Top News Stories for Today – March 14, 2017
24 million will uninsured under GOP health plan
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday released its cost estimate for the American Health Care Act, the Republican proposal to replace ObamaCare. The CBO’s report says that the GOP plan would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion by 2026, with the most savings coming from “reductions in outlays for Medicaid and from the elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for non-group health insurance.” In that same time, however, the AHCA would result in 24 million more Americans going uninsured; by 2026, the CBO estimates that 52 million people would lack insurance under the GOP plan, compared to 28 million who would go uninsured under ObamaCare.
The White House had been preparing for the report by questioning the CBO’s accuracy, but Monday’s CBO estimate is actually slightly rosier than an internal White House analysis of the GOP health-care plan, Politico reports. Under the Trump administration’s analysis, 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade under the AHCA. Congressional Budget Office, Politico, The Week
Trump’s wiretapping problem
On Monday, the Justice Department requested more time to comply with a request from the House Intelligence Committee to turn over any evidence to back up President Trump’s unsupported accusation that former President Barack Obama tapped his Trump Tower phones during the election. The House committee agreed, giving the Justice Department until March 20, threatening to use its subpoena power if the DOJ misses its deadline again.
“If the committee does not receive a response by then, the committee will ask for this information during the March 20 hearing and may resort to a compulsory process if our questions continue to go unanswered,” said Jack Langer, a spokesman for committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif). White House aides, including Press Secretary Sean Spicer, spent Monday walking back Trump’s allegation. Sean Spicer said Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping. Spicer also said that Trump was referring to the Obama administration broadly — and not accusing Obama of personal involvement — when he tweeted that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” and accused Obama of being a “bad” or “sick guy.” The Associated Press, CNN , The Week
Britain’s Parliament clears way for Brexit launch
On Monday night, Britain’s Parliament gave final approval to a European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, giving Prime Minister Theresa May unrestricted authority to trigger the U.K.’s exit from the European Union and negotiate the cleaving without further input from lawmakers. The House of Commons had approved the bill in February, and on Monday it rejected two amendments approved by the upper House of Lords — one guaranteeing EU citizens the right to live in Britain and the other giving Parliament a final vote on the Brexit deal.
On Monday night, after the lower house ping-ponged the bill back, the House of Lords approved it without the amendments. May has said she plans to to invoke Article 50 of the EU charter by March 31, formally beginning the Brexit process. Hours before Parliament voted, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to hold a second Scottish independence vote to give Scots a chance to stay in the EU. The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Week
Murdered Myanmar lawyer was working to undercut military
A close associate of murdered Myanmar lawyer Ko Ni says the constitutional expert was working on a plan to weaken the military’s political power when he was gunned down at Yangon’s airport soon after his return from a conference in Indonesia on January 29. The revelation is likely to feed persistent suspicions – which have been denied – that the military had a role in the assassination.
Myanmar’s constitution guarantees the military 25 percent of the seats in parliament and gives it a veto over any constitutional amendment. It also controls the Ministry of Home Affairs, giving it authority over much of the nation’s permanent bureaucracy. Bertil Lintner, a close associate of Ko Ni who also worked with him on journalism training, told VOA that Ko Ni believed he had uncovered a “loophole” that could be used to circumvent the military veto. VOA
Winter storm hits Northeastern part of US
Airlines canceled thousands of flights on Monday as the Northeast braced for a fast-moving winter storm expected to hit parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with up to two feet of snow by early Wednesday. The storm, Stella, began hitting the East Coast from Washington, D.C., to New York with ice and heavy snow early Tuesday.
Temperatures are expected to drop to 15 to 30 degrees below normal for this time of year. Many local governments ordered schools to close on Tuesday, as areas that are home to 50 million people fell under storm or blizzard warnings or watches issued by the National Weather Service. Reuters
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