Bernie introduces new ‘Medicare for all’ plan


**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: Bernie introduces new ‘Medicare for all’ plan - Team Trump considers revising family separation plan - McConnell is ready for new budget plan - Gillibrand says she was wrong on immigration - As in ‘he’s aware that he’s eating gluten’

BERNIE INTRODUCES NEW ‘MEDICARE FOR ALL’ PLAN

AP: “Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont unveiled a new version of his ‘Medicare for All’ plan on Wednesday, shaking up the 2020 presidential race by reopening the debate over his call to eliminate private health insurance. ‘It is not a radical idea to say that in the United States, every American who goes to a doctor should be able to afford the prescription drug he or she needs,’ Sanders said. ‘Health care is a human right, not a privilege.’ Four of Sanders’ fellow senators and rivals for the Democratic nomination are set to sign onto the updated single-payer health care proposal. The bill’s reintroduction promises to shine a light on Democratic presidential candidates’ disparate visions for the long term future of American health care. Under fire from President Donald Trump and Republicans for the astronomical price tag of Medicare for All, some candidates who support the plan tout it as one of several ways to achieve more affordable coverage and lower the number of uninsured people.”

He’ll also release his tax returns by Monday - NYT: “Senator Bernie Sanders, whose $18 million fund-raising haul has solidified his status as a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Tuesday that he would release 10 years of tax returns by Tax Day on Monday and acknowledged that he has joined the ranks of the millionaires he has denounced for years. ‘April 15 is coming,’ Mr. Sanders, whose refusal to release his full past returns has become an issue in the campaign, said in an interview in his office. ‘We wanted to release 10 years of tax returns. April 15, 2019, will be the 10th year, so I think you will see them.’ Told that he was being compared to President Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, Mr. Sanders got more specific: ‘On the day in the very immediate future, certainly before April 15, we release ours, I hope that Donald Trump will do exactly the same.’”

[Watch Fox: Sanders joins hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum for a town hall in Bethlehem, Pa. Monday April 15 at 6:30 pm ET.]

THE RULEBOOK: HOLD THE PURSE
“[The House of Representatives] in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 58

TIME OUT: ‘HIS ACCIDENCY’ 
Vanity Fair: “In 1868, President Andrew Johnson found himself impeached and on trial before the U.S. Senate. Over the course of his term, he had essentially declared war on his own government, vetoing an outrageous 29 bills, firing officials without Senate permission, and pardoning old pals. Congress fought back: 15 vetoes were overridden, and after a nearly three-month trial Abe Lincoln’s successor barely escaped conviction. ‘The question of whether a president could govern while being on trial was a hot topic,’ writes Jared Cohen in Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America, out this month from Simon & Schuster. ‘Johnson clearly thought he could … The book is also a reminder that, when it came to succession, America’s founders basically winged it. ‘If you think about how much we leave to chance, the fact that only Andrew Johnson was a disaster is really quite the miracle,’ Cohen says.”

[Ed. note: And it happens to be the next topic of the “I’ll Tell You What” book club. Dana and I are already reading up for our April 24 episode, so you’d better catch up!]

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 42 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -10.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.2 points 
[Average includes: GU Politics/Battleground: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve - 52% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 50% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 39% approve - 55% disapprove.]

TEAM TRUMP CONSIDERS REVISING FAMILY SEPARATION PLAN
WaPo: “The Trump administration is considering a revised version of its family separation tactic to cope with an influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border that would force parents to choose whether to remain detained as a family or agree to a separation to keep their children out of custody, according to administration officials. The administration weighed the new policy as President Trump insisted that he has no plans to separate families, falsely claimed that President Barack Obama carried out the same plan and maintained that his decision to halt the practice last year was the reason so many Central Americans have been coming to the United States. ‘We’re not looking to do that now,’ the president told reporters in the Oval Office, when asked to respond to reports that the White House is planning to separate families again. ‘But it brings a lot more people to the border when you don’t do it.’”

Pentagon announces $1 billion contracts for border wall - Time: “The Pentagon announced two military contracts Tuesday worth $976 million to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, marking the first step toward President Donald Trump’s long-promised goal since he declared a national emergency nearly two months ago. The Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $789 million contract to the Galveston, Texas-based company, SLSCO Ltd., for ‘border replacement wall construction’ in Santa Teresa, N. M., near El Paso, Texas. Barnard Construction Co. Inc., of Bozeman, Mont., was awarded a contract worth $187 million for ‘design-bid-build construction project for primary pedestrian wall replacement’ in Yuma, Ariz. Both projects, announced on the Defense Department website, are slated for completion in fall 2020.”

