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White House outlines plan to vaccinate US children once FDA gives approval – live

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White House outlines plan to vaccinate US children once FDA gives approval – live

Early Newspaper

00: 48

Today’s politics recap

  • Senate Republicans successfully blocked Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act from advancing, dealing another blow to Joe Biden’s hopes of enacting national voting rights legislation. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans for once again using the filibuster to stymie voting rights legislation, while emphasizing that Democrats would not give up their fight. Schumer plans to bring the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act up for a vote “as soon as next week”.
  • The Senate Republicans’ move led to immediate calls for filibuster reform from progressive groups and voting rights activists. However, as of now, Schumer does not have the votes to alter or eliminate the filibuster, which allows Republicans to block legislation unless it has the support of 60 senators in the 50-50 chamber. Moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remain opposed to filibuster reform, and Schumer needs the support of the entire Democratic caucus to move forward.
  • The White House outlined its plan to quickly administer coronavirus vaccine shots to children aged five to 11, once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes their use for that age group. Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response team, said the Biden administration expects the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make their decisions on authorizing vaccines for those children “in the next couple of weeks”.
  • Climate activists gathered at the White House and on Capitol Hill to demand robust climate provisions in Democrats’ reconciliation package. Manchin has called for eliminating the Clean Electricity Performance Program from the bill, sparking outrage among climate activists and experts, who say the program is the most important environmental policy in the legislation.
  • Biden pitched his Build Back better agenda in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Reflecting on the hardships exacerbated by the pandemic by a lack of high-speed internet access across the country, economic stagnancy and a lack of jobs, high utility bills – Biden touted the policies that could lift up low-income and middle class Americans.
  • The lockdown at Walter Reed was lifted, after officials secured the military campus using K-9 teams. Those at Walter Reed had previously been instructed to shelter in place after someone called in a bomb threat this morning.
  • The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots. The agency is now allowing medical providers to boost older and high-risk individuals with any vaccine. Currently, boosters are recommended for people 65 and older, and younger adults with certain medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.

– Joan E Greve and Maanvi Singh

Updated

Backlog of cargo ships at southern California ports reaches an all-time high

Dani Anguiano in Los Angeles reports:

The backlog of cargo ships in southern California reached an all-time high this week as a supply chain crisis continues to overwhelm America’s busiest port complex.

On Tuesday more than 100 ships were waiting to unload thousands of containers outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The backlog has seen dozens of ships idling in the waters outside the ports for weeks, and the bottleneck is expected to continue into next year.

The Biden administration has pledged to expand port operations to address the mounting problems amid an overwhelming demand for imported consumer products and a shortage of trucks, drivers and warehouse workers.

“These issues go through the entire chain, from ship to shelf,” Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, told ABC7. “That’s why we’re not just working with the ports. It’s the truckers, the rail companies, the operators and also those retail companies that are at the other end of those supply chains.”

The Biden administration announced last week that the port of Los Angeles would move to 24/7 operations to ease the backlog and that major companies, including Walmart, FedEx and UPS, would intensify operations to get goods shipped across the US faster. Meanwhile, the port of Long Beach had already been experimenting with a 24/7 pilot program. Union Pacific has expanded to 24/7 rail service at its San Pedro facility.

The White House is also reportedly considering deploying the national guard to help reduce the backlog, CNN reported.

Read more:

Among the Build Back Better plan’s many provisions: expanding Medicare to include oral coverage for millions of older and disabled Americans. Will it survive cuts?

Michael Sainato reports:

Dory Adams, 67, who lives outside Atlanta, was diagnosed with osteoradionecrosis due to radiation treatment she received in 1999 for oral cancer. Effectively, the radiation weakened the bone in her jaw.

“I have endured hours and hours of trauma and pain in the dental chair, and paid thousands of dollars, only to find out that I have lost my battle to osteoradionecrosis,” said Adams. “I live with pain every single day with every single bite. My jaw creaks and pops when I talk and chew. It constantly reminds me, relentlessly, that I am scarred.”

But the pain is not her only worry.

