National briefs: Trump may have health care plans

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WASHINGTON — The White House declined Wednesday to rule out that President Donald Trump will push his own plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, rather than pursue one course with congressional Republicans.

When asked if there will be a single White House-congressional GOP plan, White House press secretary Sean Spicer left open the door that the president might roll out his own plan — no matter what lawmakers do. Minutes later, Mr. Spicer referred to “the president’s plan” when discussing how the administration intends to achieve one of its top campaign goals.

On Capitol Hill, since  Mr. Trump was elected and the party kept the House and Senate, Republican lawmakers have celebrated an era of “unified” GOP governance. Mr. Spicer’s comments suggest the party lacks a unified approach to how to dismantle the health care law and replace it.

Shutting down stereotypes

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday firmly rejected the use of racial stereotypes when deciding the proper sentence for a convicted criminal, reopening the case of a black man who was condemned to death after his Texas jury was told African-Americans are statistically more likely than whites to commit violent crimes.

“Our laws punish people for what they do, not for who they are,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in the courtroom.

The 6-2 decision faulted Texas authorities and judges for refusing to give a new sentencing hearing to Duane Buck, a Houston man convicted of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in 1995.

Ex-sports doctor charged 

LANSING, Mich.  — A Michigan sports doctor who treated elite female U.S. gymnasts was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting nine girls, including some too reluctant to speak up about the alleged abuse years ago because he was considered a “god.”

Roughly two dozen charges were filed against Larry Nassar, the first criminal cases related to his work at Michigan State University where he was the preferred doctor for gymnasts in the region who had back or hip injuries. He’s also being sued by dozens of women and girls, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, who described the assaults on “60 Minutes” Sunday.

Child care help suspended

WASHINGTON — Major U.S. Army bases at Fort Knox, Ky., and Wiesbaden, Germany, are shutting down child care and education services for military families due to President Donald Trump’s hiring freeze on federal workers.

Emily Bewley, whose family is stationed at the U.S. Army Garrison in Wiesbaden, was signing out the youngest of her four children from  preschool on Tuesday when she found out that the program would be suspended in six days.

Families at the Fort Knox base were sent a letter Feb. 17 announcing that part-day child development centers on the base would be suspended, and no new children would be enrolled. The hourly child care program is also being suspended. Parents were given 10 days’ notice.

The extent to which the hiring freeze will affect child care programs at other military bases was unclear. 

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National briefs: Trump may have health care plans

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