Day 847: "Irresponsible."
1/ Biden will cut his trip to Asia short and return to Washington to continue negotiations on lifting the debt ceiling. Biden and the Democrats have argued that a debt ceiling increase should be done without conditions to avoid an economic disaster, while Republicans want to use it as leverage to cut federal spending, ease energy permits, and claw back Covid-19 funds. Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, said that tighter work requirements for safety net programs like food stamps are his “red line” in negotiations, while Hakeem Jeffries called the idea “a nonstarter.” More than a dozen House Republicans meanwhile urged Chuck Schumer to cancel the Senate’s upcoming recess, saying it’s “irresponsible” for the chamber to be out of session during this “critical time leading up to June 1st.” The Treasury Department estimates that the U.S. could default on the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt as soon as June 1 if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / Bloomberg)
2/ Rudy Giuliani reportedly discussed selling presidential pardons for $2 million, which he would split with Trump, according to a lawsuit filed by Giuliani’s business development director and public relations consultant from 2019 to 2021. According to the lawsuit, Giuliani also told Noelle Dunphy he was able to break laws because he had “immunity.” The lawsuit, however, did not suggest any pardons were sold. Dunphy also alleged in her suit that after Giuliani hired her for $1 million a year in January 2019 he sexually assaulted and harassed her, refused to pay her wages, and often made “sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks.” The suit alleges that Giuliani “often demanded that Dunphy work naked, or in short-shorts with an American flag on them that he bought for her,” adding that Giuliani “demanded oral sex while he took phone calls,” including with Trump, and told her he enjoyed it “because it made him feel like Bill Clinton.” Dunphy is seeking $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. (Associated Press / NBC News / CBS News / Politico)
3/ House Democrats introduced a resolution to expel George Santos, who was recently indicted by the Justice Department on counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to Congress. While the move is expected to fail, it will force House Republicans to go on the record over Santos. About a dozen House Republicans have called for Santos to resign. (CNN / Axios / USA Today / ABC News)
4/ Biden vetoed a resolution that would have reinstated tariffs on solar panels imported from Chinese companies in Southeast Asia in violation of trade rules. Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concerns about what they call unfair competition from China, arguing that China should be punished for circumventing tariffs by shipping their products through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. About three-quarters of solar panels imported to the U.S. in 2020 came from Southeast Asia. As a result of the veto, tariffs on solar panels from Southeast Asia will be waived until at least June 2024, providing a “bridge” to ensure that when new U.S. factories are operational, “we have a thriving solar installation industry ready to deploy American-made solar products to homes, businesses and communities across the nation,″ Biden said. A two-thirds majority of lawmakers in both houses would be needed to override Biden’s veto. “Passage of this resolution bets against American innovation,” Biden said. “It would undermine these efforts and create deep uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry.” (Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)
poll/ 16% of Americans said religion is the most important thing in their lives – down from 20% a decade ago. 28% said they “seldom” attend religious services, and 29% of respondents said they “never” attend religious services. A decade ago, those figures were 22% and 21%, respectively. (NPR)
poll/ In a hypothetical match-up, voters prefer Biden to Trump 44% to 38%. In March, Biden led Trump by five percentage points after trailing him by three points in February. (Reuters)
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