Biden signs debt ceiling bill, avoiding government default
President Biden has signed a debt ceiling increase, raising the government’s borrowing limit and averting a potential default on the national debt.
The deal Biden negotiated with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., — called the Fiscal Responsibility Act, suspends the public debt limit through Jan. 1, 2025 and cuts non-defense spending to near fiscal 2022 levels, capping growth at 1% for the next two years and proposing non-mandatory caps for the four years after. It also claws back some money aimed at the Internal Revenue Service and some unspent COVID-19 pandemic funds.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
‘Woke’ LA firm partners routinely used vile language to refer to women, POC, emails show
Many of the shocking missives — exchanged between John Barber and Jeff Ranen and obtained by The Post from the pair’s former firm — were also racist or anti-LGBTQ.
Hurricane season is here. It’s a reminder that climate and clean energy deserve Republican support
Hurricane season began this week with a grim reminder to anyone concerned about the national debt or America’s economy: Our changing climate is no longer just an environmental, health or social issue. It’s also now a serious economic issue.
In the past five years alone, climate-related disasters caused more than $612 billion worth of damage to our economy, according to NOAA. Record wildfires in the West. Record flooding in our nation’s heartland. An unprecedented Texas freeze caused billions in damage that Texans will be paying for over the next 30 years. And so many hurricanes in the East that meteorologists ran out of names for them.
If there’s a silver lining in all of this, it’s that once something becomes a pocketbook issue, lawmakers start to act. The clean energy investments passed by the last Congress will help reduce carbon emissions that are turbocharging extreme weather and sucking dollars out of taxpayers’ pockets with every disaster
But even before we start seeing those payoffs, these same policies are driving private-industry investments at levels not seen in generations – if ever.
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In just nine months since Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), companies announced nearly 200 major clean energy projects – electric vehicle and battery factories; green hydrogen refineries; solar and wind farms, new power lines and energy efficiency projects, according to tracking by the nonpartisan business group E2, which I run. Together, these projects include $80 billion in investments and more than 60,000 good-paying jobs.
The only thing that can stop this new American economic boom?
It’s not hurricanes or wildfires or freezes or flooding.
Fortunately, House Republican leadership in Washington smartly pulled back its misguided threats to repeal the IRA or force the country to default on its financial obligations as part of the deal on the debt ceiling. And in Texas — now the nation’s leader in renewable energy — the most radical attempts by Republicans to stop renewable energy just failed after saner heads prevailed.
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Certainly, Republicans don’t really want to kill all this economic growth and take away the new career opportunities coming to young people and other constituents back home.
The only reason GOP leaders let this happen in the first place is because the more extreme members of their party are demanding it, just to score political points against the Democrats.
We should’ve never gambled with economic growth and America’s competitiveness just to score political points. And we should never allow it to happen again.
Doing so threatens to pull the rug out from under companies like Ford, GM, Berkshire Hathaway, First Solar and many others that are expanding operations to meet the expected demand in clean energy and electric vehicles being turbocharged by the IRA before they can even get started.
It would trip up America in the global race for a $23 trillion global clean energy market. It would give China, Europe and other international competitors yet another leg up in a competition in which we’re already lagging behind. And it would set us back again in our efforts to reduce the economic impacts of climate change.
Here’s the craziest partCongressional Republicans attempts to roll back federal climate and clean energy investments would’ve hurt Republicans back home the most.
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The majority of clean energy and transportation projects announced since the passage of the IRA have been in red states.
South Carolina leads the way so far, with at least 16 major projects, followed by Georgia with 14 and states including Texas and Tennessee not far behind, according to E2’s research.
Volkswagen plans to revive production of the iconic Scout SUV and truck at a factory in the South Carolina district of Rep. Joe Wilson.
The biggest solar panel factory in the Western hemisphere is being built by Qcells in the Georgia district of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green.
One of the nation’s biggest green hydrogen projects is happening in Utah, the home state of Conservative Climate Caucus Chairman Rep. John Curtis.
