Top News Stories for Today – July 26, 2017

Top News Stories for Today – July 26, 2017

Senate rejects GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare

Senate begin repealing ObamaCareThe Senate on Tuesday night rejected a modified version of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Nine Republicans joined the Democrats in voting against the bill, and with a final total of 43 in favor and 57 against, the measure did not receive the 60 votes necessary to pass.

Earlier in the day, the Senate split 50-50 on voting to begin debate on a health-care bill, and Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie, with the motion passing. On Wednesday, the Senate is set to vote on an amendment similar to a 2015 bill passed by the Senate to repeal ObamaCare, which was ultimately vetoed by former President Barack Obama; this proposal is expected to fail. Bloomberg, The Week



Trump slams Jeff Sessions for being ‘weak’ on Hillary Clinton

SessionsPresident Trump has been publicly criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, calling him “beleaguered” on Monday and accusing him early Tuesday of having “taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes.” Privately, Trump has been talking with advisers about possibly replacing Sessions, people familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post.

They are contemplating several scenarios, including what to do if he were to resign or be fired, the Post reports. Trump’s beef with Sessions, laid out in a New York Times interview, is that Sessions recused himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Moscow. Two people possibly under consideration to replace Sessions, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, have both indicated they would not take the job. The Washington Post, The Week



House overwhelmingly approves Russia sanctions bill

Trump to speech to CongressOn Tuesday, the House voted 419-3 to pass a bill that strengthens sanctions against Russia in response to its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The sanctions primarily target Russian oil and gas projects with companies based in the United States and a handful of other countries, and will be difficult for President Trump to lift because he will need approval from Congress.

It now heads to the Senate for a vote, and could be sent to Trump to sign into law before August, when Congress begins its recess. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the sanctions would be “harmful” to U.S.-Russian relations. The package also includes sanctions against Iran and North Korea, due to their weapons programs. USA Today, The Week


New diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040 in UK

New diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040 in UKNew diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government has announced. Ministers have also unveiled a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions, including the potential for charging zones for the dirtiest vehicles. The £3bn clean air strategy does not include a scrappage scheme, calling previous ones “poor value” for money.

Campaigners said the measures were promising, but did not go far enough. The government report favoring electric cars has been released before a High Court deadline. After a protracted legal battle, the government was ordered by the courts to produce new plans to tackle illegal levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide. BBC



Senators mock Trump on hot mic

Senators mock Trump on hot micSen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was caught on a hot mic on Tuesday expressing concern over President Trump’s mental health and questioning his understanding of the budget process. In a conversation with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the Maine Republican said of the president’s budget proposal that “whenever there was a grant, they just X-ed it out, with no metric, no thinking about it, no nothing. I mean it’s just incredibly irresponsible.”

President Trump’s budget proposal eliminated a slew of grants that provided welfare and social service support, such as the Community Development Block Grant. Reed responded to Collins by saying, of Trump: “He’s crazy.” Collins can be heard quietly saying, “I’m worried.” Reed, who is also the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern about how failure to strike a spending deal would ultimately harm the defense budget. “If we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed with DOD,” Reed says, referring to the Department of Defense. The Hill



White House press aide resigns amid shakeup

White HouseWhite House press aide Michael Short resigned on Tuesday, capping off hours of drama over whether he would be fired by President Trump’s new communications director. “I have resigned, effective immediately,” Short said in a brief text message. “It was a privilege to serve the President of the United States.”

Short’s departure came after White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told Politico Tuesday morning he planned to fire him over alleged leaks. The spokesman initially responded that he had not been told of his dismissal. “No one has told me anything, and the entire premise is false,” he told CNN. The Hill



US warship fires warning shot at Iranian military vessel

US warship fires warning shot at Iranian military vesselThe USS Thunderbird fired “a couple of warning shots” at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard ship after it came within 140 meters of the US ship at a high rate of speed, according to the US defense official. The shots were used as a last resort after the Iranian ship failed to respond to calls over the radio and sound signals from the American ships, including five blasts from the US Navy ship’s whistle, an international symbol for danger.

Two ships from the United States Coast Guard were patrolling with the USS Thunderbird during the incident, the defense official told VOA.  The defense official called the incident “unsafe and unprofessional.” VOA



Boy scouts distance themselves from Trump’s partisan barbs

Boy scouts distance themselves from Trump's partisan barbsThe Boy Scouts of America is distancing itself from US political disputes after President Donald Trump gave a controversial speech to thousands of scouts at their national encampment. “The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy,” the group said Tuesday. “The invitation for the US President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies.”

Trump initially told Scouts Monday night at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia that he would not talk about politics. “Who the hell wants to talk about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” he said. In the course of the half-hour speech, however, Trump fired barbs at former President Barack Obama and his election opponent last year, Democrat Hillary Clinton, while attacking the “fake” news media and “this horrible thing known as Obamacare,” Obama’s national health care law Trump is trying to repeal. He spoke about about the “cesspool” of lawmakers in Washington and boasted about his election victory.

Some Scout leaders took to social media to disparage Trump’s speech, while the group’s Facebook page was filled with comments criticizing the president for using the Boy Scout gathering for political attacks. VOA

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Top News Stories for Today – July 26, 2017
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Top News Stories for Today – July 26, 2017
Senate rejects GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare Trump slams Jeff Sessions for being 'weak' on Hillary Clinton House overwhelmingly approves Russia sanctions bill New diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040 in UK Senators mock Trump on hot mic White House press aide resigns amid shakeup US warship fires warning shot at Iranian military vessel
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Washingtonian Post