Health care fight shifts to Senate, where GOP wants a reboot

 

WASHINGTON — It took plenty of blood, sweat and tears for Republican leaders to finally push their health care bill through the House last week. Don't expect the process to be less complicated in the Senate, though more of the angst in that more decorous chamber will likely be behind closed doors.

 

No one expects a new bill to be written quickly, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has started a process for producing one. Republican senators have made clear their measure will differ markedly from the House legislation, which has drawn withering criticism from Democrats who it as a pathway to winning a House majority in the 2018 elections.

 

"This process will not be quick or simple or easy, but it must be done," McConnell said Monday.

 

 

 

Yates: I warned White House that Flynn could be blackmailed

 

WASHINGTON — Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, speaking publicly for the first time about concerns she brought to the Trump White House on Russia, told Congress on Monday she warned that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "essentially could be blackmailed" because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

 

The statements from Yates, an Obama administration holdover, offered by far the most detailed account of the chain of events that led to Flynn's ouster from government in the first weeks of the Trump administration.

 

Yates, appearing before a Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, described discussions with Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn in late January in which she warned that Flynn apparently had misled the administration about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.

 

 

 

Buffett criticizes United and its CEO over dragging incident

 

NEW YORK — Warren Buffett said Monday that United Airlines bungled the case of the passenger dragged off a plane last month, and he is criticizing the CEO's handling of the incident.

 

Buffett also said airplanes "may become like cattle cars," but that's because a significant number of passengers will put up with crowding in exchange for cheaper fares.

 

Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is a major shareholder of United and other big U.S. airlines, said the recent spotlight on poor customer service in the airline industry doesn't change his investment strategy.

 

According to FactSet, Berkshire Hathaway is UAL's largest shareholder with a more than 9 percent stake. Berkshire is also the top shareholder at Delta, No. 2 at Southwest and No. 3 at American.

 

 

 

Judges raise thorny questions about revised Trump travel ban

 

RICHMOND, Va. — A challenge to President Donald Trump's revised travel ban appears to hinge on whether a federal appeals court agrees that the Republican's past anti-Muslim statements can be used against him.

 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrestled Monday with whether the court should look beyond the text of the executive order to comments made by Trump and his aides on the campaign trail and after his election in order to determine whether the policy illegally targets Muslims.

 

"That's the most important issue in the whole case," Judge Robert B. King said.

 

 

 

Trump in-laws promote thorny visa-for-sale program in China

 

WASHINGTON — The Kushner Companies has apologized for including the name of President Donald Trump's son-in-law in materials promoting a New Jersey development to foreign investors seeking potential U.S. residency.

 

Jared Kushner himself is not involved in his family's development project. But his family ties have drawn new scrutiny to the EB-5 program, which offers foreign citizens who invest at least $500,000 in the United States a fast track to a green card. Critics of the investor visas have faulted them for failing to bring investment into downtrodden communities, and federal agencies have faulted the visa program for attracting money launderers and potential spies.

 

On Monday, Trump administration spokesman Sean Spicer said the president would look at the foreign investor visa program as part of a broader review of immigration policy.