One of the biggest carbon removal projects is planned in the solar-heavy California district represented by none other than Speaker McCarthy.
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Republican governors, mayors and business leaders who are outside of D.C.’s political bubble are embracing these investments and jobs and celebrating the fact that these investments are turning the tide and bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. More rational Republicans in Congress need to join them.
They need to remember constituents back home care less about political bickering and more about jobs, the economy, American competitiveness and preventing the next costly disaster.
They need to denounce short-sighted political attacks on clean energy policies that are working, and reject future attempts to repeal and weaken then.
They need to put the economy and opportunities for their states above Washington politics.
Hurricane season reminds us there’s no time to waste.
We need to keep moving the country forward together, not just bicker and play political games until the next costly disaster strikes.
Brutal reports about CNN boss Chris Licht fuel questions of whether he still has backing of parent company CEO
A pair of brutal reports about CNN chief Chris Licht are fueling questions about whether he still has the strong backing of his parent company boss that was previously expressed following a year of programming blunders, internal strife and painful ratings decline.
Over the past several months, Licht had given unprecedented access to The Atlantic staff writer Tim Alberta which resulted in a behemoth report published Friday about the turbulent year he has had as CNN’s CEO. The report included colorful details about the network’s widely-criticized Trump town hall as well as Licht’s tense working relationship with Don Lemon, who was fired in April following a dramatic string of events.
But perhaps the most notable excerpt was towards the end of the report when Alberta shed light on his struggle to speak with David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery which owns CNN.
Zaslav had previously been vocal with his support for Licht, who over the past year has taken slings and arrows from the left for carrying out the mission to move CNN away from its perceived liberal partisanship.
However, according to Alberta, Zaslav resisted from personally vouching for his top deputy, at least on the record.
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Alberta summarized his back and forth with Zaslav’s communications chief Nathaniel Brown, who he said was “shielding his boss from participating in this story.”
“He first told me that Zaslav would speak to me only without attribution, and any quotes I wanted to use would be subject to their approval. When I refused—telling Brown that quote approval was out of the question, and that I would meet Zaslav only if he allowed on-the-record questioning—he reluctantly agreed to my terms, but then tried running out the clock, repeatedly making Zaslav unavailable for an interview,” Alberta wrote.
After an interview was scheduled for May 17 in Zaslav’s New York office, Brown reversed less than 24 hours prior, telling Alberta “We’re going to keep this on background only, nothing for attribution,” something Alberta called a “brazen renege on our agreement.” Zaslav ultimately sent a statement through Brown saying “while we know that it will take time to complete the important work that’s underway, we have great confidence in the progress that Chris and the team are making and share their conviction in the strategy.”
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Sources familiar with Zaslav and Licht’s working relationship, according to Alberta, have referred to Zaslav as a “control freak, a micromanager, a relentless operator who helicoptered over his embattled CNN leader,” adding “Zaslav’s constant meddling in editorial decisions struck network veterans as odd and inappropriate; even stranger was his apparent marionetting of Licht.” Licht pushed back against the notion that Zaslav wasn’t allowing him to do his job, telling Alberta “I don’t feel that at all… I feel like I have someone who’s a great partner, who has my back and knows a lot about this business.”
The second stinging report about Licht was from Puck’s Dylan Byers, who focused on Zaslav’s recent appointment of longtime corporate ally David Leavy as CNN’s new COO.
Byers referred to Leavy as Zaslav’s “pain sponge,” a term pulled from the HBO series “Succession.”
“The move, which Licht characterized as his own decision, was in fact an unequivocal vote of diminishing confidence by the parentco in Licht’s ability to manage a business that has endured substantial ratings declines, revenue losses, and reputational damage since he took over,” Byers wrote Friday. “It was also an indirect admission by Zaslav that he had been misguided in giving a celebrated talk show producer oversight of the incredibly complex commercial, operational, and promotional demands of a global, multiplatform, 24-hour news juggernaut.”
