Rep. Frederica Wilson: Kelly lied about FBI ceremony – CNN

Kelly, speaking at a briefing Thursday afternoon, had denounced Wilson after the Democratic congresswoman publicly criticized President Donald Trump’s comments during a phone call with the widow of a fallen soldier.
“I was not even in Congress in 2009 when the money for the building was secured,” the Florida Democrat said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.” “So that’s a lie. How dare he. However, I named the building at the behest of (then-FBI Director James Comey) with the help of (then-House Speaker John Boehner), working across party lines. So he didn’t tell the truth.”
Kelly was referring Thursday to an FBI field office in Miramar, Florida, that was dedicated in 2015 to two FBI agents who were killed during a gunfight with drug traffickers. The chief of staff said he was “stunned” by Wilson’s public comments at the ceremony dedicating the building.
Kelly calls Rep. Wilson an empty barrel in recollection of 2015 FBI ceremonyKelly calls Rep. Wilson an empty barrel in recollection of 2015 FBI ceremony
“And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President (Barack) Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down,” Kelly said. “And we were stunned, stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.”
Wilson told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that Kelly’s “empty barrel” remark was racist, but didn’t explain why.
“We looked it up in the dictionary, because I had never heard of an empty barrel. And I don’t like to be dragged into something like that,” she said.
Trump and Wilson have engaged in a public dispute over the past several days over a highly sensitive call placed to the late Sgt. La David Johnson’s family. The President, according to the congresswoman and a family member present during the condolence call, said Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” Wilson said Friday that is “not a good message to say to anyone who has lost a child at war.”
“You don’t sign up because you think you’re going to die,” she told CNN. “You sign up to serve your country.”
She was referring to how Kelly, a Gold Star father, said he was “brokenhearted” by the congresswoman’s criticism. He said he had advised Trump on what to say before he called the families of the four fallen soldiers who died during an ambush in Niger earlier this month, including the point that soldiers “knew what the possibilities were” of joining the military.
Wilson said Friday that she didn’t misinterpret anything when she listened in on that call.
Kelly's defense of Trump calls into question 'fabricated' tweetKelly's defense of Trump calls into question 'fabricated' tweet
“There’s nothing to misinterpret. He said what he said,” the Florida Democrat said. “I just don’t agree with it. I just don’t agree with that’s what you should say to grieving families.”
On Thursday night, Trump again refuted Wilson’s account of his call, deeming it a “total lie” hours after his own chief of staff said she mischaracterized the call.
“The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!” Trump tweeted Thursday evening.
Wilson, who listened in on the call via speakerphone because she is close with the family, said that she wants to shift the focus on receiving more information from the Pentagon about the Niger attack.
“My emphasis today is on my constituents and helping them lay our hero to rest,” she said. “That’s where my head is today. I’m also concerned about (Sgt. La David Johnson) and his last moments. I want to know why he was separated from the rest of the soldiers.”
Cillizza: John Kelly's stirring but incomplete attempt to clean up for Donald TrumpCillizza: John Kelly's stirring but incomplete attempt to clean up for Donald Trump
She continued: “Why did it take 48 hours to find him? Was he still alive? Was he kidnapped? What’s going on? … I am distraught and so is the family. There are so many questions that should be answered.”
Johnson was among the four US soldiers killed by 50 ISIS fighters in Niger in an ambush earlier this month.

CNN’s Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.

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General Electric misses big on earnings, slashes its forecast – Business Insider

  • General Electric earned an adjusted $0.29 a share, well below the $0.49 that Wall Street was expecting.
  • Shares fell nearly 5% after the results.

(Reuters) – General Electric Co

‘s third-quarter profit missed Wall Street estimates by a wide margin on Friday and the industrial conglomerate slashed its earnings forecast, sending the year’s worst-performing Dow stock down another 6 percent.

GE reported adjusted profit of 29 cents a share compared with the 49 cents a share analysts had expected, according to a consensus of estimates from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GE cut its profit forecast for the full year to $1.05 to $1.10 a share, from $1.60 to $1.70 previously, and said it would generate about $7 billion in cash from operations, down from $12 billion to $14 billion it had forecast earlier.

GE, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average shares were down 6.7 percent at $22.00 in premarket trading.

GE said weak performance in its power and oil and gas businesses, goodwill impairment and higher-than-expected restructuring costs under new chief executive John Flannery were the main causes of the profit decline.

GE’s “solid” performance in other businesses “was offset by a decline in power performance in a difficult market,” Flannery said. Industrial cash flow from operations fell mainly “because of lower power volume, resulting in lower earnings and higher inventory.”

Profit at GE’s power business, which makes power plants and related equipment, fell 51 percent in the quarter.

Excluding items, industrial cash flows from operating activities was $1.74 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $2.90 billion, a year earlier.

The company reported a 14.4-percent rise in revenue to $33.47 billion, boosted by the acquisition of oilfield services provider Baker Hughes.

Unadjusted earnings per share from continuing operations fell to $1.80 billion, or 22 cents a share, from $1.99 billion, or 24 cents, the company said. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto and Nick Zieminski)

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The Finance 202: Now, the hard part: Writing a tax bill – Washington Post

THE TICKER

Senate Republicans just paved their yellow brick road to a $1.5 trillion tax cut. 

After an anticlimactic vote-a-rama on Thursday evening, the upper chamber voted along party lines — minus Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — to approve a spending blueprint that will allow Republicans to pass a massive tax cut without Democratic votes. 

The Senate budget also authorizes lawmakers to blow a gaping hole in the deficit, roughly twice the size of the 2009 stimulus package that 38 then-Senate Republicans opposed, despite earlier pledges to offset its cost. The House version prescribed a deficit-neutral approach, but House Republicans now are likely to accept the Senate plan in the interest of accelerating work on a tax overhaul. 

“I applaud the Senate for passing a budget,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “This action keeps us on track to enacting historic tax reform that will mean more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for American families. We want Americans to wake up in the new year with a new tax code, one that is simple and fair.”

My colleague Elise Viebeck lays out the next steps that Republican leaders are already negotiating: 

House and Senate leaders — with White House encouragement — were in discussions about making last-minute adjustments to the Senate budget resolution that would allow them to bypass having a conference committee that could drag on for weeks. If House leaders were pleased with the Senate changes, they could simply vote on the precise language in the final Senate resolution, allowing them to pivot directly to the tax-cut negotiations in the coming weeks.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). (AP /J. Scott Applewhite)

And President Trump has been personally lobbying House Republicans this week to swallow the Senate budget to speed up the process. He tweeted praise of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after passage, and marked the occasion again this morning:

Great news on the 2018 budget @SenateMajLdr McConnell – first step toward delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for the American people! #TaxReformpic.twitter.com/aBzQR7KR0c

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017

The Budget passed late last night, 51 to 49. We got ZERO Democrat votes with only Rand Paul (he will vote for Tax Cuts) voting against…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017

….This now allows for the passage of large scale Tax Cuts (and Reform), which will be the biggest in the history of our country!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017

Thursday’s foreshortened vote-a-rama had more to do with positioning than tax policy. Nevertheless, Senate Republicans demonstrated unity they’d do well to bottle as their push enters a make-or-break series of weeks.

No GOP senator broke ranks to side with Democrats as the minority offered a series of amendments aimed at extracting maximum political pain. Those included an amendment from Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) that would prevent tax increases on people making less than $250,000 a year and another from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to reward “patriot” employers that invest in American jobs. 

Significantly, one change Republicans did adopt would allow lawmakers to bust through spending caps to boost defense spending, a key win for defense hawks like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).Politico: “Under the amendment, the Pentagon’s fiscal 2018 budget could be increased to $640 billion — without offsets — if lawmakers reach a deal to raise the current spending caps.”

Now comes the hard part: Actually writing a tax bill. 

You are reading The Finance 202, our must-read tipsheet on where Wall Street meets Washington.
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MARKET MOVERS

Jay Powell. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

— Powell ahead to head the Fed. Politico’s Ben White, Victoria Guida, and Josh Dawsey: “Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell is the leading candidate to become the chair of the U.S. central bank after President Donald Trump concluded a series of meetings with five finalists Thursday, three administration officials said. The officials cautioned that Trump, who met with current Chair Janet Yellen for about half an hour on Thursday, has not made a final decision. Powell, known as Jay, has been heavily favored by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is leading the Fed chair search for Trump.”

Yellen meets with Trump. CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk: “Janet Yellen left the White House on Thursday afternoon following a meeting with President Donald Trump about her possible reappointment as Fed chair… Trump entered Thursday’s meeting holding drastically different views of the Fed chair than he held before he took office. Last month, Trump said he respected Yellen and cheered the stock market’s success. Those comments were a far cry from Trump’s remarks about the Fed chair when he was trying to win the White House. In a September 2016 CNBC interview, Trump accused Yellen of trying to help then-President Barack Obama by maintaining near-zero interest rates. Trump said she should be ‘ashamed.'”

Why not Yellen? Given Yellen’s success, reflected in the market performance Trump revels in touting, why would he risk rocking the boat by replacing her? Here’s one thought: Trump simply can’t resist the lure of putting his own stamp on the institution. His business history shows this instinct at work. Amid his rocky career in real estate, he demonstrated a habit for letting his vanity sabotage his longer-term self-interest. Consider this anecdote from a Fortune profile last year: 

By late 1996, Trump Hotels was struggling, but the company was offered a boost. The Rank Group, owner of the Hard Rock chain, proposed an investment in the Castle that would have helped reverse the declining fortunes at Trump Hotels. Rank, which had just opened a Hard Rock Cafe at the Taj, first discussed purchasing a 50% interest in the Castle for as much as $350 million, valuing the property at $180 million more than Trump paid for it. Rank wanted to rebrand the property simply as the Hard Rock. But at the last minute Trump demanded that his name stay on the property and that it be renamed the Hard Rock at Trump’s Marina. Rank walked, and the stock price of Trump Hotels continued to dive. Trump told Fortune that he remembers nothing about any negotiations with Rank.

GOP divided on monetary policy. Add it to the list. The Wall Street Journal’s Kate Davidson: “GOP efforts to subject the Fed to more scrutiny and limit its discretion gained traction in the wake of the financial crisis, especially in the House, and Republicans hammered Fed officials over why they continued to keep interest rates so low, saying the policy hurt savers and distorted markets. Now, with the prospect of a Republican-led tax cut and faster economic growth on the horizon, some in the party are wary of a choice that could disrupt markets or cut off growth by lifting rates higher to keep inflation under control… 

The split is reflected in the slate of candidates Mr. Trump has homed in on as he nears a decision. On one side are two vocal Fed critics, Stanford University economist John Taylor and former Fed governor Kevin Warsh who have chastised the central bank for its easy-money policies and called for changes to the way officials make and communicate decisions—views that align closely with the Fed’s conservative GOP critics. On the other side, two Fed policy makers, Chairwoman Janet Yellen and governor Jerome Powell, a Republican, have favored a gradual approach to reversing the Fed’s crisis-era stimulus programs—policies that most Democrats and moderate Republicans have supported.”

MONEY ON THE HILL

TAX FLY-AROUND: 

The Capitol. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty)

Trump to the Hill. The Post’s Paul Kane: “President Trump will attend the Senate Republican weekly luncheon next week, hoping to forge unity ahead of their battle to rewrite the tax code. It will be Trump’s first visit to the Capitol to meet with Senate Republicans, after hosting many lawmakers of both parties at the White House… Next week’s behind-closed-doors meeting will also follow some increasingly hostile comments from some Senate Republicans, particularly Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and John McCain (Ariz.), the chairmen of the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, respectively, toward Trump’s capacity for being president.”

Tiberi exit frays nerves. “Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced Thursday that he would leave Congress early next year to enter the private sector, jolting GOP leaders as they scramble to pass legislation to rewrite the U.S. tax code — one of President Trump’s signature campaign promises,” The Post’s Bob Costa writes. “Tiberi’s decision underscores the mounting challenge facing House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) in retaining veteran Republican lawmakers, many of whom have grown weary of the tumult and stumbles that have come to define the Trump era on Capitol Hill… As a senior member of the House’s tax-writing committee, Tiberi is positioned to exert significant influence over his party’s tax overhaul, especially since its specific provisions are largely unwritten. But his willingness to leave the House by late January, perhaps amid an intense GOP push on taxes, raised questions about its fate.”

Writing the bill. Republicans have set a highly aggressive schedule but haven’t made some basic decisions on the policy. The New York Times’s Jim Tankersley: “The swift pace to complete, release and quickly vote on a tax cut is aimed at leaving little time for the type of dissent that has scuttled previous tax proposals… Republicans have been meeting for weeks in closed-door sessions to debate details of the tax plan, including two half-day retreats for House members late last month. House leaders will hold two smaller-group sessions next week, scheduled to last three to four hours each. The speed is striking — and strategic — for tax legislation that lobbyists believe could span 1,000 pages. Republicans hope the breakneck pace will help hold their narrow Senate majority together against what will almost certainly be a deluge of lobbying and Democratic criticism.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin lays out the steps from here to the president’s desk. 

SALT counter-assault.Bloomberg’s Craig Gordon: “Republican tax writers are considering a compromise measure that would allow individuals to keep deducting the cost of the property taxes they pay while eliminating a larger tax break for their other state and local taxes, according to a GOP member of Congress. The measure is aimed at appeasing roughly two dozen Republican House members from high-tax areas who have raised concern that eliminating the state and local tax break entirely would hurt taxpayers in their districts. The Congress member who described the proposal asked not to be named because the discussions are private.”

Cruz’s new favorite clip. The junior senator from Texas on Thursday was showing Republican colleagues this clip of a moment from his Wednesday night CNN debate with Bernie Sanders, set to the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music:

From former Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe: 

TRUMP TRACKER

Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.). (AP /Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Garrett’s moment. Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Trump’s beleaguered pick to head the Export-Import Bank, will finally make a public appearance before the Senate Banking Committee. The panel announced Thursday it will hold a hearing on Garrett’s nomination Nov. 1.

It’s a potentially determinative appearance for Garrett, whose history of criticism of the bank has brought unusual opposition from big business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Panel member Tim Scott (R-S.C.), for example, has said “in order to earn my vote for this position, Mr. Garrett needs to make a clear and public statement that he will not seek to dismantle the Bank and that he will support its reauthorization,” and that he will ask him “pointed” questions to extract that guarantee in his hearing. 

Goldman predicts NAFTA headaches. Goldman Sachs in a research note: “NAFTA negotiations among the US, Canada, and Mexico continue to struggle. At this point, efforts at revising the agreement look likely to be unsuccessful, though a deal is still possible, in our view. If the talks do not result in a revised agreement by early 2018, we believe that the Trump Administration could announce its intent to withdraw from NAFTA… 

A NAFTA withdrawal announcement would create near-term uncertainty but would likely have relatively modest economic effects, as the US-Canada trade would be likely to be covered under a prior free trade agreement, and exports to Mexico constitute only 1.2% of GDP. Most estimates of the trade gains from NAFTA suggest that it raised the level of US GDP by less than 0.2%, and some of these gains might have occurred anyway as Mexico has substantially lowered tariffs for non-NAFTA countries since the deal was implemented. That said, tariffs would rise, non-tariff barriers would increase, and some industries could face more substantial disruption. The auto sector would be most affected, as tariffs on some vehicles are still quite high outside of trade agreements and supply chains have been integrated across borders.”

RUSSIA WATCH:

Trump: Maybe FBI paid for dossier.The Post’s Anne Gearan and Devlin Barrett: “President Trump suggested Thursday that the FBI may have had a hand in creating an intelligence dossier that alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign. ‘Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?’ Trump wrote on Twitter. The compendium of information about Trump, much of it unproven, was produced by a former British intelligence agent last year, mostly before Trump won the 2016 election. Officials have said the FBI has confirmed some of the information and rejected other parts, and caution that it may be impossible to verify or disprove the rest.”

Twitter, Facebook, Google counsels to testify. Politico’s Steven Overly: “Twitter, Facebook and Google will send their general counsels to testify at the Nov. 1 hearings before the Senate and House intelligence committees on how Russia may have exploited their sites to influence the 2016 election, the companies confirmed… The internet giants are expected to face questions about Russia-linked advertisements purchased to amplify political, racial and social tensions during the campaign season. They will likely also face scrutiny on the spread of misinformation across their networks and steps the companies are taking to tamp down on future interference.”

Misinformation. CIA director Mike Pompeo declared Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies agree Russian interference in the 2016 election didn’t alter the outcome, “a statement that distorted spy agency findings,” The Post’s Greg Miller writes. “His comment suggested — falsely — that a report released by U.S. intelligence agencies in January had ruled out any impact that could be attributed to a covert Russian interference campaign that involved leaks of tens of thousands of stolen emails, the flooding of social media sites with false claims and the purchase of ads on Facebook.”

— McCain suggests White House subpoena. The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said his panel may issue one to make the White House’s top cyber security official testify, Reuters reports: “White House cyber security coordinator Rob Joyce did not appear before the committee on Thursday, as requested, to discuss cyber threats facing the United States. His vacant seat drew frustration from lawmakers in both parties.”

POCKET CHANGE

Tony James, president of The Blackstone Group, said his firm’s new infrastructure investment effort will not be impacted by whether or not President Trump’s promised $2 trillion infrastructure plan comes to fruition. The firm announced in May that it is raising up to $40 billion for its debut infrastructure fund.

Axios

THE REGULATORS

DAYBOOK

Today

  • The Brookings Institution holds an event on Trump’s deregulatory agenda.

THE FUNNIES

From The Post’s Tom Toles: “Donald Trump can explain why he has no real empathy for soldiers:”

BULL SESSION

Trump calls Russia collusion story ‘a hoax:’

Watch George W. Bush’s full ‘Spirit of Liberty’ speech:

Here’s how the Internet reacted to the conspiracy theory that the first lady had been replaced by a body double:

Listen to Trump’s conversation with a Gold Star family:

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah takes on President Trump’s feuds with Gold Star families: 

[embedded content]

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Senate Approves Budget Plan That Smooths Path Toward Tax Cut – New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Senate took a significant step toward rewriting the tax code on Thursday night with the passage of a budget blueprint that would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster.

The budget resolution could also pave the way for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration by ensuring that drilling legislation can pass with only Republican votes.

Despite having full control of the government, Republicans have so far been unable to produce a marquee legislative achievement in the first year of President Trump’s tenure, putting even more pressure on lawmakers to succeed in passing a tax bill. The budget’s passage could keep Republicans on track to approve a tax package late this year or early in 2018.

The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

As early as next week, the House plans to take up the budget blueprint that the Senate approved on Thursday by a 51 to 49 vote. Doing so would allow for the tax overhaul to move ahead quickly.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan will need most House Republicans to back the blueprint without changes; in the Senate, Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone Republican to vote against the measure on Thursday, in protest of what he deemed excessive spending. If House Republicans were to insist on negotiating a compromise that melds the Senate and House budget plans, tax legislation could be delayed.

“This is the last, best chance we will have to cut taxes,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the Budget Committee, who warned that the consequences would be ruinous if the party failed.

“That will be the end of us as a party,” he said, “because if you’re a Republican and you don’t want to simplify the tax code and cut taxes, what good are you to anybody?”

Mr. Trump took to Twitter shortly after 1 a.m. to congratulate the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell — whose tensions with the president have been well-documented — for a “first step toward delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for the American people!”

Others were quick to condemn the blueprint. Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and the ranking member of the Budget Committee, declared the budget to be “extremely cruel,” and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said it would burden the middle class.

“This nasty and backwards budget green-lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” Mr. Schumer said.

The Senate approved the budget blueprint after considering a flurry of amendments, a tedious process that gives the minority party an opportunity to force the majority to endure politically difficult votes. One Democratic amendment that was rejected sought to stop tax cuts from going to the top 1 percent; another would have restored cuts to Medicare.

The Senate approved the budget after a so-called vote-a-rama, a legislative whirlwind in which amendments are considered one after another. One proposal would have deleted language that could allow for drilling legislation; the amendment failed, 48 to 52.

