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  • Republicans press for possible Friday House vote on GOP health care bill

    With a group of more conservative lawmakers from the House Freedom Caucus now on board, Republicans in the House are setting the table for a possible Friday vote on a GOP bill to overhaul the Obama health law, a day before President Donald Trump marks his 100th day in office.

    The clearest sign of a possible vote quietly surfaced overnight, as Republicans posted the text of the GOP health bill – the American Health Care Act – and several related amendments, on a website which shows the expected schedule for the House floor.

    The changes included language worked out in [More]

  • Five highlights from President Trump’s tax plan

    The Trump Administration today released the basic framework of President Trump’s tax reform plan, which would make dramatic changes in the federal tax code for both individuals and businesses, as top officials urged Congress to act swiftly on what would be the biggest reform of the tax code since a plan approved by President Reagan over thirty years ago.

    What would some of those changes look like?

    1. Larger standard deduction and fewer tax brackets. For many Americans, the most immediate impact of the Trump tax plan would be a larger standard deduction, which would shield more of your income from federal [More]

  • Republicans reverse course on plan to exempt Congress from some health care changes

    Caught off guard by a provision in a new agreement to be added to a GOP health overhaul bill, Republicans on Wednesday said they would drop language which seemed to exempt members of Congress from coverage changes that would be allowed under the Obama health law, as conservatives in the House rallied around the underlying Republican health bill.

    “This is common sense,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), as he said the exemption should be dropped. “We’re going to make sure that members of Congress are under the same rules as our constituents.”

    The issue arose as part of a deal struck [More]

  • New GOP health changes would evidently not impact – members of Congress

    The legislative text of a deal being worked out among Republicans on new changes to a GOP health overhaul bill would seemingly carve out an exception to any insurance changes that might affect coverage for members of Congress, allowing them to maintain current benefits under the Affordable Care Act, while states would be allowed to reduce the mandated scope of health insurance coverage for consumers.

    Health care reporter Sarah Kliff was one of the first to report on the change, which would seemingly make sure that members of Congress did not see changes to their own health plans.

    At issue [More]

  • Federal judge blocks Trump executive order holding back funds to sanctuary cities

    In a blow to efforts by President Donald Trump to crack down on jurisdictions that protect immigrants illegally in the United States, a federal judge in California has issued a nationwide injunction against a plan to withhold federal dollars going to sanctuary cities, dealing the White House another legal setback on a Trump executive action.

    “The threat is unconstitutionally coercive,” wrote federal judge William Orrick, who ruled that the Executive had overstepped his authority with this order.

    “The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal [More]

  • Key lawmakers: Flynn likely broke law by not disclosing Russia payments

    Top lawmakers on a U.S. House Committee said Tuesday that a review of documents submitted by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn shows that the aide to President Donald Trump never revealed he had been paid for a 2015 trip to Russia, and that Flynn never sought the permission of the military or State Department for that venture.

    “He was supposed to seek permission prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment, but to engage in that activity,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

    “This is something Gen. Flynn was supposed to do [More]

  • White House may not force budget showdown over money for border wall

    The White House is signaling that the Trump Administration will not insist that a stop gap government funding bill include money to build a wall along the border with Mexico, as negotiations continued with Congress on a plan that would avert a government shutdown on Friday night.

    “If you’re actually trying to build a 2200 mile wall, it’s probably not going to happen,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as GOP lawmakers instead suggested money could be approved for a wall, simply by lumping it into broader security upgrades along the border.

    “There are a combination of efforts that will be effective along [More]

  • State Department pulls down web story about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club

    Hours after a U.S. Senator accused the Trump Administration of using taxpayer dollars to promote President Donald Trump’s private club in Florida, the State Department pulled down a story written by government employees about the resort, what some ethics experts said was nothing more than an advertisement for Mr. Trump’s personal business interests.

    “Use of public office for private gain pure and simple,” said Richard Painter, a former White House ethics attorney for President George W. Bush.

    “Realtor.com — not the State Department– should help President Trump sell club memberships for $200,000,” Painter added on Twitter.

    At issue was a post done by [More]

  • State Department promotion of Mar-a-Lago questioned by Senator

    The State Department is using official web pages and social media to publicize the history of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, prompting one Democratic Senator to publicly ask why taxpayer money is being used to promote a private club run by Mr. Trump.

    “Here’s the full post in its kleptocratic glory,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote on Twitter, as he said he would like to know more about why Mar-a-Lago is getting publicity from the U.S. Government on Facebook, the website of the U.S. Embassy in London, and more.

    “Mar-a-Lago: The winter White House,” is the title of the article, [More]

  • Congress returns to session facing government shutdown threat

    As the Congress returns to work in Washington, D.C. after a two week break, lawmakers in both parties face a series of unsettled political battlegrounds, one of which could bring about a government shutdown by the end of the week, as President Trump and Republican leaders in the Congress grapple with the budget, money for their priorities, and unanswered questions on major issues like health reform.

    Here’s a snapshot as we begin the week in the nation’s capital.

