Mar 26, 2017

Planned Parenthood is Trump's next emergency

Brennan Linsley / AP

The fight to defund Planned Parenthood could shut down the government in less than a month. It's getting hardly any media attention but it's the most immediate emergency confronting the Trump administration, which is reeling after its Obamacare fiasco.

What you need to know:

  • The current continuing resolution to fund the government expires on April 28.
  • The conservative House Freedom Caucus — the group Trump blamed on Twitter this morning for killing his Obamacare replacement bill — will almost certainly make defunding the women's health group and country's biggest abortion provider a non-negotiable condition for it to support the government funding bill.
  • That's a big problem. There's no way a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood gets 60 votes in the Senate.

Ryan faces a potentially diabolical situation. He wants to defund Planned Parenthood but he's not going to let the government shut down on his watch. His two bad options:

  1. Defund Planned Parenthood but do so knowing the bill won't make it through the Senate. Where that game ends: a government shutdown.
  2. Leave out the provision to defund Planned Parenthood. That's also politically dangerous. He'd lose lots of Republican votes and would need to pass the funding bill with Democrats' support. That's the kind of thing John Boehner was forced to do during the dying days of his speakership.

Watch what Mike Pence does here. When the VP served in the House he led the conservatives' charge to defund Planned Parenthood. Unlike the President, he's authentically steeped in the social conservative movement and views it as a matter of unwavering principal.

Trump's argument: The Freedom Caucus squibbed its historic opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood (for one year) through the Obamacare replacement bill. It'll be interesting to see how social conservative leaders respond to that talking point, given groups like Penny Nance's Concerned Women for America backed the bill. Nance tells me she won't let Trump or Republicans "move on" from their promise.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll nears 11,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,900 in the U.S. early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,347,803 — Total deaths: 74,807 — Total recoveries: 277,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 368,196 — Total deaths: 10,986 — Total recoveries: 19,828Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January the coronavirus could take over half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, memos obtained by Axios show.
  4. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  5. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  7. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Docs: Navarro memos warning mass death circulated West Wing in January

Image from a memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

  • By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Driving the news: Navarro's grim estimates are set out in two memos — one dated Jan. 29 and addressed to the National Security Council, the other dated Feb. 23 and addressed to the president. The NSC circulated both memos around the White House and multiple agencies.

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