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine areas of the United States, and we have been protecting it for decades for a reason,” said Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

But Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska and the chairwoman of the energy panel, said erasing the language would “deprive us of a substantial opportunity to benefit our country at the same time that we care for our environment.”

In Congress, the annual budget resolution provides an outline of federal spending and revenues. The Senate’s blueprint, for the 2018 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, claims to achieve a balanced budget within a decade, assuming greater economic growth and using an accounting method that excludes Social Security. In order to erase projected deficits, it calls for trillions of dollars in spending cuts over the coming decade.

But the cuts exist only on paper, without legislation to achieve them.

Even so, Democrats sounded the alarm, warning that the aspirational cuts in the budget plan called for slicing more than $1 trillion from Medicaid and about $470 billion from Medicare over a decade.

They also lamented the approach that Republicans are taking on taxes, which mirrors the strategy that they employed in their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On that matter, Republicans successfully laid the groundwork for a repeal measure that could pass without any Democratic votes, but party leaders could not ultimately get 50 Republican senators to agree on a health bill.

Though Democrats have pleaded to have more say in the tax overhaul, parliamentary language in the budget resolution would allow Republicans to pass a tax bill without any cooperation from the minority party. The tax measure could add as much as $1.5 trillion to budget deficits over a decade.

“Passing this budget is not a requirement for passing tax reform,” said Senator Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan. “Passing this budget is only a requirement to pass a tax bill with as few votes as possible, without input or buy-in from members of the minority.”

For Republicans, the budget debate provided a moment to showcase their main goal in the coming months: Approving an overhaul of the tax code for the first time in decades, which they hope will lead to greater economic growth.

The House approved its budget resolution, which had long been stalled, on Oct. 5. The House budget also lays the groundwork for a tax bill, but, unlike the Senate’s approach, it calls for the legislation to not add to the deficit.

The House budget resolution also seeks more concrete action when it comes to cutting spending, instructing committees to come up with legislation that would produce at least about $200 billion in savings.

The chairwoman of the House Budget Committee, Representative Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, had seemed reluctant to jettison that piece of the blueprint. “What part of ‘cut spending’ does @SenateGOP not understand?” she wrote on Twitter last week. But Senate Republicans have shown no appetite to make spending cuts in tandem with the tax overhaul.

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Rep. Frederica Wilson: Trump’s call ‘not a good message’ – CNN

“You don’t sign up because you think you’re going to die,” the Florida Democrat told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.” “You sign up to serve your country.”
She also said that instead of responding to Trump’s tweet Thursday night — the President said Wilson made a “total lie” about his condolence call to Johnson’s widow — she wants to shift the focus on receiving more information from the Pentagon about the Niger attack.
“My emphasis today is on my constituents and helping them lay our hero to rest,” she said. “That’s where my head is today. I’m also concerned about (Sgt. La David Johnson) and his last moments. I want to know why he was separated from the rest of the soldiers.”
She continued: “Why did it take 48 hours to find him? Was he still alive? Was he kidnapped? What’s going on? … I am distraught and so is the family. There are so many questions that should be answered.”
Johnson was among the four US soldiers killed by 50 ISIS fighters in Niger in an ambush earlier this month.
Her comments come after Trump again refuted Wilson’s account of his call, deeming it a “total lie” hours after his own chief of staff said she mischaracterized the call.
“The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!” Trump tweeted Thursday evening.
Trump and Wilson have engaged in a public dispute over the highly sensitive call for the past several days.
Wilson told CNN Tuesday evening that Trump told the widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”
Wilson, who listened in on the call via speakerphone because she is close with the family, said on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday morning that Trump didn’t appear to know Johnson’s name and that his widow “broke down” after her call with the President.
The chief of staff said he was “stunned” that Wilson had listened to the call on speakerphone, but he added that the message the President tried to convey included the idea that “he knew what he was getting himself into.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Thursday that the “US military does not leave its troops behind” but did not provide additional details into why Johnson’s body was recovered nearly 48 hours after his 12-member team was ambushed.

CNN’s Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.

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