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Dow Jones at 22,000; Up 20% since Elections

NEW YORK, NY - The Dow Jones hit another milestone earlier today: 22,000 points. This jump was fueled by Apple's stellar results, before stocks retreated sharply across sectors as investors locked in gains. Apple jumped as much as 6.46 percent to a record high, after the world's largest publicly listed company reported strong results and iPhone sales, and signaled its upcoming 10th-anniversary phone is on schedule. The stock is up about 30 percent this year.

The S&P 500 information technology index is up about 22 percent year to date, leading other sectors, as investors look for growth in an otherwise low-growth environment.

The Dow Jones has risen 11 percent in 2017, and 20 percent since the elections back in November 2016. Wall Street is optimistic that a Republican-controlled Congress would be able to cut taxes and increase infrastructure spending this year.

The Dow hit the 20,000 mark in late January and crossed the 21,000 mark in just over a month on March 1.

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CBO: Senate Health Care Bill Would Lower Deficit, Increase Number of Uninsured

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate health care bill’s highly anticipated “score” was released Monday afternoon and immediately became part of the Senate’s raging health care debate as GOP leaders scramble to repeal and replace much of ObamaCare as early as possible.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill would reduce the federal deficit and eventually lead to lower premiums, but would result in millions more Americans being uninsured a decade from now.

In terms of coverage, the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation report said the proposal would increase the number of uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to current law.

The budget impact of the bill is appealing to fiscal conservatives. The report said the legislation would cut deficits over the next decade by $321 billion.

Analysts estimate that Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is now facing a steep climb getting the votes for the bill. At least five Republicans have come out against the bill in its original form, meaning McConnell would have to offer changes for the plan to have a chance at passage. Republicans hold a slim 52-seat majority and would need a minimum of 50 senators – plus Vice President Pence as the tie-breaker – to pass the bill.

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Republican Handel Wins Georgia Special House Election

ATLANTA, GA - Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night defeated rival Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s record-spending, special-election congressional race, keeping yet another House seat in GOP hands and denying Democrats a chance to deliver a rebuke to President Trump.

With all precincts reporting, Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, led Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent -- a margin of nearly 11,000 votes out of more than 250,000 ballots cast.

Ossoff’s defeat was another setback for Democrats hoping to win a long-standing Republican seat.

It was the Democrats’ fourth straight defeat this year in attempts to win a Republican seat and take the momentum into the 2018 midterms.

President Trump congratulated Handel on her big win stating that she did a fantastic job and that he was very proud of her.

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US Exits Paris Agreement on Climate Change

WASHINGTON D.C. - President Trump announced Thursday that the United Sates will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. "So we're getting out," Trump said. "The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States."

Trump’s decision fulfills a campaign promise and satisfies strong Republican opposition to the global climate deal. Critics of the Paris agreement argue it hurts the economy and eliminate jobs. “The Paris accord will undermine our economy,” Trump said, adding that it “puts us at a permanent disadvantage.”

The Paris Climate Agreement is a pact between nearly 200 nations to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to fight climate change. The U.S., the world’s second largest emitter of carbon, would be required to reduce fossil fuel emissions nearly 30 percent by 2025.

“It’s time to exit,” Trump concluded.

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President Trump on a Nine-Day Foreign Trip

Washington, D.C. - President Trump has left for a nine-day, five-city foreign excursion, his first trip outside the United States as the country’s leader and top diplomat. “Mr. Trump’s first trip should not be that difficult since he is meeting largely with allies at a time of relative peace and prosperity.” said James Steinberg, a diplomat for former President Barack Obama in an interview to Fox News, “A trip like this is an easy trip,” he said. “There’s no crisis. It’s a relationship-building trip. It’s hard for it not to be a success unless something goes wrong.”

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Health Care Replacement Bill Approved in House

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House of Representatives approved on Thursday a health care bill aimed at fulfilling Trump’s campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The American Health Care Act passed on a 217-213 vote.

“We’re going to get this finished,” President Trump declared in a celebratory Rose Garden event, surrounded by Republican congressional allies shortly after the vote. He vowed premiums and deductibles will be “coming down” and the Affordable Care Act is “essentially dead.”

“Welcome to the beginning of the end of ObamaCare,” Vice President Pence said in the Rose Garden.

The passage marked Republicans' biggest step yet toward replacing the Obama administration's signature domestic policy law. The bill heads next to the Senate.
Trump, praising House Speaker Paul Ryan, said he's confident in Senate passage and predicted an "unbelievable victory."

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Conflict with North Korea?

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an interview with Reuters, President Trump warned against an open conflict with North Korea. The President indicated that a clash might be inevitable if the Asian country continued with its nuclear and missile programs. "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump said. Nevertheless, Trump also said that he was still hoping for a peaceful solution and that diplomacy should prevail. "We'd love to solve things diplomatically, but it's very difficult," he added. The interview with Reuters comes as Trump is marking 100 days in office.

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Gorsuch Confirmed

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last week by a vote of 54 to 45. Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal judge, will help keep a conservative majority in the Supreme Court for decades to come.

The Supreme Court has been operating with only eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Gorsuch's confirmation continues the ideological balance that existed before Scalia's death, with four conservative Justices, four liberals and Justice Anthony Kennedy as a swing vote between the blocs.

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Wiretapping in Trump Tower?

WASHINGTON D.C. - In a series of tweets, President Trump claimed that President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the presidential campaign. Trump said in the tweets that he had "just found out" about being wiretapped. The President asked Congress to investigate this issue.

When asked to provide evidence to this serious allegation, Counselor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview on Fox & Friends, “He’s the president of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not.” Spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on NBC’s “Today” show that Trump firmly believes the allegations.

Republican lawmakers generally voiced a willingness to investigate the claims as the White House has requested. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, Richard Burr, said in a statement that the panel "will follow the evidence where it leads, and we will continue to be guided by the intelligence and facts as we compile our findings." Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the committee "will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party's campaign officials or surrogates."

Trump's request carries some risk to the president, particularly if Congress reveals damaging information about him or his associates. Committee Democrats will then have access to the information and could use anything negative against the President. The request could also leave the Russia issue hanged over the White House for months.

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Pence: Trump is seeking common ground with Russia

WASHINGTON D.C. - Vice President, Mike Pence, said in an interview on Fox News that President Trump is looking for common ground with Russia and its president. However, Pence emphasized that no meeting between the two leader had been scheduled yet.

"We made a strong commitment to NATO," Pence said, referencing his speech in a recent NATO meeting in Germany last month. "We also made it very clear that ... we’re going to hold Russia accountable for ending violence in Eastern Ukraine, but in the same breath, our president continues to believe that if there’s a way that we can find common ground with Russia, particularly in the fight against ISIS, he’s determined to pursue that."

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