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PA’s head of elections: Most results might be published by end of Thursday

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The world’s eyes have been on Pennsylvania these past few days as its authorities have been counting millions of ballots since Election Day. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, however.

Pennsylvania Sec. of State Kathy Boockvar told CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday afternoon that most ballots are expected to be counted by the end of the day, although she didn’t offer a specific time of day.

“It is looking like we will have the overwhelming majority counted by today,” she told Tapper.

https://twitter.com/natemcdermott/status/1324420395102019586

Watch the clip from the CNN interview here.

When asked by Tapper about how many ballots are remain to be counted, she placed her estimate in the range of 550,000 more ballots to be counted Thursday.

“I think there’s about 550,000 some-odd—you know, plus or minus—ballots that are still in the process of being counted today,” she said. “Some of those may have already been counted but are not yet uploaded.”

Later in the clip, she added that “it’s looking like we’re ahead of schedule and you know I’ve been saying that we’ll have the overwhelming majority by tomorrow, but it is looking like we’ll have the overwhelming majority counted by today.”

It is also worth noting that the Democratic-leaning Allegheny County, containing Pittsburgh, has paused its ballot-counting until Friday, The Hill has reported.

Incumbent President Donald Trump’s legal team has filed lawsuits in multiple swing states to halt the counting of ballots there and plan to take the case all the way up to the Supreme Court. One of these states is Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Trump if he is to successfully gain a second term. Trump is currently leading in the Keystone State, but the margin between him and former Vice President Joe Biden is still relatively close and is growing smaller as more ballots are counted.

RELATED: Trump: ‘If You Count The Legal Votes, I Easily Win The Election!’

Judges have dismissed lawsuits launched by the Trump legal team in Michigan and Georgia, according to NBC News 3 (WRCB) station in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The major news outlets have projected that Biden has won Michigan.

However, additional lawsuits have since been filed by Republicans and Trump in Michigan and Pennsylvania, per NBC News 3 regarding delaying the ballot-counting and allowing better access for Republican poll observers over accusations of voter fraud.

Only time will tell if these legal cases halt the vote-count before state election officials are able to potentially publish most of them by the end of today.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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The Looming National Debt Crisis: The Uncomfortable Truth No One Wants to Discuss

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As Republican candidates gather for a debate, the skeleton in the closet remains the ballooning national debt, a subject that’s largely been relegated to the shadows of political discourse.

While the candidates may briefly touch upon the issue and offer surface-level solutions, the uncomfortable truth is that addressing the national debt’s growing burden would require difficult, unpopular choices. Candidates find themselves in a precarious position, tasked with both solving the problem and securing votes, all within the constraints of a 90-second debate response.

Since surpassing the $33 trillion debt threshold, the United States has been accruing over $800 million in new debt every hour, adding more than $2 billion daily in interest payments. The most recent debt ceiling bill has suspended any cap on this debt until January 2025, casting a long shadow over the nation’s future freedom and prosperity.

Democrats have occasionally pointed to the “Trump Tax Cuts” as a driver of the deficit. However, the tax cuts did stimulate economic growth and resulted in record-high Treasury revenues, albeit without corresponding spending cuts.

One feasible solution begins with fixing the federal budget process, though it is by no means an easy task. Nonetheless, it would substantially rein in Congress’s control over the spending pie chart. A recent Heritage study revealed that only 10 percent of the $7.5 trillion in COVID-related spending actually went to healthcare. The remaining 90 percent, charged as overhead and other expenses, underscores the need for significant reform.

According to reports from Fox News, while the discretionary budget, including debt interest payments and defense spending, constitutes less than 25 percent of overall expenditures and continues to shrink, the true driver of federal deficits lies in mandatory, programmatic spending. These are expenditures Congress does not address annually but continues unabated.

Furthermore, they encompass popular transfer programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, student loans, and healthcare initiatives like Obamacare, among countless others. Altering these programs involves a political third rail, a risk few presidential candidates are willing to take.

Mandatory, programmatic expenditures are perpetual and don’t undergo annual scrutiny or adjustment. There is virtually no constituency for tackling these fundamental issues, despite their role as the primary drivers of the nation’s fiscal challenges.

Many citizens believe that trimming discretionary spending, such as congressional salaries or foreign aid, or rooting out “waste, fraud, and abuse,” can resolve the debt problem. While these are valid concerns, the real target for reform should be mandatory, programmatic spending to ensure the sustainability of essential programs.

The Republican candidates vying for the nomination face a daunting question: Who among them possesses the courage and leadership to make the unpopular decisions necessary to restore fiscal responsibility to the nation’s future?

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats seem unlikely to embrace responsible spending as part of their agenda, leaving the issue largely unaddressed in their political DNA.

In a political landscape dominated by divisive issues and partisan debates, the national debt looms as the silent crisis that few are willing to confront.

The path to fiscal responsibility requires acknowledging the harsh reality that popular programs must also be on the table for reform. Only then can America hope to secure a stable financial future for its citizens.

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