President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet in California. The bill that could avert a government shutdown heads to the Senate. And NASA says a tool bag is floating through space.
Here’s what to know today.
Biden looks to get U.S.-China relations ‘back to normal’ in meeting with Xi
All eyes will be on President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping today in San Francisco, but don’t expect any sweeping resolutions out of their discussions — at least not anything “that will change the course of the world,” a former White House National Security Council official said.
Still, today’s rare face-to-face is itself a breakthrough. The meeting may go a long way toward calming voters who fear the countries are on a march to war.
It’ll be the first time Biden and Xi have met since they spoke last year in Bali, Indonesia. Since then, relations between the U.S. and China have been strained by the Chinese spy balloon that floated over the U.S. and encounters in the air and sea between China and Taiwan. In June, Biden referred to Xi as a “dictator,” an accusation that caught even senior U.S. officials off-guard.
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Before leaving for California yesterday, Biden told reporters the purpose of the meeting is to “get back on a normal course of corresponding.”
The two leaders are expected to discuss the wars going on in Ukraine and the Middle East (Biden wants to warn Xi against North Korea or Iran meddling in the conflicts) and the U.S.’s high-level visits to Taiwan (Xi wants to see fewer visits from American officials), among other topics. While the meeting is an opportunity for them to ease tensions, there are some risks involved.
Israeli soldiers conducting operation at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital
A doctor inside the Al-Shifa hospital said tanks were moving inside the facility this morning, as the Israeli military conducted what it called a “targeted” operation inside Gaza’s biggest medical complex. Israel’s raid comes after the U.S. said it had “information” that militants in Gaza use hospitals including Al-Shifa and tunnels beneath them to hide in and keep hostages — an accusation long made by Israel but denied by doctors and Hamas.
The U.S. has said does not support air strikes on Al Shifa and does not want to see a fighting inside the facility. “To be clear, we do not support striking a hospital from the air, and we do not want to see a firefight in the hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people are simply trying to get the medical care that they deserve — not to be caught in a crossfire,” National Security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters in a briefing.
The Israeli military shared photos of boxes that it says contain medical supplies and baby food for the hospital, after saying yesterday it was in the process of transferring incubators for Al-Shifa’s premature babies. Some of the infants had to be removed from their incubators due to power shortages and were at risk of dying, according to medical staff.
Israel has approved the delivery of fuel into the Gaza Strip today for the first time since war with Hamas erupted. Fuel has been running out since Israel imposed a full siege on the enclave and refused calls to let any in, saying it would benefit Hamas.
Follow our live blog for the latest.
More on the Israel-Hamas war:
Senate mulls continuing resolution passed in the House
A stopgap funding bill that passed yesterday in the House is now headed to the Senate and expected to make it to President Joe Biden’s desk by Friday night’s deadline to avert a government shutdown. The 336-95 vote in favor of Speaker Mike Johnson’s so-called laddered continuing resolution garnered support from 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans. The bill would include funding for the departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs.
Passage of the bill would put off the GOP’s spending fight until after the holidays. Johnson’s bill does not include spending cuts or contentious policy provisions that would alienate Democrats. It also doesn’t include a supplemental package for covering things like aid for Israel and Ukraine, humanitarian assistance or border security.
Chuck Todd: When words lose meaning in politics
A group called Blueprint is trying to nudge President Joe Biden and Democrats to revise its message to swing voters. To make its case, Blueprint released a new survey about voters’ perceptions of “Bidenomics” and other policies. Among the findings, one in particular caught NBC News chief political analyst Chuck Todd’s attention: According to the survey, voters believe Biden and the Democratic Party to be as extreme as former President Trump and the Republican Party.
In other words, each side has succeeded in branding the other as “extremely out of touch with the mainstream,” Todd writes in an analysis. As a result, “the political world has diluted the meaning of words and phrases so effectively” that attacks aren’t even as impactful as they once were. Read Todd’s full analysis here.
Potential benefits to getting Covid, flu shots at the same time
The CDC has recommended people get their Covid and flu vaccines at the same time, but is there a benefit to getting two shots in the same appointment? New research presented this week suggests that getting both vaccines together could produce a stronger antibody response against the coronavirus than administering the vaccines separately.
The study, which measured the antibodies of 42 health care workers who were vaccinated last fall, found that those who received both shots at the same time had higher antibody levels. The results held true six months later. Researchers noted there are still questions they are seeking to answer, but the results could be “very important for public health decision making” as cases of Covid and the flu rise.
Today’s Talker: A near-fight at a Senate hearing was broken up by…
… Sen. Bernie Sanders, who apparently kept a heated exchange between Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Sean O’Brien, president of the Teamsters union, from escalating further. The beef seemed to have started with an exchange on X a few months ago and reached a boiling point at yesterday’s Senate hearing. At one point, Mullin and O’Brien told each other to “stand your butt up.” As Mullin stood up, Sanders reminded him, “You know, you’re a United States senator.” Watch a video of the tense moment.
Politics in Brief
Santos scandal: A former campaign staffer for Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge stemming from his work for the embattled congressman.
Church and state: House Speaker Mike Johnson said separation of church and state is a “misnomer’’ in an interview yesterday, suggesting that the nation’s founders believed religion and morality were central to the government.
Georgia election interference case: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office is seeking an emergency protective order after portions of confidential videos from key witnesses in the case were leaked to two news outlets.
2024 election: A Michigan judge dismissed an effort to keep former President Donald Trump off the state’s ballot next year.
New Jersey politics: Tammy Murphy, the state’s first lady, announced she would join the primary race against indicted Sen. Bob Menendez.
Staff Pick: A baby born ‘broken’
180 babies are born a day in Gaza, the W.H.O. estimates — and for Sham, who entered the world weeks into Israel’s war with Hamas, life will be marked by the conflict from the start. Her leg was broken in utero after her mother was buried in rubble after an airstrike. This tale of new mothers who conceived at a time of relative peace and are now trying to keep their babies alive through a war is harrowing, but important look at the smallest victims of a much larger conflict. — Annie Hill, platforms editor
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