<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Political News and Chicago Politics]]>Copyright 2019 https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago https://www.nbcchicago.com en-usFri, 24 May 2019 01:48:11 -0500Fri, 24 May 2019 01:48:11 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[City Announces Plan to Combat Gun Violence]]> Thu, 23 May 2019 18:35:55 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lightfoot+inauguration+4.png

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced her new summer crime fighting plan, and NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern has the details. 

<![CDATA[Trump, Pelosi Trade Harsh Words]]> Thu, 23 May 2019 17:10:29 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pelosi_trump2.jpg

President Donald Trump and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., traded harsh criticisms on Thursday, with Trump calling Pelosi "crazy" and Pelosi suggesting staff members “have an intervention” with Trump.

<![CDATA[Navy Vet Buttigieg Calls Out Trump for Bone Spurs Claim]]> Thu, 23 May 2019 20:55:38 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Mayor-Pete-With-Flag-in-bg.jpg

Pete Buttigieg accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of exploiting his privileged upbringing to "fake a disability" during the Vietnam War so that "somebody could go to war in his place,” NBC News reported.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor and Democratic 2020 contender, who served in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer, sought to use his own military background to draw a sharp contrast with Trump. Pressed during a “Washington Post Live” interview on whether he believed that Trump, who cited bone spurs in his heel to be exempted from the draft, had a disability, Buttigieg suggested he did not — "at least not that one."

Buttigieg also lambasted the president for reportedly considering pardons for several U.S. service members or contractors convicted or accused of war crimes, calling it "disgusting."

Allegations that Trump dodged the draft have been a sore spot for the president dating back to his 2016 campaign, when it was revealed that he had received five deferments from service in the Vietnam War — four for education and one for a diagnosis of bone spurs.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Senate Strikes Deal for Disaster Relief; Shuns Border Wall Funding]]> Thu, 23 May 2019 13:59:10 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/disadter-aid.jpg

Senators reached a bipartisan deal Thursday that would provide more than $19 billion in disaster aid funding to parts of the U.S. hit by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and wildfires, following months of negotiation.

Leaving a closed-door Senate Republican lunch, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. told reporters that an agreement had been reached, NBC News reports.

The two said they had spoken to President Donald Trump about the parameters of the deal Thursday afternoon, which excludes the $4.5 billion in border funding that White House and Republicans kept demanding. Trump signed off, according to the two lawmakers.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wells Fargo, TD Bank Have Given Trump Docs to Congress]]> Wed, 22 May 2019 18:26:12 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/watAP_19066641046632.jpg

A key congressional committee has already gained access to President Donald Trump’s dealings with two major financial institutions, two sources familiar with the House probe tell NBC News, as a court ruling Wednesday promised to open the door for even more records to be handed over.

Wells Fargo and TD Bank are the two of nine institutions that have so far complied with subpoenas issued by the House Financial Services Committee demanding information about their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to the sources. The disclosures by these two banks haven’t been previously reported. Both TD Bank and Wells Fargo declined to comment for this story.

Wells Fargo provided the committee with a few thousand documents and TD Bank handed the committee a handful of documents, according to a source who has seen them. The committee, led by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is especially interested in the president’s business relationship with Russia and other foreign entities.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lost in Oreo Moment, Carson Faces Tough Questions About HUD]]> Thu, 23 May 2019 07:26:00 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_19141549024864.jpg

Secretary Ben Carson’s stumble over a real estate acronym that he heard as Oreo dominated the headlines of a congressional hearing Tuesday about the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the attention it received overshadowed some other serious exchanges.

One came when the Democratic chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee criticized a plan to require that every member of families living in subsidized housing be in the country legally.

Now families can stay together — even if some members are undocumented — as long as someone in the family is eligible for the housing. The HUD-subsidized rent covers only the residents who are eligible — a child born in the United States, for example.

“The Trump Administration proposal puts mixed-status families at risk of being evicted, separated, and left homeless,” said the chairwoman, California Rep. Maxine Waters.

Democrats are considering blocking the proposal, which The Washington Post reported could displace more than 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, according to an analysis from HUD.

Carson said that taxpaying American citizens should be taken care of first.

“It’s not that we’re cruel, mean-hearted,” Carson said in defense of the potential change. “It’s that we are logical. This is common sense. You take care of your own first.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York raised HUD’s so-called “one-strike” rule that allows tenants to be evicted for one instance of criminal activity. She gave the example of someone stopped, frisked and found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana. His or her entire family could be evicted.

