It’s out. Senate Republicans on Thursday finally published their plan to ditch Obamacare, ending weeks of mounting bipartisan impatience over the secretive process. The bill includes deep cuts to Medicaid and ends penalties for the non-insured. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to call a vote next week, even though half a dozen GOP lawmakers are reportedly wavering over supporting it. Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama criticized the plan, saying, “If there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family, this bill will do you harm.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
“No one will face a cliff edge.” So said the British prime minister to EU leaders in Brussels yesterday, calling for a new “settled status” for EU citizens who arrive before an unspecified cutoff date and reside in Britain for five years. The status would guarantee post-Brexit rights to health care, pensions, education and benefits — a top point of contention for EU leaders who felt such residents were being used as bargaining chips. May, newly weakened by a hung Parliament, says more details will be published Monday.
Lordy, there are no tapes. President Donald Trump suggested last month that he may have recorded his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, but yesterday claimed on Twitter that he didn’t make and doesn’t possess any such tapes. The potential existence of recordings has loomed large over Washington as Congress continues to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, and the president’s potential obstruction of justice. Now it really is Comey’s word — implicating Trump in unbecoming behavior — against the president’s.
They know what they want. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, part of a group that’s recently severed ties with Qatar over allegations of supporting terrorism, issued a list of 13 demands that will have to be met before relations are re-established. They include a shutdown of Al Jazeera’s TV channels, monetary reparations and limiting relations with both Iran and Turkey. Qatar, which has said it’s open to demands as long as they don’t undermine sovereignty, has 10 days to respond before the list becomes “void.”
Know This: The gunman who fired his rifle inside a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant while “investigating” a baseless conspiracy theory has been sentenced to four years in prison. Bill Cosby’s announced a series of “town halls” aimed at educating men on how not to get accused of sexual assault. And the U.S. government has decided to lift endangered species protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears.
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.
Answer This: Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is launching on PBS this fall! To kick things off, we’re shelving the PC and launching debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. This week: Does religion have a role to play in politics? Why or why not? Go deep. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts or a personal story, and we might feature your answer next week.
It failed to take off. Touted as the solution to China’s infamous traffic jams when first unveiled last August, the futuristic Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB), which was designed to cruise over vehicles on the road, is no more. After undergoing numerous trial runs on a test track in Hebei province, the ambitious project has been sitting abandoned since December following allegations of misleading investors and questions over its technical and practical feasibility. Chinese state media now report the test site will be demolished by the end of the month.
It can see the future. European researchers are working on a smart camera that mimics the human brain, using bio-inspired eye-like sensors to convert light into electric signals in an artificial neural network. The ultralow-power event-based camera (ULPEC) boasts a memory- and power-saving function that responds much more quickly and efficiently than those currently found in drones and self-driving cars. Even if it’s still a long way from fruition, developers hope ULPEC will prove that you don’t need a supercomputer to make artificial intelligence a reality.
The Cold War’s over — right? Controversies over censorship in Poland and Hungary have some worried, as ruling governments target universities and museums seen as bastions of post-communist free speech. Poland’s new Museum of the Second World War has riled critics since its March opening, when its director was fired over exhibits presenting a more international perspective, and Hungary’s government is trying to squeeze out world-renowned Central European University. While international activists have rushed to defend CEU, some worry that nationalism is worming its way into academia and rewriting historical narratives.
“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Depp asked a crowd of about 2,000 at the U.K.’s Glastonbury Festival, where he was presenting a drive-in screening of his 2004 film The Libertine Thursday night. Answering audience questions onstage, the eccentric actor swiftly waded into controversy with jokes about assassinating President Trump — just a month after comedian Kathy Griffin lost work over a photo of her holding Trump’s fake decapitated head. Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
His game was on point. After some clever bartering in the weeks leading up to the draft, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to snag their target, hugely promising Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, with their No.1 pick. Following Fultz was UCLA playmaker Lonzo Ball, who was able to fulfill his — and his colorful father’s — dream of playing for the L.A. Lakers. The Boston Celtics, as part of a deal that allowed Fultz to go to Philly, used their third pick on Duke University’s versatile forward Jayson Tatum.