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  • Tax reform dominates as Congress takes a Thanksgiving break

    Congressional Republicans left Capitol Hill late last week excited about the prospects for sweeping legislation which would deliver tax cuts and tax reform, as with approval of a House tax bill, the focus has shifted to the Senate, and whether GOP leaders can muster the needed votes to approve a slightly different GOP tax measure after Thanksgiving.

    “This bill gives Americans more take home pay by cutting taxes and preserving deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – while he’s on board, only a handful of GOP Senators are expected to determine the fate of [More]

  • House Republicans voted for tax reform, but asked for changes in the bill as well

    As the House voted along party lines on Thursday to approve a sweeping package of GOP tax reforms, one peculiar part of the floor debate came when a number of Republicans – who voted for the bill – took to the floor to request changes in the their party’s plan, as some highlighted unintended consequences, while others objected to the basics of the measure.

    Known in parliamentary parlance as a “colloquy,” the scripted exchanges between lawmakers are often done to clarify the legislative intent of a bill, or in this case, to urge action in a specific way in House-Senate negotiations.

    And [More]

  • White House asks for $44 billion in hurricane relief, floats offsetting budget cuts

    The Trump Administration on Friday asked Congress to approve a third major disaster aid relief package for areas hit hard by hurricanes in 2017, which would bring total federal aid to nearly $100 billion, as for the first time, the White House proposed budget savings to offset some of that cost.

    “This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has resulted in historic, widespread destruction that continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans,” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney in a letter to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

    In the same letter, Mulvaney that Congress has already approved [More]

  • GOP pushes ahead on tax reform – Senate debate to start after Thanksgiving

    After winning full House approval of a GOP tax reform measure, Republicans on Thursday night took another step forward in their quest for sweeping changes to the federal tax code, as the Senate Finance Committee approved a slightly different tax reform bill, setting up a debate on the Senate floor following a Thanksgiving break in Congress.

    “This is a good bill that delivers on our promise to provide middle class tax relief and grow our economy,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), after his panel finished up an at times chippy four days of work.

    The 14-12 vote in Hatch’s Senate Finance Committee [More]

  • House passes sweeping GOP tax reform bill as focus shifts to Senate

    In a major legislative victory for Republicans and President Trump, the House on Thursday approved a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code, sending the plan to an uncertain future in the Senate, which will try to vote on its own version of tax changes after Thanksgiving.

    In an afternoon tweet, the President called it a ‘big step toward fulfilling our promise” on tax cuts, and that was echoed by GOP lawmakers in the House.

    “A historic day,” said Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA), as cheering broke out on the House floor as the vote count went over a majority for the bill, [More]

  • L.A. radio news anchor accuses Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of sexual misconduct

    The recent rash of accusations of sexual misconduct by high profile men hit Capitol Hill on Thursday, as a radio news anchor from California published a first person account accusing Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of groping her and kissing her without her consent, while the two were part of a USO military entertainment tour in Iraq in late 2006.

    While rehearsing a skit backstage, Leanne Tweeden said Franken forcibly kissed her. “We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed [More]

  • Trump, GOP leaders ready for tax reform victory in U.S. House

    With the outcome seemingly in hand, President Donald Trump will go to Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to meet with House GOP lawmakers, as Republicans get ready to vote for a sweeping tax reform package which would deliver close to $1.5 trillion in tax relief over the next ten years to individuals and businesses.

    “Tax cuts are getting close!” the President tweeted on Monday night.

    Mr. Trump will trek to Capitol Hill hours before the tax reform vote in the House, where he will give a pre-vote pep talk to GOP lawmakers who have made clear they are eager to get on [More]

  • Republicans poised to push GOP tax reform bill through House

    In search of their first major legislative victory of 2017, Republicans took an initial step forward on a sweeping package of tax cuts and tax reforms, as the House on Wednesday afternoon easily moved past the first parliamentary hurdle to a GOP tax reform package, setting up a final vote on the Republican tax plan for Thursday.

    “The American people want and need something done right now,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), as debate began in the full House.

    “What we cannot afford is to do nothing,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), as Republican backers argued the bill will spur new economic [More]

  • Revised Senate GOP tax reform bill ends many tax cuts after 2025

    Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled a series of last minute changes to their tax reform plan late on Tuesday night, ending all plans for individual tax cuts after eight years, while making almost all of the proposed business tax changes permanent, as GOP leaders expressed confidence that they can push a bill through the House by Thursday, and win Senate approval of a slightly different plan soon after Thanksgiving.

    As for the newly revised Senate tax reform bill, here is the link to the summary of the revised Senate tax reform bill.

    And for true tax policy wonks, [More]

  • Attorney General frowns on GOP calls for special counsel to probe Hillary Clinton

    Addressing calls by conservative Republicans in the Congress for the appointment of a special counsel to probe Hillary Clinton over the sale of a company during the Obama Administration with American uranium reserves, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told lawmakers on Tuesday that there would need to be facts to support such a high profile investigation, giving no indication that such a probe has been authorized by the Justice Department.

