<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut Political News, NY and CT Politics, and More]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usThu, 29 Jun 2017 05:07:58 -0400Thu, 29 Jun 2017 05:07:58 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Fact Check: No Evidence Undocumented Commit More Crimes]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:56:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ICEborder_1200x675.jpg

President Donald Trump highlighted the issue of illegal immigration at the White House Wednesday as he met with families that have lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, NBC News reported.

In the handout provided by the White House, Trump stated, "Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws."

But according to national statistics, the rate of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. tripped between the 1990s and 2013, while violent crime declined 48 percent and property crime fell 41 percent over that period.

The attention on illegal immigration comes before the House considers two immigration bills that the White House supports: "Kate's Law," which would increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who re-enter after deportation, and the "No Sanctuary For Criminals Act," which seeks to defund sanctuary cities, like San Francisco and New York. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Destroys Ten Commandments Monument 24 Hours After Unveiling]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:14:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DIT+10+Commandments+Vandal+THUMB.jpg

A man yelled “freedom” as he rammed his car into a monument depicting the Ten Commandments outside the Arkansas State Capitol, less than 24 hours after it was unveiled. Michael Tate Reed posted videos to his Facebook page of the collision and his justification for doing so, authorities said. This wasn’t the first time Reed was arrested for destroying a Ten Commandments monument. Reed was also booked in 2014 for vandalizing a Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma. He apologized the following year and said he suffered mental health issues.

<![CDATA[Trump Takes Swipe at Amazon Over 'Internet Taxes']]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:11:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jeffbezos_120-0x675.jpg

In a new Twitter tirade, President Donald Trump went after The Washington Post and its owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, after the newspaper published a story about several of Trump's clubs displaying a fake Time magazine cover, CNBC reported. 

The Post reported that the cover, featuring Trump, was hanging in some of the president's golf clubs. A spokeswoman with Time confirmed to the newspaper that the cover was not real.

"The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!" Trump wrote Wednesday. 

On the campaign trail, Trump called Amazon a monopoly with an unfair tax shelter, saying in February 2016, "If I become president, oh [does Amazon] have problems. They're going to have such problems."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chances for Budget by July 1 Slim After Fast-Moving Tuesday]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:09:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Connecticut+State+Capitol+edited.jpg

Budget developments changed by the hour Tuesday inside the halls of the Connecticut State Capitol. 

Early in the afternoon, Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano warned that “people would suffer” in Connecticut if a budget wasn’t approved by July 1, and the state was to be run by executive order. 

He said lawmakers need to expect a public backlash if more than a billion dollars in cuts are authorized after the fiscal year ends. 

“I think you’re going to see an outcry from the public, slow at first, but it will reach a pinnacle in September,” said Sen. Fasano, (R–Durham). 

Later in the day, Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney announced his support for Gov. Dannel Malloy’s “mini-budget,” a plan that adds more than $300 million in revenue, but also would be a spending a document for the first three months of the fiscal year. It would allow for money to be sent to cities and towns for operating and education expenses.

“I am prepared to sign an emergency certified bill today calling the Senate into session on Thursday, June 29 to vote on the proposed “mini budget” for the first quarter of the fiscal year,” Looney said in a statement Tuesday.

“No one wants the governor to run the state by executive order,” Sen. Looney (D–New Haven) also added.

The delay appears to be in the House of Representatives. Republican Leader Themis Klarides was non-committal over whether she’d support a partial budget for the 2018 fiscal year, but did say it wasn’t her first choice when given the option of a full budget.

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz would not say he or his caucus would vote in favor of a mini-budget, much less bring his caucus into session to debate or vote on such a measure, since he was told recently by members that they wanted to see a full budget approved by the end of the fiscal year.

“Is it putting another Band-Aid on a situation that requires us to do a surgery?” Aresimowicz asked.

He said the only way he can say for himself, or House Democrats for that matter, supporting a partial spending plan was if it was part of a larger negotiation over two-year spending.

“I’m not going to artificially move the goal line, being a football coach, to say everything is going to be OK for another few months,” said Rep. Aresimowicz (D–Berlin), who is also the Berlin High School football coach.

Malloy expressed concern that lawmakers can’t get on the same page to support the mini-budget when there appears to be bipartisan support for it.

“Going into July 1 without a budget will cause bigger problems, not smaller problems,” Malloy warned.

He said the mini-budget will make sure school systems, non-profit groups, and cities and towns will be in a far better position with some kind of law authorizing spending in place, rather than the uncertainty of sweeping cuts without a law in place. 

“All of that can be avoided. It can be avoided by a complete budget or a mini-budget and it’s not avoided if I’m left simply to do what I’ve laid out for you to do,” he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[McConnell: ‘We’re Not Quite There’ on Health Care Bill]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:47:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_MCCONELL_SOUND_WHITE_HOSUE_062717-149860333826600001.jpg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke briefly with reporters after a meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican senators.

