👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the five GOP members who were selected to serve on the 1/6 committee. House Speaker Pelosi on Wednesday rejected the appointment of Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, both of whom objected to the certification of the November 2020 election in the House, to serve on the commission. In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled the remaining three GOP members. (CNN / The Hill / Washington Post / Politico)
2/ Trump’s longtime friend and ally Thomas Barrack was accused of trying to use his influence to help the United Arab Emirates. The billionaire businessman was arrested Tuesday in California and charged with violating foreign lobbying laws, obstructing justice and making false statements, officials said. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)
3/ Ted Cruz is blocking diplomats from being confirmed for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications. An extraordinary effort by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to block nominees from being confirmed to vital jobs in the State Department is creating hurdles for the Biden administration and hindering U.S. diplomacy, according to Democrats and Republicans who spoke to CNN. (CNN)
4/ U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years. The drop spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline. (Associated Press)
5/ Senate Republicans blocked a vote Wednesday to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, as they push for more time to strike a deal with Democrats and write the legislation. The vote was 49-51, short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure. (CNN / Politico)
poll/ 48% of Democratic voters are “very” or “extremely” enthusiastic about the midterms, down 5 percentage points since April. A third of Republican voters said they’re “extremely enthusiastic” about the midterms. (Morning Consult)
poll/ 33% of Black adults and 43% of White adults say race relations in the United States are good. 40% of Black adults say race relations will eventually work out, down 14 points. U.S. adults’ positive ratings of relations between Black and White Americans are at their lowest point in more than two decades of measurement. (Gallup)
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