THE ARTFUL DODGER: House Minority Leader sidesteps question on whether she would make middle class tax cuts permanent

Washington, D.C. (Town Hall) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dodged some questions Thursday on whether she would tell Democrats to vote for making middle class tax cuts in the GOP tax reform bill permanent.

The moderator referenced Republicans planning a vote to make the middle class tax cuts permanent, asking “are you going to tell Democrats for or against doing that?”

Rather than responding directly, Pelosi bashed Republicans for not making the tax cuts permanent in the first place.

“Well you see, here’s what this is since we’re having a budget meeting,” Pelosi began. “The reason they didn’t make them permanent in the first place was because they were operating under reconciliation and under reconciliation they could only have so much addition to the debt.”

“So that’s why in their priorities, they chose corporate America over middle class families, because they couldn’t do both,” she continued.

“Maybe they just have something about the middle class that they weren’t going to give them a good deal but nonetheless they didn’t have the ability to do so,” she mused.

“How will Democrats vote on that?” the moderator followed up on extending the middle class tax cuts.

“With all due respect, you never know what they’re going to do,” Pelosi replied of Republicans, saying “I’m not going to be here talking about things that they may or may not do because we just don’t know.”

These remarks come less than a week after Pelosi admitted it was “accurate” that she wanted to raise taxes by rolling back the Republican tax cuts.

Prior to that, Pelosi has repeatedly dismissed bonuses resulting from tax reform as “crumbs.”

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MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: Jobless claims fall to 49 year low

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. jobless claims have fallen to the lowest level since 1969, according to a report published Thursday by Marketwatch (https://tinyurl.com/yd9gfxt5).

The new numbers bypassed the expectations of economists surveyed by Marketwatch and Reuters who had expected the claims to total 226,000. The actual four-week average fell by 5,000 to 220,000, states the report.

“The latest decline in weekly claims shows a tight labor market is increasingly pushing employers to hold on to existing staff amid a persistent shortage of qualified workers,” reports Bloomberg (https://tinyurl.com/y97ra5o5). “Applications for jobless benefits are well below the 300,000 tally that’s typically considered consistent with a healthy labor market.”

The Labor Department also revised the number of unemployment claims reported for the previous week, saying that it was 2,000 lower than had been erroneously reported.

The numbers prompted President Donald Trump to take to Twitter, where he praised the economy.

“Unemployment filings are at their lowest level in over 48 years. Great news for workers and JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! #MAGA,” the president tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/y8qlshns).

When running for president, Trump vowed to be the “best job creating president of all time”. Many economists say the president has not only met, but exceeded that goal.

“Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal say President Donald Trump has had generally positive effects on U.S. economic growth, hiring and the performance of the stock market during his first year in office,” Town Hall reported in January (https://tinyurl.com/yd73d5vv).”The professional forecasters also predicted 2018 would see solid growth and a continued decline in the jobless rate. One factor: the tax cuts signed into law by Mr. Trump in December, which most economists say will boost the economy for several years at least.”

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CNN UNDER FIRE: Florida school shooting survivor says network gave him scripted question during town hall on gun reform

TALLAHASSEE, FL — A Florida high school student who survived last week’s deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School says cable news network CNN denied him the chance to ask his own questions during a town hall discussion on gun control, and instead pushed a scripted question for him to use on air.

Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter, said he was going to address the option of using veterans as armed security guards in schools, but that his question was ultimately shot down.

Instead, Haab says, the network gave him a “scripted question” to use, an option he wanted no part of.

“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV (https://tinyurl.com/y76tbm84). “I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions.”

Frustrated by the network’s attempt to use him to push their own agenda, Haab says he chose not to participate in the town hall discussion, which was aired to millions around the country.

“I don’t think that it’s going to get anything accomplished,” Haab said. “It’s not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”

CNN issued a statement on Thursday to repudiate Haab’s claims once the teen’s comments went viral.

“There is absolutely no truth to this,” CNN said in a statement posted Twitter (https://tinyurl.com/y7enf6ca). “CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever.”

“After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” CNN’s statement continued. “Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected. We welcome Colton to join us on CNN today to discuss his views on school safety.”

Last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead and dozens more wounded. The incident again sparked calls from gun control advocates for stricter gun laws and more thorough background checks.

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