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AOC warns of ‘very real risk’ of Trump win in 2020, says frustration with Pelosi is ‘quite real’

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AOC warns of 'very real risk' of Trump win in 2020, says frustration with Pelosi is 'quite real'

In her first Sunday morning show appearance since taking office in January, New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned that there is “very real risk” President Trump will win re-election in 2020, and acknowledged that progressive frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also “quite real.”

The comments struck an unusually defensive tone for the 29-year-old progressive firebrand, as Democrats seek to winnow their large list of 23 presidential contenders. Ocasio-Cortez also spoke bluntly on her initiative to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars most federal funding for abortion — and 2020 Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden’s abrupt reversal on the issue earlier this month.

“I think that we have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we do not have a presidential candidate that is fighting for true transformational change in the lives of working people in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News’ Jon Karl on “This Week” Sunday. 

“I think that if we elect a president on half-measures that the American people don’t quite understand — the agenda of a president, you know, that says we’re fighting for higher wages but we don’t want a $15 minimum wage, fighting for education but we don’t want to make colleges tuition-free, fighting for women’s rights, et cetera, but we don’t want to go all the way with that, then I think we have a very real risk of losing the presidency,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

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Responding to an NBC News poll showing growing support for an impeachment inquiry, Ocasio-Cortez called an impeachment investigation a “constitutional responsibility.” That prompted Karl to press Ocasio-Cortez on reports that progressive Democrats are frustrated with Pelosi, D-Calif., who has resisted calls for impeachment proceedings.

“I think it’s quite real,” Ocasio-Cortez. “I believe that there is a very real animus and desire to make sure that we are — that — that we are holding this president to account.”

A growing progressive anger has also targeted Biden, who said earlier this month he could “no longer support” the Hyde Amendment, which he had backed for decades. Biden said the law makes a woman’s right to an abortion “dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”

The Hyde Amendment prevents the government from providing abortion funding except in cases of rape, incest, or when the health of the mother is at stake.

ABORTION ACTIVIST ACCUSES BIDEN OF INTIMIDATION: ‘I THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO HIT ME’

Last week, an abortion activist questioning Biden on his Hyde Amendment flip-flop said he got in her face and attempted to grab her arm. “I thought he was going to hit me,” the activist said, after posting a brief viral video and photo of the encounter. The activist also noted the numerous accusations by other women that Biden has made them uncomfortable in close personal encounters.

The Biden campaign did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the matter.

“It’s not the 70s anymore,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an email to backers on Saturday, building support for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. “This is 2019, and none of our leaders should be willing to stand by a policy that disproportionately harms low-income Americans and people of color just to suit the interests of anti-choice zealots. That ends now. We’re going to fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment, and let people access the care that they need. Sign your name if you stand for repealing the Hyde Amendment.”

On Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez said Biden’s new stance was the bare minimum for a Democrat candidate in 2020. As recently as the last presidential cycle, the Hyde Amendment enjoyed mostly bipartisan support.

“Well, I’m encouraged by the fact that he is now against the Hyde Amendment. I think that that’s where — I think it’s a very base level where all candidates need to be,” Ocasio-Cortez told Karl. “I’m excited to be introducing a repeal of the Hyde Amendment via amendment — we’ll see where it goes — for incarcerated women and the maternal and reproductive health care of incarcerated women is — it should be guaranteed as it is with all women in the United States. And so I think it really depends — and that’s really what the Hyde Amendment is about.”

Ocasio-Cortez continued: “We’re talking about 50, 51 percent of the American public being impacted by the realities of the Hyde Amendment.”

But Democrats risk overplaying their hand on the issue, analysts warn, even as an increasing number of conservative-dominated states pass aggressive pro-life measures. A recent article in Slate by William Saletan, titled “Abortion Funding Isn’t As Popular As Democrats Think: Recent polls debunk much of what progressives believe,” contains a sobering analysis of the issue for the Democrat field.

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“In every poll, a plurality of Americans opposes public funding of abortions,” Saletan wrote. “In every poll but one, that plurality is a majority.”

Saletan concluded that while most Americans generally agree with Democrats on the issue of abortion and don’t support defunding abortion clinics, the recent progressive push goes too far.

“On the question of direct payments [for abortion],” Saletan wrote, “most voters agree with the GOP. If Democrats make that question a litmus test, they’ll regret it.”

Nevertheless, last week Illinois enacted a sweeping pro-choice law that eliminates spousal consent, waiting periods, criminal penalties for abortion providers and restrictions on abortion facilities, such as licensing requirements and health and safety inspections. It also repealed the state’s Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act and establishes “that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law, of this State.”

