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  • 10 tidbits from inside the massive Omnibus funding bill in Congress

    Ending weeks of negotiations between Congress and the White House, GOP leaders on Wednesday night released a $1.3 trillion funding plan for the federal government, an agreement that will result in over $100 billion in new spending in 2018, causing heartburn – and opposition – among more conservative Republicans in the House.

    Almost six months behind schedule on their budget work, lawmakers produced a mammoth bill, which weighs in at 2,232 pages, the product of extended talks that almost went awry at the last minute.

    The bill was highlighted by the inclusion of a number of non-spending provisions, like [More]

  • GOP leaders unveil giant federal government spending plan

    After weeks of negotiations, Congress unveiled a $1.3 trillion funding measure for the federal government on Wednesday night, adding billions in new spending for both the Pentagon and domestic spending programs, along with a pair of bills dealing with school safety and gun violence, but including no deals on some politically difficult issues like the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

    One of the many provisions in the bill included a $174,000 payment to the estate of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who died earlier this week.

    Those type of payments are typical when a lawmaker dies while in office.

    GOP leaders hope [More]

  • 21 states targeted by Russia in 2016 election still a mystery

    Reviewing the reaction of the Obama Administration to signs that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election campaign, Senators on Wednesday expressed frustration at the refusal of the Obama and Trump Administrations to publicly reveal the names of at least 21 states targeted by Russian cyber attackers in 2016, arguing there is no reason to keep that information from the American people.

    “America has to know what’s wrong,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “And if there are states that have been attacked, America should know that.”

    In a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen [More]

  • Winter storm threat shuts down federal government, cancels White House events

    While the calendar may say it is spring, another winter storm threatened the East Coast on Wednesday, prompting the federal government to close down offices in the Washington, D.C. area, and canceling public events for President Donald Trump at the White House.

    While there was little snow on the ground as the sun came up on Wednesday, forecasters were warning of big snow totals from the nation’s capital, up the I-95 corridor through Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

    But as the morning commute continued, there was little evidence in some spots of that storm.

    “Total accumulation so far 1” of Salt,” tweeted Rep. Billy [More]

  • In Russia probe, Senate panel urges stronger election security

    Issuing the first report in the review of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that a range of stepped up election security measures must be taken by local, state, and federal officials to address a series of gaps, which lawmakers in both parties say Moscow was obviously trying to exploit.

    “It is clear the Russian government was looking for the vulnerabilities in our election system,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the chairman of the Intelligence panel, which has been working for over a year to uncoil what cyber attacks Moscow was engaging in [More]

  • Red Ink Rising – National debt goes over $21 trillion

    A week after the feds announced the largest budget deficit in February in six years, the national debt edged over $21 trillion for the first time ever on Monday, as budget experts argue the U.S. is on a track that will likely again feature yearly deficits of $1 trillion, a level reached only during the Obama Administration.

    “This is unsustainable,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).

    The $21 trillion debt milestone was hit as lawmakers in Congress were trying to place the finishing touches on a giant Omnibus funding bill which will increase deficits by well over $100 billion in 2018, because of [More]

  • Trump goes after Mueller – a new strategy on the Russia probe?

    As President Donald Trump this weekend repeated some of his complaints about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and whether it involved anyone on his campaign, Mr. Trump did something unusual – sending out a pair of his tweets which included the name of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading that investigation.

    It was the first time on Twitter that the President had more directly taken aim at Mueller, a former FBI Director who was named by the Trump Justice Department in 2017 to investigate the charge of Russian meddling in last year’s elections.

    Were the weekend mentions [More]

  • Trump lashes out at Mueller, Comey, McCabe, over Russia probe

    Continuing to attack the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and any links to his campaign, President Donald Trump on Sunday went on Twitter to directly question the veracity of former top officials of the FBI, accusing them of lying, and making up information to use against him in the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.

    As he attacked former FBI Director James Comey, and recently fired top FBI official Andrew McCabe, Mr. Trump appeared to be watching television on Sunday morning, citing one of his favorite Fox News programs, Fox and Friends.

    “Wow, watch Comey lie under oath,” the President tweeted [More]

  • With retirement of acting chief, NASA finds itself in leadership limbo

    After operating for more than a year with a temporary chief, NASA faces an unprecedented leadership bind as its acting Administrator announced this week that he would retire at the end of April, with no hint that the Senate will vote by then on President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the space agency.

