By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget proposal would shrink U.S. deficits by $1.232 trillion over 10 years compared to those expected under current tax and spending laws, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday. The deficit reduction, although smaller than that claimed by the White House, is largely due to Obama's proposals for higher taxes on the wealthy, his plans for lower spending on military operations in Afghanistan and net savings from proposed immigration reforms, the CBO said. For fiscal 2016, the first full year under Obama's fiscal blueprint if Congress were to adopt it, the deficit would fall to $380 billion from $455 billion, the CBO's latest forecast under current laws. But Congress routinely casts aside the president's budget request and passes its own budget and spending bills. Next week, Republican-controlled budget committees in the House and Senate intend to unveil their own proposals for budgets that eliminate deficits within 10 years, with deep spending cuts expected for some federal benefits programs. Under the analysis from the non-partisan CBO, near term deficits under Obama's proposal would be smaller than those forecast by the White House Office of Management and Budget, while deficits in later years are larger. The CBO's fiscal 2016 deficit estimate is $94 billion less than the White House $474 billion estimate, a trend that continues through about 2019, when they grow larger in CBO analysis. The CBO's estimate for a cumulative deficit of $5.977 trillion from 2016 through 2025 is $303 billion higher than the White House's forecast. The CBO said its estimates for spending on federal benefits and interest costs are lower in the near term than the White House estimates. But the CBO's estimated revenues will grow more slowly later in the decade due to its assumptions for reduced economic growth and lower effective tax rates on corporate profits and other income. (Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Bill Trott)
- Yahoo News
U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., told the Yahoo News "Skullduggery" podcast that President Trump's supporters claiming voter fraud share a lot in common with the people searching for Bigfoot.
- Associated Press
The leader of a pro-gun group that stages armed protests against police violence has been charged with pointing a rifle at federal officers while in Kentucky for a demonstration. John F. Johnson, who calls himself “Grandmaster Jay,” is facing a federal charge of assaulting task force officers. A complaint filed in federal court in Louisville said Johnson pointed a rifle, which had a flashlight mounted to it, at officers who were on a roof in downtown Louisville on Sept. 4.
He is the first to be arrested under a controversial anti-conversion law passed last month.
Iran is ready to engage in further prisoner swaps after last week exchanging a jailed British-Australian academic with three Iranians detained abroad, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday. "We can always engage in that, it is in the interests of everybody," Zarif told an Italian diplomatic conference speaking via video-link. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, had been serving a 10-year sentence for alleged espionage when she was freed on Nov. 25.
- The Telegraph
Murderers and rapists could be barred from claiming asylum as part of Priti Patel's crackdown on immigration
Murderers and rapists to be prevented from claiming asylum, says Priti Patel, after the Jamaican deportation flight row. In an interview with The Telegraph, the Home Secretary said it was “completely wrong” that convicted killers and rapists released from jail should be able to exploit the asylum system to remain in the UK. She also indicated that asylum will be “streamlined” to prevent migrants making multiple claims that can be lodged and heard hours or even minutes before their removal. It will be part of a major reform of Britain’s “completely broken” asylum system, which is due to be unveiled in the new year. Her comments came after a murderer, two rapists and two would-be killers were among 23 criminals who escaped deportation to Jamaica early on Wednesday morning after lodging 11th hour appeals including claims for asylum. One was removed from the flight just minutes before the flight after a judge granted a stay.
- Associated Press
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has named Tina Flournoy, a veteran Democratic strategist and aide to the Clintons, as her chief of staff, the transition team announced Thursday. Flournoy's appointment as Harris' top staffer adds to a team of advisers led by Black women. Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the nation's first female vice president.
- Architectural Digest
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Daily Beast
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released the first of what it promised would be many shocking revelations from CNN’s internal editorial meetings, which founder James O’Keefe appears to have infiltrated and recorded over the course of several weeks.First, the right-wing group tried to make hay out of the fact that one high-level CNN staffer considered Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be racist—while simultaneously misidentifying the staffer in question. Their latest bombshell? CNN President Jeff Zucker thinks Rudy Giuliani is “crazy.”According to Project Veritas’ website, O’Keefe believes it will be “virtually impossible for the American public to take CNN’s reporting seriously after listening to these tapes.” And yet, once again, nothing that Zucker has said should surprise anyone who has been paying attention to Giuliani, especially in the weeks since Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.“There is a term for what Rudy Giuliani is suspected of being, which is ‘useful idiot,’” a voice identified as Zucker’s can be heard saying in a tape made just a couple of days after the man formerly known as “America’s mayor” started pushing material supposedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop.He goes on to call Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the election a “really important story,” adding, “It gets tied to the Hunter Biden email disinformation campaign. That’s the way we do this, because it’s all tied and part-and-parcel of one. I know Washington is working on putting that all together.”In a more recent call, when another staff member suggests that the “real craziness is the client,” referring to President Trump, “not the lawyers,” the voice ID’d as Zucker agrees before saying, “I think you raise a good point about not just pawning it off on the crazy legal team, but the client is the one who is directing the crazy legal team.”Other comments from Zucker that seem to have outraged Project Veritas concern the baseless allegations of pedophilia against Biden that circulated online, especially among QAnon Facebook groups, in the run-up to the election.“The president of the United States has just retweeted a post accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile to his 86 million followers which is just beyond,” he says on another tape. “You know it also is just unacceptable that the president of the United States is trafficking in this and doing it.”Once again, an exposé intended to make Zucker and CNN look bad has only revealed that they are simply adhering to reality.Project Veritas’ CNN Sting Uncovers Explosive News That Tucker Carlson Is RacistRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
A bilateral trade deal between Taiwan and the United States would reinforce U.S. support for the democratic island in the face of "unrelenting intimidation" from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has long angled for a trade deal with its most important diplomatic and military backer, and in August Tsai announced a relaxation on imports of U.S. pork and beef, removing a stumbling block.
