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House plan would increase Trump’s disaster aid request

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled on Monday an $81 billion aid package to deal with hurricanes and wildfires, far above President Donald Trump’s $44 billion request.

The legislation would help Puerto Rico and several states recover from devastating hurricanes and California and other Western states cope with wildfires.

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It was unclear whether the latest natural-disaster aid plan would be rushed through the Republican-controlled Congress this week, before the start of a Christmas recess, or await congressional votes early next year.

The bill, introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, includes $27.6 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $26.1 billion for community development block grants.

“We have a commitment to our fellow citizens that are in the midst of major rebuilding efforts in all areas, including Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Congress approved two disaster aid packages totaling about $52 billion.

Trump’s $44 billion request submitted in mid-November was widely criticized by lawmakers as being insufficient.

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About a third of Puerto Rico’s residents are still without power and hundreds remain in shelters three months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

In California, wildfires have burned more than 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) and destroyed thousands of homes.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Eric Beech; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)

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2020 Election

GOP ridiculed for hyping Ohio anti-impeachment protest — and only a handful of Trump supporters showed

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The official Twitter of account of the Republican National Committee was buried in mockery after hyping up a video of anti-impeachment protesters in Youngstown, Ohio, where it appears only a handful of people showed up.

According to the tweet, "Ohioans are sick and tired of the Democrats’ impeachment charade. It’s time to STOP THE MADNESS!"

However, in the video from WKBN, which can be seen below, few people chose to show up for the cameras.

As one commenter noted with tongue-in-cheek, "Thought Ohio had a few more people than that."

That was the general consensus in the comments.

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CNN

GOP lawmaker scrambles for excuses after being cornered with McConnell’s promise to rig Trump impeachment

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On CNN Saturday, anchor Martin Savidge confronted Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), one of Trump's biggest defenders on cable television, about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's claim that he was "coordinating" the impeachment strategy with the White House.

"Where is the impartiality there?" asked Savidge. "And it has to be a concern because, as you point out, you are an attorney and you would be worried if a member of the jury had already stated how they were going to consider."

"Yeah, we heard those comments yesterday, as everyone did," said Johnson. "You know, I've actually talked about this with some of my Democrat [sic] colleagues, those who are very much in favor of impeachment. I said isn't it a fair description of what he said? The way I heard that, Mitch McConnell is talking about the scheduling of the trial, what length of trial or what would be involved with that, with the White House, which is not unprecedented. That's what happened in the Clinton proceedings as well, they coordinated with the White House on scheduling. I don't think he's talking about the merits of the case. I think he's talking about how long will be allowed for this to go forward so I don't think there's anything inappropriate about that."

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Jared Kushner’s ties to Saudis could be fair game if Trump keeps going after Hunter Biden: Dem lawmaker

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On MSNBC's "AM Joy," Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) laid out the case for impeaching President Donald Trump — and warned of the consequences for Trump's own family at the hands of future presidents if he is allowed to get away with it.

"He abused his power by trying to trade government resources for a political favor, to knock out a political rival in Joe Biden, the guy that he thought would emerge as nominee for 2020," said Castro. "We can't set a precedent where Congress says it's okay for a president to do that, because if we do that then a few things will happen. Number one, it opens the door for Donald Trump to do it again or a future president to do it again. To ask a country to interfere in our elections and knock out a political rival by digging up dirt."

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