“I’m concerned here that the war on drugs has not been solely limited to incarceration and that the negative impact of the war on drugs has not been limited to incarceration, but also we have legislative rippling effects that also seems to have been codified in our housing system,” she said.

She asked whether Carson would support a case-by-case consideration over a blanket “one-strike” policy.

“I’m always in favor of more flexibility,” he said.

Rep. Katie Porter, another Democrat from California, whose questions prompted the Oreo mistake, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday that her questions were serious and not meant to be funny. Porter had asked Carson about REO, an abbreviation for real estate owned, as she probed the high rate of foreclosures on houses insured by the Federal Housing Authority. Carson’s agency oversees the FHA.

Porter, who earlier worked as a mortgage-settlement official, said on Morning Joe that “it’s been a well-known problem that FHA — the agency at the government that is designed to help first-time home buyers and moderate income home buyers, a part of HUD — has real problems in how it services mortgages and how it helps families in foreclosure.”

But in response to her question, Carson asked, "an Oreo?"

Told REO, he guessed that it was short for real estate organization, which was not correct.

On Fox Business Network's Varney & Co on Wednesday, Carson said he did in fact know what an REO was. He was having difficulty hearing, he said.

"Of course, I'm very familiar with foreclosed properties and with REOs," he said.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ben Carson Stumbles Over Acronyms in House Hearing]]> Wed, 22 May 2019 16:43:31 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/porter-thumb.jpg

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson testified at a House Financing Committee hearing Tuesday, May 21, 2019, where representatives Joyce Beatty (D., Ohio) and Katie Porter (D., Calif.) stumped him with questions about acronyms relating to his federal department.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pelosi Says President Involved in ‘Cover-Up,’ Trump Hits Back]]> Wed, 22 May 2019 11:50:01 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pelosi_trump1.jpg

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said President Donald Trump is involved in a “cover-up” in comments before they went to a scheduled meeting on infrastructure investment Wednesday at the White House. Trump cut short the meeting and addressed the allegation to reporters, saying, “I don’t do cover-ups.”

<![CDATA[Trump, Top Democrats to Meet for Infrastructure Deal]]> Wed, 22 May 2019 09:46:00 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/infrastructure-deal-thumn.jpg

President Trump is slated to meet with top Democrats House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over a $2 trillion infrastructure plan to fix roads, power grids and include broadband internet. 

<![CDATA[Immigrants Avoid Benefits Due to Proposed DHS Rule: Report]]> Wed, 22 May 2019 03:47:45 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kids19.jpg

Silvia C. has a job cleaning houses, but she still relies on government assistance to help keep her two daughters safe and healthy. Her 8-year-old has asthma and, without benefits, Silvia is not sure she could afford her child's medication.

When Silvia, a Washington resident, noticed Spanish-language news reports about the Department of Homeland Security's proposed changes for immigrants participating in some government programs, her initial reaction was one of fear. The revisions, which would apply to visitors and immigrants from abroad as well as those petitioning for green cards or trying to extend their stays on nonimmigrant visas from within the United States, would not affect most lawful permanent residents such as Silvia.

But so much confusion has surrounded the proposal that immigrants across the country have still questioned whether their families should access government benefits intended to cater to the most vulnerable. For some, the answer has been "no," even before changes to the so-called public charge rule have gone into effect and when the policy would not directly apply to them.

"A lot of these families that rely on these different public programs to meet their basic needs may not be accessing the services that they need," said Hamutal Bernstein, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute and the lead author of a new report on the first national data that captures the scope of "chilling effects" connected to the so-called "public charge" policy debate last year.

Immigrants have long had to prove they will be self-sufficient in the United States by demonstrating that they will not become a public charge. But a proposed policy change under the Trump administration would dramatically expand the definition of a public charge to include people who access noncash benefits such as food stamps (SNAP), most of Medicaid and public or Section 8 Housing. Proposed last fall, the possible rule change marks one of a number of policies related to legal immigration that President Donald Trump has rolled out as most of America concentrates on migration at the border.

"This proposed rule will implement a law passed by Congress intended to promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers," former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the time.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the revised public charge rule will likely rank among the administration's policies with the broadest impacts on immigration in this country, as tens of millions of people could be affected if it is implemented.

Already, there have been ramifications from the policy debate. During a nationally representative survey last December, roughly one in seven adults in immigrant families reported that they or a family member forwent noncash public benefit programs because they feared they or their family might be disqualified from obtaining a green card as a consequence. Among low-income immigrant families, that number jumped to about one in five, according to new research from the Urban Institute released on May 22. Adults in families with children under 19 years old were also disproportionately affected. 

