Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today that President Donald Trump is prepared to sign the spending and border security deal, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to get more money to build his border wall. "The president will sign the bill. We'll be voting on it shortly," he said. The legislation would fund nine Cabinet departments and dozens of other agencies through September 30, removing — for now — the threat of another government shutdown. It provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new fences along the border in Texas, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought for 234 miles of steel walls. The final funding number for border barriers is also less than in deals that were offered last year before Trump pushed the government into a record, 35-day shutdown. So, did he get a worse deal that was on the table before?
Amazon announced today that it had canceled plans to build an expansive corporate campus in New York City after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from some lawmakers and unions, who contended that a tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives. What does this tell us about the power of corporations in this country, how desperate cities are to attract them and the power of local groups to oppose them? The company, as part of its extensive search for a new headquarters, had chosen Long Island City, Queens, as one of two winning sites, saying that it would create more than 25,000 jobs in the city. Amazon's decision is a major blow for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had set aside their differences to bring the company to New York. But it was a remarkable win for insurgent progressive politicians led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose upset victory last year happened to occur in the district where Amazon had planned its site. Her win galvanized the party's left flank, which mobilized against the deal.
The US House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to end American involvement in Saudi Arabia's war effort in neighboring Yemen. The chamber voted 248 to 177 to approve historic legislation that would direct the president within 30 days to "remove the United States armed forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen," where a years-old conflict has killed thousands of civilians. The vote puts pressure on the Senate to act. The Senate easily passed a similar measure late last year condemning the administration's defense of the Saudi kingdom, but it died as the last Congress ended with the then-Republican-controlled House not bringing it to a vote.
Carmine Sabia — Journalist and writer for Citizen Truth.
Eugene Craig III — Republican strategist, former vice-chair of the Maryland Republican Party and grassroots activist.
Jackie Luqman — Co-editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and the co-hosts of the Facebook livestream Coffee, Current Events & Politics.
Phil Mattera — Research Director at Good Jobs First.
Elisabeth Myers — Editor-In-Chief of Inside Arabia.
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