Gaza borders remain shut and Senate’s first-ever mental health caucus : Morning Rundown

In today’s newsletter: Biden warns Israel against re-occupying Gaza. Companies are trying to get insurance to cover their weight loss drugs. And Rite Aid files for bankruptcy. Here’s what to know today.A hopeful crowd gathered at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing this morning as it remained uncertain whether or when the only non-Israeli-controlled exit out of Gaza would re-open. All sides are denying any cease-fire agreement to allow foreign national Palestinians to evacuate to Egypt and allow much-needed aid in.

Israelis living near the northern border with Lebanon are being evacuated from the area, where Israel has been trading fire with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. In the port city of Haifa, Americans who want to get out of Israel are waiting to board a cruise ship that will take them to Cyprus where they can then take commercial flights home.

Officials have now identified and notified the families of 199 Israeli hostages captured during the surprise attack led by Hamas. The Israeli military had put the number of hostages at 155 yesterday.Israel’s Security Cabinet will meet today at 1 p.m. ET, the Prime Minister’s office announced this morning. The meeting comes amid mounting speculation over when an expected ground offensive by Israel into Gaza will begin.

Ahead of the expected offensive, President Joe Biden has cautioned Israel against occupying Gaza. While he emphasized that he believes Hamas should be completely eliminated, he said there needs to be a path to a Palestinian state.Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to Israel this morning after a diplomacy tour of the Middle East aimed at preventing the Hamas-Israel war from spilling over into the broader region.

Donald Trump’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination seem to have a money problem that mirrors their polling problems.None of them are flush with the kind of cash that would suggest they are poised to take down a front-runner, according to an NBC News analysis of quarterly fundraising reports. No one else in the field has built the type of small-donor operation that can be tapped again and again to replenish funds

The non-Trump candidates will rely on the support of aligned super PACs, funded primarily by megadonors, to pay for expensive television ads and other campaign-adjacent activities, as the candidates fight for scraps while Trump continues to dominate national polling. Plus, former Vice President Mike Pence’s 2024 effort has $1.2 million on hand but has built up $620,000 in debt, a major warning sign for his presidential campaign.

Actor Suzanne Somers, known for roles in the TV show “Three’s Company” and “Step By Step,” died while surrounded by family a day before her 77th birthday. “Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life,” Somers’ longtime publicist R. Couri Hay said. It wasn’t immediately clear how Somers passed, but the actor “survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,” Hay said.

Senators Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California, and Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, don’t have much in common and their paths to Washington couldn’t have been more different. Yet, they have happened to bond over their experiences caring for loved ones undergoing mental health crises. Their conversations led to them launching the first ever caucus that would solely focus on mental health. They aim to use funds already appropriated as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to ensure that states and local governments understand the scope of resources at their disposal to help address mental health.





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