<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Politics]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usThu, 30 Mar 2017 07:44:20 -0700Thu, 30 Mar 2017 07:44:20 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[GOP, Dems Agree — Their Parties Are Deeply Divided: Poll]]> Thu, 30 Mar 2017 04:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/capitolbuildingfeuerherdIII.jpg

Democrats and Republicans agree on at least one thing: both parties say in a new poll that they are deeply divided, NBC News reported. 

About three-quarters of Republican and Republican-leaning Americans say their party is split, according to an NBC NewsSurveyMonkey poll conducted Friday. A majority of their counterparts on the left see the same division in the Democratic party, NBC News reported. 

Just 24 percent of Republicans view the GOP as united, the poll found. 

The poll was conducted just after congressional Republicans failed to whip up the votes needed to pass their health care bill in the House. The bill would have repealed former President Barack Obama's signature health care law, a campaign promise made by President Donald Trump. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ivanka Trump Will Serve as White House Employee]]> Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:36:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DIT_POL_IVANKATRUMP_JOB_032917_1-149082984481800001.jpg

Ivanka Trump will become an official White House employee. The eldest daughter of President Donald Trump will serves as Assistant to the President, the White House announced Wednesday.

<![CDATA[Mom Tells Son's Story in Fight for NIH Funding]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:43:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/220*120/2017-03-28_2340.png

Pediatric cancer research is one of the least funded and proposed budget cuts to NIH will deplete it even more. A family whose child died from pediatric cancer is testifying on Capitol Hill Wednesday, March 29, to save the funding. Tammi and Jason Carr in Michigan founded the ChadTough Foundation to honor their son Chad, who died at age 5 after battling a brain tumor. News4’s Shomari Stone reports. 

Photo Credit: Tammy Carr]]>
<![CDATA[Black Women Stand Up on Twitter Following Maxine Waters Dig]]> Wed, 29 Mar 2017 09:15:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Maxine+Waters2.jpg

Bill O'Reilly's joke about a congresswoman's wig and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's dressing down of a reporter have spurred black women to take to social media in protest. 

Activist Brittany Packnett encouraged people to tweet under #BlackWomenAtWork Tuesday. It's a response to O'Reilly's comment Tuesday that Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters' hair was a "James Brown wig.'' He later apologized.

Also Tuesday, Spicer told American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan to stop shaking her head during a testy exchange at a White House press briefing. 

Former DNC chair Donna Brazile tweeted, "#BlackWomenAtWork face the double bind of gender and race.'' 

Waters used the hashtag herself on Tuesday night, tweeting, "I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I'm not going anywhere.''

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[How Likely Is Congress to Create a Russia Commission?]]> Wed, 29 Mar 2017 04:46:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-653548766.jpg

Some members of Congress are convinced it's time for a full-scale, independent inquiry into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election like the investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2008 financial downturn, NBC News reports.

Congress and the FBI are investigating whether President Donald Trump's campaign had any illegal contact with the Russians last year, but Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee are calling for an independent review.

Its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., admitted to meeting with a secret source at the White House to look at intelligence reports without notifying fellow committee members.

Getting an independent investigation off the ground won't be easy, particularly in such a partisan political climate, observers say. It needs funding, bipartisan buy-in and more.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Jabs Trump in First Major Post-Election Speech]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:43:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-659440412.jpg

A spirited Hillary Clinton took on the Trump administration Tuesday in some of her sharpest political comments since she lost the presidential election.

She criticized the federal government's leaders on everything from health care to a shortage of women in top positions in an appearance Tuesday before thousands of women in San Francisco attending the Professional Businesswomen of California Conference.

Clinton joked there was no place she'd rather be, "other than the White House.''

She added, though, that she's "happy to be out of the woods."

Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Clinton faulted her former presidential rival for having what she said was the lowest number of women in an administration for a generation.

"The number of women serving in the state legislature is [at] a 20-year low," Clinton said.

She also called last week's failure by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act "a victory for all Americans.''

"Resist, insist, persist and enlist," Clinton told the crowd. "We need more women at the table where decisions are made."

Clinton defended White House reporter April Ryan (White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lashed out at Ryan during a press briefing earlier Tuesday and told her to "stop shaking your head" over a question about the administration's image) and Democratic Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters (Fox News host Bill O'Reilly apologized Tuesday after he was slammed on social media for saying Waters' hair looked like a “James Brown wig.")

"Just look at all that's happened in the last few days to women who were simply doing their jobs," she said. "April Ryan, an immensely respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon, and she was patronized and cut off as she tried to ask a question. One of your own California congresswomen, Maxine Waters, was taunted with a racist joke about her hair."

Clinton said that too many women, especially women of color, "have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride."

"Any woman who thinks this couldn't be directed at her is living in a dream world," she said.

The former presidential candidate joined fellow leading female figures such as Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson and critically-acclaimed actress Rosario Dawson as keynote speakers at the San Francisco event.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Congresswoman Jackie Speier were also expected to address the sold-out crowd.

Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State, has kept out of the public eye for the most part since falling in the presidential election.

Clinton told a Pennsylvania crowd earlier this month she was "ready to come out of the woods,'' and work to help Americans find common ground.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spicer to Reporter: 'Stop Shaking Your Head']]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:27:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Spicer_April_Ryan_Exchange-149074099787700001.jpg

White House press secretary Sean Spicer and American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan have an exchange at a press briefing on Tuesday, with Spicer telling Ryan to "stop shaking your head" several times. 

<![CDATA[DNC Asks All Staffers For Resignation Letters: Sources]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:27:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-545170458.jpg

Democratic National Committee has requested the resignation letters of all current staffers be submitted by next month, according to multiple sources familiar with the party's internal working, NBC News reported.

Party staffs typically sees major turnover with a new boss, but the mass resignation letters will give new chairman Tom Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC's headquarters from scratch after staffing had already reached unusual low following a round of layoffs in December.

Immediately after Perez' election in late February, an adviser to outgoing DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile, Leah Daughtry, asked every employee to submit a letter of resignation dated April 15, several sources tell NBC News.

The DNC has declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Overturns Climate Regulations, Cites 'War on Coal']]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:09:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/War_On_Coal-149072861540400001.jpg

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday aimed at overturning environmental regulations and reviving the coal industry. Trump also railed against a so-called "War on Coal" as well as general federal regulations in his speech prior to signing the order, promising to strike down regulations in every industry by the "thousands." 

<![CDATA[Border Agent Searches of Americans' Cellphones Spark Lawsuit]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:09:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CBP-generic-border-GettyImages-609971224.jpg

An advocacy group is suing the Department of Homeland Security to release details about every time United States border officers have searched travelers' electronic devices over the past five years, NBC News reported.

The Knight First Amendment Institute alleges in documents filed Monday that recent reporting by NBC News shows that U.S. border officers are acting unconstitutionally, violating both the First and Fourth Amendments, by demanding that travelers present their cellphones for searches.

In an investigation published earlier this month, NBC News examined 25 cases where American citizens said that customs officers at airports and border crossings demanded that they hand over their phones and passwords, or unlock them. The practice increased substantially between 2015 and 2016, according to U.S. officials.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Appears to Take Credit for 2015 Ford Investment]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 07:56:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ford-logo.jpg

Ford on Tuesday outlined new details for a planned $9-billion investment in the United States.

The automaker's investment push was first announced in 2015, but President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that the "big announcement" was related to his effort to grow jobs in the U.S., CNBC reported.

Ford said Tuesday it would invest $1.2 billion into three Michigan plants. General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler have also made U.S. jobs announcements since Trump won the presidential election, though many projects had already been in the works.

