Democrats Pan ‘Cynical And Immoral’ GOP Health Care Bill After CBO Score Released

Congressional Democrats immediately lobbed harsh criticism at the GOP Senate health care bill after a Congressional Budget Office estimateshowed 22 million people stand to lose health insurance coverage if the bill becomes law.

The legislation intends to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, and has already faced tough criticism from Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who last week described the proposals tax savings for the wealthy as blood money.

Mondays CBO score confirmed what those Democrats already suspected: Because the bill dramatically scales back funding for Medicaid, millions will lose their health coverage over the next decade, and savings will mostly be transferred to health care companies and wealthy individuals via tax cuts.

Throwing 22 million Americans off of health insurance, raising premiums for older Americans, defunding Planned Parenthood and giving $231 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent is a cynical and immoral proposal, said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the bills most prominent critics. The reality is that this so-called health care bill is nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth from working families to the very rich.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) had a more concise assessment:

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) described the bill as a humanitarian catastrophe waiting to happen.

Other Democrats questioned how Republicans could support the bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act in good conscience.

After working largely in secret, Senate Republicans unveiled their version of the House-approved health care bill last Thursday.In addition to its draconian cuts to Medicaid, the bill will also change the private insurance market by adjusting financial assistance eligibility benchmarks to include fewer middle-class people and by reducing the amount of assistance people will receive.

It would also effectively eliminate the Affordable Care Acts individual mandate, which requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty,and would give states the ability to waive requirements for coverage of essential benefits and eliminate many taxes for health care companies.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pushed to hold a vote on this bill this week, though he has yet to come up with the votes necessary to pass it.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), one of several GOP senators who have so far declined to back the bill, said he didnt think lawmakers had enough information to cast a vote yet.

Theres no way we should be voting on this next week, he said. Theres no way.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have also publicly opposed the bill in its current form.

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Trump upbeat about passing ObamaCare overhaul, amid GOP senators’ concerns

President Trump expressed optimism Sunday about GOP congressional leaders being close to overhauling the dead carcass of ObamaCare, but acknowledged more deal-making is needed to get enough votes, as Republican senators appeared to put their chambers legislation in further doubt.

“We have a very good plan,” Trump told Fox News Fox & Friends in an interview taped Friday.

The president said the GOP leaders are not that far off from getting an ObamaCare overhaul bill to his desk. However, he acknowledged the five Republican senators who publicly opposed the bill after it was released last week are likely seeking some changes in exchange for their support.

“They want to get some points, Trump said. I think they’ll get some points.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., needs support from at least 50 of his 52 senators to pass the bill, perhaps as early as this week.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, one of the five opposing GOP senators, on Sunday suggested waiting.

“I would like to delay. These bills aren’t going to fix the problem. They’re not addressing the root cause,” he told NBCs Meet the Press, referring to rising health care costs. They’re doing the same old Washington thing, throwing more money at the problem.”

Meanwhile, Maine Sen. Susan Collins told ABCs This Week that she and at least seven other GOP senators were troubled by provisions in their chambers bill that could possibly cut Medicaid even more than the House version.

GOP leaders argue they are not cutting Medicaid, just slowing the growth of an entitlement program that has become financially unwieldy.

Collins, who also opposes proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood, said she would await an analysis Monday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office before taking a final position on the bill.

But she said it will be “extremely difficult” for the White House to be able to find a narrow path to attract both conservatives and moderates.

“It’s hard for me to see the bill passing this week,” Collins said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told Fox News Sunday that Republican leaders in Washington are talking with every one of the wary GOP senators.

Conversations are ongoing, he said. Thats what were working on this week. Thats the legislative process. Its a thin needle to thread.

No Senate Democrat supports the GOPs ObamaCare repeal-and-replace efforts, though many acknowledge the 2010 law is struggling under rising premium costs while offering Americans fewer premium choices.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, another of five GOP senators opposed to the bill, has already felt the heat. A super PAC run by former campaign staffers for Trump and Vice President Pence is planning to run ads against him in Nevada and on Saturday previewed the effort on Twitter.

