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Latest from Jamie Dupree

    The Trump Administration on Friday asked Congress to approve a third major disaster aid relief package for areas hit hard by hurricanes in 2017, which would bring total federal aid to nearly $100 billion, as for the first time, the White House proposed budget savings to offset some of that cost. “This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has resulted in historic, widespread destruction that continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans,” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney in a letter to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In the same letter, Mulvaney that Congress has already approved over $53 billion in disaster relief this year, and that it’s time to find a way to pay for some of that. “The administration believes it is prudent to offset new spending,” Mulvaney added, sending a list of plans that would save $14.8 billion by using budget funds from past years which were never spent, and by canceling other programs. BREAKING: White House requests $44B hurricane aid package for Texas, Puerto Rico, smaller than requested. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 17, 2017 The extra $44 billion is far less than what has been requested by officials in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico; just this week, Puerto Rico’s Governor traveled to Washington, D.C. to personally request $94 billion in aid. “We would just like to stress that this is a conservative estimate,” said Gov. Ricardo Rossello of the disaster aid request, as his island continues to struggle in the aftermath of devastation from Hurricane Maria. Even before the latest White House disaster request was official, it was getting less than rave reviews in the Congress. “We’ve been continually told to wait, wait, wait,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) about new disaster relief, as Lone Star State officials asked in October for $19 billion just for the state, and say infrastructure repairs could total $61 billion. Meanwhile, officials from Florida last month asked Congress for $27 billion in relief aid. Cornyn said Thursday night that his staff had reported this latest request from the White House was “wholly inadequate.” As for the budget cuts proposed by the White House – $14.8 billion would happen now, with an additional savings of $44 billion projected between 2025 and 2027. disaster11 Here is the list of budget cancellations and changes that the Trump Administration would make to save $14.8 billion: + Emergency farm conservation activities from Hurricane Sandy – $204 million + Advanced Tech Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program – $4.33 billion + Obama stimulus loan program for innovative tech – $479.4 million + Obama stimulus program for National Emergency health Grants – $23 million + Excess money at the Army Corps of Engineers – $210 million + Army Corps, flood control after Hurricane Sandy – $519 million + Agricultural Research Service – $212 million + Rural Economic Development Grants – $196 million + Rural Business Program – $25 million + Rural Energy Savings program – $8 million + Unspent money at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – $72 million + Watershed & Flood Prevention – $90 million + Farm conservation programs – $1.42 billion + Supplemental WIC funding – $800 million + Unspent education money in Student Financial Assistance $3.9 billion + Unspent funds at HHS – $560 million + Justice Department working capital fund – $410 million + State Department, Democracy Fund – $99 million + Federal transportation highway aid – $1 billion + EPA state and tribal assistance grants – $150 million + EPA Environmental Programs and Management – $100 million Here is the full budget request for offsets on this latest hurricane aid plan. Those offsets amount to $14.8 billion, far short of the $53 billion that’s already been approved, without even including this latest request for another $44 billion.
