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  • House Republicans struggle to revive health care overhaul plan

    Still smarting from last week’s meltdown on a bill to overhaul the Obama health law, House Republicans used a closed door “family meeting” in the U.S. Capitol to both clear the air, and see if there was a way to push forward again on a plan to make major changes to Obamacare.

    “We had a very constructive meeting with our members,” said Speaker Paul Ryan about the focus on a GOP measure on health care reform. “I’m not going to put a timeline on it.”

    “I think there’s a good healthy discussion going on in there,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), [More]

  • White House: Trump not giving up on overhaul of Obama health law

    Three days after a GOP health care bill melted down in the U.S. House before a vote, the White House said President Trump is not giving up on his desire to overhaul the Obama health law, as Republicans in the Congress also urged the President to keep pushing ahead on major health insurance changes.

    “I don’t think it’s dead,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said of the failed GOP health bill, which foundered even after repeated efforts by the President to twist the arms of reluctant Republican lawmakers.

    “We’re at the beginning of a process. I don’t think [More]

  • Democrats force delay in Senate committee vote on Gorsuch nomination

    Democrats used rules in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday to force a one week delay in a vote on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court, as Democratic opponents sent mixed signals on whether or not they would lead an all-out filibuster against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

    The delay by Democrats – which they can do only once before the Judiciary Committee – also included two other top nominations by President Trump to the Justice Department.

    All three of those nominees are expected to gain committee approval next week – from there, it is on to [More]

  • After health care bill failure, Trump has few legislative victories on the horizon in Congress

    After a Republican push in Congress on a GOP health care overhaul bill melted down last Friday, there are not many opportunities for President Donald Trump to turn things around on Capitol Hill right now, as with little of his agenda in the pipeline, it is possible that the President may have to waits months for a significant legislative achievement to make it through the Congress.

    Here is where things stand on Capitol Hill for the Trump Administration.

    1. Lots of campaign promises, but little ready for action. With the GOP health care bill seemingly now off the agenda in the Congress, [More]

  • Infowars’ Alex Jones apologizes for pushing “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory

    In a surprise legal turnabout, Alex Jones, the chief of the website Infowars has publicly backpedaled on the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, issuing a written and videotaped apology to the owner of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor that became a target for many election critics of Hillary Clinton.

    The Pizzagate theory developed from emails hacked from top Clinton aide John Podesta – many seemingly taken out of context – which somehow convinced people that a child sex ring was operating out of the Comet Ping Post restaurant in D.C., a popular neighborhood pizza joint owned by Clinton supporter, James Alefantis.

    “We raised questions [More]

  • What’s next for Trump, GOP agenda after health care debacle

    After the collapse of health care reform legislation in the House on Friday, Republicans in the Congress and President Donald Trump now must decide what’s next on their respective agendas, as the GOP tries to pick up the pieces from a very public legislative failure over an issue that had been their central political focus for the last seven years.

    Here’s the look from Capitol Hill.

    1. The first big setback for the Trump agenda. You can try to downplay what happened, but there was little positive to take from this health care debacle in the House. “I will not sugarcoat [More]

  • Trump, Republicans give up on GOP health care bill

    Unable to convince GOP lawmakers to get on board with a plan to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans in the House decided not to even force a vote on the measure, a major setback for both President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

    “This is a setback – no two ways about it,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, after he told GOP lawmakers that there were not enough votes.

    “I will not sugarcoat this; this is a disappointing day for us,” Ryan added. “We came really close today, but we came up short.”

    Down at the White House, President Trump took [More]

  • Trump, Republicans to roll the dice with Friday health care vote

    Determined to push a health overhaul bill through the House, President Donald Trump is basically daring GOP lawmakers to vote against the plan, as Republican leaders in Congress unveiled several new changes to the bill on Thursday night, hoping they would bring conservatives and moderates on board to avoid what would be an embarrassing political defeat on the politically explosive issue of health care.

    Here is the latest from Capitol Hill:

    1. White House decides it is simply time to vote. Looking to avoid a never-ending parade of negotiations that might not bear fruit, President Trump had his lieutenants go to Capitol [More]

  • Short on votes, Republicans delay House vote on GOP health care bill

    After hours of negotiations that featured personal intervention by President Donald Trump, Republican leaders in the Congress were forced to back off a planned vote on a GOP health care bill, unable to find enough votes approve it and send it on to the Senate for further work.

    While House leaders said votes were possible on Friday, there was no final agreement to vote on, as more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus refused to get on board with a deal offered by the White House.

    “We have not gotten enough of our members to get to yes,” said Rep. Mark [More]

  • Republicans struggle to push health care bill over House finish line

    In a last minute bid to thread the needle between more conservative and more moderate Republicans, President Donald Trump and GOP leaders in the House are still hoping to bring a health care overhaul bill to a vote today, as they try to find a magic legislative formula that will produce a final agreement acceptable to a bare majority of Republican members.

    Here’s where things stand.

