Winter storm up north causes headaches for Orlando passengers

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 9:02 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 @ 9:02 AM


            Winter storm up north causes headaches for Orlando passengers

A winter storm in the northeast has canceled almost 8,000 flights nationwide, and the storm’s effects are being felt by travelers at Orlando International Airport.

With 60 million people in the massive storm’s path, each of the major airlines has grounded all flights to New York City.

The cancellations had parts of OIA looking more like a slumber party than an airport.

Flight tracker: Click here to check the status of your flight

Among those sleeping in a terminal was traveler Mayker Campous, who said he would wake up every five to 10 minutes before dozing off again because he was sleeping in a chair.

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“We (slept) here all night because our flight was canceled,” he said.

>>Boston: More than 500 flights canceled ahead of major nor'easter

Campous said he hopes to depart on time Wednesday.

Some airlines have waived fees or offered vouchers for the inconvenience.

>>Delta Airlines cancels more than 900 flights due to storm

JetBlue said it will waive change/cancellation fees and pay for fare differences for customers departing from a list of cities affected by the storm, including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

JetBlue customers have until Sunday to rebook their flights. They may opt for a refund if their flight was canceled, the company said.

Not all airlines are as accommodating, passengers said, so officials said customers should contact individual airlines to ask if anything is being offered.

Health care insurance vote: What time is the vote; what does the bill do; who is voting against it?

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 10:08 AM

Health care insurance vote: What time is the vote; what does the bill do; who is voting against it?

The Republican bill that is set to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is scheduled for a vote Thursday, as President Donald Trump and leaders in the House scramble to secure enough support for the measure to pass.

The American Health Care Act could be dead on arrival at the House, however, as a number of Republican lawmakers are saying they intend to vote “no” on the bill.

The bill would repeal and replace some of the Affordable Care Act, shifting the way millions of Americans fund their health care needs. It would also mean that millions would be left without the health care they gained under the ACA, or Obamacare.

Here’s a look at the AHCA and what is scheduled to happen today.

What does the bill do?

According to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), the AHCA will retain some of the features of the ACA – insurers would still be required to cover customers with pre-existing conditions, for instance – but would take a sharp turn on others.

The bill would eliminate the requirement that a person have health insurance. It would also give larger companies a break by saying they are no longer required to provide coverage for employees. It will allow insurers to charge older Americans higher health care premiums.

The bill keeps the ACA provision that allows children to stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26, but it cuts the amount of tax credits that are in place for those buying insurance, and reduces Medicaid spending in the states. In addition, it provides fewer funds for subsidies.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the new bill would reduce the deficit by $337 billion during the next 10 years, but cost 24 million Americans their coverage over the next decade.

Will it pass?

That’s to be seen. Early on Thursday, it was not looking like Republicans had enough votes among their membership for the bill to pass. Republicans need 216 votes to move the bill to the Senate. That means they can lose no more than 21 of their current 237 votes. If they lose 22 votes the result would be a 215 to 215 tie. If the vote is a tie, the bill fails.

Who is on the fence?

That count has varied over the past two days, but as of 7 a.m. on Thursday, here’s a list compiled from several sources of legislators who say they are leaning toward voting “no” on the bill.

  1. Justin Amash, R-Mich. 
  2. Dave Brat, R-Va.
  3. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. 
  4. Rod Blum, R-Iowa
  5. Ted Budd, R-N.C. 
  6. Rick Crawford, R-Ark.
  7. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio
  8. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.
  9. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
  10. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y.
  11. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. 
  12. Tom Garrett, R-Va. 
  13. Louie Gohmert, R-Tx. 
  14. Paul Gosar, R-Az. 
  15. Andy Harris, R-Md. 
  16. Walter Jones, R-N.C. 
  17. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio
  18. John Katko, R-N.J. 
  19. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho 
  20. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. 
  21. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.
  22. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.
  23. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
  24. Scott Perry, R-Pa. 
  25. Bill Posey, R-Fl.
  26. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fl. 
  27. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
  28. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa. 
  29. Robert Wittman, R-Va. 
  30. Ted Yoho, R-Fl. 
  31. David Young, R-Iowa

(Sources: CBS News; Huffington Post; Twitter; The Associated Press)

The House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans, many of whom identify with the Tea Party, will meet with the president at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Some votes could change after that meeting. 

(Update: The Associated Press reports at 1:30 p.m. ET that the “House Freedom Caucus chairman says "no deal"was  reached on health bill after meeting with Trump, putting vote in doubt.”)

If it does pass, what then?

If the bill passes the House, it moves to the Senate where Senators will have a chance to add to, or subtract from the bill. If the bill gets to a vote on the floor of the Senate, Republicans will face a similar close margin when it comes to passage. Republicans have a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, so they could lose only two GOP votes and still pass the bill.

Like the NFL, nothing ends in a tie in the Senate. If the vote happened to be 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.

If it doesn’t pass, what then?

Another bill could be introduced to either fully repeal the ACA, or to offer something like the bill that is up for a vote Thursday, but with some modifications.

When is the vote? 

There is no set time for the vote yet. Meetings will be happening throughout the day prior to a call for the vote. The vote could also be delayed for another time, but Ryan has said that wouldn’t happen. (Update: The vote has been moved to Friday, or possibly beyond. This post will be updated when the time for the vote gets near. Check back here during the day Friday).

HGTV to air 'Fixer Upper' and 'Flip or Flop' spin-off shows

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 5:18 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

HGTV to air 'Fixer Upper' and 'Flip or Flop' spin-off shows

HGTV fans, get ready for more “Fixer Upper” and “Flip or Flop.”

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Joanna Gaines, star of hit show “Fixer Upper,” is getting her own spin-off show on HGTV.

In her new show, Gaines will bring viewers a behind-the-scenes look at her creative process when designing a home. The show will be called, “Fixer Upper: Behind the Design” and is set to premiere on March 28 after the season finale of “Fixer Upper.”

Fun news!! Watch #behindthedesign sneak peek Tuesday 3/28 at 10p CST #sniupfront

A post shared by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines) on

HGTV has also announced it will produce several spin-offs of “Flip or Flop” set in various cities outside of Tarek and Christina El Moussa’s native in Orange Country, California. “Flip or Flop” remains one of the most popular series on the network despite the stars’ very public divorce.

“The tremendous, consistent ratings success of the original ‘Flip or Flop’ with Tarek and Christina El Moussa inspired us to take a new look at house flipping programming,” said Scripps’ U.S. programming and development GM Allison Page, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We saw an opportunity to highlight what works in other regions by featuring successful couples that had mastered the art of flipping in their town.”

The series spin-offs will be set in Las Vegas, Nevada; Fort Worth, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Chicago, Illinois.

Judge gets death threats after blocking Trump travel ban: report

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:57 PM

Judge gets death threats after blocking Trump travel ban: report

The federal judge who acted first to block President Donald Trump’s most recent travel ban has received numerous death threats since the ruling, prompting authorities to give him a 24-hour protection detail, according to a report.

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U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who presides over cases in Hawaii, blocked Trump’s revised travel ban last week. He rejected the government’s claims that the ban was imperative to national security and not a form of religious discrimination.

Several threats have been made against Watson in the wake of his March 15 ruling, Hawaii News Now reported. The U.S. Marshals Service has flown in about a dozen marshals to protect him around the clock, according to the news station.

FBI officials told Hawaii News Now that authorities are aware of the threats but declined to provide details on their nature or form.

Trump called Watson’s ruling an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach" and said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Short on votes, Republicans delay House vote on GOP health care bill

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:20 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:21 PM

After hours of negotiations that featured personal intervention by President Donald Trump, Republican leaders in the Congress were forced to back off a planned vote on a GOP health care bill, unable to find enough votes approve it and send it on to the Senate for further work.

While House leaders said votes were possible on Friday, there was no final agreement to vote on, as more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus refused to get on board with a deal offered by the White House.

“We have not gotten enough of our members to get to yes,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the Freedom Caucus.

“I am still a no at this time,” Meadows told a crush of reporters. “I am desperately trying to get to yes.”

Other Freedom Caucus members said very little as they exited a Congressional hearing room after a two hour meeting on the health bill, leaving Meadows to get out the message.

“No comment,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). “Mark’s got everything,” referring to Meadows.

“You know I’m not going express the substance of anything that we talked about in there,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said as reporters trailed him down the hall.

Earlier at the White House, there had been optimism after a meeting between Freedom Caucus members and the President.

But, there was no deal.