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

Cruise ship evacuations: More Americans test positive for coronavirus

A bus carrying American citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship arrives at the U.S. government-chartered aircraft that is taking them back to the United States while authorities wear protective suits look on at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Monday. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Another 14 passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus during their evacuation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship before being flown in a "specialist containment" area of the plane to the United States, per a Trump administration statement early Monday.

Details: Over 40 Americans who had been on the ship had previously been confirmed as infected and will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Face the Nation" Sunday. The rest were evacuated, and these latest cases were among them. All evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival later Monday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 59 mins ago - Health

GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand and winding down operations in the two countries and Thailand by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The Holden brand has been in Australia and New Zealand for 160 years, per a GM statement issued in Australia. It is beloved by many motor racing fans down under. Holden produced Australia's first wholly locally made car in 1948.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

See photosArrow4 hours ago - World