Mar 04,2021

More than 10,000 pieces of new news a day. News update non-stop 24/7.  US warns of military response to rocket attack.  OnPolitics: Keep your eyes on the (COVID) money.  Reopening, Stimulus, Wildlife Cameras: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing.  Biden’s honeymoon is over, but he retains majority approval..  Democrats line up behind Shalanda Young amid new jostling over Biden budget pick.  Trade fairness and economic recovery on Biden’s national security agenda.  Lawmakers, policy analysts call for federal unemployment to offer $400 weekly boost, expire in September.  Stock futures lower after major averages dip amid rising bond yields.  Texas doctors say Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to scrap mask mandate could result in another Covid-19 surge.  Biden administration singles out China as 'biggest geopolitical test' for U.S.  More than 10,000 pieces of new news a day. News update non-stop 24/7.  U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol.  Senate Democrats trim parts of Biden's COVID-19 aid bill, Republicans threaten delay.  New attack on Iraqi air base fits profile of Iran-backed militia, U.S. officials say.  Neera Tanden’s OMB nomination failed. Her fallback plan remains a mystery..  U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol.  Haaland confirmation likely after picking up support from Collins.  Kaufman’s revenge.  Greg Abbott has left Texans to fight Covid alone.  Texas schools, stores divided on masks as mandate ends.  U.S. Civilian Contractor Dies During Rocket Strike On Iraq Air Base.  
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US warns of military response to rocket attack
       
US warns of military response to rocket attackWednesday's death of the contractor heightens worries that the U.S. could be drawn into another period of escalating attacks, complicating the Biden administration's desire to open talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal.
OnPolitics: Keep your eyes on the (COVID) money
       
More numbers for you:Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. for health insurance through the federally run HealthCare.gov in the first two weeks of the three-month special enrollment period. Who lives, who dies, who is actually getting a COVID checkIt's the question that many Americans want to know: Who is eligible for a $1,400 stimulus check? Who's not quite as happy: Many Americans who could have received at least some payment will now receive none.
Reopening, Stimulus, Wildlife Cameras: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing
       
“Neanderthal thinking.”That’s how President Biden criticized the governor of Texas and others who have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions. He insisted that it was a “big mistake” for people to stop wearing masks, and that they should continue with social distancing and hand washing. “It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science,” Mr. Biden said. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed Mr. Biden’s remarks, her third such warning in less than a week. Scientists are urging caution until we know more about whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus and about emerging virus variants.
Biden’s honeymoon is over, but he retains majority approval.
       
Whatever honeymoon period he may have briefly enjoyed, President Biden is now past it, according to the results of a Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday. Mr. Biden’s approval rating now stands at 51 percent nationwide, with 42 percent of the country disapproving. That’s a much narrower split than his 54 percent approval and 30 percent disapproval in another Monmouth survey that was conducted just after he took office. The poll found widespread support for the Covid-19 relief bill making its way through Congress, with 62 percent saying they want to see it passed. Two-thirds supported the bill’s provision increasing additional unemployment benefits to $400 a week from $300 a week.
Democrats line up behind Shalanda Young amid new jostling over Biden budget pick
       
Tanden’s withdrawal marked the first major political setback for the Biden White House as it has raced in its opening weeks to confirm key nominees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Gavin Newsom and close ties to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. “And what has become evident in the last few days is [Young] has that same kind of background.”The White House did not respond to a request for comment. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday the administration still hopes to find Tanden a new position elsewhere. Senate Republicans responded by repeatedly praising her candor: Sen. Lindsey Graham, the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate Budget Committee, opened his statement at the Tuesday hearing by pledging to vote for her confirmation.
Trade fairness and economic recovery on Biden’s national security agenda
       
“Our policies must reflect a basic truth: in today’s world, economic security is national security,” the White House document said. “We will make sure that the rules of the international economy are not tilted against the United States,” the report said. The last formal National Security Strategy report was released in 2017, under Trump. ADBiden’s priorities share similarities with Trump’s, including identifying China as a strategic competitor in most realms. They haven’t worked.”Still, the Biden administration has not been shy about using military force.
Lawmakers, policy analysts call for federal unemployment to offer $400 weekly boost, expire in September
       
The House passed its version of legislation early Saturday, and the Senate is debating provisions this week. Some, including Pancotti, are calling for federal benefit expirations to be tied to labor market indicators, such as the unemployment rate. Without action, 11.4 million people are expected to start losing jobless aid on March 14, according to estimates from The Century Foundation. The weekly federal unemployment boost was up for debate again this week with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) A growing body of research has shown no such correlation between boosted unemployment pay and people not returning to work.
Stock futures lower after major averages dip amid rising bond yields
       
U.S. stock index futures slid during overnight trading on Wednesday, accelerating losses from the regular trading session which saw the major averages finish in the red across the board. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 62 points. The S&P 500 dipped 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 119 points, or 0.38%, lower. "The ability and desire of the consumer to spend on services and experiences should lead to the best economic growth we have seen in over 35 years." Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are forecasting 750,000 first-time filers.
Texas doctors say Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to scrap mask mandate could result in another Covid-19 surge
       
Greg Abbott’s sudden decision to ditch the mask mandate and lift coronavirus restrictions could result in a new surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths. The more difficult problem is that while many people in Texas experienced the pandemic in waves, there’s been no respite for front-line health care providers. Many health care providers fear this could extend the pandemic.”McDeavitt, the Houston hospital’s senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs, said he shares these fears. “As I said, I think the governor’s decision was premature and I think it will cause another surge,” McDeavitt said. We know the governor’s decision increases the chance for another surge, but we’ve already been preparing for another surge.”
Biden administration singles out China as 'biggest geopolitical test' for U.S
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden singled out a “growing rivalry with China” as a key challenge facing the United States, with his top diplomat describing the Asian country as “the biggest geopolitical test” of this century. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on foreign policy at the State Department in Washington, U.S. March 3, 2021. The Biden administration has indicated it will broadly continue a tough approach to China taken by Trump, but do so in coordination will allies. Blinken sought to set out how foreign policy will bring benefits for American workers and families, and said that was key to the new administration’s approach. “We will fight for every American job and for the rights, protections and interests of all American workers,” Blinken said.
U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol
       
But a House Democratic aide said that the police warning, based on intelligence that “an identified militia group” could present a security threat, contributed to the change in plans. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” it said in its statement. The police statement noted that the department already has made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified members of Congress of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Blodgett told lawmakers that the Capitol Police department has “enhanced” its security posture for the coming days.
Senate Democrats trim parts of Biden's COVID-19 aid bill, Republicans threaten delay
       
Before the bill hits the chamber floor, Democrats are negotiating limits to a measure Republicans have attacked as wasteful. Senate Democrats said the proposal, which would block Americans earning $80,000 per year or more and couples earning $160,000 or more from receiving the $1,400 payments, was a good solution. Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have denounced the bill. Democrats have been seeking to sort out a welter of competing ideas as they seek to advance the bill. Once the Senate votes on the bill, the House would then have to sign off on the changes before Biden can sign it into law.
New attack on Iraqi air base fits profile of Iran-backed militia, U.S. officials say
       
BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tensions between the United States and Iran simmered on Wednesday after a new rocket attack against Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base that hosts U.S. forces, which U.S. officials told Reuters fit the profile of a strike by Iran-backed militia. FILE PHOTO: Military vehicles of U.S. soldiers are seen at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. One attack on Feb. 16 on U.S.-led forces killed a civilian contractor and injured a U.S. service member. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the latest strike fit the profile of an attack by Iran-backed militia but the Pentagon said it was too soon to come to any conclusions. The United States is assessing the impact of the attack and whoever was responsible, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Neera Tanden’s OMB nomination failed. Her fallback plan remains a mystery.
       
Her selection was driven by White House chief of staff Ron Klain, one of Tanden’s key allies inside Biden World. She had deep policy experience and had been helpful to the campaign by providing policy support. The Alaska Republican was the one Republican who had not stated where she stood on Tanden’s nomination to head OMB. “There was no hint of if you do this, I will do that,” said the aforementioned White House adviser. Murkowski has not said whether she ever made up her mind on Tanden’s nomination.
U.S. House cancels Thursday session after police warn of possible plot on Capitol
       
“The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” it said in its statement. The statement noted that police have made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified Congress members of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Congress has held hearings on the riot and congressional leaders in coming days are expected to receive recommendations for new, permanent security measures at the Capitol. The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on a charge of inciting an insurrection, focusing on an incendiary speech he made to supporters shortly before the mob converged on the Capitol.
Haaland confirmation likely after picking up support from Collins
       
Collin’s statement comes after Sen. Joe Manchin, the moderate West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Energy Committee, said he would vote to confirm Haaland. “While we will not always agree on the administration’s policy, I want to be clear and open with you,” Haaland wrote. Haaland replied, in part, “I support affordable energy prices for all Americans and understand that prices fluctuate and can hurt consumers.”The answers did not sway Barrasso, who along with fellow GOP senators Steve Daines (Mont.) Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho asked Haaland about her support for expanding electric transmission grids, a policy issue that Haaland backed during her time in the House. He also asked her whether she supported encouraging mining on public lands, which experts say will be needed to supply the fast growing markets for battery and electrification technology.
Kaufman’s revenge
       
Kaufman’s revenge Presented by Defending Democracy TogetherWith help from Allie BiceWelcome to POLITICO’s 2021 Transition Playbook, your guide to the first 100 days of the Biden administrationTED KAUFMAN does not strike the pose of a #resistance icon. If the Biden administration isn’t explicitly anti-Wall Street, it’s certainly the least Wall Street White House in many decades. Kaufman’s anti-Wall Street streak may be more visceral than Biden’s, but it’s not completely out of step with it. NEC director BRIAN DEESE worked for Wall Street firm BlackRock as the global head of sustainable investing after working all eight years of the Obama administration. As a senator, Kaufman’s two central objectives were reforming presidential transitions and hemming in Wall Street after the Great Recession.
Greg Abbott has left Texans to fight Covid alone
       
Gregg Abbott announced Tuesday that "state mandates are no longer needed" and that "it is now time to open Texas 100 percent." Texas, like much of the rest of the country, is seeing meaningful progress in vaccinating residents and decreasing daily infection rates. Abbott has purposefully injected a new infection into the state in the form of irresponsible policies that will promote unnecessary infection, hospitalization and death. Intentionally or not, Abbott has left the lives of Texans in their own hands. It should not be left to regular Texans to provide their own basic protection, but Abbott has left us with no other choice.
Texas schools, stores divided on masks as mandate ends
       
Greg Abbott says Texas is lifting a mask mandate and lifting business capacity limits next week. Greg Abbott says Texas is lifting a mask mandate and lifting business capacity limits next week. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)DALLAS (AP) — Now that Texas’ mask mandate is ending, florist Lucy Alanis is reconsidering a rare treat she allowed herself in Dallas during the coronavirus pandemic: the occasional meal at a restaurant. ADVERTISEMENTPresident Joe Biden also reacted to America’s second-largest state winding down virus restrictions for nearly 30 million people, calling it “Neanderthal thinking.”The mask mandate, which has been in place since July, and occupancy limits on restaurants and retail stores end March 10. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said his officers will continue wearing masks.
U.S. Civilian Contractor Dies During Rocket Strike On Iraq Air Base
       
Last month, there were three similar rocket attacks in Iraq, blamed by the U.S. on Iran-backed militants. The largest strike hit a base in the northern city of Irbil, where such attacks are rare, on Feb. 15. There, a barrage of rockets struck a base used, among others, by U.S. forces, next to the civilian airport. Last year, an American strike in Baghdad killed powerful Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. A Twitter account used by a representative of Kataib Hezbollah praised what he called the "Iraqi resistance" for today's attack on the Ain al-Asad air base.
Voting rights an intensifying partisan battleground, as Democrats push H.R. 1 and Republicans alter election procedures at state level
       
Yet to many Republicans, it amounts to an unwarranted federal intrusion into a process that states should control. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought changes that Republicans reject. “ Former Virginia attorney general and Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli is spearheading a $5 million campaign to pressure Senate Democrats to oppose H.R. Democrats say their aim is to make it easier for more people to vote, regardless of partisan affiliation. But challenges lie ahead in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, including the independents who caucus with Democrats.
Collins to back Haaland for Interior, sealing her approval
       
The announcement makes Haaland's confirmation by the Senate nearly certain and follows Haaland's endorsement last week by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland’s nomination by President Joe Biden. The landmark law, co-sponsored by Collins in the Senate, authorizes nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. Interior oversees the nation's public lands and waters and leads relations with nearly 600 federally recognized tribes. The Senate energy panel is set to vote on Haaland's nomination Thursday.
Schumer says Senate will take up relief bill as early as Wednesday
       
Members of the Sexual Harassment Working Group also said they expected more allegations to follow – and accused Cuomo of “gaslighting” his accusers. Letitia James, the state attorney general, meanwhile, announced the first step in mounting an external investigation of the governor’s behaviour. Cuomo, the son of a former governor and himself a former US housing secretary, is one of America’s most prominent governors. On Sunday he acknowledged for the first time that some of his behaviour towards women “may have been insensitive or too personal”. Now.” New York’s US senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and the congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among Democrats who demanded an independent investigation.
Covid: Police break up 'fake vaccine network' in China and South Africa
       
In late 2017, the U.S. Treasury added Artem Chaika, son of Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika, to those sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act. He is co-owner of a Russian company called Quantum Technologies and serves on the boards of various state-owned companies. During Chaika’s tenure as prosecutor-general, his sons, 45-year-old Artem Chaika and 33-year-old Igor Chaika, created huge business empires. (Arkady recently to came to Putin’s rescue by claiming, unconvincingly, that he was the owner of “Putin’s palace,” exposed by Navalny. Arkady’s son Igor Rotenberg, 47, has held numerous positions in the Putin government and also is on the boards of several gas and power companies.
Confirmation unsure for Biden health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra
       
Her withdrawal marks the president’s first failure as he seeks Senate confirmation for his cabinet nominees. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work.” Tanden’s confirmation had faced increasingly steep odds. Republican senators who opposed her nomination cited tweets attacking members of both parties prior to her nomination. Biden’s cabinet is slow to fill as some of his nominations hit hurdles on the way to confirmation. The president’s prospective health secretary, Xavier Becerra, faces a crucial committee vote in the Senate finance committee, where he is taking heat from Republicans for his support of abortion rights.
Nearly 40 killed in violent day of protests against Myanmar coup, U.N. envoy says
       
(Reuters) - Thirty-eight people were killed in Myanmar as the military quelled protests in several towns and cities on Wednesday, the United Nations said, the most violent day since demonstrations against last month's military coup first broke out. "Today it was the bloodiest day since the coup happened on the 1st of February. SUSTAINED SHOOTINGKo Bo Kyi, joint secretary of Myanmar's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners rights group, had said earlier the military killed at least 18. 'WE SHALL OVERCOME'Security forces breaking up protests in Yangon detained about 300 protesters, the Myanmar Now news agency reported. Images of a 19-year-old woman, one of two shot dead in Mandalay, showed her wearing a T-shirt that read "Everything will be OK".
US gets 'C-,' faces $2.59 trillion in infrastructure needs over 10 years: report
       
The United States faces a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure needs that requires a massive jump in government spending to address crumbling roads, bridges and other programs, according to an assessment by an engineers group issued on Wednesday. The biggest projected gap is in surface transportation, which faces $1.2 trillion in projected unmet needs over 10 years, while water systems face $434 billion and schools $380 billion in funding gaps. It remains unclear how Biden or Congress will fund new infrastructure spending. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESSThe report praised state and local governments for boosting infrastructure spending. Since 2010, 37 U.S. states raised gas taxes to fund transportation and U.S. voters approved 98% of local infrastructure ballot initiatives in November.
In a concession to Democratic moderates, Biden signs off on tighter income limits for stimulus checks
       
Under the changes agreed to by Biden and Senate Democratic leaders, individuals earning $75,000 per year and couples earning $150,000 would still receive the full $1,400-per-person benefit. Narrowing eligibility for the stimulus checks was just one change Democratic moderates such as Shaheen and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virgina had been seeking. Senate Democrats do not intend to adopt the suggested change to unemployment benefits, and they will stay at $400 per week, the aide said. The unemployment benefits are set to expire March 14; the Biden bill would extend them through August. With 50 votes in the Senate, Democrats must stay united to pass the legislation, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any tie.
Progressive loss in State House primary resurfaces debate over ranked-choice voting
       
If Tuesday’s race was a test of Massachusetts liberals’ electoral mettle, they did not pass. To some, this week’s outcome points to the need for ranked-choice voting, a system Massachusetts voters rejected last year, 55 percent to 45 percent. It was “a tragic thing to see that the first election to happen after the defeat of [ranked-choice voting] on the ballot last year is one where ranked-choice voting very well could have led to a different outcome,” said Jonathan Cohn, elections committee chair for Progressive Massachusetts, which had backed Jaramillo. For Turco, discussion of ranked-choice voting amounts to “sour grapes,” and his victory is a win for the political center. Jaramillo, who supports ranked-choice voting, said he considered Tuesday a victory in that “this community overwhelmingly voted for pro-worker, pro-immigrant, pro-women values,” he said.
Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy
       
Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. The most vulnerable nonprofits may try to reduce costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. We saw that with hundreds and hundreds of foundations.”___The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits.
Tank Noodle staff gets $700,000 in back pay after Labor Dept. probe
       
The agency said it recovered the money for 60 employees of Tank Noodle, 4953 N. Broadway. Scott Allen, a spokesman for the Labor Department, said the investigation covered the restaurant’s activities from January 2018 to January 2020. He said Tank Noodle agreed to restitution last December and that “a good portion” of the workers have received their money. Federal records show Tank Noodle received $163,557 in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program last May to retain 30 jobs. Allen said that money had no role in the Labor Department probe.
Majority of Nevadans support Sisolak’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic, poll shows
       
Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, with more than half supporting Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Steve Sisolak speaks during a press conference announcing a new grant program aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphotoPresident Joe Biden, left, and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, right. Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, according to results of The Nevada Poll released Tuesday. “Governor Sisolak has failed Nevadans at every turn during this pandemic,” the state GOP said.
Official: Democrats OK tightened income limits for relief
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Democrats’ push to include it in later legislation suggested an effort to satisfy progressives while avoiding jeopardizing the current package. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.
Michigan expands vaccine eligibility to those age 50 and up
       
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan announced Wednesday that everyone ages 50 to 64 can start getting COVID-19 vaccinations on March 22 and that those in that group with certain medical conditions can begin being immunized next week. It is the largest expansion of eligibility since Jan. 11, when state officials allowed vaccinations of seniors age 65 or older and additional frontline workers such as teachers. Starting Monday, two new priority groups will be eligible: 816,000 people age 50 or older with medical conditions or disabilities, and caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs. More than 20 underlying health conditions qualify, including common ones such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and obesity. All people ages 50 to 64 — 2 million total — will be eligible two weeks later, though 13% already have gotten at least one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine because they qualify for another reason.
Watch Now: Boxing granny knocks out Parkinson's symptoms, and more of today's top videos
       
President Biden criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions, saying that we are on the cusp of being abl…
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge; CDC director urges US to stay vigilant
       
Buoyed by a surge in vaccine shipments, states and cities are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 shots to teachers, Americans 50 and over and others as the U.S. races to beat back the virus and reopen businesses and schools. Until now, the vaccination campaign against the outbreak that's killed over a half-million Americans has concentrated mostly on health workers and senior citizens. But teachers have resisted returning without getting vaccinated. The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered all states to make teachers, school staff, bus drivers and child care workers eligible for shots. That's a major shift for the Biden administration, which controls access to COVID-19 vaccines but previously allowed states to set their own guidelines.
Eight injured in 'suspected terrorist' stabbings in Sweden
       
“In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled.
Threats to Capitol prompt House to cancel Thursday votes
       
House Democrats will accelerate passage of a sweeping police reform bill, bringing the legislation to the floor Wednesday night — and canceling votes Thursday — amid revelations of new threats to the Capitol. Democrats had initially intended a Thursday vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. "[There's] growing concern about threats to the Capitol and Democratic lawmakers in particular tomorrow," one Democratic lawmaker texted. The heightened security has been condemned by many of Trump's Republican allies on Capitol Hill, who have accused Democrats of maintaining unnecessary precautions against a nonexistent threat simply to portray Trump's supporters as universally violent. Although the House will now be on recess beginning Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to remain in session as it continues work on a massive coronavirus relief package.
US Border: Unaccompanied kids being held by Border Patrol for 77 hours on average
       
On average, over the last 21 days the US Border Patrol, part of Customs and Border Protection, arrested around 340 children who crossed the US-Mexico border alone, according to preliminary data outlined in the document. The Biden administration has been reluctant to call the situation unfolding on the US-Mexico border a crisis, instead referring to it as a challenge. After being taken into Border Patrol custody, unaccompanied children are turned over to HHS. in January 2019, the year where there were surges on the border, the Border Patrol encountered 5,515 unaccompanied children. Customs and Border Protection acknowledged the increases in border crossing.
Biden urges Democrats to stick together on $1.9trn Covid relief plan as progressives grumble it’s not enough
       
Joe Biden spoke to House Democrats on a conference call on Wednesday to urge them to continue backing his $1.9trn Covid relief plan, a wide-ranging proposal that has been taking weeks to wend its way towards the legislative finish line. “It’s good policy,” Mr Biden said, “and it’s good politics.”After a public round of fawning introductory remarks from Mr Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president threw on the cloak of privacy to field questions from members gathered virtually for the House Democrats’ annual retreat. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Senate Democrats had planned to vote on their own Covid relief package this week.
Thousands of asylum seekers cross US-Mexico border after year-long wait
       
Asylum seekers who have been waiting at the border for over a year while they pursued their cases have started entering the US this week. After taking office in January, President Biden announced it would suspend enrolment in the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols program, known as MPP, also known as the “remain in Mexico” program.
More than 200,000 Americans signed up for Obamacare within two weeks of Biden reopening healthcare marketplace
       
Joe Biden re-opened the federal health insurance marketplace to uninsured Americans from 15 February through 15 May. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Nearly 15 million Americans lost employer-sponsored health insurance plans by October 2020, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund. Following his inauguration, Mr Biden issued an executive order to temporarily reopen the government’s insurance marketplace.
Russia and Turkey Scramble to Avoid Conflict. And What do U.S. Democratic Primaries Mean for Moscow?
       
This week on the podcast:— The leaders of Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow on Thursday in a bid to de-escalate fighting in Syria which has brought the two countries to the brink of direct military confrontation. Financial Times Bureau Chief Henry Foy joins us in the studio to discuss what is at stake for both countries. The episode was recorded and edited at CM Records Studio in central Moscow. Read More:Russia’s Syria gamble under pressure as Turkey attacks in IdlibHawks say Sanders will be weak on Russia. But Putin should fear a President Bernie
AOC Warns Biden That Giving Relief Checks to Fewer People Than Trump Would Be Nonsensical 'Own-Goal'
       
"I don't understand the political or economic wisdom in allowing Trump to give more people relief checks than a Democratic administration. "I don't understand the political or economic wisdom in allowing Trump to give more people relief checks than a Democratic administration." Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did. "That means more generous relief checks, $15 min wage, ending the filibuster to protect our democracy. But one is that this would likely ensure that many of oft-discussed middle-class suburbanites who flipped from Trump to Biden will have received stimulus checks from Trump but not Biden.
Team Biden surprises with positive vaccine news
       
Vaccine manufacturer Merck, a competitor of Johnson & Johnson, then agreed to help manufacture the newly approved vaccine to double its U.S. capacity, a move brokered by the Biden White House. Using the Defense Production Act, the Biden administration allocated $100 million to expand drug manufacturing and to convert a Merck facility into a manufacturing plant. Everything clicked into place on Saturday, when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved by the FDA. Postal Service and FedEx hubs for delivery on Tuesday, when the first Johnson & Johnson vaccines were administered to Americans. Still, the challenge of vaccinating enough Americans to reach herd immunity is momentous and not entirely within Biden’s control.
U.S. weighs possible retaliation for rocket attack in western Iraq
       
The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an airbase in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. "Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket, but one individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February. "Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government," he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack.
US Border: Unaccompanied kids being held by Border Patrol for 77 hours on average
       
On average, over the last 21 days the US Border Patrol, part of Customs and Border Protection, arrested around 340 children who crossed the US-Mexico border alone, according to preliminary data outlined in the document. The average time in Border Patrol facilities, which are not designed to hold children, was 77 hours, longer than the 72 permitted under US law. After being taken into Border Patrol custody, unaccompanied children are turned over to HHS. in January 2019, the year where there were surges on the border, the Border Patrol encountered 5,515 unaccompanied children. Customs and Border Protection acknowledged the increases in border crossing.
Hopefully Whoever Replaces Neera Tanden as OMB Nominee Has Never Called Ted Cruz a “Vampire”
       
That was a no-go for the White House, as Politico reported, and Biden accepted Tanden’s letter withdrawing from consideration. “You should be judged by the time,” one White House official told PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. “And the time we were in, we just had a fool in the White House tweeting all kinds of shit. — How the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Was Hobbled by Turf Wars and Magical Thinking— From the Archive: The Complicated Dynamic Between the Young JFK, His Formidable Brother, and Their Tycoon Father— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.
Republican Governors Celebrate COVID Anniversary With Bold Plan to Kill Another 500,000 Americans
       
On Tuesday, the governor announced that he was ending Texas‘s mask mandate and allowing businesses to reopen at 100% capacity by March 10. (Shortly thereafter, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves also announced that his state would no longer require people to wear masks, and that businesses will be able to operate at full capacity.) Abbott’s decision to effectively fully return to pre-pandemic normality, while the pandemic is still raging, was reminiscent of the time last spring when he lifted COVID restrictions—which, you guessed it, caused cases to spike in the weeks that followed. While Texas has recently seen a slowdown in infections, just 6.57% of the state has been fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, far short of the level it needs to achieve herd immunity. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable; we can’t assume that,” he said.
“You Want Him Weakened So He Can’t Run”: Democrats Are Playing War Games With Andrew Cuomo’s Political Future
       
Rumors have been swirling among New York Democrats that more women will be coming forward with new allegations. Democratic political operatives I spoke to said Cuomo would be unlikely to survive if a new accuser came forward. Another reason Cuomo looks like he will weather the storm is that powerful Democrats aren’t motivated to push him out the door. “If you’re James, you want him weakened so he can’t run,” the political consultant said. “The behavior described in these allegations against Governor Cuomo is completely unacceptable, and every allegation of sexual harassment must be taken seriously and be reviewed,” she said.
Pence Can’t Quit the Big Election Lie That Nearly Got Him Killed
       
The bill serves “one goal only: to give leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system,” Pence wrote in the Daily Signal, arguing H.R.1 would hinder election reform at the state and local level. As is characteristic of those sowing unfounded doubt on the election process, the former vice president kept it vague. “I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election,” Pence wrote, reiterating evidence-free allegations of “an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law.” The op-ed—among his most substantial remarks since the Capitol attack—was notably without mention of the man who popularized such election misinformation, as Politico’s Kyle Cheney pointed out. “I do think he should’ve stood up for Trump,” one CPAC volunteer told the Times of the former president’s impossible request that Pence overturn Biden’s legitimate election victory. Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.
Senate bill will narrow income eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks
       
Washington (CNN) President Joe Biden has agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to narrow the income eligibility for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks that are included in a bill the Senate is expected to take up this week, a Democratic source told CNN Wednesday. The new proposal will completely cut off those who earn more than $160,000 a year and individuals who earn more than $80,000 a year. The House legislation , which passed Saturday, set the income caps at $200,000 for couples and $100,000 for individuals. But the same households will receive the full payment of $1,400 per person, including children. Individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 will -- just as in the House bill.
Live Updates: Narrower Income Limits for Stimulus Checks Win Biden’s Approval
       
michael barbaro From “The New York Times,” I’m Michael Barbaro. michael barbaro OK, and in terms of size and scale, how does this package number three stack up against the first two? jim tankersley You get aid to state and local governments, who have had to lay off a lot of workers. michael barbaro So this is non-traditional stimulus, but stimulus uniquely suited to a pandemic recession? michael barbaro Jim, this is a pretty historic thing to pass on a party line vote, $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus.
House passes Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid relief package
       
We can finally get our economy moving again, and the people of this country have suffered far too much for too long," he said, speaking from the White House. It had been expected to pass on a party-line vote as House Republicans urged their members to vote against the package and worked to limit defections. When Senate Republicans went to the White House to suggest cooperation, President Biden's team said no thanks," he said. "The White House Chief of Staff admits this liberal wish-list is 'the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation.' The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on the governors' statement.
March 2, 2021 Covid-19 stimulus updates
       
It’s a similar strategy they already deployed in February during the initial vote-a-rama on the bill. Still, Schumer has urged Democrats privately to vote against Republican amendments that comes up and not split the caucus. Another amendment to block high-end earners from receiving stimulus payments passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. And a group of eight Democrats voted “yes” on an amendment that would have banned immigrants in the country illegally from receiving stimulus checks. Multiple aides familiar with the talks are still optimistic that the legislation would come to the floor for consideration tomorrow.
Mixed-status citizenship and stimulus checks: What to know for the next payment
       
If it becomes part of the final stimulus bill, the move to include mixed-status families in the new, upcoming stimulus check would extend to millions. Note that for a mixed-status family to qualify for stimulus money, one member needs to have a Social Security number. One spouse is a "lawful permanent resident" with a Social Security number and the other isn't a citizen and doesn't have a Social Security number. Neither parent is a US citizen or "lawful permanent resident" with a Social Security number, and a child is a US-born citizen with a Social Security number. With the first stimulus check from the CARES Act, only those with a Social Security number qualified for a payment.
What Biden’s Sustainability Agenda Means for Business
       
For both U.S. business, and any business operating in the U.S., the message is very clear: To survive and thrive in the net-zero future, now is the time to scale up climate action. Companies that fail to take climate action soon are risking that their products and services will become unviable. When it comes to climate, companies like Orsted are a great example of the benefits of taking decisive action. It aims to achieve 100% clean electricity nationwide by 2035, with 40% of clean energy funding directed to disadvantaged communities. By backing clean energy, Biden recognizes that it is competitive and will only become more so.
Stock Market Today: Growth Stocks Gashed
       
The "great rotation" was in full swing yet again Wednesday, with a wide disparity between the market's value- and growth-oriented sectors. Dragging on stocks broadly were reports that President Joe Biden and moderate Senate Democrats had reached a deal to reduce the number of Americans eligible for the next round of stimulus checks, with individuals being cut off at $80,000 in income instead of $100,000. The Institute for Supply Management's February services index reading declined in February, to 55.3 – a slower rate of expansion affected by last month's winter storms, as well as higher input costs. Sign up for Kiplinger's FREE Investing Weekly e-letter for stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations, and other investing advice. "In the event, the pattern of readings across categories seems broadly consistent with disturbances from the extreme cold snap."
Will You Still Get a Third Stimulus Check Under the New Senate Plan?
       
Fewer Americans would get a third stimulus check under a new plan agreed to by President Biden and Senate Democrats. However, led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a handful of Democrats in the Senate pushed for the stimulus check plan to be more "targeted" to people who need assistance the most. In other words, those Senators argued that people with higher incomes should not receive a stimulus check. Stimulus Check Plan Passed by the House On February 27, the House of Representative passed the budget reconciliation bill that is being used to usher the president's stimulus package through Congress. Senate's New Phase-Out Rate Under the new plan being considered by the Senate, the stimulus check phase-out thresholds would not change.
February 2021 Cable Network Ranker: Fox News, MSNBC and CNN Can All Lay Claim to Being No. 1
       
The network came in third in total viewers behind rivals CNN and MSNBC the previous month. MSNBC, for the first time in network history, averaged more total viewers than any other cable network across the 24-hour day, just under 1.4 million. While the network marked back-to-back months as the most-watched basic cable network in the A25-54 demo (and 4 consecutive months at No. 1 on cable news in the demo), it fell behind both Fox News and MSNBC in total viewers. Here’s the February 2021 basic cable ranker, sorted by average total viewers in descending order:February 2021 Basic Cable Ranker (Total Viewers)
Mo’ money, less relief
       
And hate to break it to you, but not everyone is getting a third relief check. You may have a COVID-19 relief check coming your wayHave a sweet six-figure income? Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to Americans earning less than $80,000, according to two sources. Biden's COVID-19 relief plan includes a child tax credit boost popular with Democrats but a "nightmare" to Republicans. "I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way," Cuomo said.
New York to loosen travel restrictions for Americans who've gotten the COVID-19 vaccine
       
New York, one of the first states in the U.S. to implement travel restrictions on domestic visitors last spring, took another step toward relaxing its COVID-19 policies Wednesday by lifting the quarantine and COVID-19 testing restrictions on people who have been vaccinated within 90 days of their second inoculation. "Domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine or test out within 90 days of full vaccination," Gov. Beyond the 90 days, travelers would still have to quarantine and test out. People who have not been vaccinated or who have not completed their shots must also continue to quarantine under the existing guidelines. State-by-state travel restrictions: See what's required where you're going
Rep. Jamaal Bowman calls standardized testing ‘a pillar of systemic racism’
       
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, one of the newest members of “The Squad,” says standardized testing is a manifestation of “systemic racism.”In a pair of tweets Tuesday, Bowman (D-NY) wrote simply, “Standardized testing is a pillar of systemic racism,” before linking to an article from the National Education Association, one of the two largest teachers unions in the country. The article from the NEA was titled “The Racist Beginnings of Standardized Testing.” It was published in April 2018. “Since the beginning of standardized testing, students of color, particularly those from low-income families, have suffered the most from high-stakes testing in U.S. public schools. The Biden Administration’s refusal to grant waivers for standardized testing is WRONG,” he wrote alongside one of the videos. All of the data that they claim they need standardized tests to analyze can be better understood by speaking with the educators in our classrooms,” he continued.
Democrats’ #MeToo hypocrisy and other commentary
       
Cuomo watch: Democrats’ #MeToo HypocrisyGov. Cuomo should be facing “explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans,” reason Axios’ Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen. “And it’s not a close call.” During the #MeToo moment, Democrats “led the charge” in purging powerful men in politics, media, fashion and the movies for exploiting and harassing young women. But “the Biden team is exposing its own hypocrisy,” since the president is determined to ­renew talks with the Tehran regime, which has gallons of dissident blood on its hands. Then, too, Team Biden ignores the fact that “MBS has, over the past four years, engineered a breathtaking expansion of individual liberty” by curbing the religious establishment — reforms that a hard-line stance from Washington could undo.
Islamic State says it killed female media workers in east Afghanistan
       
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed three female media workers in eastern Afghanistan. Relatives carrying the coffin for one of the female journalists killed by ISIS at her funeral in Kabul on March 3, 2021. Violence has risen around Afghanistan and media workers and civil society members in urban areas have been targeted in recent months even as a peace process takes place in Qatar’s capital of Doha. The Afghan government and the Taliban have been holding talks to try to reach a political settlement to end decades of conflict. But progress has slowed as the new Biden administration in Washington reviews its plans for the peace process, including whether to entirely withdraw troops by May as originally planned.
Bipartisan bill introduced to repeal Iraq War authorization after Biden bombed Syria
       
A bipartisan bill introduced Wednesday would repeal the 2002 Iraq War authorization in the wake of President Biden’s decision to bomb facilities in Syria that were allegedly used by an Iran-backed militia. The largely symbolic bill was introduced by four Senate Democrats and four Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the Executive Branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said in a press release. Biden did not cite the 1991 or 2002 war authorizations — or the 2001 anti-al-Qaeda authorization — when he bombed Syria in his first airstrikes as president. Biden said that the attack was intended to deter a Shiite militia group from attacking US troops inside Iraq.
Capitol Police ups security after uncovering ‘possible plot’ by ‘militia group’
       
The Capitol Police is increasing security in an effort to thwart a potential attack Thursday by “an identified militia group,” the department revealed Wednesday. Scott ApplewhiteWednesday’s statement from the department also comes in the midst of weeks of congressional hearings into the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Last week, Congress heard from the acting Capitol Police chief and the acting House sergeant-at-arms, as well as their predecessors who resigned in the wake of the riot. Members of the National Guard walk near the US Capitol Building on Capitol Hill on March 3, 2021. It is not clear what additional reinforcements the Capitol Police took up in the wake of the March 4 threat.
Opinion | Democrats won’t gain anything from scaling back stimulus checks
       
Progressives wanted to do as much as possible, and moderates wanted to find ways to scale back the bill’s ambitions. ADADIt does mean, however, that some people who got stimulus checks from then-President Donald Trump won’t be getting them from Biden. (Republicans wanted the stimulus checks to be reduced even further, so you could argue that the final bill will have moved slightly in their direction, even if they won’t support it.) Cutting back the stimulus checks won’t make it any more so. And no senator would have been the victim of a vicious attack ad skewering them for allowing stimulus checks to phase out slightly more slowly for people in the middle- to upper-middle class.
Sen. Ron Wyden said it's a 'prescription for trouble' to end jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed
       
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., speaks at a Senate Finance Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 25, 2021. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Wednesday it's a "prescription for trouble" to end jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and gig workers in August, during a congressional recess, instead of September. Wyden is among about a dozen Senate Democrats who this week pressed Biden to support legislation that would automatically issue stimulus checks and jobless benefits. The Senate is now debating the $1.9 trillion relief bill, the American Rescue Plan. Democrats aim to get a bill on Biden's desk by the end of next week.
New U.S. president will not undo Trump’s interference, Huawei CFO's lawyers say
       
Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada March 1, 2021. Trump’s alleged political interference and violation of her legal rights are cited by Meng’s lawyers as reasons her extradition case should be thrown out. Ten days after Meng’s arrest, then-President Trump told Reuters in an interview that he would intervene in the case to get a better trade deal with China. “Our contention is that his words amount to an abuse of process.”Canadian prosecutors have said Trump’s statements about Huawei and the trade deal are no longer relevant since he has left office and the deal has already been signed. “Nothing the ambassador can say now will dissuade me from understanding that is indeed the case,” he said.
San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich slams Texas governor for lifting Covid mandates
       
San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich blasted Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday for rescinding Texas' mask mandate and rolling back other Covid-19 restrictions, calling the decision "mystifying," "ridiculous" and "ignorant." "I'm worried about the people in our state," said Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five world titles. "People that didn't want to wear masks in the first place, how do the businesses get them to wear masks? I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, wear masks."
Texas doctors say Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to scrap mask mandate could result in another Covid-19 surge
       
Greg Abbott’s sudden decision to ditch the mask mandate and lift coronavirus restrictions could result in a new surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths. The more difficult problem is that while many people in Texas experienced the pandemic in waves, there’s been no respite for front-line health care providers. Many health care providers fear this could extend the pandemic.”McDeavitt, the Houston hospital’s senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs, said he shares these fears. “As I said, I think the governor’s decision was premature and I think it will cause another surge,” McDeavitt said. We know the governor’s decision increases the chance for another surge, but we’ve already been preparing for another surge.”
Ron Klain has one of the busiest jobs in D.C. — and one of the most active Twitter feeds, too
       
Now, six weeks into the Biden administration, it’s not the president but his White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, whose online activity is generating the most intrigue in Washington. By comparison, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted a total of only 43 times in the same 37-day stretch. Most of Klain’s tweets — about 40 percent — are retweets from journalists or news organizations who post about the work of the administration. So certainly what he’s projecting and communicating about is reflective of what we’re focused on internally day to day,” Psaki said. “We decided pretty early on we want people engaging on Twitter,” said Rob Flaherty, the White House digital director.
Pennsylvania teachers, school staff to get 1-dose vaccine
       
(Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — With growing emphasis on getting students back in schools during the pandemic, teachers and school staff will receive the first doses delivered to Pennsylvania of the newly approved one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, under Gov. ADVERTISEMENTEducation groups have asked Wolf to prioritize school staff for the COVID-19 vaccine, calling it an “absolutely essential” step toward reopening schools and keeping them open. State data shows about 121,000 public school and charter school teachers, plus another 100,000 full- and part-time support staff, as of last year. In Philadelphia, which gets vaccine shipments directly from the federal government, city officials expect to receive 13,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, with no additional doses for at least three weeks after. To deploy the vaccine, state agencies are working through Pennsylvania’s 28 regional intermediate units to set up vaccine sites, the governor’s office said.
Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy
       
Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. The most vulnerable nonprofits may try to reduce costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. We saw that with hundreds and hundreds of foundations.”___The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge
       
Hartford Public Schools Safety Officer Victor Rodriguez flexes his arm muscle after receiving a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Hartford Public Schools Safety Officer Victor Rodriguez flexes his arm muscle after receiving a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. In Texas, where teachers have been battling to gain access to shots, state officials on Wednesday ordered vaccine providers to begin administering shots to school workers. “The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” Michigan Gov.
'Neanderthal Thinking:' Biden Says Too Soon For States To Lift Mask Mandates
       
'Neanderthal Thinking:' Biden Says Too Soon For States To Lift Mask MandatesEnlarge this image toggle caption Alex Brandon/AP Alex Brandon/APPresident Biden said on Wednesday that states like Texas and Mississippi are making a big mistake by ending mandates to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the nation is making a push to boost vaccinations. "The last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask. It still matters," Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office. It was uncharacteristically harsh language from Biden, who has placed a premium on civility. The governors argued that cases have fallen, so the public should be able to make their own decisions about safety.
Disney to close at least 60 North American stores, focus on e-commerce
       
People wearing masks amid the Covid-19 pandemic are pictured on October 24, 2020 in downtown El Paso, Texas. About 43,000 Texans have died from Covid-19, against a national total death toll of 517,000, by far the world’s highest. When the restrictions are lifted, Texas will become the most populous US state that does not require residents to wear face coverings. When receiving her jab, the country music legend broke into an adaption of one of her biggest hits, Jolene, singing: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.” Although Parton made jokes in the video showing her getting vaccinated, her appearance also had a serious aim: combatting vaccine hesitancy, which is thought to be a serious problem in the US.
A better forecast for ‘climate tech’
       
Advertisement“Over the past decade, my biggest win was survival,” says Rob Day, a longtime investor in energy technologies who is based in Marblehead. But there’s a new wave of interest in what has been renamed “climate tech,” and lots of money is once again flowing. Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures in January committed an additional $1 billion to investing in startups that can reduce carbon emissions, and one of its top leaders, Carmichael Roberts, is based in Brookline. A decade ago, talking about developing new technologies that would impact the climate was “a bit of a third rail. “But if you’re looking to remove half a gigaton of carbon emissions a year, those kinds of technologies are probably getting deployed in multiple countries, on multiple continents.
House on the cusp of passing landmark voting rights, ethics bill
       
By Brian Slodysko and Lisa Mascaro | Associated PressWashington — House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. This bill “will put a stop at the voter suppression that we’re seeing debated right now,” said Rep. Nikema Williams, a new congresswoman who represents the Georgia district that deceased voting rights champion John Lewis held for years. In Iowa, the legislature has voted to cut absentee and in-person early voting and prevent local elections officials from setting up additional locations to make early voting easier. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and mandate the restoration of former felons’ voting rights. Some Democrats have discussed options like lowering the threshold to break a filibuster, or creating a workaround that would allow priority legislation, including a separate John Lewis Voting Rights bill, to be exempt.
First Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses arrive in Minnesota
       
Tim Walz celebrated the arrival Wednesday of the first doses Johnson & Johnson vaccine being delivered to the state. The Johnson& Johnson formula is also easier to store while the other two vaccines must be kept extremely cold. Walz noted that in the coming weeks supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will fall off because of supply and demand issues. Health officials expect the supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to fill that gap and supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should rebound by mid-March. Yet state health officials say they are working to better educate people who may be hesitant to get inoculated.
Report: $2.59 trillion needed to improve U.S. infrastructure over next decade
       
The largest funding gap exists in surface transportation — encompassing roads, railways and other ground-level transportation infrastructure — where an additional $1.2 billion would be needed. Borrowing the money, taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals, and user fees like a gas tax or a vehicle-miles-traveled fee have all been floated as possible options. Meanwhile, 37 states have raised their gas tax to fund infrastructure improvements since 2010. The federal gas tax has not increased since 1993. White House officials have questioned whether the gas tax is a sustainable long-term solution as U.S. automakers increasingly pivot to electric vehicles.
Mississippi close to putting limits on transgender athletes
       
(AP) — The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls' or women's sports teams in the state's schools and universities. Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year. “Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Republican Rep. Becky Currie read from a text as she explained the bill to the Mississippi House. “Allowing males to compete in girls' sports destroys fair competition and women's athletic opportunities." Currie said she would not take any questions from colleagues because she believed everyone had already decided how to vote.
Senate has no space for ballots it got after court fight
       
But after the Senate spent more than two months fighting to enforce a subpoena seeking access to the 2.1 million voted ballots, it apparently doesn't know what to do with them. Last week, a judge ordered the ballots and vote tabulation equipment handed over so the Senate can try to show if problems with the election led to former President Donald Trump’s loss. He included a photo of a box truck loaded with shrink-wrapped pallets of boxes filled with ballots. “Please advise us when the Senate is ready to receive the subpoenaed materials and where they should be delivered,” Sellers wrote. “If the Senate no longer wants the materials delivered, the county stands ready to discuss next steps.”
'Neanderthal thinking': Biden on states lifting mask restrictions
       
President Biden criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions, saying that we are on the cusp of being able to change the nature of the disease and that "the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."
US infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads stagnate
       
But it was not able to push Congress to pass any broad plan to update the nation’s roads and bridges, rails and airports. Four areas got Cs: bridges, which dropped from a C+ to a C in 2021, energy, drinking water and solid waste. “This report card is a warning and a call to action,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press. In its report card, the group said years of inaction has had consequences. According to the report card, the nation is only paying about half of what it needs to lift overall U.S. infrastructure to an acceptable “B” level.
House prepares to pass landmark voting rights, ethics bill
       
Updated 3 times AlertMeWashington — House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. This bill “will put a stop at the voter suppression that we’re seeing debated right now,” said Rep. Nikema Williams, a new congresswoman who represents the Georgia district that deceased voting rights champion John Lewis held for years. “Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said from the House floor on Tuesday. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and mandate the restoration of former felons’ voting rights. Some Democrats have discussed options like lowering the threshold to break a filibuster, or creating a workaround that would allow priority legislation, including a separate John Lewis Voting Rights bill, to be exempt.
Texas lawmaker unveils plans for '1836 Project' to commemorate state's independence from Mexico
       
A Texas lawmaker has unveiled plans for a committee that would promote 'patriotic education' across the state's schools, parks and museums. Rep. Tan Parker is pressing for the 1836 Project - named after the year Texas achieved independence from Mexico - according to legislation filed Monday. The committee will focus on remembering the Texas War for Independence, the annexation of Texas by the US and Juneteenth. 'Many of our children are taught to denounce Texas history and do not understand what it means to be a virtuous citizen.' They will focus on the Texas War for Independence, the annexation of Texas by the US and Juneteenth, he saidSouth Dakota Gov.
Biden says Texas and Mississippi reopening is a 'big mistake'
       
Asked about the reopenings in Mississippi and Texas, Psaki pointed Biden's push for Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office. CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky echoed Biden's warning, saying the Texas and Mississippi decisions to defy federal guidelines and drop mask requirements were premature. 'I wish Texas, Mississippi and others state would just hold off another little bit. Andy Slavitt, a White House COVID-19 senior adviser, told CNN that they understood the pressures governors were facing but urged them to rethink lifting mask mandates. Schools, which reopened in Mississippi back in August, will still have mask mandates where social distancing is not possible.
Covid relief US: Joe Biden cuts off stimulus checks for those earning over $80k
       
President Joe Biden is 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus checks to Americans who make more than $80,000, the White House indicated Wednesday, bowing to pressure from Senate moderates. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are calling for recurring relief checks to be included in future relief packages. The House version of the bill, which passed early Saturday, also phased out stimulus checks, but had a higher ceiling. The two other series of stimulus checks have also been tailored by income. Both Biden and Trump supported stimulus checks.
Mississippi close to putting limits on transgender athletes
       
(AP) — The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls' or women's sports teams in the state's schools and universities. Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors this year. “Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Republican Rep. Becky Currie read from a text as she explained the bill to the Mississippi House. The House voted 81-28 to pass Senate Bill 2536. During the Senate debate, nobody asked whether any transgender athletes are competing in Mississippi.
Jim Jordan’s campaign faces questions over accounting discrepancies that exceed $100K
       
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Election Commission on Tuesday asked U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s campaign committee to explain large accounting discrepancies between reports it filed several years ago and corrected reports the committee filed earlier this year. Several March 2 letters from the FEC ask Jordan’s campaign to explain:* an increase in disbursements totaling $122,706.60 on its 2018 post-general election report. * a decrease in receipts totaling $111,950.54 on Jordan’s campaign finance report for the first quarter of 2019. “The campaign has filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign finance reports going back to 2018,” said a statement from Jordan’s campaign manager, Kevin Eichinger. From 2019 through 2020, Jordan raised $18,637,140, spent $13,268,968 and finished with more than $6 million in the bank.
Bipartisan senators introduce bill to strip Biden of war powers
       
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. | Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty ImagesSenior Biden administration officials have begun briefing Congress this week about the Syria strikes, but they have yet to brief lawmakers directly. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told POLITICO on Tuesday that he sat in on a staff-level briefing because the Biden administration had yet to schedule sessions for senators. Smith said the standoff “without a doubt” will revive a simmering debate on war powers and revising decades-old war authorizations, but reiterated that he supports Biden's move as justified to defend U.S. personnel. The Biden administration published a long-secret intelligence report last week that blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the operation that killed Khashoggi, but the administration declined to impose direct penalties on the crown prince.
US warns of ‘possible’ plan to seize US Capitol on March 4
       
Plot is centred on QAnon belief Trump is true president and will assume office, but conspiracists warn of ‘false flag’. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the Capitol Police, a law enforcement agency tasked with protecting Capitol grounds, said in a release. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4. — Julia E. Ainsley (@JuliaEAinsley) March 3, 2021The possible plot appears to be connected to a theory related to the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is known for her past support of aspects of the QAnon movement.
China’s ambitions threatened by US equipment ban
       
China is making an all-out effort to achieve independence in semiconductors, but the learning curve is steep and US sanctions are hurting. US restrictions on the sale of high-end computer chips as well as semiconductor manufacturing equipment threaten China’s high-tech ambitions, including its $200 billion rollout of a national 5G broadband network, according to industry experts. China is an aggressive buyer of semiconductor manufacturing equipment as part of a national effort to reduce its $300 billion a year in semiconductor imports, but it can’t get the most advanced machines. Seasoned industry observers warn that a full-scale tech war may be shaping up between the US and China. If the US tries to choke off China’s semiconductor industry, semiconductor industry officials warn, China will retaliate – by cutting off exports of rare-earth minerals to the United States or impeding the Chinese operations of top American companies such as Apple.
Thousands at Oakland Coliseum received wrong vaccine dosage, medical staff say
       
articleThousands of people who visited the mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum received the wrong vaccine dosages this week, raising questions about the effectiveness of the medication, according to two medical workers who contacted KTVU. The problem at the Coliseum site stems from the orange-capped syringes that were used -- and the amount of Pfizer vaccine that they can deliver. That means that people who received shots before the problem was discovered on Monday received a smaller dosage amount of 0.2 mL. A similar syringe issue was reported across the country in January when "Operation Warp Speed" vaccination kits contained syringes that kept portions of the vaccine trapped inside. This is a 0.3 ml syringe that is supposed to be used to administer the Pfizer vaccine.
Biden’s Bare-Minimum Response to Russia’s Attempted Navalny Assassination
       
On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced a set of sanctions against Russia, in response to its attempted assassination, this past August, of the opposition politician Alexey Navalny with a nerve agent. The sanctions were at once more than any U.S. Administration had done and less than would seem rational or proportionate if viewed purely as a response to an attempted murder. Those it did include have all previously been sanctioned by the European Union: five were listed in the fall, in response to Navalny’s poisoning, and two were sanctioned last week, in response to Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment upon returning to Moscow. And we’re neither seeking to reset our relations with Russia, nor are we seeking to escalate.”But what is the Administration seeking to do? Morally, the Biden Administration had to act, because the President ran on the promise of being tough on Russia.
Republicans Accuse Biden of Trying to Score Political Points by Ending Pandemic
       
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—After Joe Biden announced that there would be enough vaccine for all adult Americans by the end of May, leading Republicans accused the President of trying to score political points by ending the pandemic. Leading the charge was the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who called Biden’s anti-pandemic measures “partisan politics at its worst.”“So now we learn that the pandemic will be ended by a White House that is a hundred per cent controlled by Democrats,” he said. “Where’s the so-called unity, President Biden?”Senator Ted Cruz concurred. “After vowing that there would be enough vaccine in July, Joe Biden broke his promise and is now saying May,” the Texas lawmaker said. “I think the American people will see right through this.”Finally, Senator Ron Johnson called Biden’s actions to bring the pandemic to a close “blatant,” adding, “This is just another attempt to undo Donald Trump’s legacy.”Read More Satire from the Borowitz Report
Return-to-Office Plans Are Set in Motion, but Virus Uncertainty Remains
       
Then as the coronavirus sent employees to their homes, much of the city center quickly went quiet and dark. The return of those employees to their offices has been halting and difficult. Wells Fargo has delayed its return to the office several times, telling its employees recently that they will continue to work remotely through at least May 1. Corporate executives around the country are wrestling with how to reopen offices as the pandemic starts to loosen its grip. The most important variable, many executives said, is how long it will take for most employees to be vaccinated.
Live Updates: Narrower Income Limits for Stimulus Checks Win Biden’s Approval
       
michael barbaro From “The New York Times,” I’m Michael Barbaro. michael barbaro OK, and in terms of size and scale, how does this package number three stack up against the first two? jim tankersley You get aid to state and local governments, who have had to lay off a lot of workers. michael barbaro So this is non-traditional stimulus, but stimulus uniquely suited to a pandemic recession? michael barbaro Jim, this is a pretty historic thing to pass on a party line vote, $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus.
Covid-19 Live Updates: Biden Calls States’ Moves to Ease Virus Rules ‘Neanderthal Thinking’
       
Katie Rogers andAdvertisement Continue reading the main storyLos Angeles County finds fewer cases among health care workers as more get vaccinated. The state said Tuesday it expected to receive about 164,800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. Mr. Cuomo said the state would run overnight vaccinations until it exhausted its initial supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The new plan reflects how the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not only expanding the overall supply of doses, but giving rise to novel ways of reaching people. “We’ll reserve as much as we can for that," Mr. de Blasio said of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
President Biden Says U.S. Will Have Enough Vaccines for 'Every Adult in America' by End of May
       
The president also directed states to prioritize educators, calling for every teacher to receive at least one dose by the end of MarchPresident Biden Says U.S. Will Have Enough Vaccines for 'Every Adult in America' by End of MayPresident Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States will be able to drastically move up its vaccination timeline, announcing that the nation will have enough vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May. During a briefing on the administration's COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Biden said that the nation has made "important progress" on vaccine distribution. "We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," Biden said, a significant move forward from the administration's previous timeline from the end of July. However, Biden, 78, said that this does not mean that all American adults will actually receive a shot by the end of May. "But it's not enough to have the vaccine supply.
Kroger Will Still Require Customers to Wear Masks in States That Are Lifting Mandates
       
The governors of Texas and Mississippi both ended their state's mask mandate this weekKroger Will Still Require Customers to Wear Masks in States That Are Lifting MandatesIf you shop at Kroger, expect to wear a mask. On Wednesday, the Kroger Family of Companies, one of America's largest chain of grocery outlets, announced that they would continue to require customers to wear a face covering in their stores despite some states lifting their mask mandate. "To ensure the continued safety of our customers and associates, The Kroger Family of Companies will continue to require everyone in our stores across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine," the spokesperson continued. Hours later, President Joe Biden warned against the continued threat of the virus despite the administration's COVID-19 vaccination efforts. He said that although the nation is "moving in the right direction," the public should continue to be vigilant about COVID-19 safety precautions.
'What am I doing here?' Biden becomes disoriented during Texas visit in concerning video
       
'What am I doing here?' Biden becomes disoriented during Texas visit in concerning videoAdded: 03.03.2021 13:17 | 10 views | 0 commentsWATCH the moment Joe Biden appeared to become disoriented as he asked "what am I doing here?" during a visit to Texas.
College Officials Clamp Down on Student Behavior Over Covid-19 Fears
       
College Officials Clamp Down on Student Behavior Over Covid-19 FearsAdded: 20.08.2020 10:27 | 12 views | 0 commentsJoe Biden criticized President Trump’s virus response and outlined a strategy to fight the pandemic. Overburdened health care specialists are finding themselves on the front lines as schools reopen.
Opinion: We desperately need a global Covid vaccine plan to stop more deaths
       
Added: 03.03.2021 19:18 | 16 views | 0 commentsEven though the US death toll stemming from the coronavirus is declining and the Biden administration is putting the pedal to the metal with vaccination efforts, a spate of new virus mutations is causing alarm within the medical and scientific community -- and for good reason.
Which senators have been voting against Biden Cabinet nominees?
       
