House ethics panel launches investigation into Ruben Kihuen

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into Rep. Ruben Kihuen. Two women have accused the Nevada Democrat of sexual harassment.

Kihuen has welcomed an investigation, saying in a statement earlier this week, “I believe in transparency. If Ethics wants to look at it, I welcome an opportunity to clear my name.”

Two weeks ago, BuzzFeed News reported that a former Kihuen campaign staffer had rebuffed multiple advances and said he touched her without her consent. On Wednesday night, the Nevada Independent reported that a female lobbyist had received persistent and unwanted advances from Kihuen, through hundreds of text messages, and was also touched without her consent.

Top congressional leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, have called on Kihuen to resign.

He has refused, saying the DCCC and Pelosi were aware of the first accuser’s allegations when he was running for Congress last year. The woman said she informed a midlevel DCCC staffer. Pelosi and Lujan have said through spokespeople that they were not aware.

—CQ-Roll Call

Obamacare subsidy lawsuit settled by White House, Democrats

WASHINGTON — A long-running lawsuit between the Trump administration, House Republicans and Democratic attorneys general over billions of dollars of Obamacare subsidies has been settled, according to an agreement filed in federal court Friday.

The settlement agreement, details of which weren’t available in the filings but described as “conditional,” may decide the future of what are known as cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs. The CSRs had been paid to health insurers as a way to subsidize some lower-income patients’ insurance co-payments and deductibles, allowing them easier access to health care.

The Trump administration had stopped making the payments, throwing the Affordable Care Act’s markets into chaos and causing premiums to rise, and state Democratic attorneys general continued the legal effort to try and preserve the subsidies.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to questions Friday about whether the settlement means the payments will resume. The Justice Department and several officers for Democratic attorneys general also didn’t respond to requests for comment late Friday.

—Bloomberg News

Honduran protesters press government to cancel election result

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduran protesters on Friday blocked roads and burned tires to press the authorities to cancel the election victory of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez and to proclaim opposition leader Salvador Nasralla the winner.

“We will be the entire day on the streets until it is recognized that … Salvador won the elections,” said former President Manuel Zelaya, a Nasralla ally.

Soldiers forced some demonstrators off the streets in Tegucigalpa, sparking accusations that the army was violating citizens’ right to stage protests.

Demonstrations were reported in several parts of the country.

Hernandez took 43 percent of the vote and Nasralla secured 41.4 percent in the Nov. 26 election.

Hernandez has not yet been officially proclaimed the winner as the Supreme Electoral Tribunal is still dealing with some complaints against the electoral process.

Part of the vote was earlier recounted after the opposition accused Hernandez of rigging, but that did not alter the result.


Going to the chapel: Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle in May

Mark your calendars and start shopping for those fascinators: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have set their wedding date.

The British prince, currently fifth in line to the British throne, will wed the American “Suits” actress on May 19, 2018, Kensington Palace announced Friday.

As previously revealed, the nuptials will take place west of London at Windsor Castle in the 15th-century St. George’s Chapel. The castle is one of Queen Elizabeth II’s main residences, which she had to grant her grandson permission to use. The royal family will also pay for the festivities.

Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, announced their engagement late last month after about a year and a half together. Since then, they’ve sat down for an extended interview about their relationship and began jointly carrying out some of Harry’s official royal duties. Alas, Harry attended “The Last Jedi” premiere in London earlier this week with his brother, Prince William, as his plus-one.

Spring 2018 will also mark another special occasion for the royal family: William and his wife, Catherine, are expecting a baby in April. That child will move in front of Harry’s place in the line of succession.

—Los Angeles Times


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