GOP struggles to govern despite a monopoly in Washington The Republican Party of "no" for Democrat Barack Obama's eight years is having a hard time getting to "yes" in the early Donald Trump era. The unmitigated failure of the GOP bill to replace Obamacare underscored that Republicans are a party of upstart firebrands, old-guard conservatives and moderates in Democratic-leaning districts. Despite the GOP monopoly on Washington, they are pitted against one another and struggling for a way to govern. The divisions cost the party its best chance to fulfill a seven-year promise to undo Obama's Affordable Care Act and cast doubt on whether the Republican-led Congress can do the monumental - the first overhaul of the nation's tax system in more than 30 years - as well as the basics - keeping the government open at the end of next month, raising the nation's borrowing authority later this year and passing the 12 spending bills for federal agencies and departments.
Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Dems WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked conservative lawmakers for the failure of the Republican bill to replace former President Barack Obama's health care law, as aides signaled a greater willingness to work with moderate Democrats on upcoming legislative battles from the budget and tax cuts to health care. On Twitter, Trump complained: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!" The Freedom Caucus is a hard-right group of more than 30 GOP House members who were largely responsible for blocking the bill to undo the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The bill was pulled from the House floor Friday in a humiliating political defeat for the president, having lacked support from either the conservative Republicans or Democrats.
1 dead, 15 injured in Cincinnati nightclub gunfight CINCINNATI (AP) - A gunfight broke out inside a crowded Cincinnati nightclub early Sunday, leaving one man dead and 15 others wounded after a dispute among several patrons escalated into a shootout, authorities said. No suspects were in custody by late afternoon in the shooting at the Cameo club, which has a history of gun violence, and police said there was no indication of any terrorism link. Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said one of the wounded was in "extremely critical condition," while a hospital spokeswoman said two victims were listed in critical condition. Police began receiving calls at 1:30 a.m.
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US-backed forces capture Syrian air base from IS BEIRUT (AP) - U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces captured a strategically important air base from Islamic State militants in north Syria on Sunday in the first major victory for the group since the U.S. airlifted the forces behind enemy lines four days ago. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had captured the Tabqa air base, 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital in Syria. The U.S., which has provided substantial air and ground support to the SDF, ferried hundreds of SDF forces, as well as U.S. military advisers and U.S. artillery, behind IS lines earlier this week.
Trump's border-wall proposal faces many obstacles WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. illegally faces impediments of its own. It's still not clear how Trump will pay for the wall that, as described in contracting notices, would be 30 feet (9 meters) high and easy on the eye for those looking at it from the north. The Trump administration will also have to contend with unfavorable geography and many legal battles. A look at some of those obstacles: MONEY Trump promised that Mexico would pay for his wall, a demand Mexico has repeatedly rejected.
Nationwide protests bring thousands to Russia's streets MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's opposition, often written off by critics as a small and irrelevant coterie of privileged urbanites, put on an impressive nationwide show of strength Sunday with scores of protest rallies spanning the vast country. Hundreds were arrested, including Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic. It was the biggest show of defiance since the 2011-2012 wave of demonstrations that rattled the Kremlin and led to harsh new laws aimed at suppressing dissent. Almost all of Sunday's rallies were unsanctioned, but thousands braved the prospect of arrests to gather in cities from the Far East port of Vladivostok to the "window on the West" of St.
Settler leader: Population growth is end of 2-state solution JERUSALEM (AP) - The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has soared by nearly one-quarter over the past five years to over 420,000 people, a prominent settler leader said Sunday, presenting new population figures that he said put to rest the internationally backed idea of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Yaakov Katz issued his report as the Israeli government is locked in negotiations with the Trump administration over understandings that are expected to include some curbs on settlement construction. "We are talking about a situation that is unchangeable," he said Sunday. "It's very important to know the numbers, and the numbers are growing." According to Katz, the settler population hit 420,899 on Jan.
The Latest: US claims Tabqa dam is not in danger of bursting U.S.-led coalition forces say the Tabqa Dam in northern Syria is structurally sound. The Islamic State group claimed Sunday that coalition airstrikes had locked the dam's gates, causing Euphrates River water levels to rise dangerously behind the structure. The group warned the dam could burst. The coalition denied the report in a letter to The Associated Press, saying U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces were in control of a spillway north of the dam "which can be used to alleviate pressure on the dam if need be." The U.S. has provided substantial air and ground support to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who are closing in on the IS capital Raqqa, 40 kilometers (25 miles) upstream from Tabqa Dam.
Ripples from US nuclear plant closings overwhelm small towns OAK HARBOR, Ohio (AP) - Living in the shadows of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant's cooling tower, which soars above Lake Erie in Ohio like an oversized lighthouse, brings with it some give-and-take. On the plus side, it generates tax money that once paid for a high school swimming pool and auditorium. Then there are the stockpiles of radiation pills and emergency drills for students in case of a disaster. For the small, mostly rural towns that are home to 61 U.S. nuclear plants that produce one-fifth of the nation's electricity, each one has been like the golden goose supplying high-paying jobs and money for roads, police and libraries.
Will NYC invite the 'Fearless Girl' to stay on Wall Street? NEW YORK (AP) - Should the "Fearless Girl" stand up to Wall Street's charging bull forever? That's the question New York City officials are facing after a statue of a ponytailed girl in a windblown dress went up in front of the bronze bull early this month and immediately became a tourist draw and internet sensation. What was intended as a temporary display to encourage corporations to put more women on their boards is now getting a second look in light of its popularity, which has spawned an online petition seeking to keep it. But does keeping the girl past her scheduled April 2 deadline forever alter the meaning of the bull?