Which senators have been voting against Biden Cabinet nominees? Added: 03.03.2021 18:23 | 8 views | 0 commentsThe most frequent votes against Biden’s nominees thus far — no surprise — have in most cases come from ambitious Republicans thought to be potential 2024 presidential candidates.
Biden says Texas and Mississippi over lifting COVID restrictions, guilty of ‘Neanderthal thinking’
       
Biden says Texas and Mississippi over lifting COVID restrictions, guilty of ‘Neanderthal thinking’Added: 03.03.2021 20:51 | 7 views | 0 commentsPresident Biden took a swipe at Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi Wednesday, accusing them of "Neanderthal thinking" following their decision to reverse COVID safety policies, including mask mandates.
So Is Joe Biden a Nazi, Too?
       
Added: 03.03.2021 19:29 | 8 views | 0 commentsIs Joe Biden a Nazi? I only ask because he's doing a lot of the same things that the previous incumbent of the White House did, and that guy was always being called a Nazi.
'Optimistic' Biden recommits to cancer cure hunt
       
Added: 03.03.2021 20:20 | 11 views | 0 commentsPresident Joe Biden is "optimistic" that progress can be made in the battle against cancer, convening a meeting in the Oval Office with a group of bipartisan House and Senate members to push for more action.
Biden: Ending mask mandates 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
Added: 03.03.2021 21:16 | 9 views | 0 commentsPresident Joe Biden called the decisions by the governors of Texas and Mississippi to end mask mandates "a big mistake" and slammed what he said was "Neanderthal thinking" at a time he says the nation needs to remain vigilant against COVID-19.
WH: Biden to find Tanden another administration post
       
Added: 03.03.2021 21:07 | 8 views | 0 commentsWhite House Press secretary Jen Psaki says there will be no announcement this week on a new budget nominee after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination Tuesday. Psaki said President Joe Biden is looking for another administration post for Tanden.
An NFL Quarterback’s Guide to Forcing Your Way Out of Town
       
Follow these six easy steps and your current team will send you on your way in no time. The most direct way of doing this is to remove all mentions of your current club from your Twitter and Instagram bios. If your practice of liking Twitter posts did not garner the appropriate media attention, this most certainly will. Fans will wonder why the general manager and owner simply won’t see things your way, despite a completely reasonable set of requests. Remember that, while you had some help along the way, the power was inside you all along.
Anthony Fauci Pleads: Don’t Declare Victory
       
Of course, that’s Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Anthony Fauci: I don't think that's going to be the case. I don't think the 526 in New York is going to be any worse in the sense of evading the vaccine or evading the monoclonal antibodies. No, I don't think so. But you've got to continue to practice public health measures until the level of infection goes way, way down.
How QAnon conspiracies took over one mom's life: 'It made me emotionally unavailable'
       
"I didn't know that it was QAnon. I didn't know any of that, but it started on TikTok." Vanderbilt told "The View" that she prepared for the possible blackout by stocking up on groceries and filling up her car's gas tank. In August 2020, Trump made comments on QAnon’s conspiracy theory featuring him as its savior. In hindsight, Vanderbilt offered a message to those who still follow the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Capitol Police officials say intel on possible March 4 plot being taken 'seriously'
       
The intelligence, which an FBI bulletin said could involve the "Three Percenters" group, which prosecutors call extremist, is being taken "seriously," the Capitol Police officials said in a statement posted on Twitter. The Capitol complex remains surrounded with temporary fencing topped with razor wire and some 5,000 National Guard troops remain on site. An internal U.S. Capitol Police bulletin distributed Tuesday contains information about a possible militia plot to storm the Capitol on or around March 4, sources told ABC News. An FBI spokesperson did not immediately comment on the intelligence information. One law enforcement source said that initial intelligence does not support a crowd of 50,000 is coming to Washington, D.C., this week.
‘I Really Believe the Senate Is Broken’
       
The $15 minimum wage is an incredibly popular and populist policy. Why is the White House allowing them to torpedo this measure before it even gets to the floor? Joe Biden started out strong on the $15 minimum wage, and they have to commit to that in the same way. I really believe the Senate is broken. But look, the minimum wage [provision] is targeting help to the lowest wage workers, and this is targeting the highest wealth individuals.
David Shor’s (Updated) 2020 Autopsy and 2022 Forecast
       
Do you have any sense what was behind the large rightward shift among Hispanic voters? In the summer, following the emergence of “defund the police” as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined. I’m not claiming that white liberals are somehow less racist than people of color, to the extent that question even makes sense. I mean, Hispanic voters are more liberal on immigration than white voters. If you look at, for example, decriminalizing border crossings, that’s not something that a majority of Hispanic voters support.
Mike Pence’s Blueprint for Permanent Authoritarian Rule
       
Pence doesn’t acknowledge any error made by Trump or even concede that he legitimately lost the election. A “substantive discussion in Congress about election integrity” — i.e., another forum to repeat Trump’s lie about the election being stolen. Pence proceeds to argue that all changes to election law must be carried out at the state level. This conveniently means the changes will be designed by Republican officials rather than by Democrats, who control Congress. And now Pence seeks to lead them into a future in which minority rule can be locked in forever.
Moderate Democrats Strip Stimulus Checks From 12 Million Voters for No Reason
       
Nor could moderates claim to have the public on their side; the relief checks were overwhelmingly popular in their initially proposed form. However, the benefit would disappear for individuals earning more than $80,000 annually and couples earning more than $160,000. Here are the two big downsides to this measure:• It means that 12 million fewer adults and 5 million fewer kids will receive relief checks from the bill. — Dan Roosien (@droosien) March 3, 2021So, what do Democrats gain at the cost of denying checks to 12 million potential 2022 voters? But this still doesn’t constitute a rational basis for creating a 70 percent tax rate on income above $75,000 — while giving 12 million voters a reason to resent your party.
Democrats Are Pathologically Short-Changing America
       
Then, the number shrunk: $2,000 was actually $1,400, because Trump had already given us $600. On Wednesday, Biden agreed to further narrow the eligibility for stimulus payments under the coronavirus relief bill that has been bouncing around the House and Senate bureaucracies since before he took office. The new change is relatively simple: Biden wants to lower the income threshold that triggers diminishing returns on the stimulus payments. But people who make upwards of $100,000 a year, however, would only get partial payments on a sliding scale. Who actually wants this?
We Don’t Need Andrew Cuomo
       
No amount of smoothing or spin can overshadow the indelible photograph published in the New York Times on Monday night: Governor Andrew Cuomo, red-faced and leering, clutching the face of a woman half his age at a wedding while she recoils in disgust. What should come next for Andrew Cuomo is a swift resignation, followed by a statewide investigation. In Cuomo tradition, the governor denied these aspirations; his father Mario also declined to seek the nomination in 1992. The truth, of course, was that Cuomo’s leadership, respectability, and strength was a veneer. Unlike the servers and bartenders he briefly barred from vaccination eligibility, Andrew Cuomo is not an essential worker.
Curtis Flowers, wrongfully incarcerated for 23 years, will get maximum compensation, judge says
       
– Curtis Flowers, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 23 years, will receive the state's maximum compensation of $500,000, Mississippi 5th Circuit Judge George Mitchell judge ruled Tuesday. Some experts indicated there was evidence of more than one person involved in the crime, yet Flowers was the only person ever charged. Flowers' first three trials ended in convictions, which were overturned by the state Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct. In 2020, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the state would not try the case a seventh time, leaving Flowers a free man. Flowers' legal team, which includes civil rights attorney Rob McDuff, will also receive $50,000 for helping Flowers receive the compensation.
WH: Biden to find Tanden another administration post
       
WH: Biden to find Tanden another administration postWhite House Press secretary Jen Psaki says there will be no announcement this week on a new budget nominee after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination Tuesday. Psaki said President Joe Biden is looking for another administration post for Tanden.
Biden on states lifting mask mandates: 'The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking'
       
Biden on states lifting mask mandates: 'The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking'President Joe Biden said it's a “big mistake” for states to lift pandemic restrictions and mask mandates.
First lady Jill Biden visits Connecticut school, calls for safe return to classroom
       
?First lady Jill Biden spoke to children at an elementary? school in Connecticut on Wednesday with newly minted Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, saying that, as a teacher herself, she wants to return to the classroom — but only if teachers and students can do so safely. But we just know that we have to get back safely,” Biden told the students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden. “The biggest thing is we’re going to do this together.”First lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona tour Benjamin Franklin Elementary School on March 3, 2021, in Meriden, Conn. Mandel Ngan/Pool via APThe stimulus package includes $130 billion for schools. The president recognizes this?,? which is why he took bold action yesterday to get teachers and school staff vaccinated quickly?,” Cardona said. ?First lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visit a classroom as they tour Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.
Republicans refocus on state ‘bailouts’ in Biden stimulus bill after ‘Pelosi subway’ cut
       
John Raoux/APThe less-flashy state and local aid is equally unnecessary, Republican senators said, arguing that the funds would bail out Democratic local governments or allow them to increase spending. APSen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that for Democratic state governments, “it is like manna from Heaven for them. They have state governments that have not been well managed. On Wednesday, Biden signed off on lowering the income cap for people getting stimulus checks from $100,000 to $80,000. The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for adults earning up to $75,000 per year, with smaller checks for people up to $80,000.
Senators grill Biden nominee as proxy for wider Iran-deal debate
       
The debate comes as the Biden administration’s diplomacy on Iran has stalled. Meanwhile, U.S. personnel in Iraq have continued to come under rocket fire by militia groups, some of which have ties to Iran. “I remain clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to our interests and those of our allies,” Sherman said. ADSen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) probed Sherman on any contacts she had with Iranian officials during the Trump administration. ADThe decision by Sherman and other Biden officials to pledge to get a better deal, rather than defending the Obama accord on its own merits, has frustrated some on the left.
ACLU lawyers: H.R. 1 has serious flaws that could hurt our democracy - The Washington Post
       
That means an ad criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for supporting immigration reform or criticizing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) for opposing the Equality Act could trigger disclosure of donors that gave $10,000 or more. Exposure to threats of harassment or violence for nonprofit donors is not the only First Amendment problem with the bill. What is the purpose of inhibiting such people from participating in political speech to advance policies that directly affect their lives? 1 can easily be fixed to protect against these infringements on political speech.
McConnell blames Biden’s ‘sweeping left-wing amnesty plan' for fueling border surge
       
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blamed President Biden’s "sweeping left-wing amnesty plan" for fueling the escalating migrant crisis on the southern border -- and said it sidelined the interests of American workers. "Just six weeks into unified Democratic government, we already have another crisis brewing on our southern border," McConnell said on the Senate floor. He said instead that the Department of Homeland Security is working to "replace the cruelty" of the Trump administration with "an orderly humane and safe immigration process." The big backdrop behind this whole discussion is the sweeping left-wing amnesty plan that the Biden Administration unveiled before they were even sworn in," McConnell said. TRUMP USES CPAC SPEECH TO TEAR INTO BIDEN ON BORDER CRISIS"It’s not fair to American citizens and workers," he said.
Biden says Texas and Mississippi over lifting COVID restrictions, guilty of ‘Neanderthal thinking’
       
President Biden took a swipe at Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi Wednesday, accusing them of "Neanderthal thinking" following their decision to reverse COVID safety policies, including mask mandates. Greg Abbott pointed to lower case counts and the increase in vaccine accessibility as justification to revoke all state imposed coronavirus regulations starting March 10. We know that COVID spread isn’t neatly contained by state borders, and explosions in COVID cases can increase the likelihood of new COVID variants to develop or spread to new places. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP"Getting a shot in someone's arm and getting the second shot…[is] going to take time. And it's critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science," Biden told reporters from the White House.
As U.S. Covid cases stall, top health officials warn variants could 'hijack' nation's progress
       
Covid-19 cases are now growing by more than 5% in 14 states, up from only two states a week ago. The emergence of the new variants has largely coincided with the sharp decline in daily new cases across the U.S. since January, but those figures have since stalled. Health officials have since warned that the variants could reverse the current downward trajectory in infections in the U.S. and delay the nation's recovery from the pandemic. Covid fatigue is winning, and less people are adhering the recommended public health measures necessary to curb the virus' spread, Walensky said. On Wednesday, Cuomo noted during a press briefing that the state's Covid-19 hospitalizations have now "dropped to a level below where it was before it started to peak" in December amid the holidays.
D.C. National Guard chief: Pentagon took 3 hours to greenlight troops during Capitol assault
       
"The approval for Chief Sund's request would eventually come from the acting secretary of defense and be relayed to me by Army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m. — 3 hours and 19 minutes later," he said. Not 'good optics'National Guard Troops walk along the East plaza of the U.S. Capitol Building with the dome of the Capitol in the background on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Ultimately, once D.C. National Guard troops arrived that evening, they helped re-establish the security perimeter on the east side of the Capitol to allow for the joint session of Congress resume in counting the Electoral College votes, he said. DC National Guard troops stand watch at the U.S. Capitol on January 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. Salesses said in his opening remarks that Miller "ordered the full mobilization" of the D.C. National Guard at 3:04 p.m.
Biden's energy secretary vows to 'leave no worker behind' in the clean energy revolution
       
New York (CNN Business) Fossil fuel workers will not be left behind in the Biden administration's push to embrace clean energy. That's the promise from new Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, addressing workers worried their livelihoods will be disrupted. Granholm, the former governor of Michigan , said the Energy Department created a jobs office that will work "hand in glove" with the agency's fossil fuels officials to make sure "we leave no worker behind." Echoing comments made by President Joe Biden, Granholm argued the energy transition will create countless new jobs — and she promised to help fossil fuels workers translate their skills to these new positions. Paris vs. PittsburghThe oil industry and Republicans quickly condemned Biden's decision in January to rescind the permit for the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
Nearly 40 killed in violent day of protests against Myanmar coup, U.N. envoy says
       
(Reuters) - Thirty-eight people were killed in Myanmar as the military quelled protests in several towns and cities on Wednesday, the United Nations said, the most violent day since demonstrations against last month’s military coup first broke out. SUSTAINED SHOOTINGKo Bo Kyi, joint secretary of Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners rights group, had said earlier the military killed at least 18. ‘WE SHALL OVERCOME’Security forces breaking up protests in Yangon detained about 300 protesters, the Myanmar Now news agency reported. Images of a 19-year-old woman, one of two shot dead in Mandalay, showed her wearing a T-shirt that read “Everything will be OK”. The military justified the coup by saying its complaints of voter fraud in the Nov. 8 vote were ignored.
Austin wants to pivot to China. But can he pay for it?
       
In addition to briefing Austin and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, Davidson met with other top officials and the new China task force, the person said. Lawmakers, who have been calling for a beefed up military presence in the region to deter China, like what they see so far. "I don't accept the premise that we have to spend more money on the military to adequately deter China." Like his predecessors, Austin will be challenged to turn the doctrinal shift into a boost for resources in the region. “I doubt we will see any major cuts in acquisition programs in this first budget request, but you never know.
Biden: Texas, Mississippi decision to end mask mandates 'big mistake'
       
President Joe Biden said states like Texas and Mississippi are making “a big mistake” in ending their mask mandates. Biden encouraged social distancing, said it is “critical” that states “follow the science.”
Colombia's President On Amnesty For Venezuelans: 'We Want To Set An Example'
       
Colombia's open-door approach contrasts with harder-line policies in nearby Peru, Ecuador and Chile where — amid rising xenophobia — governments have put in place visa requirements and other barriers to Venezuelan migrants. Duque spoke more about the challenges of the Venezuelan refugee crisis in an interview with Ari Shapiro on NPR's All Things Considered. Venezuelan migrants contribute in the coffee sector as [coffee-pickers]. When we look at South Sudan migration crisis, we're talking about more than $1,600 [per migrant]. And when we think about the [Venezuelan] crisis, it has been barely $316.
Here’s who would get another stimulus check as Biden agrees to new income limits
       
There have been negotiations over who will get stimulus checks in the next big COVID-19 aid package, with President Joe Biden agreeing to new income limits after moderate Democratic senators voiced concerns about money going to people who aren’t in dire need. So who looks set to receive the upcoming direct payments of $1,400?
Opinion: Democrats’ relief plan could cut child poverty by 4 million
       
One of the most significant of these is the expanded child tax credit (CTC). Expanded child tax creditEven without the minimum wage hike, the COVID-19 relief package could make a huge difference for these children. The proposed child tax credit expansion it includes could help cut child poverty by 45%. It would help lift an estimated 4.1 million children above the poverty line, including many children of color left behind by past child tax credit policies. But meanwhile, the child tax credit and these other provisions could lift nearly half of all U.S. children out of poverty.
Jim Jordan Under Scrutiny for Nearly $3 Million in Unreported Campaign Funds
       
“The campaign has filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign finance reports going back to 2018. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled.
Biden response to report on Khashoggi killing angers both Saudi Arabia and its critics
       
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. (Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik )Throughout his campaign, President Biden vowed to take a harder line with Saudi Arabia. "It is undeniable that Saudi Arabia is a hugely influential country in the Arab world and beyond," Price told reporters Monday. In Crown Prince Mohammed, the Biden administration is dealing with a figure who began stirring up controversy even before Khashoggi's assassination. Saudi Arabia maintains that Tiger Squad operatives acted beyond their orders; eight of 11 suspects have been sentenced to jail time or death.
QAnon and conspiracy theories are taking hold in churches. Pastors are fighting back
       
Signers of letter, called "Say No To Christian Nationalism," included Jerushah Duford, the granddaughter of the late Rev. "We've seen that those who embrace Christian nationalism are also more likely to believe in conspiracies." For some pastors, church climates in the last year have become too much to bear. Swieringa recently got a new part-time job pastoring at Kibbie Christian Reformed Church in South Haven, Mich., where masks are mandatory. But he noticed that the concerns about sex trafficking were more specific to a QAnon belief in "Democrat pedophilia."
Oscar Health CEO: We'll play key role in lowering US health costs
       
Oscar Health (OSCR), the startup health insurance company heavily built on its technology capabilities, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday at $36 per share, under the IPO price of $39 per share, with a valuation of more than $7 billion. That triple whammy is very difficult to get if you're an insurance company," Schlosser said. "We are the only insurance company out there that has built its own claims system. Employer-based coverage makes up a majority of plans in the U.S., but the recent economic trends amid the pandemic point to a much bigger individual market. "Whether its health insurance companies we're building plans with or health systems ... we build plans for and with, generally we pushed the envelope there and created models that will be copied and imitated," he said.
More than 200,000 sign up for ACA health plan during extended period
       
AdvertisementOrdinarily, the ACA insurance marketplace is open mainly during an annual enrollment season — a six-week period near the end of the year during the Trump administration. Days after he was sworn into office in January, Biden directed health officials to reopen the federal online insurance marketplace until mid-May. Among other things, the package would increase subsidies — received by nearly 9 in 10 people who have ACA health plans — to help pay monthly insurance premiums. The insurance sold through federal and state ACA marketplaces is intended for Americans who cannot get affordable health benefits through a job. This week, health officials announced they were giving the navigators a relatively small extra amount, $2.3 million, for the rest of the extended sign-up time.
States rapidly expand access as vaccine supplies rise
       
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities,” Pennsylvania Gov. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encouraged Americans to “do the right thing” even if states lift their restrictions.
First Lady Jill Biden visits Benjamin Franklin Elementary School with Meriden's own Miguel Cardona, the new U.S. secretary of education
       
First Lady Jill Biden visits with kindergarten teacher Rachel Valentin, who has been teaching for 21 years at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, with Meriden's own Miguel Cardona, the new U.S. secretary of education, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Meriden. (Kassi Jackson/Kassi Jackson)
Dems tighten relief benefits, firm up support for virus bill
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed to tighten eligibility limits for stimulus checks Wednesday, bowing to party moderates as leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill through the Senate. At the same time, the White House and top Democrats stood by progressives and agreed that the Senate package would retain the $400 weekly emergency unemployment benefits included in the House-passed pandemic legislation. The deal-making underscored the balancing act Democrats face as they try squeezing the massive relief measure through the evenly divided, 50-50 Senate. The relief bill’s journey through Congress has been a test of Democrats’ deal-making skills, thanks to their mere 10-vote House margin and a Senate they control only with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. The party’s moderate and progressive factions are trying to use their leverage without going so far as to scuttle an effort they all support.
Stephen Miller says undocumented migrants pose as teenagers to get into US high schools
       
Donald Trump’s former senior adviser Stephen Miller has claimed that some adult undocumented immigrants are posing as teenagers and attending US high schools. Mr Miller spearheaded the former president’s immigration policies, such as child separation, which have been branded “cruel” by the new Biden administration. “You know what, some of those adults are going to end up in high schools around America – if they are open at all – pretending to be minors. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Rex Murphy: Trudeau's all about 'jobs, jobs, jobs.' But only in Quebec
       
Share this Story: Rex Murphy: Trudeau's all about 'jobs, jobs, jobs.' Try refreshing your browser, or Rex Murphy: Trudeau's all about 'jobs, jobs, jobs.' It’s all about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” remember? When it’s fighting for jobs, jobs, jobs, this government finds no barrier too challenging. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
Terry Glavin: Canada stands by gawping while a travesty unfolds in Afghanistan
       
It has not brought peace to Afghanistan and it will not bring peace to Afghanistan. Advertisement Story continues below This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. It’s been nearly two years since Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would appoint its first ambassador for women, peace and security. “I’m getting zero response.”Advertisement Story continues below This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Canada could appoint a special envoy to act as an observer at the talks with a mandate to uphold UN Security Council commitments to engage Afghan women in peace and security efforts.
Joe Biden, Senate Dems Want To Reduce the Number of Six-Figure Households Getting $1,400 'Relief' Checks. Progressives Are Furious.
       
President Joe Biden and Senate Democratic leaders have agreed to a compromise version of their $1.9 trillion spending bill that modestly lowers the income ceiling for receiving a $1,400 relief check. The slightly more generous spending bill passed by the House earlier this week excludes single-filers earning $100,000 or more, and couples earning $200,000. The changes, reports the Washington Post's Jeff Stein, would reduce the sticker price of the "relief" bill by about $12 billion. The idea behind restricting the number of employed, six-figure earners getting government support is to shore up the support of Senate moderates. Fretting that families pulling down six-figure incomes will suffer if they don't receive an additional $1,400 has been a mainstay of Democratic messaging on their spending bill.
Progressives grumble but won't sink relief bill over fewer stimulus checks
       
Liberal House Democrats are grumbling over the Senate's move to reduce eligibility for stimulus checks in a COVID-19 relief package, but say they won't block the legislation when it returns to the lower chamber for a vote. House Democrats last week passed a massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that included a new round of stimulus checks, providing $1,400 for individuals earning up to $75,000 annually and couples earning up to $150,000. The cash stipend would phase out, under the House bill, at income levels of $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples. Liberals are furious at the change, but said it's more important to pass the massive relief package quickly than to bog down the debate over a single provision. But she, too, suggested it was not a deal-breaker for House Democrats when the chamber votes on the measure again, likely next week.
Retailers fear a return of the mask wars
       
Retailers and grocery stores are fearing a resurgence of the mask wars from earlier in the pandemic as Texas and other states start scaling back coronavirus restrictions. ADVERTISEMENT“Relaxing common-sense, non-intrusive safety protocols like wearing masks is a mistake,” said Jason Brewer, executive vice president of communications and state affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). For that reason, experts recommend wearing a mask after being vaccinated and continuing with other protocols like physical distancing and frequent hand washing. The move by Texas and Mississippi also comes on the heels of a renewed effort by the business community to promote mask wearing, along with other mitigation steps. Scaling back mask rules at the state level also run the risk of creating challenges for vaccine distribution, industry groups warn.
Democrats Have Decided to Send Checks to Fewer People for No Actual Good Reason
       
After being badgered to death by moderate Senate Democrats, the Biden administration has agreed to put stricter limits on who will be eligible for a relief check as part of its big COVID recovery bill. On Wednesday, Democrats said they would phase down the checks more quickly for higher earners than originally planned. Married couples who file jointly will still receive their entire check if they make up to $150,000. But payments will fall to zilch for those earning more than $160,000, down from the previous threshold of $200,000. Unsurprisingly, progressive Democrats are not pleased about this (just check any Hill reporter’s mentions right now).
Biden refused to sanction MBS over Khashoggi's murder because he doesn't want his relationship with Saudi Arabia to get worse, officials say
       
A newly declassified US intel report said the Saudi crown prince approved Jamal Khashoggi's killing. Crown Prince Mohammed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 20, 2019. The Treasury Department announced sanctions against Saudi officials last Friday, but none of them targeted Crown Prince Mohammed. And in an apparent slight against Crown Prince Mohammed, Psaki said on February 16 that Biden's opposite number was not Crown Prince Mohammed, but his father, King Salman. The 85-year-old king relinquished the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to Crown Prince Mohammed in 2017.
Texas teachers, childcare workers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
       
AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - School teachers and childcare workers in Texas are now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19, the Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services directed states to expand eligibility. DSHS directed all providers in the state Wednesday to include teachers and childcare workers in vaccine administration and outreach. The Texas Education Agency issued guidance Wednesday to school systems about the expansion in eligibility. CVS Health in Texas says it’s now offering the vaccine to K-12 teachers and daycare workers and staff. The vaccine is available by appointment at CVS stores in Waco and Temple, but the only store in Texas Wednesday that wasn’t completely booked was in Borger.
'Optimistic' Biden recommits to cancer cure hunt
       
'Optimistic' Biden recommits to cancer cure huntPresident Joe Biden is "optimistic" that progress can be made in the battle against cancer, convening a meeting in the Oval Office with a group of bipartisan House and Senate members to push for more action.
Congress renews gun safety push with background check bills
       
The bills introduced Tuesday in the House and Senate would extend current federal background check requirements to transactions conducted by unlicensed and private sellers. The gun safety group Giffords estimates that 22% of U.S. gun owners purchased their last firearm without completing a background check. Polling shows that more than 90% of Americans support a universal background check system. Last month, to mark the third anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Biden called for the passage of “common sense” gun safety laws. He cited a background checks bill among his top priorities.
Biden: Ending mask mandates 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
Biden: Ending mask mandates 'Neanderthal thinking'President Joe Biden called the decisions by the governors of Texas and Mississippi to end mask mandates “a big mistake" and slammed what he said was “Neanderthal thinking” at a time he says the nation needs to remain vigilant against COVID-19.
Then and now: See how Nashville is recovering one year after deadly tornadoes ripped through
       
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — North Nashville is still recovering from the violent tornadoes that tore across Tennessee in March 2020. Homes in the historically Black neighborhood were among the thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed by the seven tornadoes that ripped apart communities ahead of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Signs of the havoc caused by the tornadoes are still visible along neighborhood streets, like where Sam Brown is rebuilding his home. If the work stays on track, Brown and his wife hope to move back home in the next couple of months. Contributing: George Walker IV, Nashville TennesseanFollow reporter Holly Meyer on Twitter @HollyAMeyer.
Covid-19 Live Updates: Biden Calls States’ Moves to Ease Virus Rules ‘Neanderthal Thinking’
       
It goes vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it.” She also broke into song (naturally), replacing the word “Jolene” in one of her best-known choruses with “vaccine.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she sang, embellishing the last one with her trademark Tennessee lilt. “I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she added, “because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.” Just before the doctor arrived to inoculate her — or “pop me in my arm,” as she put it — she doubled down on her message. He thanked Merck and Johnson & Johnson for “stepping up and being good corporate citizens during this crisis.” Noah Weiland contributed reporting. “We’ll reserve as much as we can for that," Mr. de Blasio said of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
President Biden on states lifting mask mandates: 'The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking'
       
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it's a “big mistake” for states to lift pandemic restrictions, calling it a result of "Neanderthal thinking." "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, `In the meantime, everyone's fine, take off your mask,'" he said. It still matters"His comments came the day after the GOP governors of Texas and Mississippi said they're lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates. "The fact is if you want to wear a mask, you can still wear a mask," Cornyn said. "Even though it's counterintuitive," added White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt, "it's actually the most important time for people to make sure we run through the tape and finish that up."
Capitol riot could serve as inspiration for terrorism: experts
       
The successful breach of the Capitol on the Jan. 6 siege could serve as inspiration for terrorists, a group of national security officials testifying before the Senate Wednesday agreed. “We do assess that the breach on the Capitol could inspire others to act,” Smislova told the Senate. A group of national security officials testifying before the Senate Wednesday agreed that the successful breach of the Capitol on the Jan. 6 siege could serve as inspiration for terrorists. Last week, Congress heard from the acting Capitol Police chief and the acting House sergeant-at-arms, as well as their predecessors who resigned in the wake of the riot. During the acting officials’ testimony, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that intelligence agencies have uncovered threats from far-right extremists to “blow up” the US Capitol when Biden delivers his first joint address to both houses of Congress.
U.S. contractor dies as rocket attacks in Iraq pose fresh challenge to Biden
       
While similar rocket attacks have routinely been claimed by or blamed on Iran-backed militia groups, Washington is trying to blunt the tensions that soared between Washington and Tehran during President Donald Trump’s years in office. But we’re identifying who’s responsible, and we’ll make judgments from that point.”Western officials point to Biden’s response to rocket attacks on U.S. service personnel in Iraq last week as a case in point. ADADRecent attacks on U.S.-linked bases have been claimed by splinter groups that have announced themselves since the deaths of Soleimani and Muhandis. Although U.S. officials say that those groups are backed by Iran, the extent of Tehran’s control over individual attacks remains unclear. As night fell Wednesday, there was no claim of responsibility for the latest rocket attacks.
Live updates Biden blasts ‘Neanderthal thinking’ of governors who lifted covid-19 mandates in Texas, Mississippi
       
President Biden condemned on March 3 a move by Mississippi and Texas governors to end to their states’ mask mandates, saying, “These masks make a difference.” (The Washington Post)Biden on Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by Texas Gov. … The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, 'In the meantime, everything’s fine. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”On Tuesday, Abbott ended his state’s mask mandate and boasted in all-caps on Twitter that “Texas is OPEN 100%. Ahead of Biden’s remarks to reporters, White House press secretary Jen Psaki urged Americans to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing, even as the governors of Texas and Mississippi have lifted the restrictions in their states. “We need to remain vigilant,” Psaki said at a daily press briefing.
Covid-19 live updates As states roll back restrictions, Biden slams ‘Neanderthal thinking’
       
Biden on Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by Abbott and Mississippi Gov. … The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, 'In the meantime, everything’s fine. Forget it.’ It still matters.”Biden added that it is “critical, critical, critical” that state leaders “follow the science” and that Americans continue to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”On Tuesday, Abbott ended his state’s mask mandate and boasted in all-caps on Twitter that “Texas is OPEN 100%. “We need to remain vigilant,” Psaki said at a daily news briefing.
Tampa Bay Super Bowl not a COVID 'super spreader,' officials say, refuting media panic
       
Media panic over the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida, being a "super spreader" coronavirus event didn't pan out, as officials announced Wednesday just a few dozen COVID-19 cases associated with the big game. "The Super Bowl was not a super-spreader," Super Bowl LV Host Committee head Rob Higgins said. Hillsborough County officials announced only 53 COVID-19 cases statewide were found to be associated with official Super Bowl events, according to The Tampa Bay Times. MEDIA PUNDITS SCOLD TAMPA 'SUPERSPREADER' SUPER BOWL CELEBRATION, DOLLY PARTON KNOCKED FOR ADThe Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first NFL team to win a Super Bowl played in their home stadium, routing the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7. "Tampa’s Maskless Super Bowl Celebration Leads To Super Spreader Fears," HuffPost wrote.
Dan Gainor: Hidin' Biden – still no presidential press conference but Dems like basement strategy
       
That strategy is going strong 43 days into his presidency as he still hasn’t held a press conference. White House press secretary Jen Psaki continues to avoid topics, vowing to "circle back," while mostly giving reporters the run-around. As long as President Joe is kept out of the limelight, he can’t generate too much controversy. Only this is the anti-Trump strategy that got Biden into the White House. It was headlined: "It's long past time for Joe Biden to start taking questions from the press."
Biden still hasn’t held a press conference after 43 days in office
       
President Biden has been in office for 43 days without holding an official press conference and critics have taken notice. President Trump took 28 days to take questions from the press, while President Obama did it after only 21 days in office and President George W. Bush took 34 days. White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently said, "Not yet," when asked when Biden would hold his first press conference. CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted that "Biden’s 15 most recent predecessors all held a formal solo press conference within 33 days of taking office." Whenever Biden’s address occurs, it would be the latest Joint Session address in decades.
Biden won't deliver speech to Congress until after vote on coronavirus bill, Psaki says
       
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden will wait to address a joint session of Congress until after Congress decides on the American Rescue Plan, his coronavirus relief package. Meanwhile, as for his first address to Congress, past presidents have traditionally given a speech to Congress during their first year in office, often in February. An address to a joint session of Congress is like a State of the Union, though it technically is not called that until the president's second year in office. Bush delivered one of the earliest addresses to a joint session, taking place on Feb. 9, 1989. Former President Barack Obama delivered his address on Feb. 24, 2009; former President George W. Bush delivered his on Feb. 27, 2001; and former President Bill Clinton delivered his on Feb. 17.
President Joe Biden slams governors for lifting mask mandates, calls it 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
President Joe Biden on Wednesday slammed states that rolled back Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and rescinded mask mandates for residents, calling the moves a "big mistake." Tate Reeves, both republicans, announced Tuesday they would allow businesses to reopen at 100% capacity and lift mask mandates. "Look, I hope everybody's realized by now these masks make a difference," Biden told reporters at the White House. He added that it is "critical, critical, critical" that state officials "follow the science" and encourage Americans to continue to wear masks and follow all public health guidelines. "I know you all know that," Biden told reporters.
Senate Democrats’ plan to curb eligibility for third stimulus check cuts off 12 million adults
       
In the House version of the legislation passed on Saturday, stimulus payments would begin to phase out after those thresholds, stopping completely for individuals making $100,000 or more and couples earning $200,000 or more. But some Senate Democrats have proposed limiting the scope of the third round of stimulus by phasing out payments completely for individuals earning more than $80,000 and couples earning more than $160,000. The new income caps would mean that 11.8 million fewer adults and 4.6 million fewer kids would receive a third stimulus payment, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy calculates. Overall, about 280 million Americans would still be eligible for stimulus payments, ITEP calculates. Check out: The best credit cards for building credit of 2021Don't miss: Here's who is likely to get a third stimulus check under the latest relief package
China poses 'biggest geopolitical test' for the U.S., Secretary of State Blinken says
       
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday China represented America's "biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century," saying the Asian nation was the only country with enough power to jeopardize the current international order. And we will engage China from a position of strength," Blinken said in a speech laying out the Biden administration's foreign policy vision. On trade, the administration will invest in American workers and companies and insist on a "level playing field," because "when we do, we can out-compete anyone," Blinken said. As an official during the Obama administration, Blinken himself supported the NATO military intervention in Libya, as well as policies supporting the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. We will fight for every American job, and for the rights, protections and interests of all American workers," he said.
Confirmation unsure for Biden health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra
       
Slideshow ( 3 images )The 14-14 party-line vote sent Becerra’s nomination to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for further action. Becerra’s fate will depend on Senate Democrats’ ability to stick together and support him, possibly with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. “His qualifications to be HHS Secretary seem to be minimal beyond suing HHS,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who is also a physician. But both Crapo and Cassidy said they would work with Becerra to lower healthcare costs if he won confirmation. His opposition made it impossible for Democrats to overcome unified Senate Republican opposition to Tanden.
Iran looms over Senate hearing for Biden nominee for senior U.S. State post
       
REUTERS/Denis BalibouseWendy Sherman, who helped negotiate the international accord in 2015, promised a new approach to Iran at her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. Former Republican President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018. Sherman said she did not know what the administration’s ultimate Iran policy would be, but stressed that Biden was determined not to let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon. Menendez said while he supported the Biden administration’s decision to engage with Iran, any policy needed bipartisan support to succeed. She can be confirmed without Republican support, since Democrats control the Senate.
Some Republican governors stand by mask mandates as Texas and Mississippi accelerate reopening
       
(Reuters) - While Texas and Mississippi announced complete rollbacks of their states’ COVID-19 mitigation measures this week, several governors of other Republican states have made clear they are not abandoning their mask mandates despite political pressure. In Ohio, U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel on Wednesday called on Republican Governor Mike DeWine to follow Texas’ lead and repeal the statewide mask order. “Ohio will be keeping its mask mandate to protect Ohioans who have yet to receive the vaccine. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican, on Tuesday also lifted his state’s mask order and removed all restrictions on businesses. “Louisiana’s mask mandate is still in place,” Edwards tweeted.
Biden says it's a 'big mistake' for states to lift mask mandates
       
Biden said over 511,000 people had died of the disease in the United States, and it would take time until everyone eligible was vaccinated. “It is critical, critical, critical, critical, that they follow the science: Wash your hands, Hot water, Do it frequently. “Over time we believe Merck will be able to double the capacity of Johnson & Johnson,” Slavitt said. Biden said on Tuesday the United States will have enough vaccine supply to inoculate all adults by May. J&J, Pfizer Inc, and Moderna Inc are contracted to deliver 700 million doses by mid-year between them.
Kim Ng, Baseball's First Female GM Will Make History
       
She had interviewed for GM positions at least 10 times over the years, only to be passed over for someone else. “It is unbelievable yet totally deserving that Kim has ascended to a position of power, influence and leadership,” King tells TIME. Brian Cashman, as assistant GM with the Yankees, was impressed with her acumen, so when he was elevated to Yankees GM in 1998, he offered Ng the chance to replace him in his previous role. “Because I’ve given this example, and they all nod their heads, like, absolutely.”Ng toiled for three decades before running her own baseball team, despite being an early adopter of baseball analytics. These new tools to evaluate players granted a small army of Ivy League quant types—all men—-access to top GM jobs.
U.S. House set to pass sweeping election bill, Senate prospects unclear
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday is expected to pass its flagship election reform bill, which would update voting procedures and require states to turn over the task of redrawing congressional districts to independent commissions. The bill is one of many the House Democrats are voting on early in the Congress on a number of priorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, policing and the environment. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has said he would sign the bill into law if it cleared both the House and the Senate. In 33 states, state legislatures control at least part of the process of drawing those maps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It also comes as state lawmakers in 43 states have introduced legislation to place more limits on voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
House Democratic leaders press Biden for their budget chief pick
       
The three leaders were huddling on a separate issue Tuesday night when they learned Tanden's nomination had been pulled. They decided to immediately reach out to the White House, trying to get both Biden and a top aide, Steve Ricchetti, on the line. Biden said Tanden will still serve a role in his administration but did not specify the position. Both Democrats and Republicans praised Young on Tuesday during her first confirmation hearing to be deputy director. “You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Young during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee.
'Neanderthal thinking': Biden criticizes Texas, Mississippi for lifting mask mandates
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden criticized the decisions in Texas and Mississippi to roll back statewide mask mandates and other Covid-19 health guidelines as "Neanderthal thinking." We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because the way in which we are able to get vaccines," Biden told reporters. "The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off our mask, forget it," he added. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that it was "now time to open Texas 100 percent," citing the economic impact of the virus. "It is critical, critical, critical that they follow the science," Biden said of the governors.
It’s back to school for Jill Biden and new education chief
       
Biden and Cardona were also visiting a Pennsylvania middle school on Wednesday. To help nudge that along, Biden said Tuesday he is pushing states to administer at least one coronavirus vaccination to every teacher, school employee and child-care worker by the end of March. He said the president’s directive that teachers and school staff be vaccinated quickly will be “my top priority.”At Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Biden and Cardona saw kids seated some distance apart at individual desks, each one wearing a mask. Biden asked the teacher in the sensory room whether she had seen anxiety in children increasing because of the pandemic. Biden and Cardona later listened as another teacher described her transition back to in-person learning.
Senate Democrats, White House Agree To Tighter Income Limits For Stimulus Checks
       
Senate Democrats, White House Agree To Tighter Income Limits For Stimulus ChecksEnlarge this image toggle caption Jacquelyn Martin/AP Jacquelyn Martin/APSenate Democrats have reached an agreement with the White House to tighten the limits on who can receive the next round of stimulus checks as part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, according to several Democratic sources. The cutoffs in the House bill were much higher, with individuals earning up to $100,000 and couples earning up to $200,000 still receiving some benefit. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House that Biden is pleased with the progress on the bill and has always been aware that there would be suggestions and negotiations while finalizing the bill. Senate Democrats and the White House also agreed to keep a provision that would increase federal unemployment benefits to $400 per week through the end of August. Amendments can pass with a simple majority but that does not mean that all amendments that do pass will be included in the final bill.
Nasdaq Sinks Below 13,000; Dow Jones, Small Caps Outperform; These Coronavirus Stocks Sell Off
       
The Nasdaq briefly undercut 13,000 during afternoon trading in the stock market today as institutional buying and selling pointed to more signs of sector rotation. Moderna undercut its 10-week moving average for the second time in two weeks. The iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) ETF erased losses and is fighting hard to keep the 21-day exponential moving average. Watch to see how the ETF handles a fresh test of technical support at the 50-day moving average. The longtime leader in the medical software industry group fell 7.5% and undercut its long-term 200-day moving average for the first time since March 2020.
Senate expected to begin stimulus debate today
       
So let's chat stimulus, and its impact on Americans, as the Senate is going to be considering its version of an economic package. KRISTEN MYERS: And what kind of differences do you think are going to remain between the House and Senate bills? We know that the Senate is not going to include that minimum wage hike to $15 an hour. Where do you think we're going to be after the Senate passes their own package? Story continuesAnother change that was announced earlier today is that, under pressure from Senate Democratic moderates, the President has agreed to change the stimulus payment slightly.
New stimulus check thresholds would leave 12 million adults without payments
       
“In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled.
With J&J's vaccine, the US will have enough coronavirus shots for every adult in May, Biden says. Here's your vaccination timeline.
       
