Day 828: "This issue is too important."
1/ Pence testified before the federal grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The closed-door appearance comes one day after a federal appeals court rejected Trump’s emergency attempt to prevent or limit Pence’s testimony. A grand jury subpoena was issued by special counsel Jack Smith to compel Pence to testify about conversations he had with Trump leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, including the pressure campaign to have him block the certification of the election in his role as president of the Senate. It is the first time that a vice president has been compelled to testify about the president he served. (NBC News / CNN / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)
2/ Senate Republicans blocked a resolution that would have allowed the Equal Rights Amendment to be added to the Constitution. The bipartisan resolution to remove an arbitrary 1982 deadline for ratification failed 51-47. It needed to clear a 60-vote threshold. The ERA, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, was first introduced in 1923 and later passed by Congress in 1972. Although Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA in 2020 – meeting the required three-fourths needed for Constitutional amendments – it did so after the deadline. Chuck Schumer changed his vote to a “no,” which would allow him to bring the resolution back up later, saying: “This issue is too important, and we are not giving up.” (The Hill / CNN / Politico / ABC News / USA Today / Washington Post)
3/ A Missouri judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a first-of-its-kind rule that limited gender-affirming care for minors and adults in the state – hours before it was set to take effect. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo said she wanted more time to review briefs from Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who issued the new restrictions. Ribaudo delayed implementation of the rule until 5 p.m. Monday, saying she expects to issue a ruling before then. Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Montana House voted to discipline the state’s first transgender lawmaker after she told colleagues they would have “blood on [their] hands” if they passed a bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors. Zooey Zephyr is barred from attending or speaking from the House floor for the remainder of the 2023 session, but will be allowed to vote remotely. In Kansas, Republican legislators enacted a transgender bathroom law, overriding the Democratic governor’s veto of the measure. The Kansas law prevents transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, prisons, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers associated with their gender identity. In Minnesota, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation that enshrines the right to abortion and gender-affirming care into law, and another that bans so-called conversion therapy. (CNN / NBC News / CNN / NPR / CBS News / Associated Press)
4/ The U.S. economy slowed at the start of 2023 with U.S. gross domestic product rising at a 1.1% annualized rate – down from a 2.6% rate in the last three months of 2022 and lower than the 1.9% annual growth analysts expected. The report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that growth was weighed down by declining business investment, home buying, and construction. The economy is projected to slow further in 2023 as the Federal Reserve continues to work on getting inflation down to 2% with higher interest rates. (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley suggested that Biden would more likely die than make to the end of a second term. “I think we can all be very clear and say with a matter of fact that if you vote for Joe Biden, you really are counting on a President Harris because the idea that he would make until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely,” Haley said. Biden, already the oldest sitting U.S. president in history at 80 years old, would be 86 at the end of a second term if reelected. Biden announced his reelection bid with Harris two days ago. (CNBC / The Hill / Insider)
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