More trouble for Biden’s student debt forgiveness

Happy Monday and welcome to what is sure to be a busy and potentially crazy week. President Joe Biden held a three-hour meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia on Monday. Biden said the two had “an open and frank conversation” and that a Cold War with China could be averted. “We will compete vigorously. But I’m not looking for conflict, I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly,” he said.

Here’s what’s happening closer to home.

What’s the program for a stuffed lame duck?

Congress returns for a crowded session of lame ducks even as the electoral votes continue to be counted. Clearly the Democrats will retain control of the Senate and the Republicans are likely to take control of the House – with a slim majority that portends plenty of headaches for the party leadership. It’s less clear how lawmakers will respond to the need to fund the government beyond Dec. 16, which may be the most pressing item on the year-end agenda.

“Because the [funding] legislation needs to pass it could attract additional measures that Democrats want to erase in the lame duck session,” CNN Remarks. “For example, additional financial support for Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russia. Although this funding enjoys bipartisan support, some conservatives — such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the top House Republican who is expected to become president if his party ultimately wins the chamber — balk at the costly contributions and shy away from it. agree to take a closer look. additional demands from the Biden administration, a dynamic that divides Republicans.

BNC News Remarks that, among other outstanding questions, “is whether the Justice Department will get the $34 million it says is ‘absolutely needed’ to continue its criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol Riot” .

The White House and Democrats also want additional funding for Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and testing, but that money is unlikely to be included in a year-end package.

Beyond government funding, the list of things to do before the 118th Congress is sworn in on January 3 remains long.

The Senate is due to vote this week on the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify same-sex marriage rights. Senate lawmakers are also reportedly likely to pass bipartisan election security legislation designed to make it harder to overturn certified results of a presidential contest.

Congress must pass the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which sets the Pentagon’s policy agenda and authorizes funding for the Department of Defense.

Facing the debt limit? Then there is the debt ceiling. The US Treasury is expected to hit its borrowing limit of $31.4 trillion sometime next year, meaning the limit needs to be raised to avert a market-disrupting threat of default. Republicans have raised the possibility of using the debt limit as leverage to force Democrats to accept spending cuts, but Democrats may seek to defuse the problem before it escalates into a full-blown crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said this weekend they would seek to tackle the debt ceiling in the coming weeks.

“Our best shot, I think, is doing it now,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Schumer was less definitive. The debt ceiling is “something we’re going to look at over the next few weeks,” he told reporters. Asked about Pelosi’s comments, he said, “I’m going to sit down and talk to my caucus about expanding the lame session agenda.”

Avoid Medicare cuts: Congress must also step in to prevent Medicare cuts that are set to go into effect following pay-as-you-go budget rules that require the cost of new legislation — in this case, the $1.9 trillion U.S. Medicare Act. 2021 US bailout – to be offset. “Congress routinely waives such cuts, but the issue became a political hot potato last year. Lawmakers instead deferred the issue to 2022, with Republicans unwilling to help Democrats avoid the slices caused by the passage of their massive party-line bill,” Politico says. “Now it looks like lawmakers will quietly deal with the issue before the end of the year.”

Republicans in disarray: Much of the focus this week and month will be on internal leadership races. As Republicans digest the disappointing election results and their intraparty snipers continue, House GOP members will have to decide whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California will be their presidential nominee. McCarthy could face challenges securing the 218 votes he will need to be named speaker. This House drama comes as former President Donald Trump is set to announce another presidential bid, though his scheduled kickoff on Tuesday comes as many GOP members blame him for the failures. party voters.

The bottom line: Lawmakers must fund the government and pass the annual Defense Authorization Bill before the end of the year – and they have just 16 legislative days left.

Court blocks Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

A panel of judges from the 8th United States Circuit Court of Appeals halted President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program on Monday, the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the plan. The program stopped accepting applications last week after a separate federal judge in Texas ruled the loan forgiveness plan was unconstitutional.

