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McCarthy rolls out GOP agenda as he eyes House majority, speaker’s gavel

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WASHINGTON — Weeks earlier than the midterms, Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy on Friday rolled out a sweeping legislative agenda that goals to unify his usually divided convention and demonstrates what Home Republicans would do if voters put them again in energy.

The product of greater than a yr of labor, the “Commitment to America” platform focuses on 4 key pillars — the economic system, safety and public security, freedom and authorities accountability — areas that Republicans say President Joe Biden and his get together have failed to handle since taking management of Washington two years in the past. 

“What we’re going to roll out immediately is a dedication to America in Washington — not Washington, D.C., Washington County, Pennsylvania. You wish to know why? It’s about you; it’s not about us,” McCarthy instructed a crowd at a metallic sheet working plant in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, simply outdoors Pittsburgh. 

“We wish to roll it out to you, to all the nation, [so you] know precisely what we are going to do, for those who would belief us and provides us the flexibility to take a brand new course for this nation. However the dedication is a plan — a plan for a brand new course.”

McCarthy stated the primary invoice Home Republicans would try and move subsequent yr seeks to repeal the $80 billion in new IRS funding that was included in Biden’s Inflation Discount Act. He additionally stated Republicans would intention to move a “Mother and father’ Invoice of Rights” that can give mother and father extra of a say within the curriculum that’s taught in faculties.

McCarthy additionally vowed to create a Home choose committee to research China.

Republicans launched into a listening tour with constituents this summer season, McCarthy stated, noting the problems that he stated got here up essentially the most: inflation, excessive fuel and grocery costs; migrants and Fentanyl medicine coming throughout the southern border; surging crime charges; and younger college students who’ve fallen behind from pandemic-related college closings.

Democrats “management the Home, the Senate, the White Home. They management the committees, they management the businesses … however they don’t have any plan to repair all the issues they created,” McCarthy added.

The disclosing of McCarthy’s plan highlights a strategic break along with his Senate counterpart, Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has determined to not launch a legislative agenda earlier than the elections. As a substitute, McConnell is betting that maintaining assaults on Biden, whose approval ranking is underwater, is all that’s wanted to wrest management of the Senate from Democrats. 

McCarthy, nevertheless, believes Republicans have to state what they’re for to win again the decrease chamber, which they final managed in 2018.

For instance, to deal with excessive fuel and vitality costs and cut back reliance on international international locations, Republicans say they wish to increase home oil and pure fuel manufacturing and lower the allowing course of time in half.

To answer rising crime, Republicans would help the hiring of 200,000 extra law enforcement officials with recruiting bonuses. They’d additionally finish distant or “proxy” voting, which was put in place by Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a well being measure through the pandemic however continues to be in use.

Dedication to America is paying homage to Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America agenda, which in 1994 helped propel Home Republicans into energy for the primary time in 40 years. Gingrich was elected speaker after these midterms, a path McCarthy hopes to comply with.  

Election watchers have favored Republicans to win again the Home on Nov. 8; they should choose up a internet of simply 5 seats to take management.

After talking to Republicans within the Capitol on Thursday, Gingrich praised McCarthy’s plan as “a lot deeper and extra advanced” than his personal agenda 28 years in the past. McCarthy’s provides greater than 100 coverage proposals, a website and a Spanish language part that can assist members and candidates talk the GOP’s message to voters, the previous speaker stated.   

“The unity in there was astonishing,” Gingrich stated, rising from the closed-door assembly. “I imply, I used to be amazed at members who usually discover some motive to not be collectively getting up and saying, ‘We’re on the identical group.’”

There was a united entrance flanking McCarthy as nicely.

The 2 Republican males who final held the job of speaker — John Boehner and Paul Ryan — have been pushed out of energy after public clashes with the far-right Freedom Caucus. However Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a prime Donald Trump ally and one of many Freedom Caucus’s most high-profile figures, was seated on stage on Friday straight behind McCarthy. Just a few seats away was one of many GOP’s most reasonable members, Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio.    

“When you go searching, we’ve bought members right here from New York all the best way to the border with Tony Gonzales. We’ve bought those that have completely different approaches all the best way from Dave Joyce to Marjorie Taylor Greene,” stated Rep. Man Reschenthaler, R-Pa., who launched McCarthy and who represents the district the place the rollout was held.

“However we’re all united behind Kevin McCarthy. He’s the one to unify the get together. He’s the one which got here up with this plan. He’s the one which’s going to take us again the bulk.”

Democrats have acknowledged they face an uphill climb in holding the Home, however they imagine they’ve a surge of momentum after the Supreme Courtroom voted to overturn abortion rights and a collection of legislative wins.

