Sep 4, 2017

Key House Republican opposes tying Harvey relief to debt ceiling

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The chairman of a powerful group of conservative House Republicans has come out against his party's plan to use Hurricane Harvey funding to raise the debt ceiling.

Mark Walker, who leads the Republican Study Committee, a group of 170-some House members, said:

"Congress is united behind this effort, but I worry about jeopardizing an agreement with such legislative games. Our obligation is to assist those impacted by this great flood, but it's past time the swamp waters in DC begin receding as well... As we have stated for months, the debt ceiling should be paired with significant fiscal and structural reforms."

Why this matters: Axios broke the news on Sunday that Republican leadership plans to pass a "clean" emergency Harvey aid package through the House, and then the Senate will attach a debt ceiling raise before sending it back. Walker's opposition signals that leadership could have big problems from conservatives when the bill returns to the House.

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

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Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

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