Day: March 14, 2017


TRUMP VOTERS HIT? Seniors could face high costs under GOP health bill

Raising a political problem as much as a financial one, newly released budget estimates show elderly Americans could be hit hard by premium hikes under Republicans’ ObamaCare repeal bill — affecting a key constituency for President Trump. 

The Congressional Budget Office report released Monday shows 64-year olds making $26,500 would see premiums increase by an estimated 750 percent by 2026.

Under current law, they pay $1,700. But according to CBO projections, under the new bill, this group would have to pay almost $14,600—more than half their income. 

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney pushed back Tuesday when asked about a Politico report suggesting the “clear losers” of the American Health Care Act would be Trump voters between the ages of 50 and 64, right below the Medicare eligibility age of 65. 

“We have said this in the very beginning—we think the CBO is measuring against the wrong thing,” Mulvaney told “Fox & Friends.” “To that same group of voters, go ask them. Go find the 55-year old person who is on ObamaCare right now and ask them if they can afford to go to the doctor—they will tell you, without exception, that they can’t and they know that our program will give that to them.”

AARP wrote a letter to House Republican Leadership last week also expressing “serious concerns” regarding the AHCA.

“Older Americans need affordable health care services and prescriptions,” AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement. “This plan goes in the opposite direction, increasing insurance premiums for older Americans and not doing anything to lower drug costs.” 

The CBO figures show that in the long-term, the GOP bill would eventually lead to lower premiums overall. But the same study notes the new rules would allow insurance companies to charge older people considerably more. 

This could pose an added complication for the Trump administration as it works with congressional allies to advance, and perhaps refine, the bill. 

Trump last November carried voters between 45 and 64 years old, as well as those 65 and over, exit polling shows. 

Broken down by income, the results were less clear. Fox News Exit Poll data showed those making less than $50,000, in the 45-64 age group, went for Hillary Clinton by a 12-point margin. But data also showed white, working-class voters in that age group went for Trump by a huge 37-point margin.

“The older a person is, the more costly their insurance is,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., acknowledged to reporters last week. 

While Ryan touted CBO findings about overall premium decreases and taxpayer savings, some still have cast doubt on the CBO’s accuracy in general. 

Research Fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability Josh Archambault told Fox News the CBO data may be flawed, as it is considers only one phase of Republicans’ plan. 

“It’s too early to tell if this will happen—there are too many moving parts,” Archambault told Fox News. “Of course, we should be able to assess how different policies will affect different age groups, but you’ve got to look at the entire puzzle here, not just one piece.” 

The CBO report also said that under the Republicans’ AHCA, 14 million Americans would drop or lose health insurance coverage by next year. Further, it estimated the plan would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion from 2017 to 2026.

While many in the administration, like Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, said they “disagree” with the results of the bipartisan study, Ryan called it an “encouraging” CBO score.

“It will lower premiums 10 percent; it stabilizes the market; it’s a $1.2 trillion spending cut, and $883 billion tax cut and $337 billion deficit reduction,” Ryan told Fox News. “So, this compared to the status quo, is far better.”  

Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

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'JUST LEAVE HER' Mother abandons toddler in California grocery store

Police are searching for a California mother after she abandoned her 2-year-old daughter at a Riverside grocery.

Authorities say a woman of unknown race who appeared to be 20 to 30 years old walked into the store over the weekend with the child by her side. The toddler wandered off but the woman never sought the child’s whereabouts and continued shopping.  Eventually, a Good Samaritan brought the child back to the mother to which she responded, “oh just leave her.” The woman left the store after paying for the groceries.

Police arrived at the Food-4-Less Sunday night where they found the toddler unharmed and in good condition.

According to police, the child was able to identify the woman as her “mommy” when she was shown a surveillance footage photo.

“In my whole career I have never seen anything where out-of the blue someone leaves their kid in a crowded grocery store like this,” Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback told Fox 11 Los Angeles.

Detectives are seeking any information on the woman who has dark hair and portions of her right arm covered in tattoos.

The toddler has not been reported as missing and is currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Read more from Fox 11 Los Angeles.


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Elementary school bans 'tag' after it got too rough

Parents and some children in one California city are not thrilled by a school’s decision to ban the age-old game of tag on the playground.


The principal at Gold Ridge Elementary School in Folsom reportedly sent out a note on Friday telling parents about the changes.

“I don’t really like it,” said Gold Ridge fourth grader Mallory Giddens, according to KOVR. “I mean I don’t really play tag but I don’t think it’s fair to everyone else that plays tag!”


It’s a classic game and a childhood tradition played over many generations.

School Principal David Frankel sent out a message on Friday saying: “Students were instructed that physical contact including tag games, touch football, etc. were not allowed on the yard.”

