1/ The Rafah border crossing opened for the first time since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip, allowing for up to 500 foreign nationals and seriously injured Palestinian civilians a day to enter into Egypt. Dozens of people were wounded during an Israeli airstrike on Jabalya – the most populous refugee camp in the region. It was the third strike on the camp in 24 hours. The United Nation’s Human Rights Office expressed concern that the airstrikes “could amount to war crimes.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added that he’s “appalled over the escalating violence in Gaza,” including the killing of civilians by Israeli airstrikes in the refugee camp, and reiterated that “all parties must abide by international law, international humanitarian law including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.” Meanwhile, Gaza’s more than two million residents faced another communication blackout – the second major outage in five days – after a “complete interruption” of internet and phone service. Communication services are gradually being restored. The Biden administration reportedly believes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future may only “last a matter of months” due to growing international opposition to the current Israeli military campaign in Gaza and anger over failures by Israel’s intelligence community to prevent the Hamas Oct. 7 terror attack. Nevertheless, Netanyahu vowed to press on with the military campaign in Gaza, saying: “We are in a difficult war. It will also be a long war. We have important achievements, but also painful losses.” (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN / Politico / ABC News)
2/ The House Republican plan to fund $14 billion in emergency aid for Israel with cuts to the IRS would end up costing taxpayers $26 billion over 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said. By giving Israel $14 billion and attaching $14 billion in IRS funding cuts, the package would add $12.5 billion to the deficit through 2033, but result in $26.8 billion in lost tax revenue over the next 10 years. IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, however, said the price tag of the Republicans’ plan could be even larger than CBO’s estimate: “This type of the cut, over the cost of the Inflation Reduction Act, would actually cost taxpayers $90 billion — that’s with a ‘B.’” Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act included $80 billion to modernize the IRS and improve tax collection and enforcement, which the CBO estimated at the time would cut the deficit by more than $100 billion. (Washington Post / The Hill / Insider)
3/ The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at a 22-year high for the second straight policy meeting. Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that rates would remain high into next year to keep inflation moving down, and hinted that future rate hikes were possible. Rates have been in a range of 5.25% to 5.5% since July – up from near-zero in March 2022 – despite inflation falling significantly since hitting a four-decade high last summer of over 9%. “Inflation has been coming down but it’s still running well above our 2% target,” Powell said. “Given how far we have come, along with the uncertainties and risks we face, the committee is proceeding carefully.” GDP, meanwhile, rose at a 4.9% annual rate in the third quarter – the fastest clip in almost two years. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg / New York Times / ABC News / Axios / NPR / NBC News)
U.S. job openings climbed to 9.6 million in September, up from 9.5 million in August. Prior to the pandemic monthly job openings had never topped 8 million. Layoffs, meanwhile, fell to 1.5 million in September from 1.7 million in August. (Associated Press / New York Times / Bloomberg)
💡 The economy is doing great, but why are Americans so gloomy? (Wall Street Journal)
4/ The Biden administration will spend $1.3 billion to build three large electrical transmission lines across six states to upgrade the nation’s power grid so it can better handle more renewable energy, as well as extreme weather. The lines, built with money from the bipartisan infrastructure law, will span from Arizona to New Mexico, Nevada to Utah, and through Vermont and New Hampshire and into Canada. Together, the three transmission lines will add 3.5 gigawatts of additional electric capacity to the grid – enough to power about 3 million homes – and create roughly 13,000 new jobs. Even so, the Energy Department said the U.S. needs to expand its transmission line network by two-thirds or more to meet Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity generation by 2035. (CNN / New York Times / CNBC / The Hill)
5/ Infant mortality rates in the U.S. increased 3% last year – the largest increase in two decades. The national rate rose to 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022, up from 5.44 per 1,000 the year before, the CDC reported. While the increase may seem small, it’s the first statistically significant jump since the rate rose from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 in 2001 to 7.0 deaths in 2002. The U.S. infant mortality rate is double that of most developed countries. (Associated Press / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)
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