Even in households where the proposed public charge ground of inadmissability shouldn't apply, families were on high alert. 9.3% of adults where all foreign-born family members were naturalized citizens also experienced or witnessed chilling effects on their family's use of benefits in 2018, as did 14.7% of adults where all foreign-born family members had green cards. Meanwhile, refugees and asylees have been among those concerned about taking advantage of government programs, advocates say, even though they're explicitly exempt from the proposal.

"I think people are just trying to be as safe as possible," said Connie Choi, NILC's Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign field manager and strategist.

The most common program that adults in immigrant families said someone in their family stopped participating in or did not apply to was SNAP, followed closely by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. Nearly 17% of adults who reported that their family had not accessed a form of assistance "indicated that the implicated program was specifically Medicaid or CHIP benefits for a child in their family," according to the Urban Institute report.

When Bernstein followed up with survey respondents who had experienced or witnessed these chilling effects, she met a natural born citizen married to a green card holder who was worried about accessing SNAP, even as they were expecting a child; an international doctoral student avoiding assistance to ensure his green card process went smoothly; and a naturalized citizen whose sister had stopped using SNAP, even though she had a green card, because she feared it might affect her citizenship claim.

Silvia worried at first that her 3-year-old U.S.-citizen daughter's benefits might impact her husband's green card petition as he tries to come to the U.S. (the implicated program, WIC, is not among those targeted in the proposed public charge changes, and her concerns represent how misinformation on the topic spread among the immigrant community). She also expressed concerns that accessing benefits for her family might cloud her own citizenship claim, even though the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says "lawful permanent residents who subsequently apply for naturalization would not be subject to inadmissibility determinations."

Adults who reported hearing a lot about the public charge rule were far more likely to have family forgo government assistance because of fears about green card disqualifications, according to the Urban Institute report. Bernstein said the data suggests that if the revised rule is actually implemented, increased awareness could lead to even more hesitation from mixed status families around using benefits.

Veronica Hernandez's team at Mary's Center — a community health center that serves the D.C. metro area — fields questions on a daily basis about the proposed changes to the public charge ground of inadmissability, she said. She has watched as parents decide to take themselves or their entire families off of benefits, denying themselves medical care because of fear. When there's a story in the news, she starts getting calls and visits from people asking what they should do.

"We just try to calm them down," she said, "and educate them."

Photo Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[US Politicians Warn Silicon Valley About China]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 19:41:53 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/warnAP_18338706218674-%281%29.jpg

The U.S. intelligence community wants Silicon Valley to think twice about doing business with China, NBC News reported.

Amid mounting national security concerns, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said he and fellow lawmakers have held classified briefings with intelligence officials and American businesses, including major Silicon Valley and venture capital firms, to warn them about the dangers China presents.

The briefings, which began last fall, come as the U.S. is ramping up pressure on Chinese businesses amid concern over their ability to spy on American citizens and steal intellectual property.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Carson Won't Say If He'd Let Grandmother Live in Public Housing]]> Wed, 22 May 2019 05:29:55 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+HUD+HEARING+PRESSLEY+052119.00_02_36_04.Still003THUMB.jpg

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was asked Tuesday by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., if he would let his grandmother live in public housing. Their heated exchange came during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

<![CDATA[Impeachment Talk Intensifies as McGahn Skips Hearing]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 15:02:49 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/ocAP_19141508342323.jpg

The debate over whether to open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump intensified among House Democrats on Tuesday as former White House counsel Don McGahn defied a congressional subpoena to provide testimony, NBC News reported.

“There’s a growing understanding that the impeachment process is inevitable — when, not if,” said House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has signed onto a resolution that calls for the House Judiciary Committee, to look into whether to launch impeachment proceedings, told NBC News’ Kasie Hunt on Tuesday, “I believe we have come to a time of impeachment."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Expected to Name Ken Cuccinelli to Top Immigration Role]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 12:36:23 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ken-Cuccinelli-White-House-AP_18318805016144.jpg

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is expected to be named President Donald Trump's "immigration czar," overseeing the administration's immigration policies from the Department of Homeland Security, NBC News reported.

A White House official didn't clarify what Cuccinelli's title or official job responsibilities would be, but the announcement could come within the week.

Trump has been discussing appointing an "immigration czar" for months, and was also considering former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. But Kobach reportedly had a list of requirements, including access to the president and to a government plane.

