Politics

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Friday, for the first time since 1983, a sitting president will address the National Rifle Association at the group's annual convention — when President Trump, along with a who's who of gun rights advocates, is scheduled to talk at the NRA Leadership Forum in Atlanta, Ga.

The final member of President Trump's Cabinet — secretary of labor — was confirmed by the Senate Thursday in a bipartisan vote of 60-38.

Alexander Acosta, 48, will be the Cabinet's first Latino member. Acosta is dean of the Florida International University College of Law in Miami.

Acosta was assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush, who later appointed him U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

The decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose tariffs on Canadian lumber in the U.S. caused a stir this week. But the local consequences are still unknown.

As Republicans in Congress debate changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurance executives across the country are trying to make plans for next year.

Companies that sell policies on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, face fast-approaching deadlines to inform states about what plans they want to sell, and what they intend to charge.

The president went on a tweetstorm Thursday hyping the idea of a potential shutdown and blaming Democrats on a variety of issues:

But Congress isn't likely headed for a shutdown. It is likely to vote on a spending measure Thursday or Friday that would keep the government open for another week. And negotiators are working on a plan to fund the government for the rest of the year.

So what's going on?

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have endorsed the idea of a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while budget negotiations continue.

The stop-gap spending measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, would put off the deadline to May 5.

President Trump has said over and over that creating jobs is at the top of his agenda. It may seem unfair to judge his progress on this goal in his first 100 days, but Trump has opened the door to scrutiny by making his own assertions on job creation.

Even though President Trump calls the 100-days measure "ridiculous," the White House is still touting what one press release called the president's "historic accomplishments" — including 28 laws he has signed since taking office.

On Inauguration Day, Donald Trump placed his hand on a Bible and promised to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. At the time, many ethics experts waited to see if Trump would divest himself of his multi-billion dollar business interests.

"And he didn't do it," says Zephyr Teachout, an associate law professor at Fordham University. "So immediately upon becoming president we filed a lawsuit to get him to stop violating the Constitution."

With just two days left to stop a partial shutdown of the federal government, the Trump administration on Wednesday removed another major sticking point in the spending bill negotiations.

The White House told lawmakers it will not cut off federal subsidies that help low-income Americans pay for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, at least for now, an administration official and congressional sources confirm to NPR.

Democrats sought to have the federal payment — known as a cost-sharing reduction, or CSR — included in the spending package.

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET

The Trump administration Wednesday put forth a proposal that it labeled a "massive" tax overhaul, which would give big tax cuts to individuals and corporations and reduce the number of tax brackets and deductions.

Appliance manufacturers and home builders are in Washington, D.C., today to celebrate a popular energy efficiency program, even as it's slated for elimination in President Trump's proposed budget.

You probably know the program's little blue label with the star — the Environmental Protection Agency says 90 percent of U.S. households do.

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The White House is banging the drums that President Trump is doing something big again ahead of his 100th day in office — unveiling a tax "plan."

"This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country," Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a panel Wednesday morning.

President Trump's campaign rallies were defined by three slogans, three syllables each, which the candidate led the crowd in chanting: "Build the wall," condemning illegal immigration; "Lock her up," attacking Democratic rival Hillary Clinton; and "Drain the swamp," all about cleaning up Washington.

From left: Hanna Brooks Olsen, Sarah Anne Lloyd, Alex Hudson
Seattlish

The blog "Seattlish" is closing up shop. For four years, the website covered politics in Washington state, with a special emphasis on Seattle city government.

Donald Trump promised something new in American politics.

His strategists said his brash "America First" approach would bust up the old party identities and remake the Republican Party as a true populist "Workers Party."

But it was never perfectly clear exactly how he planned to do that — 100 days into his administration, here are five thoughts on what we know so far about Trumpism:

1. The early debate about Trumpism (and what that means)

The Trump administration announced it will impose a 20 percent tariff on imported softwood lumber from Canada.

The dispute is not new — the United States and Canada have sparred over imports of forest products for decades. But the action comes as the two nations prepare to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which President Trump has harshly criticized.

Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans in the Senate to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next secretary of agriculture.

The vote was 87-11. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., voted "present" and presided over the vote.

Sonny Perdue grew up on a farm in central Georgia and has owned several agriculture companies. He is not associated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

NPR's Geoff Bennett reports for our Newscast unit:

Former President Barack Obama on Monday gave his first public address since leaving office, moderating a panel with young people on community engagement while dancing around the turmoil surrounding his White House successor.

"So, uh, what's been going on while I've been gone?" Obama deadpanned at the beginning of his opening remarks at the University of Chicago.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Since the election, there has been renewed interest in learning about how government works. 

Most high school students said in 2010 that they learned about civics in some form, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress in the subject.

But many adults in Washington state and around the country are finding those high school government lessons difficult to remember. 

What Washington Teaches Kids

Congress returns Tuesday from its spring recess, facing yet another down-to-the-wire spate of deal-making — and a White House anxious to claim its first major legislative win.

On Friday night, the funding measure lawmakers approved last year to keep the federal government running will expire. The timing leaves members of the House and Senate just four days to reach a new agreement to fund the government, or risk a partial shutdown of federal agencies on Saturday — the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will call state lawmakers back into special session starting Monday. The Democrat’s announcement Friday came as budget negotiations remained stalled with the regular session scheduled to end on Sunday.

By calling an immediate special session, Inslee ensured there would be no break between the end of the regular 105-day session and the beginning of a 30-day overtime session.


  


"This job cannot wait," Inslee said at a news conference.


  


The Republican chairman and the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are taking a look into the slowly brewing controversy of foreign cash flowing into President Trump's hotel in Washington, D.C.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will likely call lawmakers back into special session on Monday. This comes as the clock runs out on the 105-day regular session without a budget deal--or agreement on school funding.

That’s led to plenty of finger-pointing at the Capitol.  

A key deadline for measures to advance in the Oregon Legislature has passed. That means Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of what's remaining on their agenda.

Hundreds of bills -- some of which enjoyed bipartisan support -- are no longer in play.

As the first American president to be elected with no prior political or military experience, Donald Trump has had to adapt quickly to the responsibilities of public office.

It was a trifecta of conservative celebrities in the White House Wednesday night.

Ted Nugent, a longtime Trump supporter; camouflage-cowboy-hat-wearer, Kid Rock, who's been known to be strongly anti-shirt but pro- marijuana; and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin all gathered in the Oval Office for a quick photo shoot to go over some paperwork and have a little dinner.

All three jumped on the Trump train early in the primary campaign and appeared at numerous rallies on Trump's behalf in the months leading up to his election victory last November.

The woman leading the Justice Department's investigation of foreign meddling into the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has told staff members she will leave the department in May.

Mary B. McCord has served at the highest levels in the national security unit, either as its leader or chief deputy, for the past three years. A longtime federal prosecutor based in Washington, McCord easily won the confidence of both career lawyers and her supervisors inside the Justice Department.

House Republicans are mulling over new changes to their health care proposal, hoping to wrangle enough votes to pass a bill that would allow them to keep their campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The latest proposal allows states to make changes to the ACA's rules governing health insurance policies and markets, in an effort to allow some states to offer stripped-down policies with lower premiums.

If you filed for an extension on your taxes this week, you're right in step with the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress. They've put off voting on their promised tax overhaul until after they take another whack at repealing and replacing Obamacare.

That's got some Republicans concerned, including Stephen Moore, who was an economic adviser to the Trump campaign.

"You know, you've got a period when you're first elected where you've got to rush and get things done before that window slams shut," Moore says.

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