Later Friday, Biden will supply a rebuttal at a marketing campaign occasion in Washington, D.C., pointing to a revival of American manufacturing and the economic system’s restoration from a COVID recession, aides stated. He’ll additionally tout this summer season’s passage of the Inflation Discount Act, which is aimed toward chopping well being care prices and tackling local weather change.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Home Democrats’ campaigns chief for the 2022 cycle, mocked the Gingrich-influenced GOP plan, saying “McCarthy’s heating up leftovers.”

“It is arduous to make a dedication to America when a bunch of your members needs to be dedicated,” Maloney stated.

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Venezuela releases 7 jailed Americans; US frees 2 prisoners

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WASHINGTON — Venezuela on Saturday freed seven Individuals imprisoned within the South American nation in change for the discharge of two nephews of President Nicholas Maduro’s spouse who had been jailed for years by the US on drug smuggling convictions, a senior U.S. official mentioned.

The swap of the Individuals, including five oil executives held for nearly five years, is the most important commerce of detained residents ever carried out by the Biden administration.

“We’re relieved and gratified to be welcoming again to their households as we speak seven Individuals who had been wrongfully detained for too lengthy in Venezuela,” mentioned Joshua Geltzer, the deputy homeland safety adviser.

It quantities to a uncommon gesture of goodwill by Maduro because the socialist chief appears to be like to rebuild relations with the U.S. after vanquishing most of his home opponents. The deal follows months of back channel diplomacy by Washington’s top hostage negotiator and other U.S. officials — secretive talks with a serious oil producer that took on larger urgency after sanctions on Russia put strain on international power costs.

CITGO oil executives in Caracas, Venezuela.
CITGO oil executives from left, Jose Angel Pereira, Gustavo Cardenas, Jorge Toledo, Jose Luis Zambrano, Tomeu Vadell and Alirio Jose Zambrano in Caracas, Venezuela.Jorge Arreaza/Venezuela’s International Ministry Twitter through AP File

These freed embody 5 workers of Houston-based Citgo — Tomeu Vadell, Jose Luis Zambrano, Alirio Zambrano, Jorge Toledo and Jose Pereira — who had been lured to Venezuela proper earlier than Thanksgiving in 2017 to attend a gathering on the headquarters of the corporate’s guardian, state-run-oil big PDVSA. As soon as there, they had been hauled away by masked safety brokers who busted right into a Caracas convention room.

Additionally launched was Matthew Heath, a former U.S. Marine corporal from Tennessee who was arrested in 2020 at a roadblock in Venezuela on what the State Division has known as “specious” weapons prices, and Florida man, Osman Khan, who was arrested in January.

America freed Franqui Flores and his cousin Efrain Campo nephews of “First Combatant” Cilia Flores, as Maduro has known as his spouse. The lads had been arrested in Haiti in a Drug Enforcement Administration sting in 2015 and instantly taken to New York to face trial. They had been convicted the next 12 months in a extremely charged case that solid a tough have a look at U.S. accusations of drug trafficking on the highest ranges of Maduro’s administration.

Each males had been granted clemency by President Joe Biden earlier than the discharge.

The Biden administration has been beneath strain to do extra to deliver house the roughly 60 Individuals it believes are held hostage overseas or wrongfully detained by hostile overseas governments. Whereas a lot of the main focus is on Russia, the place the U.S. has to date tried unsuccessfully to safe the discharge of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American, Paul Whelan, Venezuela has been holding the most important contingent of Individuals suspected of getting used as bargaining chips.

At the least 4 different Individuals stay detained in Venezuela, together with two former Inexperienced Berets concerned in a slapdash try and oust Maduro in 2019, and two different males who, like Khan, had been detained for allegedly getting into the nation illegally from neighboring Colombia.

The Biden administration didn’t launch one other prisoner lengthy sought by Maduro: Alex Saab, an insider businessman who Venezuela considers a diplomat and U.S. prosecutors a corrupt regime enabler. Saab fought extradition from Cape Verde, the place he was arrested final 12 months throughout a stopover en path to Iran, and is now awaiting trial in Miami federal courtroom on prices of siphoning off hundreds of thousands in state contracts.

The oil executives had been convicted of embezzlement final 12 months in a trial marred by delays and irregularities. They had been sentenced to between eight years and 13 years in jail for a never-executed proposal to refinance billions within the oil firm’s bonds. Maduro on the time accused them of “treason,” and Venezuela’s supreme courtroom upheld their lengthy sentences earlier this 12 months. The lads have all pleaded not responsible and the State Division has regarded them — and the 2 different Individuals freed on Saturday — as wrongfully detained.

