Top News Stories for Today – July 30, 2017
Trump threatens health insurance benefits for lawmakers
President Trump ratcheted up his pressure on lawmakers to pass a healthcare plan Saturday with a threat to end key ObamaCare payments and cancel some of lawmakers’ healthcare benefits. “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Trump tweeted.
The president was referring in the first part of the tweet to ending key payments to insurance companies under ObamaCare known as Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments, which he has threatened to end before. The second portion of the tweet referenced congressional health benefits. Members of Congress and many staffers were removed from Federal Employee Health Benefits structure and put into the new insurance exchanges set up by ObamaCare in 2010. The Hill
President attacks GOP in confusing tweetstorm
Trump slammed Senate Republicans on Saturday, tweeting that they “look like fools” and directly urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to alter the chamber’s rules so the party can pass legislation with a simple majority. But a McConnell aide said it’s not going to happen.
The president began the day after he fired his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman with relationships on Capitol Hill, by attacking his party’s Senate GOP caucus after its members failed to pass a health care overhaul bill. He also tweeted that Senate Democrats, if they had the chance, would change the chamber’s rules to pass bills with 51 votes.
In one of a handful of tweets that seemingly came out of the blue Saturday morning, the 45th president wrote that McConnell “must get rid of 60 vote NOW!” because that threshold to end debate and move to a final vote is “killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country.” He alleged that “200 Bills sit in Senate” and cannot be voted on, calling the situation “A JOKE!” Roll Call
Iran says US ships shot flares in unprofessional
Iran in a statement Saturday reported and decried a second encounter between its vessels and the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf this week. “The Americans made a provocative and unprofessional move by issuing a warning and shooting flares at vessels,” the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said.
The Pentagon has yet to respond. Earlier this week, a U.S. Navy patrol boat crew fired two rounds of warning shots into the water by an unidentified Iranian military boat after it moved toward the American vessel at an unexpectedly high speed. Reuters, The Associated Press, The Week
Pakistan to pick new prime minister
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned Friday after the Pakistani supreme court disqualified him for office on grounds of corruption stemming from revelations in the 2015 Panama Papers leak that Sharif concealed some of his family’s assets. Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), retains control of the legislature and is expected to pick a new prime minister Saturday.
The situation has raised concerns that Pakistan’s military might use this power vacuum to undermine democratic institutions, as has happened following past resignations. The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, , The Week
Republicans fear political fallout after Health Care failure
Weary Republicans in Washington may be ready to move on from health care, but conservatives across the United States are warning the GOP-led Congress not to abandon its pledge to repeal the Obama-era health law – or risk a political nightmare in next year’s elections.
The Senate’s failure this past week to pass repeal legislation has outraged the Republican base and triggered a new wave of fear. The stunning collapse has exposed a party so paralyzed by ideological division that it could not deliver on its top campaign pledge. After devoting months to the debate and seven years to promising to kill the Affordable Care Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican-Kentucky, simply said: “It’s time to move on.” VOA
Australia police ‘foil terror plot to bring down plane’
Counter-terrorism police in Australia have stopped a suspected plot to bring down an airplane, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said. He was speaking after four people were arrested in raids across Sydney. Investigators said they had information that the plot to blow up an aircraft involved the use of an “improvised device”.
Mr. Turnbull said the raids had been a “major joint counter-terrorism operation”. He said extra security was in place at domestic and international airports. The raids took place in the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl, Australian broadcaster ABC reported. Australia’s national terror threat level remains at “probable”Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the four men arrested were allegedly linked to an “Islamic-inspired” plot. BBC
Scaramucci’s wife reportedly filed for divorce
The New York Post reported Friday that incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s wife filed for divorce because of his political ambitions. Citing “multiple sources,” The Post’s Page Six reported that Scaramucci’s wife, Deidre Ball, filed for divorce after three years of marriage because of Scaramucci’s efforts to get close to President Donald Trump.
Ball, who worked as a vice president for SkyBridge Capital, the firm founded by Scaramucci in 2005, reportedly “despises” Trump, according to the Page Six report. Scaramucci and Ball were said to have started dating in 2011 and married in 2014. Business Insider
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