Friday Spotlight – March 17, 2017

Each Friday, Torchlight Media will publish a summary of the major news that happened for that week: the announcements and events, the twists and turns of ongoing stories, and all of the other highlights in between. Our goal is to give you a big-picture look at the week’s news so that even if you can’t follow everything yourself, you can have a general sense of where things stand. We hope, too, that seeing the highlights laid out will help you separate the small, pointless stories that crop up over the week from the more impactful, ongoing stories.

Here’s what’s in the spotlight for our first week:

  • On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the American Health Care Act, Paul Ryan’s offering to repeal and replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The CBO’s analysis said the AHCA would result in larger deficits and fewer Americans with insurance; Josh Kyu Saiewitz’s article has more details.
  • On Wednesday, Rachel Maddow released pages from President Trump’s 2005 tax returns on her show. The returns confirmed what many suspected: that Donald Trump pays a very low effective tax rate, or at least did in 2005. Additionally, he was affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax, without which his taxes would have been considerably lower. His tax plan would repeal this rule. The returns were sent anonymously to journalist David Johnston, who wrote about them for and was interviewed on Maddow’s show; we’ve linked to that source, as part of our general policy of going as close to original documents as we can.
  • Also on Wednesday, judges in Hawaii and Maryland ruled against President Trump’s revised executive order banning travel from certain primarily-Muslim countries, stopping the order’s enforcement. This executive order was a second attempt to ban travel from these countries after a previous order was struck down. The New York Times article has scans of the Hawaiian judge’s decision and a video of the President’s response to it.
  • On Thursday, the White House released President Trump’s first budget proposal. Presidential budgets are not binding, as Congress has the ultimate power to decide where and how money is spent, but they can give an idea of where the President is likely to direct his energies when working with Congress. The Trump budget suggests steep increases for border security and defense, and steep cuts for virtually everything else, including the EPA; Jeremy Rosenlund’s article has more on the likely impact of EPA cuts.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first meeting with President Trump was delayed by bad weather, and is scheduled for today. We’ll update this article with any major developments. Update 6:00 PM EST: Nothing of substance was said in public.