Duterte Allies Break Impasse on Philippine House Leadership

(Bloomberg) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives broke an impasse on the chamber’s leadership Tuesday, ahead of a special session called to pass next year’s 4.5 trillion-peso ($93 billion) budget.

Alan Peter Cayetano wearing a suit and tie: Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.

© Photographer: NOEL CELIS/AFP
Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.

Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano on Facebook said he’s resigning as House Speaker, as the election of his challenger Lord Allan Velasco was formalized by 186 lawmakers. Duterte will meet the two lawmakers this afternoon to push for the approval of the 2021 budget, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a separate briefing.

Philippines’ 2021 Budget Hangs as Duterte House Allies Clash

The resolution of the House leadership row removes a hurdle in the passage of next year’s budget, which is seen to help boost the economy that Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said may shrink more than expected this year by up to 9%.

Cayetano and Velasco entered into a term-sharing deal last year, where the latter will be speaker starting next month. The rivalry resurfaced last month when an ally of Velasco accused Cayetano of allocating more infrastructure funds to some lawmakers — an allegation he denied.

(Adds comment from Duterte spokesman, more details from 2nd paragraph)

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House Speaker Pelosi Says Coronavirus Stimulus Talks With White House at Impasse

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said negotiations with the White House over a new coronavirus aid package remained at an impasse Sunday, as Senate Republicans remain wary of more spending.

In a letter to House Democrats on Sunday, Mrs. Pelosi said the administration’s latest $1.9 trillion offer, submitted Saturday, provided inadequate funding and no national plan for testing, contact tracing and treatment of the coronavirus.

“This past week, the president demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally. This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the administration on Saturday,” Mrs. Pelosi wrote. “Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse.”

House Democrats have pushed for $75 billion and a national plan for testing, tracing and treatment of the virus. Mrs. Pelosi said in her letter that the White House plan included about $45 billion in new funding, lacked a national plan for testing and tracing and didn’t address the virus’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

President Trump in brief comments on the issue said Republicans were still eager to reach an agreement.

“Republicans want to do it. We’re having a hard time with Nancy Pelosi,” he said Sunday on Fox News.

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah told reporters the White House offer was around $1.8 trillion. A person familiar with the proposal said it included $1.88 trillion in spending, with about $400 billion of the funds reallocated from unspent money from earlier relief legislation, bringing the total cost to about $1.5 trillion.

Mr. Trump faces resistance from some Republicans wary of approving more federal aid after Congress authorized around $3 trillion in coronavirus relief since March.

During a conference call Saturday morning with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, several Senate Republicans said they were opposed to passing another large aid package, according to people familiar with the call. Mr. Meadows said he would bring their concerns back to President Trump, suggesting he expected a less than warm reception by joking that as a result the lawmakers would have to attend his funeral, according to the people.

The pushback from Senate Republicans comes after the White House increased its offer on Friday to House Speaker Pelosi in the on-again, off-again effort to reach an agreement on a fifth aid package before the election. The new bid calls for nearly $1.9 trillion in spending, with about $400 billion of the funds reallocated from unspent money from earlier legislation, bringing the total cost to about $1.5 trillion, according to a person familiar with the offer.

That proposal comes closer to the $2.2 trillion plan that House Democrats approved earlier this month, though major differences between the Democrats and the White House remain. In a letter to House Democrats Saturday, Mrs. Pelosi wrote that the new offer from the White House “amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”

The two sides have edged closer on one contentious

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From the Kitchen: Keep-it-simple recipes to try when you’re at an impasse | From The Kitchen

School. It’s started. And how! Zoom school, home school, schoology, e-learning, virtual school, in-person school. Whew!

Those days are well in the past for lots of us but we have grandtots who are in the scholarly stratosphere from pre-K to grad school and we feel the emotions of the roller coaster that students, parents and teachers are now on regarding school.

I looked for recipes today that I thought would be appealing and easy to make — not on a busy weekday morning, but sometime where there is breathing room to be in the kitchen for a few minutes.

The standard for monkey bread is to layer several stacks of biscuit dough into a tube pan, covered with a syrupy sauce. I was never certain any of the inner pieces were baking through.

Baking in a single layer somewhat eliminates that pull-and-peek motion you have to employ for the bundt pan version to see if the inside is still “doughy.”

Chili mac is a time-honored dish to set before picky palates. French’s makes it easy with just a few ingredients and their seasoning packet. There isn’t any standing over a pot or simmering for hours. A mixing of ingredients and 20 minutes is all you need.

The ground beef can be ground turkey, ground chicken, a soy meat crumble or substituted with chopped squash, mushrooms or more beans. Whatever your family likes.

The pepperoni bites are best served hot from the oven. You might remember them, not only as an after-school snack but also as an appetizer or party food when you are able to have a gathering. I won’t tell if you make them just for yourself alone — no crowd.

They are unassuming, just another way of having a pepperoni pizza, but with a couple of twists: individual servings, made with puff pastry. You will look like a fancy cook and delight everyone when they bite into the crisp and flaky pastry.

You don’t have to stick with pepperoni. Crumbled cooked Italian sausage would work well. Or you could just go for cheese and sauce alone.

The keep-it-simple recipes today may give you some ideas if you are at a “what to make” impasse.

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