THE DRIVE: Report complicates health care; Jupiter storms; Trump scolds NATO
GOP senators say tough report complicates health care bill
WASHINGTON — Republicans senators conceded Thursday that a scathing analysis of the House GOP health care bill had complicated their effort to dismantle President Barack Obama's health care law.
"It makes everything harder and more difficult," Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said of a Congressional Budget Office analysis projecting that the House bill would cause 23 million Americans to lose coverage by 2026 and create prohibitively expensive costs for many others.
"There's blinking yellow lights throughout the whole thing," Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., said of the report by lawmakers' nonpartisan fiscal experts.
Congress now begins a week-long recess, with GOP senators still hunting for a health-care overhaul plan that can win the support of no less than 50 of their 52 members. All Democrats seem likely to oppose the bill, and Vice President Mike Pence could break a 50-50 tie.
Trump scolds fellow NATO leaders: Spend more for military
BRUSSELS — Surrounded by stone-faced allies, President Donald Trump excoriated fellow NATO members Thursday for failing to meet the military alliance's financial benchmarks, asserting that leaves it weaker than it should be and is "not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States."
Trump, who has often complained back home about other nations' NATO support, lectured the other leaders in person this time, declaring, "Many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years."
The president's assertion immediately put NATO under new strain and did nothing to quiet questions about his complicated relationship with an alliance he has previously panned as "obsolete." Notably, he also did not offer an explicit public endorsement of NATO's "all for one, one for all" collective defense principle, though White House officials said his mere presence at the meeting signaled his commitment.
Monstrous cyclones churning over Jupiter's poles
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Monstrous cyclones are churning over Jupiter's poles, until now a largely unexplored region.
NASA's Juno spacecraft spotted the chaotic weather once it began skimming Jupiter's cloud tops last year, surprising scientists who assumed the giant gas planet would be relatively boring and uniform down low.
"What we're finding is anything but that is the truth. It's very different, very complex," Southwest Research Institute's Scott Bolton, Juno's chief scientist, said Thursday.
With dozens of cyclones hundreds of miles across — alongside unidentifiable weather systems stretching thousands of miles — the poles look nothing like Jupiter's equatorial region, instantly recognizable by its stripes and Great Red Spot, a raging hurricane-like storm.
"That's the Jupiter we've all known and grown to love," Bolton told reporters. "And when you look from the pole, it looks totally different ... I don't think anybody would have guessed this is Jupiter."
Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's revised travel ban "speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination," a federal appeals court said Thursday in ruling against the ban that targets six Muslim-majority countries.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican administration from temporarily suspending new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban, which Trump's administration had hoped would avoid the legal problems that the first version encountered.
In all, ten of the thirteen judges who heard the case voted against the Trump administration.