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House Republicans Resurrect Plan to Gut Social Security and Medicare

A new budget from House Republicans clearly states they’ll raise the retirement age—if given the chance.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern

While progressive politicians and unions are fighting to grant Americans four-day workweeks, Republicans are looking to achieve the complete opposite.

On Wednesday, the Republican Study Committee (made up of more than 170 House Republicans) proposed a 2025 budget with an eyebrow-raising revision of Social Security and Medicare, increasing the retirement age to qualify for Social Security and lowering benefits for the highest-earning beneficiaries.

But don’t worry, Republicans want you to know that this will not take effect immediately, and will only impact everyone who isn’t already of age to acquire their earned benefits.

“Again, the RSC Budget does not cut or delay retirement benefits for any senior in or near retirement,” the caucus underlined.

Under the proposed plan, Medicare would operate as a “premium support model,” competing with private companies, giving subsidies to beneficiaries to pick the private plan of their choice. That stratagem is straight from former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s playbook, who proposed the policy while campaigning as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in the 2012 election. At the time, President Barack Obama argued that the plan would “end Medicare as we know it.”

Outside of fiscal policy, the proposed budget also endorsed the controversial Life at Conception Act, which would grant rights to embryos and likely gut in vitro fertilization nationwide—despite a Republican press run last month to fake support for the procedure.

The budget is unlikely to pass through Congress, but its drafting still hints at the party’s follow-through on an age-old threat—and offers a glimpse into what kind of future it wants if it wins reelection, and if Donald Trump retakes the White House.

The whole thing is, notably, an odd choice during an election year.

House Republican Admits GOP’s Biden Impeachment Crusade Is Dead

Representative Tim Burchett had some harsh words on the reality of his party’s efforts to impeach Joe Biden.

Representative Tim Burchett presses his lips together and stares off camera, eyes wide
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

A House Republican has finally admitted that it’s time to pack up the effort to impeach Joe Biden and move on.

Representative Tim Burchett told NewsNation Wednesday night he thought the House should vote on whether to impeach Biden or not so that they can all just move on.

“We’re not gonna have the votes … that’s clearly the case,” Burchett said. “And I don’t think we ever did.”

Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the House, which has seemed to shrink on an almost weekly basis as GOP lawmakers retire midterm. One of the most outspoken impeachment opponents, Colorado Republican Ken Buck, said his decision to leave Congress at the end of this week was fueled by the pointless chaos of the impeachment investigation.

Other Republicans have begun to back away from the impeachment effort, as well. Even House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer has changed what his goals are. Two weeks ago, he said he would be happy just making nonbinding criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.

Burchett’s comments came just hours after the House Oversight Committee held a sham hearing on Hunter Biden. The committee heard testimony from Tony Bobulinski, Hunter’s onetime work partner with a history of shady business dealings, and Jason Galanis, who called in from a federal prison where he is serving a 14-year sentence for financial fraud. Republicans claim both men can prove the Biden family’s guilt, despite the fact that Hunter says he and Galanis only met once.

Things quickly devolved when Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Bobulinski if he had ever actually seen the president commit a crime. When Bobulinski could not name a specific instance, Ocasio-Cortez tore into Republicans for their entire impeachment push.

“At this point, the story is not the fact that the basis of this impeachment inquiry is wrong. The story is why it’s proceeding anyway. Why is this committee proceeding based on false charges?” she demanded.

Manhattan D.A. Slams Trump’s Obvious Delay Tactic in Hush-Money Trial

Alvin Bragg is exposing the truth of all those documents Donald Trump’s lawyers claim they need to review.

Donald Trump yells at a mic
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney has decided that the 100,000-page document dump that delayed Donald Trump’s hush-money trial by a handful of weeks is, actually, a gigantic nothingburger.

After chewing through more than 31,000 pages of last week’s offload by the Southern District of New York, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg assessed that Trump already has the “overwhelming majority” of them.

“The people now have good reason to believe that this production contains only limited materials relevant to the subject matter of this case and that have not previously been disclosed to defendant,” the filing read, noting that only an estimated 270 documents are new and relevant to the case (and mostly imply guilt or corroborate existing evidence).

“The overwhelming majority of the production is entirely immaterial, duplicative or substantially duplicative of previously disclosed materials.”

That means that the trial will almost certainly move forward in April. Bragg noted that the current pause, which is scheduled to last until April 15, is “a more than reasonable amount of time for defendant to review the information provided.”