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The Puck writer added that while Leavy “officially” reports to Licht, he insisted Leavy “will continue to work directly with Zaz, as he has for two decades,” adding “He is, for all intents and purposes, a co-C.E.O., providing both trusted help and adult supervision.”
The arrangement, Byers alleged, will have Leavy managing “[profits and losses], operational logistics, and marketing and P.R.” while Licht focusing more on being an “editorial chief and news director.”
“Zaslav no doubt hopes that Leavy’s installment will change the mood—he is a very affable guy, who prides himself on his ability to build culture at other Discovery networks—but the impression I get from the dozens of CNN staffers I talk to on a regular basis, as well as the dozens more who have sent unsolicited emails and text messages bemoaning the network’s current state of affairs, is that Licht is too far gone to win back the support of his newsroom. And lest Zaslav wasn’t aware of that before this week—though, let’s be honest, he was—he certainly is aware of it now,” Byers wrote.
Byers, a former Zucker-era CNN media reporter who’s provided scathing coverage of Licht’s tenure as the network chief, swiped Zaslav’s statement to Alberta, which he said was “by no means a ringing endorsement of Licht, but rather a generic, ChatGPT-style statement of support that provides him total optionality for CNN’s future.” He then included the full statement that Brown had provided, revealing it primarily focused on defending CNN itself rather than Licht.
“Managing CNN, especially now, may yet be damn near impossible. But in the post-Alberta, post-Leavy era, one thing seems clear: Licht better have a new plan. He’s going to need it,” Byers warned.
In addition to those painful reports, former CNN host and media correspondent Brian Stelter, who Licht had fired last year as part of the effort to cleanse the network of its most vocal left-wing partisans, seemed to bask in the drama with a barrage of tweets broadcasting what disgruntled CNN staffers were telling him about their boss, specifically regarding the comments he told Alberta knocking the network during the Trump years.
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“The consensus, among people who knew @TimAlberta’s piece was coming, is that it’s much ‘worse’ than they expected,” Stelter wrote. “Licht confided in Alberta the way a client confides in a therapist. Some CNN staffers are shocked.”
Stelter alleged he woke up on Saturday morning to messages from his former CNN colleagues like “He made a bunch of these comments to Alberta without any apparent regard for how hurtful they’d be…” and “Even if he thinks these things…if he’s so concerned with the CNN brand, what is the point of saying any of this stuff publicly?”
He also had boasted a quote from Alberta’s story referring to Leavy’s new appointment and how it has “fueled talk of an imminent power struggle—and potentially, the beginning of the end for Licht.”
When asked to comment on the two reports and how much support Zaslav has for Licht, Brown of Warner Bros. Discovery provided the same statement attributed to Zaslav that was given to Alberta and Byers, which read, “CNN is a very important business for us, and, in fact, we believe that nothing we do is more important. We have the best journalists in the world at CNN reporting the news wherever it happens, and we aspire to be the news organization most trusted by viewers globally. We set a high bar for ourselves and while we know that it will take time to complete the important work that’s underway, we have great confidence in the progress that Chris and the team are making and share their conviction in the strategy.” A spokesperson for CNN also pointed to Zaslav’s statement when asked for comment
The searing reports about Licht come on the heals of the intense backlash he received publicly from CNN staffers over the network’s handing of last month’s live town hall featuring former President Trump.
CNN’s own media reporter Oliver Darcy wrote in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter, “It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.” Licht later scolded Darcy for his “emotional” coverage but that was before veteran CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour offered a stinging indictment of the town hall during her commencement address to the 2023 graduates of the Columbia Journalism School and even called out Licht by name.
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That’s only the beginning of Licht’s headaches. CNN has continued hemorrhaging viewers, particularly in the wake of the town hall, losing nearly a third of its primetime viewers since the live TV event and that’s on top of the already-dwindling audience it has had in recent years. His reshuffling of CNN’s daytime anchors earlier this year seemed to have little impact as well.
