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Biden Meets With Pelosi, Schumer as Democrats Seek Agreement

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden conferred Friday morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as Democrats struggle toward agreement on the president’s economic agenda.

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Biden Meets With Pelosi, Schumer as Democrats Seek Agreement
© Bloomberg. U.S. President Joe Biden walks past the Rose Garden to the Oval Office after speaking during the Council of Chief State School Officers’ 2020 and 2021 State and National Teachers of the Year event at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. About one hundred teachers will be honored for their excellence in teaching and commitment to students’ learning. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden conferred Friday morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as Democrats struggle toward agreement on the president’s economic agenda.

The high-level meeting comes as Democrats strive to wrap up negotiations on roughly $2 trillion compromise version of Biden’s spending plan by the end of this weekend. Pelosi had breakfast with the president, with Schumer participating virtually, according to people familiar with the meeting.

“We had a very positive meeting this morning. I’m very optimistic,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol afterward. “Much of the bill has been written, we just need some decisions.”

A deal on the social-spending package could allow the House to vote on a separate $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has been held up by progressive lawmakers who first want the agreement on the larger bill. Leaders have said they hope to vote on the infrastructure bill before the Oct. 31 expiration of current highway funding.

Schumer earlier this week said he wanted to strike an agreement on a framework for Biden’s plans by Friday, but numerous disagreements on both revenue and spending remained. Democrats said they planned to continue negotiating through the weekend.

Getting a resolution this weekend will be a heavy lift. There’s not yet agreement on the top line for spending or on a range of revenue-raising measures to pay for it. Opposition by Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema to raising the corporate and individual tax rates has forced Democrats to scramble to search for alternatives.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to get the vote,” Biden said in response to a question about individual and corporate rates at a CNN town hall on Thursday in Baltimore. 

The White House has been directly negotiating with Sinema to find ways to raise revenue to come up with enough money to fund the climate, health care and early childhood programs central to Biden’s economic agenda.

Sinema has agreed to raise tax revenue from companies and the wealthy, according to a person familiar with the matter. But that’s posed a challenge to craft potential alternatives to rate increases.

How to raise revenue isn’t the only obstacle. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who supports increasing tax rates for corporations and high-income individuals, has said he can’t support a clean power program favored by Biden. There are still a host of other provisions that also remain unsettled.

Pelosi said committees were working on the tax portion and that there were “a couple of outstanding issues” on health care.

(Updates with Pelosi remarks in third and last paragraphs)

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Georgia man pleads guilty to attacking police during U.S. Capitol riot

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Georgia man pleads guilty to attacking police during U.S. Capitol riot
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads “Come and Take It,” during clashes with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election resul

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Georgia man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attacking a police officer during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of Donald Trump trying to overturn his election defeat.

Kevin Creek, 46, of Alpharetta, pleaded guilty to a felony charge that he engaged in physical contact with a police officer during the riot.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich told Creek the charge carried a maximum prison term of 8 years and fine of $250,000, but that federal guidelines suggested a prison sentence ranging from 24 to 30 months.

The judge scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 10.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report, videos show Creek attacking “multiple” police officers during the riot.

The FBI said that during a subsequent visit to a Georgia hospital, Creek talked about being “tear gassed” at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

During an FBI interview in May, Creek was shown videos of a rioter attacking police and “admitted the videos looked like him,” while claiming he “did not remember assaulting any officer.” He confirmed that during the riot he was armed with mace and a knife.

More than 120 defendants have pleaded guilty to Jan. 6 charges, though fewer than 20 have pleaded guilty to felonies.

Four felony pleas related to assaults on police, according to the Justice Department. At least 65 defendants face charges of using a dangerous weapon or causing injury to police. The department said around 140 police officers were assaulted during the riot.

A Capitol Police officer attacked by protesters died the following day. Four D.C. police officers who guarded the Capitol later committed suicide. Four rioters also died, including one who was shot by police as she tried to climb through a shattered window inside the building.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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U.S. Catholic bishops encourage government search for boarding school graves

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U.S. Catholic bishops encourage government search for boarding school graves

By Brad Brooks

(Reuters) – Two influential U.S. Roman Catholic Church bishops are encouraging their peers to cooperate with a federal investigation into abuses committed within the former Native American boarding school system.

In a letter sent to all U.S. bishops in November, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, who heads a church committee on domestic justice, and Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, who leads a church committee on Native American affairs, asked fellow bishops to hand over records investigators may seek and allow access to property where the unmarked remains of Native American students may lie.

Coakley’s office confirmed in an email Wednesday that he and Wall sent the letter, which was seen by Reuters.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has said it will release a report on its investigation in April of next year. That report “will likely bring to light some very troubling information,” Coakley and Gallup wrote.

For over 150 years, beginning in 1819, Native American children in the United States were forcibly removed from their tribes and sent to such schools, many operated by Catholic and other churches on behalf of the government. Many children were abused at the schools, and tens of thousands were never heard from again, activists and researchers say.

