Inching Toward a Debt-Limit Deal

Inching Toward a Debt-Limit Deal  at george magazine

Also, the Oath Keepers leader gets 18 years in prison. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that while there were still “outstanding issues,” Republicans were making progress toward a deal with the White House to raise the debt ceiling while cutting federal spending.

Negotiators had worked “well past midnight,” McCarthy said today as talks resumed, and he directed his bargainers to work “24/7” until there was a deal. President Biden appeared optimistic, saying that he and congressional leaders had agreed “there will be no default.”

But there are still notable areas of dispute. Biden has offered to freeze discretionary spending, including for defense; but Republicans want to spend more for the military, and cut more elsewhere. It’s possible that in order to reach a deal that prevents a default ahead of the projected June 1 deadline, Democrats will accept an agreement that allows military spending to grow even as nondefense spending falls or stays flat.

Whatever the deal, it remains likely that it will disappoint lawmakers in both parties.

“I don’t think everybody is going to be happy at the end of the day,” McCarthy said, nodding to mounting concerns among some hard-right Republicans that their party was making too many concessions. Some Democrats, too, voiced anxiety that Biden would go too far in accepting Republican demands, including spending reductions and tougher work requirements on public benefit programs.

Stewart Rhodes in 2016.Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the role he played in mobilizing the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The sentence, for his conviction on seditious conspiracy charges, was the most severe penalty so far in any of the more than 1,000 criminal cases stemming from the Capitol attack — and the first to be increased for fitting the legal definition of terrorism.

Go deeper: Here’s the story behind Rhodes’s unlikely journey from Yale Law to leading the Oath Keepers.

Russia declared victory in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on Saturday.Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Days after Russia’s apparent victory in the eastern Ukrainian city, the founder of the Wagner paramilitary group said that his fighters were withdrawing and would be replaced by regular Russian troops. The move, if confirmed, could open a new phase of the struggle for Bakhmut and test whether Russia can hold its hard-won ground against Ukrainian forces that have advanced on the city’s outskirts.

In related news, Russia is increasing its use of Soviet-era bombs, which analysts say are harder to shoot down than more sophisticated weapons.

“This is a really disastrous outcome for wetlands,” said Patrick Parenteau, a law professor.Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Water Act does not allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate discharges into some wetlands near bodies of water, effectively curtailing the agency’s authority to police water pollution.

The decision was unanimous, but there was sharp disagreement about the reasoning. Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the three liberal justices warned that the decision would harm the E.P.A.’s ability to combat pollution.

Experts are expecting more passengers than ever to fly this summer. If you’re traveling, be prepared for inflated prices, delays and other headaches. But don’t worry, we have a guide for navigating this hectic travel season.

We explain how to get the best price on tickets, what to do if your flight is canceled and, if you’re traveling to Europe, how to plan around strikes that could snarl your travel plans.

Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

A.I. chatbots can streamline and improve your work and personal life, but it’s sometimes hard to communicate with them or point them in the right direction. My colleague Brian X. Chen is here to help with a guide on how to use ChatGPT.

Using the right words — what Brian calls “golden prompts” — can help ChatGPT better grasp what you’re looking for. For example, try asking the chatbot to emulate an expert, or if you want more personalized results, like health advice for your specific body type or medical conditions, invite the bot to request more information.

For more, subscribe to Brian’s pop-up newsletter, On Tech: A.I., which will teach you about artificial intelligence.

  • Reconnecting communities: In past decades, the U.S. built highways that slashed through communities of color and split up neighborhoods. Can the damage be undone?

  • Making it in fashion: The young designer Elena Velez may be headed for glory — or bankruptcy.

  • Beyond beauty: The violence of Vermeer’s era can be found in his serene masterpieces, if you know where to look.

Chris Simpson for The New York Times

Cook: Summer squash, bell peppers and eggplant are the stars of this farmers’ market grill party.

Watch: A new documentary chronicles the TikTok-fueled phenomenon of sorority rush at the University of Alabama.

Read: In Megan Abbott’s new novel, “Beware the Woman,” a romantic dramedy morphs into horror.

Listen: On this week’s Popcast, our critics talk about how TikTok reframes listening habits.

Unfollow: Use these strategies to be online in a healthier or less harmful way.

Hunt: Which house in the Hamptons would you buy with $4 million?

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

Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Last spring, my colleague James Stewart ordered some wine from Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits, the iconic purveyor of fine wine — and it was never delivered. Though he usually doesn’t investigate things so close to home, he says, he started hearing about other customers who had lost far more than he had. So he began digging — and uncovered mysterious missing bottles and millions in unpaid sales taxes.

The secretive world of high-end wine has periodically been rocked by scandal, often involving fake wine and fraudulent sales of rare vintages, but never involving a name as venerable as Sherry-Lehmann.

Have an honest evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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