Photo Credit: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS]]>
<![CDATA[Petition: Melania Trump Must Move or Foot Security Bill]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:04:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/white+house+melania+donald+trump.jpg

A petition quickly amassing signatures online calls for members of the Senate to force first lady Melania Trump to move into the White House or pay for the security required to protect her in New York City.

The petition says U.S. taxpayers are paying an “exorbitant amount of money” to protect the first lady and her 11-year-old son Barron in Trump Tower and that funding should be cut.

By 10 p.m. Monday the petition on change.org had garnered just over 80,000 signatures of its 150,000 goal. If the goal is reached, the petition will be delivered to senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

A proposed letter to senators Sanders and Warren reads: “Make Melania Trump stay in the White House or pay for the expenses herself.”

The NYPD estimates that it costs $127,000 to $146,000 a day to protect the first lady and her 10-year-old son Barron when President Trump is not in the city, The New York Times reported. When the president is in the city, it costs about $308,000 a day. That’s about $50 million a year to protect Melania and Barron, according to the Times.

While President Donald Trump moved into the White House after he was inaugurated in January, his wife and youngest son have stayed in Manhattan. The president has said the two of them will move to Washington, D.C., with him when Barron finishes his school year. 

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[House Votes in Favor of Blocking Online Privacy Regulation]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:39:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

The House of Representatives approved a measure on Tuesday that would keep the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules passed last year that would ban internet, cable and mobile providers from selling your data without your consent.

With strong opposition from Democrats, the measure narrowly passed in the House by a 215-205 vote. No Democrats voted for the bill, and 15 Republicans opposed it. A similar version squeaked through the Senate last Thursday on a party-line vote of 50-48.

As NBC News reports, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump "strongly supports" the repeal, while internet privacy advocates frame this as a battle between privacy and profits.

Kate Tummarello, a policy analyst at the San Francisco based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the "commonsense rules" Congress voted to repeal were designed "to protect your data" and keep internet service providers from doing a "host of creepy things" without your consent.

Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Early Moves on Education Draw Concern, Praise]]> Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:24:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17081565411668-trump.jpg

The nomination of Betsy DeVos, a school choice advocate, as Education secretary, was a signal from President Donald Trump that he was going to shake up public education.

On Monday, Trump moved to roll back Obama-era rules that deal with how states assess school performance and teacher preparation programs. Trump says that local educators, parents and state leaders know what students need best.

And his budget proposal brought even more clarity to his plan.

But as the budget process begins to play out, education experts and teachers are wondering what the changes will mean. Will some children get left behind? Can schools already strapped for money survive even deeper cuts?

Education experts in favor of school choice and a shrinking role for the federal government in education sing the praises of the new administration. Critics, meanwhile, are worried about the future of education.

Here is a closer look at the divide:  

On Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump:

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called DeVos the most anti-public education person ever nominated, asserting she has an "antipathy toward anything that is public."

"What you’re seeing from her is what happened in the hearing, which is both an ideological antipathy toward anything that is public, toward anything that’s... a public good, and a public concern, and public education," Weingarten said.

DeVos is known for being a charter school and voucher program advocate, which has garnered her a great deal of criticism. But that doesn’t mean she’s lacking in support.

"[DeVos] is a passionate advocate for children," Robert Enlow, president and CEO of EdChoice, a pro-school choice group, said. "I think she supports schools of all types."

He added that he believes she’s committed to making sure that low income families have the same opportunities as others.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union in the nation, has been a critic of DeVos from the start.

"The only thing [DeVos] seems to want to talk about is how to funnel public dollars into private charter schools and private schools schools...we think that hurts students--to be supportive of taking public school dollars out of public schools and into unaccountable, privatized schools,” she said.

She added that during the campaign, she felt that the only thing Trump talked about was school choice.

"He didn’t mention education in any other form, except yes we need to fund privately managed schools somehow," she said.

"Then he picked the poster child for how to do that in the worst way possible," Eskelsen added.

On the budget:

The administration this month proposed allocating an additional $1.4 billion for school choice programs and eliminating two programs worth $3.6 billion that provide funding for teacher preparation and after-school programs.

