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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 Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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