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Congress passes short-term funding bill to avert government shutdown: The Morning Rundown, Jan. 19, 2024

Jan 19

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Congress passes a short-term funding bill with just hours left to avoid a government shutdown. And Japan looks to be the next country to land on the lunar surface with its ‘moon sniper’ explorer. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Friday, Jan. 19.

Congress passes short-term funding bill to avert government shutdown

With just hours to go before Friday’s Jan. 19 deadline, Congress passed a short-term funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown, at least for a few more weeks. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed.

By a vote of 314-108, the House passed the stopgap measure on Thursday, Jan. 18, following the Senate’s 77-18 vote, extending current spending levels as four government funding bills were set to expire at midnight on Friday, Jan. 19. Funding for those operations now extends to March 1. The other government agencies, set to run out of funding on Feb. 2, will now receive funds through March 8.

Some House Republicans met with Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., earlier on Thursday, Jan. 18, to add a border security measure to the stopgap bill, but that did not come to be. Last week, Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed on overall spending levels of $1.66 trillion, with $866 billion for defense and $772.7 billion for non-defense spending. However, Johnson is experiencing opposition about the deal from within his party.

The White House said the president will sign the stopgap bill, the third short-term spending deal Congress has passed since September.

Hunter Biden agrees to deposition with Republicans behind closed doors

The House Oversight Committee has announced that the president’s son, Hunter Biden, will appear in front of Republicans for a private deposition next month. Confirmed by his legal team, Biden is slated to testify behind closed doors on Feb. 28, ending a months-long back and forth with House Republicans.

In December, Hunter Biden defied a subpoena to testify in private, which kickstarted a resolution to hold him in contempt of Congress that has since been called off. Republicans view Hunter Biden as a key witness in their investigation into President Joe Biden, alleging he profited off of his family’s foreign business dealings during his tenure as vice president during the Obama administration. Republicans have not been able to show any proof of their claim to this point.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., told reporters that the president’s son will be able to testify publicly sometime after the private deposition.

Former President Trump urges Supreme Court to keep his name on ballots

Following Colorado’s first-of-its-kind ruling to ban Trump’s name from the state’s ballot for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which led to the deadly Jan. 6 capitol riot, Trump’s lawyers are urging the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling. First, Colorado took Trump’s name off the ballot, and then Maine followed suit.

With more states looking into similar matters, Trump’s legal time submitted a filing to the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides on Feb. 8. With the 2024 presidential election looming and Super Tuesday in March just around the corner, the pressure for a decision is palpable.

Trump’s attorney’s writing that efforts to bar the GOP’s top presidential candidate from ballots “threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and which promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots.”

Now, American voters eagerly await a decision by SCOTUS. The 1872 14th amendment clause, which Colorado’s high court used to bar Trump from the ballot, is a Civil War provision that states that anyone who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it is no longer eligible to hold state or federal public office.

Trump’s attorneys contend that Trump did not engage in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

Netanyahu rejects calls for a Palestinian state post-war

In a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 18, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he objects to the idea of the establishment of a Palestinian state after the war ends with Hamas, striking an opposing tone to President Biden, who has called for a two-state solution.

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have urged Netanyahu to seek a resolution where a revitalized Palestinian Authority would run Gaza once Hamas is defeated. In a nationally televised press conference, Netanyahu said that as prime minister, he needs to be able to say no, “even to our best friends.”

“The state of Israel must have security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River; that’s a necessary condition; it clashes with the principle of sovereignty; what can you do?” Netanyahu said. “I tell this truth to our American friends, and I also stopped the attempt to impose a reality on us that would harm Israel’s security.”

Netanyahu’s remarks sparked an immediate response from the White House. National Security spokesman John Kirby said, “We obviously see it differently.”

The back-and-forth shows the growing rift between the two allies, as the U.S. suggested earlier this week it’s the right time for Israel to scale back its fighting after 100 days. In his remarks, Netanyahu vowed to continue Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas and bringing all the remaining hostages home. The prime minister said Israel will not stop short of an “absolute victory.”

Macy’s cutting 2,350 jobs, closing 5 stores

Macy’s is cutting 2,350 with the largest department store chain in the country, looking to streamline its operations under a new CEO. The layoffs make up about 3.5% of Macy’s overall workforce.

In a memo sent to employees on Thursday, Jan. 18, the company said it wants to add more automation to its supply chain and will outsource some positions. In addition to the cuts, Macy’s will shut down five stores this year. The company currently operates more than 560 locations. Tony Spring, who formerly ran the company’s Bloomingdale business, will take over as CEO next month.

Japan attempts ‘pinpoint landing’ on the moon

Japan has its sights set on the moon as the country attempts to land its “moon sniper” explorer on the lunar surface on Friday, Jan. 19. If Japan’s first moon landing is successful, it will be the fifth country to pull off such a feat.

The “Smart Lander for Investigating Moon,” or Slim, was launched in September and uses “pinpoint landing” technology to reach within 328 feet of its specified target on the moon. The landing is scheduled for Friday morning, Jan. 19.

