Congress returns, aiming to avert government shutdown, pass ObamaCare overhaul

Apr 23, 2017 3

Congress returns to Washington this week to take on the now-familiar task of passing an 11th-hour spending bill to avert a government shutdown, with President Trump’s promised border wall emerging this time as the big sticking point between Democrats and Republicans.

Trump tweeted several times about the issue Sunday, with one tweet saying Democrats don’t want budget money paying for the wall “despite the fact it will stop drugs and very bad MS-13 gang members.”

The deadline to avert a shutdown is Saturday, Trump’s 100th day in office, which has increased pressure on the GOP-controlled Congress to also pass an ObamaCare repeal and replacement plan after failing to do so in March.

Congress OKs Planned Parenthood funding crackdown, as Pence breaks tie

In exchange for funding Trump’s planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, congressional Democrats want any ObamaCare overhaul bill to continue to include subsides for health insurance companies that helped low-income people afford health policies.

The payments are a critical subsidy and the subject of a lawsuit by House Republicans. Trump has threatened to withhold the money to force Democrats to negotiate on health legislation.

Though Republicans have control of Congress, they have yet to send the GOP president a single major bill, such as an ObamaCare overhaul.

In addition to the wall, Trump also hopes to use the $1 trillion catchall spending bill to salvage victories on a multibillion-dollar down payment on a Pentagon buildup and perhaps a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement by federal authorities.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has indicated that his priority is avoiding a politically unpopular shutdown, like the one in fall 2013 over ObamaCare funding, for which voters largely blamed Republicans.

“I don’t think anyone thinks a shutdown is desirable,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told “Fox News Sunday.”

Rank-and-file Republicans received few answers Saturday on conference call by top House GOP leaders, who said deals remained elusive on both health care and the spending measure, with no votes scheduled yet.

A temporary measure could be needed to prevent a shutdown and buy time for more talks.

Democratic support will be needed to pass the spending measure, as Republicans fear taking the blame again if the government shuts down on their watch.

“We have the leverage and they have the exposure,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California, told fellow Democrats on Thursday on a conference call, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Pelosi wants the spending bill to give the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico help with its Medicaid obligations. Democrats are also pressing for money for overseas famine relief, treatment for opioid abuse, and the extension of health benefits for 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families.

Mulvaney also told Fox News on Sunday: “We are offering to give Democrats some of their priorities. They made it very clear that they want these cost-sharing reduction payments as part of ObamaCare. We don’t like those very much, but we have offered to open the discussions to give the Democrats something they want in order to get something we want.”

The White House and Democrats each have adopted hard-line positions on Trump’s $1 billion request for a down payment on construction of the border wall, a central plank of last year’s campaign.

Talk of forcing Mexico to pay for it has largely been abandoned. But in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Trump stopped short of demanding that money for the project be included in the must-pass spending bill.

GOP leaders have shown no desire to revisit ObamaCare until they’re assured they have enough votes to succeed, a point Ryan reiterated to lawmakers Saturday, according to participants in the call.

An initial attempt in March ended in a legislative train wreck, stinging Trump and Ryan. The measure would have repealed much of Obama’s 2010 overhaul and replaced it with fewer coverage requirements and less generous federal subsidies for many people.

Two leaders of the House GOP’s warring moderate and conservative factions devised a compromise during the recess to let states get federal waivers to ignore some requirements of the health law. Those include one that now requires insurers to cover specified services such as for mental health, and one that bars them from raising premiums on seriously ill patients.

But there are widespread doubts that the new attempt has achieved the support it needs.

Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., an opponent of the bill, said last week that “it doesn’t cure the issues that I had concerns” about. The moderate said his objections included changes to Obama’s law that would still leave people with excessive out-of-pocket costs.

The potential amendment was brokered by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who heads the conservative House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the moderate House Tuesday Group.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

McMullin faces big election debt amid talk about run for Chaffetz seat

Apr 23, 2017 9

Evan McMullin, who ran as a “Never Trump” conservative in the 2016 presidential elections, is having financial trouble bouncing back from his defeat.

McMullin’s latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show that he is $670,000 in campaign debt, with his largest debt of $520,000 to a Florida-based law firm, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The debt became public at a time when he may need more political donors.

McMullin, a Republican turn independent last year, and who described himself as an conservative alternative to Republican Donald Trump, has been vocal about plans to run for public office again.

And Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz announcing his resignation last week furthers speculation that McMullin may be gearing up to run for that seat.

In March, before the announcement by Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight committee, McMullin told Reddit in an “ask me anything” interview: “It is possible that I will challenge Chaffetz or Sen. (Orrin) Hatch. But there are a lot of factors that go into that decision. One of the primary factors is what the people of Utah want.”

