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National Govt & Politics
Still slow going in Congress on Trump legislative agenda
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Still slow going in Congress on Trump legislative agenda

Still slow going in Congress on Trump legislative agenda
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Still slow going in Congress on Trump legislative agenda

With two legislative work weeks left this month, Republicans in the Congress have yet to find the magic formula to unleash action on President Donald Trump's legislative agenda, as most of the big ticket items are still stalled behind a GOP push on health care legislation, which remains the subject of closed door Republican negotiations in the U.S. Senate.

Here's where we stand on Capitol Hill:

1. Health care. Health care. Health care. This could be a pivotal week for Republicans in the Senate, as they try to make headway on a health care overhaul deal. If there is going to be a vote on a GOP health care bill before lawmakers leave for a July Fourth break, that would have to happen next week - which means this week would have to produce some kind of legislative breakthrough for Republicans. I can find you ten reasons why this process looks like it could turn into a burning trash dumpster at any minute. But I can also find you a lot of people who think the GOP will pull a legislative rabbit out of the hat and push something over the goal line. Whether that happens in June or July is not clear. We should have a better idea of what's next in coming days. Democrats are trying to keep the focus on the secret talks - the GOP is having none of that.

2. 2018 budget gets more behind schedule every day. Republicans in Congress know they have no chance to finish the dozen spending bills to fund the federal government by October 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The only question is how they deal with it. As of now, no funding bills for next year have been approved. Usually, that work begins in earnest in the month of June, but a delayed Trump budget slowed that process down. There are some in the GOP who are already making the case that the GOP should scrap the regular dozen appropriations bills, and just roll every bill into a big Omnibus spending measure and pass it BEFORE lawmakers go home for their August break. I'm not sure that's going to happen, but it's pretty interesting that it is even being discussed by the GOP.

3. Don't hold your breath on tax bill or infrastructure. While President Trump and Congressional leaders keep talking up their work on tax cuts, tax reform, and new money for roads and bridges - that doesn't mean anything is going to get voted on anytime soon. As of now, the Trump White House doesn't plan to unveil a tax bill until after Labor Day, and the same goes for an infrastructure bill. One reason is that none of that can get done until the Rubik's cube of health care gets solved by Republicans in the Congress. So, those two big bullet points of the Trump agenda probably won't be debated or voted on this summer, no matter how much the President or anyone else talks about it.

4. Trump will chalk up one achievement this week on the VA. On Tuesday, President Trump will sign into law a bipartisan bill to help reform the operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It's the latest effort by the Congress to make it easier for officials to fire under performing employees at the VA, as previous laws have fallen short. VA Secretary David Shulkin has moved ahead with a series of internal reforms in recent months, but even he admits there are a lot of things to get done at that department. The good news is that there are a lot of members in both parties who want to help.