Trump did not indicate what types of changes may be in store in Senate negotiations, but affirmed to Fox News that he indeed described the House-passed version as “mean.”

“I want to see a bill with heart,” he said, confirming a switch from his laudatory statements about the House bill at a Rose Garden ceremony with House GOP leaders last month. “Health care’s a very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way, and this group doesn’t like it.”

“And honestly, nobody can be totally happy,” Trump said.

McConnell has said he’s willing to make changes to win support.  And in the week ahead, plenty of backroom bargaining is expected. He is seeking to push a final package through the Senate no later than Congress July 4 recess.

The Senate bill resembles the House legislation. The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House measure predicts an additional 23 million people over the next decade would have no health care coverage, and recent polling shows only around one in four Americans views the House bill favorably.

The legislation would phase out extra federal money that more than 30 states receive for expanding Medicaid to additional low-income earners. It would also slap annual spending caps on the overall Medicaid program, which since its inception in 1965 has provided states with unlimited money to cover eligible costs.

Conservative Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., openly opposes the Senate bill because, he says, its not anywhere close to repealing ObamaCare.

He told ABC the bill offers too many tax credits that help poorer people to buy insurance, but left open the possibility of compromise.

“If we get to impasse, if we go to a bill that is more repeal and less big government programs, yes, I’ll consider partial repeal,” he said. “I’m not voting for something that looks just like ObamaCare.”

Trump said he thinks Republicans in the Senate are doing enough to push through the bill and criticized Democrats for their opposition.

“I don’t think they’re that far off. Famous last words, right? But I think they’re going to get there,” Trump said on Fox News about Republican Senate leaders. “We don’t have too much of a choice, because the alternative is the dead carcass of ObamaCare.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, said Democrats will be working hard to defeat the bill, having already made clear they would cooperate with Republicans if they agree to drop the full repeal effort and instead work to improve the 2010 law.

Still, Schumer acknowledged it was too close to call as to whether Republicans could muster enough support on their own to pass the bill.

He said they had “at best, a 50-50 chance,” he told ABC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mom shares the crushing cost of her son’s medical care before the Senate votes on healthcare bill

Before the Senate votes on its bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, many people are sharing stories of how the bill would affect them.

One story struck a chord with thousands of Twitter users this weekend. The mom of 3-year-old Ethan Vikash shared a photo of a medical bill for her son’s open heart surgery. The 24-line item bill came to $231,115 for 10 hours in surgery, one week in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit, and one week on the hospital’s cardiac floor.

With insurance, Ethan’s family only had to pay $500 out-of-pocket. But if Congress passes a healthcare bill that imposes lifetime caps on what insurance companies will cover, families that deal with childhood illnesses or heart conditions like Ethan’s would be well beyond priced out of life-saving care.

The thread covering the cost of Ethan’s healthcare got turned into a Twitter moment.

The story resonated with thousands of Twitter users who are scared about what will happen if Congress and President Donald Trump gut the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on lifetime caps.

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Trump: ‘Bothersome’ that Mueller is ‘very good friends’ with Comey

(CNN)President Donald Trump said “we’re going to have to see” when asked about the future of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is reportedly investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

“Well, he is very very good friends with (former FBI Director James) Comey, which is very bothersome,” the President said in a Fox News clip that aired Thursday. “We’re going to have to see.”
Trump fired Comey over dissatisfaction with how the FBI head was handling the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to oversee the investigation, including potential collusion between Trump’s campaign associates and Russian officials.
    “Look there has been no obstruction. There’s been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey,” Trump added. “But there’s been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that. So we’ll have to see.”
    Trump accused Mueller of hiring “all Hillary Clinton supporters” to staff the investigation. At least three members of Mueller’s legal team have given political donations almost exclusively to Democrats, CNN reported in an analysis of Federal Election Commission records.
    In other comments in the full interview on Fox, which aired Friday morning, Trump reiterated how ineffective Democrats and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been at winning elections. His remarks came on the heels of Democrat Jon Ossoff’s loss to Republican Karen Handel in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat Tuesday — the most expensive House race in US history.
    “I hope she doesn’t step down. It would be a very, very sad day for Republicans if she steps down,” Trump said. “I would be very, very disappointed if she did. I would like to keep her right where she is because our record is extraordinary against her, but we will see what happens.”
    “There has been a lot of talk about her stepping down,” he said. “We will have to see what happens.”
    Several Democratic lawmakers have said Pelosi’s position as a prominent face of the Democratic Party will continue to make winning elections difficult. In special elections for House seats vacated by Republicans who wound up in Trump’s Cabinet, Democrats have gone 0-for-4, losing races in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Kansas.
    On health care, Trump said he believes he will win over Republican lawmakers who have pledged to vote against the GOP bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.
    Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah said in a joint statement Thursday that they’re “not ready to vote for this bill.”
    “They are also four good guys and are four friends of mine,” Trump said. “I think they will probably get there. We will have to see. You know, health care is a very difficult situation.”
    “I have been here only five months, people saying, ‘Where is the health care?’ Well, I have done in five months what other people haven’t done in years,” Trump added. “People have worked on health care for many years. It’s a very complicated situation from the standpoint you do something that’s good for one group but bad for another.”

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    Prime Minister May offer: EU citizens will be able to stay in UK

    (CNN)In a Brexit divorce deal offering, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday said European Union citizens will be given the opportunity to stay in the United Kingdom after it leaves the EU.

    May and other European officials are meeting in Brussels, Belgium, to begin negotiations for a UK exit from the EU after the country voted last year to leave. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty outlines the voluntary departure.
    According to May’s office, any EU citizen living in the UK for five years or more by a yet-to-be specified cutoff date will be granted UK “settled status,” which gives them the same rights as British citizens to health care, education, welfare and pensions

        Was the Queen’s hat an anti-Brexit message?

      EU citizens living in the country for less than five years can stay and obtain residency status after reaching the five-year mark.
      “The UK’s position represents a fair and serious offer,” May told EU leaders in Brussels. “One aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society.”
      May’s offer will be put forth before Parliament next week.
      Speaking to journalists on Thursday night, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says May’s EU citizens’ rights proposal is a “good start,” but there will be many other questions to be discussed.
      The June 2016 Brexit vote in the hotly contested referendum exposed deep division across the country.
      Earlier this year, the UK government formally served divorce papers on the EU, marking the beginning of the end of a relationship that has endured for 44 years. May confirmed then that UK had triggered Article 50, beginning the legal process that must end in two years’ time with Britain leaving the EU.
      The UK must work out a number of issues after triggering Article 50 — including trade, migration, education and health care. Even if some terms of divorce are not settled, the UK will fall out of the union on March 29, 2019. They can split earlier if both parties agree.

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      Why James Corden sent 297 copies of the same movie to Mar-a-Lago.

      The movie “Philadelphia” was one of the first mainstream films to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That was more than 20 years ago.

      The story follows a closeted gay lawyer in, well, Philadelphia who battles discrimination after his employer discovers he has AIDS. At the time, it was groundbreaking and eye-opening for viewers. It’s where many learned and understood what it meant to live with HIV/AIDS.

      Yet here we are, in 2017, on the heels of an announcement that six of the top advisers on President Trump’s HIV/AIDS advisory board have resigned because “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

      The president, they said, “simply does not care.”

      Two steps forward, one step back.

      This massive failing by Trump has flown under the radar (see: Russia coverage), but late-night host James Corden had a brilliant plan to change that.

      “Most of what I know about HIV and AIDS, I learned from the movie ‘Philadelphia,'” Corden said during a segment on “The Late Late Show.” “As I learned more, I started to care about it. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t care because he’s never seen ‘Philadelphia.'”

      The audience laughed, but Corden was only partially joking. He had a great plan for getting the president to actually sit down and watch a movie that should be required viewing for the person in charge of disease research:

      He sent as many copies of the movie as he could find directly to Trump.

      He explains in the hilarious and powerful clip below:

      “HIV and AIDS, it still carries a stigma for many people. And they don’t want to talk about it,” said Corden, visibly upset.

      “And if you don’t talk about it, it makes it easy to ignore.”

      Research and treatment have come a long way, but around 66% of people in the U.S. living with HIV/AIDS are not in treatment. (Globally, about 54% of people have no access to treatment.)

      So yes, this is still a huge problem. It deserves to be addressed.

      Will Trump actually watch one of the copies of “Philadelphia” that show up addressed to him at Mar-a-Lago? (“The president’s never [at the White House]. He’s always playing golf!” Corden said.)

      Unlikely. But just because the president doesn’t care doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

      There are a lot of scandals and outrages with this Trump administration to talk about, but this is one we shouldn’t allow to go unnoticed.

      If you want to find out how you can make a difference in fighting HIV/AIDS, start here.

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      Georgia special election: Republican Karen Handel beats Jon Ossoff in runoff

      Sporadic downpours and flash flood warnings helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts

      In Georgia the resistance was stopped by the rain on Tuesday when Jon Ossoff, long the best hope of Democrats to win a special election in the Trump administration, suffered a narrow loss to Republican Karen Handel in the Sixth Congressional District.

      With 99% of precincts reporting, Handel had 52.4% and Ossoff had 47.6%

      Sporadic downpours and flash flood warnings helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts and on the hopes of progressives to thwart Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Combined with an energized Republican base that kept Ossoff from accumulating a significant lead among early voters, it doomed the hopes of the anti-Trump activists who made the first time Democratic candidate a minor political celebrity.

      The runoff came after a first round of voting in April where Ossoff won just over 48% of the vote and Handel finished second in a splintered Republican field with just under 20% of the vote. However, Ossoff struggled to match that total as Handel consolidated the Republican vote in a traditionally conservative district in the northern suburbs of Atlanta andended up falling a percentage point short of his much hyped performance in the first round of voting.

      Trump took to Twitter to hail the result as a personal victory Thank you @FoxNews Huge win for President Trump and GOP in Georgia Congressional Special Election.

      The seat had been vacated by Tom Price when the former congressman joined Trumps cabinet to become secretary of health and human services and previously held by Republican stalwarts like Senator Johnny Isakson and former speaker Newt Gingrich. Although Price won by 23% in 2016, Donald Trump only narrowly won this wealthy, well-educated district by just over 1%.

      Trumps narrow win sparked optimism among Democrats that the district, where nearly 60% of residents have a college degree, could flip as part of the political realignment around the presidents upset victory in 2016. Roughly $50m ended up being spent by both parties and allied groups in the race as it became the most expensive congressional campaign in the history of the United States.

      However, while Democrats had motivated their base and won over skeptical Republicans, the conservative slant of district proved too much even for the nearly unprecedented resources that Democrats invested in the race, even flying in volunteers for last minute doorknocking as local television stations had been saturated by 30-second advertisements.

      Although the race had been cast a referendum on Trump an opinion the President seemed to endorse after the result had been reported both candidates awkwardly danced around his looming presence on the campaign trail. At Handels campaign events, Trumps name went unmentioned by the candidate and introductory speakers. Instead, there was constant refrain of attack on Ossoff for his ties to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and praise for previous holders of the seat like Price and Gingrich. Ossoff was regularly bashed for the amount of money he raised out of state and for having San Francisco values.

      Handel, who suggested in the first televised debate of the campaign that Trump should use Twitter less often, told the Guardian in an interview on Monday that she didnt pay attention to the presidents use of social media. She said I am focused on my campaign, I have precious little time to be on Twitter. Several hours later, her campaign sent out a fundraising email signed by the former secretary of state with the subject line did you see what Trump just tweeted? after the President used his ubiquitous social media account to tout her campaign.

      Ossoff has also been measured in his attacks on Trump in a traditionally Republican district albeit one that the president barely won in 2016. Instead, the lanky and measured political neophyte focused on banal and politically non-controversial issues like government waste and turning Atlanta into the Silicon Valley of the South and let the progressive anti-Trump enthusiasm of the Democratic base carry him.

