Glimmers of Hope for a Debt Deal

Glimmers of Hope for a Debt Deal  at george magazine

Also, a leader in A.I. asks for regulation. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.

Congressional leaders met with President Biden at the White House today to talk about the debt limit, but the two sides are still far apart. White House officials said that Biden will shorten a weeklong foreign trip that begins tomorrow to return to the U.S. to deal with the negotiations.

Following the meeting, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the two sides still had major disagreements, but he said that the “structure” of the negotiations had improved and that it was “possible” to get a deal by the end of the week. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said he was “committed” to getting a bipartisan bill done — a notable shift for Democrats, who had insisted that House Republicans pass a clean debt ceiling raise.

The government could run out of money to pay its bills in a little over two weeks — a default that economists warned could cost Americans jobs and plunge the country into a recession.

“Congressional leaders are looking at the calendar and realizing the window of opportunity that they have to avert an economic crisis is rapidly diminishing every day,” my colleague Catie Edmondson said. But there are potential areas of negotiations, she said, including work requirements for social safety net programs.

If no deal arrives in the coming days, Democrats are prepared to activate an emergency plan to raise the debt limit — a so-called discharge petition — but they would need the support of at least five House Republicans.

“It starts to become a little bit more of a live wire with every passing day,” Catie said.

Vladimir Putin pictured in Moscow last week. The photo was released by state-controlled media.Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik, via Associated Press

It’s been a tough few weeks for President Vladimir Putin. The problems that have plagued his war, including stretched resources and disunity in the ranks, are only worsening. The Russian military, already forced into multiple retreats, has mostly stalled along the front line since last year. And Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive hasn’t even started.

Still, such setbacks probably won’t be enough to derail Putin’s war effort entirely, analysts say. Instead, he seems willing to pursue a war that could last for years to come.

Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, testified at a Senate hearing today.Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

During a Senate hearing, Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, said he largely agreed with lawmakers who want to regulate the technology that his company and others are creating. The tone of the hearing was a departure from recent congressional hearings involving tech executives, which typically have been antagonistic.

“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong. And we want to be vocal about that,” he said, proposing the creation of an agency that would license large-scale A.I. models. “We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.”

Chloe Cole, who lived for years as a transgender boy before returning to her female identity, now promotes bans on transition care for minors.Phil Sears/Associated Press

A small number of activists who no longer identify as transgender have become the faces of the Republican campaign to restrict gender transition care for minors. Most people who transition do not change course. But conservative lawmakers have used a small number of examples to tap into strong emotions about rapidly shifting gender norms — from hardened prejudice to parental worry.

When the Roy siblings meet for breakfast at Jean-Georges, no one touches the food.Macall Polay/HBO

The Roy children — the scions of the Waystar Royco media empire on HBO’s “Succession” — have always seemed to view food as an afterthought. They leave pastries untouched and napkins still folded.

But in the final season, things are especially grim. It’s as if real power in the show can only be found in the total absence of appetite, writes our food critic Tejal Rao. For those with meaningful status in “Succession,” food doesn’t exist for pleasure or nourishment — it barely exists at all. And if a character has a nibble, no matter how small, it tends to be a red flag.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former head of FTX, left, and Michael Lewis, the author, right.Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

Michael Lewis, the author of “The Big Short,” wasn’t planning to write a book about cryptocurrency.

But as he began to shadow Sam Bankman-Fried in the fall of 2021, he became enthralled by the eccentric young founder of FTX — then one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. At the time, Bankman-Fried was worth tens of billions of dollars and was sought after by powerful investors and politicians.

Lewis didn’t realize it then, but he had secured a front-row seat to a sprawling scandal with huge financial, political and legal implications — and an even better subject for his upcoming book, “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon.”

Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggiero.

Cook: Dry-brining salmon yields unforgettably succulent results.

Read: “The Garden of Seven Twilights” is a novel of ideas masquerading as a novel of suspense.

Watch: An HBO docuseries on Angel City Football Club premieres tonight. Here’s what else is on TV this week.

Cleanse: Are there any benefits to tongue scraping?

Save: Stop buying citronella candles — they don’t work.

Play: Today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. For more, find all our games here.

Amy Lombard for The New York Times

The newest hydration trend — popularized by TikTok influencers who post under the banner of #WaterTok — is to zhuzh up a regular tumbler full of water with sugar-free syrups and low-calorie powders.

The water mixologists’ “recipes” — three squirts of this, a packet of that — have the power to significantly drive product sales. Several water flavoring companies said they sold out of items in the past few months, and revenue is booming.

Medical experts have taken notice of the candy-flavored beverages. One said: “I have some pause with regards to calling this ‘water.’”

Have a jazzed up evening.

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew and Justin

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