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It’s final: Harry and Meghan won’t back as working royals

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It’s final: Harry and Meghan won’t back as working royals

 

Buckingham Palace announced Friday that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, will not be returning to royal duties, and Harry will give up his honorary military titles — a move that makes formal, and final, the couple’s separation from the royal family.

When Harry and Meghan stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, upset at media attention and the strictures of their positions, it was decided the situation would be reviewed after a year.

Now it has, and the palace said in a statement that the pair, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have verified “they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family. “

It said Queen Elizabeth II had spoken to 36-year-old Harry and agreed “that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”

The palace said Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups will return to the queen before being allocated to other members of the family.

Harry served in the British army for a decade, including on the front line in Afghanistan, and maintains a strong relationship with the military. He created the Invictus Games competition for wounded soldiers, which first was held in 2014 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium.

The Invictus Games Foundation said Harry will remain its patron. But he is relinquishing roles as patron of the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Meghan, 39, will be deprived of her position as patron of Britain’s National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the palace statement said.

American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married the queen’s grandson Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born a year later.

In early 2020, Meghan and Harry revealed they were leaving royal duties and heading to North America, citing what they said were the intolerable intrusions and biassed attitudes of the British media against the duchess, who identifies as biracial.

The pair decided to no longer use the title “royal highness” or accept public funds for their work, although it was uncertain at the time whether those decisions would stand.

They maintain their titles of duke and duchess, and Harry is now sixth in line to the British throne. Harry and Meghan now live in Santa Barbara, California and are expecting their second child. The couple recently revealed they would talk to Oprah Winfrey for a TV special to be broadcast next month.

Angela Levin, who has written a biography of Prince Harry, said the queen’s concern over what the Winfrey interview would reveal might have caused the royal family to announce the split with Harry and Meghan earlier than expected.

“They’re out on their own,” she said. “They’ve got the freedom that they longed for.”

They continue to have a strained relationship with parts of the British media. Earlier this month, Meghan secured a legal win in a case against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, after a British judge ruled the newspaper violated her privacy by publishing part of a letter she sent to her estranged father.

News of their split with the palace comes as Harry’s grandfather, 99-year-old Prince Philip, is in a London hospital, where he was admitted on Tuesday after feeling unwell.

A spokeswoman for the couple hit back at reports that Meghan and Harry were not committed to service.

“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have given their continued support to the organisations they have served regardless of official role,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

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Migrants gone from Texas border camp as Biden blasts agents

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Migrants gone from Texas border camp as Biden blasts agents

DEL RIO, Texas — No migrants remained Friday at the Texas border encampment where almost 15,000 people — most of them Haitians — had converged just days earlier seeking asylum, local and federal officials said.

It’s a dramatic change from last Saturday, when the number peaked as migrants driven by confusion over the Biden administration’s policies and misinformation on social media converged at the border crossing connecting Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

President Biden on Friday blasted the way border agents used their horses, saying it was “horrible” and that “people will pay” as a result. The agents have been assigned to administrative duties while the administration investigates.

“There will be consequences,” Biden told reporters. “It’s an embarrassment, but it’s beyond an embarrassment — it’s dangerous, it’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world and sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are.”

Later, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke cautiously about the pending investigation into the use of horses. Asked about the discrepancy, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “was not prejudging an outcome. He was speaking from the heart.” She said he is not interfering with any investigation.

Mayorkas said about 2,000 Haitians have been rapidly expelled on 17 flights since Sunday and more could be expelled in coming days under pandemic powers that deny people the chance to seek asylum.

He said the U.S. has allowed about 12,400 to enter the country, at least temporarily, while they make claims before an immigration judge to stay in the country under the asylum laws or for some other legal reason. They could ultimately be denied and would be subject to removal.

Mayorkas said about 5,000 are in DHS custody and being processed to determine whether they will be expelled or allowed to press their claim for legal residency. Some returned to Mexico.