      Instead, he has focused on Handels stint as Georgia secretary of state as well as her brief stint with the Susan Komen Race For The Cure, a charity which combats breast cancer, where she led an effort to cut off the organizations funding for Planned Parenthood. The decision sparked a major controversy and funding was eventually restored and Handel had to resign from the non-profit.

      In an interview with the Guardian, Ossoff slammed his opponent. Secretary Handels record as secretary of state is extremely weak perhaps because she was too busy preparing her next run for higher office to do her job. She quit her job early to run for higher office, as so many career politicians do. Her last significant private sector experience, her performance also lacked.

      The issue of civility and the growing toxic nature of American political culture became an issue late in the race in the aftermath of the shooting of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. Handel pointed to social media and journalism as reasons for the decline of civility in American society in an interview with the Guardian. Journalism is not journalism any more, said Handel. Ossoff stuck to broader themes, telling the Guardian, this is a deep rooted problem in American politics right now which is going to take work and bipartisan commitment to trying to heal wounds and focus on substance instead of fear mongering and slander.

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      Wonderschool gets $2M to help solve Americas childcare quandary

      In the U.S., childcare presents a nerve-wracking quagmire for parents. Its expensivealmost a fifth of American families spend more than a quarter of their income on childcarebut that doesnt mean its a lucrative business. In fact, many caregivers make so little that they cant afford childcare for their own kids and drop out of the workforce. Wonderschool, which just raised $2 million in seed funding led by First Round Capital, wants to solve that problem by serving as a platform for qualified providers to make a better income by opening their own in-home daycares or preschools.

      Other participants in Wonderschools seed round include Cross Culture Ventures, SoftTech VC, Lerer Ventures, FundersClub, and Edelweiss. The funding will be used to expand Wonderschool into 15 new cities over the next year and a half (its platform currently has about 50 in-home daycares and preschools in California).

      Wonderschools two co-founders, CEO Chris Bennett and CTO Arrel Gray, previously launched Soldsie, an e-commerce company that enables businesses to sell products through their social media profiles. The two made the leap from e-commerce to childcare after Gray had trouble finding a good daycare for his toddler near his home.

      We saw too many parents who were anxious and scared about finding childcare, as well as educators who couldnt afford care for their own children while they were at work, says Bennett. We knew that there had to be a better way to address this issue for families and teachers alike.

      Wonderschools team, including founders Chris Bennett (far left) and Arrel Gray (second from right)

      Caregivers are picked based on their credentials, experience, education, and location. All need to have a state license, maintain liability insurance (that Wonderschool pays for), meet health and safety standards, and follow a daily routine. Bennett says that 76 percent of Wonderschools partners have a bachelors degree, while 32 percent have also completed graduate school.

      But working in childcare often means that higher education does not translate into higher earnings. Many caregivers and teachers stop working simply because of the cost of childcare for their own kids was almost as much as their income. In fact, about a third of Wonderschools directors were stay-at-home parents before they joined the platform.

      When early childhood educators leave the workforce, however, that means other parents have even fewer options. In many cities, parents join waitlists before their children are even born in order to ensure they get a spot in a good program. The average income of Wonderschool providers (many of whom live in expensive areas like the Bay Area and Los Angeles) before joining the program was less than $38,000 before taxes. The company claims that most make around double that average after joining the platform.

      Wonderschools platform can help with demand because it allows providers to start programs any time of the year and also gives parents transparency into availability and pricing so they dont have to wait in suspense to find out if their child has a spot.

      Many of the providers Wonderschool works with are experienced early childhood educators (a glance at their site reveals a lot of teachers who are inspired by educators like Maria Montesorri, Reggio Emilia, or Rudolf Steiner). In California, Wonderschools providers are licensed by the state to run programs in their homes.

      Bennet says that the benefits of in-home daycares or preschools versus traditional centers often include smaller group sizes, lower child-to-teacher ratios, and mixed-age groups that allow younger kids to observe and learn from older children. For many parents, its also reassuring to have the same person take care of their child for years, instead of transitioning to new caregivers, which usually happens in larger daycare centers based on age groups.

