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Thousands More Migrant Children Separated From Families

Family separation may have hit thousands more migrant children than reported. NYT: "The Trump administration most likely separated thousands more children from their parents at the Southern border than was previously believed, according to a report by government inspectors released on Thursday. The federal government has reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly separated from their parents under last year’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, under which nearly all adults entering the country illegally were prosecuted, and any children accompanying them were put into shelters or foster care. But even before the administration officially unveiled the zero-tolerance policy in the spring of 2018, staff of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that oversees the care of children in federal custody, had noted a “sharp increase” in the number of children separated from a parent or guardian, according to the report from the agency’s Office of Inspector General."

Judge Strikes Down WI Early Voting Restrictions

Federal judge in Wisconsin strikes down early-voting restrictions passed in lame-duck session. NBC: "A federal judge on Thursday struck down early-voting restrictions Wisconsin Republicans adopted in a December lame-duck legislative session, saying the limits mirror restrictions he blocked two years ago. Republicans voted in December to limit in-person early voting to no more than two weeks before an election. The move came after a difficult midterm election in November, in which the overwhelmingly Democratic cities of Madison and Milwaukee held early voting for six weeks — far longer than in smaller and more conservative communities. The GOP lost every statewide race but retained majorities in the Legislature and quickly convened the lame-duck session to pass bills that Gov. Scott Walker, also defeated in the election, could sign before leaving office."

House GOP Forgets To Vote For Shutdown

House Republicans really don’t want to look like they voted to reopen the government. Vox: "The House floor erupted into chaos Thursday afternoon as House Republicans accidentally appeared to allow a vote aimed at reopening the government without objection. They were very upset about it. There’s a lot of procedural stuff at play, but the gist is this: House Democrats took up yet another short-term spending bill to reopen the government. The bill was called up and passed on a voice vote rather than a roll call vote — in which each individual’s yea or nay is entered into the congressional record — to the apparent surprise of House Republicans. Usually, every vote in the House is initially brought up on a voice vote, but typically, someone will request a recorded vote where members can say yea or nay on a bill, showing exactly who is voting for or against a certain proposal. This time, Democrats requested the voice vote, and either Republicans didn’t realize what was happening or didn’t hear the process. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) was the 'chair,' or the person at the moment charged with overseeing the proceedings on the House floor. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told reporters that Butterfield was waiting for someone to request a recorded vote, but no one did, and Hoyer confirmed that after rewatching tapes of the proceedings on the floor. 'On our side, we were surprised!' Connolly told reporters. Either way, the resolution to reopen the government passed on a voice vote, and most Democratic representatives promptly exited the chamber, heading to the airport to fly back home to their districts for the weekend. Republicans, meanwhile, were just catching up on the fact that a vote had actually happened. As members of the House GOP angrily called for another vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) tried to stop them... while also trying to figure out what they were asking for."

Trump Nixes Pelosi Trip, Melania Flies For Free

Melania Trump jets to Mar-a-Lago on military plane after POTUS grounds Pelosi’s troop visit. HuffPo: "Hours after President Donald Trump abruptly canceled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s flight on a military aircraft to visit troops in Afghanistan with a congressional delegation, Melania Trump jetted down to Mar-a-Lago in Florida for vacation — on an Air Force plane. The first lady boarded the military jet on Thursday at Andrews Air Force Base, NBC and other media outlets reported. Quartz estimated the cost of the vacation flight at $35,000. On Thursday, Trump wrote to Pelosi that he was canceling her flight due to the shutdown.' Pelosi was scheduled to visit Brussels with other lawmakers to meet with “top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies ― to affirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance,” said Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill. She then planned to visit troops in Afghanistan. Hammill pointed out that Trump flew to Iraq during the government shutdown and so did a delegation led by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.). Yet Trump grounded Pelosi the day after she suggested that he postpone his State of the Union address until the government shutdown was over."

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