  • After winning full House approval of a GOP tax reform measure, Republicans on Thursday night took another step forward in their quest for sweeping changes to the federal tax code, as the Senate Finance Committee approved a slightly different tax reform bill, setting up a debate on the Senate floor following a Thanksgiving break in Congress. “This is a good bill that delivers on our promise to provide middle class tax relief and grow our economy,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), after his panel finished up an at times chippy four days of work. The 14-12 vote in Hatch’s Senate Finance Committee came nine hours after the House had voted along party lines to approve a Republican tax reform package, as GOP lawmakers cheered when they reached a majority. “We voted to cut your taxes, because it’s time that the hardworking people of this country get a break,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. Big win today in the House for GOP Tax Cuts and Reform, 227-205. Zero Dems, they want to raise taxes much higher, but not for our military! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2017 Ryan and his top lieutenants were able to keep the tax bill moving by convincing some GOP lawmakers to vote for the bill, even though they had concerns about the details of the measure. In fact, during two days of debate on the House floor, a number of Republicans publicly expressed their hope that a variety of provisions would be changed in the measure. The biggest flashpoint in the House remains the changes that block most state and local tax deductions, which drew sharp opposition from GOP lawmakers in New York, New Jersey and California. “Adding back in the property tax deduction up to $10,000 was progress, but not enough progress,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who voted against the bill. “This fight is not over,” Zeldin added. I voted NO on the tax bill today to protect Long Island and NY. While the bill passed, I will continue the fight. — Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) November 16, 2017 Next stop for tax reform will be the Senate floor, where the magic legislative formula may prove a bit trickier for GOP leaders, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party’s plan “will bring lasting relief to middle-class families, small businesses and American workers.” “When the Senate returns after Thanksgiving, I will bring this must-pass legislation to the floor for further debate and open consideration,” McConnell added. But like an earlier debate over health care, McConnell can only afford to lose two Republican votes, and already there are rumblings from more than that, like from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who is demanding changes on how small business and pass through businesses are impacted by tax reform. “People realize we have a problem here,” Johnson told reporters, saying he’s been getting a lot of people telling him, “stand firm, you are absolutely right” on helping small business. “Not necessarily what I was expecting,” Johnson admitted with a smile. Other Republicans on the bubble on tax reform include Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who blocked health care reform earlier this year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who voted against that health care plan as well. Also, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who publicly rebuked President Trump in recent weeks. If the GOP tax reform bill is going to be changed at all, it will have to come from within Republican ranks in the Senate, leaving Democrats stewing on the sidelines. “The public always knows that when the Republicans are in power, the first thing they want to do is give tax cuts to the rich,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who got into a late night spat with the Senate Finance Committee chairman. Tense moment between Sen. Brown and Sen. Hatch after Brown says GOP tax cut is 'for the rich.' Hatch responds: 'Don’t spew that stuff on me' pic.twitter.com/57zEA03a6b — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 17, 2017 “This is such a scam,” said Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), as Democrats could only express their frustrations, unable to stop the GOP tax effort. Adding to the aggravation of Democrats is the inclusion of a provision in the Senate bill that would repeal the tax penalty from the individual mandate under the Obama health law. In a speech on Thursday night to tax group, Vice President Mike Pence made clear the White House wants that provision in a final bill. “Repealing the individual mandate tax at the heart of Obamacare is a tax cut for millions of hard working Americans,” the Vice President said.
  • In a major legislative victory for Republicans and President Trump, the House on Thursday approved a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code, sending the plan to an uncertain future in the Senate, which will try to vote on its own version of tax changes after Thanksgiving. “A historic day,” said Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA), as cheering broke out on the House floor as the vote count went over a majority for the bill, which has been a top agenda item for Republicans and the White House. “This is a promise made, and a promise delivered,” added Handel, who stood by the GOP drive for tax reform in a heated special election earlier this year. “We’re going to see the economy take off,” said a smiling Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) just after the vote, as he praised the help of President Trump in convincing GOP lawmakers to stick with the tax reform plan, despite a lot of provisions that could have proved nettlesome for the GOP effort. There were 13 Republicans who voted against the bill, most of them from states which would be hit hard by changes in the state and local tax deduction – New Jersey, New York and California.
  • The recent rash of accusations of sexual misconduct by high profile men hit Capitol Hill on Thursday, as a radio news anchor from California published a first person account accusing Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of groping her and kissing her without her consent, while the two were part of a USO military entertainment tour in Iraq in late 2006. While rehearsing a skit backstage, Leanne Tweeden said Franken forcibly kissed her. “We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” Tweeden wrote on the website of KABC Radio in Los Angeles . “All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth,” saying she “felt disgusted and violated” by what had happened backstage. I’ve decided it’s time to tell my story. #MeToo https://t.co/TqTgfvzkZg — Leeann Tweeden (@LeeannTweeden) November 16, 2017 The incident occurred in December 2006 at a USO event in Mosul, Iraq, two years before Franken ran for the U.S. Senate, and won in a closely contested election. Franken, who routinely avoids reporters in the hallways of Congress, quickly issued a written statement, apologizing to Tweeden. “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken stated. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it,” the Minnesota Democrat added. Tweeden said she especially felt humiliated by a photograph that was included in a review of the USO trip, which showed Tweeden asleep on a plane, and Franken seemingly grabbing, or pretending to grab her breasts.
