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  • Senate moves to end shutdown as Democrats accept DACA debate offer

    In the third day of a government shutdown, the Senate moved Monday afternoon to approve a bill to fund the operations of the federal government, as Democrats dropped their opposition to a three week funding plan, accepting an assurance from Senate Republicans that there would be an upcoming debate on immigration issues involving illegal immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age by their parents.

    “The Trump shutdown will soon end,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer just after 12 noon.

    The Senate soon voted 81-18 to end a filibuster that started late on Friday night, derailing an effort [More]

  • Still no end to shutdown, as Senate delays next funding vote until Monday

    Lawmakers in Congress on Sunday failed to reach a deal on plan to fund the federal government, meaning the work week will being with furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the nation, but there was a hint of progress as a Senate vote on a temporary funding measure was delayed until noon on Monday, with Republican leaders offering a plan which would guarantee a Senate debate on immigration matters in February, in hopes that Democrats would then help to fund the government in the meantime.

    “Let’s step back from the brink,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on [More]

  • Congress back at work on Sunday, still searching for deal to end shutdown

    With no signs of any deal to restore funding for the federal government, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be back for a rare Sunday session, with no real signs of an agreement to end the first government shutdown since 2013, as both parties continued to point the finger of blame at each other.

    The main stumbling block continues to be immigration, and what to do about hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant Dreamers in the United States, who were protected under the Obama Administration’s DACA program, which was ended by the Trump Administration in October.

    Republicans made clear – there is [More]

  • Congress at work on a Saturday as lawmakers try to end shutdown quickly

    Hours after funding lapsed for the federal government at midnight, lawmakers returned to work for an unusual Saturday session of the House and Senate, as both parties quickly launched themselves into finger pointing over who is to blame for the first government shutdown since 2013, with few signs that a deal was near on the major spending and immigration issues that brought about the standoff.

    “Get it together,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi bluntly said to Republicans in a morning speech on the House floor, as she led a chorus from her party in blaming the President for the budgetary impasse.

    “The [More]

  • Congress slides into a government shutdown, as Democrats derail temporary budget in Senate

    In a high stakes game of legislative chicken, the U.S. Senate on Friday night blocked a House-passed bill to fund operations of the federal government for the next four weeks, as most Democrats joined with a handful of Republicans to filibuster the spending measure, demanding faster action on immigration matters, driving the Congress toward the first federal government shutdown since 2013.

    The vote was 50 to 49 – 60 votes were needed.

    “It’s irresponsible,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The government may be shutting down, but the Senate is not,” as he vowed to keep voting and pursuing a spending [More]

  • Revised Trump travel and refugee order to go before U.S. Supreme Court

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday announced that it would hear argument on the third version of President Donald Trump’s travel and refugee plan, which would limit visits to the United States by people from certain Muslim-majority nations, and slow down the number of refugees accepted into the country.

    Arguments will take place in April, with a ruling expected by the end of June, instantly making this into one of the more important cases of the High Court’s term.

    “We look forward to the Court’s review of this important case,” said lawyer Neal Katyal, who has represented the state of Hawaii in [More]

  • At odds on immigration and spending, Congress stares at a Friday night government shutdown

    Unable to bridge the partisan divide on immigration, federal spending levels and more, Republicans and Democrats in the Congress were on the verge of letting funding for the government lapse at midnight on Friday night, as members of both parties eagerly pointed the finger of blame at each other for the spending impasse, which could trigger the first federal shutdown in over four years.

    “That would be a mistake,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “Government shutdowns do not make sense.”

    That Republican argument carried the day in the House, as lawmakers voted mainly along party lines Thursday evening in favor of a [More]

  • House Republicans overcome differences, approve 4-week funding bill for Uncle Sam; Senate action uncertain

    After a full day of uncertainty, the House of Representatives on Thursday evening approved a plan to fund the federal government until February 16, sending the measure to the Senate, where the bill is likely to be derailed by strong opposition from Democrats and a few Republicans, as they call for deals on overall spending levels for 2018 and a bipartisan agreement on DACA and the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

    “Now it’s on the Senate,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). “They need to do their job; we’ve done our job.”

    “The right thing for the Senate to do would be to [More]

  • Trump, GOP leaders take aim at Senate Democrats in government funding fight

    The political finger pointing over government spending dramatically accelerated Thursday in Washington, a day before funding runs out for the federal government, as top Republicans joined with President Trump in an effort to blame Democrats for any government shutdown, accusing Democrats of trying to use talks over extra money for the military to win unrelated provisions on immigration.

    In swift succession over a half hour period, the President, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority Leader were all on television, pointing the finger straight at Democrats in the Senate.

    “If the Senate Democrats want to shut the government down,” Speaker [More]

  • Trump to help Pennsylvania GOP candidate for Congress amid Republican election year worries

    Making his first foray on to the campaign trail in 2018, President Donald Trump goes to southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday to show his support for a GOP candidate running for Congress, as Republicans have encountered some troubling signs in this mid-term election year, struggling with an election playing field that seems tilted against their party.

