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Facebook CEO to Testify Before Congressional Committee

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before a congressional committee about the privacy scandal that has rocked the social media company.

The House and Energy and Commerce Committee announced Wednesday Zuckerberg will testify on April 11 about the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users that could be used to influence voters in U.S. elections. The firm was hired by U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which paid the firm nearly $6 million.

Committee chairman Greg Walden and ranking Democrat Frank Pallone said the hearing hopes to “shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online.” The panel is the first of three congressional committees that have asked Zuckerberg to testify.

Zuckerberg’s upcoming testimony comes after senior Facebook officials failed to answer questions during a private meeting with congressional staffers about how the company and third-party software developers use and protect consumer data.

It remains unclear if Congress or the administration will take any action against Facebook, but the company is well-positioned to counter any efforts to regulate it.

The social media giant has a large lobbying operation to advance its interests in Washington. Documents filed with the House and Senate shows Facebook spent more than $17 million in2017, much of it on an in-house lobbying team that is comprised of former Republican and Democratic political aides. The company lobbied on a variety of issues, including potential changes to government surveillance programs and on corporate tax issues.

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Facebook CEO to Testify Before Congressional Committee

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before a congressional committee about the privacy scandal that has rocked the social media company.

The House and Energy and Commerce Committee announced Wednesday Zuckerberg will testify on April 11 about the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users that could be used to influence voters in U.S. elections. The firm was hired by U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which paid the firm nearly $6 million.

Committee chairman Greg Walden and ranking Democrat Frank Pallone said the hearing hopes to “shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online.” The panel is the first of three congressional committees that have asked Zuckerberg to testify.

Zuckerberg’s upcoming testimony comes after senior Facebook officials failed to answer questions during a private meeting with congressional staffers about how the company and third-party software developers use and protect consumer data.

It remains unclear if Congress or the administration will take any action against Facebook, but the company is well-positioned to counter any efforts to regulate it.

The social media giant has a large lobbying operation to advance its interests in Washington. Documents filed with the House and Senate shows Facebook spent more than $17 million in2017, much of it on an in-house lobbying team that is comprised of former Republican and Democratic political aides. The company lobbied on a variety of issues, including potential changes to government surveillance programs and on corporate tax issues.

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Closure of Top Philippine Resort Island Would Shake up Business to Cut Pollution

The possible closure of a major coastal tourism magnet in the Philippines for environmental cleanup will hurt business, but for a cause that helps everyone longer term, experts say.

President Rodrigo Duterte said via the presidential website in March he would place Boracay Island under a “state of calamity.” The island may be shut down for two to 12 months, Philippine media reports say, citing other statements from Duterte and cabinet members.

The government is “addressing wastewater issues through an improved sewerage system,” the country’s environment minister Roy Cimatu said in a March 27 statement.

Boracay, a 10.3-square-kilometer feature in the central Philippines, has been compared to Bali and other Asian beach resort hot spots. Its main white sand beach runs four kilometers, paralleled by a strip of at least 100 hotels.

“The Philippines has been very aggressive in its campaign to attract tourists… and Boracay is actually the No. 1 selling point of the tourism business in the Philippines,” said Maria Ela Atienza, political science professor at University of the Philippines Diliman.

“So it will really be a big blow to the tourism industry and we don’t know what will happen to these industries depending on Boracay, if they will continue if they can return to operation,” Atienza said.

Fear of closure

Government agencies have not finalized any closure of Boracay Island but dropped enough hints to prompt flight and hotel cancellations, analysts and operators report. Domestic media say arrivals in March were normal but expected a fall for this month.

Tourists who read “negative news” about Boracay are cancelling mid-year reservations, said a manager with Boracay Pito Huts, a 10-year-old group of villas for tourist groups on the island. Villa staff people may be asked to “take a vacation” if bookings don’t pick up, she said.

“As a preparation, of course we have to tighten our belts,” said the manager, who did not want to be named. “We are in the toilet. For June bookings or June tourists it’s nothing. That’s how we got affected.”

The Boracay Foundation, a business association with an environmental focus, declined comment for this report. A Department of Tourism representative said her office could make no statements on the possible closure.

Suspension of business would hurt a network of common Filipinos who sell souvenirs, prepare meals or drive tourists around the island, Atienza added.

Boracay generated $1.076 billion in tourism receipts last year, the local provincial tourism office said, as cited by the Philippine Information Agency, an increase of about 15 percent over 2016. Tourism was 8.6 percent of the Philippine GDP in 2016.

People and waste

Boracay has an ideal capacity of about half a million tourists per year, compared to its 2017 total of 2 million, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in an online video. More than 300,000 tourists reached the island in January and February this year, it said.

Travelers often visit Boracay during the northern hemisphere winter to escape the cold in spots such as China, Russia and South Korea.

The island should review its “carrying capacity,” said Alicia Lustica, a coastal ecosystems cluster head with a department research Center. “We need also to assist also the volume of waste that has been generated and likewise how people are doing their activities on Boracay Island,” Lustica said in the video.

Sewage became an issue because some resorts treat their own inadequately or dump it into the sea, the domestic news website BusinessMirror.com said in January. It cites overbuilding and inadequate infrastructure as additional problems for Boracay.

The nongovernmental organization Global Coral Reef Alliance said more than 10 years ago sewage “from uncontrolled development” was hurting Boracay’s coral and fisheries.

The environment ministry also plans to do a “massive replanting” of trees on Boracay, the minister said in the March 27 statement.

Boracay renewal

A temporary closure would let Boracay clean itself up to become better for tourists, said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist with Banco de Oro UniBank in Metro Manila.

“It’s going to hurt us, but I think moving forward we will probably see a lot of pent-up demand for Boracay — just like in any business a temporary renovation — and I think that’s how you should probably see what’s happening in Boracay,” he said.

Travelers would rather see a cleaner island, he added. Today Boracay-bound tourists must pay an environmental impact fee at a boat pier before stepping onto the island.

A cleaner Boracay would motivate other Philippine beach resort areas to protect their environments before they too face shutdown, Ravelas said. “You need the one example, and everybody will follow,” he said.

Duterte called Boracay a “cesspool” and ordered his government to fix problems in six months, the presidential office website says. The state of calamity, Duterte said, would let the government offer aid to people facing business losses.

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Closure of Top Philippine Resort Island Would Shake up Business to Cut Pollution

The possible closure of a major coastal tourism magnet in the Philippines for environmental cleanup will hurt business, but for a cause that helps everyone longer term, experts say.

President Rodrigo Duterte said via the presidential website in March he would place Boracay Island under a “state of calamity.” The island may be shut down for two to 12 months, Philippine media reports say, citing other statements from Duterte and cabinet members.

The government is “addressing wastewater issues through an improved sewerage system,” the country’s environment minister Roy Cimatu said in a March 27 statement.

Boracay, a 10.3-square-kilometer feature in the central Philippines, has been compared to Bali and other Asian beach resort hot spots. Its main white sand beach runs four kilometers, paralleled by a strip of at least 100 hotels.

“The Philippines has been very aggressive in its campaign to attract tourists… and Boracay is actually the No. 1 selling point of the tourism business in the Philippines,” said Maria Ela Atienza, political science professor at University of the Philippines Diliman.

“So it will really be a big blow to the tourism industry and we don’t know what will happen to these industries depending on Boracay, if they will continue if they can return to operation,” Atienza said.

Fear of closure

Government agencies have not finalized any closure of Boracay Island but dropped enough hints to prompt flight and hotel cancellations, analysts and operators report. Domestic media say arrivals in March were normal but expected a fall for this month.

Tourists who read “negative news” about Boracay are cancelling mid-year reservations, said a manager with Boracay Pito Huts, a 10-year-old group of villas for tourist groups on the island. Villa staff people may be asked to “take a vacation” if bookings don’t pick up, she said.

“As a preparation, of course we have to tighten our belts,” said the manager, who did not want to be named. “We are in the toilet. For June bookings or June tourists it’s nothing. That’s how we got affected.”

The Boracay Foundation, a business association with an environmental focus, declined comment for this report. A Department of Tourism representative said her office could make no statements on the possible closure.

