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Wilmington, Delaware (CNN) — The White House and Republican leaders in Congress were mounting an intensive push Sunday to consolidate support around an tentative agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, their urgent task made complicated by members of both parties voicing concerns over different provisions.

The “agreement in principle” clinched by House Republicans and the White House late Saturday was the culmination of mad-dash negotiations over the course of the past week that regularly stretched late into the night. Final text of the agreement was hammered out overnight by both sides.

But the marathon is far from over, and there remains little certainty the nation will avoid a default as both parties now work to rally support around the package.

The agreement – which would raise the debt ceiling for two years, freeze spending on domestic programs, increase spending on defense and veterans issues, impose some new work requirements on federal food assistance programs and change some rules around energy permitting – was meant to include provisions that could sway members of both parties to vote for it.

Yet after the deal’s announcement, House members on both the left and right were already balking at some of the details said to be included in the package.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said White House negotiators and Democratic leaders should be concerned about securing progressive support for the deal.

“Yes, they have to worry,” the Washington Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” pointing to some of the concessions made by the White House to reach a deal, including the expansion of some work requirements for federal food aid.

Meanwhile, Republicans who had demanded larger spending cuts threatened to withhold their support.

“No one claiming to be a conservative could justify a YES vote,” Virginia Rep. Bob Good, a member of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, posted on Twitter.

“Hard pass. Hold the line,” wrote Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, another Freedom Caucus member.

But South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson, chair of the center-right Republican Main Street Caucus, told CNN on Sunday that GOP lawmakers would “overwhelmingly” support the deal, while suggesting that votes of some party hard-liners were never in play.

“Let’s be honest. Bob Good will not vote for this thing. And it doesn’t matter if Mother Teresa came back from the dead and called him. He’s not voting for it. He was never going to,” Johnson said.

For House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the upcoming battle to secure the votes of at least half of his party’s members – as he has promised – will be a defining moment for his hard-won young speakership.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol on Sunday, McCarthy brushed aside concerns he won’t have enough Republican votes.

“This is a good strong bill that a majority of Republicans will vote for,” the California Republican said.

President Joe Biden, too, was under pressure to deliver votes from Democrats, dozens of which will likely be necessary for the bill to secure passage. An afternoon video call was scheduled for top White House officials to brief Democrats on the contours of the agreement. Biden was expected to speak with McCarthy later Sunday as well.

“The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want. That’s the responsibility of governing,” Biden wrote in a statement late Saturday, saying the agreement “protects my and congressional Democrats’ key priorities and legislative accomplishments.”

He said he “strongly” urged the House and Senate to pass it.

Biden also spoke Saturday with the top Democrat in the House, New York’s Hakeem Jeffries, who will be responsible for marshaling his members.

A day later, Jeffries stopped short of guaranteeing that a majority of Democrats would get behind the bill.

“I do expect that there will be Democratic support once we have the ability to actually be fully briefed by the White House, but I’m not going to predict what those numbers may ultimately look like,” he told CBS News. “We have to go through a process consistent with respecting every single member of the House of Representatives and their ability to fully understand the resolution that has been reached.”

Speaking late Saturday, McCarthy said text of the package would be finalized by Sunday, setting up a required 72-hour period for members of Congress to review the bill. He said he hopes the House will vote as soon as Wednesday, allowing precious little time for each party’s leaders to secure sufficient support.

In the Senate, any one member can slow down the process by as long as a week, adding another layer of uncertainty as Washington rushes to avoid default.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen set June 5 as the date the government will run out of cash to pay its bills in full and on time. The US has never before defaulted, and economists predict the consequences would be catastrophic.

Republicans in the conservative House Freedom Caucus have already warned they are prepared for a furious battle if they consider the compromise a major retreat from the Republican position. Ahead of the deal’s announcement, they raised alarms over the length of the proposed debt ceiling hike and the push to roll back spending to 2023 levels, when many wanted to cap spending at 2022 levels.

“It is going to be a substantial price to earn my vote and that price is the meaningful, substantial, transformative fiscal reform necessary,” said Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, a conservative and member of the House Rules Committee, on Thursday.

One conservative House Republican, Rep. Dan Bishop, predicted smaller cuts to spending would amount to “war.”

The agreement in principle reached by the White House and House Republicans will lift the debt limit for two years and roughly cap non-defense spending to current fiscal year levels for 2024 and 2025, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

As part of the deal, the White House has also appeared to have made concessions to House Republican negotiators on work requirements for people receiving food stamps.

The agreement reached on Saturday phases in food stamp time limits on people up to age 54 that will then sunset in 2030, while also exempting veterans and people who are homeless from these limits. The current work requirement for the program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, only applies to certain adults between the ages 18-49.

The agreement does not make any changes to Medicaid and prevented certain changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program called for by Republicans.

Still, many Democrats have warned that additional work requirements on social safety net programs are a nonstarter, and the White House lambasted the GOP position on the idea as “cruel and senseless” last week.

“I think it is really unfortunate that the president opened the door to this,” Jayapal said Sunday. “At the end of the day, you know, perhaps this will – because of the exemptions – perhaps it will be OK. I can’t commit to that, I really don’t know.”