      One of the main drawbacks of in-home daycares or preschools is that if the provider needs to take time off, parents are often left scrambling to find other childcare arrangements. Wonderschools network means it is able to help parents find backup care among its other providers.

      Wonderschool finds most of its program directors (which is what it calls its providers) through word-of-mouth and local events. If they pass Wonderschools screening process, the company guides them through the steps of setting up a businessdefining their educational philosophy, setting a daily schedule for kids, figuring out what rate to charge parentsand then create a profile for them on Wonderschools marketplace.

      Parents can book a tour, sign up for waiting lists, and enroll through the site. If issues arise once they do find a daycare, Wonderschool serves as an intermediary between them and their providers. The startup helps providers set a tuition rate, manage discounts, and accept government subsidies from parents who qualify. Its platform also takes care of the administrative tasks that can bog down in-home daycare providers, like marketing and payments, and helps them meet state healthy and safety standards.

      The companys goal is to give more children the same opportunities Bennett had when he was young.

      My appreciation for education goes back to my parents, working class, Honduran immigrants who did whatever they could to ensure that my sister and I had access to excellent education, from attending quality preschool to graduating from Penn, Bennett says. I want to ensure other children have the same opportunities to reach their full potential.

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      Celeb Dads Celebrating Their First Father’s Day!

      You may not think George Clooney and Rob Kardashian may have much in common, but they’re both celebrating their first Father’s Day today!

      What a time to be alive!

      We can only imagine how these proud poppas will be celebrating with their beautiful children, but however they do, we’re wishing them a beautiful day! And also lots of presents…

      Ch-ch-check out some other first-time fathers (below)!

      CLICK HERE to view “Celeb Dads Celebrating Their First Father’s Day!”

      CLICK HERE to view “Celeb Dads Celebrating Their First Father’s Day!”

      CLICK HERE to view “Celeb Dads Celebrating Their First Father’s Day!”

      CLICK HERE to view “Celeb Dads Celebrating Their First Father’s Day!”

      CLICK HERE to view “Celeb Dads Celebrating Their First Father’s Day!”

      [Image via Judy Eddy/Lexi JonesWENN.]

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      The Latest: UK’s May Meets Fire Survivors, Faces Criticism

      London (AP) — The Latest on the London high-rise fire (all times local):

      8:40 p.m.

      British Prime Minister Theresa May, facing criticism for the government's handling of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, has met with 15 survivors and community leaders at her official residence at 10 Downing Street in London.

      The meeting lasted more than two hours Saturday but the group did not speak to reporters gathered outside.

      The meeting is unlikely to quell complaints that May has been slow to reach out to fire survivors, despite her announcement of a $6.4 million emergency fund to help displaced families. Some 600 people were living in the tower's 120 apartments. Police say 58 people at the tower are now confirmed or presumed dead. All the rest are homeless.

      May said after the meeting there have been "huge frustrations" in the community as people tried to get information about the fire investigation. She says "the support on the ground for families who needed help or basic information in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough."


      3:40 p.m.

      London police say 58 people who were in Grenfell Tower are still missing and assumed to be dead.

      Police Commander Stuart Cundy said Saturday that this number, which was based on reports from the public, may rise. He says it will take weeks or longer to recover and identify all the dead in the public housing block that was devastated by a fire early Wednesday.

      He said there may have been people in the tower that police are not aware of, which would add to the death toll.

      He says the search for remains had been paused because of safety concerns but has resumed. Emergency workers have reached the top of the 24-story tower.

      Cundy promised an exhausting investigation into the tragedy. He says "my heart goes out to those affected."


      2:20 p.m.

      London's fire department says that the reason for the subway closure near the high-rise fire disaster is because of a "short-term risk of some debris falling onto the tracks."

      Earlier, a sign at a Tube station said that the service suspension was because of the "safety" of nearby Grenfell Tower, suggesting structural concerns. A new sign was put up, removing that detail.

      A fire department spokesman said crews are working to secure the debris so that two subway lines could be reopened as soon as possible.

