White House looking for health-care vote this summer, tax reform in fall

  The White House is hoping to kick-start its stalled legislative agenda with congressional action on health-care reform this summer that will clear the way for lawmakers to begin work on a major tax bill after the Sept. 4 Labor Day holiday, an administration official said on Monday. Senate Republicans will vote on their version of health-care reform legislation before lawmakers’ August recess, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short said. The House of Representatives passed a bill in May. “There’s been a lot of discussions with staff,” Short…

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Senate Delays Vote on Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos For Financial Disclosure Review

The confirmation hearing for Donald Trump’s billionaire Education Secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, on Tuesday was frankly outrageous, the most eye-catching item being DeVos’s assertion that states should be more open to allowing guns into schools for protecting students against grizzly bear attacks. Now the vote on whether or not to confirm DeVos has been delayed, though not because of bears. On Friday, Republican Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Lamar Alexander, pushed back the date of Devos’s confirmation vote by a week to…

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Outcry after Republicans vote to dismantle independent ethics body

House Republicans have gutted an independent ethics watchdog, putting it under their own control, in a secret ballot hours before the new Congress convened for the first time. The unheralded vote severely weakens the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which was set up after a lobbying scandal in 2008 to investigate corruption allegations against members of Congress. The move, led by the head of the House judiciary committee, defied the Republican congressional leadership and was reportedly supported by several legislators currently under OCE scrutiny. The amendment was voted through by…

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Israel settlements: Netanyahu rejects ‘shameful’ UN vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a UN call to end settlement activity on occupied land is “shameful”. He stressed that Israel would not abide by Friday’s vote at the 15-member UN Security Council. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman said the resolution was a “big blow to Israeli policy”. The resolution was passed after the US refused to veto it, breaking with long-standing American practice. Washington has traditionally sheltered Israel from condemnatory resolutions. The Egyptian-drafted resolution had been withdrawn after Israel asked US President-elect Donald Trump to intervene, but it…

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America unites for peace in Colombia as country prepares to vote

Teacher unions of the Americas are campaigning in favour of the ‘Yes’ vote ahead of a crucial referendum that will put an end to more than five decades of war in Colombia. The peace treaty between the government of Colombia and FARC that was recently signed by President Santos and the armed group’s leadership will be subject to a national referendum on 2 October 2016. In this crucial context, Education International (EI)’s Colombian affiliate FECODE, which is supporting the peace agreement, has  launched a national campaign “FECODE dice SI a…

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Oxford students vote to stay in National Union of Students

Oxford University students have rejected a motion to leave the National Union of Students. A total of 57% of just under 6,000 who voted in a referendum on the subject wanted to remain affiliated. Several universities have been voting on disaffiliation after Malia Bouattia, who has been accused of anti-semitism, was elected NUS president. Students at Cambridge University last week and Essex University this week also voted to remain affiliated. At Essex University, 1028 students voted, with 582 opting to remain and 446 wanting to leave. Essex Students Union President…

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