Experts that spoke with NBC named a number of possibilities for the future of education throughout the next four years, but a common theme was tax credit scholarships, which "allow taxpayers to receive full or partial tax credits when they donate to nonprofits that provide private school scholarships," according to EdChoice.

Jon Valant, a fellow in the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute, said he believes school choice is likely to be implemented through a tax credit school program.

"Part of the reason they are likely to go that route is to get it through they could do it through the budget reconciliation process," he said.

Enlow added that the administration can encourage--and that he would prefer--that families get more options through tax codes, which can be done in two ways: through scholarship tax credits and direct tax credits.

"You should be funding every child," Enlow said.

Rick Hess, resident scholar and director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), also said tax credit scholarships are a possibility.

"You’re talking something that would transform the private schooling sector," he said.

Valant said the move is useful politically because it’s filibuster-proof.

He added that there’s a real chance that such a program could change the way schools currently operate.

If the government redirects a substantial amount of money to private schools, he said, then it’s likely that kids would take the scholarships to private schools.

Valant said the program has the potential to take away funding from some places.

"If they are redirecting a substantial amount of money to private schools then it would be very likely that we’d see kids taking those scholarships and taking them to private schools," he said.

But while Trump’s budget has garnered some criticism, Enlow said, "I think it’s a good start."

"Whether it stays that way or not, is of course up to Congress," he added.

Weingarten criticized Trump’s new budget, which has substantial cuts in funding for education, and called it the perfect example of "ideological zeal" that she says blinded DeVos to what works in education.

"If you care about public education and you care about helping all kids and you care about what works in public schools, she’s not your champion," she said.

On transgender bathroom laws:

Garcia also pointed to the Trump administration’s rollback of federal guidelines on transgender bathroom usage in schools. The administration rolled back the Barack Obama’s administration’s guidelines that let students use bathrooms or locker rooms that aligned with their gender identities.

Garcia said transgender kids are often misunderstood and victims, and she said they’re used as scapegoats. She said that in rolling back those guidelines, the Department of Ed is complicit in children’s suffering.

"You will not get another chance to have children feel safe in their school once you have allowed them to feel unsafe," she said.

When the guidance was lifted, DeVos said, "This is an issue best solved at the state and local level.”

She added that schools, communities and families can find solutions that protect all students.

On school choice:

Recently, the text of a bill introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was going around social media, with many criticizing its tenets.

H.R. 610, or the Choices in Education Act of 2017 moves to repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (The law was recently reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA), which provides funding to schools with low-income populations and homeless children, NBC 7 reported.

The bill would also introduce a voucher system for schools using federal funds, and repeal nutrition standards that schools currently follow.

Parents who receive vouchers through the proposed legislation would be able to make the ultimate decision on whether their child receives homeschooling, or attends public or private school.

Such legislation would upend the current state of education in the United States, but according to experts it’s unlikely to pass.

"What this particular act proposes would be revolutionary," said Kevin Welner, professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and director of the National Education Policy Center.

Welner said the bill isn’t just a matter of tinkering with education--it’s a matter of completely eliminating the role of the Department of Education.

"If this actually could happen it would be really, really troubling," Valant said of King’s bill. "But I don’t think it’s likely."

ESSA was reauthorized in 2015, largely with bipartisan support--which is why experts say that they can’t see King’s bill passing.

Valant also said that the bill is unlikely to garner much support among Democrats and Republicans.

"Even to do it with a simple majority would be tough," he said.

For Republicans, Hess said, there’s a balancing act between wanting to dial back Washington’s involvement while also not wanting to look like they’re too hostile toward schools or school systems.

"Even Democrats who are skeptical of testing don’t want Washington to get entirely out of this business," he said.

Valant added that it’s too early to tell what tax credit scholarship programs could look like, but he said they wouldn’t be as stunningly revolutionary as the Choices in Education Act.