The US could distribute 500 million doses by the end of May — enough to vaccinate all of its adult population. But federal officials have said that just 3 to 4 million doses would be immediately available this week. UPS employees move a shipping container with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine inside a sorting facility in Louisville, Kentucky on December 13, 2020. In total, J&J, Moderna, and Pfizer are expected to deliver around 500 million doses by the end of May. People wait in line in a Disneyland parking lot to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Anaheim, California.
5 New Things We Learned About COVID-19 In February 2021
       
Pharmacist Madeline Acquilano fills a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine before inoculating members of the public at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, on March 3, 2021. That’s why we’ve rounded up five of the most important new things we learned about COVID-19 in February:1. At this point, the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are pretty well known, like pain at the injection site, fever, and in very rare cases, allergic reactions. And it’s why groups like The Society of Breast Imaging have put out recommendations suggesting that all women wait four weeks between getting the COVID-19 vaccine and getting a routine mammogram. What You Should Know About The California COVID-19 VariantCan You Choose Which COVID-19 Vaccine You Get?
Andy Martino reacts to Yankees manager Aaron Boone taking leave of absence to receive pacemaker
       
The WeekDuring the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden repeatedly promised to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. Under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats, he has reportedly agreed to cut down the formula under which the checks will be sent out. Now the phase-out will start start in the same place but end at $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples. The $1,400 promise clearly implied at least that the checks would go out according to the previous formula used under Trump. "Moderation," for Senate Democrats, apparently means breaking their party's promises in the service of unpopular, pointless actions that make their president seem less generous than Donald Trump.
Rocket attack hits Iraqi air base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops
       
Ten rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops Wednesday, the latest in a series of rocket attacks in Iraq with this one just days before the pope is due to visit the country. Major Gen. Tahseen al-Khafaji of the Iraqi security forces told NBC News that there was no damage reported at the base. Wednesday’s rocket attack follows a U.S. airstrike last week in eastern Syria that killed one fighter in an Iranian-backed militia and wounded two others, according to the Pentagon. Story continuesNBC News has previously reported that Iranian-backed militias were most likely behind the Irbil rocket attack in February, and that the weapons and tactics resembled previous attacks by the Iranian-linked militias. However, it was unclear if Iran had encouraged or ordered the rocket attack.
$1,400 checks in COVID-19 relief bill would phase out at $80,000 instead of $100,000, according to deal between Biden and Democrats
       
Refinery29The next COVID relief bill is currently being negotiated in the Senate after passing the House late last Friday. The last relief bill passed in December, while Trump was still president. The relief bill before that was passed in late March 2020, and now we’re just a few days away from March 2021. The bad news, though, is that a key part of the relief bill — a $15 federal minimum wage hike — will likely not be included. A $15 minimum wage would be life-changing to so many Americans, and its exclusion from the next stimulus bill is an enormous disappointment.
10 rockets hit a base hosting US troops in Iraq, the 2nd such attack in a month
       
A US soldier at the Taji base complex, which hosts Iraqi and US troops, in 2014. ALI AL-SAADI/AFP via Getty ImagesTen rockets struck a base hosting US forces in Iraq early Wednesday. Ten rockets hit an air base in Iraq hosting US-led coalition and Iraqi troops, officials in the country said. An Iraqi military source said the attack was launched from just west of the city Baghdadi, near the base. A February 16 rocket attack on a northern Iraqi air base, used by the US military, killed a civilian contractor and injured a US soldier.
US: Rockets hit airbase in Iraq hosting US troops
       
National ReviewAt least ten rockets were launched at a coalition air base in western Iraq that hosts U.S. troops on Tuesday, less than a week after the Biden administration ordered airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria. The attack targeted the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s Anbar province, according to coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto. An American civilian contractor died of a heart attack “while sheltering” from the assault, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. “The latest rocket attacks on U.S. & coalition troops is the work of Iran,” Rubio wrote on Twitter. “Iran makes the rockets, gives them to Shia militia groups and tells them where & when to attack.
Canadian banks raise some mortgage rates, lower others
       
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities," Pennsylvania Gov. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. And in Massachusetts, about 400,000 teachers, child care workers and school staff will be eligible to register for vaccinations starting March 11, Gov.
Biden slams ‘Neanderthal thinking’ of lifting mask rules
       
By Betsy Klein | CNNPresident Joe Biden sharply criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions against pleas from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top public health officials, accusing those in power of “Neanderthal thinking.”“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference. Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi to relax restrictions. “The last thing — the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters,” Biden said, referencing a card he keeps in his pocket with the daily death toll of the virus amid his administration’s push to get vaccines into arms.
Texas teachers, child care workers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
       
Updated throughout at 2:00 p.m., March 3, 2021All Texas teachers, school employees and childcare workers are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines thanks to a shift in federal pharmacy policy. The Texas Education Agency said Tuesday that updated public health guidelines would be coming later this week. Pharmacy giant CVS Health changed its policy on Wednesday to make elementary and secondary educators and staff, as well as childcare workers, eligible to receive a vaccine. While thousands of teachers and child care providers had been inoculated under those guidelines, thousands more had not. The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge
       
Buoyed by a surge in vaccine shipments, states and cities are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 shots to teachers, 55-and-over Americans and other groups as the U.S. races to beat back the virus and reopen businesses and schools. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. It’s going to make our schools get back to the business of teaching our kids,” Pennsylvania Gov.
The reason Nevada isn’t receiving more vaccine doses just became clear
       
(Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)Experts now say there’s a simple reason why Nevada’s COVID-19 vaccine allotment has seemed low for months. Weekly vaccine allocations are proportional to each state’s estimated adult population recorded in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-18 American Community Survey. The 2015-19 estimates show Nevada with a 1.9 percent larger adult population, one of the biggest increases in the nation. Using the 2014-18 estimates, Nevada’s vaccine allocation rate falls in the middle of the pack among the states. Comparing the two datasets, Nevada’s adult population grew more than double the nationwide average.
Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy
       
Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. The most vulnerable nonprofits may try to reduce costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed — 400,000 — and millions more are hanging by a thread,” Biden said.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge: ‘It’s going to give them some peace of mind’
       
President Joe Biden said Tuesday the U.S. expects to have enough vaccine by the end of May for all adults, two months earlier than anticipated, though it is likely to take longer than that to administer those shots. He also pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March and said the government will provide the doses directly through its pharmacy program.
Trump weighs 2024 White House run without Mike Pence, allies say
       
“President Trump hasn’t made any decisions regarding a potential 2024 run, but the buried lede here is that the media can’t stop talking about him,” Trump adviser Jason Miller said. While Trump didn’t formally announce his candidacy at CPAC on Sunday, his first public appearance since leaving office on Jan. 20, he hinted at another bid. The former vice president is himself considered a top-tier potential candidate in 2024. A Harvard-Harris poll conducted Feb. 23-25 found that 42% of Republican voters preferred Trump as their 2024 nominee, compared to 18% for Pence, who placed second. Without Trump, Pence led the field with the support of 36% of Republican voters, followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz at 13%.
Upton, Biden meet to discuss ways to fight cancer
       
Washington — President Joe Biden met with Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and a bipartisan group of members of Congress on Wednesday to discuss pathways to end cancer. Biden's son Beau died from brain cancer at age 46 in 2015, while Biden was serving as vice president to then-President Barack Obama. Biden and Upton then worked with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, to pass a $6.3 billion package in 2016 that would fund research on cancer and other diseases, fight the opioid epidemic and expedite government reviews of pharmaceuticals. Upton has said he and Biden have had a "strong working relationship" since their collaboration on the 2016 cancer legislation known as the 21st Century Cures Act. Described as a "moonshot" effort to cure cancer, the legislation provided a boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health, including $1.8 billion for cancer initiatives.
Biden encouraged by consumer interest in 'Obamacare' offer
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a solid start, more than 200,000 people signed up for coverage the first two weeks after President Joe Biden reopened HealthCare.gov as part of his coronavirus response, the government said Wednesday. Early consumer interest in the three-month special enrollment period shows pent-up demand for health insurance a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people still unemployed or unable to work as many hours as before. If the pace keeps up, “this special enrollment period could make a meaningful dent in the number of people uninsured,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks health insurance for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The enrollment numbers so far are stronger than I would have expected.”Biden called the sign-ups “an encouraging sign,” adding that “we can’t slow down until every American has the security and peace of mind that quality, affordable health coverage provides.”
US warns of military response to rocket attack on Iraq base
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. A U.S. contractor died after at least 10 rockets slammed into the base early Wednesday. “Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket, but one individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the “calculated” U.S. airstrikes last week could be a model for a military response. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February.
It's back to school for Jill Biden and new education chief
       
It's back to school for Jill Biden and new education chiefMERIDEN, Conn. (AP) — Jill Biden, the teacher in the White House, along with new Education Secretary Miguel Cardona went back to school Wednesday in a public push to show districts that have yet to transition back to in-person learning that it can be done safely during the pandemic. “Teachers want to be back," the first lady said after she and Cardona spent about an hour visiting classrooms and other areas at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut. I am teaching virtually.”Biden is a veteran community college English professor who is now teaching remotely from the White House. She said her students recently told her they can’t wait to be back in the classroom. “But we just know we have to get back safely,” she said.
Biden encouraged by consumer interest in 'Obamacare' offer
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a solid start, more than 200,000 people signed up for coverage the first two weeks after President Joe Biden reopened HealthCare.gov as part of his coronavirus response, the government said Wednesday. Early consumer interest in the three-month special enrollment period shows pent-up demand for health insurance a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people still unemployed or unable to work as many hours as before. If the pace keeps up, “this special enrollment period could make a meaningful dent in the number of people uninsured,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks health insurance for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The enrollment numbers so far are stronger than I would have expected.”Biden called the sign-ups “an encouraging sign,” adding that “we can’t slow down until every American has the security and peace of mind that quality, affordable health coverage provides.”Reopening the health insurance markets fits into Biden’s strategy of pushing the U.S. toward coverage for all by building on the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” HealthCare.gov offers taxpayer subsidized private health insurance, catering mainly to low- and moderate-income working people.
US warns of military response to rocket attack on Iraq base
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. A U.S. contractor died after at least 10 rockets slammed into the base early Wednesday. “Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket, but one individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the “calculated” U.S. airstrikes last week could be a model for a military response. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February.
Biden blasts Texas, Mississippi over lifting COVID restrictions as 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
President Joe Biden on Wednesday blasted states like Texas that are planning to lift COVID restrictions, saying such a move is a "big mistake." Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he was lifting the state's face mask mandate and would allow businesses to fully reopen on March 10. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced similar moves. Biden at the White House said "masks make a difference" and said "the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."
Covid: US officials express disapproval over states lifting mask mandates
       
The next month or two is really pivotal,” Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. His announcement came against a backdrop of states moving to relax their virus-related restrictions, despite health officials warning against relaxing Covid protocols too swiftly. When receiving her jab, the country music legend broke into an adaption of one of her biggest hits, Jolene, singing: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.”Although Parton made jokes in the video showing her getting vaccinated, her appearance also had a serious aim: combatting vaccine hesitancy, which is thought to be a serious problem in the US. I’m trying to be funny now, but I’m dead serious about the vaccine.
Biden says Texas and Mississippi reopening is a 'big mistake'
       
AdvertisementPresident Joe Biden called it a 'big mistake' for Texas and Mississippi to reopen completely amid the coronavirus pandemic, referring to the decisions in the Oval Office as 'neanderthal thinking'President Joe Biden has blasted the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi for dropping mask mandates and fully reopening their states before their populations are vaccinated against COVID-19. 'I think it's a big mistake,' Biden said on Wednesday in the Oval Office. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves immediately followed suit announcing he is rolling back all county mask mandates and removing statewide restrictions on all businesses from today. Asked about the reopenings in Mississippi and Texas, Psaki pointed Biden's push for Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office. 'I wish Texas, Mississippi and others state would just hold off another little bit.
Antony Blinken says China poses 21st century’s greatest geopolitical challenge
       
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the foreign policy priorities for the Biden administration on Wednesday.
AMLO insists electricity bill doesn't violate constitution
       
“There is nothing in it that violates constitutional rights, nothing, nothing, nothing,” López Obrador told his morning news conference on Wednesday. Legal experts and trade lawyers have said the bill violates the constitution, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and international trade treaties, and opposition politicians have vowed to pursue legal challenges. The law, passed early on Wednesday, rolls back key parts of an energy reform passed in 2013-2014 that created the country’s electricity market. López Obrador said the issue did not come up at a virtual summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday. The legislation is similar to electricity rules favouring the CFE that were proposed by the energy ministry last year.
Biden criticizes Texas and Mississippi for lifting restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking'
       
(CNN) President Joe Biden sharply criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions against pleas from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top public health officials, accusing those in power of "Neanderthal thinking." Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi to relax restrictions. "The last thing -- the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. "It's critical -- critical, critical, critical -- that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. And I know you all know that.
US warns of military response to rocket attack on Iraq base
       
At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID relief vote
       
Democrats on Wednesday were grumbling over the prospect of having to factor an additional 10 hours of floor time into passing the bill. Any senator can force a reading of a bill on the floor but the formality is almost always skipped by unanimous consent to avoid wasting time. A Republican senator said Johnson will force a reading of the Senate substitute, which will include several changes compared to the 630-page House passed-relief bill. First Black secretary of Senate sworn in Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE (D-N.Y.). Democrats have removed both projects from the Senate version of the bill.
Placing the Proud Boys on Canada’s Terrorism List Is a Threat to the Left
       
Civil Liberties Matter Following 9/11, the extensive exploitation of relaxed civil liberties was used as a pretext to engage in egregious human rights abuses. Because of a street-fighting division of the Proud Boys, nuance is required in parsing the case of the organization. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, getting a kick out of Chapman’s actions, invited Chapman to join the club. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio claims that Chapman left in 2017 to form “his own thing.” He applied to rejoin in October 2020 but was rejected. What is very clear is that even if McInnes and his Proud Boys say they weren’t initially interested in the alt-right or street fighting, the street-fighting alt-right were very much interested in the Proud Boys.
Silicon Valley’s Offer of Sectoral Bargaining Is a Trick
       
Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! In exchange for establishing this third category, the gig-economy employers are dangling a carrot called sectoral bargaining. Such comparison are either disingenuous or ignorant—either way, accepting third-category status in exchange for sectoral bargaining would be a disaster for US workers. It took worker power to win the standards workers enjoy in every country that currently has sectoral bargaining. If national union leaders acquiesce to the creation of a third category of worker in exchange for sectoral bargaining, we can kiss collective bargaining good-bye and surrender to collective begging.
I’m a Military Spouse. The Capitol Attack Reminded Me of a War Zone.
       
“Are you okay?” asked a friend and military spouse in the voicemail she left for me on the afternoon the mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol so violently. I listened to concerns that the far-right nationalist attack on the Capitol would, sooner or later, inspire violence against their own families. The Isolation of Military ServiceThere are about 2 million Americans who serve in the US military and 2.6 million more who are military spouses and dependents. Military spouses also care for children in mourning, temporarily or in some cases permanently, over the loss of a parent. And the military that’s been fighting those hopeless, bloody wars in distant lands for so long is on edge, too.
Bernie Is Right: We Shouldn’t Let the Senate Parliamentarian Block a $15 Minimum Wage
       
He has promised to force a vote on the $15 minimum wage this week. While $15 an hour still isn’t really enough to live on, it would more than double the current minimum wage. Even so-called deficit hawks, who oppose greater government spending on principle, should be behind a minimum wage hike. For the duration of Barack Obama’s presidency, the value of the minimum wage plummeted, when adjusted for inflation. The point here is not that Republicans care a great deal about helping minimum wage workers — they don’t.
Democrats Need to Hold Andrew Cuomo Accountable
       
Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Less than a year ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was touted as the golden boy of American politics. But in order to make the claim that they are the more ethical party, Democrats have to first clean house, starting with Cuomo.
I Would Not, Could Not, Read Those Books to Kids!
       
Most parents can’t screw up “bedtime story”: pick book, read book, collect “good parent” points, the end. The first time it happened to me, I was reading from a compilation of Dr. Seuss books and was in the middle of If I Ran the Zoo. They’re not on anybody’s top-10 Seuss books or part of anybody’s cherished memories. Rejecting some Seuss books, while contextualizing others, and preserving the good ones is not “cancel culture,” it’s the other thing Republicans don’t like: nuance. I too would like to put my brain on autopilot while I read my kids a bedtime story.
Biden inaction on Saudis’ Khashoggi assassination angers News Guild
       
People hold posters of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, marking the two-year anniversary of his death, Oct. 2, 2020. His assassination angered both the local and then-News Guild President Bernie Lunzer, who demanded a formal investigation and sanctions. Biden released the report summary, but his inaction on sanctions against MBS upset the union all over again. Current News Guild President Jon Schleuss endorsed the statement. SPJ President Matthew Hall called the intelligence summary “too little, too late.”“Many Americans have now read—and all should read—the four-page declassified intelligence report on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” Hall added.
Biden: With Defense Production Act, enough vaccines by end of May – People's World
       
A worker packs a box of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine into a cooler for shipping from a facility in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021. Biden credited the stepped-up timetable to his ongoing use of the Defense Production Act and the establishment of a partnership between two long-time corporate rivals, Merck and Johnson and Johnson. Biden said the country is in a “war” against the coronavirus, justifying his sweeping measures against it. “When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. First, the Republican governor of one huge state announces he will ignore the president’s pleas for caution and that he will end mask mandates and immediately open up his state entirely.
Republicans make the FBI look like the good guys
       
Instigator turned investigator Sen. Josh Hawley, left, questions FBI Director Chris Wray at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. President Biden has directed his national intelligence director to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to gauge the threat from white supremacists. Wray said the number of domestic terrorism investigations has grown from 1,000 when he became FBI director in 2017 to 2,000 now. The number of arrests of white supremacists has tripled, he said. “Some of those people clearly came to Washington, we now know, with the plans and intentions to engage in the worst kind of violence we would consider domestic terrorism,” Wray said.
Covid-19 vaccines are finally, truly coming for every American adult soon
       
All of a sudden, the news on the US Covid-19 vaccine front seems immensely positive. As he told reporters, “We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May” — two months earlier than the July timeline he gave before. When Biden first said he wanted to get 1 million vaccines administered a day, that goal seemed ambitious in the context of a messy rollout. Today, the US has swept way ahead of Biden’s original goal of 1 million vaccines a day. Will the federal government ship out the vaccine supply quickly, and support states and localities in actually administering those doses?
The key ingredient that could hold back vaccine manufacturing
       
That’s where lipid nanoparticles, which are made of ingredients like cholesterol and harder-to-make specialty compounds like the ionizable cationic lipid, come in. Again, not every Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine candidate is built like those from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate as well as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine don’t rely on mRNA or lipid nanoparticles. Rather, experts told Recode the challenges in scaling up production of these necessary chemicals could be holding back vaccine production in general. But even as we continue to discover and resolve new hurdles in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, more challenges will surely lie ahead.
“It all happened so fast”: 3 people on getting the Covid-19 vaccine by chance
       
Cities, especially in majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, also have health deserts, which has led to people in these communities getting vaccinated at a lower rate. If not for his quick thinking, the vaccine doses would have been wasted, and the charges have since been dropped. Here are three stories, edited and condensed for clarity, of people across the United States lucky enough to get a vaccine by chance. Both my mother and father have underlying health conditions and they haven’t yet met their granddaughter, so that was my main motivation for getting vaccinated. But the fact that they were able to redistribute all of them and not waste a vaccine was really good.
Biden bombed Iranian proxies to stop strikes on US troops. There was just another attack.
       
Col. Wayne Marotto, the spokesperson for US-led anti-ISIS coalition forces, said Grad-style rockets struck al-Asad airbase in western Iraq around 7:20 am local time. That tracks with Kirby’s Wednesday morning statement that the rockets were fired from east of the sprawling base. Sign up for The Weeds newsletter Vox’s German Lopez is here to guide you through the Biden administration’s unprecedented burst of policymaking. Wednesday’s attack comes six days after Biden authorized the US military to bomb nine facilities used by Iran-backed militias in Syria to smuggle weapons. That’s a problem for the Biden administration, which is simultaneously trying to orchestrate America’s reentry into the Iran nuclear deal.
The Cuomo sexual harassment allegations are a test for Democrats
       
When the first woman came forward to report sexual harassment by New York Gov. In other words, if Cuomo is a test for Democrats, he’s unlikely to be the last one — or the hardest. And what Democrats do about Cuomo will be, to some degree, a test of how seriously they take sexual harassment allegations in an era when they’re in power. On the other hand, Cuomo was already damaged in the public eye when the most recent allegations came to light. But the allegations against Cuomo will be just one of many tests of Democrats’ values in the coming months and years.
QAnon believers think Trump will be inaugurated again on March 4
       
They have tried to rationalize Biden becoming president in increasingly outrageous ways, claiming that Biden and Trump are working together and even that Trump and Biden somehow switched bodies. This is actually relevant to the conspiracy theory: QAnon believers argue that in ending the gold standard, Roosevelt transferred power to a group of shadowy foreign investors who have since been controlling the US government. The March 4 conspiracy theory has been spreading on both mainstream and alternative right-wing social media platforms alike. Many QAnon followers have also migrated to largely unmoderated social media platforms like Gab, MeWe, Telegram, CloutHub, Rumble, and Parler, which recently came back online. But individual QAnon followers have resorted to violence in the past, including Matthew Wright, who is serving an eight-year sentence for engaging in an armed standoff with police at the Hoover Dam.
Dr. Seuss is a beloved icon who also drew some extremely racist stuff
       
On Tuesday, the publishing imprint Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would cease publishing six books by Dr. Seuss that include offensive images. But when the NEA’s contract with Dr. Seuss Enterprises ran out in 2018, it chose not to renew the terms, leading to a lot less Dr. Seuss merch getting distributed to different schools. And now Dr. Seuss Enterprises has decided to cease publishing six of Dr. Seuss’s books, all of which include racist caricatures. There aren’t that many racial caricatures in Dr. Seuss’s children’s books, mostly because there aren’t that many nonwhite characters in Dr. Seuss’s children’s books. Contrary to Fox News’s claims, neither the National Education Association nor Dr. Seuss Enterprises is attempting to cancel Dr. Seuss.
Covid-19 cases are down, vaccinations are up. But the US shouldn’t declare victory yet.
       
It’s the season, it seems, for proclaiming premature victory in the war against Covid-19. Texas currently has 11.2 percent of its Covid-19 tests coming back positive, a rate that suggests significant community spread. Abbott likewise urged Texans to be safe, even as he rolled back the state’s pandemic rules. We are in fact living in a new reality: Cases have dropped 82 percent among nursing home residents since vaccinations began. But what distinguishes this from the prior ones is the Covid-19 vaccines.
The Keystone XL pipeline is officially dead. Here’s what Biden and Trudeau should do next.
       
If Biden and Trudeau are really serious about bilateral collaboration on climate change, the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline should be a starting point. The Keystone XL pipeline, briefly explainedThe Keystone XL pipeline became an almost perfect example of the various stakeholders — Native communities, climate activists, scientists, policymakers, farmers, landowners, and everyday citizens — engaging in the broader debate about climate change. Environmental groups took note of Indigenous opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. “The Keystone XL pipeline was never about any single pipeline. The first step in canceling Keystone XL for good is removing the existing Keystone pipeline infrastructure — which Biden and Trudeau could work together to make happen.
“This Is War”: Inside the Secret Chat Where Far-Right Extremists Devised Their Post-Capitol Plans
       
“THIS IS ME,” Lang wrote over one video that showed an angry mob confronting police officers outside the Capitol. ProPublica gained access to the group after Lang sent an invitation to a reporter’s social media account. For a time, he ran Social Model Management, which promised to help prospective models get “social media famous” by unlocking “industry secrets” that would triple their Instagram followers. More recent social media posts by Lang acknowledged his struggle to stay sober and a deepening interest in religion. “Guys please this is a MILITIA group to defend our country from communism - private message each other if you want to flirt.
Biden Needs Unions to Force His Hand
       
Roosevelt also failed to support crucial organizing drives in the steel and textile industries. Out of deference to labor, the next Democratic president, Harry Truman, unsuccessfully vetoed the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which allowed states to enact anti-union “right to work” laws. But he was frequently enraged by strikes and union leaders, such as the imperious John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers of America. Over generations, because of enormous structural economic changes, vehement Republican Party opposition, and labor’s own strategic failures, union membership waned. The modern Democratic Party did not see labor as linked either to its expanding suburban constituency or to the growing Black-freedom movement.
Covid-19 Live Updates: Biden’s Call for Vaccinating Educators Is Part of Ambitious Schools Plan
       
It goes vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it.” She also broke into song (naturally), replacing the word “Jolene” in one of her best-known choruses with “vaccine.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she sang, embellishing the last one with her trademark Tennessee lilt. “I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she added, “because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.” Just before the doctor arrived to inoculate her — or “pop me in my arm,” as she put it — she doubled down on her message. “This pilot plan will maximize the initial doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and get as many shots in arms as possible,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We’ll reserve as much as we can for that," Mr. de Blasio said of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Xi Jinping calls US ‘biggest threat’ to China’s security
       
?Communist Party leader Xi Jinping warned that the United States is the “biggest threat” to China’s security ?while touting the country’s economic ?outlook, proclaiming that “the East is rising and the West is declining,” according to a report on Wednesday. “The biggest source of chaos in the present-day world is the United States,” Xi said, ?the New York Times reported. ?“The United States is the biggest threat to our country’s development and security.”?The report cited Xi’s remarks to a county official in northwest China, published on a government website. Xi is expected to present a plan this week for how he will shepherd China’s continued ascent to the National People’s Congress, the Communist Party-backed legislature. The Chinese Communist Party is facing backlash from the Biden administration, which has said it will crack down on Beijing’s human rights abuses.
Barack and Michelle Obama praised, quoted Dr. Seuss during presidency
       
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama likely did not foresee Dr. Seuss becoming persona non grata in President Biden’s White House when they highlighted his work to interns and children. Michelle Obama said “We love Dr. Seuss in this house” at a 2015 event. The president.”“We love Dr. Seuss in this house,” she continued, holding up a copy of the book. The birthday of Dr. Seuss, who died at 87 in 1991, was chosen by the National Educational Association in 1998 as the date for a new holiday focused on promoting children’s literacy. The former first lady also spoke highly of the late children’s author during Read Across America Day that same year.
Biden faces steep challenges to reach renewable energy goals
       
Disruption from the pandemic has cost the renewable energy industry, which relies heavily on labor, about 450,000 jobs. To reach Biden’s 100 percent renewable energy goal will require a massive buildout of grid infrastructure to get energy from the windy plains or offshore wind farms over long distances to cities where electricity is needed. The wind power industry and clean energy advocates say the new administration can make the country an offshore wind power leader. Estimates of employment in the US clean energy sector range from about 700,000 to 3 million jobs. “Justice for disadvantaged communities and welcoming legacy energy workers into the clean power workforce are vital aspects of the success of the clean energy transition,” said Heather Zichal, chief executive officer of the American Clean Power Association.
Live updates Biden criticizes governors of Texas, Mississippi for ending mask mandates amid ongoing pandemic
       
Biden on Wednesday sharply criticized the decisions by Texas Gov. … The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, 'In the meantime, everything’s fine. Forget it.’ It still matters.”Biden added that it is “critical, critical, critical” that state leaders “follow the science” and that Americans continue to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”On Tuesday, Abbott ended his state’s mask mandate and boasted in all-caps on Twitter that “Texas is OPEN 100%. “We need to remain vigilant,” Psaki said at a daily press briefing.
The Daily 202: McCaul calls for bigger crackdown on domestic terrorism. That includes Jan. 6.
       
believes two things: The attack was domestic terrorism, and it showed law enforcement needs broader powers to fight back, like those granted after 9/11. “In today’s world, the FBI tells me they’re having more domestic terrorism cases than international terrorism,” McCaul, a former Homeland Security Committee chairman, said in an interview. “And that what happened January 6th is an act of domestic terrorism, that we are going to begin to charge people.”The Biden administration has made countering domestic extremism a priority. “When you’re talking about al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere, they’re not governed by the Constitution; but domestic terrorism is,” McCaul said. ADAs my colleagues Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky report that Wray told the committee domestic terrorism has roughly doubled over the past year.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says he will not resign, offers new apology for his behavior with women
       
“I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people,” he said. “I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that is not easy to say. Some New York legislators and one House member from the state’s Democratic delegation, have called for his resignation. She said she gave a statement about the interaction with a special counsel to the governor and showed the New York Times contemporaneous text messages discussing Cuomo’s behavior. “It is my way of greeting people.” He noted that it was also a habit of his father, former New York Gov.
Can police search your house without a warrant?
       
The court has previously said that an officer in "hot pursuit" of a suspect believed to have committed a felony crime can enter the person’s home without a warrant if the person goes inside. But, as Justice Stephen Breyer said during the Feb. 24 arguments, there is "a bright-line rule that says hot pursuit is automatically exigent circumstances," meaning circumstances that are exceptions to the typical warrant requirements until the Fourth Amendment. Several justices, both liberal and conservative, suggested that making a distinction between felony and misdemeanor cases would be difficult and problematic. Lange’s lawyer, Jeffrey Fisher, told the justices that it is "not too much to ask for officers to procure a warrant before breaching the Fourth Amendment's most sacrosanct space." "The argument very simply is that hot pursuit has to be hot and it has to be a pursuit ... it has to involve a chase," he suggested.
Capitol Police Chief Pittman says threats to Congress members up by 93.5% in first 2 months of 2021
       
Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that threats to members of Congress have increased by 93.5% within the first two months of 2021, compared to the same time period last year. "This was abundantly clear on January 6, 2021, when insurrectionists attempted to prevent the Congress from certifying the 2020 Electoral College results by storming the U.S. U.S. Capitol Police was forced to reevaluate its budget justification for the 2022 fiscal year following the events of Jan. 6, Pittman said. Meanwhile, U.S. Capitol Police said Wednesday it "obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." The department "is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," the statement said.
Asian-owned small businesses saw an outsized pandemic impact last year
       
A small business owner in Chinatown, San Francisco Source: CNBCThe neighborhood has seen a downturn due to a lack of tourism not only in Chinatown, but the Bay Area at large. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce says the ZIP code that houses most of Chinatown saw 75% of its storefronts become nonoperational at some point last year. "Covid-19 had a huge impact on tourism, which represents a major portion of San Francisco's income — 25.8 million visitors come to San Francisco [annually]," said Rodney Fong, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. More than 70,000 loans were made to Asian-owned businesses for a total of $3.9 billion in 2021. Chinatown, San Francisco Source: CNBCMinority-owned businesses are more likely to be non-employer firms and advocates say lenders may have been less incentivized to make smaller loans to these smaller businesses under the PPP as written last year.
White House says no announcement on future OMB nominee this week
       
FILE PHOTO: White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueWASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday there will not be an announcement this week on a future nominee to head the Office of Management & Budget, after President Joe Biden withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden to be his budget director on Tuesday. ” Given Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination just last night...you should not expect any announcements on a future nominee this week,” Psaki told reporters.
GM extends production cuts due to chip shortage, Stellantis warns of lingering pain
       
Consumers have stocked up on laptops, gaming consoles and other electronic products during the pandemic, leading to tight chip supplies. The Detroit automaker had previously extended production cuts at three North American plants into mid-March and said vehicles at two other plants would only be partially built. Following Wednesday’s cuts, forecasting firm AutoForecast Solutions estimated GM could lose more than 216,000 units globally due to the shortage. Industry officials and politicians have pushed U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to take a more active role in dealing with the chip shortage. Complicating matters was a severe winter storm in Texas last month that killed at least 21 people and led to the shutdown of several chip plants.
Oil gains as U.S. fuel stocks drop, OPEC+ considers deal rollover
       
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 3% on Wednesday, boosted by a huge drop in U.S. fuel inventories and expectations that OPEC+ producers might decide against increasing output when they meet this week. Gasoline inventories fell to 243.5 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, while distillate stockpiles fell by the most since 2003 to 143 million barrels. “This drop is 100% based upon the storm in Texas,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital Markets in New York. Refining capacity use fell to just 56% of overall capacity, the lowest on record, as the U.S. Gulf Coast’s refining capacity use plunged to 40.9%, the lowest ever. Earlier, oil prices jumped after Reuters, citing three sources, reported that the OPEC+ group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia is considering rolling over production cuts from March into April rather than raising output.
Factbox: Mortgage dealers hop on Reddit-fueled short squeeze bandwagon
       
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mortgage dealers UWM Holdings Corp and Rocket Companies are the latest stocks to be targeted in a short squeeze trading storm. ** Pharmaceutical firm CEL-SCI Corp shares hit a zenith of $40.77, a 247% advance on the year, a gain that has since shrunk to 59%. ** Finland-based Nokia joined the short squeeze stampede, at one point touching a 150% year-to-date gain at $9.79 per share. ** Consumer electronics company Koss Corp was also caught in the mania, soaring by 3,605% at one point. So far today, UWM Holdings is up 8.5%, while Rocket Companies is down 27.9%
House Energy and Commerce leaders unveil sweeping climate change legislation
       
“The votes are just not there for a price on carbon.”Clean energy standard: Arguably the most consequential title is a clean energy standard, which would create a credit trading system for utilities to meet clean energy goals. It includes a host of new provisions in areas like environmental justice, energy transition, waste reduction and transportation. The legislation also includes a requirement that 40 percent of funds go toward environmental justice communities that have suffered persistent pollution — a priority for the Biden administration. Environmental justice focus: The new environmental justice provisions would notably establish a grant program to finance lead drinking water service line replacements. It would also require environmental justice training for federal employees at agencies and set up an environmental justice clearinghouse at EPA.
Manchin, Stabenow push $8B tax credit to bring factories for former coal sites
       
The politics: Drawing Republican support is likely to be crucial for the bill, and Daines' support could help its chance. “This bipartisan bill will support jobs and increase investment in coal and other energy producing communities in Montana to ensure they continue playing a part in American energy production," Daines said. The White House did not comment on the bill, but Stabenow said Biden backed the plan. "If manufacturing wanted to go to McGowan County or to Clay County or other areas of West Virginia ... those manufacturers would already be there. There can be an incentive, but Joe [Manchin] needs to understand its not just tax incentives.
POLITICO Playbook PM: NRCC chief to Trump: Please don’t
       
“‘The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,’ the agency said in a statement. Emmer, a longtime Trump supporter, wouldn’t go as far as to tell the head of his party to butt out completely, but his intentions were clear. Emmer has officially become the first member of Republican leadership to publicly caution Trump against acting out on his thirst for revenge. …“Senate Democrats need all 50 of their members to kick off consideration of the bill, a vote expected on Wednesday afternoon. 1125 South Ocean Blvd.” With picsWHITE HOUSE ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Reggie Greer has been appointed director of priority placement at PPO and senior adviser on LGBTQ issues at the White House.
Michelle Obama On Biden Inauguration: 'Everyone Was Concerned About More Riots'
       
Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke for the first time on Wednesday about the anxiety she had felt while attending the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden only two weeks after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the Nov. 3 election results. “The mood was wonderful, but it was also mixed,” she told Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”“I think everyone was concerned about more riots, but we were assured that things were under control. Witnessing 22-year-old inaugural poet Amanda Gorman move the crowd with her poem “The Hill We Climb” also made Obama “proud and moved almost to tears.”“I know there are many, many Amanda Gormans,” she said. We gotta march, we gotta protest, and we have to vote. Young people are starting to put those pieces together.”Watch the full interview below.
China poses 'biggest geopolitical test' for the U.S., says Secretary of State Blinken
       
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday China represented America's "biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century," saying Beijing was the only country with enough power to jeopardize the current international order. And we will engage China from a position of strength," Blinken said in a speech laying out the Biden administration's foreign policy vision. Blinken said democracy was "under threat" and that the United States needed to lead by example and bolster democratic values around the world. Blinken's speech was titled "A Foreign Policy for the American People," and he stressed that the administration's policies would be designed always with American workers in mind. We will fight for every American job, and for the rights, protections and interests of all American workers," he said.
Budget nominee Tanden withdraws nomination amid opposition
       
Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears beofre a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears beofre a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after she faced opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators for her controversial tweets. But without Manchin’s support, the White House was left scrambling to find a Republican to support her. White House chief of staff Ron Klain initially insisted the administration was “fighting our guts out” for her.
Wall Street’s 20 favorite infrastructure stocks are expected to climb as much as 34% over the next year
       
The American Society of Civil Engineers assigned U.S. an infrastructure grade of C-minus in its latest quadrennial report, a slight improvement from the previous D-plus rating. Read: The U.S. needs to fill a hole this big, engineers sayPresident Joe Biden has made it clear that once Congress passes another round of pandemic aid, he wants to move to a large infrastructure spending bill. Half of the 100 stocks held by the iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF IFRA, +0.62% , for example, are infrastructure asset owners and operators, including 20 electric utilities and four water utilities. Then again, you might also be interested in the individual stocks held by the ETF. Among the stocks held by PAVE, 73 are covered by at least five analysts polled by FactSet.
Wall Street’s 20 favorite infrastructure stocks are expected to climb as much as 34% over the next year
       
The American Society of Civil Engineers assigned U.S. an infrastructure grade of C-minus in its latest quadrennial report, a slight improvement from the previous D-plus rating. Read: The U.S. needs to fill a hole this big, engineers sayPresident Joe Biden has made it clear that once Congress passes another round of pandemic aid, he wants to move to a large infrastructure spending bill. Half of the 100 stocks held by the iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF IFRA, +0.62% , for example, are infrastructure asset owners and operators, including 20 electric utilities and four water utilities. Then again, you might also be interested in the individual stocks held by the ETF. Among the stocks held by PAVE, 73 are covered by at least five analysts polled by FactSet.
Wall Street’s 20 favorite infrastructure stocks are expected to climb as much as 34% over the next year
       
The American Society of Civil Engineers assigned U.S. an infrastructure grade of C-minus in its latest quadrennial report, a slight improvement from the previous D-plus rating. Read: The U.S. needs to fill a hole this big, engineers sayPresident Joe Biden has made it clear that once Congress passes another round of pandemic aid, he wants to move to a large infrastructure spending bill. Half of the 100 stocks held by the iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF IFRA, for example, are infrastructure asset owners and operators, including 20 electric utilities and four water utilities. Then again, you might also be interested in the individual stocks held by the ETF. Among the stocks held by PAVE, 73 are covered by at least five analysts polled by FactSet.
Wall Street’s 20 favorite infrastructure stocks are expected to climb as much as 34% over the next year
       
The American Society of Civil Engineers assigned U.S. an infrastructure grade of C-minus in its latest quadrennial report, a slight improvement from the previous D-plus rating. Read: The U.S. needs to fill a hole this big, engineers sayPresident Joe Biden has made it clear that once Congress passes another round of pandemic aid, he wants to move to a large infrastructure spending bill. Half of the 100 stocks held by the iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF IFRA, +0.62% , for example, are infrastructure asset owners and operators, including 20 electric utilities and four water utilities. Then again, you might also be interested in the individual stocks held by the ETF. Among the stocks held by PAVE, 73 are covered by at least five analysts polled by FactSet.
Wall Street’s 20 favorite infrastructure stocks are expected to climb as much as 34% over the next year
       
The American Society of Civil Engineers assigned U.S. an infrastructure grade of C-minus in its latest quadrennial report, a slight improvement from the previous D-plus rating. Read: The U.S. needs to fill a hole this big, engineers sayPresident Joe Biden has made it clear that once Congress passes another round of pandemic aid, he wants to move to a large infrastructure spending bill. Half of the 100 stocks held by the iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF IFRA, +0.62% , for example, are infrastructure asset owners and operators, including 20 electric utilities and four water utilities. Then again, you might also be interested in the individual stocks held by the ETF. Among the stocks held by PAVE, 73 are covered by at least five analysts polled by FactSet.
Former CIA chief says he is ‘increasingly embarrassed’ to be a white man
       
Former CIA director John Brennan arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill. (Getty Images)Former CIA boss John Brennan said on MSNBC that he's "increasingly embarrassed" to be a white man considering the actions he saw during CPAC. Mr Brennan said: “I’m increasingly embarrassed to be a white male these days with what I see other white males say." These are all people that think they have a huge grievance from a position of significant privilege." New York Times justice correspondent Katie Benner said: "I think what we're seeing right now is a trade-off between national security and power, the amassing of power.
Biden to prioritize vaccinating school teachers
       
President Joe Biden is directing states to prioritize vaccinating all teachers during the month of March, and announced that the federal government will help in the effort through its partnership with retail pharmacies. (March 2)Video TranscriptJOE BIDEN: To add one more tool to school reopening, a vaccinated workforce. Over 30 states have already taken the step to prioritize educators for vaccination. We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March. But our goal is to do everything we can to help every educator receive a shot this month, the month of March.
Biden sets goal for teachers to get vaccinated, promises enough doses for all U.S. adults by end of May
       
WASHINGTON — President Biden wants teachers across the United States to have at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of March. President Biden speaking on Tuesday. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)That means, Biden said, that long waits for coveted shots could soon end. His goal is to have “a majority” of schools open by the end of his first 100 days in office. Near the conclusion of his remarks, Biden referred to his predecessor’s much-criticized handling of the pandemic.
Venezuela's Guaido, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken discuss 'return to democracy'
       
Oak Flat sits atop one of the largest untapped copper deposits in the world, estimated to be worth more than $1bn. Oak Flat sits atop one of the largest untapped copper deposits in the world, estimated to be worth more than $1bn. While tribes and environmental groups celebrated the Forest Service announcement, they noted the threat of losing Oak Flat remains. “The Forest Service is just changing the execution date.” The Oak Flat campground outside of Globe, Arizona. The bill calls for the repeal of the land exchange legislation and was previously co-sponsored in the Senate by Bernie Sanders.
CDC chief says next two months are ‘pivotal’ in pandemic, urges people to not let their guard down
       
Advertisement“Fatigue is winning and the exact measures we have taken to stop the pandemic are now too often being flagrantly ignored,” she said. The CDC has been clear in opposing states’ moves to lift restrictions, she said, encouraging Americans to continue to take precautions. “The next month or two is really pivotal in terms of how this pandemic goes,” Walensky said. A number of states are loosening restrictions because of the recent signs that the pandemic is weakening. Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he was lifting his state’s mask requirement, making his state the largest so far to do so.
What to know if you’re an educator newly eligible for the vaccine in Massachusetts
       
Educators will become eligible next week under Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan, joining residents 65 and older and those with two or more qualifying health conditions. Here’s what to know if you’re a newly eligible educator. Baker said the group includes all K-12 educators, staff, and child-care workers. Baker said Wednesday that the newly eligible group will be able to receive the vaccine at the state’s 170 vaccination sites, including the state’s high-volume mass vaccination sites. Baker said Massachusetts currently receives about 150,000 first doses of the vaccine per week from the federal government.
K-12 teachers, school staff eligible for vaccine appointments on March 11, Baker says
       
Biden pledged Tuesday that vaccines would be made available for eligible educators at pharmacies through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Baker’s decision to add educators to the state’s eligibility list means teachers also will be allowed to get the vaccine at any of the state’s 170 vaccination sites. Plus, Baker said, the state’s command center is expected to designate specific days at mass vaccination sites for educators to get their vaccines. The state, Baker said, had expected to initially receive more than double that of the newly available vaccine. Baker announces educators eligible for vaccine Share Email to a Friend Embed Governor Charlie Baker announced that educators and school staff will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 11.
$1,400 stimulus checks in COVID relief bill would phase out at $80,000 instead of $100,000, according to deal between Biden and Democrats
       
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, phasing the payments out for Americans earning over $80,000, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations not authorized to speak on the record. Joint filers would have their checks phase out starting at $150,000 and entirely at $160,000. Pressed on whether Biden agreed to more limited eligibility on the relief checks, Psaki added: "He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand." Some Senate Democrats signaled they would support the compromise. Manchin had originally pushed for the checks to phase out after $50,000 of income, though the House ultimately drafted a $75,000 threshold.
US contractor killed in rocket attack at Iraq base, Pentagon says
       
At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)WASHINGTON — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed.
What free college might actually look like
       
Others are skeptical now is the time to move forward on free college. “I have a really hard time seeing any sort of four-year free college program passing at this point,” says Douglas Webber, associate professor of economics at Temple University. Tuition-free community college is most likely“Free college” really means free tuition. Expanding the existing Pell Grant program could work to provide free tuition, but it lacks the appeal of a new and “free” program. The article What Free College Might Actually Look Like originally appeared on NerdWallet.
Wisconsin hunters kill over 200 wolves in less than 3 days after removal from Endangered Species Act
       
Environmentalists, who fought unsuccessfully in state court to stop the hunt, said the killings had occurred during breeding season, when gray wolves are especially vulnerable. They said the large number of wolves killed in such a short time underscored the need for President Joe Biden to put the gray wolf back on the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Michigan expands vaccine eligibility to those age 50 and up
       
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan announced Wednesday that all people age 50 to 64 can start getting COVID-19 vaccinations on March 22, while those in that group with medical conditions can begin being immunized next week. It is the largest expansion of eligibility since Jan. 11, when state officials allowed vaccinations of seniors 65 and older and front-line workers such as teachers. More than 40% of Michiganders age 65 and older have gotten at least one shot. “The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” Democratic Gov. “I urge all eligible Michiganders to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines to protect you, your family and your community."
Biden stands by May timeline for vaccines for all US adults
       
White House adviser Andy Slavitt said Wednesday that Biden was preparing for all contingencies to speed the vaccine supply, and that the new May timeframe was achievable. The White House said Merck would devote two plants to the production process. Psaki said the Biden administration was using its powers under the Defense Production Act to help Merck retool to work on the production. The White House said the first doses produced with Merck's assistance would be available beginning in May. Federal officials have cautioned that setting up the highly specialized manufacturing lines to produce vaccines would take months.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge
       
Buoyed by a surge in vaccine shipments, states and cities are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 shots to teachers, 55-and-over Americans and other groups as the U.S. races to beat back the virus and reopen businesses and schools. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities.
Senate Focuses on State Spending in Biden’s Relief Plan
       
President Biden has OK'd making the stimulus checks' salary eligibility more targeted in the Senate bill. Here's what it means and where the Senate bill stands.
US contractor dies during rocket attack on military base in Iraq
       
A US contractor died of cardiac failure after rocket fire hit an Iraqi base hosting American-led troops on Wednesday, the Pentagon said, two days before Pope Francis’ visit to the country. Iraqi security forces were on the scene and investigating, but it was too early to attribute responsibility, it said. Col Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the US-led forces, said 10 rockets had hit the base at 7:20 am . Iraqi security forces said they had found the platform from which the “Grad-type rockets” had been fired. More rockets hit a US military contracting company working north of the capital and the US embassy in Baghdad days later, but only injuries were reported.
US warned of possible militia plot to attack Capitol on Thursday
       
Federal authorities on Wednesday warned that people associated with identified militia groups have been discussing plans for another to attack on the US Capitol with the aim of removing Democratic politicians on or about 4 March. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Capitol police department has obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot to “breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” on Thursday, the agency said on Wednesday. The Capitol police statement noted that it had already made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol. The FBI has warned of extremist online “chatter” about attacking the Capitol on 4 or 6 March. House security are no longer anticipating protests or violence from groups traveling to Washington on Thursday, the sergeant, Timothy Blodgen, reported.
Police tighten security amid fears of fresh plot to breach US Capitol
       
Police have ramped up security around the US Capitol after uncovering a "possible plot" to storm the building for a second time. Far-right conspiracy theorists have claimed for weeks, without evidence, that former US President Donald Trump will be reinstated on March 4. "We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4," Capitol Police said in a statement on Wednesday. QAnon followers believed that Trump would not leave office on January 20, but instead would announce mass arrests of Democrats and stop Joe Biden from becoming President. A number of individuals believed to be QAnon followers have been charged for their alleged involvement in the deadly insurrection on January 6.
Biden 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus funds for Americans making more than $80,000
       
President Joe Biden is 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus checks to Americans who make more than $80,000, the White House indicated Wednesday, bowing to pressure from Senate moderates. The deal was made so that the Senate bill would maintain the $400-a-week unemployment benefit, a dollar amount that was etched out in the last COVID-19 stimulus package, passed under former President Donald Trump. The House version of the bill, which passed early Saturday, also phased out stimulus checks, but had a higher ceiling. The two other series of stimulus checks have also been tailored by income. The original $1,200 stimulus checks were given in full to adults who made under $75,000, but adults who made up to $99,000 were eligible to recieve some money.
Top US health official says not time to end Covid curbs
       
"Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here regardless of what the states decide... "The president is 100 percent behind Doctor Walensky and the CDC's recommendations," White House coronavirus advisor Andy Slavitt said, speaking after Walensky at a coronavirus briefing. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent," he said to cheers from his audience. On Tuesday Biden announced that the United States will have enough Covid-19 vaccines for its adult population by the end of May -- two months earlier than his last forecast. He also unveiled a major deal for pharma giant Merck to produce the vaccine shot developed by its rival Johnson & Johnson.
Cuomo Refuses to Resign, Says He ‘Never Intended to Make Anyone Feel Uncomfortable’
       
At his first press conference since three women accused him of unwanted sexual advances, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized while insisting he didn’t know his alleged actions—grabbing a woman’s face, bringing up an aide’s sexual assault, giving an aide a kiss on the cheek—made people uncomfortable. I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable. He said the face-grabbing and kissing-on-the-cheek was a greeting habit he picked up from his father, former New York Gov. “I am apologizing to the young woman who worked here who said I made her feel uncomfortable in the workplace,” Cuomo said.
Pentagon: US Contractor Dies in Rocket Attack at Iraq Base
       
At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File) The Associated PressThe Pentagon says a U.S. contractor died when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed.
States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge
       
Hartford Public Schools Safety Officer Victor Rodriguez flexes his arm muscle after receiving a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Cities and states are rapidly expanding access to vaccines as the nation races to head off a resurgence in coronavirus infections and reopen schools and businesses battered by the pandemic. Cities and states are rapidly expanding access to vaccines as the nation races to head off a resurgence in coronavirus infections and reopen schools and businesses battered by the pandemic. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said.
US conservationists, mining firms vie for Minnesota wilderness
       
A treasure trove of mineralsEach year, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or BWCA for short, attracts over 155,000 visitors. The second mining company, Twin Metals Minnesota, has proposed mining an area just a few miles from Ely, boasting it would create “750 direct jobs and 1,500 spinoff jobs in the community”. But the Twin Metals plan has created a rift in the community as well. Twin Metals Minnesota can now bring prosperity back to the families of the region,” the company added. We pay good wages and have benefits and I think we’re competitive with what might be potential mining jobs.
Blinken vows US will avoid 'costly military interventions,' take new approach on trade
       
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised the Biden administration would avoid "costly military interventions" and chart a new course on global trade in his first major foreign policy speech on Wednesday. Blinken defended that strike, even as he said Biden's use of military force would be guided by the "hard lessons learned" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force," Blinken said. Admitting mistakes on tradeBlinken said trade is another area where previous American foreign policy has fallen short. 1 foreign policy priority, according to a February poll by Pew Research Center.
Islamic State in Afghanistan claims slaying of three female journalists
       
In December, another female journalist at the station, Malalai Maiwand, 26, was similarly gunned down, along with her driver, in an attack also claimed by the Islamic State. The slayings underscore the deep security challenges facing Afghanistan ahead of a May 1 deadline for President Biden to decide whether to withdraw U.S. troops. Maj. Gen. Juma Gul Hemat, the police chief of Nangahar, also said Tuesday that they had arrested a Taliban-linked suspect. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid, however, denied the group was involved in a statement Tuesday on Twitter. Instead, the Islamic State claimed responsibility late Tuesday, saying the women were targeted because they worked for media outlets “loyal” to the “apostate Afghan government,” CBS News reported.
Biden Touts Enough Vaccines by May, Texas Drops All Restrictions
       
Howie Kurtz on President Biden promising vaccines for all 'adults' by the end of May, Neera Tanden withdrawing her nomination to head Office of Management and Budget and Governor Cuomo facing more political pressure as his scandal worsens. Follow Howie on Twitter: @HowardKurtzFor more #MediaBuzz click here
CNN called out for tone shift on Biden reopening schools, compared to Trump coverage
       