“My principal, he doesn’t want us to have tag at school because people, they touch too hard,” Gibbens said. “Sometimes they push people over and my principal doesn’t want anyone getting hurt.”

The school district’s spokesman, Daniel Thigpen, told KOVR: “In this case, kids were getting too rough…so the school told them to stop playing those games… It’s not uncommon for a school to enact specific recess rules to address specific behavior problems.”

If a student breaks the rule, they’ll receive a warning, then a referral and then a parent-teacher conference, school officials said.

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Mattis withdraws Pentagon pick seen as Muslim Brotherhood supporter

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has withdrawn his nominee for the Pentagon’s top civilian job after opposition from lawmakers concerned about her close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A senior official confirmed to Fox News that Mattis pulled the nomination of former Ambassador Anne Patterson to be undersecretary of defense for policy. The move was first reported by the Washington Post.

Patterson was U.S. ambassador to Egypt between 2011 and 2013, when that country’s president, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown by the military. Critics opposed her selection by Mattis on the grounds that she was too accommodating to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood during her tenure in Cairo.

The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in the 1920s with the stated goal of establishing a worldwide Islamic caliphate, or empire, ruled under Sharia law. Egypt declared it a terror group in 2013 after the government blamed it for a bombing of a police headquarters that killed 16, even though the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood denied involvement and condemned the attack.

The Post reported that Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, were particularly opposed to Patterson’s nomination. Both men serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Cruz has recently reintroduced legislation calling on the State Department to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. 

A congressional source told Fox News that Cotton’s opposition was largely due to Patterson’s lack of experience at the Defense Department. The source said Cotton was given no assurance that Patterson knew how to strategic defense plans that commanders would have to implement. 

Patterson previously served as U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Colombia, El Salvador and the United Nations. She recently retired after serving as the State Department’s assistant secretary for near eastern affairs.

Nearly two months into the Trump administration, Mattis is the only political appointee at the Pentagon. The Post reported that the White House would announce a list of nominees for senior Defense Department positions sometime this week.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

Click for more from the Washington Post.

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See ‘Friday’ star today

Zach Gilford is keeping busy. 

The 35-year-old actor, who played Matt Saracen on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” from 2006-2011, is participating in this year’s Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday.

And fans shouldn’t expect Gilford to slow down after the race. He’s gearing up for his next role in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s eight-episode sci-fi action thriller, titled “Lifeline,” which is set to premiere on YouTube later this year. He starts shooting the series next week and is eager to surprise longtime fans of “Friday Night Lights” by showing off a completely different side. 

“People always think of me as the nice guy, the guy you’d want to bring home to mom,” he said. “Look, I hate using the term ‘action hero,’ but I’m definitely a bit more of an alpha male [in this]. You know, I used to lead backpacking trips in Alaska. I’ve been charged by bears. So I definitely have a little more grit to me than what most people realize.”

However, he doesn’t mind it when fans still recognize him from “Friday Night Lights,” which has developed a cult following among viewers.

He said he doesn’t know exactly why fans are still so enthusiastic about the series years after it ended.

“It’s not like, I can’t imagine why,” he told us. “I think it’s just a really good show. The style that we shot our show was documentary style, so it made you feel like you’re watching a documentary. It feels like you’re watching real people and we tried so hard not to fall into TV high school melodrama. And I think that allowed people to be like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve been there,’ or ‘I was that guy, I know that guy,’ which drew you in more.”

Gilford is also more outspoken about his views than some of his fans may realize. The star will run the Los Angeles Marathon to support Planned Parenthood. 

“I just think it’s such an amazing organization,” Gilford said. “It got caught in the crosshairs of politicians… I don’t know why a bunch of men should tell women how to do their healthcare and try to defund it.”

While Gilford explained that the timing to run this year worked out perfectly with his non-stop schedule as an actor, he also was determined to help support the cause. 

Gilford posted a call to action online about two weeks ago and raised over $6,000 for Planned Parenthood, surpassing his initial $5,000 goal.

In response, Gilford has been personally thanking anyone who donates on Twitter.

“You’d get like an email from someone who has donated and it becomes these little bright spots in my day,” he explained. “I’ve been trying to personally thank anyone who donates via Twitter. It’s been fun to interact with people who respond back. I just want them to know how much this means to me.”

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PLOT THICKENS Probe of House Democrats IT contractors sparks security concerns

A criminal investigation into IT contractors employed by dozens of House Democrats is sparking broader concerns about continuing access to sensitive government emails, amid new allegations of illicit activity beyond Capitol Hill.

The investigation was announced last month by the U.S. Capitol Police and purportedly focuses on the contractors’ access to House computers and whether they took hardware and made questionable IT-related purchases.

A police spokesman, while declining to go into detail, told Fox News this week that the case remains opens and focuses on “the actions of House IT support staff.” 

But a high-level House staffer acknowledged Monday to Fox News that the probe has raised concerns about emails being hacked. 

Official documents and multiple sources say at least five contractors — including brothers Imran, Jamal and Abid Awan — are the focus of the probe but that as many as six people could be involved.

The others purportedly involved are Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi, and Rao Abbas, who is not part of the family.

They allegedly removed hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment from offices, including computers and servers, and ran a procurement scheme in which they bought equipment, then overcharged the House administrative office that assigns such contractors to members.

Sources also say the contractors, including one who worked for Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had “unauthorized access” to the House computer system.

The connection to the former Democratic National Committee boss has sparked questions about whether the contractors could have ties to the DNC hack last summer, which was seen to hurt Hillary Clinton’s ultimately failed White House bid — or whether Russia or other outside operatives accessed emails that the contractors allegedly put on a cloud server.

There have been no reports or evidence so far showing the contractors were involved in a hacking incident.

House Democrats have stood by the contractors, privately and publicly suggesting their Muslim and Pakistani heritage prompted the probe and is contributing to fear-mongering.

Wasserman Schultz as of Friday was still employing Imran Awan, 36, as an adviser, despite his access to the chamber’s computer system having been revoked.  

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., kept Alvi, 33, employed until about two weeks ago.

“I have seen no evidence that they were doing anything that was nefarious,” he told Politico. “I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion.” 

But other troubling allegations have surfaced. 

Police in January were called to the northern Virginia home of a woman identified in the incident report as the stepmother of the Awan brothers, as first reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The woman alleged the brothers were keeping her away from her dying husband.

Abid Awan told police her bedside visits were causing their father additional stress and that he had full power of attorney over him, then produced “an unsigned, undated document as proof.”

A family member told a foundation reporter that the stepsons had kept the women in a “sort of illegal captivity” from October 2016 apparently until their father’s death in early February in a plot to get his life-insurance money. And they threatened her in an effort to get money that their father had stashed in Pakistan, the family member said.

The Daily Caller story said the stepmother has filed a separate police complaint alleging insurance fraud. 

According to, which tracks congressional pay, the contractors’ Capitol Hill work started in 2004 with at least two making six-figure salaries, including Abid Awan last year earning $166,944. 

But Awan also had money troubles, contributing to concerns about the contractors’ access to sensitive emails and how that could be used. Awan declared bankruptcy in 2012 with more than $1.1 million in debt. 

Court documents show the debt included roughly $51,150 to the Congressional Credit Union, for two cars and a credit line. And Virginia court records show he has had 19 violations since 2009, mostly traffic-related offenses. 

Database searches found no major criminal charges for any of the contractors allegedly under investigation. 

The contractors could not be reached for comment. 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Woman's boyfriend casts skepticism on investigation into her disappearance

Toni Anderson’s boyfriend is speaking out after her car was discovered in the Missouri River in Parkville, Mo., on Friday. Police said they have no indication of foul play, but Pete Sanchez said he doesn’t think her car ended up in the river on accident.

“It’s just too easy for someone to get rid of a car, it’s 24/7 all access and there’s no gate covering it,” Sanchez said, describing a boat landing dock not far from where Anderson’s car was found.


Police have not released an official I.D. on the woman found inside Anderson’s car, but her family said the woman was wearing the same clothes Toni was when she disappeared. They said police told them they could start planning funeral arrangements.

Sanchez said he doesn’t feel closure even though Anderson’s car was found.

“Every day I ask myself what would Toni want me to do? This is my will, I feel like her will is living through me and I am doing everything that she would want me to do,” he said.

Sanchez said Anderson was a strong swimmer and a trained lifeguard. He said she was also on swim team and competed at the state level. He told FOX 4 he thinks she could have made it to safety.

Click here to read more from Fox 4. 

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Pelosi calls for GOP to strip King of chairmanship

The White House on Tuesday distanced itself from Republican Rep. Steve King’s inflammatory comments about immigrants, as Democrats pressed House GOP leaders to punish the Iowa lawmaker by stripping him of a chairmanship.

King said this weekend that America can’t restore “our civilization with somebody else’s babies” and warned of a liberal effort to destroy Western civilization through immigration. Questioned about the comments, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump “believes that this is not a point of view that he shares.”

“He believes he’s the president for all Americans, and so I’ll leave it at that,” Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing.

King was a strong supporter of Trump in the 2016 campaign and backed the candidate’s tough stand on immigration.

In a statement Tuesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders should immediately take the chairmanship of a House Judiciary subcommittee from King.