This story has been updated with additional reaction.

(CNN) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Sunday he will decide “in the next week or two” if he wants to mount a bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and enter an already crowded field of candidates.

“When I start doing something, I’m 120% in,” the governor said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in an interview with Jake Tapper. “Pretty soon, we’ll make a decision, probably in the next week or two. And we’ll either be go or no-go,” he added.

Sununu’s remarks come as the list of 2024 GOP hopefuls continues to expand, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott entering the race last week.

Currently in his fourth term, the New Hampshire governor said figuring out where he could be most effective would factor into his 2024 decision.

“I still have a 24/7 job,” he said. “The money has been lined up. The support’s been lined up. There’s a pathway to win. All that – those boxes are checked. The family’s on board, which is always a big one. I just got to make sure it’s right for the party and right for me,” he said.

Sununu also said he wanted to ensure he wasn’t more useful outside the presidential race as he looks to steer the Republican Party away from the chaos of its current primary front-runner, former President Donald Trump.

“Making sure that when it comes to where I want to see the party go … that maybe I talk a little differently, I talk with a different approach. I want more candidates to be empowered. Can I do that more effectively as a candidate? Can I do that more effectively as someone who’s kind of traveling the country, maybe speaking a little more freely?” Sununu said.

“I just want what’s best for the party,” he continued. “It doesn’t have to be the Chris Sununu show all the time.”

With Trump leading in current GOP primary polling, Sununu said the former president was playing the “victim card.”

“Former President Trump is doing better than anybody thought. He is playing this victim card. The media, the DA in New York, all these things have kind of worked in his favor very much,” the governor said. “Just the fact that we are talking about Donald Trump as a victim, I mean, that is unique in itself. But that is not lasting, necessarily. That does not mean the support he has today turns into a vote nine months from now.”

Sununu avoided harsh criticism of his other potential rivals, calling DeSantis a “very good governor” and praising him for embarking upon a retail politics tour of New Hampshire. The two met for an hour earlier this month when the Florida governor visited the Granite State to meet with state legislators.

But Sununu suggested Sunday that DeSantis’ focus on cultural fights back in Florida avoided more important issues, such as government efficiency.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about the culture war stuff, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I just don’t believe government is going to solve a culture war.”

DeSantis’ recent pledge to consider pardoning some participants in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol was not “disqualifying” for a presidential candidate, Sununu said, even if it’s not something he would do himself.

Meanwhile, Sununu said the agreement in principle struck by the White House and Republican negotiators on raising the debt ceiling was likely a win since some members of both parties are now balking at the deal.

“It is a miracle, I mean release the doves,” the governor said. “Washington is actually moving forward. Both sides seem pretty frustrated, which means it’s probably a pretty good deal, actually.”

New York (CNN) — At long last, the White House and House Republicans have reached a tentative agreement to raise the debt ceiling. But a deal isn’t over yet: Congress still needs to vote on the deal – far from a guaranteed outcome – and President Joe Biden would need to sign it before the US defaults or misses a scheduled payment.

Every day that passes without a bill to raise the debt ceiling, the probability of the United States reaching the critical date that it can no longer meet its financial obligations steadily grows.

If lawmakers fail to pass the tentative agreement, and they don’t raise the country’s debt limit by early June, the government may confront an unprecedented challenge: determining which bills to prioritize for payment as the Treasury Department grapples with insufficient funds.

Debt vs. other payments

If the United States doesn’t raise the debt ceiling in time, the Treasury may have to decide whether to make interest payments to its debtholders or to pay its non-debt obligations, such as Social Security, veterans’ benefits, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and running government organizations like the military and the Centers for Disease Control.

The United States government makes millions of payments each day, but the overall economy would pay a far greater price if it were to miss payments on its debt, according to Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Moody’s Analytics is separate from Moody’s Investor Service, the credit rating agency.

If the United States defaults on its debt, it would undermine faith in the federal government’s ability to pay all its bills on time, affecting the government’s credit rating and unleashing massive turbulence in financial markets.

Countries with lower credit ratings face higher interest rate costs than those that are viewed as more trustworthy borrowers. The three largest credit rating agencies — Moody’s Investor Service, S&P Global Ratings, and Fitch Ratings — rate borrowers based on their perceived ability to pay back debt.

If America’s credit rating were downgraded, that could raise borrowing costs for millions of Americans, sending mortgage, personal loan and credit card rates higher. It could make business’ borrowing costs rise and lead to layoffs – and ultimately a recession.

What gets prioritized?

Absent a bill passed by Congress and signed by Biden, Treasury will likely do everything in its power to avoid a debt default.

In contrast to debt payments, government payments like Social Security or federal worker salaries aren’t considered debt instruments, so they are less likely to come into play when the agencies rate the United States’ debt.

Zandi acknowledged that a government decision to pay back bondholders, including foreign governments like China and Japan, over an elderly Social Security recipient will likely be politically unpopular. However, he believes the government would try to prevent a debt default for as long as it can.

“The reality is, if they don’t do that, then the economy is going to evaporate, the budget deficits are going to explode, and our interest expense is going to rise because investors are going to demand higher rates,” Zandi said.

