Congress appears poised to avert partial government shutdown
Congress hasn’t scheduled votes to extend funding the government as the clock ticks down on a shutdown, but leading lawmakers said Congress will likely take action Thursday before the midnight deadline. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday the Senate could work quickly to pass a funding bill that would allow the government to operate through Dec. 3, and give lawmakers time to approve routine spending measures such as funding federal agencies and the programs they administer for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. After Senate approval, the bill would head to the House for a vote, which they’re expected to approve, and then to President Joe Biden for his signature. If Congress does not avert a shutdown before funding expires at the end of the fiscal year, which occurs at midnight Thursday, hundreds of thousands of nonessential federal employees could be furloughed – forced to take time off without pay – beginning Friday.
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House plans to vote on the $1.2T infrastructure bill, but drama remains
The House plans to vote on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday – but lingering Democratic infighting puts the bill in jeopardy. Members of both political parties have been striving to pass infrastructure legislation for years. They reached a breakthrough this year when Senate Republicans, Democrats and President Joe Biden came together to create a bill that funded roadways, bridges, public transportation and expanded broadband. It passed the Senate 69-30 in August. But a bill with bipartisan support is in trouble because progressives and moderates within the House Democratic party are leading competing factions toward a showdown. Progressives are arguing that they should not vote on the infrastructure deal without passage of a separate budget bill that would include “human infrastructure” priorities such as subsidized child care and provisions to fight climate change. Moderates are attempting to unlink the two pieces of legislation in hopes of gathering more GOP support.
Congresswomen to share abortion stories
Three congresswomen will testify about their experiences with abortion during a Thursday House hearing on reproductive rights. On Wednesday’s episode of MSNBC’s “The ReidOut with Joy Reid,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA; Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.; and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., shared intimate accounts of their decisions to end their pregnancies. Lee said she traveled to a “back-alley clinic” in Mexico. “I was one of those that survived and I think it’s my duty now, as hard as this is, to talk about it. Because I know it’s going to happen again if we don’t stop what’s taking place,” she said, alluding to the Texas law that renewed a national conversation about reproductive rights.
Facebook official to testify after report on Instagram’s effect on teens
A Senate Commerce Committee panel digging into Instagram’s impact on young users has summoned its owner Facebook’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis, to testify Thursday. Davis’ appearance comes on the heels of a recent Wall Street Journal report that said top Facebook officials were aware that Instagram, the popular photo-based social media platform, can have a negative impact on mental health, body image and more for teenagers, particularly teenage girls. In a study of teens in the U.S. and the U.K., Facebook found that over 40% of Instagram users who reported feeling “unattractive” traced that feeling back to the platform, the report says. Davis is expected to tell lawmakers that Facebook works to prevent children under 13 from gaining access to platforms that aren’t suitable for them. Davis is also set to testify that the company is developing features to protect young people on its platforms, using research and consultations with outside experts to make the users’ experience positive.
A film museum finally opens in Los Angeles
Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will end the long-sought and oft-delayed pursuit of a movie museum in Los Angeles. It was called for by the original charter for the 94-year-old Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that presents the annual Oscar awards. Guarding the grounds for the 300,000-square-foot, seven-story museum is a fearsome introductory centerpiece: Bruce, the 1,208-pound, 25-foot-long shark from Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller “Jaws,” hanging over the main escalators. The museum also features a section highlighting original costumes – from Dorothy’s sequined ruby slippers in “The Wizard of Oz” to The Dude’s robe in “The Big Lebowski.” Visitors can even hold their own Oscar.
Contributing: The Associated Press