    1. Republicans still seem short on votes. Despite a full day of arm twisting and closed door meetings that stretched late into Wednesday night, the President seemed no closer to a majority in the House – [More]

News

  • Declaring 'the start of a new era' in energy production, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that he said would revive the coal industry and create jobs. The move makes good on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. The order seeks to suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. Environmental activists, including former Vice President Al Gore, denounced the plan. But Trump said the effort would allow workers to 'succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time.' 'That is what this is all about: bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again,' Trump said, during a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, attended by a number of coal miners. The order initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The regulation, which was the former president's signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas. But just as Obama's climate efforts were often stymied by legal challenges, environmental groups are promising to fight Trump's pro-fossil fuel agenda in court. Trump has called global warming a 'hoax' invented by the Chinese, and has repeatedly criticized the power-plant rule as an attack on American workers and the struggling U.S. coal industry. In addition to pulling back from the Clean Power Plan, the administration will also lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The Obama administration had imposed a three-year moratorium on new federal coal leases in January 2016, arguing that the $1 billion-a-year program must be modernized to ensure a fair financial return to taxpayers and address climate change. Trump accused his predecessor of waging a 'war on coal' and boasted in a speech to Congress that he has made 'a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations,' including some that threaten 'the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.' The order will also chip away at other regulations, including scrapping language on the 'social cost' of greenhouse gases. It will initiate a review of efforts to reduce the emission of methane in oil and natural gas production as well as a Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rule, to determine whether those reflect the president's policy priorities. It will also rescind Obama-era executive orders and memoranda, including one that addressed climate change and national security and one that sought to prepare the country for the impacts of climate change. The administration is still in discussion about whether it intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Trump's order could make it more difficult, though not impossible, for the U.S. to achieve its carbon reduction goals. The president's promises to boost coal jobs run counter to market forces, such as U.S. utilities converting coal-fired power plants to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, alarmed environmental groups and scientists earlier this month when he said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. The statement is at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and Pruitt's own agency. The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed studies and climate scientists agree the planet is warming, mostly due to man-made sources, including carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons and nitrogen oxide. Opponents say Obama's effort would have killed coal-mining jobs and driven up electricity costs. The Obama administration, some Democratic-led states and environmental groups counter that it would spur thousands of clean-energy jobs and help the U.S. meet ambitious goals to reduce carbon pollution set by the international agreement signed in Paris. Trump's order on coal-fired power plants follows an executive order he signed last month mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution. The order instructs the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review a rule that redefined 'waters of the United States' protected under the Clean Water Act to include smaller creeks and wetlands. While Republicans have blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the loss of coal jobs, federal data shows that U.S. mines have been shedding jobs for decades under presidents from both parties as a result of increasing automation and competition from natural gas, which has become more abundant through hydraulic fracturing. Another factor is the plummeting cost of solar panels and wind turbines, which now can produce emissions-free electricity cheaper than burning coal. According to an Energy Department analysis released in January, coal mining now accounts for fewer than 75,000 U.S. jobs. By contrast, renewable energy — including wind, solar and biofuels — now accounts for more than 650,000 U.S. jobs. The Trump administration's plans drew praise from business groups and condemnation from environmental groups. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue praised the president for taking 'bold steps to make regulatory relief and energy security a top priority.' 'These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration's strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy,' he said. Former Vice President Al Gore blasted the order as 'a misguided step away from a sustainable, carbon-free future for ourselves and generations to come.' 'It is essential, not only to our planet, but also to our economic future, that the United States continues to serve as a global leader in solving the climate crisis by transitioning to clean energy, a transition that will continue to gain speed due to the increasing competiveness of solar and wind,' he said in a statement. ___ Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker contributed to this report. Follow Daly and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC and https://twitter.com/colvinj ___ This story corrects the number of coal mining jobs in the U.S. to 75,000, not 70,000.
