House votes to approve bill to avert government shutdown

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(WASHINGTON) — The House voted along party lines to pass a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown next week.

The final vote was 220-211.

The bill would fund the government through Dec. 3 and it also includes billions in emergency disaster relief and aid for Afghan evacuees. It also suspends the debt limit through December 2022.

Senate Republicans are expected to block the measure later this week because they do not want to vote on raising the debt limit — which means a shutdown could still happen if funding runs out after midnight on Sept. 30.

Democrats need 10 Republican senators to vote with them, and as of right now, the votes are not there. The path forward to avert a shutdown is unclear as of right now.

Senate Republicans have said they oppose suspending the debt limit because of additional spending measures Democrats are crafting — even though doing so would pay for previous expenditures. But Senate Democrats worked with Republicans under the Trump administration to raise the debt limit on multiple occasions and said it’s a bipartisan responsibility.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said if Congress does not act to raise the debt limit, the U.S. could default on its debt sometime in October, potentially triggering an “economic catastrophe.”

Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said for weeks they will oppose any measure that raises the debt ceiling, insisting that Democrats can do it alone given their control over all three branches of government.

“Since Democrats decided to go it alone, they will not get Senate Republicans’ help with raising the debt limit. I’ve explained this clearly and consistently for over two months,” McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor.

But Democrats are pressing ahead and remain optimistic about the bill’s prospects, knowing full well the challenge they face in getting Republicans on board.

“It is our hope that Senate Republicans will also do the right thing and stop playing politics around the debt limit,” House Democratic caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries said at a press conference Tuesday.

Jeffries indicated that at least a handful of Republicans have publicly expressed they will end up voting for the bill. Democrats need at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to back the bill.

“Three times — during the administration of the former president — three times House Democrats cooperated in raising the debt ceiling,” Jeffries said.

“Now all of a sudden, they want to jam up the American people and the American economy and our full faith and credit, because they’re playing politics?” Jeffries said of Republicans in the Senate.

“Senate Republicans should be hearing from their friends in the big banks and big business, as to how catastrophic a default on our debt would be for industry, for commerce, for the economy and most importantly for the American people,” Jeffries added.

Without GOP support, it’s unclear how Democrats will plan to tackle the issue of raising or suspending the debt limit alone.

“The debt limit is a shared responsibility, and I urge Congress to come together, in that spirit, on a bipartisan basis as it has in the past to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members over the weekend.

The short-term funding bill unveiled on Tuesday extends funding through Dec. 3 for all vital federal agencies, including health, housing, education and public safety programs.

“It is critical that Congress swiftly pass this legislation to support critical education, health, housing and public safety programs and provide emergency help for disaster survivors and Afghan evacuees,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said in a statement Tuesday.

The bill also includes $28.6 billion in emergency disaster relief to address recent natural disasters, including multiple hurricanes and wildfires, severe droughts and winter storms in 2021 and prior years.

Another $6.3 billion would support Afghan evacuees, including funding to temporarily house evacuees at American facilities and in foreign countries, provide necessary security screenings and ultimately resettle eligible evacuees in the United States. The legislation also includes funding to provide humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees in neighboring countries.

The legislation suspends the debt limit through December 2022.

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House Democrats remove money for Israel’s Iron Dome system in funding bill

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(WASHINGTON) — House Democrats on Tuesday removed $1 billion in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system from their stopgap government funding bill, after progressives threatened to tank the measure over the military support for Israel.

While Democratic leaders committed to approving the funding by year’s end in another must-pass bill, the holdup was the latest episode in an ongoing intraparty debate over support for Israel.

Republicans quickly took to social media to accuse Democrats of undermining Israel’s security, and planned a procedural vote to highlight Democrats’ divisions — even as they had planned to vote against the initial measure when it included Iron Dome funding.

Moderate Democrats also criticized their colleagues for opposing the funds for the defensive missile system, which President Joe Biden promised to replenish after Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in May.

While lawmakers from both parties have supported Israel’s right to defend itself unconditionally for decades, a growing group of Democratic lawmakers have called on party leaders to revisit its relationship with Israel, and have accused its military of human rights abuses and blasted the treatment of Palestinians.

That tension has been exacerbated in recent years by the efforts of conservative Israeli leaders — most notably former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — to align closely with Republicans and former President Donald Trump, after tensions with the Obama administration over the U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Still, Democratic Party leaders and Biden have been quick to demonstrate their support for Israel. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid about the Iron Dome funding debate and reiterated Democrats’ commitment to passing the measure.

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Dave Grohl taking part in ‘The New Yorker’ Festival event

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Dave Grohl is taking part in this year’s edition of The New Yorker Festival, an annual week-long event held by the famed magazine.

