👋 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 passed two immigration bills that would establish a path to citizenship for roughly 3.4 million undocumented immigrants. The American Dream and Promise Act, which passed 228 to 197, would create a path for citizenship for the approximately 2.5 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, known as “Dreamers,” and others granted Temporary Protected Status for humanitarian reasons. The House also passed The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which could create a path for more than 1 million undocumented farm workers to apply for legal status. The bills are narrower than the comprehensive immigration package introduced in February, which would have created a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Neither bill, however, is likely to overcome the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. “Democrats [are] wasting time on a bill that could not be less timely or targeted to the issue at hand,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNBC / CNN / Bloomberg / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ More than 500 unaccompanied migrant children and teens have been held in jail-like detention centers for more than 10 days at the border. Under law, minors are allowed to be held for 72 hours in the Customs and Border Protection detention centers. (NPR)
3/ Biden urged Congress to “swiftly pass” the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act to address the rise in discrimination and violence against Asian Americans following the mass shooting that killed eight people, including six Asian woman. “While we do not yet know the motive, as I said last week, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing crisis of gender-based and anti-Asian violence that has long plagued our nation,” Biden said in a statement. The measure would increase Justice Department oversight of coronavirus-related hate crimes, expedite the federal response to the rise of hate crimes, provide support to state and local governments to improve hate crimes reporting, and ensure that information on hate crimes is more accessible to Asian American communities. (CNBC / The Guardian / Washington Post / Axios)
4/ The CDC revised its physical distancing requirements for children in school, from 6 feet to 3 feet. Teachers and adult school staff, however, must still adhere to the 6 feet guidelines. Masks remain mandatory for all. (ABC News / NBC News / Associated Press / CNN / Washington Post)
😷 Dept. of “We’re gonna get through this.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~122,080,000; deaths: ~2,696,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~29,715,000; deaths: ~541,000; fully vaccinated: ~12.0%; partially vaccinated: ~23.3%
52% of front-line healthcare workers have been vaccinated. (Washington Post)
5/ The FBI is investigating whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his aides gave false data on New York nursing home deaths to the Justice Department. The state initially released only the number of nursing homes residents who died of Covid-19, despite knowing that thousands of residents had died after being transferred to hospitals. The FBI has also questioned state officials about a provision in last year’s state budget that granted nursing homes and hospitals broad legal protections for care during the pandemic, which made it difficult for families of residents who died or were infected by the coronavirus to sue. (The City / New York Times)
6/ U.S. diplomats accused China of threatening world stability while Chinese officials alleged that America is a human rights hypocrite during the first high-level meeting between the two global powers. In his opening statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Beijing needed to return to a rules-based system and vowed to bring up “deep concerns” about China’s actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. China’s Yang Jiechi replied that the U.S. was being “condescending” and wasn’t “qualified to speak to China from a position of strength,” adding “We hope that the United States will do better on human rights” – a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. The public exchange was supposed to be a four-minute photo-op but it lasted more than hour as the two sides traded barbs. (NBC News / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / New York Times / CBS News / Reuters)
7/ The White House asked several staffers to resign or work remotely after past marijuana use was discovered during their background checks – regardless of whether they had been in one of 14 states where the drug is legal. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “only five people” are no longer employed at the White House after disclosing marijuana use. (Daily Beast / Politico / CNN)
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