Posted: April 8, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Anthony Fauci, British variant, CDC, coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, fourth virus surge, Joe Biden, Michigan, Rochelle Walensky, Upper MIdwest, youth sports
Ole Ring, Danish painter, 1902-1972, natural landscape,
I’m going to focus on Covid-19 news today, because–despite the fact that 110 million Americans have been vaccinated–it looks like we are headed into a dangerous surge of new cases. Here’s the latest:
CNN: Fauci says new Covid-19 cases are at a disturbing level as the US is primed for a surge.
Stat reports that Biden has so far declined to increase the number of vaccine doses available to Michigan, despite the precipitous rise in cases: Biden officials rebuff appeals to surge Covid-19 vaccine to Michigan amid growing crisis.
Amid Michigan’s worst-in-the-nation coronavirus surge, scientists and public health officials are urging the Biden administration to flood the state with additional vaccine doses.
Henri Lebasque, Summer Woman
So far, though, their plea has fallen on deaf ears. Instead, the federal government is sticking to a vaccine-allocation strategy that largely awards doses to states and territories based on their population. As a result, most jurisdictions are still receiving similar per-capita vaccine supplies, regardless of how many people there are getting sick — or how many excess vaccine doses they have.
Experts have cast a surge in Michigan’s vaccine supply as a critical tool in combating the state’s most recent Covid-19 crisis. The state is currently recording nearly 7,000 new cases per day, just shy of its all-time peak in December. Hospitalizations and deaths, which tend to lag a few weeks behind increasing case counts, are also on the rise.
“I would be surging a lot of vaccines to Michigan right now,” said Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “To me, this is a no-brainer policy, and I would be curious to hear why the Biden team hasn’t done this.”
During a media briefing on Wednesday, White House officials acknowledged that Michigan’s situation is dire. They gave no indication, though, that they would send additional vaccines there to help quell the surge, when STAT asked. They argued that it is too early in the national vaccine campaign to begin targeting supply based on case rates.
Read more at Stat.
From An Diamond and Fenit Nirappil at The Washington Post: ‘A moment of peril’: Biden sees infections climb on his watch.
More than 100 million Americans have gotten at least one shot of vaccine and more than 200 million doses have been sent to states, a dramatic acceleration of the bumpy vaccine operation it inherited. Virus-related cases and deaths, which peaked in January, have fallen by about two-thirds since President Biden’s inauguration.
Gustave Léonard de Jonghe
But the Biden White House is seeing new infections climb on its own watch — a potential crisis that could erase many of the hard-won gains of the president’s first 75 days, should the numbers keep rising. After railing for a year about the last administration’s response and vowing a more muscular strategy, Biden is encountering the limits of his own authority. The president can help secure and distribute supplies and medicines, issue guidance and urge caution — but like President Donald Trump before him, he has few tools when governors decide to lift coronavirus protections at the wrong moment, manufacturers botch vaccine production, or Americans refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated.
“We need you to spread the word,” Biden told faith leaders last week, saying he was worried about Americans becoming “cavalier” about the virus. “They’re going to listen to your words more than they are me as president of the United States.”
Biden also has no more sway than Trump over a mutating virus that scientists have only begun to understand. The Washington Post’s rolling seven-day national average of coronavirus cases is more than 65,000 new cases per day, an 19 percent uptick since the middle of last month, even as many states drop public health restrictions and new variants spread. More than 146,000 new cases were reported on Thursday and Friday, the highest two-day count in several weeks, according to state data tracked by The Post.
David Axe at The Daily Beast: There’s One Truly Alarming Reason to Worry About the Latest COVID Surge—Even With Vaccines.
…the [current] surge—driven by the spread of dangerous new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and a reckless rush by governors and mayors to end a year of mask mandates and social distancing rules—isn’t just an immediate threat to unvaccinated people.
It also represents a long-term danger to the whole country. More cases mean more opportunities for the novel coronavirus to mutate. And the more the pathogen mutates, the greater the chance it will evolve into an even deadlier variant—“lineage” is the scientific term—than even the ones we’re dealing with now.
It’s even possible that, given time and a certain critical mass of cases, SARS-CoV-2 could mutate into a lineage that can overpower our vaccines.
Nicolaas van der Waay
That’s the worst-case scenario—and potentially the biggest cause for concern as the spring surge spreads across the United States. “The greater the spread of the virus populations to new individuals, because of relaxation of social measures, the more the chances of new mutations,” Edwin Michael, an epidemiologist at the Center for Global Health Infectious Disease Research at the University of South Florida, told The Daily Beast.