“Where are Speaker Ryan and the GOP leadership?” asked Pelosi, D-Calif. “Does their silence mean Congressman Steve King’s vile racism is acceptable? House Republicans think they can keep quiet, but their contempt for the great diversity of our nation is being heard loud and clear.”

Several Republicans and Democrats criticized King for his comments, with Ryan saying he disagreed with the remarks.

“We’re a melting pot. My family’s here because the potatoes stopped growing in Ireland,” he told Fox News Monday night. “The American idea is this beautiful idea which is there for everyone, which is that the condition of your birth doesn’t determine your outcome in life.”

Ryan said he hadn’t spoken with King. “I’d like to think he misspoke and it wasn’t really meant the way it sounds and hopefully he’s clarified that,” said the Wisconsin Republican.

King stood by his comments in a Monday CNN interview in which he also said, “If you go down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I’d like to see an America that (is) so homogenous that we look a lot the same from that perspective.”

King’s initial comments on Twitter were part of a tribute to Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who opposes immigration and has spoken against Islam. It came as the Dutch prepared for an election for prime minister.

King is known for making racially charged commentary. Last year, at the Republican National Convention, King questioned contributions to civilization by nonwhites. In 2013, he described children in the country illegally as having “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Later Monday, in an interview with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson on 1040 WHO, King said blacks and Hispanics will be battling each other before whites become the minority in the United States.

King was responding to Univision’s Jorge Ramos’ comments about changes in the U.S. demographic in the next decades.

“When you start accentuating the differences, then you start ending up with people that are at each other’s throats. And he’s adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America. I will predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens,” King said.

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Report: Autistic boy dies after routine dental procedure

A Washington family is seeking answers after their 4-year-old son died Friday during a seemingly routine dental procedure that reportedly involved a shot of anesthesia. Mykel Peterson, who was a patient at Must Love Kids dental practice in Vancouver, was on the autism spectrum and had trouble keeping his mouth open during appointments, KGW8 reported. 

“He wouldn’t keep his mouth open so they can actually see what’s going on,” Thmeka Curry, Mykel’s  mother, told the news outlet. 

The dental practice specializes in treating children with developmental issues and uses a board-certified anesthesiologist. Mykel reportedly was given a shot of Ketamine, a common anesthesia drug, so that he would be sedated while the dentist checked to see if he needed a filling or crown, KGW8 reported. 

“The dentist was telling me everything she did with his teeth, and she was going to check to see if he was awake yet,” Curry told KGW8. 

Curry told KATU that the anesthesiologist said Mykel was given an extra dose to ensure he did not wake during the procedure. 

“The anesthesiologist started to check his pulse and was shaking him and at this point I am still not aware anything happened to my son,” Curry, who was in the waiting room, told KOIN. 

Staff members began administering CPR, and paramedics were called to the office. Mykel was transported to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. A medical examiner is investigating to determine a cause of death, while a toxicology report will not be available for up to eight weeks, KATU reported. 

“For me right now, it’s more of I just need to know what happened,” Curry told KATU. “So I can have that closure for my son. That’s it.” 

A statement from Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry said it would be premature to comment on the specifics of the case, but that the office has performed dentistry for pediatric patients under deep sedation and general anesthesia more than 1,900 times without incident over the last three years. 

“We contract with an independent, highly qualified and experienced board-certified anesthesiologist for anesthesia services who follow strict protocols, including a pre-operative checkup and clearance by the child’s primary physician prior to the procedure,” the statement said. 

A GoFundMe page set up to cover costs of Mykel’s funeral said he will be remembered as a loving, energetic and smart boy. 

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American UN official abducted with team in Democratic Republic of the Congo

An American United Nationals official was kidnapped along with other members of his team by an unidentified militia group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the entire team remained missing on Tuesday.

It was unclear when the group, which was traveling on motorcycles, was abducted on a bridge near the village of Ngombe. There was no information on who the kidnappers may have been, Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said.

Michael Sharp, 34, was working as a coordinator with the U.N. Group of Experts for the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Swedish official, three Congolese drivers and one translator also were kidnapped with Sharp on their way to an unidentified mission.


“Sadly, it is true,” Michael’s dad, John Sharp, told NBC News. “At one point, they were surprised, confronted and taken.”

Judicial authorities in the region had opened an investigation and were working with the U.N. mission in Congo, MONUSCO, to free the group. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa reported it was aware of the reports of Sharp’s abduction and the State Dept. said in a statement it was monitoring the situation.

“The U.S. Department of State has no higher priority than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas. When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities and cooperate fully in their search efforts,” the statement said.

The DRC is home to multiple militias competing for stakes in this vast Central African nation’s rich mineral resources.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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