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Trump, ‘not backing down’ in effort to count citizens amid census fight, announces executive order

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Trump, 'not backing down' in effort to count citizens amid census fight, announces executive order

President Trump, speaking at the White House on Thursday, announced that he would “immediately” issue an executive order to get an accurate count of non-citizens and citizens in the United States — a measure Trump said would be “far more accurate” than relying on a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

The move would make use of “vast” federal databases and free up information sharing among all federal agencies concerning who they know is living in the country, Trump said.

“Today I’m here to say we are not backing down in our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population,” the president told reporters, after slamming “far-left Democrats” seeking to “conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst.”

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS BRACE IN 10 CITIES ACROSS COUNTRY,  AS ICE PLANS RENEWED DEPORATION RAIDS

“We will leave no stone unturned,” Trump asserted. He called legal opposition to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census “meritless.”

Speaking after Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr said the information collected via the executive order could be useful in determining the makeup of the Electoral College and congressional apportionment.

President Donald Trump is joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr, right, as he speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump is joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr, right, as he speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“That information will be used for countless purposes. For example, there is a current dispute over whether illegal aliens can be included for apportionment purposes. … We will be studying this issue,” Barr said.

Census counts — which by law include illegal immigrants — are used to determine the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives for the next 10 years, the makeup of the Electoral College and the distribution of some $675 billion in federal spending.

The Census Bureau’s own experts have said requiring information about citizenship would discourage illegal immigrants from participating and lead to a less accurate count. That, in turn, would redistribute money and political power away from many cities led by Democrats where immigrants tend to cluster.

Barr also said a Supreme Court decision last month posed insurmountable “logistical” — but not “legal” — barriers to asking the citizenship question on the census. The government already has started the lengthy and expensive process of printing the census questionnaire without the question.

Additionally, Barr slammed media reports that the White House would issue an executive order in an attempt to illegally force a citizenship question on the census.

HOUSE DEMS PREPARE TO HOLD TRUMP, BARR IN CONTEMPT OVER CENSUS QUESTION

Trump emphasized his exasperation at the situation earlier in the day at a White House conference focused on social media censorship of conservatives.

Census Bureau citizenship questions from 1870 to 2010.

Census Bureau citizenship questions from 1870 to 2010.
(Fox News)

“We spend $20 billion on a census,” Trump told attendees. “They go through houses, they go up, they ring doorbells, they talk to people. How many toilets do they have? How many desks do they have? How many beds? What’s their roof made of? The only thing we can’t ask is, are you a citizen of the United States. Isn’t it the craziest thing?”

The president had said last week that he was “very seriously” considering an executive order to try to force the citizenship question’s inclusion.

HERE’S WHY THE UPCOMING IMMIGRATION RAIDS ARE BEING ANNOUNCED IN ADVANCE

Earlier Thursday, ABC News first reported that Trump would “back down” from his efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, and instead would “take executive action that instructs the Commerce Department to obtain an estimate of U.S. citizenship through other means.”

Multiple sources confirmed that reporting to Fox News.

Trump’s administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the question, beginning with the ruling by the Supreme Court temporarily barring its inclusion on the grounds that the government’s justification was insufficient. The court challenged the reasoning given that the Justice Department wanted the question to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s four more liberal members in last month’s decision and was openly skeptical about that justification.

A federal judge on Wednesday also rejected the Justice Department’s plan to replace the legal team fighting for inclusion, a day after another federal judge in Manhattan issued a similar ruling, saying the government can’t replace nine lawyers so late in the dispute without satisfactorily explaining why.

DEMOCRATS, GOP TRADE BARBS OVER CITIZENSHIP QUESTION ON 2020 CENSUS

The Trump administration has given conflicting signals on the subject — initially planning to print the census forms without the citizenship question and then renewing the push to include it.

Trump has offered several explanations for why he believed the question was necessary to include in the once-a-decade population count.

“You need it for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations. Where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons,” he told reporters last week.

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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday called Trump’s efforts “outrageous” and accused him of pushing the question “to intimidate minorities, particularly Latinos, from answering the census so that it undercounts those communities and Republicans can redraw congressional districts to their advantage.”

“He thinks he can just issue executive orders and go around the Congress, go around established law and try to bully the courts,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. He predicted the effort would be thwarted by the courts.

Fox News’ John Roberts, Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press 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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