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Trump admits defeat in effort to entirely eliminate federal agency with 5,500 employees: report

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President Donald Trump has given up on fulfilling another one of his campaign vows as he runs for re-election on a platform of “promises made, promises kept.”

“President Trump has abandoned his administration’s faltering effort to dissolve a key federal agency, a major setback in his three-year battle to keep his campaign promise to make government leaner and more efficient,” The Washington Post reported Wednesday. “The Office of Personnel Management will remain the human resources manager of the civilian workforce of 2.1 million employees and its functions will not — for the foreseeable future at least — be parceled out to the White House and the General Services Administration.”

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The Office of Management and Budget, which is led by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, spent 18 months on the plan.

“The White House hoped that shuttering the agency of 5,500 employees could serve as a blueprint for eliminating other federal offices as Trump tries to contain the size and scope of a bureaucracy he targeted as duplicative and inefficient — and rein in a workforce he views with skepticism,” The Post noted. “The agency would have been the first stand-alone federal department of its size to be eliminated in decades.”

Trump abandoned the effort after something he saw on television.

“In recent weeks, Trump soured on continuing the fight after seeing an obscure television program about government while he was in the residence, according to White House officials, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Top budget office and other White House officials were rushed to meet with Trump the following day,” The Post reported. “The president told his top advisers that with a win unlikely, the already unpopular plan would bring him poor reviews. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting budget director Russell Vought, along with Margaret Weichert, the White House official leading the effort, tried to convince Trump to keep going in line with conservative principles of shrinking government, the officials said.”

Read the full report.

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China reports 323 new cases of mysterious virus — as death toll rises to 54

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The number of confirmed deaths from a viral outbreak in China has risen to 54, with authorities in hard-hit Hubei province on Sunday reporting 13 more fatalities and 323 new cases.

The latest numbers from Hubei, the epicentre of the contagion, would put the nationwide total of confirmed infections at 1,610, based on figures previously released by the central government.

President Xi Jinping warned Saturday that China faced a "grave situation" as authorities raced to contain a respiratory illness that has caused the widespread abandonment of Lunar New Year celebrations nationwide and overwhelmed health facilities in Hubei.

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California offers to reimburse Trump for abortions — but he has to free the women from non-disclosure agreements

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The state of California is offering to reimburse President Donald Trump for any abortions he's paid for in the state, but there's a catch.

On Friday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a "notice of violation" against the state for mandating universal abortion coverage in health insurance plans sold in the state, which the administration claims is "unlawful discrimination."

“Once again, President Trump’s administration is delivering on his promise to protect human life and all Americans’ freedom of conscience,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

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2020 Election

Elizabeth Warren wins coveted Iowa caucuses endorsement from the Des Moines Register newspaper

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) received a coveted endorsement on Saturday evening when her 2020 bid was endorsed by the Des Moines Register newspaper.

"Who would make the best president at this point in the country’s history? At a time when the economic deck has become so stacked against working Americans that the gap between rich and poor is the highest in more than 50 years? At a time when a generation of war has stressed military families and sapped the treasury?" the newspaper asked. "The Des Moines Register editorial board endorses Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses as the best leader for these times."

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