DeSantis’ Disney Dispute, One Year Later
Happy Thursday! Acting Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Billy Nolen said this week we’re experiencing the “safest period in aviation history.”
Unless, of course, you happen to be aviating an octagonal aircraft above Lake Huron. Then you’re toast.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that retail sales—including spending on food and fuel—climbed 3 percent month-over-month in January, the largest monthly gain since March 2021 and nearly double economists’ expectations of 1.8 percent growth. The statistic is not adjusted for inflation, however, so higher prices likely accounted for some of the increase. Still, strong consumer spending—along with January’s blowout jobs report and cooling but still high inflation—could encourage the Federal Reserve to continue its rate hikes campaign to fight inflation.
- A Food and Drug Administration panel voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend allowing over-the-counter sales of nasal spray naloxone—a drug that reverses opioid overdoses—clearing the way for final approval next month. The FDA isn’t bound to honor the panel’s recommendations, but typically does.
- The Congressional Budget Office projected Wednesday that, unless Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling, the federal government will run out of the ability to issue additional debt to cover its obligations sometime between July and September this year, with the exact date depending on cash flow over the next few months. Some Republicans have demanded spending cuts in exchange for voting to raise the ceiling, but President Joe Biden and Democrats insist on a so-called “clean” debt ceiling hike, and the president and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have made little outward progress on negotiating a deal.
- Laura Rosenberger—the National Security Council’s senior director for China and Taiwan—will leave the White House next month to be replaced by the State Department’s Sarah Beran. Rosenberger’s departure was reportedly long planned, but the transition comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over the Chinese surveillance balloon that traversed the U.S. earlier this month.
- Turkish police have detained 78 people accused of making “provocative” social media posts that spread “fear and panic” in the aftermath of earthquakes that killed more than 41,000 people in Turkey and Syria. Authorities said 46 websites had been shut down for running earthquake donation phishing scams. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also faced criticism for his government’s initially slow response to the disaster.
- Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon unexpectedly announced Wednesday she will resign her post after leading the Scottish National Party since 2014. Sturgeon is Scotland’s longest-serving first minister and a Brexit opponent, arguing it merited another Scottish independence referendum.
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday a second round of tests from five wells serving the water system of East Palestine—where a train recently derailed, spilling toxic chemicals—showed no contamination, confirming the town’s municipal water is safe to drink. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency still recommends people in the area with private wells drink bottled water and schedule water tests.
- The white man, 19, who killed 10 black people in a 2022 “racially motivated” shooting in Buffalo, New York, received a life sentence without parole on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to state charges including 10 counts of first-degree murder, but still faces 27 federal felony charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
- The Justice Department officially notified GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida he won’t face charges in a sex trafficking investigation, the representative’s office said Wednesday, confirming previous reports that prosecutors had declined to recommend charges.
A New Sheriff in Town?
Kathleen Passidomo. Ben Albritton. Paul Renner. Michael Grant. You might not recognize these names, but the 160 senators and representatives who meet in Tallahassee are about to become some of the most closely watched state lawmakers in the country. With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis inching closer and closer to throwing his hat in the ring for the GOP presidential nomination later this year, it’s becoming increasingly clear he plans to use the state’s upcoming legislative session—and Republicans’ supermajorities in both chambers—to lay the groundwork for a national campaign. On the docket so far? Permitless concealed carry, tort reform, and possibly tighter abortion restrictions.
Oh, and DeSantis wants to annex the Magic Kingdom.