White House preparing for government shutdown as House Republicans lack a viable endgame for funding
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Friday directed federal agencies to get ready for a shutdown after House Republicans left town for the weekend with no viable plan to keep the government funded and avert politically and economically costly disruption of federal services.
A federal shutdown after Sept. 30 seems all but certain unless Speaker Kevin McCarthy can persuade his rebellious hard-right flank of Republicans to allow Congress to approve a temporary funding measure to prevent closures as talks continue. Instead, he's launched a much more ambitious plan to try to start passing multiple funding bills once the House returns Tuesday, with just five days to resolve the standoff.
“We got members working, and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward on Tuesday to pass these bills,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at the Capitol.
McCarthy signaled his preference for avoiding a closure, but a hard-right flank of his House majority has effectively seized control. “I still believe if you shut down you’re in a weaker position,” he said.
The standoff with House Republicans over government funding puts at risk a range of activities — including pay for the military and law enforcement personnel, food safety and food aid programs, air travel and passport processing — and could wreck havoc with the U.S. economy.
Auto workers expand their strike to 38 locations in 20 states. Biden plans visit to show support
The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike against major carmakers Friday, walking out of all 38 parts-distribution centers operated by General Motors and Jeep and Ram owner Stellantis in 20 states but sparing Ford from further shutdowns.
President Joe Biden said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he will visit Michigan on Tuesday “to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.”
Ford avoided additional strikes because the company has met some of the union’s demands during negotiations over the past week, UAW President Shawn Fain said during an online presentation to union members.
“We’ve made some real progress at Ford,” Fain said. “We still have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognize that Ford is showing that they are serious about reaching a deal. At GM and Stellantis, it’s a different story."
Fain said GM and Stellantis, the successor to Fiat Chrysler, have rejected the union’s proposals for cost-of-living increases, profit sharing and job security, and “are going to need some serious pushing.”
Gold bars, cash-stuffed envelopes: New indictment of Sen. Menendez alleges vast corruption
NEW YORK (AP) — Powerful Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey was charged Friday with secretly aiding the authoritarian government of Egypt and trying to thwart the criminal prosecution of a friend in exchange for gold bars and cash under a corruption indictment that accuses him of using his foreign affairs influence for personal gain.
Menendez was forced to relinquish his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but said he would not resign from Congress, though New Jersey's governor, a fellow Democrat, and other Democrats in the state's congressional delegation said he should.
The indictment, the second in eight years against the 69-year-old senator, alleges an illegal commingling of Menendez’s obligations to advance U.S. priorities and his private interest in cultivating relationships with wealthy businessmen. It also includes charges against his wife and three New Jersey businessmen who authorities say showered the couple with money, gold and a luxury car in exchange for official favors.
A previous indictment of Menendez stemming from different allegations ended in 2017 with a deadlocked jury.
Hours after the latest case was unsealed, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy demanded Menendez's immediate resignation, saying the allegations were “so serious that they compromise” the senator's ability to serve. Additional calls for him to resign came from New Jersey Reps. Bill Pascrell, Andy Kim and Mikie Sherrill, among others.
As migrants overwhelm a Texas border city, others wait in Mexico for appointments to enter the US
EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) — Waiting three weeks and counting to cross into Texas, Lila sat in a shelter on the Mexico border Friday feeling trapped: The cartels make it too dangerous to turn around and the U.S. government offers no guarantees if she keeps going.
“They don’t ask for papers. They ask you for money,” said Lila, a 39-year-old from Honduras, describing officers who pulled her off buses as she made her journey north. She insisted only her first name be used because she fears retaliation from the cartels.
Her lack of good options reflected feelings of wide frustration — among both migrants and officials in U.S. cities — as the arrival of large groups of migrants this week overwhelmed Border Patrol agents. More than 8,000 migrants turned up this week at the Texas border city of Eagle Pass, across from Piedras Negas, where Lila and her Cuban partner waited for an appointment to seek asylum in the U.S.
Many others are not waiting and crossed through the Rio Grande, including a 3-year-old boy who authorities say drowned. An international bridge remained closed Friday as agents are reassigned to handle the large numbers in Eagle Pass, which for two years has been the epicenter of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's border mission known as Operation Lone Star. That has included a floating barrier in the Rio Grande.
Residents of Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras said that though their communities have been part of the immigration route for years, the size of the groups now is unusual. Migrants who arrived this week said they formed organically along the way.
Video of Elijah McClain's stop by police shown as officers on trial in Black man's death
BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) — Elijah McClain's mother left a Colorado courtroom in tears Friday after prosecutors showed video footage of the 23-year-old Black man pinned down by police officers during a fatal 2019 confrontation, which rose to prominence during nationwide protests over racial discrimination and excessive force in policing.
Two officers from the Denver suburb of Aurora are on trial for manslaughter and other felony charges. The episode was captured by police body cameras, and prosecutors are leaning heavily on that footage to convince jurors that excessive force contributed to McClain's death.
On the night he was stopped, McClain was walking home from a convenience store wearing a runner’s mask, covering his face below his eyes. The officers were responding to a report of a “sketchy” person in the neighborhood. McClain wore the mask because anemia made him cold, relatives later said.
The encounter quickly escalated and officers took him to the ground. McClain lost consciousness at least once after an officer put him in a neck hold pressing against his carotid artery.
