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Jordan plans second bid for US House top job, but calls for backup option

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Jordan plans second bid for US House top job, but calls for backup option
© Reuters

By David Morgan, Moira Warburton and Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Outspoken conservative Jim Jordan will take a second shot at the top job in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday but also said the chamber should vote on another option to allow legislation to move forward if he falls short again.

Jordan said the House should hold a second vote to fill the vacant speaker’s chair on Wednesday, after he fell short of the needed 217 votes on Tuesday, when 20 fellow Republicans voted against him.

He also called for a vote on a scenario floated by Democrats and some Republicans that would give increased power to Representative Patrick McHenry, who has been temporarily filling the speaker’s chair for the 16 days the House has been without a leader.

That could allow Congress to respond to crises in the Middle East and Ukraine and fund the government past Nov. 17, when current funding is due to expire.

“We’ve got to decide today,” Jordan told reporters. “Both questions should be called. Let’s get an answer. We’ve been at this two weeks. The American people deserve to have their government functioning.”

One proposal submitted by Republican Representative Mike Kelly would name McHenry as speaker through Nov. 17 or until a permanent speaker is selected, which would remove uncertainty about his current ability to run the chamber. That temporary solution could also buy more time for Jordan to line up support for the job after that point.

Democrats, whose support would likely be crucial, have made clear they want Jordan out of the picture. “We want a bipartisan path forward. That does not involve Jim Jordan, who is a poster child for Republican extremism and a danger to our democracy,” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said on Tuesday.

Republicans who control the chamber have been unable to unite behind a speaker candidate since a small faction of them ousted Kevin McCarthy on Oct. 3.

‘MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT’

Backers and critics alike predicted that opposition to Jordan could increase by five to 10 Republicans in Wednesday’s ballot.

“I think it gets more and more difficult for him every day,” said Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who opposes Jordan.

Two former Republican speakers, Newt Gingrich and John Boehner, have also advocated for empowering McHenry to lead the chamber temporarily.

Jordan, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, could be in trouble if more Republicans vote against him in a second ballot.

McCarthy sounded a note of optimism for Jordan hours before the second vote.

“If he can hold his votes and the number goes up, I think he can get there,” McCarthy told CNBC.

At least one Republican who voted against him on Tuesday, Representative Doug LaMalfa, said he would vote for Jordan on the second ballot.

New Republican alternatives aside from McHenry could also emerge if Jordan does not pick up support. Potential candidates include Representative Tom Emmer, currently the No. 3 House Republican.

Republicans control the House by a narrow 221-212 majority and can afford no more than four defections.

Democrats have signaled support for empowering McHenry and said they would not insist on sharing power.

Members of both parties have been discussing a possible agreement. But some Democrats privately said Republicans will have to publicly call for a bipartisan solution and they have yet to indicate a willingness to do so.

Unlike previous House leaders, who gained influence by raising money and building broad coalitions, Jordan has made his name as a vocal leader of the party’s hard right, tangling with Democrats and Republicans alike.

As a founder of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, the former wrestling coach helped drive Republican Boehner into retirement in 2015 and advocated for government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.

A congressional investigation found that Jordan was a “significant player” in Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, he has led investigations into Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration and is a driving force in an impeachment inquiry into Biden that Democrats say is baseless.

Several of his Republican opponents have senior positions on the House Appropriations Committee, including panel chair Kay Granger. Democrats pointed to that fact as a sign of Republican concern for the deep spending cuts that Jordan and other hardliners have advocated this year.

Jordan’s supporters say he would be an effective advocate for advancing conservative priorities in Washington, where Democrats control the White House and the Senate.

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Hamas says it has not left ceasefire talks after Israeli attacks

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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell

CAIRO/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A senior Hamas official said on Sunday that the Islamist group has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks with Israel after this weekend’s deadly attacks in Gaza that Israel said had targeted the group’s military leader Mohammed Deif.

But Izzat El-Reshiq, a member of the political office of Hamas, accused Israel of trying to derail efforts by Arab mediators and the United States to reach a ceasefire deal by stepping up its attacks in the enclave.

Saturday’s strike in the Khan Younis area of Gaza, in which at least 90 Palestinians were killed, according to local health authorities, has put the ceasefire talks in doubt.

There had been increasingly hopeful signs in recent days that a deal could be reached to halt fighting and return hostages held in Gaza.

