NC LAWMAKERS CHANNEL TRUMP WITH MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS: The matter is one of several policy items that House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are hashing out as they wrangle over the $24 billion budget. The change appears to be a Senate priority without support from key budget writers in the House. "We're talking about it," Berger, R-Rockingham, confirmed Wednesday evening as he emerged from budget talks for a dinner break. The potential Medicaid requirements would affect about 60,000 people, according to state Rep. Donny Lambeth
, R-Forsyth, a House budget chairman as well as a chairman on the House Health and Health Care Reform committees. The change would require approval from the federal government, but the Trump administration has indicated it's open to similar changes.
TRUMP'S EPA ACTIVELY RECRUITED CLIMATE DENIERS FROM HEARTLAND INSTITUTE: Newly released emails show senior Environmental Protection Agency officials working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming, counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt's stewardship of the agency. John Konkus, EPA's deputy associate administrator for public affairs, repeatedly reached out to senior staffers at the Heartland Institute, according to the emails. "If you send a list, we will make sure an invitation is sent," Konkus wrote to then-Heartland president Joseph Bast in May 2017, seeking suggestions on scientists and economists the EPA could invite to an annual EPA public hearing on the agency's science standards. Follow-up emails show Konkus and the Heartland Institute mustering scores of potential invitees known for rejecting scientific warnings of man-made climate-change, including from groups like Plants Need CO2, The Right Climate Stuff, and Junk Science.
TRUMP CONTINUES HIS CRUSADE TO HELP CHINESE COMPANY WHO SOLD TECH TO US ENEMIES: The Trump administration has told Congress that it's reached a deal that would allow Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp. to stay in business, a source familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential matter said Friday. A resolution of the ZTE case could clear the way for the United States to make progress in its high-stakes trade talks with China. But news of the agreement drew immediate fire on Capitol Hill. "ZTE presents a national security threat to the United States — and nothing in this reported deal addresses that fundamental fact," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. "If President Trump won't put our security before Chinese jobs, Congress will act on a bipartisan basis to stop him." Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted: "It is a great deal ... for #ZTE & China ... Many hoped this time would be different." Congress, Rubio said, "will need to act."
TRUMP GOES AFTER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES VIA EXECUTIVE ORDERS: President Donald Trump on Friday signed a trio of executive orders to overhaul the federal bureaucracy by making it easier to fire federal workers for poor performance and misconduct, requiring that departments and agencies negotiate better union contracts and limiting the amount of time certain federal workers can spend on union business. "This is more than union busting. It's democracy busting," said J. David Cox Sr., the union's national president. "These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government." Cox said workers will be deprived of their rights to address a host of workplace issues, ranging from sexual harassment to retaliation against whistleblowers to improving on-the-job health and safety.
TRUMP WANTS ACCESS TO CLASSIFIED DOJ MATERIALS SO HE CAN QUASH PROBE: President Donald Trump’s legal team wants a briefing on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. And they may take it to the Justice Department as part of an effort to scuttle the ongoing special counsel probe. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s attorneys, told The Associated Press on Friday that the White House hopes to get a readout of the information next week, particularly about the use of a longtime government informant who approached members of Trump’s campaign in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election. Trump has made unproven claims of FBI misconduct and political bias and has denounced the asset as “a spy.”