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Nikki Haley to give republican response to Obama’s state of union

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaks to delegates on Tuesday, August 28, 2012, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida on the first full day the Republican National Convention. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT) (Newscom TagID: krtphotoslive569798.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

Washington: Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Indian-American Governor will deliver the opposition Republican response to President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address next week on Tuesday.

With Republican leaders in Congress choosing Haley for the final rebuttal, two Indian-American politicians would be bookending their responses to Obama’s speeches as Louisiana’s outgoing governor Bobby Jindal did so to his first address in 2009.

In recent years, Republicans have used the rebuttal to showcase the diversity of the party’s elected officials.

Born Nimrata “Nikki” Randhawa to Sikh immigrant parents from India, Haley is the first minority governor in South Carolina’s history and currently the youngest governor in the country.

The 116th Governor of South Carolina, Haley is the first female governor of the state. She was re-elected to a second term in November 2014.

Haley converted to Christianity when she married Michael Haley, a Captain in the US Army National Guard and combat veteran with two deployments to Afghanistan.

“Nikki Haley has led an economic turnaround and set a bold agenda for her state, getting things done and becoming one of the most popular governors in America,” Speaker Paul Ryan said announcing the Congressional leaders’ decision.

“In a year when the country is crying out for a positive vision and alternative to the status quo, Governor Haley is the exact right choice to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation,” he said.

“Nikki Haley is a proven leader and committed reformer who believes deeply in the promise of the country we all share,” Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said.

“Not only has Governor Haley fought to bring opportunity and prosperity to the people of her state, but she’s also demonstrated how bringing people together can bring real results,” he said.

“Governor Haley knows the American Dream and wants to see every American share in it, and we’re pleased that she will be delivering this year’s Republican Address.”

Haley said she was honoured to be asked to deliver the Republican address to the nation. “This is a time of great challenges for our country, but also of great opportunities. I intend to speak about both,” she said.
(Picture Courtesy:winteryknight.com)(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Obamacare Ruling Attracts Little Comment From Republicans

Some legal observers believe Congress is unlikely to pass a new law while the case is in the courts.

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Obamacare, republican
A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in the San Ysidro district of San Diego,Calif., Oct. 26, 2017. VOA

Republican lawmakers have been mostly silent on Friday’s court ruling that the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Democrats, however, have said they’ll hold the GOP to its commitment to retain popular provisions of the law, such as guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions.

“The GOP spent all last year pretending to support people with pre-existing conditions while quietly trying to remove that support in the courts,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a tweet Saturday. “Next year, we will force votes to expose their lies.”

USA, republicans, democrats
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 13, 2018. VOA

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who will assume the speaker’s role next year, said the House “will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the lifesaving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republican effort to destroy” the law.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas ruled Friday that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire ACA. The decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the ACA will remain the law during the appeal.

U.S. President Donald Trump had promised during his presidential campaign to dismantle the ACA, a program that made affordable health insurance available to millions of Americans.

Obamacare, U.S., republican
Protesters gather across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, March 24, 2017, in Chicago. VOA

‘Great news’

The president took to Twitter Friday night: “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the judge’s decision “vindicates President Trump’s position that Obamacare is unconstitutional. Once again, the President calls on Congress to replace Obamacare and act to protect people with pre-existing conditions and provide Americans with quality, affordable health care.”

Americans with pre-existing conditions, before ACA, faced either high premiums or an inability to access health insurance at all.

Schumer said in a statement Friday that the ruling “seems to be based on faulty legal reasoning, and hopefully it will be overturned. Americans who care about working families must do all they can to prevent this district court ruling from becoming law.”

Obamacare, republicans
A person walks by a health care insurance office in Hialeah, Fla. VOA

 

“Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the leader of an alliance of states opposing the lawsuit, said in a statement Friday. “Our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and well-being for all Americans.”

New law unlikely for now

Some legal observers believe Congress is unlikely to pass a new law while the case is in the courts. Many senior Republican lawmakers have said they did not plan to also strike down provisions such as pre-existing condition coverage when they repealed the law’s fines for people who can afford coverage but remain uninsured.

Also Read: Obamacare Unconstitutional: U.S. Federal Judge

If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it would be the third time the high court considers a challenge to ACA provisions. The law’s opponents lost the first two cases.

Polls have regularly shown wide public support for the guarantee of health insurance coverage regardless of pre-existing health conditions, an issue Democrats successfully leveraged in last month’s midterm elections to win control of the House of Representatives. (VOA)