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World: Germany's Social Democrats set to approve government deal

Scholz seals deal to crown career as German chancellor

  Scholz seals deal to crown career as German chancellor BERLIN (AP) — Olaf Scholz is set to become post-World War II Germany's ninth chancellor, crowning a career that has seen him serve in a string of top government posts, after leading his party to an election comeback that appeared hugely unlikely just a few months ago. The 63-year-old on Wednesday sealed a deal for his center-left Social Democrats to lead Germany's next government in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats. The agreement followed relatively quick talks that were disciplined and discreet, qualities that reflect Scholz's own image.

The center-left party of German Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz is meeting Saturday to decide whether to approve a deal to form a new government with environmentalist and pro-business parties — the first of three such decisions needed for Scholz to take office next week.

SPD candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during the federal congress of the Jusos, in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.  (Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa via AP) © Provided by Associated Press SPD candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during the federal congress of the Jusos, in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa via AP)

Scholz's Social Democrats narrowly won Germany's Sept. 26 election and launched negotiations with the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats to form a governing coalition that hasn't been tried before at the federal level. They emerged with a deal on Nov. 24 after relatively quick negotiations.

Germany will continue to host US nuclear weapons, incoming government says

  Germany will continue to host US nuclear weapons, incoming government says Germany will continue to host U.S. nuclear weapons, the incoming government has decided, despite strong anti-nuclear traditions within the major parties of the coalition. © Provided by Washington Examiner "As long as nuclear weapons play a role in NATO's strategic concept, Germany has an interest in participating in strategic discussions and planning processes,” incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government stated in the agreement, released Wednesday, that underpins their new coalition.

The three-way alliance aims to modernize Europe’s biggest economy and step up efforts against climate change. It will send outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Union bloc into opposition after 16 years and end an uncomfortable “grand coalition” of Germany's traditional big parties in which the Social Democrats were the junior partners.

The plan is for Scholz to be elected as chancellor on Wednesday and to lead what has been called a “traffic light” coalition after the parties' colors of red, green and yellow.

Before that can happen, members of the parties need to approve the coalition deal. The Social Democrats are holding a convention on Saturday and the Free Democrats have one scheduled for Sunday. The result of a ballot of the Greens’ roughly 125,000-strong membership is expected on Monday.

Merkel's push for German lockdown reportedly blocked as death toll passes 100,000

  Merkel's push for German lockdown reportedly blocked as death toll passes 100,000 Germany's death toll has now surpassed 100,000 but the country's incoming, new coalition government is resisting a lockdown, for now. Germany reported a massive number of new Covid cases on Thursday, with over 75,000 new infections. The death toll has now reached 100,119 after 351 more people died from the virus in the last 24 hours. © Provided by CNBC BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 22: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) speaks with Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz.

Key pledges by the prospective partners include an increase in Germany's minimum wage to 12 euros ($13.50) per hour from the current 9.60 euros — a move that Scholz has said “means a wage increase for 10 million citizens.” And they also aim to get 400,000 new apartments per year built in an effort to curb rising rental prices.

Scholz, 63, has been Merkel’s finance minister and vice chancellor since 2018. Unlike the other two parties, the Social Democrats haven't yet named their remaining seven Cabinet nominees, who will include the interior, defense and health ministers. Overseeing the Health Ministry is a crucial job at a time when Germany is imposing new restrictions to break a wave of coronavirus infections.

Social Democratic Party, SPD, chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, second right, stands with the Green party leaders Annalena Baerbock, left, and Robert Habeck, second left, and the Free Democratic Party chairman Christian Lindner, right, as they arrive for a joint news conference in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. After weeks of negotiations the leaders of the three parties present a coalition contract for a new German government. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) © Provided by Associated Press Social Democratic Party, SPD, chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, second right, stands with the Green party leaders Annalena Baerbock, left, and Robert Habeck, second left, and the Free Democratic Party chairman Christian Lindner, right, as they arrive for a joint news conference in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. After weeks of negotiations the leaders of the three parties present a coalition contract for a new German government. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The state of the shrinking Build Back Better Act .
It’s still quite large, but it’s been compromised down, and more changes lie ahead in the Senate.Much of that comes down to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who expressed skepticism about Build Back Better Wednesday. The bill, he said, would make major changes to three main areas: the tax system, social services, and the energy sector. “We should all be very careful what we do,” Manchin said. “We get any of those wrong, and we’re in trouble.

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