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I'm Daily WIRE Editor-in-Chief John Bickley with Georgia Howe. It's Thursday, February 29th, and this is your Morning WIRE Afternoon Update.


President Joe Biden and former President Trump visited different towns along the Southern border today. Daily Wire reporter Tim pierce breaks down dueling visits.


The visits come as both campaigns ramp up efforts over what may be the biggest election issue, immigration. This is only Biden's second trip to the border since he took office. His first took place over a year ago in January 2023. Biden delivered remarks from Brownsville, Texas, a city that's been described by many as a mixed bag of immigration. In his remarks, Biden urged Republicans to pass more border security funding. Former President Trump visited Eagle Pass, Texas, a hotspot for illegal crossing meetings during Biden's presidency. Trump and many Republicans have continued to say that the President doesn't need Congress to take action on the border. They say the President could drastically change the situation with a few executive orders.


A wildfire engulfing much of Texas's Panhandle became the largest in state history as of today, even as a bit of snow fell over the scorched area. Daily Wire reporter Amanda Presta Giacomo has more.


The landscape in the smokehouse Creek area has been described as blackened prairies with dead cattle, and several nearby communities have been destroyed. At one point, the blaze grew to nearly 1,700 square miles over vast rural areas that are full of scrub brush, rocky canyons, and a few oil rigs. Even as snow fell and temperatures dropped, the fire has remained threatening. And according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, it's only 3% contained. It's now crossed into part of Oklahoma. Emergency management officials say it's important to remain vigilant with these fires, even with the snowfall.


I don't want the community there to feel a false sense of security that all of these fires will not grow anymore. This is still a very dynamic situation.


The House passed a short term funding bill today to avert a shutdown this weekend, giving Congress more time to fund the government. Speaker Mike Johnson has faced some criticism from House GOP members who say they were kept largely in the dark about this deal, which includes six of the twelve spending bills that fund federal agencies agencies. Johnson, however, defended his decision regarding the bipartisan agreement in a weekly news conference.


Democracy is ugly. This is the way it works every year, always has, except that we've instituted some new innovations. We broke the omnibus fever. That's how Washington has been run for years. We're trying to turn the aircraft carrier back to real budgeting and spending reform. This was an important thing to break it up into smaller pieces. We've been working on separate individual appropriations bills, 12 appropriations bills.


The short term bill now heads to the Senate, where it must pass before Friday night in order to prevent a shutdown. It will require the support of all 100 senators to vote quickly. The continuing resolution will extend the funding deadline for half of the dozen must pass spending bills by one week to March eighth. The funding deadline for the remaining six bills will be pushed back by two weeks to March 22nd. The White House has endorsed the bipartisan deal.


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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin faced intense questioning from a House committee today. The committee pressed him on his days long hospital stay in his failure to notify the President. Austin expressed confidence that the Pentagon, quote, will not experience the same issues in the future after implementing some new procedures to prevent lapses in notification. But GOP members of the House Committee, like Congresswoman Nancy Mace, say there needs to be accountability for Austin's actions and equate his disappearance to a soldier going AWal.


What happens when they go AWal? What is the punishment? I wouldn't equate my going to the hospital and receiving treatment as going AWal. Being incapacitated as a secretary here, yes, is going AWal. So you don't equate disappearing, being incapacitated with being AWal.


I didn't disappear. I was in a military medical facility in Washington, DC. You didn't tell your staff.


You just testified you didn't tell your staff. Did you not? You just testified. What happens when a soldier goes A-wall? I have 20 seconds. What happens when a soldier goes AWAL?


We have to realize that I have a fairly large- Are they honorably or dishonerably discharged?


Are they put him to the rig? What happens? Seriously, you're not even answering the questions.


Another state has declared former President Donald Trump ineligible for the ballot. Illinois became the third state to attempt to boot the former President from the ballot. Chicago-based Judge Tracey Porter ruled that Trump was not qualified died for the presidency under an interpretation of the provision of the 14th Amendment. But she put the decision on hold until Friday, leaving Trump on the March 19th primary ballot to allow for an appeal in the case in state court. The Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month on a Colorado ruling that deemed Trump ineligible, and if they rule against Colorado, the ruling would stand for all 50 states.


Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening nuclear war in the event that NATO or the West try to gain a deeper involvement in Ukraine. Putin's blunt warning came in a state of the nation address ahead of next month's election. He's all but certain to win. Putin was likely responding to a statement from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said that future deployment of Western ground troops to Ukraine should not be ruled out. Putin said that action would lead to tragic consequences for countries who do that.


Those are your drive home updates this afternoon. To learn more about these stories, go to dailywire. Com. For more in-depth discussion of the biggest stories of the day, listen to the latest full episode of Morning Wire every morning.