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Fentanyl found under day care trapdoor and Covid booster rollout slowed: Morning Rundown

Investigators have found more fentanyl hidden under a trap door at the day care where a 1-year-old boy fell ill and later died.
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Two freshman Republican lawmakers consider working with Democrats to fund the government. Two people were killed and 40 were injured when a bus crashed while taking students to a band camp. And insurance headaches and supply delays are complicating the Covid booster rollout.

Here’s what to know today.

How two House Republicans could potentially help Dems force a funding vote

Facing an end-of-month funding deadline, two freshman Republican House members say they’re open to joining Democrats to enact a rarely used tool to force votes on a short-term bill — if their party fails to get its act together. 

Reps. Marc Molinaro and Mike Lawler each said they would move forward with a discharge petition if the GOP can’t unify to pass a continuing resolution to approve short-term funding. Both lawmakers represent districts in New York that President Joe Biden won in 2020. 

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Yesterday, Republicans left for the week after failing to start a debate on a key military funding bill. Speaker Kevin McCarthy had vowed that the House would work through the weekend to find a solution. Instead, votes today and this weekend are canceled. 

Outside the Capitol steps, Molinaro said keeping the government functioning is “an important principle.” Separately, Lawler said that as long as Democrats are in the Senate, “any final bill is going to be bipartisan. And if somebody doesn’t realize that, they’re truly clueless.”

A discharge petition isn’t used often, but it would allow for lawmakers to vote on legislation even if the House speaker doesn’t want to bring it up. Before that can happen, there are a few questions to tackle. 

2 dead, more than 40 injured in New York bus crash

A high school band director and a beloved teacher were killed when a bus fell down a 50-foot ravine in New York state yesterday while transporting students to band camp. The crash also left more than 40 people injured. Forty students and four adults from Long Island’s Farmingdale School District were aboard the bus. A faulty front tire may have contributed to the crash on I-34 in Wawayanda, about 75 miles northwest of New York City.

Rollover bus crash on an interstate in New York.
Rollover bus crash on an interstate in New York.NBC News

Band director Gina Pellettiere, 43, died in the crash, as well 77-year-old Beatrice Ferrari, a teacher of 36 years and chaperone on the trip. Ferrari’s daughter said her mother was “like a grandma” to the students. Here’s what else we know.

Biden announces $325 million in aid for Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced a $325 million military aid package for Ukraine, which includes defense capabilities, cluster munitions, anti-tank weapons and other equipment. Yesterday’s announcement came during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the White House, where he met with the president and lawmakers in the House and Senate to ask for more assistance. But Zelenskyy’s request to address a joint session of Congress was declined by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a decision blasted by a fellow Republican.

Covid booster rollout ‘bumpier than anticipated’ in some places

High demand, supply delays, and insurance headaches are complicating the rollout of the new Covid boosters as they’re distributed for the first time through the commercial market. Some people have reported canceling appointments because their insurance hasn’t updated the billing codes to cover the vaccines. Others have seen their appointments canceled due to supply issues. A search for vaccines in Juneau, Alaska, shows no available appointments within 100 miles. 

In previous Covid booster rollouts, the government funded and distributed the vaccines. While Pfizer and Moderna have said they have enough supply, pharmacies big and small say they’ve been impacted by delays.

The 911 call after F-35 pilot landed near someone’s home

Audio from a 911 call released by Charleston County officials captures the shock and confusion that occurred after a pilot landed near a South Carolina residence after ejecting from an F-35 stealth fighter jet. “I guess we got a pilot in our house, and he said he got ejected,” a caller told a dispatcher. The dispatcher responds: “I’m sorry — what happened?” Read more about the unusual 911 call. 

The military’s request for the public’s help finding the missing F-35 jet captured headlines earlier this week, and a debris field was later found. 

The pilot did get taken to the hospital. He was discharged Monday.

Fentanyl found hidden under trap door at day care center 

In this photo provided by the New York City Police Department, narcotics, including fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia lie stored in the floor of a day care center on  Sept. 21, 2023, in New York.

Investigators have found more fentanyl hidden under a trap door at the New York City day care where a 1-year-old boy fell ill and later died and three other kids got sick from apparent opioid exposure last week.

Detectives discovered the trap door in the play area of the day care center while carrying out a search warrant. Concealed under the trap door, they found fentanyl, other narcotics and drug paraphernalia, with photos shared by police showing several bags appearing to have been hidden under a floorboard. 

The discovery comes after the owner of the “Divino Niño” day care was hit with federal charges earlier this week in connection with the death of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici.

Today’s Talker: Actor Sophie Turner sued pop star Joe Jonas for…

…the return of their two young children to England. The bombshell filing, which comes weeks after the pair announced their divorce, alleges Jonas will not turn over the children’s passports and describes how the couple’s relationship became strained over the summer. Another big revelation: the “Game of Thrones” star says she learned about Jonas’ divorce filing through the media.

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 12, 2023.
Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 12, 2023.Lionel Hahn / Getty Images file

Politics in Brief 

Giuliani defamation case: Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani failed to comply with a federal judge’s order to turn over evidence and pay legal fees to two Georgia election workers he defamed, according to a new court filing.

LGBTQ rights: A new measure is under consideration in Navajo Nation to repeal parts of a 2005 tribal law that outlawed same-sex marriages.

Guns in America: President Joe Biden announced plans for the White House to establish a first-of-its-kind office of gun violence prevention.

Staff Pick

It’s impossible to ignore the influx of Saudi money in the world’s most popular sports, with investments in LIV Golf, Formula One, and the English Premier League. While Saudi spending may be good for supporters (like my husband, a fan of Newcastle United), concerns about human rights are similarly difficult to ignore. Hearing MBS’s frank opinion on accusations his country is investing in sports to repair its reputation makes it clear that Saudi soft power is here to stay.

-Annie Hill, platforms editor

In Case You Missed It 

Hollywood is “inching closer” to a deal to end the strike that has largely frozen the entertainment industry after studio heads joined marathon talks, a source familiar with the negotiations told NBC News.

A Louisiana police department was hit with a second lawsuit alleging officers from a street crime unit dragged detainees to a warehouse dubbed the “Brave Cave,” where the detainees were assaulted, stripped and subjected to body cavity searches.

The filmmaker and artist who adapted “The Diary of Anne Frank” into a graphic novel said he was “devastated” that a teacher in Texas was removed after allowing students in her classroom to read his book.

An Illinois woman who was in a vehicle with a man suspected of killing a Chicago-area family died after a car crash in Oklahoma.

Indiana police have asked the public for help finding a murder suspect whose release was kept quiet for six days.

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