, Helen Klein Murillo  //  5/5/17  //  Daily Update

The House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that Republicans characterize as an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The AHCA now faces significant hurdles in the Senate. In other news, the Senate passed a funding bill to avert a government shutdown but excluded many of Trump's more controversial policy proposals. And Trump signed an executive order entitled "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty," which was narrower than expected (but still significant).


The Upton Amendment, critical to passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), works at cross-purposes with other parts of the law, explains Nick Bagley at Take Care.

The House Republicans’ process and promises for passage of the AHCA matter, argues Rachel Sachs at Take Care.

The House of Representatives passed the AHCA, a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (WSJ, Politico).

  • Robert Pear at The New York Times provides a primer on the main portions of the AHCA.
  • Timothy Jost provides an in-depth analysis comparing the original AHCA with the AHCA bill that passed today.
  • The New York Times Editorial Board argues House Republicans showed a “breathtaking hypocrisy” by passing the AHCA without a single hearing or by voting prior to the Congressional Budget Office scoring the bill.
  • Gerald Seib, at the Wall Street Journal, assesses the positives and negatives from passing the AHCA for the White House and Congress.
  • The AHCA will now move to the Senate, with procedural hurdles and skeptical Republicans awaiting it, reports Matt Flegenheimer at The New York Times.
  • A few notable Republican Senators expressed skepticism about the AHCA (The Hill).
  • At New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore analyzes the portions of the AHCA that do not allow for state flexibility, including price discrimination based on age and insufficient tax subsidies.
  • John Cassidy, at The New Yorker, calls the AHCA “one of the most regressive pieces of legislation in living memory.”
  • The Center for American Progress found that the AHCA will leave hundreds of thousands of Americans with pre-existing conditions without health insurance (CNN).
  • Josh Blackman documents other instances of legislation being passed without proper deliberation.

The House Financial Services Committee approved the Financial Choice Act, a bill aimed to weaken Dodd-Frank and to eliminate the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule (WSJ).

  • The Administration should not claw back Dodd-Frank regulations via executive orders, argues Jonathan Welburn, Raffaele Vardavas, and Zev Winkelman at The Hill.

The House Freedom Caucus has begun crafting a tax reform proposal (Politico).

The Senate passed the $1.1 trillion funding bill passed in the House yesterday (The Hill).

Jessica Wentz at the Climate Law Blog argues that leaving the Paris Agreement will increase the risk of litigation for the Administration.

  • Congressman Scott Peters makes a case for the Administration to stay in the Paris Agreement at The Hill.
  • Ivanka Trump plans to meet with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt next week to discuss the Paris Agreement, reports The Hill.


Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order entitled "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty" (NYT).

  • The executive order is available here.
  • Jason Harrow explains how the President mischaracterized both the current law and his own executive order in his remarks at today’s signing (Take Care).
  • Marty Lederman examines the so-called Johnson Amendment, the provision that bars 501(c)(3) nonprofits from engaging in political activity (Take Care).
  • In a separate Take Care post, Marty argues the executive order actually does very little.
  • Jessica Mason Pieklo argues that the executive order sets the stage for wide-scale LGBTQ discrimination (Rewire).
  • Undermining the so-called Johnson Amendment that bars 501(c)(3) nonprofits from engaging in political activity is more about money than political speech, argues Dahlia Lithwick (Slate).
  • Jessica Mason Pieklo and Christine Grimaldi likewise note that the order is about campaign contributions and argue that the order is an attempt to appease religious extremists (Rewire).
  • David French argues that the executive order may undermine legislative and judicial responses to the Johnson Amendment and amounts to “dangerous nothingness” (National Review).
  • Emma Green explains why the executive order left many conservatives dissatisfied (The Atlantic).
  • Dan Lamothe debunks a claim President Trump made at the signing relating to soldiers’ access to religious materials (WaPo). 

The new Affordable Care Act replacement bill, passed by the House yesterday, endangers essential women’s health care, argues Christine Grimaldi (Rewire).

  • The bill will also threaten home- and community-based services relied on by people with disabilities, reports Michelle Diament (Disability Scoop).
  • Georgeanne Usova argues that between the President’s executive orders and the House bill, yesterday marked a “dark day for women’s health” (ACLU).


