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US lawmakers close to passing huge spending cuts

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WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives was on track to approve slashing 61 billion dollars in government spending in a measure that makes deep cuts to global US aid in the name of austerity.

Lawmakers in the Republican-led chamber have been at work since Tuesday on a spending bill to fund government operations for the 2011 fiscal year that ends September 30, laboriously dealing with nearly 600 amendments to the measure.

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Final House passage was expected as early as Friday, setting the stage for a pitched battle with the Senate, which was all but certain to roll back many of the reductions and force hard-fought negotiations on a compromise.

A current stopgap spending measure expires March 4, and increasingly nasty verbal sparring and finger-pointing in the US Congress could lead to a failure to adopt a replacement, triggering a government shutdown.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both strongly warned lawmakers that overly deep cuts risk eroding US influence overseas and triggering crises hurting national security.

“We need the resources to do the job, otherwise we will pay a higher price later in crises that are allowed to simmer and boil over into conflicts,” Clinton said Monday.

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“Drastic reductions in the size and strength of the US military make armed conflict all the more likely — with an unacceptably high cost in American blood and treasure,” Gates told lawmakers Wednesday.

Republicans have vowed to largely spare the Pentagon, and keep aid to Israel and Egypt intact, but said Washington needs to tighten its belt to deflate its yearly budget deficit and reducing its swollen national debt.

“To reduce uncertainty and create a better environment for job creation, we need to cut wasteful spending and we need to stop Washington’s spending binge,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

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The House and Senate were to be in recess next week, giving them little time to agree on a compromise to avert a government shutdown — which would freeze government retirement checks and other basic services from Washington.

Democrats have denounced an array of foreign aid cuts in the Republican-crafted bill, warning that paring back the US State Department’s funds could notably hurt its efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democrats have also highlighted how the bill would slash the budget of the US Agency of International Development, overseas economic development monies, global disaster and refugee aid, and funds to battle HIV/AIDS.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump unleashes bizarre stream of gobbledygook when reporter asks him to describe his health care plan

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President Donald Trump has vowed multiple times over the past two-and-a-half years to unveil his own replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, but so far no actual plan has come to light.

As noted by CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, Trump was asked by a reporter in New Hampshire this week to describe his health care plan, and the president responded with a stream of gobbledygook.

"So, we have a great plan coming out," the president began when asked about his plan. "It's going to be -- if we can take back the House because we're not going to get the Democrats to vote for it, because they're doing Medicare for all, which is going to take away your freedom, take away your doctors, take away everything that you should be able to have, and most importantly, it's going to take away -- we have 180 million people right now that have private insurance and they love it, and all of that's going to be taken away. It's absolute craziness."

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Here’s the bizarre truth behind the study Trump is using to claim Google ‘manipulated’ 2.6 million votes in Hillary Clinton’s favor

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On Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that according to a “report just out,” Google “manipulated” millions of votes in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. But according to a report by Nick Bastone for Business Insider, Trump’s claims are misleading for a number of reasons.

In his tweet, Trump posted, “Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Bastone, however, reports that the study Trump appeared to be referring to on Twitter was a 2017 study by San Diego-based psychologist Robert Epstein — who, in July, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing with the theme “Google and Censorship Through Search Engines.”

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WATCH: White man sprays black teen with hose after hurling racist abuse and claiming to be KKK member

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An East Rochester man sprayed a black teenager with a hose during a confrontation that was captured on video.

The man, whose name has not been released, claimed to be a Ku Klux Klan member during an argument with some black and white teenagers outside his home, and he sprayed one 14-year-old boy as he walked away from the white man, reported WROC-TV.

"You shouldn't be f*cking with the Klan," the man says, and walks toward his yard, where he grabs the hose and hurls a racial slur at the boy.

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