"It would not disrupt the infrastructure of federal education policy like King’s proposal would, but it still has potential to have real consequences for kids and public schools," Valant said.

On higher ed:

Weingarten named issues within higher education as some of the things she believes the department should be tackling, namely accountability.

"We should be making private colleges accountable and not allow them to be predatory,” she said. "We should be increasing student loan opportunities not decreasing [them] to help kids who want to go to college, go to college."

Hess said the Higher Education Act is "long overdue" for reauthorization.

"There’s a real opportunity to take a look at the way we fund student loans...and support colleges to ensure that institutions are being encouraged to think about cost effectiveness and about the quality of education they’re providing" he said.

This article contains material from the Associated Press

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sessions Threatens Federal Funding for Sanctuary Cities in WH Briefing]]> Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:31:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2017-03-27+at+2.25.24+PM.png

 Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a warning to sanctuary cities in a Monday White House briefing, threatening to pull federal funding for states and cities that do not follow federal code on illegal immigration. 

<![CDATA[Nunes Met Source for Trump Monitoring Claim at WH Grounds]]> Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:07:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/656523922-devin-nunes-trump-intelligence.jpg

Before Rep. Devin Nunes claimed Trump Tower may have been caught up in United States surveillance efforts during the transition period, the House Intelligence Committee chairman was on White House grounds meeting with a source, Nunes' spokesman confirmed in a statement to NBC News. 

Nunes, a California Republican, hasn't revealed who his source was for the explosive claim, made Wednesday, that private communications of President Donald Trump and his presidential transition team may have been scooped up by American intelligence officials monitoring other targets and improperly distributed throughout spy agencies. Nunes later took the information directly to Trump before briefing other members of the committee, drawing a rebuke from other members.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement Monday he believes Nunes "should recuse himself from any further involvement in the Russia investigation, as well as any involvement in oversight of matters pertaining to any incidental collection of the Trump transition, as he was also a key member of the transition team."

Schiff had declared Wednesday he had "profound doubt" about the integrity and independence of the committee's probe, and has pushed for an independent commission to look into alleged ties between Trump's team and Russia, which is suspected of interfering with the election. Schiff followed up Monday by saying that it is "very clear" that Nunes had "no legitimate justification for bringing that information to the White House instead of the committee."

Monday's revelation also prompted Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to call for House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove Nunes as committee chairman for a "credible investigation."

Ryan's press secretary hours earlier said that a statement from last week expressing "full confidence" in Nunes still stood. 

Nunes, who served on Trump's transition, has apologized to members of the committee for briefing the president first. He also clarified that he can't be sure whether conversations among Trump or his aides were captured in the surveillance.

"Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source," his spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement. "The Chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that Trump Tower had been wiretapped."

Classified information must be viewed in secure enclosures called sensitive compartmented information facilities, or SCIFs. However, as NBC News reports, Nunes' own committee has a secure room in the Capitol in which he and his aides regularly review secret documents — so it's unclear why Nunes would have had to seek a secure location to do so in the White House.

Langer responded that the circumstances required that Nunes go to the White House grounds, the Associated Press reports.

"Because of classification rules, the source could not simply put the documents in a backpack and walk them over to the House Intelligence Committee space," Langer said.

Ned Price, formerly the Special Assistant to President Obama, told NBC News that all visitors, even the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, must be cleared into White House grounds. "It's just not possible the White House was unaware or uninvolved," he said of Nunes' visit.

After the statement was released Monday, Nunes told Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake Monday that his source was an intelligence official, not a White House staffer, whom he met on White House grounds because it was the most convenient secure location with "networked access" to the reports he viewed.

He also revealed that the reports were sent to executive branch agencies including the Obama White House, Lake reported.

Nunes' committee is looking into a claim made without evidence by the president that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower. Nunes and other officials, including FBI Director James Comey, have said there is no evidence the administration did so, but Trump said he felt "somewhat" vindicated by the briefing Nunes gave him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>