25 апреля, 06:56

Trump to propose 15 percent corporate tax rate

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President Donald Trump is expected to propose slashing the corporate tax rate to 15 percent on Wednesday, as the White House unveils its first stab at a tax plan, according to two sources familiar with the administration’s deliberations.Cutting the corporate rate to such a low level would allow Trump to follow through on a campaign promise that has been months in the making – even if policy experts argue that getting to that rate is impossible to do without imposing a new levy like a consumption tax, or blowing a hole in the deficit. Trump has been saying since early February that the administration’s release of a tax plan was just weeks away.A tax cut to 15 percent for corporations is likely to receive a mixed reaction from Congress, which must approve any overhaul of the tax code. Some Republican lawmakers will be thrilled to bring the corporate rate that low as a nod to helping businesses, while others will worry about the proposal’s potential to add to the deficit. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday that a cut to 15 percent could be hard to achieve. A senior administration official acknowledged that the proposal to cut the rate to 15 percent is just a starting point in negotiations and would likely end up being higher in any final plan approved by lawmakers. The White House expects to negotiate up from there, the official said.Now, that the 100th day of the administration is fast approaching, White House officials are feeling pressure to show off their accomplishments. A tax plan — even one with broad brushstrokes — is a way for them to signal that the administration is moving ahead with its legislative agenda, despite its failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. The proposal is also intended to show that the White House, and not Capitol Hill lawmakers, will be taking the lead on developing any tax overhaul.Trump has been talking about the 15 percent corporate rate since August when he delivered a major economic speech in Detroit. Back then, he told supporters: “Under my plan, no American company will pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes. Small businesses will benefit the most from this plan.”The administration’s tax proposal on Wednesday is not expected to be very detailed, or to include ways that Trump would pay for deep tax cuts.

25 апреля, 05:13

Warren gives Trump’s first 100 days an ‘F’

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If it were up to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, President Donald Trump would fail his 100 day report card.The Massachusetts senator blasted the Trump administration on Monday for not fighting for the working class voters who elected him during an interview on CNN. When asked — during a special focused on Trump’s first 100 days since taking office — what she would grade President Trump thus far, Warren bluntly replied: “F.” Pressed to explain her reasoning, Warren cited Trump’s Cabinet selections and federal appointments while knocking his numerous executive actions.“He’s a man who ran for office promising to help working people,” said Warren. “And so what has he done? Well, first he assembles a team of billionaires and bankers and hands the keys over to them. Says to Goldman Sachs, you figure out how to deregulate the economy. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?”Warren also pointed to ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. “For me the one that summarizes it all was Trumpcare,” she added.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also appearing on the CNN special Monday night, waded into the Trump report card discussing, gave the president a more moderate score of “B.”Christie, who previously served on Trump’s transition team and was tapped by Trump in March to lead a commission to tackle the opioid epidemic, touted Trump for getting Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed in his first 100 days.But the New Jersey governor said he marked the president down partially because of his inability to pass through the Republican health care overhaul bill.“I don't think the way the whole health care situation was handled either on the Hill or at the White House was exemplary,” he said. “We didn't get the result we needed to get.”Trump and the White House in recent days have downplayed and dismissed the 100 days mark as a significant landmark for the administration."I think the 100 days is, you know, it's an artificial barrier. It's not very meaningful," Trump told the Associated Press during an interview published Sunday.

25 апреля, 04:01

Retired Marine general expected to be named Secret Service director

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Randolph Alles, acting deputy at Customs and Border protection, is expected to be tapped for top job.

25 апреля, 03:36

Trump willing to delay border wall push

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At reception with conservative media, Trump says he'd wait until September to avert shutdown.

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25 апреля, 03:34

Bill O'Reilly plans to turn podcast into 'genuine news program'

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OiReilly planning to move it from a short daily program into what would amount to a replacement for his long-running Fox show.

25 апреля, 02:57

White House turns conservative media reception into on-the-record briefing

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“Probably half the reporters were asking questions you’d ask in the briefing, half were asking questions they knew the president wanted to answer,” said an attendee, speaking on background.

