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Cramm for 3/8/21
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THE HIGHLIGHTS

The Senate just gave the thumbs-up to that stimulus package. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

A couple months ago, Biden said ‘voila’ and  unveiled a $1.9 trillion (yes, with a tr) spending package. Originally, the deal was supposed to give direct payments of $1,400 to add to the $600 stimulus already going out - plus increase weekly federal unemployment benefits from $300 to $400. Oh, and it was also supposed to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, set aside $20 billion for a national vaccine program, and up the child tax credit. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Not everything went according to plan. Since Dems have such a slim majority in the Senate, every Dem needed to be on board with the package - and some moderate Dems (cough, Joe Manchin, cough) weren’t. So the $15 minimum wage hike was cut, and the weekly federal unemployment benefits stayed at $300 a month (but were extended through September). With these adjustments, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed along party lines in the Senate on Friday. 

 

THE REACTION.

Due to those changes, the bill still needs to pass in the House of Reps, but it’s largely expected to. Now, everyone’s waiting to see what kind of impact the package makes in the US. The biggest factor: the child tax credit, which will give most families a monthly check of up to $300 per child. Dems plan to make it permanent. 

 

THE TAKE. 

Even with the changes, this is a big win for the Biden team. TBD, TBD, TBD. 


THE ACTION

CORONAVIRUS: ICYMI, daily coronavirus cases are plateauing in the US - leading to worries that we could be in the eye of the hurricane, so to speak. Because, new coronavirus variants. The good news: new polling shows that nearly 70 percent of Americans plan to get the vaccine, up from 60 percent in November. FYI, between 70 and 80 percent of the population needs to get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. Speaking of vaccines, US officials just revealed that a Russian disinformation campaign is working to undermine confidence in vaccines used in the US, including the Pfizer vaccine. Over in Brazil, the country is seeing the largest single-day surge in new cases in two months. Stay tuned. 

 

PEOPLE: All eyes are on Meghan and Harry. Quick refresher: last year, the couple announced that they would be leaving their roles as “senior royals” and working to become financially independent. Fast forward to last night, and CBS aired a two-hour, tell-all interview with Oprah, Meghan, and Harry. In the interview, Meghan - who is half Black - revealed that there were “concerns” in the royal family while she was pregnant about how dark their baby’s skin would be. She also said she contemplated suicide while she was part of the royal family - but when she sought mental health help, she was essentialy told that doing so would be a bad look for the monarchy. Yes, really. Meanwhile, jury selection is set to begin today in Derek Chauvin’s trial. You know Chauvin as the ex-police officer who pushed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes, ultimately killing him. 

 

WORLD: Recently, a series of explosions in Equatorial Guinea, a country in Central Africa, killed at least 31 people and injured 600 others. The blasts look to have hit a military base in the country’s main city, Bata. Almost all homes and buildings in the city are dealing with “huge damage.” As of now, officials are pointing fingers at poorly stored dynamite and stubble burning by nearby farmers. In other news, new studies show child marriage is on the rise. The why: the pandemic has worsened economic distress and other factors that contribute to the practice. Very bad news, since there’s a clear link between marrying early and dying young - not to mention the increase in child marriage is reversing years of progress toward keeping young women in school.  


WHAT TO KNOW

$2.5 million:” the current price to buy the first-ever tweet as a non-fungible token. But why…?


SAY WHAT?

“Well, it’s March again” - an actual headline. Don’t remind us. 

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