The Summer’s Biggest Stories: Here’s What You Might Have Missed

Trump Administration Changes:

On May 9, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the officer leading the FBI’s investigation into the Russian government tampering with the 2016 Presidential Election. Chris Way was nominated to replace him, and was confirmed by the Senate in August.

In July, Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned over the hiring of Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci, replaced Michael Dubke who resigned, but only lasted ten days in his new position before resigning himself.

The deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is now the acting Press Secretary, replaced Spicer. The new acting communications director, Hope Hicks, replaced Scaramucci.

Later in July, President Trump replaced Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, with General John Kelly, after Priebus resigned. General Kelly then vacated his spot as Secretary  of Homeland Security, and was succeeded by the new acting secretary, Elaine Duke.

In August, Chief Strategist to the Trump administration Steve Bannon resigned.

Healthcare:

In a 217 to 213 vote, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House of Representatives on May 4. The Act was proposed in March to replace the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The same day, the Senate announced it’s plan to write its own version of an ACA reform bill that would become the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

On June 26, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released that the BCHA would leave 15 million more people uninsured than the ACA by 2018. The number of uninsured citizens from the act was then estimated to rise to 22 million by 2026.

Throughout the next month, the Senate’s BCHA went through the process of amendment adding.

Revisions caused some Republican senators to oppose a vote. A new plan was released by the Republican leadership to repeal the ACA, and come up with a solution to replace it later.

This delay in process caused Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to announce their opposition, which halted the plan.

On July 25, the Senate released ACA again, this time including new amendments. One of the failed votes was over the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA). This bill would have repealed the majority of the Affordable Care Act without replacing it.

The next repeal vote, for the bill titled the Health Care Freedom Act, which was referred to as the skinny bill, does not pass.

There has been no major vote to reform health care. But in the beginning of August, a bipartisan committee was announced in the House to hold hearings regarding future reform.

Charlottesville:

On Aug. 12, a group of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, VA to protest the plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park.

The two-day rally known as “Unite the Right” turned violent when rally go-ers, some armed with shields and wooden clubs, were met with counter-protestors at the park. Individuals from both sides threw punches, swung sticks and sprayed chemicals at members of their opposition.

Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, 32, was killed, and 19 others were injured after a car plowed through the group of counter-protestors. The driver was identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, who was charged with one count of second-degree murder and three counts of malicious wounding.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe stated in a press conference later that day, “…to all the Nazis and white supremacists who came to Charlottesville to-day, go home…there is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America.”

Eclipse:

Aug. 21 had the world literally looking up in awe at the first total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. since 1979.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moved between the earth and the sun, creating temporary darkness.

Thousands traveled to be on the path of totality; the 60 to 70-mile-wide stretch of land that for two minutes were covered in total darkness. The total eclipse was visible across the country from Charlottesville, N.C to Port-land, Ore.

The next eclipse, like this one, will not be until 2024.

    North Korea:

On Sept. 3, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear weapons test.

The blast from the hydrogen bomb caused a 6.3-magnitude earthquake not far from the test site in Punggye-ri.

The test comes just months after North Korea’s threat to attack the United States if there was ever an attempt to remove dictator Kim Jong Un from power. The area surrounding the U.S territory of Guam was referenced as a possible target for their long-range ballistic missiles.

Hours after the test, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that, “any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming.”

 

 

The AP Exchange contributed to this article.

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