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Roy Moore, the conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, was accused Thursday of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor.

The explosive allegation, in a Washington Post report, comes against one of the GOP's most outspoken Christian conservatives less than five weeks before a special election that Moore is favored to win despite his long history of inflammatory rhetoric.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if the allegation is true, Moore "must step aside."

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(TNS)

Large numbers of Americans signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act  in the first days of this year’s open enrollment period, according to new federal figures that show Americans flocking to insurance despite the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on the healthcare law.

In the first four days of the 2018 enrollment period -- which began Nov. 1 -- more than 600,000 people selected health plans through the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace, which serves residents of 39 states.

That represents a daily average of more than 150,000 signups, outpacing the beginning of last year’s open enrollment period under the Obama administration, when an average of 84,000 people a day signed up through the first 12 days.

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(AFP/Getty Images)

Another House committee chairman is planning to retire.

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a 13-term congressman from Virginia.

In a statement Thursday, he says it's "the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the 6th District."

  • Congress
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  • Budget
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

As they await the unveiling of the Senate GOP tax plan Thursday, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee were scrambling to revise their own bill after changes made this week pushed its cost over the limit needed to pass it through the Senate on a simple majority vote. 

The committee was expected to approve the House bill later Thursday on a party line vote after making additional changes.

An amendment approved Monday and offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the panel’s chairman, gutted a complicated excise tax for foreign transactions of multinational companies that was in the original bill. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), left, joined by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), speaks about the Republican tax plan at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), left, joined by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), speaks about the Republican tax plan at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan opened the door Wednesday to delaying the implementation of a new 20% corporate tax rate — the cornerstone of President Trump’s plan — amid worries that the GOP proposal will exceed its target of adding no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

Postponing the tax cut for a year or two would diverge from Trump’s insistence that corporate rate reductions be made immediately. But Senate Republicans floated the idea this week as they frantically search for ways to pay for the corporate tax cuts and still provide relief to middle-income households.

Senators plan to introduce their bill Thursday. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said one revenue-raiser that will probably be included is a full repeal of all state and local tax deductions, including property taxes, a big blow to many residents in California and other high-tax states.

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President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

President Trump stood next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and said the Chinese had taken advantage of America to build a trade imbalance that is not sustainable.

“I don’t blame China," Trump said. "Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.”

Instead, Trump blamed past American presidents.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump. (Nicolas Asfouri / AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a "new starting point" for the U.S.-China relationship while President Trump declared that “we have a capacity to solve world problems for many, many years to come” on Thursday, as the two men held their first official business meeting after a raft of ceremonies.

Xi, who comes into the meetings flush with new authority in his country, was more detached in his comments than Trump, who spoke in personal terms about a terrific initial meeting Wednesday night and a dinner that went longer than expected because the men were having such a great time.

Trump's language, putting the U.S. and China on near-equal footing, could play to Xi's favor. The Chinese president is eager to assert China as a dominant world power rivaling America.

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President Trump talks to opera performers Wednesday in the Forbidden City.
President Trump talks to opera performers Wednesday in the Forbidden City. (Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump began his first full day in China on Thursday with an elaborate welcome ceremony ahead of a series of talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Trump's meetings with Xi begin as Chinese police hold three UCLA students accused of shoplifting in a hotel in Hangzhou.

Trump began his day at the Great Hall of the People, an imposing government building that sits by Tiananmen Square. Normally brisk Beijing traffic was halted as the American president's motorcade made its way from the St. Regis Hotel for the short journey. The tourists that normally pack the square were also missing.

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  • White House
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  • Taxes
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas)
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) (Michael Reynolds / EPA/Shutterstock)

As they prepare to unveil their own sweeping tax plan, Senate Republicans are revisiting key provisions of the House GOP proposal, including possibly eliminating property tax deductions as well as state income tax deductions, increasing the size of child-care credits, offering more help to small businesses and having corporate tax cuts phase in or expire, according to those familiar with the negotiations.

The final outline of the Senate plan, scheduled to be released Thursday, remained a work in progress, officials cautioned.

"Everything is on the table,” one Republican official who did not want to be identified discussing the talks said Tuesday evening.

  • White House
  • Congress
  • Taxes

The federal deficit would grow by $1.7 trillion under the House Republican tax plan, according to a nonpartisan analysis released Wednesday, raising fresh concerns for passage because budget rules in the Senate don't allow for so much red ink.

The assessment from the Congressional Budget Office comes as Republicans are muscling the bill for a vote in the House as soon as next week.

House GOP officials had no immediate comment.