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The Morning Rundown™

Congress to debate, vote on debt ceiling deal before US default: May 30 rundown

May 30, 2023


Lawmakers in Congress are on a deadline to review a new bill, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which aims to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a potential default. And Russia’s Defense Ministry is reporting that Ukraine executed a significant drone attack on Moscow, marking another incident in a recent escalation of these drone strikes from Kyiv behind Russian lines. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

Congress faces deadline to bill to prevent US default

With less than a week remaining, Congress is under pressure to review a comprehensive 99-page bill that aims to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a potential default on the nation’s debt.

President Joe Biden and the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have reached a consensus on the matter, placing the responsibility on the House and Senate, each currently controlled by slim majorities. The president has urged both the House and Senate “to pass the agreement right away.”

Over the past weekend, collaborative efforts between the White House and McCarthy yielded an agreement known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act. This proposed legislation seeks to increase the debt ceiling until the year 2025 while maintaining non-defense spending at levels similar to those of 2020 to 2024. However, the bill also includes provisions such as reduced funding for the Internal Revenue Service, the retrieval of unspent COVID-relief funds, relaxed environmental regulations, and the implementation of work requirements for certain social programs like food stamps.

According to the House rules, lawmakers must be given a minimum of 72 hours to review the bill before a vote can take place. Given that they received the bill on Sunday, the earliest possible day for a vote in the House is Wednesday. The Senate anticipates holding their vote, at the earliest, on Friday. However, the Treasury has cautioned that if no action is taken, the nation could face a default on its debt obligations as early as June 5.

Shootings mar Memorial Day weekend across the US

In a violent incident on Memorial Day, a confrontation between two groups of individuals near the Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood Beach, Florida, resulted in nine people being shot.

Among the injured, four individuals are reportedly under the age of 17, including a one-year-old child. Witnesses said they saw one baby with a gunshot wound to the leg. Authorities have detained one person thus far in connection with the incident, as they continue their investigation into the shooting. Police are reportedly looking for a second potential suspect.

This was not an isolated event, as numerous shootings took place across the United States over the holiday weekend. Reports indicate that at least 16 people lost their lives in shootings at various locations, including beaches, high schools, and rallies. Chicago, in particular, experienced a surge in gun violence, with 47 individuals being shot, nine of whom succumbed to their injuries, over the Memorial Day weekend.

Iowa building scheduled for demolition following partial collapse

A building in Davenport, Iowa, is set to be demolished later today after it experienced a partial collapse on Sunday night. No fatalities were reported as several individuals were successfully rescued by firefighters.

The incident occurred at a six-story apartment building while repair work was underway to address structural problems. The building, which had stood for over a century, faced ongoing concerns from residents regarding falling bricks and internal issues, leading officials to mandate repairs by the building owner.

The sudden collapse of the building has prompted an investigation into its cause. Authorities are currently working to determine the factors that contributed to the structural failure.

Ukraine launches drone attack on Moscow as tensions rise

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that Ukraine executed a significant drone attack on Moscow early Tuesday, marking one of its most substantial assaults. Russian officials have likened it to the gravity of Nazi attacks during World War II and described the situation as a “new reality” with war seemingly at Moscow’s doorstep.

Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the wider Moscow region, said some of the drones were “shot down on the approach to Moscow.” According to Russian authorities, no injuries were reported, and the damage to buildings was minimal. The incident has been labeled a “terrorist attack” by Russia.

Ukrainian drone attacks within Russian territory have been increasing in intensity in recent weeks, although Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for launching attacks on targets inside Russia. The New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence believes Ukraine was also behind a drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month.

Texas AG Ken Paxton suspended following impeachment vote

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been suspended from his position after the House voted in favor of impeaching him before the end of the state’s legislative session. A total of 20 articles of impeachment have been delivered to the Senate, where Paxton will face trial. The impeachment trial is scheduled to take place no later than Aug. 28.

Paxton faces a range of allegations, including bribery and abuse of public trust. If two-thirds of the Senate finds Paxton guilty, he would be permanently removed from office. In response to the impeachment vote in the House, Paxton labeled it a “politically motivated sham.”

Elizabeth Holmes begins 11-year prison sentence in Theranos scandal

Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of Theranos, is set to commence her 11-year prison sentence today. Holmes, who gained notoriety for her role in deceiving investors with a blood testing hoax, will now begin her federal prison stay nearly 20 years after she founded Theranos.

In January of last year, Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy. Theranos had falsely claimed to have developed revolutionary technology capable of conducting a wide range of diagnostic tests using a single drop of blood. This fraudulent representation ultimately misled investors and stakeholders, resulting in substantial financial losses.

The disgraced entrepreneur will serve her sentence at a women’s prison camp in Texas, leaving behind two young children while she serves her time. Holmes admitted making mistakes at Theranos, but denied committing crimes during seven days of testimony on the witness stand during her trial. Maintaining she was treated unfairly during the court proceedings, Holmes had sought to remain free while she appeals her conviction in a bid that was rejected by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila.

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