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Shutdown Prospects Grow As House GOP Fumbles Defense Funding Bill

Kevin McCarthy

A small group of rebellious House Republicans sank the annual funding bill for the Pentagon in the House Tuesday, underlining how difficult it will be to keep the entire government open and the lights on after Sept. 30.

The defense bill is usually the easiest for Republicans to vote in favor of, as it funds their top priority: national defense. But this year, it has become entangled in a wider, increasingly bitter intra-party fight in the House GOP overspending.

The vote on a rule setting the limits for floor debate on the defense bill failed on a 212-214 tally, with five Republicans voting against it. While the vote was only procedural, the reality is it, and the underlying defense bill, will probably not come back to the House floor until a deal is struck within the Republican conference.

“This is about funding our troops. This is not a place to play politics,” a frustrated House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters immediately after the vote.


An out-of-control GOP is the party of nonstop national crisis

Out of control GOP

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but congressional Republicans are once again careening toward internal crisis and a damaging government shutdown.

You may remember this song-and-dance from the last four or five times the party’s hard-line Freedom Caucus members held America’s economy hostage. That doesn’t make our latest spin on the roller coaster any less nauseating.

In the past, Republican leaders managed by the slimmest of margins to avert financial catastrophe by working with Democrats to pass temporary funding bills. This time it isn’t even clear they can achieve that minimum level of competence — in part because House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has blown his internal credibility to bits.


Majority Leader Chuck Schumer loosens Senate's informal dress code

Senate dress rules loosenedSenate Majority LeaderChuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has quietly changed the Senate’s informal dress code to allow senators to wear whatever they want on the floor, a person with direct knowledge said.

A notice went out to the Senate sergeant-at-arms and relevant staff members late Friday, and the change will go into effect starting Monday, the source said.

The change would let Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who is often seen wearing a hoodie and baseball shorts, wear his casual attire on the Senate floor whenever he wants. Fetterman, who was elected in last year’s midterm elections, wore a suit and a tie at his swearing-in in January.

However, he has worn his casual clothes after he returned to the Senate following treatment for clinical depression this year.


FBI official refutes top GOP claims on Hunter Biden investigation

Hunter Biden

A high-ranking FBI official involved in the Hunter Biden investigation refuted key testimony from an IRS whistleblower who claimed the top prosecutor on the case was stymied by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in bringing charges outside Delaware.

Thomas Sobocinski, the FBI lead on the team investigating Hunter Biden, spoke with House investigators last week, pushing back on testimony from another agent in the case who said now-special counsel David Weiss was denied that authority and limited from bringing charges in districts beyond Delaware.

“I was consistently aware that David Weiss had the authority in the U.S. to bring the charges where venue presented itself,” Sobocinski told GOP investigators in a transcript obtained by The Hill and other media outlets.

The testimony counters an account from IRS agent David Shapley, who said Weiss both sought and was denied special counsel authority.


Husband of Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola dies in plane crash

Gene Peltola dies in plane crash

Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola's husband died Wednesday morning following a plane crash in the state, according to a statement from her chief of staff.

"He was one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything. He had a delightful sense of humor that lightened the darkest moments," the statement said of Eugene "Buzzy" Peltola Jr. "We are heartbroken for the family's loss."

Peltola will return to Alaska to be with her family, her chief of staff Anton McParland said.

McParland and Peltola's office did not release additional details about the accident.

Fellow members of Congress have expressed condolences for their Democratic colleague, including Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who posted on X, formerly Twitter, "Our hearts are broken over this dreadful news."


Speaker McCarthy directs the House to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden

Speaker McCarthy directs the House to open impeachmentSpeaker Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday he is directing the U.S. House to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, launching historic proceedings ahead of the 2024 election.

McCarthy said that House investigations so far “paint a picture of a culture of corruption” around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took office.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said at the Capitol, announcing he was directing the House led by the Oversight Committee “to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.”

TVNL Comment: McCarthy sold his soul to the extremists in the GOP.  He has no integrity and no backbone.


‘Authoritarian regimes ban books’: Democrats raise alarm at Senate hearing

Authoritarian regimes ban books

A Senate hearing on book bans and censorship on Tuesday spotlighted the growing phenomenon in America and highlighted a partisan split on the issue, with Democrats decrying censorship as Republicans and rightwing activists push for many works to be taken out of schools and libraries, claiming it should be parents’ rights to do so.

Many of the most commonly banned books deal with topics such as racism, sexuality and gender identity. Conservatives also argue that some books, many exploring queer identity and LGBTQ+ themes, include sexually explicit content inappropriate for students. School librarians opposing such book bans have been attacked and harassed.


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