1/ Target pulled some LGBTQ-themed merchandise following “threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work.” Target said conservative activists have knocked down Pride displays, approached workers, and posted threatening videos on social media from inside stores over its “tuck friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to conceal their genitalia. The so-called customers have falsely claimed that Target is selling the “tuck-friendly” swimsuits to kids – the swimsuits, however, are only offered in adult sizes. The move to remove “items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior” comes one week before Pride Month kicks off on June 1. (Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News)
2/ The South Carolina Senate passed a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The legislation, which bans most abortions after early cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus or embryo, heads to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it. A physician who knowingly violates the law would have their license revoked and could face felony charges, fines, and jail time. At least 25 states have restricted abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
3/ A Florida elementary school restricted access to the poem recited at Biden’s 2020 presidential inauguration after a parent complaint and school review. Amanda Gorman – the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history – said she was “gutted” that her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” was moved to the library’s middle school section, which is for grades six through eight. A review committee at a Miami-Dade K-8 public school, however, determined that the poem and three other titles – “The ABCs of Black History,” “Cuban Kids,” and “Love to Langston” – were “better suited” for middle school students after one parent complained that the titles included inappropriate topics and were meant to “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.” Gorman said “The Hill We Climb” was inspired by the Jan. 6 insurrection “so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment.” Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the nation’s fourth-largest school district by enrollment. (USA Today / The Hill / CNN / Miami Herald / New York Times / ABC News)
4/ House Republicans will vote on a measure to block Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student debt for millions of low- and middle-income borrowers. The resolution would also end a pandemic-era pause on loan payments. Biden has pledged to veto the resolution if it passes in both the House and Senate, saying it would “weaken America’s middle class” because the cost of higher education has become a “lifelong burden” on low- and middle-income Americans. The student debt relief program is currently on hold because of two challenges that are being considered by the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its ruling in late June or early July. (CNN / NBC News / USA Today)
5/ Kevin McCarthy suggested that negotiations over raising the debt limit were progressing but the two sides still remained “far apart.” At the same time, McCarthy renewed his demand for Biden and the Democrats to accept spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit, claiming “it’s not my fault” that an unprecedented federal default is only eight days away. The White House called the standoff a “manufactured crisis” by Republicans pushing “extreme proposals” that would hurt “every single part of the country, whether you’re in a red state or a blue state.” Democrats, so far, have reportedly agreed to freeze spending at current levels, but Republicans have insisted on roughly $131 billion in spending cuts, while seeking an increase in military spending. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the U.S. could run out of money to pay its bills as soon as June 1. House Democrats, meanwhile, have all 213 members signed onto a discharge petition to bypass McCarthy and force a vote to raise the debt ceiling. Democrats still need at least five Republicans. So far, no Republicans have agreed to support it. (CNBC / Bloomberg / Politico / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)
poll/ 51% of Americans want Congress to raise the debt ceiling and deal with spending cuts separately — a so-called “clean” increase. 25% say raising the debt ceiling should be tied to spending cuts demanded by House Republicans. (Monmouth University Poll / Bloomberg)
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