CNN's tone on school reopening appears to have taken a different tone with President Biden leading the call for it, instead of former President Trump. Drew Holden, a conservative commentator, noted Biden was quoted in September by the CNN Politics account demanding Trump negotiate a deal for emergency school funding. CNN's Chris Cillizza wrote the same month on the "very clear dangers" of Trump trying to reopen schools. "'Normally, people don't play with kids' lives': Trump's push to reopen schools becomes another partisan fight," CNN wrote in another July news story. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last summer it would work with every school district to create safe environments for school reopening.
Biden’s post-inauguration honeymoon appears to be over, new poll suggests
       
A new national poll indicates that President Joe Biden’s approval rating has slipped during his first month in the White House. "It’s probably not a surprise that Biden’s honeymoon period has closed quickly," Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray highlighted. An average of all of the latest national polls that measured Biden’s approval rating – compiled by Real Clear Politics – put’s the president’s numbers at 55% approval and 40% disapproval. Ninety-one percent of Democrats questioned in the Monmouth survey approve of Biden’s performance – basically unchanged since January. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe Monmouth poll used live telephone operators to question 802 adults nationwide.
Republicans want briefing from Mayorkas after DHS chief claims 'no' border crisis
       
EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans on the Border Security Caucus are requesting a briefing by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the escalating crisis at the southern border, and warning that Biden administration policies are fueling it -- days after Mayorkas denied that there was a crisis at all. Reps. Andy Biggs and Brian Babin, who are the heads of the Congressional Border Security Caucus, wrote to Mayorkas requesting a briefing on the administration’s plans to address what they see as a crisis. Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been releasing migrants into the interior -- a practice ended by the Trump administration. REP. BIGGS, CO-CHAIR OF BORDER SECURITY CAUCUS, SAYS ISSUE IS UNITING CONSERVATIVESBut Mayorkas on Monday denied there was a crisis at all, instead describing it as a "challenge for the government, non-governmental organizations and border communities. The lawmakers request a meeting in-person with Mayorkas "as soon as possible to discuss the growing crisis at the southern border."
Shalanda Young pushed by House Dem leaders for Biden budget director after Tanden defeat
       
House Democratic leaders on Wednesday are pushing President Biden to tap Shalanda Young – his current pick for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget – for director, after he withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden for the post amid controversy over her past statements. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., issued a joint statement on Wednesday, recommending Biden tap Young to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget. BIDEN’S FAILURE TO GET TANDEN CONFIRMED FOLLOWS OTHER ABORTED PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS IN HISTORY"As longtime members of the Appropriations Committee, we take great pride in recommending Shalanda Young as director of the Office of Management and Budget," the Democratic leaders wrote. Young previously served as a staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. A statement from Biden released Tuesday night read: "I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget."
Coronavirus ‘fatigue is winning’ as decline in cases, deaths stalls, CDC’s Walensky warns
       
The recent declines in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are showing signs of stalling, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned on Wednesday, adding that the country is at a "critical nexus" in the pandemic. "We knew this would happen as variants emerged and reached more people in more communities, but we can still reduce their impact," Walensky said. The U.S. is currently seeing a seven-day average of 66,010 new coronavirus cases, marking an increase of 3.5% from the week prior, while deaths also increased 2.2% from the previous week’s average. Walensky’s warning comes as multiple states move to rescind coronavirus restrictions such as mask mandates and limits on indoor gatherings. Walensky again asked people to "reach deeply" and continue to adhere to public health measures in order to "protect the nation’s health and our loved ones."
Pandemic school closures could create a drag on the economy for years
       
Jay Horton, 6, attends virtual first grade on the first day of school at the Horton familys home in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Newly confirmed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will have his hands full as he navigates the perilous journey to reopening schools that have been largely shuttered for a year during the Covid pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for reopening that include masking, social distancing, testing and contact tracing. Still, many teachers' unions have pushed back, angling first to get teachers to the front of the line for vaccination. Biden said Tuesday he wants all teachers to receive at least one shot by the end of this month.
Senate panel ties on HHS nominee Becerra, advances USTR, Treasury nominees
       
Slideshow ( 3 images )The approval votes for USTR nominee Katherine Tai and Treasury nominee Wally Adeyemo send their nominations to the full Senate. Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said he would report the 14-14 tie vote on Becerra to the Secretary of the Senate for a decision on how to proceed from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Democrats currently hold the advantage in Senate floor votes because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking 51st vote. “His qualifications to be HHS Secretary seem to be minimal beyond suing HHS,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who is also a physician. Senator Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the panel, said he opposed Becerra because of his challenges on behalf of California to HHS authorities on contraception.
ICC prosecutor to probe war crimes in Palestinian Territories, angering Israel
       
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Wednesday her office will formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian Territories, a move welcomed by the Palestinian Authority and denounced by Israel. She named both the Israel Defense Forces and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators. The next step will be to determine whether Israel or Palestinian authorities have investigations themselves and to assess those efforts. “We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice,” said Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.
COVID-19 safety measures still essential even as U.S. boosts vaccine supply -White House
       
The infusion will help J&J ramp up production of its one-shot vaccine, Slavitt said. J&J was contracted to deliver 200 million doses to the federal government by the end of May and roughly a billion doses globally by end-2021. “Over time we believe Merck will be able to double the capacity of Johnson & Johnson,” Slavitt said. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States will have enough vaccine supply to inoculate all adults by May. J&J, Pfizer Inc, and Moderna Inc are contracted to deliver 700 million doses by mid-year between them.
White House says it is comfortable with changes in $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill
       
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the administration's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday that it was comfortable with changes made to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that would phase out $1,400 payments to high-income Americans. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden had been firm on the thresholds at which Americans should receive the stimulus checks. “He has also been open from the beginning for that being more targeted,” Psaki said.
Senate trims parts of Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill before votes
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill would phase out $1,400 payments to high-income Americans in a compromise with moderate Democratic senators, according to lawmakers and media reports. Before the bill hits the chamber floor, Democrats are negotiating limits to a measure Republicans have attacked as wasteful. Senate Democrats said the proposal, which would block Americans earning $80,000 per year or more and couples earning $160,000 or more from receiving the $1,400 payments, was a good solution. Before the legislation comes to a final vote, Democrats will have to sort out a welter of competing ideas as they seek to advance the bill. Once the Senate votes on the bill, the House would then have to sign off on the changes before Biden can sign it into law.
Democrat Katie Porter says to target Big Oil in new role as natural resources chair
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Katie Porter, who has earned a reputation for grilling bank and drug company executives during Congressional hearings, told Reuters she will focus on a new target in her new role as chair of the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee: Big Oil. “How can things not have gone up as I see the cost of my everyday expenses -- healthcare, childcare, college, housing -- all go up?” Porter said. “I confess when I first heard the term ‘oil and gas royalty rates’ I didn’t immediately feel a deep emotional sort of reaction to fighting the issue. But as I began to understand what’s really at stake, which is oil and gas companies taking our public resources at pennies on the dollar, I began to feel outraged,” she said. Porter said that as a professor who taught classes about bankruptcy, she enjoys teaching esoteric policy and making it real for people.
GM extends production cuts due to chip shortage, Stellantis warns of lingering pain
       
Consumers have stocked up on laptops, gaming consoles and other electronic products during the pandemic, leading to tight chip supplies. GM did not disclose the impact on volumes or say which supplier or parts were affected by the chip shortage, but the U.S. automaker said it intends to recover as much of the lost output as possible. The Detroit automaker had previously extended production cuts at three North American plants into mid-March and said vehicles at two other plants would only be partially built. Industry officials and politicians have pushed U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to take a more active role in dealing with the chip shortage. Complicating matters was a severe winter storm in Texas last month that killed at least 21 people and led to the shutdown of several chip plants.
Police disclose possible plot by militia group to attack U.S. Capitol
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The police force that guards the U.S. Capitol said on Wednesday it has obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot by a militia group to breach the building on Thursday, an alleged plan with echoes of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. “The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” it said in its statement. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified members of Congress of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Since Jan. 6, National Guard troops have been dispatched to the Capitol grounds and tall fencing has been erected to extend the security perimeter of the Capitol. Blodgett told lawmakers that the Capitol Police department has “enhanced” its security posture for the coming days.
Bipartisan senators introduce bill to strip Biden of war powers
       
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. The Kaine-Young bill, though, only deals with the 1991 and 2002 measures, which are entirely focused on Iraq. | Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty ImagesSenior Biden administration officials have begun briefing Congress this week about the Syria strikes, but they have yet to brief lawmakers directly. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told POLITICO on Tuesday that he sat in on a staff-level briefing because the Biden administration had yet to schedule sessions for senators. The Biden administration published a long-secret intelligence report last week that blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the operation that killed Khashoggi, but the administration declined to impose direct penalties on the crown prince.
U.S. gets C- grade on its infrastructure report card
       
U.S. infrastructure has received an average grade of C minus, according to the 2021 report card released Wednesday by the American Society of Civil Engineers. “For the first time in 20 years, our infrastructure GPA is a C-, up from a D+ in 2017. “Five category grades — aviation, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, and ports — went up, while just one category — bridges — went down. But hopes for more infrastructure spending often have been dashed in recent years, turning “Infrastructure Week” into a joke in Washington. 3 House Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, during an ASCE event on Wednesday tied to the group’s report card.
Dow up 100 points, but tech stocks fall as bond yields climb and economic data disappoints
       
The Dow was up slightly Wednesday afternoon, while pressure on the technology shares weighed down the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, as bond yields spiked and weaker-than-expected economic data suggested a more tepid rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the Dow fell 143.99 points, or 0.5%, to 31,391.52, the S&P 500 slid 31.53 points, or 0.8%, to 3,870.29, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 230.04 points, or 1.7%, to 13,358.79. Technology stocks were under pressure again Wednesday and weighing down the broader equities market, as benchmark government bond yields climbed and high-growth stocks Apple Inc. AAPL, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN and Tesla Inc. TSLA slumped. Investor anxieties have centered on moves in the bond market over the past two weeks, with attention trained on moves in the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield. I think rates move higher and stocks can move higher with rates.
Supreme Court appears ready to uphold Arizona election measures in Voting Rights Act case
       
The justices heard arguments in the case as dozens of state legislatures consider changes to their election laws, including many that voting rights groups say could curb voter access. Video Transcript- The political and legal fight over election laws and the right to vote is getting more intense this morning. ED O'KEEFE: Republicans say it goes too far. Republicans say the changes address unsubstantiated concerns about alleged widespread election fraud. ED O'KEEFE: Democrats say they would disenfranchise minority voters.
Democrats Are Letting the Promise of a $15 Minimum Wage Slip Away
       
It doesn’t look like a $15 minimum wage is going to happen anytime soon. She deemed last week that raising the minimum wage doesn’t qualify. Even if Harris were to overrule the parliamentarian, all 50 Senate Democrats would need to vote for a relief bill featuring a measure to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. “Eighty-one million people cast their ballots to elect you on a platform that called for a $15 minimum wage. Many of my colleagues and I believe we can and must deliver a $15 wage through reconciliation.
White House agrees to reduce Americans eligible for checks in next COVID relief bill, reports say
       
The White House has signed off on a proposal from centrist Democrats in Congress to reduce the number of people receiving the next round of checks, per multiple reports. President Biden speaks at the White House on Tuesday. According to reports, the White House refused to lower the payments from $400 per week to $300 per week, as requested by moderate lawmakers. The White House counters that the $1,400 checks included in its current package comes out to $2,000 when it is added to the $600 checks passed by the last Congress in December. The survey also found that 58 percent supported raising the minimum wage — a provision that has been stripped from the current relief package, to the chagrin of progressives — compared with 31 percent who opposed doing so.
Democrats agree to narrow who gets $1,400 checks in COVID-19 relief bill
       
Under the House bill, payments phased out at $100,000 for individuals, $200,000 for couples and $150,000 for heads of households. The other most notable change from the House version will be removing language to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. After that comes a vote on the final Senate passage of the bill, expected sometime Friday or Saturday. Due to the Senate changes, the House will need to pass the revised version before sending it to Biden's desk. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
Capitol Police warn militia group may be planning to breach the Capitol on Thursday
       
Nearly two months after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, officials are warning a militia group may be plotting another breach. The U.S. Capitol Police said Wednesday it has obtained intelligence "that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group" on March 4. "Our department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol," Capitol Police said. Officials previously said they would "enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4," due to "concerning information and intelligence" surrounding that date, ABC News reports. Because of this, Pittman said it's necessary for Capitol Police to "maintain its enhanced and robust security posture," including fencing and National Guard presence.
Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax the 'stupidest idea ever': Economist Kevin Hassett
       
Economist Kevin Hassett said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax is the “stupidest idea ever.”The former White House economic adviser made the comment on “Mornings with Maria” on Tuesday arguing that the wealthy will find ways to “avoid” the tax by hiding their wealth. ELIZABETH WARREN'S WEALTH TAX WOULD COST 100 RICHEST AMERICANS $78BWarren’s legislation would tax the net worth of the wealthiest Americans in the proposal aimed at reducing income inequality in the U.S. The measure is nearly identical to the wealth tax that Warren, D-Mass., introduced during her failed 2020 presidential campaign. “Right now, if you put your money in treasuries you get say less than 2% a year income,” Hassett said. “If the wealth tax is 3% a year then that means that you’ve got 150% income tax on wealth.
Biden tightens $1,400 stimulus check income limits amid pressure from moderate Dems
       
President Biden has endorsed a plan from moderate Democrats to narrow income eligibility for the third round of stimulus checks in his nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, a Democratic source said Wednesday. Under the latest proposal, Americans earning $75,000 or less would receive the fully promised $1,400 payment. That means individuals earning between $80,000 and $100,000, and couples earning between $160,000 and $200,000, are newly excluded from a partial check under the newest plan endorsed by the Biden administration. Stimulus check eligibility emerged as a major point of contention between different ideological factions of the Democratic Party. But progressives have signaled they will fight against tightening the income criteria for the payments.
Biden's COVID-19 relief bill includes billions in aid for states that don't need it
       
In fact, the analysis shows that 21 states saw positive revenue growth compared with last year. Now that Joe Biden is president and Democrats control both chambers of Congress, they're pushing forward with unfettered aid for state and local governments. The relief bill passed by the House last week includes $350 billion for the long-time goal, with $195.3 billion directed toward state governments and Washington, and $130.2 billion allocated for local governments. An additional $20 billion would be given to federally recognized tribal governments, while $4.5 billion would go to U.S. territories. GOP senators plan to introduce a slew of amendments to the bill during the "vote-a-rama" this week, including eliminating all of — or at least reducing — aid for state governments, Barrasso said.
Column: The Dr. Seuss ‘cancel culture’ backlash is a distraction. Here’s the real issue
       
On Tuesday, “cancel culture” was officially promoted to “outlaw culture,” which definitely would sound way cooler if it weren’t so maddeningly ridiculous and offensively dangerous. McCarthy could have been referring to President Biden’s failure to name-check Dr. Seuss in his Read Across America Day proclamation. First they outlaw Dr. Seuss and then they tell us what not to say. And don’t say you’re protecting the legacy of Dr. Seuss, because the people whose job it is to protect the legacy of Dr. Seuss made the decision to retire that depiction. In other words, the only person who attempted to “erase” Dr. Seuss this week was Kevin McCarthy.
Masks, Johnson & Johnson supply, and teacher vaccine eligibility: Here’s what Governor Baker said about COVID-19 today
       
About 400,000 educators and school staff members are expected to be newly eligible under this change. CVS announced earlier Wednesday that educators are already eligible to sign up for vaccine appointments at their participating pharmacies, including those in Massachusetts. AdvertisementThe status of the Johnson & Johnson deliveryMassachusetts has received about 58,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot coronavirus vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use by federal regulators on Saturday. Baker said, however, that he’s been told not to expect any more until the end of March or beginning of April. “We certainly hope it does.”The doses already received have been primarily distributed to hospitals, health systems, and community health centers, Baker said.
Biden backs tighter limits on stimulus checks to speed COVID-19 relief bill
       
Lawmakers are heading toward the final phase of enacting Biden’s first signature legislative package, with the Senate taking up the relief bill the House passed last week. The Senate’s so-called managers’ amendment to the House bill is expected to keep the House’s figure, which is a $100-a-week increase from the current level through August. Biden met with nine moderate Democrats at the White House earlier this week as he sought their support in enacting his first signature piece of legislation. Indeed, GOP Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said Wednesday he’s working on vote-a-rama amendments to further target the bill. Schumer has pledged to complete the package in time to get it to Biden before the current extra jobless benefits expire on March 14.
Nonprofits imperiled by COVID pandemic, 1 in 3 in financial jeopardy, study finds
       
Other studies have concluded that smaller arts and culture groups, in particular, are at serious risk. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. According to the study, the District of Columbia is expected to lose the most nonprofits per capita, followed by Vermont and North Dakota. The most vulnerable nonprofits might try to cut costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some could seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold said, though doing so would still mean fewer nonprofits survive.
$1,400 stimulus checks in COVID relief bill would phase out at $80,000 instead of $100,000, according to deal between Biden and Democrats
       
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, phasing the payments out for Americans earning over $80,000, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations not authorized to speak on the record. Joint filers would have their checks phase out starting at $150,000 and entirely at $160,000. Pressed on whether Biden agreed to more limited eligibility on the relief checks, Psaki added: "He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand." Some Senate Democrats signaled they would support the compromise. Manchin had originally pushed for the checks to phase out after $50,000 of income, though the House ultimately drafted a $75,000 threshold.
Biden health pick taking heat for support of abortion rights
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat from Republicans for his actions in support of abortion rights. It’s a test, too, for national groups opposed to abortion, trying to deny a president who favors abortion rights his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Becerra is paying a price for defending, as California attorney general, some of the nation’s most liberal laws and policies on abortion rights. Becerra, 63, was a reliable Democratic vote for abortion rights during more than 20 years representing a Los Angeles-area district in the U.S. House. She disagrees with his support for abortion rights, but finds common ground elsewhere.
Biden stands by May timeline for vaccines for all US adults
       
The Biden administration has told governors to make preparations to administer even more doses in the coming weeks. Psaki said the Biden administration was using its powers under the Defense Production Act to help Merck retool to work on the production. The J&J vaccine can be stored for months at refrigerated temperatures, rather than frozen. Now, with a global clamor for more vaccine doses, those heavyweights are helping manufacture doses for less-experienced rivals whose vaccines won the first emergency authorizations from regulators. Merck has since said it was in talks to help other drug companies with vaccine production, but wouldn’t say Tuesday whether other deals are imminent.
$1,400 stimulus check: Democrats OK tighter income limits for COVID-19 relief
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Democrats’ push to include it in later legislation suggested an effort to satisfy progressives while avoiding jeopardizing the current package. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.
Vaccine supply expected to increase in Oklahoma; pharmacies to begin vaccinations
       
Vaccine supply expected to increase in Oklahoma; pharmacies to begin vaccinationsCOVID-19 vaccine supplies are expected to increase about 5% next week in Oklahoma. The 5% increase is in addition to an additional 11,500 doses added to the state's allocation in the Biden administration rollout of vaccine clinics in pharmacies. Top state health officials said Wednesday pharmacy vaccine clinics starting next week initially would be limited to some Walmart locations and a network, RxSelect, of independent community pharmacies. The mix of Pfizer and Moderna/BioNtech vaccines sent to Oklahoma under current distribution arrangements is expected to increase to 107,550 doses next week, from 103,000, said Keith Reed, deputy commissioner of health.
US unemployment claims fall to 779,000 but job cuts grind on
       
WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined to 779,000 last week, a still-historically high total that shows that a sizable number of people keep losing jobs to the viral pandemic. Last week’s total, the third straight, declined from 812,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Thursday’s report reflects a U.S. job market that is still suffering from the pandemic, with hiring having weakened for six straight months. It is a key reason why President Joe Biden is pushing Congress to enact a $1.9 trillion economic rescue program, on top of a $900 billion federal aid package that was approved late last year. The decline in applications for unemployment aid over the past few weeks suggests that layoffs have eased slightly as several states have loosened restrictions on restaurants, bars and other service firms, causing these businesses to retain workers.
A meager gain in US jobs last month highlights virus' damage
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — America's employers barely added jobs last month, underscoring the viral pandemic's ongoing grip on the economy and likely adding momentum to the Biden administration's push for a bold rescue aid package. The increase of just 49,000 positions in January made scarcely any dent in the nearly 10 million jobs that remain lost since the virus intensified nearly a year ago. The tepid increase followed a decline of 227,000 jobs in December, the first loss since April. Most of the drop in unemployment occurred because some people out of work found jobs, but others stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed. And without an increase of 80,000 temporary jobs, the economy would have posted a net loss for January.
Biden wants fast COVID aid, but minimum wage hike in doubt
       
The stakes for the county and economy were amplified Friday morning by the release of the government's jobs report for January, which showed that hiring had stalled to a pace that could hinder a return to full employment for several years. Some 406,000 people left the labor force last month as deaths from the pandemic have surged. “A lot of folks are losing hope,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “I believe the American people are looking right now to their government for help, to do our job, to not let them down. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, her first.
Pentagon deploys troops to fuel COVID-19 vaccine drive
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centers in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans inoculated against COVID-19. President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. One of the five new military teams will go to a vaccination center opening in California. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked the Pentagon to supply as many as 10,000 service members to staff 100 centers. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the initial five teams, but the others will be approved in separate tranches as FEMA identifies the other site locations.
Opinion: Taxes remain a certainty amid uncertain times
       
“Our new Constitution is now established and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”— Benjamin FranklinWith Inauguration Day now in our rear-view mirrors, there are still many questions to be asked of the Biden Administration. For many Americans, thoughts swirl around complex matters such as the vaccination, capital gains tax, or what a new stimulus package might bring for the economy and its impact on inflation. For others, 2020 turned their world upside down and their focus is simply on returning to “normal” and planning their next adventure somewhere outside of their own backyard.
Dems try to push through school funding
       
Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee say schools won’t be able to reopen safely until they get an infusion of federal funding to repair building ventilation systems, buy protective equipment and take other steps recommended by federal health officials. The plan faces opposition from Republicans who want to tie new school funding to reopening. The panel met Tuesday to craft its portion of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that tracks with Biden’s plan for battling the pandemic and reviving a still staggering economy. Democrats hope to rush the bill to Biden for his signature by mid-March, using a special budget-related process allowing certain legislation to be approved by a simple majority. Rep. Bobby Scott, chair of the Education and Labor Committee, dismissed complaints from Republicans who objected to use of the process.
Biden: Governors, mayors need $350B to fight COVID-19
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments — a clear source of division with Republican lawmakers who view the spending as wasteful. As part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, Biden wants to send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments. While Republicans in Congress have largely objected to this initiative, Biden’s push has some GOP support among governors and mayors. “You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said at the start of the Oval Office meeting. “They’ve been working on their own in many cases.”Republican lawmakers
Biden faces questions about commitment to minimum wage hike
       
WASHINGTON — Union activist Terrence Wise recalls being laughed at when he began pushing for a national $15 per hour minimum wage almost a decade ago. President Joe Biden has responded by including a provision in the massive pandemic relief bill that would more than double the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $15 per hour. But the effort is facing an unexpected roadblock: Biden himself. The president has seemingly undermined the push to raise the minimum wage by acknowledging its dim prospects in Congress, where it faces political opposition and procedural hurdles. That’s frustrating to activists like Wise, who worry their victory is being snatched away at the last minute despite an administration that’s otherwise an outspoken ally.
New enrollment window opens for health insurance shoppers
       
Health insurance shoppers stuck in a bad plan or unable to find coverage have a new option for help. A sign-up window opened Monday for government insurance markets and runs through May 15 in most states. It’s available for people who don’t have coverage through work, and it is expected to make finding a plan less of a hassle for those who lost a job. The detailsPresident Joe Biden last month ordered government health insurance markets that ended their annual enrollment periods in December to reopen. The Affordable Care Act created state-based insurance markets for people to buy individual coverage either for themselves or their family.
U.S. attorneys in Oklahoma resign as Biden moves to shape Justice Department
       
All three U.S. attorneys in Oklahoma plan to leave office at the end of February, as the Biden administration moves to put its stamp on the Justice Department. U.S. Attorney Timothy Downing, the lead federal prosecutor for the Western District, based in Oklahoma City; U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, of the Northern District, based in Tulsa; and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester, of the Eastern District, based in Muskogee, have announced they will resign on Feb. 28. The announcements from the came after a call with acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson. “I wish everyone had an opportunity to witness as I did their fellow heroic Oklahomans who serve in law enforcement and protect our families and neighborhoods every single day,” said Downing, who has served since 2019. “Law enforcement partnerships are stronger today than ever before, and we have seen the positive impact it has had on public safety in our communities and district.”
Inhofe meets with Biden at White House about transportation package
       
Sen. Jim Inhofe met at the White House on Thursday with President Joe Biden and others about improving the nation’s roads and other transportation systems, as the president contemplates a major package to modernize infrastructure. “It went very good, and one reason is I’ve known the president forever and we’ve worked on highway bills before,’’ Inhofe told reporters in Washington. Inhofe was one of four senators from both parties who met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined the conversation by phone. “I've been around long enough — and (Sen.) Tom (Carper) and Jim and all of us — that it used to be that infrastructure wasn't a Democrat or Republican issue,” Biden said at the outset of the meeting. “There are not many Republican or Democratic roads and bridges, and so on.
Gov. Kevin Stitt requests Oklahoma emergency declaration from federal government
       
Kevin Stitt has requested the federal government declare a state of emergency across Oklahoma due to severe winter weather. Stitt announced Wednesday he is seeking a disaster declaration for all of Oklahoma's 77 counties so localities can unlock federal aid to cover emergency costs. The request comes a day after Stitt spoke to President Joe Biden via phone. “Yesterday President Biden pledged the federal government’s support for Oklahoma when we spoke by phone,” Stitt said in a statement. “I am now urging the President and his administration to act quickly and deliver on our request to help Oklahomans recover from this historic storm.”
President Joe Biden approves Oklahoma emergency declaration
       
President Joe Biden on Tuesday declared a state of emergency exists in Oklahoma as a result of severe winter weather that has all but locked down the state. The declaration allows Oklahoma cities, counties and tribes to seek reimbursement for emergency expenses and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the state. Direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures will be provided at 75% federal funding, according to a White House news release. Biden, a Democrat, approved Oklahoma's emergency request the same day Gov. Kevin Stitt sought the disaster declaration for the entire state.
US reaches 500,000 coronavirus deaths in under a year, a once-unthinkable milestone
       
The U.S. once again crossed a somber COVID threshold much faster than any country in the world. Less than a year after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, the U.S. recorded its 500,000th death Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard. That’s more than twice the COVID-19 fatalities registered in Brazil, which ranks second on the list. President Joe Biden will hold a moment of silence and a candle-lighting service Monday evening at the White House to mark the enormous loss of life. The endless hours of toiling amid death and suffering have taken a heavy toll on health care workers, who are exhausted and frustrated with those who won’t follow public health guidelines aimed at curbing transmission of the virus.
Oklahoma's GOP lawmakers aim to invalidate Joe Biden’s executive orders
       
Republican state legislators have signed onto legislation to challenge President Joe Biden’s authority to impose federal directives over the state of Oklahoma. More than 60 Oklahoma House Republicans support a bill that would allow Oklahoma to challenge orders from the federal government and declare those actions unconstitutional through a majority vote of the GOP-controlled state Legislature. Rep. Mark McBride, who authored House Bill 1236 with House Speaker Charles McCall, criticized the dozens of executive orders Biden has signed in his first month in office. Biden has signed 31 executive orders to, among other things, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, undo some of former President Donald Trump’s mandates and require the United States to rejoin the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate agreement, according to orders filed with the Federal Register.
Oklahoma governor thanks Biden for storm aid
       
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt thanked President Joe Biden's administration Thursday for quickly approving additional disaster assistance to help the state recover from last week's winter storm. Stitt also urged Oklahomans to continue to report storm-related damage. "Oklahomans experienced a once-in-a-lifetime storm last week, and this individual assistance is critical for our full recovery," Stitt said. The additional federal disaster declaration issued late Wednesday by the Biden administration allows homeowners, renters and businesses in 16 Oklahoma counties to apply for disaster assistance or low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Oklahoma lawmakers vote against relief package
       
President Joe Biden on Saturday applauded House approval and said "we're one step closer to vaccinating the nation. We are one step closer to extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are shortly going to lose them. "We are one step closer to helping millions of Americans feed their families and keep a roof over their head. We're one step closer to getting our kids safely back in school. And we're one step closer to getting state and local governments the money they need to prevent massive layoffs for essential workers."
Cuomo avoids public amid outcry over harassment allegations
       
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some members of his own party call for him to resign over sexual harassment allegations. He was last before video cameras Thursday, when he introduced President Joe Biden at a virtual meeting of the National Governor’s Association, which he chairs. He also participated Tuesday in the group's conference call, which was off-limits to reporters. The public absence was more glaring after legislative leaders announced Tuesday they were limiting the governor’s broad powers to unilaterally set state policy during the pandemic.
Biden stands by May timeline for vaccines for all US adults
       
Biden stands by May timeline for vaccines for all US adultsWASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — and he pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings. Biden also announced Tuesday that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine, likening the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II. Despite the stepped-up pace of vaccine production, the work of inoculating Americans could extend well into the summer, officials said, depending both on the government’s capacity to deliver doses and Americans’ willingness to roll up their sleeves. Biden’s announcements quickly raised expectations for when the nation could safely emerge from the pandemic, but even as he expressed optimism, Biden quickly tempered the outlook.
The Latest: WH: Insurance companies help vaccinate elderly
       
New Zealand currently has a supply of about 200,000 doses. The country has been slower than many to begin its vaccination campaign but is seen as lower risk after eliminating community spread of the virus. ———WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is directing states to prioritize vaccinating all teachers during the month of March, and announced that the federal government will help in the effort through its partnership with retail pharmacies. To achieve this, Biden announced that qualifying individuals will be able to sign up this month to be vaccinated at a pharmacy near them. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Senate Finance panel OKs Tai as top U.S. trade negotiator
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee easily approved President Joe Biden's pick to be America's top trade negotiator. The panel on Wednesday confirmed Katherine Tai to be U.S. trade representative on a voice vote. Her nomination, which has received strong bipartisan support, will now go to the full Senate for approval. Tai has promised to make sure that U.S. trade policy benefits America's workers, not just corporations, and to work more closely with U.S. allies to counter an increasingly assertive China. Fluent in Mandarin, Tai spent several years as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's head of China enforcement.
US contractor dies in rocket attack on air base housing US troops in Iraq
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the contractor "suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering" and died shortly afterward. British and Danish troops also are among those stationed at the base. The rocket attack was the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing one militiaman and stoking fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened more than a year ago. Wednesday's death of the contractor heightens worries that the U.S. could be drawn into another period of escalating attacks, complicating the Biden administration's desire to open talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Scramble on to replace Neera Tanden after nomination met perfect storm
       
Tanden added that she appreciated “how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation”. Sanders, the chairman of one of the committees charged with handling Tanden’s nomination, also questioned large corporate and foreign donations to the Center for American Progress. Senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate budget committee, cited Neera Tanden’s ‘vicious attacks against progressives’. Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, said the White House was “fighting our guts out” to get Tanden confirmed and the US Chamber of Commerce backed her as well. Whoever the White House nominates is poised to have an easier confirmation process than Tanden.
‘These lies almost got you lynched’: Mike Pence criticised after breaking silence to oppose voting rights law
       
Mike Pence has broken his silence for the first time since he left office on 20 January by writing an article in which he opposes voting rights legislation being considered by Congress. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. It would also mandate independent redistricting to lessen the influence of gerrymandering, increase election security, and require presidential candidates to release their tax returns, among other measures to increase transparency. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden subsequently received a record number of votes, 74 million and 81 million respectively.
White House urges Texas and Mississippi residents to follow CDC mask guidance after states drop mandates
       
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both Republicans, announced that their states will drop mandates for their residents to wear masks to combat the transmission of Covid-19. Read more: Follow live updates from the Biden administrationThe states also will remove all other coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses, allowing businesses including restaurants to open at full capacity. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Louisiana, which sits between those states on the Gulf Coast, has not dropped restrictions.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. sells Venetian, Expo Center for $6.25 billion to focus on business in Asia
       
Las Vegas Sands Corp. is selling the iconic Venetian resort and its Sands Expo and Convention Center for $6.25 billion, withdrawing from gambling operations on the Las Vegas Strip to focus on its casinos in Asia. Under the two-part deal announced Wednesday, VICI Properties will buy the casino and resort and all assets associated with the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo for $4 billion. After explosive growth in Las Vegas, Adelson turned his eye to Asia. The Venetian, located on the Las Vegas Strip, has three luxury hotel towers with gaming, entertainment, shopping and dining. Former Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson passed away in January at the age of 87At one point, Adelson was the third-richest man in the entire world.
Cuomo holds his first COVID briefing for more than a week amid sexual harassment claims
       
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finally reappeared before the public on Wednesday after 'hiding' for more than a week amid claims he sexually harassed three women. It's unclear if he plans to take questions on either the nursing home scandal or the sexual harassment scandal which has erupted last week. Before today, Cuomo, 63, had not been seen at a public event on February 24. His last briefing where he took questions was on February 22On February 25, Cuomo dialed into the virtual governors' meeting with President Joe Biden. She says he asked if he could kiss herPhotos taken in September 2016 show New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide Melissa DeRosa, 38, at dinner.
Biden's Cabinet, hailed for diversity, slow to be confirmed
       
Among Mr. Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. And among the 15 core nominees to lead federal agencies, 10 have been confirmed, or two-thirds. According to the Center for Presidential Transition, about a month into their first terms, the previous four presidents had 84% of their core Cabinet picks confirmed. That must change.”The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy, and public health decisions. The Biden administration has not been completely hamstrung by the slow pace of confirmations, however.
Senate bill will narrow income eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks
       
Washington (CNN) President Joe Biden has agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to narrow the income eligibility for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks that are included in a bill the Senate is expected to take up this week, a Democratic source told CNN Wednesday. But the same households will receive the full payment of $1,400 per person, including children. Individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 will -- just as in the House bill. Then, the payments will phase out faster for those earning more. Unlike the previous two rounds, adult dependents -- including college students -- are expected to be eligible for the payments.
Frustration is growing over the obstacles Biden's nominees of color are facing
       
But now the slow and contentious process of getting some of his top picks confirmed is leading progressive groups to question whether his nominees of color are facing a higher level of scrutiny than White male nominees of past administrations. But there is a growing sense of frustration about the obstacles that some of these nominees are facing. As women, we're exhausted by this, and as women of color, we see this consistently." attorney general, is being Two women of color whom Biden has nominated for top posts at the Justice Department are also facing intense scrutiny. 'It just smacks of a different standard'Advocates say these nominees are facing heightened scrutiny.
Biden agrees to limit number of people who will get checks in Covid relief plan
       
Under the lower chamber's bill, individuals making up to $100,000 (and joint filers earning up to $200,000) would have received some amount. Asked Wednesday about whether Biden supports the proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said "he is comfortable with where the negotiations stand." Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty ImagesThe changes come as moderate Senate Democrats call to limit the scope of the checks included in the legislation. To pass the relief bill under budget reconciliation, party leaders cannot lose a single vote among the 50 members of the caucus. The Senate plan is set to keep the same unemployment insurance supplement passed by the House.
Biden Is Following a Failed Blueprint for Forever War
       
Last week, the U.S. military bombed a site near al-Hurri, along the Iraqi border inside Syria, where Iranian-backed Iraqi militias were allegedly stationed. The U.S. military first intervened in Syria in 2014 following the Islamic State’s takeover of the country’s Eastern territories, along with the Northern and Western areas of Iraq. The same can be said of the recent rocket attacks that provoked the Biden administration’s deadly response in Syria. Iraqi militias pose no danger to the people of Baltimore, Maryland or Little Rock, Arkansas, and Baghdad does not demand an American military presence. Anything less is a formula for forever war, ever more.
To Restore American Democracy, We Need to Tax the Ultra-Wealthy
       
And much of the wealth of Wall Street is in the hands of private equity and hedge fund executives. Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, two Wall Street billionaires, have publicly endorsed a wealth tax plan in the past. The Ultra-Millionaire Wealth Tax would ensure that the super-rich pay taxes on all their assets, not just their New York mansions or Florida getaways, but their stocks, bonds, jewelry, sports cars, and art collections. Imagine how Schwarzman, with his $22.5 billion fortune, will react when the Warren-Jayapal wealth tax demands a payment to the U.S. Treasury seven times that size. In 2019, Leon Cooperman, founder and CEO of hedge fund Omega Advisors, pushed back on Warren’s proposed wealth tax plan to the point where he broke down in tears on national television.
As Finance Committee Votes on Becerra Nomination, Opposition is Coming From Members Who Have Taken $9.6 Million from Big Pharma
       
Becerra has a strong track record of holding pharmaceutical companies accountable and some of the loudest opposition so far has come from senators who have taken millions from Big Pharma. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):Has accepted over $3.7 million from the health sector throughout his career, including nearly $1 million from Big Pharma. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX):Has accepted over $1.7 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $1 million from Big Pharma. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC):Has accepted over $4.8 million from the health sector throughout his career, including $1.5 million from Big PharmaSenator Bill Cassidy (R-LA):Has accepted over $5.1 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $736,000 from Big Pharma. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY):Has accepted over $2.7 million from the health sector throughout his career, including over $651,000 from Big Pharma.
119 Democrats Join With GOP to Block Restoration of Voting Rights for Incarcerated People
       
The same cannot be said of the Bush amendment. While Biden said during the 2020 presidential campaign that he supports restoring voting rights to former felons, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was alone among last year's Democratic presidential candidates in supporting voting rights for incarcerated people. Today, I went to the floor in support @RepCori Bush's amendment to HR 1 #ForThePeople Act to restore voting rights to incarcerated individuals. Voting rights must be extended to ALL people - and yes, that includes currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. — Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) March 2, 2021Civil and voting rights advocates voiced their support for the Bush amendment.
With Biden Administration Refusing to Act, Its Time to Take Mohammed bin Salman to Court
       
Despite the findings in the ODNI report, the Biden Administration chose to impose no sanction on him. As Congress pressured the administration to release the ODNI report, they will try to force Biden to hold MBS accountable. The ODNI report also confirms the core underlying factual claim made by plaintiffs in the Khashoggi case: MBS was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder. RSF relies on Germany’s universal jurisdiction laws that allow a German court to try MBS for crimes committed elsewhere. The Biden administration’s inaction certainly did not create incentives for MBS to temper his abuses.
John Kerry Tells Big Oil to Stop Resisting Energy Transition or "You’re Going to End up on the Wrong Side of This Battle."
       
This week witnesses one of the most influential and largest oil industry conferences take place, called CERAWeek. Normally, the crème de la crèmeof the oil industry descend on Houston for a pro-fossil fuel frenzy. “The tone is different: There’s one theme that permeates the entire conference and that is energy transition,” CERAWeek Founder Dan Yergin, vice chair of IHS Markit told Reuters. Another speaker, Andy Jassy of Amazon, said the industry is better off helping to shape the energy transition than wishing it away. Yesterday leading energy experts outlined how renewable energy could also be the sole source for the world’s heating, cooling, and transport industries by 2035.
'Madness': In Cave to Right-Wing Dems, Biden Agrees to Further Limit Eligibility for Direct Payments
       
In the face of pressure from a faction of conservative Senate Democrats, President Joe Biden reportedly agreed Wednesday to limit eligibility for direct relief payments by accelerating the phase-out of $1,400 checks proposed in the emerging $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The House bill proposes (pdf) ending the phase-out at $100,000 in yearly income for individuals and $200,000 for couples. Among the Senate Democrats who pushed for the quicker phase-out were Sens. Under the House relief bill, the IRS would be directed to base eligibility for the payments on 2020 income for those whose returns are on file. "This is not targeting," Matt Bruenig, founder of the People's Policy Project, said last month of earlier efforts to restrict eligibility.
'A Test of Our Humanity': Ilhan Omar Unveils Bill to Sanction Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi Murder
       
The legislation would also render bin Salman "ineligible to receive a visa or other immigration benefit" and revoke his current visas. "This is a test of our humanity," Omar (D-Minn.) said of the push to hold the crown prince accountable. Today, I introduced legislation to place sanctions on the Crown Prince for his role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. "The notion of sanctioning Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman... was never really on the table." https://t.co/nWFsBFGnuv — Abukar Arman (@Abukar_Arman) March 2, 2021Omar introduced her legislation as Reporters Without Borders filed a lawsuit accusing the Saudi crown prince of committing "crimes against humanity" by greenlighting the Khashoggi murder and other attacks on journalists.
Chris Hedges: The Age of Social Murder
       
They are the architects of social murder. But murder it remains.”The ruling class devotes tremendous resources to mask this social murder. The new state did not even require servants — just clerks.” This metaphysical ignorance fuels social murder. Why, if this social murder is inevitable, as I believe it is, do we even fight back? They keep alive the possibility, however dim, that the forces that are orchestrating our social murder can be stopped.
The Filibuster Was Grounded in Slavery & Now Threatens All Life on Earth
       
Sadly, two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, recently blocked the Senate from killing this democracy-crippling anachronism. Once in the Senate, Calhoun invented the filibuster specifically to increase the power of his plantation-owning colleagues and block any sort of anti-slavery legislation. The filibuster not only kept any anti-slavery legislation from being passed throughout Calhoun’s lifetime, but after Reconstruction collapsed with the Hayes election in 1876 it was turned against Civil Rights legislation. The filibuster was a useful tool — and excuse for racist senators — to block any sort of civil rights legislation for four generations. Worse, with the near-certainty it’ll be used to block effective climate legislation, their obstruction threatens all life on Earth.
Wednesday Open Thread; FP&IE Group
       
https://careers.state.gov/learn/what-we-do/where-we-work/ - location of foreign service posts - click on the image on the linked page to see a MUCH larger versionWelcome to an all day open thread hosted by “Foreign Policy and International Events Group”. MOT (Morning Open Thread): Goes live at 03:30 west coast ( 06:30 US east coast). just as the chatter in morning thread has petered out. The Overnight News Digest: Up at 21:00 west coast (midnight east coast)If we’re missing an open thread, please leave a note in Comments and we’ll add it in. ????? ????? ???Meanwhile, anyone who would like to host an open thread, please leave a note in the comments or get in touch with Torilahu via Kosmail.
Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday
       
-Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, March 3, 2021Note: Lawyers rush to scene after baker's man refuses to play pattycake on religious grounds. -CHEERS to the left making things right. CHEERS to making it through the first hurdle. CHEERS and JEERS to making cents (and also losing them). CHEERS to fun things a president can do as his country disintegrates from a Great Depression.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to be stripped of pandemic emergency powers; resignation ahead?
       
NPR’s Noel King reported this morning that three-term New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to be stripped of the emergency powers granted to him to deal with the pandemic. This has also focused attention on the long history of Cuomo maintaining a toxic work environment while engaging in bullying behavior. Clark explained the powers allowed Cuomo to create and suspend any laws related to the pandemic without having to go through the legislature. Political observer Dr. Alan Chartock at NPR station WAMC predicts — barring further developments — that Cuomo will not resign. There were expectations Andrew Cuomo planned to run for a fourth term — but that’s not until 2022.
Democrats Scoop the Cat Box.
       
