Biden goes on holiday even as deal remains elusive and risky
The House of Representatives began its week-long Memorial Day recess Thursday afternoon without an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
The U.S. Treasury could breach the debt ceiling by June 1, Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly warned, which could lead to a stock market crash and millions of jobs lost. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy previously floated canceling the Memorial Day recess if he and President Joe Biden could not reach an agreement, but ultimately told lawmakers they should prepare to return to Washington within 24 hours to vote. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has issued a similar warning to the Senate, which will be on recess until May 29.
“We have, still, fundamental disagreements that we have yet to resolve, and it’s complicated,” Republican negotiator Patrick McHenry of North Carolina told reporters. “The fundamentals of this deal are about spending. The fundamentals of the deal are based off of the legislation the House passed to raise the debt ceiling. And that’s tough stuff for Democrats. And the White House has made that very clear. But these are thorny issues that have to be resolved.”
Democrats opposed the move to go on recess, although none objected to the lower chamber’s 2:50 p.m. adjournment. During minute-long floor speeches, House Democrats blasted McCarthy’s decision not to keep the lower chamber in session.
“I know we want to get home to Memorial Day, we want to celebrate and honor our fallen heroes, the men and women who have served our country. But the best way for us to honor those heroes, the best way for us to honor the American public is to pass the debt ceiling,” California Rep. Ami Bera said.
“On a day like this, the last day of the week, when members get to vote by 11:00 and then they start running out the door, I used to be envious. Today, I’m astonished, astonished, in the problem before us and people are decided to take a break for Memorial Day,” Northern Mariana Islands Del. Gregorio Sablan added.
McCarthy and Biden are reportedly considering a deal that would raise the debt limit through 2024, although some conservative Republicans believe it would not do enough to cut spending.
“I think if the speaker negotiates that with the President, the speaker will find out there’s a lot of Republicans who won’t be agreeing with the speaker,” Florida Rep. Byron Donalds told Politico.
Americans are more likely to blame BIDEN than Republicans if US plummets into default
New poll shows where voters will point their fingers if debt limit deal isn’t made in SEVEN DAYS
Voters are more likely to blame Joe Biden for a catastrophic debt default, a new poll for Fox News reveals.
Bickering lawmakers have been unable to strike a deal on the U.S. government’s $31-trillion debt ceiling despite several rounds of talks.
But the survey by the Right-leaning network found that 47% of Americans would hold the president responsible if the U.S. is unable to pay its bills.
Last Sunday, Biden has insisted he would be ‘blameless’ if his administration and Congress cannot find an agreement.
That compares to 44% who would blame Congressional Republicans for the default.
A so-called ‘credit event’ would trigger higher interest rates, a government shutdown and economic chaos worldwide.
Pollsters interviewed 1,000 people across the country from May 19 to May 23 to produce the findings.
Biden has claimed that he could use the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling, an argument that remains untested in court.
Since 1917, the U.S. has had a law that sets a statutory limit on the total amount of debt that the Government is allowed to have.
Once the limit is breached, no further borrowing is allowed.
But Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican representing California, said earlier on Thursday that a deal could be close.
The agreement would specify the total amount the government could spend on discretionary programs like housing and education.
The two sides are understood to be just $70 billion apart on a total figure that would be well over $1 trillion, according to another source.
But any agreement will have to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The deal would only set broad spending outlines, leaving lawmakers to fill in the blanks in the weeks and months to come.
It would specify the total amount of military spending, which would a key sticking point in the talks, one of the sources said.
Microsoft says China installed malware in US systems in Guam
The island is a major American military hub
China may have conducted digital espionage against the US’ Pacific interests. Microsoft and the National Security Agency (NSA) have revealed that an alleged state-sponsored Chinese hacking group, Volt Typhoon, installed surveillance malware in “critical” systems on the island of Guam and elsewhere in the US. The group has been operating since mid-2021 and reportedly compromised government organizations as well as communications, manufacturing, education and other sectors.
Volt Typhoon prioritizes stealth, according to the investigators. It uses “living off the land” techniques that rely on resources already present in the operating system, as well as direct “hands-on-keyboard” action. They use the command line to scrape credentials and other data, archive the info and use it to stay in targeted systems. They also try to mask their activity by sending data traffic through small and home office network hardware they control, such as routers. Custom tools help them set up a command and control channel through a proxy that keeps their info secret.
The malware hasn’t been used for attacks, but the web shell-based approach could be used to damage infrastructure. Microsoft and the NSA are publishing info that could help potential victims detect and remove Volt Typhoon’s work, but they warn that fending off intrusions could be “challenging” as it requires either closing or changing affected accounts.
US officials speaking to The New York Times believe the Guam infiltration is part of a larger Chinese intelligence collection system that includes the reported spy balloon that floated across American nuclear sites early this year. The focus Guam is concerning as it’s home to Andersen Air Force Base, a major station that would likely be used for any US answer to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. It’s also a key hub for ships in the Pacific.