ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
91°
Mostly Clear
H 91° L 70°
  • cloudy-day
    91°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Today
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
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 press again for health care compromise within GOP
Close

Republicans press again for health care compromise within GOP

Republicans press again for health care compromise within GOP
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Republicans press again for health care compromise within GOP

With lawmakers in Congress ready to leave town for an extended Easter break at the end of this week, there was renewed urgency among Republicans and the White House today to find a way to strike a deal on a health care overhaul bill, in a bid to revive a GOP plan that ran aground last month in the House.

"There are ongoing talks that we are having," said House Speaker Paul Ryan after a morning closed door meeting with fellow Republicans, as he expressed hope for progress.

"We don't have a bill text or an agreement yet, but this is the kind of conversations that we want," the Speaker told reporters.

More meetings were planned for later today, as rank and file Republicans indicated that there was some momentum afoot.

"The President is still engaged, the Vice President is engaged, the Speaker is engaged," said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA). "Hopefully people will negotiate in good faith."

"I think we're moving," said Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which has pushed for changes in the GOP plan.

"We just needed to have these conversations earlier," Brat said in a basement hallway crowded with reporters.

The proposed GOP changes center around two plans:

+ States would be allowed to apply for waivers to change the "Essential Health Benefits" in the Obama health law, which would be required in health insurance plans being sold to consumers. Backers say that would mean the ability to sell less expensive coverage plans.

+ States would also be allowed to seek an exemption from what is known as "community rating" - which would allow insurance companies to get around the requirement in the Obama health law that people with pre-existing medical conditions be charged the same as healthy people.

"Some states would get it right, allowing other states to copy the successful states," said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who has pressed the Trump White House to fully repeal Obamacare, and not tinker around the edges.

"When you have the federal government with a top down mandate, it's either it all right, or all wrong, or somewhere in between," Brooks told reporters.

Republicans acknowledged that by making these changes - which are more welcomed by conservatives in the Freedom Caucus - that it might then cause political heartburn for more moderate Republicans.

"It has the potential to gain votes and lose votes," said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), the head of the influential Republican Study Committee.

And it was clear that some Republicans weren't sold on what they had heard about the new plan.

"I remain a NO," tweeted Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).

But behind the scenes, there was also some obvious outreach going on to bring other Republicans on board, like Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL), who wants provisions in the bill dealing with how Medicaid reimburses for nursing home beds - a big deal in his home state of Florida.

"I think there's a lot of movement," said Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL). "There are several good proposals out there."

Webster said he had met last night with Speaker Ryan about his nursing home bed issue; a similar chat did not produce any results back in March, when the GOP bill foundered in the House - Webster said he hoped this time it would be different.

"Another day, another step," Webster said with a broad grin.

As for when a plan might be voted on, while some conservatives liked that negotiations were still on going, they did not want to go too fast.

I think it would be a mistake to rush it," said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).

"We want to see it before we pass it," said Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN).

Congress is scheduled to leave town this Friday; the House and Senate would not return to legislative session in Washington until the week of April 24.

"We'll see what they sort through," said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), who was not expecting action on health care this week.

"It sounds like I'm going home to have town meetings for a couple of weeks - and that's a good thing."

