Government shutdown, infrastructure bill, film museum in LA: 5 Things podcast


On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Lawmakers are confident they will vote to extend funding today and therefore avoid a partial government shutdown. Plus, Capitol Hill works on infrastructure bills, three congresswomen will testify about their experiences with abortion, 23 new species have been declared extinct and there’s (finally) a film museum in Los Angeles.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson. And this is 5 Things you need to know Thursday, the 30th of September, 2021. Today Congress has hours to avoid a government shutdown. Plus nearly two dozen new species have been declared extinct and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines.

  1. Ecuador has declared a prison emergency after a gang-related riot in Guayaquil killed at least 116 people and injured another 80, the worst prison bloodbath ever in the country. Authorities say at least five of the dead were found to be beheaded.
  2. Suicide among US troops rose 15% in 2020 from the year before. In a report last year on suicide, the Pentagon said that suicide rates for active duty troops are comparable with the average US adult population, but said trends are not going in the right direction.
  3. And foreign fans will not be allowed to attend this winter’s Olympics in Beijing. That’s part of the International Olympic Committee’s COVID-19 protocols announced this week. There will also be lengthy quarantines for unvaccinated athletes.

Taylor Wilson:

Congress still has not scheduled votes to extend funding today and avoid a government shutdown. But leading lawmakers say they will likely take action before tonight’s midnight deadline. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that the Senate will work quickly to pass a funding bill to allow the government to operate through December 3rd. He said that will give lawmakers time to approve routine spending measures like funding federal agencies and programs they administer for the fiscal year beginning tomorrow.

Chuck Schumer:

To prevent a government shutdown, Senate Democrats will be introducing a continuing resolution that keeps the government open until early December, while also providing long sought emergency funding to help Americans still reeling from natural disasters from this summer, as well as funding to help resettle Afghan refugees. We can improve this measure quickly and send it to the House so it can reach the president’s desk before funding expires midnight tomorrow. With so many critical issues to address, the last thing the American people need right now is a government shutdown. This proposal will prevent one from happening and I want to thank my colleagues who are working quickly to prepare this legislation.

Taylor Wilson:

Senator John Thune, the Senate’s second highest ranking Republican said he also expects a vote today to avoid a shutdown, but that some lawmakers still want amendments or to add funding for things like Israel’s defense. If the Senate moves the funding bill forward, the House is expected to approve it as would President Joe Biden. But if Congress does not avoid a shutdown, hundreds of thousands of non-essential federal employees could be furloughed without pay beginning tomorrow.

Taylor Wilson:

Capitol Hill is also working on a pair of infrastructure bills, one of them a $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment and jobs act could be voted on today. It would direct $550 billion in new spending over five years to modernize roads, bridges and transit systems. It would also expand high-speed internet systems and the country’s network of electric vehicle charging stations. The bill already passed the Senate last month after months of negotiations. And Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants a vote today, even as some further left members of the chamber have threatened to vote against the legislation because they want it only to pass along with a broader $3.5 trillion bill. But moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have said they won’t vote for such a steep price tag.

Taylor Wilson:

That legislation involves parts of so-called human infrastructure like universal preschool and community college, along with expansions to Medicare to cover vision, hearing, and dental. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden continues to work to urge lawmakers on passing both pieces of legislation.

Jen Psaki:

I say that we’ve had about 260, probably more like 300 now engagements with a range of members and their offices over the course of just September, including a range of progressive members and their offices. I think it’s pretty clear we’re in the middle of a negotiation and that everybody’s going to have to give a little.

Taylor Wilson:

For the latest from Capitol Hill, stay with our live Congress updates page on usatoday.com.

Taylor Wilson:

Three Congress women will testify today about their experiences with abortion. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform will look at the current state of abortion rights around the country in the wake of a new Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, only about two weeks after many even know they’re pregnant. Testifying are Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Cori Bush, and Pramila Jayapal. Bush wrote on Twitter yesterday ahead of the hearing, quote, “Tomorrow I will share a story that I’ve never fully told publicly before. I am testifying at the Oversight Committee hearing on abortion care and I will share that when I was 17, I was raped, became pregnant and got an abortion. And I am not ashamed.” All three women shared intimate accounts on MSNBC last night. Lee said she traveled to a back alley clinic in Mexico to get an abortion. And Jayapal said postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy influenced her decision to get an abortion. She said she contemplated suicide at one point and was not ready to go through that again.

Taylor Wilson:

The world continues to go through its sixth mass extinction event in history. The latest victims, 23 species that the US government declared extinct yesterday. One of the most noteworthy is the ivory-billed woodpecker. The bird made unconfirmed appearances in recent decades across the American south and there’s still some debate about it still existing in Cuba. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it’s exhausted efforts to find them. Other animals on the list include other birds and a variety of muscle species. Factors behind the specific disappearances vary. They include too much development, water pollution, logging, invasive species, habitat destruction due to climate change and more. But the common link: humans were the ultimate cause. Around the world, more than 900 species have now been documented as extinct, though the actual number is likely much higher because many are never formally identified. Scientists say animals and plants are now disappearing at 1000 times the historical rate. Jack Dumbacher, Curator of Ornithology, the study of birds at the California Academy of Sciences says that declaring animals extinct can help shore up resources to protect species that still have a chance at recovery.

Jack Dumbacher:

There’s so many species that are in dire shape today, I think sometimes it becomes important to refocus our attention on the ones that we can save and the ones that need our attention right now. I think it’s a sad thing. It’s a difficult thing. There will be some losses, but at the same time, I think it is important to reevaluate from time to time where we are because these species haven’t been seen in a very long time despite a lot of effort to find them. I think it’s probably time to declare them extinct and hopefully learn the lessons that we need to learn and move on.

Taylor Wilson:

Species that are currently maybe only a generation away from extinction include the Javan rhino with fewer than 70 left, the Hainan gibbon, a type of ape with fewer than 30 left. And the vaquita, a species of porpoise with possibly only nine remaining.

Taylor Wilson:

Well, there’s finally a film museum in Los Angeles. Today the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens in LA, ending the often delayed journey to build one there. The museum was an original goal for the 94-year-old Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that presents the Oscars. And most recent plans were announced back in 2012 before another pandemic related stop last year. Movie star Tom Hanks rang in the building’s opening.

Tom Hanks:

Do we need a movie museum? Yeah, because we need to celebrate everything that this town has brought to the world and everything art form has brought to the world in order to bring people together. Movies continue to be the magical art that speaks to everybody everywhere.

Taylor Wilson:

The museum features all kinds of props, including Bruce, the 25-foot long shark from the movie Jaws and a section highlighting original costumes. It also looks at Hollywood’s often discriminatory history against people of color and celebrates diverse often overlooked filmmakers.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us wherever you’re listening right now, seven mornings a week. And we ask that if you have a chance, please drop us a rating and review. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. I’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of 5 Things from the USA TODAY Network.


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