Week in Review
- President Donald Trump spent the week in Asia. In a speech to the South Korean National Assembly, he warned North Korea to “not underestimate us” and said there would be consequences for its nuclear program. In China, he said he blamed previous administrations, not Beijing, for taking advantage of the United States when it comes to trade.
- The Trump administration detailed new restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and doing business there. The rules restrict certain travel visas and ban visitors from doing business with a list of hotels, stores and other firms linked to Cuba’s military, intelligence and security agencies.
- The Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status for about 5,300 Nicaraguans who have been living in the United States since Hurricane Mitch in 1999, and the administration urged Congress to act if lawmakers want to initiate protections against deportation. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke did not make a decision on the status of 86,000 Hondurans, meaning their protected status was automatically extended for six months.
- Voter enthusiasm for a permanent legal fix for so-called Dreamers has waned since September, when Trump said he would wind down the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Twenty-nine percent of registered voters in a November poll said a legislative fix should be a top priority for lawmakers, down 10 percentage points since a similar survey in September.
- Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama’s special election scheduled for Dec. 12, was accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl from when he was 32. Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP leaders called on the 70-year-old nominee, who denied the allegations that involved other teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18, to step aside if the accusations are true.
- The Ways and Means Committee approved the House GOP tax-reform measure on a party-line vote of 24 to 16. The Senate Finance Committee released its own legislation , which diverges from the House version when it comes to the top individual rate, the number of individual brackets, the timing of a corporate tax cut and details pertaining to estate tax changes.
- Three House Republicans announced they will not seek re-election next year: Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), who is term limited as chairman of the committee, and Rep. Ted Poe, the fifth Texas lawmaker this year to announce that he’ll forgo re-election in 2018.
- The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution that requires sexual harassment training for senators and their aides. The measure does not revise the guidelines for handling harassment complaints, even though more than 1,000 former congressional aides have called for those changes.
- A juror was replaced after deliberations began in the federal corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, a wealthy friend of Menendez. The senator is charged with accepting gifts from Melgen in exchange for pressuring officials on behalf of Melgen’s business interests, but Menendez’s lawyer told jurors that the two co-defendants have been longtime friends.
- Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) beat former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) by almost 9 percentage points in the Virginia governor’s race – the widest victory in decades for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Virginia. In New Jersey , former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy (D) defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) for the state’s governorship.