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Pennsylvania Legislative Hearing Investigating Election Fraud

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Watch the entire legislative session in Gettysburg investigating Election Fraud.

State House Republicans on Wednesday moved a step closer to launching a review of the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania, though the process would not be completed until after the state’s vote is officially certified.

The resolution tasks a bipartisan committee that holds subpoena power with compiling a report on issues and “inconsistencies,” and hiring a firm to audit the vote to ensure “the accuracy of the results,” the measure’s sponsor said.

While the Department of State plans to undertake a similar review, GOP lawmakers said the work outlined in the resolution would be independent from Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, who they noted is named in several election lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign.

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What is an executive order, and why don’t presidents use them all the time?

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Assistant Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University
Sharece Thrower does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Just hours after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden signed nine executive orders – far surpassing every other president’s first day on the job in modern history.
These orders advance urgent issues like COVID-19 response and undo many of Trump’s policies on immigration and environmental deregulation.
Biden is not the first U.S. president to issue an executive order, and he certainly won’t be the last. My own research shows executive orders have been a mainstay in American politics – with limitations.
Though the Constitution plainly articulates familiar presidential tools like vetoes and appointments, the real executive power comes from reading between the lines.
Presidents have long interpreted the Constitution’s Article 2 clauses – like “the executive power shall be vested in a President” and “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” – to give them total authority to enforce the law through the executive branch, by any means necessary.
One leading way they do that is through executive orders, which are presidential written directives to agencies on how to implement the law. The courts view them as legally valid unless they violate the Constitution or existing statutes.
Executive orders, like other unilateral actions, allow presidents to make policy outside of the regular lawmaking process.
This leaves Congress, notoriously polarized and gridlocked, to respond.
Thus, executive orders are unilateral actions that give presidents several advantages, allowing them to move first and act alone in policymaking.
Every U.S. president has issued executive orders since they were first systematically cataloged in 1905.
In March of 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized President Obama’s use of executive orders.
“Executive orders sort of came about more recently. Nobody ever heard of an executive order. Then all of a sudden Obama – because he couldn’t get anybody to agree with him – he starts signing them like they’re butter,” Trump said. “So I want to do away with executive orders for the most part.”
Little in this statement is true.
Obama signed fewer orders than his predecessors – averaging 35 per year. Trump issued an average of 55 per year.
Against conventional wisdom, presidents have relied less on executive orders over time. Indeed, modern presidents used drastically fewer orders per year – an average of 59 – than their pre-World War II counterparts, who averaged 314.
Executive orders have been used for everything from routine federal workplace policies like ethics pledges to the controversial 2017 travel ban restricting entry into the United States.
They have been used to manage public lands, the economy, the civil service and federal contractors, and to respond to various crises such as the Iran hostage situation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presidents often use them to advance their biggest agenda items, by creating task forces or policy initiatives and directing rulemaking, the process for formally translating laws into codified policy.

Why don’t presidents always issue executive orders, a seemingly powerful policy device? Because they come with serious constraints.
First, executive orders may not be as unilateral as they seem. Drafting an order involves a time-consuming bargaining process with various agencies negotiating its content.
Second, if they are issued without proper legal authority, executive orders can be overturned by the courts – although that happens infrequently.
Trump’s travel ban faced several legal challenges before it was written in a way to satisfy the court. Many of his initial orders, on the other hand, didn’t face legal scrutiny because they simply requested agencies to work within their existing authority to change important policies like health care and immigration.
Congress is another barrier, as they give presidents the legal authority to make policy in a certain area. By withholding that authority, Congress can deter presidents from issuing executive orders on certain issues. If the president issues the order anyway, the courts can overturn it.
Legislators can also punish presidents for issuing executive orders they do not like by sabotaging their legislative agendas and nominees or defunding their programs.
Even a polarized Congress can find ways to sanction a president for an executive order they don’t like. For example, a committee can hold an oversight hearing or launch an investigation – both of which can decrease a president’s public approval rating.
Congresses of today are equipped to impose these constraints and they do so more often on ideologically opposed administrations. This is why scholars find modern presidents issue fewer executive orders under divided government, contrary to popular media narratives that present executive orders as a president’s way of circumventing Congress.
Finally, executive orders are not the last word in policy. They can be easily revoked.
New presidents often reverse previous orders, particularly those of political opponents. Biden, for instance, quickly revoked Trump’s directives that excluded undocumented immigrants from the U.S. Census.
All recent presidents have issued revocations, especially in their first year. They face barriers in doing so, however, including public opinion, Congress and legal limitations.
Regardless, executive orders are not as durable as laws or regulations.