Suspension of business would hurt a network of common Filipinos who sell souvenirs, prepare meals or drive tourists around the island, Atienza added.

Boracay generated $1.076 billion in tourism receipts last year, the local provincial tourism office said, as cited by the Philippine Information Agency, an increase of about 15 percent over 2016. Tourism was 8.6 percent of the Philippine GDP in 2016.

People and waste

Boracay has an ideal capacity of about half a million tourists per year, compared to its 2017 total of 2 million, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in an online video. More than 300,000 tourists reached the island in January and February this year, it said.

Travelers often visit Boracay during the northern hemisphere winter to escape the cold in spots such as China, Russia and South Korea.

The island should review its “carrying capacity,” said Alicia Lustica, a coastal ecosystems cluster head with a department research Center. “We need also to assist also the volume of waste that has been generated and likewise how people are doing their activities on Boracay Island,” Lustica said in the video.

Sewage became an issue because some resorts treat their own inadequately or dump it into the sea, the domestic news website BusinessMirror.com said in January. It cites overbuilding and inadequate infrastructure as additional problems for Boracay.

The nongovernmental organization Global Coral Reef Alliance said more than 10 years ago sewage “from uncontrolled development” was hurting Boracay’s coral and fisheries.

The environment ministry also plans to do a “massive replanting” of trees on Boracay, the minister said in the March 27 statement.

Boracay renewal

A temporary closure would let Boracay clean itself up to become better for tourists, said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist with Banco de Oro UniBank in Metro Manila.

“It’s going to hurt us, but I think moving forward we will probably see a lot of pent-up demand for Boracay — just like in any business a temporary renovation — and I think that’s how you should probably see what’s happening in Boracay,” he said.

Travelers would rather see a cleaner island, he added. Today Boracay-bound tourists must pay an environmental impact fee at a boat pier before stepping onto the island.

A cleaner Boracay would motivate other Philippine beach resort areas to protect their environments before they too face shutdown, Ravelas said. “You need the one example, and everybody will follow,” he said.

Duterte called Boracay a “cesspool” and ordered his government to fix problems in six months, the presidential office website says. The state of calamity, Duterte said, would let the government offer aid to people facing business losses.

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China Announces $50 Billion in Retaliatory Tariffs on US Goods

China announced Wednesday it plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods in response to a similar package announced by the United States.

The Chinese measures would boost tariffs by 25 percent on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans, aircraft and cars.

China’s commerce ministry responded with its own measures less than 11 hours after the U.S. issued a proposed list of Chinese goods. The ministry said the question of when the measures will go into effect will depend on when the U.S. tariffs become active.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to impose $50 billion in increased tariffs on Chinese products last month, and on Tuesday the U.S. Trade Representative released a proposed list of 1,300 goods including aerospace, medical and information technology products.

Subject to public review

That list will be subject to a public review process scheduled to run until late May.

“The total value of imports subject to the tariff increases is commensurate with an economic analysis of the harm caused by China’s unreasonable technology policies to the U.S. economy,” the USTR said.

The United States has accused China of pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology.

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said Wednesday that accusation is groundless, and that while China wants to resolve the trade dispute through dialogue, if the United States continues the fight then China will too.

Unlike the U.S. list, which includes many obscure industrial goods, China’s list targets cotton, frozen beef, soybeans and other agricultural products that are produced in states from Iowa to Texas that favored Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S.-China dispute has fueled concern it could stymie a global economic recovery if other countries raise their own import barriers.

The prospect of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies also has worried stock market investors. U.S. markets opened sharply lower Wednesday. Shortly after the markets opened, the S&P 500 Index fell 1.4 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.8 percent and the NASDAQ Composite Index was 1.6 percent lower.

Trump, however, dismissed the notion of a U.S.-China trade war on Wednesday, tweeting that previous U.S. administrations weakened the country’s ability to defend itself on trade matters.   

“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!”

In a subsequent tweet Trump seemed to imply the U.S.-China trade imbalance is so wide that there is only room for improvement.

“When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!”