<![CDATA[GOP Health Care Bill Could Raise Premiums 74 Percent: Study]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:44:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/699666664-Mitch-McConnell.jpg

Health care premiums could rise 74 percent for the average customer under the Republican Senate health care bill, according to a new report.

Older and low-income Americans could face the highest increases for coverage, with Americans between ages 55 and 64 with lower incomes seeing a 294 percent increase in premiums. NBC News reported that the study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation factored in the price of insurance and the amount of subsidies people would receive. 

The Senate bill, supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., encourages customers to purchase plans with higher deductibles. The subsidies would cover an average of 58 percent of costs, compared to Obamacare’s 70 percent.

In its analysis on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said that premiums and deductibles could be too high for many low-income customers to buy coverage.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders Vs. Reporters Over Latest Fake News Tirade]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:44:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Huckabee_Sanders_Argues_With_WH_Reporters_Over_Latest_Fake_News_Tirade-149859458713000001.jpg

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders displayed the administrations's antagonism against the media in heated exchanges with members of the White House press corp during the daily press briefing on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Sanders pointed to a retracted CNN story as basis of the White House's "frustration" and skepticism with ongoing coverage, while one reporter accused the White House of "inflammatory rhetoric."

<![CDATA[GOP Healthcare Bill Could Cost CT Nearly $3 Billion a Year]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:35:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Governor+Dannel+Malloy+2107+state+of+the+state+address.JPG

The Senate Republican version of the federal healthcare legislation could threaten healthcare coverage for tens-of-thousands of Connecticut residents, raise health care premiums and cost the state as much as $2.9 billion per year, according to the governor’s office. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman released a statement saying the findings are from a new analysis of the impact on Connecticut of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would be fully implemented in 2026. 

“Plain and simple—the Senate Republican version of Trumpcare is a greater disaster for the people of Connecticut than the version passed by House Republicans. It is appalling and needs to be stopped in its tracks,” Malloy said in a statement. “This bill has the potential to result in a devastating cost shift of nearly $3 billion to Connecticut and could eliminate access to health care for tens-of-thousands of our residents, needlessly putting their lives at risk. Particularly for some of our most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, premiums and costs will increase, making coverage unaffordable. If enacted, Trumpcare will jeopardize the coverage people already have, drive up costs, and severely limit care. I urge the Senate to reject this disastrous bill.” 

The Office of Policy and Management conducted the analysis and found that the Senate Republican proposal threatens coverage for seniors and low-income families, among others, according to the governor’s office. 

This is the expected impact the proposal will have on Connecticut, according to the governor’s office. 

The anticipated funding reduction by 2026 in the proposed bill is equivalent to 80,000 to 230,000 fewer Connecticut residents being served under Medicaid. 

The elimination of the individual and employer mandate are anticipated to increase premiums by an estimated 10 to 15 percent. 

The repeal of the Cost Sharing Reduction Program has the potential to increase premiums by an additional 20 percent. 

Changes to eligibility for premium subsidies could impact nearly 6,500 current Access Health CT enrollees who will no longer qualify. 

“This analysis adds a fiscal impact to the real life stories of thousands of Connecticut individuals who packed public hearings, flooded phone lines and protested in the streets against this reprehensible plan,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this is a wealth care plan, not a healthcare plan – a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans paid for with the lives and livelihoods of everyone else. I will be doing everything in my power to ensure defeat of this grotesquely cruel and costly plan.” 

“The Senate health care bill will be a disaster for Connecticut,” U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement. “It’ll cost the state nearly $3 billion a year by 2026. It charges seniors more and threatens to kick more than 200,000 Connecticut residents off of Medicaid, all to fund a giant tax cut for the wealthy. It will force families in Connecticut to choose between paying their medical bills and their mortgage. Bottom line, people will suffer. We have to stop this bill. Call your friends, go online and tell everyone you know about what this bill will do.” 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[WH Warns Syria Against Chemical Attack 'Preparations']]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:51:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TrumpAssad.jpg

The United States is warning that Syria would "pay a heavy price" for undertaking another chemical weapons attack, the White House said Monday night, saying it's spotted "potential preparations" for one, NBC News reported.

Activity at an airfield struck in the American cruise missile attack in April is "strongly suggestive" of the Assad regime intending to use chemical weapons, with the activity becoming more compelling in the last day, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

Five U.S. defense, military and intelligence officials told NBC News the statement caught them off guard.

A Syrian minister dismissed the statement, insisting Damascus does not have and will not use chemical weapons. Russian officials responded to the statements Tuesday, accusing the U.S. of "readying a new attack on Syrian forces" and preparing an "unprecedented provocation... presented as a chemical attack" to prompt a U.S.-led strike on Assad's forces.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Here's What Happens if the GOP Health Care Bill Becomes Law]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:12:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mcconnellhealthfeuerherd.jpg

The Senate Republican health care bill would insure 22 million fewer people after a decade than current law, according to an analysis Monday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. 

The GOP bill, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would save $321 billion in the same period by spending $1 trillion less on health care and using the savings to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, which primarily benefit wealthy individuals and medical companies, NBC News reported.