Meanwhile, a spacecraft that was intended to be the first lunar lander by a U.S. private company returned to Earth on Thursday, Jan. 18, burning up upon entering the planet’s atmosphere. A fuel leak doomed the U.S. lander’s journey early on. Another NASA-backed commercial moon mission is set to launch next month.

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CONGRESS PASSES A SHORT-TERM FUNDING BILL — WITH JUST HOURS TO GO TO AVOID A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN.

AND — JAPAN LOOKS TO BE THE NEXT COUNTRY — TO LAND ON THE LUNAR SURFACE WITH ITS ‘MOON SNIPER’ EXPLORER.

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS FRIDAY, JANUARY 19TH.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M LAUREN TAYLOR.

WITH JUST HOURS TO GO BEFORE TONIGHT’S DEADLINE – CONGRESS PASSED A SHORT-TERM FUNDING BILL TO AVERT A PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN – AT LEAST FOR A FEW MORE WEEKS. THE BILL NOW HEADS TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN.

BY A VOTE OF 314-108 – THE HOUSE PASSED THE STOPGAP MEASURE THURSDAY – FOLLOWING THE SENATE’S 77 TO 18 VOTE — EXTENDING CURRENT SPENDING LEVELS – AS FOUR GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILLS WERE SET TO EXPIRE AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. FUNDING FOR THOSE OPERATIONS NOW EXTENDS TO MARCH FIRST

THE OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES — WHICH WERE SET TO RUN OUT OF FUNDING ON FEBRUARY SECOND – NOW WILL RECEIVE FUNDS THROUGH MARCH 8.

SOME HOUSE REPUBLICANS MET WITH SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON EARLIER ON THURSDAY — IN AN ATTEMPT TO ADD A BORDER SECURITY MEASURE TO THE STOPGAP MEASURE – BUT THAT DID NOT COME TO BE.

LAST WEEK — JOHNSON AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER — REACHED AN AGREEMENT ON OVERALL SPENDING LEVELS — OF 1-POINT-SIX SIX TRILLION DOLLARS ($1.66 TRILLION) – WITH 866 BILLION FOR DEFENSE AND 7-hundred and 72-POINT-7 BILLION FOR NON-DEFENSE SPENDING – THOUGH JOHNSON IS EXPERIENCING OPPOSITION ABOUT THE DEAL FROM WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY.

THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS THE PRESIDENT WILL SIGN THE STOPGAP BILL – WHICH IS THE THIRD SHORT-TERM SPENDING DEAL CONGRESS HAS PASSED SINCE SEPTEMBER.

THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE HAS ANNOUNCED THAT HUNTER BIDEN — WILL APPEAR IN FRONT OF REPUBLICANS FOR A PRIVATE DEPOSITION NEXT MONTH.

CONFIRMED BY HIS LEGAL TEAM — BIDEN IS SLATED TO TESTIFY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ON FEBRUARY 28TH — ENDING A MONTHS-LONG BACK AND FORTH WITH HOUSE REPUBLICANS.

IN DECEMBER HUNTER BIDEN DEFIED A SUBPOENA TO TESTIFY IN PRIVATE — WHICH KICK-STARTED A RESOLUTION — TO HOLD HIM IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS,

THAT HAS SINCE BEEN CALLED OFF.

REPUBLICANS VIEW HUNTER BIDEN — AS A KEY WITNESS IN THEIR INVESTIGATION INTO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN — ALLEGING HE PROFITED OFF OF HIS FAMILY’S FOREIGN BUSINESS DEALINGS DURING HIS TENURE AS VICE PRESIDENT.

HOWEVER THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO SHOW ANY PROOF OF THEIR CLAIM UP TO THIS POINT.

HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIR JAMES COMER TELLS REPORTERS THAT THE PRESIDENT’S SON WILL BE ABLE TO TESTIFY PUBLICLY SOMETIME AFTER THE PRIVATE DEPOSITION.

FOLLOWING COLORADO’S FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND RULING — TO BAN former president DONALD TRUMP FROM THE STATE’S PRIMARY BALLOT — BASED ON HIS ACTIONS LEADING UP THE JANUARY 6TH RIOTS AT THE CAPITOL — trump AND HIS LAWYERS ARE NOW URGING THE SUPREME COURT TO REVERSE THE STATE’S RULING.

THE SUPREME COURT HAS AGREED TO HEAR COLORADO’S CASE — THAT TRUMP IS DISQUALIFIED FROM RUNNING AGAIN — BASED ON THE 14TH AMENDMENT’S INSURRECTION CLAUSE — AFTER TRUMP APPEALED THE STATE’S RULING.

WITH EFFORTS IN MORE THAN 30 STATES TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM THE BALLOTS — THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S LEGAL team WROTE TO THE SUPREME COURT ON THURSDAY — CALLING FOR A “SWIFT AND DECISIVE END” TO THESE DISPUTES.

TRUMP’S ATTORNEYS WRITING THAT EFFORTS TO BAR THE G-O-P’S TOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FROM BALLOTS:

“threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and which promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots.”

