- Joe Biden advocated for Covid-19 vaccination requirements, calling on more business owners to enact them. Speaking in Illinois, he said: “vaccination requirements are good for the economy”.
- The Senate approved a deal to raise the debt limit for a few weeks. The agreement between Democrats and Republicans would increase the borrowing limit by $480bn, sufficient to avoid default keep debt payments up until 3 December.
- A former special envoy to Haiti told lawmakers that they must rethink deportation policies. Former envoy Daniel Foote, who resigned last month over what he said was “inhumane” and “counterproductive” treatment of Haitian migrants, told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee that “deportation in the short term is not going to make Haiti more stable”.
- The Senate judiciary committee released an interim report on Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure the justice department into overturning the 2020 presidential election. The report stated that Trump repeatedly asked the DOJ to falsely claim the election was stolen and declare the election “corrupt”, among other findings.
- The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack issued new subpoenas to allies of Trump. This third round of subpoenas reflects the committee’s interest in unveiling the Trump White House’s involvement in planning the 6 January insurrection.
– Maanvi Singh and Vivian Ho
Senate approves temporary debt ceiling deal
The Senate voted 50-48, passing an agreement to raise the federal debt limit by $480b through early December. The bill will now go to the House for a vote.
This short-term deal will avert what would have been a historic default, but does little to solve the bigger standoff between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling.
Senate advances deal to raise debt limit till early December
The temporary agreement between Democrats and Republicans would increase the borrowing limit by $480bn, sufficient to avoid default keep debt payments up until 3 December. The Senate voted 61-38 to advance the deal to a vote, overcoming filibuster.
If it passes the Senate, the House will likely come back from recess to vote on the deal as well.
But the agreement negotiated between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer doesn’t do much to resolve the larger dispute between the two parties. McConnell wants Democrats to use the budget reconciliation process to raise the debt limit without Republican support. Schumer and Democrats say that just allows Republicans to avoid taking responsibility for debts that have already been accrued.
The Senate is voting on whether to break a filibuster and advance a short-term debt ceiling deal between Republicans and Democrats.
Here’s the deal on the debt limit deal negotiated between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer:
Alaska hospitals make wrenching decisions as they begin to ration care
Melody Schreiber reports:
Rural areas across the United States are in crisis as Covid-19 overwhelms some hospitals, but the situation is especially dire in Alaska, which has the highest US rate of Covid cases and recently turned to emergency measures to allow the rationing of healthcare at 20 medical centers across the state.
Alaska’s health system, stretched by enormous distances and limited resources, was precarious before the pandemic hit, and now remote communities are worried they will have nowhere to send their sickest patients.
One in 84 people in Alaska was diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last week of September alone. On Monday, the state reported 2,290 cases and one death over the course of three days. Less than two-thirds of eligible Alaskans are fully vaccinated, and the entire state is on high alert for significant spread of the coronavirus.
The surge comes as Alaskan leaders and communities are sharply divided on issues like masks and vaccinations, and health workers are burned out and bullied.
Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she might have the House return to DC from recess next week to vote on suspending the debt limit.
In letter to House Democrats, she said: “We have also been working to protect the full faith and credit of the United States. At this writing, the Senate is engaged in hours of debate that will lead to a vote to lift the debt ceiling.”
“Hopefully that will occur and if it is necessary for members to return early, leader [Steny] Hoyer will give sufficient notice,” she said.
Senate GOP whip John Thune has indicated to reporters that the debt limit bill will pass in the Senate tonight with at least 10 Republican votes to end filibuster.
More than 140,000 US children lost a parent or caregiver to Covid, study finds
Shirley L Smith reports for the Guardian:
While the US has been engulfed in a heated battle to prevent people from contracting and dying from Covid-19, another pandemic has been raging behind closed doors among children who have lost one or both parents, or their caregivers, to Covid.
A new study, published on Thursday in the journal Pediatrics, estimated that from April 2020 through 30 June this year, more than 140,000 children under the age of 18 lost their mother, father, or grandparent who provided their housing, basic needs and daily care to the disease.
The study reveals that Covid is not only disproportionately killing adults from communities of color, but the children in these communities are bearing the brunt of the aftershock of this “hidden pandemic”, said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Nida), which co-funded the study.
Although people of racial and ethnic minority groups make up 39% of the US population, the study shows about 65% of children who lost a primary caregiver are minority Hispanic, Black, Asian and American Indian/Alaska Native. Thirty-five per cent are white.
“The death of a parental figure is an enormous loss that can reshape a child’s life,” Volkow said. But researchers say the needs of these children have been largely overlooked.