Democrats are already sacrificing a minimum wage increase, cowering to the Senate Parliamentarian, and coming hat-in-hand to King Manchin only to be tossed out on their ear. Democrats still haven’t learned that the taste of victory is better than the bland, blended flavor of moral superiority and electoral humiliation. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court stands ready to eliminate the Voting Rights Act, sending the United States careening back to Jim Crow. Everyone who gave their lives in the name of Black voting rights, and voting rights in general, are about to have those sacrifices tossed on the ash heap of history by a gaggle of Federalist Society religious extremists hoping to establish a permanent Republican majority. But I can’t get over this feeling that the only thing our party seems capable of doing is coming in after Republicans ruin everything to scoop out the cat box.
These 19 House districts flipped parties in the 2020 presidential election
       
Unlike four years ago when Trump flipped many districts with large populations of white voters without a college degree, the two districts that Trump picked up this time both have large populations of Latino voters, a demographic that shifted sharply back toward Republicans in 2020 after giving Clinton historically high levels of support four years earlier. Texas’ 23rd stands out in particular because it flipped twice over the last decade, having supported Mitt Romney in 2012. Five districts, meanwhile, showcased the opposite pattern, going for Barack Obama, then Trump, then Biden: Minnesota’s 2nd, Nevada’s 3rd, New Hampshire’s 1st, and New York’s 18th and 19th. In addition to the traditional map above, we have also created a cartogram below that shows every district as the same size so that dense populated districts in urban areas aren’t obscured and rural districts aren’t over-emphasized. You can find the election results for House and president for every district in our 117th Congress guide spreadsheet here, along with a whole host of other demographic statistics on both the districts and the members who represent them.
No wedge issue too stupid or racist for Republicans, as Dr. Seuss flap shows
       
Only two characters in 50 Seuss books were depicted as Black, and those were a laundry list of stereotypes of “primitive” Africans. According to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, as he objected to an expansion of voting rights, “First, they outlaw Dr. Seuss and now they want to tell us what to say.”Nobody outlawed Dr. Seuss. But—gasp—Vice President Kamala Harris did say nice things about Seuss in a 2017 tweet, so she’s in trouble now. After a Virginia school system similarly moved to deemphasize Seuss in its celebration of Read Across America Day, claims spread like wildfire that it had “banned” Seuss. Millions of copies of these books remain in circulation, of course, and predictably, sales of these and other Seuss books spiked after the announcement, with people rushing to show that by gum yes they do embrace things that are hurtful and wrong.
My February Articles: Xtian Nationalism, Jan 6, Voter Suppression, Bozell, Pence, Ammon Bundy
       
It seems to me that the QAnon and pro-political violence caucus in Congress had two choices after Donald Trump incited the January 6 Save America crowd to storm the Capitol. His son, L. Brent Bozell, Jr., became a flaming anti-communist, a supporter of Senator Joseph McCarthy and The John Birch Society. Perhaps he’s worried that the “Hang Mike Pence” chants that were heard at the Capitol, will resound once again. An obedient toady during the reign of President Donald Trump? A purveyor – up until the very last moments – of The Big Lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election?
The Lie as a Tool in the Toolbox of Evil
       
Even mostly “good” people, deceived into believing a false picture of the world, can be led to serve Evil. But just as the Lie is useful to Evil in making the world more broken, so also do other forms of brokenness make people readier to believe the Lie. But despite how obvious the truth was, three-fourths of the Republican base believe the Big Lie about the Stolen Election. Which raises the question: What makes it possible for otherwise intelligent people to believe so obvious a Lie? Such dynamics can teach people to embrace a lie while blinding themselves to the plain truth before their eyes.
Texas Governor Abbott joins Noem and DeSantis in effort to stop state's Coronavirus control
       
I am dismayed; Greg Abbott can see that Texas is rounding the corner on COVID infections. Our infection rate was actually going down. Half of Texans will immediately go back to life before COVID and the rise in infection rates is about to happen all over again. ($) Why didn’t we upgrade our electric grid after it failed in a cold snap 10 years ago? ($) Why do we think COVID will “like a miracle” go away without continuing the precautions that got it finally under control?
Senate Parliamentarian is Wrong: Raising the Minimum Wage has Significant Budget Impact
       
If the GOP tax scam could be passed through reconciliation, so should raising the minimum wage. The minimum wage has been raised 22 times by 12 presidents since first adopted in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 the midst of the Great Depression (with the same opposition as today), but has gone longer without increase in minimum wage than in the 80 years since. Republicans love to cite the figure from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that a $15 minimum wage would cost 1.4 million jobs. But that is disputed by the Economic Policy Institute – because new jobs would be created with higher consumer demand, as well as past experience: in states that raised the minimum wage jobs were not lost (14 states raised their minimum wage at the beginning of 2016), consumer prices did not rise significantly. The only reason wages did rise at the lower rungs was because of states that raised their minimum wage.
An Oklahoman Vaccination. What I Saw, Shocked Me
       
I really thought they were going to botch this. So I live in a red state, a really red state : Oklahoma. The first thing you do to get vaccinated in Oklahoma is to go to vaccinate.oklahoma.gov . I was absolutely flabbergasted that there were over 90 state vaccination sites within 50 miles. They filled out a CDC Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and told me to go into the next room.
Trumpists believe something, something... 19th POTUS* on March 4 because Hayes-Tilden
       
https://t.co/UQmeDZZyhUThe idiots of QAnon and their Sovereign Citizens fellow travelers want America to be more like Myanmar. The Trump DC hotel has tripled its rates for the dates of and around March 4, because grifting. And at the right time, they’re going to be restoring the republic with Trump as president,” one woman said. "Many of the justifications for those dates stem from worn-out theories that can be traced back to the sovereign citizen movement." (The sovereign citizen movement is an extremist right wing anti-government idea that believes they are not subject to most U.S.
Spring is Coming and Biden is Bringing the Sunshine
       
? Musical Opener ?President Joe Biden Continues to Make Us ProudAs Michael Tomasky said in his column last week, President Joe Biden’s first 30 days has been “staggeringly good”, and he will continue to show us why he is the man for this moment in history. pic.twitter.com/2lzbyyii1g — President Biden (@POTUS) March 1, 2021Biden urges Senate Dems to rally behind $1.9T virus bill, Alan Fram, AP News, March 2, 2021. With Democrats having no margin for error in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, Biden was expected to urge them on by conference call. Raimondo, a Democrat tapped by President Joe Biden, will oversee the Commerce Department and its bureaus, which have about 46,000 employees. ??Perspective; FDR, Johnson and Joe Biden: Democrats Are Learning Fast Why Being in Power Can Suck, Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, March 2, 2021.
This week on The Brief: Mike Espy, turning Mississippi purple, the dangers of a third party
       
Now, he sees a similar kind of promise in the traditional Southern GOP stronghold state of Mississippi:I actually think Mississippi is on that similar trajectory. With regard to Democrats winning in Mississippi and this red state’s potential to turn purple:I think the difference is just not being organized enough. We got a lot of rural votes because we focus on rural issues. Sometimes people think, ‘Well, maybe you can split the Republican Party by having this little faction,’ but that’s not what really happens. It’s not as if you form some sort of center-right party that it automatically breaks off from the conservative coalition.
Morning Digest: Rhode Island has a new governor, but a hard fight looms if he wants to say in office
       
McKee, though, came close to losing renomination in 2018 to progressive state Rep. Aaron Regunberg. There has also been speculation that state House Minority Leader Blake Filippi could also campaign for governor. ? LA-02: Both Democratic state senators competing in the March 20 all-party primary for this safely blue seat received a notable endorsement over the last few days. Mayors? Hialeah, FL Mayor: Republican Mayor Carlos Hernandez is termed-out this year as leader of Hialeah, a longtime GOP bastion that's home to the highest proportion of Cuban Americans in the country, and a familiar name is running to succeed him. ? Minneapolis, MN Mayor: Former state Rep. Kate Knuth announced Tuesday that she would challenge her fellow Democrat, Mayor Jacob Frey, in the November instant-runoff election.
Republican governors throwing states off COVID cliff, and counting on President Biden to catch them
       
Republican governors are essentially pushing their states off the cliff and daring Joe Biden to catch them. That’s because Brazil edged out the United States for that “honor,” racking up 58,000 new cases. Unlike the United States, cases in Brazil show no sign of declining, and in fact are still on the rise. On a total cases per population level, Brazil is still well behind the United States … but then, maybe not. Which may help to explain why the rate of deaths in Brazil is rapidly catching up to the United States, despite well-documented underreporting.
Supreme Court takes up Trump admin. petition punishing Puerto Rico that Biden promised to end
       
At issue is about $2.3 billion in annual SSI payments that could be going to more than 300,000 poor, blind, and disabled citizens in Puerto Rico. It later extended the program to the Northern Mariana Islands, but not to other territories including Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico gets roughly $36 million for AABD, as well as other adult assistance programs, a figure that hans't changed since fiscal year 1997. Others have chimed in, including the heads of U.S. and Puerto Rico Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical churches, and leaders of the National and Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities, the General Bible Society and Jubilee USA Network. Having to provide these benefits to the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, Trump's Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote, could make Puerto Rico residents think they could get more federal benefits, like money for a school lunch program and Medicaid.
Republicans plot their poison pills to delay critical COVID-19 relief from reaching Americans
       
One of the things those Democrats wanted to secure by making cuts elsewhere was more funding for broadband infrastructure. The negotiations could push that back, though, if it appears Majority Leader Chuck Schumer won't have a finalized bill by Thursday. They are still dramatically misreading the moment, thinking they can use the same kind of tactics to poison this bill that they used on Obamacare a decade ago. Through climbing infection rates and death tolls, a plurality of Republicans have remained "not concerned at all" about the spread of the disease. He can introduce the final amendment that would strip out any of those amendments, and do it with simple majority support.
To Renew Our Democracy, We Need to Tax the Ultrarich
       
And much of the wealth of Wall Street is in the hands of private equity and hedge fund executives. Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, two Wall Street billionaires, have publicly endorsed a wealth tax plan in the past. Wall Street Billionaire WealthThere is bound to be loud and hostile opposition from the billionaires who will pay the tax. Imagine how Schwarzman, with his $22.5 billion fortune, will react when the Warren-Jayapal wealth tax demands a payment to the U.S. Treasury seven times that size. That’s right, the tax rate for the rest of us is twice as high as the tax rate for the super-rich.
Latinx Farmworkers Risking Their Lives During COVID Struggle to Access Vaccines
       
Despite their status as essential workers, however, many farmworkers are facing an uphill battle to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Some local pharmacies that are now supplying the COVID vaccine are also only making appointments online. In some other counties, there’s also collaborations between local clinics and other service providers that have deep connections to the farmworker community. Riverside does have significant farmworker population, but, actually, farmworkers — there’s more farmworkers in other counties throughout the state, specifically in the Central Valley. And until farmworkers are added to the list, vaccines cannot be administered to them in New York state.
Sanders’s Staff Talked to White House Nearly Every Day When Pushing for $15 Wage
       
When Sanders was fighting for the $15 federal minimum wage to be included in the latest stimulus package, his staff talked to the White House nearly every day. And, when he was trying to keep it alive after the Senate parliamentarian shot it down from the stimulus, the White House gave him space to do so, reports Barrón-López. When Biden backed Amazon workers’ union drive on Monday, the White House made sure Sanders’s team knew about it. Barrón-López writes that the White House staff and Sanders’s staff are carefully wording statements in order to project a level of peace and harmony among the Democrats and progressives. The White House has “been very good at tending the garden,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told Politico last month.
Biden’s Appointments on Energy and the Environment Are at Best a Mixed Bag
       
But in his appointments to top energy posts, he has selected nuclear power devotees. She has strongly opposed fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, but she is a nuclear power advocate. Most regrettably, Granholm’s stance on nuclear energy might fit in well with the long avidly pro-nuclear U.S. Department of Energy. In the place of the AEC, the NRC was formed to regulate atomic energy and, later, the Department of Energy (DOE) was created to promote nuclear power, with the Office of Nuclear Energy in DOE the lead component pushing atomic energy at the agency. The nuclear industry will have no such problem with Hanson, an ardent, outspoken member of the nuclear power cult.
Australian government under siege as sexual assault allegations escalate
       
Ever-widening allegations of rape involving government ministers or staff members are being used to destabilise the already faction-wracked Liberal-National Coalition government. Liberal Party Senator Sarah Henderson also referred to the Australian Federal Police a complaint she said she had received about a historic sexual allegation relating to a Labor Party shadow minister. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserts that he and his wife Lucy were sent the allegations in 2019. Labor Party foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, among others, received them last week through anonymous letters sent to their offices. Certainly, the hand of Washington was seen in Turnbull’s removal, as it was in the 2010 backroom Labor Party coup that ousted Kevin Rudd.
Pence attacks Democratic voting bill, 2020 election integrity in op-ed
       
Former Vice President Mike Pence is lending his voice to the conservative outcry against Democratic voting reform proposals. Rioters, many of whom believed Pence had the power to unilaterally overturn the election results, were recorded chanting "Hang Mike Pence" and "Bring out Mike Pence" during the violence. Allegations of widespread voter fraud in the election are unfounded. "HR 1 mandates the most questionable and abuse-prone election rules nationwide, while banning commonsense measures to detect, deter, and prosecute election fraud," Pence argued in his column. Proponents argue the drastic steps are meant to curb voter fraud, while voting rights advocates have said the efforts will cause voter disenfranchisement, especially among minority voters.
Stocks mostly lower as bond yields resume climb
       
The Associated PressStocks were mostly lower as another tick up in bond yields gave investors pause. Wall Street continues to look to Washington, where economic data, comments out of the Federal Reserve and President Joe Biden’s stimulus package remain front and center. Banks benefited from the increase in bond yields, which allows them to charge higher rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans. The big piece of data investors will get will be the February jobs report on Friday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect employers created 225,000 jobs last month, but with the disappointing economic data, investors are likely to dampen their outlooks.
Covid-19 Live Updates: Biden’s Call for Vaccinating Educators Is Part of Ambitious Schools Plan
       
It goes vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it.” She also broke into song (naturally), replacing the word “Jolene” in one of her best-known choruses with “vaccine.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she sang, embellishing the last one with her trademark Tennessee lilt. “I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she added, “because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.” Just before the doctor arrived to inoculate her — or “pop me in my arm,” as she put it — she doubled down on her message. The administration had also brokered a deal in which the pharmaceutical giant Merck would help manufacture the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. He thanked Merck and Johnson & Johnson for “stepping up and being good corporate citizens during this crisis.” Noah Weiland contributed reporting.
Majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s immigration executive order: poll
       
A majority of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s executive orders on immigration and transgender athletes participating in women’s sports — his least popular actions since taking office, according to a new poll. The poll conducted in late February by Harvard University and Harris Insights and Analytics found 55 percent disapprove of Biden’s executive order to “[r]equire schools to let biological boys who identify as girls to participate in girls sports, and vice versa.”It was tied for least popular of choices offered in the poll order when responses were weighted to reflect national US demographics. There was 50 percent disapproval for Biden’s repeal of a travel ban that the Trump administration said targeted countries that are failed or fragile states or beset by terrorism, including Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Forty-seven percent disapproved of Biden ending construction of Trump’s Mexico border wall. The poll found 73 percent support for the package, though 46 percent were worried that the bill is wasteful, as Republicans allege, and 48 percent said they fear it will cause inflation.
108 illegal immigrants in Texas who tested positive for COVID reportedly released
       
?More than 100 illegal immigrants who tested positive for the coronavirus — after their arrival in Texas ??since late January — have been released by the Border Patrol into the Lone Star State ?and are free to travel to other parts of the US, according to reports. “Right now we were tested for COVID and they separated us … because we were positive,” Izaguirre told news site. ??Other migrants, who tested positive, said they plan to travel to North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey. Felipe Romero said migrants who tested for COVID-19 are being told to quarantine and remain socially distanced. “Really, I don’t feel anything.”?The immigrants said they didn’t receive any documentation that they had tested positive.
Biden agrees to new cap on stimulus checks, axing funds for earners over $80K
       
President Biden has agreed to lower the income cap for stimulus checks as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, The Post has confirmed. Adults who earn less than $75,000 per year will still get the full $1,400. But rather than a sliding scale for earners between $75,000 and $100,000, smaller checks will only go to people earning up to $80,000. People who earn more than $80,000 will get nothing under the Biden-approved plan, the source said. Those funds also are phased out for earners over $75,000 or joint filers above $150,000.
The Technology 202: Virginia's new state law adds pressure to Congress to act on privacy
       
The Virginia law is widely viewed as more industry-friendly than the California provision. Virginia’s new law signals that states increasingly are taking on tech regulation after years of lack of action in Congress. Many other states, including Washington and New Jersey, are considering privacy legislation. A growing patchwork of state laws could create more pressure on Congress to move forward on federal privacy legislation. Privacy advocates largely see the Virginia law as a mixed bag.
Opinion | The White House’s use of Zoom for meetings raises China-related security concerns
       
ADADNevertheless, the White House has to be especially careful about cyber security threats, and its reliance on Zoom is a problem, the House’s Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (Ind.) wrote in a letter to Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff. They also emphasized the White House uses Zoom for Government, a more secure version, and not for classified meetings. A former senior Trump administration official acknowledged that the Trump administration had used Zoom, but pointed out that the Trump administration practiced lots of unsafe cyber security habits so it should not be held up as the standard going forward. McMaster’s latest book calls the Chinese Communist Party the greatest threat in a generation.
Kroger to continue requiring masks at US supermarkets despite Texas, Mississippi lifting mandates
       
The masks stay on — at least at Kroger. The Kroger Family of Companies, which make up America’s largest chain of grocery outlets, has announced its continued mask requirements — of both employees and customers — despite the recent reversal of COVID-safety policies in two states. The company’s announcement comes specifically in response to the governors of Texas and Mississippi, who ended their respective mandates this week. The Kroger Family of Companies, which includes outlets such as "King Soopers, Ralph’s and Fred Meyer, among more than a dozen others, operates thousands of grocery stores across the country. Only hours afterward, President Biden warned against the continued threat of the coronavirus and the early reversal of COVID safety policies.
Capitol Police increase security amid 'possible' militia group plot to breach Capitol
       
U.S. Capitol Police are increasing security after obtaining intelligence to suggest a "possible plot" by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, March 4. "The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," they said in a statement Wednesday. "We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4." Capitol Police said it is working with "local, state and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol." The Jan. 6 Capitol riot left five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Senate Finance Committee split on HHS nominee Becerra in tie vote
       
The Senate Finance Committee did not make a determination on the nomination of President Biden's pick for Health Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, after a vote on the nomination resulted in a tie, split along party lines. The vote took place at an executive session of the finance committee Wednesday morning. Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. announced that the tie vote will be reported to the secretary of the Senate. He noted that it is up to the Senate majority or minority leader to bring a motion to discharge the nomination for a vote by the full Senate. This was in stark contrast to concerns from some Republicans over the California attorney general's lack of relevant health care experience.
Biden’s failure to get Tanden confirmed follows other aborted presidential nominations in history
       
BIDEN WHITE HOUSE PULLS TANDEN'S EMBATTLED NOMINATION AS BUDGET DIRECTORThe long history of nominations that crashed and burned dates back to the earliest years of the republic. And failed nominations at the beginning of a presidency ended up having sometimes serious implications. "The personal behavior of nominees became a new standard for nominees," Troy noted. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPFast-forward to this week and Tanden’s nomination sank due in part to her long history of biting tweets about both Republicans and Democrats, which made her a polarizing figure to many in the Senate. Troy predicted that "Tanden's failed nomination will definitely create the 'Twitter test’ for nominees, but it may also have other implications that we cannot yet predict."
President Biden agrees to faster phaseout of direct stimulus checks
       
Share Share Article via Facebook Share Article via Twitter Share Article via LinkedIn Share Article via EmailPresident Biden agrees to faster phaseout of direct stimulus checksCNBC's Ylan Mui reports on Biden's agreement to faster phaseout of stimulus checks, according to sources.
Johnson & Johnson's Covid vaccine rolls out across the U.S., boosting supplies
       
Share Share Article via Facebook Share Article via Twitter Share Article via LinkedIn Share Article via EmailJohnson & Johnson's Covid vaccine rolls out across the U.S., boosting suppliesJohnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine is now being rolled out and its expected supply has pushed up the timeline and number of total vaccinations in the United States. "We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. He announced pharmaceutical giant Merck will help manufacture Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine. The decision comes as the administration works to ramp up production of J&J's single-shot vaccine.
U.S. will have vaccines for every adult by the end of May, Biden says: Here's how the headlines could affect your money
       
Stocks pull back, President Joe Biden delivers optimistic vaccine news, and experts recommend filing your taxes ASAP. Public health experts say the best vaccine is whichever is offered to you once you're eligible. That's a marked uptick from the 15.7 million returns the IRS received in the first week of tax season last year. Americans are smart to file as soon as possible, tax experts say. Video by David Fang Filing is also the fastest way to get any stimulus funds you may be owed, experts say.
Insurers launch pilot program aimed at getting 2 million American seniors vaccinated
       
More than a dozen health insurers are launching a pilot program aimed at getting 2 million American seniors vaccinated as quickly as possible, President Joe Biden's senior advisor on the Covid-19 pandemic announced Wednesday. The White House is working with America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on the initiative. The announcement comes as the Biden administration works to ramp up the supply of Covid-19 vaccines and get the majority of Americans as quickly as possible. Others will benefit from health insurance providers who partner directly with ride share services to provide transportation, the group said. This isn't the first Covid-19 vaccine program tailored to seniors that the federal government has touted.
Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Rocket Companies, Lyft, Michaels, Ambarella & more
       
Ambarella – The semiconductor company's stock jumped more than 6% following Ambarella's fourth quarter earnings. Wendy's – The restaurant stock slid more than 5% after Wendy's missed estimates on the top and bottom lines for the fourth quarter. Nordstrom – Shares of the retailer fell about 4% despite beating Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom lines for its fourth quarter. FuboTV lost $2.47 per share, and it is unclear if that was comparable to analysts' estimates. Dollar Tree – Shares of the discount retailer advanced more than 4% after Dollar Tree beat earnings estimates for the fourth quarter.
Pentagon confirms 10 rockets struck Iraqi base housing U.S. troops
       
The Pentagon on Wednesday confirmed that nearly a dozen rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting U.S. troops. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that no U.S service members were injured in the attack. The Pentagon has deferred the investigation to the Iraqi military. We stand by as needed to assist our Iraqi partners as they investigate," the statement read. The Biden administration had hinted at retaliation in a news conference on Feb. 17.
House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB director after Tanden nomination withdrawal
       
Shalanda D. Young, nominee to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, is sworn into her Senate Budget Committee confirmation in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. House Democratic leaders endorsed Shalanda Young on Wednesday for director of the Office of Management and Budget. Young is Biden's pick for deputy budget director and a former top Democratic aide on the House Appropriations Committee. In a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday, Young received praise from Democrats and Republicans alike as Tanden's nomination appeared increasingly unlikely. "You may be more than deputy," Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said during the hearing.
Cramer says post-Covid travel boom could be 'sky's-the-limit' and investors aren't ready for it
       
"It's going to be a boom here in this country, and I don't think people are ready for it," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "When I speak to the pharmaceutical companies, they think it's going to be a boom. Transportation companies think it's going to be a boom. Shares of hard-hit travel companies, like cruise operator Royal Caribbean and the airlines, have been rallying in recent months in hopes that vaccinations would kick start demand. According to the chief executive of Royal Caribbean, which has seen its stock rise about 45% since Oct. 1, there is reason to be bullish on a travel recovery.
Fewer Americans could receive those $1,400 stimulus checks. Here's why
       
New $1,400 stimulus checks are set to go out once Washington lawmakers finalize a new coronavirus relief bill. However, fewer people could see the money, based on reports that President Joe Biden has agreed to lower the income levels at which those payments are capped. Instead, the payments would be capped for individuals earning $80,000, heads of household with $120,000 and married couples with $160,000. Consequently, fewer Americans with incomes above the thresholds for the full payments will receive checks. "It means less money in the hands of Americans," said Aaron Klein, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.
Top House Democrats urge Biden to nominate Shalanda Young to head budget office
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The three top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday urged President Joe Biden to nominate former House staffer Shalanda Young to head the White House budget office after his decision to pull the nomination of Neera Tanden. Young, whom Biden had tapped to be No. 2 at the Office of Management and Budget, had already won the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus to replace Tanden.
U.S. Senate negotiates limits in Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill before vote
       
REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. senators and President Joe Biden have agreed to place an income limit on Americans who would receive stimulus payments under his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, according to media reports and lawmakers on Wednesday. That comes as the Democratic-controlled Senate expects to open debate as early as Wednesday, with a final vote for passage seen later in the week. The plan would phase out the $1,400 payments faster for higher-income individuals after moderate Senate Democrats pushed for more “targeted” spending, the Post said. The previously passed House bill said the checks of $1,400 per person would go to individual taxpayers earning between $75,000 and $100,000. Senate Democrats said they would consider a bill that blocked Americans earning $80,000 per year or more and couples earning $160,000 or more from receiving the $1,400 payments.
Police warn of possible bid by militia group to attack U.S. Capitol
       
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The police force that guards the U.S. Capitol said on Wednesday it has obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot by a militia group to breach the building on Thursday, an alleged plan with echoes of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The Capitol Police statement noted that the department already has made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol, home to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. There was no indication that the Senate or House would alter their legislative activities on Thursday. On Tuesday, Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett notified all members of Congress of a possible security threat spanning Thursday through Saturday. Since Jan. 6, National Guard troops have been dispatched to the Capitol grounds and tall fencing has been erected to extend the security perimeter of the Capitol.
Any new nuclear deal with Iran should be 'dramatically improved': Israel
       
FILE PHOTO: IsraelI Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters, in Jerusalem November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun(Reuters) - Any new nuclear deal between the West and Iran should be “dramatically improved” from the previous agreement, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday. Steinitz, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urged U.S. President Joe Biden to put “enormous pressure” on Iran to change its behavior and dismantle its nuclear program, which he said could affect not only the Middle East, but Europe and the United States. “Iran is a big shadow,” Steinitz said referring to the effect of Iran’s actions over its neighbors Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. The previous agreement is far from being sufficient.”An eventual new agreement with the West over Iran’s nuclear program “should be dramatically improved,” he added.
A Betsy DeVos Holdover Is Still In Charge Of America’s Student Loans
       
Advocates for student loan borrowers are pressuring President Joe Biden’s administration to fire the head of Federal Student Aid, a Trump administration holdover they say has mismanaged an office that could be key in advancing Democratic goals to make college more affordable. and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten ? is likely to increase now that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has taken office. The office’s struggles are well-known, and even prompted DeVos to propose spinning off FSA as an independent agency in 2019. On his first day in office, Biden extended a pause on student loan payments until the end of September. The office also faced intense criticism after Great Lakes, a major student loan servicer, provided inaccurate information to credit agencies last year, hurting some borrowers’ credit scores.
Biden backs lower income cap for direct payments in Covid relief package
       
NBC's Garrett Haake reports that multiple Democratic sources have said that President Biden has signed off on a change to lower the income cap for those who will receive $1,400 relief checks in from the Covid-19 relief package Congress is working to pass.
Biden's Covid stimulus bill isn't nearly enough to save Democrats
       
Democrats lost 63 House seats and six in the Senate under Barack Obama in 2010. In 2018, the GOP lost 41 House seats under Donald Trump. This should scare the crap out of Democrats given their slim margins of majority: 10 seats in the House; one in the Senate. Voters responded in the 1934 midterms by giving Democrats nine additional House and Senate seats. Whatever the approach, ending the filibuster is the only way Democrats can deliver.
Biden, Senate Democrats agree to limit eligibility for $1,400 checks
       
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats plan to give $1,400 checks to fewer people under a deal struck with President Joe Biden, according to two sources familiar with it. But rather than zeroing out at $100,000 earnings, as the House's Covid-19 relief bill does, the Senate bill will cut off payments at $80,000, the sources said. But rather than zeroing out at $200,000, the Senate bill will cut off payments at $160,000 in earnings. But it maintains the crucial $1,400 topline number for the bulk of recipients, a campaign promise that Biden was determined to keep. The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to proceed to the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill as early as Wednesday, with a final vote possible by the end of the week.
DOD Took Hours To Approve National Guard Request During Capitol Riot, Commander Says
       
DOD Took Hours To Approve National Guard Request During Capitol Riot, Commander SaysEnlarge this image toggle caption Pool/Getty Images Pool/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's Defense Department did not approve D.C.'s National Guard to intervene in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection for several hours after the initial request was made, the commanding general of the outfit told senators on Wednesday. Consequently, at 5:20 p.m. (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. He said 155 guardsmen were ready hours earlier and he said their assistance "could have made a difference" in pushing back the crowd. Former Capitol security officials testified last week that they did not receive the intelligence they needed to adequately prepare. and was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the riot, though the Senate later acquitted him of the charge.
Biden moves up timeline for when enough vaccine doses will be available for all adults: now end of May
       
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said. The supply of J&J doses to states, expected to dip after the initial shipment this week, will climb to 4 million to 6 million weekly doses by the end of March and 5 million to 6 million doses weekly through the end of April. The company has promised to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June. Now, amid the global clamor for more vaccine doses, those heavyweights are helping manufacture doses for less-experienced rivals whose vaccines won the first emergency authorizations from regulators. Merck has since said it was in talks to help other drug companies with vaccine production, but wouldn’t say Tuesday whether other deals are imminent.
Dolly Parton gets first shot of COVID-19 vaccine she helped fund
       
Country music legend Dolly Parton received her first shot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, quipping she got “a dose of her own medicine.”Parton donated $1 million to COVID-19 research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., last year, which in turn helped the development of Moderna’s MRNA, -8.32% coronavirus vaccine. “I’m so excited. I’ve been waiting a while,” Parton, 75, said in a video posted Tuesday on social media. “I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it.”The video showed Dr. Naji Abumrad of Vanderbilt administering the shot, which she said didn’t hurt. Parton tweaked the lyrics of her song “Jolene” for the occasion: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she sang.
A more targeted stimulus package is 'difficult to do': Democratic congressman
       
Even the U.S Chamber of Commerce is warning the relief bill isn’t targeted enough given the state of the economy and should provide relief to those who truly need it. “I think everyone would like it to be more targeted, but that's difficult to do,” he told Yahoo Finance Live. The overall cost of the COVID-19 relief package is expected to shrink when the Senate picks it up this week. Congress is looking to vote on the relief bill quickly so that it can be signed into law before March 14 — when stimulus from the previous relief package is set to expire. Beyer said he would still vote for a slimmed down relief package, even if it doesn’t include a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
9 of the Best Outdoor Rugs That Literally Ground Any Space
       
National ReviewSenate GOP Whip John Thune (R., S.D.) “And she’s got, as any senator does, particularly through the nomination process, quite a bit of leverage.” “It’s been fluid,” Thune added. He also said the Alaska senator has “concerns about the economy” in her state. However, Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Mitt Romney (R., Utah) signaled last week that they would not support the confirmation either, making Murkowski’s vote crucial to Tanden’s confirmation. The Alaska senator met with Tanden on Monday but said she had not yet decided whether to support her confirmation.
Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol
       
Even critics of the administration’s agenda said they have been surprised by the pace of the agency’s actions. “They’re obviously moving forward quickly and aggressively,” said Nicolas Loris, an economist who focuses on environment policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation. The Interior Department manages about 500 million acres of public lands and vast coastal waters. Its agencies lease many of those acres for oil and gas drilling as well as wind and solar farms. Biden’s Interior Department will ultimately be defined by its reversals on fossil fuels after four years in which the Trump administration aggressively pursued energy production on public lands.
World Bank's Malpass: We need more transparency on COVID-19 vaccine rollout, debt servicing
       
World Bank President David Malpass said more transparency is needed on debt servicing and the vaccine rollout, as the world’s most impoverished countries continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank has contributed $12 billion to COVAX, a global initiative to distribute vaccines to countries that may not have the financial resources to afford them. The World Bank also works directly with countries on funding, which it hopes will reach 40 countries. Story continuesHe added that debt reduction efforts targeting developing countries would help free up fiscal space to move toward infrastructures with smaller carbon footprints. "The direction that the world needs to head is toward a greener, more resilient, more inclusive recovery," Malpass said.
US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base, Pentagon says
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed. After that attack, the Pentagon said the strike was a “proportionate military response.”Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack.
Democrats agree to tighten eligibility for $1,400 checks in COVID-19 relief bill
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. But under Wednesday’s agreement, those checks would end for individuals making $80,000 and couples earning $160,000, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate's dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.
MBTA workers frustrated as they await vaccine site
       
Weeks after MBTA workers expected an employee vaccination program to open in Quincy, the agency’s largest labor union sharply criticized Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday for not authorizing the site to begin administering shots. The program was paused when the Baker administration told all employers to pull back plans for internal vaccination sites because of limited vaccine supply. MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said MBTA employees who are otherwise eligible for vaccines should schedule appointments elsewhere. AdvertisementMBTA workers are the latest constituency clamoring for vaccine access as supply remains limited and thousands of seniors and other eligible residents scramble to book appointments. Transit workers are among the front-line workers next in line to become eligible for vaccines in Massachusetts, the last group before eligibility is expanded to the general public.
CDC chief and White House decry Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift COVID restrictions
       
WASHINGTON -- The White House and the nation’s top infectious disease experts expressed disappointment Wednesday at Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to end all pandemic-related restrictions in Texas, warning that it’s premature and could lead to resurgence of COVID-19. Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for COVID-19 Response, called masks “critically important,” noting the emphasis President Joe Biden has put on mask-wearing. “We know that it can save tens of thousands of lives if people do this, and we strongly encourage people to continue to wear masks. I would still encourage individuals to wear masks, to socially distance, and to do the right thing to protect their own house.”
US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base: Pentagon
       
WASHINGTON — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed. After that attack, the Pentagon said the strike was a “proportionate military response.”Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack.
Poll shows majority of Nevadans support Sisolak’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic
       
Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, with more than half supporting Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphotoPresident Joe Biden, left, and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, right. Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, according to results of The Nevada Poll released Tuesday. More than half of those surveyed supported Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half (53 percent) of respondents approved of Sisolak’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dems OK tighter income limits for COVID-19 relief: official
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. But under Wednesday’s agreement, those checks would end for individuals making $80,000 and couples earning $160,000, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. Opposition by moderates including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has left Democrats without the votes needed to salvage it.
Cal Thomas: Trump is still winning on the economy
       
The latest jobs report shows that despite the pandemic, President Trump’s policies of lower taxes and reducing regulations continue to work. Yes, some businesses are struggling, or have closed, due to arbitrary orders from politicians, some of whom ignore their own directives. Employers added 245,000 jobs in November, down from 638,000 jobs the previous month. Overall, future signs remain positive and additions are better than subtractions. The November jobs and economic numbers were released last Friday.
Opinion: Forgiving student debt may be a tough sell
       
President-elect Joe Biden is putting together his team in preparation for inauguration day, when policy proposals will move front and center. One of those could include student debt forgiveness, a campaign promise that may prove to be tough sell. Biden made forgiveness of $10,000 in federal student loans a part of his Emergency Action plan for reviving the economy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., meantime, is among those on the left pushing for $50,000 in forgiveness per borrower. But some wonder whether the plans would really have much of an impact on the economy.
Your Views Saturday, Dec. 12
       
I hope the “unbiased” national news media and elected officials give as much support, cooperation and scrutiny to Joe Biden as they did President Trump! Weeks after Joe Biden won the election, our president and his followers claim the results were inconceivable, a fraud. President Trump is an inspiring fellow. The pandemic, long lines, unreliable postal service and robust voter suppression did not block enough change voters for the president to win. Like 81 million other Americans, officials and supporters can say no to the president.
Point of View: A COVID deal both sides might go for
       
Point of View: A COVID deal both sides might go for shares emailBoxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. Those are some of the nicer terms that my fellow liberals have been hurling at Republicans who continue to contest the presidential election. So why are we feeding that false narrative by ignoring Trump’s actual triumph this fall? I’m talking about Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine development project that he kicked off in the spring. It bore fruit Friday night, when the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use against the coronavirus.
Point of View: How a Biden administration can lower military suicides
       
If the incoming Biden administration wants to tamp down the troubling rise in military and veteran suicides, it needs a much greater focus on reaching those who may be perilously disconnected from others and who don’t avail themselves of state or federal services. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., shines a light on a telling statistic. “What we found is that two-thirds of these veterans who take their own lives have had no contact with the VA,” he said. We have traveled to numerous military facilities, speaking with service members, speaking with veterans — and what we have found is that there is no better person to make that connection than a former battle buddy. That’s why we are calling on active-duty service people and veterans to connect with former battle buddies and share a sense of responsibility for those with whom they have served.
Point of View: Canceling student debt by presidential decree is wrong on many levels
       
If you lent someone money to start a business that made big bucks, you would expect to be repaid, right? You took a risk and the borrower profited. Federal student lending is kind of like that, only you did not choose to lend, and now there is a movement to let the borrower just keep the money — through presidential decree, no less. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren are leading a call for the incoming Joe Biden administration to cancel huge amounts of federal student debt, which is close to all student debt since the federal government — read: the taxpayer — is by far the biggest supplier of student loans. Having debt can be difficult, but why should anyone get to take your money, profit off it, and not at least make you whole again?
Point of View: Canceling student debt would narrow the racial wealth gap, stimulate the economy
       
President-elect Joe Biden has the power on day one as president to help close the racial wealth gap and stimulate the economy for a country on the brink of economic disaster by completely erasing student loan debt for all 45 million borrowers. Student borrowers hold an eye-popping $1.6 trillion in debt — $1.37 trillion of which the federal government owns. Prior to the federal government suspending student loan payments as part of the spring coronavirus stimulus package, one person defaulted on their student loans every 26 seconds. By 2021, borrowers are expected to hold $2 trillion in student debt. Black and Latinx people are forced to borrow at higher rates and in larger amounts due to racial inequities in incomes and wealth.
Clarence Page: Politics in 2021 — Will the blurring of reality and fantasy continue?
       
President Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House, but not much else seems as certain. If anything, 2020 will be remembered as a year that blurred the lines between fact and fantasy more than any other — and it could be a bipartisan trend. Of course, skepticism is hardly limited to one party. For example, a lot of people in both parties questioned the eyelash-close 2000 presidential election, too. But I’m hard-pressed to find a previous election in which the president so actively has tried to gaslight the public — and had so many of his core supporters play along with it.
Your Views Wednesday, Jan. 6
       
Lankford’s stance a profile in cowardiceSen. James Lankford’s position against counting state-certified electoral votes is a profile in cowardice if not worse — attempted sedition. Trump loyalists have lost in the courts, both state and federal, some 60 times challenging the presidential votes. It must be noted only a minority of Republican senators have joined Lankford’s evisceration of our Constitution. The majority of the Oklahoma congressional delegation will certify every state’s electoral votes; these representatives should be applauded for upholding our Constitution. President-elect Joe Biden won the popular vote and won a landslide in the Electoral College.
Opinion: Trump's distressing election ploy
       
Donald Trump has said and done his share of questionable things during his four years as president. Few if any compare to his effort to get Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to find a way to overturn Trump’s loss in that state. The Washington Post reported on Trump’s one-hour conversation Saturday with Brad Raffensperger, in which the president urged the Republican official to “find” enough votes to give Trump the victory in Georgia. President-elect Joe Biden won by just 11,779 votes in Georgia, out of nearly 5 million votes cast. On the phone call, Trump said several times that, “There’s no way I lost Georgia.”
Opinion: Lankford's disappointing "Hail Mary"
       
Sen. James Lankford is part of what he calls a “Hail Mary” attempt to take yet another look at the 2020 presidential election results. Yet in football, the team throwing a “Hail Mary” pass has a chance win the game — this unfortunate effort is sure to fail, to Lankford's and the Republican Party's detriment. Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, is among a group of about a dozen Republicans led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who plan to oppose the Electoral College vote. Biden won 306 electoral votes compared with President Trump’s 232; Congress meets Wednesday to tally the vote formally. Now Lankford, Cruz and the others plan to oppose the vote unless a special commission is created to look into "allegations of fraud and irregularities."
Opinion: A sad spectacle at the U.S. Capitol
       
Unprecedented. Pick your adjective to describe Wednesday’s scene at the U.S. Capitol, where thousands of President Trump supporters overran the building and stopped the work of certifying the Electoral College results of November's election. During a speech earlier in the day where Trump repeated his claim that the election had been stolen from him, he urged supporters to act. Act they did, overwhelming security officers and making their way into the House and Senate chambers and into some offices. President-elect Biden put it well in a brief televised address, saying our democracy was “under unprecedented assault.”
Point-Counterpoint: No, removing the president now lacks precedent
       
There’s no doubt Jan. 6 will be remembered as a dark day in American history. But was the breaching of the U.S. Capitol by angry Trump supporters grounds for removing the president from office— especially when he only has a few days left? Vice President Mike Pence and assembled lawmakers were evacuated to a safe place as Capitol Police attempted to restore order. This political friction erupted over the disputed claims of a fraudulent and unfair election. The protesters came from a “Stop the Steal” rally held to draw attention to alleged election improprieties and to show support for Trump.
Your Views Wednesday, Jan. 13
       
Once again talk from political leaders is cheapI strongly agree with Jerome Murray (Your Views, Jan. 9). Due to recent events, both political parties are stressing the importance for our nation to step back and take a breath, but once again talk is cheap. Nancy Pelosi is bringing an article of impeachment and called for the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. How can Americans unite and heal our wounds when a great percentage of our elected officials’ mantra is “divide and conquer”? Millions of Americans question the voting process in several states; hopefully, reforms will be initiated.
Opinion: Country doesn't need impeachment proceeding
       
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, is on the mark with his analysis that impeaching President Trump in the waning days of his administration is not in the nation’s best interests. Democrats in the House of Representatives, however, are moving full speed ahead. Yet Trump has lost just about all his backing in the White House, with several Cabinet members resigning after the awful siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump protesters on Jan. 6. In a video last Thursday, Trump committed to a peaceful and orderly transition of power. He has announced he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, something that should please Democrats.
New administration point-counterpoint: Biden's perilous congressional road map in 2021
       
If you thought 2020 was a surprising year, 2021 will give it a run for its money. As President-elect Joe Biden enters the White House with narrow control in both legislative chambers, his entire legislative agenda hinges on how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can balance differences between moderate and progressive Democrats and how incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can keep his Democratic caucus unified while appealing to moderate Republicans. Given the minuscule margin of error, soon-to-be President Biden must choose policies that advance his campaign promise of “Build Back Better” wisely in order garner bipartisan Senate support, appeal to House progressives, and line up more wins for the 2022 midterms. Here are four priorities for 2021 that will likely gain the most bipartisan consensus and least Democratic drama:
New administration point-counterpoint: Brace yourself, change is coming
       
On Jan. 20, the Biden administration will enter the Oval Office in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis, with the Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, which means big policy changes are afoot in the United States. First, the Biden administration will use the economic crisis at hand to pursue a domestic policy platform that will be the mirror opposite of the Trump administration’s free-market, federalist program. Second, in stark contrast to the Trump administration, which focused on a foreign policy agenda of “America first,” the Biden administration will pivot to a globalist policy program, also under the guise of COVID. Third, it is highly likely the Biden administration will seek major structural changes to the federal government that could change the electoral prospects for both parties for a generation.
Opinion: Biden's pledge likely to be tested by Democratic House, Senate
       
President-elect Joe Biden has tried to assure Republicans and conservatives that their concerns about his administration veering leftward are overwrought. His $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, however, likely will not do much to assuage the other side. The proposal is loaded with items sought by the most progressive Democrats, such as a $15 federal minimum wage. Other pieces of Biden’s proposal have little to do with true coronavirus relief. And this proposal comes only a month after Congress approved roughly $900 billion in relief following the $2.9 trillion package in the spring.
Opinion: Biden hit many high notes in inaugural speech
       
It will take some time to measure the effectiveness of President Joe Biden’s inaugural address. As delivered, however, it was largely an optimistic and heartfelt call for unity and cooperation for a divided country. Biden’s swearing-in took place on the same site where two weeks earlier, rioters had sought to interrupt Congress’ work of formally accepting the results of Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump on Nov. 3. The new president noted this early in his speech, saying the day was a celebration “not of a candidate but of a cause, the cause of democracy.”At the place where violence “sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation,” Biden said, “we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power. We set our sights on the nation we know we can be and must be.”The overarching themes of the speech were carried over from Biden’s campaign — a desire for the country to come together, and his pledge to be a president for all Americans.
Being ‘boring’ may work for Biden
       
The words will be heard as sensible by any sensible person. And if history is any guide, the effective half-life of this rhetorical appeal will be measured in days or hours. It is not that exhortations for unity fall on deaf ears; it is that they fall on desensitized minds, even among people who say they want unity and may actually believe it. In narrow political terms, Biden has a strong interest in taming the forces of remorseless conflict and endless recrimination. To the contrary, the new president’s modest oratorical gifts — the fact that he is by modern political standards a bit boring — can be a powerful asset.
Michael Barone: Biden's heartfelt appeal for unity likely to be unavailing
       
"We must end this uncivil war," Joe Biden proclaimed Wednesday shortly after he became the 46th president. Hours earlier, in his last moments as the 45th president, Donald Trump extended "best wishes" to the "new administration." Our presidents since George Washington have come to office through an inevitably adversary process, and while they may inspire "unity" on occasion, that's more the exception than the rule. That process has become especially adversary in times of close division, like the polarized partisan parity prevailing since the 1990s. Joe Biden is the fifth consecutive president taking office with his party holding majorities in both houses of Congress.
John Kass: Biden seeks an end to ‘uncivil war,’ but will he defend free speech?
       
John Kass: Biden seeks an end to ‘uncivil war,’ but will he defend free speech? As Joe Biden was sworn in as our 46th president, he delivered a simple yet eloquent speech about America’s “uncivil war” and preached unity to a politically divided nation. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. It was a good check-all-the-boxes Biden speech.
Rich Lowry: No, there won't be unity
       
After the events of Jan. 6, there is much to be said for more unity, or at least less poisonous division, and Biden’s emphasis on the theme was deeply felt and entirely sincere. But by making it his goal and the standard by which he’ll be judged, Biden is setting himself up for failure. There are two problems with calls for unity. One is that they tend to be nebulous, leaving out what we are all supposed to be unifying around. We should all respect and honor one another as Americans, and seek to preserve our governing institutions, but beyond that, it gets fuzzy.
Jonah Goldberg: Both sides need to condemn bad actors
       
As many feared, after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, a mob unleashed destruction. They spray-painted “[expletive deleted] Biden!” and smashed the Democratic HQ’s windows. But here’s the thing: The bloodthirsty goons weren’t MAGA-hat wearing Trumpists, but members of antifa, and the protests weren’t in Washington, D.C., but in Portland and Seattle. Now, I don’t bring this up to score partisan “What about antifa?” points. The violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was uniquely despicable, not merely for the American carnage it unleashed but for its intent.
Opinion: Out with the Keystone XL pipeline, again
       
As expected, President Joe Biden wasted no time using executive orders to undo many of former President Trump's initiatives. Biden's nixing of the permit for the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline was among the least surprising, but it is disappointing nonetheless. The Obama-Biden administration bowed to environmentalists in 2015 when former President Barack Obama vetoed a bipartisan bill that sought the pipeline’s construction. The Trump administration reversed Obama’s rejection of the project and gave the go-ahead to the northern leg. But a federal judge in Montana blocked a permit for construction, saying the State Department had not fully considered potential spills and other impacts as required by federal law.
Clarence Page: Pragmatism is the focus of my 1776 Unites essay
       
I have an extra reason to be pleased that President Joe Biden has revoked the Trump administration’s 1776 Report, released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and aimed to promote “patriotic” history education in schools. I happen to have an essay in the Woodson Center’s older and unrelated but similarly purposed and privately funded 1776 Unites report, and some people already were getting the two mixed up. Like Team Trump’s project, 1776 Unites is a conservative response to The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which sparked both praise and controversy with its recentering of American history as beginning not with the Declaration of Independence but with the arrival of the first slaves. In response to the criticism, the 1619 Project’s principal reporter, Nikole Hannah-Jones, changed a line in her Pulitzer Prize-winning lead essay from calling slavery a “primary motivation of colonists” in the revolt to “some of the colonists.”
Jonah Goldberg: Biden needs to set even more ambitious vaccination goals
       
We are far from the destination, but the return to normalcy has begun — and so have the normal games presidents play. Donald Trump said many times that COVID-19 would just “disappear,” as if it were so much fake news ginned up to help Democrats. At one campaign stop, he railed, “COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. … On Nov. 4, you won’t hear about it anymore.”Of course, he was wrong about the disease simply vanishing. More than 420,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 — surpassing the number of U.S. soldiers who died in combat in both world wars and the Vietnam War combined.
Opinion: Biden's continued blitz against fossil fuels
       
The climate plan forwarded last year by candidate Joe Biden made clear that fossil fuels would be in his crosshairs. Even so, Biden’s blitz against the industry in his first eight days as president is striking, and concerning. “We can’t wait any longer." The American Petroleum Institute has estimated an outright ban would cost more than 100,000 jobs in the next year or so. The result: a blueprint that would, within 15 years, stop the use of coal and natural gas to generate electricity, and seeks net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050.
Opinion: Worn out, it is time to bid farewell
       
Opinion: Worn out, it is time to bid farewell shares emailCanfieldOn the day of Joe Biden’s swearing-in, a reader emailed to complain about a story that morning in The Oklahoman — printed ahead of the inauguration, mind you — that referred to President-elect Biden and “President Trump.” The writer’s message: “It’s President Biden you piece of s---!” Who needs that? After 17-and-a-half years writing opinion for The Oklahoman, this is my last day. I exit without a parachute — no job awaits — but have decided this move needs to happen, as much for my emotional well-being as anything. This departure has nothing to do with my recent decision to begin putting my name on editorials. Instead, this is strictly about the need to get out of the fray and do something else.
Point of View: Biden is too timid on school reopening
       
Point of View: Biden is too timid on school reopeningIt takes another level of chutzpah, though, to set out as a target something that has already happened. Some in the press has portrayed President Joe Biden's goal of reopening the majority of K-12 schools in his first 100 days as so far-reaching that the timeline might have to be extended. Enter White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who explained on Tuesday that the administration defines a school as open if it holds in-classroom instruction at least once a week. By this metric, the goal isn't really having more than half of schools open — it's having more than half of schools still 80% closed.
Point of View: Jonah Goldberg: ‘Return to normalcy’ isn’t really what Biden’s base wants
       
Biden didn’t actually use the slogan “return to normalcy.” But as numerous political observers (including yours truly) noted during the campaign, that was both Biden’s implicit appeal and his best shot at victory. But there are two other normalcies Biden has to address. Today, for most Americans of either party, a “return to normalcy” means being able to eat out, go to work and, most of all, send their kids back to school. If the first normalcy was instantaneous upon his inauguration, this second one is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Biden is getting a grace period, but national exhaustion with the pandemic is cumulative, and patience is in short supply.
Biden nominee for Interior Secretary faces tough questions on energy views
       
Rep. Debra Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Interior Secretary, faced tough questions Tuesday from Republicans concerned about her past criticisms of fossil fuel production and the administration’s early actions to curb drilling on public lands. On the first day of her confirmation hearings, the New Mexico Democrat told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that she understood the need for oil and gas production and that the moratorium on new exploration permits was just to allow for a review of federal policy. “I don’t know when that review will be finished,” she said, adding that “valid and existing leases will move forward.”Haaland, who would be the first Native American cabinet member if she is confirmed, told Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford that the administration’s moratorium on new drilling permits didn’t apply to tribal land and that she understood his concerns about the disparate treatment of drilling created by executive orders signed by Biden last month.
Biden to order a review of US supply chains for vital goods
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden prepared to sign an executive order to review U.S. supply chains for large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors that power cars, phones, military equipment and other goods. The United States has become increasingly reliant on imports of these goods — a potential national security and economic risk that the Biden administration hopes to address with the planned 100-day review and the possibility of increased domestic production, according to administration officials who insisted on anonymity to discuss the order. However, Biden will also look to work with international partners to ensure a stable and reliable supply chain. Over the past year, the fragility of vital supply chains has been revealed repeatedly. Automakers in the United States and Europe are now dealing with a shortage of computer chips.
Biden’s trade pick vows to work more closely with allies
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s pick to be the top U.S. trade envoy promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. In a confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee, Katherine Tai, Biden’s choice for U.S. trade representative, said she would “prioritize rebuilding our international alliances and partnerships, and re-engaging with international institutions” to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.”Tai dodged questions on two politically sensitive questions — whether the Biden administration would drop President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and whether it would revive former President Barack Obama’s Asia-Pacific trade deal that was jettisoned by Trump. Tai, considered a problem-solving pragmatist, is expected to be confirmed easily. In a rare sign of bipartisan agreement, the top Democrat (Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts) and Republican (Rep. Keven Brady of Texas) on the House Ways and Means Committee appeared before the Senate panel in support of Tai.
Continental Resources sues government over stalled drilling permits in North Dakota
       
Continental Resources has sued the federal government over dozens of North Dakota drilling permit applications that have stalled during the approval process. The permits filed last year would allow Continental to drill oil and gas wells on federal land in North Dakota. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the company said 37 applications should have been approved under the Donald Trump administration by Jan. 20. Continental says final approval for the applications were delayed again when the incoming Joe Biden administration ordered a review of agency decisions. "BLM’s illegal delay in processing these (applications) has injured and will continue to injure Continental.
Infrastructure improvement
       
WASHINGTON — Looking beyond the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, President Joe Biden and lawmakers are laying the groundwork for another top legislative priority — a long-sought boost to the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure that could run into Republican resistance to a hefty price tag. Biden and his team have begun discussions on the possible outlines of an infrastructure package with members of Congress, particularly mindful that Texas’ recent struggles with power outages and water shortages after a brutal winter storm present an opportunity for agreement on sustained spending on infrastructure. Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser, told The Associated Press that the deadly winter storm in Texas should be a “wake-up call” for the need for energy systems and other infrastructure that are more reliable and resilient. “The infrastructure is not built to withstand these extreme weather conditions,” said Liz Sherwood-Randall, a homeland security aide to the president. “We know that we can’t just react to extreme weather events.
Biden hails House passage of $1.9T bill
       
WASHINGTON — The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that was championed by President Joe Biden, the first step in providing another dose of aid to a weary nation as the measure now moves to a tense Senate. “We have no time to waste,” Biden said at the White House after the House passage earlySaturday. “We act now — decisively, quickly and boldly — we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again. That ships the bill to the Senate, where Democrats seem bent on resuscitating their minimum wage push and fights could erupt over state aid and other issues.
Minimum wage hike all but dead in big COVID relief bill
       
WASHINGTON — Democrats’ efforts to include a minimum wage increase in their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill seemed all but dead Monday as Senate leaders prepared to begin debate on their own version of the House-passed aid package. Top Democrats abandoned a potential amendment threatening tax increases on big companies that don’t boost workers’ pay to certain levels, Senate aides said. Four days after the chamber’s parliamentarian said Senate rules forbid inclusion of a straight-out minimum wage increase in the relief measure, Democrats seemed to have exhausted their most realistic options for quickly salvaging the pay hike. “At this moment, we may not have path, but I hope we can find one” for pushing the federal pay floor to $15 an hour, said No. Senate Democrats hope to unveil their version of the broad relief package and begin debate as early as Wednesday.
The Latest: WH: Insurance companies help vaccinate elderly
       
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will partner with health insurance companies to help vulnerable older people get vaccinated for COVID-19. White House coronavirus special adviser Andy Slavitt announced Wednesday the goal is to get 2 million of the most at-risk seniors vaccinated soon. Many older people live in relative isolation and some lack the internet access to make vaccination appointments. Insurance companies have ties to Medicare recipients through businesses that range from Medicare Advantage private plans, to prescription drug coverage, to Medigap plans that seniors purchase for expenses that traditional Medicare doesn't cover. The focus will be on reaching people in medically underserved areas.
Biden vows enough vaccine for all US adults by end of May
       
Biden vows enough vaccine for all US adults by end of MayWASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — and he pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings. Biden also announced Tuesday that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine, likening the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II. “We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said. Despite the stepped-up pace of vaccine production, the work of inoculating Americans could extend well into the summer, officials said, depending both on the government’s capacity to deliver doses and Americans’ willingness to roll up their sleeves.
White House aide resigns after threatening reporter
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has resigned, the day after he was suspended for issuing a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter. Ducklo had been put on a weeklong suspension without pay on Friday after a report surfaced in Vanity Fair outlining his sexist threats against a female Politico journalist to try to suppress a story about his relationship, telling her “I will destroy you.” The journalist had been seeking to report on his relationship with a political reporter at Axios who had previously covered the Biden campaign and transition. In a statement Saturday, Ducklo said he was “devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden.”“No words can express my regret, my embarrassment and my disgust for my behavior,” he said. I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable.”
Vigorous preparation returns as Biden calls other leaders
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new-old ritual is taking shape in the Biden White House, one that starts with bulky briefing packages, war-gaming the “what-ifs,” and Oval Office discussions about how to talk to this or that particular U.S. ally or adversary. Twelve times since he took office, President Joe Biden has dialed up a world leader after reinstituting what was a long-held White House standard mothballed by Donald Trump: vigorous preparation. The changes to telephone diplomacy have been about both style and substance as Biden has sought to send the message to foreign leaders — many embittered by Trump's habit of berating his counterparts and conflating personal interests with U.S. national security — that Biden is determined to reset the U.S. relationship with the world. “It's a central organizing principle as they look to turn the page on Trump and get alliances back on track. The preparation for calls is part of that."
US unwinds Trump policy making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico
       
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration moved to restore the asylum system to the way it worked for decades Friday by releasing a group of asylum-seekers into the United States, ending their long wait in Mexico and unraveling one of former President Donald Trump’s signature immigration policies. The 25 people who arrived are the first of an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers with active cases in the “Remain in Mexico" program who will now wait in the U.S. for their court hearings instead of south of the border. President Joe Biden is making good on his promise to end a policy that Trump said was critical to reversing a surge of asylum-seekers, which peaked in 2019. The program, known officially as “Migrant Protection Protocols,” changed the way people traditionally had been treated by the U.S. government as they sought protection from violence and persecution. It exposed them to violence in Mexican border cities and made it difficult to find lawyers and communicate with courts about their cases.
Biden defends progress on COVID as weather delays 6M shots
       
The disruptions caused by frigid temperatures, snow and ice have left the White House and states scrambling to make up lost ground as three days' worth of vaccine shipments were temporarily delayed. Even the president's trip to see Pfizer's largest plant was pushed back a day due to a storm affecting the nation’s capital. Before the trip, White House coronavirus response adviser Andy Slavitt said the federal government, states and local vaccinators are going to have to redouble efforts to catch up after the interruptions. The setback comes just as the vaccination campaign seemed to be on the verge of hitting its stride. All the backlogged doses should be delivered in the next several days, Slavitt said, still confident that the pace of vaccinations will recover.
Biden to visit storm-ravaged Texas Friday
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit Texas on Friday as the state begins its recovery from a devastating winter storm that caused serious damage to homes and businesses across the state and left many without power or clean water for days. The White House announced Tuesday that Biden and his wife, Jill, will travel to Houston on Friday. While there, he'll meet with local leaders to discuss the ongoing recovery from last week's winter storm, and will visit a COVID-19 health center where vaccines are being distributed. Millions of Texas residents remain under boil water notices after the freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall caused power outages and burst pipes across the state, prompting local officials to warn Texans about the safety of their tap water. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Sunday on CBS' “Face the Nation” the state of Texas should bear those “exorbitant costs," rather than residents.
Oklahoma lawmakers to oppose $1.9 trillion bill, while Holt urges passage
       
As the House prepares to consider a $1.9 trillion spending package that includes more direct payments and unemployment assistance, Oklahoma’s five members are united with most other Republicans in opposition, saying the bill is excessive and includes many provisions unrelated to the pandemic. Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa, recently likened the federal unemployment aid to welfare, while Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, said the government hasn’t spent the nearly $900 billion previously approved for pandemic relief. The package does have support from Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Norman Mayor Brea Clark, who signed a U.S. Conference of Mayors letter to congressional leaders this month seeking aid for local governments. The Democratic-controlled House is scheduled to take up the American Rescue Plan on Friday, with Senate consideration to follow in the next two weeks. Democratic leaders hope to have the bill ready for President Joe Biden to sign into law by mid-March.
Biden: Strikes in Syria sent warning to Iran to 'be careful'
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Friday that Iran should view his decision to authorize U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a warning that it can expect consequences for its support of militia groups that threaten U.S. interests or personnel. “You can't act with impunity. Be careful,” Biden said when a reporter asked what message he had intended to send with the airstrikes, which the Pentagon said destroyed several buildings in eastern Syria but were not intended to eradicate the militia groups that used them to facilitate attacks inside Iraq. Administration officials defended the Thursday night airstrikes as legal and appropriate, saying they took out facilities that housed valuable “capabilities” used by Iranian-backed militia groups to attack American and allied forces in Iraq. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, said members of Congress were notified before the strikes as two Air Force F-15E aircraft launched seven missiles, destroying nine facilities and heavily damaging two others, rendering both “functionally destroyed.” He said the facilities, at “entry control points” on the border, had been used by militia groups the U.S. deems responsible for recent attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.
Additional federal funding approved for Oklahomans after historic storm
       
President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has approved additional federal funding for Oklahomans after historic winter storms lingered in the state earlier this month, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday evening. The additional funding delivers Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance to municipalities, counties and tribes in all 77 Oklahoma counties for infrastructure repairs and other costs associated with the storm, state officials said. Additionally, individual assistance for homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the storm was approved for 16 counties: Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Comanche, Cotton, Hughes, Jefferson, LeFlore, McIntosh, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Stephens, Tulsa and Wagoner. Read the complete story on TulsaWorld.com.
The Conversation: St. Matthew's Cathedral, where Biden attended pre-inauguration Mass, has long been a place where politics and faith meet
       
The Conversation: St. Matthew's Cathedral, where Biden attended pre-inauguration Mass, has long been a place where politics and faith meetBefore being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States — and only the second Catholic to hold the post — Joe Biden attended Mass. Accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden, and now-Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, he occupied the front pew of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, known as St. Matthew's Cathedral. It isn't Washington's largest Catholic church, but it has long been a place where politics and faith meet — making it a fitting venue to start the day's proceedings. Established in 1840, St. Matthew's is named for the tax collector called by Jesus to be one of the Twelve Apostles. Fittingly for the District of Columbia cathedral that carries his name, Matthew is recognized as the patron saint of civil servants.
Body Work: Is it time to double up on masks?
       