Despite Trump’s claims, U.S. government figures show the U.S. had a $375 billion trade deficit with China at the end of 2017.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also dismissed concerns Wednesday about a burgeoning trade war with China and said recent trade actions between the two countries would probably lead to a negotiated agreement.

“It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the net outcome of all this is some sort of negotiation,” Ross said in an interview with CNBC.

Ross brushed off worries of a trade dispute, saying U.S. tariffs imposed on China amount to only 0.3 percent of America’s gross domestic product.

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said Wednesday that accusation is groundless, and that while China wants to resolve the trade dispute through dialogue, if the United States continues the fight then China will too.

 

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China Announces $50 Billion in Retaliatory Tariffs on US Goods

China announced Wednesday it plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods in response to a similar package announced by the United States.

The Chinese measures would boost tariffs by 25 percent on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans, aircraft and cars.

China’s commerce ministry responded with its own measures less than 11 hours after the U.S. issued a proposed list of Chinese goods. The ministry said the question of when the measures will go into effect will depend on when the U.S. tariffs become active.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to impose $50 billion in increased tariffs on Chinese products last month, and on Tuesday the U.S. Trade Representative released a proposed list of 1,300 goods including aerospace, medical and information technology products.

Subject to public review

That list will be subject to a public review process scheduled to run until late May.

“The total value of imports subject to the tariff increases is commensurate with an economic analysis of the harm caused by China’s unreasonable technology policies to the U.S. economy,” the USTR said.

The United States has accused China of pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology.

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said Wednesday that accusation is groundless, and that while China wants to resolve the trade dispute through dialogue, if the United States continues the fight then China will too.

Unlike the U.S. list, which includes many obscure industrial goods, China’s list targets cotton, frozen beef, soybeans and other agricultural products that are produced in states from Iowa to Texas that favored Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S.-China dispute has fueled concern it could stymie a global economic recovery if other countries raise their own import barriers.

The prospect of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies also has worried stock market investors. U.S. markets opened sharply lower Wednesday. Shortly after the markets opened, the S&P 500 Index fell 1.4 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.8 percent and the NASDAQ Composite Index was 1.6 percent lower.

Trump, however, dismissed the notion of a U.S.-China trade war on Wednesday, tweeting that previous U.S. administrations weakened the country’s ability to defend itself on trade matters.   

“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!”

In a subsequent tweet Trump seemed to imply the U.S.-China trade imbalance is so wide that there is only room for improvement.

“When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!”

Despite Trump’s claims, U.S. government figures show the U.S. had a $375 billion trade deficit with China at the end of 2017.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also dismissed concerns Wednesday about a burgeoning trade war with China and said recent trade actions between the two countries would probably lead to a negotiated agreement.

“It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the net outcome of all this is some sort of negotiation,” Ross said in an interview with CNBC.

Ross brushed off worries of a trade dispute, saying U.S. tariffs imposed on China amount to only 0.3 percent of America’s gross domestic product.

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said Wednesday that accusation is groundless, and that while China wants to resolve the trade dispute through dialogue, if the United States continues the fight then China will too.

 

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Mexico Vets, Disperses Central American Migrant ‘Caravan’

Mexican officials on Tuesday screened a dwindling group of hundreds of largely Central American migrants who are moving through Mexico toward the United States, seeking to break up the “caravan” that has drawn the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump, doubling down on his tough stance against illegal immigration, has railed against those making their way from the Guatemala-Mexico border in the past 10 days.

Trump repeated threats to torpedo the North American Free Trade Agreement, which underpins much of Mexico’s foreign trade, and said he wanted to send troops to the U.S. border to stop illegal immigrants until a long-promised border wall is built.

In response, the Mexican government has said the migrants are being vetted to determine whether they have a right to stay or will be returned to their countries of origin.

Stuck, waiting

Hundreds of men, women and children from Central America were stuck Tuesday in the town of Matias Romero in the poor southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, awaiting clarification of their legal status after officials began registering them.

Confused and frustrated by paperwork, many were uncertain about what lay in store, and desperate for information.

