Morning Headlines - Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin headlines, and today's meme.

Morning Headlines - Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

House Votes To Formalize Biden Impeachment Inquiry, Escalating GOP Probe

The House voted to formalize the Republican majority's impeachment inquiry into President Biden on Wednesday, a move that could give them more legal firepower to investigate his family's business dealings.

The chamber voted 221 to 212 in a party-line vote to approve a resolution authorizing the probe.

The vote puts Republicans in districts that Mr. Biden won in 2020 on the record about whether they support an investigation that has so far uncovered no wrongdoing by the president.

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Senate Passes Defense Policy Bill With 5.2% Pay Raise For Troops, The Biggest Boost In Decades

The Senate passed a defense policy bill Wednesday that authorizes the biggest pay raise for troops in more than two decades, but also leaves behind many of the policy priorities that social conservatives were clamoring for, making for an unusually divisive debate over what is traditionally a strongly bipartisan effort.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 87-13 It now heads to the House, where opponents have been more vocal about their concerns.

The bill sets key Pentagon policy that lawmakers will attempt to fund through a follow-up appropriations bill. Lawmakers were keen to emphasize how the bill calls for a 5.2% boost in service member pay, the biggest increase in more than 20 years. The bill authorizes $886 billion for national defense programs for the current fiscal year that began Oct. 1, about 3% more than the prior year.

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Kamala Harris Pushes White House To Be More Sympathetic Toward Palestinians

Vice President Kamala Harris has been telling colleagues in the administration that she wants the White House to show more concern for the humanitarian damage in Gaza, where Israel is locked in a bloody and prolonged battle with Hamas, according to three people familiar with Harris’ comments.

President Joe Biden is among the officials Harris has urged to show more sensitivity to Palestinian civilians, these people said.

In internal conversations about the war in Gaza, Harris has argued that it is time to start making “day after” plans for how to handle the wreckage of the war once the fighting ends, one senior administration official said.

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Biden Criticism Of Israel Hints At Deeper Tensions

President Biden is ratcheting up his public criticism of Israel in its war in Gaza, with underlying tensions between the U.S. and Israeli officials spilling into the open in recent days.

Biden and other White House officials have been adamant the U.S. will stand with Israel in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks that left roughly 1,200 Israelis dead. But Biden has shown with some of his recent remarks there may be cracks between leaders in Washington and Jerusalem as Israel carries out counter attacks in Gaza and bristles at the prospect of a future two-state solution.

“I always saw the Biden effort to immediately embrace Netanyahu as a deposit to be drawn on later. It was never a permanent American commitment to support whatever the Israeli government did,” said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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The Inescapable Abortion Campaign

It's like clockwork: Each time Republicans appear to be building political momentum, America is reminded of the GOP's gaping — and still unresolved — vulnerabilities on abortion rights.

The cascade of new restrictions and legal challenges triggered by the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade will guarantee the abortion debate remains salient throughout the 2024 campaign.

The story of Kate Cox, a woman blocked from getting an abortion by the Texas Supreme Court after she discovered her fetus had a fatal genetic disorder, has generated national attention.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Wisconsin Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Lawsuit Challenging Voucher School Program

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Dec. 13 declined to hear a lawsuit brought by Democrats seeking to end the state’s taxpayer-funded private school voucher program.

The lawsuit could be refiled in county circuit court, as both Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration and Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had argued. The Supreme Court rejected it without comment in an unsigned, unanimous order.

Democrats who brought the lawsuit asked the state Supreme Court to take the case directly, which would have resulted in a much faster final ruling than having the case start in lower courts.

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Wisconsin ACLU Files Open Records Requests For School Book Bans

The ACLU of Wisconsin wants more information about the processes six school districts used to remove books from classrooms and libraries.

Attorney Tim Muth says open records requests will allow the public to see who requested removal of books and why.

“That seems completely crazy to us that one person could put together a list of 400 books and that then suddenly, the school district believes it needs to remove 400 books out of its library.”

 Muth says many of the book removals have targeted LGBTQ friendly materials.

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UW Regents Reverse Course, Approve Deal With Vos

The Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents Wednesday evening reversed course and approved a deal with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to curtail DEI positions in exchange for financial priorities that total some $800 million.

The 11-6 vote came after the board rejected the same proposal 9-8 four days earlier. But President Karen Walsh, Vice President Amy Blumenfeld Bogost and Jennifer Staton, a student regent, flipped their stances and supported the deal.

Ahead of the vote, Walsh sought to assure members that the university isn’t walking away from its commitment to students and staff of all backgrounds. She also pledged to personally contribute to a fund required under the deal to recruit a professor to the Madison campus to teach conservative thought.

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Study Names Two Wisconsin Airports Among America's 'Most Reliable' Airports

A new study named two Wisconsin airports among America's "most reliable" airports.

Private jet charter service Jettly examined the total number of delays, cancelations, and diversions for more than 390 American airports, using data provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Using flight data from January to August 2023, they calculated the percentage of flights that experienced issues compared to all flights arriving at and departing from each airport.

La Crosse Regional Airport made number two on the list as the second most reliable, with 9.3% of all flights experiencing issues – or 69 out of 743 total flights.

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Rep. Tiffany Statement On Formalizing Impeachment Inquiry

Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07) released the following statement after voting to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

“The American people deserve transparency, and this process will give the House additional investigative abilities to uncover the facts about the President's involvement in his family’s foreign business deals,” said Congressman Tiffany.

Over the past year, House Republicans have uncovered through testimony, whistleblowers, and investigations that:

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Last Update: Dec 14, 2023 6:11 am CST

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