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Senate To Vote On Two-Year Budget

Senate to vote on two-year budget Thursday. The Hill: "The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a two-year budget deal that would substantially increase spending and suspend the debt ceiling for a year. It is intended to avert a second government shutdown this year and gives lawmakers who wanted more money for the military a big win... The Senate is expected to pass the deal on Thursday and send it to the House for final approval, hours before government funding is due to expire at midnight. The legislation has strong support in the Senate but faces a rockier path in the House, where conservatives don’t like the big spending increases and Democrats want a promise from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to debate immigration legislation soon."

Pelosi Holds House Floor For DREAMers

Pelosi advocates ‘Dreamers’ for more than 8 hours. WaPo: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commandeered the House floor Wednesday for a day-into-night marathon plea to Republicans for action on immigration, casting the fate of young undocumented immigrants in moral terms... The speech underscored that Democrats lack the leverage they insisted they would have in spending showdowns with Republicans. Pelosi and others repeatedly promised immigration activists and the party base they would force a vote sparing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation after President Trump rescinded the program in September. Instead, Democrats’ ineffectiveness has angered those same activists and the voters critical in a midterm election year with control of the House at stake. Pelosi, who began talking shortly after 10 a.m., sought the same assurances Democrats have gotten in the Senate — the promise of debate on an immigration bill, the one glimmer of hope on an issue that seems to defy resolution."

Budget Deal Lets 'Everyone Win,' Except DREAMers

Senate reaches a budget deal that lets "everyone win." NYM: "The budget deal busts through the spending caps that Congress enacted in 2011 (when Obama was president, and, therefore, Republicans cared about deficits), increasing government outlays above those thresholds by roughly $300 billion over two years. Defense hawks would enjoy an $80 billion increase in the Pentagon’s (already grotesquely large) budget this year, followed by an $85 billion bump in 2019. Meanwhile, non-defense spending would grow by $63 billion this year, and $68 billion in the following one. The deal would also suspend the debt limit until March 2019. Overall, the product is closer to the kind of budget Barack Obama would have wanted, than the one that the Trump White House proposed last year... One can fairly ask why on Earth we’re spending more on increasing the military’s already massive budget than on our catastrophically underfunded infrastructure system, relief for Puerto Rico, or a hundred other pressing policy challenges. But we all know the answer: The Republican Party is in power, and the military-industrial complex is a thing. In fiscal terms, this a pretty good deal for Democrats. But it comes at the price of leaving Dreamers in the lurch — and that could be a problem for the agreement in the House."

Russians Penetrated U.S. Voter Systems

Russians penetrated U.S. voter systems, top U.S. official says. NBC: "The U.S. official in charge of protecting American elections from hacking says the Russians successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several U.S. states prior to the 2016 presidential election. In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, said she couldn't talk about classified information publicly, but in 2016, 'We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.' Jeh Johnson, who was DHS secretary during the Russian intrusions, said, '2016 was a wake-up call and now it's incumbent upon states and the Feds to do something about it before our democracy is attacked again.'"

Dems Target 12 States To Stem Gerrymandering

Democrats target 12 states to prevent another decade of GOP gerrymandering. Alternet: "en years ago, after being trounced by President Obama and seeing Democrats take full control of Congress, Republicans plotted a comeback by targeting this same process in 16 states. They wanted to monopolize redistricting and they did, producing gerrymanders that diluted Democrats’ power. On Wednesday, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee revealed its 2018 strategy. The NDRC is targeting 12 states it believes hold the key to preventing another decade of runaway Republican rule. Their strategy is not to turn the tables on the GOP—they can’t; they’re too far behind. Rather, Democrats hope to elect a slate of governors wielding veto pens and to retake enough state legislative chambers to force Republicans to negotiate sharing power. "

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Promises, Promises, and More Broken Trade Promises. Leo Gerard: "The U.S. Commerce Department announced this week that the 2017 trade deficit rose to the highest level since 2008, a biggest and best figure that no U.S. President would brag about, least of all Donald Trump, who pledged repeatedly and forcefully that he would slash the deficit – and fast. Factory workers across the country are still watching and waiting for him to keep his promises of fast trade enforcement, even as mills close and unemployment benefits expire."

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