President Joe Biden wants to show what good the government can do with his new $2 trillion infrastructure plan. We’ve got the nitty gritty details in a digestible summary form.
Meanwhile, European regulators say there’s no evidence to support restricting the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine because of reported bloodclots. And, in the US, oopsie daisy – workers accidentally spoil fifteen million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
And lastly, New York becomes the fifteenth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Even better, the law puts racial equity at the forefront.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Now we’re getting down to business. The Washington Post reports that President Biden unveiled a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan yesterday to address some of the country’s most pressing problems, including damaged bridges, unequal broadband access, and climate change. Biden’s proposal, the American Jobs Plan, would be paid for, in part, by raising the corporate tax rate and global minimum tax. Many of these measures would reverse the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts. Here’s some of what’s in the proposal, according to the Post:
- The plan would invest $115 billion to revamp highways and roads, including more than ten thousand bridges in need of reconstruction. It also includes $20 billion to improve road safety, including for cyclists and pedestrians.
- The plan calls for $85 billion to modernize existing transit systems. The investment would double federal funding for public transit.
- It would establish $174 billion to build a national network of five hundred thousand electric- vehicle chargers by 2030.
- Biden’s proposal would invest $213 billion to build and retrofit more than two million homes.
- It aims to deliver universal broadband, including to more than thirty five percent of rural Americans who lack access to high-speed internet.
- The plan would invest $111 billion for clean drinking water, $45 billion of which would be used to replace the country’s lead pipes and service lines.
- The proposal calls for $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools.
- It would invest $180 billion in research and development.
- The plan would put $35 billion toward clean-energy technology.
- The proposal also places a heavy emphasis on creating union-backed jobs.
There you have it folks, the full smorgasbord. Today Biden will convene his first Cabinet meeting to promote the plan. Next, Congress gets a taste.
CDC Warns Coronavirus Cases Rising
Here’s all the latest on the pandemic. The head of the European Medicines Agency said yesterday that there is no evidence that would support restricting the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in any population, as Germany has now done amid concerns over rare blood clots in people who got the shot, the Associated Press reports. On Tuesday, an independent vaccine expert panel in Germany said AstraZeneca shots should not routinely be given to people under sixty because of a rise in reported cases of unusual blood clots in the days after vaccination. The move put the spotlight back on the European Medicines Agency, which authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine in January and said earlier this month that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that workers at a Baltimore plant manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines accidentally conflated the vaccines’ ingredients several weeks ago, ruining about fifteen million doses of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error. The mixup has halted future shipments of Johnson and Johnson doses in the United States while the Food and Drug Administration investigates.
Finally, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, again urged Americans not to let their guard down as the pandemic wears on, according to the Washington Post. During a White House briefing, Walensky said the agency’s most recent data shows the seven-day average of new cases is just under sixty two thousand cases per day, which she said marked a nearly twelve percent spike from the prior seven-day period. Walensky called this a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic and added; "We are so close, so very close, to getting back to the everyday activities we all miss so much. But we’re not quite there yet"
New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
Hallelujah! After years of stalled attempts, that New York State has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, the New York Times reports. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the cannabis legislation yesterday, a day after the State Legislature passed the bill following hours of debate among lawmakers in Albany. New York became the fifteenth state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, positioning itself to quickly become one of the largest markets of legal cannabis in the nation and one of the few states where legalization is directly tied to economic and racial equity.
The Times reports that forty percent of the tax revenue from pot sales will be steered to communities where Black and Latino people have been arrested on marijuana charges in disproportionate numbers. People convicted of marijuana-related offenses that are no longer criminalized will have their records automatically expunged. The law also seeks to allow people with past convictions to participate in the new legal market. Certain parts of the law went into effect immediately. Individuals are now allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational purposes or twenty four grams of concentrated forms of the drug, such as oils. New Yorkers are permitted to smoke cannabis in public wherever smoking tobacco is allowed. Smoking cannabis, however, is not permitted in schools, workplaces or inside a car.
Other changes will go into effect in the coming months when officials create a regulatory framework, the Times reports. People, for example, will eventually be able to have cannabis delivered to their homes, use cannabis products at lounge-like consumption sites and cultivate up to six plants at home for personal use. Dispensaries won’t open until more than a year from now. The recreational market is expected to eventually generate $350 million in yearly tax revenue. It’s a win-win-win.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Here’s an update from the Derek Chauvin trial, via the Washington Post. The third day of testimony in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer brought more anguish from people who wished they could have kept George Floyd alive. For instance, store clerk Chris Martin said he thought Floyd didn’t know he was passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Tragedy upon tragedy.
The Guardian reports that two Capitol Police officers have filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, saying he was responsible for physical and emotional injuries they suffered in the January 6th insurrection. James Blassingame, a seventeen-year veteran of the force, and Sidney Hemby, an eleven-year veteran, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in US District Court for the District of Columbia. Each are seeking damages of at least $75,000. Good luck and godspeed.
The Pentagon yesterday scrapped restrictions on transgender troops imposed by the Trump administration, and unveiled new rules designed to end discrimination and provide medical care for those service members, according to NBC News. The Defense Department’s new policy will permit troops to serve openly under their self-identified gender and will offer access to medical treatments for gender transition. A return to fairness and decency at last.
A judge in Wyoming has sentenced a man to six months in prison for digging in a Yellowstone National Park cemetery in pursuit of a famous hidden treasure, the Associated Press reports. Rodrick Dow Craythorn, fifty two, of Syracuse, Utah, was seeking a treasure chest containing coins, gold and other valuables that art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn stashed in the Rocky Mountain backcountry. Fenn published a poem containing clues to where the treasure could be found. Craythorn said in a statement, "my obsession clouded my judgment." Happens to the best of us.
APRIL1 , 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn