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House to aim to vote on infrastructure and reconciliation bills next week, Hoyer says – as it happened

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House to aim to vote on infrastructure and reconciliation bills next week, Hoyer says – as it happened

Early Newspaper

01: 04

Summary

  • The House will “aim” to vote next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, majority leader Steny Hoyer said. House speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Joe Biden at the White House this morning, and she told reporters afterwards that she believed Democrats were nearing a deal on the reconciliation package.
  • Biden said at his CNN town hall last night that Democrats’ negotiations are “down to four or five issues”. The president has spent weeks meeting with Democratic lawmakers to reach an agreement on the reconciliation package, as moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have demanded a smaller bill, angering their progressive colleagues.
  • The supreme court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion ban to temporarily remain in effect, while scheduling oral arguments in the case for November 1. Liberal supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor fiercely criticized the conservative majority’s decision to keep the law in place, arguing the promise of future deliberations in the case was “cold comfort” for women in Texas.
  • Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11, according to data that the company submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA panel will meet next week to discuss Pfizer’s application to make a smaller dose of its vaccine available to children in that age group, and an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will convene the following week.
  • Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, was convicted on federal campaign finance charges. Parnas, who aided Giuliani’s efforts to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden’s son during the presidential election, was accused of using other people’s money to try to improperly influence American politicians.
  • Democratic lawmakers are calling on Joe Biden to secure the passage of the Build Back Better deal, and bold climate action, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. “The climate crisis presents deadlines that are imposed on us by science – deadlines that are rapidly passing us by,” write Ilhan Omar, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen and others in their letter.
  • Facebook employees repeatedly flagged concerns about misinformation and conspiracy theories on the platform before and after the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by the New York Times. But as workers urged the company to act, Facebook failed or struggled to address the problems. The company also faces accusations from a new whistleblower that it knowingly allowed hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms.

-Joan E Greve and Dani Anguiano

Updated

Before and after last year’s presidential election in which Donald Trump tried to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, Facebook employees repeatedly flagged concerns about misinformation and conspiracies on the platform, according to documents obtained by the New York Times.

A week after the election, a company data scientist told coworkers that 10% of all US views of political content were of posts that falsely claimed the vote was fraudulent. But as workers flagged these issues and urged the company to act, the company failed or struggled to address the problems, the newspaper reported.

Other internal documents showed the same thing. Facebook researchers found that the platform’s recommendation tools repeatedly pushed users to extremist groups, prompting internal warnings that some managers and executives ignored, NBC News reported.

The reports come as Facebook is facing accusations from a new whistleblower that it knowingly allowed hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms.

New Facebook whistleblower says company knowingly allowed hate speech – report

A new Facebook whistleblower is accusing the company of knowingly allowing hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Facebook was already in a crisis following whistleblower Frances Haugen’s allegations that the company has repeatedly prioritized profit over public safety. After her testimony before US Congress and forthcoming testimony in the UK parliament, the company is said be readying plans for a rebrand.

US public health in crisis as Covid prompts curbs on officials’ powers

Investigations by Kaiser Health News and the New York Times found that at least 32 states have introduced about 100 new laws to restrict state and local authorities from addressing health crises.

“It’s a pretty grim future,” David Rosner, a public health and social historian at Columbia University, told the Guardian. “This is an eye-opening moment in American history, where we see all of these traditions and ideas being mobilized to basically create discord rather than harmony around disease. I’ve just never seen this before.”

More from my colleague, Melody Schreiber:


More than half of US states have introduced new laws to restrict public health actions, including policies requiring quarantine or isolation and mandating vaccines or masks. Between the new laws and the massive workforce departures during the pandemic, public health in America is now in crisis, experts say.

The new restrictions and shortages not only affect responses to the coronavirus but also make it harder to contain outbreaks of the flu, measles and other health crises, and they put the US in a weaker position to combat future pandemics.

“We’re very, very concerned about the rolling back of public health powers,” Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told the Guardian. “We thought there was going to be a renaissance for public health, and we may be at the cusp of a major decline.”

Vincent Ni

China warns against ‘wrong signals’ as Biden suggests US would defend Taiwan

China has urged the US to “avoid sending any wrong signals” after President Joe Biden for a second time in three months said the US would come to Taiwan’s defence if it was attacked.

In both instances, the White House has clarified that there has been no change in US policy, which officially maintains so-called “strategic ambiguity” regarding Taiwan. Still, Biden’s words will rattle Beijing.