  • The Latest on House Republicans and health care, tax cuts and other issues (all times local): 2:35 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says 'Obamacare' will stay in place after House Republicans failed to pass an alternative last week. McConnell indicated there are no plans in the Senate take up the issue. The Kentucky Republican told reporters Tuesday that 'It's pretty obvious we were not able in the House to pass a replacement. Our Democratic friends ought to be pretty happy about that because we have the existing law in place and I think we're just going to have to see how that works out.' House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted earlier that they would still try to repeal 'Obamacare.' But McConnell said: 'I want to thank the president and the speaker, they went all-out to try to pass repeal and replacement, sorry that didn't work.' __ 11:30 a.m. Speaker Paul Ryan says next month's governmentwide funding bill should not get ensnared with a fight over taking federal money away from Planned Parenthood. The Wisconsin Republican says 'defunding' Planned Parenthood belongs on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That legislation failed in the House last week but Ryan says it's more suitable since it addresses the organization's eligibility for Medicaid reimbursements. The idea to attach Planned Parenthood funding to the larger bill and risk a government shutdown has been the subject of media speculation but no GOP leader had displayed any enthusiasm for it. ___ 11:10 a.m. House Speaker Paul Ryan says his chamber will take another crack at a health care overhaul. But he's offering no timeline, and no details about how leaders would overcome GOP divisions that sunk their bill Friday. That retreat was a humiliating setback for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. Ryan spoke Tuesday after House Republicans met for the first time since he sidetracked his party's health care legislation just before a scheduled House vote. The measure was destined for defeat because of GOP opposition. Republican lawmakers say there's a consensus to keep working on health care. Conservatives say it didn't repeal enough of President Barack Obama's 2010 law. Moderates say it takes coverage away from too many people. Ryan says Republicans would try working out their differences over the measure. ___ 10:25 a.m. A member of the House Freedom Caucus says he will force the House to vote on a full repeal of former President Barack Obama's health care law in a month if the chamber hasn't acted to roll back the statute. Alabama Republican Mo Brooks also said Speaker Paul Ryan indicated the House would revisit the issue and that it would be 'fairly immediate.' Brooks spoke after divided House Republicans met to discuss strategy. Four days ago, Ryan abruptly canceled a vote on a GOP bill annulling much of Obama's law. That bill faced certain defeat due to Republican opponents, including the conservative Freedom Caucus. Brooks wants a vote on a measure that goes further in repealing Obama's overhaul. Ryan's move was a jolting setback for himself and President Donald Trump. __ 3:30 a.m. Congressional Republicans want to pivot to tax cuts and other issues following last week's House health care debacle. But the party remains riven into factions. And they're all over the map about how and when to return to their marquee pledge to eviscerate former President Barack Obama's 2010 health overhaul. House Republicans are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss their agenda. It's their first gathering since House Speaker Paul Ryan suddenly abandoned plans last Friday for a vote on the GOP legislation. The retreat on the party's top legislative priority was a jarring defeat for President Donald Trump and Republican leaders. It also raised questions about whether the GOP could muster the unity needed on other issues. Republicans have issued mixed messages on what comes next on health care.
  • A woman was paying for parking in Midtown Sunday afternoon when a man slashed her throat and grabbed her handbag, Atlanta police said. Marla Franks was at a pay station at Juniper and 5th streets when the man tried to take her purse off her shoulder, according to an Atlanta police incident report. She resisted and held onto the bag.  “I will hurt you,” police said the man told Franks. She continued holding her purse. 'The man then took a knife and cut her throat about 5 to 6 inches,' Officer Stephanie Brown told Channel 2 Action News. He grabbed the purse and took off running, according to the police report. Fernando Bispo, who witnessed the attack, told police he ran after the man and got him to drop the handbag. Bispo stopped when the man turned the knife on him.  Another witness told police she saw a man jump the back fence of Kindred Hospital and offered to help him when he fell. She later learned about the robbery victim, according to the report. Police have not made any arrests in the incident. Bispo wasn’t injured in the encounter.  Franks had to get 17 stitches but was expected to recover. In other news:
  • Two men have been charged with murder in an October shooting outside a Pappadeaux in Marietta that began with a piece of costume jewelry and ended with a dead husband. Cobb police investigators filed the paperwork on Thursday against Dylan Marquis Ledbetter and Demarious Greene, both of whom were already in custody. The men are connected to violent crimes throughout Cobb and Cherokee counties. Ledbetter is also wanted in Florida on an attempted murder charge. Sentenced: Cobb man paid Filipino girls to perform online sex acts The Cobb murder charges stem from an Oct. 7 shooting. Cynthia and Anthony Welch were heading to their car after a birthday dinner at the Windy Hill Road restaurant when they were stopped in the parking lot. Cynthia Welch previously explained that a man shot her husband of 25 years and snatched the $5 costume necklace off her neck before shooting her and running away. The warrant doesn’t specify who police think pulled the trigger. Cobb man indicted in double murder of his mother and Buckhead teacher  Ledbetter was 22 when he was indicted in January for allegedly trying to run over officers with a car. A week after the Pappadeaux slaying, cops were trying to stop Ledbetter because the car he was driving matched the description of a vehicle connected to the shooting. Officers shot Ledbetter in his arm and leg as they said he sped toward them. Lab results in the Pappadeaux shooting were recently returned from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and Cobb police were able to file charges in the case. Man facing death in Craigslist slaying of Marietta couple appears in court  Ledbetter has been in jail since Oct. 18. Two days before that, 21-year-old Green was booked into Cherokee County jail on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and other counts. Those Cherokee charges are from an Oct. 12 incident when the men allegedly stole a man’s necklace at gunpoint outside the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta. Like Cobb County News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.  Ledbetter has also been accused of a similar necklace-snatching crime in Sandy Springs. A woman told police she was holding her 1 year old and just getting home when a man snatched a gold chain off of her and the child. The men are awaiting indictment on the Pappadeaux charges. Authorities have not discussed how they will handle the pending charges in other jurisdictions.