“A grandmother 10 to 20 years from now looking for a Social Security check will be much less likely to get one. At least not one as large because we’ll be in a much more precarious financial situation.”

Yellen, however, has not said what the Treasury Department would do if the country hits the so-called X-date, when the government can no longer meet all its obligations. In March, she called prioritizing payments “effectively a default by just another name.”

Treasury will not be able to make everyone happy

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen updated her estimate of the X-date, to June 5.

Though prioritizing debt payments might stave off an even-greater economic collapse, the United States may not emerge unscathed.

In 2011, then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner compared the government picking and choosing which bills to pay to a homeowner who pays their mortgage while pushing off their car loan and credit card bills: while that key housing expense is taken care of, that person would likely still have damaged credit.

Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, said no matter which payments Treasury decides to put first, the agency will likely be sued by those left behind.

“What should Treasury do? Should it issue new debt it’s not authorized to issue? Should it fail to pay a bill it’s required to pay? Should it fail to honor the debt that the US government has issued? There is no clear legal answer,” she said.

“Treasury doesn’t really want to answer that question, and they don’t really want to be in that position.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said a deal to resolve the government’s debt ceiling crisis seemed “very close” late Friday, even as the deadline for a potentially catastrophic default was pushed back to June 5 and seemed likely to drag negotiations between the White House and Republicans into another frustrating week.

The later “X-date,” laid out in a letter from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, set the risk of a devastating default four days beyond an earlier estimate. It came as Americans and the world uneasily watched the negotiating brinkmanship that could throw the U.S. economy into chaos and sap world confidence in the nation’s leadership.

Yet Biden was upbeat as he left for the Memorial Day weekend at Camp David, declaring, “It’s very close, and I’m optimistic.”

With Republicans at the Capitol talking with Biden’s team at the White House, the president said: “There’s a negotiation going on. I’m hopeful we’ll know by tonight whether we’re going to be able to have a deal.” But a deal had not come together by the time Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy left the Capitol late Friday.

In a blunt warning, Yellen said failure to act by the new date would “cause severe hardship to American families, harm our global leadership position and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests.”

Anxious retirees and others were already making contingency plans for missed checks, with the next Social Security payments due next week.

Biden and McCarthy seemed to be narrowing on a two-year budget-slashing deal that would also extend the debt limit into 2025 past the next presidential election. After frustrating rounds of closed-door talks, a compromise had appeared to be nearing on Friday.

Republicans have made some headway in their drive for steep spending cuts that Democrats oppose. However, the sides are particularly divided over McCarthy’s demands for tougher work requirements on government food stamp recipients that Democrats say is a nonstarter.

Earlier Friday, McCarthy said his Republican debt negotiators and the White House had hit “crunch” time, straining to wrap up an agreement.

Any deal would need to be a political compromise, with support from both Democrats and Republicans to pass the divided Congress. Failure to lift the borrowing limit, now $31 trillion, to pay the nation’s incurred bills, would send shockwaves through the U.S. and global economy.

But many of the hard-right Trump-aligned Republicans in Congress have long been skeptical of Treasury’s projections, and they are pressing McCarthy to hold out.

As talks pushed into another late night, one of the negotiators, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., called Biden’s comments “a hopeful sign.” But he also cautioned that there’s still “sticky points” impeding a final agreement.

While the contours of the deal have been taking shape to cut spending for 2024 and impose a 1% cap on spending growth for 2025, the two sides remain stuck on various provisions.

A person familiar with the talks said the two sides were “dug in” on whether or not to agree to Republican demands to impose stiffer work requirements on people who receive government food stamps, cash assistance and health care aid.

House Democrats have called such requirements for health care and food aid a nonstarter.

Asked if Republicans would relent on work requirements, Republican negotiator Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana fumed, “Hell no, not a chance.”

House Republicans displayed risky political bravado in leaving town for the holiday. Lawmakers are tentatively not expected back at work until Tuesday, but now their return date is uncertain.

“The world is watching,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said after meeting Friday with Yellen. “Let’s remember we are now in the 12th hour.”

Weeks of negotiations between Republicans and the White House have failed to produce a deal — in part because the Biden administration resisted negotiating with McCarthy over the debt limit, arguing that the country’s full faith and credit should not be used as leverage to extract other partisan priorities.

“We have to spend less than we spent last year. That is the starting point,” said McCarthy.

One idea is to set the topline budget numbers but then add a “snap-back” provision to enforce cuts if Congress is unable during its annual appropriations process to meet the new goals.

On work requirements for aid recipients, the White House is particularly resisting measures that could drive more people into poverty or take their health care, said the person familiar with the talks, who was granted anonymity to describe behind-closed-door discussions.

Over the Republican demand to rescind money for the Internal Revenue Service, it’s still an “open issue” whether the sides will compromise by allowing the funding to be pushed into other domestic programs, the person said.

In one potential development, Republicans may be easing their demand to boost defense spending beyond what Biden had proposed in his budget, instead offering to keep it at his proposed levels, according to another person familiar with the talks.

The teams are also eyeing a proposal to boost energy transmission line development from Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., to facilitate the buildout of an interregional power grid.

