MCCONNELL SWINGS AND MISSES ON "SKINNY" REPEAL EFFORT THANKS TO JOHN MCCAIN: Dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump's agenda, the Senate early Friday rejected a measure to repeal parts of former President Barack Obama's health care law after a night of high suspense in the U.S. Capitol. Unable to pass even a so-called "skinny repeal," it was unclear if Senate Republicans could advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal "Obamacare." "This is clearly a disappointing moment," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "I regret that our efforts were not enough, this time." McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week.
OCRACOKE ISLAND UNDER MANDATORY EVACUATION AFTER BRIDGE CONTRACTOR DESTROYS POWER LINE: The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division is helping to evacuate thousands of visitors from Ocracoke Island because of a power outage. In a statement, the department says priority boarding is suspended for all vehicles leaving Ocracoke. Tolls will be waived for ferry trips between Ocracoke and Cedar Island or Swan Quarter. Officials in Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation order for the island's estimated 10,000 visitors beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday. Visitors are asked to be off the island by noon Friday. A construction company acknowledged damaging an electric transmission cable while working on a new bridge, causing a power outage affecting Ocracoke and Hatteras islands on the Outer Banks.
COOPER SIGNS WIND ENERGY MORATORIUM TO PRESERVE SOLAR ENERGY GAINS: Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law on Thursday legislation promoting solar energy in the state and issued an executive order encouraging wind-power development despite an 18-month moratorium on wind projects included in the bill.Cooper said his executive order clarifies that wind projects can proceed through the initial permit stages – and that the state should do all it can to help them along – regardless of the temporary ban. “I strongly oppose the ugly, last-minute, politically motivated wind moratorium. However, this fragile and hard fought solar deal will be lost if I veto this legislation and that veto is sustained.”
JUDGES IN REDISTRICTING CASE ACCUSE NC GOP OF UNNECESSARY DELAYS IN REDRAWING MAPS: Two of three judges on the federal panel overseeing a redraw of North Carolina's legislative maps upbraided the General Assembly's Republican majority Thursday, suggesting in a hearing that they were tired of foot-dragging in the case. The panel last year found 19 House and nine Senate districts unconstitutional and ordered them redrawn. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that ruling in early June, but it sent the case back to the panel to reconsider whether special elections should be held with new maps or whether it's better to keep the status quo in Raleigh until the regularly scheduled November 2018 elections. Regardless of what's decided on the special election, the map-making process itself should be further along, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles and 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Wynn suggested from the bench. "You don't seem serious," Eagles told attorney Phil Strach, who represents General Assembly leadership.
SCARAMUCCI GOES OFF THE RAILS IN PROFANE ATTACK ON PRIEBUS AND OTHER WHITE HOUSE STAFF: Not even a week into his new job, Scaramucci accused unidentified senior officials of trying to sabotage him and committing a felony by leaking information. But the personal financial information that he said someone had “leaked” about him had simply been obtained through a public records request. Then in an expletive-laden interview published by The New Yorker late Thursday, an angry Scaramucci accused Priebus of being a “f------ paranoid schizophrenic.” He also used a graphic sexual reference to make the point that he believes White House chief strategist Steve Bannon used Trump’s election win to burnish his own reputation. He also threatened to fire White House staffers who leaked news about a dinner he had with the president. “They’ll all be fired by me,” Scaramucci told the magazine. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus, if you want to leak something, he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.”