“What was the point of all this then if they don’t let us stay?” Elizabeth Avalos, 23, a migrant from El Salvador who was traveling with two children, said angrily. “There’s no food, my children haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

Hundreds of people camped out overnight in a park near the town’s train station, with shoes and bags strewn about.

Jaime Alexander Variega, 35, sat alone in a patch of shade and cupped his head in his hands, weeping or praying, his feet still bearing lacerations from walking for four or five days straight through Guatemala from El Salvador.

“We’re not safe in El Salvador,” said the former security guard, his hat smeared in dirt, explaining he had left his home because of the threats from local gangs. “I know it’s difficult to get into the United States. But it’s not impossible.”

Around them, Mexican migration officials with notepads and pens took basic information from the migrants, asking for names, nationalities, dates of birth and proof of identity.

The caravan was organized by U.S-based advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which seeks to draw attention to the rights of migrants and provide them with aid. The Mexican government says the caravan, which like others travels by road, rail and on foot, has been organized every year since 2010.

Numbers dwindle

Honduran Carlos Ricardo Ellis Garcia clutched a handwritten list of names belonging to more than 100 people who joined the caravan in the southern border town of Tapachula, where it began on March 25, reaching a peak of around 1,500 people.

But by Tuesday the number was down to about 1,100, according to Pueblo Sin Fronteras spokeswoman Gina Garibo.

Many had broken off from the group, eager to move on more quickly, she said. Many others aimed to stay in Mexico because they had family ties there or planned to work, Garibo said.

“Now they’re separating these groups,” Ellis Garcia said, referring to an estimated 300 people who split from the caravan on Monday. “I don’t know what’s the deal. We have no answers.”

Advocacy groups told Reuters dozens of people left the caravan and traveled to the crime-ridden eastern state of Veracruz, where they were met by migration officials and police.

The government said on Monday evening that about 400 people in the caravan had already been sent back to their home countries.

Geronimo Gutierrez, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, told CNN that Mexican authorities were “looking at the status of the individuals so we can proceed either with a repatriation process” or offer humanitarian relief. That could include granting asylum or humanitarian visas.

Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are among the most violent and impoverished countries in the Americas, prompting many people to leave in search of a better life.

Trump, who ran for office in 2016 on a platform to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico, said he had “told Mexico” he hoped it would halt the caravan.

Political problem

The migrant caravan also poses a political problem for Mexico’s unpopular government in a presidential election year.

President Enrique Pena Nieto is barred by law from seeking re-election in the July 1 vote, but the ruling party candidate is running third, well behind the front-runner.

The government does not want to be seen as kowtowing to threats by Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Mexico.

In a country where millions of people have friends or relatives who have migrated legally or illegally to the United States, many Mexicans harbor sympathy for the Central Americans.

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Mexico Vets, Disperses Central American Migrant ‘Caravan’

Mexican officials on Tuesday screened a dwindling group of hundreds of largely Central American migrants who are moving through Mexico toward the United States, seeking to break up the “caravan” that has drawn the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump, doubling down on his tough stance against illegal immigration, has railed against those making their way from the Guatemala-Mexico border in the past 10 days.

Trump repeated threats to torpedo the North American Free Trade Agreement, which underpins much of Mexico’s foreign trade, and said he wanted to send troops to the U.S. border to stop illegal immigrants until a long-promised border wall is built.

In response, the Mexican government has said the migrants are being vetted to determine whether they have a right to stay or will be returned to their countries of origin.

Stuck, waiting

Hundreds of men, women and children from Central America were stuck Tuesday in the town of Matias Romero in the poor southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, awaiting clarification of their legal status after officials began registering them.

Confused and frustrated by paperwork, many were uncertain about what lay in store, and desperate for information.

“What was the point of all this then if they don’t let us stay?” Elizabeth Avalos, 23, a migrant from El Salvador who was traveling with two children, said angrily. “There’s no food, my children haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

Hundreds of people camped out overnight in a park near the town’s train station, with shoes and bags strewn about.

Jaime Alexander Variega, 35, sat alone in a patch of shade and cupped his head in his hands, weeping or praying, his feet still bearing lacerations from walking for four or five days straight through Guatemala from El Salvador.

