FROM Russell Berman
Heavy weather from the Gulf Coast to Washington, DC The worst rainstorm in American history will still be racking up billions in damages when Congress gets back from its summer recess on Tuesday. With less than a month left to raise the debt ceiling and pass a spending plan, as late as Tuesday President Trump threatened a shutdown if there's no border-wall money. Even if he backs away, the government could see its credit downgraded as emergency relief for victims of Harvey massively ups the ante. We hear about the upcoming political storm between the White House and Capitol Hill.
Cutting, squeezing, trimming -- and spending President Trump wants to cut government — except for Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, he wants to put people to work. So, a new infrastructure program might appeal to the Democrats, but Republicans say the money's not there without cutting those sacred entitlements. As Trump begins work on a so-called "skinny" budget, he finds himself bound by vague campaign promises that may turn out to be contradictory. Don't forget major cuts for wealthy taxpayers. We look at early efforts at assembling a financial puzzle — even when the pieces don't fit.
Minority Optimism and the American Dream The August jobs report is out. Unemployment is down to 5.1 percent, but far fewer jobs were created than expected—and the stock market is reacting. But some Americans are bullish on our country’s future: minorities. A recent poll shows that blacks and Latinos are far more optimistic about the “American Dream” than their white counterparts. Which might seem counterintuitive, given the heightened racial tensions in America.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?