👋 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 White House unveiled a $1.8 trillion spending and tax plan to expand access to child care, education, paid leave, and an extension of some tax credits. Biden is expected to detail the American Families Plan in a joint session of Congress tonight, which starts around 9 p.m. ET. The proposed plan, which includes about $1 trillion in investments and $800 billion in tax credits over a decade, would provide $200 billion in universal pre-kindergarten, more than $100 billion in free community college, extend the expanded child tax credit through 2025, and set aside $225 billion to create a national paid family and medical leave program, among other initiatives. The plan, which the White House has billed as “generational investments in our future,” would largely be funded by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Between the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, which the White House unveiled last month, and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, Biden is proposing roughly $4 trillion in investments over the next decade that would expand the U.S. social safety net and the role of government in public life. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico / USA Today / CNBC)
2/ Federal investigators executed search warrants at Rudy Giuliani’s New York City home and office as part of a criminal investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. Investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices as part of a yearslong investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors into possible violation of foreign-lobbying rules. The FBI also executed a search warrant at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing in connection with the Giuliani investigation. Toensing, a lawyer close to Giuliani, had dealings with several Ukrainians in an effort to try to dig up dirt about Biden as he ran for president. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CBS News / NBC News / CNN)
3/ Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office repeatedly prevented state health officials from releasing the true coronavirus death toll in New York nursing homes for at least five months. Starting last April, Cuomo’s most senior aides overruled and obscured the state’s health officials from releasing a scientific paper, which incorporated the death toll, and two letters by the Health Department and meant for state legislators were never sent. The full data on nursing home deaths was not released until late January 2021, when a report by the state attorney general found that the state might have undercounted the true death toll by as much as 50%. (New York Times)
4/ Biden nominated a critic of Trump’s immigration policies to serve as director of ICE. If confirmed, Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez would be the first politically appointed director in years. The Trump administration never had a Senate-confirmed director. (CNN)
5/ The Biden administration will propose a ban on menthol cigarettes. Research shows menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than regular tobacco products. Approximately 20 million Americans smoke menthols. (Washington Post / CBS News / New York Times)
poll/ 53% of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling his job and say he has the right priorities. 59% say Biden is doing a good job keeping his campaign promises, and 66% approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNN)
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