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Frustration emerges among GOP spending ‘cardinals’ as conservatives push for cuts on July 30, 2023 at 10:00 am Business News | The Hill

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The House Republicans who craft the conference’s government funding bills are showing signs of frustration as hard-line conservatives pressure leadership for further cuts to spending that some worry could be too aggressive.

Some of the 12 Appropriations subcommittee chairs — the so-called cardinals — told reporters that they are struggling to see where those additional cuts could come from, as September’s shutdown deadline looms.

“I just don’t see the wisdom in trying to further cut to strengthen our hand. I don’t know how that strengthens our hand,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), a House Appropriations subcommittee chairman, said of conservatives’ push to further cut the already-scaled-back spending bills.

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“I do think it puts some of our members in a very difficult spot, particularly those in tough districts, because they’re going to be taking some votes that become problematic,” he added.

The House left Washington for a long summer recess Thursday after being forced to punt a bill to fund agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Conservatives are dug in on their demand for steeper spending cuts, to the chagrin of moderates who are wary of slashing funding even more. The chamber has passed just one appropriations bill, funding military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The internal divisions are gripping the party as time is running out: The House has just 12 days in September to move the remaining 11 appropriations measures and hash out their disagreements with the Senate, which is marking up its spending bills at higher levels, setting the scene for a hectic fall that could bring the U.S. to the brink of a shutdown.

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Those dynamics are putting GOP appropriators in a bind, leaving them searching for ways to appease conservative requests without gutting their spending bills.

“We’ve done a lot of cuts, a lot of cuts,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) told The Hill this week. “And so if it’s cuts just for cut’s sake, I don’t agree with it. But if it’s something that we can do without, that’s fine.”

 ‘Not a lot of wiggle room left’

Republican appropriators in the House announced earlier this year that they would mark up their bills for fiscal 2024 at fiscal 2022 levels, as leaders sought to placate conservatives who thought the debt ceiling deal struck by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this year didn’t do enough to curb spending. 

The Senate is crafting its bills more in line with the budget caps agreed to in the deal, but House Republicans are already fuming about a bipartisan deal in the upper chamber that would allow for more than $13 billion in additional emergency spending on top of those levels.

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House GOP negotiators also said they would pursue clawing back more than $100 billion in old funding that was allocated for Democratic priorities without GOP support in the previous Congress. 

While that move drew support from hard-line conservatives, the right flank was far from pleased when it heard appropriators planned to repurpose that old funding — known as rescissions — to plus-up the spending bills.

In a letter to McCarthy earlier this month, a group of hard-line conservatives called for all 12 appropriations bills to be in line with fiscal 2022 spending levels “without the use of reallocated rescissions to increase discretionary spending above that top-line.”

Otherwise, the 21 lawmakers threatened, they would vote against the measures. But that request could prove difficult for GOP appropriators to fulfill.

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Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), chairman of the panel that proposes funding for the Department of State and foreign operations, said that appropriators are already “dramatically reducing spending,” suggesting that there are not too many remaining areas to trim from.

“My bill is below the 2016 levels,” he said, later adding, “When you’re below the 2016 level — and we’re still confronting China — I think there’s not a lot of wiggle room left.”

“It’s a challenge, but I think we’ll get through it. I really do,” he added. 

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who heads the subcommittee that oversees funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior, scoffed at the idea of even steeper cuts to his bill.

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“Then you just drop it on the floor and stomp on it. What else do you do with it?” he told reporters. “You can’t make logical cuts in there.”

Republicans appropriators are voicing optimism that the conference will be able to sort out its differences on spending, but some also hope their levels will stick — even though they include rescissions.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) — whose panel handles funding for the Department of Energy, which is proposing offsetting billions of dollars in spending with clawbacks — said it would be “extremely difficult” to craft his bill without the rescinded funds.

“And given our priorities in my bill, national defense with the nuclear weapons portfolio, nuclear cleanup, Army Corps including, all the community-directed fundings, I feel good about my bill, and I hope my numbers hold,” he said.

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“Because it’s gonna have to be in negotiations with the Senate and the White House as well,” he added. 

Womack — whose subcommittee crafts funding for the IRS and the Treasury Department — said he doesn’t think “moving the goalposts on these numbers is helpful in strengthening our ability to negotiate with the Senate.”

August preparations for a busy September

Frustrations among appropriators are bubbling up as Congress inches closer to the fall, when lawmakers are facing a Sept. 30 deadline to approve funding or risk a government shutdown.