They are all but certain to claw back some $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 funds now that the pandemic emergency has officially been lifted.

Meanwhile, McCarthy is feeling pressure from the House’s right flank not to give in to any deal, even if it means blowing past the Treasury deadline.

McCarthy said Donald Trump, the former president who is again running for office, told him, “Make sure you get a good agreement.”

Watchful Democrats, though, are also pressing Biden. The top three House Democratic leaders, led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, spoke late Thursday with the White House.

McCarthy has promised lawmakers he will abide by the rule to post any bill for 72 hours before voting. The Democratic-held Senate has vowed to move quickly to send the package to Biden’s desk.

The White House has continued to argue that deficits can be reduced by ending tax breaks for wealthier households and some corporations, but McCarthy said he told the president as early as their February meeting that raising revenue from tax hikes was off the table.

While Biden has ruled out, for now, invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit on his own, Democrats in the House announced they have all signed on to a legislative “discharge” process that would force a debt ceiling vote. But they need five Republicans to break with their party and tip the majority to set the plan forward.

Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Stephen Groves, Farnoush Amiri and videojournalist Rick Gentilo contributed to this report.

(CNN) — A key House GOP negotiator warned on Friday that efforts to lock down a debt limit deal could either quickly come together or fall apart entirely – a warning sign as lawmakers and the White House race the clock to try to secure an agreement to prevent a first-ever default.

“There is forward progress,” Rep. Patrick McHenry, a chief GOP negotiator, told CNN after he left the speaker’s office. “But each time there’s forward progress, the issues that remain become more difficult and more challenging. So that is step-by-step, small-step-by-small step, and at some point, this thing can can come together or go the other way.”

There have been signs that negotiations over raising the nation’s debt limit have gained some momentum, but major differences between the two sides still remain and time is running short as the risk of default grows.

One of the most critical issues in the talks has been spending cuts, which Republicans have demanded in exchange for voting to raise the debt limit. But there were also a series of outstanding issues beyond spending levels as of Thursday night, with the two sides especially far apart on work requirements for social safety net programs.

“Hell no,” Rep. Garret Graves, another key GOP negotiator, told CNN when asked if Republicans were willing to drop work requirements on social safety net programs to get a deal on debt ceiling.

“Hell no, not a chance,” he said and suggested the issue centers on work rules for food stamps and temporary assistance programs for needy families, not Medicaid.

“Everything’s complicated,” McHenry said. “Everybody wants the details but the larger issue here is an agreement that changes the trajectory of our nation’s finances. And that’s what we’re working on. And that makes it difficult. It’s of consequence.”

Asked if a deal could come together Friday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy emphasized they are working as hard as they can.

“We know it’s a crunch time,” McCarthy said. “So we’re going to work just as hard, we worked through the night last night. I thought we made progress yesterday. I want to make progress again today and I want to be able to solve this problem.”

Under a potential agreement being eyed by negotiators, the debt ceiling would be raised for two years while also capping federal spending – except for defense and veterans spending – for the same period, two sources familiar with the negotiations said. A separate source familiar with the negotiations said that the two sides were still working out details on the length of the spending caps deal, which Democrats have insisted should only last for as long as a debt ceiling raise.

If and when a deal is secured, legislative text will still need to be written and congressional leaders will have to lock down votes and shepherd a bill to passage through both chambers. None of that will be easy or instantaneous and any number of pitfalls could emerge along the way.

The stakes are only growing steadily higher as the U.S. moves closer to a potential default with each passing day.

With no bill to vote on, House lawmakers left Washington for the Memorial Day weekend and will be given 24 hours’ notice to return if and when a deal is reached.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has continued to warn Congress it has just a little time left to address the debt ceiling before the nation defaults on its obligations.

It is “highly likely” that the agency will not be able to pay all of its bills in full and on time as soon as June 1, Yellen wrote in a letter to McCarthy on Monday.

Adding to uncertainty is the fact that debt limit deadline predictions aren’t clear cut. Rather than a set-in-stone deadline, they are more of a best guess estimate, which makes it far harder to know exactly how much time Congress has to act to avert potential financial catastrophe – and increases the odds that lawmakers could inadvertently trigger a default by not acting soon enough.

The Treasury Department has stressed this uncertainty in urging Congress to act. “It is impossible to predict with certainty the exact date when Treasury will be unable to pay all the government’s bills,” Yellen wrote in her letter to McCarthy on Monday.

“We have learned from past debt limit impasses that waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States,” Yellen warned.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana board decided Thursday night to reprimand an Indianapolis doctor after finding that she violated patient privacy laws by talking publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from neighboring Ohio.

The state Medical Licensing Board voted that Dr. Caitlin Bernard didn’t abide by privacy laws when she told a newspaper reporter about the girl’s treatment in a case that became a flashpoint in the national abortion debate days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.

The board, however, rejected accusations from Indiana’s Republican attorney general that Bernard violated state law by not reporting the child abuse to Indiana authorities. Board members chose to fine Bernard $3,000 for the violations, turning down a request from the attorney general’s office to suspend Bernard’s license. The board issued no restrictions on her practice of medicine.

