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Trump privately talks about ending Japan defense treaty: Bloomberg

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Trump privately talks about ending Japan defense treaty: Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order aimed at requiring hospitals to be more transparent about prices before charging patients for healthcare services, at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has recently spoken privately about withdrawing from the defense treaty with Japan as he is of the view that the postwar pact treated the United States unfairly, Bloomberg reported late on Monday.

However, Trump has not taken any steps in this regard and such a move is highly unlikely, it said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. president believes the more than six-decades-old treaty is one-sided to the disadvantage of the United States as the Japanese military has no obligation to come to U.S. defense, according to the report.

Trump also talked about seeking compensation for relocating the U.S. base in Okinawa, Bloomberg said.

The report comes as Trump is engaged in his “America First” agenda that demands two-way agreements in foreign policy and international trade.

Separately, on the trade front, the U.S. president has previously said he is unhappy with Japan’s trade surplus with the United States and wants a two-way agreement to address it.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the report outside regular working hours.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru

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Trump, Congress leaders reach deal on debt limit, spending caps

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Trump, Congress leaders reach deal on debt limit, spending caps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and U.S. congressional leaders said on Monday they reached a deal on a two-year extension of the debt limit and federal spending caps through Sept. 30, 2021.

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

“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,” Trump said on Twitter.

Schumer and Pelosi promptly issued a statement confirming the agreement, saying the measure would be voted on “swiftly” in the House of Representatives. The Senate must also pass the measure before it can be signed into law by Trump.

Under the agreement, which was the result of weeks of closed-door negotiations, the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority would be extended through July 31, 2021.

The pact would also set overall spending levels for the next two years on both defense and non-defense programs operated by the federal government.

Under the deal, spending on these “discretionary” programs would rise to $1.37 trillion in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, up from $1.32 trillion this year, according to a congressional source.

In fiscal 2021, spending would rise at a slower pace, to $1.375 trillion.

Earlier on Monday, a source close to the talks said the deal would include about $75 billion in what is being described as partial “offsets” to higher spending over the next two years.

Even before the agreement was announced, some outside experts were criticizing it.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said it “may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history.”

If enacted into law, she said in a statement, Trump would have increased discretionary spending by as much as 22 percent over the course of his four-year term “and enshrined trillion-dollar deficits into law.”

Those deficits would accelerate a $22.4 trillion U.S. debt that already was growing in part as a result of tax cuts Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress approved in 2017.

Without legislation, Treasury could bump up against its borrowing limit before Sept. 9, according to some recent estimates.

Even with an agreement enacted into law, Congress must pass spending bills to implement it. Lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline – the end of the current fiscal year – to pass those bills or temporarily extend current spending while new legislation is brokered.

Last December, Republican leaders thought they had a deal with Trump on legislation funding government activities for the current fiscal year. At the last minute, he demanded more money so he could build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep immigrants from entering the country illegally.

Democrats objected to border wall funding and the breakdown led to record-long, partial government shutdowns until Trump relented.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky

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Tlaib calls for $20-an-hour minimum wage

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Tlaib calls for $20-an-hour minimum wage

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called for a federal minimum wage of $20 per hour at an event in Detroit on Sunday night, prompting mockery from conservatives and threatening to force mainline Democrats in the 2020 presidential race to address the issue in upcoming debates.

Tlaib’s comment came during remarks to the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan and the labor rights group One Fair Wage, and were recorded by the conservative political action committee America Rising. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a $15 federal minimum wage bill last week, but it has little chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate.

Tlaib, referring to the federal minimum wage for those workers, said that “tipped employees make $2.13 per hour, federally.”

“Think about that for one minute. People cannot live on those kind of wages, and I can’t allow people to be living off tips, you know, relying on tips for wages. It’s just not enough to support our families. … By the way, when we started it, it should have been $15,” she said at the event, titled “Server for an Hour.”