In addition to increasing the number of uninsured Americans, the plan also would raise deductibles by large amounts and reduce Medicaid spending by 26 percent by 2026 versus current law.

On the other hand, it would achieve traditional conservative goals of spending less on social services, lowering tax rates on high earners and businesses, and reducing regulations on what kind of plans insurers must provide and on how much they’re allowed to profit off consumers.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Who's Affected by the Supreme Court’s Travel Ban Ruling?]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:34:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17135611381402-Travel-Ban-Protest-Seattle-Court.jpg

The Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate parts of the Trump administration’s travel ban is potentially good news for many who want entry into the United States, but it may be a blow for refugees, experts told NBC News.

Uncertainty surrounded the impact of the high court's action. Several federal agencies must now decide how they will implement it, and advocates warned the confusion itself is harmful, given the delicacy of the refugee process.

While the court ruled the ban could partly take effect while it makes a final decision later this year, it said the ban could not apply at this time to anyone with "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The picture is potentially very different for refugees, though it’s unclear at the moment.

"We know that people are going to be hurt by this, and there will be a lot of disruption and dislocation," said Lavinia Limón, president and chief executive of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren]]>
<![CDATA[Seniors Concerned Health Care Plan is 'Age Tax']]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:22:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/senior-health-care.jpg

A Senate Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act aims to reduce funding for Medicaid, the single largest source of health care coverage in the United States.

Organizations like AARP are concerned that the cuts unfairly target senior citizens.

AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement that the Senate bill imposes an “age tax” on older adults.

“AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable,” LeaMond noted.

The advocacy organization notes on its website that the current law keeps insurers from charging older adults more than three times as much for premiums as they charge those who are younger for the same coverage. Both the Republican House and Senate legislation would "allow insurers to charge older adults five times as much, and states could receive waivers to remove even that limit."

Jerome Mosman agrees with the “age tax” characterization.

Mosman is the CEO of Sixty & Better, a nonprofit that provides nutrition and socialization services to senior citizens at 25 activity centers across Tarrant County in Texas.

“I think it is an Age Tax because there is a presumption that all older people are sicker, and this is not true,” Mosman said.

“To lose that [Medicaid] safety net is frightening. States are ultimately going to have to ration [their allotment] and say, ‘Well, we only get so much from Medicaid, therefore we cannot insure more disabled people, more elderly people.’ It is frightening for those on low income,” Mosman said.

At the age of 71, Anita Strange — a retired school teacher and lifelong Fort Worth resident — was dropped by her health insurance company, Aetna, which Strange believes was a direct result of her age.

Since then, Strange, now 74, has been enrolled in Medicare.

“I’m watching [the developments] but I’m just going to wait and see [before I pass judgment],” Strange said. “There’s got to be a better plan out there for us because we have to have insurance.”

Republicans have been said to be considering a vote this week, though the bill has a narrow path to victory with Democrats united against it and some moderates and conservatives calling for changes. 

A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the number of people likely to keep coverage under the bill is due out this week. Twenty-three million people would lose insurance under the House version of the legislation, the CBO said last month. 

"Republican Senators are working very hard to get there, with no help from the Democrats," Trump tweeted on Monday. "Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!"

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ted Kennedy Jr. Will Not Run for Statewide Office]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:33:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ted+kennedy+jr+state+senator.jpg

State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) has announced he will not pursue a statewide office in 2018.

"I will not be a candidate for statewide office in 2018,” Kennedy wrote in a statement released Monday. “I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contacted me and encouraged me to run. I value the contribution I am able to make as the state Senator for the 12th District. I believe that if we put aside our partisan politics and find common ground, we can overcome our challenges and move Connecticut forward. I remain committed to making our state a better place to live, do business and raise a family. "

It was reported that Kennedy had been considering a run for governor.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Governor, State Employee Union Reach Tentative Agreement]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:53:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

The governor and the state employee unions have reached a tentative agreement that the governor’s office says will help “create significant, long-term structural reforms to pension and benefit costs, generating billions in savings for taxpayers for many years to come.” 

However, there is a long way to go before the deal becomes official and it hinges on passing a budget.

Malloy said the agreement could save the state more than $24 billion and called it “a promising step.” 

“From the moment we began our earliest discussions, SEBAC leaders have proven to be willing partners; engaging with their own tangible offers and accepting the fact that the state’s financial reality will affect their members,” Malloy said in a statement.

The agreement, which saves taxpayers around $750 million per year when it comes to pensions and health benefits, will need to be included in the state budget.

Rank and file state employee union members will vote on the deal within the month and union officials said the members will see a mix of pain and security.

"This is going to be up to the members to decide and you know they have an opportunity to save their own jobs and their coworkers' jobs, but also to be part of the solution to this current problem, so it's up to the members," Lori Pelletier, of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said.

The deal does extend the salary and wage agreements to 2027.

Republican officials said they do not like the fact that they concession deal ties the hands of possibly the next three governors' administrations.