I’ve noticed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris wearing two masks on recent occasions. While comfortable, the simple cloth masks many of us have grown accustomed to wearing offer only limited protection from infection. PPE shortages early in the pandemic limited the supply and use of medical-grade masks like the N95 to health care workers. Today, those masks and their cousins, KN95 masks, are more widely available. These masks offer significantly better protection than cloth masks or the standard-issue disposable masks now commonly used.
How to keep your student loan payment at $0
       
How to keep your student loan payment at $0President Biden announced on Jan. 20 that most federal student loan payments would be suspended interest-free through September 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. Once the suspension lifts, though, a $0 payment still may be a necessity for some borrowers. According to an October 2020 survey from NerdWallet conducted by The Harris Poll, 45% of Americans with federal student loans of their own weren’t confident they’d be able to afford their loan payments when the payment freeze was scheduled to end last December. Borrowers will hopefully be better off financially by September. But if you’ll need to keep paying less, here are your options.
Local Muslims said they were glad to see President Joe Biden reverse the so-called Muslim travel ban
       
Eltarhoni said he was glad when President Joe Biden repealed the travel ban but he can't get his wedding day back. They checked all the boxes for a tourist visa," Eltarhoni said. In addition to Libya, the travel ban also included Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. According to U.S. State Department figures, more than 40,000 people were refused visas because of the travel ban. Many of the people who were refused visas included lottery winners and people trying to visit family, those traveling for business or personal reasons and students accepted to U.S. universities.
Immigrants in sanctuary in churches hope Biden offers relief
       
(AP) — For over three years, Maria Macario has been too afraid to leave the white steepled First Parish church just outside Boston. The 55-year-old Guatemala native moved in to avoid deportation, living in a converted Sunday school classroom with a kitchenette. Gone are the regular church gatherings and volunteers stationed around the clock in case immigration officials come. To keep her spirits up, singers gather outside to serenade her. She hopes things change with Joe Biden in the White House.
States pass their own virus aid, not waiting on Washington
       
(AP) — Not waiting for more federal help, states have been approving their own coronavirus aid packages, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help residents and business owners devastated by the the pandemic's economic fallout. North Carolina's governor wants additional state aid for such things as bonus pay for teachers and boosting rural internet speeds. The spending also provides fuel for critics who say states don’t need another massive infusion of cash from Congress. The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion relief plan would send hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments. Governors and lawmakers say their state spending is targeted at Americans who remain desperate for help nearly a year after the pandemic began shuttering businesses.
Liz Weston: Worry about the right thing with estate taxes
       
Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, but death taxes are only a remote possibility for most people. The vast majority of Americans won’t ever have or give away enough to owe estate or gift taxes. That’s her tax basis. If you sold the stock later, you would owe tax only on the gain since her death. But it’s no exaggeration to say that far more people benefit from our estate tax system — by inheriting homes and other assets with a stepped-up tax basis — than have to pay any estate taxes.
Pentagon: US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” and died shortly afterward. British and Danish troops also are among those stationed at the base. The rocket attack was the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing one militiaman and stoking fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened more than a year ago. Wednesday's death of the contractor heightens worries that the U.S. could be drawn into another period of escalating attacks, complicating the Biden administration's desire to open talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy
       
Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. The most vulnerable nonprofits may try to reduce costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. We saw that with hundreds and hundreds of foundations.”___The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits.
Solid sign-ups for Biden’s new ‘Obamacare’ coverage offer
       
HealthCare.gov offers subsidized private health insurance under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, catering mainly to low- and moderate-income working people. Though the sweetened subsidies last only through the end of next year, their availability is expected to boost insurance coverage. Former President Donald Trump tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to repeal “Obamacare” and refused to reopen enrollment because of the pandemic. Biden’s special sign-up period features a special emphasis on reaching Black and Latino communities that have borne a heavy burden from COVID-19. Some estimates range from 5 million to 10 million, while the Congressional Budget Office suggests a lower number, more like 3 million.
Official: Democrats OK tightened income limits for relief
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden urged Senate Democrats to rally behind a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and stood by his proposed $1,400 payments to individuals, even as some party moderates sought to dial back parts of the package. “He said we need to pass this bill and pass it soon. The president's cry for unity came as Democrats, with no votes to spare in a 50-50 Senate, sorted through lingering divisions over the emerging bill. Those included moderates' efforts to focus spending more narrowly on those hardest hit by the deadly pandemic and resulting economic contraction. Biden took to Twitter to signal he wouldn't budge from his demand that lawmakers add a fresh $1,400 payment to the $600 that millions of individuals received from a December relief measure.
WH: Insurance companies help vaccinate elderly
       
Updated 3 times AlertMeWASHINGTON — The Biden administration will partner with health insurance companies to help vulnerable older people get vaccinated for COVID-19. Bharat Biotech has already signed an agreement with Brazil to supply 20 million doses of the vaccine by September. More than 2.3 million vaccine doses have been administered so far in Michigan, mostly in the Detroit area, according to the state health department. Amid a sharp rise in new infections, Poland is seeking to increase its purchases of COVID-19 vaccines. Taiwan has signed contracts securing 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 4.76 million doses of vaccines through COVAX.
Official: Dems OK tighter income limits for COVID-19 relief
       
The version the House approved last Saturday would gradually phase down those amounts and reach zero for individuals making $100,000 and couples earning $200,000. But under Wednesday’s agreement, those checks would end for individuals making $80,000 and couples earning $160,000, the official said. But Biden and party leaders stood firm and will retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits, which are paid on top of regular state payments. Moderates have wanted to trim those payments to $300 per week, with some saying the higher amount could discourage people from returning to their jobs. The Senate needs to pass the American Rescue Plan and finish the job of delivering $2,000 in direct relief,” Biden wrote in one of his infrequent uses of a medium his predecessor, Donald Trump, at times used over 100 times daily.
Pentagon: US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” and died shortly afterward. British and Danish troops also are among those stationed at the base. The rocket attack was the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing one militiaman and stoking fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened more than a year ago. Wednesday's death of the contractor heightens worries that the U.S. could be drawn into another period of escalating attacks, complicating the Biden administration's desire to open talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iraqi Airbase Housing U.S. Troops Attacked by Rockets, Iran Militia Believed Involved
       
The perpetrator was not immediately clear and Iraqi authorities were still conducting an investigation as of Wednesday morning. However, Iraqi officials issued carefully crafted statements shortly afterward that indicate they believe Iran was behind the attack. It houses troops from the U.S.-led coalition combating the Islamic State group and other extremists in Iraq and Syria. Speculation has emerged that Iran may not still control the Iraqi militias as closely as it did during Soleimani's tenure. However, Kirby told reporters last week that the Defense Department still considers the forces aligned with Tehran.
Three decades after beating of Rodney King - his daughter is still fighting for real change
       
She is now aged 37, but King says the assault upon her father, Rodney, feels like it happened just five years ago. Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. That will be so amazing, but it’s up in the air, you never know.”King is one of three daughters Rodney King had with different women. Her organisation works with many of the poorer communities of Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Michelle Obama discusses racism while plugging new book
       
Despite being asked about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement by anchor Robin Roberts, neither woman made reference to the controversy surrounding the ban on several of Dr. Seuss' books. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that preserves and protects the author's legacy, made the announcement on Tuesday, which coincided with the late author and illustrator's birthday. Biden broke presidential tradition when he left out any mention of Dr. Seuss during his proclamation on Monday; both Michelle's husband Barack and Donald Trump recognized Dr. Seuss' contributions several times in their annual proclamations during their respective presidencies. Michelle also has a close personal connection to Dr. Seuss, having read many of the authors books to children during her time as First Lady, from 2008 to 2016. Seuss ok when Michelle Obama read it to children but now has racist undertones when our First Lady donates books?'
Capitol Police Chief: Threats to lawmakers almost DOUBLED in the first two months of 2021
       
The number of threats made to lawmakers has almost doubled in the first two months of 2021 compared to last year, acting head of Capitol Police revealed Wednesday, as fallout ensues following the Capitol riots on January 6. 'In the first two months of 2021, there has been a 93.54 percent increase in threats to Members compared to the same period in 2020,' Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said in prepared statements. During Wednesday's hearing, Pittman also plans to outline security needs at the Capitol – not just in lawmakers' home districts. 'On the Capitol Complex, the level of existential threats to the U.S. Capitol and Grounds areincreasing as well,' Pittman prepared in her testimony. Eventually, the National Guard was brought in to help fend off the remaining rioters.
Joe Biden's Cabinet is half-empty after a month in office
       
President Joe Biden´s Cabinet is taking shape at the slowest pace of any in modern history, with just over a dozen nominees for top posts confirmed more than a month into his tenure. Among Biden´s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. On Tuesday, Biden's cabinet was thrown into further uncertainty when his nominee to lead the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration after her nomination faced opposition from key senators on both sides of the aisle. The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy and public health decisions. President Joe Biden's Cabinet and Cabinet-level picks.
Covid US: Joe Biden urges calm as Texas and Mississippi lift restrictions
       
Massachusetts has lifted all restaurant capacity limits, South Carolina erased limits on gatherings and North Carolina allowed people back inside bars for the first time. 'I wish Texas, Mississippi and others state would just hold off another little bit. Attendees walk through the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson, Mississippi in October 2020MISSISSIPPI CASES: Mississippi reported 301 new infections; the state has recorded a total of 295,295, infectionsMISSISSIPPI DEATHS: Mississippi reported 44 new deaths on Tuesday. Mississippi's cases, deaths and hospitalizations have also plunged in recent weeks and are now at the lowest levels since October. In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker lifted restaurant capacity limits entirely from Monday (pictured is a Boston restuarnt).
Senate coronavirus bill lowers cutoffs for stimulus checks
       
Senate Democrats have struck a deal to lower the income cut off for receiving a stimulus payment as part of the coronavirus bill, a Democratic aide confirmed to The Hill. ADVERTISEMENTBut the Senate bill, which is expected to be unveiled as soon as Wednesday, significantly reduces the income window for receiving a partial check. The checks would phase out completely at an income threshold of $80,000 for individuals under the Senate deal, compared to $100,000 under the House bill. For couples, the checks would phase out completely at an income threshold of $160,000 under the Senate deal, compared to $200,000 for the House bill. While the Senate bill changes the checks, it’s expected to keep the House-passed $400 per week unemployment payment.
Biden: With Defense Production Act, enough vaccines by end of May – People's World
       
A worker packs a box of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine into a cooler for shipping from a facility in Shepherdsville, Ky., Monday, March 1, 2021. Biden credited the stepped-up timetable to his ongoing use of the Defense Production Act and the establishment of a partnership between two long-time corporate rivals, Merck and Johnson and Johnson. Biden said the country is in a “war” against the coronavirus, justifying his sweeping measures against it. “When we came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America. First, the Republican governor of one huge state announces he will ignore the president’s pleas for caution and that he will end mask mandates and immediately open up his state entirely.
Former GOP speaker says Cruz a ‘reckless a**hole’, and says he repeatedly told Trump to ‘shut up’ when asked for advice
       
Mr Boehner made the comments during an address at Stanford University, adding in reference to Mr Cruz: “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy noticeDuring his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, last week, Mr Cruz responded to Mr Boehner’s comments. “Donald Trump: He would call me fairly often when he first took office for advice or conversation,” Mr Boehner wrote.
Opinion | Ignore the smears and confirm Vanita Gupta
       
More than 50 current and retired chiefs of police and sheriffs who worked with Gupta during her last tour at the Justice Department sent a letter of support to the Senate Judiciary Committee. So did the National Fraternal Order of Police, whose president noted the organization’s working relationship with Gupta goes back to 2014. And before that, as a lawyer with the ACLU, Gupta worked on cash bail reform, fair sentencing and other criminal justice reform issues with Koch Industries. Merrick Garland’s nomination to be the next attorney general passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. But Gupta ought to sail through the Judiciary Committee with the same ease that Garland did.
Pentagon: US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base
       
At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted.
Rockets fired at Iraqi airbase hosting U.S.-led coalition troops
       
Ten rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops Wednesday, the latest in a series of rocket attacks in Iraq with this one just days before the Pope is due to visit the country. The rockets targeted Ain Al-Asad airbase, northwest of Baghdad, at 7:20 a.m. local time Wednesday (11:20 p.m. Tuesday ET). Wednesday’s rocket attack follows a U.S. airstrike last week in eastern Syria that killed one fighter in an Iranian-backed militia and wounded two others, according to the Pentagon. NBC News has previously reported that Iranian-backed militias were most likely behind the Irbil rocket attack in February, and that the weapons and tactics resembled previous attacks by the Iranian-linked militias. However, it was unclear if Iran had encouraged or ordered the rocket attack.
The oil industry is getting greener faster as U.S. policy shifts to climate change
       
Nick Oxford | ReutersThe greening of the American oil industry has gone into overdrive. Occidental Petroleum CEO VIcki Hollub told the conference her goal is to produce net zero carbon oil. She said that in 15 to 20 years, Occidental will be a carbon management company, not just an an oil company. BP has expanded in wind and other technology and Looney says it will be an integrated energy company in the future, rather than an international oil company. They're accelerating, and they're certainly spending much more time marketing their efforts on carbon capture and a low carbon future.
Self-employed, gig workers are still waiting for new PPP rules that would mean bigger loans
       
The self-employed and gig workers are anxiously waiting for the Small Business Association to update guidelines to its Paycheck Protection Program, which could mean bigger loans for the group. The Biden administration announced last week changes to how the SBA will calculate forgivable loans for sole proprietors and other small businesses without any employees. The updated formula — which will likely lead to larger loan amounts for non-employer firms, including sole proprietors and independent contractors — will be announced this week. Of course, sole proprietors will still be able to apply for PPP loans until the program deadline at the end of the month; they just won't get priority treatment once the 14-day exclusivity window closes. For now, lenders are working to help borrowers prepare what they can to be ready for the updated guidelines.
Britain Announces Relief Programs as Economy Slowly Reopens: Live Updates
       
ET Britain Announces Relief Programs as Economy Slowly Reopens: Live Updates RIGHT NOW Michaels will be acquired by a private equity firm in a $5 billion deal. In the short term, he is aiming to support jobs as the vaccine rollout continues and the economy cautiously reopens. Borrowing this fiscal year has climbed to 355 billion (about $495 billion), a peacetime record, and a sixfold increase from the previous year. Michaels will be acquired by a private equity firm in a $5 billion deal. As a private company, Michaels will have “financial flexibility” to further expand its retail and online business, said Michael’s chief executive, Ashley Buchanan.
US infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads stagnate
       
But it was not able to push Congress to pass any broad plan to update the nation’s roads and bridges, rails and airports. Four areas got Cs: bridges, which dropped from a C+ to a C in 2021, energy, drinking water and solid waste. “This report card is a warning and a call to action,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press. APIn its report card, the group said years of inaction has had consequences. According to the report card, the nation is only paying about half of what it needs to lift overall US infrastructure to an acceptable “B” level.
Live Updates: Biden’s Stimulus Plan Depends on a United Democratic Front
       
And I believe that this would be major stimulus package number three, correct? But of course, that would mean not having any Republican support for this giant stimulus package? michael barbaroSo to summarize, the Republican critique of these provisions is that they’re not required in an emergency and that really, they’re just Democratic priorities that could be debated and passed outside of an emergency stimulus package and should be passed outside of an emergency stimulus package? But yes, they are saying the Democrats should not put a bunch of these provisions into an emergency stimulus package. michael barbaroOn Monday afternoon, Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said that the Senate would begin debating the stimulus package in the coming days.
Federal probe into Hunter Biden’s ‘tax affairs’ reportedly moving ahead
       
?The federal probe into Hunter Biden’s “tax affairs” is plowing ahead without any interference from President Biden’s White House, according to a report on Wednesday. Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a confirmation hearing last week that he hadn’t discussed the Hunter Biden investigation with the president. Hunter Biden confirmed in December that his “tax affairs” stemming from his overseas business dealings were under investigation by the feds. The investigation, which began in 2018, is seeking to determine if Hunter Biden and his business associates violated tax and money laundering laws. The Post last October revealed the existence of emails found on Hunter Biden’s laptop’s hard drive detailing his business interests in China and Ukraine.
More than 200,000 Americans sign up for ACA health plans during special enrollment period
       
But the demand for ACA health plans during this early phase of the unprecedented three-month enrollment extension was a fraction of the enrollment during the first two weeks of the most recent regular enrollment time, when 1.6 million Americans signed up during the first half of November. ADADOrdinarily, the federal ACA insurance marketplace is open mainly during an annual enrollment season — a six-week period near the end of the year during the Trump administration. Days after he was sworn into office in January, Biden directed health officials to reopen the online federal insurance marketplace for three months, until mid-May. Among other things, the package would increase subsidies — received by nearly 9 in 10 people who have ACA health plans — to help pay monthly insurance premiums. The insurance sold through federal and state ACA marketplaces is intended for Americans who cannot get affordable health benefits through a job.
China on Beijing Winter Games boycott calls: 'These acts are in violation of the Olympic spirit'
       
China dismissed calls to boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics on Wednesday as U.S. lawmakers have started putting pressure on the Biden administration to consider pulling out of the Winter Games over the country’s human rights violations. Beijing, at least for now, is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. But American lawmakers have called on the Biden administration to consider boycotting the event over China’s human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims. "This is why we have introduced a resolution in Congress urging the IOC to move the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. If the Games are not moved, our resolution call for the United States to lead an international boycott of the 2022 Olympic Games."
Oregon confirms Brazilian coronavirus variant case, first on West Coast
       
Officials in Oregon have reported the first case of a coronavirus variant originally detected in Brazil, marking the first such instance on the West Coast. "This case marks the first case of the P.1 variant in Oregon, as well as the first case on the West coast," the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said, in the news release. "There have only been 10 other cases of the P.1 variant reported in the United States, in Minnesota (2), Florida (5), Oklahoma (1), Alaska (1), and Maryland (1)." DOLLY PARTON RECEIVES COVID-19 VACCINE SHE HELPED FUNDWalensky said that the U.S. "may now be seeing the beginning effects" the variants may be having on spread. HOW WOULD COVID-19 VACCINE MAKERS ADAPT TO VARIANTS?
Rep. Crenshaw slams Biden's border policy: 'Prioritizing illegal immigrants over US citizens’
       
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, says he believes the Biden administration’s immigration policies are "prioritizing illegal immigrants over U.S. The comments come amid an Axios report citing DHS projections that 117,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross the border in 2021. This administration is prioritizing illegal immigrants over U.S. citizens. What immediately needs to happen is they need to reinstitute the migrant protection protocols, which is the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPIt creates a disincentive to just cross, because they know they’re going to be sent right back to Mexico.
Axios founders: Hypocritical Democrats should call for Andrew Cuomo's resignation
       
The co-founders of Axios say Democrats should all be calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., to resign if they want to meet their own standards for Republicans facing accusations of sexual harassment. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. VandeHei and Allen said the only defense Democrats had was to argue the three women were exaggerating or forgetting things. ANDREW CUOMO AMID SEXUAL HARASSMENT, NURSING HOME SCANDALSIn a conditional apology, Cuomo portrayed some of his past behavior as misinterpreted jokes, which angered one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett.
Migrants wear Biden T-shirts at US-Mexico border, demand clearer policies
       
Migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday were photographed wearing T-shirts in support of President Biden at the San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state. One apparent migrant held up a poster that read, "Biden, please let us in!" Prospective U.S. residents and progressive Democrats are hoping the new president will implement more lenient immigration policies than former President Trump, though some politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have expressed concern with Biden's use of migrant holding facilities at the border. 108 MIGRANTS RELEASED BY BORDER PATROL IN TEXAS TEST POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS, OFFICIALS SAYThere has been a recent surge in the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border from Mexico, according to The Wall Street Journal, though the Biden administration has rejected the term "crisis" to describe the situation. The president is working to process as many as 25,000 asylum seekers who were forced to wait in Mexico under the Trump administration's "Remain-in-Mexico" policy under the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) program.
Watch live: Biden Covid team holds briefing after White House moves up vaccine supply timeline
       
Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.] On Tuesday, Biden said the U.S. will have a large enough supply of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate every adult in the nation by the end of May — two months earlier than previously expected. "Let me be clear, we can reopen schools if the right steps are taken even before employees are vaccinated," Biden said Tuesday at the White House. "But time and again, we've heard from educators and parents that have anxieties about it." Read CNBC's live updates to see the latest news on the Covid -19 outbreak.
Biden backs lower income cap for direct payments in $1.9 trillion relief package
       
President Joe Biden has backed a plan to cut the income caps for receiving a direct payment as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package set to pass in the coming days, a Democratic source said Wednesday. Under the lower chamber's bill, individuals making up to $100,000 (and joint filers earning up to $200,000) would have received some amount. The changes come as moderate Senate Democrats call to limit the scope of the checks included in the legislation. To pass the relief bill under budget reconciliation, party leaders cannot lose a single vote among the 50 members of the caucus. The Senate plan is set to keep the same unemployment insurance supplement passed by the House.
U.S. markets regulator names climate risks, fintech as 2021 priorities
       
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission logo adorns an office door at the SEC headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst//File PhotoWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday continued to ramp up its focus on climate-related investment risks, naming it a 2021 examination priority alongside fintech and conflicts of interest for brokers and investment advisors. “Through these and other efforts, we are integrating climate and ESG considerations into the agency’s broader regulatory framework,” she said in the statement. Conflicts of interest for brokers and investment advisors and risks related to the fintech industry were two other issues on the examination priority list, which the SEC announces annually. The SEC will focus on whether investments in digital assets, or cryptocurrencies, are in the best interest of investors, among other fintech issues, the agency said on Wednesday.
GM extends vehicle production cuts due to semiconductor chip shortage
       
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Wednesday it was further extending production cuts at three North American plants and adding a fourth to the list of factories hit by the global semiconductor chip shortage. The U.S. automaker did not disclose the impact on volumes or say which supplier or parts were affected by the chip shortage, but said it intends to recover as much of the lost output as possible. The Detroit automaker had previously extended production cuts at three North American plants into mid-March and said vehicles at two other plants would only be partially built. Stellantis said Wednesday the chip shortage could weigh on 2021 results. Industry officials and politicians have pushed U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to take a more active role in dealing with the chip shortage.
S&P 500, Nasdaq fall as high-flying tech stocks slide
       
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File PhotoMicrosoft Corp, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc dropped 0.9% and 1.3%, weighing the most on the S&P 500. The remaining eight S&P sectors declined. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26.45 points, or 0.08%, to 31,365.07, the S&P 500 lost 22.69 points, or 0.59%, to 3,847.60 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 152.25 points, or 1.14%, to 13,206.54. The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 112 new highs and 47 new lows.
Biden strikes stimulus deal with Senate Democrats
       
That breakthrough has Democrats ready to press forward on Biden's bill as soon as possible. Biden urged the party to “swallow” provisions they don’t like during a virtual lunch meeting on Tuesday, according to one Senate Democrat. Schumer took procedural steps to put the House-passed legislation on the floor, though the Senate will substitute in its own text before it finishes voting. Senate Democrats need all 50 of their members to kick off consideration of the bill, a vote expected on Wednesday afternoon. Senate Republicans are debating how painful to make things for Democrats, possibly by dragging out the marathon of unlimited amendments overnight.
Collins to back Haaland for Interior, sealing her approval
       
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the nomination of William Burns to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2021. The announcement makes Haaland’s confirmation by the Senate nearly certain and follows Haaland’s endorsement last week by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin , chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland’s nomination by President Joe Biden . The landmark law, co-sponsored by Collins in the Senate, authorizes nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. The Senate energy panel is set to vote on Haaland’s nomination Thursday.
Official: Democrats OK tightened income limits for relief
       
The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Two people said Biden told Democrats they must sometimes accept provisions in a large measure that they don’t like. Progressives, though, were still smarting over the virtual certainty that the Senate bill will lack the minimum wage boost, up from $7.25 hourly locked in since 2009. The funding was removed after some Republican lawmakers had criticized it as an example of a wasteful spending item that should not be part of the COVID relief bill.
Biden health pick taking heat for support of abortion rights
       
President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat for his defense of abortion rights from a tag team of Republicans looking to define him —and the new administration— as out of the mainstream. President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat for his defense of abortion rights from a tag team of Republicans looking to define him —and the new administration— as out of the mainstream. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat from Republicans for his actions in support of abortion rights. It’s a test, too, for national groups opposed to abortion, trying to deny a president who favors abortion rights his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services. She disagrees with his support for abortion rights, but finds common ground elsewhere.
Dow Falls Despite Biden Vaccine Pledge Amid Weak Jobs Data; Boeing Flies; Bitcoin Surges
       
Among EV stocks, Tesla (TLSA) and Nio (NIO) moved higher, while auto giants General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) fell. Boeing, Disney Stock Help Dow JonesThe Dow Jones Industrial Average was the best performing major index, down 0.2%Boeing was the top component, jumping more than 3%. Tesla Stock, Nio Stock GainIBD Leaderboard stock Tesla was rallying in a whipsaw session. Chinese EV stock Nio was up almost 2%, though it pared some gains. GM Stock, Ford Stock ReverseGM stock reversed mildly after opening higher.
Interior nominee Haaland gets support from unlikely source — House GOP’s Cole
       
Rep. Deb Haaland, nominated to be the first Native American to serve as Interior secretary, has an unlikely booster in fellow House member Rep. Tom Cole, a member of the Republican party’s House leadership team. And it’s a very important moment for Native Americans,” Cole said. Cole is also a member of the tribal Chickasaw Nation and said he knew Haaland well from their time as co-chairs of the House’s Native American caucus group. The nomination is not just symbolically important to Native Americans, Cole said, but also practically, given the Bureau of Indian Affairs that tribes often deal with is located in the Interior Department. “It’s the most important cabinet position for Native Americans, it’s not just a cabinet position,” he said.
Biden agrees to stricter income limits for getting $1,400 stimulus checks
       
President Joe Biden has agreed to curtail which Americans will get stimulus checks in the latest COVID-19 aid package, according to multiple published reports, with the president making a deal with moderate Democratic lawmakers who expressed concerns about money going to people who aren't in dire need. Individuals making $80,000 a year now won't get the direct payments from the federal government, while the cutoff for joint filers will be $160,000, the reports said.
Capitol riot: Pentagon took over 3 hours to allow National Guard to respond, guard chief to testify
       
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. in Washington. Maj. William J. Walker in testimony prepared for a Senate hearing said that he received a "frantic" call from former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund at 1:49 p.m. that day seeking his help. Walker said that he immediately phoned his superiors at the Pentagon to relay the request and got his soldiers ready to head to the Capitol. He did not get approval until 5:08 p.m., his prepared testimony states. "The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it's not going away anytime soon," Wray said.
Las Vegas Sands is leaving Las Vegas
       
In a now-infamous photograph, Hawley was pictured raising his fist in solidarity with those gathered outside the Capitol that morning. Relationships on typically chummy Capitol Hill have been strained, with flare-ups and personal attacks boiling over in committee hearings. “Josh Hawley has a lot to answer to,” said Joe Sanberg, a California businessman and advocate for raising the wage. Clearly, Sanders previously believed that working with Hawley could help deliver direct relief to people hit hard by the pandemic. In the aftermath, seven Senate Democrats requested that the Senate Ethics Committee open an investigation to obtain a “complete account” of Hawley’s role, and that of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX), in the events of the day.
National Guard chief says it took over 3 hours for Pentagon leaders to grant Jan. 6 request
       
Democrats say that Republicans are effectively returning to one of the ugliest tactics in the state’s history — oppressive laws aimed at disenfranchising voters. New restrictions on voting have already passed in Iowa, and multiple other states are lining up similar efforts, while the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments this week on another challenge to the Voting Rights Act. Now Democrats and voting rights groups are alarmed that Republicans are again trying to change the state’s voting laws ahead of critical Senate and governor’s races in 2022. No-excuse absentee voting was approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2005 and was used by many voters during the pandemic. “They’re creating a line management problem,” said Aunna Dennis, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia, a voting rights group.
Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax won't work. This will
       
Instead of a wealth tax, Biden would target capital gains and inheritances for high-income Americans. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighted this when she said recently that a wealth tax has “very difficult implementation problems.”There could be legal problems with a wealth tax as well, because of a quirk in the Constitution. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who's a co-sponsor of the Warren wealth tax bill, told Yahoo Finance recently that valuing assets under a wealth tax wouldn't be that difficult because the IRS already does it under the estate tax. Rep. Biden’s capital gains and estate tax plans would require no new structure in the tax code or unusual enforcement mechanisms. Plus, unlike the wealth tax, it has been the law before, and there’s no question of whether it would work.
GM extends vehicle production cuts due to semiconductor chip shortage
       
GM extends vehicle production cuts due to semiconductor chip shortage FILE PHOTO: Chevrolet Equinox SUVs are parked awaiting shipment near the General Motors Co (GM) CAMI assembly plant in IngersollBy Ben KlaymanDETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Wednesday it was further extending production cuts at three North American plants and adding a fourth to the list of factories hit by the global semiconductor chip shortage. Following Wednesday's cuts, forecasting firm AutoForecast Solutions estimated GM could lose more than 216,000 units globally due to the shortage. Stellantis said Wednesday the chip shortage could weigh on 2021 results. Industry officials and politicians have pushed U.S. President Joe Biden's administration to take a more active role in dealing with the chip shortage. Complicating matters was a severe winter storm in Texas last month that killed at least 21 people and led to the shutdown of several chip plants.
K-12, school staff eligible for vaccine appointments at state sites March 11, Baker says
       
Biden pledged Tuesday that vaccines would be made available for eligible educators at pharmacies through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Facing pressure from President Biden, state legislators, and teachers’ unions, Governor Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that K-12 educators, other school staff, and child-care workers will be eligible to start signing up to receive the coronavirus vaccine in Massachusetts at the state’s vaccination sites on March 11. AdvertisementBut Baker’s decision to add educators to the state’s eligibility list means teachers will be allowed to get the vaccine at any of the state’s 170 vaccination sites. He estimated that about 400,000 people will be newly eligible as educators, child-care workers, and school staff members. Baker announces educators eligible for vaccine Share Email to a Friend Embed Governor Charlie Baker announced that educators and school staff will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 11.
Obamacare sign-ups increase during special enrollment period for COVID-19
       
WASHINGTON – More than 206,000 Americans signed up for health insurance through the federally run HealthCare.gov in the first two weeks of the three-month special enrollment period created by President Joe Biden, the administration announced Wednesday. But it's still a small fraction of those who lack insurance coverage. The administration has declined to estimate how many people will become covered before the enrollment period ends on May 15. "But we can’t slow down until every American has the security and peace of mind that quality, affordable health coverage provides," he said. States that operate their own are also holding special enrollment periods but the time period and other details vary.
Solid sign-ups for Biden’s new “Obamacare” coverage offer
       
HealthCare.gov offers subsidized private health insurance under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, catering mainly to low- and moderate-income working people. Though the sweetened subsidies only last through the end of next year, their availability is expected to boost insurance coverage. Former President Donald Trump tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to repeal “Obamacare” and refused to reopen enrollment because of the pandemic. Biden’s special sign-up period features a special emphasis on reaching Black and Latino communities that have borne a heavy burden from COVID-19. Some estimates range from 5 million to 10 million, while the Congressional Budget Office suggests a lower number, more like 3 million.
Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy, study finds
       
Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. According to the study, the District of Columbia was expected to lose the most nonprofits per capita, followed by Vermont and North Dakota. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed — 400,000 — and millions more are hanging by a thread,” Biden said.
Stimulus check updates: Biden, Senate Democrats agree to limit income threshold for COVID-19 relief checks to $80,000 for individuals
       
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed Wednesday to tighten the upper income limits at which people could qualify for stimulus checks, a Democratic official said, a major concession to moderates as party leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the Senate.
Stocks start off mostly lower on Wall Street, yields rise
       
Associated PressStocks were mostly lower in early trading as another tick up in bond yields gave investors pause. Wall Street continues to look to Washington, where economic data, comments out of the Federal Reserve and President Joe Biden’s stimulus package remain front and center. Treasury yields hit the psychologically important 1.50% mark last week, as investors have braced for stronger economic growth but also a possible increase in inflation. The big piece of data investors will get will be the February jobs report on Friday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect employers created 225,000 jobs last month, but with the disappointing economic data, investors are likely to dampen their outlooks.
Official: Democrats OK tightened income limits for relief
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed Wednesday to tighten the upper income limits at which people could qualify for stimulus checks, a Democratic official said, a major concession to moderates as party leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the Senate. The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal Democratic conversations. As part of Democrats’ legislative thrust against the pandemic and resulting economic slowdown, individuals earning up to $75,000 — and couples up to $150,000 — would get $1,400 checks per person.
Stocks mostly lower as bond yields resume climb
       
The big piece of data investors will get will be the February jobs report on Friday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect employers created 225,000 jobs last month, but with the disappointing economic data, investors are likely to dampen their outlooks. The report also includes numbers for how much wages are rising across the economy, a key component of inflation. Las Vegas Sands climbed 1.3% after the casino and resort operator announced it would sell its Las Vegas properties to a private equity firm. The company, which will drop “Las Vegas” from its name, will focus on its holdings in Asia.
Collins to back Haaland for Interior, sealing her approval
       
.......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........WASHINGTON — Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday she will support New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be Interior secretary, the first Republican senator to publicly back a nominee set to become the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The announcement makes Haaland’s confirmation by the Senate nearly certain and follows Haaland’s endorsement last week by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The landmark law, co-sponsored by Collins in the Senate, authorizes nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands. Interior oversees the nation’s public lands and waters and leads relations with nearly 600 federally recognized tribes. The Senate energy panel is set to vote on Haaland’s nomination Thursday.
Day 43: Biden's Cabinet half-empty after slow start in confirmations. See where things stand.
       
Get caught up with the latest headlines, Cabinet updates, policy progress and more:***TOP STORYBiden's Cabinet half-empty after slow start in confirmationsWASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is taking shape at the slowest pace of any in modern history, with just over a dozen nominees for top posts confirmed more than a month into his tenure. Among Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. And among the 15 core nominees to lead federal agencies, 10 have been confirmed, or about two thirds. According to the Center for Presidential Transition, about a month into their first terms, the previous four presidents had 84% of their core Cabinet picks confirmed. On Tuesday, Biden's Cabinet was thrown into further uncertainty when his nominee to lead the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration after her nomination faced opposition from key senators on both sides of the aisle.
Texas plan to lift Covid mask mandate branded ‘absolutely reckless’ by California Gov as state says it will reopen fully
       
A DECISION to abolish the state-wide mask mandate in Texas has been branded "absolutely reckless" by California Governor Gavin Newsom. 4 California Governor Gavin Newson has branded Abbott's decision as 'absolutely wreckless' Credit: AFP or licensors“It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed,” he said. "In fact, our case numbers have fallen to the point where no county meets the original criteria for a mask mandate." Governors across the US have begun easing restrictions - but Texas is one of the largest states to halt the mask mandate. Most of the country has lived under mask mandates during the pandemic, with at least 37 states requiring face coverings to some degree.
Michelle Obama discusses racism while plugging new book
       
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that preserves and protects the author's legacy, made the announcement on Tuesday, which coincided with the late author and illustrator's birthday. Biden broke presidential tradition when he left out any mention of Dr. Seuss during his proclamation on Monday. Both Michelle's husband Barack and Donald Trump recognized Dr. Seuss' contributions several times in their annual proclamations during their respective presidencies. Michelle also has a close personal connection to Dr. Seuss, having read many of the authors books to children during her time as First Lady, from 2008 to 2016. Michelle also shared how she is teaching her own daughters to use 'the power of their voices' in her first interview since Joe Biden's inauguration.
Joe Biden's wife Jill takes White House bully pulpit on road to push for schools reopening
       
President Joe Biden is sending wife Jill on the road and using his White House bully pulpit as the White House struggles to meet its self-imposed 100 day deadline on schools reopening. The first lady departed from Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning to spend the day in Connecticut and Pennsylvania to tout her husband's plan to reopen schools. Biden's COVID relief plan includes $130 billion for the nation’s schools to help them with costs associated with reopening. She will visit Connecticut and Pennsylvania on Wednesday to tout the president's plan to reopen schools. The administration has taken several steps to help schools.
Biden promises COVID-19 vaccine for 'every adult in America' by May 31
       
Share this Story: Biden promises COVID-19 vaccine for 'every adult in America' by May 31Biden promises COVID-19 vaccine for 'every adult in America' by May 31 The president said he hopes the United States will 'be back to normal' by March 2022 Photo by REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueArticle content The United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for “every adult in America” by the end of May — a two-month acceleration of his previous projection of July — President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. The promise comes after Merck & Co agreed to make rival Johnson & Johnson’s inoculation, as well as other steps the U.S. government is taking to assist Johnson & Johnson. Try refreshing your browser, or Biden promises COVID-19 vaccine for 'every adult in America' by May 31 Back to video More On This Topic What happens after my COVID shots? Biden also said plants already making J&J’s vaccine would step up their output, producing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the end of his remarks, Biden was asked by reporters when he thought the nation would return to normal.
Pentagon: US contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base
       
FILE - This Dec. 29, 2019, aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq. At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted.
Britain Announces Relief Programs as Economy Slowly Reopens: Live Updates
       
ET Britain Announces Relief Programs as Economy Slowly Reopens: Live Updates RIGHT NOW Michaels will be acquired by a private equity firm in a $5 billion deal. In the short term, he is aiming to support jobs as the vaccine rollout continues and the economy cautiously reopens. The pandemic had led to one of the largest and most sustained economic shocks Britain had seen, Mr. Sunak said. Michaels will be acquired by a private equity firm in a $5 billion deal. The deal will bring Michaels back into the hands of private equity after seven years as a public company.
Kamala Harris’ tweet about Dr. Seuss resurfaces amid racial controversy
       
A 2017 tweet from Vice President Harris has resurfaced mentioning Dr. Seuss by name and quoting him, four years before her own administration would strip his name from Read Across America Day. Kamala Harris wished Dr. Seuss a happy birthday in 2017 — four years before the Biden administration canceled six of his books. Dr. Seuss’ work has become the center of controversy recently following a study highlighting a lack of diversity among the author’s characters. Dr Seuss is seen in 1957. Books by Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, including “On Beyond Zebra!” and “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” are offered for loan on March 02, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
Opinion | How Biden can show he’s serious about democracy
       
Biden has pledged to hold a “global democracy summit,” a positive signal that he cares about freedom and human rights. And currently, the United States doesn’t have their back. It’s a test of how much Biden cares about democracy, beyond speeches and summits. Biden should make it a priority to restore that light — both by repairing democracy at home and doing more to support democracy abroad. Biden should seize the opportunity to show he’s serious about global democracy by giving them that help.
The Health 202: Buried in Biden's stimulus plan is a 29 percent spending hike in Obamacare subsidies
       
The Trump administration had slashed funding for these marketplace “navigators.”So for Democrats, expanding the subsidies is a no-brainer. Currently, more than 100 million vaccine doses have been shipped around the U.S., with more than 50 million people receiving at least one shot, according to The Post’s vaccine tracker. More in coronavirus newsA new federal report says the Trump administration failed to uphold safety protections for workers. Five weeks after their last day in office, the Trump administration health officials who stayed to the end are now popping up in new roles. Some of the most visible Trump health officials, like Jerome Adams, the former Surgeon General, and Alex Azar, the former HHS secretary, have yet to announce new ventures.
The Cybersecurity 202: A new government watchdog report highlights urgent federal cybersecurity risks
       
ADADThe GAO report provides an early blueprint for how Congress and federal agencies can work to address the significant cybersecurity issues raised by the hack of SolarWinds software, which led to the compromise of at least nine federal agencies. The report comes as Congress eyes potential legislation requiring all government contractors to report cybersecurity incidents. ADThe report points to a lack of cybersecurity leadership at the federal level, something the report says “regressed” under the Trump administration. “The FBI's demand for the power to spy on end-to-end communications undermines [end-to-end] encryption and makes everyone less safe,” Electronic Frontier Foundation Cybersecurity Director Eva Galperin tweeted. DaybookFormer Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Chris Krebs speaks at an Atlantic Council event on 2020 election misinformation today at 3 p.m.
Cramer on vaccine progress boosting sentiment
       
Share Share Article via Facebook Share Article via Twitter Share Article via LinkedIn Share Article via EmailCramer on vaccine progress boosting sentimentPresident Joe Biden on Tuesday said the U.S. will have a large enough supply of coronavirus vaccines to inoculate every adult in the nation by the end of May. CNBC's Jim Cramer, Carl Quintanilla and David Faber discuss what the news means for certain sectors such as the airlines and cruise lines.
Jobless aid, direct checks in play as U.S. Senate nears vote on COVID-19 aid bill
       
A vote to proceed could be an early indicator of how much Republican opposition the package faces. Democrats aim to get it to Biden to sign into law before March 14, when some current benefits expire. Before the legislation comes to a final vote, Democrats will have to sort out a welter of competing ideas as they seek to advance the bill. With Democrats and their allies controlling 50 seats, Vice President Kamala Harris might need to give them a tie-breaking vote. The Senate could vote on the bill by the end of the week.
U.S. officials have met Yemen's Houthis as Washington seeks end to war: sources
       
DUBAI (Reuters) - Senior U.S. officials have held a first direct meeting with officials from the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls Yemen’s capital, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the new U.S. administration pushes to end a six-year war. FILE PHOTO: Houthi supporters rally against the United States' designation of Houthis as a foreign terrorist organisation, in Sanaa, Yemen January 25, 2021. The Houthis captured Yemen’s capital in 2014 and control most populated areas. Lenderking met Abdusalam in Muscat after meeting with Saudi and U.N. officials in Riyadh. CEASEFIRE TALKSIn ceasefire talks, Saudi Arabia has been seeking assurances on border security and curbing the influence of regional arch-rival Iran.
Oil up as OPEC+ considers rollover rather than raising output
       
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Wednesday, boosted by expectations that OPEC+ producers might decide against increasing output when they meet this week, while signs of progress in the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the United States gave further support. “The fundamentals of the oil market suggest further strength as oil demand grows with the recovery and leisure and travel activity is likely to bounce,” said Norbert Rücker, analyst at Swiss bank Julius Baer. “We see oil prices pushing temporarily above $70 by mid-year,” he added. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad al-Fares said the oil market was being supported by optimism about vaccinations. Biden said he hoped that the United States would be “back to normal” at this time next year and potentially sooner.
Exclusive: GM extends vehicle production cuts due to semiconductor chip shortage
       
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Wednesday it was further extending production cuts at three North American plants and adding a fourth to the list of factories hit by the global semiconductor chip shortage. The U.S. automaker did not disclose the impact on volumes or say which supplier or parts were affected by the chip shortage, but said it intends to recover as much of the lost output as possible. The Detroit automaker had previously extended production cuts at three North American plants into mid-March and said vehicles at two other plants would only be partially built. Stellantis said Wednesday the chip shortage could weigh on 2021 results. Industry officials and politicians have pushed U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to take a more active role in dealing with the chip shortage.
The low-tech path back to normalcy
       
Low-tech, high-trust approaches may provide a comforting alternative to the hard-to-navigate websites that have been erected to secure patients their vaccine appointments. “And some people have less trust in technology”Welcome back to Future Pulse, where we explore the convergence of health care and technology. Users of health tracking apps often aren’t aware that the companies behind them can sell health data to marketers, who use the information to target ads. ENCORE FOR CALIF. PRIVACY BILLS: California lawmakers behind two health privacy bills that failed last session amid pandemic-related obstacles are taking another run, writes POLITICO's Katy Murphy. What We're ClickingAre patient portals — and the difficulties they create for the less digitally-savvy — making health care more complicated than a world without them, asks an opinion piece in MedPage Today.
Solid sign-ups for Biden’s new ‘Obamacare’ coverage offer
       
HealthCare.gov offers subsidized private health insurance under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, catering mainly to low- and moderate-income working people. Though the sweetened subsidies only last through the end of next year, their availability is expected to boost insurance coverage. The figures are partial, since they only cover the 36 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov insurance market. “Obamacare” now covers more than 20 million people through a combination of subsidized private plans and, in most states, expanded Medicaid. Some estimates range from 5 million to 10 million, while the Congressional Budget Office suggests a lower number, more like 3 million.
Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy
       
Californians for the Arts, for example, surveyed arts and culture nonprofits in the state and found that about 64% had shrunk their workforces. They will be navigating a very different financial pathway.”Newman-Scott said BRIC has been helping sustain smaller arts nonprofits and offering artists unrestricted $10,000 grants through its Colene Brown Art Prize. The most vulnerable nonprofits may try to reduce costs this year by narrowing their focus or by furloughing workers. Some may seek a merger or an acquisition to bolster their financial viability, Harold noted, although doing so would still mean that fewer nonprofits would survive. We saw that with hundreds and hundreds of foundations.”___The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits.
Tactical shift: Europe seeks vaccine ‘overdrive’ to catch up
       