VIDEO SHOWS TLAIB SHOUTING AT PRESIDENT TRUMP AS SECURITY DRAGS HER AWAY — SOMEONE TELLS HER TO ‘GET A JOB’

“Now I think it should be $20 — make sure America Rising hears that,” she continued, to applause. “It should be $20 an hour — $18 to $20 an hour at this point. … They say all of this is going to raise the cost, but I can tell you, milk has gone up, eggs have gone up, everything has gone up. The cost of a lot of things that we need has gone up already.”

In a 231-199 vote along party lines on Thursday, the House passed legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current rate of $7.25. In an even more drastic increase, the bill calls for having the same minimum wage for tipped workers, raising it from $2.13 an hour.

Tlaib’s office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment, but her remarks were derided by conservative commentators.

“Why not $20?” asked Town Hall Editor and Fox News contributor Guy Benson. “Or $50? Go, Rashida, Go!”

“They should make it $1,000 an hour and cure income inequality inside of a month, obviously,” joked Ben Shapiro. “These radical Democratic policy proposals are the political equivalent of the pitch for the Fyre Festival.”

Democrat presidential contenders are set to debate again on July 30 and 31, and could be asked about Tlaib’s now-viral proposal. The party’s embrace of once-radical proposals — including Medicare-for-all, health care for illegal immigrants, and decriminalization of border crossings — has alienated moderates, some analysts contend.

Tlaib, a member of the progressive freshman “squad” on Capitol Hill, has attracted an outsize share of attention in recent days. Over the weekend, video resurfaced showing Tlaib calling out to President Trump as security removed her from a meeting at the Detroit Economic Club in August 2016.

But her minimum wage proposal has her farther afield on the issue than virtually all other prominent Democrats. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently concluded that a $15 federal minimum wage could result in 3.7 million people becoming unemployed — far higher than House Democrats’ estimates — as employers struggle to make payroll and respond by slashing jobs and hours.

The CBO noted the “considerable uncertainty” in calculating the impact of the minimum wage from state to state, and indicated that up to 17 million Americans could see pay increases.

Republican leaders have said a minimum wage hike would be “devastating” for middle-class families, citing CBO research finding that it would also reduce business income, raise consumer prices and reduce the nation’s output. Overall, the CBO said the move would reduce real family income by about $9 billion in 2025 — or 0.1 percent.

SANDERS SAYS HE HAS TO CUT WORKERS’ HOURS TO MEET $15-PER-HOUR PROMISE

The minimum wage fight has spilled over into the Democrat presidential race in recent days. Over the weekend, Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced he will cut staffers’ hours so that they can effectively be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage, prompting mockery from critics who said the move is more evidence that Sanders’ plan to raise the national minimum wage is hypocritical and would only lead to less work and more unemployment.

Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network, told The Washington Free Beacon that “America can’t afford a $15 minimum wage, never mind $20.”

Ortiz also connected Tlaib’s remarks to the strife rocking Sanders’ campaign.

“It’s a shame Representative Tlaib didn’t hear that Bernie Sanders is cutting his staff’s hours to meet their demands for a $15 minimum wage,” Ortiz told the paper. “If she won’t listen to job creators about the unintended consequences of a higher minimum wage, maybe she’ll listen to a socialist politician.”

The Washington Post first reported last Thursday that Sanders’ field staffers were upset that Sanders had championed a $15 minimum wage on the campaign trail, and made headlines for railing against major corporations who pay “starvation wages” — even as his own employees made “poverty wages.”

In response, Sanders told The Des Moines Register he was “very proud” to lead the first major presidential campaign with unionized workers, but also “bothered” that news of the internal strife had spilled into the media.

BERNIE SANDERS SAYS HIS $40 TRILLION MEDICARE-FOR-ALL PLAN WOULD HELP US SAVE MONEY

The self-described socialist candidate said junior field organizers earn roughly $36,000 per year in salary, with employer-paid health care and sick leave. But he acknowledged that their salary can effectively dip below $15 per hour if staffers work much more than 40 hours per week, which is common on presidential campaigns.

The solution is to “limit the number of hours staffers work to 42 or 43 each week to ensure they’re making the equivalent of $15 an hour,” he told the Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer 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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