👋 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/ The House and Senate both advanced a budget resolution, setting up passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan over near unanimous Republican opposition. The Senate passed the budget blueprint early Friday morning 51-50 on a party line vote after Kamala Harris broke the tie. The House then passed the resolution later Friday in a 219-209 vote. House and Senate committees will now draft legislation using Biden’s framework, which calls for money for vaccine distribution, funding for hospitals and schools, $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans, and expanded unemployment aid. Democrats are eyeing mid-March for final passage of the relief legislation. (NPR / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Washington Post / Axios)
2/ Nearly 18 million Americans continue to receive unemployment benefits of some kind and there are about 10 million fewer jobs today than before the pandemic. More than 1 million Americans have filed first-time unemployment claims for the 46th consecutive week last week, while almost 40% of jobless workers – about 4 million people – are now classified as long-term unemployed, nearing the record 46% set following the Great Recession. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, added 49,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%. (NBC News / NPR / CNN / CNBC / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Axios / Politico)
3/ Biden, responding to the jobs report, said “it is very clear our economy is still in trouble.” He added that many Americans are “really hurting” and that Congress has the opportunity “to do something consequential here.” Biden pledged “to act fast” on securing passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, making it clear that Democrats are willing to move forward without Republican support, while calling his American Rescue Plan “big,” “bold,” and “a real answer to the crisis we’re in.” Biden also pushed back on the Republicans’ Covid-19 relief counterproposal, which totaled to less than half of the $1.9 trillion White House plan, saying “Some in Congress think we’ve already done enough to deal with the crisis in the country. Others think that things are getting better and we can afford to sit back and either do little or nothing at all. That’s not what I see. I see enormous pain.” (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / ABC News)
4/ Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered more than 1,000 active-duty troops to help speed up state Covid-19 vaccination efforts. Military personnel will begin arriving in California within the next 10 days with more missions “to come.” The Pentagon is still weighing a request from FEMA for up to 10,000 troops. Biden, meanwhile, will use the Defense Production Act to increase supplies of vaccine, tests, and protective equipment. (Politico / NBC News)
5/ The House voted to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two committee seats for embracing baseless conspiracy theories and supporting violent rhetoric against Democrats, including the assassination of Nancy Pelosi. The House voted 230-199 – with 11 Republicans joining every Democrat who voted – after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to take away her committee assignments. After being removed from the Budget Committee and the Committee on Education and Labor, Greene called Democrats “morons,” and declared that she had been “freed” from “tyrannical government,” adding that “this is going to be fun!” (Politico / New York Times / ABC News / Bloomberg / NBC News / Washington Post / Axios / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
poll/ 47% of Americans believe the Senate should vote to convict Trump during his impeachment trial. 50% say Trump bears a great deal or quite a bit of the responsibility for the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Associated Press)
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