<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas State Political News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usFri, 28 Apr 2017 21:01:32 -0500Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:01:32 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Versus the World: An Overview]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:17:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-654571120.jpg

Since taking office in January, President Donald Trump's administration has been associated with one foreign country in particular, Russia. U.S. intelligence officials say President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, to denigrate Hillary Clinton and then to help Trump's chances. Trump denies any wrongdoing, while the FBI and Congress investigate his administration's contacts with Russia.

Meanwhile Trump has flirted with upending U.S. foreign policy, threatening to declare China a currency manipulator and to pull out of NAFTA, for example, questioning the one-China policy under which the United States recognizes China and not Taiwan and backing off a U.S. commitment to the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. In the end, though, Trump has often reverted to traditional policies. His supporters say he is scrutinizing foreign agreements with the goal of benefitting Americans, but critics say the uncertainty is unsettling to allies and unproductive.

Here are some of the more significant interactions between the Trump administration and world leaders over international issues.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NTX Lawmakers Evaluate Trump's First 100 Days in Office]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:08:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TrumpNRAShow1.jpg

Saturday marks the 100th day of President Donald Trump's term. NBC 5 sent a crew to Washington, D.C., to speak with North Texas lawmakers about the milestone.

Here is some of what they said:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas):

"I think it has been a very significant 100 days. If you look at many of the early policy decisions, I think they have been quite positive. If you look at the cabinet that has been appointed, this cabinet is the most conservative we have seen in decades. You have two Texans in the cabinet. You have Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson. You have got terrific appointees like Jeff Sessions as attorney general. I think all of that was very strong."


U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Arlington):

"I think he's done fine. You know, he's kind of the new kid on the block, so he's never been in elected office before. It's pretty unusual for the first elective office you have is president of the United States. You have to go back to Dwight David Eisenhower in 1952 to have a president who walked in with no elected experience. Trump tries hard. He's an honest man. I think his heart is in the right place. Most of the problems are not at his doing. It's in the House and the Senate where, while we have a Republican majorities in both, we don't have a totally unified Republican conference in the House. The Senate has rules that make it really easy for a handful of senators to slow or stop things."


U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Fort Worth):

"I think he has done great. I mean, look, he has done so many thing to do away with some of the horrible legislation President Obama has put on us – regulations that were chocking business."


U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas):

"I think the president, if you look at historical trends, is about on par with getting people into administrative jobs. I have said for a long time I would not start a fistfight in a bar until I had my friends in the bar. He has started many fights without his full team and without the ability, I think, that he had to get the best advice. So my advice to the president would be, I would probably wait to move an aggressive agenda until I had my full advisor group and members of your cabinet on board."


U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth):

"He hasn't done much the first 100 days. Again, he talked the talk but he couldn't walk the walk. I want to see him do something for working people. I mean, that is something he can work with Democrats on. Show me an infrastructure bill. Do something that is actually going to do something about prevailing wages in this country."


U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas):

"I'm not sure I can say what's been accomplished. I'd like to see something accomplished. I don't wish any president to fail, but I have not seen anything accomplished except for questions. A lot of questions have come up, all the way from the Russian involvement to individual involvement with other countries. But we can't say anything that we really accomplished that we are proud about."


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LSP: Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams on Bid for Second Term]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:16:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams is running for re-election. This week on Lone Star Politics he details what he hopes to accomplish with a second term in office.

<![CDATA[LSP: State Sen. Don Huffines on Dallas County Schools]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:13:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg

State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Arlington) authored a bill to shut down Dallas County Schools. This week on Lone Star Politics he says why he thinks it's time for the organization to go away.

<![CDATA[How Trump's Tweets Have Changed in 100 Days as @POTUS]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:49:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/632863052-realdonaldtrump-potus-donald-trump-twitter.jpg

President Donald Trump is known for his quick-fire tweeting, a habit he believes helped him win the election. But as his term progressed, the number of likes and retweets each post received started to fall.

