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Vox Sentences: Republicans inch closer to cutting taxes

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Congressional Republicans move one step closer to tax cuts; a US appeals court rules against the Trump administration in a key case involving abortion and immigration; Quebec lawmakers pass a burqa ban.


Republicans have a rocky road ahead on taxes

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  • Late last night, the US Senate passed a $4 trillion budget blueprint on a slim 51-49 vote. The framework contains protections for $1.5 trillion worth of tax cuts Senate Republicans want. [NPR / Scott Neuman]
  • In doing so, Republicans took another step toward tax cuts, their key goal now that health care votes have failed multiple times. [NYT / Thomas Kaplan]
  • The Republican-led House already passed its version of a budget earlier this year, so now the two sides need to come together and hammer out a compromise before they can tackle tax reform in earnest. But Senate Republicans are hoping the House will just pass their budget without the two sides conferencing. [The Hill / Jordain Carney and Niv Elis]
  • There are still a lot of barriers in the way, namely disagreements among Republicans about what they want tax reform to look like. For instance, Republican Sen. Rand Paul voted against the budget on Thursday night because it also adds up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, running directly in contrast to past Republican promises not to add to the national debt. [Politico / Brian Faler]
  • And if these tax cuts are implemented, other government spending will have to be cut. The Senate budget is calling for $473 billion to be cut from Medicare and $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade to balance out the tax cuts. [USA Today / Herb Jackson]
  • President Trump has said he wants to sign a tax bill by Christmas, but that could be an overly optimistic timeline. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • Another thing to watch: The budget bill could potentially open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to drilling, in order to add $1 billion worth of revenue to the overall package. [Alaska Public Media / Lisa Ruskin]

The US Court of Appeals is tackling a big abortion case

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  • A fierce legal battle is underway in the case of a 17-year-old unauthorized immigrant in Texas who is trying to get an abortion — even as the Trump administration is fighting her. [Vox / Anna North]
  • On Friday, the US Court of Appeals in DC issued a ruling in the case saying the girl has a constitutional right to an abortion, but that the government doesn't have to facilitate the procedure. It does, however, have to find her a sponsor for the abortion by the end of the month. [Washington Post / Maria Sacchetti and Ann E. Marimow]
  • The minor is only identified in court documents as Jane Doe. She is currently being held in Brownsville, Texas, after trying to cross the border from Mexico into the US, and is 15 weeks pregnant. That means she only has five more weeks to get the procedure, as Texas law prevents women from getting most abortions if they are 20 weeks pregnant. [Washington Post / Maria Sacchetti and Ann E. Marimow]
  • A legal fight has been ongoing since a Texas judge granted Jane Doe the right to have an abortion in the state, but the US Department of Health and Human Services hasn’t let her leave the Brownsville detention center where she’s being held to have the procedure. [Houston Public Media / Marissa Cummings]
  • This set off a legal back and forth. A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the teen still had constitutional rights and should be transported to the nearest medical facility without delay. [BuzzFeed / Zoe Tillman, Ema O'Connor, and Brianna Sacks]
  • But the Trump administration didn’t take no for an answer. It promptly took its the case to the US Court of Appeals today, arguing that the federal government is entitled to take a pro-life position. But during arguments, the federal government’s lawyer didn’t directly answer a key question from judges: whether the undocumented teen has the same legal right to abortion as a US citizen. [Politico / Renuka Rayasam and Josh Gerstein]
  • US law currently allows undocumented women over the age of 18 the right to an abortion, but doesn’t state what the rights are for minors. [Politico / Renuka Rayasam and Josh Gerstein]

Quebec bans the burqa

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  • Politicians in Quebec have passed a new law that requires Muslim women to uncover their faces if they work for the government, receive services, or even ride the bus. [CBC / Benjamin Shingler]
  • The law was introduced by the ruling Liberal Party in Quebec and presented as a "religious neutrality" bill, but also includes accommodations for certain cases. Quebec’s government officials have insisted that the bill isn’t meant to single out one religion in particular, and the text doesn’t explicitly mention face coverings. [BuzzFeed / Ishmael Daro]
  • Quebec opposition parties that opposed the law did so because they said it didn’t go far enough to stop religious symbols from being seen in everyday public life. [National Post / Graeme Hamilton]
  • Some government officials have also said covered faces in public pose a safety concern. So far, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he doesn’t plan to overrule Quebec’s government, adding that each province is responsible for making its own laws. [CBC / Benjamin Shingler]
  • But activists say the move clearly singles out Muslim women and stigmatizes wearing the burqa or niqab. Some legal experts say they expect the law to be challenged as unconstitutional. [NYT / Dan Levin]
  • The law won’t impact the vast majority of Muslim women in the province; local religious leaders in Quebec estimate there are between 60 and 100 women who wear either the burqa or the niqab. [The Montreal Gazette / Aaron Derfel and Katherine Wilson]
  • This is the first burqa ban that's been passed in North America, but many similar bans exist in Europe, including in France, Austria, and Germany. [NYT / Liam Stack]

Miscellaneous

  • Here’s a truly wild modern love story to warm your cold heart: A French woman who was catfished via a fake online dating profile ended up finding the man whose pictures were being used, and they fell in love. [The Atlantic / Jeff Maysh]
  • Iceland’s vast open landscapes are a big draw for tourists. But decades of deforestation means problems like soil erosion and a lack of trees to provide a carbon sink. Now government officials are actively planting trees. [NYT / Henry Fountain]
  • North Korea has conducted so many nuclear tests near one of its mountains that geological experts believe the mountain could potentially cave in on itself and, in doing so, release radiation across the region. [Washington Post / Anna Fifield]
  • With vanilla prices soaring after a cyclone wiped out vanilla bean crops in Madagascar this spring, bakers and ice cream manufacturers have changed some of their flavors entirely, selling "sweet cream" or "buttermilk" flavors instead. [Eater / Andrea Strong]
  • India’s small businesses are suffering after monumental economic changes proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi went into effect, getting rid of most of the country’s cash. [Washington Post / Vidhi Doshi]

Verbatim


Read this: Trump and conservative media have their own, quite different version of the Russia scandal

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The president is trying to argue that Democrats, the Clintons, and the FBI are the real villains. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]


Listen to this: Worldly’s latest episode

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