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November 22, 2017
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In their quest to cut taxes while not running up huge deficits, Senate Republicans have had to find creative ways to save money in their forthcoming tax reform bill. Although some estimates say that the Republican tax bill would add $1.8 trillion to the federal debt over 10 years, you can rest assured that the Republican Party is committed to cutting irresponsible spending: In an effort to save money, the new plan will prevent your employer from being able to write off lunches purchased for workers or workplace entertainment, HuffPost reported Wednesday.

The move would save $23 billion over 10 years, HuffPost reported — or just 1.3 percent of the total expected deficit increase. Under the current tax code, employers who give the majority of their workers free lunches can deduct 50 percent of the cost. The House version of the bill does not touch free workplace lunch, but it would eliminate tax breaks for employer-paid day care assistance programs, as well as employee-sponsored moving expenses and achievement awards, all for the sake of saving $12 billion.

But the Senate tax bill isn't all bad news! The exemption for the estate tax will be doubled, so if you happen to inherit less than $10 million from a dead relative, you won't have to pay any taxes on the money — which should definitely help you pay for lunch if your employer won't give it to you. Kelly O'Meara Morales

2:20 a.m. ET
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"Republicans have begun to concede defeat in the evolving fight to preserve the House majority," The Associated Press reports. "And as they initiate a painful and strategic triage, the early Republican-on-Republican blame game has begun as well."

Republican incumbents being abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) compalin that national House Republicans are not living up to their promise to spend $62 million, as outlined in a September memo declaring that "the cavalry is coming." The NRCC, which is taking out what AP describes as a "sizable loan," says it has to "hone in on what are the races we can actually win," as House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fundraising chief Spencer Zwick phrased it. And Ryan's allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, grouses it has had to step in to boost weak fundraising by GOP incumbents. In more than 30 toss-up races, the CLF notes, it is the only GOP group spending any money in 14.

Overall, according to filings submitted Friday, Democratic candidates have outspent their GOP rivals $116 million to $66 million in almost 80 competitive House districts since July, AP reports. The CLF has spent another $93 million in the same period, thanks largely to the deep pockets of GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. "This is going to be a devastating election for Republicans across the ballot," says GOP strategist Terry Sullivan. "Republican donors are smart folks," he added. "They're not going to give money to a losing cause."

The good news for Republicans, says Nate Silver at FiveThityEight, is that "Democratic prospects in the Senate are increasingly dire, having fallen to about 1 in 5. Indeed, it’s been hard to find any good news for Democrats in Senate polling lately. In the House, by contrast ... Democrats' chance of taking the House has ticked back upward to about 4 in 5."

You can read more about the polling at FiveThirtyEight and see which House races the GOP has abandoned at The Associated Press. Peter Weber

1:16 a.m. ET

Team USA clinched a spot in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France on Sunday with a lopsided 6-0 win over Jamaica in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. women's national soccer team won the 2015 World Cup and is ranked No. 1 in the world. (The U.S. men's national team did not qualify for the 2016 World's Cup.) Canada, ranked No. 5 in the world, also secure a spot in the 2019 World's Cup on Sunday, notching a 7-0 win over Panama in the qualifying tournament in Frisco. The third slot in the regional delegation to France will be determined in a game on Wednesday, and the loser of that match will face Argentina for one last shot at playing in the World Cup.

Team USA took an early lead against Jamaica, ranked 64th in the world, with a goal by Tobin Heath in the second minute. Her second goal in the first half came off a pass from Lindsay Horan.

Alex Morgan also scored two goals, and Megan Rapinoe Julie Ertz kicked in one each. Along with its 2015 victory, Team USA won the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991 and won again in 1999. Peter Weber

12:25 a.m. ET

A student at Georgia Tech tried to confront Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) about his support for the gubernatorial bid of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday, and specifically Kemp's controversial voter-registration policies, but he did not past "Hey, so how can you endorse a candidate ..."

