Friday Edition



House Republicans appear to be changing up their strategy on getting stricter border measures passed. (Punchbowl News)

The old plan was for Senate Republicans to push Democrats to agree to bundle border policies in with Ukraine and Israel aid as part of a broader national security deal.

The new plan, according to PunchBowl News: “House Republicans seem to be itching to have a fight over border security as part of the government funding debate heading into the Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 shutdown deadlines.”

House Freedom Caucus members to Fox News on Wednesday:Shut the border down, or we’ll shut the government down.”

Punchbowl News, again: “The danger here is that House Republicans are not in sync with the Senate and the Biden administration when it comes to how the government should secure the border.”


Here are a few data points on how China, which has long been viewed as a threat to overtake the U.S. economically, looks like it’s slowing down. (AP)

Rockefeller Institute chair and Financial Times columnist Ruchir Sharma: “In nominal terms, China’s GDP is now 66 per cent of US GDP, down from 76 per cent in 2021. … Net foreign direct investment into the country has just turned negative for the first time.”

In the past two years, China’s annual economic growth has failed to reach 5%, often considered a benchmark indicator of a robust economy, particularly in developed countries.

In September, China's yuan fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in 16 years, influenced by a property slump, weak consumer spending, and shrinking credit growth in the East Asian nation.


A new poll shows 72% of Republicans think "too much is being made of the storming" of the Capitol, a sign of how GOP voters are getting “Trumpier” on some issues. (WaPo)

A new Washington-Post University of Maryland poll:

  • Just 14% of Republicans now think former President Trump should be blamed for Jan. 6, down from 27% in 2021.

  • 18% say Jan. 6 protesters were “mostly violent,” a drop from the 26% who said so in 2021.

  • The share of Republicans who think President Biden’s election was legitimate declined 8 points, from 39% to 31%.

55% of Americans, including 53% of Independents and 86% of Democrats, believe Jan. 6 was “an attack on democracy that should never be forgotten.” 62% believe Biden was legitimately elected, down from 69% in Dec. 2021.

It’s not just Jan. 6: A Politico/Morning Consult poll from September found GOP voters have become increasingly skeptical of vaccines, with 51% saying they care more about the potential health risks of vaccines than their benefits. Compare that to the 62% of all Americans who care more about vaccine benefits.


A new study of a basic income program in Los Angeles found homeless people who were given $750 a month were less likely to be unsheltered after six months and closer to being able to meet their basic needs. (Business Insider)

Chart: USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

A USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work report on the first six months of the year-long program: The expenditure breakdown for the “Miracle Money” program showed participants reported spending 36.6% on food, 20% on housing, 12.7% on transportation, 11.5% on clothing, 6.2% on healthcare, and 13.6% on other expenses.

In 2019, 125 Stockton, California residents received $500 per month with no strings attached. The trial led to increased employment, productivity, well-being, decreased stress, and spending on necessities. Following the success of the program, over 12,000 Californians are involved in similar basic income experiments.

On the other hand, some studies have found downsides to similar income programs. A federal government “negative income tax” experiment that ran from 1968 to 1980 across six states found for every $1,000 in additional benefits, there was an average reduction of $660 in earned income. The negative income tax reduced work hours significantly: 9% for husbands, 20% for wives, and 25% for single female heads of families. Recipients were also unemployed longer than non-recipients.

The U.S. is experiencing a winter Covid-19 infection upswing, but the virus is no longer the threat it once was, according to scientists. (NYT)

Source: CDC

Covid-related hospitalizations increased by 17% in the week ending Dec. 23, with about 29,000 new admissions compared to 39,000 the same week last year and 61,000 in 2021.

Most people dying of Covid these days are over 70 and/or immunocompromised. From January to August, 63% of all Covid-related hospitalizations in the U.S. involved adults aged 65 and above, according to a CDC study published in October. This age group also constituted 61% of ICU admissions and nearly 90% of Covid-related deaths.


There’s been an uptick in harassment of politicians, seen most recently with bomb hoaxes and swatting attempts (fake emergency calls aimed at getting SWAT teams sent to a target’s home) on public officials. (NYT)

On Wednesday, state capitol buildings in Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Montana received bomb threats. Last month, the FBI investigated threats against the Colorado Supreme Court justices who ruled former President Trump is constitutionally ineligible to run for office. Maine’s secretary of state and Sen Rick Scott, R-Fla., were swatted last week, while GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Brandon Williams of New York were both swatted on Christmas Day.

Capitol Police investigations into threats against Congress members have more than doubled in the past four years. A 2021 report by the National League of Cities found 87% of the local officials it surveyed observed an increase in attacks on public officials. 23% of Americans now believe "patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country," up from 15% in 2021, according to a PRRI/Brookings Institution survey released in October.

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