Poll: 77% of Americans trust Federal government to handle COVID-19

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:45 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

A recent survey found a majority of Americans trust the federal government to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. According to a Gallup poll released Thursday, 77 percent of Americans are either very confident or somewhat confident the government has the ability to stop the spread of the virus in the U.S.

The findings show Americans are more confident in the government to handle the spread of the virus than with previous health scares. For example, 64 percent of Americans said they trusted to the government to fight the Zika virus in 2017 and that number was at 61 percent for Ebola in 2014.

Meanwhile, four Americans who tested positive for the coronavirus are being treated in a hospital in Spokane, Washington.

In a press briefing on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the four former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship were flown back to the U.S. over the weekend.

Spokane County health officer Dr. Bob Lutz said the hospital was chosen for these patients, “because of its secured airborne infection isolation rooms.”

“The risk to the general community about this particular process is zero,” he stated. “I mean, because of the resources that have been brought to bear to ensure the safety of these individuals were brought from the airport to this facility, again there was no risk to the general population — I emphasize that as much as I possibly can.”

Dr. Lutz went on to reaffirm health care workers at the hospital have been specifically trained to handle this type of scenario.

RELATED: Six coronavirus cases discovered in north Italy, hundreds to be tested

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President Trump: Federal government will step in if Calif. cities can’t clean up streets

FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, a woman walks past a homeless man sleeping in front of recycling bins and garbage on a street corner in San Francisco. Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for better mental health care to help treat the state’s large homeless population as he addresses one of the state’s most pressing problems in his second State of the State speech to be given Wednesday, Feb. 19. 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:52 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

President Trump warned if California can’t clean up its streets, the federal government will. He made those remarks during a briefing on preparations for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Tuesday.

The president then said California’s big cities have needles and other unhealthy substances on the streets, which ends up on the beaches as well as in the ocean. He said he’s already told members of his administration they have to get involved in cleaning up the Golden State.

“…if they can’t do it themselves, we are going to do it, the federal government is going to take it over,” he stated. “We are working right now with L.A., in particular….it’s not thinkable what they have allowed to have happened to these cities, incredible.”

President Trump said his administration is also in talks with officials in San Francisco regarding the issue.

Homelessness has led to several public health issues in California’s big cities, including outbreaks of hepatitis. About half of the nation’s homeless population resides in the Golden State.

RELATED: Schwarzenegger thanks President Trump for combating homelessness

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Syrian rebels use car bombs, suicide attacks to stop government offensive

This Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian army soldier launches a mortar round toward insurgents on the western rural Aleppo, Syria. (SANA via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:27 AM PT — Sunday, February 2, 2020

Syrian government forces are facing stiff rebel resistance and suicide attacks amid their ongoing offensive. Jihadist fighters reportedly used car bombs in an attempt to stop the government offensive in rebel-held areas west of Aleppo.

Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham staged two suicide bombings on Saturday while another car bomb was set off by remote control.

Over the weekend, Syrian troops captured several towns along the M5 Damascus-Aleppo Highway. Officials said their goal is to retake the highway, which currently divides the rebel-held Idlib province in half.

“Our forces are still working to accomplish the mission,” stated one Syrian soldier. “Within the coming few hours, nearby towns, God willing, will be liberated from the abomination of terrorism.”

The Syrian Armed Forces have accused rebels of shooting rockets in residential areas of Aleppo in retaliation for the ongoing offensive.

Destruction by an airstrike is seen in the town of al-Jannah, west of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)

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Pentagon requests Iraqi government to ramp up air defense at U.S. facilities to deter future attacks

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, with French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly, (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:57 AM PT — Friday, January 31, 2020

U.S. military officials are planning to ramp-up air defense infrastructure at American facilities in Iraq to contain Iran’s Ayatollah regime.

While speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. could move additional Patriot missiles to Iraq in an effort to repel possible Iranian attacks in the future. Esper pointed out that the U.S. would require permission from the Iraqi government to do that.

This comes after at least 50 American troops were wounded when 11 Iranian missiles hit the Ain al-Asad air base earlier this month. That facility did not have adequate air defenses at the time of the attack.

“We’re working with the Iraqi government in order to do exactly what you just suggested,” stated Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff. ” In terms of if there was a Patriot battalion at al-Asad or Irbil or whatever, could they have shot down these TBMs? That’s what they’re designed to do.”

FILE – In this Jan. 13, 2020 file photo, Iranian bombing caused a crater at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar, Iraq. Ain al-Asad air base was struck by a barrage of Iranian missiles, in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed atop Iranian commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan)

U.S. troops wounded in the Iranian attack suffered a mild form of traumatic brain injury. The Pentagon has already made the request to Baghdad to bring more missiles into Iraq.

