Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the United States for his first visit since 2017. He is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in the San Francisco Bay Area. The meeting aims to reduce tensions in the U.S.-China relationship, which is seen as one of the world’s most significant rivalries. Prior to his arrival, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of freedoms and the rule of law in the region, without explicitly mentioning China. Economic issues, military contacts, and topics such as the Israel-Hamas conflict and support for Ukraine are expected to be discussed during the meeting. Both countries are interested in improving their economic relationship while avoiding complete economic separation. The U.S. seeks to restore military-to-military contacts with China to prevent misunderstandings. Demonstrations both for and against Xi’s visit are expected, with various groups expressing their concerns, including issues related to Tibet, Hong Kong, and Uighurs. The meeting is seen as an opportunity to manage and stabilize the U.S.-China relationship.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit aiming to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 primary ballot based on a constitutional provision, Section Three of the 14th Amendment, that prohibits individuals who have “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. The court’s ruling is the first in a series of lawsuits filed by liberal groups attempting to use Section Three to disqualify Trump from the Republican presidential primary due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack. The court’s decision applies only to the state’s primary, leaving open the possibility of further challenges to Trump’s candidacy for the general election in November. The provision in question historically aimed to prevent former Confederates from holding government positions after the Civil War. Plaintiffs argue that Section Three is a qualification for the presidency, similar to the constitutional requirement that a president be at least 35 years old. Trump’s lawyers argued that Section Three lacks power without Congress specifying criteria and procedures, that the January 6 attack doesn’t constitute an insurrection, and that the clause doesn’t apply to the presidency, as it is not mentioned in the text. Similar cases are ongoing in other states, including Colorado.
The House of Representatives passed a short-term bill to prevent a partial government shutdown, moving closer to keeping federal operations running beyond the impending deadline. The vote, with a 336-95 result, was seen as a win for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who introduced the “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) plan. Some conservative Republicans opposed the bill due to the absence of spending cuts, while 209 Democrats supported it. Only two Democrats and 93 Republicans voted against the measure.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to gain approval later in the week. Senate leaders from both parties have endorsed Johnson’s plan, highlighting the avoidance of hard-right cuts and the importance of averting a government shutdown.
Under Johnson’s proposal, part of the government will be funded until January 19, 2024, and the rest until February 2, 2024, providing Congress with two deadlines to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2024. By January, Congress must approve four appropriations bills, including transportation, housing, military construction, energy, water development, agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration. By February, the other eight appropriations bills, including defense, must be approved.
The House and Senate are currently divided over top-line budget numbers, prompting Johnson to seek additional time for both chambers to pass their bills and reconcile differences in a conference. The previous strife over government funding led to the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on October 3, 2023, after he brought forward a last-minute CR to prevent a shutdown on September 30, 2023, leading to dissatisfaction among some Republicans and collaboration with Democrats to replace him.
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