1/ Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans unveiled a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel that cuts the IRS budget by about the same amount, while also leaving out Ukraine assistance and other bipartisan priorities. Senate Democrats and the White House called the bill a nonstarter, saying it’s “politicizing our national security interests.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned lawmakers at the Senate Appropriations Committee that failing to pass aid for both Israel and Ukraine would “embolden both Moscow and Tehran.” Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, has been stressing the need for linking aid for Ukraine and Israel together in a larger emergency funding package that also funds Taiwan and U.S. border security. “And if we don’t stand up to these challenges now,” McConnell said, “they will cost us a lot more in the future.” The Biden administration has asked for $105 billion in national security funding. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / Politico / Associated Press)
2/ The Israeli Defense Forces took responsibility for an airstrike that dropped six bombs on a refugee camp in Gaza that killed and injured hundreds of people. The IDF claimed the blast killed a Hamas official behind the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, but didn’t acknowledge the civilian deaths and casualties. The IDF reiterated its warning to residents to evacuate south, but also said it would continue “striking in all parts of the Gaza Strip.” More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced since Israel’s total siege of the enclave. The commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said the enclave’s entire population is “being dehumanized” and that thousands of children killed in Israeli airstrikes “cannot be collateral damage.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, ruled out a cease-fire, saying “this is a time for war.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall street Journal / Associated Press / CNBC)
3/ Biden invoked emergency federal powers to assert oversight of artificial intelligence systems, part of an executive order aimed at safeguarding against threats posed by what he called the “most consequential technology of our time.” Using the Defense Production Act, the order legally requires AI products be tested to assure they can’t be used to produce biological or nuclear weapons, requires developers to share safety test results and other information with the government, and requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create standards to ensure AI tools are safe and secure before public release. The order also directs federal agencies to both deploy AI and guard against its possible bias. (Associated Press / NPR / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)
4/ The Biden administration released a new proposal for student loan relief that prioritizes borrowers “experiencing financial hardship.” In June, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s pandemic-era debt relief plan, which aimed to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for an estimated 43 million borrowers. The new proposal would provide loan forgiveness for four categories of borrowers – those who have outstanding federal student loan balances that exceed the original amount borrowed; those with loans that entered repayment 25 or more years ago; those with loans for career-training programs that led to “unreasonable debt loads or provided insufficient earnings”; and those who attended school with “unacceptably high” student loan default rates – deemed eligible for forgiveness through income-driven repayment or other targeted relief programs. (Axios / NBC News)
5/ Senate Democrats plan to subpoena three wealthy and influential conservatives who provided Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito with luxury travel. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said they would subpoena Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley II for documents as part of their investigation into ethics reform at the Supreme Court. “By accepting these lavish, undisclosed gifts, the justices have enabled their wealthy benefactors and other individuals with business before the Court to gain private access to the justices while preventing public scrutiny of this conduct,” the Senate Judiciary Committee said. “In order to adequately address this crisis, it is imperative that we understand the full extent of how people with interests before the Court are able to use undisclosed gifts to gain private access to the justices.” A vote is expected as soon as Nov. 9. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / CNN)
- Clarence Thomas didn’t fully repay a $267,230 loan for a luxury RV. “Thomas did not include the loan on his ethics disclosure forms, and it is not known whether he disclosed the loan forgiveness to the IRS, as required by law because loan forgiveness is taxable income.” (NPR / Washington Post / CBS News / Wall Street Journal)
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