“Compared to white children, American Indian/Alaska Native children were 4.5 times more likely to lose a parent or grandparent caregiver, Black children were 2.4 times more likely, and Hispanic children were 1.8 times more likely,” Nida said.
The study was a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Imperial College London, Harvard University, Oxford University and the University of Cape Town. Researchers used mortality, fertility, and census data to estimate Covid-associated orphanhood, which they define as the death of one or both parents, or the death of a custodial or co-residing grandparent who was primarily responsible for caring for a child or lived in the same household as the parent and assisted in caring for the child.
A former special envoy to Haiti who resigned last month over what he said was “inhumane” and “counterproductive” treatment of Haitian migrants, told lawmakers today that they must rethink deportation policy.
“Deportation in the short term is not going to make Haiti more stable. In fact, it’s going to make it worse,” former envoy Daniel Foote told a briefing for the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
Foote said he was not told about the deportation of thousands of Haitians who arrived at the US-Mexico border, and found out through media coverage. “Nobody asked me about the deportations. I found out about it on the news just like the rest of us,” he said.
A country reeling from an earthquake that killed more than 2,000, in the midst of political upheaval after the assassination of former president Jovenel Moïse, “our own diplomats cannot leave our compound in Port-au-Prince without armed guard,” Foote said. Deporting migrants back to the country is “not the answer right now,” he said. “Haiti is too dangerous.”
Trump asked former aides to not comply with House select committee
Yesterday, the Guardian revealed that the aides are on board.
In a letter, an attorney for the former president reportedly asked Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Steve Bannon and Dan Scavino not to comply with subpoenas from the House select committee on the insurrection. The four former Trump aides were asked to turn over documents and appear for interviews with investigators.
Trump’s legal team argued that the records and testimony were protected by “the executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges,” according to reporters from the Post and Politico, who reviewed the document. “President Trump is prepared to defend these fundamental privileges in court,” the letter said.
As the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reported yesterday:
The move to defy the subpoenas would mark the first major investigative hurdle faced by the select committee and threatens to touch off an extended legal battle as the former president pushes some of his most senior aides to undercut the inquiry.
All four Trump aides targeted by the select committee – Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, strategist Steve Bannon and defense department aide Kash Patel – are expected to resist the orders because Trump is preparing to direct them to do so, the source said.
The select committee had issued the subpoenas under the threat of criminal prosecution in the event of non-compliance, warning that the penalty for defying a congressional subpoena would be far graver under the Biden administration than during the Trump presidency.
Today so far
- Joe Biden spoke in Illinois to advocate for Covid-19 vaccination requirements, calling on more business owners to enact them.
- The Senate laid down the ground rules around today’s debate on the deal to extend the debt limit by $480bn through 3 December. Debate is now underway, with a cloture vote expected to take place soon.
- Daniel Foote, the former special envoy for Haiti, spoke before the House foreign affairs committee about his abrupt resignation last month over what he called the Biden administration’s “inhumane” mass deportation of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers.
Joe Biden said since mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for active-duty military, the Department of Defense has reported that the vaccination rate has gone from 67% to 97%.
“Here’s the deal: these requirements are already proving that they work,” Biden said. “Starting in July, when I announced the first vaccination requirement for the federal government, about 95 million eligible Americans were unvaccinated. Today, we reduced that number to 67 million eligible Americans who are unvaccinated.”
In his speech about Covid-19 vaccination requirements in Illinois, Joe Biden noted that the labor department would soon issue the mandate requiring that all employees working with more than 100 people must either be vaccinated or face testing once a week.
He did not provide a timeline for when that would be, but this vaccination requirement “will cover 100 million Americans, about two-thirds of all the people who work in America”, Biden said.
Biden: the unvaccinated “put our economy at risk”
In Illinois, Joe Biden spoke about the need for Covid-19 vaccine requirements, calling on more employers to enact them. He acknowledged that though it “wasn’t my first instinct” to require vaccines, “these requirements work”.
“We know there is no other way to beat the pandemic than to get the vast majority of people vaccinated,” Biden said. Now, “more people are getting vaccinated and more lives are getting saved”.
He made a point to appeal to the business community he was addressing, noting that “vaccination requirements are good for the economy”. He quoted one economist as saying vaccination requirements were “the most power economic stimulus ever enacted.”
“The unvaccinated put our economy at risk,” he said. “People are reluctant to go out. Even in places where there are no restrictions in going to restaurants and gyms and movie theaters, people are not going. They’re worried they’re going to get sick.”