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3 mountain homes in Colorado that you can buy for under $200k, $300k and $400k

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3 mountain homes in Colorado that you can buy for under $200k, $300k and $400k

If you’ve been looking to buy a home these past few months around Denver, you probably know how unimaginable, absurd and downright rude real estate prices have become.

And that’s with things improving. Listings stayed on the market for an average of 11 days as of last month; the median home price fell to $581,000 (down from a $600,000 all-time high in June).

How fun for those of us looking to own a house with a yard anytime soon!

My day job is to write about food, but by night, I switch to scouring real estate sites for some unicorn — likely still in need of work, to be sure. And at the end of the summer housing frenzy, I found three houses on the market, in the mountains, that seem almost too good to be true.

Woodland Park cabin for $175,000

I love the gingerbread feel of this 516-square-foot cabin outside of Colorado Springs. The house is halfway through a remodel, which is better than a cheap flip for my money, and still leaves room for the right finishes and fixtures throughout. And the price is just fine for that (for someone who’s up for the work). Fresh wood paneling on the walls would make for pretty shiplap, the lofted bedroom has a balcony all its own. And I’m eyeing one outbuilding to be converted into a sauna, with a wood storage shed attached. 83 Gentian Road, Woodland Park, recolorado.com

1632573729 23 3 mountain homes in Colorado that you can buy for

Provided by Evergreen Commercial Group

This National Historic Registry home was built in 1890 and completely refurbished in 2015.

Historic in Central City for $288,000

Options galore on this one, which starts at $288k for the 528-square-foot 1890 home (that’s been completely updated as of 2015). Then, there are four surrounding lots that can be purchased for up to $600,000 altogether, with options to build. The closest lot features an (even older) cabin that I’d just love to preserve — arts and crafts room, anyone? The bathroom needs a little love, for my taste. But the sweet outdoor space and position overlooking the mining district is hard to beat anywhere. 305 Bates St., Central City, evergreencommercialgroup.com

Cuchara double A-frame for $398,000

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Cook County Sheriff’s office in Chicago deals with mental health crisis one Zoom call at a time

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Cook County Sheriff’s office in Chicago deals with mental health crisis one Zoom call at a time

CHICAGO — The sergeant had so little use for the tablet that she did not bother to grab it from the seat of her squad car when she ran into the house where a suicidal man was screaming and slamming his head against the floor.

But when she saw the man might harm himself, his family or her officers with knives he was threatening to use, she sent an officer to retrieve the tablet. She turned it on, handed it to the man and told him to talk to the woman whose face appeared on the screen. And then she watched as the man immediately calmed down.

“When I saw how this tool pacified him, I was like, holy smokes, this is incredible,” said Cook County Sheriff’s Police Sgt. Bonnie Busching.

The scene marked the first time the department took the idea of the Zoom call that has become so common during the COVID-19 pandemic and inserted it into one of the most dangerous things a police officer can do: answer a domestic disturbance call.

Law enforcement agencies are struggling nationwide with increasing violent crime as calls mount for changing how police interact with citizens, especially those with mental health issues. Police are still most often the first called to the scene, and the sheriff’s department’s Treatment Response Team is a novel approach to managing such calls.

Started two years ago, the effort was designed to help the sheriff’s department’s 300-member police force deal with a skyrocketing number of drug overdose calls during a national opioid crisis.

Then, as the pandemic left more people isolated in their homes, either unable to connect to services or unwilling to step outside and risk getting sick, the department was faced with an explosion of 911 calls linked to threats of suicide and other mental health crises.

The sheriff, who made national headlines for putting in place programs at his jail dealing with the growing number of inmates with mental health problems, now saw the same kind of issues playing out for his officers on the street.

“We were being asked more and more to be the first responders for mental health cases and they were being asked to do things they don’t have training for or minimal training for,” said Tom Dart, whose department is the second largest sheriff’s office in the nation and patrols unincorporated parts of Cook County and many of its smaller communities. It has seen the number of 911 calls involving mental health issues increase by nearly 60% this year.