5. Trump nominations - delays by both parties. President Trump has made a regular part of his attacks against Democrats in Congress by calling Senate Democrats "obstructionists," arguing they are slowing work on all of his nominations. In some ways, Democrats are slow walking a lot of nominations - but that's only once they get to the Senate floor. Before then, the GOP controls the process, and one thing the Senate can't control is how quickly the White House sends nominations to Capitol Hill. For example, it's been ten days since President Trump made his choice for FBI Director - but the nomination papers still haven't been sent to the Senate. You can't hold hearings on an FBI nominee if the FBI nomination isn't official.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Singer R. Kelly appeared Friday morning in a Cook County courthouse as he faces accusations of sexual abuse. >> Read more trending newsA lawyer for Kelly, who was charged last month with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, has filed a motion requesting he be allowed to leave the U.S. for Dubai from April 17 to April 19, where he’s scheduled to perform several shows, WLS-TV reported. >> Who is R. Kelly? Things to know about singer charged with sex abuse Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, asked Friday for the motion to be decided later to give Kelly’s team time to gather more information to present to the court. Kelly is scheduled to appear in court again on May 7. Greenberg said in a court filing that Kelly has been unable to find work in the United States amid backlash for the allegations against him, according to the Chicago Tribune. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox said last month that the charges against Kelly stem from incidents alleged to have occurred between 1998 and 2010 with four victims, three of which were under the age of 17. “The request is outrageous, and I would be shocked if it is granted,” Michael Avenatti, an attorney representing two of Kelly’s accusers, told WLS-TV. “Were he (to) be permitted to leave, he would never return, and justice would be denied.” >> R. Kelly released from jail after someone paid his child support payment Kelly, one of the top-selling recording artists of all time, has several times over the years been accused of sexual misconduct, allegations that he’s consistently denied. Jurors acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges at a 2008 trial. Those charges stemmed from a video prosecutors alleged showed of Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Three suspects are under arrest, accused of pulling a gun a pizza delivery person, then robbing him and stealing his car.   It happened last night around 8:30 p.m. in the 7400 block of West Colonial Drive in Orlando.   The suspects then fled in the stolen car, but deputies caught up with them on the SR 429 and pursued them, given the violent nature of their crime.   Deputies ended up stopping the car on the highway in Winter Garden, near the Schofield Road exit.   All three suspects were taken into custody.   We are also learning the pizza delivery driver wasn't injured in the robbery.
  • Sometimes the internet tears people down, and sometimes it brings people together to commiserate. Currently Twitter users are sharing stories of their own disasters after Twitter user @BorboaGrant shared a video of a coworker spilling 22 quarts (that's 5.5 gallons!) of ranch dressing. People started responding with videos of their own spills, including one worker accidentally throwing a hot pizza at a customer. APP USERS CAN SEE VIDEO HERE.  TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET
  • You’ve heard of all the times in which police have been called for varying otherwise-routine behaviors like ‘driving while black,’ and ‘grilling while black,’ now we can add ‘moving while black’ to the list.  A Kansas man was detained with guns drawn on him while he was moving into a home he just bought.  Karle Robinson, a 61-year-old Marine veteran, was held at gunpoint and handcuffed in August as he was carrying a television out of a rented moving van into the home he had bought a month earlier in Tonganoxie, about 30 miles west of Kansas City. “I’d like to see those cops and that chief lose their jobs because this was uncalled for — this is strictly racial profiling,” Robinson told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. He added that if he were white “we wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now.”  APP USERS CAN SEE VIDEO HERE. 
  • Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley You don’t usually have to look too far to find fun things to do around Central Florida, and we’ve got you covered by selecting the best of the best each week. Estee talks through our top weekend picks early Friday morning on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley. icFlorida Fun 3: Country Thunder March 22-24, 2pm - 11pm Osceola Heritage Park Country Thunder is rolling into Kissimmee’s Osceola Heritage Park with a lineup which is set to include some of the biggest acts in country music from March 22-24, 2019. In addition to three days of the biggest and best acts that country music has to offer, the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo will also now be taking place during the festival. 11th Annual Lakeridge Wine and Seafood Festival  This signature event at Lakeridge Winery marks the beginning of springtime and the warmer weather brings people out to enjoy fabulous live outside music and entertainment throughout the entire weekend. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of tasty seafood specialties will be available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting.   8th Annual Pints n’ Paws Craft Beer Festival Hosted by the West End Trading Co in beautiful and historic Downtown Sanford, Pints N’ Paws raises money for our four legged friends with craft brews, contests, food trucks, and more.    3 More Fun Things: 26th Annual Battle at Narcoossee Mill 7th Annual Uptown Art Expo Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Stay in the know about what fun things are happening throughout Central Florida at icFlorida.com. - http://www.icflorida.com/

Washington Insider

  • In an interview aired Friday morning by the Fox Business network, President Donald Trump again voiced his public displeasure about actions of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), at one point admonishing TV host Maria Bartiromo for pressing him several times about why he was criticizing someone who is dead, suggesting that the subject wasn't supposed to be part of the exclusive White House interview. 'Now, I could say I have no comment, but that's not me,' the President told Bartiromo, who had just questioned how Mr. Trump could unite the country at the same time he was blasting a dead U.S. Senator. 'You shouldn't have brought it up,' the President told Bartiromo after she asked about McCain. 'Actually, I thought you weren't supposed to bring it up. But that's okay, fake news.' 'No, it's not fake news,' Bartiromo countered, as the President again criticized McCain for giving the Steele Dossier to the FBI some two months after the law enforcement agency had already received the materials alleging ties between Russia and officials tied to the Trump campaign. 'He handed something to the FBI on me - he knew it was a fake,' Mr. Trump said. “I’m not a fan,” the President said. Bartiromo later said there had been no conditions at all on the subject of Sen. McCain. “My thanks to President Trump for joining us and for the record, there were no conditions or stipulations agreed to ahead of that interview,” Bartiromo said on Friday. During the interview, Bartiromo questioned why the President would continue to tangle with McCain, saying, “Mr. President, he's dead. He can't punch back. I know you punch back, but he's dead.” 'It was a fraud,' Mr. Trump said of the Steele Dossier, as he said McCain had given the documents to 'the FBI for very evil purposes.' In Congress, most Republicans remained fairly silent about the President's public blasts at McCain, with a few lone voices urging him to move on to something else, like freshmen Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). In the Fox Business interview, President Trump again complained about the Mueller probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 elections. As the President left the White House on Friday morning for his Florida retreat, Mr. Trump said he knew nothing about the status of the Mueller investigation. “I have no idea about the Mueller report,” Mr. Trump said as he walked up to reporters gathered on the South Lawn on the White House. The President also criticized Democrats in Congress over their investigations into various White House and Trump Administration matters, saying it was just an extension of the Mueller probe. 'This is a continuation of the same witch hunt,' Mr. Trump said, in a familiar refrain.