ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
69°
Partly Cloudy
H 83° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    69°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    80°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Cloudy. H 80° L 61°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Republicans face critical week in Congress on health care, Russia, 2018 spending
Close

Republicans face critical week in Congress on health care, Russia, 2018 spending

Republicans face critical week in Congress on health care, Russia, 2018 spending
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Republicans face critical week in Congress on health care, Russia, 2018 spending

GOP leaders in the U.S. Senate seem ready to push ahead with a showdown procedural vote on a bill to overhaul the Obama health law, even without any assurance that they have enough votes to simply start debate, and without a final decision on what changes Senate Republicans might offer to a health care bill narrowly approved by the House in early May.

While most of the attention this week will be on the machinations involving health care legislation in the Senate, the House will take the first steps on spending bills for next year's budget, and vote on a revised plan for new sanctions against Russia, as the House gets ready to head home for an extended summer break.

Here's the latest from Capitol Hill:

1. Senate GOP bill on health care still in limbo. GOP leaders are still vowing to press ahead this week on a procedural vote that would begin debate on a House-passed bill to overhaul the Obama health law, but it's not clear that Republicans have enough votes to take that first step. The absence of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) - diagnosed last week with brain cancer - is a big deal, since the White House needs every vote possible. Some still wonder if Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) might be convinced to at least vote to start debate - though he has made clear he is against the options that have been floated so far by top Republicans on health care legislation. As for Democrats, they're still worried about a late rush to victory by the GOP - and the details as well.

2. Senate Parliamentarian knocks some holes in GOP plan. Because Republicans chose to use the expedited procedure known as budget reconciliation, the Senate rules play a much larger than normal role, and that has resulted in problems for a series of provisions in the bill. On Friday, the Parliamentarian said a dozen pieces of the Senate bill could be subjected to parliamentary points of order, which could only be overridden by a 60 vote super majority, something the GOP does not have. That includes provisions designed to block any federal dollars from going through the Medicaid program to Planned Parenthood. And the bill may have more holes poked in it on Monday, when the Parliamentarian goes over four other provisions.

Jamie Dupree
Close

health118

Jamie Dupree

3. Trump keeps pressing GOP on health care. While President Trump again pushed GOP Senators over the weekend to act on health care, his call for action doesn't seem to be making Republicans in the Congress tremble at the thought of being the target of his ire - and for now, the votes aren't there to get this Senate health care bill over the finish line. As I type this, it's not even clear what the GOP might be voting on in the Senate as early as this week - if enough Senators decide to begin debate on the Senate floor. It's a big week for Republican leaders in the Congress on health care - watch to see what the President says in public about the process, as well as GOP holdouts, and what he does behind the scenes to twist some arms of GOP Senators. Don't count him out just yet.

4. House to pass Russia sanctions bill. After sitting on the measure for a few weeks, Republicans in the House will approve a plan that steps up sanctions on Iran and Russia - it was approved on a vote of 98-2 in the Senate. The House though, will add provisions dealing with North Korea, and send that back to the Senate for further action. It's expected to be approved swiftly there. Behind the scenes, the White House has expressed frustration about the sanctions bill, because it would not allow President Trump to unilaterally roll back economic sanctions against Moscow. The vote comes as there has been more talk that the Trump Administration wants to give two compounds back to Russia, which were confiscated by the Obama Administration last December, in the first punishment for election interference in 2016.

5. House will leave town without passing all 12 funding bills. For weeks, House GOP leaders and rank-in-file lawmakers have told reporters that they were certainly going to have action on all twelve funding bills for the federal government. Reporters tried not to laugh out loud, knowing full well that was not likely. After this week, the House will be gone from Washington until Labor Day, and the plan is to jam four of the twelve funding bills into one package, and pass them in what's known as a 'minibus' (the smaller version of the omnibus). Funding bills for the military, VA, energy and water programs, and the Legislative Branch (Congress) will be in that plan - but eight other bills will not voted on this week. And yet, the House will go home for five weeks. As you can see, a lot of budget work has not been done in both the House and Senate. Unfortunately, that has become standard procedure no matter which party is in charge.

6. One odd provision in the minibus. One interesting choice made by Republicans this week is that the House will vote on money to build the border wall backed by President Trump - but not the underlying bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security. A provision for $1.6 billion to start work on the wall along the border with Mexico is part of the "Make America Secure" minibus appropriations bill - but the plan to actually fund Homeland Security operations won't be voted on by the House - until after Labor Day. You can see the House schedule - a rare five day legislative work week is scheduled this week for the House, and then lawmakers head back home for five weeks.

