Morning Headlines - Friday, May 19, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Friday, May 19, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

What Could Happen If Negotiators Fail To Reach A Debt Deal This Weekend

Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said Congress needs a debt limit deal by this weekend in order to avert a default by early June. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

If Congress pulls out all the procedural stops, passing a debt ceiling and broader budget deal through both chambers could take a week and a half. That would push the U.S. uncomfortably close to the potential June 1 default deadline, even if leaders can reach a deal this weekend.

While leaders are feeling optimistic about the latest negotiations, a compromise would have to be struck in the coming days — already a monumental feat — and congressional staff would also have to scramble to compile technical legislative text. In reality, talks are only now starting to get serious.

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Sticking Points: Biden Mulls Student Loans, Climate Change In Debt Ceiling Talks

Even as he reassures the public that there won't be a national default, President Joe Biden still faces big headaches over the debt ceiling.

House Republicans are proposing new work requirements for social benefit programs, nixing the president's massive student debt transfer, and eliminating green energy-related tax credits in order to raise the debt limit, all of which cut sharply against Democratic priorities.

"To be clear, this negotiation is about the outlines of what the budget will look like, not about whether or not we're going to in fact pay our debts," Biden said fter meeting with congressional leadership. "The leaders have all agreed we will not default. Every leader has said that."

That doesn't mean things will be easy going forward.

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Some Evangelical Voters Aren't Sold On Trump. Will That Help Desantis?

In the months since the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans generally underperformed, Trump has been clear that he thinks the GOP’s hardline stance on abortion bans is responsible. But that’s putting him in a tricky position with white evangelical Protestants — a cornerstone of the Republican base that was central to his election in 2016 — and potentially opening up an opportunity for another GOP candidate to siphon religious conservative votes away from Trump.

After Trump’s comments about the six-week ban, an influential anti-abortion activist said on Twitter that he was “abandoning pro-life voters.” In response, Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats tweeted that the Iowa caucuses were “wide open.”

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Over Half Of The World's Lakes Are Drying Out, Study Warns

More than half of the world's largest lakes and reservoirs are losing water — and climate change and human consumption are the main drivers, a new large-scale study warns.

About one-quarter of the world's population, or 2 billion people, lives in the basin of a drying lake, per the study published in the journal Science Thursday. Water insecurity is already an issue, with hundreds of millions of people around the world lacking reliable access to safe water.

The team of international researchers looked at 250,000 lake-area satellite images taken from 1992 until 2020 to examine the area and water levels of 1,972 freshwater bodies.

53% of lakes globally experienced a drop in water storage during that period — a water loss equivalent in volume to 17 Lake Meads, the largest reservoir in the U.S., according to the study.

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Disney Is Pulling Out Of A $1 Billion Investment In Florida Amid DeSantis Feud

The Walt Disney Co. said it is pulling out of a roughly $1 billion investment in Florida, citing "changing business conditions." The media and entertainment giant announced the move amid a year-long feud with the state's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, after Disney publicly opposed his bill to limit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools.

In a memo sent to Disney employees, Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said that the company isn't moving forward with its plans to build a new Disney campus in Lake Nona.

The Lake Nona complex would have included several buildings employing 2,000 Disney workers that would have been relocated from California to Florida.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Wisconsin Statewide Unemployment Rate Hits New Record Low Of 2.4% In April

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment estimates for the month of April 2023, which showed Wisconsin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 2.4%.

The total number of unemployed people dropped by 3,700 over the month of April and 13,300 over the year to a new record low of 72,900. In addition, total seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs increased 3,800 over the month of April and 51,500 year-over-year to hit a new record high of 3,003,600. The total jobs number puts the state 9,600 jobs above the pre-COVID-19 peak in January 2020.

Wisconsin's record low unemployment rate of 2.4% for April is down 0.1 percentage points from the March rate of 2.5%, which was the previous record low. The state's labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 64.8%. Nationwide for the month of April, the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.4% with a labor force participation rate of 62.6%.

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Federal Judge Not Inclined To Shut Down Line 5, Begs Bad River Tribe To Work With Enbridge

A federal judge said May 18 he is unlikely to force an energy company to shut down an oil pipeline in northern Wisconsin, despite arguments from a Native American tribe that the line is at immediate risk of being exposed by erosion and rupturing on reservation land.

U.S. District Judge William Conley said the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa didn’t prove that an emergency exists along a stretch of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline where large sections of nearby riverbank have been washed away in recent weeks. Conley also expressed frustration with the tribe for not allowing Enbridge to reinforce the land around the pipeline.

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Wisconsin Man Sentenced To 8 Years For Fentanyl Trafficking

Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Roland J. Scott III, 21, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 8 years in federal prison for possessing with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and maintaining a drug trafficking place. The prison term will be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Scott pleaded guilty to these charges on February 24, 2023.

Between September 15 and October 5, 2021, Scott sold heroin and fentanyl to an undercover officer in Madison on four separate occasions. On October 7, 2021, law enforcement searched his residence and found 110 grams of fentanyl packaged in individual baggies, ready for sale, and over $10,000 in cash. Scott was arrested during the search, and later charged in state court and released on bond. At the time of his arrest, he was on bond in eight different state cases.

Several months later, on June 30, 2022, Scott and two passengers were driving in a stolen car in Madison when they crashed into a truck with a trailer. Scott and his passengers battered the two individuals inside the pickup truck. While fleeing the scene, Scott and his passengers drove past the truck and one of them fired a shot at the victims.

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Wisconsin DHS Releases New Studies On Birth Outcomes, Addresses Disparities In Infant Deaths

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released two new studies on birth outcomes in the state. The reports specifically address the significant disparities in infant deaths and what steps can be taken to reduce them.

The Wisconsin Perinatal Periods of Risk (PPOR) reports analyze the factors that contribute to fetal mortality so the DHS can focus on public prevention efforts.

The data shows the state's overall stillbirth rate has been decreasing over the last ten years and is now lower than the national rate. The report shows the stillbirth rate was 4.9 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths in 2021.

Dr. Jasmine Zapata, DHS Chief Medical Officer for Maternal Health, said infant deaths are a continued health crisis and resolving it will take a comprehensive approach.

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GOP Lawmakers Vote To Create $125 Million Fund To Address PFAS Contamination

Members of the Legislature's budget committee voted Thursday to create a $125 million fund for removing PFAS, a synthetic chemical tied to adverse health outcomes, from Wisconsin drinking water.

The fund was proposed and approved by an 11-4 party line vote at a hearing of the Joint Finance Committee Thursday evening, but Republicans who run the panel did not specify how the money was to be used. Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, the committee's co-chair, said laws will be passed separately to determine how the funds are get spent.

"The bills are gonna work their way through the legislative process," he said. "Our priority is to make sure there's funding available to work on these things."

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Last Update: May 19, 2023 5:09 am CDT

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