5 things to know today

1. Health care

A new wrinkle in the Republicans’ new health care bill: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has released its hotly anticipated assessment of the plan, and it’s not all good. The CBO found 24 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 under the House Republican health care bill than under Obamacare, including 14 million by next year. However, the bill would also reduce the federal deficit by $ 337 billion over 10 years.
GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan took to Twitter to point out that the bill would lower premiums and give people more choices. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was more blunt: “We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out,” he said.

2. Extreme weather

Mother Nature is a cruel mistress. Just days before the official start of spring, 31 million people are under a blizzard warning in the Northeast. Schools are closed, almost 8,000 flights have been canceled, and if we know anything about winter storms, the whole region is completely sold out of bread and milk.

For real, though, states of emergency have been declared in Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There’s a state-wide travel ban in Connecticut today. And New York City could get as much as 20 inches of snow. Stay safe, everyone.

3. Brexit

Brexit is a go, literally and figuratively. The British Parliament has passed a bill that will allow Prime Minister Theresa May to start talks to leave the European Union. The Queen will now sign it into law, clearing the way for May to trigger Article 50, beginning the process by which Britain will give up its EU membership.
This whole process could start pretty soon, but Scottish lawmakers are pumping the brakes. The First Minister of Scotland said she will ask the Scottish Parliament to consider another independence referendum for Scotland since its people mostly voted against Brexit. If that went through, Scotland would gain independence from the UK. Scotxit?

4. Trump administration

Health care may be the big steak on the White House plate, but there’s also the small matter of, oh, the President accusing the former President of illegally wiretapping him. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Trump didn’t mean wiretapping wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping, but that Trump was speaking “broadly.” Still, the Justice Department wants to investigate. And White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump could have been surveilled by other means, like microwaves and TVs, then walked it back.

5. Zika

Zika is still around, and it is posing a new and bizarre threat. Some sperm donations in Florida could be infected with the Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infected samples were donated in three Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward. This isn’t license to freak out about Zika all over again, but since pregnant women are most at-risk for the virus’ consequences, the CDC is recommending an abundance of caution.


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