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Government Reopens, For Now

Congress has voted to end the government shutdown. Vox: “After a three-day standoff, Congress has voted to reopen the government — but only for three weeks. In a last-minute decision, Senate Democrats agreed to pass a spending bill that would fund the federal government through February 8, and fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, with an assurance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to negotiate some kind of immigration deal within that time period and put a bill on the floor for a vote. The House passed the same spending bill a few hours later. Lawmakers were stuck in an impasse for three days after the Senate failed to pass a spending bill Friday night, shutting down the government. Democrats and several Republicans handily voted down a House bill that would have extended the shutdown deadline to February 16. Since then, Democrats had been trying to extract firm assurances from Republican leaders, in hopes a bipartisan immigration bill will land on President Trump’s desk. Lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with the state of immigration negotiations in recent months. Republicans have punted on finding a legislative fix for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program since September, when the Trump administration announced it would end the program by March 5. They’ve also kicked down more permanent budget negotiations, instead passing three short-term spending deals since October 1 — the latest extends current spending levels for another three weeks.”

DREAMers Feel Betrayed By DACA Deferral

‘Dreamers’ disappointed that Congress deferred DACA deal. Reuters: “Young “Dreamers” brought to the United States illegally as children were angry and disappointed on Monday after the U.S. Congress approved a temporary spending bill to end a three-day government shutdown without a deal to shore up their shaky legal status. U.S. Senate Democrats accepted the bill to restore funds to keep the government running for three more weeks in exchange for a promise by Republicans to hold a debate on the status of the young immigrants. ‘It’s irresponsible of everyone in Congress not to pass something,” said Jovan Rodriguez, 27, who was brought to the United States from Mexico by his parents when he was 3 years old. ‘I‘m really disappointed.'”

U.S. Slams Import Of Solar Panels

US slaps ‘America First’ tariffs on washing machines and solar panels. BBC: “The US has approved controversial tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels. The move is in line with President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy, which aims to protect local manufacturers from foreign competition. A spokesman said the administration would ‘always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers and businessmen’. But China and South Korea, whose manufacturers will be most heavily affected, criticised the move. US officials said more trade enforcement actions would follow. Mr. Trump has talked about taking the action ever since coming to office. In his inauguration speech a year ago he promised to protect US borders from other countries ‘making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs’. The actions are being seen as the president’s most significant trade moves since his decision to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal (TPP) and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).”

ICE Deports Polish Doctor After 40 Years In U.S.

ICE detains a Polish doctor and green-card holder who has lived in the U.S. for nearly 40 years. WaPo: “Niec received a temporary green card and, in 1989, became a lawful permanent resident. He grew up in Michigan, went to medical school, became a doctor, and raised a daughter and stepdaughter. Niec, now 43, never fathomed that his legal status in the United States would become an issue. With a renewed green card, and nearly 40 years in the country, his Polish nationality was an afterthought for Niec, his sister told The Washington Post. He doesn’t even speak Polish. But on Tuesday morning, immigration authorities arrested Niec at his home, just after he had sent his 12-year-old stepdaughter off to school. Niec, a physician specializing in internal medicine at Bronson Healthcare Group in Kalamazoo, Mich., has been detained in a county jail ever since, awaiting a bond hearing and possible deportation.”

Trump Waives Environmental Rules For Border Wall

DHS waives more than 30 environmental laws to speed Trump’s border wall. Washington Examiner: “Trump waives dozens of environmental rules to speed up construction of border wall. Washington Examiner: “The Trump administration is waiving more than 30 environmental rules to accelerate the construction of President Trump’s proposed border wall in New Mexico, forcing environmental groups to consider another round of lawsuits. The Department of Homeland Security published a notice Monday that said the waiver was necessary to ensure the ‘expeditious construction of barriers’ near the Santa Teresa Land Port of Entry. ‘The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, pursuant to law, that it is necessary to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements in order to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the international land border of the United States,’ according to a notice published in the Federal Register. The waiver included rules and requirements under several top federal environmental rules, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Clean Air Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Noise Control Act.”

Kochs Fill GOP War Chest After Tax Cuts

Charles Koch donated $500K to Ryan days after GOP tax plan passed. The Hill: “GOP mega-donor Charles Koch and his wife donated about $500,000 to Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) joint fundraising committee, just days after the GOP tax plan was passed. Charles Koch made the donation 13 days after the plan was passed, which lowers the corporate tax rate and cuts estate taxes, the International Business Times reported. He and his wife also gave $237,000 each to the National Republican Congressional Committee on the same day, according to the report. Charles Koch and his brother David Koch were both major advocates for the tax plan, pouring millions of dollars into efforts to get the legislation passed.”

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