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First Debate Preview: Moderator Chris Wallace To Grill Trump, Biden about SCOTUS



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“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, who will moderate next Tuesday’s presidential debate, grilled Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Sunday on his show about the senator’s past comments regarding election-year Supreme Court appointments and how he has since changed his views.

This interview could foreshadow how the veteran news anchor will likely not hold back in his questioning of both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on the contentious issue of replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg following her Friday passing.

“Why would we squelch the voice of the people?” Cotton said on the Senate floor following the 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, in the clip that Wallace played. “Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the makeup of the Supreme Court?”

After playing the clip, Wallace asked Cotton, “You don’t see any hypocrisy between that position then and this position now?”

Cotton, deflecting, then said, “Chris, the Senate majority is performing our constitutional duty and fulfilling the mandate that the voters gave us in 2016 and especially in 2018.”

(Watch the full “Fox News Sunday” interview with Sen. Cotton here.)

While Republicans have just secured enough senators to ensure that the appointment process will proceed before the election, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announcing his support Tuesday morning via Twitter, the issue remains controversial as Nov., 3 nears. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are the only two Republican senators to come out in favor of waiting until after the election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

In the wake of Justice Ginsburg’s death, and of the renewed Supreme Court issue, this interview sends a warning to both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden that they should be prepared to answer for any past statements on the matter.

The debate will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, and is scheduled to air from 9 to 10:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time).

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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House passes debt-ceiling deal with support from two thirds of GOP caucus



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After hours of debate, the House voted Wednesday night to approve a bipartisan debt-ceiling deal, taking a step toward averting a default on U.S. debt. The measure passed with 314 members voting in favor and 117 members voting in opposition.  149 Republicans and 165 Democrats voted to approve the bill, while 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats voted against it.

National Review writes the measure’s passage secures “a victory for House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who managed to keep his caucus together despite a challenge from House Freedom Caucus members intent on securing greater spending concessions from the Biden White House.”

The bill will now head to the Senate. McCarthy said the measure is the “largest spending cut that Congress has ever voted for,” but faced opposition from members of his caucus who believe the deal “didn’t go far enough in restoring pre-Covid spending levels.”

In his speech on the House floor Wednesday before the vote, McCarthy pleaded with his colleagues to support what he had bargained for with Biden:

“They demanded a clean debt limit, which really means they spend more and you pay more in taxes. House Republicans said ‘no’,” McCarthy said.“Over the past four months, we fought hard to change how Washington works. We stopped the Democrats from writing a blank check after the largest spending binge in American history… The Fiscal Responsibility Act is the biggest spending cut in American history.”

National Review reports:

The agreement suspends the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit through January 1, 2025, and caps spending in the 2024 and 2025 budgets.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the deal will reduce budget deficits by about $1.5 trillion between 2023 and 2033. Director of the CBO Phillip Swagel projected that there would be reductions in discretionary outlays of $1.3 trillion over the 2024–2033 period. Mandatory spending would decrease by $10 billion, revenues would decrease by $2 billion over the same period, and the interest on the public debt would decline by $188 billion.

Biden warned of the consequences of default, saying what would follow would include an economic recession, devastated retirement accounts, and millions of jobs lost.

“I made clear from the start of negotiations that the only path forward was a bipartisan budget agreement,” explained Biden on Twitter. “No one got everything they wanted. But that’s the responsibility of governing.”

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