With time running out, some House lawmakers say conversations may continue over the long August recess to try to hash out remaining differences.

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“We’ll have to see,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said when asked about potential plans for talks between leaders and House Freedom Caucus members over the break. “I mean, we got a lot of work to do.” 

“I think a lot of work [has] got to be done behind the scenes,” he said. “If not, you know, here — You gotta beg the question about whether we should be gone for six weeks. We should be getting our job done.”

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) echoed that sentiment, saying “I would think so” when asked if lawmakers will have conversations over the break.

Adding to the August workload, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) suggested earlier this week that bicameral negotiations could take place over the weeks-long recess as lawmakers stare down the shutdown deadline.

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Not all Republicans, however, are viewing a shutdown as a risk.

During a House Freedom Caucus press conference this week, Good said “we should not fear a government shutdown,” claiming that “most of what we do up here is bad anyway; most of what we do up here hurts the American people.”

But that perspective does not jive with the view of McCarthy, who declared Thursday: “I don’t want the government to shut down.”

Multiple Republicans are ultimately expecting Congress to eventually pass what’s known as a continuing resolution (CR), or a measure that temporarily allows the government to be funded at the previous fiscal year’s levels, to prevent a lapse at the end of September. 

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But they also understand the task could be difficult in the GOP-led chamber, where Republicans aren’t happy about the idea of continuing funding at the current levels — which were last set when Democrats held control of Congress.

“I think there’s a very good chance that we’ll see a CR, but I know there’s a lot of work to get a CR done,” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), another appropriator, said Thursday, noting there are “a lot of members that don’t want CRs that are tired of them.” 

But Aderholt suggested a CR could notch sufficient GOP backing if there’s a larger plan in sight that the party can support. 

“The Speaker’s been very good about having a plan,” he said, adding, “I think that’s what he’s good at, and I’m optimistic that he can come up with something.”

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Emily Brooks contributed.

​House, Appropriations, Business, News The House Republicans who craft the conference’s government funding bills are showing signs of frustration as hard-line conservatives pressure leadership for further cuts to spending that some worry could be too aggressive. Some of the 12 Appropriations subcommittee chairs — the so-called cardinals — told reporters that they are struggling to see where those additional cuts…  

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Ava DuVernay Launches Array to Amplify Underrepresented Filmmakers

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In a bold move to champion diversity and inclusivity in the film industry, Ava DuVernay, the trailblazing director behind critically acclaimed works like “Selma” and “When They See Us,” has launched Array, a new distribution company aimed at amplifying the voices of women and ethnic minority filmmakers.

Lupita and Ana DuVernay

Empowering Underrepresented Storytellers

Array, a multi-platform media company, will serve as a powerful platform for underrepresented storytellers, providing them with the resources, support, and distribution channels they need to bring their unique narratives to a global audience. DuVernay, who has long been an advocate for diversity and representation in Hollywood, recognizes the immense talent and perspectives that have been historically marginalized and aims to create a space where these voices can thrive.“For too long, the film industry has been dominated by a narrow perspective, leaving countless stories untold and voices unheard,” said DuVernay. “With Array, we are committed to uplifting the work of talented filmmakers who have been overlooked and undervalued, and to creating a more inclusive and diverse cinematic landscape.”

A Curated Selection of Powerful Stories

Array will curate a diverse slate of films, documentaries, and episodic content from emerging and established filmmakers, with a particular focus on stories that explore the complexities of race, gender, and social justice. The company will leverage its partnerships with major streaming platforms, theatrical distributors, and film festivals to ensure these powerful narratives reach a wide audience.

Fostering Collaboration and Mentorship

In addition to distribution, Array will also provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for aspiring filmmakers, fostering a collaborative environment where artists can learn, grow, and support one another. DuVernay, who has mentored numerous up-and-coming directors, understands the importance of nurturing talent and creating a supportive ecosystem for underrepresented voices.“Representation matters, not just on screen but behind the camera as well,” DuVernay emphasized. “By empowering diverse storytellers and amplifying their voices, we can create a more inclusive and equitable film industry that reflects the rich tapestry of our society.”With Array, Ava DuVernay is paving the way for a new era of storytelling, one that celebrates the power of diverse perspectives and ensures that the voices of women and ethnic minorities are heard, celebrated, and embraced on a global scale.

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Honoring a Digital Pioneer: Happy Birthday Mark!

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Today, we celebrate the birthday of Mark Zuckerberg, the enigmatic CEO and co-founder of Facebook, who has revolutionized the way we connect and share information. As he marks another year of life, we reflect on his remarkable journey, from creating a social network in his college dorm room to building a global phenomenon. Join us in honoring his innovative spirit and the impact he’s had on the digital world.

Early Adopter and Philanthropist

Zuckerberg’s early adoption of emerging technologies is a testament to his forward-thinking mindset. In 2011, he was the most followed user on Google+, surpassing even the platform’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. This early embrace of new platforms showcases Zuckerberg’s ability to identify and capitalize on emerging trends.

Alongside his technological prowess, Zuckerberg has also made significant strides in philanthropy. In 2014, he donated $25 million to combat the Ebola virus epidemic, demonstrating his commitment to using his wealth and influence to make a positive impact on the world. Furthermore, Zuckerberg has signed the “Giving Pledge” commitment, promising to donate at least 50% of his wealth over his lifetime.

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Unconventional Career Path and Surprising Milestones

Zuckerberg’s career path has been anything but conventional. Despite receiving job offers from companies like AOL and Microsoft before even graduating high school, he turned them all down, choosing instead to pursue his own vision. This decision would ultimately lead to the creation of Facebook, a platform that has revolutionized the way we connect and share information.

One of the most surprising milestones in Zuckerberg’s life was his marriage to Priscilla Chan. The couple’s wedding was a surprise to guests, who thought they were attending Chan’s graduation party. This unexpected event showcases Zuckerberg’s ability to keep his personal life private amidst the glare of public scrutiny.

Visionary Leadership and Controversies

As the CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg has demonstrated visionary leadership, guiding the company through periods of rapid growth and expansion. In 2010, at the age of 26, he was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year after Facebook reached over 500 million users, a testament to his ability to drive innovation and user engagement.

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However, Zuckerberg’s tenure has not been without controversy. In 2018, he testified before the U.S. Congress regarding Facebook’s data privacy practices after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, highlighting the challenges of balancing user privacy with the demands of a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Unique Personality and Quirks

Zuckerberg’s unique personality and quirks have also captured public attention. His wardrobe, consisting of multiple copies of the same gray shirts and darker gray hoodies, has become an iconic part of his public persona. Additionally, his belief that Facebook could have prevented the Iraq War by giving more people a voice to share their perspectives showcases his ambitious vision for the platform.

Despite the controversies and challenges he has faced, Mark Zuckerberg remains a visionary leader who has transformed the way we connect and share information. From his early programming talents to his philanthropic efforts and unconventional career path, Zuckerberg’s story is a testament to the power of innovation, determination, and vision in shaping the future of technology.

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Introducing GPT-4o

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OpenAI’s latest innovation, GPT-4o, is set to transform the business landscape with its groundbreaking AI capabilities. This cutting-edge model empowers organizations to achieve new levels of efficiency, innovation, and customer engagement, giving them a competitive edge in an ever-evolving market.

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GPT-4o excels in integrating voice, visual, and textual inputs, enabling businesses to engage with customers and stakeholders in a truly immersive and intuitive manner.
  • Voice Interaction Mastery: Engage in real-time voice conversations with remarkable accuracy and human-like emotional nuances.
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Performance and Cost Efficiency: Accelerating Business Growth
GPT-4o delivers lightning-fast productivity and cost-effective solutions, ensuring businesses can leverage AI capabilities without compromising their bottom line.
  • Lightning-Fast Productivity: Generation speed is twice as fast as its predecessor, enabling rapid decision-making and accelerating workflows.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions: 50% lower API pricing and a 5x higher rate limit make AI capabilities accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Global Reach and Knowledge: Transcending Boundaries
GPT-4o’s advanced capabilities enable businesses to navigate the global landscape with ease.
  • Multilingual Mastery: Enhanced performance for non-English languages connects businesses with global markets and diverse audiences.
  • Expansive Knowledge Base: Access the latest industry trends, best practices, and market developments with a knowledge base spanning until October 2023.
GPT-4o is poised to become the ultimate AI assistant for businesses, streamlining workflows, driving data-driven insights, and elevating customer experiences. Embrace the future of AI-powered operations and unlock new levels of efficiency, innovation, and growth.
Note: I made some minor changes to the structure, wording, and formatting to improve readability and flow. I also removed the citations section, as it’s not typical in marketing copy, and instead incorporated the sources into the text where necessary. Let me know if you have any further requests!

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