  • With the outcome seemingly in hand, President Donald Trump will go to Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to meet with House GOP lawmakers, as Republicans get ready to vote for a sweeping tax reform package which would deliver close to $1.5 trillion in tax relief over the next ten years to individuals and businesses. “Tax cuts are getting close!” the President tweeted on Monday night. Mr. Trump will trek to Capitol Hill hours before the tax reform vote in the House, where he will give a pre-vote pep talk to GOP lawmakers who have made clear they are eager to get on with the business of tax cuts and tax reform. “It’s about time we get something real done for the American people,” said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), as the GOP Congress has struggled to deliver on the Trump agenda in 2017. The House has begun floor debate on the House GOP tax bill H.R. 1 — voted expected Thursday early afternoon on passage — Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) November 15, 2017 While GOP leaders are confident that they have the votes to win, there will certainly be Republicans who won’t be on board with the tax plan, many of them unhappy with the end of deductions for state and local taxes, except for a $10,000 write-off allowed on property taxes. “I want nothing more than to vote for a tax plan that unleashes our country’s full economic potential, but not if it’s paid for by my constituents,” said Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), one of a group of Republicans from New York and New Jersey who are ready to vote against the tax reform bill. “Unfortunately, I do not believe the current tax bill being considered by the House ensures that New York families will be better off,” said Rep. John Faso (R-NY). Four New York GOP congressmen — DONOVAN, KING, ZELDIN & FASO — will speak about their opposition to the GOP tax reform bill, at 9:45 tomorrow — Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) November 16, 2017 While Republicans should be able to overcome those objections in the House, the picture quickly became muddy in the Senate, even as a key committee there was working its way through a newly revised tax reform measure. The first sign of dissent came from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who said he opposes the details on how pass-through businesses are treated in both the House and Senate versions of the tax reform bill. Johnson wasn’t ruling out that he would back the bill, but made clear he wants changes. “These businesses truly are the engines of innovation and job creation throughout our economy, and they should not be left behind,” Johnson said. Bob Corker at #TimesTalks says of tax bill, 'it's not a good process.' If I feel the growth assumptions are out of line … I'm not going to vote for it.' — Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) November 16, 2017 Other GOP Senators who might not be in support of the current version of tax reform include Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). A vote in the full Senate would not happen until after Thanksgiving; the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve a plan this week – then it will be time to count votes. As for Collins, she has made clear that the addition of the repeal of the individual mandate under the Obama health law does not help the bill’s prospects in her mind, saying on Wednesday that it “does not make sense.” So, while Thursday may bring a big victory in the House – and for the President – Republicans hope it’s not a repeat of health care, where the House passed a bill, and the Senate was unable to do the same.
  • In search of their first major legislative victory of 2017, Republicans took an initial step forward on a sweeping package of tax cuts and tax reforms, as the House on Wednesday afternoon easily moved past the first parliamentary hurdle to a GOP tax reform package, setting up a final vote on the GOP tax plan for Thursday. “The American people want and need something done right now,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), as debate began in the full House. “What we cannot afford is to do nothing,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), as Republican backers argued the bill will spur new economic growth and needed job creation. Unlike the House debates earlier this year on health care, where GOP leaders struggled repeatedly to wrangle the votes for a plan to overhaul the Obama health law, the tax debate got underway on the House floor with no suspense, as Republicans were feeling good about a Thursday victory. House passes tax rule 235-191. Four hours of debate to come. Final vote tomorrow. — Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) November 15, 2017 The House GOP bill would streamline the tax code, taking it from seven to four income tax brackets, do away with most personal deductions to simplify tax filing for individuals, and give businesses a dramatic tax cut in hopes of spurring new job creation and economic growth. “I’m cautiously – not even cautiously – I’m quite confident we pass it tomorrow,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a top ally of President Donald Trump. Still, there will be Republicans who vote against the plan, not pleased with the changes in deductions for state and local taxes, though the GOP plan would allow up to $10,000 in property taxes as a deduction. But that wasn’t enough for some GOP lawmakers in high tax states like New York, New Jersey and California. Issa’s a no and expects 2-3 more California GOP noes. Won’t name names. — Jim Newell (@jim_newell) November 15, 2017 But there was no groundswell against the plan, as Republicans have made clear in recent days that they – and President Trump – need a win, and the combination of tax cuts and tax reform seems to be a perfect place to start. “The vote will be strong,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). “Our whip count came back really good.”
  • Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled a series of last minute changes to their tax reform plan late on Tuesday night, ending all plans for individual tax cuts after eight years, while making almost all of the proposed business tax changes permanent, as GOP leaders expressed confidence that they can push a bill through the House by Thursday, and win Senate approval of a slightly different plan soon after Thanksgiving. As for the newly revised Senate tax reform bill, here is the link to the summary of the revised Senate tax reform bill. And for true tax policy wonks, here is the link to the detailed budgetary score of the revised Senate plan. Now let’s go through some of the changes in the bill: 1. The individual tax cuts are not permanent. In an effort to squeeze more tax relief into the 10 year GOP plan, Republicans decided to ‘sunset’ most of the individual tax cuts after the end of 2025 – in other words, in 2026, these tax cuts would snap back to current tax law right now – if nothing is done by the Congress. Remember the Fiscal Cliff with the end of the Bush tax cuts in 2013? This is the same thing. 26 different individual provisions would have an eight year time limit, while only four business tax provisions would end early. The business tax cuts are permanent. The individual tax cuts are not. Here’s just a few examples of what would end for individuals on December 31, 2025. (I might get to spend another New Year’s Eve at the U.S. Capitol.) 2. The Senate plan knocks out the individual mandate – in 2019. One of the late changes from Senate Republicans deals with the Obama health law, as the new Senate language would zero out the tax penalty that is levied against people who do not buy health insurance, as required by the individual mandate under Obamacare. But the fine print of the new Senate plan shows that the end of that tax penalty would not take place immediately, as the effective date is after the end of 2018. This provision gives Republicans an extra $318 billion in budget savings, which helps to bring the Senate plan under the $1.5 trillion that can be added to the deficit by the tax reform bill. 3. Tax breaks for individuals get off to a slow start. Of the $886 billion in individual tax relief in this bill, just $49.4 billion comes in 2018, the first year of the revised Senate tax proposal. That’s just 5.5 percent of the overall tax cuts in year number one of this tax cut plan. That is much like the House tax reform bill, where just $52.5 billion of the plan’s $964 billion in individual tax relief comes in 2018. 4. The Senate plan allows college funds for unborn children. Mirroring a provision in the House tax reform bill, the Senate plan would now allow the establishment of a 529 college savings plan for a child in utero. 5. Beer and alcohol interests win new provisions. One of the few special provisions aimed at one specific group to pop up in the GOP tax reform effort surfaced on Tuesday night in the Senate bill, with a series of provisions under the nondescript heading of “CRAFT Beverage Modernization.” Beer would see a reduced excise tax, as would certain wines and distilled spirits. But it’s just a temporary booze tax provision that expires after the end of 2019, costing $4.2 billion. It appears that the details come from a bill sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). We will hear more about these revisions on Wednesday morning, when the Senate Finance Committee reconvenes.
