Morning Report: July 31, 2017

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Japan and United States Inch Closer to Military Action?

The latest ballistic missile test from North Korea has not only angered the United States, but also one of its key allies in the region, Japan. Following a an early morning conference call with President Trump, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that more action was needed. It seems clear that both nations are losing patience with North Korea.

After the call Shinzo told reporters in Tokyo:

“We have made consistent efforts to resolve the North Korean problem in a peaceful manner, but North Korea has ignored that entirely and escalated the situation in a one-sided way.”

He continued, “The international community, starting with China and Russia, must take this obvious fact seriously and increase pressure.”

Both world leaders said they agreed that more action was needed.

President Trump has been critical of China on Twitter, saying he is “very disappointed in China,” and that they “could easily solve the problem.”

Russia Gets Aggressive After US Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting tough in responding to sanctions approved by Congress on Friday. Putin has ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people, and said Moscow will seize two U.S. diplomatic properties.

The sanctions are on President Trump’s desk, senior White House officials have said the president would sign the bill.

Putin has ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people, and said Moscow will seize two U.S. diplomatic properties.

The sanctions were a response to conclusions by 4 U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as the Kremlin’s actions in annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

For its part, Moscow has denied interfering in the US election, and U.S. officials have admitted no votes were altered as a result of any “meddling.”

Health Care Reform Back on the Table?

It appears the health care negotiations that went down in flames early Friday morning for Senate GOP leaders may have begun again over the weekend.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly has a new plan for the Senate.

The plan, according to Politico, will be pushed in earnest Monday as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revoked the first two weeks of their traditional August recess. Politico also reported that Trump met privately with several Senate Republicans on Friday after the failed “skinny” repeal. It’s not yet clear what, if any new wrinkle Graham would introduce for the Senate to consider.

On Saturday, President Trump used threatening language to insurance companies and members of Congress that inaction could be personally costly to them.