before George Washington became President (he became the first to step into that role in 1789) he was the Commander-in-Chief at the time, and the record shows that he did send money to a grieving family in need.

Here’s what happened: Elizabeth Neil (sometimes identified as Eliza Neil or Neill) was the widow of a Capt. Daniel Neil, killed early in 1777 at the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Princeton; her husband’s death had left her impoverished. So, noting that she had heard of Washington’s benevolence, she went right to the top.

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The Neil farm was “rendered useless by the Enemy” and she was “left with two small Children destitute of Support,” unless the Continental Congress could provide help for the widows of fallen soldiers, she wrote to him. Washington forwarded the letter to John Hancock, noting that he wasn’t sure what provision had been made for people in her situation but hoped to be able to answer her. Unfortunately for Neil and Washington, the very young nation had not yet created a system to provide pensions for the families of fallen soldiers.

Replying to Neil on April 27, 1977, the future president expressed his disappointment that he didn’t have better …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

Senators Are Pushing Ahead with a Health Care Deal as President Trump Sends Mixed Signals

Less than a full day after cheering a bipartisan deal being worked out in Congress to stabilize the individual insurance marketplace, President Donald Trump suggested he couldn’t support it.

In a tweet sent Wednesday morning, Trump said that while he stood behind Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who worked with Washington Sen. Patty Murray on the compromise, he could “never support bailing out” the insurance companies he says have made a “fortune” with the Affordable Care Act.

The proposal from Sens. Alexander and Murray, who serve as the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, does include two years worth of cost-sharing reduction payments, which help lower the costs of premiums for consumers, but the chair pushed back on the notion that the payments equal a bailout.

“We are having the strongest possible language in the Alexander-Murray agreement to make sure the cost-sharing reduction payments for 2018 and 2019 benefit the low income Americans to help them pay for their insurance and don’t benefit the insurance companies,” Sen. Alexander told reporters at the HELP committee on Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was a bit more frank: “The president ought to start understanding what’s in the legislation before he tweets,” he said. “The Murray-Alexander bill specifically prohibited companies from getting CSR payments. There would be no double dipping.”

Such was the dilemma facing Senators on Wednesday. After working to craft a deal to stabilize the insurance markets, selling it to the Republicans in Congress and the White House who want the Affordable Care Act repealed began presenting its own set of challenges shortly after the two sides announced they had a plan.

For his part, Alexander said the plan includes provisions that could be considered victories for Republicans who have been trying to nix Obamacare for the greater part of the past eight years. The two sides agreed to expand access to waivers that allow states to offer plans that don’t meet all of the requirements under Obamacare, something Republicans have been pushing for. They also agreed to expand access to catastrophic plans—the low-premium, high-deductible insurance plans that are currently only available to young people on the individual marketplace. The plan would also redirect funding that could be used by the states to help people enroll, outreach that Democrats have blasted Trump for seeking to undercut.

The point of the bill, Alexander said on the Senate floor on …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

Federal Judge Orders Trump Administration to Allow Undocumented Immigrant to Have Abortion

(WASHINGTON) — A judge has ordered the federal government to allow a pregnant 17-year old immigrant who entered the country illegally to undergo an abortion.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered Wednesday that authorities either transport the woman or allow her to be transported by others to the clinic.

The case originated in Texas, where the unnamed woman is being held by federal immigration authorities, and was brought to the Washington court by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The woman has already received a court order permitting her to have the abortion, but officials refused to transport her or temporarily release her so supporters could transport her to the clinic.

In a testy exchange with government lawyers Wednesday, Judge Chutkan said she was “astounded” by the government’s position.

…read more

Source:: Time – Politics