Read More

News

  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit is investigating an infant girl found dead in a van at a day care Wednesday afternoon. >> Read more trending news Police have Ewing's Love & Hope Preschool & Academy on Lenox Avenue roped off. JSO Assistant Chief of Major Crimes Brian Kee said police were called to the scene just after 1 p.m. The child was found in a car seat in the back of the day care van not breathing. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel tried reviving the child, who was later taken to Wolfson Children's Hospital. Police estimate that the child was in the van, which was parked in the sun from around 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kee said the girl's death appears to be heat-related. Kee said the day care picks up some children to transport them to the day care while some are dropped off by their parents. The day care has about 14 children total. No other children were hurt. Investigators are meeting with the state attorney's office to determine what charges are appropriate.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday walked out of a planned meeting to discuss infrastructure issues with Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, amid frustrations over ongoing investigations into his presidential campaign and administration. >> Read more trending news Trump walked out of the meeting after three minutes, opting instead to hold a news conference in the Rose Garden. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Trump tells Dems - no legislating until investigations are stopped “I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure, I want to do it more than you want to do it,’” he said. “‘But you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances, so get these phony investigations over with.’” Democrats said the walkout seemed scripted. Pelosi called it all 'very, very, very strange' and said she was praying for Trump and the nation. The meeting at the White House had been set weeks ago, after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to talk further about a possible $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. Trump was due to provide the Democrats his ideas on how to pay for it. Schumer said when Trump 'was forced to say how he would pay for it he had to run away.' >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Pelosi accuses Trump of being 'engaged in a cover-up' Earlier Wednesday, after a closed-door hearing with Democrats, Pelosi accused Trump of being “engaged in a cover-up” aimed at blocking oversight related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Trump and his campaign officials.  Mueller completed his probe last month after 22 months of investigation. In a report released earlier this month, Mueller said his team found no evidence that Trump or his campaign officials colluded with Russia to win the election. He did not, however, make a determination around whether Trump obstructed justice in connection to the investigation. >> More on Robert Mueller's investigation Trump has denied all wrongdoing and consistently framed Mueller’s investigation as an expensive and politically motivated “witch hunt” aimed at hurting his presidency.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man accused of stealing $80,000 from a woman he met on a dating website was arrested Tuesday in Tennessee. John Martin Hill, 34, allegedly told the Alpharetta, Georgia, woman he was a millionaire and convinced her they were in love. Within a week of meeting on Match.com, they agreed to marry, according to officials with the Gwinnett County Police Department. The money was was purportedly going toward the purchase of their first home. Police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said that once the money changed hands, the woman did not hear from him again. Police released a photo of Hill on Tuesday morning and asked for the public’s help to locate him. Before the day was out, he was behind bars in Franklin, Tennessee, Pihera said in a Wednesday news release. Hill faces a charge of theft by deception in Gwinnett County. Since announcing the charge, Pihera said police have heard from a few other women who said they were in a relationship with Hill or knew another woman who was. >> Read more trending news  Police are hoping the Alpharetta woman’s misfortune will be a cautionary tale for others who seek love online. “When meeting someone online, be very cautious sharing personal information, financial information, or cash with someone in the early stages of a relationship,” Pihera said in a statement. “These types of con men are very good at manipulating their victims. They tend to say everything that a woman wants to hear.” According to investigators, the scheme started March 27. Hill and the Alpharetta woman exchanged messages on the dating site and arranged to meet in person later the same day. The proposal came next. “During their short romance, he convinced her that they were in love and wanted to buy a house together,” Pihera said. “They went house hunting and selected a home they were interested in.” Related: Man meets Georgia woman on dating site, defrauds her out of $80K, police say The woman thought her $80,000 contribution would help with a down payment on the home and buy the couple some furniture. Police said she didn’t know Hill was already living in an apartment in Duluth, Georgia, with another woman and a child.  Investigators learned Hill has changed his name more than five times in the past three years and is accused of committing similar acts in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. They did not quantify the number of cases connected to Hill.  According to officials with the Franklin Police Department, officers tracked Hill to a Marriott hotel Tuesday night, acting on a tip. When they confronted him, Hill allegedly darted into a hotel conference room and hid under a table. He came out on officer’s orders and was arrested.  Hill, who also has a listed address in South Carolina, is being held in the Williamson County Jail in Tennessee in lieu of a $500,000 bond, according to Franklin Police Department officials. He is expected to be extradited to Georgia, officials with the department said.  “By sharing this story, it is our hope that he is not able to victimize any other women using this scam,” Pihera said in a statement. “We are thankful that the victim in our case came forward and reported this crime,” she said. “If any other women have been victimized by Hill, we encourage them to contact their local police department.”
