5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • House eyeing Friday vote on revived GOP health-care bill, despite holdouts

  • Trump says he will not pull the U.S. out of NAFTA

  • Flynn was warned not to take money from foreign governments in 2014

  • Trump unveils tax plan with cuts for businesses and families

  • 2 American soldiers killed battling ISIS in Afghanistan

House Republican leaders are eyeing a Friday vote on the latest version of the American Health Care Act, after the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus threw its support behind the newly amended health-care bill and influential outside conservative groups dropped their opposition Wednesday night. Still, the bill's fate is up in the air, as moderate Republican members of the House appear to be wavering. The biggest change to the bill is the so-called MacArthur Amendment, added in a deal between the far-right Freedom Caucus and the more moderate Tuesday Group, which would allow states to waive the ObamaCare requirements to cover essential health benefits and to not charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.

Source: Roll Call, The Wall Street Journal

After speaking with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, President Trump "agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time," the White House announced Wednesday night. The North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada was implemented in 1994, and while on the campaign trail, Trump called it a "job killer" and a "disaster." In a statement, the White House said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto "agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation" of the trade deal to "the benefit of all three countries." Earlier in the day, a senior administration said the White House was finalizing the wording of an order to withdraw from the deal.

Source: The Associated Press

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was directly told in 2014 not to take money from foreign governments without explicit permission, documents released Thursday reveal. Flynn, who resigned from the Trump administration in February, accepted $34,000 for a speaking engagement concerning Russian TV in December 2015 and more than $500,000 for lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests ahead of the November election. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have jointly criticized the White House for denying their request for documents related to Flynn. Facing accusations that Flynn's vetting process by the Trump team was insufficient, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted that the Obama administration was responsible for giving Flynn his initial security clearance.

Source: NBC News, The Week

President Trump unveiled a broad tax proposal Wednesday, including a sharp cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. For individuals, the administration proposed reducing the seven tax brackets to three, at 10, 25, and 35 percent. "We are going to double the standard deduction, so a married couple will not pay any taxes on the first $24,000 they earn," chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said. The White House reportedly hopes that the family-friendly provisions will give Democrats a strong incentive to negotiate a deal, but Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has argued "Trump's latest proposal is another gift to corporations and billionaires like himself." The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates Trump's plan could cost $5.5 trillion.

Source: The New York Times, The Daily Beast

Two American soldiers were killed overnight in the eastern Afghanistan province of Nangarhar in an operation against an Islamic State affiliate, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Thursday. The operation targeted the Afghanistan wing of the terrorist group, known as ISIS-K; an additional Special Operations Forces soldier was wounded in combat, but is expected to live. The Nangarhar region is a hotbed for ISIS, and has been the site of many U.S.-Afghan joint counterterrorism operations. It is also near where the U.S. dropped the so-called "mother of all bombs" earlier this month.

Source: The Washington Post, CNN
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