👋 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/ 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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