👋 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 U.S. Census Bureau released the first set of updated state population totals from the 2020 census, which were delayed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s interference last year. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all lost a seat in the House, while Texas picked up two seats, and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon all gained one seat each. Over the past decade, the U.S. population grew at the slowest rate since the 1930s. The full Census data used for redistricting will not be publicly released until the end of September. (NPR / Axios / Bloomberg / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)
2/ The Justice Department opened an investigation into the practices of the Louisville Metro Police Department – 13 months after LMPD officers killed Breonna Taylor inside her own apartment while serving a no-knock warrant. Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to Taylor during his announcement of the investigation, saying the Justice Department “will assess whether (Louisville Metro Police Department) engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful expressive activities.” Last week, Garland announced a similar investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department following the police killing of George Floyd. (CNN / NBC News)
3/ Biden signed an executive order to create a White House task force to promote union membership. Kamala Harris will lead the task force, which will issue recommendations about how the federal government can use its authority to help workers join labor unions and bargain collectively. In 2018, Trump signed three executive orders to limit union protections and bargaining rights for federal employees. (New York Times)
4/ The Department of Agriculture extended a pandemic benefits program to feed up to 34 million children from low-income families over this summer. The plan will provide about $375 per child to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer – about $7 a weekday. (NBC News / Axios)
5/ The U.S. will send 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which hasn’t been authorized for use in the U.S. by the FDA, will be sent to other countries once it clears federal safety reviews. “We do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against covid,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. AstraZeneca has not sought FDA authorization for its vaccine, but has already manufactured millions of doses in the U.S. under a federal contract. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Washington Post)
6/ The CEO of a vaccine production facility sold more than $10 million worth of his company stock before disclosing that it had ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine. The transactions were Robert Kramer’s first substantive sales of Emergent stock since April 2016. (Washington Post)
- poll/ 22% of Americans said they’re willing to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while 73% not yet immunized against the coronavirus say they’re not willing, and 4% had no opinion. (Washington Post)
7/ The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal to a New York law that restricts an individual from carrying a concealed handgun in public. It’s the first time in more than a decade that the court has agreed to take up a central issue of the gun rights debate. (NBC News / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)
poll/ 58% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 42% disapprove. A majority of Americans described Biden as “presidential,” “focused,” and “competent.” (CBS News)
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