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April 21, 2017
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When members of Congress return to Washington next week after their long spring recess, both parties plan to focus on passing a spending bill to keep the federal government running past April 28. When Congress returns next week, President Trump wants House Republicans to take up the American Health Care Act again, with a new amendment, so he will be able to point to a concrete accomplishment in his first 100 days in office; his 100th day is April 29.

"Congress usually cannot take on two big things at once," The New York Times says. Five days to pass a spending bill, The Washington Post adds, is "a tight timeline under the most generous of circumstance that would be nearly impossible to meet if House leaders also try to force a vote on the repeal legislation." In theory, Democrats and Republicans could pass a very short-term stopgap spending bill, but a new GOP push to pass the AHCA, which repeals large parts of the Affordable Care Act, would not put Democrats in a very cooperative mood.

The first attempt to pass the AHCA failed very publicly last month. But at a news conference on Thursday, Trump said "the plan gets better and better and better, and it's gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot," adding he thinks the House can pass that as well as a spending bill. "We have a good chance of getting it soon," Trump said of the AHCA. "I'd like to say next week, but it will be — I believe we will get it."

Hopes of passing the health-care bill rest on an amendment negotiated by relative moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). The draft plan would allow states to seek waivers to requirements that insurers offer essential health benefits and not charge more to people with pre-existing conditions, if the state maintained a high-risk pool. (Jeff Spross has more details at The Week.)

Even if House Republicans get the plan translated into legislative language and get it scored by the Congressional Budget Office, there's no guarantee it would pass. The amendment "really doesn't address the concerns that I had," Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) told The New York Times. Fellow moderate Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) agreed it "does nothing to change my views," criticizing any focus "on an arbitrary 100-day deadline." Peter Weber

10:31 p.m. ET
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Working together, several activist groups — Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Action on Smoking and Health, and Public Citizen — are urging the CEOs of Pepsi, the Gap, and Disney to quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The coalition says the chamber, the largest lobbying group in the U.S. and biggest business organization in the world, is actively working to promote tobacco products and fight legislation that combats climate change. In a letter to Disney's Bob Iger, the coalition said that while his company has committed to reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020, the Chamber of Commerce opposes the Paris climate agreement, is suing to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, regularly lobbies against legislation that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and spends millions on ads to elect candidates who support the fossil fuel industry, The Guardian reports.

In recent years, 13 of the biggest companies in the world — including Starbucks, Costco, Mattel, Mars, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, and Unilever — have left the chamber, Public Citizen said. In 2015, CVS, the first major drugstore to stop selling tobacco products, quit the chamber once the company found out the organization was lobbying foreign governments to ease restrictions on tobacco sales. Dan Dudis of Public Citizen told The Guardian this is just the beginning of an effort to get members to exit the chamber, which is pushing "the interests of a minority." Catherine Garcia

8:53 p.m. ET
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On Wednesday, President Trump will announce his plan to overhaul the tax code, including his proposal to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, White House officials told The Washington Post Monday.

Independent analysts have estimated a cut this severe could cost the federal government $2.4 trillion over 10 years, and it's a deeper cut than one House Republicans have proposed. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that such a tax plan "will pay for itself with economic growth," but Edward Kleinbard, the former chief of staff for Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation, told the Post that if Trump's administration is "going to rely on the principle that tax cuts can pay for themselves, history has demonstrated that tax policies move the growth needle a bit but no more than that."

Most companies do not pay the 35 percent rate because of deductions, and these changes will have to be backed by Congress with bipartisan support in order to pass. During his speech, Trump is expected to discuss changes to personal income tax as well. Catherine Garcia

8:16 p.m. ET
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In his first podcast since being fired from Fox News last week, Bill O'Reilly said he misses being beamed into living rooms across the country, and teased that some major revelations will be made regarding his departure from the network amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

"I am sad that I'm not on television anymore," he said on Monday's No Spin News. "I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can't say a lot, because there's much stuff going on right now. But I can tell you that I'm very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don't know if you're going to be surprised — but I think you're going to be shaken, as I am. There's a lot of stuff involved here." He was ousted last Wednesday, a few weeks after The New York Times reported O'Reilly and Fox News paid $13 million to settle with five women who accused the host of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

During his podcast, O'Reilly touched on a few headlines from the day, and explained how No Spin News will work; ultimately, it will become a "genuine news program," with guests and an extended version of the Talking Points Memo segment from his now-canceled show, The O'Reilly Factor. He used a good chunk of the podcast to tout his book tour and membership to his website; while free all this week, No Spin News will usually only be available to paid subscribers. Membership costs $4.95 a month, $15.95 for 90 days, or $49.95 for a year, and O'Reilly enticed listeners by announcing that with your annual membership, you'll receive one of 50 free gifts — options include one of his books, one of his books on CD, or a tie from the American Patriot Collection, which technically isn't free because it still has a supplemental cost of $25. Catherine Garcia

7:28 p.m. ET
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Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia, was confirmed as agriculture secretary Monday by the Senate with a vote of 87-11.

His father was a farmer, and he has owned several agricultural businesses. He is not affiliated with Perdue Farms or the Perdue food company. Perdue, 70, will oversee 100,000 employees and such programs as food safety, agricultural subsidies, and rural development projects. Catherine Garcia

7:03 p.m. ET
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A local government worker was shot and killed Monday in the Venezuelan state of Merida, as anti-government protests in the country entered a fourth week.

Another person was shot and seriously injured. The shooting brings the death toll up to 11 people killed since the unrest began a month ago. The protests started when the Supreme Court, supportive of President Nicolas Maduro and his socialist government, took over the powers of the opposition-led congress. After public outrage, they rescinded their ruling, but protesters still took to the streets and are holding sit-ins to force early elections and autonomy for congress.

Maduro has accused the protesters of wanting a violent coup, while they say Maduro is silencing peaceful protesters. Venezuela was already facing an economic crisis and food and medicine shortages when the protests began. Over the past month, more than 1,400 people have been detained during the protests. Catherine Garcia

6:26 p.m. ET
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Happy Days star Erin Moran, who was found dead Saturday inside her Indiana home, "likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer," the Harrison County sheriff and coroner said in a statement Monday.

They did not say what kind of cancer the actress, 56, had. Born in Burbank, California, in 1960, Moran first started playing Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days in 1974. After word spread of her death, she was remembered by many of her former co-stars, including Henry Winkler, who said she "will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on Earth," and Ron Howard, who will always recall "you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs, and lighting up TV screens." Catherine Garcia

5:54 p.m. ET

If success is measured by whether or not you have an obscure animal species named after you, the British rock band Radiohead has officially made it. Following the likes of Bono, who has a spider named after him, and Lady Gaga, who has a family of ferns named after her, Radiohead has inspired the name of a newly discovered species of "fungus-farming ant," Mashable reported.

The ant, found in Venezuela's portion of the Amazon rainforest, has been christened Sericomyrmex radioheadi. And these Radiohead ants aren't your average ants: Part of the genus of "silky ants," the ant species can "grow its own food and is covered with a filamentous layer of white crystals," Live Science reported.

Scientists said they picked the name to honor Radiohead's music and the band's activism work. "[W]e wanted to acknowledge the conservation efforts of the band members, especially in raising climate change awareness," said Ana Ješovnik, the study's lead author. Becca Stanek

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