Thursday Top Headline Summary
Nuclear summit, background-check bill, China tariffs, Medicare for All, crime stats, and more.
“The U.S. economy grew last year at its fastest rate since 2015,” CBS News reports, albeit the 2.9% annual growth rate in 2018 fell just shy of Trump’s promise to hit 3% growth.
“The White House announced Thursday that no deal between the United States and North Korea was reached in Vietnam as President Trump’s second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was unexpectedly cut short. … A major sticking point between the United States and North Korea was the easing of sanctions, which Kim wanted lifted in their entirety, Trump said. He could not agree to that. … Trump said the sanctions will remain in place and revealed that Kim promised Pyongyang would not resume its missile and nuclear testing.” (Washington Examiner)
“In the strongest sign yet that an accord is near, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday that the U.S. was abandoning for now its threat to raise tariffs to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods. … Mr. Trump had said Sunday the higher tariffs would be delayed but didn’t give a time frame. … U.S. and Chinese officials suggest the two countries are poised to finish a deal over the next month following a likely summit between Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would require all would-be gun buyers, including those who wish to enter into private transactions, to undergo a federal criminal-background check. … The bill … would represent the most significant gun-control measure in decades if passed, but it is sure to encounter opposition from the Republican-controlled Senate and President Trump…. Critics of the bill have pointed out that it would not have prevented many of the recent mass shootings that were carried out by individuals who either had no criminal background or stole the firearm they used from a family member.” (National Review)
“Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled an ambitious proposal on Tuesday to move all Americans into the government’s Medicare health insurance program… The bill … would transition the U.S. healthcare system to a single-payer ‘Medicare for All’ program funded by the government in two years. … It is unlikely to gain the support of any Republicans in the House or the Senate, who have derided single-payer healthcare as a socialist policy and oppose government interference in healthcare. It also remains unclear whether Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the legislation up for a vote.” (Reuters)
National Review reports: “Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib apologized after she called Representative Mark Meadows ‘racist’ during Michael Cohen’s heated congressional hearing Wednesday. The freshman Michigan Democrat had choice words for Meadows after the North Carolina conservative introduced Lynne Patton, who is black and a former employee of the Trump Organization, in an effort to dismantle the claim from Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, that Trump is racist. … ‘I was not referring to you at all as a racist,’ the congresswoman said, adding that Meadows’s actions are still a ‘racist act.’” Meanwhile, National Review also reveals, “The Democratic National Committee and Senator Elizabeth Warren both used Michael Cohen’s highly anticipated congressional testimony in fundraising pleas addressed to supporters Wednesday.”
“Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’s signature is all that remains to include Colorado among the ranks of states prepared to abandon the Electoral College system in favor of nationwide popular voting for the next presidential election. Colorado would bring the number of states who have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to 12, plus the District of Columbia. … States have the constitutional right to manage the awarding of electoral votes in national elections, with many states opting for winner-take-all. If states with 270 electoral votes — or the number needed to elect a president — agree to award their votes to the majority-vote holder, it could effectively convert the presidential election to popular vote. Colorado makes the total electoral votes represented by National Popular Vote Interstate Compact states 181.” (The Daily Caller)
“A federal judge in Texas ruled that state officials ‘created a mess’ when they questioned the citizenship of about 98,000 voters and mistakenly concluded that many of those voters were not eligible to cast ballots. The sharply written ruling by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio ordered Texas officials to halt the removal of any registered voter from state voter rolls. … Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton … said the federal judge was ‘improperly assuming control’ over the state’s voting system.” (NPR)
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday violent crime dropped across the country in 2018. The agency released the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report comparing the first six months of 2018 with the first six months of 2017. … The FBI report found violent crime decreased by 4.3 percent between 2017 and 2018. … Robbery and burglary saw the largest decrease of the crimes tracked by the FBI with the former dropping 12.5 percent and the later dropping 12.7 percent. Arson dropped 9.4 percent, property crime fell 7.2 percent, murder was down 6.7 percent, larceny fell 6.3 percent, car theft fell 3.3 percent, and aggravated assault was down 2 percent. Rape, the only crime to see an increase, was up 0.6 percent.” (The Washington Free Beacon)
Humor: Liberals pinning all hopes and dreams on testimony of seedy lawyer (The Babylon Bee)
Policy: “A new report raises questions about how the U.S. Department of Education monitors the performance of its wide-ranging elementary and secondary education programs. The department currently receives $38 billion for its major K-12 education programs. Yet the assessment says those programs are plagued by ‘complex and persistent’ challenges, many of which have been identified previously, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). … Given the ongoing problems with the department, in contrast to the growth of successful state-level parental choice programs, it is well worth considering abolishing the U.S. Department of Education once and for all.” (The Federalist)
Policy: “Are India and Pakistan lurching toward a war? An escalating confrontation between the South Asian neighbors means that we can no longer rule out the possibility. … For now the path out of the current crisis appears straightforward: Pakistan should return the captured Indian pilot and take concrete steps to rein in jihadist groups like JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba that target India. For its part, India needs to ensure that its official rhetoric remains measured, and that its next steps are not driven primarily by domestic political considerations.” (American Enterprise Institute)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.