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Late last night, the White House announced the federal government will immediately stop cost-sharing payments to health insurance companies that help lower-income Americans afford coverage.
It is a move that many experts say could destabilize the health care marketplace. The Trump administration argues that it could not legally continue to make the payments.
And, today, the president asserted the insurance subsidies have not benefited recipients.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
The subsidy is really a subsidy for the insurance company. That’s not going to people. That’s making insurance companies rich. That money is going to insurance companies to lift up their stock price, and that’s not what I’m about. Take a look at who those insurance companies support, and I guarantee you one thing: It’s not Donald Trump.
Afterwards, the minority leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, condemned this latest blow to the Affordable Care Act.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif., House Minority Leader:
Because of President Trump’s decision last night, middle-income families will be hit the hardest. Taxpayers will pay more. Ending these payments will increase the deficit by nearly $200 billion over 10 years. What is he thinking?
We will walk through the implications of halting the subsidies after this news summary.
The president also announced today he finds Iran is not in compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement reached with other world powers. He had certified the deal twice before, in July and April. In a White House speech, he stopped short of actually withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement, but said that Tehran isn’t living up to its spirit.
Mr. Trump is now giving Congress 60 days to decide whether sanctions that were lifted under the pact should be reimposed.
We will have more on the announcement and what comes next later in the program.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, got a first-hand look today at the destruction in Puerto Rico. His visit came after President Trump questioned the resources the territory needed to recover from Hurricane Maria. Speaking in San Juan, Ryan pledged additional federal assistance, saying that an aid package passed by the House yesterday — quote — “isn’t the last.”
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House:
This is why we have the disaster relief fund. This is why we passed emergency supplementals. So we do believe that there is a very important, proper role at all levels of government to respond to this now, in the meantime, for the immediate term and over the long haul.
There is so much work to be done, and we want everyone to know that we are absolutely committed to getting this done.
Meanwhile, President Trump did appear to take a softer tone on Puerto Rico today. He tweeted that he will — quote — “always be with the island.”
In Northern Iraq, tensions are rising between the central government and Kurdish forces. It is happening in the disputed territories around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish government said that its troops in the city were reinforced by several thousand additional forces to confront what it called threats by the Iraqi military.
At the same time, the Kurds pulled back troops from its lines south of the city to avoid conflict. Baghdad has tried to isolate the autonomous Kurdish region since its vote for independence last month.
New clashes ahead of Kenya’s presidential election rerun have left at least two people dead. Authorities shot and killed the opposition protesters who allegedly threw rocks at a western police station. And in the capital of Nairobi, riot police fired tear gas on demonstrators who defied government orders and tried to march on the central business district.
Back in this country, Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said that she is not running for governor. Collins is one of the Senate’s few remaining centrists. She famously split with her party on its efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She announced her decision to stay in the Senate at a Chamber of Commerce event this morning in Rockport, Maine.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-Maine:
I realized how much needs to be done in a divided and troubled Washington, if we are to serve the people that we represent effectively. The best way that I can contribute to these priorities is to remain a member of the United States Senate.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Collins is serving in her fourth Senate term, which ends in 2020.
California’s governor has declared a state of emergency to combat a hepatitis A outbreak. It is the largest outbreak of the virus in the U.S. from person to person since a vaccine became available in 1996; 18 people have died. The proclamation allows the state to buy vaccines directly from manufacturers.
The head of Amazon Studios has been placed on leave amid allegations of sexual harassment. A producer on the Amazon TV series “Man in the High Castle” said that Roy Price propositioned her with crude language in 2015. This follows sexual harassment claims by dozens of women against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The University of North Carolina has avoided major penalties, after it had been accused of running sham classes for student-athletes for decades. The NCAA said the student-athletes did likely benefit from so-called paper courses, but it — quote — “could not conclude academic violations.”
The school’s chancellor said that it was the correct and fair outcome.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 30 points to close at 22871. The Nasdaq rose 14, and the S&P 500 added two. For the week, all three indices gained a fraction of a percent.