Monday’s decision — made by three judges appointed by Republican presidents, including two appointed by former President Donald Trump — came after six Missouri-led states sued to stop the cancellation program. debt, arguing that they would lose tax revenue from lending services. Reversing an earlier decision, the judges concluded that Missouri would in fact suffer financial losses and therefore have standing to sue – a key issue in court cases seeking to end the loan forgiveness program.

Estimated at around $400 billion, Biden’s plan would forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower, subject to income limits. The new ruling halts the program nationwide until the matter is resolved by the courts. “The injunction will remain in effect until further notice from this court or the Supreme Court of the United States,” the appeals court said.

Fake free insulin tweet was part of Twitter verification meltdown

“We are delighted to announce that insulin is now free.”

The tweet, sent last week from an account believed to belong to drug giant Eli Lilly and bearing a blue verification checkmark, sparked a panic within the drug company, reports Drew Harwell of The Washington Post.

The tweet was fake, coming from one of several accounts that had paid $8 to get a blue tick under the immediately problematic new policy implemented by Twitter’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk. Eli Lilly responded by halting all Twitter ad campaigns and Twitter posting plans.

“For $8, they potentially lose millions of dollars in ad revenue,” Amy O’Connor, former communications manager at Eli Lilly, told The Post. “What is the advantage for a company… of staying on Twitter? It’s not worth the risk when patient confidence and health are at stake.”

Eli Lilly also tweeted an apology “to those who received a misleading message from a fake Lilly account.” Senator Bernie Sanders responded to this message by criticizing the company for its price of insulin: “Let’s be clear. Eli Lilly should apologize for raising the price of insulin by more than 1,200% since 1996 to $275 when it costs less than $10 to manufacture. The inventors of insulin sold their patents in 1923 for $1 to save lives, not to make the CEO of Eli Lilly incredibly rich.

Why is this important: “It’s not just about Twitter, it’s about patient health,” O’Connor told the Post, noting that a public health group could be impersonated in dangerous ways. “Where does it stop? I feel like this is literally just the beginning and it’s only going to get worse.

Quotes of the day: More rate hikes to come

“We’ve got a long, long way to go to get inflation down…These rates are going to stay – keep going up – and they’re going to stay high for a while until we see this inflation moving closer to our target… The market seems to have a waaaa-aaaay head on this… Everyone should just take a deep breath, calm down. We still have a long way to go. It’s not going to end at the next meeting or two… We’re going to have to see a continued streak of this type of behavior on inflation slowly start to come down before we really start thinking about slowing down here.

Christopher Waller, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Speaking at a conference in Sydney, Australia, last weekend on the central bank’s campaign to fight inflation by raising interest rates. When asked if rates could go above 5%, Waller noted how inflation was still high: “7.7% CPI inflation is huge,” he said, referring to the consumer price index. “It’s not really about pace anymore, it’s where we end up. And where we end up will just depend on what happens with inflation.

“I think it will probably be appropriate soon to move to a slower rate of increase. But I think it’s really important to emphasize: we’ve done a lot, but we have additional work to do both to raise rates and maintain moderation to bring inflation down to 2% over time… There will likely be delays, and it’s going to take some time for this cumulative tightening to kick in. And so it makes sense to move on at a more deliberate and data-driven pace as we continue to ensure there are restrictions that will bring inflation down over time.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Lael Brainard speaking to Bloomberg News Monday. “By moving forward at a more deliberate pace, we will be able to see how this cumulative tightening unfolds,” Brainard added. “I think it’s really hard to say exactly what that path looks like right now, but I think it will be much better at balancing those risks by being able to take more data into account.”

Number of the day: 2.9%

Goldman Sachs economists forecast that core inflation – a measure the Federal Reserve relies on – will decline from its current level of 5.1% to 2.9% by the end of 2023. Goods inflation is expected to turn negative, according to Goldman analysts. saidwhile housing costs and wage growth are expected to slow over the next year.


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