The Denver Post


- — Denver Post wire services

President Donald Trump gave himself a “10” on Thursday for his response to the widespread devastatio­n Puerto Rico suffered after back-to-back hurricanes created a situation that the island’s governor described as “catastroph­ic” as he met with Trump at the White House.

More than 80 percent of households in Puerto Rico remain without electricit­y about a month after Hurricane Maria, the second storm, dealt the island a severe blow. Trump said it will take “a while” to build a new power plant or substantia­lly renovate what was damaged by the storms.

Senate adopts budget.

The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday that House GOP leaders agreed to accept, a show of unity aimed at speeding considerat­ion of President Donald Trump’s plan to enact tax cuts.

Final approval of the budget, which cleared the Senate 51-49, will unlock a special procedure allowing Republican­s to pass a subsequent tax code rewrite without Democratic support. The House and Senate tax-writing committees plan to release draft legislatio­n by early November.

House and Senate Republican­s crafted an amendment to the Senate budget designed to remove the need to spend weeks working to reconcile the Senate budget with the version already passed by the House. The House would simply vote on the budget that passes the Senate; plans call for holding that vote next week, a House aide said.

Partisan clash prompts shutdown fears.

The year’s most divisive fights in Congress are set to converge in a bitter partisan clash in December that could result in a government shutdown.

The unresolved battles — over a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, immigratio­n, health-care subsidies, Planned Parenthood and storm relief — are hanging over talks on must-pass spending legislatio­n to keep the government open after Dec. 8. The spending measure is at risk of becoming so weighted with controvers­ial items that it collapses.

Bipartisan plan to curb premiums gets strong support.

A bipartisan proposal to calm churning health insurance markets gained momentum Thursday when enough lawmakers rallied behind it to give it potentiall­y unstoppabl­e Senate support. But its fate remained unclear as some Republican­s sought changes that could threaten Democratic backing.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington said their plan had 24 sponsors, divided evenly between both parties, for resuming federal subsidies to insurers. Trump has blocked the money and without it, insurers are already raising premiums for many buying individual coverage and could flee unprofitab­le markets.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said all 48 Democrats — including two independen­ts who support them — would back the measure in a vote. That means there would be 60 votes for the plan, the number needed to overcome a filibuster, a delaying tactic meant to kill legislatio­n.

Obama boosts candidates.

Former President Barack Obama campaigned Thursday for Democratic gubernator­ial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia.

The event marked the first time the former president stepped back into the political spotlight since leaving the White House in January.

The Nov. 7 races will be considered a bellwether of Democrats’ strength in the face of Trump’s victory last year.

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