The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Congress is poised to rush legislation to President Barack Obama this week that would inject fresh funds to federal agencies, avoiding a government shutdown on Thursday with the start of a new fiscal year.

The Senate will kick off the action later on Monday, when it holds a procedural vote clearing the way for a bill that extends existing funding until Dec. 11.

If all goes as planned, the Senate would then pass the spending bill sometime on Tuesday, sending it to the House of Representatives for passage before the midnight Wednesday deadline.

Obama and Republicans who control Congress have been arguing for months over spending priorities for fiscal 2016, with conservatives pushing for more military spending and liberals urging the lifting of tight spending caps on both military and domestic programs.

The stopgap spending measure being spirited through Congress this week is meant to give negotiators more time to come to an agreement.

But the broad debate over spending has been overshadowed by House conservatives’ demands that any stopgap spending bill contain a provision cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. Their move threatened to bring the second government shutdown in two years.

Those lawmakers want to punish the women’s health organization, which gets about $550 million in federal funds a year, for allegedly selling fetal tissue harvested from aborted fetuses.

Planned Parenthood denies any wrongdoing and Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress vow to block any bill that stops the group’s funding.

On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner stunned Washington when he announced that he will leave Congress on Oct. 30, following repeated threats by conservatives who wanted to oust him.

That announcement freed Boehner to move forward with a government-wide spending bill without the Planned Parenthood rider that conservatives demanded.

Knowing that he likely will lack enough votes among fellow Republicans for passing any measure that funds Planned Parenthood, Boehner will rely on opposition Democrats to help get the stopgap spending bill passed, thus averting government shutdowns this week.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

The U.S. Capitol is lit in Washington February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

President Joe Biden

The price of gasoline is not Joe Biden's fault, nor did it break records. Adjusted for inflation, it was higher in 2008 when Republican George W. Bush was president. And that wasn't Bush's fault, either.

We don't have to like today's inflation, but that problem, too, is not Biden's doing. Republicans are nonetheless hot to pin the rap on him. Rising prices, mostly tied to oil, have numerous causes. There would be greater supply of oil and gas, they say, if Biden were more open to approving pipelines and more drilling on public land.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

Heat deaths in the U.S. peak in July and August, and as that period kicks off, a new report from Public Citizen highlights heat as a major workplace safety issue. With basically every year breaking heat records thanks to climate change, this is only going to get worse without significant action to protect workers from injury and death.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration admits that government data on heat-related injury, illness, and death on the job are “likely vast underestimates.” Those vast underestimates are “about 3,400 workplace heat-related injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work per year from 2011 to 2020” and an average of 40 fatalities a year. Looking deeper, Public Citizen found, “An analysis of more than 11 million workers’ compensation injury reports in California from 2001 through 2018 found that working on days with hotter temperatures likely caused about 20,000 injuries and illnesses per year in that state, alone—an extraordinary 300 times the annual number injuries and illnesses that California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) attributes to heat.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}