Dec 22, 2017

McConnell says he wants to move past the "pretty partisan" 2017

Majority Leader McConnell. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

In his year-end news conference on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that with the Senate split 51-49 next year they'll have to work on bipartisan issues such as a revisitation of banking legislation which would change parts of Dodd Frank. He touted 2017 as a year of "extraordinary accomplishment by any standard," but went on to say it was also "pretty partisan."

Entitlement reform: McConnell said that President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and him will be meeting in the next few weeks to discuss what to do about entitlement reform in 2018.

Other highlights:

  • On Trump's tweets: McConnell said he wasn't a fan of Trump's tweets until this week. He added that he and the President "have established a really good working relationship" and that "tax exercise kind of brought everything together."
  • Obamacare: McConnell hinted that making any more changes to Obamacare would be difficult with the slim Republican majority, but pointed to the GOP achievement of repealing the individual mandate as part of the tax cut bill.
  • On sexual harassment: He pointed to Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Richard Shelby who have been working on proposals for improving the sexual harassment filing process. He said he hopes to work on the policies in a bipartisan manner.
  • On Steve Bannon's influence in the Alabama election: "The political genius on display — throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America, is hard to ignore."
  • On DACA: McConnell refused to say he supported a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, but said that the legal immigration system should be improved — particularly stopping chain migration.
  • One fun thing: When asked if he planned to visit Mar-a-Lago over the holiday, McConnell laughed and said he had no plans.

Go deeper: McConnell sat down with Axios' Mike Allen on Thursday.

Go deeper

Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police have fired pepper pellets at activists and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.