McMullin was born in Chaffetz’s district and has strong ties to Utah’s 3rd congressional district. But he may have trouble gathering financial support if he does not repay the debts.

Joel Searby, McMullin’s campaign manager, told the Associated Press: “We are working hard to do what we can within the law to retire as much debt as possible.”

In the 2016 election, McMullin did not win any states but had his best showing in his homestate Utah, receiving 21 percent of the vote.

He has also been mentioned as a possible challenger to Hatch in the 2018 midterm elections. Hatch is the longest serving Republican senator in history. 

Trump 100 days: President adds tax reform in key week

Apr 23, 2017 10

With several of his campaign promises and his first budget now in the hands of Congress, President Trump is adding to perhaps the most critical week of his early presidency by putting his tax-reform plan into the mix.

Trump is set on Wednesday to announce his plan to cut taxes — a top campaign promise along with building a border wall and repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump on Wednesday will give some indication of his proposed taxes rates and other details.

However, he reiterated that a final plan won’t be ready until perhaps June and said didn’t know whether the proposed cuts would add to the debt.

“I don’t think we’ve decided that part yet,” Mulvaney said. “It’s a balancing act in that you can either have a small tax cut that’s permanent or a large tax cut that is short-term.”

Trump said Friday that his plan would include a “massive” tax cut for individuals and corporations.

Meanwhile, Congress returns Monday, after a roughly two-week recess, to try to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown Saturday.

The situation in the Republican-controlled Congress has been complicated by a potential showdown with Democrats over using the spending bill to pay for Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The so-called shutdown deadline falls on the same day as Trump’s 100th day in office, a largely symbolic marker of success for any U.S. presidency.

Despite Trump’s dismissal that the 100-day marker is “artificial,” the White House is planning a packed week of activities leading up to Saturday.

Trump will sign executive orders on energy and rural policies, dine with Supreme Court justices, meet with the president of Argentina and travel to Atlanta for a National Rifle Association event. Top aides will also fan out around the country to promote the administration.

Mulvaney and other White House aides stressed on Sunday talk shows that funding the wall and a vote to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law were priorities. But they also suggested a shutdown could be avoided.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday suggested that Trump has problems with Republicans not supporting the wall, which she called “immoral” and “expensive.”

“Democrats do not support the wall,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Republicans on the border states do not support the wall. … Republicans have the votes in the House and the Senate and the White House to keep government open. The burden to keep it open is on the Republicans.”

Trump would like to revive House Republicans’ failed effort earlier this year to replace ObamaCare.

He also hopes to use the $1 trillion catchall spending bill to salvage victories on his campaign-promised border wall, a multibillion-dollar down payment on a Pentagon buildup and perhaps a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement by federal authorities.

But so far, negotiations have proven difficult, with disputes over the wall and health law subsidies to help low-income people afford health insurance.

House members received little information from leaders on a conference call Saturday.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told NBC that he believes the spending bill will include “something satisfactory” to reflect Trump’s desire to build a wall.

The legislation would keep the government running through Sept. 30, the end of the budget year.

The president has repeatedly asserted that Mexico would pay for the wall, which he says is necessary to stop the flow of immigrants crossing the border illegally as well as drug smugglers.

Priebus said Sunday that the White House would like to have a vote on the GOP-led ObamaCare overhaul plan bill in the House this coming week. But he insisted it didn’t make too much difference to the White House whether the vote came next Friday or Saturday or Monday.

Trump tweeted a warning Sunday to Democrats, saying: “ObamaCare is in serious trouble. The Dems need big money to keep it going — otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan continues to suggest that averting a shutdown on non-essential government services is a priority over an ObamaCare vote.

The White House is eager to tout progress on the litany of agenda items Trump promised to fulfill in his first 100 days, despite setbacks including court bans on his proposed immigration limits and the high-profile failure earlier this year to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The president said Friday he spent his first 100 days laying the “foundation” for progress later in his administration, including by building relationships with foreign leaders.

He will mark the 100 days on Saturday with a rally in Harrisburg, Pa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Congress returns to avert government shutdown, another ObamaCare overhaul

Apr 23, 2017 11

Lawmakers returning to Washington this coming week will find a familiar quagmire on health care legislation and a budget deadline dramatized by the prospect of a protracted battle between President Donald Trump and Democrats over his border wall.

Trump’s GOP allies control Congress, but they’ve been unable to send him a single major bill as his presidency faces the symbolic 100-day mark on April 29 — the very day when the government, in a worst-case scenario, could shut down.

