👋 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/ The House passed Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social and climate spending package to “build back better.” The 220-213 vote came after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delayed the vote for more than eight hours with a meandering speech criticizing the bill and Biden’s policies. Centrist House Democrats had also demanded that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office release a full analysis of the legislation prior to voting. The CBO found that the package would add more than $367 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The White House, however, said that figure didn’t include revenue expected to be generated from beefing up tax-enforcement efforts at the IRS, which could capture roughly $400 billion in additional revenue. The package would provide universal pre-K for all children ages three and four, subsidize child care and expand family leave, cap certain drug costs, and expand financial aid for college. The bill would also set aside more than $550 billion to combat climate change, promote greener energy, and provide new incentives and tax credits for renewable energy and electric vehicle purchases. The legislation would also provide relief from deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, provide hungry Americans with access to food, and promote affordable new housing nationwide. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. “For the second time in just two weeks, the House of Representatives has moved on critical and consequential pieces of my legislative agenda,” Biden said in a statement, referring to the recently enacted $1 trillion infrastructure bill. “Now, the Build Back Better Act goes to the United States Senate, where I look forward to it passing as soon as possible so I can sign it into law.” If passed by the Senate, the legislation would be the most significant expansion of the social safety net by the government since the 1960s. In a floor speech before the vote, Nancy Pelosi said “with the passage of the Build Back Better Act, we, this Democratic Congress, are taking our place in the long and honorable heritage of our democracy with legislation that will be the pillar of health and financial security in America. It will be historic in forging landmark progress for our nation.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / NPR / USA Today)
2/ All American adults are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine boosters. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky authorized the booster doses hours after the agency’s independent panel of vaccine scientists unanimously endorsed opening up eligibility to everyone 18 and older. The panel said that all American adults “may” opt for a booster, while those 50 and older “should” get a booster. Earlier in the day, the FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna boosters for people 18 and older. (Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / CNBC / Axios / New York Times)
3/ Biden nominated two new members to the U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors, replacing key allies of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Biden nominated Daniel Tangherlini, a Democrat, to replace board Chair Ron Bloom, whose term is expiring. Biden also nominated Derek Kan, a Republican, to replace Republican John Barger, whose term is also expiring. DeJoy, a major donor to the Trump campaign as well as other GOP groups, was hired after then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened to withhold funds from the Postal Service unless the Trump administration could take over decision-making authority at the agency. Within weeks of taking office in June 2020, DeJoy implemented cost-cutting measures that were faulted for slowing mail delivery during the 2020 election. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / Axios)
4/ Trump endorsed Rep. Paul Gosar a day after he was censured and stripped of his committee assignments for tweeting an anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging swords at Biden. Trump praised Gosar as “a loyal supporter of our America First agenda, and even more importantly, the USA.” He added: “Gosar has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Gosar, meanwhile, has claimed that he wasn’t promoting violence and has not apologized for the video. He is also reportedly soliciting the names of Democrats who should be stripped of their committee assignments in a Republican-controlled House. In February, the House removed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two committee seats for embracing baseless conspiracy theories and supporting violent rhetoric against Democrats, including the assassination of Nancy Pelosi. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, however, said that under a hypothetical Republican majority in 2022, he would give Gosar and Greene better committee assignments. (Washington Post / NBC News)
5/ A Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of homicide, attempted homicide, and other charges. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, fatally shot two men and wounded another during protests over the shooting of a Black man by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse testified that he shot all three men with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in self-defense and pleaded not guilty to all counts. Seven months prior to the shooting, Rittenhouse appeared in the front row at a Trump rally in Des Moines. His social media presence at the time was filled with him posing with weapons, posting “Blue Lives Matter,” and supporting Trump for president. Biden, meanwhile, acknowledged that the verdict in the trial “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included,” but urged Americans to accept the verdicts and remain peaceful in protest. “Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded,” Biden said. “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it.” The verdict cannot be appealed. (NBC News / CNN / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post / CNBC)
poll/ 60% of Republicans want Trump to run for president in 2024. Overall, 28% of Americans would like to see Trump make another run for the presidency, while 71% do not want him to run again. (Marquette Law School Poll)
poll/ 46% of voters say they want the Republican Party to win control of the House of Representatives, while 41% prefer the Democratic Party win control. 46% also say they want to see the Republican Party win control of the Senate with 42% saying they want to see the Democrats win. (Quinnipiac)
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