×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
November 14, 2017
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump says, dubiously, that Republicans are preparing to pass the largest tax cut in U.S. history, but even if that's not quite true, it is incontrovertible that Republicans are trying to push through major tax overhauls at breakneck speed, at least by congressional standards. Neither of the bills are finalized, though House Republicans plan to pass their bill Thursday or Friday, and Trump publicly made suggested changes as recently as Monday. The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the official congressional tax analysts at the Joint Committee on Taxation haven't had enough time to analyze the full economic impact of the bills.

"The rush to 'get it done' — particularly on the business side, where the most sweeping changes are planned — is alarming tax specialists who warn that new and unforeseen complexity, loopholes, and glitches could come back to haunt tax collectors and taxpayers," says The New York Times, pointing out several "loopholes and tax dodges spotted so far — whether unintended or not." The loopholes could allow small and medium businesses to take advantage of offshore tax shelters, wealthy hedge fund investors could claim lower tax rates intended for pass-through businesses, and other provisions, anodyne on their own, would open up new tax dodges.

"There is not a single advantage this has, except for students of people like me, who will get paid more to figure out how to game the system," Steven Rosenthal at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, formerly with the Joint Committee on Taxation, tells The New York Times about one of the provisions. The Tax Policy Center estimates that half of the net tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent of earners. Supporters of the tax bills say the legislation will be imperfect but can be fixed once enshrined in law. Peter Weber

11:07 a.m. ET
Steven Senne/The Associated Press

A.J. Baker, the adult son of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who shared a flight with him Wednesday.

"On June 20, the crew of flight 1354 were notified of an incident between customers shortly before landing in Boston," said the airline, JetBlue. "The aircraft landed at approximately 11 p.m. local time where it was met by local authorities."

The "matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Massachusetts State Police. Baker's attorneys said he "is fully cooperating and looks forward to a resolution of this matter." Bonnie Kristian

10:44 a.m. ET
Jung Yeon-Je/Getty Images

The Pentagon announced Friday it has come to an agreement with South Korea to indefinitely suspend two more joint training exercises. The two countries previously announced the suspension of "large-scale" military exercises following President Trump's promise to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to stop "provocative, inappropriate, and expensive" war games.

"To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises" that were scheduled for this summer, said chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White.

"This includes suspending Freedom Guardian, along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months," she continued. "In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK [North Korea] continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith." Bonnie Kristian

10:27 a.m. ET

President Trump referenced a Drudge Report headline on Twitter Saturday morning to claim his administration has handled migrant detention better than their predecessors:

While Trump is correct that some recently circulated photos of immigrant children kept in cages with mylar blankets show unaccompanied minors detained by the Obama administration several years ago, more recent footage reveals Trump's own administration housed some children separated from their families the same way. Moreover, illegal immigration to the U.S. has been declining for two decades.

Others of the president's Saturday morning tweets and retweets touched on favored topics including the economy, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, the media, and manufacturing. Bonnie Kristian

8:31 a.m. ET

Drummer Vinnie Paul, a founding member of the metal band Pantera, has died, the band's Facebook page announced late Friday. He was 54. "Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah," the brief statement said. "No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time."

Paul cofounded Pantera with his brother, known as Dimebag Darrell, and vocalist Terry Glaze in 1981, and their work proved widely influential for heavy music in the following decades. The Texas-based group split in 2003. Bonnie Kristian

8:15 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The military said Saturday it is delivering more than 200 caskets to the North Korean village of Panmunjom, close to the South Korean border, in preparation for the return of the remains of U.S. soldiers missing since the Korean War in the 1950s.

The return was part of the agreement reached by President Trump at his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore. About as many soldiers' remains were returned between 1999 and 2005.

Trump has celebrated the return of the "hero remains" and, implausibly, claimed the soldiers' parents begged him to make this happen. Most parents of American soldiers old enough to have fought in Korea would be well over 100 years old were they still alive today. Bonnie Kristian

June 22, 2018
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Residents in Puerto Rico were left without power for months after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, and experts estimate that around 4,640 people died. But the Environmental Protection Agency thinks it did an A-plus job responding to the disaster.

The EPA is creating "challenge coins" to congratulate itself on its "response excellence," CNN reported Friday.

The agency will spend around $8,500 on a set of coins that will be handed out as collectable awards to EPA officials who were involved in responding to the 2017 hurricane season. The coins will feature the EPA Emergency Response logo and will read "HURRICANES HARVEY, IRMA AND MARIA — THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES" as well as "PROTECTING HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT ALL ACROSS AMERICA."

Officials asked the contractor who is creating the coins to "convey the sentiment that EPA staff from all across the country worked together to respond to the incidents from Puerto Rico to California (and regions in between)," reports CNN. Despite environmental advocates calling the EPA's response to Hurricane Maria "lacking," an EPA spokesperson defended the coins, saying "the dedicated public servants who worked tirelessly throughout the 2017 disaster relief efforts should be commended for their service." Summer Meza

June 22, 2018
Mario Tama/Getty Images

World Cup viewers are hearing "GOAL!" and "GOL!" in almost equal measure.

NBC Universal's Telemundo subsidiary reported Friday that through the first seven days of the World Cup, about 48 percent of viewers are watching the Spanish-language network, while 52 percent are tuning into Fox Sports 1 for the English broadcast. The numbers are comparable to previous World Cups; in 2014, 49 percent of fans watched in Spanish and 51 percent in English, while in 2010, 47 percent opted for Spanish and 53 percent for English.

The 2018 World Cup has drawn an average of 1.75 million Spanish-language viewers and 1.91 million English-language viewers. Telemundo additionally pointed out that in previous tournaments, Mexico had played in multiple matches by this point, but the team has only played one game so far this year. Summer Meza

See More Speed Reads