If all this sounds like conjecture—it’s not. The steady mutation of the novel coronavirus over the 16 months since it first took root in China is a big reason America’s experiencing another surge.
Any given patient’s load of the virus mutates every two weeks, on average. Niema Moshiri, a geneticist at the University of California-San Diego, compared each case to a slot machine that an infection pulls twice a month. Jackpot is a new and deadlier lineage.
Now imagine tens of millions of Americans with active COVID infections, with each case pulling that handle every 14 days. The more gamblers, and the more time they have to gamble, the better chances of a big win for SARS-CoV-2. Our goal, Moshiri said, should be “to lessen the number of parallel slot machines we give to the virus.”
Posted: March 13, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: abuse of power, Andrew Cuomo, Donald Trump, Fox News, Joe Biden, Peter Alexancer, presidential press conferences, Rebecca Traister, Sexual harassment, stimulus checks, TD bank, vaccine rollout
Franz Marc, Cat with Kittens
Everyone wants to know when they will be getting their $1400 stimulus check. Some people were posting on Twitter last night that they had already gotten their direct deposit. People are also saying on Twitter that TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are holding the deposits until Wednesday. WTF? My bank is TD Bank.
So I guess I can stop checking my bank balance for the time being. They have the deposits, but they are going to collect a few days’ interest before they let us have our money.
On Monday, we should be able to track our payments on-line. Forbes:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could start sending stimulus checks as early as this weekend. If you got a first stimulus check or second stimulus check, you know how important it is to check the status of your stimulus payment. You can check the status of your third stimulus check using the Get My Payment Tool, which is available on the IRS website.
Beginning Monday, March 15, 2021, it is expected that you can use the Get My Payment Tool to check the status of the American Rescue Plan stimulus payments, also known as an Economic Impact Payment. The IRS website says that the IRS is reviewing the tax provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021.
In other news, the Washington DC media is working very hard to find ways to criticize Joe Biden. They have all been harping on why Biden hasn’t yet held a press conference. The Washington Post: After 50 days as president, Biden still hasn’t given a news conference. Critics and allies wonder why.
Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both did their first one after just nine days in office.
Barack Obama waited 20 days.
The Checkered Blouse, Pierre Bonnard, 1892
And Donald Trump had been president for only a week before giving his first news conference, where he fielded questions alongside then-British Prime Minister Theresa May.
But Joe Biden still hasn’t had a formal news conference since his inauguration on Jan. 20. Thursday was his 50th full day in office.
The seven-week stretch is the longest a new president has gone without meeting the press in the past 100 years, dating back to when Calvin Coolidge, a man known as “Silent Cal,” was president, according to research by the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Biden delivered his first prime-time address to the nation Thursday night — but it appears the nation will wait longer to see him respond to questions at his first presidential news conference. He has often taken a question or two from reporters at the end of speeches or statements, as he did Wednesday after remarks about an increase in the coronavirus vaccine supply. But his record as president so far mirrors his behavior as a candidate, when Biden gave several interviews but rarely interacted with a roomful of reporters.
His reluctance to do so since becoming president has attracted comment and criticism from allies and foes alike.
Of course he’s been kind of busy rolling out vaccines and helping pass a huge stimulus bill. In addition his press secretary has been holding daily briefings. But the press has to find something to complain about.
The latest thing is the media asking why Biden isn’t giving Trump credit for the millions of vaccines have have now been distributed.
And it’s not just Fox News either. Here’s The New York Times: Biden Got the Vaccine Rollout Humming, With Trump’s Help.
When President Biden pledged last week to amass enough vaccine by late May to inoculate every adult in the United States, the pronouncement was greeted as a triumphant acceleration of a vaccination campaign that seemed to be faltering only weeks earlier.
And it is true that production of two of the three federally authorized vaccines has sped up in part because of the demands and directives of the new president’s coronavirus team.
But the announcement was also a triumph of another kind: public relations. Because Mr. Biden had tamped down expectations early, the quicker timetable for vaccine production conjured an image of a White House running on all cylinders and leaving its predecessor’s effort in the dust.
“On Saturday, we hit a record of 2.9 million vaccinations in one day in America, and beyond the numbers are the stories,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday at a White House event to celebrate the latest vaccine advancements. “A father who says he no longer fears for his daughter when she leaves to go to work at the hospital. The children are now able to hug their grandparents. The vaccines bring hope and healing in so many ways.”
