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Up First briefing: House budget dispute; Zelenskyy in D.C.; Simone Biles makes history

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is working to contain a revolt by hard-line members of his party that could threaten his job as speaker and a potential government shutdown.
Kevin Dietsch
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Getty Images
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is working to contain a revolt by hard-line members of his party that could threaten his job as speaker and a potential government shutdown.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top news

House Republicans are at war with themselves as a government shutdown is less than two weeks away. They tried to pass a spending bill this week, but a group of far-right representatives are blocking their own party.

  • These hardline conservatives want steeper spending cuts than what was already decided on in the debt ceiling bill House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden made in May, NPR's Deirdre Walsh says on Up First. The members oppose any "continuing resolution" to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. They want to see McCarthy move all of the spending bills.  


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is traveling to Washington today to make his case for the United States' continued support for his country's fight against Russia. Zelenskyy spoke with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep ahead of his trip.

  • Inskeep describes Zelenskyy as "very impressive" but also senses the stress he is under. "He's one person," he says. Inskeep adds their conversation became contentious when it turned to Ukraine's national elections, which are supposed to take place next year. Zelenskyy cited difficulties holding elections in a war zone and emphasized that a "whole Ukraine [would] need to want that." 


Louisiana's Baton Rouge Police Department is facing several lawsuits related to accusations of brutality. The suits allege civil rights violations took place at a warehouse known as the "Brave Cave," where police illegally searched members of the public and held them for interrogation. The Street Crimes Unit using the warehouse has been disbanded, and an investigation is ongoing.

  • WRKF's Aubry Procell says civil rights attorneys called the site a "torture warehouse." A lawsuit filed on behalf of Jeremy Lee alleges he was beaten. Another suit alleges Ternell Brown was illegally strip-searched. Procell says Chief of Police Murphy Paul and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome seemed "caught by surprise" when the news broke.


Nearly half a million Venezuelans in the U.S. will be eligible for work permits and granted temporary relief from deportation after the Biden administration announced yesterday an expansion of the Temporary Protected Status program to include them.

  • The White House has been under pressure from Democrats to speed up the work authorization process, NPR's Joel Rose says. In New York, thousands of migrants living in homeless shelters have strained resources. Rose says immigrant advocates responded positively to the decision to expand TPS. But Republicans and immigration hardliners are not pleased and said it would encourage more migration from Venezuela. 

Enlighten me

Jia Tolentino talks about God and psychedelics and finding comfort in chaos.
/ Elena Mudd
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Elena Mudd
Jia Tolentino talks about God and psychedelics and finding comfort in chaos.

Enlighten Me is a special series with Rachel Martin about what it takes to build a life of meaning.

Jia Tolentino, a staff writer for The New Yorker, was raised in an evangelical megachurch. She says she enjoyed how worship helped dissolve the boundaries around her and made her feel part of a "nebulous collective." When she stopped believing in God, she sought the same ego dissolution in music, art and drugs. She experienced it again when she had kids — in her interactions with them and during their births.

Picture show

Brother and sister Boujemaa and Aicha Ounasser return home to their birthplace in the Atlas Mountains on Sept. 12 to view the rubble of the devastating earthquake in Tnirte, Morocco.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
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Carol Guzy for NPR
Brother and sister Boujemaa and Aicha Ounasser return home to their birthplace in the Atlas Mountains on Sept. 12 to view the rubble of the devastating earthquake in Tnirte, Morocco.

When a powerful earthquake hit Morocco earlier this month, brother and sister Boujemaa and Aicha Ounasser only felt tremors. But the mountain village they grew up in was near the epicenter. After living in different cities, the pair returned after six years to find piles of clay bricks and debris where their idyllic home used to be. See photos of the Ounasser siblings and other survivors taking stock of their losses and read about their experience.

3 things to know before you go

Simone Biles continues to soar: 10 years after putting elite gymnastics on notice, she's now heading to her sixth World Championships. Biles is seen here during the floor routine at last month's U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
Loren Elliot / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Simone Biles continues to soar: 10 years after putting elite gymnastics on notice, she's now heading to her sixth World Championships. Biles is seen here during the floor routine at last month's U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

  1. Simone Biles made history this week when she became the only U.S. woman to qualify for six World Gymnastics Championships
  2. Are Clorox wipes out of stock at your grocery store? No, it's not pandemic supply chain issues. The company is struggling to meet demand after a cyberattack last month.
  3. After a decades-long legal battle, seven works of art by Austrian artist Egon Schiele stolen by Nazis have been returned to the heirs of their original owner, who died in a concentration camp.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Suzanne Nuyen