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The Statue of Liberty was closed Saturday due to the shutdown. The National Parks Conservation Association estimated 34% of park units would close. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

A senior GOP House aide sent this email to me Saturday with the subject line, “Our future," which blasts the United States for shirking its global duties for political quibbles: "The largest country in the world, with global responsibilities, shutting down the government over a squabble ... 100% for short-term political gain."

The big picture: "The post-World War II world we have been living in for 7 decades was largely created — and certainly sustained and defended — by American power. ... Since 2001, we've experienced almost nothing but reverses overseas, much of it truly major and permanent. And our relative power — the power to compel and protect — is shrinking as other countries rise."

  • "And domestically, our decision-making system has become locked in a destructive, inward-turned focus. The emphasis on an unending political struggle for its own sake."
  • "Our enemies didn't do this to us. Virtually all of it is a product of our own decisions."
  • "It isn't sustainable. We're well into a period of increasing internal chaos and decline overseas. We've gotten used to it but I'll just say it for the sheer disbelief of it — the government of the United States just shut down."
  • "In your discussions with the great and the good around town, do you see any recognition of this inevitable scenario? I don't. Do you know anyone with responsibility for making decisions for the country with any concrete, realistic plan to do anything about it? I don't."
  • "They're focused on battling one another, drilling holes in the boat, as we head for the falls. A child can see it coming. Do people really believe all of this is self-sustaining, that it won't just cave in? I don't.”

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.