The issue of guns has been in the background of Trump’s presidency so far as debates over health care, immigration, trade and foreign policy take precedence. This might not be the case much longer. While gun-rights supporters have cheered the appointments of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Jeff Sessions as attorney general and Ryan Zinke as interior secretary, it’s clear they’re ready to see more concrete victories for their agenda.
Specifically, the NRA wants Trump to push for bills widening the validity of concealed-carry permits and removing certain requirements for people seeking gun silencers. Critics interpret this as the group’s wanting a return on its investment in Trump during the election: The NRA spent more than three times as much money to assist the current president as it did while backing Mitt Romney in 2012, our colleagues reported.
THE LATEST ON MICHAEL FLYNN
Trump’s former national security adviser just can’t stay out of the headlines.
The Pentagon’s internal watchdog has launched an investigation into money retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn received from foreign groups and whether he obtained approval first. As a reminder, Flynn, who has denied wrongdoing, received $45,000 to appear with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015 and also worked as a foreign agent representing Turkish interests for a payout of $530,000 in the fall.
In the meantime, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a 2014 letter in which Pentagon lawyers warned Flynn about taking money in retirement from foreign sources without permission. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) also accused the White House of failing to hand over relevant documents, a charge White House press secretary Sean Spicer rejected Thursday.
TRUMP’S LATEST ENEMY: CAPITOL HILL DEMOCRATS
Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate, which in theory should make it fairly simple for Trump to enact his agenda. But the GOP is so internally divided that progress on issues including health care has been difficult.
In these cases, Trump has started to blame not recalcitrant Republicans but Democrats.
The latest example came Thursday when Trump accused Democrats of threatening to shut down the government over a disagreement about increased spending for defense and border security. Democrats rolled their eyes at the attack amid signs they had already signed off on GOP requests for the funding increases.
I promise to rebuild our military and secure our border. Democrats want to shut down the government. Politics!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2017
Negotiators are working around the clock to ensure the government stays open past Friday night, when the current funding bill runs out. Republicans and Democrats appeared to be close to a deal as of Thursday evening.
WILL TAX REFORM AFFECT YOUR 401(k)?
The White House has said that reforming the tax code — including lowering rates and eliminating a range of deductions — will be its next major policy push. But as Spicer learned Thursday, the issue already lends itself to pitfalls.
A minor controversy arose after Spicer suggested the administration wants to eliminate deductions for retirement savings. This echoed what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier in the day on Fox News.
“We are taking all deductions out other than mortgage interest and charitable donations,” Mnuchin said.
This sounded alarms across the internet. Fifty-four percent of the workforce participates in retirement benefits programs, and it seemed the White House was ready to risk their anger in the name of simplifying the tax code.
Later, however, the White House clarified its position: Retirement savings plans will not be affected under Trump’s proposal.
TRUMP WILL PUSH TO EXPAND OFFSHORE DRILLING
The president is still working to reverse his predecessor’s actions on energy and the environment.
On Friday, Trump will take a major step toward expanding oil and gas drilling by directing the Interior Department to lift certain restrictions put in place under President Barack Obama.
Trump’s goal is to eventually open greater areas of the Atlantic and the Arctic to offshore drilling. This is expected to create a conflict with politicians of both parties in the Southeast, our colleagues wrote.
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