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The Latest: Democrats use new analysis to bash GOP tax bill

The Washingon Times + 2 other

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on House consideration of the tax overhaul (all times local): 1:50 p.m. The House has passed a sweeping Republican tax bill cutting taxes for corporations and many people. It puts GOP leaders closer to delivering to President Donald Trump a crucial legislative achievement after nearly a year of failures. The House voted 227-205 along party lines to approve the bill, which would bring the biggest revamp of the U.S. tax system in three decades. Most of the House bill’s reductions would go to business. Both the Senate and House would slash the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 20 percent and reduce levies on millions of partnerships and certain corporations, including many small businesses. Personal income tax rates for many would be reduced through some deductions, and credits would be reduced or eliminated. But projected federal deficits would grow by $1.5 trillion over the coming decade. ___ 12:15 p.m. Democrats are using new projections by Congress’ nonpartisan tax analysts to call the Senate Republican tax bill a boon to the wealthy that boosts middle-income families’ taxes. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that starting in 2021, many families earning less than $30,000 would have tax increases under the bill. By 2027, families earning up to $75,000 would face higher levies, while those earning more would get tax cuts. R…

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Puppies from Puerto Rico examined for potential infection

The Washingon Times + 19 other

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is investigating a group of 10 puppies potentially infected with a bacterial disease that were sent to the state and Vermont from Puerto Rico. The department says the puppies were brought from Puerto Rico on Nov. 9. Three days later, they were brought to the outdoor patio at Ramunto’s Brick and Brew Pizzeria in Hanover, New Hampshire, where patrons interacted with them. Five puppies became sick; one tested positive for leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be transmitted from animals to humans and othe…

Taxpayer-funded farm program no match for algae plague

The Washingon Times + 2 other

MONROE, Mich. (AP) - Competing in a bass fishing tournament two years ago, Todd Steele cast his rod from his 21-foot motorboat - unaware that he was being poisoned. A thick, green scum coated western Lake Erie. And Steele, a semipro angler, was sickened by it. Driving home to Port Huron, Michigan, he felt lightheaded, nauseous. By the next morning he was too dizzy to stand, his overheated body covered with painful hives. Hospital tests blamed toxic algae, a rising threat to U.S. waters. “It attacked my immune system and shut down my body’s ability to sweat,” Steele said. …

Pope upset that health care is too tied to people's finances

The Washingon Times + 3 other

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis on Thursday urged lawmakers to ensure that health care laws protect the “common good,” decrying the fact that in many places only the privileged can afford sophisticated medical treatments. The comments came as U.S. lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have been debating how to overhaul the nation’s health insurance laws. In a message to a medical association meeting at the Vatican, Francis expressed dismay at what he called a tendency toward growing inequality in health care. He said in wealthier countries, health care access risks being more depen…

Agency: Improper wait list used for vets' mental health care

The Washingon Times + 2 other

DENVER (AP) - A watchdog arm of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that the agency’s Denver-area hospital violated policy by keeping improper wait lists to track veterans’ mental health care. Investigators with the VA Office of Inspector General confirmed a whistleblower’s claim that staff kept unauthorized lists instead of using the department’s official wait list system. That made it impossible to know if veterans who needed referrals for group therapy and other mental health care were getting timely assistance, according to the report. The internal…

Save the Children says 130 children die every day in Yemen

The Washingon Times + 5 other

CAIRO (AP) - An international aid group says an estimated 130 children or more die every day in war-torn Yemen from extreme hunger and disease. Save the Children said late Wednesday that a continuing blockade by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels is likely to further increase the death rate. It says over 50,000 children are believed to have died in 2017. Saudi Arabia blocked Yemen’s ports after a rebel missile attack near Riyadh. However it said Monday the coalition would lift the blockade after widespread international criticism. The U.N. and over 20 aid group…