- Associated Press
A top Pakistani court on Wednesday declared the country’s ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who lives in exile in London, a fugitive from justice after he failed to return home to face additional corruption charges. The move by the Islamabad High Court comes months after Sharif was given the chance to voluntarily return home. The next court hearing will be held in a week’s time, when the judges will discuss whether to proceed with the hearings and try Sharif in absentia.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do."Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."Biden promised that he is "not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B, or C,' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role, it's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."Harris, who once served as California's attorney general, added that the administration will assume that "any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on the law, it should not be influence by politics, period."More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse.
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
- Associated Press
The killing of a young Black man last month by a white man who complained that he was playing loud music has roiled Ashland, Oregon, forcing the liberal college town that is famous for its Shakespeare festival to take a hard look at race relations. The death of Aidan Ellison, 19, added another name to the list of Black men and women whose killings have sparked a nationwide reckoning with racism and fueled a surge in a Black Lives Matter movement. On Nov. 23, Robert Keegan fired a single shot into Ellison's chest after complaining about the music late at night in a motel parking lot.
- Yahoo News Video
As a pair of critical Senate runoff races approach on Jan. 5, Georgia Republican leaders find themselves in a conundrum, trying to balance indulging President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud with supporting state GOP election officials. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, is frustrated with the misinformation about the election process in his state. “I’m actually embarrassed at the amount of misinformation that continues to show up on Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and blogs that takes literally 10 seconds to debunk,” Duncan told Yahoo News. “Anybody could debunk it, but because they’ve let themselves get to a point where they’re more worried about flipping an election result than they are following the truth, that’s how we’ve gotten here.”
- The Week
There appears to be growing support among Senate Republicans for a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill introduced earlier this week, reports The Washington Post.The $908 billion package — championed by moderate Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (D-Maine), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — is in between what Democratic leadership is pushing for and what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested. The moderates suggested an unemployment boost and money for state governments, but no stimulus checks.While McConnell on Thursday continued to resist the bipartisan bill, pushing instead for his version, which the White House has endorsed, other Republican senators got on board with the package. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) signaled they were open to the bipartisan bill.Democratic leaders said they believed the $908 billion package should be the basis for negotiations. Several Republicans echoed that, saying it wasn't exactly what they wanted but it made for a good starting point.McConnell didn't comment directly on the bipartisan proposal, but instead urged lawmakers to pull the trigger on his version, which he called "a serious and highly targeted relief proposal including elements which we know the president is ready and willing to sign into law."More stories from theweek.com The Donald goes down to Georgia Biden says he's concerned about reports Trump is considering preemptive pardons 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims
The United States on Thursday imposed fresh Iran-related sanctions, blacklisting an entity and an individual as Washington continues to ramp up pressure on Tehran during U.S. President Donald Trump's final months in office. The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said that it had slapped sanctions on Shahid Meisami Group and its director, accusing the entity of being involved in Iran's chemical weapons research and linked to the Iranian Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, blacklisted by Washington and formerly headed by the Islamic Republic's top nuclear scientist killed last week.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Bangladesh have begun relocating thousands of Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process, officials said Thursday. The United Nations has also voiced concern that refugees be allowed to make a “free and informed decision” about whether to relocate to the island in the Bay of Bengal. The island's facilities are built to accommodate 100,000 people, just a fraction of the million Rohingya Muslims who have fled waves of violent persecution in their native Myanmar and are currently living in crowded, squalid refugee camps.
- Business Insider
Attorney for Jared Kushner and a Trump fundraiser investigated by DOJ in alleged bribery-for-pardon scheme
The New York Times reported that a lawyer for President Trump's son-in-law was investigated by the Justice Department this summer.
The top U.S. envoy on Venezuela called on the incoming Biden administration on Thursday to use the leverage he believes has been gained from years of tough sanctions aimed at ousting socialist President Nicolas Maduro and urged against offering him any "giveaways." In an interview with Reuters, Elliott Abrams, President Donald Trump's special representative on Venezuela and Iran, said there was a strong bipartisan consensus in Washington over the need to keep pressure on Maduro and he did not expect major changes on U.S. Venezuela policy when Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
- The Independent
Educator says she wants to keep on teaching when Joe Biden becomes president