RELATED: Baghdad Embassy attack evidence Of Iran’s power In Iraq

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Pentagon requests Iraqi government ramp up air defenses at U.S. facilities to deter future Iranian attacks

Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono at the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:35 PM PT — Thursday, January 30, 2020

U.S. military officials are planning to ramp up air defense infrastructure at American facilities in Iraq to better contain Iran’s Ayatollah regime. While speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. could move additional Patriot missiles to Iraq to repel possible Iranian attacks in the future.

Esper pointed out the U.S. would require permission from the Iraqi government to do that.

At least 50 American troops were wounded when 11 Iranian missiles hit the al-Assad Air Base earlier this month. That facility did not have adequate air defenses at the time of Iranian attack.

“We’re working with the Iraqi government in order to do exactly what you just suggested,” stated General Mark Milley. “There’s mechanical pieces, the science of war so to speak, of actually moving and bringing in Patriot battalions.”

This aerial photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

U.S. troops wounded in the Iranian attack suffered a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Esper pushed back on critics’ claim that the president was not concerned about the troops’ health in the Middle East. He said President Trump was very concerned about the welfare of all of American service members, particularly those involved in the operations in Iraq.

The secretary added officials are still learning about those affected and that the injury total could still rise further.

“There’s a lot more to be learned about these injuries, we’re putting a lot of money into research,” he said. “It affects us not just on the battlefield, but our service members get hurt during training as well.”

Esper added all service members who were treated had mild cases of traumatic brain injury. He also said the week delay in reporting was due to the nature of the wounds.

“As we predicted, when the first reports came in several days later, there would likely be more and more,” he said. “I think the TBI manifests itself over time.”

Original Article

4 protesters killed, dozens wounded in ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Iraq

A riot policeman pins down a female anti-government protester to search her while security forces try to disperse demonstrators during clashes in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:26 AM PT — Monday, January 27, 2020

Dozens of anti-government protesters have been wounded as demonstrations continue in Iraq. Hundreds of people took to the streets in Baghdad on Saturday in defiance of a Shi’ite cleric who withdrew his support for the movement.

The protests began peacefully before security forces used tear gas to disperse crowds. Four protesters reportedly died during the encounter.

Iraqi security forces raided several anti-government encampments in multiple cities, where they then proceeded to burn their tents.

“Removing the tents from the square actually didn’t affect us at all. In fact, yesterday, for each tent was removed, two or three has been replaced in place of it.”

— Manqidh Mundhir, protester – Iraq

Mass demonstrations in Iraq began last year and stemmed from anger at U.S. counter-terror strikes, corruption and economic inequality.

RELATED: Iraqi security forces raid protest camps after Sadr supporters withdraw

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Senate OKs spending bills to avoid government shutdown, sending them to Trump’s desk

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The Senate on Thursday passed a $1.4 trillion spending package, avoiding a shutdown and funding the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

The first bill in the two-bill package, covering domestic programs, passed 71 to 23. The second spending bill passed 81 to 11, and the pair will now head to President Trump's desk Friday night — the deadline to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2020, or through Sept. 30. The White House said Tuesday that the president will sign the bill.

The legislation gives Trump a victory on his U.S.-Mexico border fence and gives Democrats domestic spending increases and an expensive repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans. It provides health care and pension benefits for retired coal miners and increases the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

The tobacco measure was pushed by Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky.

HOUSE APPROVES $1.4 TRILLION SPENDING BILL, REPEALING OBAMACARE TAXES

The deficit tab for the package grew, as well, with the addition of $428 billion in tax cuts over 10 years to repeal the three so-called ObamaCare taxes.

The split-their-differences legislation was carrying a large number of unrelated provisions into law, drawing protests from fiscal conservatives. It would put in place an earlier spending deal that reversed unpopular and unworkable automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs — at a $2.2 trillion cost over the coming decade.

“These spending bills are a fiscal dumpster fire,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. “This is embarrassing.”

The legislation is laced with provisions reflecting divided power in Washington. Republicans maintained the status quo on several abortion-related battles and on funding for Trump's border wall.

CONGRESS RAISES NATIONAL TOBACCO AGE TO 21 AS PART OF SPENDING PACKAGE

Democrats controlling the House succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.

The bill provides $25 million for gun violence research, divided between the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bill exceeds Trump’s budget requests in every domestic category, except for his $8 billion-plus for the U.S.-Mexico wall, which was cut back to $1.4 billion — the same as last year’s appropriation. However, Trump may use his budget powers to tap other accounts for several times that amount. Though it may anger liberal opponents to the wall, it was a trade-off for Democrats who wanted to gain $27 billion in increases for domestic programs.