McClain, a massage therapist who relatives described as a gentle introvert, threw up repeatedly after the neck hold. He was kept on the ground for 15 minutes before paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine. He suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was taken off life support three days later.
FBI is investigating alleged abuse in Baton Rouge police warehouse known as the 'Brave Cave'
The FBI said Friday it has opened a civil rights investigation into allegations in recent lawsuits that police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, assaulted drug suspects they detained in an obscure warehouse known as the “Brave Cave.”
In one case, a man says he was taken to the warehouse and beaten so severely he needed hospital care before being booked into jail. In another, a woman claims she was strip-searched, with an officer using a flashlight to scan her body.
Since the first complaint was filed last month, the city’s mayor has ordered the facility closed, the police department has disbanded its street crimes unit and an officer at the center of the allegations — the son of a current deputy chief — resigned and was arrested on a simple battery charge.
FBI officials confirmed Friday that the agency has opened an investigation based on “allegations that members of the department may have abused their authority.”
This latest scandal adds to a long list of corruption and misconduct allegations plaguing the Baton Rouge Police Department, which came under significant scrutiny following the 2016 fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man. In 2021, a corruption probe into the department’s narcotics division led to criminal charges and internal discipline against officers accused of stealing drugs from evidence and lying on police reports.
Surgeons perform second pig heart transplant, trying to save a dying man
WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeons have transplanted a pig’s heart into a dying man in a bid to prolong his life – only the second patient to ever undergo such an experimental feat. Two days later, the man was cracking jokes and able to sit in a chair, Maryland doctors said Friday.
The 58-year-old Navy veteran was facing near-certain death from heart failure but other health problems meant he wasn’t eligible for a traditional heart transplant, according to doctors at University of Maryland Medicine.
“Nobody knows from this point forward. At least now I have hope and I have a chance,” Lawrence Faucette, from Frederick, Maryland, said in a video recorded by the hospital before Wednesday's operation. “I will fight tooth and nail for every breath I can take.”
While the next few weeks will be critical, doctors were thrilled at Faucette’s early response to the pig organ.
“You know, I just keep shaking my head – how am I talking to someone who has a pig heart?” Dr. Bartley Griffith, who performed the transplant, told The Associated Press. He said doctors are feeling “a great privilege but, you know, a lot of pressure.”
Tropical Storm Ophelia off the mid-Atlantic coast producing winds just below hurricane force
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Tropical Storm Ophelia gained strength as it churned toward the North Carolina coast on Friday, promising a weekend of heavy rain and windy conditions throughout the mid-Atlantic.
Forecasters issued a hurricane watch for parts of eastern North Carolina, saying Ophelia showed the potential to gather even more strength as it passes over warm Gulf Stream waters. The storm was expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Saturday morning and dump as much as 7 inches (17.7 centimeters) of rain across portions of the state and into southeast Virginia.
The intensifying weather system spun into a tropical storm in the afternoon and by nighttime was producing maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At around 8 p.m. forecasters said Ophelia was about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, and heading north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).
Water levels were rising along portions of the North Carolina coast, and a storm surge warning was in effect for some areas. Surges between 3 and 5 feet (0.9 and 1.5 meters) were forecast for parts of the state, the hurricane center said.
The governors of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland declared a state of emergency. Some schools closed early as communities prepared for the storm’s arrival, and several weekend events were canceled.
Hawaii economists say Lahaina locals could be priced out of rebuilt town without zoning changes
HONOLULU (AP) — Residents who survived the wildfire that leveled the Hawaii town of Lahaina might not be able to afford to live there after it is rebuilt unless officials alter the zoning laws and make other changes, economists warned Friday.
“The risk is very real,″ Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, told a virtual news conference ahead of the group’s release Friday of its quarterly state economic forecast.
Soaring housing prices have already forced many Native Hawaiians and other longtime Hawaii residents to leave the islands and move to the U.S. mainland. The wildfire that claimed at least 97 lives and destroyed 2,200 buildings in the West Maui community of Lahaina — 86% of which were residential — amplifies that problem for the survivors. Nearly 8,000 of them have been placed at 40 hotels or other accommodations around the island of Maui.
“Market prices for this new housing are likely to far exceed the already high prices that existed in Lahaina before the fire. For renters, the old housing stock that was destroyed provided opportunities for reasonable rents,” the economic report said.
A spike in housing costs would be a further burden for people — including retirees and those who worked in restaurants, hotels and shops — who lost their homes and jobs when their places of employment burned to the ground on Aug. 8, or when West Maui temporarily closed to tourism after the disaster.
At the edge of the UN security perimeter, those with causes (and signs) try to be heard
NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Pedro came to the U.S. from Angola five months ago. He works construction in the New York City borough of Queens. Kadija Tyler made the journey from Senegal to Harlem. She works in sales in a department store.
Neither is a full-time activist. But they and many others this week spent the first days of the U.N. General Assembly holding homemade signs decrying what they call abuses in their homelands.
Outside the enormous perimeter of police and barricades that surrounds the United Nations this time of year, there is a park dedicated to U.N.-centered protests. And a variety of dedicated groups show up in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza throughout the year to draw attention to their causes.
The General Assembly, the most inherently international event, is also the most American — a place where people raised unfree come to speak out because they can.
In official protest locations and just plain street corners, the heavily secured streets outside the United Nations complex were filled this week with people who said they were there protesting injustice because, after years of repression, they are finally in a place where they can.
The Associated Press