10 things you need to know today: October 26, 2017
A study estimates ObamaCare premiums will rise by 34 percent, President Trump disses GOP critics Corker and Flake, and more
Trump dismisses Flake, Corker criticism, describes 'love fest' with other lawmakers
President Trump pushed back against harsh criticism from Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday, tweeting that his meeting with other GOP senators on Tuesday was "a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!" Trump also tweeted: "The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!" Shortly before Trump's Capitol Hill lunch, Corker described him as "utterly untruthful." After the lunch, Flake announced he was not seeking re-election and unleashed a barrage of harsh criticism of Trump's leadership and character, although he didn't mention the president by name.
Study estimates most popular ObamaCare plan premiums will rise by 34 percent
Most ObamaCare silver-plan premiums will rise by 34 percent, on average, next year as uncertainty over health policy compounds underlying problems with the health law's marketplaces, the consulting firm Avalere Health reported Wednesday. Open enrollment for 2018 coverage starts Nov. 1. President Trump has blamed all of the program's problems on a flawed design. Experts say Trump's decision to end cost-sharing payments to insurers to help lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans is causing health plans to stop selling coverage or hike rates by an estimated 20 percent to cover the lost payments. A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against 18 states trying to force the Trump administration to restore the payments while their challenge to Trump's decision works its way through court.
CBO estimates bipartisan health bill will reduce deficit by $3.8 billion
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released an analysis Wednesday estimating that the recently unveiled health-care bill written by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would reduce the federal deficit by $3.8 billion over the next decade, without drastically increasing the number of uninsured Americans. The proposal also wouldn't have a significant effect on health insurance premiums, the CBO said. The bill seeks to restore subsidies to insurances companies to help lower out-of-pocket costs for seven million low-income customers for two years. President Trump recently cut off the payments. Supporters say all 48 Senate Democrats and 12 Republicans support the Alexander-Murray proposal, which would give the bill the 60 votes it would need to pass the Senate over a possible GOP filibuster.
Trump and leading House Republican reopen talks on 401(k) change
President Trump and the top House Republican tax-law writer on Wednesday renewed consideration of changes to the 401(k) retirement program rules to help pay for $1.5 trillion in proposed tax cuts over a decade. Just days after Trump ruled out reducing the amount of pre-tax earnings Americans can contribute to 401(k)s, Rep. Kevin Brady, the Republican chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means committee, said lawmakers still were negotiating with Trump on how to handle the issue. "No decision's yet been made on if there will be any changes," Brady said. Trump reaffirmed his desire to protect the popular tax-deferred savings program, but said it might be part of the negotiations over tax cuts and how to pay for them, after all.
Trump repeats claim he got soldier's name right in condolence call
President Trump on Wednesday rekindled the controversy over his condolence call to Army widow Myeshia Johnson, again disputing her claim that Trump appeared not to know the name of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson. Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that he said the soldier's name correctly "right from the beginning," and was "really nice" to Myeshia Johnson. Trump pointed to his head and said, "One of the great memories of all time." He also said there was a chart in front of him with Johnson's name on it. Johnson was one of four U.S. soldiers killed in an Oct. 5 ambush in Niger that is still under investigation, and has been blamed on a group linked to the Islamic State.
JFK assassination documents to be released today
Thursday is the deadline Congress set 25 years ago for the release of the remaining government files on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Trump, who can withhold some of the documents if he decides they compromise government sources or methods, teased the release again on Wednesday, tweeting: "The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!" The CIA has been urging Trump to withhold some information, while scholars and conspiracy theorists — including longtime adviser Roger Stone — are pushing Trump to release every scrap of information.
Trump campaign data firm reportedly contacted WikiLeaks about Clinton emails
Alexander Nix, head of the Trump campaign's data firm Cambridge Analytics, wrote in an email last year that he contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offering help releasing some of Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday. Two people familiar with the congressional investigation into ties between Trump associates and the Russian government said Nix's email revealed that Assange told him he did not want his help. If confirmed, the claim will mark the closest known connection between Trump's campaign and Assange, who said Cambridge Analytica did "approach" WikiLeaks, but was turned away. Clinton used a private server while secretary of state, and it's unclear if the 33,000 emails that were deleted were hacked or if anyone has them.
Ex-President George H.W. Bush apologizes for 'patt[ing] women's rears'
A second actress on Wednesday said that former President George H.W. Bush had touched her inappropriately while they posed for group photographs. A spokesman said Bush, 93 and confined to a wheelchair, has apologized and acknowledged "patt[ing] women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner" as he tried to put people at ease with a joke during photos. Actress Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin that Bush and his wife, Barbara, posed with actors backstage at a Maine theater last year: "He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, 'Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?' As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, 'David Cop-a-Feel!'"
Astros tie World Series at 1-1 with 11th inning win over Dodgers
The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6 in 11 innings to tie the World Series 1-1 on Wednesday night. The teams combined for a Series record eight home runs in the Astros' first fall classic win in their 56-season history. The Astros' Marwin Gonzalez homered to tie the game in the 9th, then solo home runs by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa briefly put them up in the 10th, and George Springer's two-run shot in the 11th gave them the win. "We're never out of it," Correa said. "We have a lineup that's really scary when it's on." Game 3 will be played Friday when the series moves from Los Angeles to Houston.
Singer Fats Domino dies at 89
Legendary New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer Fats Domino has died in Louisiana. He was 89. Domino was known for his boogie-woogie piano and smooth voice in such massive early rock 'n' roll era hits as "Blueberry Hill," "Ain't It a Shame," "Blue Monday," and "Walkin' in New Orleans." He was one of the biggest recording stars of the 1950s and '60s, selling 65 million singles, with 23 gold records. His commercial success in the early rock heyday was second only to that of Elvis Presley, who told Jet magazine in 1957 that he got praise for being a rock 'n' roll pioneer, but Domino was among those who deserved more credit. "Let's face it," Presley said. "I can't sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that."