“We’re not safe in El Salvador,” said the former security guard, his hat smeared in dirt, explaining he had left his home because of the threats from local gangs. “I know it’s difficult to get into the United States. But it’s not impossible.”

Around them, Mexican migration officials with notepads and pens took basic information from the migrants, asking for names, nationalities, dates of birth and proof of identity.

The caravan was organized by U.S-based advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which seeks to draw attention to the rights of migrants and provide them with aid. The Mexican government says the caravan, which like others travels by road, rail and on foot, has been organized every year since 2010.

Numbers dwindle

Honduran Carlos Ricardo Ellis Garcia clutched a handwritten list of names belonging to more than 100 people who joined the caravan in the southern border town of Tapachula, where it began on March 25, reaching a peak of around 1,500 people.

But by Tuesday the number was down to about 1,100, according to Pueblo Sin Fronteras spokeswoman Gina Garibo.

Many had broken off from the group, eager to move on more quickly, she said. Many others aimed to stay in Mexico because they had family ties there or planned to work, Garibo said.

“Now they’re separating these groups,” Ellis Garcia said, referring to an estimated 300 people who split from the caravan on Monday. “I don’t know what’s the deal. We have no answers.”

Advocacy groups told Reuters dozens of people left the caravan and traveled to the crime-ridden eastern state of Veracruz, where they were met by migration officials and police.

The government said on Monday evening that about 400 people in the caravan had already been sent back to their home countries.

Geronimo Gutierrez, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, told CNN that Mexican authorities were “looking at the status of the individuals so we can proceed either with a repatriation process” or offer humanitarian relief. That could include granting asylum or humanitarian visas.

Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are among the most violent and impoverished countries in the Americas, prompting many people to leave in search of a better life.

Trump, who ran for office in 2016 on a platform to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico, said he had “told Mexico” he hoped it would halt the caravan.

Political problem

The migrant caravan also poses a political problem for Mexico’s unpopular government in a presidential election year.

President Enrique Pena Nieto is barred by law from seeking re-election in the July 1 vote, but the ruling party candidate is running third, well behind the front-runner.

The government does not want to be seen as kowtowing to threats by Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Mexico.

In a country where millions of people have friends or relatives who have migrated legally or illegally to the United States, many Mexicans harbor sympathy for the Central Americans.

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Facing Heat at Home, GOP Leaders May Rescind Some Spending

As Republicans run into a buzz saw of conservative criticism over a deficit-expanding new budget, GOP leaders and the White House are looking for ways to undo the damage by allowing President Donald Trump to rescind some of the spending he signed into law just 10 days ago.

Rolling back the funds would be a highly unusual move and could put some lawmakers in the potentially uncomfortable position of having to vote for specific spending opposed by a president from their party. But it would also offer Republicans a way to save face amid the backlash over the bill that conservatives, and Trump himself, complain gives too much money for Democratic priorities.

Trump has been talking with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, about the plan over the past couple of days, according to an aide to the House leader who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks. It is not clear how widely the idea has been embraced by other top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose offices declined to discuss it.

“There are conversations right now,” said Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy. “The administration and Congress and McCarthy are talking about it.”

The idea emerged as lawmakers get hammered back home for the $1.3 trillion spending package that, while beefing up funds for the military, also increases spending on transportation, child care and other domestic programs in a compromise with Democrats that Trump derided as a “waste” and “giveaways.”

Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law, after openly toying with a veto, has not quelled the unrest and may have helped fuel it.

“People are mad as hell about it and mad as hell that they put the president in that situation — that he sign the bill or shut the government down,” said Amy Kremer, a founder of the tea party and co-chairman of Women for Trump.

Kremer said Republicans in Congress have lost sight of the voters who propelled them to the majority on an agenda of fiscal restraint. “They are no better than the Democrats,” she said.

Lawmakers home on spring recess are feeling the brunt of the criticism. Representative Mark Amodei, a Republican from Nevada, said he encountered a finger-wagging voter back home almost as soon as he stepped off the airplane.

Fox News host Sean Hannity asked, “What happened to the Republican Party?” after Trump signed the bill. “Republicans should be ashamed of themselves,” he added.

