1/ The House remains leaderless as Steve Scalise doesn’t have the 217 Republican votes needed to become speaker. Despite securing his party’s nomination over Jim Jordan in a conference-wide vote, at least 12 Republicans have publicly refused to back Scalise and more have expressed frustration or skepticism about his leadership. A two-hour, closed-door Republican meeting was described as unproductive and that no candidate is close to garnering the 217 Republican votes needed to win the speaker’s gavel. Without a speaker, the House is paralyzed and unable to move forward on any major items, including spending legislation and aid for Israel and Ukraine. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Associated Press / CNN)
2/ Federal prosecutors indicted Sen. Bob Menendez on charges of conspiring to act as an illegal foreign agent of Egypt while serving as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The superseding indictment comes three weeks after a federal grand jury charged Menendez with accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for his political influence. The new indictment alleges that Menendez “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.” (Politico / Axios / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Associated Press)
3/ The U.S. urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties as the Israeli military said its preparing “for the next stage of the war” “to change the reality” in Gaza. Following Hamas’ terror attacks, which have killed more than 1,200 people, Israeli military officials said they’re now ready to “go on the offense” within Gaza. Israeli officials said they plan to capture or kill all of Hamas’s leaders, destroy the group’s militant units and underground tunnel network, and make it impossible for the terrorist organization to govern Gaza. The country has called up 360,000 reservists, who have started massing near the border with Gaza for an imminent ground invasion. Following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Hamas’ “reign of terror” while calling for “every possible precaution” to avoid harming civilians, saying “we democracies distinguish ourselves from terrorists by striving for a different standard, even when it’s difficult.” Netanyahu thanked Blinken for the support and then called for “moral clarity,” saying Hamas should be “crushed” and “spat out from the community of nations.” So far, at least 1,537 Palestinians have been killed after six days of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. An additional 6,612 people have been injured. More than 338,000 Palestinians are currently homeless and in search of safety, but the territory’s exits – into Israel and Egypt – are both closed. Israel has also cut off supplies of electricity, food, water, and fuel as part of its “complete siege” on the enclave – a tactic outlawed under international law. Israel said there would be no pause in the siege unless Hamas releases the roughly 150 hostages who are believed to be in Gaza. The United Nations, meanwhile, warned of a developing humanitarian “disaster” in Gaza where the health system “has begun to collapse,” food and water are “quickly running out,” and residents are without reliable electricity. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNN)
- The U.S. and Qatar agreed to stop Iran from accessing $6 billion for humanitarian assistance in light of Hamas’s attack on Israel. The funds had been negotiated as part of a prisoner release deal last month. (New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ Inflation rose 3.7% from a year earlier, reinforcing the Federal Reserve’s intent to keep interest rates high. On a month-to-month basis, prices increased 0.4% from August to September, compared with a 0.6% rise from August to July. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said housing prices, which rose 7.2% from a year ago, were the largest contributor to September’s figure. Fed officials have signaled that they are likely to leave interest rates unchanged in November, but what happens at the December meeting is less clear, with a roughly 60% chance of no change and a 40% chance of a rate hike. (NBC News / Axios / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)
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