Licht’s first pet project at CNN with the creation of a new morning show imploded. Licht, who was the executive producer of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” before being appointed by Zaslav to run CNN, previously revitalized “CBS This Morning” and helped launch MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” hoping he could work his magic for CNN. He scrapped the struggling Zucker-era “New Day” and handpicked Don Lemon, Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow to co-host “CNN This Morning.” However, its November debut was met with even worse ratings and on-set drama prompted Lemon’s firing and Collins (who moderated the Trump town hall) was selected to fill CNN’s long-vacant 9 p.m. ET time slot, leaving Licht’s early morning creation in tatters.
His problems are just as bad in primetime as CNN has lacked any star power in what is widely known in the TV industry as the most-watched time slots. Licht’s revolving door of fill-in hosts from Jim Acosta to Jake Tapper failed to boost viewership and it is unclear whether CNN’s recently-announced weekly show starring Charles Barkley and Gayle King will do anything to stop the bleeding.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.
Russia, China seek world power ‘rebalancing’ with G7-alternative: ‘indispensable mechanism’
Foreign ministers of the nations comprising a China and Russia-led economic bloc have made clear that they intend to rebalance global power, claiming to aim for a “multipolar” dynamic even as they work to place themselves at the center.
“At the heart of the problems we face is economic concentration that leaves too many nations at the mercy of too few,” Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said following the meeting of the BRICS countries.
Jaishankar stressed that the five nations comprising the group needed to “send out a strong message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing and that old ways cannot address new situations.”
BRICS, named for its member states of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, met this week in Cape Town. The discussions focused on potential expansion of membership and potential for an alternative currency that could “ensure that we do not become victim to sanctions that have a secondary effect on countries” following sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
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Chinese Vice Minister Ma Zhaoxu voiced strong support for more countries joining the bloc to help expand its influence and increase its power.
“I believe the enlargement of BRICS will be beneficial to the BRICS countries,” he said, claiming the group was “inclusive … in sharp contrast to some countries’ small circle.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that some dozen or so nations had shown interest in joining, and South Africa’s BRICS ambassador Anil Sooklal said that countries from Europe have asked about joining, according to South African outlet News 24.
The list of potential new members allegedly includes Iran and Saudi Arabia, both of whom had representatives in Cape Town to participate in the BRICS meeting. Other hopeful candidates include Venezuela, Argentina, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates.
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BRICS has recently emerged as an alternative to the G7, which met last month in Japan for its annual summit. The group started off as a loose conglomerate, but China and Russia have given it a more concrete form in the past few years as they look to re-focus world power dynamics.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira called the group an “indispensable mechanism” to balance against the Western influence of the G7, which is made up of the U.S., Japan, Canada, Britain, France, Italy and Germany.
One issue that overshadowed the meeting remained the question of whether South Africa would be obliged to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin. The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest in relation to war crimes, specifically the abduction of children, allegedly committed in Ukraine.
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South Africa, as a signatory of the 1998 Rome Statute, would likely be compelled to arrest Putin if he attended this or any future meetings within its borders, but officials have looked at obtaining diplomatic immunity for Putin in order to skirt the issue.
“Russia attaches enormous importance to the development of this format of integration. And Russia will take part in this summit at the proper level,” Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov said during a recent press conference. “Of course, we count as a bare minimum on partner countries in such an important format not being guided by such illegal decisions.”
A statement by Clayson Monyela, head of South Africa’s public diplomacy, on Tuesday said it was “standard” practice for Cape Town and “all countries” to issue immunity for officials attending international conferences “irrespective of the level of participation.”
Fox News Digital’s Caitlin McFall and Reuters contributed to this report.
War with China over Taiwan would be ‘devastating,’ says Defense Secretary Austin
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned that a war over Taiwan would have “devastating” effects on the global economy.
Austin made the remark Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.
“Conflict is neither imminent nor inevitable. Deterrence is strong today – and it’s our job to keep it that way,” Austin told attendees.
