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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.
The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Senate Dems haggle over spending $1.9 trillion in COVID relief | $15 minimum wage hike sparks internal divisions | Obama econ adviser worries Biden stimulus is too big | Could overheat the economy | Economy adds 49k jobs in Jan. | J&J applies for vaccine’s emergency authorization | Study shows AstraZeneca shot protects against U.K. variant | Taylor Greene apologizes to colleagues yesterday, then calls Dems ‘a bunch of morons’ today | Girl Scout troop entirely of NYC homeless girls | Super Bowl food specials | Peeps’s new flavors | World Nutella Day!
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE
The fun is just beginning!:
Now that Senate Democrats passed the budget resolution to pass a coronavirus bill without any GOP support, Democrats now have to hash out how to spend that $1.9 trillion. https://bit.ly/3oTRxhj
But I thought they just did that?: “The budget, effectively a shell bill, authorizes a $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill and includes instructions to congressional committees on drafting the legislation under reconciliation, the tool Democrats are using to sideline Republicans in the Senate.”
Meaning there is still work left to do: Now that Democrats have authorized the use of $1.9 trillion, they need to agree how exactly to spend it. And with a 50-50 vote, plus Vice President Harris breaking the tie, there is no room for any Democrats to disagree.
What President Biden is suggesting for the package: “President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion plan that includes a $1,400 direct stimulus payment, a $400 per week federal unemployment benefit, $350 billion for state and local governments, a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour and more money for things like childcare, schools and vaccine distribution.”
^ But don’t get too attached to those specifics: “But there are already signs that Democrats, particularly in the Senate, are going to be pushing for changes. Because of the tight margin, any one Democratic senator will have leverage to shape the final coronavirus relief proposal or withhold the support needed to pass it without help from Republicans.”
What to expect, via The Hill’s Jordain Carney: https://bit.ly/3oTRxhj
THE BIGGEST INTERNAL DIVISION SO FAR:
Whether to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour https://bit.ly/39VKMYh
NEWS THIS MORNING — A TOP ECONOMIC ADVISER FOR OBAMA THINKS BIDEN’S STIMULUS IS TOO BIG:
In a Washington Post op-ed, Larry Summers, the top economic adviser to former President Obama, warned that President Biden’s stimulus is risky. https://wapo.st/3oRREtN
Why: It could overheat the economy.
Excerpt: “First, while there are enormous uncertainties, there is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability.” Read Summers’s full op-ed:https://wapo.st/3oRREtN
Happy Friday! The Super Bowl is just two days away! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to firstname.lastname@example.org — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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NEWS THIS MORNING
Bring ‘em back, bring ‘em back:
Via The Hill’s Sylvan Lane, “The U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, a 0.4 percentage point drop, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.” https://bit.ly/39QKCRK
Context to those numbers: “The uptick in jobs shows the recovery from the coronavirus recession resumed last month after December job losses, but the report underscored the deep damage yet to be repaired from the pandemic-driven economic crisis.”
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
Yeeeeeea, AstraZeneca! — its vaccine appears to work against the U.K. variant:
Via The New York Times’s Benjamin Mueller and Rebecca Robbins, “The Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford protected people against a new, more contagious coronavirus variant at similar levels to the protection it offered against other lineages of the virus, Oxford researchers said in a paper released on Friday.” https://nyti.ms/2YQRp7A
Details: “The paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, said that the vaccine had 74.6 percent efficacy against the new variant, which was first detected in Britain and is known as B.1.1.7. That was similar to, though slightly lower, than its efficacy against other lineages of the virus.”
Read the paper released today: https://bit.ly/2Lt541O
The one stop shot!:
Via The Associated Press’s Lauran Neergaard, Johnson & Johnson has applied for emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. https://bit.ly/3oS6IHJ
When the FDA panel will meet to discuss the vaccine: Feb. 26
What to know about J&J’s effectiveness: “Overall, the single-dose vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, according to early findings from a study of 44,000 people in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa.”
^ Yes, but this is big (!): “It was 85% protective against the most serious symptoms — and starting 28 days after their shot, researchers found no one who got the vaccine needed hospitalization or died.”
Everything to know: https://bit.ly/3oS6IHJ
ANOTHER THING TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT THE J&J VACCINE:
“Infectious disease experts point out that J&J’s numbers can’t be used as a direct comparison with Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, which were found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively. That’s because J&J’s vaccine is a single dose and the company’s trial was conducted when there were more infections and new, more contagious variants, they said.” Full story from CNBC: https://cnb.cx/2YOqJog
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 26,681,420
U.S. death toll: 455,915
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 36.7 million shots have been given
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.34 million doses.
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t just riding off into the sunset:
“House Democrats on Thursday took the extraordinary step of voting to strip committee assignments from a member of the opposite party, saying Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) had forfeited her right to those seats by endorsing conspiracy theories, racist dogma and violence against Democratic politicians.” https://bit.ly/2YKMqFE
Yes, but she isn’t going anywhere: “Greene is hardly going to slink away into backbench obscurity. She claims to have raised $175,000 in a fundraising appeal this week from 13,000 donors. Her now-infamous Twitter account had more than 345,000 followers by Thursday evening. The contrition in her floor speech was limited, too.” Full reasoning from The Hill’s Niall Stanage: https://bit.ly/39RpQl6
SHOT AND CHASER:
Yesterday, Taylor Greene apologized. “She told Republican colleagues she believes school shootings are real and called them ‘awful,’ and apologized for her past support for QAnon conspiracy theories, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.” https://cbsn.ws/3pU5ixJ
Then today, she tweeted — welp: “I woke up early this morning literally laughing thinking about what a bunch of morons the Democrats (+11) are for giving some one like me free time. In this Democrat tyrannical government, Conservative Republicans have no say on committees anyway. Oh this is going to be fun!” See her full tweet: https://bit.ly/3pSP0oY
HERE’S A LIST OF THE 11 REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED TO STRIP GREENE OF HER COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS:
Two regional trends included a few lawmakers from Florida and New York. Keep in mind: Greene has made comments about 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Parkland High School shooting both being a hoax. https://bit.ly/2YMdtjE
If you want your cookie fix this year, here’s an awesome Girl Scout troop to support:
Where do I sign up?:
The House is in. The Senate is out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. Biden is heading to Delaware this evening.
9:45 a.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris met with House Democratic leaders and House committee chairs to discuss the coronavirus relief package.
This afternoon: The House votes. The House’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/2YNAx1D
4:55 p.m. EST: President Biden leaves for Wilmington, Del.
Tuesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event on “Complex Generics & The Prescription Drug Landscape.” Details and how to RSVP: https://bit.ly/2YIZyLh
WHAT TO WATCH:
11 a.m. EST: The White House COVID response team held a press briefing.
11:45 a.m. EST: President Biden delivered remarks on the state of the economy and the coronavirus relief package. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3cPPw3v
12:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE and Council of Economic Advisers member Jared BernsteinJared BernsteinMore than 7 million Americans to lose jobless benefits on Labor Day Job openings hit 10.1 million in third straight record-breaking month Deficit Ponzi schemes meet cold fusion MORE hold a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3aFLnvY
3 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles Yellen presses Democrats on tax enforcement CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' MORE hold a virtual roundtable with local Black Chambers of Commerce to discuss COVID-19. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3rmVjkU
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is World Nutella Day?! It’s also National Frozen Yogurt Day. And for weekend planning purposes, Sunday is National Fettuccine Alfredo Day.
The news for me — Peeps comes in other flavors??:
Via Thrillist, Peeps announced two new flavors for the 2021 Easter lineup. https://bit.ly/2LnD2Vn
The new flavors: “a cinnamon-flavored Hot Tamales variety and a Froot Loops-flavored marshmallow pop”
What I learned today: Peeps already comes in flavors such as cotton candy, sour watermelon, fruit punch, root beer float and chocolate pudding. I’m intrigued.
The festival of snacks is on Sunday!:
Via Delish, here’s a list of Super Bowl food specials around the country: https://bit.ly/3jnbKLl
And if you’re in the Washington, D.C.-area: Eater DC has a list of the best food specials in DC: https://bit.ly/2MYS8kF
And to get your weekend off to a good start, here's an adorable baby bunny: