In our news wrap Wednesday, the Republican tax reform bill that emerged from the U.S. House of Representatives ran into new obstacles as the Congressional Budget Office reported it would add at least $1.7 trillion to deficits over 10 years. Also, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the Texas town where a gunman killed 26 people, meeting with first responders and victims' families.
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In the day's other news: The Republican tax reform bill that emerged from the U.S. House of Representatives ran into new obstacles. The Congressional Budget Office reported that it would add at least $1.7 trillion to deficits over 10 years. That may be more than allowed under budgetary rules.
The CBO also said that repealing Obamacare's mandate that individuals buy health care insurance would save $338 billion over a decade to help finance tax cuts. But that is less than first estimated.
Vice President Pence traveled today to the Texas town where a gunman killed more than two dozen people. He was greeted by Governor Greg Abbott in San Antonio, and later met with first-responders and victims' families in Sutherland Springs.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered a review of the Air Force's failure to enter the gunman's criminal history into an FBI database.
The Trump administration has reinstated restrictions on Americans visiting Cuba, under a new policy announced in June. Individual travel is largely eliminated in favor of organized tour groups run by U.S. companies. And dozens of hotels and other businesses are blacklisted over their links to Cuba's military, intelligence and security services.
President Trump's nominee for secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, had her confirmation hearing today. She was picked after her boss, Secretary John Kelly, became White House chief of staff. Today, Nielsen echoed Kelly's position on the president's call for a wall along the Mexican border.
There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea. What we need to do is work with the operators. Should I be confirmed, I would look forward to speaking with state and local officials, those on the ground, both law enforcement and federal law enforcement, to understand where we need some sort of physical barrier.
Nielsen drew heat from Democratic senators when she said it is not clear if humans are the primary cause of climate change.
The nominee to be the president's top environmental adviser faced similar questions at a separate hearing. Kathleen Hartnett White said that she is not persuaded by a new federal finding that manmade carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming. Instead, she repeated her view that carbon dioxide is — quote — "a plant nutrient," and not a pollutant.
The U.S. Air Force Academy now says that an apparent racial incident was a hoax. It turns out that it was a black student who, in September, wrote the racial slurs outside dorm rooms at the academy's prep school. The initial incident prompted Lieutenant Jay Silveria, the academy's superintendent, to give a stern speech to cadets condemning racism.
Former President Obama will not be serving on a Chicago jury after all. He reported for duty today, only to be dismissed. His appearance caused a stir at Cook County court offices. He went through the standard procedure for prospective jurors, including watching a 20-minute informational video.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained six points to close at 23563. The Nasdaq rose 21, and the S&P 500 added three.
And Pope Francis is urging the faithful, including clergy, to put down their cell phones during public masses at the Vatican and pray instead. The pontiff told the crowd in St. Peter's Square today that taking pictures during the service is — quote — "an ugly thing." And he said the mass is not a show. So, remember, no cell phones.