ESSENTIAL #1: “LAWMAKERS SOUND BIPARTISAN ALARM AFTER RESIGNATION BY DEFENSE SECRETARY JIM MATTIS” JESSICA TAYLOR, NPR
From the article: “Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike, along with military leaders, are reacting with sadness and concern over Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' sudden resignation announcement.
A retired Marine Corps four-star general, Mattis is widely seen as one of the most respected members of President Trump's Cabinet and was confirmed by the Senate on the same day as Trump's inauguration in a near-unanimous vote.
In his resignation letter, Mattis drew a clear distinction between himself and the president. ‘My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held,’ he wrote.
‘"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.’”
ESSENTIAL #2: “PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS ACCUSED OF MISTREATING PREGNANT EMPLOYEES” NATALIE KITROEFF AND JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the article: “Discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers remains widespread in the American workplace. It is so pervasive that even organizations that define themselves as champions of women are struggling with the problem.
That includes Planned Parenthood, which has been accused of sidelining, ousting or otherwise handicapping pregnant employees, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.
In interviews and legal documents, women at Planned Parenthood and other organizations with a feminist bent described discrimination that violated federal or state laws — managers considering pregnancy in hiring decisions, for example, or denying rest breaks recommended by a doctor.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “TRUMP WARNS OF A ‘VERY LONG’ GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IF DEMOCRATS OPPOSE BILL THAT INCLUDES BORDER WALL MONEY” JOHN WAGNER AND DAMIAN PALETTA, THE WASHINGTON POST
From the article: “As the shutdown looms, Trump has invited a group of Senate Republicans to the White House for a 10:30 a.m. meeting, White press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday morning.
After Trump threatened Thursday to veto a Senate measure that did not contain the border funding he sought, the House hurried to appease the president, pulling together a bill that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8 while also allocating $5.7 billion for the border wall. The House bill also included nearly $8 billion for disaster relief for hurricanes and wildfires.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “TRUMP SIGNS $867 BILLION FARM BILL, TIGHTENING RULES FOR FOOD STAMP RECIPIENT” PAULINA DEDAJ, FOX NEWS
From the article: “President Trump on Thursday signed a $867 billion farm bill that will secure more funding for farmers hurt by the trade war with China and tighten rules for food stamp recipients.
Trump called the measure a ‘bipartisan success’ and extended a special thank you to Democratic lawmakers for their role in crafting the bill: ‘We are ensuring that American agriculture will always feed our families, nourish our communities, power our commerce and inspire our nation.’”