👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Biden promised to end hunger in the U.S. by the end of the decade, unveiling $8 billion in public- and private-sector commitments to make food healthier, more affordable, and accessible. It was the first White House summit dedicated to combating hunger in nearly a half-century. “I know we can do this,” Biden said. “This goal is within our reach.” Most of the policy proposals – like permanently extending the child tax credit, raising the minimum wage, and expanding nutrition assistance programs – will require congressional approval. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / Politico)
2/ The Congressional Budget Office reported that the poorest half of Americans – about 150 million people – hold 2% of the nation’s wealth. The top 10% of American families, meanwhile, account for 72% of the nation’s wealth. In 1989, the bottom half of the population held 4% of total wealth while the top 10 held 64%. “This report confirms what we already know: The very rich are getting much, much richer while the middle class is falling further and further behind, and being forced to take on outrageous levels of debt,” Bernie Sanders said. “The obscene level of income and wealth inequality in America is a profoundly moral issue that we cannot continue to ignore or sweep under the rug.” (Washington Post / Common Dreams)
3/ Biden warned that Social Security and Medicare are “on the chopping block” if Republicans regained control of Congress. Some Republicans have called for restructuring or scaling back entitlement programs with Rick Scott going so far as to draft a plan that would “sunset” Social Security and Medicare if Congress doesn’t act. Social Security’s combined reserves, meanwhile, are projected to be depleted in 2035. After that, the program will be able to pay about 77% of the scheduled benefits unless Congress steps in. Roughly 56 million people received retirement and survivors benefits in 2021. (New York Times)
4/ The European Union proposed new sanctions in response to Russia escalating its war in Ukraine by drafting at least 300,000 men into its army, threatening the use of nuclear weapons, and holding “sham” referendums. European leaders also vowed a “robust and united response” to the “sabotage” of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. The White House, meanwhile, said that Russia’s attempts to annex four Ukrainian regions under its control were “illegitimate” and “outrageous.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The Russian government falsified the results to advance the lie that the Ukrainian people want to be part of Russia.” The Biden administration also announced $1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. commitment to more than $16.2 billion. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNBC)
5/ Mitch McConnell endorsed a bipartisan electoral count reform bill in the Senate, which now has the public support from 11 Republican senators – enough to overcome the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. The legislation aims to stop future presidents from trying to overturn election results through Congress by raising the threshold for lawmakers to object to the electoral count and reaffirm that the vice president only has a ministerial role in the count of electoral votes. The House passed its own version last week. Prior to McConnell’s endorsement, the Senate Rules Committee voted to advance the bill. Ted Cruz was the lone senator to vote against the bill. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Texas Tribune)
poll/ 52% of voters said they support Congress reforming the electoral vote count law, and 53% said it should be more difficult for state governments to override presidential election results. (Politico)
poll/ 5% of Americans – roughly 13 million adults – agree that the use of force is justified to restore Trump as president. About 3.32% of Americans – 8.5 million adults – said they would participate in the use of force to restore the Trump presidency. (CBS News)
poll/ 42% of Republicans identify as “MAGA” Republicans, while 58% disavow the term. (NBC News)
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