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339 posts
  • White House
  • Congress
  • Taxes
Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), left, is with GOP leaders in the Capitol. (Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), left, is with GOP leaders in the Capitol. (Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Congress gave final approval to the GOP tax plan Wednesday, 224-201, after the House took an unusual do-over vote to clear up differences with the Senate-passed bill. 

The $1.5-trillion package now heads to President Trump, who plans to sign it into law.

The House had approved the tax bill on Tuesday but was forced to take another vote Wednesday because a couple of provisions in the version it approved were found to be in violation of Senate procedures. Those provisions were dropped before the Senate gave its approval early Wednesday. 

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Scott Lloyd is director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Scott Lloyd is director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

President Trump’s lawyers rushed to the Supreme Court and U.S. appeals court in Washington on Monday evening to file emergency appeals seeking to prevent an immigrant in detention, dubbed Jane Roe in court, from having an abortion. 

That set the stage for a legal showdown on whether the administration can block pregnant minors in custody from choosing to have an abortion.  

But the legal clash, which the administration has seemed eager to have, fizzled out Tuesday when the government’s lawyers admitted the “17-year-old unaccompanied minor” in their custody was actually 19. They said they had obtained her birth certificate and realized she was not a minor after all.

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The Thomas fire rages near Ojai this month. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
The Thomas fire rages near Ojai this month. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Congress is set to consider an $81-billion disaster aid package that includes wildfire recovery money for California and other Western states as well as hurricane relief with a price tag reflecting a year of record-setting natural calamities.

The legislation, the text of which was released late Monday, would provide almost twice as much as the $44 billion the White House sought last month to cover relief efforts along the Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean.

Republican congressional leaders added more money after California lawmakers objected that the administration had failed to include help for areas damaged by wildfires and Democrats protested that the overall amount President Trump asked for was insufficient.

Jill Stein, then-Green Party presidential nominee, speaks at a rally in Philadelphia on July 27.
Jill Stein, then-Green Party presidential nominee, speaks at a rally in Philadelphia on July 27. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

The Green Party's 2016 presidential nominee says she's cooperating with a request for documents from a Senate committee probing Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

Jill Stein has acknowledged attending a 2015 event in Moscow celebrating the anniversary of a state-sponsored Russian news organization. The event has attracted investigators' attention because former national security advisor Michael Flynn also attended and sat beside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Stein says in a statement Tuesday she's sharing “all communications relevant” to the Senate Intelligence Committee's mission.

  • White House
  • Russia
The Royal London Hospital, a victim of the unprecedented global cyberattack in May.
The Royal London Hospital, a victim of the unprecedented global cyberattack in May. (Niklas Halle'n / AFP/Getty Images)

The White House officially blamed North Korea on Tuesday for the cyberattack in May known as WannaCry that infected hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries, affecting healthcare, financial services and vital infrastructure.

Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, noted in a briefing with reporters that the “consequences were beyond economic.” He warned that North Korea’s “malicious behavior is growing more egregious.”

Bossert did not specify what evidence American officials have to blame North Korea, citing security issues, but he cited the country’s prior attacks as revealing hallmarks of how Pyongyang and its network of hackers operates. He said other allied countries had joined the United States in making the determination.

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(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his trip to Egypt and Israel for a second time in case he is needed to break a tie in the Senate for the tax bill that is expected to pass narrowly this week.

Two White House officials confirmed the changed schedule, which they say is unrelated to to protests in the region over the administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pence had initially been scheduled to leave last Saturday. Late last week, the White House moved the trip back a few days to Tuesday night, in case Pence was needed to break a Senate tie. But Monday, they decided to postpone the trip further, to January, given the possibility of a late Senate vote and the coming holidays.

A White House official says the Trump judicial nominee whose qualifications were questioned by a Republican senator has withdrawn his nomination. 

Matthew Petersen, who was nominated by President Trump to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has been the subject of widespread ridicule since he was unable to define basic legal terms during his confirmation hearing Wednesday. 

A White House official says Petersen has withdrawn his nomination and that Trump has accepted the withdrawal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the development publicly. 

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(Associated Press)

President Trump said Sunday that Sen. John McCain, who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, was returning home to Arizona for the holidays but would come back to Washington if needed to cast a vote on the Republicans’ tax overhaul bill.

The Arizona Republican’s office announced last week that McCain was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington for complications from his cancer treatment. McCain’s daughter Meghan tweeted earlier Sunday that her 81-year-old father would be spending Christmas in Arizona.

The Senate is expected to vote early this week on the tax cut legislation, but the GOP appeared to have secured sufficient support without McCain’s vote.

(Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin phoned President Trump to thank him for what the Russian president said was CIA help in foiling a terrorist attack, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the two leaders’ conversation to reporters. It was the second time that the two leaders had talked in four days; Trump called Putin on Thursday to thank the Russian leader for lauding the U.S. economy.

Putin, in his annual year-end news conference, had praised Trump for a strong performance by the U.S. stock market. Perhaps ironically, given his credit to the CIA’s recent help, Putin at that news event dismissed as “hysteria” the consensus among American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.