The Thomas More Society, a pro-life law firm based in Chicago, declared the bill tantamount to “legalizing the death penalty, with no possibility of appeal, for viable unborn preemies.”

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.

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Deep budget cuts put University of Alaska in crisis mode; ‘grappling with survival’

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Civil rights groups sue Tennessee over law imposing new penalties on voter registration

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – The University of Alaska board of regents, facing deep budget cuts exacted by the governor that will eliminate about 40% of the university’s state funding, voted at an emergency meeting on Monday to declare the academic equivalent of bankruptcy reorganization.

The regents’ 10-1 vote puts the university into “financial exigency,” a status allowing administrators to summarily fire tenured faculty and other staff, close whole academic programs and even shut down entire campuses. Up to 2,000 employees could lose their jobs, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen has said.

The drastic move is necessary, regents said, because of line-item spending vetoes by Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy that slashed $440 million from the budget passed by the state legislature, including $130 million from the university system.

Dunleavy, who took office in December and is an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, has called for major cuts in higher education, health care and other social programs as he pushes to sharply raise the annual oil revenue dividend that Alaska pays to nearly every state resident.

Lawmakers attempted on July 10 to reverse Dunleavy’s budget vetoes but failed to muster the required three-quarters vote to override the governor. The result, the regents said at their meeting, is tragic for the university.

  “Unfortunately, we are now grappling with survival,” said John Davies, the board of regents’ chairman.

Davies disputed Dunleavy’s assertion that sharp cuts to the university and other programs were necessary because Alaska faces a financial crisis.

“I believe it’s more of a political crisis. It’s some decisions that have been made by the governor and by a minority of the legislature,” he said.

The budget as passed by the legislature contained a surplus. Dunleavy imposed deep cuts, nevertheless, while pushing to nearly double the dividend paid to residents each year from oil revenues collected for the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Dunleavy’s proposal for a record $3,000 dividend this year, at a time of declining oil industry receipts, would cost the state an estimated $2 billion.

The University of Alaska operates its three main campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau, with 13 smaller satellite campuses in remote communities such as Nome, Bethel and Kodiak. The $130 million cut by the governor is more than the cost of running the entire Anchorage campus, Johnsen has said.

The university, especially the Fairbanks campus, is considered a world-class hub for Arctic and climate-change research, and some Dunleavy critics have accused the governor of targeting the university because of that.

“Some prominent conservatives deny the reality of human-caused climate change, and so curtailing UA research is great from their perspective,” Susan Henrichs, a former University of Alaska Fairbanks provost, said in a column published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Regents had considered declaring financial exigency a week ago but postponed their decision. Since then, Moody’s sharply downgraded the university’s bond rating, giving it a “negative” outlook.

Members of the legislature’s bipartisan majority coalition said they still hope to restore funding to the university and other programs.

Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage; Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler

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Trump announces ‘real compromise’ on budget deal with congressional leaders

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Trump announces 'real compromise' on budget deal with congressional leaders

The Trump administration and congressional leaders, including Democrats, have reached a critical debt and budget agreement, a deal that amounted to an against-the-odds victory for Washington pragmatists seeking to avoid politically dangerous tumult over fiscal deadlines, President Trump announced Monday.

The deal would increase spending caps by $320 billion relative to the limits prescribed in the 2011 Budget Control Act, whose provisions have repeatedly been waived year after year. It would also suspend the debt ceiling and permit more government borrowing until July 31, 2021 — after the next presidential election.

The arrangement all but eliminates the risk of another government shut down this fall, but already has been drawing the ire of fiscal conservatives saying it will lead to more irresponsible government spending.

Even some Democrats — including Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy — were outraged, saying the bill would not block Trump from spending money on his proposed border wall.

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills,” Trump wrote.

He added: “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

Democrats celebrated that, under the new deal, the domestic, non-military budget receives larger increases than the defense budget, when compared to last year. Democrats also lauded the deal’s allocation of $2.5 billion for the 2020 Census, to ensure that all residents are counted.

The deal, which must still pass Congress, also comes as budget deficits have been rising to $1 trillion levels — requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar the government spends — despite the thriving economy and three rounds of annual Trump budget proposals promising to crack down on the domestic programs that Pelosi, D-Calif., has been defending.

It apparently ignored warnings from fiscal conservatives saying the nation’s spending has been unsustainable and eventually will drag down the economy.

“This agreement is a total abdication of fiscal responsibility by Congress and the president,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington advocacy group. “It may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history, proposed at a time when our fiscal conditions are already precarious.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump says deal reached on spending, debt limit

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Trump says deal reached on spending, debt limit

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he formally kicking off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Monday a two-year deal had been reached with congressional leaders to raise the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority and to set budget spending caps.

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills,” Trump said on Twitter.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by David Alexander

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