10 Things in Politics: Biden agencies AWOL on domestic terror
Here's what we're talking about:
- The federal government appears to be doing little to implement Biden's plan to thwart domestic terrorism
- Gov. Ron DeSantis has escalated his fight over masking in Florida schools
- Here's how health experts are adjusting their behavior to the Delta variant
With Phil Rosen.
1. AN INSIDER INVESTIGATION: President Joe Biden's plan to combat domestic extremism appears stalled at best. Democratic lawmakers praised the strategy Biden outlined earlier this summer, but federal agencies across the country appear to have done little in the ensuing weeks to implement any new policies.
Here's what else my colleague learned from her investigation:
Only one of the 63 federal agencies Insider contacted said they had implemented something new after Biden's June announcement: The State Department has a plan to share more information with its international partners to better understand how to address cross-border racially or ethnically motivated threats.
- The details of Insider's survey: My colleague surveyed 63 federal agencies that either employ law-enforcement officers or have roles in which employees are allowed to carry firearms legally, asking what they'd done since Biden rolled out his plan.
A White House official said in response that they would "stay on it": Some Democratic lawmakers are calling for Biden to do more. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, pointed out that he'd been pushing for more than two years for a comprehensive federal strategy to combat domestic extremism.
- This isn't going away: The Department of Homeland Security warned state and local authorities on Friday about increasing calls for violence over election-related conspiracy theories, ABC News reports.
2. Democrats released their massive $3.5 trillion plan: Their proposal would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and large corporations to fund the biggest expansion of the social safety net in generations, in an effort to fulfill a key part of Biden's economic agenda. It includes things like tuition-free community college, paid family and medical leave, and expanding Medicare to cover more services. No Republicans are expected to support it. More on one of the largest spending packages ever taken up by Congress.
- Meanwhile, the bipartisan infrastructure bill is expected to pass this morning: The nearly $1 trillion legislation is unlikely to resolve a fight over cryptocurrency regulations that nearly derailed progress over the weekend, CNBC reports. A bipartisan compromise amendment failed to get the unanimous support it needed after Sen. Bernie Sanders blocked it.
3. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida escalated a fight over masks: DeSantis is threatening to withhold school-board members' salaries who dare to defy his mask ban. His moves go against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance, which the governor has mocked. But one of the nation's largest school districts isn't ready to back down.
4. UN sounds alarm over climate crisis: The Earth won't be the same again for thousands of years. Human activities have altered our planet's systems so dramatically that sea levels will continue to rise and glaciers continue to melt long after the 21st century, a long-awaited report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded. Read the rest of the key takeaways, including that in 2019 the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere was higher than at any other time in at least 2 million years.
5. All service members will soon have to get the shot: All active US military personnel will have to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by mid-September, the Pentagon said. The mandate will be introduced even earlier if the Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccines before the deadline. At least 70% of the military's 1.4 million personnel have received one shot.
6. Epstein accuser filed suit against Prince Andrew: Virginia Roberts Giuffre sued the royal in New York federal court, accusing him of sexually assaulting her at Jeffrey Epstein's mansion when she was 17. The lawsuit was filed days before the second anniversary of Epstein's death in a New York jail and just before the expiration of the state's expanded statute of limitations, ABC News reports. Prince Andrew's representatives have denied her allegations. More on the story.
7. People continue to quit their jobs at a record pace: US workers quit their jobs at near-record highs in June, making it the third straight month of high-volume quitting and record-low firings. One indicator showed nearly 70% of separations were from quitting, as opposed to firing. Worker confidence is high, but the continued caution over the coronavirus may also be fueling the record quitting.
8. How it could end for Cuomo: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York continues to defy calls for his resignation after last week's bombshell report found he sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo and his lawyer have denied some of the report's findings. Top New York legislative leaders say they will move forward with impeachment after the deadline this Friday for Cuomo to submit evidence for his defense. There are at least three other possible outcomes.
9. FAA has investigated more than 600 unruly-passenger incidents this year: From shirking mask requirements to assaulting flight attendants, airline passengers seem to be acting up at alarming rates this year. The number of Federal Aviation Administration investigations in 2021 is staggering - nearly double the combined totals of 2019 and 2020. Here's more on the crackdown and the FAA's struggles given the agency can't file criminal charges.
10. How health experts are adjusting their behavior: Because COVID-19 cases in the US are hitting six-month highs, one health expert is having her kids wear masks indoors (though she is still taking planes when necessary). Another is canceling poker games and doubled down on masks - he wears two indoors now. Both are vaccinated. But despite the precautions they're still traveling, seeing friends, and taking their kids on outdoor playdates.
- What people are talking about: Read about a colleague's trip into a Vegas club, where new mask mandates have put "performative masking" on full display.
Today's trivia question: Back to vaccines for troops, then-Gen. George Washington has been credited with America's first large, state-funded immunization campaign. Which disease was he trying to stop? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at email@example.com.
- Yesterday's answer: White House press secretaries began a tradition during the Ford administration of writing notes to their successors and stuffing them into what became known as the "flak jacket," though it's really just a men's tuxedo vest. The tradition appears to have died out, and the past notes were missing in 2017.
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