Two Egyptian security sources at ceasefire talks in Doha and Cairo said on Saturday that negotiations had been halted after three days of intense talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to convene his close circle of ministers later on Sunday to discuss the talks.

The strike on Saturday which targeted Deif killed Rafa Salama, commander of Hamas’ Khan Younis brigade, the Israeli military said on Sunday, but there was no confirmation about the fate of Deif.

“The strike in Khan Younis was a result of surgical intelligence,” the head of the Shin Bet domestic security service said in a video released by the service from Rafah. He said 25 Hamas operatives who took part in the deadly Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that triggered the war had been killed in the past week.

On Saturday, a senior Hamas official denied that Deif had been killed and the group said Israeli claims were aimed at justifying the attack.

Israel’s military chief said on Sunday in a televised statement that Hamas was concealing the truth about Deif’s fate, but stopped short of confirming whether he was alive or dead.

Israeli forces pressed ahead on Sunday with aerial and ground shelling of several areas across the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, most of whom have been displaced by the war.

A strike on a UN-run school in Nuseirat camp, one of Gaza’s eight longstanding refugee camps, killed 15 Palestinians and wounded dozens more, Hamas media and health officials said.

The Israeli military said the site was used as a base for Hamas fighters to attack Israeli forces and said numerous steps were taken to limit the risk of harming civilians, including the use of precise munitions and intelligence.

Residents said two missiles targeted the upper floor of the school, not far from the camp’s local market, usually busy with shoppers, where displaced families have also taken shelter nearby.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli airstrikes on four houses in Gaza City killed at least 16 Palestinians and wounded dozens of others, medics said.

The Gaza health ministry said at least 38,584 Palestinians have been killed and 88,881 others injured in Israel’s military offensive since Oct. 7.

It added that 141 Palestinians were killed by Israeli military strikes across the Gaza Strip in the past day, the biggest one-day death toll in many weeks.

Gaza’s health ministry does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants but officials say most of the dead throughout the war have been civilians.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Palestinians gather near damage, following what Palestinians say was an Israeli strike at a tent camp in Al-Mawasi area, amid Israel-Hamas conflict, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 13, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo

Israel says it has lost 326 soldiers in Gaza and says at least a third of the Palestinian fatalities are fighters.

The war began after a Hamas-led attack inside Israel on Oct. 7, that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw around 250 taken hostage to Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

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Trump rally shooting victim died shielding family from bullets

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(Reuters) -The person shot and killed at former President Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday was a 50-year-old volunteer firefighter who shielded his family to protect them as gunshots rang out, the state’s Governor Josh Shapiro said on Sunday.

The victim was identified as Corey Comperatore, according to his family’s posting on Facebook (NASDAQ:).

“The PA Trump Rally claimed the life of my brother, Corey Comperatore. The hatred for one man took the life of the one man we loved the most,” the victim’s sister said in the post on Sunday.

Comperatore previously served as the chief of the Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Department, according to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Shapiro said he had spoken to Comperatore’s family and he relayed parts of the conversation to reporters.

“Corey died a hero. Corey dove on his family to protect them last night at this rally,” Shapiro said. “Corey was the very best of us.”

Comperatore was survived by a wife and two daughters. “Corey was a girl dad,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro added: “Corey was a firefighter. Corey went to church every Sunday. Corey loved his community and most especially Corey loves his family.”

Shapiro described the victim “as an avid supporter of the former president.”

© Reuters. A satellite image around Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump's rally location in Butler, Pennsylvania, U.S.  June 2, 2023.  Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Trump had just begun his speech at the Pennsylvania rally when the sound of shots rang out and it became apparent that Trump was also injured when a bullet grazed his right ear.

The FBI has identified 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the suspect in what the government is calling an assassination attempt on Trump.

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Google parent close to $23 billion deal to buy cybersecurity startup Wiz, WSJ reports

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(Reuters) – Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:) is in advanced talks to acquire cybersecurity startup Wiz for roughly $23 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A deal could come together soon, assuming the talks don’t fall apart, the report added.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Small figurines are seen in front of displayed Alphabet logo in this illustration taken February 11, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration/File Photo

Google and Wiz did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

The U.S.-Israeli startup raised $1 billion in a private funding round in May, which values the four-year-old cloud cybersecurity company at $12 billion.

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