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The Interpreter: Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-Made Discord

NYT

Excerpt from: The Interpreter: Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-Made Discord

The World Bank Is Remaking Itself as a Creature of Wall Street

NYT

View original post here: The World Bank Is Remaking Itself as a Creature of Wall Street

Government Shutdown Begins as Budget Talks Falter in Senate

“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.”Democrats, calling it the “Trump shutdown,” countered that Republicans were responsible for the management of a government in their control.GraphicThese Factions in Congress, Split Over ‘Dreamers,’ Could Lead to Government ShutdownA deal to avoid closing the federal government hinges on Senate Democrats, and some Republicans, who want to include protections for young undocumented immigrants.OPEN Graphic“Every American knows the Republican Party controls the White House, the Senate, the House,” Mr. Schumer said. “It’s their job to keep the government open.”In addition to funding government operations through Feb. 16, the House-passed bill would extend funding by six years for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, a provision intended to secure Democratic votes.But Democrats were seeking concessions on other priorities, such as protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation, increasing domestic spending, securing disaster aid for Puerto Rico and bolstering the government’s response to the opioid epidemic.Federal agencies had prepared for the shutdown; on Thursday night, officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget instructed federal agency leaders to give their employees informal notice of who would be furloughed and who would not if funding lapsed.Formal notifications are to be given as early as Saturday morning, budget office officials said, insisting on anonymity to brief reporters about the details of what the White House called “lapse planning and shutdown operations.”Continue reading the main storyMore than one million active-duty military personnel will serve with no lapse, they said, but could not be paid until the shutdown ends. Agencies like the Energy Department that have funding that is not subject to annual appropriations can use that money to stay open, the officials said, and the administration is encouraging them to do so. Most mandatory programs — entitlements such as Social Security that are automatically funded rather than subject to congressional appropriations — can continue without disruption.Officials said Mr. Trump may travel on Air Force One to carry out his constitutional responsibilities, including a planned trip next week to Davos, Switzerland […]

As Trump Appeals to Farmers, Some of His Policies Don’t

NYT

The rest is here: As Trump Appeals to Farmers, Some of His Policies Don’t

As Trump Appeals to Farmers, Some of His Policies Don’t

“What we often see communicated about rural America is that there are these isolated pockets of despair that are beyond hope or recovery,” Ray Starling, the special assistant to the president for agriculture, agricultural trade and food assistance on the National Economic Council, said in a briefing Friday. The report makes clear that “that’s not what we believe.”Yet some of the president’s economic policies could actually harm the farm industry. New analyses of the tax law by economists at the Department of Agriculture suggest it could actually lower farm output in the years to come and effectively raise taxes on the lowest-earning farm households, while delivering large gains for the richest farmers.And the administration’s trade policies continue to be a concern for farmers, who benefit from access to other markets, including by exporting their products. Mr. Trump continues to threaten to withdraw from trade pacts if other countries do not grant the United States a better deal, a position that has put him at odds with much of the farm industry.“Trade has become an increasingly important and substantial part of the ag economy. So anything that causes a ripple in that can have not just little effects but significant effects,” said Dale Moore, the executive director for public policy at the Farm Bureau.Indeed, part of the White House report Monday is expected to discuss global markets’ importance to rural America.Agriculture has been the biggest beneficiary of pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which have allowed the United States to export grains and meat. In April, when the president came to the brink of withdrawing the United States from the pact, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue helped to dissuade him by showing him a map of the part of the country that would be hardest hit — farming states that also helped to elect Mr. Trump.“It creates a lot of anxiety across all of agriculture, particularly the U.S. pulling out of Nafta,” said Kevin Kester, a rancher in California and the president-elect of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.Continue reading the main storyFarmers and ranchers like Mr. Kester worry that they are losing ground to foreign competitors, as major markets like Japan, Europe and Mexico push ahead with their own trade pacts. […]

Republican Senators Raise Possible Charges Against Author of Trump Dossier

NYT

Read the rest here: Republican Senators Raise Possible Charges Against Author of Trump Dossier

Prepaying Your Property Taxes? I.R.S. Cautions It Might Not Pay Off

NYT

See the original post: Prepaying Your Property Taxes? I.R.S. Cautions It Might Not Pay Off