As he approaches his 100th day in office, @realDonaldTrump's rate of interactions is about a quarter of what it was on the week of his inauguration, according to data from CrowdTangle, the social media-monitoring platform. The official @POTUS account's interaction rate is about one-eighth of what it was the week of Jan. 20.

While the drop-off in likes and retweets, known as engagement, may seem like a blow for someone so committed to winning, social media experts say it's unsurprising.

"The dust is settling on social media" as people are winding down after a social-media frenzied election, said Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant communications professor at Syracuse's Newhouse School of Public Communications. 

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Despite a fall in interactions, the following for Trump's two accounts has continued to grow, by a combined 27 percent — though the rate they've grown has also slowed down as he settled into the White House. Today @realDonaldTrump has 28.4 million followers, while @POTUS has 16.8 million followers.

@realDonaldTrump's most popular tweets as president all came in the first few weeks of his presidency — his most popular remains a Jan. 22 tweet noting the right to peaceful protest after the Women's March on Washington. (@POTUS tweets get much less engagement than Trump's personal account.)

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Since then, most tweets have had much less engagement. The most popular tweet from March, in which he called Barack Obama a "Bad (or sick) guy!" and alleged without evidence that his predecessor tapped his phones at Trump Tower, received the 25th most likes and retweets since Jan. 20. April's most popular message wished "Happy Easter to everyone!" and was his 25th most popular as president.

On average, the accounts collected a combined 2.14 million interactions each week since the inauguration, according to the CrowdTangle analysis. Interactions with @realDonaldTrump spiked the week after the inauguration, while those with @POTUS spiked around his late-February address to Congress. 

The decline in interactions isn't necessarily indicative of an unsuccessful administration, Grygiel said.

"People are moving on with their lives, and also just consuming updates about the new administration by way of more traditional means, such as reading stuff that's published by journalists," she said.

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Engagement could be falling because people find his tweets to be less helpful, according to Tom Hollihan, a communications professor at the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California.

"One gets a sense even his hardcore supporters think [his] tweets are less helpful to his cause," Hollihan said, based on polling he's seen. 

Two-thirds of millennials, consummate social media users, found Trump's tweeting to be inappropriate, according to a Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics survey conducted in March. A January NBC/WSJ poll found that nearly 70 percent of Americans thought Trump's Twitter habit was a bad idea.

The White House didn't respond to requests for comment for this story.

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The president's tone varies greatly between his Twitter accounts, said USC professor Hollihan and Grygiel, the Syracuse professor. They had different explanations for why.

The @realDonaldTrump account frequently talks about the news cycle and "fake news" — something that isn't usually discussed on the @POTUS account, according to data that Grygiel collected through Sysomos, a social media analytics company.

Other popular words on @realDonaldTrump include "great," "big" and "Trump." @POTUS frequently mentions @realDonaldTrump — a sign of cross promotion, Grygiel said — along with "POTUS," "VP" and "White House," according to her analysis.

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Hollihan said the @POTUS account is clearly being run by his advisers, while the @realDonaldTrump account is run from the president's cellphone.

But Grygiel said she believes Trump has split his time between his personal and official accounts, a strategy she calls "brilliant."

"He’s essentially split himself in two, and he has two strikingly different tones," Grygiel said.

Grygiel likened Trump's tone on @realDonaldTrump to that of "a mafia boss" — it appeals to the part of his base that wants him to be more aggressive. On the other hand, @POTUS has a more diplomatic tone she believes appeals to people outside of his base.

"It’s a really amazing strategy," Grygiel added. "I think he's essentially pandering to two populaces in this country."

Hollihan doesn't believe there is much of a strategy, and that Trump's tweets seem to sow confusion among his advisers and cabinet.

"I think instead what we see is that he's continuing this set of practices that seemed to work for him during the campaign," when Trump's reactiveness to news developments dominated his feed. "In fact, he's conducted himself in the first 100 days of his presidency exactly the same way he sought to conduct himself during the campaign."

