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U.S. House derails GOP package of tax relief for hurricane victims

  • 8:34 pm Monday, September 25th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

A move by Republicans to quickly pass a GOP-designed package of tax relief for those hit by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria was rejected by the House on Monday evening, when the bill failed to get a two-thirds vote for fast-track approval, as a small group of Republicans joined with most Democrats to vote against the plan, amid complaints of what was in – and not in – the measure.

The vote was 245-171 – a majority – but less than the two-thirds needed for expedited approval under a process that is normally reserved for non-controversial legislation.

“There are people out there [More]

Loud protests on Capitol Hill as GOP presses Graham-Cassidy health bill

  • 4:36 pm Monday, September 25th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

As GOP Senators struggled to find enough support for the latest Republican plan to overhaul the Obama health law, dozens of demonstrators were arrested Monday after disrupting a U.S. Senate hearing on the Graham-Cassidy proposal, as the clock ticked to a September 30 deadline for action under special expedited budget procedures in Congress.

“I’m here because Obamacare is a disaster in my state,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who for now is still a few votes short on his plan to change the way the Obama health law works, by sending money directly to the states, allowing them to best figure [More]

House to vote Monday on tax relief for victims of recent hurricanes

  • 2:44 pm Sunday, September 24th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

The U.S. House on Monday is set to vote on a package of tax relief provisions designed to help people who have suffered losses from damage associated with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, also making it easier for others to donate money to charities to help with disaster aid.

“My bill specifically helps hurricane victims keep more of their paycheck, deduct more of the cost of their expensive property damage, and have more affordable and immediate access to money they have saved for their retirement,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who heads the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

The Brady plan – [More]

After McCain – What’s next on health care in the U.S. Congress

  • 12:23 am Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

With Friday’s decision by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to oppose a last-ditch GOP proposal to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans have almost run out of time to make substantive changes to Obamacare by a September 30 deadline for action under a special expedited procedure that did not allow for a Senate filibuster, again dealing the President and GOP leaders a bitter defeat on an issue they’ve campaigned on for the last seven years.

Here’s what can still happen over the next week – and in coming months on Capitol Hill.

1. There could still be a vote on Graham-Cassidy. While Sen. [More]

President Trump heads to Alabama to boost Sen. Luther Strange

  • 1:25 am Friday, September 22nd, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

Ahead of a Tuesday Republican runoff, President Donald Trump is fully inserting himself in a U.S. Senate race in Alabama, holding a rally Friday night for Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), who faces a spirited challenge from former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, in a race that has strained GOP alliances in the Yellowhammer State.

The President will stop tonight in Huntsville, Alabama – not far from there, Mr. Trump had a gigantic rally back in late February of 2016, as he drew some 30,000 people to a football stadium in Madison.

“I am supporting “Big” Luther Strange because he was so [More]

New GOP health care plan faces questions over how it deals with pre-existing conditions

  • 3:00 am Thursday, September 21st, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

As Republicans try to push ahead with a new plan to overhaul the Obama health law, one flash point has erupted on how the GOP effort would impact people with pre-existing health conditions, as backers and opponents have come to much different conclusions on that important policy matter.

The issue of how people with pre-existing conditions are treated has been a controversial one throughout this year’s legislative push by the GOP to coalesce behind a plan that would repeal and replace the Obama health law, as supporters of the law argue it’s one of the most popular aspects of the existing [More]

Ryan: Congress likely to approve more hurricane disaster relief in October

  • 4:44 pm Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

As Hurricane Maria was ravaging the island of Puerto Rico, House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a Wednesday visit to Florida that he expects the Congress will vote on more disaster relief money next month, as federal agencies deal with the aftermath from three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“I’m sure that we’re going to do another, what we call a supplemental, sometime in October, once we have a full assessment of what is needed,” the Speaker said, after spending the day looking at storm damage across Florida.

Earlier this month, lawmakers approved $15.3 billion in extra aid for [More]

Senate panel hears call for better hurricane prep at nursing homes and assisted living facilities

  • 10:41 am Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

Citing the deaths of seniors at a nursing home in Florida after Hurricane Irma, and a viral photograph of seniors in waist deep water at a facility in Texas during Hurricane Harvey, a U.S. Senate committee was urged on Wednesday to support stronger regulations for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to better protect older Americans during hurricanes, floods, and other emergencies and natural disasters.

“We need generators to support medical needs and air conditioning to cool reasonable temperatures, as well as fuel,” said Kathryn Hyer, a professor at the University of South Florida’s School of Aging Studies.

Hyer said her past [More]

Senate leaves town with GOP still short on votes for last-ditch health overhaul bill

  • 9:16 pm Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

With the support of the White House, Republican leaders in Congress are once again engaged in a full court press to squeeze out 50 votes for a new GOP plan to overhaul the Obama health law, but in what’s almost a repeat of the last showdown vote earlier this year in the Senate, the decisions of a handful of GOP Senators will make or break this latest effort on Obamacare.

“My message today is I want to make sure that members of the Senate know the President and our entire administration supports Graham-Cassidy,” said Vice President Mike Pence, who interrupted his [More]

In United Nations speech, President Trump threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea over nukes

  • 10:43 am Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 by Jamie Dupree

In his first address to the United Nations, President Donald Trump vowed that the United States would ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if that regime seeks to use its nuclear weapons against America or its allies, as Mr. Trump singled out North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela in a wide ranging address to the U.N. General Assembly.

In blunt terms, the President zeroed in on North Korea, labeling it a “depraved” regime, referring to its leader as “Rocket Man,” as Mr. Trump said the United Nations must join together to stop the nuclear ambitions of Kim Jong Un.

“Rocket Man is on [More]

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