China’s foreign ministry has “no room for concessions” when it comes to its core interests, its spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing, in the latest protest amid speculation about the future of Washington’s “strategic ambiguity” over Taiwan.

Hi and happy Friday. This is Dani Anguiano taking over our live US politics coverage for the day.

Democratic lawmakers are calling on Joe Biden to secure the passage of the Build Back Better deal, and bold climate action, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. The administration’s multitrillion-dollar social spending package is considered the most comprehensive climate legislation ever put forward in the US, and must survive razor-thin Democratic majorities in Congress. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has vowed it will pass in time for the crucial UN climate talks in Scotland that begin at the end of October.

“The climate crisis presents deadlines that are imposed on us by science – deadlines that are rapidly passing us by,” write Ilhan Omar, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen and others in their letter. “The COP26 summit could be the last opportunity for world leaders to take bold action before it is too late to secure a livable climate by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We’re facing an existential crisis, with American leadership, economic prosperity, and our very lives at stake.”

Ed Markey
(@SenMarkey)

President Biden must arrive at COP26 in Glasgow with a Build Back Better deal that passes our climate test of achieving the scientifically-necessary emissions reduction goal while creating good union jobs and advancing environmental, racial, and economic justice. pic.twitter.com/5mw2ci5E8d

October 22, 2021

Updated

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Dani Anguiano, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • The House will “aim” to vote next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, majority leader Steny Hoyer said. House speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Joe Biden at the White House this morning, and she told reporters afterwards that she believed Democrats were nearing a deal on the reconciliation package.
  • Biden said at his CNN town hall last night that Democrats’ negotiations are “down to four or five issues”. The president has spent weeks meeting with Democratic lawmakers to reach an agreement on the reconciliation package, as moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have demanded a smaller bill, angering their progressive colleagues.
  • The supreme court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion ban to temporarily remain in effect, while scheduling oral arguments in the case for November 1. Liberal supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor fiercely criticized the conservative majority’s decision to keep the law in place, arguing the promise of future deliberations in the case was “cold comfort” for women in Texas.
  • Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11, according to data that the company submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA panel will meet next week to discuss Pfizer’s application to make a smaller dose of its vaccine available to children in that age group, and an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will convene the following week.
  • Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, was convicted on federal campaign finance charges. Parnas, who aided Giuliani’s efforts to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden’s son during the presidential election, was accused of using other people’s money to try to improperly influence American politicians.

Dani will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Glasgow in a couple of weeks for COP26, the United Nations climate change conference.

The president is hoping to be able to champion his reconciliation bill and its climate provisions while in Glasgow. But demands from moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin are complicating that plan.

Manchin has called for eliminating one of the most pivotal climate provisions in the reconciliation bill, the Clean Electricity Performance Program, raising concerns that Biden will arrive in Glasgow with diminished credibility when it comes to fighting the climate crisis.

I spoke to the Guardian’s climate reporter Oliver Milman about the challenges that Biden faces and the importance of COP26 for our Politics Weekly Extra podcast:

Lev Parnas had already attracted intense scrutiny in the US because of his connections to Rudy Giuliani and the allegations that led to the first impeachment of Donald Trump.

The AP explains:


The case had drawn interest because of the deep involvement of Parnas and a former co-defendant, Igor Fruman, in Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden’s son during Biden’s campaign for president.

Giuliani remains under criminal investigation as authorities decide whether his interactions with Ukraine officials required him to register as a foreign agent, but he wasn’t alleged to have been involved in illegal campaign contributions and wasn’t part of the New York trial.

The case did, though, give an up-close look at how Parnas entered Republican circles in 2018 with a pattern of campaign donations big enough to get him meetings with the party’s stars.

Former Giuliani associate Parnas convicted of campaign finance charges

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, has been convicted on federal charges of making illegal campaign contributions to influence American politicians.

The AP reports:


The verdict was returned in Manhattan federal court, where Lev Parnas was on trial for more than two weeks as prosecutors accused him of using other people’s money to pose as a powerful political broker and cozy up to some of the nation’s star Republican political figures.

One part of the case alleged that Parnas and an associate made illegal donations through a corporate entity to Republican political committees in 2018, including a $325,000 donation to America First Action, a super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump.

Another part said he used the wealth of a Russian financier, Andrey Muraviev, to make donations to U.S. politicians, ostensibly in support of an effort to launch a legal, recreational marijuana business.

Parnas was convicted on all counts.

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House to aim to vote on infrastructure and reconciliation bills next week, Hoyer says – as it happened