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Here’s who qualified for the second Democratic debate

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WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee and CNN announced on Wednesday the 20 candidates that will be invited to participate in the second Democratic presidential primary debate at the end of the month.

The candidates invited to participate in that debate were:

Sen. Michael Bennet

Vice President Joe Biden

Sen. Cory Booker

Gov. Steve Bullock

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Sec. Julian Castro

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Rep. John Delaney

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kamala Harris*

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. Jay Inslee

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Rep. Tim Ryan

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Ms. Marianne Williamson

Mr. Andrew Yang

Candidates were able to qualify for the debate by getting support from at least 1 percent of voters polled in at least three national polls or early state polls, or by raising money from 65,000 unique donors. Most candidates qualified by meeting both criteria. Bennet, Bullock, de Blasio, Delaney, Hickenlooper, and Ryan qualified through polling only.

Not everyone who was on the first debate stage last month, hosted by NBC News, will be taking the stage this time around. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., has since dropped out of the race. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who did not make the cut for the NBC debate, will take his spot at the CNN debate.

The debate will be held in Detroit, Mich., and will be broken out into two nights, July 30 and 31. Ten candidates will be on the stage each night. The DNC and CNN will hold a random drawing Thursday night to determine the lineup for each night.

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People’s Vote group BITTERLY divided over Brexit – Campbell accused of ‘playing games’

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THE People’s Vote campaign is being torn apart by bitter infighting, with factions clashing over whether the movement should be openly backing the Remain campaign in the European Union, leaked messages showed.

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Rand Paul blocks bill to boost 9/11 victims fund

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday blocked a bipartisan bill that would ensure a victims’ compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.

Paul objected to a request by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to approve the bill by unanimous consent, which would fast-track approval.

Paul, R-Ky., questioned the bill’s 70-year time frame and said any new spending should be offset by corresponding cuts. The government already faces a $22 trillion debt, a figure that grows every year, Paul said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the 9/11 bill would result in about $10.2 billion in additional compensation payments over 10 years, including more than $4 billion for claims already filed.

Gillibrand said 9/11 first responders and their families have had “enough of political games.” The legislation has 74 Senate co-sponsors, including Gillibrand, and easily passed the House last week.

The bill would extend though 2092 a victims compensation fund created after the 2001 terrorist attacks, essentially making it permanent. The $7.4 billion fund is rapidly being depleted, and administrators recently cut benefit payments by up to 70%.

“Our 9/11 first responders and the entire nation are watching to see if this body actually cares … about the men and women who answered the call of duty” after the attacks, Gillibrand said.

As the World Trade Center towers began to crumble that day, “there was one group of men and women — our heroes, the bravest among us — who ran the opposite way,” Gillibrand said. “They ran toward danger. They raced up towers. They went into harm’s way to answer the call of duty.”

In the months after the attacks, first responders cleaned up the aftermath, breathing in toxic air amid smoke, burning metal, crushed glass and electronics and other hazards.

“These heroes have since had to quit doing the jobs they love, providing for the families they love because they’re too sick,” Gillibrand said. “They’ve had to give up their income. They’ve had to give up their dreams and their future. They’ve had to face the terrifying reality that they are actually going to die because of what they did on 9/11 and the months thereafter.”

She and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, also of New York, urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up the bill as soon as Thursday. McConnell, R-Ky., has agreed to call a vote before Congress goes on its August recess.

Schumer, Gillibrand and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., want McConnell to bring up the bill as a stand-alone measure and not package it with other legislation such as a broad budget and debt deal that would stave off the likelihood of a government shutdown this fall.

“The minute this bill hits the floor, it will pass,” Schumer said.

Debate over the measure comes a month after comedian Jon Stewart sharply criticized Congress for failing to act. Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, said lawmakers were showing “disrespect” to first responders now suffering from respiratory ailments and other illnesses as a result of their recovery work at the former World Trade Center site in New York City.

Stewart called the sparse attendance at a June 11 House hearing “an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution.” He later targeted McConnell for slow-walking a previous version of the legislation and using it as a “political pawn” to get other things done.

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