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Biden Moves Cautiously on Health Care


Biden starts turning back Trump’s attacks on Obamacare, and General Motors makes a big commitment. It’s Friday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

With Vice President Kamala Harris looking on, Biden signed executive orders and memorandums on health care yesterday.

Nearly 150 Republicans in Congress supported Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him. But a handful of Republican members of the House had deeper ties to extremist groups who pushed violent ideas and conspiracy theories, and whose members were among the Capitol rioters on Jan. 6.

As my colleague Matthew Rosenberg and I reported in a new article, their ranks include Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, who has met with members of the far-right Oath Keepers and vilified Muslim immigrants as a “scourge”; Representative Andy Biggs, also of Arizona, the chairman of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, who has spoken at events hosted by extremists, including one at which a founder of the Oath Keepers called for hanging Senator John McCain; Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has connections to the militia group the Three Percenters, which shares her view that gun rights are under assault; and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has for years trafficked in conspiracy theories including QAnon, which demonizes Democrats as Satanists, and who has made bigoted remarks about Black people, Jews and Muslims.

While the Republicans’ false statements about a stolen election played a role in inciting the Capitol attack, it is not clear if any elected officials played a direct role in facilitating the riot. All have denied such allegations. A spokesman for Boebert wrote in an email, “Simply because she takes a photo with someone that asks for one doesn’t mean she endorses every single belief they have or agrees with all other public statements or causes they support.”

But in signaling either overt or tacit support to militias and other far-right groups, a small but vocal band of Republicans now serving in the House provided legitimacy and publicity to the extremist groups as they supported Trump’s efforts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 election and played a prominent role in the attack on Congress.

Aitan D. Goelman, a former federal prosecutor who helped convict the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, said that when elected officials — or even candidates for office — take actions like appearing with militia groups or other right-wing groups, it “provides them with an added imprimatur of legitimacy.”

New York Times Audio

On yesterday’s episode of “The Daily,” our congressional editor, Julie Davis, explored the filibuster debate. Listen in to learn more about the history and fate of the tactic.

And on the latest episode of “The Ezra Klein Show,” the columnist Paul Krugman joined Ezra for a deep discussion on the current state of America’s economy, why what is happening is unique, and the various economic theories regarding how government should respond. You can listen here.

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