  • A Chicago-area high school is reprinting its yearbooks after students appeared to show hand gestures associated with white supremacy in more than a dozen photos. >> Read more trending news  Students made the upside-down “OK” gesture in 18 photos of the Oak Park River Forest High School yearbook, Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said in an email sent after a specially called school board meeting Monday night. The school will pay $53,794 to reprint the yearbooks, The Chicago Tribune reported. The gesture started as part of the “circle game,” a juvenile “made-you-look” game, according to the Tribune. Students making the hand gestures in the yearbook were of “various races, ethnicities, genders and grades,” Pruitt-Adams said. However, the gesture has recently been appropriated by white supremacists. Among those who have publicly flashed the symbol is the suspected gunman in the March 15 New Zealand mosque attack that left 51 people dead, the Tribune reported. School officials worried the gesture will become more closely associated with white supremacy, and could harm students when they’re applying to colleges or jobs. “My understanding is [yearbook staff] followed protocol,” she said. “Things in this country change so rapidly. I don’t want anyone to think we are accusing our students of anything. For us, it was the impact of what the publication could have on the student body.” Options like cutting pages out of the yearbook or placing stickers over the photos were considered, but deemed infeasible, Pruitt-Adams said. It’s expected to take three to four weeks to receive the new yearbooks. In the meantime, the school has ordered 2,200 autograph books for students to collect signatures in.
  • The House Intelligence Committee delayed a potential vote Wednesday over whether to hold U.S. Attorney General William Barr in contempt in the ongoing battle over special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report. >> Read more trending news The House Intelligence Committee had planned to meet Wednesday morning to discuss taking “enforcement action” against Barr in light of his refusal to release documents and materials related to Mueller’s investigation, CNN reported. However, the news network reported the meeting was canceled after the Justice Department agreed to turn over documents to the committee. >> William Barr contempt order: What is contempt of Congress; how does it work? “The Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step towards compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the Committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement obtained Wednesday by Politico. “That initial production should be completed by the end of next week.” Schiff issued a subpoena earlier this month to compel Barr to share documents and materials related to the Mueller investigation, including the full, unredacted report. Barr has previously declined to release the full report, citing grand jury information that cannot be released by law among other restrictions. >> Trump: 'We're fighting all the subpoenas' “The law is on our side,” Schiff said in a May 8 statement announcing the subpoena. “The Committee’s efforts to obtain necessary documents to do our constitutionally-mandated oversight work will not be obstructed.” In a statement posted Wednesday on Twitter, Schiff said the subpoena “will remain in effect, and be enforced should DOJ fail to comply with the full document request.” Barr has already been held in contempt by one congressional committee for his refusal to turn over an unredacted version of the report to the House Judiciary Committee. The panel voted May 8 to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. >> House committee votes to hold AG William Barr in contempt of Congress Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told The Wall Street Journal the department appreciates the “continued dialogue with the Committee and look forward to working towards appropriately accommodating their requests.”
  • Officials at a Texas state park posted photographs on social media of a rare snake that mimics a cobra when it feels threatened, the Houston Chronicle reported. >> Read more trending news  The snake, an eastern hognose, was spotted Sunday at Brazos Bend State Park after recent rains flooded areas of the park, the newspaper reported. >> Snake slithers from car hood as woman leaves Texas state park According to a Facebook post by park officials, the snake gets its name from its upturned snout, which is used for digging in sand or dirt. When the reptile believes it is in danger, it raises it head and puffs it out to appear larger. It also flattens out the skin around its neck, making it look like a cobra, park officials wrote. >> Oklahoma man finds 7-foot snake in dryer vent The snake can be found in several colors, including yellow, gray, brown or red. The one spotted Sunday was orange and black, park officials said. Unlike the cobra, the hognose’s venom is not deadly. Park officials called it “mild” and said it was not harmful to humans, the Chronicle reported. >> Snakes alive! Woman scared after finding reptile in golf cart When threatened, the snake can also play dead or spray a “foul, musky smell” to deter predators, the newspaper reported.