Beyond the triumphant tone, a closer look at the ramp-up offers a more mixed picture, one in which the new administration expanded and bulked up a vaccine production effort whose key elements were in place when Mr. Biden took over for President Donald J. Trump. Both administrations deserve credit, although neither wants to grant much to the other.
NBC News got in on it too. Mediaite: WATCH: NBC News’ Peter Alexander Literally Wrote a Statement for Biden to Credit Trump on Vaccines, Read it Aloud at Briefing.
NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander took the initiative to compose a statement that President Joe Biden could use in order to give former President Donald Trump some credit for the success of the vaccination program that’s currently underway.
Several news outlets, including ABC News and The New York Times, criticized President Biden’s address to the nation on the anniversary of the Covid pandemic shutdown for failing to credit Trump.
Theodore Duret in His Study, Edouard Vuillard, 1912
At Friday’s White House daily briefing, Alexander asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki about that aspect of the speech, and went a step further by reading his own version of what Biden could have said to credit Trump.
Alexander said that Biden “spent a lot of time touting the success of vaccines, yet there was no mention of the president under whose administration these vaccines were developed,” and asked, “Does former President Trump not deserve any credit on vaccines?”
Psaki noted that the President and his team have praised the development of vaccines as “a Herculean incredible effort by science and by medical experts. And certainly, we have applauded that in the past, and we are happy to applaud that again.”
“But, I would say there is a clear difference, clear steps that have been taken since the president took office, that have put us on a trajectory that we were not on when he was inaugurated,” she added. “And leadership starts at the top, it includes mask-wearing, it includes acknowledging it is a pandemic, it includes getting a vaccine in public.”
Psaki went on to say that most of the infrastructure to vaccinate people was not in place when Biden took office.
Alexander conceded some of Psaki’s points, and said: “But on the development of the vaccines, it was Operation Warp Speed that was invented, executed, initiated under the former president.”
“So in the spirit of bipartisanship and unity last night, as opposed to the first comments which were about the denials in the first days weeks or months, why not just say, ‘With credit to the previous administration and the former president for putting us in this position, we are glad that we have been able to move it forward?’” Alexander asked.
“That is an excellent recommendation as a speechwriter,” Psaki said with a smile, then restated much of her previous answer, and told Alexander the purpose of the speech, as she saw it.
It’s looking worse for Andrew Cuomo as more women come forward and more people talk about his bullying and incompetence. Definitely check out Rebecca Traister’s long article at New York Magazine’s The Cut.
Traister also gave an interview to Audie Cornish at NPR: Gov. Cuomo’s Pattern Of Abuse Of Power.
CORNISH: Let’s just start with some of the common threads. What did you hear from some of these women?
TRAISTER: Well, I spoke to women and men, and I heard of a variety of ways in which Andrew Cuomo wields his power and in many cases, I think, abuses it both within the office, how he treats personnel and employees, and in terms of how he governs.
In terms of what I heard from some of the women who have worked for him, there were all kinds of common patterns – the feeling of being objectified, in some cases being hired because of how they looked. There is a woman who tells the story of meeting him at a party for two minutes and then getting invited in for a job offer two days later for no other reason she says she understood at the time except that he liked the way she looked at the party, a meeting where he also sort of grabbed her uncomfortably and did a dance move in front of a photographer.
Marc Chagall, The cat transformed into a woman,
There was a lot of women talking about how he touched them uncomfortably – again, not necessarily the kind of groping that he has reportedly been accused of by one woman in Albany in an incident that’s been reported to police, but touching them at weddings, kissing them on their heads. And then one thing is…
CORNISH: And you stress this a couple of times. You talk about the idea of diminishment, tokenization, and that sometimes that takes a sexualized form but doesn’t always.
TRAISTER: Yes, some of it is objectification. A lot of women talked about his constant commentary on how they were dressed, how they looked, whether they’d done their makeup that morning, questions about their dating life, use of nicknames or – not just from Cuomo but from some of his high-up staffers – a refusal to sort of learn their real names or refer to them by names. It’s all various forms of making other people feel small, in part to emphasize his own power and maintain these hierarchies within his administration.
CORNISH: Another thing you noted is that there was a sense that there was no information-sharing, that it allowed the governor’s office to evade responsibility on some things. Can you talk about how and why you see a link between this – the allegations we’re hearing now and the problems that Cuomo is having when it comes to the deaths at nursing homes, for example?