Like other countries in the European Union, its national vaccine campaign lags far behind that of Israel, Britain and the United States. France changed tactics earlier this week, allowing some people over 65 to get the AstraZeneca vaccine after initially restricting its use to younger people. France, which at more than 87,000 dead has among the highest coronavirus tolls in Europe, had used only 25% of the 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines it has received as of Tuesday. European nations’ age restrictions on AstraZeneca compounded problems caused by initial delivery delays and some public reticence toward the vaccine. Denmark, meanwhile, stands out as an EU vaccination success story.
Biden pulls Neera Tanden’s nomination as OMB director, after controversy over past tweets
       
President Joe Biden said on Tuesday night in a short statement that he had “accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget.”Tanden’s choice drew controversy after both Republican and Democratic senators took umbrage at some of her past tweets that harshly criticized politicians from both parties. The withdrawal comes amid a relatively smooth confirmation process for Biden’s cabinet, The Wall Street Journal noted, with most of the president’s picks being confirmed with bipartisan support. Tanden had however lost the support of West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, making her confirmation by the Senate difficult. Two Senate committees had postponed her nomination hearings. Read more: Neera Tanden is out as Biden’s OMB nomineeThe outlook: According to White House officials quoted by the Journal, Shalanda Young, Biden’s choice for deputy director of the budget office, is now in the lead to be nominated as OMB director.
How the Fed Found Itself at the Heart of America’s Inequality Crisis
       
The book, Petrou’s first, charges that the Federal Reserve is at the heart of an inequality crisis that has hollowed out the middle class. Do you agree with her prescription for the problem, which is to leave accommodative monetary policy in place for a long time? And to be clear, you blame 10 years of Fed policy for some of that precarity? One of the major mistakes the Fed made was viewing regulatory and monetary policy as silos. The Fed has to recognize that monetary policy has an impact on equality.
Bernie Sanders Won’t Help Out Josh Hawley This Time
       
GettyWhen Sen. Josh Hawley voiced his support late last year for giving millions of Americans $2,000 checks, he said he got a call from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ camp. But of course, something rather important happened since Hawley and Sanders first joined forces. So when Hawley floated his minimum wage plan on Friday, no apparent public or private efforts to collaborate with progressives followed. Clearly, Sanders previously believed that working with Hawley could help deliver direct relief to people hit hard by the pandemic. But Pete d’Alessandro, a former top Sanders political adviser in Iowa, said sometimes there isn’t a choice.
Ice reached a new low: using utility bills to hunt undocumented immigrants
       
The information has been mined by Ice, the Post reported, for immigration surveillance and enforcement operations. The fact is that undocumented workers are often the very people keeping all of us fed, warm and healthy during this terrible pandemic. In recognition of this fact, Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California, introduced his first bill last week, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act. More than 60 leading economists also recently wrote a group letter to the Biden administration arguing for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, especially undocumented essential workers. Instead of further empowering Ice’s punitive and unaccountable surveillance state, Biden should work with Congress to pass the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act.
Moderate Democrats Gripe About COVID-19 Relief Benefits
       
They are calling for slimmed-down unemployment benefits and stricter limits on who would receive the included $1,400 direct payments. Any big changes could derail the package in the Senate and threaten its support among Democrats in the House. Manchin, who has positioned himself as the conservative thorn in Democrats’ side, said he wants to narrow the jobless benefits in the bill. The House bill currently sets the jobless benefits to expire at the end of August. The president joined a weekly call with all Senate Democrats on Tuesday to advocate on behalf of the package.
US Capitol Police beef up security for March 4 amid concerns over QAnon conspiracy theory
       
The United States Capitol Police said it has beefed up security on Capitol Hill this week due to "concerning information and intelligence" related to March 4, the date that far-right conspiracy theorists believe former President Donald Trump will return to power. The Department has communicated our enhanced posture as well as the available intelligence for the entire workforce." PHOTO: The United States Capitol Police seal appears on the side of a bus parked near the federal law enforcement agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2021. PHOTO: Members of the National Guard are seen on the east front of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2021. US Capitol Police beef up security for March 4 amid concerns over QAnon conspiracy theory originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
The weakening of the dollar leads to a grim 2030’s
       
Waste firms make money from removal contracts with municipalities, and fees they charge companies to bury their trash in landfills. The state acquired Juniper Ridge in 2004 in order to preserve landfill capacity for waste generated by its citizens. Fees for construction and demolition debris vary, but range from $33 to $95 per ton, according to the state’s environmental agency. According to Nichols, garbage imported for disposal contributes to leachate, a liquid that forms when rain water filters through garbage. It’s a big concern.”In a statement, Casella said the Juniper Ridge Landfill is “fully compliant” with Maine environmental regulations.
Essential Politics: Kamala Harris enters a supermarket — and a security bubble
       
Good morning and welcome to the Essential Politics Newsletter — the Kamala Harris edition. This week, I thought I would offer a backstage glimpse into how strange even the most mundane places can feel when a president or vice president shows up. AdvertisementNewsletter Get our Essential Politics newsletter The latest news, analysis and insights from our politics teams from Sacramento to D.C. AdvertisementVice President Kamala Harris speaks with pharmacists during her visit to a Giant supermarket in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25. This type of preparation, security and theater is not new or unusual for a president or vice president.
Majority white areas got more PPP business loan money than Latino areas, UCLA study says
       
Majority white areas of California received more money from the federal Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses than majority Latino areas did, according to a study by UCLA researchers. The disproportionate amount of PPP money going to wealthier, whiter areas may make economic and racial disparities worse across California, said the study by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative and Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, released on Wednesday. President Biden recently announced a two-week period, from Feb. 24 to March 9, where all PPP loans will go to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. “It is wrong that we have received less in PPP loans than businesses in wealthier neighborhoods that may be better connected. After the first UCLA study on PPP disparities was published in December, lawmakers earmarked a chunk of the second round of PPP funds to be distributed through community development financial institutions, Dominguez-Villegas said.
Senate COVID-19 relief package includes checks, but drops minimum wage, transit projects
       
The most notable change from the House version will be removing language to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. AdvertisementThe Senate version is expected to include the $1,400 direct payments to tens of millions of people, as passed by the House. Republicans upset with the relief package are expected to submit the majority of amendments as a stalling technique. In order to meet that deadline, the House would have to accept whatever changes the Senate makes to the bill. said the House worked with the Senate in writing the version it passed, and he’s not concerned about changes the Senate might make.
R.I. vaccine subcommittee unanimously approves Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine
       
PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s vaccine subcommittee voted Wednesday morning to allow the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be allocated for adults over the age of 18. AdvertisementTricia Washburn, chief of immunization for the state and subcommittee member, said Wednesday that the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are similar to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. However, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine may increase health equity because it is feasible to implement in a wide variety of settings and can be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures. An opened vial of Johnson & Johnson vaccine can last up to two hours before it’s wasted. Some neighboring states have already started announcing plans on how to administer their share of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Obamacare sign-ups increase during special enrollment period for COVID-19
       
WASHINGTON – More than 206,000 Americans signed up for health insurance through the federally run HealthCare.gov in the first two weeks of the three-month special enrollment period created by President Joe Biden, the administration announced Wednesday. But it's still a small fraction of those who lack insurance coverage. The administration has declined to estimate how many people will become covered before the enrollment period ends on May 15. "But we can’t slow down until every American has the security and peace of mind that quality, affordable health coverage provides," he said. States that operate their own are also holding special enrollment periods but the time period and other details vary.
‘Masks still required’ at these Dallas and Fort Worth restaurants and bars
       
Greg Abbott announced he would remove the mask mandate in Texas, Dallas chefs and restaurant owners who were opposed to the idea took to social media. “Oddfellows will remain a mask-wearing and mask-enforcing business,” reads an Instagram post from the Oak Cliff-based coffee and brunch spot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that wearing masks — and in some cases, two — will help slow the spread of the disease, and President Joe Biden has said that wearing one shouldn’t be a political statement. Some operators will require masks for employees, but make it optional for guests. He says continuing to require mask wearing by guests and employees should be an ethical and moral issue, not a political one.
The Nevada Poll: Nevadans give Biden, Sisolak favorable marks
       
Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, with more than half supporting Sisolak’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden, left, and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, right. Steve Sisolak and President Joe Biden are leading the state and nation, according to results of The Nevada Poll released Tuesday. The Nevada Poll surveyed 500 likely voters across the state by phone and online from Feb. 26 to March 1, with a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. As is typical for the state, Biden and Sisolak, Democrats both, have slightly positive approval ratings in Washoe County, stronger support in Clark and much more negative ratings in the rural counties.
Solid sign-ups for Biden's new 'Obamacare' coverage offer
       
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 200,000 people signed up for coverage in the first two weeks after President Joe Biden re-opened HealthCare.gov as part of his coronavirus response, the government said Wednesday. HealthCare.gov offers subsidized private health insurance under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, catering mainly to low- and moderate-income working people. If Congress passes Biden's coronavirus response bill, taxpayer-funded financial aid will become considerably more generous, and a greater number of solid middle-class households would also qualify for assistance. Though the sweetened subsidies only last through the end of next year, their availability is expected to boost insurance coverage. The Democratic COVID legislation also has incentives for states to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults.
CVS now offering coronavirus vaccines to Massachusetts teachers
       
Massachusetts teachers are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccination at CVS locations, according to a Wednesday update. Teachers, daycare and preschool workers are listed as eligible for vaccination at CVS alongside other priority groups including the elderly, health care workers and people with comorbidities. All appointments at CVS locations across the state were fully booked as of Wednesday morning. Massachusetts teachers have long pushed for vaccination eligibility as the state gets kids back in the classroom. The updated eligibility follows a Tuesday announcement from President Joe Biden that all teachers should be vaccinated in March.
Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street, yields rise
       
.......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as gains for banks are offset by losses in technology companies and other parts of the market. Banks were benefiting from another tick higher in long-term interest rates in the bond market, which allows them to charge higher rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans. BANGKOK — World stock markets and U.S. futures rose Wednesday after a Federal Reserve governor said the central bank is still far from raising interest rates. Expectations for stronger economic growth in coming months have fueled worries that interest rates will head higher. Higher interest rates make each $1 of profit that companies earn a little less valuable.
Police disarm pipe bomb at Iowa polling site
       
Police in Ankeny, Iowa, say they disarmed a live pipe bomb after it was found by a pair of dog walkers at a polling location as voting took place in a local election Tuesday. "I want to thank our law enforcement officers, first responders, and local election officials who acted quickly to protect Iowa voters and poll workers." Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) praised local law enforcement for their timely response to the threat. "Great job today @Polkauditorfitz, poll workers, law enforcement & everyone involved with ensuring the safety of voters & the public," he tweeted, tagging Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald. ADVERTISEMENTSince the 2020 presidential election, law enforcement officials have warned against the growing threat of political violence.
Bird appears in Indonesian forest for first time in 170 years
       
Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. The photos more closely matched an illustration of a black-browed babbler – a bird listed in Mr Trisiyanto’s guidebook as possibly extinct. “Basically, we have zero knowledge about this bird,” Mr Akbar said. “We’re now seeing this bird alive for the first time in all of its natural glory,” Mr Yong said.
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman accused in German court of ‘crimes against humanity’
       
The murderer cannot be allowed to get away with it, otherwise it will happen again.”Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. The complaint comes days after a US intelligence report found the crown prince had approved the killing. The report’s findings were rejected by the Saudi government, which has denied any involvement by the crown prince. Following the report, Ms Cengiz posted on Twitter that the crown prince “should be punished without delay.”“If the crown prince is not punished, it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder which will endanger us all and be a stain on our humanity,” she said.
Republicans continue to run against transgender rights
       
the number of bills being filed.”Mr Trump, who rarely talked about transgender rights as a candidate, ignored the issue in 2020 rhetorically. Mr Biden, a relatively early supporter of transgender rights, pledged to undo all of that. “What if that shot was taken away by a competitor who claims to be a girl, but was born a boy?”Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the Inside Washington newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. There were 79 pieces of legislation in states to restrict transgender rights last year, many focused on student athletes.
Dems push longtime Appropriations staffer to head WH budget office after Neera Tanden withdraws
       
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn have all thrown their support behind the longtime House Appropriations staffer, personally pushing her nomination to the White House on Tuesday evening. Tanden is expected to get a White House position that does not require Senate confirmation. But without Manchin's support, the White House was left scrambling to find a Republican to support her. White House chief of staff Ron Klain initially insisted the administration was 'fighting our guts out' for her. As recently as Monday, the White House indicated it was sticking by Tanden's nomination, with press secretary Jen Psaki noting Tanden's 'decades of experience' in defending their pick.
Covid US: Joe Biden urges calm as Texas and Mississippi lift restrictions
       
The two southern states join a rapidly growing movement by governors and other leaders across the US to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials. Texas is the largest state to do away with mask mandates and restrictions as Gov Greg Abbott declared it was time to 'open Texas 100 percent'. Most of the country has lived under mask mandates during the pandemic, with at least 37 states requiring face coverings to some degree. Attendees walk through the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson, Mississippi in October 2020MISSISSIPPI CASES: Mississippi reported 301 new infections; the state has recorded a total of 295,295, infectionsMISSISSIPPI DEATHS: Mississippi reported 44 new deaths on Tuesday. Mississippi's cases, deaths and hospitalizations have also plunged in recent weeks and are now at the lowest levels since October.
Russia Fines RFE/RL $500K Under ‘Foreign Agent’ Law
       
RFE/RL has accused the Russian authorities of trying to squeeze it out of the country with “disastrous” foreign agent labeling requirements and fines of up to $5 million. Russia has fined the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty media outlet more than half a million dollars so far for violating the country’s controversial “foreign agent” law, Interfax reported Wednesday. In addition to the financial penalties, the U.S.-funded organization faces website closures and prison time for employees under Russia’s newly tightened “foreign agent” law. Critics say the recent expansions to Russia’s 2012 “foreign agent” law are designed to stifle dissent ahead of this fall’s legislative elections. Russia labeled RFE/RL and its regional affiliates “foreign agents” in 2017 after the United States required Kremlin-funded media to register under anti-propaganda laws.
Progressives Show Patience With Biden, At Least Until Relief Bill Passes
       
Progressives Show Patience With Biden, At Least Until Relief Bill PassesEnlarge this image toggle caption Patrick Semansky/AP Patrick Semansky/APPresident Biden wasn't many progressives' first, second, third — or maybe even 20th — choice in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary. But ever since winning the party's nomination last spring amid the onset of the global pandemic and economic downturn, Biden has vowed to govern as the most progressive president since Franklin Roosevelt. Biden made a $15-an-hour minimum wage – a long-sought progressive goal – a part of his $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan. Harris, Biden, and Senate Democratic leaders have made it clear that isn't happening. "You know, it's like a gut punch to millions of people," recalled Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the House Progressive Caucus.
ICC Launches Investigation Into Alleged War Crimes in Palestinian Territories
       
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the International Criminal Court of "pure anti-Semitism" after The Hague-based tribunal approved in principle a probe into alleged war crimes in Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories. The International Criminal Court has opened a formal probe into alleged war crimes committed in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Fatou Bensouda, the ICC's chief prosecutor, said in a statement Wednesday. "Today, I confirm the initiation by the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the situation in Palestine," Bensouda said. Israeli authorities blasted the earlier ruling, with Prime Minister Netanyahu accusing the court of "pure anti-Semitism" and slamming the ICC's push to investigate what called "fake war crimes." Last week, Axios reported that Netanyahu had asked Biden to keep in place sanctions imposed on ICC officials by his predecessor's administration.
Michelle Obama reflects on 'glorious' inauguration mixed with concern 'about more riots'
       
To Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden's inauguration was a "glorious day" mixed with concerns about more violence following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots. Obama, 57, sat down with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts in her first interview following Biden's inauguration Jan. 20. "It was a glorious day, the sun was shining, the mood was wonderful, but it was also mixed. Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old inaugural poet whom Obama interviewed for Time Magazine last month, was also an inauguration highlight for the former first lady. "I'm excited for families and children everywhere to join us on our adventures as we discover, cook, and eat delicious food from all over the world," Obama tweeted at the time.
Live Updates: Biden’s Stimulus Plan Depends on a United Democratic Front
       
Senate Democrats will have to stick together if President Biden cannot persuade any Republicans to vote for his $1.9 trillion economic relief plan. If Republican senators are united in opposition to President Biden’s stimulus bill, the chamber’s Democrats will need to be united in order to pass it. The demise of Ms. Tanden’s nomination offered a reminder of the math problem Mr. Biden must contend with for his cabinet picks and the stimulus measure: If Republican senators are united in opposition, he cannot afford any Democratic defections. Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, came out against her nomination last month, meaning that she would need the backing of at least one Republican senator to be confirmed. If no Republican support emerges, Mr. Biden must keep all 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus on board.
Britain Announces Relief Programs as Economy Slowly Reopens: Live Updates
       
ET Britain Announces Relief Programs as Economy Slowly Reopens: Live Updates RIGHT NOW Markets are expected to open higher as optimism for an economic recovery rises. A year into the job, Mr. Sunak is trying to use this budget to juggle a number of different goals. In the short term, he is aiming to support jobs as the vaccine rollout continues and the economy cautiously reopens. He has alos faced questions about how he will meet the government’s commitment to “level up” the economy to reduce regional inequality and revitalize the post-Brexit economy. The pandemic had led to one of the largest and most sustained economic shocks Britain had seen, Mr. Sunak said.
Biden still hasn’t briefed top senators on Syria airstrike as Dems fume
       
The Biden administration has still not briefed senators directly on last week’s airstrike of a facility in Syria allegedly used by an Iran-allied militia group, as Democratic lawmakers continue to express anger over the move. “I didn’t hear anything today that convinced me that there was justification that I’d apply to any administration,” he continued. Democratic lawmakers including Sen. Chris Murphy are unsatisfied with the Biden administration’s answers surrounding the bombing. US airstrikes ordered by President Biden destroyed buildings at the Iraq-Syria border crossing. The Biden administration has still not briefed senators directly on last week’s airstrike of a facility in Syria allegedly used by an Iran-allied militia group.
Russian sanctions are a 'good start' but not enough: Alexei Navalny ally
       
US TO SANCTION 7 SENIOR RUSSIAN OFFICIALS OVER NAVALNY POISONINGThe Biden administration also announced sanctions under the U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act for Russian entities. "The U.S. government has exercised its authorities to send a clear signal that Russia’s use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights have severe consequences. Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes international norms," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned it would respond to the "punishment," however minister Sergei Lavrov has not specified how. PUTIN CRITIC NAVALNY REPORTEDLY TRANSFERRED TO 'COMPLETELY LAWLESS' PENAL COLONY OUTSIDE MOSCOWNavalny survived poisoning by the nerve agent "Novichok" last summer -- a charge the Russian government denies.
Capitol riot hearing: FBI, National Guard and Homeland Security officials to testify before Senate
       
Congress will seek more answers Wednesday about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as national security officials from the FBI, National Guard and Homeland Security are expected to testify before a Senate hearing. A second joint hearing between the committees on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules and Administration will convene Wednesday at 10 a.m. to examine the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. At a previous Senate hearing last week, officials who had been in charge of security at the Capitol -- namely former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving -- gave conflicting accounts regarding when a request for National Guard support was submitted on Jan. 6. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol building and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into the actions on Jan. 6. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPWray also revealed that the FBI has some 2,000 investigations open nationwide in connection to the riot.
Lauren Appell: Dr. Seuss silenced – sobering lessons as cancel culture strikes beloved author
       
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known in households across America as Dr. Seuss, just became the latest cancel culture casualty. 6 DR. SEUSS BOOKS TO STOP BEING PUBLISHED BECAUSE OF RACIST IMAGERYDr. Seuss Enterprises said it will stop publishing six of the author’s books due to racial and insensitive imagery. WHO IS DR. SEUSS AUTHOR THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL? CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTERHere are a few quotes from Dr. Seuss that speak to those universal values. A book by Dr. Seuss is reportedly the first story one in four American children receive.
After Neera Tanden's defeat, Republicans set sights on HHS nominee Becerra
       
Fresh off President Biden withdrawing Neera Tanden's nomination for head of the Office of Management and Budget, Republicans are now looking to prevent the confirmation of Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra. A number of Republicans have already voiced concern over Becerra's professional background, believing the California attorney general is not qualified to lead HHS. Heritage Action for America's West Virginia ad calls Becerra’s nomination "a big test for Joe Manchin," claiming that the HHS pick "wants to ban" guns. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPWhen asked if the senators have reached decisions on Becerra's nomination, Sinema's office said she does not preview votes and Manchin's did not respond. Heritage Action is working to expose the radical personnel and policies being advanced by this administration, and we are urging every Senator to reject Becerra's nomination."
What to watch today: Dow futures turn negative, giving up earlier gains
       
The Senate is expected to start debate as soon as Wednesday on its version of the House-passed, $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Monday warned states against lifting public health restrictions too quickly. The properties include the Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Shares of Las Vegas Sands were up almost 3% in the premarket. (CNBC)Microsoft (MSFT) said that China-based government hackers have exploited a bug in its email server software to target U.S. organizations.
Vaccines and stimulus are a powerful cocktail for the US recovery
       
A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business' Before the Bell newsletter. You can sign up right hereLondon (CNN Business) Those betting on an economic boom in the United States this spring and summer just got a dose of very good news. Bank of America, for example, recently raised expectations for US economic growth to 6.5% this year, based on expectations of a $1.7 trillion stimulus package, as well as "better news on the virus front and encouraging economic data." Bitcoin vs. gold: Some argue that bitcoin could be a better bet than gold at a time when interest rates are climbing. But not forThe pandemic drove the big box chain to a record year of sales growth , my CNN Business colleague Nathaniel Meyersohn reports.
Covid live updates: Health officials warn early easing of restrictions could lead to 4th Covid wave
       
President Joe Biden on Tuesday said the U.S. will have a large enough supply of coronavirus vaccines to inoculate every adult in the nation by the end of May. Biden declined to estimate when things could go back to "normal," and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the United States is far from herd immunity , which is when enough people in a given community have antibodies against a specific disease. Yet on Tuesday, the governors of Texas and Mississippi both announced they are lifting mask mandates and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity in their states. The U.S. is recording at least 65,400 new Covid-19 cases and at least 1,900 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data. The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
Sacred Apache land 'on death row' in standoff with foreign mining titans
       
The bill transferred 2,400 acres of national forestland, including Oak Flat, to Resolution in exchange for 5,300 acres of private land owned by the mining company. The legislation stunned and saddened Naelyn Pike, a San Carlos Apache tribal member who first testified before Congress in opposition to the arrangement when she was 13. The mine beneath Oak Flat is projected to satisfy 25 percent of U.S. demand. Oak Flat, along with its petroglyph-covered walls and Apache burial sites, is set to be swallowed up in a crater deep enough to hold the Eiffel Tower. The Apache Stronghold group argued in the suit that the planned destruction of Oak Flat would violate religious freedom protections.
Trump and the GOP made their biggest 2020 gains in these South Texas counties
       
WASHINGTON — Last week, we examined the counties — in Georgia — where Democrats made their biggest gains since 2008. Today, we look at the counties — in Texas — where Donald Trump improved his vote share the most between 2016 and 2020. In fact, of the six counties in the entire U.S. where Trump made his biggest gains during this span, five were in South Texas. Here are the five Texas counties:Starr (Texas)2016: Clinton 79.1 percent Trump 18.9 percent2020: Biden 52.1 percent, Trump 47.1 percentMaverick (Texas)2016: Clinton 76.5 percent, Trump 20.7 percent2020: Biden 54.3 percent, Trump 44.8 percentJim Hogg (Texas)2016: Clinton 77.2 percent, Trump 20.3 percent2020: Biden: 58.8 percent, Trump 40.9 percentKenedy (Texas)2016: Clinton 53.2 percent, Trump 45.2 percent2020: Biden: 33.5 percent, Trump 65.5 percentZapata (Texas)2016: Clinton 65.7 percent, Trump 32.8 percent2020: Biden 47.1 percent, Trump 52.5 percentWhat do these five Texas counties have in common? But those places are different than South Texas, and South Texas is different than Los Angeles.
U.S. Vaccine Shortage Could Soon End With Oversupply
       
A vaccine shortage is on track to turn into a vaccine bounty in just a few months. But the authorization of a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine over the weekend, and an agreement announced Tuesday by which Merck will help manufacture doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is set to change that soon. “Good news is we estimate vaccine supply growing to 380M+ people in [the] USA by Q2 coming from [ Pfizer ], [Moderna], [Johnson & Johnson], and [ Novavax ] by summer,” Yee wrote. Moderna shares are up 40.5% so far this year. Pfizer shares are down 9%, Johnson & Johnson shares are up 1%, and Novavax shares are up 84.7%.
Democrats Are Already Looking Ahead to More Economic Relief
       
Doug Mills-Pool/Getty ImagesA group of Democratic senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday asking him to include recurring direct payments and automatically-extended unemployment benefits in an economic development package the president will propose later this year. While the Senate is set to introduce its version of Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package today, the senators’ letter targets a separate infrastructure plan called Build Back Better. First introduced by Biden last summer, the plan also aims to increase manufacturing and related jobs.
Las Vegas Sands Is Leaving Las Vegas. Here’s Why.
       
Exhibit one: Las Vegas Sands is exiting Las Vegas. Wednesday, the casino company agreed to sell its Vegas real estate and casino operations to private-equity firm Apollo Global Management for about $6.3 billion. It’s a little jarring to see Las Vegas Sands leave its namesake city. Las Vegas Sands, for instance, lost about $2 billion after making more than $3 billion in 2019. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now,” Biden said Tuesday.
Biden Says U.S. Could Have Enough Vaccine Doses for Every American in May
       
Mark Makela/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. will have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every American by the end of May thanks in part to Merck working with Johnson & Johnson to ramp up vaccine supplies after production delays caused the company to miss its initial target. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now,” Biden said Tuesday. “We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another.”
Rocket Drops, Roku Rises, and the Stock Market Gets Spooked by Rising Yields
       
Lyft (LYFT) shares rose 4.5% after the company said it just saw its best week of ridership since last March. Roku (ROKU) shares were up 2% after KeyBanc Capital Markets upgraded the stock to Overweight from Sector Weight. Eaton (ETN) shares rose 1% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight. Alcoa (AA) shares rose 4% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to Buy from Sell. Rocket Cos. (RKT) has dropped 12% follow Tuesday’s massive gain after RBC downgraded the stock to Sector Perform from Outperform.
Father shares family reunification story as lawyers search for parents of more than 500 children
       
In the wake of former President Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, thousands of children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Three years later, one father tells Mireya Villarreal about his family's experience as lawyers are still searching for parents of more than 500 children. MIREYA VILLARREAL: Daniel Paz and his daughter Angie have been living in Ohio nearly three years after crossing the border. MIREYA VILLARREAL: Did you know that there was a possibility you would be separated from your family, from your children? MIREYA VILLARREAL: Paz believes he is one of the lucky ones.
Jobless aid, direct checks in play as U.S. Senate nears vote on COVID-19 aid bill
       
A vote to proceed could be an early indicator of how much Republican opposition the package faces. The bill would pay for vaccines and medical supplies, boost jobless assistance and send a new round of emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and state and local governments. Before the legislation comes to a final vote, Democrats will have to sort out a welter of competing ideas as they seek to advance the bill. With Democrats and their allies controlling 50 seats, Vice President Kamala Harris might need to give them a tie-breaking vote. The Senate could vote on the bill by the end of the week.
Biden hit with first Cabinet defeat as White House withdraws Neera Tanden nomination for budget chief
       
Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesBiden's pick to head the White House budget office withdrew on Tuesday. Sen. Joe Manchin came out in opposition to Neera Tanden's nomination, jeopardizing her path forward in an evenly divided Senate. "I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation," Tanden said in a withdrawal letter released by the White House. Tanden's nomination was imperiled after Sen. Joe Manchin said he opposed her nomination to lead the White House budget office last month. White House chief of staff Ron Klain recently said that Tanden would receive another job in the White House if her nomination fell through - one that doesn't require Senate confirmation.
AOC slams debate over $15 minimum wage as 'utterly embarrassing'
       
The federal minimum wage has not increased in more than a decade, although a growing number of states have voted to adopt their own wage increases. There are 29 states with wages above the federal minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At $14 an hour, California currently has the highest minimum wage in the nation. The House passed its version of Biden's relief measure over the weekend that included the $15 wage hike. The Senate could move as soon as this week to pass its own version of the bill, which will exclude the $15 minimum wage increase.
Stock futures rally as Biden says all US adults could be vaccinated by June
       
U.S. stock futures rallied Wednesday morning after President Biden said all U.S. adults could receive a COVID-19 vaccine by midyear. “We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said Tuesday. Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson announced on Tuesday they would team up to manufacture the latter’s recently approved single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The partnership comes after Johnson & Johnson agreed to supply 100 million doses by June, but had run into supply and material issues. Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands Corp. reached a deal to sell its Las Vegas real estate for $6.25 billion as it shifts its focus to opportunities in Asia.
Morning Bell With Jim Cramer: How to Trade Apple and Zoom
       
Jim Cramer shares stock-market news including how to trade Zoom after earnings, Apple stock and why chemical giant Dow is a missed opportunity. TheStreet's Katherine Ross and Cramer are talking about how to trade Zoom after earnings, Apple stock and why chemical giant Dow is a missed opportunity. Apple: Buy Or Sell? Dow: Buy Or Sell? In early trading on Tuesday, shares of Dow (DOW) - Get Report topped the list of the day's best performing Dow Jones Industrial Average components, trading up 1.4%.
Essential California: More vaccine doses coming
       
Newsletter The stories shaping California Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week. Johnson & Johnson joined the field over the weekend, when its vaccine was authorized for inoculations. In an unusual partnership, Merck will now help produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an effort to increase supply more quickly. Los Angeles TimesAdvertisementSupport our journalism Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times[See also: “Neera Tanden’s confirmation fight is the first morality play of post-Trump Washington” in the Los Angeles Times]California is failing many of its workers, according to a new report commissioned by Newsom.
What Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Kelly want in next COVID-19 relief package
       
As the Senate prepares to debate the bill, perhaps as early as Wednesday, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have sought to help shape the first package to emerge under President Joe Biden. Sinema and Kelly are part of the bipartisan group of senators working with the Biden administration to move the legislation, which they have long said was urgently needed to help working and middle-class families and seniors. The legislation seeks to aid tribal nations and state and local governments, and to fund COVID-19 vaccines and testing. Kelly said governors will still have discretion to spend money to combat the public-health and economic consequences of the pandemic, he said.
Our efforts to boost trade with Mexico are about to pay off (if Congress does its part)
       
Ever since, Arizona governors have sought the next best thing: a vibrant and energized trading relationship between Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora. After all, a crucial driver of our economic growth is our relationship with Mexico – our largest trading partner. Major steps, from Lucid to consular IDThe border relationship was badly damaged by Senate Bill 1070, and has more recently suffered the headwinds of presidential diplomatic hostility. And it affects well over 100,000 people, many in the trading economy, and all of them Arizona consumers. Fred DuVal is a member of the state Board of Regents, a former senior White House aide and a 2020 Hunt-Kane Fellow.
Pennsylvania teachers, school staff to get 1-dose vaccine
       
Teachers currently are grouped in Phase 1B, along with child care workers, police, firefighters, grocery store workers and others considered to be essential workers. Statewide, Department of Education data shows about 121,000 public school and charter school teachers, plus another 100,000 full- and part-time support staff, as of last year. In Philadelphia, which gets vaccine shipments directly from the federal government, city officials expect to receive 13,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, with no additional doses for at least three weeks after. As of last month, about 450 of the state’s 500 school districts were offering at least some brick-and-mortar instruction, according to state data. About 1.3 million students are in those districts, while 440,000 students are in districts where instruction is strictly virtual.
DeWine faces choppy political waters 1 year into pandemic
       
With his amiable virus expert gone and criticism growing, DeWine augmented his bi-weekly briefings with two primetime speeches to Ohioans, on July 15 and Nov. 10, pleading for people to wear masks and socially distance themselves to slow the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, a faction of far-right conservatives grew angrier and louder as the months passed. They refused to wear masks as DeWine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised. Some GOP governors were opening their states in response, leaving DeWine in an increasingly shrinking club of Republicans willing to embrace some continued restrictions. Less than a week after his November speech, DeWine found himself in the upside down political position of being praised by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on the same day he was trolled on Twitter by former GOP President Donald Trump, who suggested that DeWine needed a primary challenger.
New York prepares for pilot to administer Johnson & Johnson single-shot doses
       
As it's a one-dose vaccine, with Johnson & Johnson, more people can be vaccinated with fewer doses. 'Counties, pharmacies, and Federally Qualified Health Centers will also be receiving Johnson & Johnson allocations this week.' 'There will then be a lag in Johnson & Johnson production until it ticks up again roughly two weeks later. This pilot plan will maximize the initial doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and get as many shots in arms as possible.' Responding to criticisms of the wait times, a spokesperson for Governor Cuomo pointed to the pilot Johnson & Johnson overnight program and said the site is already 'firing on all cylinders'.
David Shor’s (Updated) 2020 Autopsy and 2022 Forecast
       
Do you have any sense what was behind the large rightward shift among Hispanic voters? In the summer, following the emergence of “defund the police” as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined. I mean, Hispanic voters are more liberal on immigration than white voters. If you look at, for example, decriminalizing border crossings, that’s not something that a majority of Hispanic voters support. If these college-educated were primarily rejecting Donald Trump, Democrats might not be able to count on their support in 2022 and beyond.
The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022
       
By the numbers, at least, Republicans are more on defense heading into 2022: Of the 34 Senate seats up next year, Republicans are defending 20 to Democrats' 14. The top 10 Senate seats most likely to flip are based on CNN's reporting, as well as historical data about how states and candidates have performed. His Wisconsin seat is the third most likely to flip, but the two-term senator is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent. The extent to which Trump will get involved and will back candidates at odds with Senate GOP leadership remains to be seen. For all those reasons, Alaska doesn't come close to cracking this list of seats most likely to flip, despite Trump's threats to Murkowski.
Police disarm pipe bomb at Iowa polling site
       
Police in Ankeny, Iowa, say they disarmed a live pipe bomb after it was found by a pair of dog walkers at a polling place as voting took place in a local election Tuesday. "I want to thank our law enforcement officers, first responders, and local election officials who acted quickly to protect Iowa voters and poll workers." Paul Pate, the state's Republican top election's official, praised local law enforcement for their timely response to the threat. "Great job today [local elections workers], poll workers, law enforcement & everyone involved with ensuring the safety of voters & the public," he tweeted. ADVERTISEMENTSince the 2020 presidential election, law enforcement officials have warned against the growing threat of political violence.
Biden's Interior secretary pick Haaland secures Republican support
       
FILE PHOTO: Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NM, speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. February 23, 2021. Interior Department, U.S. Representative Deb Haaland, secured backing from a moderate Republican senator on Wednesday, further paving her way to confirmation. Collins’ support allows extra breathing room should another Democrat oppose the nomination. Manchin and Collins earlier rejected Biden’s proposed budget director, Neera Tanden, whose nomination was yanked on Tuesday. The two senators acknowledged the differ with Haaland on some issues, but praised her vow to work with both political parties.
Iran’s FATF debate heats up as nuclear deal remains in limbo
       
Moderates and hardliners at odds again over contentious Financial Action Task Force legislation as US sanctions against Iran remain in place. In a televised speech on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani advocated for the ratification of two remaining bills to complete Iran’s action plan with the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is a global intergovernmental organisation tasked with devising standards on combating money laundering and “terrorism financing”. As part of Iran’s action plan with the FATF, initially agreed upon more than six years ago, the country had to finalise four pieces of legislation. The current US sanctions on Iran were imposed by former US President Donald Trump who in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Race for EV batteries pits conservationists against green energy
       
Conservationists were quick to suspect ioneer Ltd, an Australian firm that wants to mine the lithium that lies beneath the flowers for use in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. To please conservationists, Biden has vowed to set aside at least 30 percent of US federal land and coastal areas for conservation, triple current levels. Biden is open to allowing more mines on federal land, the sources said, but will not give the industry carte blanche to dig everywhere. Metals neededDemand for metals used in EV batteries is expected to rise sharply as automakers including Tesla Inc, BMW and General Motors plan major expansions of EV production. Federal land is teeming with many of these EV metals, according to the US Geological Survey.
What's popular on Facebook? Extreme far right political views and lies, study says
       
Far-right sources of news and information that spread misinformation have even higher engagement than far-right sources overall, generating on average 65% more engagement per follower, according to the study. Facebook says the NYU study mostly examines how people engage with certain types of content, not how many people actually see it on the platform. But the report echoes findings from other researchers that far-right content resonates with Facebook users, in large part because it elicits strong reactions. The top 5 far-right news and information sources included in the NYU study were Dan Bongino, Newsmax, Breitbart, TruthFeed, and Trending Politics. Engagement with posts from far-right and far-left news sources peaked around Election Day and again on Jan. 6 when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, the study report found.
Power Up: Some Democrats want voting rights to be the filibuster exception
       
The PoliciesTHE VOTING RIGHTS EXCEPTION? The “For the People Act” includes measures to expand early and absentee voting, establish automatic voter registration, restore voting rights for individuals with past criminal convictions, etc. The Supreme Court yesterday heard a challenge to Arizona's election laws and appears poised to uphold two voting restrictions in the state that could hinder future challenges to voting rights' restrictions, our colleague Robert Barnes reports. The case is the “most important voting rights case in almost a decade,” per the New York Times's Adam Liptak. A former Obama advisor:On the HillGO TIME: Senate Democrats could place the full $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package before the chamber as early as today.
Gov. Larry Hogan: Open the damn schools – Biden must send this message loud and clear
       
This went beyond just keeping local public schools closed. Threatened by declining enrollments as parents frantically pulled their children out of public schools, Montgomery County ordered nonpublic schools to shut down as well. I called on every county school system to reopen by March 1. Yet, within hours, three large county school systems – Baltimore, Harford and Howard – announced that they would comply with the March 1 deadline and others soon followed. Mr. President, send the message loud and clear: Open the damn schools.
Thompson: Any new infrastructure spending plan will likely support green initiatives across several industries
       
Share Share Article via Facebook Share Article via Twitter Share Article via LinkedIn Share Article via EmailThompson: Any new infrastructure spending plan will likely support green initiatives across several industriesKathryn Thompson, CEO of Thompson Research Group, discusses the strong performance of the transports sector this year, amid optimism over the reopening of the U.S. economy and reports of a major infrastructure package from the Biden administration.
America's biggest companies push for path to citizenship for 'Dreamers'
       
America's biggest companies urged Congress on Wednesday to establish a permanent path to citizenship for "Dreamers" — undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Lawmakers and advocates point to the Dream Act as a potential stand-alone bill that could garner bipartisan support. It would provide a pathway to permanent legal residence and eventually citizenship for some young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. DACA protects the young undocumented immigrants who would be covered by the Dream Act from deportation but does not provide a path to citizenship. DACA recipients working at some of the companies in the coalition are also meeting virtually with Senators and staff on Wednesday to push for support of the Dream Act.
5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday
       
Coming off their best days since November, the 30-stock average Tuesday fell 0.5% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.7% as tech stocks pulled back. The latest ADP report on private sector employment is set for release at 8:30 a.m. U.S. companies are expected to have added 225,000 new jobs in February compared to January of gains 174,000 positions. The ADP lately has not been the best predictor of the government's monthly jobs report, which comes out Friday. Brandon Bell | Pool | ReutersThe Senate is expected to start debate as soon as Wednesday on its version of the House-passed, $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill.
Futures advance as vaccines, stimulus boost bets on economic rebound
       
(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as a swift global roll out of vaccines and a new round of stimulus bolstered bets on a quick economic rebound, with investors also focusing on private employment and service sector reports. FILE PHOTO: The Fearless Girl statue is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 12, 2021. President Joe Biden also said the United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May. At 06:35 a.m. EST, Dow E-minis were up 202 points, or 0.64% and S&P 500 E-minis were up 21.5 points, or 0.56%. A separate report is likely to show U.S. private payrolls rebounded further in February after the economy shed jobs in December.
Exclusive: U.S. House Democrats urge Biden to revert to Obama-era Cuba detente
       
(Reuters) - Eighty U.S. House of Representatives Democrats urged President Joe Biden on Tuesday to repeal Donald Trump’s “cruel” sanctions on Cuba and renew engagement, an early sign of support in Congress for easing the clamp-down on the Communist-run country. FILE PHOTO: A view of Cuban and U.S. flags beside the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, December 15, 2020. The letter was led by lawmakers Bobby Rush, Gwen Moore, Barbara Lee and Steve Cohen, long-time supporters of engagement with Cuba. Signers also included the leaders of the influential House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Financial Services and Appropriations committees. But Biden has not yet indicated whether he will fully revert to the historic detente initiated by Democratic former President Barack Obama when Biden was vice president.
World stocks gain as bond yields steady
       
The gains for equities came as benchmark U.S. government bond yields steadied further after last month’s sell-off. Bond yields rise when their prices fall. Euro zone government bond yields were little changed, with the benchmark German 10-year Bund yield flat at -0.34%. Fears that last week’s sell-off in U.S. Treasuries could resume may also put a lid on stock prices, they said. The dollar had gained in recent days from hopes the United States would enjoy a faster economic recovery, and that the U.S. central bank would tolerate higher bond yields.
Susan Collins Will Vote For Interior Secretary Nominee Deb Haaland
       
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) will vote to confirm interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland, making her the first GOP senator to publicly support President Joe Biden’s historic pick for the job. Haaland, who is currently a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico, is awaiting her vote out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. tried to cast Haaland as “radical” for wanting to protect public land and air as interior secretary. They might even know that Haaland, the former chair of the House Natural Resources subcommittee with oversight authority for the Interior Department, introduced more bipartisan bills than any of her House colleagues in 2019. “The senator is still in the process of vetting the nominee and hasn’t announced how she will vote,” Murkowski spokeswoman Hannah Ray said Tuesday.
Renewable diesel boom highlights challenges in clean-energy transition
       
REUTERS/Jennifer GauthierHe works for Vancouver-based renderer West Coast Reduction Ltd, which processes the grease into a material to make renewable diesel, a clean-burning road fuel. Refiners can produce renewable diesel from animal fats and plant oils, in addition to used cooking oil. Valero’s renewable diesel segment, however, posted a profit, and the company has announced plans to expand output. Marathon is seeking permits to convert a California refinery to produce renewable fuels, while PBF is considering a renewable diesel project at a Louisiana refinery. His customers include the world’s biggest renewable diesel maker, Finland’s Neste.
It’s ‘premature’ for Texas to lift mask mandate, doctor says
       
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, says it’s “obviously very good news” that President Biden says there will be enough vaccine for every adult in America by May. He says it’s “great” to see Merck and Johnson & Johnson working together to make vaccines, but feels it’s “a little too premature” for Texas to be lifting mask mandates: “I would plead with Governor Abbott to wait several more weeks, probably more like a month or a month and a half.”
Blinken, Biden to outline global strategy with China as key focus
       
Most of Blinken’s speech, at least according to the excerpts, consists of pledges made repeatedly during the 2020 presidential campaign and since Biden won November’s election. Blinken will acknowledge that the world today is different from 2017, when Donald Trump took over as president, or even from 2009, when many current Biden administration officials worked for then-President Barack Obama. We’re looking at the world with fresh eyes,” Blinken is expected to say. That includes more consideration of the ways in which foreign policy, domestic policy and trade issues are intertwined. The Biden administration will weigh how its moves abroad affect American workers, Blinken will promise.
Biden says there will be enough vaccine for all adults in US by May
       
President Biden says there will be enough vaccine for every American adult by May, two months ahead of what was originally promised. Meanwhile, two states are rolling back restrictions despite a warning from the CDC. NBC’s Morgan Chesky reports for TODAY from Austin, Texas.
Analysis: Biden aims to manage expectations with pandemic
       
President Joe Biden speaks about efforts to combat COVID-19, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden doesn’t just have to manage the coronavirus pandemic — he also has to manage people’s expectations for how soon the country will come out of it. The Biden administration has been moving to scale up capacity to administer vaccines at an ever-faster clip. In his first days in office, Biden had promised enough vaccine for all adults by the end of summer. “ADVERTISEMENTUnlike his predecessor, who frequently established goals he could not meet, Biden has tried to set modest expectations and then beat them.
Opinion: Congress should provide automatic, recurring COVID-19 relief checks until the jobs market recovers from the pandemic
       
One of the most effective pieces of that federal aid was the direct payments issued to individuals. Direct payments got money to families quickly so they could continue to buy essential goods such as groceries, gasoline and medicine. But the scale of the crisis, particularly for people of color, demands additional direct payments. Recurring direct checks are a powerful complement to other essential long-term structural racial equity measures, such as the Baby Bonds proposal one of us authored. We urge Congress to deliver relief — including additional checks — tied to economic indicators, and make these payments recurring until the economy recovers.
Opinion: Mitch McConnell is wrong — U.S. democracy doesn’t need the Senate’s filibuster rule
       
But the filibuster has survived, and it will likely continue to be a major obstacle to passing legislation. This same process is being used to try and pass President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package. In 2017, Republicans, having retaken the Senate, went one step farther by eliminating the use of the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. Eliminating the filibuster would bring the federal government in line with the majority of U.S. states and democratic countries around the world. This was first published by The Conversation — “Most US states don’t have a filibuster – nor do many democratic countries“
Authorities investigate whether human smuggling involved in Calif. crash
       
But Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., an original co-sponsor of last year's companion bill in the Senate, is making that call this year. Consequently, the legislation is getting more pushback than ever from companies that consider it a threat to their business model. Chockley contends that once workers voted to organize at certain XPO locations, the company was able to avoid negotiating an actual contract. But the company still has the ability to spend money, delay and deny the workers the benefit of an election." Teamsters, port and rail drivers defend AB5's limits on independent contractors Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.
Biden Bits, Vaccine Vanguard, Unmasking Folly, Minerd Musings, Ives Inklings
       
Guo was quoted at Reuters, Bloomberg and elsewhere as saying, "Financial markets are trading at high levels in Europe, the U.S. and other developed countries, which runs counter to the real economy." I guarantee readers right-stinking now that somebody who is important somewhere to someone says something like that every single day. Trading volume remained rather light overall, up small at the New York Stock Exchange, down small at the Nasdaq Market Site. Ives sees 25%+ upward movement for tech the coming year, led by "FAANG, cloud and cybersecurity. While Ives sees some moderating growth post-pandemic, he sounds quite optimistic concerning strength across a number of these tech-related industries and he names names.
Today’s Headlines: ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’
       
Enter email address Sign Me Up You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times. “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Biden said at the White House. FROM THE ARCHIVESOne hundred twenty-four years ago this week, what is now Los Angeles Harbor officially began to take shape. Mosher — Times, Los Angeles: Let the Eagle scream some more and louder, and yet more loud. Support our journalism Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.
Column: San Francisco plays a guessing game. After Pelosi, who?
       
But the San Francisco Democrat, who turns 81 this month, has signaled that her congressional days have their limit. Pelosi, a lifelong Democratic activist, ran as the preferred pick of Rep. Sala Burton, who claimed the congressional seat after her husband, Phil, died in office. The contours of the race were classically San Francisco. “I think that’s a nonstarter in San Francisco.”Christine Pelosi did not respond to requests for comment. In San Francisco, where campaigns are deeply personal and elections a blood sport, the fight for her coveted congressional seat is likely to be even more vicious.
CVS allows teachers to sign-up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments
       
PROVIDENCE — In vaccine distribution plans for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, teachers under the age of 65 are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. But at all CVS retail pharmacies administering the vaccine, teachers became eligible as of Wednesday morning. On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden called on states to begin prioritizing teachers and related staff as essential workers in the vaccination schedule, and called for grade-school employees and child care providers to receive at least one dose of the vaccine at some point by the end of the month. “As yet another move to help accelerate the safe reopening of schools, let’s treat in-person learning like an essential service that it is,” said the president. “And that means getting essential workers who provide that service — educators, school staff, child care workers — get them vaccinated immediately.”
Opinion: A guide to how America can revive the political center
       
There were 240 million eligible voters in the United States last fall, and Joe Biden and Donald Trump each got approximately one-third of their votes. Moreover, millions who cast their votes for Biden did not do so with passion, and the same holds for Trump. The new president and his fellow Democrats newly in control of Congress need to think seriously about these figures. Many are moderates and independents, Most are what political scientists call “low information voters.” And a good share are younger than 30. Dave Anderson edited “Leveraging: A Political, Economic and Societal Framework” (Springer, 2014) and has taught at five universities.
Rockets strike Iraqi base housing US troops ahead of Pope Francis visit
       
Multiple rockets struck an airbase in Iraq hosting U.S. troops on Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition forces in the country. It is relatively rare for rocket attacks of this kind to take place during the day. The assault also comes amid fears Washington and Tehran are in danger of reprising a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated last year. The U.S. strike along the Iraq-Syria border had been in response to a spate of rocket attacks that have targeted the U.S. presence — about 2,500 troops — in Iraq. Related:Iran says it will begin limiting international monitoring of its nuclear sitesPope Francis is due to visit Iraq Friday-Monday.
5 things to know for March 3: Covid-19, stimulus, White House, Russia, Afghanistan
       
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, or at least that's what they say. CoronavirusExperts say we're beginning to see the light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel, but that could be thwarted if state leaders keep pushing to reopen too soon. Greg Abbott rescinded a state mask mandate and will let businesses operate at 100% capacity starting in a week. President Biden reminded state leaders and residents to stay vigilant. Biden also bolstered the vaccine push under the Defense Production Act, announcing there would be enough doses for all US adults by the end of May.
Threats to Lawmakers Have Nearly Doubled in 2021, Police Chief Says
       
© Bloomberg Security fencing in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. A “significant focus” for Capitol Police in the next fiscal year “is centered on member security” outside Washington, Pittman plans to say in a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch. Pittman will also outline other security needs at the Capitol and its surrounding buildings. ‘Evolving Threats’Pittman also plans to talk about the “lessons learned” after intelligence failures leading up to the Jan. 6 attack. Her budget request includes resources for “emerging technologies“ to improve communication, as well as “new officer safety equipment based on the evolving threats and physical security requirements for the Capitol complex.
What is Biden doing differently at US border?
       
