Daily Briefing: Rep. Ilhan Omar ousted from key committee
The House voted on party lines to oust Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Also in the news: An impending water conflict in the West and our predictions for the 65th annual Grammy Awards (Adele, Beyoncé or Harry Styles?).
🙋🏼♀️ I'm Nicole Fallert, Daily Briefing author. Starting to shop for spring? Check out these early President's Day sales.
Now, here we go with Friday's news.
GOP removes Rep. Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee
The Republican-led House voted along party lines to remove Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over previous comments she made about Israel that members of both parties viewed as antisemitic. Republican leaders have threatened to take action against Omar over a number of controversial statements she's made since she came to Capitol Hill in 2019.
Omar said on the House floor Thursday that the vote to remove her is about more than silencing her voice: "This debate today is about who gets to be an American."
Political revenge? GOP calls to remove Omar got louder last year when the Democrat-led House stripped Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., of committee assignments for menacing social media posts. Both GOP lawmakers have been reinstated to committees this Congress.
What has Omar said about Israel? A prominent progressive in Congress, Omar, who is Muslim, has been a fierce critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians and routinely questions U.S. aid to the Middle East ally.
A colleague hits back: There is nothing consistent with the Republican Party's continued attack, except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in a retort to her Republican colleagues after the House voted along party lines to remove Omar.
US plans to expand its military presence in Philippines
The U.S. will nearly double its military presence in the Philippines under an agreement announced Thursday, part of an effort to counter China’s threats to Taiwan and growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Though new sites were not officially disclosed, multiple news reports said the U.S. had asked for sites in Cagayan, Palawan, Isabela and Zambales. The expansion is part of an American armed forces realignment along the Pacific Rim. Working with allies, the U.S. will use sites in Japan, Australia, Guam and the Philippines as quick-response bases against possible Chinese attacks. Read more
Chinese spy balloon spotted in American skies, Pentagon says; US weighed shooting it down.
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Ice storm death toll rises to 10 in South
The death count in an intense winter weather system increased to 10 – seven of them in Texas – and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were out of power as of Thursday as a multi-day cold front brought ice, sleet and snow. Now the main trouble area becomes the North, where wind chills could dip as low as minus 50 because of a cold front moving in from Canada. New England in particular is forecast to see the coldest weather in decades, with wind chills that could dive lower than minus 50. Read more
The Farmers' Almanac says it'll be a ''soggy, shivery'' spring. What will the weather be in your state?
Western water crisis looms as California complicates critical water deal
A water crisis is looming in the West as seven states struggle to agree on how to divide water from the mighty Colorado River. The months-long effort got more complex this week when California rejected a plan the other six states had put together, tossing an already contentious process into disarray. This all matters because the river provides a significant amount of the water that makes life in the West possible. From Denver to Los Angeles, more than 40 million people depend on it to keep their farms flourishing and taps flowing. Here's what to know about the West’s brewing water war.
Lake Erie water levels continue falling from record highs. Here's every Great Lakes' 2023 forecast.
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Who will win at the 65th annual Grammy Awards?
We’ll learn the victors Sunday when the 65th annual Grammys Awards, hosted for the third time by Trevor Noah, air live on CBS and Paramount+ (8 p.m. ET/5 PT) from the Crypto.com Arena, formerly the Staples Center, in Los Angeles. Who will win album of the year? While history would be made if Bad Bunny snuck in with a win for the first all-Spanish language album nominated in the top category, this one is a three-way tug of war among Beyoncé, Adele and Harry Styles. Read our predictions here.
Every Grammy best new artist winner (and the stars who should have won instead).
📷 Photo of the day: Groundhog Day 2023 📷
It's official: We will have a longer winter, according to America's beloved groundhog meteorologist. Punxsutawney Phil rose from his burrow and saw his shadow Thursday morning in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in front of a large Groundhog Day crowd as the nation anxiously waited to see what he would predict. Phil spotting his shadow means we will have six more weeks of winter, according to lore. Click here to see more photos from Groundhog Day.
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Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note? Shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.
Associated Press contributed reporting.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rep. Ilhan Omar, Philippines, winter weather, Grammy Awards, Groundhog Day: Daily Briefing