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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Divisions threaten stopgap spending package as shutdown deadline nears

  • As DACA deal stalls, Trump disputes John Kelly on border wall demands

  • Trump administration announces protections for pro-life medical workers

  • Amazon shortlists 20 cities in HQ2 contest

  • Gallup finds sharp drop in global views of U.S. leadership in 2017

Bitter divisions within the Republican Party are threatening to derail a stopgap spending proposal aimed at averting a government shutdown. Republicans have scrambled to muster enough votes to pass the measure — known as a continuing resolution — in both chambers. President Trump met Thursday with the far-right House Freedom Caucus members, who have pushed for increased defense spending, in an attempt to broker a deal. Senators on both sides of the aisle, meanwhile, have expressed fatigue with interim fixes, given this would be the fourth continuing resolution passed in three months. Democrats are demanding that any bill include protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The continuing resolution would finance the government through Feb. 16; current funding expires at midnight Friday.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told House Democrats and Fox News on Wednesday that President Trump wants a deal to protect DREAMers but also $20 billion to build 700 miles of "physical barrier" along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has "evolved" in his "uniformed" immigration and border wall ideas since the campaign, Kelly said. "The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it," Trump tweeted Thursday morning, adding it was "never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection" like rivers and mountains. "The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly ... by Mexico," he added. A lack of progress on a bipartisan DACA replacement plan is holding up spending legislation.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

The Trump administration on Thursday instituted new guidelines protecting pro-life medical workers. Politico reported the coming announcement Tuesday, and it was confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday. The new rules will protect medical professionals who oppose abortion, contraceptive use, or gender reassignment, allowing them to adhere to any personal objections they may have to facilitating those procedures without penalty. A new department within HHS, called the "conscience and religious freedom division," will exist as a branch of the department's civil rights office for individuals to report "discrimination" against these pro-life workers, The New York Times reported.

Source: The New York Times, Politico

Amazon on Thursday released the list of 20 finalists in its headquarters contest, dubbed HQ2. Last September, the tech giant invited cities across North America to explain why they were the best location for its second headquarters, following its main hub in Seattle. Among the 20 contenders still vying for Amazon's heart are a few major destinations, like Los Angeles and New York City, as well as an international option in Toronto. But the company is also considering some smaller-market areas, like Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee. Amazon has said it expects to create roughly 50,000 jobs with its headquarters expansion, as well as invest $5 billion in the winning city. Read the full list of finalists here.

Source: CNN, Axios

After a year of President Trump's "America First" foreign policy, the image of American leadership has dropped to a new low, according to a Gallup World Poll report. America's median leadership approval rating across 134 countries in 2017 was 30 percent, 4 points below the previous 2008 low, and 18 points lower than the 48 percent approval in 2016. Disapproval of U.S. leadership also hit a new high, 43 percent, greater than the disapproval number for any global power over the past decade. Views of American leadership actually rose by more than 10 percentage points in four countries — Liberia, Macedonia, Israel, and Belarus — but fell by more than 10 points in 65 nations. Germany is viewed favorably by 41 percent, China by 31 percent, and Russia by 27 percent.

Source: Gallup News
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