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Trump is facing 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Cohen and Daniels are both expected to be star witnesses in the trial, though Trump had previously attempted to keep both of them far away from it on the basis that the two were “liars.” But on Tuesday, a judge nixed that effort, allowing them both to testify.

In a new documentary that intimately follows Daniels’s side of their yearslong legal battle, Daniels explains that she knew that she only had one real option when the $130,000 bribe was offered to her: take it, or risk being killed. In the ensuing years, she would be mercilessly harassed by Trump’s supporters, threatened by strange men insinuating they would kidnap her daughter, and stalked by creeps taking videos of her child.

From Daniels’s perspective, she had become a target after Trump’s political career began: The Republican Party, she says, likes “to make their problems go away.”

House Republicans Proudly Endorse National Abortion Ban, Limits to IVF

Bookmark this for the next time Republicans pretend to care about IVF.

Kevin Hern holds a press conference outside the Capitol. He squints in the sunlight.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern

House Republicans have released their proposed budget for 2025, and it includes giving rights to embryos—despite the GOP’s big statements about how much they support in vitro fertilization.

The budget, released Wednesday by the Republican Study Committee, or RSC, states that the party backs the Life at Conception Act, “which would provide 14th amendment protections at all stages of life.”

This bill has become highly contentious in the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that classified fertilized embryos as human children. First introduced in 2021 with 166 Republican co-sponsors and then again in 2023 with 124, the Life at Conception Act would have established that life begins at fertilization.

Like the Alabama ruling, the act would have severely restricted—if not effectively banned—IVF treatments, because it grants “equal protection” to “preborn” humans, including embryos. Since it’s common for fertilized eggs not to survive the IVF process, the act would put doctors at risk of being charged for wrongful death of embryos. That risk would be enough to scupper the IVF industry.

In the weeks after the Alabama ruling, Republicans rushed to say that they support access to IVF. Seven House Republicans—five of whom represent vulnerable swing districts—introduced a resolution expressing their support for IVF and urging elected officials to protect the treatment.

But the resolution was nonbinding, meaning that those seven elected officials weren’t really doing anything to protect IVF. And now, the RSC, which comprises about three-quarters of the House Republican caucus, has explicitly stated that it supports legislation that would decimate access to IVF nationwide.

The RSC budget also took aim at abortion, backing another bill for a 15-week national abortion ban and recommending a measure that would ban the sale of mifepristone, one of the drugs used to induce abortions. The question of mifepristone’s decades-old approval for market goes before the Supreme Court next week.

The budget backed a bill that would ban abortion access on college campuses, as well as prohibit the Department of Defense from reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to travel for an abortion. The department policy has been a major Republican target of late, particularly from Senator Tommy Tuberville, who single-handedly held up hundreds of military promotions last year in an attempt to protest the program.

The RSC’s proposed budget is unlikely to pass unscathed. The government is currently avoiding a shutdown on a weekly basis due to Congress’s inability to agree on a federal budget. But the entire proposal highlights Republican hypocrisy on reproductive health.

Despite proclaiming themselves the “pro-life” party, Republicans continue to do everything they possibly can to limit access to IVF, a procedure that would allow people to have children, and to force people into life-threatening situations.

Why Did Two of Judge Aileen Cannon’s Law Clerks Suddenly Quit?

Donald Trump’s favorite judge is suddenly losing law clerks.

Judge Aileen Cannon portrait (blue background looks like a yearbook photo)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Judge Aileen Cannon has been moving alarmingly slowly in setting up a trial date for Donald Trump’s classified documents criminal case—but it may not be a bid to help out the man who appointed her.

As of Thursday, the Florida judge had lost at least two law clerks in the last six months, who up and quit on her rather than finish out their one-year terms, according to several sources within Cannon’s legal circuit that spoke with attorney David Lat.

It’s incredibly rare for multiple clerks to leave their posts, especially considering that judges typically hire just two or three clerks per annum. As Lat notes in his Substack Original Jurisdiction, “a law clerk’s role is substantive, not clerical or administrative.” Clerks are more like a judge’s right and left hands—they help the judiciary conduct research, prepare for trials, and draft opinions. Clerkships are highly competitive, and one serving a federal judge would otherwise be considered résumé gold, so it’s certainly curious that they seem to be fleeing her bench.

“Because a clerkship typically lasts one year and is an extremely valuable credential, most clerks will ‘ride it out’ instead of quitting, even if they’re miserable or have issues with their judge,” Lat posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, adding that it’s “highly disruptive to the work of a chambers when even one clerk quits, to say nothing of two.”

