👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Biden urged congressional Democrats to press ahead with the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, saying “I’m not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people.” Biden said he was open to negotiating the price tag for his Covid-19 relief proposal, including narrowing the distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks to focus on poor and middle-class people, but that he wouldn’t reduce the amount of the stimulus checks. “I think we can better target the number,” Biden said, but “We need to act — we need to act fast.” (NPR / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Politico / Wall Street Journal)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~104,222,000; deaths: ~2,263,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~26,523,000; deaths: ~450,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said teachers do not need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before schools can safely reopen. “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated,” Walensky said. “Vaccinations of teachers is not a prerequisite for safely reopening schools.” (CNBC)
The AstraZeneca vaccine may slow transmission of the coronavirus. (New York Times)
2/ The Senate approved a power-sharing agreement for governing the upper chamber that will allow Democrats to take control of committees. Without the so-called organizing resolution for the evenly-split Senate, Republicans had remained in control of committees and the confirmation process for Biden’s nominees. (CNN / Politico / Wall Street Journal)
3/ More than 370 Democratic congressional aides signed an open letter to senators urging them to convict Trump for inciting a violent “attack on our workplace” that threatened the peaceful transition of power. “As congressional employees, we don’t have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our senators do,” they wrote. “And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again.” The staff members described ducking under office desks, barricading themselves in offices, and watching as rioters “smashed” their way through the Capitol on Jan. 6, blaming Trump and his “baseless, months long effort to reject votes lawfully cast by the American people.” (New York Times / CNN)
4/ The House will vote Thursday on whether to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy failed to remove the conspiracy theorists for her past comments that Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were a hoax, and her endorsement of violence against Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat, said that “it is clear there is no alternative to holding a floor vote on the resolution to remove Representative Greene from her committee assignments” on the Education and Labor Committee, and the Budget Committee. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post)
5/ The House adopted rules to fine lawmakers up to $10,000 for bypassing security measures that were enacted after the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The measure passed on a 216-to-210 vote, with all but three Democrats present voting in favor and all Republicans present voting “no.” In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “It is beyond comprehension why any member would refuse to adhere to these simple, commonsense steps to keep this body safe.”(Washington Post / NBC News)
6/ The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office opened an investigation into Steve Bannon. Trump pardoned Bannon, who was indicted on federal fraud charges for his role in a fundraising scheme to build a border wall. Bannon and three others were arrested Aug. 20 and indicted on accusations they stole from hundreds of thousands of people who donated to the We Build the Wall campaign. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
7/ The Space Force “absolutely” has the “full support of the Biden administration,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. On Tuesday, Psaki responded to a question about the future of Air Force branch established by Trump, saying: “Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today. It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.” The House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican called on Psaki to “immediately apologize” for her remarks, which he saw as dissmissive of the guardians in the Space Force. (Axios / New York Times / Politico)
poll/ 24% of Americans say they will likely never get the coronavirus vaccine if they can help it. 50%, meanwhile, plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as they are allowed, while 19% say they prefer to let other people get it first. (Monmouth University)
poll/ 78% of Americans support the $1,400 stimulus checks Biden is calling for, including 90% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans. 68% of Americans support the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. (Quinnipiac)
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