Top 5 in Politics: April 1st to April 18th
1. Planned Parenthood Defunding:
What actually happened on Thursday, March 30th wasn’t a total government shutdown of funding to Planned Parenthood.
The bill passed in Congress by Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote (which just pushed the Republican vote over the 51 majority to make the final vote 52-48, a feat similar to what was done in early February) allowed states the option to refrain from supplying funds to the widely known health clinics.
Former President Obama pushed the states to support all health clinics, regardless of whether they allowed abortions or not. Being an integral part of his Obamacare plan that half of Congress is trying to repeal, the Planned Parenthood defunding is not on its own.
Other clinics will be affected as well, though Planned Parenthood appears to be the main target.
2. Senate's Approval of Justice Gorsuch
Justice Gorsuch was approved by a 54-45 divided Senate on Friday, April 7th.
As a right-leaning candidate vying for the late Justice Scalia’s seat in the Supreme Court, it is no surprise that there was a debate to whether he should be admitted.
The partisan divide has been growing steadily in American politics. That said, the main intrigue in this story should come from a Republican tactic used to get Justice Gorsuch in the Supreme Court: lowering the needed majority.
Gorsuch was sworn in the following Monday, but this vote change is what should really make the headlines.
Instead of needing 60 votes to approve of a nominee, the Senate now only needs 51 votes, allowing the 54-45 margin to hold firm.
Some argue that this could backfire on the Republicans when a left-leaning nominee for the Supreme Court comes in, while others contend that this will push a more partisan candidate to the forefront of future nominations.
If less of a majority is needed, less votes from the other political party will be needed, and thus a more partisan candidate can be chosen and passed through.
3. President Trump Bombs Syria
On Thursday, April 6th, the United States sent missiles to Syria.
Many people are outraged, there are quotes all over social media equating the price of those missiles to President Trump’s goals of making better business deals.
Curious about why the President of the United States would suddenly drop bombs on a Middle Eastern country?
The reason stems, at least outwardly, from a chemical attack on Syria’s citizens made by their President, Bashar al-Assad.
Former President Obama was faced with this choice once as well, but instead of acting with aggression as was first planned, he ultimately decided it was not worth the risk.
There is a buzz around this information, because President Obama at the time had called this act of chemical warfare a red line that should not be crossed, but then backed down.
Donald Trump at the time was advocating for the current president to stay out of Syria.
In a twist of fate, President Trump centered a 59-missile strike around the aircraft used to carry out the chemical attacks, killing six people in the process.
At least 70 people were killed in the chemical attacks carried out on Tuesday, April 4th.
4. Afghanistan and the MOAB
The “Mother of All Bombs” was dropped on an ISIS cave system located in Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13th.
It is a conventional bomb, meaning non-nuclear, and was said to have not hit any civilians.
The cave system was a growth opportunity for ISIS, allowing them access to the Afghan population that has fewer ISIS members than other surrounding nations.
The cave systems were also used as military routes for ISIS members, with 36 being killed in the bombing.
Three tunnels were reportedly collapsed.
The former president of Afghanistan took to Twitter in an attempt to fight against the bombing of his country, saying that his country is simply a testing ground for the United States and their bombs.
5. Bombing of Syrian Allies
18 Syrian allies were killed in a drone strike on Tuesday, April 11th on accident.
The case is being reported as a “friendly fire” incident where several mistakes could have contributed to the disaster.
Of the possibilities, some argue that there was a mix-up in the coordinates for the friendly compounds and the militant compounds, resulting in the deaths that occurred that night.
It began with the allies reporting their location incorrectly, and the United States sent the drone to the location believing that it was an ISIS target.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) contends that the fallen soldiers were martyrs.