    With his visit to the Pittsburgh area, Mr. Trump will highlight the candidacy of Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, who is trying to win a March 13 special election for Congress, in a U.S. House district that voted for the President by 19 points in November [More]


  • Authorities arrested a 16-year-old on Monday morning after authorities said he shot a 15-year-old girl at a Texas high school, according to the Ellis County Sheriff's Office. >> Read more trending news
  • Dramatic video captured the moment a Georgia girl was thrown off a ladder and caught by a heroic firefighter weeks ago. Now, the two have reunited.  >> Watch the news report here WSB-TV was there when DeKalb County Fire Capt. Scott Stroup met the girl this weekend.  >> WATCH: Firefighter catches child thrown from burning building The fire ripped through the Avondale Forest Apartments on Jan. 3.  >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  Helmet camera video showed the moment the toddler was dropped down to a firefighter as the flames roared around them. >> Read more trending news  An estimated 50 people were left without a place to live after the massive fire at the Decatur apartment complex. >> Watch the raw video here
  • The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are now open for visitors, with New York state picking up the tab for the federal workers.The two sites reopened on Monday after being closed due to the federal government shutdown.On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced their reopening, saying the sites are vital to the state's tourism industry. The state will spend about $65,000 per day for the federal employees who operate the sites.The Democratic governor says the state will pay for the duration of the shutdown, which may soon be over after a stopgap spending bill to reopen the government passed the Senate on Monday.New York had the same arrangement in 2013, during the last government shutdown.
  • Southern California authorities on Monday went tent to tent telling the homeless living in a 2-mile-long (3.2-kilometer-long) encampment that the large riverbed encampment some have called home for years is being closed down.Orange County sheriff's deputies called out to tent dwellers on the dusty trail designed for biking and jogging, letting them know county workers will haul their trash, store personal belongings and provide transportation to area shelters.'We're basically informing all these folks, hey, you should have been gone by now,' said Sgt. Shannon Parker after speaking with two homeless men who said they did not know where they would go. 'It's a work in progress.'The move comes as West Coast cities grapple with a rise in homelessness caused in part by soaring housing costs, rock-bottom vacancy rates and a roaring economy. A drug addiction crisis and need for mental health services are also factors.The decision had many of the roughly 450 people who live on the trail that passes by the stadium for the Los Angeles Angels baseball team on edge.Heather Smith, 42, said she's been homeless for a decade after her husband left her and she was addicted to painkillers following surgery. She said she hasn't used drugs in years, but has no family and can't take her dog or cat with her to a shelter.'There's no other place for me to go,' she said, tears streaming down her face. 'I'll probably end up in jail.'People think we're all bad, and it's not true,' she said.Neighbors have long urged the county south of Los Angeles to shut down the encampment and restore the trail that leads to the Pacific Ocean for jogging and biking. They have complained about homeless people rattling shopping carts in their otherwise quiet neighborhoods and allegedly stealing potted plants and bikes.Undersheriff Don Barnes said authorities hope to get the homeless to move voluntarily and avoid arrests. He said deputies cleared another portion of the trail previously in about three weeks without arresting anyone.Barnes declined to give a specific timetable for the move, but said he hoped it would be completed 'as soon as possible.'The trail that runs through the cities of Anaheim and Orange will be shut to the public for up to three months while the county cleans the area. Officials said they'll take a harder stance on camping after it reopens.Officials in nearby cities are concerned that homeless residents will wind up living on the streets once they're pushed out of the riverbed.That's what Brooke Weitzman, an attorney and advocate for the homeless, said she expects will happen since there's only 100 spaces at shelters that don't meet the needs of many homeless people.'It's not effective. It's not humane. It's not giving people any choice,' she said. 'There's nowhere to go other than the city sidewalks.
  • Congress sped toward reopening the government Monday, as Senate Democrats dropped their objections to a temporary funding bill in return for assurances from Republicans leaders that they will soon take up immigration and other contentious issues.Senate Republican leader McConnell's commitment to quickly tackle the issue of immigrant 'Dreamers' was contingent on Democrats providing enough votes now for a stopgap spending measure lasting a little less than three weeks. The measure needed 60 votes, and Democrats provided 33 of the 81 it got. Eighteen senators, including members of both parties, were opposed.Before the government can reopen the Senate must vote on final passage, the House must approve in turn, and President Donald Trump must sign the measure. The Senate vote was underway late in the afternoon.Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber's floor. 'Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,' he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at 'Dreamers,' who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.The White House downplayed McConnell's commitment, and said Democrats caved under pressure. 'They blinked,' principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah told CNN. In a statement, President Donald Trump said he's open to immigration deal only if it is 'good for our country.'Earlier Monday, McConnell raised hopes for a quick end to the shutdown, saying 'I hope and intend' to reach agreement soon on immigration and other contentious issues — if the Democrats agreed to the stopgap spending measure lasting a little less than three weeks.Progressive groups expressed criticism of Democrats for agreeing to reopen the government without a firmer commitment to solve the Dreamer issue.A block of liberal Democrats — some of them 2020 presidential hopefuls — stuck to their opposition. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey voted no, as did Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.Feinstein said she wasn't persuaded by McConnell's assurances and did not know how a proposal to protect the more than 700,000 younger immigrants would fare in the House.House Speaker Paul Ryan told 'Fox and Friends' Monday that if the Senate approved a temporary spending bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8, the House would approve it, too.The Senate vote came as most government offices cut back drastically or even closed on Monday, as the major effects of the shutdown were first being felt with the beginning of the workweek.McConnell said he hoped to reach bipartisan solutions on immigration, border security, disaster aid, military funding and more by Feb. 8. If not, he said 'it would be my intention to take up legislation' addressing those issues.The Senate over the weekend inched closer but ultimately fell short of a deal that could have reopened the government before the beginning of the workweek. McConnell and Schumer said negotiations lasted late into the night.On Sunday night, Democrats appeared to be holding out for a firmer commitment from McConnell. 'We have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward,' Schumer said then.There were hours of behind-the-scenes talks over the weekend between the leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers over how to end the display of legislative dysfunction, which began at midnight Friday after Democrats blocked a temporary spending measure. Democrats have sought to use the spending bill to win concessions, including protections for roughly 700,000 younger immigrants.Republicans have appeared increasingly confident that Democrats are bearing the brunt of criticism for the shutdown and that they will ultimately buckle. The White House and GOP leaders said they would not negotiate with Democrats on immigration until the government is reopened.President Trump on Monday accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens. 'Not good,' his first tweet said. In a second tweet, he said, 'Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don't want to do it but are powerless!'Trump's first tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and 'productive to our society.' Short says the administration wants to 'find a pathway for them' to stay in the U.S.It appeared that Democratic resolve was beginning to waver, with growing worries that a prolonged shutdown could prove to be an electoral headache for the party just as it has grown more confident about prospects in November midterm elections.Although they initially dug in on a demand for an immigration deal, Democrats had shifted to blaming the shutdown on the incompetence of Republicans and Trump, seeming sensitive to being seen by voters as willing to tie up government operations to protect immigrants.Trump, who regularly disrupted negotiations in recent weeks, had been a relatively subdued player in the weekend debate. He has not appeared in public since Friday afternoon. The White House said he was in regular contact with Republican leaders, but he has not reached out to any Democrats, a White House official said.Democrats are facing intense pressure from their base to solve the issue over the young immigrants, commonly referred to as 'Dreamers,' and they are skeptical of Republicans' credibility when offering to take up the issue. Whether Trump would back the emerging plan or any later proposal on immigration is an open question.While lawmakers feuded, signs of the shutdown were evident at national parks and in some federal agencies. Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.___Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking, Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.
  • A Mexican Uber driver living in the U.S. illegally was charged Monday with raping, assaulting and robbing young women in California, prosecutors said.Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez's four alleged victims are between 19 and 22 years old and three were intoxicated when they were assaulted, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow told reporters.Officials said Alarcon-Nunez was not always driving for Uber when he picked up those women but said the alleged crimes show that the company should improve its driver screening process, Dow said.Alarcon-Nunez, 39, faces 10 criminal charges including forcible rape, rape of an intoxicated victim, oral copulation of an intoxicated victim and first degree burglary. It wasn't immediately known if Alarcon-Nunez has an attorney. His arraignment was scheduled for later Monday.Detectives are looking for potential witnesses and trying to determine if there are additional victims in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles, where the Alarcon-Nunez had been driving for Uber since September of last year, Dow said. He had a valid California license issued in 2015.Prosecutors said Alarcon-Nunez solicited rides as an Uber driver, targeting drunk women. Then he drove women to their homes, assaulted them, and stole property including cellphones, computers, and jewelry, officials said.He collected his fare payments through the smartphone app Venmo to disguise his identity and his Uber records, officials said.Alarcon-Nunez has also gone by the name 'Bruno Diaz' and his Venmo username was 'Brush Bat,' prosecutors said.Predators in cars parked outside bars or restaurants 'jump in front of the actual Uber driver and they will take someone unsuspecting to their home. And that's a way of putting someone at risk, and in this case that's exactly what's alleged to have happened,' Dow said.Dow urged Uber users to make sure they are getting in the car of the correct driver by verifying the license plate and other information provided to clients.DNA evidence helped lead detectives to Alarcon-Nunez, who was arrested at his Santa Maria home last week, Dow said. The alleged crimes are said to have occurred in December and January in San Luis Obispo, a city of about 45,000 with a large population of college students.Dow urged Uber and other ride-hailing companies to beef up background checks. Uber spokesman Michael Amodeo did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.Alarcon-Nunez returned to the U.S. illegally after a voluntary deportation from New Mexico in 2005, officials said. Dow did not have details about why he was deported or whether he has a criminal record in the U.S.Alarcon-Nunez's immigration status will not have a bearing on the prosecution, Dow said. He could face life in prison if convicted on all charges.___Follow Weber at https://twitter.com/WeberCM .