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Vox Sentences: The government will not shut down (for now)

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Congress staves off a government shutdown for another two weeks; South Carolina cop Michael Slager is sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing Walter Scott; Argentina's former president is facing arrest.

Crisis (temporarily) averted

Olivier Douliery — Pool/Getty Images
  • One after the other, the House and the Senate passed a stopgap spending bill today to keep the government funded for the next two weeks. [Politico / John Bresnahan, Sarah Ferris, and Rachael Bade]
  • In doing so, Congress has put off the possibility of a looming government shutdown, at least for a few more weeks. The next shutdown deadline is a few days before Christmas. [NYT / Thomas Kaplan]
  • Democrats in the Senate actually have leverage to try to get some of their demands in the end-of-year spending bill, or hold up its progress. And they have a lot of demands, including immigration reform and money for Children’s Health Insurance Program and the opioid crisis. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • While there’s not a lot of appetite for a government shutdown among Democrats, immigration activists in particular have been putting fierce pressure on Democratic senators to oppose any spending bill that doesn’t have what they call a “clean” DREAM Act, a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers. They also want a bill that doesn’t include money for a border wall or enhanced border security. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
  • They’ve already gotten commitment from six liberal Democrats that they’ll oppose a spending bill without the DREAM Act but are trying to get more. Activists held a huge protest on Capitol Hill yesterday, complete with arrests, and more were holding sit-ins in congressional offices today. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
  • But getting Democrats to unify could be a tall order, because senators are having trouble agreeing over what their end-of-year spending bill priorities should be. [Washington Post / Ed O’Keefe and Mike DeBonis]
  • Trump and congressional leaders met on Thursday at the White House to negotiate over spending. Trump has already accused the Democrats of being obstructionists, while Democratic leaders have said if a shutdown occurs, the blame will fall on the Republicans, as they are the party in power. [Reuters / Susan Cornwell and Jeff Mason]

The cop who killed Walter Scott has been convicted of murder

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison today for murdering an unarmed black man named Walter Scott in a 2015 shooting. [NYT / Alan Blinder]
  • The shooting of Scott was captured on camera and went viral, sparking outrage and protests. As an unarmed Scott ran from Slager, the police officer raised his gun and fired at least eight times, killing Scott. [NPR / Colin Dwyer]
  • The fact that Slager was charged with murder and given such a stiff sentence is notable, given that other police officers tried for fatal shootings have gotten off without punishment. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • It's hard to convict police officers for fatal shootings because the law is incredibly generous when it comes to granting officers use of deadly force. A police officer only has to perceive that his or her life could be in danger, or believe that a person fleeing could put others' lives in danger. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Slager has already served one year of his sentence, and because he was sentence in federal court, he’s not eligible for parole. Unless he appeals his case and wins, it's very likely that he’ll serve the entire thing. [Post and Courier / Andrew Knapp and Brenda Rindge]
  • Addressing the court and Slager today, Scott’s family said they were satisfied to see justice served but added that the criminal justice system still has a long way to go. They also addressed Slager personally, telling him they forgave him. [Post and Courier / Andrew Knapp and Brenda Rindge]

Argentina’s former president was just indicted for treason

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • There’s a warrant out for the arrest of Argentina’s former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, after a federal in the country indicted her today on charges of treason. [Washington Post / Max Radwin and Anthony Faiola]
  • The case Fernández is being implicated in is bizarre, and decades old. Specifically, she is being accused of trying to cover up Iranian involvement in a 1994 bombing at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead, in exchange for a favorable trade deal with Iran. [Guardian / Uki Goni]
  • Fernández served as the Argentine president from 2007 to 2015 and was recently sworn in as a senator. Judge Carlos Bonadio today lifted the immunity that Fernández had as a senator, permitting her arrest. [Associated Press]
  • Argentine prosecutors have been investigating the bombing and what government officials may have known about it for years. In 2015, the special prosecutor on the case, Alberto Nisman, was found dead in his home. Nisman had also alleged Fernández's involvement. [Al Jazeera / Teresa Bo]
  • The arrest warrant Bonadio issued today is based on Nisman’s investigation. [Deutsche Welles]
  • Fernández has pushed back on the accusations, saying Bonadio is out to get her for political reasons. The Senate will also have to vote on lifting her immunity before she can be arrested; however, two of her political allies were recently arrested as well. [BBC]


  • Researchers have found that narwhals are bad at handling stress, instead using up “almost all of their energy in an instant by essentially stopping their hearts while thrashing as hard as they can to swim away.” Honestly, same. [Quartz / Katherine Ellen Foley]
  • It turns out the mystery buyer who paid $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting is Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. [WSJ / Shane Harris, Kelly Crow, and Summer Said]
  • We might finally get that big, beautiful infrastructure plan President Trump has been talking about so much. [Bloomberg / Mark Niquette]
  • Here’s a campaign ploy you don’t see every day: Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has promised that he and his wife will ride on horseback to the polls on December 12, continuing a longstanding tradition of Moore’s. No word on if they will pass the Gadsden Mall. [The Hill / Avery Anapol]


Watch this: The US medical system is still haunted by slavery

Black women's history matters in medicine. [YouTube / Ranjani Chakraborty]

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