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Shutdown averted but Congress faces new challenges: The Morning Rundown, Oct. 2, 2023

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With a government shutdown averted for now, Congress faces new challenges. And an A-list celebrity is putting out a warning about artificial intelligence. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown; McCarthy is called out

Congress was able to avert a government shutdown by passing a stopgap funding bill late Saturday, Sept. 29, 2023. A shutdown would have meant millions of federal employees not being paid, but, for now, that is not the case.  The bill, signed by President Joe Biden before the deadline hit, funds the government through Nov. 17, meaning Congress will have to find a way to pass another funding bill in just a matter of weeks.

This stopgap bill first passed the Republican-led House where it found more support from Democrats than Republicans in a 335 to 91 total vote. While the bill increases federal disaster assistance by $16 billion, the amount Biden was seeking, it does not provide any additional aid to Ukraine which was a White House priority opposed by many Republicans.

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On Sunday, Oct. 1, the president pressed Congressional Republicans to back a bill for that very cause, saying he expected Speaker Kevin McCarthy to keep his commitment to secure the funding.

“We’re going to get it done. I can’t believe those who voted for supporting Ukraine, the overwhelming majority of the House and Senate, Democrat and Republican, will, for pure political reasons, let more people die needlessly in Ukraine,” Biden said.

When asked by CNN, McCarthy’s office declined to say whether he gave the president any confirmation on a future Ukraine deal. Meanwhile, McCarthy is facing opposition from his own party over the bill that had majority support from Democrats. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida said on Sunday that he would try to remove the speaker from his leadership position.

“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January and since then he’s been in brazen, material breach of that agreement. This agreement that he made with Democrats to really blow past the spending guardrails we had set up is a last straw,” Gaetz said.  

Gaetz announced he would be filing a motion to vacate the chair. McCarthy has responded – saying, “So be it. Bring it on. Let’s get over with it and let’s start governing.”

Trump says he will attend opening of NY civil fraud trial

Former President Donald Trump says he will attend the opening of his civil fraud trial in New York on Monday.

“I’m going to court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation,” Trump posted on Truth Social on Sunday.

Security preparations were already underway in case the former president was to make an appearance.

The case was brought last year by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, his eldest sons and his companies accusing them of inflating the former president’s net worth.

Last week, the judge overseeing the case issued his first ruling in favor of the attorney general, finding Trump liable for fraud. The judge said Trump misrepresented his wealth to banks for decades for as much as $3.6 billion.

According to court records, Trump is expected to be called as a witness later in the trial.

Newsom to appoint Butler to fill Feinstein’s seat

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced his choice to fill the Senate seat of late Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history who passed away last week at the age of 90.

The governor has chosen Laphonza Butler, the president of EMILYs List, a committee that works to elect Democratic women, and a former adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris.

Newsom issued a statement late Sunday night, after news of the appointment broke, saying Butler “represents the best of California and…will carry the baton left by Senator Feinstein, continue to break glass ceilings, and fight for all Californians in Washington D.C.”

The governor had previously said that he would fill any Senate vacancy with a Black woman. Butler would become the third Black woman to serve in the Senate’s history.

Newsom said the choice is an interim appointment and he would not select any of the candidates who are running to succeed Feinstein in 2024. They include Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.

Read more about this story here.

Supreme Court begins new term  

The Supreme Court begins its new term Monday. The nine justices, six conservative and three liberal, are prepared to tackle several major issues over the next nine months including gun rights, social media, the power of federal agencies, electoral districts and, perhaps, abortion pills.

On Oct. 31, the court will hear arguments concerning whether the First Amendment prohibits public officials from blocking critics on social media sites like Facebook and X.

On Nov. 7, a case will be presented to the court on whether a federal law barring people under domestic violence restraining orders from owning a gun violates the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.

In addition, the Biden administration has asked the justices to hear its appeal to a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on barring telemedicine prescriptions and shipments by mail of the abortion pill mifepristone.

