Morning Headlines - Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

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

Morning Headlines - Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Lawmakers Say McCarthy Speaker Fight Portends Debt Ceiling Crisis

The messy, drawn-out battle over electing the next Speaker is raising the danger of a debt limit crisis later this year, lawmakers in both parties warn.

Conservative rebels in the House are demanding that the next Speaker, whether it’s Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) or someone else, make a stand against passing a clean debt limit increase, which would set up a major fight with Senate Democrats and President Biden.

Congress has successfully avoided a debt limit crisis since 2011, which was also the first year of a new House GOP majority.

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House Speaker Election Continues For Third Day After McCarthy Falls Short In Sixth Vote

The House of Representatives will try again Thursday to elect a speaker after failing on its first six attempts Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy fell short in every round, unable to win a majority of the votes cast. The House will reconvene at noon.

After meeting behind closed doors Wednesday night with some detractors for nearly three hours, McCarthy told reporters he didn't believe another vote that evening would deliver a different outcome.

"I think it's probably best that people work through some more," he said. "I don't think a vote tonight does any difference, but I think a vote in the future will."

But he said progress had been made in negotiations with the Republicans opposing his bid for speaker.

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As Covid Turns 3, Experts Worry Where The Next Pandemic Will Come From – And If We'll Be Ready

For years, public health experts warned of the possibility of an illness spreading across the globe and killing millions. After all, it had happened before.

Measures were in place around the world to spot early signs of a never-before-seen bug with dangerous potential.

That's why on Dec. 31, 2019, China notified the World Health Organization that a novel pathogen was circulating in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China. A day later, in that city of 12 million, a wet market selling live animals was shuttered because of fears it was the source of the virus that would later be named SARS-CoV-2.

Three years later, the risk of a deadly pathogen spreading around the world remains.

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South Florida Migrant Encounters Up 400%, Border Patrol Says

U.S. officials in South Florida have seen a 400% increase in migrant encounters this fiscal year compared to the same period last year, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Wednesday.

"In the past five days, interagency efforts in the Miami Sector led to discovering 26 smuggling events, totaling nearly 600 migrants," Ortiz said in a Tweet. "Since October 1, 2022, Miami Sector has seen a 400% increase in migrant encounters over the same time period last year."

The update comes as the area has seen an influx of migrant landings or attempted landings near Florida in recent days.

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Tech Bloodbath Intensifies: Amazon Slashes More Than 18,000 Jobs - While Software Provider Salesforce Will Cut 8,000

Salesforce and Amazon announced major layoffs on Wednesday, beginning 2023 with significant cuts during what has already been a brutal period for the tech sector.

Amazon announced that its layoffs will impact more than 18,000 employees - the highest number so far at a major tech company.

Salesforce will lay off 10 percent of its workforce - or about 8,000 workers - after a period of over-hiring, according to its Co-CEO Marc Benioff, who said he took 'full responsibility' for the decision.

As the tech sector, and the economy as a whole, suffers, rumors have begun to circulate that original Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is mulling a comeback after the company's shares fell by more than half last year.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Meet The Candidates Running In The 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary

The 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election is shaping up to be the most expensive in state history, and could end up being one of the most consequential as well.

The winner of the seat will succeed Justice Patience Roggensack, who is retiring after serving two full 10-year terms on the state's high court. The winner will also determine the ideological makeup of the court for at least the next two years and set the balance of power between conservative and liberal justices.

There are four candidates running in the Feb. 21 spring primary election — two conservatives, Jennifer Dorow and Daniel Kelly, and two liberals, Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz, respectively. All are current or former judges.

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Wisconsin Legislature Moving Ahead With Bail Amendment

The Wisconsin Legislature is moving quickly to put a constitutional amendment on the April ballot that would make it harder for criminal defendants to get out of jail on bail.

The Legislature last year approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would require court officials to consider a defendant’s risk to public safety when setting bail. Currently, bail is set only as a means to ensure the person returns to court.

The change would allow courts to consider the totality of the circumstances in a case, whether the accused has been convicted for a violent crime in the past, the probability he or she will flee and the need to protect the community.

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Projected Increase In Medicaid Fund Balance Would Push State Budget Surplus To $6.9B

Wisconsin’s Medicaid fund is now projected to finish the fiscal year with a $774.8 million surplus — $269.9 million more than what was expected three months ago — in another shot of good news for the state’s bottom line.

In September, the Department of Health Services expected a $504.9 million surplus in the Medicaid fund at the end of the biennium. The Department of Administration used that figure in November as it projected the state’s general fund would finish the fiscal year with a $6.6 billion surplus.

If the latest projection holds, it would push that surplus close to $6.9 billion.

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Ron Johnson Suggested GOP Legislature Could Choose Presidential Electors Following Trump's 2020 Loss

In newly released testimony, former Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair Andrew Hitt told the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that Sen. Ron Johnson suggested the GOP-led state Legislature should choose presidential electors rather than voters.

The testimony was part of new documents, including screenshots of text messages to and from Hitt, released by the committee Monday. Hitt said the call from Johnson came Dec. 7, 2020 as former President Donald Trump and allies worked to overturn his loss a month before.

Hitt said he held a conference call with county GOP chairs and forcefully pushed back against false claims of illegal vote dumps in Milwaukee on election night.

"Ron (Johnson) called me afterwards," Hitt said. "I think he was a little surprised about...kind how forceful I was and said, 'You know, we need to — we need to have our Legislature choose the electors.'"

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Historic Wisconsin Canal Clogged By Melted Butter After Dairy Plant Fire

Time to bust out the lobster and crab legs in Wisconsin.

A historic canal in the state became filled with butter Monday — after a fire at a dairy plant caused a storage room full of the stuff to melt and creamily cascade into the nearby waterway, a report said.

“Butter was running down like 3 inches thick on the steps [of the dairy],” Portage, Wis., Fire Chief Troy Haase said of the scene.

The gooey mess at the Associated Milk Producers Inc., began at around 9 p.m. local time.

After initially struggling to access the concrete structure under heavy smoke, firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze for “several hours.” No injuries were reported.

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Last Update: Jan 05, 2023 6:18 am CST

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