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COVID-19

Pelosi Keeping $15 Minimum Wage In COVID Relief Bill Despite Ineligibility In Senate

“Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight For 15”

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Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Thursday that Democrats will still vote on a COVID-19 relief bill that includes a provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per-hour, despite the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that the provision violated Senate rules.

“The ruling from the Senate parliamentarian is disappointing because raising the minimum wage would give 27 million Americans a well-deserved raise and pull nearly one million Americans out of poverty in the middle of a once-in-a-century devastating pandemic and economic crisis,” said Pelosi in a statement Thursday.

While the $15 minimum wage would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty, it would also cost 1.4 million jobs, the Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this month.

“House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary,” Pelosi added. “Therefore, this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the floor tomorrow. Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight For 15.”

Since the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage provision violated Senate rules, Pelosi’s decision to keep the provision will likely force the Senate to pass a separate bill that the House will have to vote on again.

“Democrats cannot include a $15 per hour minimum wage in their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a Senate official ruled Thursday, derailing, for now, a party priority and a raise for millions of Americans,” CNBC reported. “Nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough determined lawmakers could not include the policy under budget reconciliation, CNBC confirmed. She and her staff heard arguments from Democrats and Republicans about whether the proposal met strict standards for deficit effects needed to include it in the process.”

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COVID-19

Biden Admin Announces First COVID Shots For Kids Under 5 Likely By June 21

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Covid-19 vaccination record card with syringe and vial

On Thursday, the Biden administration announced that children under 5 will be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination doses as soon as June 21, if regulators authorize the shots for this age group as expected.

According to the Associated Press, White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha “said the Food and Drug Administration’s outside panel of advisers will meet on June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna shots for younger kids. Shipments to doctors’ offices and pediatric care facilities would begin soon after FDA authorization, with the first shots possible the following week.”

Jha added that states can begin placing orders for the pediatric vaccines on Friday and the administration will initially have 10 million doses available.

“Our expectation is that within weeks every parent who wants their child to get vaccinated will be able to get an appointment,” Jha said. “At the end of the day we all want to move fast, but we’ve got to get it right.”

The news comes the week after Pfizer announced that three doses of their vaccine offers strong protection against COVID-19 in children under 5.  However, according to former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a third dose is unnecessary because the vaccines do not prevent infection.

“I think the decision matrix has changed around the vaccine for [ages] 6 months to 4 years old and so far as we know that the vaccine isn’t as protective at preventing infection,” Gottlieb said. “Previously, we had data showing that the childhood vaccine for 6 months to 4 years wasn’t as protective against infection as the adult vaccine.”

“That’s the reason why they pushed it out and asked for that third dose. But now, if the goal of the vaccine is to get baseline immunity in the kids to prevent really bad outcomes, and you’re really not using the vaccine as a tool to prevent infection in the first place, two doses could do that,” he added.

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COVID-19

Kamala Harris Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Kamala Harris

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not currently showing symptoms.

“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests,” said Kirsten Allen, press secretary to the vice president. “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence. She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules. She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative.”

Harris wrote on Twitter that she was going to continue to isolate and is showing no symptoms.

“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted,” Harris tweeted.

Harris last reportedly saw President Biden at the Easter Egg Roll on April 18 before leaving for California, which she returned from on April 25.

The vice president has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and has received two booster shots, receiving the second booster on April 1.

“Yesterday I received my second COVID-19 booster shot,” Harris tweeted on April 2. “We know that getting vaccinated is the best form of protection from this virus and boosters are critical in providing an additional level of protection. If you haven’t received your first booster—do it today.”

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