TRAISTER: Well, I think so much of it is about his approach to power and how he wields it. He’s often been written about for years as somebody with a hard-knuckled style of politics, which sort of refers to this kind of old white male brute patriarchy in which toughness is read as strength, you know, in which – and in some cases abuse, I think, is read as strength. But what’s common there is this sense of impunity, and I think you can see that – that he’s so powerful that he can get away with things.
Read more or listen at the link. A couple more new articles:
The New York Times: For Some Women, Working for Cuomo Is the ‘Worst Place to Be’
In interviews over the past week, more than 35 people who have worked in Mr. Cuomo’s executive chamber described the office as deeply chaotic, unprofessional and toxic, especially for young women.
It is a workplace, the current and former employees said, where tasks are assigned not based on job titles, but on who is liked by Mr. Cuomo and his top aides.
Cat with Cactus Flower’, 1921, Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen
Those interviewed described an environment where the senior executive staff regularly deride junior workers, test their dedication to the governor and make them compete to earn his affection and avoid his wrath.
The workers, for the most part, said they did not personally witness overt sexual harassment. But many said they believed that Mr. Cuomo and other officials seemed to focus on how employees looked and how they dressed. Twelve young women said they felt pressured to wear makeup, dresses and heels, because, it was rumored, that was what the governor liked.
One high-ranking current official and two former aides said they believed they had been denied opportunities because they did not dress in the preferred manner.
The workplace culture described by the employees is not uncommon in Albany, a state capital with a long history of sexual misconduct scandals and a reputation for after-hours mingling among lobbyists, elected officials and their aides at bars and fund-raisers. But the issues are notable for a governor who has cast himself as a champion for workers and women.
Michael Shnayerson at Vanity Fair: “I Started to Think, This is a Bad Guy”: Andrew Cuomo’s Biographer on the Governor’s Brutish History.
In 2012, I began writing an unauthorized biography of the governor of New York, who’d been in office a year. I talked to his associates and enemies. I gathered a dossier on his bullying ways and confrontational tactics. I pored over court documents surrounding his nasty split, a decade before, from his wife, Kerry Kennedy, a member of another powerful Democratic dynasty. As I plunged into writing, I hoped he might even agree to sit for an interview—and he did agree, sort of.
By the time I was about to hand in my manuscript, the governor had a book of his own in the works. It was titled All Things Possible. And his intention was to beat me to market. But I was ahead. Back came word that if I would let his book appear first, he would grant me all the interview time I wanted. So I agreed. But the governor pulled a fast one. I never did get that interview; his book came out in October 2014, a full five months ahead of mine. And there was, after all, no longer anything he needed from me. It was a quintessential Cuomo move: underhanded, stealthy, self-serving, and hard-ass.
This week I decided to dip back into the pages of my 2015 Cuomo biography, The Contender—and to do some additional reporting, given the news swirling around the governor. And I discovered that much of Cuomo’s M.O. and many of his character flaws—some of which have resurfaced as he’s been upended by the nursing home scandal and claims of sexual harassment, workplace misconduct, and predatory behavior (currently under investigation by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, and prompting an impeachment investigation by state legislators)—have been evident for years.
Here, then, are 12 hard truths I learned about Andrew Cuomo while writing The Contender.
Read the rest at Vanity Fair.
Those are my suggested reads for today. What’s on your mind?
Posted: March 11, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: $1400 checks, American Rescue Plan Act, Climate change, Joe Biden, Marcia Fudge, Merrick Garland, Michael Regan, public transit
By Santiago Rusiñol
Yesterday was a historic day.
But the biggest accomplishment of the day was the House passage of Biden’s $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Act. Also huge: the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as U.S. Attorney General. They also confirmed Marcia Fudge as the first Black woman Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in more than 40 years, and Michael Regan, a Black man, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The New York Times: Congress Clears $1.9 Trillion Aid Bill, Sending It to Biden.
Congress gave final approval on Wednesday to President Biden’s sweeping, nearly $1.9 trillion stimulus package, as Democrats acted over unified Republican opposition to push through an emergency pandemic aid plan that carries out a vast expansion of the country’s social safety net.
By a vote of 220 to 211, the House sent the measure to Mr. Biden for his signature, cementing one of the largest injections of federal aid since the Great Depression. It would provide another round of direct payments for Americans, an extension of federal jobless benefits and billions of dollars to distribute coronavirus vaccines and provide relief for schools, states, tribal governments and small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
“This legislation is about giving the backbone of this nation — the essential workers, the working people who built this country, the people who keep this country going — a fighting chance,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. He said he looked forward to signing what he called a “historic piece of legislation” on Friday at the White House.
