👋 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 announced plans to heavily regulate methane emissions from oil and gas drilling. The proposed EPA rules aim to curb methane emissions coming from roughly one million existing oil and gas rigs in the U.S. The EPA previously had rules to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas wells built since 2015, which were rescinded by the Trump administration. An estimated 75% of the country’s methane emissions will be covered by the new EPA rules. Separately, Joe Manchin has pushed to remove or weaken a provision in the $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate measure that would impose a fee on emissions of methane. (NBC News / New York Times)
2/ The CDC recommended the low-dose Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s recommendation came after a unanimous vote by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices supporting the use of the vaccine for the approximately 28 million children in the age group. Biden called the decision “a turning point in our battle against Covid-19,” adding that the federal government has purchased enough of the low-dose children’s vaccine “for every child in America.” (NPR / Washington Post / Associated Press)
3/ House and Senate Democrats reached an agreement on lowering prescription drug prices – a key part of Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” package. The proposed deal would establish a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit for seniors’ expenses in Medicare Part D, allow the government power to regulate the prices of some of the most expensive drugs, like insulin. Kyrsten Sinema, who opposed previous proposals on prescription drug reform, endorsed the new agreement. (NBC News / ABC News / CNBC)
4/ House Democrats added four weeks of paid family and medical leave back to the $1.75 trillion social spending bill. Democrats had previously scrapped the family leave provision after failing to reach a compromise with Joe Manchin, who had raised objections to using the reconciliation bill to pass significant policy proposals like paid leave. In response to the announcement, Manchin said he still opposes the paid leave proposal, adding: “They know how I feel about that.” (CNN / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial election – a state that Biden won by 10 points 12 months ago. New Jersey governor’s race, meanwhile, remained too close to call, even though Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy had been favored to win reelection by a comfortable margin in a state Biden won by 16 points. And, at least eight Republicans who attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., that turned into a deadly insurrection were elected to office. Three were elected to state legislatures, and five won at the local level. Minneapolis voters rejected a ballot measure to replace the police department a year after the Black Lives Matter movement had elevated the issue of police reform. History, meanwhile, was made in a number of cities: Boston elected Michelle Wu as mayor, the first woman and person of color to run the city, ending the city’s 200-year history of electing white men; New York City elected Democrat Eric Adams as the city’s second Black mayor; Ed Gainey was elected as the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh; and Winsome Sears was elected lieutenant governor of Virginia – the highest office a woman of color has won in Virginia’s history. (NBC News / CNN / NPR / HuffPost / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)
6/ Senate Republicans blocked the John Lewis Voting Rights Act from advancing. The legislation would have restored parts of the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened by past Supreme Court rulings, including the federal government’s ability to require “preclearances” from the Justice Department for jurisdictions with a history of discrimination before changing their voting rules. The final vote was 50 to 49 with Republican Lisa Murkowski voting with Democrats in favor and Chuck Schumer changing his vote to “no” so he could have the legislation reconsidered. Republicans have also blocked the Freedom to Vote Act three prior times, insisting that the federal government has no role in setting state election practices. (Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg / New York Times)
poll/ 41% of Republicans say they are confident their vote will be counted accurately – down from 84% in Oct. 2020. Overall, 66% say they are confident their vote will be counted accurately – down from 85% last year. Meanwhile, 22% of Republicans believe that Biden was elected legitimately, while 71% of independents and 93% of Democrats believe that Biden’s election was legitimate. Overall, 58% believe Biden was legitimately elected. (NBC News)
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