Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

March 14, 2017 - 4:00 pm


Dems say CBO report on GOP bill 'knockout blow'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and Republican leaders in Congress are scrambling to shore up support for their health care bill.

This, as critics go on the attack over new estimates that 14 million people would lose insurance coverage in the first year alone. The findings from the Congressional Budget Office are giving new ammunition to Democratic opponents of the drive to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law.

President Donald Trump's budget director is downplaying the CBO report. Mick Mulvaney tells MSNBC that he doesn't think the numbers are accurate. And he also says coverage itself isn't the answer, adding, "People don't get better with coverage."

But the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, says the report should be a "knockout blow" to the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.


Spicer says Trump confident on wiretap evidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump is "extremely confident" that the Justice Department will produce evidence backing up his claim that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper during the election.

The comments from spokesman Sean Spicer come one day after the Justice Department asked lawmakers for more time to produce that evidence. The House intelligence committee gave the department until March 20, the first day of its hearings on Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible contacts between Trump advisers and Russians.

Spicer says the president is confident that information yet to be released will "vindicate him."

Earlier this month, Trump accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the campaign. Obama has denied the explosive allegations and there has been no evidence backing up Trump's claims.


Pelosi calls for GOP to strip King of chairmanship

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat in the House is calling on Republican leaders to strip Iowa Rep. Steve King of a chairmanship after his inflammatory comments about immigration.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday that Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders should immediately take the chairmanship of a House Judiciary subcommittee from King. Pelosi said King's "racist statements must be called out as unacceptable," and complained that the "tepid, brush-off" response from leadership was disgraceful.

King said this weekend that America can't restore "our civilization with somebody else's babies." He stood by those comments in an interview with CNN on Monday.

Ryan said Monday night on Fox News that he disagreed with King. Other Republicans have criticized King's comments.


EPA delays chemical storage rule, cites terrorism fear

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is delaying a new rule tightening safety requirements for companies that store large quantities of dangerous chemicals.

Scott Pruitt is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He has delayed the effective date of the Obama-era rule until June.

The rule requires companies to make public the types and quantities of chemicals stored on site. The chemical industry and other business groups say that could make it easier for terrorists and other criminals to target high-value refineries, chemical plants and other facilities.

The Obama administration finalized the rule in January, saying it would help prevent accidents and improve emergency preparedness by allowing first responders better data on chemical storage.

This came after a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded in 2013, killing 15 people.


UPDATE: Company asks judge to reject tribal plea on oil pipeline

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The company building the Dakota Access pipeline has asked a federal judge to reject the latest attempt by two American Indian tribes to halt the project.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners says in court documents filed late Monday that it has suffered enough delays and that the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes are employing "a last-gasp litigation tactic."

The tribes have appealed a decision by federal Judge James Boasberg to not stop construction of the pipeline's final segment under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota they consider sacred. They've asked Boasberg to stop oil from flowing through the four-state pipeline until the appeal is resolved.

The company says crews expect to finish construction and conduct final testing this week, and that oil could flow as soon as Monday.


UPDATE: Winter storm leads to hazardous roads

GILFORD, N.H. (AP) — Police say a 16-year-old girl has been killed in a traffic accident in New Hampshire after losing control of her car on a snowy road and hitting a tree.

A late-winter storm featuring snow, ice and high winds has caused dangerous driving conditions from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast.

New Hampshire State police say the accident happened about 7 a.m. Tuesday in Gilford. The girl was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her identity was being withheld until her family could be notified.

Around the region, officials have urged people to stay off the roads. Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy imposed a travel ban on state roads.


NEW: Plows escort child needing transplant

DANVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A 23-month-old in need of a heart transplant has been escorted by snowplows and state police troopers through a heavy snowstorm from one hospital to another in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf says the Tuesday afternoon trip was made between hospitals in East Stroudsburg and Danville, some 80 miles apart.

The governor says the child made the trip safely.

The storm dropped more than 20 inches of snow and sleet in parts of eastern Pennsylvania, and snow was continuing to fall Tuesday afternoon.


White nationalist hopes to regain tax exemption

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer says he doesn't have any evidence that his nonprofit organization lost its tax-exempt status for politically motivated reasons.

Spencer told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he is confident his group, the National Policy Institute, can regain its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Los Angeles Times first reported that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service recently revoked the group's tax exemption for failing to file tax returns for three consecutive years.

Spencer describes the move as a "bump in the road" and says he doesn't' see it as "political assassination." He also acknowledged that "ignorance of the law is not an excuse," but he said he delegated the group's bookkeeping responsibilities to others.

The IRS posted a notice of the group's revocation on its website Monday, but the loss of its tax status is retroactive to May 15, 2016, the date when its most recent tax return was due.


NEW: Officer argues he's broke, asks for public defender

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The former South Carolina police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man running from a traffic stop has asked a judge to allow a publicly funded lawyer to represent him.

News outlets report Michael Slager made that request Tuesday during a hearing in Charleston. Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman says he'll issue a ruling later.

Slager says his family of five lives under the poverty line. Slager was fired and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Walter Scott following an April 2015 traffic stop in North Charleston.

Slager's first trial ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors have said they would retry him, and that's set for August.

Savage still represents Slager in federal court, where he'll be tried on civil rights charges in May.


NEW: Fourth dog associated with Iditarod dies

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A fourth dog associated with this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has died.

Race marshal Mark Nordman says in a release that a 4-year-old male named Flash collapsed and died while it was running with Kotzebue musher Katherine Keith's team about 10 miles outside the checkpoint in Koyuk.

Three other dogs have also died since the race started March 6 in Fairbanks, including one on a team belonging to Keith's partner, former champion John Baker of Kotzebue.

The dog had been dropped from Baker's team and returned to Anchorage. Iditarod officials released the dog to a handler Saturday, and the dog got loose later that night from the handler's home. The body was found Sunday in Anchorage, and it appeared it had been hit by a car.

Two dogs died last week, including one that was being flown back to Anchorage from a checkpoint. A necropsy showed signs that the dog suffered from hyperthermia, but further tests were being conducted.

The other dog died near the checkpoint in Galena. A necropsy found abnormalities but not the cause of death.


'Weekend Update' to continue during SNL summer break

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Saturday Night Live" gets the summer off, but "Weekend Update" will keep the political satire coming in prime time.

NBC said Tuesday that four episodes of "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update" will air at 9 p.m. Thursday starting Aug. 10.

Michael Che and Colin Jost, who anchor the segment, will be joined by other "SNL" cast members, the network said.

"Weekend Update" has ventured away from its late-night turf into prime time before, but political tumult makes it an especially ripe opportunity for the faux newscast.

"SNL" is enjoying a ratings bounce from milking President Donald Trump's election and the early days of his administration.

The season to date is the show's most-watched in 24 years, with viewership up 26 percent over last year and averaging 11 million weekly, NBC said.

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