AP-US-GOVERNMENT-SHUTDOWN-THE-LATEST The Latest: House passes bill to fund agencies amid shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a bill to fund the Treasury Department, the IRS and other agencies for the next year as…
The Latest: House passes bill to fund agencies amid shutdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a bill to fund the Treasury Department, the IRS and other agencies for the next year as part of a Democratic strategy to reopen the government on a piecemeal basis.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 240-188 on Wednesday to approve the funding bill, which also would reopen the Federal Communications Commission, the Small Business Administration and the federal judiciary, among other agencies.
Eight Republicans joined 232 Democrats to support the bill.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey says taxpayers rely on the IRS to assist them in filing taxes and financial planning but now “don’t have anyone they can turn to” for answers.
The bill is unlikely to move forward in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed it as political theater.
BORDER WALL-EMINENT DOMAIN
Texas landowners dig in to fight Trump’s border wall
HIDALGO, Texas (AP) — Rather than surrender their land to the federal government, some property owners on the Texas border are digging in to fight President Donald Trump’s border wall.
They are rejecting buyout offers and preparing to battle the administration in court. Trump is scheduled to travel to the border Thursday to make the case for his $5.7 billion wall.
Eloisa Cavazos owns land along the Rio Grande. She says she won’t sell for any price because it’s not about money.
The federal government has started surveying land along the border in Texas and announced plans to start construction next month. Those in the way include property owners who have lived in the valley for generations, environmental groups and a 19th century chapel.
The Latest: UN ‘takes note’ of Congo election results
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — A spokesman says the United Nations secretary-general “takes note” of the results of Congo’s presidential election.
Congo’s electoral commission, in a surprise for many, announced that opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi won with 38 percent of the vote.
The opposition candidate who led in polls and had pledged to combat Congo’s widespread corruption, Martin Fayulu, is expected to comment to reporters shortly.
The streets of the capital, Kinshasa, an opposition stronghold, are now quiet after a burst of celebration by people outside the electoral commission’s offices.
The U.N statement calls on all parties to “refrain from violence” and “live up to their responsibility in preserving stability.”
ELECTION 2020-TOM STEYER
Billionaire Steyer says he won’t run for president in 2020
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer will not run for president in 2020.
Steyer, who has paid for television ads calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, said Wednesday at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, that “the impeachment question” had reached “an inflection point,” and he planned to focus on that.
The decision comes as a surprise, given Steyer had been traveling the country promoting the political platform he released after November’s midterm elections.
Although Steyer opted against a presidential run, the constellation of political organizations that he has built is likely to have an impact on the presidential race and on key congressional races across the country.
Several prominent Democrats have also declined to run in 2020, including former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and lawyer Michael Avenatti.
Summers reported from Washington.
The Latest: Kim reportedly committed to summit with Trump
BEIJING (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told Chinese President Xi Jinping during Kim’s recent visit to Beijing that he was committed to setting up a second summit with President Donald Trump to “achieve results” on the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula.
The comments on Thursday were reported by China’s state media and came as Kim made his way back to the North on an armored train after meeting with Xi and touring China.
Xi was quoted as saying that China supports the U.S.-North Korea summits and hopes the two sides “will meet each other halfway.”
Kim reportedly said North Korea “will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between (North Korean) and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community.”
Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June for the first-ever leaders’ meeting between their nations, but there has been a standoff ever since, with dueling accusations of bad faith.
R KELLY DOCUMENTARY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Illinois officials review R. Kelly-related calls
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) — The state’s attorney’s office for Cook County in R. Kelly’s hometown of Chicago says it is looking into calls it has received after State’s Attorney Kim Foxx asked the public to come forward with information about potential victims of the singer.
Foxx addressed reporters Tuesday after her office had been inundated with calls about abuse allegations in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series. Some were tied to Kelly’s Chicago-area home. She said there’s no active investigation of Kelly and launching one would require victims and witnesses.
WMAQ reported that Foxx’s office said Wednesday it has received calls on the matter and is “reviewing and following up” on them, but has no additional information at this time.
The TV station also reported that Chicago police confirmed Wednesday that they conducted a “business check” at Kelly’s recording studio on the city’s West Side but “have no criminal complaints from anyone about the location.”
The Latest: Rosenstein expected to leave Justice Dept. soon
WASHINGTON (AP) — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his position soon after President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general is confirmed.
Rosenstein has been the most visible Justice Department protector of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and a frequent target of Trump’s wrath.
The attorney general nominee, William Barr, moved quickly Wednesday to quell concerns that his arrival could endanger the probe, telling lawmakers he has a high opinion of Mueller.
If confirmed by the Republican-led Senate, Barr could be in place at the Justice Department by February. Rosenstein is expected to leave his position soon after that, though he is not being forced out, said a person familiar with the plans who was not authorized to discuss them on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.
LOS ANGELES TEACHERS-STRIKE-THE LATEST
Latest: LA teachers’ union pushes possible strike to Monday
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing teachers in Los Angeles has postponed the start of a possible strike until Monday because of uncertainty over whether a judge would order a delay.
United Teachers Los Angeles previously said its 35,000 members would walk off the job Thursday. But a judge is considering whether the union gave proper notice in announcing the possible strike, and could have ordered teachers to wait.
Negotiations continue Wednesday over issues such as higher pay and smaller class sizes in the nation’s second-largest school district.
UTLA says it believes it would have prevailed in court. The union decided to postpone the walkout to avoid confusion and allow teachers, parents and community members time to prepare. LAUSD didn’t immediately comment.
It would be the first strike in the district in three decades.
AU PAIR PAY
International au pairs win $65.5M settlement in Denver suit
DENVER (AP) — Young people from around the world who have provided low cost child care for American families will share in a proposed $65.5 million class action settlement with the companies that bring the workers to the United States.
The deal was filed in federal court in Denver on Wednesday, a month before the lawsuit brought by a dozen former au pairs from Colombia, Australia, Germany, South Africa and Mexico was set to go to trial.
They claimed the companies colluded to keep their wages low, ignoring state minimum wage and overtime laws.
The companies denied any wrongdoing under the settlement, which still must be approved by a judge.
Lawyers will need to track down nearly 100,000 au pairs, mostly women, who worked in the United States over the last decade and are entitled to the money.
Elderly, conservatives shared more Facebook fakery in 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study finds that people over 65 and ultra conservatives shared about seven times more fake information on Facebook than younger adults, moderates and super liberals during the 2016 election season.
The first major study to look at who shared links from debunked sites found that not many people are doing it. On average only about 1 out of every 12 people shared false information during the 2016 campaign.
But those doing it tend to be older and more conservative.
Researchers at Princeton University and New York University looked at the Facebook sites of more than 1,300 people who answered detailed surveys and compared them to three lists of fake sites.
The study is in Wednesday’s journal Science Advances.