  • Addressing calls by conservative Republicans in the Congress for the appointment of a special counsel to probe Hillary Clinton over the sale of a company during the Obama Administration with American uranium reserves, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told lawmakers on Tuesday that there would need to be facts to support such a high profile investigation, giving no indication that such a probe has been authorized by the Justice Department. “What’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel?” asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who repeatedly pressed Sessions on the need for a probe to look at the Uranium One matter, the Clinton Foundation and more. “It would take a factual basis,” the Attorney General replied, in an extended back and forth with the Ohio Republican. “The only thing I can tell you Mr. Jordan, you can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are.” Rep. Jordan: 'What's it going to take to actually get a special counsel' on FBI/DOJ handling of Clinton probe? Jeff Sessions: 'It would take a factual basis.' https://t.co/d8zYEQ87cn pic.twitter.com/xM64LSv31E — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 14, 2017 The call by Jordan and other conservative GOP lawmakers for a full review of the Uranium One story has been supported publicly by President Donald Trump, as some Republicans argue there is more than enough evidence to support a broader investigation. But in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sessions seemed to indicate otherwise. “I would say, ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel,” the Attorney General said, weighing in more directly than before on an issue that has drawn repeated public interest from President Donald Trump, who has often argued that Clinton’s ties to Russia need more investigation than questions of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, and any ties to the Trump campaign. Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017 Sessions was asked about the same issue four weeks ago during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee; that time, he gave more of an extended ‘no comment’ response on whether there was even an ongoing investigation of the Uranium One matter. “The Department of Justice will take such actions as appropriate,” Sessions said, as he seemed to take pains to say his answer should be taken “without confirming or denying the existence of any such investigation.” Today was much different. Republicans in October announced that a pair of committees in the House would investigate the issue, hoping to hear from an FBI informant who reportedly brought information of possible wrongdoing to the feds during the Obama Administration’s decision-making on whether to allow the sale of a company with U.S. uranium reserves to a Russian government business. “The American people deserve answers,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said at the time. No schedule has been given for any hearings into the case.
  • Aiming at a vote on Thursday in the full House on a sweeping GOP tax reform package, Republican leaders expressed confidence today that they will be able to overcome opposition within Republican ranks to some of the tax details, and muster enough support for a signature agenda item of both the GOP and President Donald Trump. “We feel very good where we are,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, following a closed door meeting with GOP lawmakers. “This is not just a tax cut, this is a jobs bill, it’s a fairness bill.” Ryan’s assessment came after an initial vote count this week by Republicans seemed to indicate that the tax reform bill was not going to run off the rails later this week. “All I can tell you is, I had my card, and it was a perfect score,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) of his own whip count check on the House floor. “I’m very confident we’re going to have the votes we need. Very confident.” “So far, I think things are moving along nicely,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), another one of the GOP vote counters. Ryan, GOP leaders in a really good mood this morning. Lots of laughter. On cusp of passing tax bill — Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) November 14, 2017 “People right now are hoping that things get better,” Speaker Ryan said. “This bill will make things better.” There are still Republicans in the House who are expected to vote against the tax bill as currently formulated, especially worried about the impact of changes to deductions related to state and local taxes. It’s still possible some changes might be made – but top Republicans were cautioning reporters not to expect anything more than some tweaks. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is about making our country one where everyone can rise, aspire, and be confident in the American Idea. pic.twitter.com/F7PyD1Pad2 — Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 14, 2017 Meanwhile, across the Capitol, the Senate Finance Committee was in a second day of work on a slightly different GOP tax reform bill, as Democrats did their best to argue that the plan was skewed in favor of the wealthy. “This is the same old trickle down scheme,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Democrats were also aggravated with word that an enitrely new GOP plan was likely to be unveiled later on Tuesday. “It’s reckless haste,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). But as in the House, Democrats don’t have the votes to stop the GOP tax reform push, unless a small number of Republicans rebel – and right now, that doesn’t seem to be happening, at least in the House.