Since her cancer, Adams hasn’t been able to pay for health insurance to afford the care needs until she became eligible for Medicare. She now requires surgery to her jawbone, but the dental care after the surgery isn’t currently covered. Because of the concerns she has about the costs for the dental care, surgery and ICU hospital stay, she is delaying the surgery.

“Dental care is a quality-of-life issue. If I have this surgery to save my jaw only to end up with no teeth on my bottom jaw, how will that affect my quality of life? I’m so depressed lately that all I think about is death,” Adams added. “What am I going to do? I really don’t know. For now I will just take the meds, avoid difficult foods and try to take special care of what teeth I have left.”

She is one of about 24 million Americans with Medicare – nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries in 2019 – who had no dental insurance coverage and could not afford to pay out-of-pocket for dental care. The same rate of Medicare beneficiaries did not visit a dentist in the past year, with Black, Hispanic, Native American and low-income Americans disproportionately affected.

Average costs for common dental procedures far exceed the average monthly benefits in social security many Medicare beneficiaries rely on as their sole or main source of income.

But part of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan could offer help – as long as it survives cuts wanted by centrist Democrats who want to reduce the legislation’s top-line $3.5tn price tag. The bill wants to expand Medicare to include dental coverage for millions of older and disabled Americans enrolled in the program, in addition to hearing and vision coverage.

Dental coverage would begin 1 January 2028, including preventative, basic and major dental treatments, including a full or partial set of dentures every five years. A 20% cost-sharing would be enacted for beneficiaries to cover preventive, screening and basic services, which would increase to 50% by 2032.

Senator Bernie Sanders has insisted the Medicare expansion is “non-negotiable”.

The majority of Americans support expanding Medicare to include dental care coverage. A poll of over 2,000 Americans conducted by CBS/YouGov in October found that 84% support federal funding to expand Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing coverage.

Read more:

Opposition from two moderate Democrats in the Senate – Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin – have forced the administration and party to consider cuts to key provisions of the plan.

A plan to offer all Americans access to two free years of community college is likely to get the axe, as is a clean energy program that Manchin – who has deep ties to coal, and the oil and gas industry – vehemently opposes. Lawmakers are also considering scaling back a program to send monthly payments to families with children.

Read more:

“What are we doing? This is the United States of America, dammit,” Biden said. “What are we doing?”

Reflecting on the hardships exacerbated by the pandemic by a lack of high-speed internet access across the country, economic stagnancy and a lack of jobs, high utility bills. Biden sped through all the provisions is omnibus reconciliation bill would include.

Here’s some of what the bill would include:

In his element, speaking from his hometown, Biden has begun with a very on-brand story about his love for Amtrak at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton.

“Hello hello hello!” he greeted supporters. “It’s good to be home!”

In his element, the president then launched into a winding story about the good old days – mass at St. Paul’s, men having big breakfasts, and the sound advice he got from his dad.

Biden at the Electric City Trolley Museum with manager Wayne Hiller.

Biden at the Electric City Trolley Museum with manager Wayne Hiller. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Updated

Biden in Scranton pitches Build Back Better agenda

Joe Biden is speaking in Scranton, Pennsylvania about his economic agenda.

With negotiations stalled on Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better reconciliation bill, the president is pitching his climate change, childcare, education and healthcare agenda directly to voters.

The White House
(@WhiteHouse)

Happening Now: President Biden delivers remarks on his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda. https://t.co/I8BTTlxbly

October 20, 2021

FDA authorizes Moderna and J&J boosters, allowing for mix-and-match

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized booster shots for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shot, and is allowing medical providers to boost older and high-risk individuals with any vaccine.

Currently, boosters are recommended for people 65 and older, and younger adults with certain medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.

“The available data suggest waning immunity in some populations who are fully vaccinated,” said Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner. “The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against Covid.”

Updated

Today so far

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

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Senate Republicans successfully blocked Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act from advancing, dealing another blow to Joe Biden’s hopes of enacting national voting rights legislation. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans for once again using the filibuster to stymie voting rights legislation, while emphasizing that Democrats would not give up their fight. Schumer plans to bring the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act up for a vote “as soon as next week”.
  • The Senate Republicans’ move led to immediate calls for filibuster reform from progressive groups and voting rights activists. However, as of now, Schumer does not have the votes to alter or eliminate the filibuster, which allows Republicans to block legislation unless it has the support of 60 senators in the 50-50 chamber. Moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remain opposed to filibuster reform, and Schumer needs the support of the entire Democratic caucus to move forward.
  • The White House outlined its plan to quickly administer coronavirus vaccine shots to children aged five to 11, once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes their use for that age group. Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response team, said the Biden administration expects the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make their decisions on authorizing vaccines for those children “in the next couple of weeks”.
  • Climate activists gathered at the White House and on Capitol Hill to demand robust climate provisions in Democrats’ reconciliation package. Manchin has called for eliminating the Clean Electricity Performance Program from the bill, sparking outrage among climate activists and experts, who say the program is the most important environmental policy in the legislation.
  • The lockdown at Walter Reed was lifted, after officials secured the military campus using K-9 teams. Those at Walter Reed had previously been instructed to shelter in place after someone called in a bomb threat this morning.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Progressive groups and voting rights advocates are already fiercely criticizing Senate Republicans for blocking the Freedom to Vote Act, and they are demanding filibuster reform to advance the bill.

“The attack on voting rights is not a mistake — it’s intentional. Leaders are getting away with silencing the voices of voters who don’t look like them by rigging the rules to stay in power,” said Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP.

“Right now, the stakes are at their highest. It’s time for Congress and the administration to make voting rights legislation their utmost priority. We cannot wait a minute longer.”

Christina Harvey, the executive director of the progressive advocacy group Stand Up America, specifically called on Democratic senator Joe Manchin to reconsider his stance on the filibuster after the vote.

“There is no compromise voting rights bill that will appease Senate Republicans, and today’s filibuster made that clear. Senator Manchin tried. It didn’t work,” Harvey said.

“Now, we’re out of time. The only way to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation and safeguard our freedom to vote is to end the Jim Crow filibuster.”

Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, added, “We can’t let Senate dysfunction stop urgent action to protect the right to vote, ban gerrymandering, and reform a corrupt campaign finance system.”

‘We’re not giving up,’ Harris says after Republicans block Freedom to Vote Act

After presiding over the procedural vote on the Freedom to Vote Act, Kamala Harris briefly spoke to reporters about Democrats’ path forward on voting rights.

“We’re not going to give up. We’re not deterred, but there’s still a lot of work to do, and I think it’s really a sad day,” the vice-president said.

CSPAN
(@cspan)

.@VP Harris on voting rights legislation: “We’re not going to give up. We’re not deterred. But there’s still a lot of work to do.” pic.twitter.com/gv4NtbM1w3

October 20, 2021

Joe Biden has named Harris as the administration’s point person on voting rights, but Democrats’ proposals keep getting blocked in the Senate due to Republican filibusters.

It seems highly unlikely that Democrats will be able to advance voting rights legislation until the filibuster is amended or eliminated, and they do not yet have the votes to do so.

As the Guardian’s Sam Levine notes, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer seemed to issue some thinly veiled criticism of the filibuster after Republicans blocked the Freedom to Vote Act from advancing.

“What we saw from Republicans today is not how the Senate is supposed to work,” Schumer said in his remarks after the procedural vote failed.

Sam Levine
(@srl)

Schumer seems to be more directly hinting at changing filibuster rules. Voting rights are different than other issues the senate deals with he says. “What we saw from Republicans today is not how the senate is supposed to work,” he says.

October 20, 2021

“This is supposed the world’s greatest deliberative body, where we debate, forge compromise, amend and pass legislation to help the American people. That is the legacy of this great chamber,” the Democratic leader added.

“The Senate needs to be restored to its rightful status as the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

But as of now, it does not appear that the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus, such as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, would support any proposal to eliminate or alter the filibuster.

Because of the 50-50 split in the Senate, Democrats need all members of their caucus to support such a rule change before it can be approved.

