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Jose Garcia

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Member since: Fri Dec 2, 2016, 01:17 PM
Number of posts: 1,834

Journal Archives

EXCLUSIVE: Blue Dog Democrats meet with top Trump aides on tax reform

Source: The Hill

Blue Dog Democrats huddled with the leading members of President Trump’s economic team on Tuesday in the Capitol, where the lawmakers pressed the administration to seek bipartisan reforms to the nation’s tortuous tax code.

Just 18-members strong, the centrist Blue Dogs compose a tiny voice in the clamorous House, vastly outnumbered by even the liberals in their own caucus. But with GOP leaders struggling to rally their divided conference around big-ticket legislation, the Blue Dogs see themselves potentially stepping into the mix to broker a bipartisan deal for the sake of getting tax reform to Trump’s desk this year.

“If it’s constructive, if they’re genuinely interested in ideas and making it a bipartisan effort, then the Blue Dogs are certainly willing to participate,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), a member of the group.

“You’ve got the far left, you’ve got the far right, and the Blue Dogs are in the center. And basically, we want a tax code that’s efficient [and] that works for everybody.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/338714-exclusive-blue-dog-democrats-meet-with-top-trump-aides-on-tax-reform

Man Charged With Killing Muslim Teenager Entered United States Illegally, Authorities Say

Source: The New York Times

A 22-year-old man accused of killing a Muslim teenager with a baseball bat in Virginia on Sunday is an undocumented immigrant who entered the United States illegally, federal authorities said on Tuesday.

The man, Darwin Martinez Torres, who was charged with murder in the death of Nabra Hassanen, 17, is believed to be from El Salvador, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman said. The agency said it issued a so-called detainer on Monday with the Adult Detention Center in Fairfax, Va., where Mr. Torres is being held without bail, to keep him in custody in the event that he could be released.

ICE, which said it had no previous encounters with Mr. Torres, did not say when he came to the United States, how old he was at the time and whether he arrived with anyone else. Minors in El Salvador have fled that country in recent years, often traveling north through Mexico, to escape violent gangs. Under President Barack Obama, the White House expanded a humanitarian program to admit Central American refugees fleeing dangerous conditions.

The announcement by ICE came on a day that vigils for Ms. Hassanen were held in New York City, Washington and elsewhere, and as calls have mounted for the police in Fairfax County to charge Mr. Torres with a hate crime. While Ms. Hassanen was with a group of friends who were wearing Muslim head scarves and robes, the police in Fairfax County have said that the killing had resulted from a “road rage incident” and that no evidence had emerged to warrant a hate crime charge.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/us/muslim-girl-murder-virginia-illegal-immigrant.html

US president Donald Trumps state visit to UK postponed

Source: The Financial Times

Donald Trump’s planned state visit to Britain has been postponed amid fears that it would attract mass public protests and undermine UK prime minister Theresa May’s attempts to build a closer bond with the US president.

The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday did not mention the proposed state visit — an omission widely seen as confirmation that Mr Trump will not come to the UK in the late summer or early autumn, as previously intended. Mrs May had first extended an invitation to the US president in January.

The monarch did list the forthcoming state visit of King Felipe of Spain in July, and the fact that Britain would host the Commonwealth summit next April.

UK government officials said that the omission of any mention of Mr Trump’s visit did not necessarily confirm he was not coming to Britain in 2017, but said it was “inevitable” that people would speculate that the visit had been delayed.

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/c92f237e-5667-11e7-80b6-9bfa4c1f83d2

Killing of Muslim teen near Va. mosque stemmed from road rage, police say

Source: The Washington Post

The Virginia teens were up late observing Ramadan, so they did what young people often do in the wee hours of the weekend: They went out for a bite to eat at McDonald’s.

But as they walked and biked back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Sterling, along a major thoroughfare, a red car approached from behind about 3:40 a.m. Sunday and chaos erupted.

The driver, Darwin Martinez Torres, a 22-year-old construction worker from Sterling, got into an argument with a teen on a bike and then drove his car over a curb, scattering the group of as many as 15 teens, police said.

He caught up with them a short time later in a parking lot and chased them with a baseball bat, striking 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen and then abducting her in his car, police said.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/killing-of-muslim-teenager-not-being-investigated-as-a-hate-crime-police-say/2017/06/19/e7670f0a-54f0-11e7-ba90-f5875b7d1876_story.html?utm_term=.0b3f082178d6

Pennsylvania Legislature passes 'historic' pension bill

Source: The Morning Call

The Legislature gave final approval today to a bill to drastically change retirement benefits for most state employees and all school employees hired after 2018.

The House's 143-53 vote this morning pushes the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk for his signature and Wolf's office has said he will sign it in coming days.

