New Boss/Old Boss
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss: New House Speaker Mike Johnson (R–La.) is amusingly pursuing the exact same means of funding the government as his ousted predecessor. Still at loggerheads over which funding priorities matter, the House is struggling to meet the looming deadline for passing bills to keep the government running, so Johnson is pursuing a two-tiered stopgap bill (we’ve heard this one before), which would extend funding for less-controversial government agencies like the Departments of Agriculture and Energy until January 19, with others funded until February 2.
This two-tiered stopgap bill is light on foreign defense spending but also fails to majorly trim the existing budget, so it may still anger the fiscal-hawk conservatives who have been holding the House captive over the last few months. “I will not support a status quo that fails to acknowledge fiscal irresponsibility, and changes absolutely nothing while emboldening a do-nothing Senate and a fiscally illiterate President,” wrote Rep. Scott Perry (R–Pa.) on Twitter/X.
“The House Freedom Caucus opposes the proposed ‘clean’ Continuing Resolution as it contains no spending reductions, no border security, and not a single meaningful win for the American People,” said the caucus in a statement. “While we remain committed to working with Speaker Johnson, we need bold change.” In other words: Johnson is running into many of the same issues as former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
It’s imperative that something gets passed, or else the government will shut down (OK, so maybe it’s not imperative after all). On Friday, the current stopgap funding expires. The next few days will serve as an important test for Johnson’s political skill—and ideological commitment to reining in government spending.
Hospital terrorist tunnels: President Joe Biden said yesterday that he hopes Israel will take “less intrusive action” at Al Shifa hospital, saying Gaza’s medical facilities “must be protected.”
Biden is right to emphasize concerns about civilian deaths that will likely come as the Israeli military surrounds several hospitals in the Gaza Strip. But Al Shifa needs protection not just from Israeli forces but also from the Hamas terrorists who have chosen to tunnel under hospitals, using people who are seeking refuge and medical care as human shields that raise the costs of eliminating terrorist command centers.
The good news is that Israeli officials have indicated that they are close to a five-day ceasefire and hostage release deal.
Maybe it’s time for us all to grow up: Last week, The Washington Post ran a cartoon by Michael Ramirez that made fun of Hamas, showing its spokesperson using children as human shields, with a speech bubble saying, “How dare Israel attack civilians…” and a fist raised indignantly.
This offended the sensibilities of a large enough number of Post staffers and readers that the higher-ups not only took it down but
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