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The Morning Rundown™

Biden, McCarthy hold debt ceiling talks as deadline looms: May 22 rundown

May 22, 2023


President Joe Biden is meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as the two sides aim to reach a deal regarding the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid a potential default. And officials from the European Union have hit Facebook parent company Meta with a record fine over data protection violations. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Monday, May 22, 2023.

Biden, McCarthy engage in debt ceiling negotiations

President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy are back at the negotiating table, discussing the looming threat of a potential default on the nation’s debt. With the clock ticking, both sides are working to reach an agreement before the deadline, which is just 10 days away.

The president conveyed his optimism, expressing that the two sides are close to reaching a consensus and that he believes “we’ll be able to do it.” Last night, while aboard Air Force One on his way back from the G7 Summit, Biden engaged in a conversation with McCarthy. The president deemed the conversation productive, saying, “It went well.” McCarthy had also previously met with White House negotiators over the weekend in an effort to find common ground.

However, the crux of the disagreement lies in determining where to implement cuts in government spending. The White House has emphasized the need to avoid an increase in defense spending, while Republicans argue that additional investment in defense is essential and propose cuts to other programs instead.

Biden has proposed a tax increase to generate additional revenue for the government, a measure that McCarthy strongly opposes. This disagreement further complicates the negotiation process.

Meanwhile, some Democrats have suggested that the president should consider utilizing the 14th Amendment to bypass McCarthy and Congress altogether, thereby raising the debt ceiling independently. While the president believes he possesses the authority to do so, he acknowledges that it may not be executed in time to prevent a default.

Suspect to face arraignment in murder of University of Idaho students

Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students, is set to be arraigned in court Monday, May 22. Following a grand jury indictment, Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. The charges will be formally presented in court, and Kohberger is expected to enter a not guilty plea.

According to prosecutors, Kohberger stabbed the four students to death after unlawfully entering their residence during the early morning hours of Nov.13. The incident sent shockwaves through the university community and beyond, as legal experts are now predicting that the prosecution may seek the death penalty in this case.

Tim Scott joins the GOP primary race for president

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is set to officially announce his entry into the GOP primary race for the presidency. Following the submission of his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission last week, Scott will commence his campaign by visiting his hometown of North Charleston.

“I think he’d be a great candidate. I’m excited about it. I’ve been encouraging him,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said. “I think he’s getting a lot of encouragement from his colleagues. He’s really well thought of and respected.”

As the Republican field continues to expand, Scott will face competition from notable figures such as former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, all seeking to distinguish themselves in a crowded field of candidates. However, the presence of former President Donald Trump as a leading candidate adds another layer of complexity to the race.

Media reports have also suggested that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may announce his presidential run sometime within the week, potentially further intensifying the competition among Republican contenders. Other Republicans who are still considering whether to attempt a presidential bid include former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Biden announces additional military aid for Ukraine at G-7 summit

President Biden engaged with world leaders over the weekend at the G-7 summit held in Hiroshima, Japan. During the summit, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine made a late appearance, seeking further support for his country as it fights Russia’s invasion. Biden, acknowledging Ukraine’s need for assistance, announced a $375 million package of additional military aid, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to its greatest financial backer in the war.

The recently unveiled military aid package for Ukraine encompasses ammunition, artillery, armored vehicles, and training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. Since the conflict with Russia began, the U.S. has already provided more than $37 billion in military aid to Ukraine, solidifying its position as a top backer of the nation’s war effort.

U.S. strengthens Pacific presence amid concerns over China’s influence

In response to growing concerns about China’s expanding influence in the Pacific region, the U.S. has taken steps to enhance its presence and strengthen partnerships with Pacific nations. The latest development in this effort is the signing of a defense pact between the U.S. and Papua New Guinea, allowing American forces to access airfields and ports in the country. This move aims to foster cooperation between the two nations and address shared concerns about regional security.

Under the defense pact, both countries will have the ability to board each other’s vessels, share technical expertise, and conduct joint patrols in the seas. This collaboration is expected to facilitate better coordination and response to potential security threats in the region.

These recent developments come in the wake of a secretive security pact between Beijing and the Solomon Islands. The Chinese agreement raised concerns among international observers who fear that an expansion of China’s influence in the region could complicate a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Meta receives record setting fine over EU data protection violations

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has been slapped with a record-breaking fine of $1.3 billion for breaching data protection rules set by the European Union. The fine stems from Meta’s alleged violations of EU regulations concerning the transfer of user data collected from European Facebook users to the U.S. This landmark decision underscores the EU’s commitment to safeguarding the privacy and security of its citizens’ personal information.

The EU data protection laws require companies like Meta to store the data they collect within the country where it originates, rather than allowing unrestricted transfers to data centers located worldwide. The aim of these regulations is to ensure that personal data is subject to robust privacy safeguards and that individuals have greater control over how their information is handled.

Following the imposition of the fine, Meta is expected to appeal the decision. The company contends that the fine fails to consider the broader industry norms and practices related to data sharing.

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