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Up First briefing: Trump skips GOP debate; FTC sues Amazon; prepare for student loans

President Trump skipped the first Republican debate on August 23, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Win McNamee
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Getty Images
President Trump skipped the first Republican debate on August 23, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Seven Republican candidates will take the stage in California tonight for the second primary debate — but former President Donald Trump won't be one of them. He's skipping the event to hold a rally in Detroit, where auto workers are on strike.

  • One key difference between tonight's debate and the first one will be the audience, NPR's Franco Ordoñez says on Up First today. Republican strategist Sean Walsh tells him that because the debate will be held at Ronald Reagan's presidential library, more traditional Republican voters will be in attendance rather than the "circus audience" he saw at the last debate.
  • Interested in tuning in? Here's how to watch the debate.


The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states are suing Amazon. The antitrust lawsuit accuses the retail giant of abusing its monopoly power and raising costs for buyers and sellers.

  • NPR's Alina Selyukh says the suit focuses on Amazon's fraught relationship with other sellers. The FTC says the company traps its sellers with high fees. Amazon can also squeeze out other sellers by selling its own products at a loss. This means buyers might not get the highest quality products. Amazon argues that if the government wins, the result could be higher prices, slower deliveries and fewer options for shoppers and businesses.
  • Editor's note: Amazon is among NPR's financial supporters and pays to distribute some of our content.


The Senate isn't waiting for the House to resolve their differences and avert a government shutdown before the end of the week. Members voted 77 to 19 to consider a stop-gap spending bill to keep the government open through Nov. 17. But the process to pass the measure could take days, with no guarantee the House will schedule a vote on it.

  • The Biden administration warns that millions of people who rely on food assistance will be at risk if the government shuts down.


If you've had trouble scheduling your new COVID-19 vaccination, you're not alone. Some people are having trouble finding doses. Even when they're available, insurers are complicating matters.

  • Even though vaccine approval was anticipated and demand isn't as high as it was three years ago, some stores still haven't received vaccines, according to NPR's Yuki Noguchi. She adds this is the first time insurers are expected to cover the cost instead of the government. But some insurance systems haven't been updated to reflect the new rules, which means some people are being told their shot won't be covered. 

Life advice

A general view during Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hunter College Commencement Address May 30 in New York City. Recent college graduates are due to make their first student loan payments in the coming weeks.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A general view during Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hunter College Commencement Address May 30 in New York City. Recent college graduates are due to make their first student loan payments in the coming weeks.

The pandemic student loan repayment pause is ending. Are you ready for payments to resume next month? Here's how to prepare:

  • Log on to the U.S. government's loan portal to make sure your contact information is up-to-date and you know who your loan servicer is.
  • Use the loan simulator to pick a repayment plan that works best for you.
  • Check to see if you qualify for loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program or the new SAVE plan.
  • Enroll in autopay to lower your interest rate.
  • If you can't afford payments, see if you qualify for $0 monthly payments under the SAVE plan.
  • If your kids aren't in school yet, make sure you're saving enough for college with these tips. 

Deep dive

President Biden, seen here on Sept. 22, is the subject of an impeachment inquiry by House Republicans.
Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
President Biden, seen here on Sept. 22, is the subject of an impeachment inquiry by House Republicans.

The House Oversight Committee plans to hold its first hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Biden this week. This impeachment case has some major differences from the ones that former presidents Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump went through.

  • The substance of the case against Biden is unclear. Past presidents were accused of obstructing justice, an inappropriate sexual relationship, soliciting interference in the 2020 election and inciting insurrection.
  • Past impeachments concerned things that happened during a presidency, not before. House Republicans allege Biden benefited from his son's dealings in Ukraine and China when he was vice president.
  • They also took place closer to when the incident occurred. Republicans are investigating a period almost 10 years ago. 

3 things to know before you go

People use protective glasses to watch solar eclipse in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, April 20.
Tatan Syuflana / AP
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AP
People use protective glasses to watch solar eclipse in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, April 20.

  1. Get your eclipse glasses out! An annular solar eclipse will be visible in eight states in the U.S. next month. This happens when the moon is at or near its furthest point in orbit and appears like a black dot on the sun.
  2. Two theater tickets from the night that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated were sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for $262,500.
  3. Chess prodigy Hans Niemann, who is competing in the World Junior Chess Championship, denies he's ever used a vibrating sex toy to cheat. The strange theory was amplified by Elon Musk. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.