“Judges in busy districts like [the Southern District of Florida] have heavy caseloads. To be short-staffed can generate a backlog VERY quickly,” Lat wrote.

Both clerks reportedly quit in October and December 2023, around the time that Cannon made clear she was open to delaying Trump’s trial past its original May start date. Cannon’s chambers, as of now, are fully staffed. But details on the ones who left are still emerging. So far, one clerk vacated their position on personal terms—they left roughly halfway through their two-year term to raise their child. Another clerk’s exit is still shrouded in mystery, though Lat notes that “this person’s law-school classmates have been buzzing about the news.”

Alina Habba Accidentally Admits Donald Trump Could Be Totally Bought

Donald Trump is in massive debt, and his attorney admitted he’s open to other strategies to pay it off.

Alina Habba speaks outside at nighttime. Several press mics are in front of her.
GWR/Star Max/GC Images

Donald Trump hasn’t ruled out being bought by foreign powers—according to his legal team.

On Thursday, the GOP presidential nominee’s attorney, Alina Habba, failed to say that Trump definitely would not turn to a foreign country if it meant he could secure bond money to cover his $464 million bank fraud penalty.

“Is there any effort on the part of your team to secure this money through another country, Saudi Arabia or Russia, as Joy Behar seems to think?” asked Fox News’s Martha MacCallum, referring to a recent episode of The View in which Behar speculated that such a move—that is, having a president bought and sold by potentially hostile foreign powers—could be a cataclysmic national security threat.

But none of that fazed Habba, who completely sidestepped answering the question and failed the very basic test of answering “no.”

“Well, there’s rules and regulations that are public,” Habba replied. “I can’t speak about strategy, that requires certain things and we have to follow those rules. Like I said, this is manifest injustice. It is impossible, it’s an impossibility. I believe they knew that.”

“I think everything is done intentionally. I do not doubt that the witch hunt that the election interference goal is what was ringing steady and loudly and true throughout all these trials, frankly. And we’re seeing it. It’s the demise of our country, not the demise of Trump,” she added.

So far, Trump has approached several brokers and 30 suretors for help securing a bond, though it didn’t seem to work out for him, according to a filing by Trump’s attorneys, who admitted that suretors refused to accept Trump’s real estate as collateral. Instead, they would only accept cash to the tune of $1 billion, which Trump said he and his businesses just don’t have.

In a nearly 5,000-page document filed on Monday, Trump’s attorneys argued that the fine was “grossly disproportional” to Trump’s offenses, which included defrauding banks, insurance companies, and investors by falsely inflating his wealth and the value of his properties.

But on Wednesday, an attorney for New York Attorney General Letitia James urged an appeals court to ignore the self-purported billionaire’s attempts to worm out of the nearly half-billion-dollar disgorgement.

The former president has until Monday to come up with nearly half a billion dollars before he’s legally allowed to appeal the case—and before James can begin seizing his assets to cover the debt, including 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower.

Team Trump Is Desperate for Cash—And Still Lagging Behind Biden

Donald Trump’s campaign is seriously struggling with its 2024 fundraising.

Donald Trump wears a "My vote counts" sticker
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It turns out that Donald Trump’s millions of dollars worth of legal bills aren’t the only financial struggles on his mind. The former president has raised just a fraction of the money that his opponent has on the campaign trail.

Trump’s presidential campaign raised $10.9 million in February, bringing his war chest to a grand total of $33.5 million, according to campaign disclosures. In comparison, President Joe Biden’s campaign raised $21.3 million, giving him a total of $71 million in campaign spending money. And he plans to use it to drown Trump in attack ads, Politico reported late Wednesday.

It’s a similar situation at the party level. The Republican National Committee raised $10.7 million in February, for a total of just $11.3 million fundraised overall. Poor fundraising was one of the main reasons that former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was forced to step down.

The Democratic National Committee, on the other hand, raised $16.6 million, for a total of $26.5 million cash on hand, according to Politico.

Trump’s money situation isn’t helped by the fact that most of what he fundraises has had to go towards his myriad legal struggles. A pro-Trump super PAC called MAGA Inc. has reportedly sent more than $50 million to Save America, Trump’s leadership PAC, since last year to help cover the former president’s legal bills. And it’s unclear how much longer that can continue.

Save America spent $5.6 million on legal expenses in February alone, and it was only kept going by a $5 million refund from MAGA Inc. The super PAC now has just $7.75 million more it can refund to Save America, which only has about $4 million in cash left.