Feeling pressure to deliver results, Trump wants to revive a troubled health care measure from House Republicans to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Trump also hopes to use a $1 trillion catchall spending bill to salvage victories on his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, a multibillion-dollar down payment on a Pentagon buildup, and perhaps a crackdown on cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement by federal authorities.

Congress faces a midnight Friday deadline to avert a government shutdown. But negotiations on the spending measure, a huge pile of leftover business from last year that includes the budgets of almost every federal agency, have hit a rough patch.

Rank-and-file Republicans received few answers on a Saturday conference call by top House GOP leaders, who offered little detail and said deals remained elusive on both health care and the catchall spending measure, with no votes scheduled yet.

It’s looking like a one- or two-week temporary measure will be needed to prevent a shutdown and buy time for more talks. Negotiations have faltered because of disputes over the border wall and health law subsidies to help low-income people afford health insurance.

Trump’s Capitol Hill allies had been tempering expectations that the president will win much in the budget talks. Democratic support will be needed to pass the spending measure and Republicans fear taking the blame if the government shuts down on their watch.

“We have the leverage and they have the exposure,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California told fellow Democrats on a conference call Thursday, according to a senior Democratic aide. Pelosi wants the spending bill to give the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico help with its Medicaid obligations, and Democrats are pressing for money for overseas famine relief, treatment for opioid abuse, and the extension of health benefits for 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families.

An additional Democratic demand is for cost-sharing payments to insurance companies that help low-income people afford health policies under Obama’s health law. The payments are a critical subsidy and the subject of a lawsuit by House Republicans. Trump has threatened to withhold the money to force Democrats to negotiate on health legislation.

Trump’s presidential victory makes it “completely reasonable to ask and to insist that some of his priorities are funded,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in an interview. “We are more than happy to talk to the Democrats about some of their priorities but we encourage them to recognize that they are a minority party.”

Both the White House and Democrats have adopted hard-line positions on Trump’s $1 billion request for a down payment on construction of the border wall, a central plank of last year’s campaign. Talk of forcing Mexico to pay for it has largely been abandoned. But in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Trump stopped short of demanding that money for the project be included in the must-pass spending bill.

Health care is on a separate track and facing trouble, too. The White House is pressing House Republicans to rally behind a revised bill so GOP leaders can schedule a vote this coming week that could let Trump fulfill a 100-days promise.

A quick vote, let alone approval, seems unlikely.

GOP leaders have shown no desire to revisit the issue until they’re assured they have enough votes to succeed, a point House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reiterated to lawmakers Saturday, according to participants in the call.

An initial attempt in March ended in a legislative train wreck, stinging Trump and Ryan. The measure would have repealed much of Obama’s 2010 overhaul and replaced it with fewer coverage requirements and less generous federal subsidies for many people.

As part of the White House drive to resuscitate the bill, members of Trump’s team including Vice President Mike Pence and chief of staff Reince Priebus have made multiple calls to Republicans.

Two leaders of the House GOP’s warring moderate and conservative factions devised a compromise during Congress’ recess to let states get federal waivers to ignore some requirements of the health law. Those include one that now obligates insurers to cover specified services such as for mental health, and one that bars them from raising premiums on seriously ill patients.

But there are widespread doubts that the new attempt has achieved the support it needs.

Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., an opponent of the bill, said last week that “it doesn’t cure the issues that I had concerns” about. The moderate said his objections included changes to Obama’s law that would still leave people with excessive out-of-pocket costs.

The potential amendment was brokered by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who heads the conservative House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the moderate House Tuesday Group.

Ryan called off a March 24 House vote on the measure after realizing that objections by conservative and moderate Republicans would have assured its defeat. Democrats were uniformly against the legislation.

Carter Page: Media, 'corrupt Clinton regime' kept tying me to Trump team

Apr 23, 2017 13

International businessman Carter Page blames the mainstream media and the “corrupt Clinton regime” — not himself — for repeatedly saying he was an adviser to the Donald Trump presidential team, according to a letter obtained Sunday by Fox News.

Page made the argument in response to a December 2016 letter from Trump’s legal team telling him to “immediately cease” saying he is a Trump adviser, amid mounting evidence that Russia had meddled in the White House race that Trump won a month earlier.

“Thank you for your letter … and the opportunity to address the false impression that I may in some way be holding myself out as an ‘adviser’ to Mr. Trump,” Page said in response to Trump attorney Don McGhan’s letter to him a day earlier.

“I believe this extremely false perception might be based on frequent and continued mischaracterizations in the mainstream media. … The media narrative is completely outside of my personal control despite constant and intensive efforts by me.”