There are other programs around the country, but most involved mental health professionals riding around with police officers or in ambulances, Dart said. That’s fine for smaller communities but wasn’t practical for Cook County, where getting from one end to the other — without traffic — takes well more than an hour.

“How many ambulances would we have to buy and how many would we have to hire to man them all?” Dart asked
Enter the tablets.

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The battle for digital privacy is reshaping the internet

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The battle for digital privacy is reshaping the internet

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Company

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple introduced a pop-up window for iPhones in April that asks people for their permission to be tracked by different apps.

Google recently outlined plans to disable a tracking technology in its Chrome web browser.

And Facebook said last month that hundreds of its engineers were working on a new method of showing ads without relying on people’s personal data.

The developments may seem like technical tinkering, but they were connected to something bigger: an intensifying battle over the future of the internet. The struggle has entangled tech titans, upended Madison Avenue and disrupted small businesses. And it heralds a profound shift in how people’s personal information may be used online, with sweeping implications for the ways that businesses make money digitally.

At the center of the tussle is what has been the internet’s lifeblood: advertising.

More than 20 years ago, the internet drove an upheaval in the advertising industry. It eviscerated newspapers and magazines that had relied on selling classified and print ads, and threatened to dethrone television advertising as the prime way for marketers to reach large audiences.

Instead, brands splashed their ads across websites, with their promotions often tailored to people’s specific interests. Those digital ads powered the growth of Facebook, Google and Twitter, which offered their search and social networking services to people without charge. But in exchange, people were tracked from site to site by technologies such as “cookies,” and their personal data was used to target them with relevant marketing.

Now that system, which ballooned into a $350 billion digital ad industry, is being dismantled. Driven by online privacy fears, Apple and Google have started revamping the rules around online data collection. Apple, citing the mantra of privacy, has rolled out tools that block marketers from tracking people. Google, which depends on digital ads, is trying to have it both ways by reinventing the system so it can continue aiming ads at people without exploiting access to their personal data.

If personal information is no longer the currency that people give for online content and services, something else must take its place. Media publishers, app-makers and e-commerce shops are now exploring different paths to surviving a privacy-conscious internet, in some cases overturning their business models. Many are choosing to make people pay for what they get online by levying subscription fees and other charges instead of using their personal data.

Jeff Green, CEO of the Trade Desk, an ad-technology company in Ventura, California, that works with major ad agencies, said the behind-the-scenes fight was fundamental to the nature of the web.

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Apple iPhone 13 review: The most incremental upgrade ever

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Apple iPhone 13 review: The most incremental upgrade ever

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Company

The truth is that smartphones peaked a few years ago.

After so many advances, the miniature computers have reached incredible speeds, their screens have become bigger and brighter, and their cameras produce images that make amateur photographers look like wizards.

The problem with so much great innovation is that upgrades are now so iterative that it has become difficult to know what to write about them each year. That’s especially the case with Apple’s iPhone 13, which may be the most incremental update ever to the iPhone.

The newest iPhone is just 10% faster than last year’s models. (For context, in 2015, the iPhone 6S was more than 70% faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 6.) Its flashiest new feature, a higher screen “refresh rate” on the $1,000-plus models, makes motion look smoother when opening apps and scrolling through text — hardly a game-changer.

Innovations on smartphone cameras also appear to be slowing. Apple executives described the iPhone 13 cameras as “dramatically more powerful” and the iPhone’s “most advanced” ever, largely because they can capture more light and reduce noise. But in my tests, the improvements were marginal.

This is all to say the annual phone upgrade, which companies like Apple and Samsung tout with enormous marketing events and ad campaigns to gin up sales for the holiday shopping season, has become a mirage of tech innovation. In reality, the upgrades are now a celebration of capitalism in the form of ruthless incrementalism.