Bernard has consistently defended her actions, and she told the board on Thursday that she followed Indiana’s reporting requirements and hospital policy by notifying hospital social workers about the child abuse — and that the girl’s rape was already being investigated by Ohio authorities. Bernard’s lawyers also said that she didn’t release any identifying information about the girl that would break privacy laws.

The Indianapolis Star cited the girl’s case in a July 1 article that sparked a national political uproar in the weeks after last summer’s Roe v. Wade decision put into effect an Ohio law that prohibited abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Some news outlets and Republican politicians falsely suggested Bernard fabricated the story, until a 27-year-old man was charged with the rape in Columbus, Ohio. During an event at the White House, President Joe Biden nearly shouted his outrage over the case.

Medical board President Dr. John Strobel said he believed Bernard went too far in telling a reporter about the girl’s pending abortion and that physicians need to be careful about observing patient privacy.

“I don’t think she expected this to go viral,” Strobel said of Bernard. “I don’t think she expected this attention to be brought to this patient. It did. It happened.”

Bernard’s lawyer Alice Morical told the board Thursday that the doctor reported child abuse of patients many times a year and that a hospital social worker had confirmed with Ohio child protection staffers that it was safe for the girl to leave with her mother.

“Dr. Bernard could not have anticipated the atypical and intense scrutiny that this story received,” Morical said. “She did not expect that politicians would say that she made the story up.”

Amid the wave of attention to the girl’s case last summer, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who is stridently anti-abortion, told Fox News he would investigate Bernard’s actions and called her an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.”

Deputy Attorney General Cory Voight argued Thursday that the board needed to address what he called an “egregious violation” of patient privacy and Bernard’s failure to notify Indiana’s Department of Child Services and police about the rape.

“There’s been no case like this before the board,” Voight said. “No physician has been as brazen in pursuit of their own agenda.”

Voight asked Bernard why she discussed the Ohio girl’s case with the newspaper reporter and later in other news media interviews rather than using a hypothetical situation.

“I think that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the real-world impacts of the laws of this country about abortion,” Bernard said. “I think it’s important for people to know what patients will have to go through because of legislation that is being passed, and a hypothetical does not make that impact.”

Board member Dr. Bharat Barai opposed finding that Bernard violated privacy laws, saying that she released no direct protected identifying information such as the girl’s name or address. He disagreed with the board majority’s view that the combination of information about the rare instance of a pregnant 10-year-old girl could have exposed her identity.

“We are trying to suppose that yeah this could have been done and maybe somebody could have discovered it,” Barai said.

During Thursday’s hearing lasting some 13 hours, Rokita’s office kept up a running commentary on its official Twitter account, with one post saying: “When Bernard talked about the high priority she puts on legislation and speaking to the public, she did so at the expense of her own patient. This shows where her priorities are as an activist rather than a doctor.”

Bernard objected to Voight saying her choice to publicly discuss the case led to the misconduct allegations.

“I think if the attorney general, Todd Rokita, had not chosen to make this his political stunt we wouldn’t be here today,” Bernard said.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office repeatedly raised questions about whether the policy of Bernard’s employer, Indiana University Health, to report suspected child abuse to authorities in the state where the abuse occurred complied with Indiana law. Officials of IU Health, which is the state’s largest hospital system, testified that the Indiana Department of Child Services has never objected to the hospital policy.

The Indiana board — with five doctors and one attorney present who were appointed or reappointed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb — had wide latitude under state law allowing it to issue reprimand letters or suspend, revoke or place on probation a doctor’s license.

Ohio’s law imposing a near-ban on abortion was in effect for about two months, before being put on hold as a lawsuit against it plays out. Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature approved a statewide abortion ban weeks after the Ohio girl’s case drew attention, but abortions have continued to be permitted in the state while awaiting an Indiana Supreme Court decision on the ban’s constitutionality.

Bernard unsuccessfully tried to block Rokita’s investigation last fall, although an Indianapolis judge wrote that Rokita made “clearly unlawful breaches” of state confidentiality laws with his public comments about investigating the doctor before filing the medical licensing complaint against her.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House of Representatives will vote Saturday on whether to impeach state Attorney General Ken Paxton, an investigating panel announced Friday.

The House will consider a resolution calling for Paxton’s impeachment at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement released by the House Committee on General Investigating.

The GOP-led committee spent months quietly looking into Paxton and recommended Thursday that the state’s top lawyer be impeached on 20 articles including bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust.

Paxton, a 60-year-old Republican, has criticized the impeachment effort as an attempt to “overthrow the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters of our state.” He has said the charges are based on “hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Texas’ Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton finds himself on the brink of impeachment after years of scandal, criminal charges and corruption accusations, and a GOP-led panel is heading the charge.

In a unanimous decision, a Republican-led House investigative committee that spent months quietly looking into Paxton recommended impeaching the state’s top lawyer Thursday on 20 articles, including bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust.

The House could vote on the recommendation as soon as Friday. If it impeaches Paxton, he would be forced to leave office immediately.

The move sets up what could be a remarkably sudden downfall for one of the GOP’s most prominent legal combatants, who in 2020 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. Only two officials in Texas’ nearly 200-year history have been impeached.