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Trump seems to tweet about a series of different issues every day in the White House, like health care, tax reform or renegotiating NAFTA, Hollihan added, rather than picking one to focus on so he can rally public and congressional support.

As for Trump's predecessor, Grygiel said there's no way to really compare Trump's Twitter habits and Obama's. Twitter and Facebook "really came of age" when Obama was in office, she said.

"Social media was something Obama had to adopt and grow over the eight years he was in office," Grygiel said. "He was probably one of the first presidents to hand over large-scale social media accounts to a new administration."

Hollihan said Obama used Twitter in a more reflective way.

"Nothing about Obama's temperament suggested he acted without...reflection, and yet that's what defines Trump’s use of social media," he said.

Both presidents' Twitter habits are vastly different, both in how often they tweeted and in content. Obama occasionally tweeted from his @POTUS account to comment on policy or current events, such as when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

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Trump, on the other hand, has tweeted nearly every single day since taking office. He tweets from @realDonaldTrump five times per day on average, according to CrowdTangle data. @POTUS sends out three tweets per day. 

"This is pretty remarkable that we have a president who's so willing to reveal that he is influenced by the last thing he hears on TV, or reads," Hollihan said.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[From Spicey to Kush: 'SNL's' First 100 Days of Trump]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:08:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SNL_Trump.jpg

There have been seven episodes of “Saturday Night Live” during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the program’s been handed plenty of material by the administration, from the president’s tweeting and press secretary Sean Spicer’s gaffes to Stephen Bannon’s perceived influence behind-the-scenes and Jared Kushner’s sunglasses-and-blazer fashion statement in Iraq.

The most consistent "SNL" target is the president himself, played by Alec Baldwin on five of the seven episodes.

When Trump's travel ban got stymied in the courts, "SNL's" Trump took his case to "The People's Court." On another episode, Baldwin's Trump spoke to supporters worried about their jobs by comparing his followers to people who "find a finger in their chili" but eat it anyway. After Trump wore a flight jacket while speaking to members of the Navy, "SNL" parodied the commander in chief by having Baldwin give a less-than-inspirational speech during an alien invasion. 

Baldwin also branched out, playing both Trump and ousted Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on a split screen in a "No Spin Zone" segment.

The response to Baldwin’s version of Trump has been, on average, favorable. Trump, who hosted NBC's "SNL" during the campaign, has been quiet about the impression since he took office. But before his inauguration, Trump argued that Baldwin's send-up “stinks.”

"He's gone from funny to mean and that's unfortunate," Spicer told "Extra" back in February. "'Saturday Night Live' used to be really funny and I think there's a streak of meanness now that they've kind of crossed over into." 

Of course, audiences became familiar with Baldwin’s Trump long before the inauguration — he’d been making "SNL" appearances since before the election, facing off as a presidential candidate in debates with Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton.

Baldwin's parody had become a mainstay by the time the real Trump took office.

Melissa McCarthy, not Baldwin, became the surprising breakout star of the first 100 days of "SNL’s" Trump administration in playing Spicer.

McCarthy first showed up, unannounced, on the Feb. 4 episode to riff on Spicer’s first press conference, during which the public face of the White House took an adversarial stance toward the press corps. 

Spicer had scolded the media for “deliberately false reporting.” One instance referred to an incorrect tweet from a pool reporter that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. It hadn't, and the reporter had apologized. Spicer also criticized reports on Trump's inauguration crowd size.

On "SNL," McCarthy played up Spicer’s defensive stance. 

“Now I’d like to begin today by apologizing — on behalf of you, to me, for how you have treated me these last two weeks. And that apology is not accepted. Because I’m not here to be your buddy. I’m here to swallow gum, and I’m here to take names,” she said, the gum being a reference to Spicer’s reported fondness for downing pieces of Orbit

She ended the press conference by shooting a reporter with a water gun for asking about the White House’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that didn’t mention Jews.