On October 8, the Foo Fighters frontman will join New Yorker staff writer Kelefa Sanneh for a conversation about his upcoming memoir, The Storyteller. Grohl is also set to perform.

The event will be held live and in-person at an outdoor venue in Brooklyn, and will also stream online. Tickets are available now via Festival.NewYorker.com.

Grohl’s New Yorker Festival appearance will fall in the middle of his fall book tour in support of The Storyteller, which will also make stops in London, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

The Storyteller, Grohl’s debut book, will be released October 5.

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Remy Ma makes her lead acting debut in BET’s ‘The Delrhonda Hood Story’

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Remy Ma is portraying one of Detroit’s most notorious female gangsters in her first leading acting role.

The Terror Squad member will star in the title role of BET’s American Gangster Presents: Big Fifty: The Delrhonda Hood Story.

Hood narrates her own story, which will debut on the BET+ streaming service on October 6. Remy, who previously appeared in Empire, will be joined in the cast by singer Tank and veteran actress Debbi Morgan, whose long list of credits includes Roots: The Next GenerationsAll My Children, and Power.

The “All The Way” rapper recorded the song “The Godmother” for the film.

Like Hood, Remy also served time in prison. She was convicted of assault for shooting a member of her entourage over a financial dispute in 2007 and served six years of an eight-year sentence. She was released in 2014.

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Don McLean sets “American Pie” 50th anniversary Europe/UK tour

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Don McLean is taking his “American Pie” to Europe.

The singer/songwriter has booked a 35-date European tour for 2022, to mark the 50th anniversary of his signature song “American Pie.”  Technically, the single turns 50 in October of this year, but of course, many artists aren’t returning to the road in full force until next year.

McLean’s overseas tour starts in the U.K. — Wales, to be specific — next September, and then moves on to the continent in early October, wrapping up in November of 2022 in Austria.

Last month, McLean received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; he was introduced at the ceremony by his pal, “Weird Al” Yankovic.

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Jay-Z sues Kansas City police department, alleging misconduct

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Jay-Z is continuing his fight for social justice by taking legal action against the Kansas City Kansas Police Department

Team Roc, the philanthropic arm of his Roc Nation, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the KCKPD for alleged police misconduct. Team Roc attorney Alex Spiro told ABC News that the police department is covering up documents which could be used as evidence.

“Because of the [Kansas] Public Records Act that allows interested parties to look at various states and government documents, we’re allowed to see certain files and how the government handled certain issues,” Spiro said. “The government has attempted to block our access to those files, and so we’re suing to see what they don’t want us to see.”

The lawsuit alleges that the KCKPD has agreed to provide documents “pertaining to the complaints made against members of the Investigative Division,” but has “refused to produce documents pertaining to any steps that the City has taken in response to those complaints, including any investigations or disciplinary proceedings initiated as a result of the complaints.”

The suit references several reported incidents, including an officer who is charged with committing sex crimes involving a minor, two officers charged with a felony and misdemeanor assault over the mistreatment of an inmate, officers indicted on charges of stealing from homes where they were serving search warrants, and a federal lawsuit in which a Black female KCKPD officer sued the department for alleged race and gender discrimination.

Last year, Yo Gotti joined Team Roc in filing a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi prison system on behalf of 152 inmates, accusing the Parchman prison of subjecting inmates to alleged “barbaric” conditions

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“Disney+ Day” — ‘Shang-Chi’, ‘Jungle Cruise’, a Boba Fett special, and more coming on November 12

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Disney has declared Friday, November 12 Disney+ Day, and to celebrate, the streaming service announced it’s debuting content from its properties Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Among the launches on November 12 will be the streaming debut of the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, as well as the hit Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt, and Disney+ Original movie Home Sweet Home Alone, based on the hit Home Alone series. 

Also on the docket are a series of shorts called Olaf Presents, starring Frozen‘s favorite snowman retelling several classic Disney tales; the Oscar-winning shorts Feast and Paperman; and a new Simpsons short that pays tribute to Disney IP.

Disney+ will also debut a Star Wars special about the origins and legacy of bounty hunter and fan favorite Boba Fett, a new Marvel Studios special feature, new episodes of The World According to Jeff Goldblum from National Geographic, as well as special sneak peeks of upcoming shows and celebrity guest stars to help celebrate the occasion.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Two disbarred attorneys outside Texas sue abortion doctor under SB8

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(WASHINGTON) — The first tests of Texas’ unprecedented and highly controversial scheme for enforcing a ban on nearly all abortions have come from two non-Texans — both former lawyers disbarred for alleged misconduct who are effectively inviting courts to invalidate the law on constitutional grounds.

Oscar Stilley, a former Arkansas attorney, brought one of the two civil suits filed Monday in Bexar County District Court against a San Antonio abortion doctor who publicly admitted to performing an unlawful procedure. Stilley is in custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on a 15-year sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy, according to the complaint posted on his personal website.