    “What’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel?” asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who repeatedly pressed Sessions on the need for a probe to look at the Uranium [More]

The Latest News Headlines

  • Christina Aguilera delivered a tribute to the late Whitney Houston that only a vocalist of her caliber could do. >> Read more trending news At Sunday night’s American Music Awards, Aguilera celebrated the 25th anniversary of Houston’s blockbuster movie “The Bodyguard” and it’s top-selling soundtrack. Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs Beginning her set in a black pantsuit and a singular spotlight, Aguilera sang the a capella opening of “I Will Always Love You,” transitioning to the big note before going into “I Have Nothing,” followed by “Run to You,” a song Houston herself has praised Aguilera for singing. Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs Assisted by a choir, Aguilera ended her tribute with “I’m Every Woman” recieving a standing ovation. Watch a clip of the performance below.
  • Congressional Republicans left Capitol Hill late last week excited about the prospects for sweeping legislation which would deliver tax cuts and tax reform, as with approval of a House tax bill, the focus has shifted to the Senate, and whether GOP leaders can muster the needed votes to approve a slightly different GOP tax measure after Thanksgiving. “This bill gives Americans more take home pay by cutting taxes and preserving deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – while he’s on board, only a handful of GOP Senators are expected to determine the fate of this legislation. Here’s where things stand on Capitol Hill: 1. Remember, there is more to do than tax reform. Yes, Republicans want to get tax reform done by the end of the year. But there are other measures which will need attention as well after the Thanksgiving break. For example, the Children’s Health Insurance program needs to be reauthorized, and has been in limbo since October 1. A temporary federal budget runs out on December 8, and there still hasn’t been a deal announced on how much Congress will decide to spend on the discretionary budget, which is what funds pretty much everything outside of mandatory spending items like Social Security and Medicare. There had been talk earlier this year of a possible government shutdown showdown, but that seems unlikely right now, because it would really get in the way of GOP efforts on tax reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan still wants all that spending work – a giant omnibus funding bill – done by the end of the year. House Speaker Ryan: Don't intend on stopgap government funding into next year. — DailyFX Team Live (@DailyFXTeam) November 14, 2017 2. A rush of spending seems likely. In order to get a deal on the discretionary budget for 2018, it’s expected there will be a sizeable increase in defense spending in any final spending deal for next year – President Trump had asked for $54 billion in extra military funding, but there’s no sign of any budget cuts to immediately offset the cost of that. Not only is that extra money likely to be approved, but a third hurricane disaster relief bill seems likely to be voted on by Congress in December as well. The latest White House request was for $44 billion, much less than what Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have asked for in terms of hurricane aid. That would make total aid close to $100 billion just this year. In the latest disaster aid plan, the White House for the first time is seeking offsetting budget cuts to pay for some of that extra spending. The plan unveiled last Friday has $14 billion in cuts now, and another $44 billion in cuts later – later, as in between 2025 and 2027, after President Trump is gone from the Oval Office. White House wants $44 billion in hurricane relief, offers some cuts now, more in 2025-2027 https://t.co/wg7ggSUI0C — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 17, 2017 3. Some Senators to watch on tax reform. When lawmakers return to legislative sessions the week of November 27, the main political game on Capitol Hill will be figuring out where everyone stands on the GOP tax reform bill in the Senate. This is a similar scenario to what went on with Republicans on health care reform, and many of the same players are involved. On the bubble right now would be Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Also, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has said he wants major changes on how small businesses and pass through businesses are dealt with. Don’t count the bill out yet, but there is a lot of work to do. And one thing is for sure – someone will be watching them very closely. Republican Senators are working very hard to get Tax Cuts and Tax Reform approved. Hopefully it will not be long and they do not want to disappoint the American public! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017 4. Some items you probably won’t see in 2017. One item that won’t be acted on this year is an infrastructure bill. President Donald Trump has talked about his grand $1 trillion infrastructure program since the 2016 campaign, but at this point, there is still no detailed plan, and there is no bill in the Congress. On immigration, there’s still lots of talk about wheeling and dealing on DACA and border security, but I’m not sure there’s the political will to do that. Don’t look for funding for the border wall, but instead for something that sounds like border security, but isn’t the wall. With tax reform dominating the agenda, don’t look for anything on DACA until 2018. DACA: 3 whole months left to come up w/something. Of course there is also Thanksgiving; Christmas: New Years; etc…..no pressure. — David Gee (@CurtG345) November 18, 2017 5. One issue that has disappeared – the deficit. It used to be that Republicans were all about reigning in spending, and cutting the size of government. Now that they have had control of the House, Senate and White House, they are poised to, to, to, do nothing in 2017 on that front. The budget doesn’t balance for at least ten years (if not more), there were no major spending cuts enacted by the Congress, there was no appetite for savings in mandatory spending programs, either. The cuts included in the President’s budget have pretty much been ignored by lawmakers, and it took the White House three disaster aid bills before any offsetting budget cuts were proposed. Meanwhile, the yearly federal deficit is trending back up, and with the disaster relief bills, and an increase in the federal budget caps, there will be more red ink in 2018. Only a few Republicans have stuck with their familiar call for budget discipline. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) on adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit: “If this was a Democratic bill we wouldn’t even be voting for it. That’s how hypocritical this place has become.” https://t.co/H5FduNppVH — MainStream Coalition (@ksmainstream) November 17, 2017