Coakley and Wall urged bishops to reach out to Native Americans to understand “where reconciliation is needed and what form that might take.”

Christine Diindiisi McCleave, head of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and a descendant of school survivors, told Reuters that “churches can participate in truth telling, but they do not get to lead the healing for Native people.”

Churches must use caution that any conversations do not add to trauma for survivors, she added.

Conditions at former Native American boarding schools gained global attention earlier this year when tribal leaders in Canada, which modeled boarding schools on the U.S. system, announced the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops residential school for indigenous children.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Shutdown Risk Rises as U.S. Congress Stalls on Stopgap Bill

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Shutdown Risk Rises as U.S. Congress Stalls on Stopgap Bill
© Bloomberg. The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. House Democrats set up a Tuesday vote on a bill that would suspend the U.S. debt ceiling through December 2022 and temporarily fund the government to avert a shutdown at the end of this month. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The risk of a brief U.S. government shutdown over the weekend rose Wednesday with congressional Republicans and Democrats split over a short-term spending bill needed to keep agencies running and some GOP lawmakers threatening a holdup to protest vaccine mandates.

Majority Democrats are looking to extend current agency funding into January or later given the impasse with Senate Republicans on full-year fiscal 2022 spending bills. While party leaders expressed confidence that the differences would get resolved in time, they have yet to schedule any action on a stopgap bill.

Democrats said they have not gotten a proposal from Republicans on how long the stopgap should last and there are growing concerns that a faction of conservatives will attempt to trigger a shutdown to block funding for President Joe Biden’s initiative requiring large private employers to either mandate vaccinations against Covid-19 or provide weekly testing. 

“We need to point out where the logjam is and right now the logjam is in the U.S. Senate,” Representative Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said. He called any attempt to defund the government over vaccine mandates is “nonsensical.”

“I can’t imagine we would walk back the safety precautions,” he said. 

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro said she is working to resolve the impasse through bipartisan talks and expressed hope it would get done. 

“Negotiations are underway. There is no interest in shutting the government down. We are not shutting the government down,” he said. She acknowledged that time is running short, however. 

“Nobody knows that better than I do,” DeLauro said.

Senate Roadblock

Meeting the end-of-week deadline will require cooperation from all Senate Republicans. Although there is likely enough support from GOP senators to pass a stopgap, any one senator can demand extra procedural steps in the Senate that can drag on for nearly a week.

That could come from an effort by a group of GOP senators to link support for the stopgap measure to halting funding for the Biden administration’s workplace rule on vaccinations and testing.

Kansas Senator Roger Marshall led a Nov. 3 letter signed by 10 other Senate Republicans pledging to oppose all efforts to implement the vaccine mandate, including by objecting to government funding bills. Marshall’s office pointed to that release when asked Wednesday about whether the senator would hold up the funding bill. 

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he was confident a break in government funding could be avoided. 

“We won’t shut down,” McConnell said. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and McConnell were “having good conversations” about the stopgap but warned that the group of conservatives may hold things up. 

“I hope that a small group of Republicans don’t choose obstruction and try to shut down the government,” Schumer said. “It’s always easy to say you want to shut down the government over something I care about, this one cares about, that one. If everyone did that we’d have chaos. We need to come together and keep the government open.”

Unity Test

Some House Republicans, led by the Freedom Caucus, also support the effort to shut down the government to prevent enforcement of the federal vaccine or test requirement for private employers. The group argues the policy infringes on individual liberties. 

“We therefore write to request that you use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage of the CR unless it prohibits funding – in all respects – for the vaccine mandates and enforcement thereof,” the Freedom Caucus wrote to McConnell on Wednesday. 

For some House conservatives, it’s a test to see if the conference can unite in opposition to Biden.

“You’re not going to be able to stop them from doing everything,” Ohio Republican Representative Warren Davidson said. “They have the majority. But can you pick an issue and unite Republicans and make a difference, even from the minority?”

The Freedom Caucus group wouldn’t be able to delay action in the House and other Republicans aren’t inclined to oppose a stopgap funding measure.

“Probably because they think, somehow, creating chaos — which they are masters of — will hurt president Biden,” New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic caucus chair, said. “It’s not going to work. We’re prepared to act.”

If the stopgap doesn’t turn out to have any objectionable policy provisions, Representative Mark Amodei, a Nevada Republican who is a member of the Appropriations Committee, said the GOP conference should support it.

Previous shutdowns have proven unsuccessful, Amodei said.

“The threat of shutting down, in my experience, has never worked to get the side that shut it down what it wanted,” Amodei said. “We shut it down over health care for a long time and when we opened it up, nothing had changed.”

A new stopgap measure is necessary because Congress has failed to pass any of the 12 annual appropriations bills needed to fund ordinary government operations for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Democrats and Republicans have yet to begin serious talks to resolve their differences on the bills, with Republicans demanding Democrats reject an array of policy provisions such as government funding for abortions before talks on funding levels begin. 

The stopgap measure puts agencies on autopilot, freezing in place program funding levels and forbidding new contracts, with few exceptions. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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