Hill to Hall Feb. 4–8

Feb. 4: Oregon lawmakers introduce bill to protect organ donor recipients

Rep. Rob Nosse, D–Portland, sponsored a bill in the Oregon State Legislature to stop medical providers from recommending transplant candidates be removed from the organ waiting list because they “tested positive for pot,” according to Statesman Journal. H.B. 2687 was proposed due to a fear of discrimination against patients waiting for an organ transplant while using marijuana for their chronic pain, as transplant centers have denied such patients in the past, according to The Associated Press. The bill aims to “prohibit transplant centers from recommending…medical marijuana patient[s] from being removed from a list of potential recipients” based on the positive results of a drug test for marijuana use.

Feb. 7: Green New Deal officially introduced in Congress

United States House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey introduced a bill to “redefine the national debate on climate change.” The bill, commonly known as the Green New Deal—endorsed by every Democratic Senator running for president in 2020—includes a 10-year plan to convert 100 percent of the power demand in the U.S. to clean and renewable energy sources. The bill also includes an infrastructure program that has the potential to create millions of jobs in the energy field. Modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, The New York Times reports the bill will not move forward in its current form, but “some ideas could advance…to address the climate crisis.”

Feb. 8: Trump Administration denies undermining Affordable Care Act

The Council of Economic Advisors published a report emphasizing the reforms the Trump Administration has undertaken on the Affordable Care Act since 2016. The president was unable to effectively repeal the ACA before the 2018 midterm elections, and according to The Associated Press, is now trying to undermine the ACA instead of repealing it. The report, issued by a group of presidential advisors, states the White House is not trying to undermine the ACA despite several changes narrowing the scope of tax-funded care. The report also says premiums will go up for “middle and upper-income consumers” as an estimated $450 billion in benefits is redistributed into “more accessible” insurance options.

Feb. 8: Jeff Bezos accuses The National Enquirer of blackmail, extortion

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos accused The National Enquirer of threatening to publish “graphic photographs” of him according to The New York Times. On Jan. 10, The National Enquirer published a series of articles on Bezos’ extramarital affair and soon after, media circles accused the publication of politically motivated coverage—publisher David J. Pecker is a longtime friend of President Donald Trump. Pecker helped to cover Trump’s alleged affairs and according to The Daily Beast, Trump gloated over Bezos’ divorce and the tabloid’s exposé. Bezos has launched an independent investigation into the potential political connection between The National Enquirer and the White House.