25 апреля, 02:38

Rural America, your Trumpland emissary has (finally) arrived

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President Donald Trump finally has a point person for rural issues after the Senate approved Sonny Perdue to lead the Department of Agriculture by a vote of 87-11 Monday evening.The former two-term GOP governor of Georgia was met with little opposition from lawmakers during his delay-filled confirmation process, but the 11 votes cast against him — 10 by Democrats and one from an independent — mark the first time since the Reagan administration that a USDA chief has not been unanimously approved. The late Richard Lyng had a pair of votes cast against his nomination in 1986. More senators voted “no” than expected. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) was a nay — she stood alone in opposing Perdue when he cleared the Agriculture Committee last month. This time around, Gillibrand was joined in opposition by Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, and Democrats Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.). They defended their votes by citing concerns that ranged from Perdue's approach to food stamps to trade with Cuba to GMO labeling and a perceived coziness with agribusiness.“I’m just happy we got this big vote of confidence,” Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told reporters following the vote. “Now, we’ve got to get a trade policy that makes sense.”“I’m very happy with this vote,” Roberts added. “He’s a good man.”Perdue's cousin, David Perdue (R-Ga.), voted "present," and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) did not vote. Perdue, who has a master’s degree in veterinary medicine and owns several small agribusinesses, will take the reins at USDA amid a time of hardship and economic turmoil in rural America. Crop prices are at record lows, fueling a persistent slump in farm income that has given many farmers grave concerns over their long-term livelihood. As farmers see it, it is not a moment too soon for rural America to get its representative in the Trump Cabinet — many in ag-land were frustrated by the White House’s weeks-long delay in sending Perdue’s nomination and paperwork to the Senate Agriculture Committee. Former President Barack Obama had planned to ease some of the pain for farmers and ranchers by expanding trade in the Asia-Pacific through the 12-nation TPP, but Trump scrapped that deal during his first week in office. His preferred approach is to strike bilateral deals, but it leads to be seen how successful that strategy will be in opening new export markets for agriculture. Trump and Perdue are set to meet with farmers at the White House on Tuesday for a round-table discussion on rural issues that will coincide with the president signing an economic order aimed at spurring economic growth in rural America. But, once again, farmers are left to play the waiting game: The order will create an interagency task force to study the situation and come up with legislative and regulatory plans for revving up the rural economy.Perdue had widespread support from agricultural groups from the start. Those groups, which had grown impatient over the slow-go confirmation process, will be watching closely in the next few weeks as the president rolls out his full budget plan and infrastructure proposal, both of which are expected in May. Trump’s budget outline, released in March, proposed cutting USDA’s discretionary spending by 21 percent and called for elimination of rural water and wastewater infrastructure grants while hinting at broader cuts to rural and farm programs. “For months, USDA has not had a voice in this administration and, frankly, it shows,” Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, said in a floor speech backing Perdue before the vote. “President Trump’s budget proposal makes it clear that rural America is not a priority for his administration.”Blumenthal, a Connecticut liberal, said he voted no over concerns that Perdue won’t stand up for consumers. “I’m very concerned about his hostility to consumer protections, to GMO labeling, to protections for consumers against big agri-corporations,” Blumenthal said after the vote. “As a consumer advocate, I have no faith he will be on their side.”

25 апреля, 02:18

Decision time for GOP on Trump’s wall and government shutdown

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The president has signaled he could do without border wall funding, for now, easing pressure on Congress.

25 апреля, 02:01

Trump’s prisoner dilemma

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The president successfully freed an American held in Egypt last week, but has less leverage when it comes to U.S. citizens in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.

