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HC Wake-Up Call: Mattis Resigns, House Passes Funding Bill with Wall, & Worst Dec. Stock Market Since Great Depression


Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Trump Announces Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' Resignation

President Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to announce that Defense Secretary James Mattis would be retiring at the end of February. He was not forced to resign, and this was instead a decision he made on his own. It comes a month after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out after the midterm elections in November.  In his resignation letter, the retired Marine general cited Trump's need for a Defense secretary whose views were "better aligned" with his own: "Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position."

According to CNN, a senior administration official said that Mattis was "vehemently opposed" to Trump's recent decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, and possibly Afghanistan. He also expressed concern about China and Russia, who "want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions - to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies," Mattis wrote.

ABC News reported that both top Republicans and Democrats were concerned about the resignation. "What happened in Syria is the straw that broke the camel’s back," New York Dem Rep. Eliot Engel, the incoming chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said. "It’s a terrible move, it will clearly backfire."

Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul said he "slept better knowing [Mattis] was in charge of our military." He added, "We want our enemies to fear us, and we want our allies to trust us. They trusted Secretary Mattis and he stabilized world view and world opinions so I think that’s going to be the loss."

House Passes Short-Term Funding Bill with Wall

The house approved a short-term funding bill that included $5.7 billion for Trump's proposed border wall on Thursday night. However, the move was likely a slight against the president. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Senate initially passed the bill without the wall funding, and by adding the $5.7 billion for it, Congress has to send the bill back to the Senate where it will most likely be blocked by Democrats. 

South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford said the situation "sets up legislative chaos." Trump has previously threatened to let the government shutdown if the wall is not funded. If a bill isn't passed by Friday at midnight— when seven spending bills expire — a shutdown will go into effect.

Stock Market on Pace for Worst December Since Great Depression

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 — two major U.S. stock indexes — are currently on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931, per CNN. What's more, the Dow is 1,000 points lower than when Trump's tax reform changes a year ago. 

According to Business Insider, December is often a positive month for markets because investors are "filled with festive cheer and optimism." What's currently happening could be a bad sign for things to come. For example, Morgan Stanley's chance of a recession next year — currently at 50 percent — could get even worse. "At this point, the market is pricing in a material slowdown next year as sentiment and positioning have reached levels not seen since the last recession scare in early 2016," the US equity strategy team said, BI reported.

What to look for...

A full moon and a meteor shower — today marks 2018's winter solstice.

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