Hello and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to click that like button, leave a comment, or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!
1 Big Thing: The Summit
On Tuesday, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. While the meeting between the two leaders was a historic start, there are many points yet to be resolved.
- To start, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement, which called for complete denuclearization. However, the statement did not include certain words that are critical to the denuclearization process: complete, irreversible and verifiable.
- Another aspect of the negotiations is joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea. On one hand, Secretary of Defense James Mattis claimed these exercises will continue. On the other hand, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have stated these exercises could cease as part of the deal.
- Finally, Pompeo said he will meet with Chinese officials soon to discuss North Korean denuclearization. He will then follow up with the North Koreans in hopes of continuing the talks and starting the process of denuclearization.
On Sunday, seven leaders of major industrialized countries -- Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan and Germany -- met to discuss the global economy and other issues that face the world.
- The U.S. and the other six countries were divided over trade. For example, the U.S. recently implemented tariffs upon Canadian steel and aluminum imports. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called these tariffs “illegal,” while President Trump called them fair.
- Another point of contention between the G7 countries was Russia, who was kicked out of the group after they invaded Ukraine in 2014. President Trump wanted to readmit Russia because of their large role in the world economy. However, the other six countries don’t want to readmit Russia into the group because of their hostile actions.
- The group of seven countries also discussed issues such as climate change, the Iran Deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Executive and Legislative branches both made immigration news this week:
- Immigration officials are separating parents and children at the U.S. – Mexico border. Trump Administration officials blame Democratic legislation for this situation. Yet, critics say this was a conscious policy decision by the Administration.
- Additionally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will no longer grant asylum to victims of gang violence or domestic abuse.
- If two more representatives in the House sign a discharge petition, they will attain the requisite signatures to force a vote on the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program.
- However, in response to the petition, Speaker Paul Ryan scheduled votes on two immigration bills: 1) a conservative bill that would cut legal immigration while only offering DACA recipients a temporary status to stay in the country on a renewable basis and 2) a moderate bill that would offer a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
The Justice Department (DOJ) decided they will not defend certain parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a new lawsuit. The DOJ’s decision breaks with an important legal norm where administrations have defended sitting laws no matter their ideological differences with the law.
- Specifically, the DOJ is looking to undercut certain mandated provisions in insurance coverage like pre-existing conditions and community rating.
- In the lawsuit, several states are seeking to overturn the ACA arguing, among other things, the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
- In other ACA news, insurers within the ACA marketplaces sued the government because an ACA program was supposed to pay back their monetary losses. However, a federal court ruled that the government does not owe the insurers most of their money because that ACA program is now budget neutral due to recent legislation.
Last week, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both died by their own hand. Spade designed fashionable handbags that were affordable for everyday women and marked a sense of professional achievement. Likewise, Bourdain had a TV show where he traveled the world to eat food. However, his experiences transcended a surface level TV show as they were a key to unlock and understand foreign cultures as well as meaningfully discuss global and local issues. Their unfortunate deaths have sparked thoughts about their amazing lives and conversations about mental health.