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Puerto Rico debt bill cleared for Thursday House vote

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Legislation to help Puerto Rico dig out of its $70 billion debt crisis is set for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday after a House panel fended off attempts to open the bill to a series of controversial amendments.

By a voice vote on Wednesday, the Rules Committee, the gatekeeper for all bills moving through the House, sent the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) to the full House for debate and a likely vote on Thursday.

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The legislation, which is the result of months of negotiations between Congress and the Obama administration, would create a federal oversight board to work with investors to determine how much they would recover of the island territory’s $70 billion in loans.

Republicans have stressed that no taxpayer money would be used to bail out Puerto Rico from a crisis that has left nearly half of the population in poverty amid closings of schools and hospitals and a contracting economy.

During a Rules panel debate that stretched into the night, the committee rejected pleas to allow amendments that would have changed the basic structure of the legislation and the operation of the oversight board.

If the bill passes the House, action would then move to the Senate, where some leading Democrats have said they would seek significant changes to the legislation.

Earlier on Wednesday, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, who ushered the bill through his committee on May 25, told reporters he expected the full House to pass it on Thursday.

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Bishop, a Utah Republican, said a strong vote of support for passage in the House would help propel it through the Senate.

“The bottom line is the better the vote here (in the House), the less likely it’s going to come back in a significantly altered form” from the Senate, Bishop said.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric Beech and Andrew Hay)

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Trump is ‘a soulless man with a broken mind’: George Conway calls out his wife’s boss in scathing op-ed

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George Conway, the prominent Republican attorney married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, blasted his wife's boss in a new Washington Post op-ed published online on Friday evening.

"Until three brief months ago, President Trump never faced a serious crisis, at least one not of his own making. But now he has faced two, and is failing two, in short order: the covid-19 pandemic, with its concomitant economic devastation; and now social unrest, and rioting, stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody," Conway wrote. "Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one."

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Fox News triggers outrage with graphic comparing how much stocks have risen after racist tragedies

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On Friday, Fox News displayed a graph that appeared to compare the amount the stock market has risen in the week after various racial tragedies, including the assassination of Martin Luther King, the beating of Rodney King, the Ferguson incident, and the death of George Floyd.

2. Here’s the video of the graphic as it aired on Fox News this evening. pic.twitter.com/Iww2DnzkkI

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 5, 2020

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Bill Barr denies giving the order to gas protesters for Trump photo-op

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America's top law enforcement office on Friday denied giving the highly-controversial order to gas protesters prior to a photo-op with President Donald Trump holding a Bible.

"Attorney General William Barr says law enforcement officers were already moving to push back protesters from a park in front of the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, and he says he did not give a command to disperse the crowd, though he supported the decision," The Associated Press reports.

"Barr’s comments in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday were his most detailed explanation yet of what unfolded outside the White House earlier this week. They come after the White House and others said repeatedly that the attorney general ordered officers to clear the park," the AP reported. "Shortly after officers aggressively pushed back demonstrators, President Donald Trump — accompanied by Barr, Pentagon leaders and other top advisers — walked through Lafayette Park to pose for a photo at a nearby church that had been damaged during the protests."

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