The TAKE with Averi Harper
On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took credit for resolving a crisis that he had a hand in creating by his prior refusal to raise the debt ceiling. He announced a deal with Democrats to temporarily keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, which experts say would have had catastrophic effects.
"The Senate is moving toward the plan I laid out last night to spare the American people from an unprecedented crisis," McConnell said, later adding, "The majority didn’t have a plan to prevent default, so we stepped forward."
In a vote Thursday night, not a single Republican voted with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. The final vote passed the Senate 50-48. The deal is slated to raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion, ABC News' Trish Turner reported. The sum is what the Treasury Department has said it needs to pay its bills through Dec. 3.
The kicked-can of a deal sets up a bigger battle in early December. In addition to again having to address the debt ceiling, the new deadline will coincide with the end of the stop-gap deal to fund the federal government.
White House officials say they will work with Democratic Senate leadership to find a path forward in December, though they wouldn’t reveal if the president would support using the Democrats-only budget reconciliation process as a long-term resolution for the debt ceiling.
"There’s nothing stopping Congress from addressing the debt limit through regular order, which is what we have been asking for," deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
Ahead of the latest labor data release, President Joe Biden continued his push for vaccinations through a two-pronged approach in Illinois on Thursday. The president highlighted his administration's support for employer-mandated vaccination requirements by reiterating the risks unvaccinated Americans pose not only to public health, but also to the nation's economic recovery after a difficult financial year.
"The unvaccinated patients are leaving no room for someone with a heart attack or a need of a cancer operation and so much more because they can't get into the ICU. They can't get into the operating rooms. The unvaccinated also put our economy at risk because people are reluctant to go out," Biden said.
The president also noted an upcoming "emergency rule" to be put forth by the Labor Department that will "require all employers with more than 100 people -- whether they work for the federal government or not -- (to be) fully vaccinated or face testing at least once a week."
Although Biden admitted that implementing a broader vaccine mandate policy wasn't a move he initially supported, the ongoing refusal of eligible vaccine recipients to get the shot changed his outlook.
Going forward, the converging issues of pandemic management and the economy present an overlapping opportunity for Biden to overcome recent dips in polling -- according to Quinnipiac, 50% of Americans currently disapprove of his handling of the pandemic, and 55% disapprove of his handling of the economy.
The TIP with Meg Cunningham
There was no significant fraud in Maricopa County, Arizona, during the 2020 election, partisan election reviewers reaffirmed in testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday.
The state Senate-ordered review of the county’s presidential election detailed its findings from September, nearly 11 months after the election. After over $6 million in costs from private donors, the review concluded once again that President Joe Biden won the election in Maricopa County.
"The most significant findings of the audit is that the hand count of the physical ballots very closely matches the county's official results in the presidential and U.S. Senate races," former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who served as the Senate’s liaison with auditors, said in his testimony.
Still, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who has supported the claims about fraud in the election, said in the hearing Thursday that "we don't know" if Biden won the election. Despite the report's findings, Biggs, Trump and other Arizona Republicans are asserting that election integrity was compromised, as similar efforts ramp up across the country to "audit" the 2020 results.
THE PLAYLIST ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.
On Friday morning ABC's Sony Salzman will explain the FDA's decision-making process on Pfizer's vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. Then, ABC News' Matt Gutman is in California with an update on the oil spill and its possible causes. And, ABC's Aaron Katersky reports on the NBA insurance fraud scandal. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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