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National Govt & Politics
Trump looks to Congress to move on legislative agenda
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Trump looks to Congress to move on legislative agenda

Trump looks to Congress to move on legislative agenda
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Trump looks to Congress to move on legislative agenda

As President Donald Trump on Friday declared himself vindicated over questions related to the probe of election meddling by Russia, he again signaled that he's ready to focus on his legislative agenda, which has presented GOP lawmakers with a struggle on some fronts in the Congress.

Asked about Russia, Mr. Trump said it is time "to get back to running our great country," as he signaled his concerns about jobs, trade deficits and more at a joint news conference with the President of Romania.

Here's an update on where the Trump-GOP agenda stands on Capitol Hill:

1. Senate GOP talks continue on health care. As in the House, the work on a bill to overhaul the Obama health law is taking place in the Senate mainly behind closed doors. More than a month after the House passed a health bill, that measure was finally sent to the Senate this past week, after the Senate Parliamentarian decided that it had no fatal rules violations under the expedited procedures known as "budget reconciliation." Democrats, who are on the outside looking in, are trying to put some heat on the GOP for developing a revised Senate version in private. Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO) led that charge in recent days.

2. Some conservatives remain unhappy with the work. Because budget reconciliation places constraints on what Republicans do to change the Obama health law, there are some in the GOP were continue to grumble that is not going to be 'repeal and replace.' For now, no GOP Senator has said they will refuse to get on board with the Republican plan, but there are outside conservative groups who continue to make it known that they don't like what's happening. It's still not clear when there will be a final Republican bill unveiled and/or when there will be a vote in the Senate.

3. House approves big rollback in 2010 Wall Street reforms. Overshadowed by the tumult over James Comey's testimony in the Senate, the House quietly on Thursday approved a sweeping bill that rolls back a big chunk of the financial reforms undertaken by Democrats after the 2008 Wall Street collapse. While it was certainly a big success for Republicans, the GOP plan could well be dead on arrival in the Senate, where the GOP will need 60 votes. Democrats had 60 votes when they approved the Dodd-Frank law back in 2010, avoiding any filibuster.

4. Infrastructure week doesn't mean infrastructure details. This past week, the White House spent several days focusing on President Trump's plans to spur new construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure. On Friday morning, Mr. Trump vowed to cut all sorts of red tape that goes along with new projects - that's something the Executive Branch can do, without Congress. As for how much money the President would spend - and where it comes from - there is still no Trump Infrastructure bill, and the White House says don't expect on until after Labor Day - and it's not clear if it can get through the Congress, as there are some Republicans wary of such plans, worried they sound like an Obama stimulus law.

5. Tax bill details also on hold until fall. If you are hoping to find out what the White House wants to do with the intricate details of re-writing the tax code, officials made clear that won't happen until after Labor Day as well. One other question that wasn't really answered in recent days was whether this measure would evolve from tax reform to tax cuts - as the Trump Administration still hasn't given a hard answer on whether the plan will be revenue neutral, or raise the deficit by emphasizing tax cuts that are not offset elsewhere in the budget.

Congress works the next three weeks in June, and then takes a week off for the July Fourth break.

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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.
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  • 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.