Resignation of DHS acting deputy secretary continues shakeup - Fox News: “President Trump's high-level overhaul of the Department of Homeland Security continued on Tuesday, with the announcement that DHS' acting deputy secretary is resigning amid a reported historic surge in illegal immigrants and asylum seekers at the border. Claire Grady was technically the next in line to replace Kirstjen Nielsen, who resigned Sunday. But Trump chose Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Protection, as acting secretary. That meant Grady had to resign or be fired. Two officials with direct knowledge of the decision, speaking anonymously to The Associated Press, said Grady was pressed to quit. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Nielsen said Grady had offered her resignation, writing that ‘her sound leadership and effective oversight have impacted every DHS office and employee and made us stronger as a Department.’”

MCCONNELL IS READY FOR NEW BUDGET PLAN
AP: “Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Tuesday it’s time to kick off bipartisan talks on a new budget pact to fund federal agencies over the next two years. The Kentucky Republican told reporters that he spoke with President Donald Trump last week and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday morning, and that both support trying to reach an agreement on a new spending pact for both the Pentagon and domestic programs. ‘We’ve agreed to put together, at the staff level, a group to begin discussing the possibility of reaching a two-year (spending) caps deal so we can move ahead hopefully with some kind of regular appropriations process,’ McConnell told reporters. A new funding agreement is needed to prevent the return of spending cuts under the remnants of a failed 2011 budget and debt agreement. Trump has only reluctantly signed spending bills during his two years in office…”

GILLIBRAND SAYS SHE WAS WRONG ON IMMIGRATION
Politico: “Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday confronted some of her previous stances on immigration, saying they ‘didn't care’ about the needs of diverse Americans. ‘When I was a member of Congress from upstate New York, I was really focused on the priorities of my district,’ the New York senator said during a CNN town hall. ‘When I became senator of the entire state, I recognized that some of my views really did need to change.’ Before becoming a senator in 2009, Gillibrand represented a largely Republican district in the House and expressed ideas on immigration — from blocking certain benefits for undocumented immigrants to establishing English as an official language — that have come back to haunt her as she seeks the Democratic nomination in 2020. Those old stances especially corrode her platform as the antithesis of President Donald Trump…”

She was also confronted about relationship with Hillary - Fox News: “New York senator and 2020 candidate Kirsten Gillibrand was awkwardly confronted Tuesday about her relationship with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after suggesting that her husband Bill Clinton should have resigned from office. Back in November 2017 during the early stages of the #MeToo movement, Gillibrand told The New York Times that it would have been an ‘appropriate response’ for former President Clinton to resign over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. ‘Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction,’ Gillibrand said at the time. … Gillibrand, who succeeded Clinton in the Senate and was a big supporter of her 2016 campaign, was confronted by CNN anchor Erin Burnett about their relationship during a televised town hall on Tuesday night.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Benjamin Netanyahu to secure fifth term as Israel’s prime minister - WSJ

Mick Mulvaney lets Trump be Trump - NYT

Senate Republicans voice concerns over Herman Cain’s Fed nomination - Politico

AUDIBLE: WOOF
“I believe you’re supposed to take the gavel and bang it.” – Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a heated exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., during his testimony on Trump’s taxes Tuesday.

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

AS IN ‘HE’S AWARE THAT HE’S EATING GLUTEN’
The Takeout: “Gluten avoidance is one of those things that people sometimes poke fun at, even though for people with celiac disease, or those who are extremely allergic to gluten, it can be deadly serious. But many people also try to avoid gluten for more minor health reasons. Vancouver-based Earls restaurant, a chain with 20 restaurants in the U.S., was apparently just trying to address those differences on its menu, noting that its tacos were available with ‘gluten aware tortillas.’ Conservative pundit Matt Walsh then asked on Twitter, ‘What the hell is a ‘gluten aware tortilla’’? … ‘Gluten aware’ kind of rankles in an overly PC way. Maybe one of those ‘This gluten-free product is prepared in the same kitchen as gluten products’ disclaimers?’ Too long? Still, we suspect that people with celiac disease would likely be asking those important questions regardless.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“You bring criminals to justice; you rain destruction on combatants. This is a fundamental distinction that can no longer be avoided. The bombings of Sept. 11, 2001, must mark a turning point.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Sept. 12, 2001.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.