Page — an international financier who specializes in Russia’s oil and gas markets and who once worked in Moscow — was in fact part of a short-lived Trump foreign policy advisory team in March 2016.

“I have done nothing more than admit that I previously served as a member of the … team,” Page insists in his response to McGhan.

There has been increasing speculation in recent weeks about whether Russian operatives tried to use Page to infiltrate the 2016 elections or the Trump campaign.

Page, managing partner of Global Energy Capital LLC, has acknowledged being among those who talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at last summer’s Republican National Committee convention, where Trump won the GOP presidential nomination, but has denied any wrongdoing.

He also suggested in his response letter that the “highly damaging statements” against him are part of a “last-ditch effort by the corrupt Clinton regime to delegitimize” Trump and his administration

Page’s communications were being wiretapped by the FBI at least since last summer because the federal government had reason to believe he was acting as a Russian agent, according to The Washington Post.

The U.S. intelligence community has said Russia meddled in the race, in which Trump upset Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but found no evidence of vote tampering.

FBI Director James Comey recently acknowledged the agency is investigating the issue. And top congressional committees are also expected to intensify their probes as members return from break to Washington this week.

“You never met Mr. Trump, nor did you ever ‘advise’ Mr. Trump about anything. You are thus not an ‘adviser’ to Mr. Trump in any sense of the word,” McGhan, now White House counsel to the president, says in his Dec. 22, 2016, letter to Page, obtained Saturday by Fox News.

Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.

Mulvaney downplays talk of government shutdown over border wall funding

Apr 23, 2017 16

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney declined to say Sunday whether President Trump will insist Congress include money for his border wall in his proposed 2018 budget or risk a government shutdown.

“We don’t know yet,” Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to negotiate with you on national television. We will negotiate with the Democrats.”

Congress has until Friday to pass the budget to keep the federal government from technically running out of money, which would result in a shutdown of non-essential services.

Mulvaney reiterated Sunday that one of Trump’s biggest presidential campaign platforms was national security, which included building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I don’t think anyone thinks a shutdown is desirable,” Mulvaney said.

However, he wouldn’t say whether Trump would risk a politically unpopular shutdown to get his way. And he suggested that Democrats would be to blame because of their demands on an ObamaCare overhaul plan in exchange for border wall funding in the budget.  

“We are asking for our priorities,” Mulvaney told Fox News. “I would say is that they’re holding hostage national security. Again, something they’ve supported in the recent past when President Obama was in the Senate. So we don’t understand why this is breaking down like this.”

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested earlier Sunday on CNN that Trump would “insist” on the border wall funding.

Mulvaney also said Sunday that members of Congress, returning Monday from a roughly two-week recess, are working on the budget “as we speak” and that members could pass it and a revised ObamaCare overhaul plan within the next seven days.

“We don’t see any structural reason the House and Senate cannot do both things in a week,” he said.

He also said that if House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has the votes in the GOP-controlled chamber, Ryan will hold a vote.

However, Ryan continues to say that passing a budget is the top priority this week.

Clinton email probe reportedly caused rift between Comey, Lynch

Apr 23, 2017 19

FBI Director James Comey reportedly did not trust former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other senior officials at the Justice Department, speculating they might provide Hillary Clinton some political cover over her email scandal during the presidential election.

Comey’s so-called “go-it-alone strategy” in the Clinton investigation emerged from suspicions that Lynch and other Justice Department officials might look to down play the email probe, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Comey’s suspicions may have been confirmed in a 2015 meeting when Lynch reportedly told him to use the word “matter” instead of “investigation” when publicly discussing the probe. According to the Times, Lynch said that using the world “investigation” would raise other questions and argued that the department should maintain its policy of not confirming whether an investigation was ongoing.

Lynch was called to recuse herself from the Clinton email investigation after she had a private discussion with former President Bill Clinton in an airplane on the tarmac of Phoenix’s airport in June 16. Lynch did not recuse herself, but was forced to say she would accept the any conclusions reached by federal authorities.

Tensions boiled over after new emails were found through a separate investigation into former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, who was married to top Clinton confidant Huma Abedin.

Comey wanted to alert Congress about what it found on the laptop and feared that if he did not notify lawmakers, it would look like the FBI was withholding information before the election.

Lynch did not want Comey to send the letter to Congress about the findings, but decided against ordering him not to send it, according to The Times.

Click for more from The Hill.

Ryan reportedly vows to prevent government shutdown

Apr 23, 2017 16

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reportedly told fellow GOP lawmakers Saturday that his main goal this week is to pass a stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government open past April 28.

Ryan, during the conference call, did not pledge to take up the health care bill and offered no specific plan on how or when lawmakers could see a new proposal to repeal ObamaCare, which White House officials suggested might receive a vote by Wednesday, according to The Washington Post.