  • While Roy Moore vowed to stay in the race for U.S. Senate from Alabama, as he called new allegations of sexual misconduct against him a ‘witch hunt,’ more GOP Senators said it was time for Moore to drop his election bid, with one key Republican going so far as to say that if Moore is elected in a December special election, then the Senate should vote to expel him. “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethics and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who runs the campaign arm of Senate Republicans. Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear that Moore should quit, telling reporters in Kentucky that Moore “should step aside” because of stories of sexual misconduct involving girls of high school age. Monday brought new accusations against Moore, as a woman came forward to say that Moore had sexually assaulted her when she was in high school, even producing her yearbook, which was signed by, “Roy Moore, D.A.” Beverly Young Nelson, who said she voted for President Donald Trump last year, gave her statement alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, which swiftly brought charges from Moore supporters that he was the victim of a smear campaign. Nelson charged that Moore assaulted her in his car when she was 16, after offering to give her a ride home from a restaurant where she was working at the time. Moore’s campaign echoed that, saying Allred “is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt.” In a series of fundraising emails and statements from his campaign on Monday, Moore gave no sign that he was going to get out of the race. The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp — Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) November 13, 2017 But while Moore remained defiant, more of his possible future colleagues were weighing in against him. “I stand with the Majority Leader on this,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “These are serious and disturbing accusations.” “I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama. — Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) November 13, 2017 I stand with the Majority Leader on this. These are serious and disturbing accusations, and while the decision is now in the hands of the people of Alabama, I believe Luther Strange is an excellent alternative. https://t.co/L7IallXhBc — Orrin Hatch (@OrrinHatch) November 13, 2017 National Democrats were trying to stay out of the firestorm in Alabama. “It’s an Alabama race,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “They’re running it,” as Schumer gave off the feeling that he wanted no hints that national Democrats were involved in helping Democratic candidate Doug Jones at all.
  • Jamie Dupree

    Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989. Politics and the Congress are in Jamie’s family, as both of his parents were staffers for members of Congress. He was also a page and intern in the House of Representatives. Jamie has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His political travels have had him on the presidential campaign trail every four years since 1992, chasing candidates throughout the primary calendar.

    He is heard on Cox Radio stations around the country: WSB-AM Atlanta, WDBO-AM Orlando; WOKV-AM/FM Jacksonville; WHIO-AM/FM Dayton, Ohio; and KRMG-AM Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Jamie and his wife Emily live just outside the Beltway with their three children. Some may know Jamie from his other on-air hobby, as he is a licensed amateur radio operator. When not at work or playing with his kids, you can often find him with a golf club in his hands.

    Follow Jamie on Google+

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  • The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill Friday that will cut funding to most state agencies and will spend cash reserves to help plugging the $215 million budget hole. Lawmakers were forced to fix a budget shortfall after they failed to pass a broad package of tax increases. The plan would impose cuts of about 2.5 percent on most agencies to make up for expected revenue lost from an unconstitutional cigarette tax the Legislature approved in May. The rest of would be filled by using one-time money, including savings accounts. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Sept. 25 for a special session to fix the budget and find longer-term solutions to chronic shortfalls that have forced deep cuts to agencies and services for three consecutive years.
  • After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. The company unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles on an electric charge — even with a full 80,000-pound load — and will cost less than a diesel semi considering fuel savings, lower maintenance and other factors. Musk said customers can put down a $5,000 deposit for the semi now and production will begin in 2019. “We’re confident that this is a product that’s better in every way from a feature standpoint,” Musk told a crowd of Tesla fans gathered for the unveiling. Musk didn’t reveal the semi’s price. On Thursday night, Tesla surprised fans with another product: An updated version of its first sports car, the Roadster. Tesla says the new Roadster will have 620 miles of range and a top speed of 250 mph. The car, coming in 2020, will have a base price of $200,000.
