United States: Fox On The Hill – August 1, 2016

2016 Election

Following the Democratic National Convention (DNC), Hillary Clinton is experiencing a 5 to 7-point lead over Donald Trump, an expected boost following the convention. Trump experienced a similar bump in the polls following the Republican National Convention (RNC), which quickly dissipated. With the general election officially underway, polling shows that both candidates continue to experience low favorability ratings. 

Democrats

The DNC began with controversy in the wake of WikiLeaks' release of emails that revealed bias within Democratic National Committee against Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders has long claimed that the Democratic Party was using its infrastructure and control over the nomination processes to ensure a Clinton nomination. While acknowledging those protesting on his behalf and calling for change in the institution, Sanders made the ultimate show of party unity by making the formal motion to nominate Clinton to be the party's nominee.

In the days leading up to Clinton's formal acceptance, there were many memorable speeches, including one from First Lady Michelle Obama. Without ever mentioning Trump by name, the First Lady portrayed the GOP nominee as incapable of providing for America's future. She described Trump as a poor role model for children and someone who has thin skin and a tendency to lash out — not a "steady and measured and well-informed" person to lead our country.

Hillary Clinton made history by being the first woman nominated for President by a major U.S. party. In accepting the nomination, Clinton questioned Trump's abilities as a leader in dangerous times, saying "a man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

Republicans

In a town hall last week, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence described Trump as a "fighter, a builder and a winner," and declared that Trump is running on the issues of greatest concern for most Americans. Looking to counter the themes presented at the DNC, Pence told the crowd that Trump is the man who will cut taxes, rebuild the military, keep law enforcement and citizens alike safe and rein in federal spending.

Budget

Knowing that the GOP's focus on budget cuts will be met with objection, the platform adopted by the Democrats included a formal call for budget offsets to avoid deficit spending. The platform stated that those making the most money individually and corporations should be responsible for paying their fair share in order to fund "ambitious progressive investments."

Energy

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear arguments in September in challenges to President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which would set a national limit on carbon emissions from power plants. The 29 states challenging the executive order are arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate air emissions is defined — and limited — by the statutory text of the Clean Air Act. These states contend that without an amendment by Congress to the Clean Air Act, the EPA lacks authority to enforce emission reduction goals.

In a rare move, the Supreme Court weighed in on the case in February issuing a stay that blocks the EPA from enforcing the challenged plan. This is the first time the Supreme Court has issued a stay in a case still pending before a lower court of appeals. Introduced by President Obama, the plan is aimed at fighting global warming by reducing greenhouse gases emitted from coal-fired power plants.

Health Care

In the heat of the DNC, senior advisers to Clinton acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act has not made health care more affordable for many. They emphasized that Clinton has the knowledge to make health care affordable and the gumption to address the issue head on if elected President. 

Tax Reform

The House GOP's tax reform plan contains a reform of the U.S. tax code that would make the U.S. more competitive internationally, Republican lawmakers say, by moving toward a cash-flow tax approach for business. Specifically, the plan would charge companies a tax on goods imported into the U.S. for sale to American consumers. This represents a flip in the plan as it currently exists, where goods are taxed based on their country of origin. Some tax experts applauded the proposal, noting the competitive advantage it provides the United States, while acknowledging that increasing the cost of foreign goods presents its own challenges domestically. Opponents argue that the tax proposal would violate international trade agreements.

Technology

The FBI is investigating the breach of the computer system at the Democratic National Committee. The breach led to WikiLeaks release of committee emails that implicate the organization and its now-former chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), in an effort to boost Clinton's chances of becoming the party's nominee over Sanders. The breach is also believed to have given the hackers access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, including the personal and credit card information of donors.

Veterans

Trump has released his plan to support America's veterans, a 10-point plan that would reform the Department of Veterans Affairs. This plan focuses on both physical and mental health needs and expanding access to care. Trump has committed to the creation of a 24-hour hotline at the White House to allow veterans a direct means of filing complaints when their needs are not being met by the VA.

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Patrick Anderson
 
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