      At least 30 people were killed in Wednesday's inferno, which left Grenfell Tower a charred hulk.


      1:30 p.m.

      Service on two London Underground lines has been partially suspended because of concerns about the safety of the high-rise in the fire that killed at least 30 people.

      The 24-story Grenfell Tower in the north Kensington neighborhood in west London is near several major transport hubs. The building was gutted in a blaze early Wednesday morning that has also left dozens missing and hundreds of others homeless.

      Major roads near the stricken building were open Saturday. Police have established a security cordon around the building to protect public safety and allow searchers easy access to the wrecked building.


      1:20 p.m.

      British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with survivors of the London high-rise fire at her Downing Street office.

      The announcement by a spokesman comes a day after May was heckled during a visit to the west London neighborhood where Wednesday's inferno took place. At least 30 people have been killed, hundreds of others have been left homeless and dozens of others are missing. There has been growing public anger at the government's initial response to the disaster's aftermath and reports that external paneling put up during a recent renovation contributed to the flames' rapid spread.

      May is chairing a government task force on the fire and a spokesman says that she will meet afterward with "a group of residents, victims, volunteers and community leaders" at No. 10 Downing Street.


      12:45 p.m.

      A soccer player says that he will donate 50 pounds (more than $60) for each minute he plays at a European youth tournament to the victims of London's high-rise inferno.

      Hector Bellerin, who is in Spain's team at UEFA's European Under-21 Championship, made the announcement on Twitter , saying "please support in any way." Spain faces Macedonia on Saturday night in the tournament, which is being played in Poland. If Bellerin plays a full 90 minutes, not including added time, he would donate 4,500 pounds (about $5,750) per match. Bellerin, a defender, also plays for London club Arsenal.

      At least 30 people were killed in the fire at Grenfell Tower in the west London neighborhood of north Kensington. Hundreds of others have been left homeless and dozens are missing.


      10:50 a.m.

      Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip have observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the London high-rise fire.

      The queen and Philip stood silently before the start of the annual Trooping the Color procession that marks the queen's official birthday.

      She said earlier that the national mood is somber but that Britain is resolute in the face of adversity.

      The queen's official birthday is marked in June when the weather is often nicer than in April, the actual month of her birth. She is 91.

      At least 30 people have died in Wednesday's fire and dozens are missing.


      10:20 a.m.

      British health authorities say they are still treating 19 patients, 10 of whom remain in critical condition after the London high-rise fire.

      NHS England says the injured are being treated in four London hospitals. At least 30 people were killed in Wednesday's inferno at the Grenfell Tower, while dozens of others are missing.

      The fire at the 24-story building has led to community anger and protests over the British government's response. The public is also demanding answers about how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that the recently-renovated building's exterior paneling fueled the flames.


      7:50 a.m.

      More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) has been raised for victims of the London high-rise fire that has killed at least 30 people and left dozens homeless.

      Londoners and others have also donated huge amounts of food, water and clothing, and shelter, to survivors.

      Three appeals on the JustGiving site have helped to raise the 3 million pounds, and London's Evening Standard newspaper has launched a separate appeal that has raised at least 1.5 million pounds ($1.9 million) by Saturday morning. The British government has announced a 5 million-pound ($6.3 million) emergency fund for the victims.

      The inferno Wednesday morning at the 24-story Grenfell Tower has led to community anger and protests over the government's response.


      7:20 a.m.

      London firefighters are continuing the grim search after a high-rise fire that killed at least 30 people as public anger about the blaze continues to grow.

      Many are demanding answers for how the blaze spread so quickly. Britain's Press Association says around 70 people are missing.

      Queen Elizabeth II marked her official birthday Saturday by saying Britain remains "resolute in the face of adversity" after the horrendous fire and recent extremist attacks in London and Manchester.

      The 91-year-old monarch said it is "difficult to escape a very somber mood" on what is normally a day of celebration.

      The government has promised a full public inquiry.

      Scuffles broke out near the Kensington and Chelsea town hall offices Friday as demonstrators chanting "We want justice!" surged toward the doors.

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