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Kevin McCarthy defends Rep. Lauren Boebert after anti-Muslim remark, downplays House infighting

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., attempted to downplay the tumultuous week in the Republican conference on Friday, acknowledging only that some of his hard-right members distract from the GOP midterm message in their feuds with Democrats and each other but not condemning the anti-Muslim rhetoric from his member that set off the most recent controversies. "It's things we would not want to deal with," he said of the controversies over the last few weeks surrounding comments and social media posts from Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. "It's [distracting from] things the American people want to focus on: stopping inflation, gas prices and others," he said.   ... Read More

Biden signs short-term funding bill, averting government shutdown through February

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden has signed a short-term funding bill to keep the government open until Feb. 18, 2022, narrowly averting a shutdown that loomed for Friday, the White House said. At the top of earlier remarks on the November jobs report Friday, Biden teased he would sign the bill before heading to Camp David for the weekend and said the action represents the "bare minimum" of what Congress should do. "Funding the government isn't a great achievement, it's a bare minimum of what we need to get done," he said. The president also thanked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for their leadership on getting the bill passed and called for them to   ... Read More

Bidens help light National Christmas Tree outside White House

Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Christmas season has begun in Washington, with bright lights, festive trees and a touch of bipartisanship in the spirt of the holiday. President Joe Biden, joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, lit the National Christmas Tree outside the White House on Thursday evening. The president delivered a message of optimism, telling the crowd of first responders and military families, "We have so much ahead of us." "We are a great nation because of you, the American people," Biden said. "You've made me so optimistic." While Biden struck a tone of optimism, the reality of the pandemic was still on display with a smaller crowd   ... Read More

Competitive congressional races on decline due to new redistricting maps

SDI Productions/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Competitive races across the country are expected to disappear as states begin to submit their re-drawn maps for this decade's round of redistricting. While only 18 states have finished their gerrymandering process, nearly half a dozen highly competitive seats have been slashed from the last batch of congressional maps according to data tracked by FiveThirtyEight. Instead, swing and lightly safe districts are being transformed into incumbent safe havens, giving Republicans a competitive edge over Democrats in the map overall, with 55 seats leaning Democratic and 90 seats leaning Republican. On the old maps, drawn in 2011, Republicans had 21 competitive seats and 67 solid seats; this go around, only 12 competitive seats remain while 78 are solidly   ... Read More

President Biden to make at-home rapid tests free in new COVID plan

Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz(WASHINGTON) -- As cases rise in the colder months and amid concerns of a new COVID-19 variant arriving in the U.S., President Joe Biden announced a new plan Thursday for a winter coronavirus strategy that includes making at-home rapid tests free, extending the mask requirement on public transit and requiring more stringent testing protocols for all international travelers. Biden pitched the nine-point plan from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, as one that can unite the country. "I know COVID-19 has been divisive. It's become a political issue, which is a sad, sad commentary," he said. "Now as we move into the winter and face the challenges of the new variant, this   ... Read More

Dozens of states may restrict abortion almost immediately should Supreme Court uphold Mississippi ban

Marilyn Nieves/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday began to hear historic arguments over a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, asks the justices directly to reconsider the precedent set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This means that the justices, a majority of whom are conservative, have the real opportunity to lessen the right to an abortion or possibly overturn the landmark case that made abortion a federally protected right nearly half a century ago. Legal scholars are raising the alarm that if the court should decide to uphold the Mississippi ban, it could clear the way for new restrictions on abortion across   ... Read More

Biden declines comment on report Trump tested positive for COVID days before debate

Oleg Albinsky/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday declined to comment on the claim former President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows makes in an upcoming book, according to the Guardian, that Trump had a positive COVID-19 test three days before their first presidential debate. ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce asked Biden, who was 78 and, like Trump, unvaccinated when they shared the stage in the September debate, if he believes Trump put him at risk of contracting the potentially fatal virus. Biden paused, and then responded with a smirk, "I don't think about the former president." Later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki took a different tone -- slamming Republicans and Trump allies she said   ... Read More

Jan. 6 committee will move to hold former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark in contempt