  • The Trump Administration on Friday asked Congress to approve a third major disaster aid relief package for areas hit hard by hurricanes in 2017, which would bring total federal aid to nearly $100 billion, as for the first time, the White House proposed budget savings to offset some of that cost. “This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has resulted in historic, widespread destruction that continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans,” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney in a letter to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In the same letter, Mulvaney that Congress has already approved over $53 billion in disaster relief this year, and that it’s time to find a way to pay for some of that. “The administration believes it is prudent to offset new spending,” Mulvaney added, sending a list of plans that would save $14.8 billion by using budget funds from past years which were never spent, and by canceling other programs. BREAKING: White House requests $44B hurricane aid package for Texas, Puerto Rico, smaller than requested. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 17, 2017 The extra $44 billion is far less than what has been requested by officials in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico; just this week, Puerto Rico’s Governor traveled to Washington, D.C. to personally request $94 billion in aid. “We would just like to stress that this is a conservative estimate,” said Gov. Ricardo Rossello of the disaster aid request, as his island continues to struggle in the aftermath of devastation from Hurricane Maria. Even before the latest White House disaster request was official, it was getting less than rave reviews in the Congress. “We’ve been continually told to wait, wait, wait,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) about new disaster relief, as Lone Star State officials asked in October for $19 billion just for the state, and say infrastructure repairs could total $61 billion. Meanwhile, officials from Florida last month asked Congress for $27 billion in relief aid. Cornyn said Thursday night that his staff had reported this latest request from the White House was “wholly inadequate.” As for the budget cuts proposed by the White House – $14.8 billion would happen now, with an additional savings of $44 billion projected between 2025 and 2027. disaster11 Here is the list of budget cancellations and changes that the Trump Administration would make to save $14.8 billion: + Emergency farm conservation activities from Hurricane Sandy – $204 million + Advanced Tech Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program – $4.33 billion + Obama stimulus loan program for innovative tech – $479.4 million + Obama stimulus program for National Emergency health Grants – $23 million + Excess money at the Army Corps of Engineers – $210 million + Army Corps, flood control after Hurricane Sandy – $519 million + Agricultural Research Service – $212 million + Rural Economic Development Grants – $196 million + Rural Business Program – $25 million + Rural Energy Savings program – $8 million + Unspent money at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – $72 million + Watershed & Flood Prevention – $90 million + Farm conservation programs – $1.42 billion + Supplemental WIC funding – $800 million + Unspent education money in Student Financial Assistance $3.9 billion + Unspent funds at HHS – $560 million + Justice Department working capital fund – $410 million + State Department, Democracy Fund – $99 million + Federal transportation highway aid – $1 billion + EPA state and tribal assistance grants – $150 million + EPA Environmental Programs and Management – $100 million Here is the full budget request for offsets on this latest hurricane aid plan. Those offsets amount to $14.8 billion, far short of the $53 billion that’s already been approved, without even including this latest request for another $44 billion.
  • Thursday, a local Subaru dealer handed over the keys to a brand new Outback SUV to a local Meals on Wheels program, thanks to a nationwide effort to “share the love.” Subaru is celebrating 50 years in the US by giving away 50 vehicles to Meals on Wheels around the country. The only one selected in Oklahoma was the metro Tulsa program. Lauren Danielson with Meals on Wheels tells KRMG the vehicle will help them serve their clients, especially when road conditions are bad and the normal volunteer routes can’t be covered. The keys for the new Outback were handed over personally by Larry Ferguson, owner of Ferguson Subaru in Broken Arrow, part of the Ferguson Superstore. He told KRMG Subaru of America has five charities it supports, including four national organizations.  Each dealership then chooses a local charity to support. Through January 2nd, Subaru of America will donate $250 to one of those charities for each new Subaru leased or purchased. “For every new Subaru sold, a portion of that goes to the charity, and that’s the customer’s choice,” Ferguson said. The local charity Ferguson chose this year is “Hope is Alive,” a group that works with people suffering addiction or alcoholism:
  • The man who was in a car with a Memphis, Tennessee, father who died after being shot and crashing his car . Loronzo Davis and a second man, Romedarrius Humphrey, were riding in a car that crashed on E. Crump near Lauderdale early Tuesday morning.>> On Fox13Memphis.com: Memphis father dies after being shot, crashing while driving to store When officers arrived, they found Davis suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Davis’ family told WHBQ that he had just left home to go to the store and never returned. He had a 4-year-old daughter. Humphrey was lying in the middle of Crump with a black jacket in his hands, according to a police affidavit. He had also been shot and was unresponsive. Humphrey was taken to an ambulance and his jacket stayed in the street. When police couldn’t find an ID in his jeans pockets, they said they looked in the jacket. >> Read more trending news In one of the pockets, officers said they found a grocery bag containing several clear plastic bags of marijuana – some of which were broken down into even smaller bags, according to the arrest affidavit. Officers said they also found a scale inside the grocery bag. The drugs had a total weight of 155.2 grams, police said. Humphrey was taken to Regional One in critical condition. He was treated for his injuries and then booked into the Shelby County jail. He has since been released on his own recognizance. Humphrey is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell.