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March 24, 2017 - 9:33 am

CONGRESS-HEALTH OVERHAUL

UPDATE: Trump threatens to walk away from health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is endorsing the Republican proposal on health care as "a great plan," ahead of a make-or-break vote in the House.

The president tweeted Friday that "After seven horrible years of ObamaCare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!"

The vote had been scheduled for late Thursday but was postponed after administration officials failed to convince skeptical conservative Republicans to support the bill.

Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with GOP holdouts and determined to pursue the rest of his agenda, win or lose.

Barring any further delays, the vote is expected to take place later Friday.

CONGRESS-HEALTH-OVERHAUL-PLANNED PARENTHOOD

NEW: Trump ties health care vote to abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is telling lawmakers who oppose abortion that a vote against the health care bill would favor Planned Parenthood.

The president tweeted Friday, "the irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!"

In a bid to coax support from conservatives, House leaders proposed a fresh amendment repealing Obama's requirement that insurers cover 10 specified services like maternity and mental health care.

Lawmakers will vote later Friday.

Conservatives have demanded the removal of those and other conditions the law imposes on insurers, arguing they drive up premiums.

The president met with members of the Freedom Caucus Thursday in an effort to win them over. But the vote was postponed after administration officials fell short.

CONGRESS-HEALTH OVERHAUL-MULVANEY

NEW: Budget chief says Trump ready to move on

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney says he has "a lot of confidence" in President Donald Trump's ability to salvage a congressional Republican health care plan, but warns that Trump "also wants to move on" if the deal collapses.

Mulvaney said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America" of the president: "He's a tremendous closer. I wouldn't count him out."

Mulvaney delivered a similar message to House Republicans Thursday night, warning that Trump would turn to other priorities such as a tax overhaul if the health plan pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan is rejected by rebels in his own party.

Mulvaney also rejected a new Congressional Budget Office analysis that warns the latest health plan version would reduce cost savings by $200 billion. "The CBO score is just wrong on that," Mulvaney said.

CONGRESS-HEALTH OVERHAUL-NO WOMEN

NEW: All-male picture criticized by Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — A lack of women in a photo of negotiations over the GOP health care bill that was tweeted out by Vice President Mike Pence is drawing criticism from Democrats.

The photo shows Pence at the center of a conference table during negotiations with the House Freedom Caucus. About two dozen men can be seen in the photo and not a single woman.

Washington U.S. Sen. Patty Murray drew attention to the absence of women in the room by retweeting the photo and sarcastically adding, "A rare look inside the GOP's women's health caucus."

A repeal of a maternity care requirement is among the concessions the Freedom Caucus is demanding in exchange for support of the bill.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE

Trump administration approves Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has issued a presidential permit to pipeline builder TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that President Donald Trump would discuss the pipeline later Friday morning.

The State Department says that it determined that building Keystone serves the U.S. national interest. That's the opposite conclusion to the one the State Department reached during the Obama administration.

The State Department says it considered foreign policy and energy security in making the determination.

The permit was signed by Tom Shannon, a career diplomat serving as undersecretary of state for political affairs. That's because Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself due to his previous work running Exxon Mobil.

Keystone will carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

DURABLE-GOODS

NEW: US durable goods orders rose in February, led by aircraft

WASHINGTON (AP) — Greater demand for commercial aircraft helped U.S. businesses increased their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in February, but a key category that tracks business investment plans slipped slightly.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 1.7 percent in February and an upwardly revised 2.3 percent in January. Orders so far this year are running 1.6 percent higher than in the first two months of 2016. But demand in a category that excludes aircraft and military goods — and reflects business investment plans — dipped 0.1 percent.

Orders for commercial aircraft saw a 47.6 percent jump in February. Orders also rose for primary metals. But demand for motor vehicles slumped.

Manufacturers are recovering from a rough patch that began in 2015 as oil prices fell and the dollar strengthened.

CAR THEFT-BOYS ABDUCTED

Boys found safe

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. (AP) — Two young brothers who were in a vehicle that was stolen in Southern California have been found safe.

Police in Cathedral City say the 1- and 2-year-olds were with their babysitter when she got out of the car to run an errand last night.

Someone took off with the car, with Jaden and Carlos Cortez inside.

Police say the children were found early today in Desert Hot Springs, about 14 miles away from Cathedral City.

FALSE-RAPE-CLAIM-TEXAS

NEW: Police: Woman falsely claims sexual assault by 3 black males

DENISON, Texas (AP) — Police say an 18-year-old woman who burst into a church in northeast Texas and claimed she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by three black males in ski masks has admitted she lied.

Denison Police Chief Jay Burch says on Facebook that Breana Harmon Talbott was undressed and bleeding on March 8 when she claimed she had been sexually assaulted in woods behind the church in Denison, 75 miles northeast of Dallas.

Burch says investigators searched the area and "almost immediately, Talbott's story and allegations began to unravel."

Authorities say the crime scene was staged and Talbott's injuries were self-inflicted.

Burch says Talbott "confessed to the hoax" Tuesday and faces a misdemeanor charge of false report to a peace officer.

Burch says it's "insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community."

WOMAN SLAIN-GRANDSON CHARGED

NEW: Police: NYC man killed grandmother, left body on the street

NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities in New York City say a 32-year-old man killed his grandmother and left her body wrapped in a bed sheet on a Brooklyn street.

Police say 70-year-old Joyce Spears' body was also found wrapped in a carpet near her Crown Heights home around 1:45 a.m. Thursday. An emergency medical services crew pronounced her dead at the scene.

Investigators say a blood stained dumbbell and knife were found near the victim. Police say an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Police later arrested the woman's grandson, who shared a Union Street apartment with his grandmother. He was charged him with second-degree murder.

GERMANY-US-GUMMY BEARS

NEW: Sweet news: Germany's Haribo to produce gummy bears in USA

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's iconic gummy bear will soon be "Made in USA."

Bonn-based Haribo, which invented the gummy bear nearly a century ago, said Friday it would open a U.S. factory in Wisconsin in 2020.

Haribo, founded in 1920, has been in the U.S. since 1982 with a sales operation, and is already the top seller of gummy bears in the country, but says it wants to grow further.

Company head Hans Guido Riegel says "Haribo of America is the fastest growing confectionary company in the U.S.A., therefore the step of starting our own production there from 2020 is important for us."

The $242 million factory near Kenosha is expected to create 400 jobs. Haribo employs 7,000 people worldwide and produces 100 million gummy bears daily at 16 factories in ten countries.

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