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Political news

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The Republican's seven year quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act descended into chaos Thursday night as the Senate prepared for an unwieldy, all-night session.

Senate Republicans have at least narrowed the options on what comes next for the Affordable Care Act — casting two separate votes since Tuesday that knocked out a "repeal-only" proposal and rejected a plan for replacement.

So, as lawmakers resume debate on Thursday, they will be staring at basically one possibility: a so-called "skinny repeal" that would surgically remove some key provisions from Obamacare, while leaving the rest intact — at least for now.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that the government will not allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, a year after the Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender service members.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, he wrote:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle raised strong objections Tuesday at a Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., about e-commerce taxation.

The Senate voted Tuesday to begin debating a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. It remains uncertain as to what that replacement might look like. No formal legislation has been drafted. But senators moved to take the procedural first step, known as a "motion to proceed." The vote was 51-50, with Vice President Pence casting the tiebreaking vote.

Debate will now begin, most likely on a measure to fully repeal the law, also known as Obamacare.

President Trump's son and former campaign chairman are both expected to meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, but in a move that's irritated some Democrats, they will reportedly not be put under oath to answer the panel's questions.

Updated at 10:24 p.m. ET

The White House communications operation underwent a dramatic shake-up Friday. Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a wealthy New York financier, as his communications director. Appearing on camera before the White House press corps at a televised press briefing, Scaramucci then announced Sarah Sanders, Spicer's deputy, as the new press secretary.

In statements Friday night, Trump praised Scaramucci and Sanders.

The sewage system is crumbling in Carbonado, Washington, near Mt. Rainier. And if Washington lawmakers fail to pass a capital construction budget before they adjourn Thursday, a plan to replace it—and many other projects around the state—will be put on hold.

Seattle Channel

Ballots have been mailed out across the region for the Aug. 1 primary.

In Seattle, it’s a two-sided ballot that includes 21 candidates for mayor. And ahead of the election, two government TV channels have put together a video voters’ guide.

The video messages cover every race for Seattle and countywide offices. Candidates get two minutes to make a statement.

All the candidates are recorded in a studio in front of the same backdrop.

President Trump has summoned all Senate Republicans to the White House on Wednesday for a debrief on the state of health care legislation effort in their chamber. Based on the week so far, the meeting may be more like a post mortem.

The debate over whether the president of the United States can be charged with a crime is as old as the country itself.

Early evidence comes from the diary of a Pennsylvania senator, who recorded "a heated debate on this very issue" in September 1789, said Hofstra University Law School professor Eric Freedman.

"For those who believe in original intent, we have pretty good evidence of original intent," Freedman said. "The founders just disagreed on the very question."

Will James / KNKX

Environmental activists are the most vocal group in Tacoma politics today.

That's a new development in a city known as a hub of heavy industry. But growing concerns about fossil fuels and pollution are already shaping the race for the next mayor.

First it was Georgia. Then Montana. Now the national political spotlight is falling on Washington state and a special election later this year. But unlike those earlier contests, this one isn’t to fill a seat in Congress.

It’s for the state legislature.

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to pass a capital construction budget. Less than one week remains in the state’s third overtime session of the legislature.

Courtesy of the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle

From agriculture to planes, Washington state holds its own when it comes to international trade. 

For many people, places like Canada, China and Japan easily come to mind when we think about trading partners. But Mexico also does a lot of business with our state.

Washington state's tax system has been called the most regressive in the country, as the state collects no income tax nor do any of its cities. But Seattle is looking to change that: On Monday, its city council passed an income tax on its highest earners.

The council voted 9-0 in favor of the tax, which will apply a 2.25 percent tax on annual income over $250,000 on individuals, or $500,000 for couples filing jointly. The city estimates the tax will generate $140 million in new annual revenue.

For Tim Eyman, when it comes to initiatives it’s all about timing. And now the professional initiative promoter thinks the time is right for another version of his $30 car tabs measure. That’s because of Sound Transit 3, the voter-approved measure that has resulted in a spike in vehicle registration renewal fees.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has emerged as a fierce critic of President Donald Trump. The Democrat has hit the cable news circuit and blasted the president over immigration, health care, climate change.

In doing so, Inslee’s developed a national profile.  

For the first time since 1983, there will be no statewide initiatives on the November ballot in Washington state. More than 30 initiatives to the people had been filed in Washington since January.

Friday was the deadline to turn in qualifying signatures.

House Vote
Ted Warren / AP

Washingtonians are still trying to make sense of the budget passed by the legislature late last week amid the threat of a state government shutdown.

Washington lawmakers plan to vote on a $43.7 billion, 620-page budget bill Friday. Unless they are speed readers, it's doubtful lawmakers--much less the public--will actually have time to read the budget prior to the vote. But there is a 24-page cheat sheet.

The Overcast: Seattle Wants An Income Tax But It's Complicated

Jun 30, 2017
Simone Alicea / KNKX

The Seattle City Council plans on passing a local income tax in the next couple weeks. But there are a lot of questions about a potential city income tax in a state that doesn't have one.

Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor and women's rights advocate who was instrumental in legalizing abortion in France, has died at age 89.

Veil was among France's most popular politicians and was revered across the political spectrum. In 1979, she became the first directly elected president of the European Parliament.

On yet another day when President Trump's tweets are dominating the news, the top Republican and Democrat leading the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe said his tweets aren't quite enough for them.

President Trump plans to nominate Republican Brendan Carr, the general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, to fill one of the agency's two empty leadership seats.

Carr is a former legal adviser to current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and was a lawyer with Wiley Rein LLP, which has worked with telecommunications companies including AT&T and Verizon.

The White House announced the president's plan late Wednesday.

There’s still no word of a budget deal in the Washington state Capitol. And a partial government shutdown is just days away. Yet lawmakers remain optimistic.

President Trump's support among independent voters has eroded since he took office. Though he still clings to a loyal base of supporters, his overall disapproval among Americans has reached record highs, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 37 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing just over five months into his tenure, while 51 percent disapprove. Forty percent of those polled strongly disapprove of Trump's performance, twice the 20 percent who strongly approved.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP's health care bill, and they're unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

President Trump, who is fond of dining at his Trump International Hotel near the White House, will have some company Wednesday — a roomful of people who paid as much as $35,000 or $100,000 each to be there.

The money will go to two joint fundraising operations — Trump Victory, which will take in large donations and Trump Make America Great Again Committee for smaller-dollar donors.

When Trump Victory started sending out invitations four weeks ago, it announced the price points, but kept the venue secret until a prospect had RSVP'd.

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