What will change for executive orders in a post-Trump era? I wouldn’t expect much.
As he promised, Biden has already revoked numerous Trump executive orders and issued new ones on some big agenda items. He’ll likely issue more: for example, to tackle racial injustice and student debt.
Other policies, like an economic stimulus, will require legislation since Congress holds the purse strings.
Though Biden inherits a Democratic House and Senate, their majorities are marginal, and moderate party dissenters may frustrate his agenda. Even so, he will undoubtedly use all available legal authority to unilaterally transform his goals into government policy.
But then again, these directives may be undone by the next president with the stroke of a pen.
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Rural health care is in crisis – here are 5 innovative ways Biden can help it transform

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State Policy Director, Farley Health Policy Center; Associate Professor of Family Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Pediatrician and Founding Chair, Department of Population Science and Policy, Southern Illinois University
Lauren Hughes receives funding from the Zoma Foundation. She serves on the Rural Health Redesign Center Organization Board of Directors.
Sameer Vohra's work receives or has received funding from local foundations, which include the Memorial Medical Center Foundation and Hillsboro Area Hospital Foundation, as well as state governmental agencies, which include the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Department of Human Services. .
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Rural hospitals have struggled with financial troubles for years. Over the past decade, more than 130 have closed, forcing residents to drive farther or delay needed care. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has many of them wondering whether rural health care systems will survive.
Twenty percent of the U.S. population lives in rural America, a region that fuels the country with food and energy. These Americans believe their health care needs have been overlooked or misunderstood by Washington for years.
This crisis is now in the hands of the Biden administration. To revive rural health care, the administration will have to expand its push for diversity to also include rural voices so the needs and priorities of rural Americans aren’t neglected in policy agendas for the next four years.
The solutions rural America needs aren’t just about expanding broadband or insurance coverage, both of which are critical to extend telehealth and health care access. Rural health care will have to transform to survive and then thrive.
One of the first crucial steps is to ensure that trusted rural health care professionals who intimately understand rural America’s challenges are in positions that empower them to shape federal policies that respect rural culture and context. The announcement of the original 13 experts nominated for the Biden transition team’s COVID-19 Advisory Board raised concerns because they largely reflected the coasts and cities at a time when the pandemic raged in rural areas.
As experts in rural health policy and population health, we work with rural health professionals on solving these challenges. Here are five creative ways the Biden administration can help.
In 2019, Pennsylvania launched an innovative program to help the state’s struggling rural hospitals by changing how they are paid.
Normally, a hospital bills its patients per service. That can encourage hospitals to focus on elective procedures and new technology that can draw more paying patients, rather than promoting wellness and preventing disease. In small, rural hospitals, the volume of services – and ultimately, payment – can also fluctuate widely throughout the year.
Pennsylvania, working with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, came up with a new design. The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model pays participating hospitals an annual fixed budget that covers inpatient and outpatient services provided at hospitals.
With a predictable budget, enrolled hospitals can focus on the care their communities need, such as treating addiction, increasing cancer screenings and improving the management of patients’ chronic diseases like diabetes to reduce the need for more expensive acute care. The goal is to reduce costs while improving care.
To accelerate rural health care transformation nationwide, the Biden administration could create a dedicated division within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation focused on rural health. Its mission would be to design and test solutions that address unique problems rural providers face like sparse populations and poorer health status. The administration may have some help coming. Pennsylvania’s former health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, is now Biden’s nominee for U.S. assistant secretary of health.