Paxton has been under FBI investigation for years over accusations that he used his office to help a donor. He was separately indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015, but has yet to stand trial.

When the five-member committee’s investigation came to light Tuesday, Paxton suggested it was a political attack by the House’s “liberal” Republican speaker, Dade Phelan. He called for Phelan’s resignation and accused him of being drunk during a marathon session last Friday. Phelan’s office brushed off the accusation as Paxton attempting to “save face.”

“It’s is a sad day for Texas as we witness the corrupt political establishment unite in this illegitimate attempt to overthrow the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters of our state,” Paxton said in a statement Thursday, calling the committee’s findings “hearsay and gossip, parroting long-disproven claims.”

By moving against him, Paxton said, “The RINOs in the Texas Legislature are now on the same side as Joe Biden.”

Impeachment requires a majority vote of the state’s usually 150-member House chamber, which Republicans now control 85-64, since a GOP representative resigned ahead of an expected vote to expel him.

It’s unclear how many supporters Paxton may have in the House, where he served five terms before becoming a state senator. Since the prospect of impeachment suddenly emerged Wednesday, few top Republicans have backed Paxton.

But statewide support for Paxton started to emerge Friday. The strongest came from state Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi, who called the pending impeachment a “sham” and indicated the Republican-led Senate would stop it.

“It is based on allegations already litigated by voters, led by a liberal speaker trying to undermine his conservative adversaries,” Rinaldi said.

“It seems Texas Republicans will have to rely yet again on the principled leadership of the Texas Senate to restore sanity and reason for our state,” Rinaldi said.

The articles of impeachment issued by the investigative committee, which include three Republicans and two Democrats, stem largely from Paxton’s relationship with one of his wealthy donors. They deal heavily with Paxton’s alleged efforts to protect the donor from an FBI investigation and his attempts to thwart whistleblower complaints brought by his own staff.

The timing of a vote by the House is unclear. Rep. Andrew Murr, the Republican chair of the investigative committee, said he did not have a timeline and Phelan’s office declined to comment.

Unlike in Congress, impeachment in Texas requires immediate removal from office until a trial is held in the Senate. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott could appoint an interim replacement. Abbott’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the impeachment counts.

Final removal would require two-thirds support in the Senate, where Paxton’s wife’s, Angela, is a member. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican and leader of the Senate, did not respond to requests for comment.

Paxton, 60, faces ouster at the hands of GOP lawmakers just seven months after easily winning a third term over challengers — among them George P. Bush — who had urged voters to reject a compromised incumbent but discovered that many didn’t know about Paxton’s litany of alleged misdeeds or dismissed the accusations as political attacks.

The attorney general characterized his potential impeachment as “a critical moment for the rule of law and will of Texas voters.”

Even with Monday’s end of the regular session approaching, state law allows the House to keep working on impeachment proceedings. It also could call itself back into session later. The Senate has the same options.

In one sense, Paxton’s political peril arrived with dizzying speed: The House committee investigation came to light Tuesday, followed the next day by an extraordinary public airing of alleged criminal acts he committed as one of Texas’ most powerful figures.

But to Paxton’s detractors, who now include a widening share of his own party in the Texas Capitol, the rebuke was years in the making.

In 2014, he admitted to violating Texas securities law over not registering as an investment advisor while soliciting clients. A year later, Paxton was indicted on felony securities charges by a grand jury in his hometown near Dallas, where he was accused of defrauding investors in a tech startup. He has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts carrying a potential sentence of five to 99 years in prison.

He opened a legal defense fund and accepted $100,000 from an executive whose company was under investigation by Paxton’s office for Medicaid fraud. An additional $50,000 was donated by an Arizona retiree whose son Paxton later hired to a high-ranking job but was soon fired after trying to make a point by displaying child pornography in a meeting.

But what has unleashed the most serious risk to Paxton is his relationship with another wealthy donor, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul.

Several of Paxton’s top aides in 2020 told the FBI that they had became concerned the attorney general was misusing the powers of his office to help Paul over unproven claims that an elaborate conspiracy to steal $200 million of his properties was afoot. The FBI searched Paul’s home in 2019 but he has not been charged and his attorneys have denied wrongdoing. Paxton also told staff members that he had an affair with a woman who, it later emerged, worked for Paul.

The impeachment charges cover myriad accusations related to Paxton’s dealings with Paul. The allegations include attempts to interfere in foreclosure lawsuits and improperly issuing legal opinions to benefit Paul, and firing, harassing and interfering with staff who reported what was going on. The bribery charges stem from Paul allegedly employing the woman with whom Paxton had an affair in exchange for legal help and Paul allegedly paying for expensive renovations to Paxton’s Austin home.

Other charges date back to Paxton’s still-pending 2015 felony securities fraud indictment, including lying to state investigators.

The eight aides who reported Paxton to the FBI were all fired or quit, and four later sued under Texas’ whistleblower law, In February, Paxton agreed to settle the case for $3.3 million. But the Texas House must approve the payout and Phelan has said he doesn’t think taxpayers should foot the bill.

Shortly after the settlement was reached, the House investigation into Paxton began. The probe amounted to rare scrutiny of Paxton in the state Capitol, where many Republicans have long taken a muted posture about the accusations that have dogged him.

