5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Republicans scramble to secure 51 votes for health-care bill

  • Trump announces executive order targeting North Korea

  • Facebook to give Congress political ads bought by Russians

  • Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico completely without power

  • Aaron Hernandez posthumously diagnosed with 'severe' CTE

Republicans have just days left to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on a simple majority vote in the Senate, leading the bill's sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), to reportedly consider "buying" the support of wavering Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). One proposal would reportedly allow Alaska and Hawaii to keep ObamaCare benefits while elsewhere the bill would convert ObamaCare's subsidies and Medicaid payments to block grants to states, plus cut Medicaid sharply. Graham was overheard on the phone telling Fox News' Sean Hannity that while he knew the bill wasn't ideal, "despite its imperfections" he still urged his colleagues to support it. "We're going to vote," Graham added to Hannity. "Everybody will be held accountable."

Source: Independent Journal Review, The Associated Press

President Trump announced a new executive order on Thursday that will allow the Treasury Department to target companies and individuals that trade with North Korea. The order gives Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea," Trump said during a press conference with the leaders of Japan and South Korea. Trump also praised Chinese President Xi Jinping's decision to limit financial relations with North Korea through Chinese banks as being "very bold" and "unexpected." "It is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime," Trump said.

Source: CNN, The Washington Post

Facebook will give Congress copies of the more than 3,000 ads purchased through Russian accounts during the 2016 election, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch announced Thursday in a blog post. "We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we've concluded that sharing the ads we've discovered ... can help," Stretch wrote. Though Facebook gave the ads to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the social networking site took back ads shown to congressional investigators before they could be thoroughly examined, citing privacy concerns. The move sparked complaints from government officials and the public. In a Facebook Live event after the announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to "make sure that Facebook is a force for good ahead in democracy."

Source: BuzzFeed News, The Washington Post

Puerto Rico is completely without power after Hurricane Maria made landfall early Wednesday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the first to strike the island since 1932. Early Thursday, Maria was a Category 3 hurricane nearing the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, the hurricane ripped trees from the ground and caused widespread flooding, and more than 10,000 people are in shelters. Puerto Rican officials said it could take six months for full power to be restored. After the Dominican Republic, Maria is forecast to move on to Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas by Thursday night.

Source: CNN, ABC News

Former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in his prison cell while serving a life sentence, has been posthumously diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease CTE. Hernandez's lawyer, Jose Baez, announced in a news conference Thursday that Hernandez's was "the most severe case they had ever seen in someone of Aaron's age." Hernandez was 27 when he died in April. Baez has filed a lawsuit against the Patriots and the NFL on behalf of Hernandez's daughter. CTE is linked to repeated head trauma, and numerous football players have recently been diagnosed with the disease. Hernandez's family released his brain to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center for a CTE study.

Source: The New York Times
Start every morning with all you need to know
Delivered to your inbox