House’s Hyde Amendment Vote Advances Abortion Justice and Racial Equity
Congress just took a historic step forward for racial, economic and reproductive justice 45 years in the making. Every year since 1976, lawmakers have chosen to deny insurance coverage of abortion to people working to make ends meet by adding a policy known as the Hyde Amendment to federal spending bills. But now, for the first time since Hyde’s inception, the U.S House passed a budget without this harmful policy. The House vote marks a bold rejection of decades of injustice against women, people of color and people living paycheck to paycheck, among others targeted by Hyde. Now, we turn our attention to the U.S. Senate.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Resigns After Sexual Harassment Probe
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced his resignation, effective August 24, after a week of intense pressure from fellow Democrats for him to step down. Cuomo, who has been in office since 2011, had few allies left after an investigation by New York’s attorney general found he had sexually harassed at least 11 women — allegations he continues to deny. “Governor Cuomo is still gaslighting New Yorkers,” says Yuh-Line Niou, a member of the New York State Assembly representing Manhattan, who says Cuomo must still be impeached. “Impeachment means that New York will not be paying Andrew Cuomo’s pension for the rest of his life. Impeachment means that Governor Cuomo will not be able to run for office again.”
Police Arrest 10 People as Mountain Valley Pipeline Protests Top 932 Days
On Monday, 10 people locked themselves to construction equipment and other apparatuses at a Mountain Valley construction site in Elliston, Virginia. The group blocked construction for 8.5 hours and were joined by nearly 100 pipeline fighters in support of them. All 10 people who locked down to block construction were later arrested. Their target, Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), is a 42-inch diameter, 300-plus mile, highly volatile, fracked gas pipeline that runs through West Virginia and Virginia. It’s one of many extraction projects connected to the larger buildup of fracking in the Marcellus and Utica Shales in Central Appalachia.
No Bipartisan Deal Without Reconciliation Bill, House Progressives Insist
Shortly after the Senate passed a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package on Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus said a survey of its nearly 100 members showed that a majority of respondents are prepared to withhold their votes for the newly approved legislation until the upper chamber also greenlights a sweeping reconciliation bill. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), three top CPC members led by caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) wrote that their fellow progressive lawmakers were “specifically asked” whether they would “commit to withholding a yes vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal… until the Senate has passed budget reconciliation legislation deemed acceptable by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”
Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill With Some GOP Support. Don’t Get Too Excited.
This first portion, a $1.2 trillion package aimed at modernizing the country’s moldering public works and power grids, passed the Senate today by a vote of 69 to 30. This is a significant step. The number of Republicans who voted “Yes,” including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is no surprise, despite the partisan strife that is our collective daily bread these days; 18 GOP senators voted with all 50 members of the Democratic caucus to evade the filibuster earlier in the process, and the bill itself is wildly popular across a broad spectrum of voters.
Andrew Cuomo Resigns as Governor of New York Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would be resigning in a webcast on Tuesday morning amid a months-long sexual harassment scandal in which multiple women have accused him of exhibiting inappropriate and alarming behavior spanning years of his time in power. “This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation. Government really needs to function today,” said Cuomo. “Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing. And I cannot be the cause of that.” “I think that, given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And, therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo continued. His resignation will take effect in 14 days, he said.
Texas Governor’s Ban on School Mask Mandates Is a “Direct Threat” to Kids
As the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread, many hospitals are reporting record numbers of children being hospitalized, especially in areas with low vaccination rates, including Arkansas, Florida, Missouri and Texas. Dr. Christina Propst, a pediatrician in Houston, says children under 12 who are still ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines are at risk. “They are currently our most vulnerable population, just as this highly transmissible variant is surging across the country,” Propst says. She says Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order banning mask mandates in schools is a purely political decision that ignores science. “What he is doing is a direct threat to the health and well-being of the children of Texas,” says Propst.
Lawmakers Aren’t “Progressive” If They Ignore Palestinian Rights
Even after years of dedicated judo training, both Mohamed Abdalarasool from Sudan and Fethi Nourine from Algeria refused to compete in the Tokyo Olympics when they were slated to perform against an Israeli athlete. In an official statement, Nourine said to an Algerian TV station, “We worked a lot to reach the Olympics… but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this.” This gesture of sacrifice and solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by Israel earned Abdalarasool and Nourine hero status in the Arab world and beyond.
Commission on Capitol Attack Contemplates Requesting Jan 6 Trump Call Logs
The select committee in the House of Representatives examining the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building is contemplating whether to pursue White House call logs from that day. The call logs could reveal who communicated with former President Donald Trump on the day that a mob of his loyalists attacked the U.S. Capitol following an incendiary speech delivered by Trump.
Sanders Unveils Final $3.5T Reconciliation Package Alongside Infrastructure Bill
Senate Democrats have unveiled their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill with provisions like paid leave, expanding Medicare coverage and proposals to tackle the climate crisis in the U.S. The Democrats plan on passing the bill alongside the bipartisan infrastructure package that’s currently being debated in the Senate. The reconciliation bill, spearheaded largely by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), contains many of the provisions that were carved out of the infrastructure package that President Joe Biden had originally proposed in the spring. That includes traditional infrastructure provisions, such as funding for affordable housing upgrades and transportation.