Real-life Spicer responded to the portrayal in an interview later with "Extra." He said it was funny, but over-exaggerated — presumably what "SNL" was going for. He offered some seemingly good-natured advice for McCarthy, suggesting she tone it down on the gum.

McCarthy returned for her second of three appearances the following week. “I have been told that I am going to cut back on the gum chewing, so I’ve cut back to one slice a day,” she said, just before pulling out a giant stick of gum. This time she used a leaf-blower on a reporter in response to a question about the president’s statements on Chicago’s murder rate. “That was me blowing away their dishonesty,” she said.

Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, said it’s unusual that the press secretary would become the central person in the comic pantheon of an administration. But in Spicer's case it was “inevitable,” he said. That's because Spicer appears on television every weekday, then his performance is aired and re-aired and repackaged by networks, cable news and late-night shows. 

McCarthy’s third Spicer spoof came the Saturday after the real Spicer made an inaccurate, off-base remark on Passover in which he suggested Hitler never used chemical weapons on his own people. He’d been trying to highlight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s inhumanity.

Spicer tried to clarify his intentions throughout the day but kept flubbing it, referring to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers.” By the evening he admitted to his mistake and asked for forgiveness.

McCarthy appeared that week as Spicer in an Easter Bunny costume. Not only was it the night before Easter Sunday, but Spicer had previously played the role of Easter Bunny at the White House Easter Egg Roll during the George W. Bush administration. 

"SNL's" Easter Bunny begrudgingly admitted that she’d done wrong.

“You all got your wish this week,” she snarled. “Spicey finally made a mistake.” She clarified that she of course meant to say “concentration clubs,” not Holocaust centers then climbed into a car shaped like an Easter egg shell and crashed it into her podium.

There have been other standout Trump administration characters since Jan. 21.

The makeup department transformed Kate McKinnon into Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was portrayed as Forrest Gump, offering chocolates to passengers waiting at a bus stop and occasionally making unsolicited confessions about his meetings with Russians. This came after the revelation that the newly appointed attorney general had neglected to let lawmakers know during his confirmation hearing that he had met with Russia's top diplomat during the Trump campaign when he was a prominent adviser.

Early into the first 100 days, McKinnon played Kellyanne Conway “Fatal Attraction”-style in an attempt to get CNN's Jake Tapper to give her airtime. The "SNL" sketch came after CNN reconsidered its booking of Conway over credibility issues. “You don’t get it, Kellyanne. You made up a massacre. We can’t have you on,” Beck Bennett said as Tapper.

Other characters, whose roles in the administration’s first 100 days have been more behind-the-scenes, made recurring appearances on "SNL."

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president and possible election-meddler, was played week-after-week by a greased-up, shirtless Bennett. 

Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon was portrayed as a grim reaper/puppet-master figure at the helm of the Resolute desk. Baldwin's Trump, by contrast, was relegated to a kiddie desk.

But with Bannon's perceived influenced waning by April amid reports of a West Wing power struggle, "SNL" had Baldwin's Trump choose son-in-law Jared Kushner in a reality show-style showdown over who would occupy the Resolute desk.   

Jimmy Fallon, who played Kushner while hosting "SNL" on April 15, stayed mum and wore a stylish outfit underneath a flak jacket, in a mocking reference to the real Kushner's visit with ground troops in Iraq.

Then, there was the pre-taped commercial parody for a fictional Ivanka Trump (played by host Scarlett Johansson) fragrance called “Complicit.” CBS' Gayle King referenced the sketch while asking the real Ivanka Trump whether she felt “complicit” with what happened in the White House. Ivanka Trump replied that, "If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit." 

If Ivanka Trump's reaction to "SNL's" ribbing was lukewarm, Spicer has seemed to take McCarthy’s jabs in stride. He was seen wearing an Easter bunny necktie during the press briefing the Monday after the Easter bunny episode aired.

President Trump hasn't shown the same penchant to laugh at himself. 

That contrasts with former President Gerald Ford, who wrote the book on humor and the presidency. 