Elisank79/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack on Wednesday will recommend the full House hold former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in contempt for refusing to cooperate with their investigation in the latest effort to ratchet up pressure on the former president’s aides and allies. The move comes as Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s fourth and final chief of staff, agreed to cooperate with the panel, turning over thousands of pages of records and agreeing to appear for a deposition in the coming days. The full chamber could vote to hold Clark, the former acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, in contempt as soon as Thursday, making him the second Trump associate   ... Read More

Democrat Stacey Abrams announces second try for Georgia governor

Eze Amos/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Stacy Abrams will be back on the campaign trail in a second bid for governor of Georgia, setting the stage for a possible rematch with GOP Gov. Brian Kemp whom she lost to in 2018. Abrams, hoping to become the nation's first Black chief state executive, made her campaign announcement Wednesday on Twitter. "I’m running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power," Abrams said in an announcement video. I’m running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power. #gapol Be a founding donor to my campaign: — Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) December 1, 2021 In   ... Read More

Muslim members of Congress condemn Islamophobia after bigoted remarks

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Andre Carson on Tuesday night forcefully condemned the anti-Muslim remarks made by their colleague, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, last week. Omar, Tlaib, and Carson are the only three Muslims in Congress. "We may only be three among hundreds serving in Congress, but we are strong advocates that won't shy away in demanding better for our communities. No one deserves to feel hate or racism solely based on one's faith. It's completely unacceptable," Tlaib said. A shaken Omar spoke of her difficult experiences as a Muslim American -- from the person who told her she would never be elected to Congress for wearing a   ... Read More

Roe v. Wade on the line as Supreme Court takes up Mississippi abortion rights case

Jackson Women's Health Organization is Mississippi's last remaining abortion clinic. - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider a case that could fundamentally transform abortion rights in America by overturning Roe v. Wade and clearing the way for stringent new restrictions on abortion in roughly half the country. "This is the most important Supreme Court case on abortion since Roe in 1973, and I don't think it's particularly close," said Sherif Girgis, Notre Dame law professor and former clerk to Justice Samuel Alito. The justices will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health over a Mississippi law that prohibits termination of pregnancies after 15 weeks. Lower courts have found the ban plainly unconstitutional under the   ... Read More

Rep. Lauren Boebert refuses to publicly apologize to Rep. Ilhan Omar for anti-Muslim remark

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, said she had an "unproductive" call with Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., on Monday over her anti-Muslim remarks and claimed the Colorado Republican refused to publicly apologize for suggesting she was a terrorist. Instead, Omar claimed in a new statement that Boebert "doubled down on her hurtful and dangerous comments," which led Omar to "end the unproductive call." In a video posted to Twitter last week, Boebert referred to Omar as a member of the "Jihad Squad" and claimed that a Capitol Police officer thought she was a terrorist in an encounter in an elevator on Capitol Hill. She was condemned by Democrats and some Republicans for the remarks and apologized on Twitter   ... Read More

Trump’s former Defense Secretary Mark Esper sues Defense Department over book redactions

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who served under former President Donald Trump until his firing in the wake of the 2020 election, has sued the Department of Defense over redactions they made to his upcoming book. Esper's memoir, set to be released in May of 2022, is expected to chronicle his time in the Trump administration, in which he served first as Secretary of the Army and then as Secretary of Defense until Trump tweeted about his firing on Nov. 9, 2020, following weeks of contention. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington on Sunday, said that Esper engaged in "extensive coordination" with the Department's Office of Pre-publication and Security Review. Esper   ... Read More

White House: 90% of federal workers, military have gotten at least one COVID shot

Morsa Images/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House: 90% of federal workers, military have gotten at least 1 COVID shot Anne Flaherty More than 90% of the nation’s 3.5 million federal workers have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot with the "vast majority” of employees fully vaccinated and another 5% either requesting an extension or exemption, the Biden administration announced on Monday. Officials said the numbers -- which include civilian and military personnel -- show the government won't see disruptions this holiday season because of the mandate. "We are successfully implementing vaccination requirements for the largest workforce in the United States with federal employees in every part of the nation and around the world," said Jeff Zients, the White House coordinator on   ... Read More

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