TRUMP’S ATTORNEYS CONTEND THAT HE DID NOT ENGAGE IN ANYTHING THAT QUALIFIES AS INSURRECTION.

IN A PRESS CONFERENCE THURSDAY — ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAID — HE OBJECTS TO THE IDEA OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PALESTINIAN STATE AFTER THE WAR ENDS WITH HAMAS – STRIKING AN OPPOSING TONE TO PRESIDENT BIDEN WHO HAS CALLED FOR A TWO-STATE SOLUTION.

BIDEN AND SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN HAVE URGED NETANYAHU — TO SEEK A RESOLUTION — WHERE A REVITALIZED PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WOULD RUN GAZA ONCE HAMAS IS DEFEATED.

IN A NATIONALLY TELEVISED PRESS CONFERENCE — NETANYAHU SAID — AS PRIME MINISTER — HE NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO SAY NO “EVEN TO OUR BEST FRIENDS.”

HERE’S MORE OF THE PRIME MINISTER’S COMMENTS THROUGH AN INTERPRETER.

SUPER: BENJAMIN NETANYAHU | ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: “THE STATE OF ISRAEL MUST HAVE SECURITY CONTROL OVER THE ENTIRE TERRITORY WEST OF THE JORDAN RIVER – THAT’S A NECESSARY CONDITION – IT CLASHES WITH THE PRINCIPLE OF SOVEREIGNTY – WHAT CAN YOU DO?  I TELL THIS TRUTH TO OUR AMERICAN FRIENDS AND I ALSO STOPPED THE ATTEMPT TO IMPOSE A REALITY ON US THAT WOULD HARM ISRAEL’S SECURITY.”

NETANYAHU’S REMARKS SPARKED AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY SAYING “WE OBVIOUSLY SEE IT DIFFERENTLY.”

THE BACK-AND-FORTH SHOWS THE GROWING RIFT BETWEEN THE TWO ALLIES – AS THE U-s SUGGESTED EARLIER THIS WEEK — IT’S THE RIGHT TIME FOR ISRAEL TO SCALE BACK ITS FIGHTING AFTER 100 DAYS.

IN HIS REMARKS – NETANYAHU VOWED TO CONTINUE ISRAEL’S GOAL OF DESTROYING HAMAS AND BRINGING ALL THE REMAINING HOSTAGES HOME. THE PRIME MINISTER SAYING ISRAEL WILL NOT STOP SHORT OF AN “ABSOLUTE VICTORY.”

MACY’S IS CUTTING 2-THOUSAND 3-HUNDRED AND 50 JOBS (2,350) – WITH THE LARGEST DEPARTMENT STORE CHAIN IN THE COUNTRY LOOKING TO STREAMLINE ITS OPERATIONS UNDER A NEW C-E-O.

THE LAYOFFS MAKE UP ABOUT 3-point-5 PERCENT OF MACY’S OVERALL WORKFORCE.

IN A MEMO SENT TO EMPLOYEES ON THURSDAY – THE COMPANY SAID ITs LOOKING TO ADD MORE AUTOMATION TO ITS SUPPLY CHAIN AND WILL OUTSOURCE SOME POSITIONS.

IN ADDITION TO THE CUTS – MACY’S WILL ALSO BE SHUTTING DOWN FIVE STORES THIS YEAR – THE COMPANY CURRENTLY OPERATES MORE THAN 560 LOCATIONS.

TONY SPRING, WHO FORMERLY RAN THE COMPANY’S BLOOMINGDALE’S BUSINESS, WILL TAKE OVER AS CEO NEXT MONTH.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – JAPAN HAS ITS SIGHTS SET ON THE MOON – AS THE COUNTRY ATTEMPTS TO LAND ITS “MOON SNIPER” EXPLORER ON THE LUNAR SURFACE TODAY.

IF JAPAN’S FIRST MOON LANDING IS SUCCESSFUL – IT WILL BE THE FIFTH COUNTRY TO PULL OFF SUCH A FEAT.

THE “SMART LANDER FOR INVESTIGATING MOON” – OR “SLIM” – LAUNCHED IN SEPTEMBER – AND IS USING “PINPOINT LANDING” TECHNOLOGY TO REACH WITHIN 3-hundred and 28-FEET OF ITS SPECIFIED TARGET ON THE MOON.

THE LANDING IS SCHEDULED FOR LATER THIS MORNING.

MEANWHILE, A SPACECRAFT THAT WAS INTENDED TO BE THE FIRST LUNAR LANDER BY A U-s PRIVATE COMPANY RETURNED TO EARTH THURSDAY – BURNING UP UPON ENTERING THE PLANET’S ATMOSPHERE. A FUEL LEAK DOOMED THE U-s LANDER’S JOURNEY EARLY ON.

ANOTHER NASA-BACKED COMMERCIAL MOON MISSION IS SET TO LAUNCH NEXT MONTH.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS FRIDAY.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE MONDAY.

UNTIL THEN I’M LAUREN TAYLOR. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!