Mental illness rates are similar in rural and urban America, but significant differences exist in access to needed mental health services.
Expanding mental health and addiction services for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and integrating those services with primary care could improve access and reduce stigma. And that could avoid wasteful spending on preventable hospitalizations and medical transfers to larger facilities.
One way to do that is to change Medicare’s lopsided billing rules for mental health care.
Clinics that are designated as either Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Clinics already receive enhanced payments to provide primary care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. However, the Federally Qualified Health Centers, which are more prevalent in urban areas, can bill for a wider array of mental health and substance use treatment services than the Rural Health Clinics can.
Rural clinics could better address higher rates of behavioral illness and substance misuse if they could fully bill for these services. Changing how telemedicine visits are billed by making them equal to in-person visits would also help rural patients access needed services. To avoid unnecessary costs, these payment changes could be tied to quality measures, such as follow-up appointments after emergency department visits. Nearly a quarter of emergency department visits in the U.S. could be more appropriately managed in outpatient clinics, saving billions of dollars each year.
Rural communities know how to train and recruit physicians through rural medicine rotations and loan repayment programs, but what about hospital administrators?
These are the people who ensure cash-strapped rural hospitals have the supplies and staff they need and can react quickly in a crisis and innovate. Yet, similar pipeline programs for investing in rural health care administration leaders are glaringly absent. Rural America needs leaders with the courage to transform health systems, people who can wisely steward resources and think outside the box while improving community health.
Two potential tactics: Rural professionals interested in administrative careers could enroll in innovative master’s programs, supported by their employers or through scholarships. The National Health Service Corps, which provides doctors with incentives to work in underserved areas, could also adjust its eligibility criteria to repay student loans for health care administration leaders in rural health professional shortage areas.
Fewer than half of rural counties nationwide have hospitals that deliver babies. That, along with difficulty accessing prenatal care, has led to increased childbirth complications like emergency hysterectomies and transferring critically ill newborns.
The new administration could offset costs necessary for Critical Access Hospitals – small, 25-bed hospitals that exist only in rural areas – to deliver babies through special maternity care payments tied to quality outcomes such as increasing breastfeeding rates. These payments would prevent the temptation for small hospitals to grow expensive surgical service lines to cover financial losses commonly associated with offering maternity care. Such payments would also allow rural hospitals to hire dedicated obstetrics nurses.
Additional grants through the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute could help address rural maternal health disparities and encourage academic medical centers to partner with rural hospitals, clinics and public health departments.
Rural communities across the U.S. have witnessed their roads, dams and other infrastructure deteriorate in ways that have endangered health, jobs and their economic competitiveness.
Both the Obama and Trump administrations strengthened rural infrastructure by prioritizing transportation and telecommunication. However, these investments were often viewed as solutions rather than tools for innovation. Rural towns would benefit from infrastructure investments that also encourage healthy behaviors.
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Sitka, Alaska, winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize, is an example. The town of about 8,600 people has created bike paths, beautified the downtown and built an accessible playground.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture could expand its existing rural infrastructure program by allocating more grant funds for health-promoting activities.
Rural America is rich in resourcefulness and diverse in its demographics, politics and economics. A transformative approach to revitalizing rural health care would respect its unique assets and culture. With the right commitment to innovation and accountability for achieving equitable outcomes, the Biden administration can build a healthier and more resilient rural America.
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Why do presidential inaugurations matter?

