A Debt Deal May Be Near, but the Drama Is Not Over

Plus, how will “Succession” end? Here’s the latest at the end of Friday.

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By Matthew Cullen and Justin Porter

After days of marathon sessions between House Republicans and the White House, negotiators are closing in on a deal and beginning to draft legislative text.

While some details are still in flux, the agreement would raise the debt limit for two years while imposing strict caps on discretionary spending not related to the military or veterans. The deal would meet Republicans’ demand to cut some federal spending and allow Democrats to say they had spared most domestic programs from significant cuts.

“Kevin McCarthy needs to be able to say that they cut spending,” our colleague Carl Hulse said. “They’re trying to find a way to do that in a bill that Democrats can still vote for.”

Several right-wing Republicans have already vowed to oppose a compromise that retreats too far from their initial demands. That would force the House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, to find more Democratic votes.

Even if McCarthy and President Biden come to an agreement over the next few days, there is no guarantee that the measure could pass both the House and the Senate before June 5 — the day the Treasury projects it could run out of money to pay its bills.

“The drama is just starting,” Carl said. “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

For more: Here’s what might happen if the U.S. defaults on its debt.

Erdogan is expected to win re-election

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been playing to the crowds at campaign rallies ahead of the closely watched runoff election this Sunday against the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Erdogan has stuck to the narrative that only he can lead Turkey to become a global power, spending little time on the country’s economic woes.

“Most people are operating under the assumption that Erdogan is going to win,” Ben Hubbard, our Istanbul bureau chief, told us.

Texas Republicans move to impeach the state A.G.

The Republican-dominated Texas House is set to vote tomorrow on the impeachment of Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general and a Republican. A House panel recommended that he be removed for a range of abuses and potential crimes, including using his office to benefit a specific donor.

The move thrust the State Capitol and its Republican leadership into uncharted political territory, setting the stage for the House to hold a vote on impeachment — its first in decades, and one of the few ever conducted in the state’s history.

Colleges brace for race-blind admissions

Over the next month, the Supreme Court is expected to declare an end to affirmative action as we know it. While the scope of the ruling is still unknown, the American college admissions system is not waiting for the court to act. One widely used universal application is rolling out an option to allow universities to hide information about an applicant’s race.

The move is aimed primarily at immunizing colleges from litigation. But it could also put more pressure on applicants to signal their racial and ethnic background through essays or teacher recommendations, which are expected to be protected under the Supreme Court’s ruling.

More top news

Health: Hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans have lost Medicaid coverage in recent weeks, including many who still qualify for benefits.

Ukraine: Watchdogs described the leader of an anti-Kremlin group as a neo-Nazi.

Canada: A conservative party in Alberta has taken a hard right turn in recent years. An election on Monday will test whether its voters will follow.

Economy: The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation climbed 4.4 percent last month, a slight increase from March.

Banks: JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, was scheduled to be deposed today for two lawsuits claiming that the bank ignored signs about Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking.

Washington: A little-known pandemic-era tax credit has spawned a cottage industry of firms helping businesses access benefits, often in violation of federal rules.

New York: Mayor Eric Adams signed into law banning discrimination based on a person’s weight.

Labor: Predawn picket lines have helped writers disrupt Hollywood studio productions.


In “Succession,” the rich are very, very different

On Sunday, the finale of the HBO drama “Succession” will answer the question (or not) of who inherits the media empire of the late tyrant Logan Roy.

In many ways, “Succession” is the heir to rich-people soaps like the 1980s show “Dallas,” our colleague James Poniewozik writes. Since then, American wealth inequality has risen sharply. And unlike those earlier series, “Succession” portrays the problems of the hyper-wealthy as inevitably becoming ours, too.

For more: Here are five big questions heading into the finale. Some viewers are placing bets on who will succeed.

“The Little Mermaid” changes are only skin deep

Disney’s live-action/C.G.I. remake, which arrives in theaters today, stars Halle Bailey as Ariel alongside a diverse cast. It’s dutiful, defensive and desperate for approval, our critic Wesley Morris writes.

Only one number — a rap called “The Scuttlebutt” with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda — stands out. “Watching it, you realize why the rest of the movie plays it so safe,” Wesley writes. “Because fun is some risky business.”

This is how the director Rob Marshall adapted the musical number “Under the Sea.” And here are 13 other differences between the remake and the classic 1989 animated film.

Dinner table topics

A final film: At Cannes, Quentin Tarantino played it coy about “The Movie Critic,” but he might have dropped one major hint.

A year of grief: The actress Ashley Judd on how she coped with the loss of her mother, the country music singer Naomi Judd.

Blockbuster book: Gabrielle Zevin didn’t expect her novel about video game designers to find an audience. Then it became a best seller.

Life changing: They knew almost nothing about oysters when they left their city life behind. Now they’re raising two million of them.


Cook: From fall-apart ribs to easy pasta salads, check out our tasty Memorial Day recipes.

Stock up: Here’s a list of everything you need for a barbecue.

Watch: David Attenborough narrates a lush dinosaur documentary on Apple TV+.

Read: These five beach novels go well with sand and sunscreen. You can also browse our full collection of summer reads.

Listen: Check out a classical album, “Dystonia,” from a composer best known for writing antic cartoon theme music.

Exercise: Incentivize yourself to get fit by turning your workout into a game.

Spell: Can you guess these 10 wacky words from the Scripps Spelling Bee?

Compete: Take this week’s news quiz.

Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. Find all our games here.


Are the Hamptons still hip?

Sometime after the existence of Pangea but before Gwyneth Paltrow bought a place there, the Hamptons formed as a region on the southeastern end of Long Island. The combination of seclusion, square footage and ocean waves eventually created a unique cachet.

But for many young people, the Hamptons have lost their luster. They represent a conspicuous wealth that isn’t as celebrated as it may have been in the 1990s and 2000s. Extremely expensive housing (even for trailer parks), an influx of permanent residents during the pandemic, and a crackdown on nightlife have made the area less desirable for those seeking summertime hedonism.

Have a cool weekend.

Thanks for reading. We’ll be off on Monday for Memorial Day. Matthew will be back on Tuesday. — Matthew and Justin

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We welcome your feedback. Let us know what you think at [email protected].

Justin Porter is an editor on the Briefings newsletter team at The Times.

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