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Trump leads in Iowa ahead of record-cold caucuses, The Morning Rundown, Jan. 15, 2024

Jan 15

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Voters are ready to be heard as the 2024 presidential primary kicks off in Iowa. And congressional leaders said they have reached a deal to avert a government shutdown. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.

Trump leads in Iowa ahead of record-cold caucuses

On Monday, Jan. 15, the 2024 presidential primaries officially kick off with the Iowa caucuses, where 40 delegates are up for grabs, as the GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, tops the latest poll. Republicans will host voters at designated caucus locations, including schools, gyms, community centers, churches, and other venues, to listen to speeches about the presidential candidates before they decide on a choice.

But undecided voters are not the only unpredictable factor candidates are dealing with this year; another component could cause major issues: the weather. Record-cold is slated for Iowa, with temperatures set to hover around 20 degrees below zero around 7 p.m. central, the start of the caucuses. Arctic air is expected to bring wind chills between 35 and 45 degrees below zero through Tuesday, Jan. 16.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Republican party says Iowans are well acclimated to the midwest winters and understand what’s at stake. As many are concerned about the numbers on the thermometer, others are focused on the numbers from the latest poll released over the weekend. The final poll before the caucuses, conducted by NBC News and the Des Moines Register, shows former President Donald Trump with a nearly 30-point lead over his opponents – with 48% first-choice support.

Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley is in second place in the poll, narrowly edging past Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Meanwhile, Democrats in Iowa will hold in-person caucuses on Monday, Jan. 15, but only to conduct party business, not for voting. The Iowa Democratic party in the state is asking voters to send in their choice for president by mail. The results will be announced in March.

Arctic blast sends extreme cold across the country

As voters in Iowa contend with record-breaking cold weather, they are not alone. An arctic blast is sweeping across the country, from Canada to the U.S., with many locations facing dangerously low temperatures. States of emergency have been issued in multiple states, including Arkansas, Colorado, New York, and Nebraska.

More than one million Americans were under a wind chill warning or advisory on Sunday, Jan. 14, with the temperature feeling like 60 degrees below zero in parts of Montana. Blizzard conditions forced the postponement of an NFL game in Buffalo from Sunday, Jan. 14, to Monday, Jan. 15. Record-high tides flooded homes in Maine and New Hampshire. The severe weather is being blamed for at least four deaths in Oregon, with strong winds knocking over trees in two incidents, two other victims died of suspected hypothermia.

U.S. fighter jet shoots down Houthi missile in Red Sea

A U.S. fighter jet shot down an anti-ship cruise missile fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, aimed at an American destroyer in the Red Sea, on Sunday, Jan. 14, according to U.S. officials. The attempted attack marked the first attack by the Houthis since the U.S. and its allies began retaliatory strikes against the Iranian-backed militant group.

According to the U.S. Central Command, no injuries or damage were reported. The U.S.-led airstrikes against the Houthis began on Friday, Jan. 12, in response to the group’s attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The U.S. and United Kingdom forces struck more than 60 targets, including weapon depots, radars, and command centers. On Saturday, Jan. 13, another strike conducted by U.S. forces targeted a Houthi radar site.

Congressional leaders agree on two-tiered funding deal to avert shutdown

Congressional leaders announced on Sunday, Jan. 14, that they have agreed on a short-term funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown later this week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., unveiled the two-tiered continuing resolution to fund the government through March 1 and 8.

Schumer said the Senate will begin moving the legislation through as soon as it reconvenes on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

“The bipartisan topline funding agreement reached ensures that America will be able to address many of the major challenges our country faces at home and abroad,” Schumer said in a statement.

In his own statement, Johnson said the bill is required to complete what House Republicans are working hard to achieve. The deal comes a week after last weekend’s agreement that set the overall spending level at $1.59 trillion. Should the bill pass, it will mark the third short-term spending deal since September.

The current deal, which went into effect in September, funded some federal departments until Jan. 19 and others until Feb. 2. This latest funding bill would need to be agreed upon by both the House and Senate by Friday, Jan. 19 to avoid a shutdown.

John Kerry expected to step down as special envoy for climate

According to multiple reports, John Kerry plans to step down as President Biden’s special envoy for climate by the spring. Kerry will reportedly go on to help Biden in his bid for reelection. Sources tell several news outlets that Kerry met Biden last week to tell the president of his decision to resign from the position. Kerry’s staff was notified on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Kerry has held the role since 2021 and led the U.S. through three international climate summits, including last month’s COP28. The 80-year-old former secretary of state is still expected to attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week.

