WASHINGTON — Tennessee Rep. Diane Black announced a long-expected run for governor on Wednesday.

The four-term lawmaker, who became the first woman to chair the Budget Committee earlier this year, will not run for re-election to the 6th District in 2018. She’s vying to become the Volunteer State’s first female governor.

“I’m Diane Black, and I don’t back down,” the congresswoman says her in announcement video. “It’s just how I’m wired.”

One of the wealthiest members of Congress, she can afford to self-fund part of her campaign.

President Donald Trump won Black’s district by nearly 50 points. Black won re-election by a similar 49-point margin last fall. She leaves behind a safe GOP seat that’s likely to attract a crowded primary field.

—CQ-Roll Call


California AG accuses Trump of ‘sabotage’ and ‘extortion’ on Obamacare subsidies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, newly empowered to defend Affordable Care Act subsidies in court, accused President Donald Trump on Wednesday of “extortionist tactics” by threatening to undermine the health care law.

At a news conference, Becerra celebrated Tuesday’s decision by a U.S. appeals court to allow states to join the legal battle to defend cost-sharing subsidies, in which the federal government pays insurance companies to compensate for cheaper, out-of-pocket costs for low-income customers. Trump has denounced the payments as “bailouts” for insurance companies.

Becerra said uncertainty over the future of those subsidies had led to a 12.5 percent jump in projected premiums next year for plans on the Covered California insurance exchange.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Trump-generated instability, unpredictability, has made it difficult for insurance companies to determine what their rates will be for next year,” Becerra said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that they’re hedging for charging more for next year’s insurance plan than this year — just in case.”

“My friends, that’s the classic definition of sabotage,” he added.

Becerra, along with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and 16 other attorneys general, sought to intervene in the lawsuit regarding the subsidies in May. House Republicans challenged the payments in 2014 under the Obama administration; with the case now on appeal, the Trump administration had inherited the role of defending the subsidies, but it was unclear if it would continue the fight to protect them.

Now, with states able to join the case, Becerra said, “we’re ready to go. My team is ready to defend these subsidies in court.”

—Los Angeles Times


Georgia toddler killed by pit bulls; grandmother charged with second-degree murder

ATLANTA — A woman was charged with second-degree murder and other offenses after her 20-month-old grandson was killed Tuesday by two pit bulls at her northeast Georgia home, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

Sandra Adams also was charged with second-degree cruelty to children and involuntary manslaughter, agency spokeswoman Nelly Miles said Wednesday.

The incident happened about 3:15 p.m. when Adams was baby-sitting the toddler at her home in Hartwell, about 110 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.

Adams and the child were outside when the pit bulls ran out the back door, knocked Adams down and attacked the child.

She got the dogs back into the residence and picked up the child, the GBI said. Adams and the child’s mother, Amy Adams, took the child to an urgent care facility.

The child was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m., the GBI said.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White would not confirm if Adams owned the dogs.

However, the GBI said Adams has been cited on multiple occasions by the Hartwell Police Department under a city ordinance maintaining disorderly animals.

She is currently in the Hart County jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

The pit bulls are being held in separate locations, according to the GBI. They will be put down, White said.

—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Prince Philip honored as he hosts final public event

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes on Wednesday as Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, attended his final individual public engagement after 65 years of royal duties.

The 96-year-old prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, hosted the closing of the Royal Marines’ 1664 Global Challenge charity event in his capacity as ceremonial head of the force.

Wearing a bowler hat and raincoat to protect himself from heavy rain, he watched the marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, the main royal residence in London.

“As he carries out his final public engagement, I thank the Duke of Edinburgh for a remarkable lifetime of service,” May said in a statement.

“I hope the duke, after 22,219 solo engagements since 1952, can now enjoy a well-earned retirement!” she said.

Prince Philip has also made 637 solo visits overseas, written 14 books and given 5,496 speeches since 1952, the royal family said on Twitter.

It said he “may still attend events alongside the queen from time to time.”

The 1664 Global Challenge involved soldiers taking part in 100 challenges over 100 days to support injured marines, aiming to raise 100,000 pounds ($133,000).

Prince Philip has carried out official royal duties alone or with the queen since she ascended to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.


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