Top News Stories for Today – July 29, 2017
Obama’s hope on Health Care
Former President Obama’s spokesman on Friday urged Congress to work together to improve current healthcare, but emphasized that ObamaCare has made America “stronger and healthier.” “President Obama has always said we should build on this law, just as members of both parties worked together to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years,” Kevin Lewis said in a statement.
He went on to express the former president’s hope that Congress could work together in the future, after a Republican-led effort to repeal ObamaCare failed in the Senate overnight. “President Obama still believes that it is possible for Congress to demonstrate the necessary bipartisanship and political courage to keep delivering on the promise of quality, affordable health insurance for every American,” Lewis said.
Senate Republicans were unable to muster the 51 votes needed to pass a scaled-down version of an ObamaCare repeal bill early Friday morning in what may be the final nail in the coffin of the GOP’s seven-year pledge to repeal and replace the healthcare law. The Hill
North Korea appears to launch ballistic missile
North Korea has launched what appears to be a ballistic missile, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Friday. The missile, launched shortly before midnight local time in Japan, is apparently headed for Japanese waters.
It could land in Japan’s “exclusive economic zone,” Reuters reported, citing Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. Davis said the Pentagon is “assessing” the situation “and will have more information soon.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council. This test would mark the 14th missile test North Korea has conducted this year.
Kim Jong Un said Saturday the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the US mainland. Hours after the launch, analysts were concluding that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons. China has condemned North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, joining criticism by the United States and South Korea. China’s foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday that the launch “defied” UN Security Council resolutions and “the common wish of the international community.” Reuters, BBC, VOA
PM Sharif of Pakistan disqualified
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office and ordered him to step down immediately. A spokesman for the prime minister’s office announced shortly after the court issued its ruling that Sharif accepted the decision “despite his serious reservations” and relinquished charge of office.
Under the laws, Sharif’s cabinet also stands dissolved and the National Assembly, (the lower house of parliament), will now be asked by the president of Pakistan to elect a new prime minister. The court convicted Sharif on charges of amassing overseas assets, concealing them and living beyond his means. A US State Department official described the development as an internal matter and said the US looks forward to a smooth transition in Pakistan. VOA
US attorneys general on Trump’s transgender troop ban
Specifically, they want the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services committees to include language in the annual defense policy bill to prohibit discrimination against transgender troops and affirm that transgender Americans cannot be banned from serving. The Hill
Delaney announces 2020 presidential bid
Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) announced on Friday that he will run for the White House in 2020. In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, Delaney said he would not seek reelection to the House in 2018 and laid out his agenda. Delaney called for an infrastructure overhaul, tax reform and increased investment in science and research.
Delaney, a former healthcare financier who is serving his third term in the House, is the first Democrat to declare his candidacy for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. He was previously said to be weighing a bid for Maryland governor. Delaney has an estimated net worth of more than $90 million and has used his vast wealth in the past on his congressional races. The Hill
Trump replaces WH Chief of Staff
Trump replaces White House chief of staff Reince Priebus with a retired Marine Corps general who has been running the Department of Homeland Security. Priebus had been increasingly sidelined in recent weeks by Trump and was referred to publicly this week by the new White House communications director as a “paranoid schizophrenic.”
Speaking to reporters Friday evening White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “the conversations about this started with the president and Reince about two weeks ago.” In an interview with CNN following his resignation, Priebus said “the president wanted to go in a different direction.” “It’s a good time to hit the reset button,” Priebus said. “It’s something that I think the White House needs.” Priebus said he actually handed in his resignation to the president on Thursday, but it was not disclosed until Friday. VOA
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