    “It has been a long process but we are optimistic that the vote will come soon,” said Sheryl Kaufman, the Communications Director for Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

    “We hope that happens soon,” said Rep. Bruce Babin (R-TX), as House Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence pressed the Senate for [More]

  • No direct answer from White House on future of VA chief

    The White House on Thursday refused to directly say if Veterans Secretary David Shulkin will stay in his post, as the VA chief tried to reassure lawmakers that he remains the right person to carry out Trump Administration plans to improve the quality of care at the VA.

    “I’ve pubilcly acknowledged that the distraction that has happened is something I deeply regret,” Shulkin told a House panel on Thursday, as the first question at a budget hearing was about persistent news reports of palace intrigue at the VA.

    “I do feel that I have to acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room,” [More]


  • As the investigation into the acts of serial bombing suspect Mark Conditt continues, many are taking the opportunity to reflect on the lives of those lost in the attacks across Austin and central Texas in March. >> READ MORE: Austin bombings: 25-minute recording left behind by suspected bomber | Who is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber? | Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House | MORE Anthony Stephan House, the 39-year-old man who was killed in the first bombing on March 2, left behind a wife and daughter. His family started a GoFundMe page to help his surviving family members with bills related to House’s death and repairs to their home after the explosion. Any extra money will go to a fund for House’s daughter’s future education. The fundraiser has raised more than $36,000 as of Wednesday. There’s also a second fund, started by House’s mother, which aims to raise money specifically for House’s 8-year-old daughter “to help secure her future.” That fundraiser has raised more than $5,200 as of Wednesday. >> On Statesman.com: Complete coverage of the Austin bombings Draylen Mason, 17, an Austin musician and aspiring neurosurgeon, was killed by a second bombing attack on March 12. His family has set up a YouCaring page to help with memorial costs, as well as to help with repairs to the family home before Mason’s mother and grandmother can return to the house. The family has raised more than $106,000 as of Wednesday. >> On Statesman.com: Mason family on bombing suspect: ‘We can now start to move forward’ Four others were wounded in the attacks. Mason’s mother, Shamika Wilson, was injured in the explosion that killed her son, and Esperanza Herrera, 75, was injured in a separate package explosion later that same day. Two unidentified men were injured when a bomb, which police said was likely triggered by a trip wire, exploded on Dawn Song Drive in Southwest Austin on March 18. >> Read more trending news 
  • A Georgia woman was found covered in cockroaches and maggots, bedridden on a sheet smeared in feces, a police report says.  Her caretakers and family members, 54-year-old Terry Ward Sorrells and 18-year-old Christian Alexander Sorrells, have both been charged with neglect of a disabled adult or elder person.  >> On AJC.com: Cops: Home invaders tie up woman and son, steal jewelry Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services responded to the Sugar Hill home where the woman lived with Terry Sorrells and Christian Sorrells on March 15 after receiving a call for medical assistance. The woman was unresponsive but still alive, the report says. The AJC is not identifying the woman because she is an alleged victim of neglect. >> MORE NEWS: 55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings When the fire crew arrived, they said they saw that maggots and roaches were eating the woman’s flesh and her legs were “completely black and showing signs of decomposition.” They had transported her a month earlier with a “mega mover” — a tarp-like object used by emergency medical technicians to move obese patients — and she was sitting on the same mega mover, now “completely brown and black” and covered in feces. The fire crew called police because “they did not believe she would live much longer and felt a moral obligation to report this,” the report says. The living conditions inside the home on Pine Tree Circle were “deplorable,” the responding officer said in his report. The officer was “overwhelmed with the smell of human feces and garbage” when he walked into the house, and roaches were crawling on the walls and ceiling of “every single room,” the report says. Garbage lined the floor from the entryway to the kitchen, and covered the floor of the bathroom. In Terry Sorrells’ bedroom, there was a two-foot-high pile of empty Monster energy drink cans, with garbage piled in a closet and covering a dresser, the report says.  >> Read more trending news  Terry Sorrells had gone with the woman in an ambulance before the officer arrived, but Christian Sorrells remained at the house. He told the officer that the woman had been bedridden for one or two years and had been progressively getting worse; she had been admitted into a long-term care facility, but returned home after Medicaid would not cover the cost, the report says. Christian Sorrells also told the officer that no one in the house worked.  Christian Sorrells was transported to Gwinnett County police headquarters and Terry Sorrells was arrested later that day. Both were booked into the Gwinnett County Detention Center after 10 p.m. March 15. They remain in jail, each held on a $22,200 bond. 