  • The 45th American Music Awards ceremony is set for Sunday in Los Angeles, and if the past is any indication, you can expect a night with a few surprising moments.  Remember Garth Brooks declining the award, or the time Pat Boone dressed in leather? Yeah, it’s likely to be that kind of night. The show will be broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Here’s what you need to know about the show. What time: The show begins at 8 p.m. ET What channel: The AMAs will be broadcast live on ABC. Who is hosting: Tracee Ellis Ross, star of “black-ish,” is hosting. What about a pre-show: What would a music awards show be without a pre-show? AJ Gibson, Marc Malkin, Laura Marano and Oliver Trevena will host the official pre-show, “AMAs Red Carpet Live presented by Security Benefit.” The two-hour pre-show will stream live from the Microsoft Theater beginning at 6 p.m. ET. You can watch the show on Twitter. Find it here. live.twitter.com/amas or via @AMAs. You can also watch “E! Live from the Red Carpet” from 6-8 p.m. ET. on the E! Network. Who has the most nominations: Bruno Mars has the most nominations this year – eight. Who is nominated for Artist of the Year: The Chainsmokers, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran are up for the award. Who is up for Video of the Year: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ('Despacito'), Bruno Mars ('That's What I Like') and Ed Sheeran ('Shape of You') are the nominees. For a complete list of nominees, click here. Who is performing: Here is a list of those scheduled to perform: Alessia Cara Alesso BTS Christina Aguilera  Kelly Clarkson  Florida Georgia Line Niall Horan Selena Gomez Imagine Dragons Lady Gaga Nick Jonas Khalid Demi Lovato  Shawn Mendes P!nk Portugal. The Man Diana Ross Hailee Steinfeld watt Zedd Anything special: Diana Ross, mother of host Tracee Ellis Ross, is both performing and receiving a lifetime achievement award.
  • In an address on state television Sunday, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe  defied expectations he would resign, Reuters reported. The 93-year-old, who has led the country since it gained independence in 1980 from Great Britain, pledged to preside over a ZANU-PF congress next month even though the ruling party had removed him as its leader hours earlier. >> Read more trending news ZANU-PF had given Mugabe less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, Reuters reported.  During his address on state television, Mugabe acknowledged criticism against him from ZANU-PF, the military and the public, but did not speak about resigning, Reuters reported. Earlier, Mugabe was replaced as party leader by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he fired this month,  Reuters reported.“He has been expelled,” one of the delegates said. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.” Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who had harbored ambitions of succeeding the 93-year-old leader, was also expelled from the party, Reuters reported.
  • Its been another violent weekend in the river city as JSO is investigating multiple shootings.  The first reported shooting happened on the Southside. Police were called out to Belfort Rd. and Dickie Dr. around 1:45 Saturday afternoon, and JSO says when they arrived they could not find any victims. Police say they learned through witnesses that two victims left the scene. After another call came in for police and they went to St. Vincent’s Hospital South and found a woman and man with injuries. JSO says the woman drove the man to the hospital after the incident near Belfort Rd. Police say witnesses saw several men in their mid-20’s beating up the male victim in a neighbor’s front yard. After the beating, police say the suspects left and the male victim got into a car with the female victim. Police say that’s when another car drive up and shot multiple times into the victim’s car before driving away north on Belfort Rd.  Police say the man had life-threatening injuries and the woman had non-life-threatening injuries.    Then later Saturday JSO was called out around 9pm to Columbus Ave, on the Northside, after getting reports that 2 people there were shot. Police say when they got to the scene they found a 26-year-old white woman dead in the road and a 29-year-old white man with life-threating injuries.  JSO says at this point they don’t know exactly what happened that led to the shooting and they don’t have any information on any suspect or suspects. Police say they are looking through the area for evidence.  Early Sunday morning JSO were then called out to Melanie Ave, on the Northside, after getting a call that 2 people were shot. Police say the incident happened around 12:45 in the morning. Police say when they got to the scene they found a white man dead on the porch. After they searched the home they found another victim, this one was a 16-year-old white female and police say she had life threatening injuries. Police say she was taken to the hospital.  Police say the victims, and a suspect they knew, were involved in an argument which escalated. JSO says the suspect, a black man, shot the victims then left the area. Police are interviewing witnesses, trying to identify the suspect.   At around 3:15 Sunday morning police were called out to an incident on I-95 northbound near the Union St. exit about a car crash with a man inside who was dead from a gunshot wound. The victim in this incident has been identified as 25-year-old Steven Shawn Grady. Police say he is from Castle Hayne, North Carolina. According to JSO there were 2 other people in the car, and those 2 are being questioned by police. Police say this shooting is not being investigated as a random act of violence by a stranger.  Police are asking if you have any information on the shootings to give them a call at 904-630-0500. 

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