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  • The Oklahoma Department of Health said Thursday that seven people have died from influenza this season. Health leaders say six of the deaths were in northeastern Oklahoma. The seventh victim was in the state's southwest. Six victims were 65 or older and one was between 50 and 64. About 150 people have been hospitalized due to the flu, with 39 in Tulsa County and 10 in Oklahoma County. Close to 300 people died due to the flu during Oklahoma's 2017-2018 flu season, the most since the agency began tracking flu deaths in 2009.
  • Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes says a girl with cerebral palsy was alone on a parked school bus for at least five hours Tuesday. The 7-year-old wheelchair bound girl was discovered when the driver and monitor returned to the vehicle. The Mid-Del school district announced the suspensions of both the driver and the monitor on Wednesday. The district says the driver failed to follow procedure of walking the length of the bus at the end of the route to be sure no one remained on board. The girl was taken to a hospital by her mother and was released in good condition.
  • After starting the 2019 fiscal year with $100 billion in red ink, Uncle Sam added more than double that in the month of November, as the Treasury Department reported Thursday that the federal government ran a deficit last month of $204.9 billion, leaving the deficit at over $300 billion just two months into the new fiscal year. “The deficit has never been this high when the economy was this strong,” said the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a watchdog group which has repeatedly complained about the lack of action in Congress and the White House about rising deficits. “Rarely have deficits risen when the economy is booming. And never in modern U.S. history have deficits been so high outside of a war or recession,” the group said on Thursday. Compared to a year ago, the deficit for October and November of 2018 was $104 billion more than in 2017. White House budget experts have predicted the 2019 deficit could come close to $1 trillion, the highest since 2012. November Treasury deficit $204.9 billion vs deficit of $138.5 billion prior — Michael Underhill (@M_D_Underhill) December 13, 2018 Looking at November 2018 and November 2017, revenues were down slightly from a year ago, as the feds brought in almost $206 billion last month, compared to $208 billion in 2017. Spending was up sharply, at almost $411 billion in November, compared to $347 billion a year ago. One area where more revenue came in to the feds in November was in tariffs and customs duties, as Uncle Sam took in $5.5 billion; that figure was $3.2 billion a year ago. But even if those numbers continue up – as President Trump has predicted with his aggressive trade actions – it won’t come close to filling a growing tide of red ink. The latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office are close to what the White House has been predicting – a budget deficit which will come close to $1 trillion this year – but the CBO believes the deficit will go over $1 trillion after that, for a number of years. In a new report released hours before the updated deficit figures, the CBO again offered up a number of options to reduce the deficit, making the case that something must change. “Since 2007, federal debt held by the public has more than doubled in relation to the size of the economy, and it will keep growing significantly if the large annual budget deficits projected under current law come to pass,” the CBO wrote. But there has been little appetite in recent years among Republicans in the Congress to make dramatic changes – either in spending or revenues to change the direction of the deficit.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will soon consider food safety rules on marijuana edibles, which advocates say should help bring clarity to the cannabis-infused food market. The Oklahoma Board of Health voted Tuesday to send the rules to Fallin for approval, The Oklahoman reported. The rules follow similar guidelines for foods that don’t have THC, but do include additional labeling and testing requirements, said Buffy Heater, the project manager for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. THC is the compound in marijuana that causes a high.  Processers will be required to include the amount of THC on the label of all edible products, as well as the number to Poison Control in case of accidental ingestion. Processors must also conduct quarterly tests on products for contaminants, such as bacteria, mold, metals and chemical residues. Products that fail testing would then be recalled.
  • With just over a week until funding runs out for part of the federal government, House GOP leaders said no votes would be scheduled until at least next Wednesday, with no indications of any active negotiations or solutions to the demand by President Donald Trump that he get $5 billion for his border wall in a year-end legislative spending package. “Our schedule for next week remains fluid and subject to change,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “Conversations are currently ongoing between the House, Senate, and the White House.” But Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer gave no indications there was any movement, especially on the border wall funding. “Right now, Chuck and I are not in a negotiation, we’re not going for the $5 billion for the wall – we simply are not,” Pelosi told reporters. There is NO movement on any funding bill to avoid a partial government-shutdown next week. House is adjourning until Wednesday. GOP leadership says members are on standby, can be brought back to DC earlier if needed — John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) December 13, 2018 Despite some talk about holding a vote on the President’s plan, House Republicans gave no indication that they would bring the $5 billion border wall up for a vote on the floor, as many on Capitol Hill believe the GOP does not have the votes to get that through the House. “They do not have the votes to pass the President’s proposal,” Pelosi said of the $5 billion wall plan. If nothing happens by December 21, then a portion of the federal government would go into shutdown mode – agencies like NASA, the Justice Department, Homeland Security, Agriculture, EPA and more. Most of the government funding for 2019 has already been approved, so a funding lapse would not impact the military, Congress, VA, energy and water programs, military construction, or health, education and labor programs. . @NancyPelosi: 'We're not going for the $5 billion for the wall. We simply are not.' pic.twitter.com/5NOddMHdoL — CSPAN (@cspan) December 13, 2018 If Republicans were able to get the House to approve the $5 billion border wall plan, then the President might have more leverage – but with questions as to whether it can gain a majority in either the House or Senate, Democrats seem ready to stand in opposition.