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Pope meets Pelosi as abortion debate rages back home

By Philip Pullella

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5/5
Pope meets Pelosi as abortion debate rages back home
© Reuters. Pope Francis welcomes U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as they meet at the Vatican, October 9, 2021. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

2/5

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis met on Saturday with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who has come under criticism from some bishops in the United States for her support for abortion rights.

Their meeting took place several weeks before Joe Biden is expected to meet the pope while the U.S. president is in Rome for talks between leaders of the Group of 20 major economies.

Biden, the second Catholic U.S. president, has said he is personally opposed to abortion but, as a politician, cannot impose his views. Pelosi, who has five children, has said she supports a woman’s right to choose.

Biden’s administration and Pelosi have urged judges to block a new Texas law which bars abortions from six weeks, saying it is unconstitutional. The ban was temporarily reinstated on Friday by a conservative-leaning appeals court.

The Catholic Church teaches that human life begins at the moment of conception and Biden and Pelosi have been criticised by conservative Catholic media and U.S. conservative bishops, some of whom say neither should be allowed to receive communion.

Last month the pope, asked about the U.S. communion debate, told reporters abortion is “murder”, even soon after conception, but appeared to criticise U.S. Catholic bishops for dealing with the issue in a political rather than pastoral way.

“Communion is not a prize for the perfect … communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his Church,” the pope said.

In June, a divided conference of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops voted to draft a statement on communion that some bishops say should specifically admonish Catholic politicians, including Biden. They take up the issue again next month.

The Vatican announced Pelosi’s audience with the pope in its daily bulletin but gave no details.

After Pelosi met former Pope Benedict in 2009, the Vatican said he had told her that legislators and other public figures should help create “a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development”.

The archbishop in Pelosi’s home city of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, has said public figures who support abortion should be denied communion in his archdiocese and has urged Catholics to pray for Pelosi’s “conversion of heart”.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., has not tried to stop Biden, a regular church-goer, from receiving communion.

Biden’s meeting with the pope will be the first since his election although they have met several times before, including when he was vice-president to Barack Obama.

Pelosi is in Rome for a Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit ahead of the G20 as well a meeting of parliamentary leaders before of the U.N. Climate Change Summit (COP20) next month in Glasgow.

Francis told the parliamentarians separately on Saturday they had a decisive role to play in protecting the environment.

The Vatican announced on Friday that the pope would not be going to Glasgow but that its delegation would be headed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state.

Politics

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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Politics

Ex-Trump chief of staff Meadows cooperating with Jan. 6 panel – for now

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Former Trump chief of staff Meadows agrees to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly U.S. Capitol riot said on Tuesday that Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has provided it with records and agreed to appear “soon” for a deposition.

“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition,” Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee, said in a statement.

Noting that the panel expects all witnesses to provide all the information requested and that it is lawfully entitled to received, Thompson added: “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

Trump has urged associates not to cooperate with the committee, calling the Democratic-led investigation politically motivated and arguing that his communications are protected by executive privilege, although many legal experts say that principle does not apply to former presidents.

On Jan. 6, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying his 2020 presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Shortly before the riot, Trump gave a speech to his supporters repeating his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and urging them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to “stop the steal.”

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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Politics

Former Trump chief of staff Meadows agrees to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

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on

Former Trump chief of staff Meadows agrees to cooperate with Jan. 6 panel
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly U.S. Capitol riot said on Tuesday that Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has provided it with records and agreed to appear “soon” for a deposition.

“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition,” Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee, said in a statement.

Noting that the panel expects all witnesses to provide all the information requested and that it is lawfully entitled to received, Thompson added: “The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

Trump has urged associates not to cooperate with the committee, calling the Democratic-led investigation politically motivated and arguing that his communications are protected by executive privilege, although many legal experts say that principle does not apply to former presidents.

On Jan. 6, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying his 2020 presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Shortly before the riot, Trump gave a speech to his supporters repeating his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud and urging them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to “stop the steal.”

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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