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The Shangri-La Dialogue, named after the hotel where the summit has been held since 2002, is attended by representatives from dozens of Asian countries.
“The whole world has a stake in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The security of commercial shipping lanes and global supply chains depends on it,” the defense secretary said. “And so does freedom of navigation worldwide. Make no mistake: conflict in the Taiwan Strait would be devastating.”
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Officials from the People’s Republic of China were present at the dialogue, including Austin’s Chinese counterpart, General Li Shangfu.
“Conflict in the Taiwan Strait would affect the global economy in ways we cannot imagine,” Austin said.
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U.S. defense officials have been sounding the alarm that China could launch an invasion on the self-ruled island of Taiwan by 2027, and though Taiwanese residents are divided on their concerns over the imminent threat, they are in apparent agreement in believing the U.S. will not come to their aid.
The U.S., though it does not recognize the island as a sovereign nation under the “One China” policy, has made commitments to Taipei under the Taiwan Relations Act and warned the Chinese Communist Party about making any attempts to change the status quo in the region.
According to the State Department, the U.S. has committed itself to make “available defense articles and services as necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”
The Taiwan Relations Act also says the U.S. “maintains our capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of Taiwan.”
Fox News Digital’s Caitlin McFall and Aishah Hasnie contributed to this report.
As Biden admin touts sharp drop in numbers post-Title 42, legal challenges loom
As the Biden administration is touting a short-term drop of more than 70% in encounters at the southern border in the wake of the expiration of the Title 42 public health order, it is facing mounting legal battles that could — and already have — torpedoed some key policies it has put in place.
“We have seen … a significant decrease in encounters at the border, more than 70% reduction since the lifting of Title 42 on May 11th,” DHS official Blas Nunez-Neto told reporters at the border this week.
Nunez-Neto also outlined how the administration has expanded what it calls lawful pathways into the U.S., including by allowing more than 1,000 migrants a day into the U.S. who have made an application on the CBP One app.
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“We’ve also seen how the consequences we are delivering as part of our comprehensive effort to manage flows at the border are working,” he said.
Staring down a third year of a historic crisis at the southern border, which critics have tied to the administration’s “catch-and-release” policies and reduced interior enforcement, the administration put a number of additional border policies in place to prevent an additional surge once the Title 42 public health order ended on May 11.
At the center of that strategy is an asylum the “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” rule, implemented on May 11, which presumes migrants to be ineligible for asylum if they have entered the U.S. illegally and have failed to claim asylum in a country through which they have already traveled.
While that does not necessarily mean they won’t be released into the U.S., in theory it would block most migrants from a valid asylum claim unless they take advantage of pathways the administration has set up. The most prominent of those pathways is the use of the CBP One app to book an appointment at a port of entry with a CBP official.
Meanwhile, the “presumption of ineligibility” (the administration has denied claims by left-wing activists that it amounts to a “ban”) can be rebutted if a migrant can show that the app was not working or that they are in acute danger. It does not apply to unaccompanied migrant children.
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Left-wing activists led by the American Civil Liberties Union immediately sued, arguing that it is an illegal block on foreign nationals’ right to claim asylum in the U.S.
But in recent days, the rule has also seen challenges from GOP-led states. The first came from Texas, which said that neither the CBP One app nor officials ask whether the migrants they are letting in are claiming asylum. Texas’ complaint claims that the administration is encouraging migrants to cross the border “without establishing that they meet some exception from removal or have a legal basis to remain in the country.”
This week, a new 18-state lawsuit challenged the rule more broadly, calling it a “smoke screen” that essentially recategorizes otherwise illegal crossings as lawful.
“The Defendants claim that the Circumvention Rule will deter illegal border crossings, decrease the number of new unlawful aliens in the United States, and reduce reliance on human smuggling networks. The truth, however, is that the Circumvention Rule is some combination of a half measure and a smoke screen,” the states, led by Indiana, argue. “It is riddled with exceptions, and it is part of the Biden Administration’s broader effort to obfuscate the true situation at the Southwest Border.”