So it’s no wonder that Trump has had to resort to hawking ugly sneakers and promoting fan-supported GoFundMe campaigns to raise money. He has only days left to post a nearly half-billion-dollar bond in his New York civil fraud case before the state attorney general can start seizing his assets as repayment.

Trump recently posted a $91.6 million bond in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit, which was guaranteed by the Chubb Corporation, much to the insurance group’s clients’ dismay. He still owes Carroll $5 million from her first lawsuit.

Trump also owes nearly $400,000 to The New York Times, thousands of dollars for gag order violations, and $382,000 to Orbis Business Intelligence, the consulting firm owned by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Trump had sued Orbis over a dossier Steele compiled in 2016 that alleged Trump and members of his inner circle had been “compromised” by Russia’s security service.

Unfortunately More on Trump:

AOC Asks Republicans When They Knew Their Impeachment Push Was a Sham

“Why is this committee proceeding based on false charges?”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez points as she addresses witnesses and her Republican colleagues.
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday

Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez tore into Tony Bobulinski during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, pressing conservatives’ so-called “deadly witness” on his ability to point to any illegal activity conducted by President Joe Biden—and in doing so, urging Republicans to admit that the whole proceeding was “based on false charges.”

“I have a quick question. Simple. Is it your testimony today that you personally witnessed President Joe Biden commit a crime?” the New York lawmaker asked.

“I believe the fact that he was sitting with me while I was putting together—” Bobulinski started, before Ocasio-Cortez cut in, narrowing her question.

“Did you witness the president commit a crime? Is it your testimony today?” she prompted.

“Yes,” Bobulinski replied.

“And what crime did …  you witness?” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

In the ensuing back-and-forth, Bobulinski vaguely responded with categories of crimes rather than specific ones, flagrantly patronizing Ocasio-Cortez for not understanding corruption statutes like RICO, only to then be schooled by her explanation that RICO is simply an umbrella category and not a specific crime.

“Clearly what we are seeing here today is a continuation of the 15-month saga of the Republican majority lost in the desert,” Ocasio-Cortez said, starting a speech that would lean into her conservative colleagues for pushing forward with an impeachment probe based on meritless claims that have since been thoroughly debunked—including by one of the investigation’s supposed star witnesses, Alexander Smirnov, who is currently in prison after admitting that he spun the story with the help of top Russian intelligence.

“What we are seeing is that this committee was warned about the falsehoods of these allegations long before that, warned by Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “And yet they proceeded anyway. The chairman proceeded anyway. This committee was warned by a Rudy Giuliani associate right here, Lev Parnas. After that document, about the falsehoods of this, then held hearings where your own expert witnesses said that there was no grounds for impeachment, and you proceeded anyway.”

“At this point, the story is not the fact that the basis of this impeachment inquiry is wrong. The story is why it’s proceeding anyway. Why is this committee proceeding based on false charges?” she added.

Of course, some of her colleagues across the aisle didn’t take so kindly to her laying it all out on the table, deciding instead that the best course of action—rather than respond frankly—would be to attempt to twist Ocasio-Cortez’s vocal offense into fodder for their social media followers.

“Weekly meltdown by Rep. AOC,” posted South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace, sharing a clip of the speech. “Someone needs to remind the Left, just because you are loud, does not mean you are right.”

Even Fox News Is Tired of Republicans’ Bogus Biden Impeachment

Fox News and other right-wing networks are finally having to acknowledge that the GOP’s yearslong impeachment push was a sham.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Joe Biden in 2022

In a sign of how well the Republican impeachment investigation into Joe Biden is going, right-wing networks on Wednesday barely covered a House hearing that was part of the probe.

The House Oversight Committee heard testimony Wednesday from Tony Bobulinski, Hunter Biden’s onetime work partner with a history of shady business dealings, and Jason Galanis, who is testifying via video call from a federal prison where he is serving a 14-year sentence for financial fraud. Republicans claim both men can prove the Biden family is guilty of corruption, despite the fact that Hunter says he and Galanis only met once.

But before the hearing even began, Newsmax host Rob Finnerty asked House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, who has helped lead the probe, why Republicans insisted on continuing with the investigation. The Republican House majority has shrunk so much that articles of impeachment are unlikely to pass.

“It kind of seems like you’re chasing your tail at this point because this is not going to go anywhere,” Finnerty said.

When the hearing began, Fox News barely acknowledged it was happening. Instead, the network only showed the hearing in a small, soundless box in the corner of the screen.

