👋 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/ Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, setting up a possible government shutdown this week and a federal debt default next month. The 48-50 party-line vote – to fund the government through Dec. 3, 2021 and suspend the debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022 – fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation to the floor. Republicans refused to back the debt limit increase as a form of protest of the Democrats’ plan to spend $3.5 trillion on education, child care, healthcare, and climate change – which would be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy. “After today there will be no doubt about which party is working to solve the problems that face our country and which party is accelerating us toward unnecessary, avoidable disaster,” Chuck Schumer said, calling it “one of the most reckless, one of the most irresponsible votes” he’s taken in the Senate. “Republicans will solidify themselves for a long time as the party of default.” Lawmakers have until midnight Thursday to approve funding for the government or a shutdown will be triggered. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, has notified Congress that they have until mid-October to act before the federal government can no longer pay its bills. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNN)
2/ The House will vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday, which the Senate passed last month. Nancy Pelosi committed to a vote this week on the proposal to improve the country’s physical infrastructure after a group of moderate Democrats threatened to vote against a second, larger social policy and climate change bill, which Democrats are pursuing through budget reconciliation. House progressives, however, have warned that they will not vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan bill until the House and the Senate has passed the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which provides investments in education, health, child care, paid leave, and climate programs. That package, however, has yet to be completed. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, meanwhile, warned that there are 60 Democrats who would vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the vote is held before the $3.5 trillion plan is finalized and adopted. That leaves Pelosi and her leadership team with three days to satisfy both the moderate and progressive factions of the party. “In order to move forward, we have to build consensus,” Pelosi said, adding: “I’m never bringing to the floor a bill that doesn’t have the votes.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)
3/ The Biden administration proposed a federal rule that would modify DACA in an effort to “preserve and fortify” it against future legal challenges after a federal judge in Houston ruled in July that the program was illegal. The proposed rule relies on the Obama administration DACA guidelines and embraces the “consistent judgment” that immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors should not be a priority for deportation. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the statement that “only Congress can provide permanent protection” for Dreamers. Trump tried to terminate the program in 2017, which the Supreme Court blocked. As of March 31, there were 616,030 DACA recipients. (CBS News / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press)
4/ The FBI reported that murder and manslaughter rose nearly 30% in 2020 — the biggest one-year increase on record. About 77% of murders were committed with a firearm – the highest share ever reported. Overall, however, crime in the U.S. is still below the historic highs reached in the early 1990s. (Washington Post / New York Times)
poll/ 40% of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing – a record low. 54% express “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government – from 67% in 2020. (Gallup / CNN)
notable/ In counties where Trump received at least 70% of the vote, the coronavirus has killed about 47 out of every 100,000 people since the end of June. In counties where Trump won less than 32% of the vote, the number is about 10 out of 100,000. (New York Times)
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