NFL Wild Card game on Peacock makes history

An update to the first NFL playoff game to air exclusively on a streaming platform, in no surprise to many, broke records, and not just with the temperature. The wild card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins on Saturday, Jan. 13, aired on NBC’s streaming service Peacock, and it is now the most streamed U.S. event ever.

According to NBC, the game drew 23 million viewers, but that’s not all – it was also the country’s largest internet usage event. NBC said the wild card game accounted for 30% of web traffic, making Saturday, Jan. 13, the single highest day of U.S. internet usage in history. The Chiefs won the game 26-7.

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VOTERS ARE READY TO BE HEARD AS THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY KICKS OFF IN IOWA

AND — CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS SAY THEY HAVE REACHED A DEAL TO AVERT A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS MONDAY, JANUARY 15TH

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

TODAY — THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES OFFICIALLY KICK OFF WITH THE IOWA CAUCUSES —

WHERE 40 DELEGATES ARE UP FOR GRABS — AS THE GOP FRONTRUNNER FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP TOPS THE LATEST POLL.

REPUBLICANS WILL HOST VOTERS AT DESIGNATED SCHOOL GYMS, COMMUNITY CENTERS, CHURCHES AND OTHER VENUES — TO LISTEN TO SPEECHES ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES — BEFORE THEY DECIDE ON A CHOICE.

BUT UNDECIDED VOTERS ARE NOT THE ONLY UNPREDICTABLE FACTOR CANDIDATES ARE DEALING WITH THIS YEAR – THERE’S ANOTHER COMPONENT THAT COULD CAUSE SOME MAJOR ISSUES – THE extremely cold WEATHER.

RECORD-COLD temperatures are expected in IOWA – WITH TEMPERATURES SET TO HOVER AROUND 20 DEGREES BELOW ZERO AROUND 7 P.M. — THE START OF THE CAUCUSES.

ARCTIC AIR IS EXPECTED TO BRING WIND CHILLS BETWEEN 35 AND 45 DEGREES BELOW ZERO THROUGH TUESDAY.

A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY SAYS IOWANS ARE WELL ACCLIMATED TO THE MIDWEST WINTERS – AND UNDERSTAND WHAT’S AT STAKE.

AS MANY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBERS ON THE THERMOMETER – OTHERS ARE FOCUSED ON THE NUMBERS FROM THE LATEST POLL RELEASED OVER THE WEEKEND.

THE MOST RECENT POLL — CONDUCTED BY NBC NEWS AND THE DES MOINES REGISTER — SHOWS FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WITH A NEARLY 30 POINT LEAD OVER HIS OPPONENTS – WITH 48 PERCENT FIRST-CHOICE SUPPORT.

NIKKI HALEY IS IN SECOND PLACE WITH A SLIGHT EDGE OVER RON DESANTIS.

MEANWHILE DEMOCRATS IN IOWA WILL HOLD IN-PERSON CAUCUSES TODAY BUT ONLY TO CONDUCT PARTY BUSINESS – NOT FOR VOTING.

THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE STATE IS ASKING VOTERS TO SEND IN THEIR CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT BY MAIL. THE RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN MARCH.

AS VOTERS IN IOWA CONTEND WITH RECORD-BREAKING COLD WEATHER – THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

AN ARCTIC BLAST IS SWEEPING ACROSS THE COUNTRY – MAKING ITS WAY FROM CANADA INTO THE U.S. — WITH MANY LOCATIONS FACING DANGEROUSLY LOW TEMPERATURES.

STATES OF EMERGENCY HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN MULTIPLE STATES INCLUDING ARKANSAS, COLORADO, NEW YORK AND NEBRASKA.

MORE THAN ONE MILLION AMERICANS WERE UNDER A WIND CHILL WARNING OR ADVISORY ON SUNDAY – THE TEMPERATURE FEELING LIKE 60 DEGREES BELOW ZERO IN MONTANA.

BLIZZARD CONDITIONS FORCED THE POSTPONEMENT OF AN NFL GAME IN BUFFALO NEW YORK FROM SUNDAY TO TODAY.

AND RECORD HIGH TIDES FLOODED HOMES IN MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.

THE SEVERE WEATHER IS BEING BLAMED FOR AT LEAST FOUR DEATHS IN OREGON.

A U.S. FIGHTER JET SHOT DOWN AN ANTI-SHIP CRUISE MISSILE FIRED BY HOUTHI REBELS IN YEMEN — AIMED AT AN AMERICAN DESTROYER IN THE RED SEA .