The vote capped off a swift push by Mr. Biden and Democrats, newly in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, to address the toll of the coronavirus pandemic and begin putting in place their broader economic agenda. The bill is estimated to slash poverty by a third this year and potentially cut child poverty in half, with expansions of tax credits, food aid and rental and mortgage assistance.
By Henri Lebasque
According to CNBC, people who have direct deposit could start their $1,400 checks next week.
The American Rescue Plan Act is expected to be signed by President Biden on Friday, and stimulus payments could start being sent out within days of him signing. That means Americans could start seeing the money as early as next week.
The first people to receive the checks are likely those who have direct deposit set up with the IRS. That’s because the government already has their account information on file and doesn’t need to go through the process of printing, sorting and mailing physical checks or pre-paid debit cards.
Americans who don’t have direct deposit will have to wait for the payments to be produced and sent, a process that can be time consuming.
The Washington Post: How big is the Biden stimulus bill? And who gets the most help?
This latest round of aid, which was rejected by all Republicans in Congress, marks the first major legislative victory for President Biden. In contrast with the emergency bills passed last year, the Democratic bill focuses the vast majority of aid on households, states and cities, and vaccine distribution. There is little money directed this time toward businesses….
Over half the money — 54 percent — in the bill goes toward households. In addition to the popular $1,400 checks, there is also funding for extra unemployment insurance through Labor Day, expanded tax credits, and various programs to make rent, food and health insurance more affordable.
Economists say low- and moderate-income Americans will benefit the most from this aid, especially individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples earning $150,000 or less. The number of Americans living in poverty is predicted to drop in 2021 by as much as a third because of this legislation.
The cash infusion is expected to result in a 20 percent income boost for the bottom 20 percent of earners (those making $25,000 or less), according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
At The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer writes that the bill will an important impact on climate change: The Weekly Planet: Biden’s Stimulus Is a Big Deal for Public Transit.
In little-noticed ways, the rescue bill is going to reshape several areas of American climate policy. It will revive a number of crucial, pandemic-hammered institutions central to the country’s climate response. More important, it shows how the prevailing atmosphere of American governance has shifted.
This isn’t to say it’s a climate bill, per se. But it is part of the broader climate agenda being advanced by the Biden administration.
First, the bill devotes $30.5 billion to public-transit agencies. “COVID has really decimated transit ridership, and that has eaten a huge hole in agencies’ budgets,” Ben Fried, the communications director at the think tank TransitCenter, told me. Including the latest bill, Congress has spent $60 billion on transit over the past year, money that has been key to keeping the agencies solvent, Fried said. “If they didn’t get funding, then transit would have faced existential peril at the end of last year.” In Washington, D.C., for instance, the local Metro system was contemplating eliminating weekend service and permanently closing 19 stations. The new bill is enough to support agencies’ daily operations into 2023, he said….
Second, the rescue bill has quietly become an infrastructure bill. It devotes $350 billion to supporting state and local governments. These funds, initially proposed to plug COVID-19-created holes in public budgets, in many cases now exceed those holes. So the Senate has allowed states, cities, and counties to spend that money on improving services such as water, sewage, and broadband. Because many water systems are vulnerable to climate change and must be adapted, this is de facto climate funding. The bill also contains $31 billion for tribal governments and Indigenous communities, including line items for new infrastructure, housing, and language preservation.
More broadly, the bill epitomizes the Biden administration’s more forceful approach to running the economy. It shows that much of the American political establishment—from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York to Jerome Powell, the Donald Trump–appointed Federal Reserve chair—is comfortable pursuing a strategy of restoring full employment as quickly as possible, even if that creates some inflation in the short term.
Read the rest at The Atlantic.
Tonight President Biden will give a prime time speech to discuss the way forward. CNN: Biden seeks to chart a path out of the pandemic in prime-time address.
President Joe Biden can report in his first prime-time address Thursday that a vaccination drive now reaching 2 million people daily has brought America far closer to exiting the pandemic than when he took office 50 days ago.
With new infections and deaths way down from their peaks of a horrific winter, Biden can afford to conjure hope that better days may be imminent and will speak to the nation from a position of political strength. He is also armed with a newly passed $1.9 trillion Covid-19 rescue package — his first major legacy achievement — which represents an ambitious attempt to rebuild the US economy to favor the less well off.
