5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump says he will not pull the U.S. out of NAFTA

  • Trump unveils tax plan with cuts for businesses and families

  • National security advisers brief senators on North Korea

  • United to offer bounced passengers up to $10,000

  • House Freedom Caucus signs on to new GOP health-care bill

After speaking with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, President Trump "agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time," the White House announced Wednesday night. The North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada was implemented in 1994, and while on the campaign trail, Trump called it a "job killer" and a "disaster." In a statement, the White House said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto "agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation" of the trade deal to "the benefit of all three countries." Earlier in the day, a senior administration said the White House was finalizing the wording of an order to withdraw from the deal.

Source: The Associated Press

President Trump unveiled a broad tax proposal Wednesday, including a sharp cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. For individuals, the administration proposed reducing the seven tax brackets to three, at 10, 25, and 35 percent. "We are going to double the standard deduction, so a married couple will not pay any taxes on the first $24,000 they earn," chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said. The White House reportedly hopes that the family-friendly provisions will give Democrats a strong incentive to negotiate a deal, but Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has argued "Trump's latest proposal is another gift to corporations and billionaires like himself." The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates Trump's plan could cost $5.5 trillion.

Source: The New York Times, The Daily Beast

On Wednesday, senators were briefed at the White House by top national security advisers on the situation in North Korea. The briefing was delivered by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats, and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Several senators told The Washington Post that during the briefing, they did not learn much about how the U.S. will deal with North Korea as it strives to build a nuclear arsenal. "There was very little, if anything, new," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. "I remain mystified about why the entire Senate had to be taken over to the White House rather than conducting it here." In a statement, Tillerson, Mattis, and Coats said the U.S. remains "open to negotiations" with North Korea, but is "prepared to defend ourselves and our allies."

Source: The Washington Post

Following the furor over a passenger being dragged off of an overbooked flight earlier this month, United Airlines announced Thursday it is implementing 10 changes that the company says will "better serve our customers and empower our employees." The airline will now offer passengers on overbooked planes as much as $10,000 to voluntarily give up their seat, rather than no more than $1,350. The company will also hold off on calling law enforcement unless security and safety are at risk and launch a new automated system to determine which passengers are willing to be bumped from an overbook flight. "Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect," Untied CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement.

Source: Bloomberg

The House Freedom Caucus announced Wednesday that it is on board with the latest version of the GOP's American Health Care Act. The convincing factor for the far-right Republican faction, which opposed President Trump's first pass at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, was a new amendment negotiated by centrist Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). The MacArthur Amendment enables states to waive the requirements to cover ObamaCare's essential health benefits and to not charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. Freedom Caucus members argued the first iteration of the bill didn't go far enough to undo ObamaCare; House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill when it became clear it would not pass. Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (N.C.) told Axios that a Friday vote is not "outside the realm" of possibility.

Source: CNBC, Politico
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