Ford was repeatedly lampooned as an oafish klutz by Chevy Chase on "SNL" in the 1970s, in the program’s earliest days. Ford responded by making a cameo on "SNL". 

Ford reflected in his book “Humor and the Presidency” that, “It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a measurable correlation between humor in an administration and the popularity of that administration’s policies.” 

Of course, quantifying humor isn’t a science, and the jury is out on how effective Trump has been in his first 100 days. Trump's approval with 82 percent of Republicans is strong, though nearly two-thirds of Americans overall give him fair or poor ratings, according to NBC News.   

"SNL," for its part, is having its most-watched season in 23 years.

Photo Credit: NBCUniversal
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<![CDATA[Tillerson Calls for UN Sanctions on North Korea]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:53:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Tillerson_s_Proposed_NK_Sanctions_1200x675_931990083978.jpg

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for North Korea's "financial isolation" at Friday's U.N. Security Council meeting. Tillerson also threatened sanctions on countries that continues to trade with North Korea, singling out China.

<![CDATA[Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban Passenger Bumping]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:19:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/216*120/ohare+airport+generic.png

The United Airlines debacle has led to increased pressure for airlines to change their policies.

A new piece of legislation aims to ban the practice of bumping passengers.

U.S. Representatives from Illinois introduced the bill, called the "BOARD Fairly Act," Tuesday. It's aimed at making sure incidents like the one on United Airlines don’t happen again.

The Department of Transportation would be in charge of modifying its rules, with the top priority of banning airlines from involuntarily bumping passengers.

If passed, passengers would no longer be removed unless there is a security or safety reason. Negotiations would have to happen before boarding. If no passenger voluntarily gives up their seat, the airline would have to increase the amount of compensation until someone finally gives up their space.

Two airlines are already ahead of the game. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced they will no longer overbook flights. Jetblue already has a policy in place that bans overbooking.

You can read the bill below:


Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA['Frederick Douglass' Bill Aims to Combat Trafficking]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:37:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/417px-Frederick_Douglass_portrait.jpg

Members of Congress have introduced a bipartisan bill, named for American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, that would seek to curb human trafficking, NBC News reported.

The "Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act of 2017," is co-sponsored by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith and California Democrat Rep. Karen Bass.

Seven other sponsors have put their support behind the bill, which would reauthorize $130 million in funding to stop human trafficking and provide aid to victims.

The bill will go before the Committee on Foreign Affairs on May 2.

Photo Credit: National Archives]]>
<![CDATA[Looking Back: Trump's First 100 Days]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:43:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Trump1000427_MP4-149333632682600001.jpg

President Trump came to Washington with an aggressive legislative agenda dubbed the "100-day Action Plan to Make America Great Again."

<![CDATA[Caraway Faces Arnold in Bitter Dallas Council Contest]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:11:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Carolyn+Arnold+Dwaine+Caraway.jpg

Former Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway is in a tough 2017 campaign to replace Councilwoman Carolyn Arnold, the person whom he endorsed to replace himself just two years ago.

"It's my responsibility to come back and correct the mistakes that I put on the citizens of District 4," Caraway said. "Things have gone backwards."

Caraway was forbidden from running for the Dallas City Council District 4 seat again in 2015 after winning it four times.

Arnold did not return repeated message for an interview but has touted her efforts many times recently.

Arnold held a groundbreaking ceremony for new homes in The Bottom neighborhood near the Trinity River on the day Caraway filed to run against her in February.

"We're sick and tired of being sick and tired," Arnold said that day. "My goal is to bring The Bottom up to the top, alright? And we're going to do that with the blessing, the support of the community, community partners."

The most obvious sign of the break in their friendship came when Arnold crashed a September press conference Caraway staged to support the proposed Oak Cliff deck park, which Arnold strongly opposes.

"We're not concerned about the amenities," Arnold said. "We're concerned about the necessities."