Federal student loan payments resume after 3-year pause

Federal student loan payments resumed on Sunday, Oct. 1, after a three-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interest on the loans began accruing again on Sept. 1.

Borrowers will receive a bill saying how much they owe each month, at least 21 days before their due date. There is a yearlong grace period to help borrowers – meaning missed or late payments in the next 12 months won’t be reported to the credit bureaus, but interest will continue to accrue.

Borrowers also have the option to sign up for the new income-driven repayment program, called SAVE, which was announced after the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s loan forgiveness plan. According to the Education Department, the SAVE plan will help the typical borrower save more than $1,000 per year on payments.

If you need more information on your loans, you can log onto the studentaid.gov.

Tom Hanks warns ‘beware’ AI version of himself

Oscar-winner Tom Hanks sent a warning to his fans not to believe everything they see. He posted to Instagram on Sunday an image seemingly of himself but with the caption: “Beware!”

It turns out it was not an actual photo of the “Forrest Gump” actor, but a computer-generated one made from artificial intelligence.

Hanks’ caption went on to explain further, saying, “There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.”

Hanks has previously spoken about the challenges actors face when it comes to AI on a podcast earlier this year.

“I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on. Outside of the understanding of AI and deepfake, there’ll be nothing to tell you that it’s not me and me alone. and it’s going to have some degree of lifelike quality. That’s certainly an artistic challenge but it’s also a legal one,” Hanks said on The Adam Buxton Podcast.

The interview was done months before Hollywood actors went on strike in July, with artificial intelligence being one of its key issues. SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers are expected to meet Monday for the first formal bargaining talks.   

Our business correspondent Simone Del Rosario has a series on the rise of artificial intelligence and what the future holds for the technology.

Read more about this story here.

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WITH A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AVERTED FOR NOW, CONGRESS FACES NEW CHALLENGES

AND AN A-LIST CELEBRITY IS PUTTING OUT A WARNING ABOUT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

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TODAY IS MONDAY — OCTOBER 2ND.

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I’M KARAH RUCKER.

CONGRESS WAS ABLE TO AVERT A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN — PASSING A STOPGAP FUNDING BILL LATE SATURDAY.

A SHUTDOWN WOULD HAVE MEANT MILLIONS OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NOT BEING PAID  – BUT FOR NOW THAT IS NOT THE CASE.  THE BILL – SIGNED BY PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN BEFORE THE DEADLINE HIT– FUNDS THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH NOV. 17 — MEANING CONGRESS WILL HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO PASS ANOTHER FUNDING BILL IN JUST A MATTER OF WEEKS.

THIS STOPGAP BILL FIRST PASSED THE REPUBLICAN-LED HOUSE WHERE IT FOUND MORE SUPPORT FROM DEMOCRATS THAN REPUBLICANS – IN A 335 TO 91 TOTAL VOTE.

WHILE THE BILL INCREASES FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE BY $16 BILLION – THE AMOUNT BIDEN WAS SEEKING – IT DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY ADDITIONAL AID TO UKRAINE – WHICH WAS A WHITE HOUSE PRIORITY – BUT ONE OPPOSED BY MANY REPUBLICANS.

ON SUNDAY, THE PRESIDENT PRESSED CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS TO BACK A BILL FOR THAT VERY CAUSE – SAYING HE EXPECTED SPEAKER KEVIN MCCARTHY TO KEEP HIS COMMITMENT TO SECURE THE FUNDING.

“We’re going to get it done. I can’t believe those who voted for you, supporting Ukraine, the overwhelming majority of the House and Senate, Democrat and Republican, will, for pure political reasons, let more people die needlessly in Ukraine.”

WHEN ASKED BY CNN — MCCARTHY’S OFFICE DECLINED TO SAY WHETHER HE GAVE THE PRESIDENT ANY CONFIRMATION ON A FUTURE UKRAINE DEAL. MEANWILE MCCARTHY IS FACING OPPOSITION FROM HIS OWN PARTY OVER THE BILL THAT HAD MAJORITY SUPPORT FROM DEMOCRATS. REPRESENTATIVE MATT GAETZ SAID ON SUNDAY THAT HE WILL TRY TO REMOVE THE SPEAKER FROM HIS LEADERSHIP POSITION.

