They’re back to square one. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to get enough votes for his ‘skinny repeal’ — which scrapped the individual and employer insurance mandates and was expected to raise premiums 20 percent — even as he assured senators it wouldn’t immediately become law. But even those hopes were dashed when Sen. John McCain joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins to give it the thumbs-down in a suspenseful late-night vote. Now the GOP may be forced to consider bipartisan cooperation on health care.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Another day, another ban. Yesterday, in response to a brewing fight over medical coverage for transgender soldiers, President Donald Trump went further than pundits expected, banning transgender people from the military altogether. Trump’s policy, announced via Twitter, reinstates a rule lifted last year and accuses trans soldiers of burdening the armed forces with “tremendous medical costs and disruption.” Outraged LGBT advocates noted that the military spends significantly more on Viagra than on transgender medical support. Amid a lack of details from the White House, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday said it wouldn’t modify current military policy without further clarification.
There’s a pre-existing problem. Deep divisions within the GOP were laid bare yesterday when a “clean repeal” bill — revoking major parts of the Affordable Care Act without providing a replacement — was soundly beaten in the Senate 45-55, with seven Republicans breaking ranks. It was the second such defeat in 24 hours for GOP leadership, highlighting their struggle to reach a consensus against Obamacare. Nonetheless, some in the Republican camp believe a “skinny repeal,” which abolishes individual and employer insurance mandates, could be passed later this week.
The country’s at a standstill. A 48-hour general strike called by President Nicolas Maduro’s political opposition — protesting his plans to elect a constitutional assembly and bypass normal legislative processes — has seen normal life grind to a halt. Violent clashes and roadblocks across Venezuela have left two more people dead Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 105 in four months of ongoing demonstrations. Meanwhile, Maduro railed against not just protesters, but also new U.S. sanctions on 13 top Venezuelan officials, calling them “illegal, insolent and unprecedented.”
Goodbye Shenzhen, hello Sheboygan. The Taiwanese electronics giant famous for manufacturing Apple smartphones will spend $10 billion over four years to build a new LCD TV screen plant in Wisconsin. In 2013, Foxconn announced a $30 million Pennsylvania factory, but it never came to fruition. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the state will award $3 billion in incentives to the factory, which will initially employ 3,000 people. President Trump took credit for Foxconn’s investment and said Apple has also committed to building three American plants, though Apple had no comment.
Know This: One person died and seven were injured when an amusement park ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair. Police in Pakistan have arrested 20 for allegedly ordering a “revenge rape” of an accused rapist’s teenage sister. And White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci called for an investigation into the “felony” of leaking his financial disclosure form, though it is currently legally obtainable.
Look at This: Entomologist Alex Wild, one of the world’s foremost insect photographers, has zoomed in — way, way in — on bugs in his new wildlife photos.
Wanted: OZY is growing! We’re looking to hire a number of additional reporters, videographers, podcasters and editors including a top-tier business reporter. Read more on our jobs page. And please forward to an outstanding friend who you think may be a great fit.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. From New Zealand to the Netherlands, dementia care facilities are turning to “reminiscence therapy,” which takes advantage of patients’ rose-colored memories of their youths by recreating the design and feel of the 1950s and ’60s to create interactive environments. It’s a departure from mainstream therapies, but supporters say it can help alleviate depression and anxiety in elderly patients. More than 20 homes in Australia are even using VR technology as dementia therapy, but some question the ethics of deceiving patients by creating false realities.
The leak is coming from inside the house. Robotic vacuums haven’t just been cleaning our homes, they’ve been creating internal maps of our living spaces — and now iRobot, Roomba’s parent company, is mulling selling that data to Google, Amazon or Apple. While robotics experts say that knowing more about our homes will just help smart, interconnected devices do their jobs better, others are concerned about the erosion of privacy and iRobot’s vague terms of service. Worried owners can still turn data sharing off before the Roomba uprising begins.
As if civil war wasn’t enough. Since April, some 400,000 people in Yemen have contracted cholera — the worst outbreak in history — and 40 percent are younger than 15. Nearly 2,000 people have died of the disease, while Yemen’s two-year civil war has caused a breakdown in basic services and the closure of half the country’s hospitals. Earlier this month, the U.N. suspended a program to send a million doses of cholera vaccine, citing the difficulty of delivering to a war zone, and global leaders are urging the U.N. to broker peace.
You can’t keep a good stand-up down. After more than two decades away from the format, Stewart is set to headline two stand-up comedy specials for HBO, part of his four-year deal with the network. The former Daily Show host and HBO previously announced plans for a multiplatform animation venture, but scrapped it over “technical issues.” Dates and details of the specials are yet to be confirmed, but in the meantime Stewart is slated to host the autism benefit Night of Too Many Stars on Nov. 18.
She’s human after all. The world’s most dominant swimmer has lost her first FINA World Championships race, finishing in a stunning tie for second in the 200-meter freestyle. The 20-year-old American was on an incredible 13-0 run in individual international swimming finals events, and was looking to tie a record six gold medals at one world championships — but couldn’t hold off a late surge from Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, the current world record holder. Ledecky’s still the favorite in her next event, Friday’s 800-meter freestyle.