A day after offering Democrats a compromise designed to break an almost month-long impasse over border security funding, which has idled hundreds of thousands of federal government workers as a result of a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump on Sunday denied that his plans amounted to ‘amnesty’ for illegal immigrants, as he pressed Democrats to accept the deal. “Amnesty is not a part of my offer,” the President wrote in one of a series of Sunday posts on Twitter about his Saturday afternoon speech, which basically offered temporary protection from deportation for about 1 million illegal immigrants, in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. Mr. Trump also sought to put pressure on Democrats – especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the White House touted the support of Republicans in the Senate, who will try to advance the border plan later this week. “Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday before I even got up to speak,” the President said. No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2019 There were some conservative voices who gave the President’s plan a thumbs-down, not pleased with the move to shield around 700,000 DACA recipients, and another 300,000 people who had overstayed their temporary permission to be in the U.S. – but Republicans in the Senate tried to make it look like those voices were a minority of the GOP. “All members of Congress should take this proposal seriously,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “I will absolutely vote for this proposal,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). The irony of the President’s immigration proposals weren’t lost on Democrats – as the Trump Administration has tried to end protections for DACA recipients, and targeted hundreds of thousands of others with “Temporary Protective Status” for deportation. “The President cancelled DACA. He stopped TPS,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). “He got us into this mess.” “Once again, Trump is trying to find leverage with problems that he created. No deal,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). The president tried to end DACA in 2017. He slashed and ended TPS protections in 2018. In December, he shut down the government. Using people as leverage is immoral. Reopen the government now. — Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 20, 2019 “Stop holding federal employees hostage and stop holding the young people in DACA hostage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). As for the actual legislative details of the President’s plan, those still weren’t available on Sunday, but Politico reported that the plan may also include over $12 billion in hurricane and wildfire disaster relief, along with other spending provisions – all of that would need 60 votes to advance in the Senate. The House and Senate are not in session on Monday, because of the federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This was originally a legislative break week for Congress, but now will be ground zero for the fight over the border wall and the partial shutdown. If no final deal is reached this week, 800,000 federal workers would miss a second paycheck on Friday, January 25.
University of Central Florida President Emeritus John Hitt has resigned, and four high-ranking university administrators have been fired over a scandal involving millions of dollars in building projects. In 2018, the university was building new buildings with more than $80 million that was meant for other work. During a meeting Friday, board members got their first look at an outside investigation into the misspending. The report said Hitt likely did not know these building projects were being improperly paid for. The same goes for the board of trustees, but the report said plenty of other people did. University board members spent hours Friday afternoon going over a 63-page report that is critical of how UCF handles money. One of the lawyers involved in investigating the university made it clear the financial issues span a series of projects and a number of years. However, they're centered around the $38 million project to build Trevor Colbourn Hall on campus. Records show the project was funded with state money that was never earmarked for construction and should have gone to things like curriculum for the students. Leaders here are looking for changes because it took the state attorney general's office poking around in the university's finances to uncover the misspending. The scandal already forced the resignation of former Chief Financial Officer Bill Merck. When it comes to Hitt, investigators said he 'was advised of the possibility that the funding for TCH might lead to an adverse audit finding, and that he directed Merck to go forward with the project anyway.' The names of the four employees being let go are Associate Vice President of Finance Tracy Clark, Associate Vice President of Facilities Lee Kernek, Associate Vice President of Debt and Revenue John Pittman and university Controller Christy Tant. The board will be back next week, deciding what else to do to try to stop this from happening again.
Fifteen officials in the state of Michigan are facing charges in relation to an investigation into the lead-contaminated water in Flint, where there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014 and 2015. >> Read more trending news The Associated Press reported that seven people pleaded no contest to misdemeanors. They will not have a criminal record as a result. Those seven are: Michael Prysby, Stephen Busch, Liane Shekter Smith and Adam Rosenthal, of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Mike Glasgow and Daugherty 'Duffy' Johnson, who worked for the city of Flint. Corinne Miller of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Eight people have pending charges, The AP reported. Those charged are: Nick Lyon, former director of the state health department. Involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office. Dr. Eden Wells, former Michigan chief medical executive. Involuntary manslaughter, obstructing justice, lying, misconduct in office. Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott of the state health department. Misconduct in office, conspiracy. Patrick Cook of the Department of Environmental Quality. Misconduct in office, conspiracy. Gerald Ambrose, former Flint emergency manager. Conspiracy, misconduct in office, false pretenses. Darnell Earley, former Flint emergency manager. Involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, misconduct in office. Howard Croft, former director of Flint public works. Involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy. Twelve people are believed to have died in relation to the water crisis. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.