Senate will soon vote on John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Schumer says

After Senate Republicans successfully blocked Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act, majority leader Chuck Schumer said he will soon bring another voting rights bill up for a vote.

“The fight to protect our democracy is far from over in the United States Senate,” Schumer said. “As soon as next week, I’m prepared to bring the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act here to the floor.”

CSPAN
(@cspan)

.@SenSchumer: “Let there be no mistake, Senate Republicans blocking debate today is an implicit endorsement of the horrid new voter suppression and election subversion laws pushed in conservative states across the country.” pic.twitter.com/Qwhmt4VtmI

October 20, 2021

Schumer sharply criticized Republicans for blocking the Freedom to Vote Act, arguing they were effectively endorsing new voting laws that represent “a direct attack on our fundamental liberties as American citizens”.

“Let there be no mistake, Senate Republicans blocking debate today is an implicit endorsement of the horrid new voter suppression and election subversion laws pushed in conservative states across the country,” Schumer said.

Of course, unless moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema come around to the idea of eliminating or altering the filibuster, Senate Republicans will likely continue to block all voting rights bills from moving forward.

Senate Republicans again blocked a sweeping voting rights bill on Wednesday, a move that will significantly increase pressure on Democrats to do away with the filibuster, a Senate rule that has stymied Joe Biden’s most significant priorities in Congress.

The vote was 51-49 against proceeding. Because the filibuster requires 60 votes to proceed, Republicans succeeded in blocking the measure.

The bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, would impose significant new guardrails on the American democratic process and amount to the most significant overhaul of American elections in a generation. It would require every state to automatically register voters at motor vehicle agencies, offer 15 consecutive days of early voting and allow anyone to request a mail-in ballot.

It would also set new standards to ensure voters are not wrongfully removed from the voter rolls, protect election officials against partisan interference and set out clear alternatives people who lack ID to vote can use at the polls.

It also included a slew of new campaign finance regulations and outlaws the pervasive practice of manipulating district lines for severe partisan advantage, a process called gerrymandering.

Republicans block Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act

It is now official: Republicans have successfully blocked Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act, dealing another blow to Joe Biden’s hopes of enacting national voting rights legislation.

The final vote was 49 to 51, and Democrats needed 60 votes to start debate on the bill. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to “no” before the vote closed in order to give him the option to bring the bill up again later.

Senate Cloakroom
(@SenateCloakroom)

Not invoked, 49-51: Motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to Cal. #125 S.2747 Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act.

October 20, 2021

The result of the vote will likely enrage voting rights activists and the president, who described Republicans’ opposition to the bill as “unconscionable” in a statement sent as the Senate vote got underway.

“The right to vote – to vote freely, to vote fairly, and to have your vote counted – is fundamental,” Biden said. “It should be simple and straightforward. Let there be a debate and let there be a vote.”

The vote will almost certainly increase pressure on Senate Democrats to alter or eliminate the Senate filibuster, which gives Republicans the ability to block legislation unless it can attract 60 votes in the 50-50 chamber.

Updated

It looks like the Freedom to Vote Act will be blocked by Senate Republicans, but the White House has issued a statement of administration policy formally recommending the bill’s passage.

“Democracy is in peril, here, in America. The right to vote – a sacred right in this country – is under assault,” the new statement from the Office of Management and Budget says.

“The Freedom to Vote Act would set common-sense national baselines for voting in Federal elections. It would reform redistricting to curtail the partisan gerrymandering that distorts our democracy. It would modernize our election systems, protect election workers, and make the process more secure against efforts to undermine the will of the people.”

Applauding the Senate Democrats who have worked to craft the legislation, the statement adds, “As the bill moves forward, the Administration will continue to work with Congress to ensure that it achieves lasting reform consistent with Congress’ broad constitutional authority to strengthen our democracy.”

The vote is still open, but Republicans now have the votes to block Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act from advancing.

Democrats need 60 votes to start debate on the bill, but as of now, 42 Republicans have already voted against doing so.

The vote remains open, so the result is not yet official, but it appears like another Democratic voting rights bill has become a victim of the Senate filibuster.

Source:
White House outlines plan to vaccinate US children once FDA gives approval – live