In some ways, the rescission proposal is as close as Trump can get to the line-item veto, which he called on Congress to enact even though the Supreme Court decided in 1998 that it would violate the authority the Constitution gives Congress on legislation.

The idea centers on a rarely used provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impound Control Act. It allows the White House to propose rescinding funds and sets a 45-day clock for the House and Senate to vote.

Congress could simply ignore the president’s request and keep the funds in place.

Sparks didn’t specify how much spending could be rescinded or in what categories. But Trump would likely seek to focus on domestic spending he has attacked in recent tweets.

Trump has been particularly upset the package did not include $25 billion he sought for the border wall with Mexico, even after the bill burst through previously set budget caps for military and domestic spending.

Ryan and Trump have not yet talked this week, an aide to the speaker said, but likely will by week’s end.

Voting, though, could be difficult, even for fiscally conservative Republicans, since Trump’s targets may be popular projects or programs back home, said Gordon Gray, the director of Fiscal Policy at the center-right American Action Forum, who notes the rescission tool is not as popular as it was when introduced in the Nixon era more than 40 years ago.

Passage would not be certain, especially in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority.

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Facing Heat at Home, GOP Leaders May Rescind Some Spending

As Republicans run into a buzz saw of conservative criticism over a deficit-expanding new budget, GOP leaders and the White House are looking for ways to undo the damage by allowing President Donald Trump to rescind some of the spending he signed into law just 10 days ago.

Rolling back the funds would be a highly unusual move and could put some lawmakers in the potentially uncomfortable position of having to vote for specific spending opposed by a president from their party. But it would also offer Republicans a way to save face amid the backlash over the bill that conservatives, and Trump himself, complain gives too much money for Democratic priorities.

Trump has been talking with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, about the plan over the past couple of days, according to an aide to the House leader who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks. It is not clear how widely the idea has been embraced by other top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose offices declined to discuss it.

“There are conversations right now,” said Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy. “The administration and Congress and McCarthy are talking about it.”

The idea emerged as lawmakers get hammered back home for the $1.3 trillion spending package that, while beefing up funds for the military, also increases spending on transportation, child care and other domestic programs in a compromise with Democrats that Trump derided as a “waste” and “giveaways.”

Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law, after openly toying with a veto, has not quelled the unrest and may have helped fuel it.

“People are mad as hell about it and mad as hell that they put the president in that situation — that he sign the bill or shut the government down,” said Amy Kremer, a founder of the tea party and co-chairman of Women for Trump.

Kremer said Republicans in Congress have lost sight of the voters who propelled them to the majority on an agenda of fiscal restraint. “They are no better than the Democrats,” she said.

Lawmakers home on spring recess are feeling the brunt of the criticism. Representative Mark Amodei, a Republican from Nevada, said he encountered a finger-wagging voter back home almost as soon as he stepped off the airplane.

Fox News host Sean Hannity asked, “What happened to the Republican Party?” after Trump signed the bill. “Republicans should be ashamed of themselves,” he added.

In some ways, the rescission proposal is as close as Trump can get to the line-item veto, which he called on Congress to enact even though the Supreme Court decided in 1998 that it would violate the authority the Constitution gives Congress on legislation.

The idea centers on a rarely used provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impound Control Act. It allows the White House to propose rescinding funds and sets a 45-day clock for the House and Senate to vote.

Congress could simply ignore the president’s request and keep the funds in place.

Sparks didn’t specify how much spending could be rescinded or in what categories. But Trump would likely seek to focus on domestic spending he has attacked in recent tweets.

Trump has been particularly upset the package did not include $25 billion he sought for the border wall with Mexico, even after the bill burst through previously set budget caps for military and domestic spending.

Ryan and Trump have not yet talked this week, an aide to the speaker said, but likely will by week’s end.

Voting, though, could be difficult, even for fiscally conservative Republicans, since Trump’s targets may be popular projects or programs back home, said Gordon Gray, the director of Fiscal Policy at the center-right American Action Forum, who notes the rescission tool is not as popular as it was when introduced in the Nixon era more than 40 years ago.

Passage would not be certain, especially in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority.

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