National News at a Glance
Posted October 17, 2018 11:14 p.m. EDT
Senate Truce Collapses as GOP Rush to Confirm More Judges Begins Anew Senate Democrats struck a deal last week with Republicans that saw the quick confirmation of 15 more conservative judges in exchange for a rapid recess to the campaign trail. On Wednesday the armistice collapsed when Republicans on the Judiciary Committee convened yet another hearing to consider still more conservative federal court nominees — while the Senate was technically in recess. Incensed Democrats boycotted the proceedings, but their empty chairs did not prevent candidates for the bench from taking a crucial step toward confirmation. The hearing demonstrated the lengths to which Republicans will go to put conservatives on the federal judiciary.
Trump Opens New Front in His Battle With China: International Shipping
President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from a 144-year-old postal treaty that has allowed Chinese companies to ship small packages to the United States at a steeply discounted rate. The withdrawal, announced Wednesday, is part of a push by Trump to punish China for what the administration says is a pattern of unfair trade practices. The Universal Postal Union treaty, first drafted in 1874, sets fees that national postal services charge to deliver mail and parcels to countries around the world. Since 1969, developing countries — including China — have been assessed lower rates than wealthier countries in Europe and North America.
Medal of Honor for Marine 50 Years After His Heroics
President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor Wednesday to a Marine who saved the lives of numerous fellow servicemen during one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War, when he charged into enemy fire and carried wounded Americans to safety. Sgt. Maj. John Canley took command of his company after its commanding officer was seriously wounded at the beginning of the Tet Offensive. On Wednesday, Canley, who retired from the Marines in 1981 and is now 80, stood on stage with Trump in the White House to receive the highest commendation available to members of the U.S. military.
Wealthy Candidate Set Up a Blind Trust That Wasn’t Blind
Rick Scott became fabulously wealthy for co-founding a chain of urgent-care clinics before he became governor of Florida in November 2010. But after questions arose about conflicts of interest, Scott, who is now running to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., created a $73.8 million investment account he called a blind trust. But an examination of Scott’s finances shows that his trust has been blind in name only. There have been numerous ways for him to have knowledge about his holdings, including transferring many assets to his wife. Only in late July, when compelled by ethics rules for Senate candidates, did Scott disclose his wife’s holdings.
Seriously Sick? Don’t Count on Insurance Being Enough
A recent survey of serious ill people shows that health insurance often fails its basic function: protecting people from financial ruin if they face catastrophic, costly health problems. The survey found that even with health insurance, more than a third of the respondents had spent all or most of their savings while sick. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said they were unsure what their health insurance would pay for. “What’s staggering here is there’s no way people could know what they would be in for,” said Robert Blendon, a professor at Harvard who helped devise the survey.
Bulwark of Coastal Bases, Under Threat From More Menacing Storms
When Hurricane Michael ripped apart hangars and wrecked much of Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida, last week, the storm exposed a significant military vulnerability. While most of the base's F-22 stealth fighter jets were flown to safety, many of the 17 aircraft, worth about $5.8 billion, were damaged. The Air Force said the aircraft could be repaired, but Michael’s devastation raises the question about how well the more than a dozen air bases right on the coast in storm-prone southern states are defended against the elements.
Arizona Candidate Gives Republicans Diversity, but Perhaps Not Victory
If Republican political newcomer Lea Marquez Peterson from Tuscon, Arizona, were to win in November, she would be perhaps the first Latina elected to Congress from the Grand Canyon State. But with less than a month before the election, as Democratic fever rises to flip the district blue, the National Republican Campaign Committee announced it was pulling a six-figure advertising campaign supporting Marquez Peterson, a concession that the race no longer appears competitive. Fundraising numbers show that Marquez Peterson’s Democratic opponent, Ann Kirkpatrick, has far outpaced her, $3.7 million to $1.2 million. And, a New York Times poll has her trailing Kirkpatrick by 11 points.
Painter Brushes Trump Into Seat at Exclusive Club
Finally, a portrait of President Donald Trump that he actually liked. In a framed image captured in the background of a “60 Minutes” interview at the White House, Trump sits among Republican presidents from the past century and a half, looking as if he had just made a wisecrack that drew laughter from the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon. Andy Thomas, the 61-year-old artist behind the work, said he received a call a recently from Trump, who expressed his delight with the print of the painting that he had received as a gift from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.