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Vox Sentences: The attack at the British Parliament

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An attack on the grounds of the British Parliament; a recap of Neil Gorsuch’s uneventful Senate confirmation hearing; the AHCA is heading for a vote.


An attack at the British Parliament

Parliament after attack Getty / Neil Mockford
  • On Wednesday afternoon, four people were killed and at least 20 were injured in an attack near the Parliament building in London. British police are currently “treating [it] as a terrorist incident." [The Guardian / Andrew Sparrow and Alexandra Topping]
  • Many details about the attack and the attacker remain unknown, but reports so far have indicated that a lone assailant drove a car into pedestrians walking on the Westminster Bridge, crashed to a stop outside of Parliament, and tried to enter the building but was stopped by police — one of whom the attacker stabbed before being shot by police. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • Prime Minister Theresa May was confirmed to be safe after the attack, and gave a statement several hours later, saying: “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.” [Telegraph / Danny Boyle and Sophie Jamieson]
  • White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that President Trump called May on Wednesday and has been briefed on the attack. [Politico / Louis Nelson]
  • On social media, supporters of ISIS praised the attack, but no group has claimed credit for it, and no motive is currently known. [Telegraph / Telegraph Reporters]
  • The news from London comes on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack in Brussels. The Belgian capital observed both a moment of silence and a moment of noise (intended to affirmatively push back against terrorism) at different points in the morning, and sculptor Jean-Henri Compère unveiled a 66-foot memorial sculpture. [New York Times / Dan Bilefsky]
  • Opponents of London's lefty mayor, Sadiq Khan, are now bringing up an old statement where he called terror attacks "part and parcel of living in a big city." But given the rarity of events like this compared with more ordinary causes of death like car crashes, that's a pretty productive attitude to have. [Independent / Gabriel Samuels]

Gorsuch evaded controversy, basic questions

Gorsuch at hearing AFP/ Mandel Ngan via Getty
  • Day three of an uneventful Senate confirmation hearing on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has come to a close, and Gorsuch has, so far, used the opportunity to emphasize his independence from Trump and demonstrate what Sen. Chuck Schumer has called “skillful evasion of questions,” giving anyone in opposition of his nomination very little to work with. [Washington Post / Elise Viebeck, Robert Barnes, and Ed O’Keefe]
  • Even before Gorsuch was nominated, and certainly heading into his hearing, Senate Democrats faced a problem: Many wanted to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination because President Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, was never considered. [Politico / Burgess Everett]
  • But Democrats ostensibly needed a judicial motivation to oppose Gorsuch, not just a political one. And over the course of Gorsuch’s hearing, they didn’t get the knockout blow they were hoping for, even as Gorsuch's record still indicates he'll be a solidly conservative justice. [Washington Post / Amber Phillips]
  • Schumer wasn’t the only Senate Democrat frustrated with Gorsuch’s lack of transparency. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy complained to Gorsuch directly, arguing they couldn’t vote affirmatively without better understanding his views, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is determined to get a Senate vote on Gorsuch by April 8. [NBC / Andrew Rafferty]
  • Feinstein’s comments came after she pressed the nominee on his views on abortion. “All I can promise you is that I will exercise the care, consideration, due precedent that a good judge is supposed to,” he told the California senator. [Bloomberg / Greg Stohr and Laura Litvan]
  • The Gorsuch hearings overlapped with FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that his bureau is indeed investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia — which Schumer took as another reason not to appoint Gorsuch. He complained that Republicans kept the Supreme Court seat open for a year, but are “now rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI.” [Washington Post / Mark Berman]

A last-ditch attempt to woo the Freedom Caucus

Rep. Chris Collins CQ/Roll Call/Bill Clark
  • The AHCA bill is expected to come to a vote in the House tomorrow, and the Freedom Caucus still has more than 23 members opposed to the bill on the grounds that it does not go far enough to repeal Obamacare — which would be enough to tank it. But the Freedom Caucus seems open to negotiating with House Republican leadership and President Trump, if the bill repeals a number of mandatory health benefits insurers had to provide that were introduced by Obamacare. [Politico / Josh Dawsey and Jennifer Haberkorn]
  • But even beyond the Freedom Caucus, the latest whip count doesn’t look great. At least 41 Republicans have come out as strongly critical of the bill as of this writing, and no Democrats have said they’ll vote for it. [Vox / Jacob Gardenswartz and Soo Oh]
  • Meanwhile, a new Congressional Budget Office score is due to come out before the vote on Thursday — possibly tonight. [The Hill / Peter Sullivan]
  • As of now, it seems there are four ways the AHCA House drama could resolve itself tomorrow: The bill could pass by the skin of Paul Ryan's teeth; it could be pulled from the floor before voting if it is deemed unlikely to pass, in order to public avoid defeat; there’s the possibility that the vote happens, the bill does not pass at first, but the vote is kept open for hours as members are individually pressured to change their votes; and then there’s the possibility that it’s brought to the floor and utterly fails. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • An outspoken Trump ally in the House, New York Rep. Chris Collins, was quoted advocating for retribution against anyone who voted no on the health care bill, saying, “Somebody who votes ‘no’ on this should not be sitting on a top committee, plain and simple.” He also said, in reference to campaign committee funds, “Don’t ever ask me to write a check to a member who votes ‘no’ this Thursday.” [Roll Call / Lindsey McPherson]
  • Ryan, meanwhile, has been effusive in his praise of Trump’s efforts to support the health care bill — and some think it’s a ploy to position Trump to take at least some blame if the bill fails to pass the House. [Washington Post / Jennifer Rubin]
  • The bill’s failure could, however, have an upside for Republicans: It could send them back to the drawing board to craft something that delivers on at least some of their promises to their base. [Washington Post / Jennifer Rubin, Alice Stewart, and James Downie]

Miscellaneous

  • The most shocking detail in this excellent profile of Dilbert cartoonist turned Trump superfan Scott Adams is that his ex-wife is now his personal assistant. [Bloomberg / Caroline Winter]
  • For years, Equal Rights Amendment proponents have been advocating the "three-state strategy," where only three more states need to ratify it for it to become part of the US Constitution. With Nevada set to ratify shortly, now only Illinois and Virginia would need to join. [NPR / Colin Dwyer, Carrie Kaufman]
  • Kraig Moss was a huge Trump supporter: He used to follow Trump on the campaign trail, playing pro-Trump songs on an acoustic guitar with Trump stickers on it. But he's also the father of a son who died from heroin addiction, and calls the health care bill's cuts to addiction treatment "an absolute betrayal." [CNN / Elizabeth Cohen]
  • Now if you try to post articles on Facebook that Snopes or other sources have debunked, you get repeated warnings that the content is "disputed" — and if you post anyway, your friends get that warning below the post as well. [Quartz / Nikhil Sonnad]
  • How the PB&J became the official sandwich of the NBA. [ESPN / Baxter Holmes]

Verbatim


Watch this: China’s panda diplomacy, explained

China's best diplomats are the ones that sit around and eat bamboo all day. [Nicholas Garbaty and Dara Lind]

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