Arnold calls the proposed park over Interstate 35E in front of the Dallas Zoo "wreck park" for the damage she claims it would do to the adjacent 10th Street historic district. Arnold believes the park would lead to gentrification of the neighborhood, making it unaffordable for the people who currently live there. She wants money for the park spent on basic services instead.

"I cannot have my constituents neglected by some vain, vanity project," Arnold said at the time.

Arnold has been extremely vocal at Dallas City Council meetings.

On Jan. 18 she accused other council members of disrespecting her for moving forward with the deck park against her wishes.

"For you to speak on behalf of my constituents is an insult," Arnold said. "It is the greatest form of disrespect that any council member can experience sitting behind the horseshoe."

Caraway said Thursday that Arnold has blocked or failed to support numerous improvements that would have helped her district.

"We're trying to improve Oak Cliff, the Southern Sector and all of the city of Dallas," Caraway said. "We can't just jump up and say no to projects that are positive."

Caraway was no stranger to controversy in his eight years as a Dallas City council member, during which he also briefly served as Dallas mayor.

He championed the plastic grocery bag fee to fight litter, but the fee was eventually repealed in 2015 amid store and customer complaints and a manufacturer lawsuit.

Caraway nearly came to blows on cellphone video at a 2016 gospel radio studio appearance with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who later beat challenger Caraway for reelection to the county post.

"I'm probably a much better city representative and can get things done, with a proved record of getting results," Caraway said.

Early voting is already underway for the May 6 city election.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Government Faces Possible Shutdown Friday Night]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:07:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_17111707588504.jpg

Republicans and Democrats are working on a one-week funding extension to keep the government open through next week.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh]]>
<![CDATA[Utah Rep. Chaffetz Gives Transparent Reason for Leave]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:33:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GOPRepJasonChaffetz_1200x675.jpg

Republican lawmaker Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz revealed medical fixtures that had been holding his foot together for the last 12 years on his Instagram account.

Recently Chaffetz announced he would be taking a leave of absence and may not run for reelection in 2018. According to his Instagram post which reveals an x-ray of his foot, he said he would have the medical screws and plates removed from his foot after doctors advised him that the hardware could lead to a serious infection.

In the post, Chaffetz wrote, "Yes, I wish I could say I was cliff diving in Mexico but the truth is I fell off a ladder while repairing something in my garage." 

Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight Reform Committee and best known for his investigations of Hillary Clinton and alleged missteps by the Obama administration over the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Will Trump's Tax Outline Impact You?]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:57:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tru2AP_170907489005294.jpg

Kyle Walters, a financial and tax strategist, discussed President Donald Trump's tax reform plan and what it means to taxpayers.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Tax Reform Plan Cuts Personal and Corporate Rates]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-673416756.jpg

A tax reform plan outlined by the Trump administration two days before the president's 100th day in office proposes deep cuts to personal income tax as well as corporate taxes. The plan also repeals the estate tax. 

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Ted Cruz Wants El Chapo to Pay for Border Wall]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/El_Chapo_thumb.jpg

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz wants funds seized from El Chapo, and other drug lords, to pay for the border wall.

On Tuesday, Cruz introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act that would "reserve any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of “El Chapo” (formally named Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea) and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border."

In a statement Tuesday, Cruz said the U.S. government is seeking the criminal forfeiture of $14 billion in drug proceeds from El Chapo.

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” said Cruz. “Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

El Chapo is the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel who escaped a Mexican prison in July 2015 before being recaptured in January 2016 and extradited to a U.S. prison in January 2017. He's expected to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering.

<![CDATA[Dallas Police, Fire Retirees March on City Hall]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:06:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/chopper-police-fire.jpg

They spent years of their lives walking the streets of Dallas, working to keep the city safe.

On Wednesday, police and fire retirees, as well as members of about a dozen police and fire associations, took to those streets again to raise awareness of the growing crisis surrounding their pensions.

"A promise was made to us when we came on," said Thomas Glover, president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas. "We kept our promise. We kept the city safe. This is not right what's happening."

With their pensions hanging in the balance, hundreds marched to City Hall, where they called on leaders to fix the failing system and called out those who they believe are holding up that process.

"The mayor doesn't care," said Pete Bailey, president of the Dallas Police Retired Officers Association. "His end game is to bankrupt this pension, leave all these people out to dry, and create a new pension system."

Mayor Mike Rawlings has expressed his opposition to proposed fixes that would require the city to pump hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into the pension fund. He's also pushed for greater city control of the pension board – both sticking points that have stalled negotiations.

The city is currently working with state leaders in Austin on legislation that could serve as a starting point.

In a statement released Wednesday, Rawlings said:

"I'm empathetic to what Dallas police officers and firefighters are going through, and I accept that they have focused much of their anger toward me. That comes with the territory of being mayor as this crisis has unfolded.

"But I have never viewed the failure of the Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund as an option. Every action I have taken regarding the fund in my six years as mayor has been part of an effort to save it. The Dallas City Council continues to be aligned around that goal. We also believe the fair solution to this pension crisis should not be in the form of a taxpayer bailout and must include proper governance. That's why we remain hopeful that our proposed changes to Chairman Flynn's pension bill will ultimately be accepted."

The retirees and associations insist they've made concessions and are now asking the public to turn up the pressure on City Hall.

"We need you to help us to push back," said Michael Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association.

They say this crisis is not only affecting retirees, but is now having a dire impact on current first responders as well.

They placed 694 pairs of boots on the plaza of City Hall – one for each officer that has left the police department in the midst of the ordeal. They say many of them have gone elsewhere because of the pension problem.

"Let's sit at the table and let's talk," said Glover.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Key Things to Know As Trump Tries to Change Tax Policy]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:13:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/donaldtrumpfeeuerherdIB.jpg

President Donald Trump's administration released a broad outline of his tax plan Wednesday, three days ahead of his 100th day in office.

Trump suggested his plan will include "maybe the biggest tax cut we've ever had," prior to the announcement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn. The claim would suggest a cut of more than $600 billion a year to exceed former President Ronald Reagan's 1981 action, according to The Associated Press.

Among many changes, the plan seeks a corporate tax rate reduction, but also abandons a so-called border adjustment tax included in a plan released by House Republicans last year.

Here's a breakdown of what to keep an eye on as the White House and congressional Republicans attempt to push a tax bill through Congress this year.

Corporate Tax Rate:
The corporate tax rate is the rate that corporations pay on their net income.

The U.S. now has a 35 percent corporate tax rate, which is relatively high by international standards, said Joe Rosenberg of the Tax Policy Center.

Trump's proposal will seek to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, a policy he set during the campaign, it was announced Wednesday.

The House tax plan included a decrease of the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.

Lowering the corporate rate to 15 percent, critics argue, may make it difficult for the Trump plan to pay for itself with increased revenue elsewhere.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan this week that a three-year cut to 20 percent would reduce revenue by a third in those years and lead to a $489.7 billion hole over 10 years, The Washington Post reported.

The Trump administration, however, maintains the decreased rate will spur economic growth and be revenue neutral despite an even bigger tax cut.

"The tax plan will pay for itself with growth," Steven Mnuchin, Trump's treasury secretary, said last week.

Individual Tax Bracket:
The individual tax bracket refers to the amount a taxpayer owes in federal income tax based on their income. The U.S. tax code now has seven tax brackets that range from a high of 39.6 percent to a low of 10 percent.

The tax plan proposed by House Republicans would reduce the number of individual tax brackets to three. Depending on income, taxpayers will be subject to either a 12, 25 or 33 percent income tax rate under the House plan.

The House plan would lower the top tax rate of 39.6 percent to 33 percent, but raise the lowest rate of 10 percent to 12 percent.

The Trump plan would also limit the number of individual brackets to three, but at rates of 10, 25 and 35 percent, Cohn announced Wednesday. 

During the campaign, however, Trump had called for the rates in the three brackets to be lower than his proposal, at 10, 20 and 25 percent.

Border-Adjustment Tax:
The so-called border-adjustment tax is a measure included in the House blueprint under the "destination-based cash flow tax."

The first piece of that policy -- "destination-based" -- is where the border adjustment comes in. The policy would make goods produced in the U.S. that are sold abroad tax-exempt. At the same time, it would tax goods produced outside of the U.S. and sold within the country.

Trump's plan will not include the controversial tax for now, though it might be revisited later, a person briefed on the rollout told The New York Times. This again puts the White House's plan at odds with the House's. The House GOP sought to use the increased revenue from the tax to offset tax breaks elsewhere.

Critics of the policy argue it would hurt retailers and consumers because tons of imported products -- cars, clothing, appliances -- would suddenly become more expensive.

Beyond the border adjustment, the House's destination-based cash flow tax makes other broad changes to the way corporations are taxed in the U.S.

Instead of taxing corporations on income, the current tax scheme, the plan would tax their cash flow.

Revenue-Neutral Tax Plan:
A revenue-neutral tax plan is one that includes a combination of tax changes, but leaves the overall federal revenue constant.

This means if taxes for corporations or individuals are cut, they must be offset by some combination of revenue increases elsewhere.

Trump's proposal for a 15 percent corporate tax rate conflicts with House Republicans, whose plan called for a 20 percent corporate tax. The House rate would be in keeping with a revenue-neutral tax plan, they say.

There's a disparity in the numbers, but the economic theory in both plans is the same: tax cuts will pay for themselves because they spur economic growth.

"I'm not convinced that cutting taxes is necessarily going to blow a hole in the deficit," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told the AP. "Now, whether 15 percent is the right figure or not, that's a matter to be determined."

A revenue-neutral tax plan is especially important because tax cuts that add to the deficit may expire after 10 years.

Senate Republicans can use a process called reconciliation, which allows the passage of a bill with a simply majority, to pass a tax bill. Under the rules of the Senate, a tax bill passed through reconciliation cannot add to the federal deficit over 10 years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Sanctuary Bill' to Reach Texas House Floor]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:55:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sb4-protests-dallas.jpg

Senate Bill 4, or the Sanctuary Cities Bill, will likely move a step closer becoming law as it is set to hit the House floor Wednesday.

The bill would allow law enforcement to ask about immigration status during an arrest and would ban local governments and colleges from creating “sanctuary” policies.

While SB4 is expected to pass, it won’t come without a last minute fight from local and state civil liberties groups.

“Sadly, I feel like across the nation, Texas will be seen as Arizona was seen years ago,” said Julio Acosta, Faith in Texas volunteer. “[State lawmakers will have] purposefully passed legislation to hurt certain communities or certain parts of the community.”

Groups from across the state and many from North Texas will travel to Austin to fight against the bill. They are concerned with what the bill would mean to police agencies in Texas and how it could affect public safety. Some say it would damage the trust between police and the Hispanic community beyond repair.

“If they feel fear, sadly we feel they won’t come forward with critical information,” Acosta said. “So, that is our main concern. That it will make communities less safe.”

There are also concerns about added duties and stress it could add to police agencies.

“Many police departments across Texas say they are already understaffed [and] overworked,” Acosta said. “What we would do with burdening them with more things…taking their time and resources away from protecting and serving the community.”

State Sen. Charles Perry is co-sponsor of the bill. His office provided NBC 5 with a statement about Wednesday’s statehouse actions.

It reads in part:

"Banning Sanctuary Cities *is* about keeping our communities' safe by ensuring those who engage in criminal activity are not automatically released back into our communities.

Since this bill focuses on keeping our communities safe, we specifically protect victims and witnesses of crime in Senate Bill 4 to make sure no one is hindered from reporting crime."

The State Senate passed it and the House modified it to only allow police to ask about immigration status if someone is actually arrested. Opponents of the measure say that is not enough.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>