Friday Spotlight – April 28, 2017

Each Friday, Torchlight Media will publish a summary of the major news that happened for that week: the announcements and events, the twists and turns of ongoing stories, and all of the other highlights in between. Our goal is to give you a big-picture look at the week’s news so that even if you can’t follow everything yourself, you can have a general sense of where things stand. We hope, too, that seeing the highlights laid out will help you separate the small, pointless stories that crop up over the week from the more impactful, ongoing stories.

Here’s what’s in the spotlight for this week:

  • On Sunday, France held the first round of its Presidential election. Right-wing populist Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron advanced to the second round; notably, neither is from one of France’s established political parties. Torchlight analyzed the results earlier this week.
  • On Tuesday, President Trump withdrew his demand that any bill funding the government past Friday’s shut-down deadline include funding for his border wall with Mexico.
  • On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he would not seek to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement, but would instead seek to renegotiate the treaty’s terms with Canada and Mexico. The announcement flies in the face of previous tough talk regarding NAFTA.
  • On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Alex Acosta as the Secretary of Labor, completing President Trump’s cabinet nominations, though many other executive branch positions remain unfilled.
  • Throughout the week, the White House, Congressional Republicans, and Congressional Democrats negotiated about the exact form that a bill to continue funding the government would take. The deadline for the bill is Friday. As of this writing, the President has backed down from threats to withhold subsidies for insurance for low-income Americans in order to force Congress to include funds for a border wall with Mexico. Congress is expected to pass a one-week spending measure, buying themselves time to craft a more comprehensive bill. We will update this story when Congress votes.