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Congressional Spending Bill Faces Continued Opposition From Far Right

The clock is ticking down on a first spending deal deadline to fund parts of the government as Speaker Johnson attempts to wrangle the most conservative members of his caucus. The idea of another short-term patch has already been floated on the Senate side.

The speaker of the House, Mike Johnson (R-La. ), has a daunting task to get a budget deal through his conference amid strenuous opposition from conservatives. As he is likely to rely on the minority party in the House to get his deal approved over outrage from his right flank, the Speaker was elected just months after his predecessor was tossed for working with Democrats on government funding. (As reported by Brooks and Schnell on January 9).

A broader government funding bargain, though Johnson has promised no more short-term funding extensions, seems increasingly likely to require another funding patch to buy more time. Senate Majority Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) expressed concern about another short-term extension: I hate to start talking short-term this early in the process. Historically, it has been possible. (Emma and Scholtes, 1/8).

Two years ago, a formula shortage prompted a mad dash to feed babies across the country and investigations into the formula market. A new recall of a specialty formula has sparked concerns and prompted questions from Congress. (According to Carrazana and Luterman, 1/8).

As Democrats and Republicans intensified their calls for accountability, and senior officials at the White House and Pentagon struggled to defuse the uproar, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was moved out of intensive care on Monday after not disclosing his emergency hospitalization. The 70-year-old Austin remains in the care of doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. According to administration officials, he was taken to the hospital by ambulance on Jan. 1, suffering from “severe pain” with undisclosed complications following an overnight medical procedure on (Dec. 22. A report by Lamothe, Viser, and Ryan on 1/8).

It has been said that he is the “invisible” secretary. He is so far removed from the White House’s influence that he’s rarely seen there, even at healthcare events. In the past, officials openly discussed who might be a better candidate. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, however, is gaining traction with the president’s closest advisers. (As reported by Ownermohle on January 9).

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