Jamie Dupree
Close

congress101

Jamie Dupree

7. Democrats look to force votes on Trump hotels. It wouldn't be a debate on spending bills without some nettlesome votes being forced by the minority. This week, Democrats have asked for amendments that would prohibit government workers from staying at hotels owned or operated by President Trump's family. One amendment gives the Defense Secretary the right to waive that on national security grounds; another amendment from Rep. Don Beyer (R-VA) gives a list of 40 different Trump hotels that would be off limits for federal government official business. Just one of the votes to look forward to this week in the 'minibus.'

8. Not on the schedule - the GOP budget blueprint. While the House Budget Committee last week was finally able to approve a budget outline for 2018, that budget resolution won't be on the House floor this week. Why? Because it doesn't have the votes to pass at this point in time. That means any talk you hear from GOP leaders and/or President Trump about action on tax reform needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because that budget blueprint has to be approved by both the House and Senate before any votes on can take place on a tax bill - and since the House isn't going to be back until after Labor Day, that means tax reform remains on hold in the Congress.

9. Tax reform must be 'budget neutral.' One story that didn't get much play last week because of the GOP troubles on health care is a wonky type of detail from the GOP budget resolution - but it has a big impact on tax reform plans for Republicans. At issue is a provision that says any tax bill must be budget neutral; in other words, if you cut taxes - and therefore raise the deficit by cutting revenue - then you must offset that lost revenue. That most likely would mean getting rid of tax deductions and tax breaks, a plan that sounds great in theory, but is difficult in practice to get through the Congress. Eliminate or cut back on the mortgage interest deduction? Make health care benefits through your job into taxable income? Get rid of the business interest deduction? Lots of difficult choices. If you think health care is hard, tax reform will be even more difficult.

10. Infrastructure - the missing Trump agenda item. Along with tax reform, there has been talk for months by the President, top Administration officials, and GOP lawmakers in Congress about voting for a bill to spur the construction of new roads and bridges. Mr. Trump has talked repeatedly about a $1 trillion public-private plan, but no proposal has been sent to the Congress, and none is expected until after Labor Day. Some thought the President should have started with this idea, since increased infrastructure spending is something that Democrats favor - but for a number of Republicans, that wasn't a good idea, as they repeatedly opposed plans from the Obama Administration for more highway dollars. For now, this is going nowhere fast.