Felipe N. Gomez, an Illinois attorney, brought the other suit; he is currently suspended from the state’s bar over accusations of sending harassing and threatening emails, records show.

“In some ways the identity of these first plaintiffs highlights the absurdity of the law,” said Kate Shaw, Cardozo School of Law professor and ABC News legal contributor.

“No connection to the issue, no connection to the parties, no connection — as far as we can tell from the complaints — to Texas, at all. And yet, they may well have the ability, the way the law is drafted, to go to court and to have the courts actually hear their case,” she continued.

Gomez is a self-described “pro choice plaintiff,” according to the two-page complaint obtained by ABC affiliate KSAT, and explicitly asked the court to strike the law, SB8, down.

SB8 prohibits abortions after about 6 weeks of pregnancy in Texas and allows “any person, other than an officer or employee of state or local government,” to bring a civil suit against someone believed to have “aided or abetted” an unlawful abortion.

“The statute says that anybody can file a suit. That doesn’t mean that there’s not some state constitutional limitation on who could file a suit,” said Irving Gornstein, executive director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law Center, “but this person seems to be somebody who has no objection to abortions, he just wants to earn a bounty.”

Stilley, who is seeking to claim a minimum $10,000 reward, and Gomez, who says he is not seeking any financial damages, both sued Dr. Alan Braid, an OB-GYN based in San Antonio, who publicly acknowledged in an op-ed on Sept. 6 that he had performed a first-trimester abortion in express violation of state law.

“I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care,” Braid wrote. “I fully understood that there could be legal consequences — but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Sept. 1 to allow SB8 to take effect on procedural grounds, despite what the majority acknowledged as “serious questions” about constitutionality. The justices did not address those questions.

Legal experts said the new civil cases are now “vehicles” for state and federal courts to examine the substance of SB8 itself — the near total ban on abortions across the state — and ultimately suspend enforcement of the measure as in violation of longstanding Supreme Court precedent.

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Body found near Grand Teton confirmed to be Gabby Petito, death ruled a homicide

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(NEW YORK ) — Officials have confirmed the body found over the weekend near Grand Teton National Park belongs to Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, the Teton County coroner said in a statement.

The initial determination is that she died by homicide, but the cause of death is pending final autopsy results, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said.

Authorities had said a body “consistent with the description of” Petito was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sunday. At the time, a full forensic identification hadn’t been completed and a cause of death was undetermined.

Petito’s parents reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not speaking with her for two weeks. Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, was named a person of interest by police last week.

Petito, originally from New York, had left from Florida with Laundrie in a van in July for their trip, which they documented on social media.

On Aug. 12, police in Moab, Utah, responded to an “incident” involving the couple, but “insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,” Moab Police Department Chief Bret Edge said in a statement last week.

Petito was last seen leaving a hotel in Utah with Laundrie on Aug. 24. The next day, she spoke to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, informing her that their next stops would be Grand Teton and Yellowstone, Schmidt told ABC News, and that was the last time Schmidt talked to her.

On Friday, it was announced that Laundrie’s whereabouts were unknown. His family told police they had last seen him last Tuesday. They said he had a backpack and told them he was going to the Carlton Reserve north of Laundrie’s home in North Port, Florida, where he had gone for hikes before.

A search for Laundrie in Florida was paused Monday, with police saying they “currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there.” He has yet to be found.

FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement that Laundrie has been named a person of interest.

“The FBI and our partners remain dedicated to ensuring anyone responsible for or complicit in Ms. Petito’s death is held accountable for their actions,” he said in a statement.

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Boston Marathon bombing survivor reunites with nurse through birth of daughter

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(NEW YORK) — After Jacqui Webb was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, she spent three weeks being treated for her injuries at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

One of the nurses who treated Webb there was Nichole Casper, a registered nurse who at the time was working in the hospital’s trauma unit.

“It was a very anxiety-inducing situation, obviously,” Casper told “Good Morning America” of the days and weeks following the bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured more than 200. “Then you meet all these people [being treated at the hospital], and even though they were so traumatized, they were so amazing.”

“Jacqui was always very gracious and very appreciative of all the care,” Casper said of Webb, with whom she lost touch once Webb was discharged from Tufts.

Both Webb, now 33, and her fiance, Paul Norden, were injured near the finish line of the marathon, which they’d attended as spectators to cheer on a friend running the race.

Norden lost his right leg in the bombing and, like Webb, suffered second- and third-degree burns and shrapnel injuries.

The couple, of Stoneham, Massachusetts, had long-term plans to have children together, but put those dreams on hold after the bombing, according to Webb.

“For the first year, pretty much all we did was recover,” she said. “And over the years we’ve both had additional surgeries for different marathon-related injuries, so that delayed it more.”

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