Popular programs such as health research, veterans' medical care, NASA, sewer and water projects, and law enforcement grants to state and local governments would also get increases under the package. The Pentagon would receive $738 billion, a record amount, to buy expensive weapons systems such as the F-35 fighter.

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Democrats won $425 million for states to upgrade their election systems, and in turn, they boosted the U.S. Census budget $1.4 billion above Trump’s request.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Alex Pappas contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

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House approves $1.4 trillion spending bill, avoiding government shutdown

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The Democratic-controlled House on Tuesday approved a $1.4 trillion federal spending bill to avoid a government shutdown that includes funding for President Trump's border wall, strips ObamaCare taxes, raises the minimum age for buying tobacco products and gives Democrats increases for a variety of other domestic programs.

The House – as it prepares to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump – approved all 12 spending bills. They now go to the Senate to sync up later this week.

TRUMP TELLS PELOSI IN BLISTERING LETTER THAT DEMS HAVE 'CHEAPENED THE IMPORTANCE' OF IMPEACHMENT

“I am proud that we were able to come together, negotiate our differences, and reach a bipartisan agreement that makes investments to strengthen our nation and give every American a better chance at a better life,” said New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The deadline to fund the government is Dec 20. These bills would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2020, through Sept 30.

The hard-fought legislation also funds a record Pentagon budget and is serving as a must-pass legislative locomotive to tow an unusually large haul of unrelated provisions into law, including an expensive repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans, help for retired coal miners, and an increase from 18 to 21 the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump will sign the measure.

"The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open," said top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

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The roster of add-ons grew over the weekend to include permanent repeal of a tax on high-cost "Cadillac" health insurance benefits and a hard-won provision to finance health care and pension benefits for about 100,000 retired union coal miners threatened by the insolvency of their pension fund. A tax on medical devices and health insurance plans would also be repealed permanently.

The deficit tab for the package grew as well with the addition of $428 billion in tax cuts over 10 years to repeal the three so-called ObamaCare taxes.

The legislation is laced with provisions reflecting divided power in Washington. Republicans maintained the status quo on several abortion-related battles and on funding for Trump's border wall. Democrats controlling the House succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Democrat-led House Rules Committee on Tuesday dove into a marathon session to prepare the ground rules for what is likely to be a furious showdown vote on the House floor to adopt articles of impeachment against Trump.

The panel’s meeting lays the procedural groundwork for the House debate on Wednesday, outlining the timetable and other factors for the historic and divisive moment in Washington.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Government-funding package includes proposal to raise tobacco-buying age to 21

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Congress is poised to take up a provision in a $1.4 trillion year-end spending bill that would raise the tobacco purchase age to 21 in a rare show of bipartisan support as tobacco companies come under increasing scrutiny over their marketing practices and underage vaping.

The Tobacco-Free Youth Act add-on would raise the current age of 18 for tobacco products purchases of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other products. The spending bill would prevent another government shutdown this weekend.

The tobacco legislation was introduced earlier this year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky with Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Kentucky, a tobacco-producing state, is one of several that has seen an uptick in vaping-related illnesses and deaths from e-cigarettes.

GENERATION VAPE: AS JUUL FACES NEW SUIT, DOCTORS WORRY OVER EPIDEMIC OF E-CIGARETTE-RELATED STUDENT ILLNESSES

E.R. doctor's call to get kids off vaping, as CDC points to potential culprit behind illnessesVideo

“Since I introduced my legislation earlier this year to raise the minimum nationwide purchase age for tobacco products from 18 to 21, stories of vaping related illnesses and deaths — especially among young people — have stunned Kentucky and the nation,” McConnell said in a statement.

The effort has the support of both Democrats and Republicans as e-cigarette companies continue to push back against allegations that their products are marketed to children.

"This legislation will have an enormous positive impact on public health in America, and it’s needed now more than ever as we grapple with the youth e-cigarette epidemic," Kaine said.

VAPING DEATH TOLL HITS 34 IN US AS CDC CONFIRMS OVER 1,600 ILLNESSES

Congress is expected to pass the measure and send it to President Trump before the end of the year, McConnell said.

More than 6 million middle and high school students used tobacco products in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cigarettes were the most common product among high school-age kids, the agency said.

Juul suspends sale of fruit and dessert-flavored vaping products pending FDA reviewVideo

“Our Nation’s youth are becoming increasingly exposed to nicotine, a drug that is highly addictive and can harm brain development,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a Dec. 5 news release.

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Laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to people under 21 are in place in 19 states, according to Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation. San Francisco-based e-cigarette company Juul Labs recently halted the sale of mint-flavored products amid a backlash against vaping.

A study by the University of Southern California showed mint the most popular flavor among users in 10th and 12th grades.

Fox News' Frank Miles contributed to this report.

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