👋 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/ Americans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus no longer need to wear masks outdoors in most situations except for large gatherings, according to updated CDC guidance. People who are fully vaccinated can go without masks outdoors when walking, running or biking, or gathering in small groups with friends outdoor. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.” Despite declining coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S., the CDC still recommends wearing a mask – even for vaccinated individuals – in public settings indoors and outdoors where there is a substantial risk of Covid-19 transmission, such as at concerts, sporting events, and other crowded gatherings. “Beginning today, gathering with a group of friends, in a park, going for a picnic […] as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without wearing a mask,” Biden said, calling it “a beautiful day.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios / NBC News)
- India reported more than 300,000 new confirmed Covid-19 cases for the sixth day in a row. India’s 323,144 new infections over the past 24 hours comprises 39% of global cases. (Washington Post / New York Times)
2/ The Department of Homeland Security limited ICE’s ability to arrest immigrants in or near courthouses. ICE officers will now be allowed to make civil immigration arrests near a courthouse only when it involves national security, a risk of imminent death or harm to anyone, the “hot pursuit” of someone who is “a threat to public safety,” or when there is risk of destruction of evidence in a criminal case. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the Trump administration’s “expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses […] had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement.” (BuzzFeed News / NBC News)
3/ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas launched an internal probe “to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the Department of Homeland Security.” The task force will provide a “comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS.” The review comes after the Pentagon completed a 60-day “stand down” to address extremism after several veterans were found to have taken part in the Capitol riot. (ABC News / New York Times)
4/ Biden is expected to propose an $80 billion funding boost for the IRS and increased authority to combat tax dodging by the wealthiest Americans. The administration projects that the plan would generate about $700 billion over 10 years in net revenue. If approved, individuals who earn more than $400,000 a year would face a higher likelihood of a tax audit. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNN)
5/ Biden signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contractors to $15 an hour. The raise from $10.95 an hour would begin in January 2022, and agencies would have to implement the measure by March. (NBC News / New York Times)
poll/ 25% of American women say they are financially worse off today than before the pandemic began, compared to 18% of men. 27% of non-White Americans say they are worse off now vs. 18% of Whites. (Washington Post)
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