THIS MARKED THE FIRST ATTACK BY THE HOUTHIS SINCE THE U.S. AND ITS ALLIES BEGAN RETALIATORY STRIKES AGAINST THE IRANIAN-BACKED MILITANT GROUP LAST WEEK.

THE AIRSTRIKES AGAINST THE HOUTHIS HAVE BEEN IN RESPONSE TO THE GROUP’S ATTACKS ON COMMERCIAL VESSELS IN THE RED SEA.

THE U.S. AND UNITED KINGDOM STRIKING MORE THAN 60 TARGETS ON FRIDAY AND HIT ANOTHER HOUTHI SITE ON SATURDAY —

LEADING UP TO SUNDAY’S RESPONSE BY HOUTHI FORCES THAT WAS THWARTED BY THE U.S.

THE HOUTHIS HAVE LAUNCHED  DOZENS OF ATTACKS SINCE THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR.

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ANNOUNCED SUNDAY NIGHT THEY HAVE REACHED A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON A SHORT-TERM FUNDING BILL – TO AVERT A PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN LATER THIS WEEK.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER AND HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON UNVEILED THE TWO-TIERED CONTINUING RESOLUTION THAT WOULD FUND THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH MARCH 1ST AND MARCH 8TH.

SCHUMER SAID THE SENATE WILL BEGIN THE PROCESS OF MOVING THE LEGISLATION THROUGH – AS SOON AS IT RECONVENES ON TUESDAY.  IN  A STATEMENT – SCHUMER SAID:

“The bipartisan topline funding agreement reached ensures that America will be able to address many of the major challenges our country faces at home and abroad.”

JOHNSON CALLED THE DEAL “the most favorable budget agreement Republicans have achieved in over a decade.”

THE DEAL COMES A WEEK AFTER AN AGREEMENT LAST WEEKEND THAT SET THE OVERALL SPENDING LEVEL AT MORE THAN ONE AND A HALF TRILLION DOLLARS.

SHOULD THE BILL PASS IT WILL MARK THE THIRD SHORT-TERM SPENDING DEAL SINCE SEPTEMBER.

THIS LATEST FUNDING BILL WOULD NEED TO BE AGREED UPON BY BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE BY FRIDAY TO AVOID A SHUTDOWN.

ACCORDING TO MULTIPLE REPORTS – JOHN KERRY PLANS TO STEP DOWN AS PRESIDENT BIDEN’S SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE BY THE SPRING.

KERRY WILL REPORTEDLY GO ON TO HELP BIDEN IN HIS BID FOR REELECTION.

SOURCES TELL SEVERAL NEWS OUTLETS THAT KERRY MET BIDEN LAST WEEK TO TELL THE PRESIDENT OF HIS DECISION TO RESIGN FROM THE POSITION. KERRY’S STAFF WAS NOTIFIED ON SATURDAY.

KERRY HAS HELD THE ROLE SINCE 2021 – AND LED THE U.S. THROUGH THREE INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE SUMMITS, INCLUDING LAST MONTH’S COP28.

THE 80-YEAR-OLD FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE IS STILL EXPECTED TO ATTEND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN SWITZERLAND THIS WEEK.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – AN UPDATE TO THE FIRST NFL PLAYOFF GAME TO AIR EXCLUSIVELY ON A STREAMING PLATFORM.

NO SURPRISE TO MANY – IT BROKE RECORDS – AND NOT JUST WITH THE TEMPERATURE.

THE WILD CARD GAME BETWEEN THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AND THE MIAMI DOLPHINS ON SATURDAY AIRED ON NBC’S STREAMING SERVICE PEACOCK — AND IT IS NOW THE MOST STREAMED U.S. EVENT EVER.

ACCORDING TO NBC — THE GAME DREW 23 MILLION VIEWERS.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL – IT WAS ALSO THE LARGEST EVENT FOR INTERNET USAGE IN THE COUNTRY.

NBC SAYS THE WILD CARD GAME ACCOUNTED FOR 30 PERCENT OF WEB TRAFFIC – MAKING SATURDAY THE SINGLE HIGHEST DAY OF U.S. INTERNET USAGE IN HISTORY.

THE CHIEFS WON THE GAME 26-7.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS MONDAY.

AND BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE MORNING RUNDOWN NEWSLETTER  TO GET THE TOP STORIES EACH WEEKDAY MORNING.

JUST GO TO SAN DOT COM SLASH RUNDOWN TO SIGN UP.

UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS. THAT’S STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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