SPLASH! News for March 1, 2017

Dive Into the News of the Day

Photo Credit: Kiran Opal


New Order To Drop Iraq From Travel Ban

TIME – President Donald Trump’s new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary U.S. travel ban, U.S. officials said Tuesday, citing the latest draft in circulation. Trump is expected to sign the executive order in the coming days.

Four officials told The Associated Press that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq’s inclusion given its key role in fighting the Islamic State group.

Citizens of six other predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — will remain on the travel ban list, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the order before it is signed. Those bans are effective for 90 days.

Four Takeaways From Trump’s Address to Congress

PBS NewsHour – President Donald Trump struck a conciliatory tone in his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, urging Democrats and Republicans to work together to implement his agenda. But the parties stand far apart on many of the issues Trump mentioned Tuesday, which could complicate his efforts going forward, even with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.

The partisan lines were clearly drawn on the House floor on Tuesday. Republicans stood often to applaud the president’s proposals, while Democrats largely remained seated during the hour-long speech. As reactions pour in from across the political spectrum, here are a few early takeaways from the speech.

“It’s dead on arrival.” Republicans balk at sweeping Budget Cuts

Vox – President Trump is currently crafting a budget to send to Congress. His initial outline would boost military spending by 10 percent in fiscal year 2018. And to pay for that, he’s proposing steep cuts to a bunch of other domestic agencies — including, reportedly, a 24 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency and a 30 percent cut to the State Department. Suffice to say, those are wrenching changes.

But ultimately, Congress will have the final say over any budget. And key Senate Republicans are already skeptical of Trump’s outline. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told NBC that the reported State Department cuts were “dead on arrival.”

GOP Lawmakers Unveil Measure to Cut Off Aid to Palestinians

CBSNews – House and Senate Republicans on Tuesday introduced legislation that would cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority under certain conditions.

The bill would halt funding “to the Palestinian Authority if they continue their policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members,” a release about the measure says.

Language for the bill, which replicates its previous version, says it would limit assistance to the West Bank and Gaza only until the secretary of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority has taken steps “to end acts of violence” against U.S. and Israeli citizens, that it publicly condemns such acts of violence and has stopped payments for “acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens

Japan Will Tell United States to Respect WTO Rules

Reuters – Yasutoshi Nishimura also said Japan would not rule out a bilateral trade agreement with the United States, but talks may not start soon because Washington is putting a higher priority on renegotiating the North America Free Trade Agreement.

“We don’t want any border tax to violate WTO rules by becoming a tax system intended to promote exports,” Nishimura told Reuters in an interview.

“Our position is WTO rules and multilateralism are important and we want to lobby for that.”
Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed last month to establish a new framework for economic dialogue to discuss trade and infrastructure investment. The two countries have not set a schedule for their talks.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News for March 1, 2017