Four women and one man sit on a semicircular couch on Fox News

One of the few times Fox did show the hearing was during the opening statement from Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani. Parnas said he had seen “precisely zero evidence of the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine.”

“No credible sources ever provided proof of criminal activity,” Parnas said. “The only information ever pushed on the Bidens in Ukraine has come from one source and one source only: Russia and Russian agents.”

Fox quickly cut off the audio and switched to different programming.

Newsmax did cover the hearing, but even the far-right network’s reporters couldn’t deny the fact that Republicans have turned up no proof of the president’s wrongdoing. While Parnas was being questioned, one reporter pointed out to Representative Byron Donalds that “a lot of this evidence is situational, it’s circumstantial.”

“What does the Oversight Committee need right now to complete its investigation, to fill in these holes?” she asked.

“All I will say is, sit tight and let the rest of the hearing unfold,” Byron said, insisting the first half of the hearing had been “devastating” to the Biden family.

In fact, nothing the Republicans have turned up has been devastating to the Biden family. The only evidence of wrongdoing that has come out has been by the Republicans’ own witnesses. One, Gal Luft, has been charged with acting as a foreign agent for China and as an arms dealer. Another is Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who accused the Bidens of accepting bribes, jump-starting the entire investigation. He is currently imprisoned in California for fabricating the entire allegation. Smirnov has even admitted that he was fed the story by a Russian intelligence officer.

Just a few hours later, Donalds was forced to eat his words on Fox News when host John Roberts pointed out that “the needle hasn’t appreciably moved on this case.”

“Where is the evidence of wrongdoing on the president’s part, and how long can you continue this investigation without that evidence?” Roberts asked.

And shortly before Donalds appeared on Fox, the network’s legal analyst Kerri Urbahn agreed with Roberts that the investigation hadn’t produced any evidence.

“I do think that people are maybe becoming a little bit tired of all this,” she told Roberts.

NY A.G. Says Trump Is Lying to Avoid Paying $464 Million Judgment

Trump has until Monday to come up with the money.

Donald Trump in New York, shortly before the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago residence.
James Devaney/GC Images
Donald Trump on his way to meet New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2022

New York Attorney General Letitia James has urged an appeals court to ignore Donald Trump’s latest effort to worm his way out of paying the $464 million disgorgement from his bank fraud trial.

On Wednesday, an attorney for James told the court that Trump’s claims could not be trusted since they were based on sworn statements by Alan Garten, general counsel at the Trump Organization, and Gary Giulietti, one of Trump’s close friends. There’s a precedent to disqualify them—during the trial, Judge Arthur Engoron decided that Giulietti could not be considered a credible witness and argued that Garten had “professional interests in this litigation.”

Garten, however, snapped back at that. “The court found no such thing. The AG statement is reckless and completely untrue,” Garten said in response to the filing, according to The Washington Post.

So far, Trump has tried and failed to pause the rapidly growing interest on the judgment, counteroffering the court a $100 million bond in lieu of the full amount. He has also approached several brokers and 30 suretors for help securing a bond, though it didn’t seem to work out for him, according to a filing by Trump’s attorneys, who admitted that suretors refused to accept Trump’s real estate as collateral. Instead, they would only accept cash to the tune of $1 billion, which Trump said he and his businesses just don’t have.

In a nearly 5,000-page document filed on Monday, Trump’s attorneys argued that the fine was “grossly disproportional” to Trump’s offenses, which included defrauding banks, insurance companies, and investors by falsely inflating his wealth and the value of his properties.

“The amount of the judgment, with interest, exceeds $464 million, and very few bonding companies will consider a bond of anything approaching that magnitude,” wrote attorneys Alina Habba, Clifford Robert, Christopher Kise, and John Sauer.

Trump issued his own venom Monday night in a string of posts that his former fixer, Michael Cohen, interpreted as fury directed at a “situation that is completely out of his control.”

“A bond of the size set by the Democrat Club-controlled Judge, in Corrupt, Racist Letitia James’ unlawful Witch Hunt, is unConstitutional, un-American, unprecedented, and practically impossible for ANY Company, including one as successful as mine. The Bonding Companies have never heard of such a bond, of this size, before, nor do they have the ability to post such a bond, even if they wanted to,” Trump wrote on TruthSocial.

Regardless of his frustration, he’s quickly running out of time. The former president has until Monday to come up with nearly half a billion dollars—and if he doesn’t, James can begin taking steps to seize his assets to cover the debt, including 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower.*

* This article originally mischaracterized the consequences of the Monday deadline.