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Friday News: "Nothing good happens after midnight at the NCGA"

SENATE REPUBLICANS RAILROAD BUDGET THROUGH IN WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING: Senators held an initial 34-15 vote Thursday evening, then returned at 12:05 a.m. Friday to take a final vote, because the chamber’s rules require that the two mandatory votes to pass the bill can’t be taken on the same day. The Senate GOP has referred to the plan as a “billion-dollar middle-class tax cut,” but Democrats note that it would reduce revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars. “We cannot meet our core responsibilities as a state if we continue to give away money to corporations and those at the top,” said Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat. As Democrats continued to file amendments, Republicans apparently grew frustrated and called for a break until 2:30 a.m. Some senators took naps, while others held an impromptu dance party in the halls of the Legislative Building. Jackson’s amended passed 34-13 and the Senate then took its final budget vote shortly after 3 a.m. Friday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article150077897.html

Thursday News: Burr is no Sam Ervin, Rob

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CHRISTENSEN WRITES ANOTHER SPORTS STORY ABOUT POLITICS: But he has rarely sought the limelight – infrequently appearing on the Sunday talk shows and preferring to quietly tour local businesses rather than holding news conferences back home. As a result, Burr – while politically successful – has never achieved the fame or devoted following of such Tar Heel senators as Jesse Helms, Elizabeth Dole, John Edwards or Terry Sanford. But Burr is now on the biggest stage of his career. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr has been thrust into the middle of the investigation of Russian meddling in the last presidential election and whether Russia tried to help Donald Trump win the presidency. As veteran political consultant Walter de Vries of Wrightsville Beach has recently noted, that has placed Burr in a position – similar to the late Sen. Sam Ervin – “to achieve historical greatness in the way he runs his committee’s investigation.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/rob-christensen/article1...

Wednesday News: Trump fires FBI Director investigating him

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SENATOR MARK WARNER CALLS FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN TRUMP/RUSSIA PROBE: Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was one of many to call the firing proof that a special prosecutor was needed to oversee the Russian meddling investigation. He called Comey’s dismissal “shocking” and “deeply troubling.” Warner said a pattern appears to be developing in the Trump administration. “The administration insists there’s no ‘there there,’ yet President Trump has so far fired the acting attorney general, nearly every U.S. attorney, and now the director of the FBI,” he said in a statement. “In addition, this president’s choice for attorney general has been forced to recuse himself, and the national security adviser has resigned, as a result of undisclosed contacts with Russian officials . . . It is vital that our ongoing investigation is completed in a credible and bipartisan way.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article149608594.html

Tuesday News: All hail Sally Yates

FORMER ACTING AG TESTIFIES ABOUT WARNINGS SHE GAVE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ABOUT FLYNN/RUSSIA TIES: "We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public and because we believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians," Yates said. "To state the obvious," she added later, "you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians." Trump shouldered into the conversation in the morning, tweeting that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Lt. Gen. Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired from his high position by the Obama administration in 2014.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article149217479.html

Monday News: The Primary that wouldn't die

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DEMOCRATS STILL BITTERLY AT ODDS MORE THAN A YEAR AFTER SANDERS V. CLINTON: In a sign of a party deeply divided over everything except all-out opposition to Trump, Democrats in recent weeks have engaged in one fight after the next that shows just how raw the wounds of the 2016 battle between moderates and progressives remain. "The debates and issues are real -- Women's rights are fundamental human rights and not secondary concerns, and Wall Street's grip on elected officials has rigged the economy against workers," said Josh Orton, a progressive strategist. "But the closer any debate gets to touching the tribal primary divisions, the more likely it will become an unwinnable, never-ending comment section argument battling over false equivalencies."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article149164769.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NEW HEALTH CARE BILL SICKENS FAR MORE THAN IT CURES: President Donald Trump and the Republicans who rule the U.S. House of Representatives may be crowing about passage of their prized health-care bill that repeals and replaces Obamacare. But back home in the states they represent, few are celebrating. The unfortunate reality for the nation is that this bill is more likely to be a booby prize. It is particularly astonishing and disheartening that nearly every member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill that they knew almost nothing about. The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t even had time to “score” the bill to determine its impact, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the partisan zealots. Their blind desire to simply check repeal and replacement of Obamacare off the to-do-list for the president is no excuse for the haste and long list of important, but unanswered questions, left on the table.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-new-health-care-bill-sickens-far-more-than-it-cures/16683454/

Saturday News: Cheese with that whine?

OUTSPOKEN BIGOT WITHDRAWS FROM ARMY SECRETARY NOMINATION AFTER CRITICISM: President Donald Trump’s second attempt to nominate an Army secretary failed on Friday when his pick, Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green, withdrew from consideration amid increasingly fierce backlash to his controversial comments about the LGBT community, Muslims and evolution. “It is with deep regret today I am withdrawing my nomination to be the secretary of the Army,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, due to false and misleading attacks against me, this nomination has become a distraction.” Green was a stark contrast to the person he would have been replacing, President Barack Obama’s appointee Eric Fanning, who was the first openly gay Army secretary.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article148941829.html

Friday News: A tale of two Houses

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SENATE WILL LIKELY CHANGE HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL BILL SUBSTANTIALLY: The next step in repealing and replacing Obamacare promises to be a long, slow slog with enough political obstacles to tie it up for months, if not years. Republicans hold a more narrow majority of 52 to 48 in the Senate. And divisions within the GOP are just as stark as the differences between its factions in the House of Representatives that stymied the bill’s progress in that chamber. But the legislation could look very different – and there is a possibility that the House bill won’t even be considered. Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., congratulated the House on its bill but said the Senate would finish its own and would “take the time to get it right.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article148626219.html

Thursday News: Drowning in the high-risk pool

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TRUMPCARE 3.0 BACK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR TODAY: The fortunes of the beleagured American Health Care Act changed on Wednesday when Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Billy Long of Missouri voiced their support for the bill after meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump. Upton and Long had previously opposed the legislation. Their amendment would add $8 billion to a proposed $115 billion pot of money that states could use to fund high-risk pools to provide health coverage for people with expensive medical conditions. But a new analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress estimates the new amendment would subsidize care for only 76,000 more people out of millions who have pre-existing medical conditions.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article148464289.html

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