Only twice has the Texas House impeached a sitting official: Gov. James Ferguson in 1917 and state Judge O.P. Carrillo in 1975.

Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Associated Press reporters Paul J. Weber and Jim Vertuno contributed from Austin, Texas.

(CNN) — CNN will host a town hall with former Vice President Mike Pence early next month in Iowa, the network announced Thursday.

The town hall will be moderated by CNN’s Dana Bash on Wednesday, June 7, at 9 p.m. ET from Grand View University in Des Moines.

Pence, who served as vice president from 2017 to 2021, has been positioning himself as a presidential candidate for months, though he has yet to officially enter the 2024 race. Pence has said he expects to make a decision on a campaign “before the month of June is out.”

During the town hall, Pence will field questions from Bash and a live audience that will include Iowa Republicans and Iowa voters, who say they plan to pre-register to take part in the Republican caucuses by the deadline set by the Republican Party of Iowa and pledge to appear in person at the caucuses.

It’s the third of CNN’s presidential town halls. The network previously hosted one with former President Donald Trump and announced on Wednesday one featuring Nikki Haley on June 4.

Pence’s expected entry into the Republican primary comes as his former presidential counterpart, Trump, is leading the Republican field. The two men had a public falling out over the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol and the former vice president has said the Republican Party needs to move on from Trump.

The town hall will stream live, without requiring a cable log-in, on’s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and CNN OTT and mobile apps under “TV Channels,” or CNNgo where available. 

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are pushing debt ceiling talks to the brink, displaying risky political bravado as they prepare to leave town Thursday for the holiday weekend just days before the U.S. could face an unprecedented default that could hurl the global economy into chaos.

A defiant House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the debt ceiling standoff was “not my fault” as Republican negotiators and the White House failed to finish out talks. He warned they need more time to try to reach a budget-slashing deal with President Joe Biden.

But it’s clear the Republican speaker — who leads a Trump-aligned party whose hard-right flank lifted him to power — is now staring down a potential crisis.

Lawmakers are tentatively not expected back at work until Tuesday, just two days from June 1, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the U.S. could start running out of cash to pay its bills and face a potentially catastrophic default.

Fitch Ratings agency placed the United States’ AAA credit on “ratings watch negative,” warning of a possible downgrade because of what it called the brinkmanship and political partisanship surrounding the debate over lifting the debt ceiling.

“This is a battle between extremism and common sense,” said Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the minority whip.

The Republicans, she said, “want the American people to make an impossible choice: devastating cuts or devastating debt default.”

Weeks of negotiations between Republicans and the White House have failed to produce a deal — in part because the Biden administration never expected to be having to negotiate with McCarthy over the debt limit, arguing it should not be used as leverage to extract other partisan priorities.

McCarthy is holding out for steep spending cuts that Republicans are demanding in exchange for their vote to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. The White House has offered to freeze next year’s 2024 spending at current levels, but the Republican leader says that’s not enough.

“We have to spend less than we spent last year. That is the starting point,” said McCarthy, R-Calif.

Failure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, now at $31 trillion, would risk a potentially chaotic federal default, almost certain to inflict economic turmoil at home and abroad. Anxious retirees and social service groups are among those already making default contingency plans.

Even if negotiators strike a deal in coming days, McCarthy has promised lawmakers he will abide by the rule to post any bill for 72 hours before voting — now likely Tuesday or even Wednesday. The Senate, where Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to move quickly, would also have to pass the package before it could go to Biden’s desk to be signed into law, right before next Thursday’s possible deadline.

The contours of a deal have been within reach for days, but Republicans are unsatisfied as they press the White House team for more.

In one potential development, Republicans may be easing their demand to boost defense spending, instead offering to keep it at levels the Biden administration proposed, according to one person familiar with the talks and granted anonymity to discuss them.

The Republicans may achieve their goal of of rolling back bolstered funding for the Internal Revenue Service if they agree to instead allow the White House to push that money into other domestic accounts, the person said.

At the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blamed Republicans for risking a devastating default that would hit “every single part of the country” as they demand “extreme” spending cuts that would hurt millions of Americans.

She decried what the administration called a “manufactured crisis” set in motion by the GOP.

The White House has continued to argue that deficits can be reduced by ending tax breaks for wealthier households and some corporations, but McCarthy said he told the president as early as their February meeting that raising revenue from tax hikes was off the table.

Donald Trump, the former president who is again running for office, has encouraged Republicans to “do a default” if they don’t get the deal they want from the White House.

Time is short to strike a deal. Yellen said Wednesday that “it seems almost certain” that without a deal the United States would not make it past early June without defaulting. “We are seeing some stress already in Treasury markets,” she said at a Wall Street Journal event.

While Biden has ruled out, for now, invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit on his own, Democrats in the House announced they have all signed on to a legislative “discharge” process that would force a debt ceiling vote. But they need five Republicans to break with their party and tip the majority to set the plan forward.

“Sign the bill!” Democrats yelled on the House floor after Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana announced the holiday recess schedule.

Agreement on a topline spending level is vital. It would enable McCarthy to deliver spending restraints for conservatives while not being so severe that it would chase off the Democratic votes that would be needed in the divided Congress to pass any bill.