The measure seeks to reduce the long-term risk associated with taxpayers bailing out the state's two debt-ridden pension plans in bad economic times.

The bill would move affected workers from a taxpayer-funded pension plan with guaranteed retirement benefits to a hybrid" plan. Under it, about half the worker's pension benefits would be determined by a 401(k)-style plan that fluctuates with the markets, reducing taxpayer exposure more than 50 percent. The worker could elect to have all his or her retirement benefits placed into a 401(k).

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-pension-legislature-final-vote-20170608-story.html

Five months in prison for woman who sent death threats to dad of Sandy Hook victim

Source: Sun Sentinel

Affter admitting that she sent death threats to a Palm Beach County man whose 6-year-old son was murdered in the Sandy Hook school mass shooting, Lucy Richards apologized to the victims on Wednesday and acknowledged that the tragic incident occurred.

“I don’t know where my head and my heart were that day when I made the calls but they were not in the right place,” Richards said, speaking in a meek voice, before she was sentenced in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

The judge sentenced her to five months in federal prison, followed by five months of house arrest and three years of supervised release.

Though Richards has a documented history of mental health problems, Senior U.S. District Judge James Cohn told her he did not believe they were a major factor in her decision to commit her crime.

Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/crime/fl-reg-sandy-hook-death-threat-guilty-20170606-story.html

Sanders-backed candidate alleges improper voting in Democratic Party election

Source: The Hill

A Bernie Sanders-backed candidate running to head the California Democratic Party says she was cheated out of the job, alleging hundreds of improperly cast ballots helped her establishment-backed rival beat her last month.

Kimberly Ellis, a Bay-area Democratic activist who enjoyed support from Sanders and many of his allies, said her campaign has evidence that some delegates to the state convention voted twice, and that other ballots are missing.

The discrepancies she publicized late Monday call into question the results of the election for state Democratic Party chairman, a race won by Los Angeles-area activist Eric Bauman. Bauman beat Ellis by just 62 votes, out of about 3,300 delegates who attended the convention last month in Sacramento.

“Based on the information contained here, the actual vote count is in question,” Ellis’s team wrote in a six-page memo. “It is believed the wrong individual is serving as Chair.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/336534-sanders-backed-candidate-alleges-improper-voting-in-democratic-party

Rubio, Nelson to Trump: Force Cuba to pay for billions 'stolen' from Americans

Source: Politico

MIAMI — U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are teaming up to lobby the Trump administration in a half-century dispute with Cuba: They want the Communist government to fork over $8 billion to compensate Americans whose property was “stolen” when the Castro regime nationalized utilities and industries.

In a Monday letter to the Trump administration, the two Florida senators also took issue with an Obama administration policy concerning a trademark dispute involving Havana Club rum and the Bacardi family.

The senators said the administration should make the billions of dollars in compensation payments from more than 5,900 property claims a priority in crafting its policy toward Cuba.

The Cuban government, meanwhile, has countered that it is owed about $300 billion from the United States stemming from the longstanding economic embargo and the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion — claims the two senators dismissed.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/06/06/rubio-nelson-call-on-trump-to-seek-8-billion-in-claims-against-cuba-112530

Senator Al Franken Cancels Bill Maher Appearance Amid Controversy

Source: Huffington Post

A spokesperson for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) confirmed to HuffPost that the senator is canceling his appearance on the upcoming episode of “Real Time” in the wake of host Bill Maher’s use of a racial slur on-air.

“Senator Franken believes that what Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision not to appear on the next episode of ‘Real Time,’” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “He was glad to see Bill, who the Senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”

Last Friday, Maher joked that he was a “house n****r” while in conversation with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who invited Maher to “work in the fields” of his represented state. Maher later called his use of the term “offensive.”

The backlash was strong enough for Maher to apologize ― something he’s known for rarely doing ― and for HBO to confirm that the network currently has no plans to fire him.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-maher-controversy-al-franken_us_59359b04e4b013c48169f65c?b

Federal officials: DHS to extend temporary protected status to Haitians

Source: The Washington Post

The Trump administration plans to announce a six-month extension of temporary protected status for 50,000 Haitians who were spared from deportation after a devastating 2010 earthquake, according to federal officials with direct knowledge of the information.

Details were still being finalized Monday, and the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.

Tuesday is the deadline for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to publish a 60-day notice in the Federal Register announcing its plans for the program. Haitians’ current protected status will expire July 23.

Immigrant advocates have intensely lobbied Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to extend the status, saying Haiti is beset by food shortages, unemployment and widespread poverty, and is unable to repatriate thousands of citizens.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/federal-officials-dhs-to-extend-temporary-protected-status-to-haitians/2017/05/22/d2796824-3ef5-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html?utm_term=.0616e9f5259a
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