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Spirit Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Baltimore after ‘mechanical issue’

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A Spirit Airways flight to Florida needed to flip round and make an emergency touchdown in Maryland Friday night time due to an issue with the engine.

Flight 2077 took off from Baltimore/Washington Worldwide Thurgood Marshall Airport headed for Orlando Worldwide Airport. However after takeoff, the aircraft had a “mechanical subject” and needed to flip again, an airline spokesperson mentioned in a press release Saturday.

It arrived again in Baltimore shortly at 8:51 p.m., about half-hour after takeoff, based on FlightAware.

“The aircraft landed safely at BWI, and visitors deplaned beneath regular procedures,” the assertion learn.

The spokesperson didn’t present additional particulars about what occurred.

Spirit Airways mentioned the aircraft can be faraway from service and inspected by the upkeep division.

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Ian slows down as death toll from hurricane grows in Florida

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The remnants of Hurricane Ian, one of many strongest and costliest storms to ever hit the U.S., pushed north on Saturday, promising extra harmful flooding, energy outages and distress all through the Southeast.

The storm, which has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone after slamming into Florida after which South Carolina, has killed not less than 34 people in Florida, in keeping with official and NBC Information counts.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart has warned of record river flooding throughout components of Florida, and flash, city and small stream flooding throughout the central Appalachians and components of the southern Mid-Atlantic areas by the weekend. 

Ian could have most sustained winds of 35 mph, in keeping with the NHC. It additionally mentioned that the storm is predicted to dissipate over south-central Virginia by tonight. 

Rescue efforts had been ongoing.

“Since this operation began for us, simply hours after the storm made landfall, we’ve been capable of rescue 325 individuals and greater than 100 pets,” Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson instructed the In the present day Present on Saturday morning. 

McPherson instructions the Coast Guard in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He warned that power outages had been complicating rescue efforts as individuals in affected communities battle with out entry to their cell phones or electrical energy. 

A pedestrian carries an umbrella during hard rain from Hurricane Ian, in Charleston, S.C., on Friday. on September 30, 2022
A pedestrian carries an umbrella throughout onerous rain in Charleston, S.C.Scott Olson / Getty Photos

“It’s one of many greatest challenges,” he mentioned. “Instantly after this storm we had search and discover air crews on the lookout for individuals needing help.”

However he added that the majority areas which were lower off in southwest Florida have now been accessed both by air or by city search and rescue groups going door to door by boat.

In Florida, almost 1.3 million properties and companies had been left with out energy early Saturday, three days after Ian hit the state. In South Carolina, greater than 62,000 prospects didn’t have energy.

Ian has menaced tens of millions of individuals for many of the week, battering western Cuba earlier than tearing throughout Florida from the nice and cozy waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart has warned of record river flooding throughout components of Florida, and flash, city and small stream flooding throughout the central Appalachians and components of the southern Mid-Atlantic areas by the weekend. 

Hundreds of thousands in Florida had been nonetheless having to deal with the influence of Ian. Distressed residents waded by knee-high water Friday in Fort Myers, one of many hardest hit areas within the state, salvaging what possessions they may from their flooded properties and loading them onto rafts and canoes.

“I need to sit within the nook and cry. I don’t know what else to do,” The Related Press quoted Stevie Scuderi as saying after she shuffled by her principally destroyed Fort Myers residence, the mud in her kitchen sticking to her purple sandals.

In South Carolina on Friday, Ian’s heart got here ashore close to Georgetown, a small neighborhood alongside the Winyah Bay about 60 miles north of historic Charleston. The storm washed away components of 4 piers alongside the coast, together with two linked to the favored vacationer city of Myrtle Seaside.

Weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, Ian is predicted to maneuver throughout central North Carolina over Saturday with most windspeeds of 35mph, in keeping with the Nationwide Hurricane Heart, and dissipate over south-central Virginia by tonight.

Ian could have most sustained winds of 35 mph, in keeping with the NHC. It additionally mentioned that the storm is predicted to dissipate over south-central Virginia by tonight.  

However whilst Ian’s winds are anticipated to dissipate this night, communities from coastal vacationer cities to inland suburbs are more likely to proceed to expertise the consequences of floods attributable to heavy rainfall and overflowing rivers, with sustained restore work unable to start in earnest till the slowing of windspeed.

The storm is predicted to supply an additional 2 to 4 inches of rainfall on Saturday, with a most of six inches in components of the central Appalachians and North Carolina.

Related Press contributed.

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