“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House Conservatives in January and since then he’s been in brazen, material breach of that agreement. This agreement that he made with Democrats to really blow past the spending guardrails we had set up is a last straw.”

GAETZ ANNOUNCED HE WOULD BE FILING A MOTION TO VACATE THE CHAIR. MCCARTHY HAS RESPONDED – SAYING QUOTE “SO BE IT. BRING IT ON. LET’S GET OVER WITH IT AND LET’S START GOVERNING.”

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYS HE WILL ATTEND THE OPENING OF HIS CIVIL FRAUD TRIAL IN NEW YORK TODAY.
POSTING ON THE TRUTH SOCIAL WEBSITE SUNDAY NIGHT – QUOTE – “I’M GOING TO COURT TOMORROW MORNING TO FIGHT FOR MY NAME AND REPUTATION.”
SECURITY PREPARATIONS WERE ALREADY UNDERWAY IN CASE THE FORMER PRESIDENT WAS TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE.
THE CASE WAS BROUGHT LAST YEAR BY NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES – AGAINST TRUMP, HIS ELDEST SONS AND HIS COMPANIES – ACCUSING THEM OF INFLATING THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S NET WORTH.
LAST WEEK, THE JUDGE OVERSEEING THE CASE – ISSUED HIS FIRST RULING — IN FAVOR OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL – FINDING TRUMP LIABLE FOR FRAUD — SAYING HE MISREPRESENTED HIS WEALTH TO BANKS FOR DECADES FOR AS MUCH AS $3.6 BILLION.
ACCORDING TO COURT RECORDS, TRUMP IS EXPECTED TO BE CALLED AS A WITNESS LATER IN THE TRIAL.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM HAS ANNOUNCED HIS CHOICE TO FILL THE SENATE SEAT OF LATE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN –  THE LONGEST-SERVING FEMALE SENATOR IN U.S. HISTORY – WHO PASSED AWAY LAST WEEK AT THE AGE OF 90.

THE GOVERNOR HAS CHOSEN LAPHONZA BUTLER —  THE PRESIDENT OF EMILY’S LIST – A COMMITTEE THAT WORKS TO ELECT DEMOCRATIC WOMEN — AND A FORMER ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS.

NEWSOM ISSUED A STATEMENT LATE SUNDAY NIGHT – AFTER NEWS OF THE APPOINTMENT BROKE – SAYING BUTLER “REPRESENTS THE BEST OF CALIFORNIA AND…WILL CARRY THE BATON LEFT BY SENATOR FEINSTEIN, CONTINUE TO BREAK GLASS CEILINGS, AND FIGHT FOR ALL CALIFORNIANS IN WASHINGTON D.C.”

THE GOVERNOR HAS PREVIOUSLY SAID THAT HE WOULD FILL ANY SENATE VACANCY WITH A BLACK WOMAN. BUTLER WOULD BECOME THE THIRD BLACK WOMAN TO SERVE IN THE SENATE’S HISTORY.

NEWSOM SAID THE CHOICE IS AN INTERIM APPOINTMENT AND HE WOULD NOT SELECT ANY OF THE CANDIDATES WHO ARE RUNNING TO SUCCEED FEINSTEIN IN 2024. THEY INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA LEE, ADAM SCHIFF AND KATIE PORTER.

THE SUPREME COURT BEGINS ITS NEW TERM TODAY.

THE NINE JUSTICES – SIX CONSERVATIVE AND THREE LIBERAL — ARE PREPARED TO TACKLE SEVERAL MAJOR ISSUES OVER THE NEXT NINE MONTHS – INCLUDING GUN RIGHTS, SOCIAL MEDIA, THE POWER OF FEDERAL AGENCIES, ELECTORAL DISTRICTS – AND PERHAPS ABORTION PILLS.

