Punting to 2018
In the afterglow of its big tax action, the Republican-controlled Congress Thursday rushed to extend spending to keep government offices open through Jan. 19 and put off tricky issues.
As they did, President Donald Trump returned to partisan finger-pointing.
“House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts,” Trump said of the bill, which polls badly, as do Trump and Congress.
“House Republicans, don’t let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!” the president tweeted, with Congress already working against a Friday deadline. The House voted for the measure 231-188, and the Senate approved the measure in a bipartisan 66 to 32 vote.
U.S. allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Japan, voted in the United Nations to denounce the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Newsday’s Zachary Dowdy reports.
The UN General Assembly vote for the resolution opposing the U.S. declaration was 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, including Canada and Australia.
Voting with the U.S. and Israel: Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.
The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, warned: “We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations.” Trump threatened a reduction of support before the vote as well.
Rebuffed on transgender stance
Judges denied a Trump administration request to delay the Jan. 1 start date for transgender people to enlist in the military, The Associated Press reports.
A three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia wrote in a two-paragraph order Thursday that the administration’s request was denied.
Trump tweeted in July that the government would ban transgender people from the military. But the Pentagon said last week that transgender recruits will start to be enlisted Jan. 1 while lawsuits are pending.
Emolument cases tossed
Two lawsuits had been filed claiming Trump’s failure to divest himself from his real estate empire violated the “emoluments” clause of the Constitution banning certain foreign gifts.
But on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels — a Bill Clinton appointee sitting in Manhattan — dismissed both of them, saying the plaintiffs failed to show injury.
Similar cases are still pending in other federal courts.
What else is happening
- Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to troops in Afghanistan while there to discuss strategies with that nation’s leaders.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellrejected calls from House leaders to tackle Medicare and Medicaid spending next year, The Washington Post reports.
- Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumerwarned Republicans that they should be careful what they celebrate.
- The first six people to face trial in Inaugural Day protests that turned violent were acquitted.
- About 8.8 million peoplesigned up for 2018 Obamacare health insurance plans on the federally run HealthCare.gov website.
- The Trump administration halted an independent scientific study of offshore oil inspections by the safety agency created after the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico, AP reports.