    1. Will the government shutdown on Friday night? That will be the biggest question as lawmakers return to legislative work sessions in the House [More]

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • As if traffic on I-4 near the attractions isn't enough on it's own, a depression opened up in the median near World Drive Thursday, causing additional slow downs.   As emergency personnel arrived to investigated the incident, drivers slowed down to get a better look as well.   The depression, which is about 15 feet wide and 10 feet deep, was reported just before 5 p.m. rush.   The Florida Department of Transportation was evaluating the situation and had not released any information on what would be done to mitigate the depression.   No other details were immediately released.
  • Prosecutors are building a money trail of deposits, withdrawals, and lavish spending allegedly benefiting former Congresswoman Corrine Brown, through the testimony of an FBI Special Agent. But Brown’s defense says, at no time, did she have control of the account in question. Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Criminal Division Eric Olshan’s questioning of FBI Special Agent Vanessa Stelly has spanned two days of Brown’s federal fraud trial. Stelly was assigned to this investigation as part of her work in the white collar crime division. She told the court she had worked through bank and business records for Brown, as well as the alleged sham charity One Door For Education, which Brown and a few others are accused of funneling money through. Stelly confirmed that at no time was One Door registered in either Virginia- where it was incorporated as a business- or Florida to solicit charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization. One Door’s President, Carla Wiley, opened a bank account for the organization in 2011, but it closed about a year later because of a negative balance. Wiley opened another account with a $250 initial deposit, and there was no activity until August 2012, when Stelly says there was a $25,000 check deposited by a Political Action Committee based in Virginia. That PAC is backed by a lobbying firm where Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, works. Corrine and Shantrel Brown share a home in Virginia. One of the points that prosecutors are trying to hammer in is that there was a habit of using One Door donations for the personal expenses of Brown and a few others. To do that, Olshan first walked Stelly through repeated instances where bank records show hundreds of dollars at a time being taken from the One Door account at an ATM near the home of Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, with a like sum soon after deposited in one of Brown’s accounts- also in Laurel, Maryland, where Simmons lived. Prosecutors further showed surveillance of Simmons making at least one withdrawal and deposit. Prosecutors alleged Simmons would sometimes withdraw the cash and give it directly to Brown, and there was a surveillance photo of Brown herself making one deposit. Another focus is a trip by Brown and her daughter to the Bahamas, and later Los Angeles. A July 2013 check for $3,000 from the One Door account made out to a specific Bank of America bank account said in the memo line that it was for children’s summer camps. Stelly says bank records show $3,000 being deposited around the same time in to Shantrel Brown’s bank account, and $1,000 being transferred from Shantrel Brown’s account to that of her mother. At the same time, Stelly says bank records show several cash withdrawals from One Door’s account in Simmons’ city of residence amounting to $3,000, the same sum which was then deposited in to Brown’s account as well. This all happened as Brown and her daughter first spent time at a resort in the Bahamas and then traveled to the Los Angeles-area, where they did a significant amount of shopping, according to Stelly’s analysis. When Stelly’s testimony resumed Thursday, the focus turned to more than $330,000 in One Door funds that the US Attorney’s Office says funded events hosted by Brown or in Brown’s honor which didn’t actually result in any kind of scholarship fundraising. There were several events Stelly says were represented as being paid for by another group, like Friends of Corrine Brown, but actually had at least some One Door dollars. Still other events were almost entirely funded by One Door, but raised no scholarship dollars. Brown’s attorney, James Smith III, led questioning where Stelly admitted that at no time did One Door apparently solicit donations claiming it would only be for scholarships. He added that some of those events, including an annual reception held in DC, could provide for good networking opportunities with lawmakers and other important parties. Additionally, Stelly confirmed that Brown herself did not have control over the One Door accounts and was not ever formally affiliated with the organization. This is a developing story that will be updated as testimony continued in to the afternoon. WOKV is inside of the federal courtroom and will bring you new information as it comes in.
  • A pair of protective hawks has residents in one central Florida neighborhood ducking and running for cover this week. The birds are attacking people who get too near their nests in Oviedo in suburban Orlando, local news outlets reported. >> Read more trending news It hits me on the side of the head, not just hit, but grabbed, knocked me to the ground. I had to kind of shake my head loose,' resident Beverly Bonadonna told WPLG-TV.  'At that point, I started screaming for my husband ... then it flew away, it finally let go. >> Related: Man allegedly stuffed puppies into pillow cases, left them in drain Bonadonna had to go to the hospital for treatment of puncture wounds and a tetanus shot, but she said more than anything she was terrified during the attack. 'I have never been attacked by one; never even considered that I could be. I have never, I mean, they swoop real low over our head but never considered it was really a possibility,' she told WPLG. Bonadonna isn’t the only victim. Another resident in the same neighborhood, Don Cochran, has a hawk nest in tree next to his house and has been attacked twice. 'He scratched me right in the back of the head, but if you weren't thinking about him, he could have knocked you down because he weighs about 5, 6 pounds,' Cochran said.' >> Related: Florida Fish and Wildlife searches for monkey on the loose Cochran says he now uses an umbrella to go to the mailbox and hasn’t been attacked since. Hawks and their nests are protected under Florida law and can’t be moved or harmed.  Sarah Elsesser contributed to this story.
  • A wildfire has grown to 250 acres this afternoon in Volusia County, crossing State Road 44 after the wind shifted. Called the Damascus Fire, it forced the Florida Highway Patrol to close a section of the road between DeLand and Samsula, so fire plows could safely work in the area. Julie Allen with the Florida Forest Service said 14 tractor plows are trying to keep the flames from spreading further, with assistance from local fire departments. Federal personnel are also on the scene. “We had a sudden wind shift in the midst of the battle, and it caused a little bit of an issue with spotting over,” she explained. Cause of the fire is not known, but gusty winds help it to spread in the mostly rural area.
  • Its not clear why he went up there, but a naked man spent hours on a 140-foot utility tower in New Orleans East. Firefighters were able to raise a ladder and rescue him about 3 p.m. He was seen being placed in ambulance. Power was cut off to prevent him being electrocuted during the rescue.  The tower is near a Luzianne plant, but on Entergy property.