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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have long been ripe targets for conservatives looking to trim fat from the federal budget, but President Donald Trump's newly released blueprint proposes eliminating them entirely—and arts and humanities advocates are already gearing up for a fight.

Advocates feel they have a good chance of lobbying Congress to save funding for the endowments, which they say fund programs that offer crucial support to the public education system, help veterans readjust to civilian life and bring arts and culture to small communities.

“What we have here is an attack upon global citizenship and national civic culture," Jim Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, told TPM of the potential elimination of the NEH.

Dianne Harris, the dean of the University of Utah's College of Humanities and a member of the National Humanities Alliance board of directors, concurred that nixing the NEH would be "devastating for our country."

Advocates were particularly concerned that because the small grants issued by the NEA and NEH attract additional fundraising from private sources, the federal government would be nixing a cost-effective investment in the arts and humanities by eliminating the endowments. They warned that rural and poor communities would be hit hardest because those areas have fewer sources of private funding to fill the endowments' void.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday went to bat for President Donald Trump, defending the administration's proposed cuts to the State Department's budget.

"Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in this past year, is simply not sustainable," Tillerson said in Tokyo, according to Reuters. "As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the U.S. will be directly engaged in."

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During an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, President Donald Trump signaled that the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare is not in its final form, admitting that the current legislation does not favor the voters who elected Trump.

Carlson told Trump that one analysis by Bloomberg News showed that tax cuts in the House bill unveiled last week would benefit people in counties that voted for Hillary Clinton, not those in counties that voted for Trump.

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After a federal judge in Hawaii put on hold President Donald Trump's revised executive order barring travel from a list of predominantly Muslim countries, Trump complained at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, that he did not want the "watered-down" version of the order.

"Remember this, I wasn’t thrilled that the lawyers all said, ‘Oh, let’s tailor it.’ This is a watered-down version of the first one," he told the crowd. "This is a watered down version, and let me tell you something. I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday evening brushed off a tape leaked by Breitbart News revealing him discussing in October how he would not defend President Donald Trump.

“This is ancient history," Ryan told Fox News' Martha MacCallum on Tuesday. “It’s no secret Donald and I had our ups and downs— the President and I had our ups and downs during the campaign. But we merged forces at the end of the campaign.”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday evening insisted that the GOP's three part plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is viable despite doubts from some Republican senators.

During an interview with Fox News' Martha MacCallum, Ryan noted that Republicans cannot include every provision they want in this initial bill to repeal and replace Obamacare because they must use the reconciliation process. That process only requires 51 votes in the Senate, so it could pass with only Republican support. Ryan said that Republicans have a "three part process" because of that restriction. The second phase would be regulations from the executive branch, and the third phase is additional legislation that would need Democratic votes in the Senate to pass.

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