👋 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/ The Biden administration is reportedly considering restarting the practice of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally. Although Biden ended the policy after taking office, saying he wanted a more humane immigration system, the White House and Department of Homeland Security officials have met multiple times to discuss various border-policy proposals when Title 42 ends May 11. Title 42 – invoked by the Trump administration in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic – is a public health law that allowed border agents to rapidly expel asylum-seeking migrants who crossed the border illegally. More than 2.3 million people have been expelled under Title 42, which ends May 11 with the expiration of a national emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic. (New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Walgreens – the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain – will not dispense abortion pills in 20 states, including some places where abortion is still legal and available. Last month, 20 Republican state attorneys general threatened Walgreens and other pharmacies with legal action if they dispensed mifepristone. The Biden administration called Republican efforts to dissuade pharmacies from distributing abortion pills “dangerous and just unacceptable.” Meanwhile, five women who were denied abortions under Texas law while facing medical crises are suing the state – the first time that pregnant women have taken legal action against abortion bans. “[The women] have been denied necessary and potentially life-saving obstetrical care because medical professionals throughout the state fear liability under Texas’s abortion bans,” the lawsuit said. The women, however, are not seeking to block Texas’ abortion bans outright, but instead asked the court to clarify that abortions can be performed when a physician makes a “good faith judgment” that “the pregnant person has a physical emergent medical condition that poses a risk of death or a risk to their health (including their fertility).” (Politico / CNN / NPR / New York Times / CNN)
3/ The Federal Reserve warned that it will likely lift interest rates higher and faster than previously expected if incoming data continues to point to a strong economy and persistent inflation. “If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we would be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes,” Chairman Jerome Powell said, adding that “the latest economic data have come in stronger than expected, which suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated.” Last year, the Fed raised interest rates at the fastest pace since the 1980s, lifting the borrowing costs from near zero to above 4.5%. Powell’s latest remarks suggest that the Fed could raise rates to 5.6%. Fed officials also project that the unemployment rate will reach 4.6% by the end of the year – up from 3.4% currently. Historically, when the jobless rate has increased by at least 1 percentage point, a recession has followed. 56% of voters, meanwhile, say they want the Fed to stop increasing interest rates before it triggers a recession. (CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Groundwork Collaborative)
4/ Biden proposed raising taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 in an attempt to ensure that Medicare is funded for at least the next 25 years. The plan would raise Medicare taxes to 5% from 3.8%. The Biden administration also proposed allowing Medicare to expand its ability to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Forecasters have warned that Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund, known as Part A, will be able to fully pay scheduled benefits until 2028. Medicare covers more than 65 million senior citizens and people with disabilities. The plan is part of the White House’s 2024 budget proposal, but will likely be rejected by the Republican-controlled House. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / NPR / CNN / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)
5/ Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger denounced Tucker Carlson for airing an “offensive and misleading” portrayal of the Jan. 6 insurrection, including a “disturbing accusation” that Officer Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with the riot. In an internal message to officers, Manger wrote that Carlson’s program “conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video” to incorrectly portray the violent attack as “mostly peaceful chaos,” adding that Carlson’s “commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.” Kevin McCarthy granted Carlson access to more than 40,000 hours of the Capitol security footage from Jan. 6, which Carlson used in an attempt to downplay the violence and defend the pro-Trump mob. Mitch McConnell and several Senate Republicans called Carlson’s portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol a “mistake.” (Politico / CNN / NBC News / Associated Press / ABC News)
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