But what, if anything, Democrats would get if they agreed to deeper spending cuts than Biden’s team has proposed is uncertain.

McCarthy and his Republican negotiators said what the Democrats get is a debt ceiling increase — typically something both parties take responsibility for doing.

“The problem is not the White House. The problem is Kevin McCarthy and the extreme Republicans,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the progressive caucus. “They are the ones holding this economy hostage, that are putting all these cuts on the American people.”

The negotiators are now also debating the duration of a 1% cap on annual spending growth going forward, with Republicans dropping their demand for a 10-year cap to six years, but the White House offering only one year, for 2025.

Republicans want to beef up work requirements for government aid to recipients of food stamps, cash assistance and the Medicaid health care program that the Biden administration says would impact millions of people who depend on assistance.

All sides have been eyeing the potential for the package to include a framework to ease federal regulations and speed energy project developments. They are all but certain to claw back some $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 funds now that the pandemic emergency has officially been lifted.

The White House has countered by proposing to keep defense and nondefense spending flat next year, which would save $90 billion in the 2024 budget year and $1 trillion over 10 years.


Associated Press writers Seung Min Kim, Fatima Hussein, Kevin Freking and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

(AP) — Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter into a “digital town square,” but his much-publicized Twitter Spaces kickoff event, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing his run for president, struggled with technical glitches and a near half-hour delay Tuesday.

The billionaire Twitter owner said the problems were due to “straining” servers because so many people were trying to listen to the audio-only event. But even at their highest, the number of listeners listed topped out at around 420,000, far from the millions of viewers that televised presidential announcements attract.

“There’s so many people,” said host David Sacks amid the disruptions. “We’ve got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers, which is a good sign.”

After it concluded without further disruptions, Musk, DeSantis and Sacks played off the event as a success, with Sacks quipping “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish — and we finished really strong.”

Musk a day earlier dubbed the event a historic first for Twitter, saying it would be “the first time something like this is happening on social media.” The webcast was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET but nearly 30 minutes passed with users getting kicked off, hearing microphone feedback and enduring other technical problems before it finally began. The audience remained under 500,000.

DeSantis opponents had a field day with the delayed announcement.

“Glitchy. Tech issues. Uncomfortable silences. A complete failure to launch. And that’s just the candidate!” said Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for former President and current candidate Donald Trump.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, tweeted, “We had more people join when I played Among Us,” referencing the popular video game.

Twitter has suffered a host of technical issues since Musk took over and fired or laid off roughly 80% of its staff — including engineers tasked with keeping the site running. A day before the DeSantis event, speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London, Musk expressed confidence about Twitter’s future and said he is “going to start adding people to the company” but gave no further details.

Musk bought Twitter last fall for $44 billion. Since then, he has upended the platform’s verification system, loosened its content moderation policies in line with his views as a “free speech absolutist,” spread misinformation and engaged with far-right figures, all the while working to attract jittery advertisers back to the platform to turn it profitable. His grand vision, he has said repeatedly, is to eventually turn Twitter into an “ everything app ” for everyone — a digital town square where people can hear from world leaders and politicians without the need for traditional media as a go-between.

But he seems to mainly be courting conservatives and Republicans lately, referring to Democrats and liberals as infected by the “woke mind virus” and reinstating extremist accounts that were banned by Twitter’s previous administration.

Wednesday’s campaign launch event with DeSantis continued the trend — though it remains to be seen whether the platform can become a go-to destination for mainstream politicians when it continues to show evidence of instability. For instance, the word “DeSaster” was trending on Twitter Wednesday evening as users mocked the botched campaign launch.

In the world of traditional media and politics, a glitchy half-hour delay and an audience in the hundreds of thousands rather than millions, Wednesday’s Twitter Spaces event might look like a failure. But in Silicon Valley, failure is often spun as positive, even essential in developing new products and improving existing ones. Twitter Spaces — which Twitter launched in 2020 to compete with the then-popular audio chat site Clubhouse — is generally not used for audiences in the hundreds of thousands, so in some ways it was not a surprise that the event was marred with technical problems.

“It’s much worse for DeSantis than it is for Musk,” said Jo-Ellen Pozner, a business professor at Santa Clara University, noting that just a month ago Musk’s SpaceX launched a rocket that exploded minutes after its launch from Texas. After the explosion, Musk called it “an exciting test launch of Starship! Learned a lot for next test launch in a few months” in a tweet.

“It is clearly a difficult situation for DeSantis, who wants to project competence, who wants to forestall criticism,” she said. “Musk has an easier out by just saying that ‘this was the first time we tried it, it didn’t work out perfectly, but next time we’ll do much better,’ in the classic Silicon Valley approach to failing fast and learning more.”

Pozner said it remains an “open question” how Twitter is going to be valued as a broad digital platform down the line.

“I think will depend on, you know, how he and the top management react to this and how they spin it,” she said.

After DeSantis logged off, Musk and Sacks extended an open invitation to any other presidential candidate who wants to do a Twitter Spaces event. Whether or not they get any takers could signal what the future holds for Twitter as a “public square.”