Senate advances $36.5B disaster relief package WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Monday gave a preliminary OK to a $36.5 billion hurricane relief package that would provide Puerto Rico with a much-needed infusion of cash and keep the federal flood insurance program from running out of money to pay claims. The 79-16 procedural vote set the stage for a final vote, most likely on Tuesday. The measure also provides $18.7 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency's rapidly dwindling emergency disaster accounts. On Monday, FEMA announced more than $500 million in aid to Puerto Rico, including $285 million to help restore power and water services to the devastated island.
Study: NYC could see bad flooding every 5 years NEW YORK (AP) - Within the next three decades, floods that used to strike the New York City area only once every 500 years could occur every five years, according to a new scientific study released just days before the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. The study, performed by researchers at several universities and published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, primarily blames the predicted change on sea-level rise caused by global warming. "This is kind of a warning," said Andra Garner, a Rutgers University scientist and study co-author. "How are we going to protect our coastal infrastructure?" The researchers based their analysis on multiple models that factored in predictions for sea level rise and possible changes in the path of future hurricanes.
Trump shoots down retirement limit to pay for GOP tax cuts WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump shot down a possible approach for raising revenue to finance tax cuts in politically must-do legislation for the Republicans, promising Monday the popular 401(k) retirement program will be untouched. Still, the head of the House's tax-writing committee indicated that changes to the 401(k) structure may still be on the table as Republicans push an ambitious timetable to get tax legislation written. Asked about the issue, Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Brady said: "I don't want to get ahead of the committee. That will all be part of the tax reform bill." And in response to whether Trump's tweet changes in any way what the panel was planning to do, Brady replied only, "no." Republicans are scrambling to find new revenue sources to pay for anticipated tax cuts exceeding $1 trillion.
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What to know about 401(k) plans amid talk of tax change NEW YORK (AP) - The 401(k) may be in Washington's crosshairs. Congress is looking for ways to raise revenue as part of a tax overhaul plan, and one of the methods reportedly under consideration is to curtail how much pretax money workers can contribute to their 401(k) and similar accounts. Such a move would strike at a way that tens of millions of Americans use to save for retirement. The suggestion has already run into some resistance, even if it isn't an official policy proposal. President Donald Trump said Monday in a tweet that "There will be NO change to your 401(k).
Angry soldier's widow says Trump didn't know husband's name WASHINGTON (AP) - A fallen soldier's angry widow joined the stormy dispute with President Donald Trump on Monday over his response to her husband's death, declaring that his failure to remember the soldier's name in last week's condolence call "made me cry." He retorted that the call was "very respectful" and her accusation about her husband's name simply wasn't true. Though Trump refused to let the new round of complaints go unanswered, he steered clear of the insults he exchanged last week with a congresswoman who had overhead the sympathy call. The president spoke in public at two events during the day - including his awarding of the military Medal of Honor to a Vietnam-era Army medic - and made no mention of the case of Sgt.
Top US general: Families, Americans deserve answers on Niger WASHINGTON (AP) - The American people and the fallen soldiers' families deserve answers about a deadly ambush in the African nation of Niger, the top U.S. general said Monday, without being able to provide many himself. Three weeks after the attack by presumed Islamic State forces, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said several matters must still be resolved. They include whether the U.S. had adequate intelligence and equipment for its operation, whether there a planning failure and why it took so long to recover one the bodies. Dunford said the four U.S. soldiers died after a battle that started on Oct.
Kelly on O'Reilly: Abuse, shaming of women has to stop NEW YORK (AP) - Megyn Kelly took on her former Fox News Channel colleague Bill O'Reilly in blunt terms on Monday, revealing she had gone to her bosses to complain about O'Reilly's behavior and saying the size of a newly revealed $32 million settlement of harassment charges made by a Fox analyst was "jaw-dropping." O'Reilly responded, in part, by posting a copy of a thank you note Kelly had sent to him for a gift given at a baby shower. The New York Times reported that O'Reilly had agreed to the $32 million deal to set aside allegations that include a nonconsensual sexual relationship with former Fox analyst Lis Wiehl, bringing to six the number of harassment settlements involving him.
New York attorney general launches probe of Weinstein Co. ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. As part of the investigation, the prosecutor's office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. "No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear," said Schneiderman, a Democrat. "If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know." The New York City-based company fired Weinstein on Oct.
IS came with a hit list, left Syria town in a trail of blood BEIRUT (AP) - The Islamic State militants came into the Syrian town with a hit list. By the time they left three weeks later, more than 70 civilians had been killed - shot or beheaded, their bodies dumped in farms and ditches. The apparent revenge killings in the town of Qaryatayn underscore the ability of the extremists to inflict heavy losses even when they're in retreat - and portend more violence as they fight to hang on to their last strongholds in Syria. News of the gruesome slayings began to emerge late Sunday, after IS militants were driven out by advancing government troops.
Barcelona's vast stadium gives voice to Catalan separatism BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - The rallying cry erupted, almost precisely, after 17 minutes and 14 seconds of soccer in the match between Barcelona and Malaga. "In! In-de! In-de-pen-den-ci-a!" It rolled around and around the Camp Nou stadium like a tide, from behind one of the goals into a frothing chorus of thousands of voices. Then, as suddenly as it started, the chant faded. Red and yellow flags - Catalonia's colors - were furled. Attention returned to the Spanish league match. Eyes refocused on Lionel Messi with a ball at his feet. But the point had been made. More vociferously than usual.