A barrage of Senate confirmation hearings is set to begin Tuesday for what could be the wealthiest Cabinet in modern American history. This comes despite concerns that ethics clearances and background checks are incomplete for several of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks. “Each one of these people, by themselves, would be an outrage in any other administration. But the totality of what we’re seeing from the Trump administration has no precedent in American history,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, which has just launched the CorporateCabinet.org website to track the corporate connections and conflicts of interest of Trump Cabinet appointees. Also appearing is Richard Painter, professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota. He was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from February 2005 to July 2007.
Also on today’s show
Protests in Kentucky
In Kentucky, hundreds of demonstrators packed into the Capitol building Saturday to protest the state Legislature’s passage of a slew of controversial bills, including an anti-union “right-to-work” law and extreme anti-choice legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion.
The surprise emergency legislative session Saturday came after Republicans seized a supermajority in the House of Representatives, giving the Republicans control of the House, the Senate and the governorship for the first time in Kentucky state history. On Saturday, the Legislature also repealed a law that had guaranteed higher wages for workers on publicly financed construction projects.
Repeal & Run?
Republicans in the newly sworn-in 115th Congress are moving swiftly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature healthcare law. By a vote of 51 to 48 last week, the Senate approved a procedural measure clearing a way for a budget resolution that could repeal major sections of the law. The charge was led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who admitted his party has not yet decided how to replace the Affordable Care Act.
“The Republicans’ rebranded version of the Affordable Care Act will be much meaner and skimpier,” says Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a primary care physician. She is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School. “It will have much more in the way of copayments and deductibles, particularly for poor people who are unable to afford it.” Woolhandler is a professor at CUNY-Hunter College and the co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.
Meryl Streep slams Trump
Watch an excerpt from Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech when she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday night’s Golden Globes. The Academy Award-winning actress used her address to call for protections for the free press and to criticize President-elect Donald Trump without ever speaking his name, saying the performance that most stunned her this year was Trump’s mocking imitation of a disabled reporter during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.