A Vote on the Debt Deal

The House will vote tonight on a bipartisan plan to suspend the nation’s debt ceiling for two years and limit spending as lawmakers race to act before a looming default.

The legislation is a product of intense negotiations between President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who demanded concessions from Democrats in exchange for suspending the borrowing limit.

To push the bill through with a 218-vote majority, McCarthy will need to cobble together a coalition of Republicans willing to back it and enough Democrats to make up for what was shaping up to be a substantial number of G.O.P. defections. McCarthy predicted that he would have the necessary votes by around 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, when the final vote is expected. (We are covering it live.)

My colleague Catie Edmondson told me that the bill was likely to pass, but that “something could always blow up.” The vote comes just days ahead of a June 5 deadline, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the U.S. will run out of cash to pay all of its bills on time.

Final passage of the debt deal — which is also expected to pass in the Senate in the coming days — would be seen by leaders of both parties as a success. Biden will have avoided a potentially catastrophic default while limiting the impact of the budget cuts. And McCarthy will have managed to cut federal spending by $1.5 trillion over a decade, a key conservative priority.

But meaningful elements of both parties are unhappy with the compromise — and the number of Republican defections tonight could offer a window into McCarthy’s strength as a leader.

Insurance companies, tired of losing money, are raising rates, restricting coverage or pulling out of some areas altogether — making it more expensive for people to live in their homes.

In California, the largest homeowner insurance company, State Farm, announced this month that it would stop selling coverage to homeowners throughout the entire state. In parts of eastern Kentucky, the price of flood insurance is set to quadruple, and most big insurers have already pulled out of Florida. The trend demonstrates that the climate crisis is becoming a financial crisis.

Around 6:30 a.m. today, residents of South Korea’s capital received cellphone alerts from the government that urged them to “prepare to evacuate” — children and the elderly and weak first. Panic quickly spread across the city of 10 million as news spread that North Korea had fired a rocket. After about 30 minutes, the government said it was a “false alarm.”

For many South Koreans, the incident was a disturbing sign that the country was unprepared to handle a real emergency.

After the Cold War, the Energy Department was tasked with cleaning up tens of millions of gallons of highly radioactive sludge left over from the production of nuclear bombs in states like South Carolina, Washington, Ohio and Idaho. But its original plan — to embed the waste in glass and deposit it in a repository such as the mountains of the Nevada desert — ran into a number of hurdles.

Now, the federal government appears to be seriously considering leaving the waste buried in aging underground tanks.

You probably know the song: a six-minute radio hit that starts out as a piano ballad, becomes a high-pitched opera, then tumbles into a headbanger’s anthem — redefining what pop music could be. But it’s possible that Queen’s 1975 hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” almost didn’t exist — at least in name. 

An early draft of the song by Freddie Mercury, Queen’s frontman, suggests that he once considered giving the anthem a different title. On that draft, Mercury wrote “Mongolian Rhapsody” near the top, then crossed out the first word and added “Bohemian” above it. The pages, and thousands of Mercury’s belongings, are being auctioned off later this year.

The James Beard awards, which are considered the most prestigious culinary honors in the U.S., have been overhauled in recent years following a number of high-profile revelations of workplace abuse in the restaurant world. When the awards are handed out next week, the group behind them will have attempted to weed out chefs with troubling histories.

That process involves investigating award finalists and looking into anonymous tips. However, some early subjects of scrutiny have called the new process “an interrogation” and believe it has troubles of its own.

You may have heard of a firehouse Dalmatian, or perhaps even a cat, but at Engine Company 239 in New York City, the firefighters have a different sort of mascot: a pig named Penny.

The small pink pig — whose owner, the firefighter Darren Harris, takes her to work with him — has become a minor celebrity: She headlined a benefit at a yoga studio in May and flew to Hollywood for the taping of a television program. Aside from changing the company’s menu (they no longer eat pork), Penny mostly lays low — as long as the firefighters keep an ample supply of Cheerios.

Have an adorable evening.

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