  • He makes a living with his skateboard and his brand, but this month Justin Mallory said that’s exactly what got him in trouble.  Mallory claims he was kicked off a flight out of Atlanta because of his business logo on his shirt which features guns.  “I was flabbergasted. I was taken aback,” Mallory said.  The professional skateboarder said he was kicked off a Frontier Airlines flight because of the logo. “The shirt is just a graphic,” Mallory told Wilfon.  >> Read more trending news  He said the airline said the shirt made another passenger uncomfortable. Mallory’s lawyer, Mawuli Davis, calls it discrimination. “The shirt, some would say he’s dressed in a hip-hop fashion, and he’s African-American. Those three things may have all contributed to the discrimination and profiling against him,” Davis said.  Frontier Airlines tells a much different story. In a statement to WSB, the airline indicated Mallory’s shirt and race had nothing to do with it. Frontier said Mallory “became argumentative prior to boarding when asked to check a skateboard. The passenger boarded the aircraft and continued to exhibit disruptive behavior.” “That’s totally false,” Mallory told Wilfon.  Because he was kicked off the flight, Mallory said he missed a skateboarding trade show where he planned to promote his brand. Instead, he said it got him in trouble. “It was a terrible situation. It was embarrassing. I don’t want to see it happen to anyone else. I wouldn’t wish it on someone,” Mallory said.  Mallory and his lawyer told Wilfon they are considering a lawsuit.
  • President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Thursday to slam Joe Biden over controversial comments that the former vice president made at a rally Tuesday. >> Read more trending news 
  • President Donald Trump is lashing out at Joe Biden for wanting to 'beat the hell out of him,' saying the former vice president 'would go down fast and hard, crying all the way.' The Republican president tweeted Thursday: 'Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn't know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don't threaten people Joe!' Biden spoke at an anti-sexual assault rally in Florida on Tuesday and cited lewd comments Trump made in a 2005 'Access Hollywood' tape about grabbing women. The Democrat said, 'If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.
  • A familiar Cox Radio voice is determined to be heard again. >> On WSBTV.com: Cox DC bureau reporter loses voice in medical mystery Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree has spent more than three decades covering Capitol Hill, but nearly two years ago, his method of communication had to change. >> The radio silence of Jamie Dupree Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for his brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking. Placing a pen in his mouth helps him speak. “It’s hard, but I am working to come back hard,” Dupree tells WSB Radio. >> Read Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider blog here He is now hoping a meeting with specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will help him figure out why he lost his voice.  And the reporter in him has not quit. “He still does interviews; he feeds us audio,” WSB Radio News Director Chris Camp says. Dupree also covers Congress via Facebook, Twitter and Cox Media Group websites.  >> DC reporter Jamie Dupree honored on House floor “He may not be able to talk, but boy you can hear him awful loud,” Camp adds. Dupree is thankful to all who have wished him well. While the condition has obviously affected his job, that is not what he says hurts him the most. “Think about not being able to talk to your kids, or your wife or your father or your friends. While my work is hard and different, life is about a lot more than that.” >> WATCH: WSB-TVs Berndt Petersen speaks with Jamie about his struggle over the past couple years Dupree says Emory researchers are trying a new treatment that will slow down the movement of his tongue to make it easier for him to speak. In the meantime, Jamie wants everyone to know his overall health is good. “Even though he can't speak, Jamie is still the most trusted voice in Washington DC,” WSB Radio’s Bill Caiaccio says of his colleague and friend. “He was already the hardest working reporter in our nation’s capital, and now he works even harder to get the job done.” WSB Radio anchor Chris Chandler echoes those sentiments, saying, 'I've always said Jamie is the most valuable on-air presence on our stations, and he still is. “There's not a word of news from Washington that he hasn't reported and broken down for us.” Mark Arum, WSB Radio traffic anchor and talk show host, adds that Dupree is an invaluable resource: “He might have lost his voice, but he still has the drive to get the story and get it right.” >> Read more trending news  Sabrina Cupit, who anchors midday for WSB Radio, says Dupree is so much more than his voice: “His knowledge of Washington, his connections, his balanced reporting; they are all still a major part of what we do on air every day here at WSB. “Personally, I have never met a kinder, more honest or just downright great human being in my life. I am praying for the return of his voice. I do miss hearing it.” Get Dupree's take on what's happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday by clicking here. Jamie Dupree is a reporter for the Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau.