According to House Republicans, President-elect Donald Trump would prefer to build what he has referred to as the "Great Wall" between Mexico and the United States with taxpayer money through Congress. According to a report by CNN, Trump's administration would send the wall through the appropriations process as early as April.
After CNN reported that Trump's administration would ask taxpayers to pay for the wall, Trump got on Twitter to clarify his administration's plan and blame the "dishonest news media" for falsely reporting it by leaving off the fact that Mexico would be paying back the money.
The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!
Chris Collins, the congressional liaison for the transition team, told CNN that Trump would be able to negotiate Trump Mexico paying the fees back:
When you understand that Mexico's economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play. ... On the trade negotiation side, I don't think it's that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it's in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall.
Asking Congress paying for the wall could lead to other problems within the federal government. Democrats could refuse to pass the spending budget with the inclusion of funds for the wall, which could potentially lead to a government shutdown.
Throughout his campaign Trump promised the wall would be made of concrete, steel and rebar and would be as high as ceilings, with a "big, beautiful door" for documented immigrants to walk through.
Experts have long said that the wall would be unrealistic and Trump himself has frequently vacillated, saying the wall would not be the entire border length or could even be a fence instead of a wall. Discuss
Yesterday, Puerto Rico's Congressional representative turned in a bill to allow the island as the 51st state by 2025.
The only question now is what would happen to the flag?
Puerto Rico has long debated whether it would remain somewhat independent as a commonwealth or if it would try for statehood.
Currently the island is in a dire financial crisis that has sent more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans to the States recently and left the country with $70 billion of debt, according to ABCNews. Jennifer Gonzalez, the island's representative, said that as a state, Puerto Rico would get about $10 billion of federal funds annually.
Puerto Ricans are unable to vote in presidential elections, have less representation in Congress, but they still pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while receiving less funding from the federal government.
Most recently in 2012, voters in Puerto Rico said that they wanted to change their status from being a commonwealth, but there was no clear consensus on where to go from there. Discuss
A newly released study by Pew Research Center found that 91 percent of the current U.S. Congress identify as Christian—a number that has not changed much in more than 50 years, despite its constituency's Christian identity declining.
Today, about 71 percent of people in the U.S. identify as Christian.
Researchers found that in 1961, members of the 87th Congress were 95 percent Christian.
Of the 293 Republicans in both houses of Congress, only two do not identify as Christian and are Jewish. The 242 Democrat members are still overwhelmingly Christian, but feature a bit more diversity in terms of religion. Eighty percent identify as Christian, along with 28 Jewish people, three Buddhists, 2 Hindu members, two Muslims, one Unitarian Universalist and one member who calls herself "religiously unaffiliated."
According to Pew, the 10 members who omit a religious affiliation are Democrats.
The disparity in the religious affiliations of Congressional members compared to their constituency is apparent in both overrepresentation and underrepresentation. Jewish people are 2 percent of the population, but 6 percent of Congress. People who say they're religiously unaffiliated have one member in all of Congress for representation, but are 23 percent of the U.S. population.
The associate director of research at Pew, Gregory Smith, told The New York Times that being religious may be politically advantageous.
“Lots of Americans tell us, with respect to the presidency, that it's important to them that the president share their religious beliefs,” he said. Discuss
Considering how turbulent the aftermath of November's election has been, some people may think that those who abstained from voting are probably regretting that choice right about now.
A Pew Research study tells a different story. It has found that 55 percent of the people who didn't vote in the last general election don't regret it and only 44 percent wish they had voted instead. The voter turnout was about the same, at 58 percent of eligible voters.
The newly released study found that the most popular reason for abstaining was that they didn't like either major party's candidate, closely followed by 25 percent who didn't think their votes would matter. Other less prominent, but still popular answers were not having registered, not having enough time or not being able to make it to the polls for some other reason.
Young people were also disproportionately non-voters. Americans under 30 only made up 16 percent of registered voters, but made up 41 percent of those who didn't vote.
Non-voters also had less formal education, with 53 percent having a high school diploma or less—only 32 percent of registered voters have high school education or less.
White people were less likely to be a nonvoter, 52 percent versus 70 percent of registered voters, and Hispanics and Latinos were 11 percent of the electorate, but 20 percent of nonvoters.
Most people who did vote said they would still vote for their candidate, but 8 percent of Gary Johnson's voters said they'd vote for someone else now. Discuss
“We represent no less than 2,500 churches in the state of Ohio, over tens of thousands of votes and people in this state who care deeply about this issue. … We would like to make a declaration and to challenge our legislators that we’re going to stand with you. We’re here, we’re growing and we’re not going anywhere. We’re asking the Speaker of the House to call for a vote to override this decision that the governor has made, because we’re here to promote and advocate for life.”
The bill would need three-fifths agreement in both houses of the State Congress in order to override it, so lobbyists would need to change the minds of a few legislators and it would need to happen before the Christmas holiday during the "lame-duck period."
On Thursday, conservative anti-abortion groups held a public news conference at the Statehouse to condemn Kasich's decision and continue to call for the heartbeat bill.
Shortly after, NARAL and other pro-choice groups joined the Statehouse to protest Kasich's signing of the 20-week ban bill. Discuss
More allegations of sexual harassment and general misconduct were reported and separately substantiated against senior Army officials this year than in 2015, according to a report by The Associated Press based on a report by the Army Inspector General.
The Army Inspector General is the arm of the Army that conducts investigations of allegations. According to the website's mission statement, they "conduct thorough, objective and impartial inspections, assessments and investigations." They also "advise and assist Army leaders to maintain Army values, readiness and effectiveness."
The Army lists sexual assault, harassment and improper affairs as falling under the sexual misconduct umbrella. The number of confirmed cases went from two in 2015 to seven this year.
In recent years, different branches of the military have tried to train and educate officials and have even developed new programs that could encourage victims to come forward when they have been wronged. It's unclear whether the increased number of allegations is a product of the programs working and encouraging victims to tell their story, or if the misconduct is just happening more and represents a different problem altogether.
Based on this report, the Army National Guard has had the most allegations made against it in the last year, with 8 charges and four of them substantiated, in the general Army, only three charges were made, with no mention of how many were substantiated.
The report also reinforced another problem: Higher-ranked officials are also committing these offenses and they can't be shrugged off as the transgressions of those who are newly enlisted.
Senior leaders were told: "These types of cases have a significant negative impact on the Army and its image. ... Please be careful to ensure that your behavior does not create any perception of an improper relationship, as even a perception can adversely impact the environment of your organization.
Through September, reprisal was the most common charge alleged against senior officials with about 50 of them having been made. Professional reprisals, essentially revenge from a higher-upper for reporting them, has been a problem identified by the Pentagon for a while now, but it's proven to be a hard one to solve. AP reports that 10 percent of reprisal claims were verified in 2016, which was a "significant increase." In a November memo to senior Army leaders, they were told: "The burden is on you to clearly explain and justify any unfavorable action you take against a soldier or civilian employee."
There was good news from the report: Other general charges against senior-level officials have decreased in 2016—including travel and ethics violations. Discuss