Read More

News

  • An Arkansas woman was convicted Tuesday in the shooting death of her husband last summer after finding he had ordered a pornography channel … again. >> Read more trending news  Patricia Hill, 69, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Frank Hill, 65, last July in his shed, or “man cave,” behind the couple’s home in Pine Bluff, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Hill reportedly flew into rage after finding a charge on the couple’s cable bill for a porn channel after canceling a similar subscription a month earlier, the newspaper reported. Her attorney, Bill James, said Hill’s rage made her incapable of recognizing her actions the day of the murder. >> Trending: Shark attacks 65-year-old tourist paddle boarding in Hawaii in third attack there this year James said Hill was suffering from years of neglect and humiliation at the hands of her husband of 17 years and also had depression. A psychologist testified Hill was incapable of knowing right from wrong, the Gazette reported. Hill, who was originally charged with capital murder, is facing a sentence of up to 45 years in prison.  
  • A 65-year-old California woman is in stable condition after she was attacked by a shark Tuesday morning while paddle boarding off the island of Hawaii, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  The attack happened in South Kohala as the woman from Glendale paddled several hundred yards offshore in Anaehoomalu Bay, CNN reported. She made it to shore after she was bitten on her right upper thigh and airlifted to North Hawaii Community Hospital. A spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources told CNN the woman was bitten by a 5-foot blacktip reef shark, which left a wound about 12 inches in diameter. Spokesman Dan Denison said the attack was highly unusual and there’s “no record of this shark species biting anyone in Hawaii.” >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  This was the third shark attack in Hawaii so far this year. No one has died in a shark attack in Hawaii since 2015.
  • A 26-year-old Vermont man has been arrested for his role in multiple hit-and-run crashes and driving drunk, New Hampshire State Police say.  >> Read more trending news On Tuesday afternoon, troopers in New Hampshire received several reports of a car driving erratically on I-93 northbound between Concord and New Hampton. The driver of a 2015 Hyundai Sonata was reportedly weaving lane to lane, tailgating, and passing in the breakdown lane.  Soon after, a trooper saw the car driving erratically in Holderness and pulled him over in Campton. The trooper then learned this vehicle had also struck two vehicles, causing heavy damage, and had left the scene of both collisions.  The driver, 26-year-old Robert Harris of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, did field sobriety tests and was then arrested and charged with DWI-subsequent, conduct after an accident, reckless driving and resisting arrest or detention for fighting with the trooper during the booking process. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who may have witnessed these incidents is asked to call New Hampshire State Police at (603) 223-8767.
  • A potentially deadly insect that bites people around the mouth is making its way farther north from South and Central America. >> Read more trending news    Doctors call the insect, known as triatoma sanguisuga and nicknamed the 'kissing bug,' a silent killer.  Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said while the bug sucks your blood, it defecates, which leaves behind a parasite that can lead to the potentially deadly chagas disease.  Last year, the CDC warned the bugs were on the move and had been spotted as far north as Delaware, Pennsylvania, Marilyn and North and South Carolina.  >> Related: Dangerous ‘kissing bug' illness spreading across Southern U.S. Doctors said symptoms typically include severe redness and itching, but can be as serious as irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden death, problems with digestion, and an increased chance of having a stroke.  They also said, after a couple days, you may not feel anything unusual for years.  Officials said most people only experience minor symptoms. >> Related: ‘Kissing bug' native to NC; little cause for concern, experts say The CDC said homeowners should remove trash, wood, and rock piles from around their home and clear out any bird or animal nests. 
  • The story of a dog with Memphis Animal Services that became viral sensation now has a happy ending. >> Read more trending news Oliver is a stray who loves food and treats. In fact, he loves food so much that he became attached to his bowl at MAS. Oliver's story went viral when it was posted on Facebook by a group named Wilson, Rosie, and Pickle Pete. The post was shared more than 9,000 times and got international attention. Oliver was at risk of being euthanized, but his story led to an outpouring of support. It was even picked up by TheDodo.com. The outlet detailed his journey and his eventual adoption on April 16. In case you're wondering, Oliver got to his new bowl with him.
  • The Boy Scouts of America could be hit with more sex abuse claims after new court documents were released Tuesday related to a sex abuse case in Minnesota.  >> Read more trending news  The documents, released by a firm that represents sex abuse victims, reveal there may have been as many as 7,800 Boy Scout troop leaders and volunteers who allegedly sexually abused more than 12,000 victims. That's four times what the organization revealed more than a decade ago. In Georgia, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) sex abuse cases have taken center stage on debates over how the state should handle childhood sex abuse claims.  Now, local attorneys want to get their hands on details that will help support their cases.  Atlanta-based attorneys Natalie Woodward and Darren Penn represent nearly two dozen Boy Scout sex abuse cases in Georgia since 2012.  'We're talking about decades and decades and decades and decades of conduct that was literally concealed,' Penn said. >> Trending: Shark attacks 65-year-old tourist kayaking in Hawaii in third attack there this year Woodward and Penn learned this week that there are reportedly more than 100 documented cases of abuse in Georgia, and thousands of pedophile Boy Scout leaders nationwide have been reported from the early 1940s to 2016. That's four times the number previously reported by the organization. 'Every one of those perpetrators, they represent, most often, more than one child,' Woodward said. 'That's the part I think that will shake anybody to their core to hear that. And then to think it took until 2019 to get into the open.' The new allegations came this week from a New York law firm that revealed names tied to cases in the Northern District of New York The testimony came from an auditor who was hired by the BSA during an unrelated child rape case.  >> Trending: Baby rhino alert: Zoo Miami welcomes birth of rare, endangered baby rhino 'This is information coming from a Boy Scouts representative. This isn't even information that a third party or an independent group has been able to look over these files,' Woodward said. 'We're still hearing about it from them and we're yet to see the documents ourselves.' Penn said that, although he's glad the allegations are coming out now, it's way too late.  'I think what they owe and what they ought to be stepping up to the plate right now is: What do we do for all of the victims that have been created over all these years?' Penn said.  Carr learned that the Boy Scouts of America is moving to dismiss the Georgia cases in the Cobb County and Athens. The organization released a statement in response to the allegations saying: 'We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children.  'Throughout our history, we have enacted strong youth protection policies to prevent future abuse, including mandatory youth protection trainings and a formal leader-selection process that includes criminal background checks. Since the 1920s, we have maintained a Volunteer Screening Database to prevent individuals accused of abuse or inappropriate conduct from joining or re-entering our programs, a practice recommended in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control for all youth-serving organizations.  'At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.' >> Trending: Popular gym offers free workouts for teens this summer  'Scouting programs today are safe,' said Erin Eisner, a chief strategy officer for the BSA and the mother of two Scouts. 'If I felt for a second that scouting was unsafe, I would not be associated with nor advocate for the BSA.' The Associated Press contributed to this report.