Nearing the End of the Debt Limit Saga

Happy Tuesday! For readers suffering from Succession withdrawals, this story about Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida firing his own son after an ethics scandal is giving us real Logan-Kendall vibes.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The Ukrainian military shot down at least a dozen cruise and ballistic missiles over Kyiv on Monday, the country’s top military official said—the 16th such attack on the capital city this month as Russian forces attempt to exhaust Ukraine’s air defenses ahead of the now-imminent Ukrainian counter-offensive. Russia reportedly launched 75 drones and missiles at Ukrainian military facilities and other targets across the country, with Ukrainian forces downing 67.
  • More than 30 NATO peacekeepers were injured in clashes with protestors in northern Kosovo on Monday. The NATO forces—made up of servicemembers of several nationalities—were deployed to four Kosovo municipalities after protesters attempted to prevent ethnic Albanian mayors from taking office in Serb-majority areas of the country following recent elections, which were widely boycotted by ethnic Serbs. 
  • Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed sweeping anti-LGBT legislation into law on Monday, prompting backlash from President Joe Biden, the European Union, and the United Nations Human Rights Office. Same-sex relationships were already illegal in the East African nation, but the new bill introduces the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes same-sex relations with children or disabled people, or while one party is unconscious, and repeated intercourse between two people of the same sex when one of the parties is HIV-positive. The bill also mandates up to 20 years in prison for anyone “promoting homosexuality,” a vague term which activists fear could be used to target sexual health workers and AIDS healthcare providers.
  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called a snap election for July 23—roughly six months ahead of the predicted end of his government’s term—after conservatives routed his Socialist Workers’ Party in regional and local elections over the weekend. Sanchez is likely aiming to catch his Popular Party opponents off guard, banking on centrists’ distaste for the possibility of a right-wing coalition in national government that includes the far-right Vox Party. The campaign will coincide with the beginning of Spain’s six-month term as president of the European Union, which starts in July.

Debt Deal Reached 

The U.S. Capitol Building.
The U.S. Capitol Building.

In a May 1993 comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes—his stuffed tiger—are negotiating how to divide up the winnings of an art competition they entered together. Both characters think they deserve the larger share, but eventually settle on a 50-50 split. “A good compromise leaves everybody mad,” Calvin huffs as he storms off.

So it is with the long-awaited debt limit agreement struck between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the weekend. Hard-right lawmakers have labeled the deal “devastating” and an “insult to the American people,” arguing it puts the United States’ “financial future at risk.” Far-left progressives have claimed the agreement is full of “bad policy” that will “push poor [people] deeper into poverty” and “cripple Biden’s presidency.” The majority of lawmakers between those two poles have some mild frustrations with the legislation, but think it’s generally fine and will—in all likelihood—vote to advance it later this week.

After weeks of talks and a lengthy negotiating session on Saturday, Biden and McCarthy finally came to a tentative “agreement in principle” on legislation suspending the debt limit until January 2025—after the next presidential election—in exchange for a number of modest, but symbolic, cuts to Democratic priorities. By Sunday evening, that “agreement in principle” had been translated into legislative text: the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

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