“This bill represents a historic, historic victory for the American people,” Biden said Wednesday, touting his rescue plan that finally cleared Congress on Wednesday and pivoting to an address that he said would inform the country what “comes next” in the effort to prevail over the coronavirus. A clear majority of Americans — 60% — approves of the new President’s handling of the pandemic in a new CNN poll. He has reintroduced the nation to calm, functional leadership and a scientific approach to the public health crisis, and has ended the stream of vitriol that poured from the Oval Office for four years.
Yet in a national crisis this deep and in a country so polarized less than two months since ex-President Donald Trump’s insurrection, nothing is remotely normal. While Biden honored campaign promises to take the virus seriously, to secure funds to get kids back to school and to help Americans pummeled by the economic crisis, his White House is weighed down by stark challenges.
A White House official said Biden’s Thursday night speech, expected to last about 20 minutes, would focus on the lives lost and changed in the pandemic and the work Biden’s administration has done to rapidly increase the vaccination effort. The President will also explain what must still be done to defeat the virus, the official said.
Next, Biden will begin a “media blitz” to sell his plan. Vanity Fair:
After President Joe Biden signs his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law this week, he is set to embark on a press tour to sell his COVID-19 relief package to the American public, starting with a primetime address on Thursday, likely followed by his first formal news conference in the days after, CNN reports. The media and travel blitz comes as reporters have grown increasingly frustrated over lack of access to Biden, who has yet to hold the kind of solo, back-and-forth press conference that his 15 most recent predecessors—including Donald Trump—had all submitted themselves to by this point in their term. He has also yet to address a joint session of Congress, another appearance reportedly set to take place next month.
While Biden taking off on meticulously planned sales tour may not yield the type of freewheeling exchanges that reporters are clamoring for, it makes political sense for the White House to get the president on the road. Biden’s relief package is overwhelmingly popular among Americans—about 70 percent—but less so with GOP lawmakers in Washington, whose total opposition required Democrats to push the bill through the budget reconciliation process. Going that route means many provisions, such as increased subsidies for health insurance and expanded child tax credit, have a one-year expiration date. “Making them permanent will require another act of Congress that would likely need some Republicans on board,” according to CNN.
It will be a two-part effort, starting with spelling out the impact of the package to Americans. Biden has said that the Obama administration “didn’t adequately explain what we had done” with the 2009 stimulus. “I kept saying, ‘Tell people what we did.’ [Barack Obama] said, ‘We don’t have time. I’m not going to take a victory lap.’ And we paid a price for it, ironically, for that humility,” the president recently told House Democrats. This time around, Biden’s team is focused on making sure Americans know that relief measures, such as individual stimulus checks, come as direct results of his American Rescue Plan, and are reportedly using local media and outside coalition groups to help establish that connection.
Among the groups and leaders supportive of the package and thus capable of being leveraged by Biden’s team are “over 400 bipartisan mayors and governors, organized labor and the business community, as well as economists and experts from across the political spectrum,” one White House official told Axios. Benefits to schools, vaccine distribution, and food supply for low-income families are among the parts of the package that cabinet officials and White House aides will team up to publicly promote, according to another administration official. Axios notes that the strategy at play extends beyond short-term goals, such as the 2022 midterms; maintaining wide support for the bill rewards Biden’s ability to “build on the legislation and make it harder for the next Republican president to unwind.”
Much more is happening. Here are some additional stories to check out today:
Buzzfeed News says that today is a one year anniversary of our realization of the seriousness of the pandemic: March 11: Tom Hanks, The NBA, And COVID’s Day Of Reckoning In The US: An Oral History.
NPR: Whistleblowers Allege Improper Hiring At Justice Department During Trump’s Last Days.
The Bulwark: Can Biden Restore the Pentagon’s Balance of Power?
The New York Times: Oath Keepers Founder Is Said to Be Investigated in Capitol Riot.
The Washington Post: Veteran charged in Capitol riot once served in Marine One squadron, officials say.
Trump is in more trouble in Georgia than we realized. CNN: Wall Street Journal: Trump pressured Georgia investigator to find ‘the right answer’ in baseless fraud push.
More trouble in New York too. Reuters: Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen to meet again with Manhattan DA in Trump probe.
Talking Points Memo: Cuomo Accuser Claims Governor Groped Her At Executive Mansion.
That’s it for me today. What’s on your mind?