10 Things in Politics: Showdown looms to keep the government open

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Here’s what we’re talking about:

Mitch McConnell says GOP will vote for US to default on its debtJustin Trudeau projected to remain prime minister of CanadaDHS investigating ‘extremely troubling’ images of border agents on horseback chasing migrants

With Phil Rosen.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

1. SHOWDOWN ON CAPITOL HILL: The White House and congressional Democrats are playing hardball. With two key deadlines looming, top leaders say they will combine legislation that would avoid a government shutdown next month and suspension of the debt limit, the latter of which would avoid the federal government defaulting on its bills. Their move essentially dares Republicans to vote to tank the US economy by blocking the forthcoming bill. For now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t backing down.

Here’s a look at where things stand:

Top Republicans have long warned they won’t raise the debt ceiling: McConnell repeated his opposition to such a move – which amounts to allowing the government to pay its existing bills – even if it meant shutting down the government. He has called for Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own through a special budget process. But Democrats don’t want to do that, per The Washington Post, because it would require taking a politically difficult vote.

Democrats say this is hypocrisy: They note that the national debt grew nearly $8 trillion under President Donald Trump – chiefly on the back of GOP tax cuts and bipartisan emergency coronavirus-related spending packages. Republicans supported raising the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration.

Time is running out: The government is expected to run out of money October 1. It’s more difficult to predict when the government would default on its debt, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told lawmakers that time-buying measures her department had taken would run out in early October as well.

Yes, you’ve seen this movie before: President Joe Biden and McConnell played major parts in it too. Spurred on by the tea-party movement, Republicans sought to use raising the debt ceiling as a political cudgel against the Obama White House in 2011. The two sides eventually reached a deal that liberals continue to loathe, but the process of going to the brink came at the cost of an embarrassing credit downgrade.

Read more about where things stand as deadlines loom for lawmakers.

2. Legal experts are poking holes in a Trump-era special prosecutor’s case against a Clinton campaign lawyer: The special counsel John Durham’s indictment of Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer at a firm with deep Democratic ties, marked his first overt sign of activity in months. Legal experts aren’t impressed. They see the case against Sussmann as unusually – even remarkably – thin. It’s likely to face significant hurdles at trial. One of the issues is that the charge rests on the testimony of a single witness.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

3. Justin Trudeau is expected to remain prime minister: Trudeau’s decision to force a Canadian snap election is projected to yield mixed results, handing the prime minister a third term but without his party retaking a majority in Parliament. Some said Trudeau’s decision to call a federal election early was a bid to retake the majority. More on the Canadian election results.

4. DHS says it’s investigating „extremely troubling” images at the border: Federal officials pledged to formally look into photos and videos of agents on horses pushing back against migrants at the US-Mexico border, the Associated Press reports. Amid concerns that some of the agents appeared to be brandishing whips, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters the straps were long reins to help control the agents’ horses. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, called the footage „horrific.” Top officials say the US has deported more than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants from a Texas border town, vowing swift action for people who cross the US border illegally.

Drone videos show thousands of Haitian migrants trying to enter the US:

5. Texas doctor sued in the first major test of the state’s abortion ban: An Arkansas man is suing a doctor who recently performed an abortion in Texas after six weeks of pregnancy, an act now considered illegal under a new state law. Dr. Alan Braid of San Antonio wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Post explaining his decision to defy the law. Oscar Stilley, a former lawyer disbarred on charges of tax evasion and conspiracy in 2010, filed the suit after reading a news report about Braid’s article. ​​The lawsuit presents the first publicized legal challenge to Texas’ new abortion restrictions.

At least one antiabortion group isn’t happy: Texas Right to Life, an antiabortion group, slammed „self-serving legal stunts,” telling The Post that Braid’s article was written to gin up lackluster challenges. Stilley told the paper he was not against abortion.

6. Pfizer says its shot is safe and likely to be effective for children: The drugmaker and its partner BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine generated a promising immune response in a trial in kids ages 5 to 11. The companies said they planned to submit their data to the Food and Drug Administration „as soon as possible.” That could make their COVID-19 shot the first authorized for use in younger children.

7. More Americans have died of COVID-19 than died in the 1918 flu pandemic: „Despite all the scientific and medical advances of the past 103 years, the Covid-19 pandemic has now killed more Americans than the 1918 flu pandemic did,” CNN wrote. The known US death toll from the coronavirus, per Johns Hopkins University, has passed 675,000. Here are some of the major differences between the pandemics.

8. FBI declares the home of Brian Laundrie’s parents a crime scene: Authorities began searching the Florida home of Laundrie’s parents just one day after a body believed to be that of Laundrie’s fiancée, Gabby Petito, was found. Authorities continue to search for Laundrie, who disappeared in recent days. The latest on the case.

Related: Here is a timeline of the road trip that ended in Petito’s disappearance

9. Dow falls over 600 points over China-related worries: Stocks cratered Monday amid fears about the extent of a debt crisis for China’s second-largest property developer. Anxiety about congressional action over the debt ceiling didn’t help matters either. Evergrande, the Chinese company, is highly leveraged and is facing a $7 billion crunch over the next year. Here’s everything you need to know about why Wall Street is worried about a Chinese real-estate company.

10. Major brands and companies are embracing a TikTok creator’s mock logos: Emily Zugay, a 24-year-old pet-portrait artist from southeastern Wisconsin, told Insider in an email that she used Adobe Illustrator to make „repulsive but believable” designs so that „even folks who don’t know basic design principles would know that they are downright awful.” Take a look at the designs used by TikTok, NASCAR, Tinder, and Tampax.

Today’s trivia question: Benedict Arnold committed treason on this day in 1780. Before his treachery, he played a major role in the American Revolution’s turning point. There’s even a monument dedicated to his service during the Battles of Saratoga, though it does not directly name him. What does the monument depict? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Yesterday’s answer: The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the US Navy – that’s because naval officers and crew members still serve aboard the vessel first launched in 1797. Six ships were commissioned largely because of French aggression that led to the Quasi-War.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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