What better way to illustrate that slow march than with smartphone photos? To put the iPhone 13 cameras to the test, I bought a special tripod to hold two phones side by side so I could snap roughly the same photos of my dogs at the same time. I compared shots taken with the new iPhones, last year’s iPhone 12 and a three-year-old iPhone XS.

When I got the results, I was genuinely surprised by how well the iPhone XS camera stood up against the newest models. And the iPhone 13’s camera was just barely better than the iPhone 12’s.

To compare photos shot in daylight, I took all the phones and my dogs, Max (a corgi) and Mochi (a brown Labrador), to a park in Richmond, California. In one test shot of them sitting next to each other in the shade, the iPhone 13 and 12 photos were hardly distinguishable. The iPhone 13 did a somewhat better job capturing shadows.

In a test comparing the $1,000 iPhone 13 Pro with the iPhone XS, the $1,000 model released in 2018, both photos of the dogs in bright sunlight looked clear and detailed. I will grant you that the iPhone 13 Pro produced images with more vibrant colors.

But in one test on a shaded path in the middle of the woods, the photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro made Mochi look blown out by the sunlight; the shadows and lighting captured by the three-year-old iPhone looked more natural. Apple disagreed with my assessment.

The improvements in the new iPhone cameras were most visible in lowlight photos taken with night mode, which captures multiple pictures and then fuses them together while making adjustments for colors and contrast. Low-light shots of Max perched on a balcony just after sunset looked clearer when taken with the iPhone 13 Pro than with the iPhone 12.

Low light was an area where the three-year-old iPhone XS could not compete because its camera lacks a night mode. In the same test, Max was cloaked in darkness, except for his handsome white mane.

The iPhone 13 cameras also have a new video feature called cinematic mode, which uses algorithms to automatically focus on faces — even those of my dogs — as they move around. I’d be hard pressed to imagine why a person with no ambitions to become a filmmaker would use this mode, but I can think of a few TikTokers who might like it.

So in summary, the iPhone 13 cameras are slightly better than those of last year’s iPhones. Even compared with iPhones from three years ago, the cameras are much better only if you care about taking nice photos in the dark.

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Biden: Budget talks hit “stalemate,” $3.5T may take a while

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Biden: Budget talks hit “stalemate,” $3.5T may take a while

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation’s tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party’s centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden on Friday cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment.”

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but ”hopefully at the end of the day I’ll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.”

The president’s acknowledgment of Democrats’ disagreements — and they have serious differences over taxes, health, climate change and the ultimate price tag — contrasted with congressional leaders’ more upbeat tone in recent days. Using carefully chosen words, top Democrats have seemed to be trying to create a sense of momentum as House votes approach.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted passage of both pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a still-evolving $3.5 trillion package of social safety net and climate programs, the other a separate $1 trillion measure financing highway, internet and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” she told reporters.

But she did not spell out how she and her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would resolve disagreements and distrust between their party’s moderate and progressive wings that’s stalled both measures. And there remained confusion about the voting schedule, which will be crucial.

Pelosi promised House moderates last month that by this Monday, the chamber will consider the infrastructure bill, centrists’ top priority.

But progressives are threatening to vote to derail the infrastructure legislation until a final version of their favorite — the $3.5 trillion social and environment bill — passes the Senate and returns to the House. Progressives think delaying the public works bill would pressure moderates to back the larger measure.

“We’re bringing the bill up, we will have a vote when we have the votes,” Pelosi told a reporter Friday about the infrastructure bill’s timing. While she said debate would begin Monday, her remarks suggested that final passage of the public works legislation could slip.

Pelosi also told reporters that “the plan” was for her chamber to consider the $3.5 trillion package next week as well. It remained unclear how House-Senate bargainers would solve their differences over that bill that quickly.

The president said his private meetings with some two dozen Democratic lawmakers this week in efforts to hasten progress and close the deal went well — describing the tone as collegial and with “no hollering.”

But as lawmakers raised objections over the sweep and scope of the plan, which is to be funded by higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, Biden said he tried to get them focused on priorities — what they can and can’t live with.