The Texas state legislature passed a bill Wednesday that would punish localities for failing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement (ImmigrationProf Blog).

On Take Care, Larry Tribe examines the law and argues it is bad policy and may be unconstitutional.

Comparisons between President Trump’s promise to exclude Muslims from the United States and vague comments made on the fly during campaign season are inapt, argue Amir Ali and Joshua Matz on Take Care.

  • This post is the third in a series on misconceptions about Trump’s statements concerning his revised travel ban. The first two posts in the series are here and here.
  • Meanwhile, Monday’s oral argument in the Fourth Circuit case on the revised travel ban will be live streamed by C-SPAN and can be accessed here.

The Trump Administration has been a disaster for the so-called DREAM-ers, argues Leah Litman on Take Care.

The period from 2005 to 2015 saw a substantial decline in attempted re-entry by unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, while Border Patrol data show a decline in recidivism, according to reports by the Migration Policy Institute (ImmigrationProf Blog).

  • The reports can be found here and here.

Due process requires termination of proceedings where an asylum seeker is forcibly separated from his family, with whom he shares identical asylum claims, argues Geoffrey Hoffman (ImmigrationProf Blog).

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has built and entrenched a deeply negative reputation, one its public relations campaign cannot overcome, argues Lisette Diaz (ACLU).

Local criminal justice policies that harshly penalize low-level offenses can undermine the promise of sanctuary cities, according to a new report (ImmigrationProf Blog).

  • The report is a joint release from Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, Immigrant Defense Project, and Immigrant Legal Resources Center, and can be found here.


Newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may serve as a check on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and as a force for independence from the White House, posits Leon Neyfakh (Slate).

  • Marjorie Cohn examines Attorney General Sessions’s “draconian agenda on voting rights, immigration, crime, policing, the drug war, federal sentencing and the privatization of prisons” (TruthOut).

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the statistical transparency report on the use of national security authorities in 2016, summarized at Lawfare.

  • The report’s statistics on FISA business records authority may not be all that shocking when you examine the numbers more closely, argues Bobby Chesney (Lawfare).

The prevalence of leaks has led to new thinking around government secrecy, writes Jack Detsch (CS Monitor).

The United States risks complicity in war crimes in Yemen by continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, argues Kristine Beckerle (Just Security).

Congress should not add “successor organizations” to an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS because such a provision may give the Trump Administration and future administrations an open-ended license, argues Ryan Goodman (Just Security).

  • Just Security likewise highlights comments by Charlie Savage about the surveillance implications of a broad AUMF against ISIS.

The recently approved 2017 federal budget maintains a provision preventing federal funds to be used to intervene with state medical marijuana programs (NORML).

  • At Ars Technica, Beth Mole likewise examines the provision.


And that's our update today!  Thanks for reading.  We cover a lot of ground, so our updates are inevitably a partial selection of relevant legal commentary.  

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Daily Update | December 23, 2019

12/23/19  //  Daily Update

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seek to leverage uncertainties in the rules for impeachment to their advantage. White House officials indicated that President Trump threatened to veto a recent spending bill if it included language requiring release of military aid to Ukraine early next year. The DHS OIG said that it found “no misconduct” by department officials in the deaths of two migrant children who died in Border Patrol custody last year. And the FISA court ordered the Justice Department to review all cases that former FBI official Kevin Clinesmith worked on.

Emily Morrow

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 20, 2019

12/20/19  //  Daily Update

Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated the House will be “ready” to move forward with the next steps once the Senate has agreed on ground rules, but the House may withhold from sending the articles to the Senate until after the new year. Commentary continues about the Fifth Circuit's mixed decision on the status of the ACA.

Emily Morrow

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 19, 2019

12/19/19  //  Daily Update

The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump. Some Democrats urge House leaders to withhold the articles to delay a trial in the Senate. Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit issues an inconclusive decision about the future of the ACA, and DHS and DOJ proposed a new rulemaking to amend the list of crimes that bar relief for asylum seekers.

Emily Morrow

Harvard Law School