ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Mostly Cloudy
H 88° L 69°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 69°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 69°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 86° L 58°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Trump, Republicans to roll the dice with Friday health care vote
Close

Trump, Republicans to roll the dice with Friday health care vote

Trump, Republicans to roll the dice with Friday health care vote
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Trump, Republicans to roll the dice with Friday health care vote

Determined to push a health overhaul bill through the House, President Donald Trump is basically daring GOP lawmakers to vote against the plan, as Republican leaders in Congress unveiled several new changes to the bill on Thursday night, hoping they would bring conservatives and moderates on board to avoid what would be an embarrassing political defeat on the politically explosive issue of health care.

Here is the latest from Capitol Hill:

1. White House decides it is simply time to vote. Looking to avoid a never-ending parade of negotiations that might not bear fruit, President Trump had his lieutenants go to Capitol Hill to send a message to GOP lawmakers at a closed door meeting - it's time to vote on a GOP health bill that's been the subject of intense talks in recent days. "It's a call to unity," said Trump's chief ally in the House, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). "The President said there will be a vote...we're then going to move on to the rest of his agenda." In other words - if Republicans defeat this bill, then you get to live with Obamacare. It will put pressure on GOP lawmakers to get in line.

2. What is being changed in the bill? After a lot of negotiating in recent days, the GOP unveiled several changes, the main one being a plan to get rid of federally required, "Essential Health Benefits" in the Obama health law. That is basically what sets out the minimum requirements for what a health insurance plan must cover. The idea there is by getting the federal government out of that type of regulation, it can help reduce premiums, by allowing insurance companies to offer less expensive plans - which would not cover as much in terms of possible health issues. "Each State shall define the essential health benefits," is what the text says. That move will cost the GOP some moderate votes.

Jamie Dupree
Close

health97

Jamie Dupree

3. One Obamacare tax will survive for six years. While Republicans have talked about getting rid of all the taxes from the Obama health law, this latest GOP revision would keep a 0.9 percent surtax on high income earners for Medicare to 2023, with that money being funneled into a $15 billion "stability fund" to help deal with coverage for mental health, maternity coverage and newborn care. That seems to be the only tax from the health law that would survive in the GOP plan, other than a longer term delay in the implementation of the Cadillac tax on higher cost health plans, which wouldn't be implemented until 2026.

4. Some GOP lawmakers still holding out for more changes. As the House wrapped up work on Thursday night, Speaker Paul Ryan could be seen on the House floor in an extended discussion with Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL). I knew exactly what that was about. Webster has been telling me for weeks that one issue he wants addressed in this bill that impacts his home state of Florida, is to make sure there is enough money available in Medicaid to fund nursing home beds in the Sunshine State. "They're going to work on it, see if they can get to what I want to do," Webster told me Thursday night. "We'll see what happens." It wasn't in the amendment that was filed with the Rules Committee.

5. Other Republicans not sure what they would do. As I chased down GOP lawmakers during the final series of votes on Thursday night, several gave me the look of, "Don't ask me about health care" as I approached, not yet ready to say what they would do on Friday. "We'll have to see what bill they intend to put on the floor," said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). "I'm still a 'no,'" said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), though he immediately noted that the tide seemed to be turning in favor of the health care bill. "Keeping my fingers crossed," said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) as many Republicans say it's time to pass the bill and move on.

6. But what if it collapses on the House floor? There were some who wondered if President Trump was bluffing, trying to buffalo Republicans into thinking that the bill will pass, in order to get them on board. A defeat would certainly ripple through the halls of Congress and down at the White House, and already on Thursday evening, the knives seemed to be out for Speaker Ryan. Usually you don't roll the dice or bluff in a legislative session, but there seemed to be a bit of that going on, as the President dares the Freedom Caucus and others to vote no.

7. Arrows also pointed at the Freedom Caucus. While some wonder what might happen to Speaker Ryan if the health bill goes down to defeat, there are other Republicans who feel like the House Freedom Caucus needs to get in line. "This is a team exercise," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). We can't have a small group - left or right - dictating to everybody." One person getting some flak was the Freedom Caucus chair, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). "Mark Meadows is more interested in being on the TV than solving problems," fumed Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA).

8. Will the bill win? Will it lose? I don't like to make predictions. If you think Trump is just bluffing, you could find ample evidence that last minute wrangling wasn't moving votes his way on health care. "I'm a no," said Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), who rejected the move to strip the Essential Health Benefits. "I do not like that change." Some Freedom Caucus members were still not on board, like Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who said he was voting, "HELL NO." There is a lot at stake in the political fight over the Obama health law.

The House Rules Committee convenes at 7 am on Friday. The House convenes at 9 am. A vote on the GOP health bill could take place by late in the afternoon.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A large cargo plane crashed Saturday in Texas, killing all three people on board, officials said.  Photos: Amazon cargo plane crashes into shallow bay Federal Aviation Administration officials said the twin-engine Boeing 767 plane crashed around 12:45 p.m. about 3 miles west of the Chambers County Airport, KHOU reported. The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office said no one survived, WPLG reported.  Witnesses said they heard the plane’s engines surging and that the craft turned sharply before falling into a nosedive, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said. Dave Clark, senior vice president of Worldwide Operations at Amazon, said:  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy. We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Hawthorne told the Houston Chronicle late Saturday afternoon that police had found human remains at the site of the crash. Investigators have also recovered parts of the plane, he said. “There’s everything from cardboard boxes to women’s clothing and bed sheets,” Hawthorne said. The largest piece from the Boeing 767 that police have recovered is 50 feet long, Hawthorne told the newspaper. The sheriff said recovering pieces of the plane and its black box containing flight data records will be difficult in muddy marshland that extends to about 5 feet deep in the area. Air boats are needed to access the area. The plane, operated by Atlas Air, departed from Miami and was headed to George Bush International Airport. >> Read more trending news  Atlas Air operates 20 cargo planes for Amazon. The Amazon Prime Air branded aircraft was converted from a passenger to cargo plane in 2016, Airways Magazine reported. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for former President Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was submitted Friday and parts of it were made public Saturday. >> Read more trending news Mueller’s team filed its recommendation for Manafort’s punishment in one of his two criminal cases, but U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson says it contains sensitive information that prosecutors want to keep secret.  UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EST, Feb. 23: Robert Mueller has recommended a U.S. District Court judge not be lenient when sentencing Paul Manafort, according to an 800-page sentencing memo made public Saturday. In the memo, Mueller alleges Manafort “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law” and shows a “hardened adherence to committing crimes,” the Washington Post reported. Mueller didn’t recommend a specific sentence for Manafort, but noted that federal guidelines call for a sentence of 17 to 22 years. However, under Manafort’s guilty plea, the statutory maximum he faces is 10 years, according to the Washington Post. The special counsel said they may ask Judge Amy Berman Jackson to order a sentence that runs consecutive to whatever sentence Manafort receives in Virginia federal court. 'Based on his relevant sentencing conduct, Manafort presents many aggravating sentencing factors and no warranted mitigating factors,” Mueller wrote. Manafort is set to be sentenced March 8 in Virginia, and will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on March 13. ORIGINAL REPORT: The midnight deadline for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office to make recommendations about the sentencing for Paul Manafort passed Friday night, but the report was not publicly released as of Saturday morning.  Manafort, President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, pleaded guilty to several charges last year.  Prosecutors may have sent the document to Judge Amy Berman Jackson under seal, with proposed redactions, CNN reported Saturday. It would then be up to Jackson to decide what happens next. Prosecutors were expected to file the sentencing memo in federal court in Washington, where Manafort pleaded guilty in September to charges including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering. >> More on Robert Mueller's investigation  Manafort agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s team as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors; however, authorities later said Manafort lied to investigators. Prosecutors are not expected to recommend leniency for him. Manafort’s attorneys will have until midnight Monday to file their own sentencing memo. A judge is expected to hand down Manafort’s sentence March 13 at a 9:30 a.m. hearing before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. >> Judge rules Paul Manafort intentionally lied after agreeing to cooperate In a separate case that also stemmed from Mueller’s investigation, a jury in Virginia found Manafort guilty last summer of tax and bank fraud charges in a case related to work he and an associate did for pro-Russia political forces in Ukraine. Prosecutors last week recommended Manafort serve between 19.5 and 24.5 years in prison and be fined as much as $24 million for those crimes. Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in that case during a 9 a.m. hearing March 8 before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, according to a court filing. >> Mueller recommends Paul Manafort be sentenced to 19.5-24.5 years in prison and $24M fine Last month, defense attorneys said Manafort has been kept in solitary confinement for his own safety. He’s had severe gout for several months of his incarceration, according to his attorneys, and it’s sometimes been severe enough to require him to use a wheelchair. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A 31-year-old man was arrested Friday in connection with the fatal shooting of his grandfather at a home near Ocoee. Deputies said the victim was shot shortly before 7:15 a.m. in the Lake Florence subdivision near Good Homes Road.  Relatives said the victim was boxing icon Lucious 'Lou' Harris.  Deputies said they arrested Lucien Harris in connection with the shooting.  “My father was, like, an icon in the boxing world,' said Steve Harris, the victim's son and the suspect's uncle. 'Everybody knew him -- all across the world.'  He said he and his family almost expected something bad to happen.  'It's not a complete surprise. Not to me,' Harris said. 'It could have been me. It could have been my other brother in the car, my sister. We all knew something was going to happen eventually, but not my dad.'  Lou Harris owned Harris Boxing on Ivey Lane in Orlando and trained hundreds of fighters, including his grandson, relatives said.  'He took people from the street and took them right to the Olympics -- and (they won) gold medals, bronze medals. He did it all,' Steve Harris said of his father.  He said the suspect was living with his grandfather at his Florence Vista Boulevard home.  He said Lucien Harris was once a boxer, too, but was not successful and had resentment and jealousy because of it.  Records said Lucien Harris was arrested in October after he was accused of threatening to kill his uncle with a hammer and knife.  His uncle told investigators at the time that Lucien Harris has 'schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and does not take medications for his issues,' records said.  Lucien Harris was not prosecuted in that case.  Records said his arrest history dates back to 2004, when he was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.  Since then, he has also been arrested on charges of possessing a gun as a convicted felon, armed burglary and grand theft.  'His grandson had issues for many years,' Steve Harris said. 'He did time at an early age.'  Lucien Harris was booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of first-degree murder.
  • Who doesn't love food and drinks, especially when it comes to trying out a variety of kinds all in one visit? Thankfully, if you don't have any weekend plans, you can check out the annual Downtown Food and Wine Fest located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola.  This year's celebration on Robinson Street features over 30 dishes from Orlando's premier restaurants, over 50 domestic and international wines, and of course, LIVE entertainment.  However, before you set out to enjoy the festival there's a few things you need to know:  - You can't bring any outside food or drink to the event.  - Pets are not allowed inside due to food health laws set by the City of Orlando.  - You can bring your own blanket and chairs to sit and enjoy the live music.  - Since its on the weekend, you can expect road closures. Here they are:  Southbound Eola Drive from Robinson Street to Washington Street at 10am  Northbound Eola Drive from Robinson Street to Washington Street until 2pm.  Broadway, Cathcart, Hillman from Ridgewood Street to Robinson Street until 2pm.  Robinson Street from Rosalind Avenue to Summerlin Avenue at 6am.   Ticket prices for the event vary, depending on what you want to do. You can check them out here:  https://downtownfoodandwinefest.radio.com/ticket-info  The events starts on Saturday, February 23rd from 12pm to 9pm and Sunday, February 24th from 12pm to 7pm.
  • Southeastern Grocers announced the closing of another eight Florida stores in coming months. Jacksonville based Southeastern Grocers, is the parent company to Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Bi-Lo and Fresco y Mas grocery stores.  The company owns more than 550 stores throughout the southeast and declared bankruptcy last spring. The bankruptcy restructuring included closing 94 stores to help lower debt by about $600 million.  In addition to the eight stores closing in Florida, two of which are in Central Florida, another 14 are closing throughout the South.  The two in Central Florida include the Winn-Dixie at 7840 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy in Kissimmee and the Winn-Dixie at 5732 N. Hiawassee Road in Orlando.

Washington Insider

  • Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled their one page plan on Friday to overturn President Donald Trump's bid to funnel more money to a border wall by declaring a national emergency, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters said the House would vote next Tuesday to block the President's executive actions on funding for the wall. 'Members of Congress all swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution,' the Speaker said. 'The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,' Pelosi wrote earlier this week in a letter to fellow Democrats. Democrats said they already have more than a majority of members signed on to the one page resolution to reject the Trump national emergency. 'We hope that enough of our normal Republican enablers will join us to stand up for the Constitution,' said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). 'If not, we’re ready to turn to the courthouse.' As of Friday, only one Republican in the House had signed on to the plan to reject the President’s national emergency, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). “Trump’s absurd declaration of a “national emergency” undercuts the Constitution,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), as approval in the House would send the plan to the Senate. Under special rules governing this process, GOP leaders would not be able to ignore the House action, as a vote must take place on the resolution. But even if it passes in the Senate, a veto is likely by President Trump, and at this point - it seems unlikely that Democrats could muster enough GOP votes for a two-thirds supermajority to override a veto.