”It’s about paying your fair share, for lord’s sake,” Biden said. “There clearly is enough, from a panoply of options, to pay for whatever it is.”

In a stark reality check, Biden suggested talks could drag to the end of the year. “It’s just going to take some time,” he said.

Lawmakers are working nonstop and Biden is facing pressure to close the deal. Pelosi met Friday at the Capitol with her leadership team, and the House Budget Committee planned a rare Saturday session to take the strictly procedural step of sending the $3.5 trillion bill, as drafted by 13 other House panels, to the full chamber without any changes.

Before the House votes on that measure, it is certain to change, perhaps more than once, to reflect compromises reached with Senate Democrats.

Biden’s big vision over his “Build Back Better” campaign promise proposes expanding health, education and federal programs, with more services for Americans of all ages, while investing heavily in efforts to tackle climate change. All this would be paid for largely by hiking tax rates on corporations and wealthy individuals, those earning beyond $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples.

But centrist Democrats see the overall price tag as too much, while progressive lawmakers are hesitant to compromise any further after already having dropped even more ambitious ideas.

___

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

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Broncos confident LB Justin Strnad is ready for first NFL start, extended opportunity after Josey Jewell’s season-ending injury

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Broncos confident LB Justin Strnad is ready for first NFL start, extended opportunity after Josey Jewell’s season-ending injury

With inside linebacker Josey Jewell out for the season with a pectoral injury, Justin Strnad has been thrust into Jewell’s role and will make his first NFL start Sunday against the Jets.

But according to Von Miller’s scouting report, the Broncos aren’t expecting a drop-off at the position. That’s based off what the All-Pro saw out of Strnad in the latter’s brief training camp as a rookie in 2020, when Strnad “was on fire” before sustaining a season-ending wrist injury.

“Justin’s a big, athletic inside linebacker, and he can cover, he can play the run,” Miller said. “Pairing him with (fellow starting inside backer Alexander Johnson), we have two big linebackers in there.

“Nobody will be able to fill in what Josey did for us. He’s just so intelligent, and he can guard the running back. He can do all types of (coverage) stuff for us. But it’s Justin’s turn, and that’s just how the league is — next man up mentality. We can’t make up for Josey, but we have to play to Justin’s strengths and I feel pretty comfortable with Justin in there.”

At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Strnad is more lanky and less compact and beefy than the typical NFL inside linebacker. But that body type will serve him well once he acclimates to the pro game, said Lyle Hemphill, Strnad’s defensive coordinator at Wake Forest.

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Grading the Week: CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell is running it back on offense — under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness

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Grading the Week: CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell is running it back on offense — under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness

Never has an 8:30 p.m. kickoff been so welcome for CU football fans.

After what transpired last week against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Folsom Field, perhaps it’s best that the Buffs play under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness.

With head coach Karl Dorrell signing up for another Saturday of the same old shenanigans, we can think of no better setting.

Karl Dorrell — Inc.

The CU Buffs head coach vowed to “start all over” in the wake of one of the worst offensive performances in program history — which, apparently, means getting the band back together for another jam session Saturday at Arizona State.

Freshman Brendon Lewis is still the quarterback.

Offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini is still drawing up the plays.

And the Buffs head football coach is going to … “show my face in the offensive room a little bit more now.”

Sounds like one heck of a reboot, as well as something best previewed by a limited audience — one they’ll almost certainly draw given that the game is on ESPNU and won’t end until sometime after midnight MDT.

If Dorrell’s decision to stay the course works out, Buffs fans will hear about it Sunday morning and be pleasantly surprised.

If it doesn’t — and that’s where the Grading the Week staff would put our money, if we had any — bedtime will have beckoned long before things get ugly, anyway.

And maybe then, with the USC Trojans stumbling into Boulder next week, Dorrell will finally have all the information he needs to decide whether or not the status quo has a future at Folsom Field.

