Day 818: "A ticking time bomb."
1/ The Supreme Court temporarily preserved access to the abortion pill mifepristone while considers a lower court’s ruling that restricted the FDA’s approval of the drug. The hold will remain in effect until midnight on Wednesday. Last week, U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk suspended the FDA’s approval of mifepristone after more than two decades. Although an appeals court blocked Kacsmaryk’s order that suspended the approval of mifepristone, the judges blocked mail delivery of the pill, reimposed doctor visits, and shortened the length of time mifepristone can be used during pregnancy. They also blocked the 2019 approval of the generic form of the drug. (Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)
2/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reported rental income totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last two decades from a firm has not existed since 2006. Nevertheless, Thomas continued to disclose between $50,000 and $100,000 in income from the old firm annually on his financial disclosures. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, called on the federal court system’s policymaking body, the Judicial Conference, to refer Thomas to the U.S. attorney general for potential ethics violations after it was reported that he failed to report real estate deals made with Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. Thomas also accepted luxury vacations from Crow for more than two decades in apparent violation of a financial disclosure law. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics also filed a civil and criminal complaint against Thomas, saying his failure to disclose “repeated, lavish gifts” undermines confidence in the Supreme Court as an institution. (Washington Post / CNBC / Washington Post)
3/ The $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News was delayed by one day to allow both parties to discuss a possible settlement. Dominion Voting Systems, which sells voting machines and election software, claims it was defamed by Fox News after its hosts and guests made false claims on air that the company helped rig the 2020 election against Trump. Dominion’s civil lawsuit seeks $1 billion in “lost enterprise value” and $600 million in lost profits. People directly involved in the case said that they didn’t expect a settlement, and jury selection and opening arguments are now scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / NBC News)
4/ House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee hosted a field hearing in New York to attack Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting Trump on 34 charges of falsifying business records in connection with his hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign. In a political stunt by Jim Jordan and other Republicans, they accuse Bragg of “pro-crime, anti-victim policies” that they claim have caused “an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.” Despite the claims, Manhattan’s current levels of both violent crime are down significantly from the record levels of the early 1990s. And, for what it’s worth, the crime rate in New York is about one-third that of Columbus, Ohio, which is just south of Jordan’s district. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)
5/ Kevin McCarthy proposed a one-year debt ceiling increase paired with cuts to the budget and new work requirements to receive federal benefits, like Medicaid and food stamps. “Defaulting on our debt is not an option,” McCarthy said, but “a no strings-attached debt limit increase will not pass,” adding that “American debt is a ticking time bomb that will detonate unless we take serious, responsible action.” McCarthy, who has four votes to spare in a narrow majority, said House Republicans plan to vote “in the coming weeks” on forthcoming legislation to raise the debt ceiling, limit federal spending, claw back Covid-19 aid, and enact new work requirements for social programs. The plan, however, is likely dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate. And, the White House, which has argued that Congress should raise the debt limit without conditions, said “McCarthy is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, threatening our economy and hardworking Americans’ retirement.” Lawmakers have about seven weeks to raise the debt limit and avert a financial catastrophe. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)
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