US Government: CLOSED!
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US Government: CLOSED!

Senators Inch Toward a Deal to Re-Open

Shutdown. Some states are stepping into the void left by the federal government shutdown. New York is paying to keep the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open. Arizona will make sure the Grand Canyon stays open.

But state interventions are likely to only help blunt the pain in specific areas and won’t do much to reduce the overall impact. An extended government shutdown would cost our nation’s economy $6.5 billion every week it lasts.

Moderate senators were trying to reach an agreement on immigration and federal spending. Centrist Democrats appealed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to find a way to reopen the government as GOP political operatives geared up campaign attacks against them. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the White House was largely uninvolved in talking with the group of moderate senators and staff there “has been unreliable to work with on this issue.”

The group was trying to reach an agreement to fund the government through Feb. 8. Democrats have grown frustrated with the lack of a solution for “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought as children to the United States and many are demanding that their futures be addressed as part of any spending deal. Trump lashed out at Democrats and urged Republicans to change the rules if the standoff isn’t resolved.

Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts has shifted to a more moderate position among conservative justices on the Supreme Court, a small change with potentially dramatic consequences. Among the justices appointed by Republican presidents, Roberts agreed least with Justice Anthony Kennedy in Roberts’ first two terms leading the court and the most with Kennedy in the two most recently completed terms. Former President George W. Bush nominated Roberts to be the next chief justice of the United States in 2005 when William Rehnquist died. Roberts is in his 13th term leading the Supreme Court. In 2012, Roberts famously joined the more liberal members of the court to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Legionnaires’ disease. Bacteria responsible for the deadliest waterborne disease in the United States are frequently found in cooling towers that are part of heating and air conditioning systems in apartments, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels and other large buildings. Legionnaires’ disease, the pneumonia-like illness spread by Legionella bacteria, sickens thousands annually in the United States and kills hundreds. The ill and the elderly are most at risk. Reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease have shown a four-fold increase in the United States since 2000. The National Academy of Sciences will begin an investigation next month on how to reduce the risk of the disease.

January 22, 2018