Because seven quarters of scoreless football, and a passing attack surpassed by all but one FBS program (including triple-option practitioners Air Force and Army), evidently isn’t enough.

Teddy Bridgewater — A+

If you’re not on Team Teddy at this point, you’re just being obnoxious.

After submitting two near flawless performances as Broncos quarterback — albeit against two very flawed teams in the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars — Bridgewater has shown the Grading the Week staff enough.

Consider us the lead conductors of the Teddy Train, and we’re welcoming any and all passengers.

Could we interest you in four touchdowns, zero interceptions and two double-digit wins? How about a 120.7 passer rating? Not even Tom Brady has matched the latter through two weeks (although, yes, he does have nine touchdown passes).

It’s slightly terrifying how comfortable Bridgewater looks as chaos swirls around him in the pocket. We can’t help but wonder if the former Louisville star missed his calling as an air traffic controller.

Say what you will about Drew Lock’s unlimited upside, that’s not something we ever considered in his 18 starts under center.

Broncos ownership rumors — B

Nothing gets the Grading the Week staff going quite like some juicy Broncos ownership rumors.

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‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts troopers line up to quit over COVID vaccine mandate

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‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts troopers line up to quit over COVID vaccine mandate

“Dozens” of state troopers fed up with the governor’s vaccine mandate are filing paperwork to quit the force as a Superior Court judge has denied any delay in the mandate that kicks in Oct. 17.

“Many of these troopers are going to be returning to their previous municipal police departments within the state that allow for regular testing and masks,” said union boss Michael Cherven. “To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork.”

The State Police Association of Massachusetts said in a statement shared with the Herald Friday that allowing the union representing 1,800 members to negotiate with the Baker administration was their preferred route.

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision,” Cherven said. “It is unfortunate that the Governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”

Gov. Charlie Baker instituted a vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19, including all troopers, with a deadline of Oct. 17 to be fully vaccinated. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

Cherven pointed out troopers “have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond” through the pandemic — as have all first responders.

“Simply put, all we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID-related illness as a line-of-duty injury,” Cherven said.

Now that the judge has rejected any delay, the troopers still needing jabs have just days to begin the vaccination process — if they want the Moderna or Pfizer two-shot mRNA coronavirus vaccine. Not having a shot could cost the officers their jobs.

About 20% of members were unvaccinated as of earlier this week, the Herald reported.

“The State Police are already critically short staffed and acknowledge this by the unprecedented moves to take officers from specialty units that investigate homicide’s, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons and human trafficking, to name just a few,” Cherven said.

The commonwealth’s attorney, Jennifer Greaney, argued in court that the state had offered concessions during two “good faith” bargaining meetings and several emails.

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

President Biden said Friday that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation’s tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party’s centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment.”

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but ”hopefully at the end of the day I’ll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.”

The president’s acknowledgment of Democrats’ disagreements — and they have serious differences over taxes, health, climate change and the ultimate price tag — contrasted with congressional leaders’ more upbeat tone in recent days. Using carefully chosen words, top Democrats have seemed to be trying to create a sense of momentum as House votes approach.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted passage of both pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a still-evolving $3.5 trillion package of social safety net and climate programs, the other a separate $1 trillion measure financing highway, internet and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” she told reporters.

But she did not spell out how she and her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would resolve disagreements and distrust between their party’s moderate and progressive wings that’s stalled both measures. And there remained confusion about the voting schedule, which will be crucial.

Pelosi promised House moderates last month that by this Monday, the chamber will consider the infrastructure bill, centrists’ top priority.

But progressives are threatening to vote to derail the infrastructure legislation until a final version of their favorite — the $3.5 trillion social and environment bill — passes the Senate and returns to the House. Progressives think delaying the public works bill would pressure moderates to back the larger measure.

“We’re bringing the bill up, we will have a vote when we have the votes,” Pelosi told a reporter Friday about the infrastructure bill’s timing. While she said debate would begin Monday, her remarks suggested that final passage of the public works legislation could slip.

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