While Ryan affirmed his commitment to avoiding a government shutdown, any spending bill proposal will need Democratic support and the bill must include funding for the hallmark of President Trump’s campaign – a border wall. White House aides told the paper there is no guarantee Trump would sign a spending plan without border wall funding.

“Wherever we land will be a product the president can and will support,” Ryan said, according to The Post.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said congressional leaders can reach an agreement on spending, but only if the White House stays out of negotiations.

“I want to come up with an agreement,” Schumer said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. “Our Republican colleagues know that since they control, you know, the House, the Senate and the White House, that a shutdown would fall on their shoulders, and they don’t want it.”

Ryan has vowed there will be no government shutdown, but has received enormous pressure from the White House as Congress has been called on to vote on a health care bill, start tax reform plans and make Democrats submit to approving a stopgap spending bill that will include border-wall funding.

According to The Post, Ryan’s comments on Saturday’s conference call could signal that he is pushing back on some of the pressure. Ryan said that the House will vote on a health care bill when there are enough votes to pass it. Ryan and fellow Republicans suggested that it is more important to work with the Democrats on a spending bill than to push the border wall funding, which goes against what the Trump administration wants.

Ryan reportedly ended the conference call encouraging members to keep up the discussion on ideas, but did not field questions on the call.

Click for more from The Washington Post.

Trump announces rally in Pennsylvania marking first 100 days

Apr 22, 2017 22

President Trump says that he will hold a ‘BIG’ rally in Pennsylvania next Saturday, which will also mark his 100th day in office.

“I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!” he tweeted Saturday.

The announcement comes at a time when the president has a lot on the line, including Congress’ deadline Friday to pass a new federal budget. 

Trump has been optimistic that lawmakers will find common ground and avoid a government shutdown.

But Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said that the new budget must include funding for the president’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. This late stipulation has Democrats and now reportedly some Republicans pulling out from negotiations. 

Trump’s supporters have shown frustration in his failure to stick to his campaign promises, specifically when it comes to health care.

Trump’s failed in his first attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare, largely because she didn’t get support from the conservative House Freedom Caucus. But a new amendment crafted by caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and Rep. Tom Mac Arthur could get members on board. 

Trump says he will lay out a new health care plan that could be voted on as early as this week.

The president likely made a strategic choice in picking Pennsylvania for his rally.

The state was crucial in Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. No Republican had won Pennsylvania since George H.W Bush in 1988. However, if negotiations flat line on both the budget and health care, Trump could be holding a rally for some frustrated voters. 

Breaking tradition, the rally will be held on the same night as the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It is custom that the president attends the dinner. But given Trump’s relationship with the media and his view of their coverage, he has been outspoken about not attending. 

The last president to not attend was Ronald Reagan who was recovering from being shot in an assassination attempt.

March for Science: Bill Nye rallies thousands in DC amid threat of Trump budget cuts

Apr 22, 2017 18

Bill Nye, an engineer and educator known as “the science guy” through his appearances on television, spoke to thousands of enthusiastic marchers in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, declaring that science serves everyone and must be for all.

“Today we have a great many lawmakers, not just here, but around the world, deliberately ignoring and actively surpassing science,” he told the crowd of scientists, students and research advocates at the National Mall, according to Variety. “There inclination is misguided, and in no one’s best interest.”

Nye, who served as an honorary co-chair for the March for Science, chided lawmakers who ignore scientific research in areas like climate change and railed against the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts.

The March for Science protests, according to News Corp Australia Network, come amid growing anxiety over what many see as a mounting political assault on facts and evidence and fears that research is being excluded from policymaking. Triggered by concern over the rise of “alternative facts,” marchers sought to present a united front, particularly against the roll back of environmental protection policies and apparent lack of support for climate change.

Nye, the CEO of the Planetary Society, said the march was to “remind people everywhere” of the significance of science “for health and prosperity,” according to Variety.

“The framers of the Constitution of the United States, which has become a model for constitutional governments everywhere, included Article One, Section 8, which refers to promoting the progress of science and useful arts,” Nye said.

Nye told The Guardian earlier this week that scientists should unapologetically throw themselves into the political fray as Trump’s administration seeks to dismantle large areas of scientific endeavor, from cancer research to climate analysis.

“We are in a dangerous place right now,” Nye told The Guardian. “Science has always been political but we don’t want science to be partisan. Objective truths have become set aside and diminished and lawmakers are acting like a strong belief in something is as valid as careful peer review.”

More than 600 companion marches conveying a global message of scientific freedom without political interference occurred around the world.