The video, posted by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at Georgia Tech, shows Perdue telling the unidentified student, "No, I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that," then grabbing the phone. After the student asked for his phone back several times, it was returned. "The senator clearly thought he was being asked to take a picture, and he went to take a selfie as he often does," Perdue spokeswoman Casey Black said. "When he realized they didn't actually want to take a picture, he gave the phone back."

The student and his group obviously saw things differently. "Perdue walked into Georgia Tech's backyard, and students aren't allowed to ask him a simple question?" YDSAGT asked in a statement. "Perdue would have been within his legal rights to simply walk away or decline the question. But instead, he forcibly, suddenly, and violently took their phone without justification or provocation." If the student had "snatched a sitting U.S. senator's phone," for a selfie or whatever, the group noted, he "would likely have been arrested on the spot." The video "cuts briefly for a few seconds when Perdue accidentally stopped and restarted the recording, during which time Perdue hid the phone behind his back while the student demanded their phone be returned," YDSAGT added.

Perdue is not up for re-election this year, but Kemp is in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams and Perude has been campaigning for him and other Republicans before the midterm elections. Peter Weber

October 14, 2018

This isn't a desert mirage — Benny the yellow lab from Las Vegas really does ice skate and fetch hockey sticks.

The 5-year-old dog was rescued from a Las Vegas shelter right before he was to be euthanized. His new family realized that he learned things quickly, and they had custom ice skates made for Benny's front paws so he could practice skating. He picked it up almost immediately, and now he goes around the rink with an American flag on his vest and a stick in his mouth.

Benny's dedication has paid off, and he's branched out from skating in front of his family during weekly practices — he's also entertained fans ahead of Las Vegas Knights and University of Nevada, Las Vegas hockey games. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2018

If you live in Savannah, recently shopped at Michaels, and saw someone acting suspicious in the googly eye aisle, police in Georgia may want to hear from you.

Last week, a crafty culprit defaced a statue of Nathanael Greene in Johnson Square, adding googly eyes to the monument. "It may look funny, but harming our historic monuments and public property is no laughing matter, in fact, it's a crime," the city wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. "We are hoping to find the person responsible!"

Greene was a Revolutionary War general, and his remains were placed under the monument in 1902, the Georgia Historical Society told USA Today. Affixing googly eyes to a statue is considered criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor offense, unless the damage is more than $500, and then it becomes criminal damage to property. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2018
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Sears spent the weekend working with its lenders on a deal that will keep hundreds of stores open through Christmas, and the department store chain is expected to file for Chapter 11 protection by Monday morning, several people with knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal Sunday.

Founded as Sears, Roebuck, and Co. in 1892, Sears has experienced several years of losses. It faces a Monday deadline to repay $134 million in debt. Sears employs about 70,000 people and operate 700 Sears and Kmart stores, and as part of the deal, it will likely immediately close at least 150 stores while evaluating 250 more. It is unclear if Sears will come out of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a much smaller chain, or if this will lead to a liquidation.

One person told the Journal that Sears CEO Edward Lampert believes it would be possible to reorganize the company's 300 most profitable stores, although those could be sold eventually, too. Catherine Garcia

October 14, 2018

President Trump is taking credit for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, telling Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes Sunday night that had he not mocked Christine Blasey Ford during a rally in Mississippi early this month, "we would not have won."

Ford, a professor from California, says that when they were teenagers, Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. After her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month regarding the alleged incident, Trump stood in front of a crowd in Mississippi and falsely claimed Ford couldn't remember any of the details. "I was just saying she didn't seem to know anything," Trump told Stahl. "And you're trying to destroy a life of a man who has been extraordinary."

Even though the crowd was laughing, Trump was adamant on 60 Minutes that he "didn't really make fun" of the professor, and in fact, he treated her with great respect. "But you seem to be saying that she lied," Stahl said. "You know what?" Trump responded. "I'm not going to go into it because we won. It doesn't matter. We won." Watch the exchange below. Catherine Garcia

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