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Associate Professor of Anthropology and Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut
Dimitris Xygalatas does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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As one president’s term ends and another begins, there is a ceremony. Its importance is one of symbolism rather than substance. The Constitution is clear: On Jan. 20, there will be a transfer of power. There is no mention of an inauguration.
By definition, ritual acts have no direct effect on the world. A ceremonial event is one that symbolically affirms something that happens by other, more direct means. In this case, the election – not the inauguration – makes the president, although an oath is required before exercising his power.
Nonetheless, ceremonies matter. Having spent two decades studying ritual, I can attest to that. So can the recent history of inaugurations: In 2009, Barack Obama misplaced one word when reciting the presidential oath of office. As a result, he decided to retake the oath the next day. And in 2017, Donald Trump insisted that his inauguration was attended by a record-setting crowd, even as everyone’s eyes saw otherwise. He saw the size of the attendance as a measure of his legitimacy.
Throughout history, all human societies have used rituals to mark major events and transitions: personal landmarks like birthdays and weddings, group accomplishments such as graduations, and government transitions of power. Those ceremonies send signals that command our attention and strengthen the perceived importance of those moments.
Ritual actions involve formality, precision and repetition. A priest must wear a special garment; a prayer must be uttered word for word; and a mantra might be recited 108 times. These features make rituals appear similar to more goal-directed actions: A judge banging a gavel resembles a carpenter hammering a nail. Due to these similarities, our brains assign those acts actual power.
This is what my collaborators and I found in a soon-to-be-published study. We showed people videos of basketball players shooting free throws and asked them to predict the outcome of each shot. Half of those videos showed the players performing a brief ritual, such as kissing the ball or touching their shoes before shooting. The other half did not include any ritual.
Participants predicted that the ritualized shots would be more successful. They were not. But their minds unconsciously tied the arbitrary actions preceding those shots with their expectations for the outcome.
Collective rituals carry the weight of tradition, which gives them an aura of historical continuity and legitimacy. Even though they do change from time to time, they are often perceived as unchanged and unchangeable.
For instance, Thanksgiving celebrations have been modified several times, often by presidential decree. Yet, a recent study reported that people found the mere suggestion of altering holiday traditions morally offensive. Rituals “represent group values and hence seem sacred.”
Public ceremonies like inaugurations are wrapped in pageantry. They involve music, banners, speeches and more – the more important the moment, the more extravagant the ceremony. When we attend a ritual loaded with splendor, it is as if a little voice inside our brain is telling us: “Pay attention, because something important and meaningful is happening.”
The only provision in the Constitution is that the new president must be sworn in. Thirty-five words is all that is required: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
When Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday, the inauguration is held on the following day. In that case, the oath is administered twice: privately on the Sunday, when the actual transfer of power takes place, and publicly again on Monday, for ceremonial reasons.
The exuberance and theatricality transforms what could be a mundane, ordinary moment into something memorable and noteworthy.
Ceremonies speak directly to some of our basic instincts, triggering intuitions about their efficacy, symbolism and importance. Human institutions have adapted to reflect – and harness – those instincts to strengthen the perceived importance of our social institutions and the unity of civil society.
This is, in fact, why heads of state who are not popularly elected tend to hold more flamboyant public ceremonies than their democratically chosen counterparts. Even in countries where kings and queens are powerless, their enthronements are celebrated with far more splendor than the inaugurations of elected leaders.
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But there is a flip side to this. Populist leaders, who are successful thanks to their ability to capitalize on people’s instincts, are almost always fond of ritual exuberance. For his inauguration, Donald Trump reportedly requested a military march, complete with tanks, missile launchers and jet fighters.
The Department of Defense apparently declined most of these requests, out of worry that the inauguration would look like a totalitarian power display. But many of Trump’s supporters liked the idea precisely for that reason.
When Trump finally managed to get tanks in the streets for a July Fourth parade in 2019, one of his fans wondered: “If Korea can have a military parade, why can’t we?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Biden’s inauguration will be scaled down and mostly virtual. Donald Trump is not planning to attend, thereby missing the opportunity to see a smaller inauguration crowd than his own.
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