And since taking office, the Democrat has ordered the reunification of migrant children with their families, ended construction of the border wall and called for reviews of legal immigration programs terminated by his predecessor. But for those seeking entry at the US southern border, the Biden administration has asked for patience, saying it needs time to prepare for an influx of arrivals.
McEnany lays into Biden for not giving pressers and moans she was treated differently to Jen Psaki
       
'It's been 41 days - at this point, President Trump had multiple press appearances, press conferences - President Barack Obama had as well. McEnany also attacked the media for giving her successor, Jen Psaki, easier treatment than had been meted out to her. Hannity asked whether McEnany felt that questions should be asked about women who have accused Biden of inappropriate behavior, such as Tara Reid. Former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she was joining Fox on TuesdayThe Florida-born Harvard Law graduate praised Psaki, however, for her willingness to appear on Fox, which she did at the weekend. Psaki on Tuesday wished McEnany well in her new gig and said she'd be willing to on the network with her predecessor.
Widow of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh opens up about losing him
       
The widow of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has opened up about losing him after he passed away due to complications with lung cancer. Limbaugh, 70, passed away on February 17 and was laid to rest on February 24. Kathryn Limbaugh praised her late husband during an interview on his eponymous radio show, saying that 'he was just shy of a president.' Rush Limbaugh pictured embracing his wife in February 2020. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh died, aged 70, following a battle with lung cancer'I, like you, very much wish Rush was behind this golden microphone right now, welcoming you to another exceptional three hours of broadcasting.
Russia warns West after 'unacceptable' sanctions
       
The sanctions further erode ties between Moscow and the West since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. "We believe such measures are absolutely unacceptable because they significantly damage already bad relations" with Washington and Brussels, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday. He said the new sanctions amounted to "interference" in Russia's domestic affairs and vowed to take action in response, without specifying measures. His comments echoed foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova who warned the West earlier "not to play with fire" and said Russia would respond according to "the principle of reciprocity". Both Washington and Brussels have demanded Navalny's immediate release while two United Nations human rights experts on Monday called for an international investigation into his poisoning.
Migrants protest at US-Mexico crossing, pleading for asylum
       
Migrants trying to get into the United States protested at the border with Mexico, begging to be allowed to start the asylum processAdvertising Read moreTijuana (Mexico) (AFP)Migrants from central America, Cuba, Haiti and Mexico blocked two lanes of the US-Mexico border crossing in Tijuana, begging President Joe Biden's administration to allow them to apply for asylum in the United States. Many of those protesting on Tuesday did not meet that condition, but told AFP they still wanted to make their case. "We ask you with all our heart that you help us, that we be heard," Mexican national Maria Guadalupe Torres said. Honduran Iris Lara told AFP that a year and a half ago she had obtained an appointment to request asylum, "but due to the pandemic they closed and I could no longer continue." "What I want is to enter (the United States) and to be given the opportunity for my son to study, to move on," she said.
U.S. infrastructure gets 'C-,' says engineering group, up from Trump's 'D+'
       
The report urges the United States to increase investment from all levels of government and the private sector to 3.5 percent from 2.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product by 2025. The study graded 17 categories of infrastructure, ranging from a "B" for rail to a "D-" for transit. It remains unclear how Biden or Congress will fund new infrastructure spending. The report praised state and local governments for boosting infrastructure spending. Since 2010, 37 U.S. states raised gas taxes to fund transportation and U.S. voters approved 98 percent of local infrastructure ballot initiatives in November.
Budowsky: Biden's midterm Morning in America
       
Members of the House and Senate who know these companies should not be shy about contacting them to suggest this. As the 2022 midterm elections come closer, there are high odds that Biden will be riding a wave of public popularity building on his already high levels of popularity. At this moment Biden is advancing his COVID-19 relief bill that is hugely popular with voters, while Republicans are aggressively opposing it. Prediction: after the COVID-19 bill passes, and Americans receive relief checks, and funding for vaccines increases, and COVID-19 cases fall further, and our economic recovery surges — a Biden midterm Morning in America will describe politics in America in 2022. Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.
Biden withdraws Tanden's nomination to be White House budget chief
       
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in a short statement on Tuesday. The decision to withdraw Tanden’s nomination reflected the tenuous hold his Democrats have on the Senate. With the Senate split 50-50, Vice President Kamala Harris could have cast a tie-breaking vote in Tanden’s favor. A former staffer in the House of Representatives, Young would be the second Black woman in Biden’s Cabinet if she were to become OMB director. NO PATH FORWARDIn a letter released by the White House, Tanden told Biden her nomination had become more than an uphill climb.
Legislators Battle Whether to Restrict or Expand Voting
       
A worst-case scenario would be a ruling that not only overturns the earlier decision but also includes a departure from precedent that weakens the Voting Rights Act. The Brennan Center found that proposed expansion legislation focuses largely on mail voting, early voting, voter registration and voting rights. (Photo: Jay Janner/American Statesman/TNS)HR1 also would strengthen the Voting Rights Act, referencing the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013. As HR1 moves forward, another federal voting reform bill is also in play, one that directly addresses the racial dimensions of voting rights and disenfranchisement of minority voters. The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), which passed the House and was renamed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the Senate, proposes a new formula for preclearance, based on documented evidence of discrimination.
Did China Build a Spy Network in Kabul?
       
Amid murky allegations of contact with the Haqqani Network, the life of one Chinese national in Kabul comes under scrutiny. Get the NewsletterThe accusation of Chinese nationals building ties with the Haqqani Network brought to light the unclear fate of the network amid the ongoing peace negotiations. In the U.S.-Taliban agreement document, there is no mention of the Haqqani Network. It signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020, but the agreement does not mention the Haqqani Network. President Ashraf Ghani tasked Vice President Armullah Saleh, a former spy, to handle the detention of Chinese nationals.
A national system to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines has largely failed as states rely on their own systems
       
Tiberius grew from the Trump administration’s efforts to reinvent the nation’s public health system in the midst of a pandemic. In Solano County, California, for instance, local health officials use the registry to identify the most vulnerable people and give them the shots first. Each week, state public health officials must check the system’s dashboard to learn how many doses are heading their way. Those features were described as both duplicative and inadequate by most state officials who responded to USA TODAY. The Biden administration, meanwhile, says it’s working on improving the Tiberius system.
U.S. Infrastructure Earns a C- Grade Ahead of a Biden Spending Plan: Live Updates
       
ET U.S. Infrastructure Earns a C- Grade Ahead of a Biden Spending Plan: Live UpdatesU.S. infrastructure earns a C- ahead of a Biden investment plan. Improving national infrastructure enough to earn a B grade will require an investment of $2.6 trillion over the next decade, the American Society of Civil Engineers said. Improving national infrastructure enough to earn a B grade will require an investment of $2.6 trillion over the next decade, the engineering society said. Despite the dire warnings, the new one bore some good news: The C– is a slight improvement on the D or D+ the group had awarded since 1998. Still, only two of 17 categories were graded better than a C: America’s ports earned a B– and rail a B.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in NYC
       
Searching for a coronavirus vaccine appointment in the Big Apple can feel like the pandemic equivalent of trying to book a table at Rao’s — everybody wants in, but you may as well fuhgeddaboudit. “We felt like the greatest service we could provide is helping people navigate this Byzantine system of securing a vaccine appointment and it was very much by word of mouth,” Kalita, the newsletter’s publisher, told The Post. Dennis A. ClarkNYC Vaccine ListNYC Vaccine List searches over 200 vaccine sites across the city and lists appointments as they become available in real-time, in one place. Currently, it only points to federal vaccine locations in the Empire State, which largely means pharmacies. To sign up for a vaccine appointment, start with the Am I Eligible page.
The oil industry is getting greener much more quickly as U.S. focus shifts to climate change
       
Nick Oxford | ReutersThe greening of the American oil industry has gone into overdrive. "The oil and gas industry is calibrating itself to what has become the new benchmark – net zero carbon by 2050. Occidental Petroleum's CEO VIcki Hollub told the conference her goal is to produce net zero carbon oil and her company will not just be an oil company in the next 15 to 20 years, but also a carbon management company. BP has expanded in wind and other technology and Looney says it will be an integrated energy company in the future, rather than an international oil company. They're accelerating, and they're certainly spending much more time marketing their efforts on carbon capture and a low carbon future.
Oil up as OPEC+ considers rollover rather than raising output
       
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Wednesday, boosted by expectations that OPEC+ producers might decide against increasing output when they meet this week, while signs of progress in the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the United States gave further support. “The fundamentals of the oil market suggest further strength as oil demand grows with the recovery and leisure and travel activity is likely to bounce,” said Norbert Rücker, analyst at Swiss bank Julius Baer. “We see oil prices pushing temporarily above $70 by mid-year,” he added. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad al-Fares said the oil market was being supported by optimism about vaccinations. Biden said he hoped that the United States would be “back to normal” at this time next year and potentially sooner.
Jobless aid, direct checks could get trimmed as U.S. Senate takes up COVID-19 aid bill
       
Democrats aim to get it to Biden to sign into law before March 14, when some current benefits expire. With Republican cooperation unlikely, Democrats who narrowly control the chamber need to stick together to pass Biden’s top legislative priority. Democrats and their allies currently control 50 seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris giving them a tie-breaking vote if needed. Aides to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York, say funding was requested by the administration of Republican former President Donald Trump. The Senate could vote on the bill by the end of the week.
POLITICO Playbook: The three factions set to face off over Tanden’s replacement
       
POLITICO Playbook: The three factions set to face off over Tanden’s replacement Presented byWhile the proximate cause of Neera Tanden’s defeat was Joe Manchin’s opposition, the actual cause was Lisa Murkowski. Sinema: Though she didn’t publicly commit to backing Tanden, three White House sources insist that Sinema would have been a yes. On Tuesday afternoon, the White House determined — abruptly in the view of some sources — that there was no trade to be had. Both can be true: The White House knew what would get her vote and ultimately declined to provide it. According to our sources there are competing factions on the Hill and inside the White House pushing alternatives, but three names are worth spotlighting.
How The White House Got 2 Pharma Rivals To Work Together On COVID-19 Vaccine
       
By the end of May, there should be enough vaccine doses for every adult in America, he said — a dramatic improvement to his initial timetable for late July. Biden administration officials had been pushing vaccine makers to find ways to get more doses faster. Then there was Johnson & Johnson. In a brief statement, Johnson & Johnson said it was "pleased to collaborate" with Merck on the arrangement to boost production. The officials said getting Merck involved will vastly increase production of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the "medium term."
Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 114.8 million and U.S. death toll above 516,000
       
The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 114.8 million on Wednesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 2.55 million. The U.S. has the highest case tally in the world at 28.7 million and the highest death toll at 516,616. Brazil has the second highest death toll at 257,361 and is third by cases at 10.6 million. Mexico has the third highest death toll at 187,187 and 13th highest case tally at 2.1 million. The U.K. has 4.2 million cases and 123,530 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.
Senate confirms Rouse as top economic adviser to Biden
       
The Senate confirmed Cecilia Rouse on Tuesday to become chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, making her the first Black person to serve in that role in the body’s 74-year history. Rouse will serve as a top economic adviser to President Joe Biden as the administration races to limit the fallout from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. A labor economist by training, Rouse will be playing a key role as the country reels from an unemployment crisis that has left more than 10 million Americans out of work. “Too often economists focus on average outcomes instead of examining a range of outcomes,” Rouse said at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. But the challenge awaiting her is that “in some ways, providing relief is the easy part,” said Jason Furman, another former CEA chair.
Rouse confirmed as first Black economist to head Council of Economic Advisers
       
By Andrea ShalalWASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Cecilia Rouse as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, making her the first Black economist to serve in the post. Rouse was confirmed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 95-4, with one senator not voting. She will join other powerful women in top economic posts across the Biden administration, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who was also confirmed on Tuesday. Rouse served on the council in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011, the worst years of the previous economic crisis. She also served in a Clinton White House economic policy post.
Turkey has stopped insulting us, but action still needed, France says
       
The journalist’s body has never been found.The complaint in Germany was filed Monday with public prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe, according to an RSF statement. “We ask the public prosecutor general to open a situation analysis, with a view to formally launching a prosecutorial investigation and issuing arrest warrants.”RSF ranks Saudi Arabia 170th out of 180 countries in its press-freedom index. “Saudi Arabia permits no independent media,” the RSF rationale states. “Despite his talk of reform, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has intensified the repression since his appointment as crown prince in June 2017. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you.
FedEx Rolls Out Plans to Be Carbon Neutral by 2040
       
FedEx lays out plans to make its entire global parcel pickup and delivery fleet carbon neutral by 2040 with an initial investment of more than $2 billion. FedEx (FDX) - Get Report on Wednesday laid out plans to make its entire global parcel pickup and delivery fleet carbon neutral by 2040, and has designated an initial investment of more than $2 billion in vehicle electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration to help it get there. In a statement, the global delivery company announced plans to make its entire FedEx fleet zero-emission electric vehicles by 2040. As part of the effort, FedEx also has pledged $100 million to Yale University to help establish the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture. "We have a responsibility to take bold action in addressing climate challenges," FedEx CEO Frederick Smith said in a statement.
Column: The Republican Party’s biggest problem is spelled T-R-U-M-P
       
That about sums up the Republican Party’s Donald Trump problem. “Ronald Reagan taught us that politics is all about addition — about building a coalition,” Scott Reed, a longtime GOP strategist, told me. Besides, Trump hasn’t been very successful at helping GOP candidates win House or Senate seats. Many GOP strategists blame Trump for their loss of the Senate, which occurred after he intervened energetically in two Georgia runoff elections. Polls show that most Republican voters remain fiercely loyal to Trump and say they would gladly vote for him again.
QAnon and conspiracy theories are taking hold in churches. Pastors are fighting back.
       
“You have been with my family and in my home and I care for you but you are dabbling in darkness. Details emerging from investigations into hundreds of Capitol rioters have cast an unsettling light on the toxic roles that fringe religious beliefs and QAnon conspiracy theories have played in shaking big and small churches across the nation. “We’ve seen that those who embrace Christian nationalism are also more likely to believe in conspiracies.”In interviews, pastors said houses of worship were particularly susceptible. The Sunday after the Capitol attacks, he spoke in church about the parable of the good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37. For some pastors, church climates in the last year have become too much to bear.
Biden's push on workplace safety could spur ramped up enforcement, experts say
       
With the president's focus on workplace safety and the updated guidance posted on Jan. 29, experts say employers should expect ramped up enforcement and inspections. Under President Donald Trump, he says, OSHA issued citations under other regulations such as respiratory protection and PPE, but not a specific COVID-standard. Berkowitz also criticized the agency for its approach to worker safety during COVID-19, saying OSHA basically "shutdown." OSHA in a statement to Newsday said: "The Biden administration is committed to doubling the number of OSHA inspectors." This plan should document and outline workplace safety regulations and rules equal or more stringent than OSHA standards, he says.
Analysis: Biden aims to manage expectations with pandemic
       
“But again,” he added, “it depends upon if people continue to be smart and understand that we still can have significant losses. “Unlike his predecessor, who frequently established goals he could not meet, Biden has tried to set modest expectation and then beat them. His initial goal to administer 100 shots in his first 100 days will be easily surpassed. He raised eyebrows recently when he suggested Christmas, and then again on Tuesday when he pointed to early 2022. But some public health experts worry that Biden may be overcorrecting.
‘The East Is Rising’: Xi Maps Out China’s Post-Covid Ascent
       
China’s leaders have seized on the country’s success in extinguishing coronavirus infections as vindicating Mr. Xi’s high-pressure, top-down rule. Having emerged triumphantly from the pandemic, Mr. Xi will look to further centralize his power, said Lynette H. Ong, a political scientist at the University of Toronto. The prospects for Mr. Xi’s plans also depend on questions that go unmentioned in official pronouncements: How long does he intend to rule? China’s political and economic elites are likely to grow increasingly jittery in private about when and how Mr. Xi will promote a potential successor, or stable of successors. The post ‘The East Is Rising’: Xi Maps Out China’s Post-Covid Ascent appeared first on New York Times.
High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday
       
Authorities will be on high alert Thursday over a QAnon conspiracy theory prediction, but according to experts chances of violence appear minimal compared to the deadly insurrection on January 6. Even if some QAnon supporters still think that Trump will reassume office, there’s little to suggest they will act on that belief. Authorities are exercising caution regardless given that QAnon supporters were involved in the Jan 6 riots and the theory has been deemed a national security threat by the FBI. The Metropolitan Police Department has not issued any permits for planned events on Thursday, a spokesperson told The Hill Tuesday. While many supporters shared dissatisfaction with the failed prediction, others quickly moved on to the next date.
DeSantis's rising GOP profile fuels 2024 talk
       
DeSantis’s profile grew early on after he took his cue from Trump by not shutting down his state in response to the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis’s growing support was on full view at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which was held in his home state. The decision to hold the annual conservative gathering in the Sunshine State was directly tied to DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic. “We’re not ‘Florida man,’ ‘Florida woman’ anymore; we’re the free state of Florida now.”Despite Republican praise heaped upon DeSantis, the pandemic has hit the state hard. “If you are working hard to earn a living, we got your back in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during a state of the state address on Tuesday.
'Facebook has a blind spot': why Spanish-language misinformation is flourishing
       
Today, the most prevalent topic for misinformation in Spanish on Facebook is health and vaccine related. Why is Spanish-language misinformation spreading? There are several reasons Spanish misinformation continues to spread on Facebook more widely than English misinformation, researchers say. The groups say Facebook still has not removed a number of Spanish-language posts flagged in the letter exhibiting clear violations of Facebook’s policies on hate speech and misinformation, including calls to build militias and health misinformation. “The bottom line is that Facebook has a blind spot when it comes to Spanish-language misinformation,” Soria said.
Ice reached a new low: using utility bills to hunt undocumented immigrants
       
The information has been mined by Ice, the Post reported, for immigration surveillance and enforcement operations. The fact is that undocumented workers are often the very people keeping all of us fed, warm and healthy during this terrible pandemic. In recognition of this fact, Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California, introduced his first bill last week, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act. More than 60 leading economists also recently wrote a group letter to the Biden administration arguing for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, especially undocumented essential workers. Instead of further empowering Ice’s punitive and unaccountable surveillance state, Biden should work with Congress to pass the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act.
First Thing: Joe Biden's cabinet nominee bows out
       
One of Joe Biden’s cabinet picks, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination amid a backlash over controversial past tweets. This marks the first failure for Biden in getting Senate approval for his cabinet; so far, 11 of 23 have been confirmed. Wray said the FBI was pursuing those behind the attack, with investigations unfolding in 55 of the 56 FBI field offices. Discussing the bureau’s wider work on domestic terrorism, Wray said that agents were pursuing 2,000 domestic terrorism investigations, up from 1,400 at end of 2020, and that white supremacists were the primary threat. Sign upSign up for the US morning briefingFirst Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday.
Children understand Dr Seuss better than intolerant adults ever will
       
“No no!” squeal the pet fish in Dr Seuss's Cat in the Hat. Make them go!” Alas, it sounds as though Seuss himself might soon be unwelcome in houses across America. On the same day, President Biden conspicuously failed to include Dr Seuss in his proclamation for Read Across America day, held, ironically, each year on the author's birthday. The deliciously madcap stories of the writer-illustrator Dr Seuss, the non de plume of Theodor Seuss Geisel, are embedded as deep in the American psyche as the stories of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl are in this country. A 2019 study concluded that only two percent of non human characters in Dr Seuss's children's books were people of colour, and that all were “depicted through racist caricatures”.
Pope says he will travel to Iraq on Friday despite rocket attack on US military base
       
Pope Francis has insisted that his historic trip to Iraq which is due to take place this week will go ahead despite an attack on US forces in the country today. The attack on the sprawling Ain al-Assad base in Iraq's western desert comes after several weeks of escalating US-Iran tensions on Iraqi soil. At least 10 rockets hit the Ain al-Asad air base, in Iraq's western Anbar province, at around 7.20am local time from a launcher located five miles from the base, Iraqi and Western military sources said. Dozens of rocket attacks and roadside bombs targeted Western security, military and diplomatic sites in Iraq in 2020, with Iraqi and Western military sources blaming hardline pro-Iran factions. Military sources said the airstrike was intended to 'draw a line' after a series of attacks on US positions.
Widow of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh opens up about losing him
       
The widow of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has opened up about losing him after he passed away due to complications with lung cancer. Limbaugh, 70, passed away on February 17 and was laid to rest on February 24. Kathryn Limbaugh praised her late husband during an interview on his eponymous radio show, saying that 'he was just shy of a president.' Rush Limbaugh pictured embracing his wife in February 2020. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh died, aged 70, following a battle with lung cancer'I, like you, very much wish Rush was behind this golden microphone right now, welcoming you to another exceptional three hours of broadcasting.
Iraqi airbase hosting US troops is hit by multiple rockets
       
Despite the rocket attack, Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he would still make the trip 'because the people cannot be let down'. The attack on the sprawling base is the fourth time in less than three weeks that rockets hit a Western installation in the country. Coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto confirmed that 10 rockets hit the base at 7:20 am (0420 GMT), but did not provide details on any casualties. Iraqi security forces said they had found the platform from which 10 'Grad-type rockets' hit the Ain al-Assad base. Ten of the rockets hit the US airbase and one landed at the Erbil facility, while four failed in flight, American military sources said at the time.
Biden vows enough vaccine for all US adults by end of May
       
Biden vows enough vaccine for all US adults by end of MayPresident Joe Biden said the US expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — and he pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings.
Rockets slam Iraq base hosting US troops days before Pope’s visit
       
At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts US-led coalition troops on Wednesday, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. The attack came two days before Pope Francis makes a historic visit to Iraq, which the pope said would go ahead as planned. Advertising Read moreThe rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province at 7.20am local time, said spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto. He made no mention of Wednesday's attack on the Ain al-Asad airbase. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted.
Biden cautious in making Trump tax returns decision
       
Neal cited a provision in the federal tax code that states that the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” tax returns requested by the chairs of Congress’s tax committees. Hackney said he “can’t think of any other move” but for the Treasury to eventually decide to provide House Democrats with Trump’s tax returns. Biden has released many years of his tax returns and urged Trump to do the same during his campaign. In addition to their efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns, congressional Democrats also are pursuing legislation to require presidents to release their tax returns. “If you want presidents and presidential candidates to release their tax returns, we should make it a law,” he said.
Donald Trump's "real" legacy to America: The weaponization of an alternate reality
       
Sen. Ted Cruz is a proud disciple of Donald Trump's legacy to America — his weaponization of alternate reality . No, they made a purposeful decision to follow their cult leader into the abyss of his alternate reality. Advertisement:A large swath of America has adopted and internalized Trump's use of alternate reality . And now, they believe that the use of alternate reality by both politicians and followers is smart and effective strategy. Advertisement:President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are the antidotes to Trump's alternate reality.
Rockets fired at Iraqi airbase hosting U.S.-led coalition troops
       
Ten rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops Wednesday, the latest in a series of rocket attacks in Iraq with this one just days before the Pope is due to visit the country. Iraqi security forces are leading the response and investigation, he added. Wednesday’s rocket attack follows a U.S. airstrike last week in eastern Syria that killed one fighter in an Iranian-backed militia and wounded two others, according to the Pentagon. NBC News had previously reported that Iranian-backed militias were most likely behind the Irbil rocket attack in February, and that the weapons and tactics resembled previous attacks by the Iranian-linked militias. However, it was unclear if Iran had encouraged or ordered the rocket attack.
Georgia Takes Center Stage in Battle Over Voting Rights
       
ATLANTA — After record turnout flipped Georgia blue for the first time in decades, Republicans who control the state Legislature are moving swiftly to implement a raft of new restrictions on voting access, mounting one of the biggest challenges to voting rights in a major battleground state following the 2020 election. Two bills, one passed by the House on Monday and another that could pass the Senate this week, seek to alter foundational elements of voting in Georgia, which supported President Biden in November and a pair of Democratic senators in January — narrow victories attributable in part to the array of voting options in the state. The Republican legislation would undermine pillars of voting access by ending automatic voter registration, banning drop boxes for mail ballots and eliminating the broad availability of absentee voting. The bills would restrict early voting on the weekends, limiting the longstanding civic tradition of “Souls to the Polls” in which Black voters cast ballots on Sunday after church services. Taken together, the new barriers would have an outsize impact on Black voters, who make up roughly one-third of the state’s population and vote overwhelmingly Democratic.
Covid-19 Live Updates: Texas Lifts Restrictions, Part of a Wave of U.S. Reopenings
       
ET Covid-19 Live Updates: Texas Lifts Restrictions, Part of a Wave of U.S. Reopenings The state announced plans to end a mask mandate and allow businesses to operate with no capacity limits. Texas was among the first states to ease restrictions after the first wave, a move that epidemiologists believe was premature and led to the summer surge across the Sunbelt. “I’m finally gonna get my vaccine.” “I’m so excited,” she added in the video, which racked up more than a million views within about four hours. @VUMChealth pic.twitter.com/38kJrDzLqC — Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 2, 2021 She also broke into song (naturally), replacing the word “Jolene” in one of her best-known choruses with “vaccine.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she sang, embellishing the last one with her trademark Tennessee lilt. “I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.” “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she added, “because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.” Just before the doctor arrived to inoculate her — or “pop me in my arm,” as she put it — she doubled down on her message.
US troops targeted in Iraq less than week after Biden airstrikes
       
US troops targeted in Iraq less than week after Biden airstrikesAn air base in Iraq that hosts U.S., Iraqi and coalition troops was targeted Wednesday as multiple rockets struck the facility, according to a report. The rocket fire came less than a week after President Biden ordered airstrikes in Syria -- and just days after sources told Fox News that the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve raised the threat level for U.S. troops serving in Iraq. The base was the same one targeted last February in an attack that left about 100 troops with head injuries, Bloomberg News reported. The rocket fire also came as Pope Francis planned a historic visit to Iraq for later this week that would make him the first pontiff to ever visit the country. Fox News’ Go Watch page is now available, providing visitors with Pay TV provider options in their area carrying Fox News Channel & Fox Business Network.
Oil up as OPEC+ considers rollover rather than hiking output
       
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Wednesday, boosted by expectations that OPEC+ producers might decide against increasing output when they meet this week, while signs of progress in the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the United States gave further support. Slideshow ( 2 images )Brent oil rose 80 cents, or 1.3%, to $63.50 a barrel by 0942 GMT. “We see oil prices pushing temporarily above $70 by mid-year,” he added. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad al-Fares said the oil market was being supported by optimism about vaccinations. Biden said he hoped that the United States would be “back to normal” at this time next year and potentially sooner.
The COVID-19 Relief Bill Could Be A Huge Turning Point For Child Care In The U.S.
       
At least 13% of child care centers and in-home day cares are still closed, according to one survey. Though essential to working parents, child care centers operate on a shoestring. “The American Rescue Plan marks a historic shift in how our country approaches child care,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who’s been instrumental in pushing for child care aid throughout the pandemic and before. Teachers at her child care center make between $13.50 and $18 an hour, with some working multiple jobs and receiving government assistance. “We need continuing support.”brightstartearlycarepreschool/Instagram Last December, Marcia St. Hilaire-Finne, who runs a child care center in Washington, D.C., wondered how much longer she could stay in business.
Trump aides build out the MAGA-verse with new groups
       
Carson said in an interview that his American Cornerstone Institute is a conservative think tank that will emphasize election integrity, one of the ex-president’s fixations. Carson has also set up a PAC, Think BIG America, which can engage in elections and dish out funds to favored candidates. During an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend, he urged supporters to donate to Save America, which has already banked tens of millions of dollars. Rollins said she has drawn staffers from the White House, the Trump campaign and Capitol Hill. Carson dismissed the idea that there would be clashing between the different groups and noted that his organization had been in touch with Vought’s.
The real post-Trump GOP divide: House vs. Senate
       
Hugging Trump has become priority number one for most House Republicans, with feting the former president in Mar-a-Lago becoming a rite of passage among their leaders. House and Senate Republicans are taking divergent stances toward President Joe Biden and some of his priorities, even as they unite in opposition to his coronavirus bill. But they got there from different places, as Senate Republicans actually met with Biden to see if they could work together just a few weeks ago. Senate Republicans are open to cutting a deal on raising the minimum wage and are warmer toward earmarks, in addition to some presidential nominees, than House Republicans would like. NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he only learned this week that House Republicans don’t have the same policy of protecting incumbents.
We asked governors what they want from Biden. Here’s what they told us.
       
Almost certainly, this reflects the nature of a governor’s job, rather than that these particular politicians are somehow wired differently in their interests. | Kim Chandler/APWhat about your job worries you the most right now, and why? | Sarah Blesener/The New York Times via AP, PoolWhat about your job worries you the most right now, and why? | Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, PoolWhat about your job worries you the most right now, and why? What about your job worries you the most right now, and why?
Biden prepares blitz of action to prod schools to reopen
       
The blitz is part of an intensified administration-wide push to reopen schools, as the Biden White House hurtles toward a 100-day self-imposed deadline to return children to the classroom. Beyond that, Biden administration officials are eyeing ways to use the bully pulpit of the White House to highlight examples of schools safely reopening. As the state’s education commissioner, Cardona pushed Connecticut schools to reopen during the pandemic without alienating the state’s teachers unions, who backed his confirmation. That left Biden’s transition team to attempt to head off some of the biggest obstacles to school reopening on its own. Mulgrew said he conveyed that key components to reopening schools also included aggressive testing and contact tracing.
Why Fox News is focused on Dr. Seuss instead of the Covid stimulus bill
       
Instead, it apparently now cares a lot about whether cancel culture is coming for Dr. Seuss. It would be funny if the talking heads on Fox News weren't so serious about it. That lack of focus on Biden's agenda from Fox News may be why Biden's stimulus bill is racking up support from all corners. The core of the GOP's war plan is to go on offense with these skirmishes in the culture war while at the same time focusing on heavy defense and a siege mentality in Washington. That's how we find ourselves in a position in which a majority of Republicans support Biden's stimulus bill — but a majority also still thinks the election was stolen from President Donald Trump.
The Jan. 6 Riot Could Have Brought Lawmakers Together. It Did The Opposite
       
The Jan. 6 Riot Could Have Brought Lawmakers Together. For most Democrats that was an unconscionable act that has eroded trust and affected lawmakers ability to work together. Several Democrats have also also alleged — without evidence — that some Republican lawmakers may have aided Capitol rioters. Davis says the metal detectors and those kinds of allegations have likewise eroded trust among Republicans towards Democrats. Congress may need to hand over this investigation to an outside entity because there's no indication House lawmakers can do it together.
American Factories Are Roaring Back. The Problem? They Can't Find Critical Parts
       
American Factories Are Roaring Back. They Can't Find Critical PartsEnlarge this image toggle caption Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty ImagesFor Americans factories, business is good these days. Unexpectedly strong demand for furniture, appliances and other manufactured goods is providing a windfall to many of the country's industries. Fiore adds labor shortages are also contributing to the problem as factories struggle to maintain full staffing while also observing safety precautions for the pandemic. "And when they say they can't get parts, if you peel through that, most of that is probably related to the fact that the people making those parts can't get labor."
State Department Should Be More Diverse And Engaged Across U.S., Report Says
       
Saifee says this type of "subnational diplomacy" should be a priority at the State Department. She is one of the current State Department employees who contributed to a new report, "Transforming State," from the Truman Center, a think tank in Washington. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also promised to make the State Department look more like America, announcing in February that he would appoint a chief diversity and inclusion officer as a first step. Race Government Accountability Office Says State Department Lacks Diversity Government Accountability Office Says State Department Lacks Diversity Listen · 3:46 3:46Getting Congress involved is important because the agency doesn't have the kind of constituency that the military has, says Truman Center CEO Jenna Ben-Yehuda. Olson left the State Department in 2014 to start a family and move home to Oregon.
5,000 National Guard troops remain in DC amid QAnon frenzy that Trump will be inaugurated again this week
       
National Guard troops gather in front of the US Capitol in Washington. (Reuters)Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops are in Washington, DC this week for an inauguration that won’t happen. That’s because followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory believe that on 4 March, which was once the inauguration date of US presidents, Donald Trump will become president again. Pentagon officials say they are working to determine how many troops will still be needed after the request expires. Trump has denied having any knowledge of QAnon, but some believers think he’s sending them a signal about 4 March through his hotel.
How Rich Are Reese Witherspoon and Other Top TV Stars?
       
The GuardianState department ‘not in a position to detail the identity’ of those on list as US under heavy criticism for failure to sanction Saudi heir The crown prince in Riyadh on Sunday. Mohammed Bin Salman approved the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, a US intelligence assessment found. Photograph: Bandar Al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP/Getty Images The US state department has refused to say whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is one of the Saudi officials subject to US visa restrictions under the new “Khashoggi ban”. On Monday, the state department spokesperson, Ned Price, would not say whether Prince Mohammed was on the list. When pressed on the crown prince, he added: “I’m not including or excluding anyone specifically on that list.
Musk Floats ‘Starbase’ Name Change for Texas Launch Town
       
Bloomberg(Bloomberg) -- Twice in the last week, the U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia and Saudi Arabia over what it called human rights abuses. That followed similar criticism when Biden declined to target Saudi Arabia’s crown prince after releasing an intelligence report accusing him of approving the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.U.S. It was the same with the Saudi sanctions. Vowing a reciprocal reaction, he said the new sanctions “have no effect or purpose.” Still, Navalny’s allies welcomed the moves. “But the most painful sanctions, which neither Europe nor the U.S. imposed, are the ones against oligarchs.”The Biden administration counters that the criticism is unwarranted.
Dow Futures Higher As Bond Markets Steady, Vaccine Rollout Accelerates; ADP Jobs Report In Focus
       
A pledge to have enough coronavirus vaccine supply for every American citizen by the end of May from President Joe Biden has investors looking for a hard pandemic exit in the months ahead. The Tuesday Market MinuteGlobal stocks extend gains as bond markets steady and sentiment improves amid an accelerating vaccine rollout in the United States. President Joe Biden pledges enough vaccine supply for every American by the end of May, while CDC data shows 78.2 million vaccine doses administered as of March 2. Oil jumps higher amid reports that OPEC+ members will extend production cut pact into April at tomorrow's Vienna meeting. U.S. equity futures powered higher Wednesday as bond markets remained dormant for a second consecutive session and investors sentiment improved following a pledge on vaccine availability from President Joe Biden.
Will vaccines get teachers back in school?
       
It seems simple — once teachers get the vaccine they will embrace in-person learning. How much air is coming in from outside?” asked Beth Kontos, president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts. “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” Walensky said. Massachusetts Teachers Association president Merrie Najimy slammed the plan, saying the focus should instead be on vaccinating educators. So what the commissioner is doing is waving a magic wand saying problems are solved, and then implementing unilateral authority and usurping the decisions of every school committee.”Now Biden is throwing his weight behind vaccinating teachers.
Biden gives China a pass on oppression, brutality
       
Those words — except for substituting China for Germany and Xi Jinping for Hitler — were spoken by President Joe Biden. Biden went soft on China by saying he would bring the matter up at the UN to “impact” China’s attitude toward the Uyghurs. But this was China Joe, and China Joe gets a pass. He was not going to get involved and upset his friend Xi Jinping by dumping on him over the Uyghurs. Joe Biden, Made in China.
Reggie Cannon: 'Explaining America feels like describing medieval times'
       
There is no hesitation from Reggie Cannon when he considers whether his view of America has changed since moving to Europe. “Looking at the insurrection, Texas freezing over right now … explaining to my teammates what is going on in the country is baffling to me. But Cannon is not the first member of his family to distinguish himself in his chosen field. Now we have moved past that.”The challenge for the rest of America is to recover from the Trump reign. Cannon and his national teammates could be a sporting side at the forefront of a country requiring unification.
Biden brings no relief to tensions between US and China
       
In this Feb. 27, 2021, photo, President Joe Biden speaks on the economy in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Biden took office promising to move quickly to restore and repair America’s relations with the rest of the world. Biden took office promising to move quickly to restore and repair America’s relations with the rest of the world. From Iran to Russia, Europe to Latin America, Biden has sought to cool tensions that rose during President Donald Trump’s four years in office. “There has been huge deviation between what they believe China is and what China really is,” Yu said.
Opinion | Trump Should Be a Celebrity Vaccine Ambassador
       
First, the good news for America: People are getting their Covid-19 vaccine shots — or jabs, as they’ve been dubbed. Daily vaccination numbers have topped 1.9 million, with around 52 million Americans having received at least one dose. With Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine coming online this week, those numbers are set to grow even faster. On Tuesday, President Biden announced that there would be enough vaccine for every American adult by the end of May. As of Monday, 42 percent of Republicans said they did not intend to get vaccinated, according to polling by Civiqs.
AP Top Stories March 3 A
       
AP Top Stories March 3 AHere's the latest for Wednesday March 3rd: Fatal California collision investigated; Biden says enough vaccine for all US adults by end of May; Texas to end mask mandate, other COVID rules; Dolly Parton gets COVID vaccination.
US variant cases surpass 2,500, up from 546 a month ago; CDC reports distribution of 100M vaccine doses. Latest COVID-19 updates
       
The country now has 2,581 known variant cases, up from 546 cases a month earlier. 2 for variant cases, though most are tied to a prison outbreak. ? Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 28.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 516,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 114.72 million cases and 2.54 million deaths. More than 102.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and about 78.6 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
Rockets strike Iraq base housing U.S. troops ahead of Pope Francis visit
       
Multiple rockets struck an airbase in Iraq hosting U.S. troops on Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition forces in the country. It is relatively rare for rocket attacks of this kind to take place during the day. The U.S. strike along the Iraq-Syria border had been in response to a spate of rocket attacks that have targeted the U.S. presence — about 2,500 troops — in Iraq. Related:Iran says it will begin limiting international monitoring of its nuclear sitesPope Francis is due to visit Iraq Friday-Monday. There was no immediate White House response to Wednesday's rocket attack.
COVID and school: No, we can't open like the NFL
       
Right now, roughly one third of American public school students are coming up on a year of no in-person instruction, according to website Burbio, which has been tracking school reopenings across the country. Throughout the school year, private schools and open public schools across the country (and abroad) have shown they are not hotbeds of COVID transmission. Even if one only addresses the one-third of school districts that are currently closed, that’s about 18 million people. Private schools have been operating in good faith with good results sometimes blocks from shuttered public schools since near the start of the school year. Weingarten could also reference the 37% of public school districts that opened in fall of 2020.
Biden camp fumed over Cuomo’s self-serving DNC speech, book claims
       
Andrew Cuomo made a self-serving video for the 2020 Democratic National Convention and asked his camp to redo it — but they refused, a new book says. DE BLASIO POUNCES ON CUOMO SCANDALS: 'HE CANNOT GOVERN' IF CLAIMS ARE TRUECuomo’s team had sent over the video the day of the convention, the tome says. "The convention’s speechwriting squad watched in disbelief,’’ the authors write. The answer came back: No.’’A source involved in the convention’s production said of Cuomo’s camp, "They put the speech on our doorstep, lit it on fire, rang the doorbell, and then ran away." Cuomo is now in the fight of his political life amid sex-harassment allegations.
Spurs' Popovich slams Abbott for lifting mask mandate: 'Just seems ignorant'
       
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday for his "ignorant" decision to revoke the statewide mask mandate. Abbott announced Tuesday that beginning March 10, Texans will no longer be required to wear masks in public. "It puts a lot of businesses in a tough spot," Popovich said, according to the USA TODAY. ABBOTT ANNOUNCES PLAN TO FULLY REOPEN BUSINESSES, END STATE MASK MANDATEPopovich previously condemned Abbott and state leaders back in July for their handling of the pandemic.
Treasury yields rise following Biden's vaccine supply pledge
       
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.433% at 4 a.m. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was advanced to 2.237%. U.S. Treasury yields climbed on Wednesday, after President Joe Biden promised that the U.S. would have enough supply of coronavirus vaccines to inoculate every adult in the country by the end of May. Treasury yields were also higher ahead of data showing how many jobs private firms added in February, which is due out at 8:15 a.m. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 225,000 private jobs were added in February, higher than the 174,000 added in January.
Russia slams 'hostile' new U.S. sanctions and vows to retaliate
       
Moscow rejected new sanctions imposed on it by the U.S. late Tuesday, describing the restrictions led by President Joe Biden's administration as "hostile." She added that sanctions would fail: "Any hopes to impose something on Russia by way of sanctions or other pressure have failed in the past and will fail now." The comments come after the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Russia for its suspected poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny last year. Russia's next move is now keenly anticipated although Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia would not fight fire with fire. "Regardless of the U.S.'s enthusiasm for sanctions we will continue to consistently and resolutely uphold our national interests and rebuff any aggression.
Islamic State says it killed female media workers in east Afghanistan
       
Slideshow ( 4 images )(Reuters) - The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed three female media workers in eastern Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, which local police initially blamed on the insurgent Taliban, who denied any involvement. Violence has risen around Afghanistan and media workers and civil society members in urban areas have been targeted in recent months even as a peace process takes place in Qatar’s capital of Doha. The Afghan government and the Taliban have been holding talks to try to reach a political settlement to end decades of conflict. But progress has slowed as the new Biden administration in Washington reviews its plans for the peace process, including whether to entirely withdraw troops by May as originally planned.
Stocks climb as Treasuries stabilise
       
The gains for equities came as benchmark U.S. government bond yields continued to stabilise after last month’s sell-off. Surging yields across the world, fuelled by moves in Treasuries, have buffeted financial markets in recent weeks. Still, optimism that more imminent U.S. stimulus will energise the global economic recovery buoyed stocks, with U.S. President Joe Biden close to passing a $1.9 trillion spending package. Fears that last week’s sell-off in U.S. Treasuries, which rattled stock markets, could resume may also put a lid on stock prices, they said. Oil prices rose as signs of progress in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer, raised demand expectations.
Democrats confront a harsh political choice: Save the filibuster or pass Biden's agenda
       
The relief package isn't subject to the Senate filibuster, and it is likely to become law. The voting rights bill, like most of Biden's agenda, is on course for a fatal crash with the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Many Republicans sounded pessimistic this week when asked whether Biden's agenda has a future; some of them blamed his decision to pass coronavirus aid without them. "Democrats cannot pass voting rights legislation with the filibuster in place and if Democrats do not pass voting rights legislation they are making a generational mistake that could doom them to the minority for a decade," Pfeiffer said by email. 1 would bolster the Voting Rights Act, guarantee 15 days of early voting and ensure universal access to mail-in voting, among other policies.
Anti-Trump Republicans are facing punishment back home. But don't call it a civil war.
       
In Louisiana, the state GOP censured one of its U.S. senators, Bill Cassidy, moments after he voted to convict Trump. North Carolina's state GOP passed a similar measure aimed at Sen. Richard Burr just days later. In Arizona, the state GOP censured Gov. "And this talk of a serious divide in the Republican Party, it just isn't real." And in Utah, the state GOP issued a lengthy statement saying there is room for both Sens.
Rockets fired at Iraqi airbase hosting U.S.-led coalition troops
       
Ten rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base hosting U.S.-led coalition troops Wednesday, the latest in a series of rocket attacks in Iraq with this one just days before the Pope is due to visit the country. The rockets targeted Ain Al-Asad airbase, northwest of Baghdad, at 7.20 a.m. local time Wednesday (11.20 p.m. Tuesday ET). Iraqi security forces are leading the response and investigation, he added. NBC News had previously reported that Iranian-backed militias were most likely behind the Irbil rocket attack, and that the weapons and tactics resembled previous attacks by the Iranian-linked militias. However, it was unclear if Iran had encouraged or ordered the rocket attack.
Fauci Donates Personal Coronavirus Model To Smithsonian
       
Fauci Donates Personal Coronavirus Model To SmithsonianEnlarge this image toggle caption The National Museum of American History The National Museum of American HistoryThere may be light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic, but one piece of the virus will live on. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who became the public face of the government's coronavirus response with daily press conferences and media interviews, on Tuesday donated his personal model of the SARS-CoV-2 virion to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. In keeping with social distancing rules, Fauci made the donation virtually during the museum's "Great Americans Program" Tuesday. During the event, Fauci also received the museum's signature Great Americans medal for his work during the coronavirus pandemic and for his work on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as other emerging diseases. The Great Americans medal has previously been given to Madeleine K. Albright, Cal Ripken Jr., Billie Jean King and others.
UN atomic watchdog: Deal with Iran key to full inspections
       
Iran began restricting international inspections last week, but under a last-minute deal worked out during a trip to Tehran by Rafael Grossi, the head of the Vienna-based U.N. atomic watchdog, some access was preserved. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the tapes, narrowing the window for a diplomatic breakthrough. That means they're not able to form as complete a picture of Iran's nuclear program, Grossi suggested. Inspections are a critical part of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. Story continuesU.S. President Joe Biden has said he is ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the deal.
Biden’s Russia, Saudi Sanctions Spark Grumblings of Weakness
       
(Bloomberg) -- Twice in the last week, the U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia and Saudi Arabia over what it called human rights abuses. They say the U.S. could sanction Russia’s oligarchs or its sovereign debt, and fault him for declining to punish the crown prince. It was the same with the Saudi sanctions. Story continuesThat approach was a disappointment to those who believe the Saudi crown prince deserves direct punishment for his role in Khashoggi’s murder, as it was to Navalny’s supporters. “But the most painful sanctions, which neither Europe nor the U.S. imposed, are the ones against oligarchs.”The Biden administration counters that the criticism is unwarranted.
Europeans push IAEA Iran resolution despite warnings by Russia, Tehran
       
The three European powers, all parties to the 2015 deal, circulated a draft resolution for the Vienna meeting voicing "serious concern" at Iran's reduced cooperation and urging Iran to reverse its steps. "On the contrary it will hugely complicate those efforts undermining the prospects for the restoration of the JCPOA and for normal cooperation between Iran and the Agency." Asked about the tussle, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said he did not want anything to jeopardise his inspectors' work in the Islamic Republic. This is essential," he told a news conference, before taking an apparent swipe at Iran over its threat. "The inspection work of the IAEA should not be put in the middle of a negotiating table as a bargaining chip."
Biden brings no relief to tensions between US and China
       
From Iran to Russia, Europe to Latin America, Biden has sought to cool tensions that rose during President Donald Trump’s four years in office. Although the Biden administration has halted the ferocious rhetorical attacks and near daily announcements of new sanctions on China that had become commonplace under Trump, it has yet to back down on any of Trump's actions against Beijing. China and the United States are the world’s two largest economies and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The backdrop is clear: The United States is convinced that it and China are engaged in a duel for global dominance. “There has been huge deviation between what they believe China is and what China really is,” Yu said.
Concerns over China vaccine diplomacy "narrow-minded": political advisory body
       
Both business investment and household consumption remain soft.“Obviously knowing now this was going to happen, they wouldn’t have been as generous. But it was a game-time decision,” Jean-Francois Perrault, chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia, said by phone. That includes the ability to address any future economic setbacks or finance longer-term challenges like aging infrastructure and climate change. Canadians may instead hang onto the money or use it to pay down their own sizable debts, the bank says. He has promised the vaccine pace will accelerate and that all eligible Canadians who want a shot will get one by September.
IS claims killing of 3 female media workers in Afghanistan
       
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the killing of three women working for a local radio and TV station in eastern Afghanistan, the latest in a spike in targeted killings across the war-tor country. Dozens of people gathered Wednesday for the funerals of the three media workers. The militants said the three female journalists were targeted because they worked for one of the “media stations loyal to the apostate Afghan government” in Jalalabad. Tuesday’s killings brought to 15 the number of media workers killed in Afghanistan in the last six months. The Taliban have denied involvement in most of the targeted killings.
Islamic State says it killed female media workers in east Afghanistan
       
(Reuters) - The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed three female media workers in eastern Afghanistan. Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, which local police initially blamed on the insurgent Taliban, who denied any involvement. Violence has risen around Afghanistan and media workers and civil society members in urban areas have been targeted in recent months even as a peace process takes place in Qatar's capital of Doha. The Afghan government and the Taliban have been holding talks to try to reach a political settlement to end decades of conflict. But progress has slowed as the new Biden administration in Washington reviews its plans for the peace process, including whether to entirely withdraw troops by May as originally planned.
Arrival’s electric van is ready for testing
       
Anglo-American vehicle manufacturer Arrival has today unveiled its electric van in a form ready to begin testing. Created by Yota co-founder Denis Sverdlov, Arrival is focused on building electric vehicles that aren’t as headline-generating as electric SUVs. After all, online shopping leads to more mid-sized commercial vehicles trundling around busy metro areas at low speeds. It is, therefore, a great time to be a plucky upstart pitching an affordable, reliable and efficient commercial vehicle. Of course, there are challengers: GM’s BrightDrop unit, which hit the headlines at the start of the year, is working on its own electric van as part of an electric “ecosystem” for logistics.
Today in History
       
Today is Wednesday, March 3, the 62nd day of 2021. AdvertisementIn 1791, Congress passed a measure taxing distilled spirits; it was the first internal revenue act in US history. In 1931, “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem of the United States as President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution. The known virus death toll in the United States climbed to nine; most victims were residents of a Seattle-area nursing home. The head of the World Health Organization asked people to stop hoarding masks, saying they were needed by health care workers.
The Senate must pass the Equality Act
       
Yet few events would be as potent as passage of the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. On the same day that the Equality Act passed in the House, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky launched into a transphobic attack against Dr. Rachel Levine, a trans woman, during her Senate confirmation hearing. To avoid a filibuster (one reason to dump this ugly relic of the Jim Crow era), the Equality Act needs 60 votes — that means every Democrat, plus 10 Republicans senators. As law, the long-gestating Equality Act would align with greater social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week, “The Civil Rights Act is a sacred pillar of freedom in our country.
Dr Seuss: Stephen Colbert praises decision to discontinue publication of six books over racist undertones
       
Late night TV host Stephen Colbert has spoken out in defence of the decision by a Virginia school board to distance the annual Read Across America Day event from Dr Seuss. The whimsical children’s author has come under scrutiny in recent years, with several of his books containing racist undertones. Read more:Joe Biden omits Dr Seuss from Read Across America Day proclamationSpeaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the presenter said: “It’s a responsible move on their part. “There hadn’t been an earth-shattering outcry, but they recognise the impact these images might have on readers, especially kids, and they’re trying to fix it because Dr Seuss books should be fun for all people. Read our privacy notice Independent Culture Newsletter The best in film, music TV & radio straight to your inbox every week Thanks for signing up to the Independent Culture newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent.
Trump and Biden news live: President moves vaccine dates forward
       
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