ON OCTOBER 31, THE COURT WILL HEAR ARGUMENTS CONCERNING WHETHER THE FIRST AMENDMENT PROHIBITS PUBLIC OFFICIALS FROM BLOCKING CRITICS ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES LIKE FACEBOOK AND X.

ON NOVEMBER 7, A CASE WILL  BE PRESENTED TO THE COURT ON WHETHER A FEDERAL LAW BARRING PEOPLE UNDER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS FROM OWNING A GUN VIOLATES THE SECOND AMENDMENT’S RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS.

IN ADDITION, THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS ASKED THE JUSTICES TO HEAR ITS APPEAL TO A RULING BY THE 5TH US CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN NEW ORLEANS ON BARRING TELEMEDICINE PRESCRIPTIONS AND SHIPMENTS BY MAIL OF THE ABORTION PILL MIFEPRISTONE.

ON SUNDAY – FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS RESUMED — AFTER A THREE-YEAR PAUSE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

INTEREST ON THE LOANS BEGAN ACCRUING AGAIN ON SEPTEMBER 1ST.

BORROWERS WILL RECEIVE A BILL SAYING HOW MUCH THEY OWE EACH MONTH – AT LEAST 21 DAYS BEFORE THEIR DUE DATE.

THERE IS A YEARLONG GRACE PERIOD TO HELP BORROWERS – MEANING MISSED OR LATE PAYMENTS IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS – WON’T BE REPORTED TO THE CREDIT BUREAUS – BUT INTEREST WILL CONTINUE TO ACCRUE.

BORROWERS ALSO HAVE THE OPTION TO SIGN UP FOR THE NEW INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT PROGRAM – CALLED SAVE – WHICH WAS ANNOUNCED AFTER THE SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S LOAN FORGIVENESS PLAN. ACCORDING TO THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, THE SAVE PLAN WILL HELP THE TYPICAL BORROWER – SAVE — MORE THAN $1,000 PER YEAR ON PAYMENTS.

IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR LOANS – YOU CAN LOG ONTO THE WEBSITE STUDENTAID DOT GOV.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – OSCAR-WINNER TOM HANKS SENT A WARNING TO HIS FANS – NOT TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING THEY SEE.

HE POSTED TO INSTAGRAM ON SUNDAY AN IMAGE – SEEMINGLY OF HIMSELF – BUT WITH THE CAPTION “BEWARE!”

IT TURNS OUT IT WAS NOT AN ACTUAL PHOTO OF THE “FORREST GUMP” ACTOR – BUT A COMPUTER-GENERATED ONE — MADE FROM ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

HANKS’ CAPTION WENT ON TO EXPLAIN FURTHER – SAYING QUOTE “THERE’S A VIDEO OUT THERE PROMOTING SOME DENTAL PLAN WITH AN AI VERSION OF ME. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.”

HANKS HAS PREVIOUSLY SPOKEN ABOUT THE CHALLENGES ACTORS FACE WHEN IT COMES TO AI ON A PODCAST EARLIER THIS YEAR.

“I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on. Outside of the understanding of AI and deepfake, there’ll be nothing to tell you that it’s not me and me alone. And it’s going to have some degree of lifelike quality. That’s certainly an artistic challenge but it’s also a legal one.”

THE INTERVIEW WAS DONE MONTHS BEFORE HOLLYWOOD ACTORS WENT ON STRIKE IN JULY WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BEING ONE OF ITS KEY ISSUES. SAG-AFTRA AND THE ALLIANCE OF MOTION PICTURE TELEVISION PRODUCERS ARE EXPECTED TO MEET TODAY FOR THE FIRST FORMAL BARGAINING TALKS.

OUR BUSINESS CORESPONDENT SIMONE DEL ROSARIO HAS A SERIES ON THE RISE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE TECHNOLOGY. YOU CAN FIND HER REPORTS NOW ON SAN.COM.  

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS MONDAY.

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WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.