Cuccinelli has been seen as an immigration hardliner, sharing the president's views on border security. But he was a strong critic of Trump during the Republican primary.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Tuesday Marks Lightfoot's First Full Day as Chicago Mayor]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 19:36:27 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lori+lightfoot+first+day.png

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot arrived at the LaSalle Street entrance of City Hall at around 9 a.m. Tuesday, ready for the first full day of her administration.

When asked how she felt, less than 24 hours after she was sworn in as Chicago's 56th mayor, she responded simply, "pretty good" as she headed into work.

In a powerful inaugural speech on Monday, Lightfoot laid out several initiatives, including public safety, education and more. But perhaps most notably, she took aim at corruption in city government, as the entire City Council sat behind her.

"For years, they’ve said Chicago ain’t ready for reform. Well, get ready, because reform is here," Lightfoot said, to raucous applause.

"No official in the City of Chicago, elected or appointed, should ever profit from his office. Never. Ever," she added, bringing the audience and many of the aldermen onstage - including Ald. Ed Burke, who was criminally charged with corruption in January - to their feet in a standing ovation.

While Burke didn't comment, other members of City Council like Ald. Anthony Beale said they felt Lightfoot's speech was a big aggressive.

"It was a huge attack on the City Council," Beale said. "You know, we're a lot of hard-working people that really care about our community and we were elected just like she was."

Less than two hours after her inauguration, Lightfoot then signed her first executive order: one laying out a process to end aldermanic privilege, which allows individual aldermen to block city ordinances within their own wards. The order fulfilled a campaign promise and was part of what she called a "comprehensive ethics reform package to reform the way government works in Chicago."

That reform package also includes a newly created ethics committee, headed by Ald. Michele Smith.

"It’s a new committee, precisely, to really highlight the point that ethics and good government, which many of us have fought for for a long time, is really going to be a top priority of her administration," Smith said.

Lightfoot said Monday that her other priorities include a focus on public health, mitigating gun violence, distributing funding equitably across Chicago and tackling the city's debt.

Ald. Scott Waguespack, a staunch Lightfoot supporter who she has tapped to chair the powerful Finance Committee, said members of her new cabinet are anxious to get started.

<![CDATA[McGahn Is No-Show at Congressional Hearing]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 10:34:05 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/don_mcgahn.jpg

The top members of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Doug Collins, R-Ga., offered up their thoughts after former White House counsel Don McGahn did not comply with a subpoena to appear in front of the committee on Tuesday.

<![CDATA[Solitary Confinement Widespread in US Detention Centers]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 10:11:25 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Segregation-Cell-ICE-450371191.jpg

A trove of government documents sheds new light on the widespread use of solitary confinement for immigrant detainees in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody under both the Obama and Trump administrations, NBC News reported.

The documents paint a disturbing portrait of a system where detainees are sometimes forced into extended periods of isolation — half of the time for reasons that have nothing to do with violating any rules, like being disabled, identifying as gay or reporting abuse from guards or other detainees.

"We have created and continue to support a system that involves widespread abuse of human beings," said Ellen Gallagher, a policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who is speaking publicly for the first time after spending five years trying to sound the alarm within the federal government about people "being brutalized."

An ICE spokesperson defended its use of the practice in a statement to NBC News: "The use of restrictive housing in ICE detention facilities is exceedingly rare, but at times necessary, to ensure the safety of staff and individuals in a facility."

Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[DHS Backup Border Funding Plan Would Take Millions From TSA]]> Tue, 21 May 2019 03:38:37 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tsa-GettyImages-95496182.jpg

The Department of Homeland Security is requesting $232 million from the Transportation Security Administration to fund border operations in the event that Congress does not agree to fund $1.1 billion of its funding request, according to documents of a contingency plan obtained by NBC News.

Other components of DHS, which includes the Federal Emergency Management Administration, have also been asked to provide a portion of their overall budget to contribute to the $1.1 billion goal, according to the documents.

Internal emails and a PowerPoint presentation at the Transportation Security Administration last week outlined a plan on how the agency would fund a “tax” its parent agency may levy upon it. 

A spokesman for DHS said the department is “considering all options” to address the influx of migrants on the Southwest border.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Discusses McGahn Decision, Records Ruling]]> Mon, 20 May 2019 18:08:27 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+TRUMP+SOUTH+LAWN+052019.00_02_10_23.Still001THUMB.jpg

President Donald Trump on Monday discussed the decision to have former White House counsel Don McGahn defy a Congressional subpoena, and criticized a ruling that would allow Congress to subpoena his financial records.