25 апреля, 01:58

No replacement yet for McFarland

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K.T. McFarland's last day at the National Security Council is scheduled for Friday – but the White House has yet to find a replacement for her in the critical role of deputy national security adviser, according to an NSC spokesperson. The former Fox News analyst has been largely sidelined in the agency since former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign in February after misleading the vice president on his talks with Russian agents. Flynn's successor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has put his stamp on the elite security body, elevating Dina Powell to the role of deputy national security adviser for strategy. He also removed chief White House strategist Steve Bannon from the principals committee. Anton said that if the White House can't settle on a pick by Friday, Powell's role may be redefined so that she will share McFarland's duties with another NSC official like chief of staff Keith Kellogg. "It will either will be someone coming from the outside or a new thing where they change the role," said NSC spokesman Michael Anton. President Donald Trump offered McFarland an ambassadorship to Singapore, and she's slated to start ambassador training in May. McFarland has signaled that she is willing to stay until they find a replacement, according Anton. "It would move the confirmation process down the line," Anton said. But, he added, "she's willing to do that if they want her to stay."

25 апреля, 01:22

FCC's Pai to describe net neutrality rollback plans this week

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai intends to launch his reworking of the Obama-era net neutrality rules, according to sources familiar with the plan, setting up a showdown on an issue that has long pitted tech companies against internet providers.In a speech in Washington on Wednesday, Pai plans to discuss his vision for net neutrality — keeping open internet principles but getting rid of the utility-style regulatory framework approved by the agency's previous Democratic majority. And he could circulate a notice of proposed rulemaking on the plan to his fellow commissioners on Thursday, sources said. That would set up a vote on the issue at the FCC's May 18 meeting. One industry source said the chairman's goal is to finish the proceeding by this fall.The FCC's net neutrality rules generally require that internet service providers treat web traffic equally and prohibit providers from blocking or slowing traffic to certain websites. Pai’s net neutrality plan will land in the midst of a maelstrom of a week as Congress buckles in to try to keep the federal government from shutting down while also wrangles over tax reform and repealing Obamacare. Some sources say his approach this week could simply be to propose doing away with the FCC's regulatory classification of internet service providers and solicit comments on how the agency can keep the net neutrality principles without that classification.People familiar with Pai's plans spoke anonymously to discuss his actions before they are announced.Pai has said he supports net neutrality principles, but opposes the regulatory underpinnings of the 2015 Open Internet Order, which gave the FCC greater authority to police the actions of broadband providers by using utility-style regulation. Supporters say the framework is necessary for the agency to have sufficient oversight over internet service providers, but Pai and telecom industry critics describe it as a heavy-handed power grab that has deterred investment.Just two years ago, the FCC’s then-Democratic majority voted along party lines to approve the Open Internet rules after a year of noisy debate that sparked millions of public comments to the agency. The rules, backed by President Barack Obama, later survived a legal challenge from AT&T and telecom trade groups when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order last June in a 2-1 decision.It's not clear how Pai will preserve net neutrality rules of not blocking or slowing web traffic while doing away with the regulatory structure the FCC used to support the rules. Earlier this month, he floated a proposal in a meeting with telecom trade groups that would see the agency cede internet oversight to the Federal Trade Commission, with broadband providers voluntarily committing to adhere to net neutrality principles.For FCC watchers, Pai's moves on net neutrality will not come as a surprise. Pai, who voted against the 2015 rules as a Republican commissioner, has already pulled back agency actions on zero-rating — allowing internet providers to favor some streaming video or other web content — and data security that were built off of the net neutrality rules.Changing net neutrality to his liking is the latest regulatory rollback for Pai, who has wasted no time talking with companies and lawmakers to advance his agenda at the FCC. His stab at new net neutrality rules will pit powerful interests against other powerful interests given that tech companies such as Google and Netflix have supported the rules now in place while internet providers like Comcast and AT&T are more likely to get behind Pai’s changes.Left-leaning consumer groups and Democrats have already promised a fierce fight to preserve the existing framework.In recent weeks, Pai has been meeting with telecom trade groups and tech industry executives to discuss the future of net neutrality. He said he solicited ideas on online consumer protections during a Silicon Valley trip last week that included conversations with Facebook, Cisco, Intel and Oracle executives. Asked for comment, the FCC confirmed Pai is giving a speech Wednesday but declined to provide details.Ashley Gold and Li Zhou contributed to this report.

25 апреля, 01:19

Why Democrats Are Dropping More F-Bombs Than Ever

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The profane has become mundane.