Should any of the three lawsuits, filed in different courts across the county, be successful, it could dramatically change how the Biden administration exercises its powers at the border.
Separately, the administration has already had a migrant release policy frozen that it put in place the day before Title 42 ended. That policy, called “parole with conditions,” saw migrants being released into the interior without court dates due to overcrowding. Nearly 9,000 migrants were released while the policy was in place.
A federal judge shut the policy down with just hours before Title 42 ended. He agreed with arguments from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody that the policy was “materially identical” to one he had blocked in March.
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The administration decried the block as “sabotage” and warned that it could lead to severe overcrowding at CBP stations. That has not yet happened, due to the drop in migrant encounters at the border that followed.
However, this week Florida expanded its challenge, arguing that a “streamlined” policy of releasing migrants with court dates (Notices to appear) and on their own recognizance (OR) should also be blocked.
“Biden’s will to violate public-safety immigration laws and release massive amounts of illegal immigrants into the country knows no bounds,” Moody said Friday in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“After we beat Biden in federal court multiple times, his administration admitted to a new policy to skirt the law and release immigrants into the country. We are fighting back against this outrageous and unlawful Biden policy designed to further weaken our border security — making American’s less safe.”
If the NTA/OR policy is blocked, it could result in a situation where no migrants who entered illegally are allowed into the U.S. or an alternative policy being attempted by the administration.
Meanwhile, the situation at the border remains precarious. While numbers are low, officials have warned against concluding that it will stay that way — especially as summer months are typically some of the busiest at the border.
In his remarks to the press, Nunez-Neto said that DHS was remaining vigilant.
“The conditions that are driving migration in the hemisphere are real and continue. We are watching what’s happening in Mexico and other countries very closely,” he said. “We know that the smugglers will spread misinformation to put migrants’ lives in peril for profit. And so we are continuing to work closely with our foreign partners to make sure that they are continuing their enforcement efforts. And we are obviously continuing ours.”
Trump-appointed judge rejects Tennessee’s anti-drag law as too broad, too vague
Tennessee’s first-in-the-nation law designed to place strict limits on drag shows is unconstitutional, a federal judge says.
Drone attacks on Moscow ‘the beginning of the end’ for Vladimir Putin, expert says
As Ukraine begins attacks on Russia, one expert believes that it could spell the beginning of the end of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s reign.
Blue Jays’ Chris Bassitt allows no runs against Mets, rushes back for birth of child: ‘Go be a Dad’
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt threw a gem on Friday against the New York Mets, and it wasn’t even close to the most important part of his day.
After a 91-minute rain delay, Bassitt threw 7 ⅔ innings of scoreless ball before rushing back to Toronto to be with his wife who went into labor with their second child.
“Go be a Dad,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider told Bassitt after he took the ball from him during the eighth inning.
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A private plane was ready to take Bassitt back to Toronto as soon as his night was over.
Bassitt, who played for the Mets during the 2022 MLB season, returned to Citi Field and allowed just three hits. The Blue Jays defeated New York, 3-0.
“With the hour and a half delay, staying locked in, a ton of things on his mind, facing his former team,” Schneider said, per MLB.com. “He was completely in control of his emotions and stuff tonight. It’s one of the best performances we’ve seen out of anyone, given everything that he had going on. You just can’t say enough about him tonight.”
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Bassitt stayed in the dugout for the end of the eighth inning before leaving the stadium prior to the conclusion of the game.
“There’s a lot of stress, a lot of pressure just being able to kind of get that game going and kind of get started on time so he can get home for his wife,” Toronto left fielder Daulton Varsho said. “It was a pretty cool experience for him to be able to do that and then be able to go experience having his second kid.”
Bassitt is 6-4 on the year with an ERA of 3.41 as Toronto moved to 31-27 on the season with the win.
For the Mets, the loss snapped a three-game winning streak. Justin Verlander got the start for New York and threw 117 pitches, the most pitches in a single game for Verlander since 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report