Monday Roundup

Politics

CBO RELEASES REPORT ON PROPOSED MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE

According to a Congressional Budget Office report released on Monday, raising the minimum wage to $15 would cut employment by 1.4 million workers over the next four years and add $54 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10. On the other hand, the proposal would increase worker pay by $333 billion and lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty. This would result in decreases in federal spending on food stamps and child nutrition programs but increases in spending on Medicaid and unemployment benefits.

The full report can be read below:

FETTERMAN LAUNCHES BID FOR THE SENATE

John Fetterman, the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania who gained notoriety during Donald Trump’s election challenges, announced Monday that he would be running for U.S. Senate in 2022.

Fetterman, for all of his celebrity, is a controversial candidate, having regularly ranked Sheetz over Wawa.

US TO REJOIN UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The Biden administration will announce plans this week to rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council that former president Donald Trump withdrew from three years ago due to its disproportionate focus on Israel, the composition of its membership, and its failure to meet demands for reform. Biden, for his part, also accepts that reform is necessary but believes that the best way to ensure reform is to actively engage with the organization.

The U.S. will enjoy only nonvoting observer status through the end of the year but will seek full membership in October’s elections.

ALABAMA SENATOR WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby announced today that he will not seek a seventh term in 2022.

The top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shelby said in a statement on Monday that “for everything, there is a season” and expressed his intent to relinquish a seat that he has held since 1987.

Shelby becomes the fourth Republican senator to decline to seek re-election in 2022.

Coronavirus

CASES IN DECLINE

According to The New York Times, February 7 saw 87,889 new cases, a 31 percent 14-day decline.

While deaths dropped by only eight percent, deaths have long been known to be a lagging indicator, and the 26 percent drop in hospitalizations serves as a promising sign.

It is likely too early for the decline to be attributed to vaccination efforts. More likely, it is a result of fewer indoor gatherings now that the holidays have passed But Americans must remain vigilant, as more transmissible strains continue to threaten our progress.

UK VARIANT DOUBLING EVERY 10 DAYS

According to a study published by researchers Sunday, the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. is doubling its reach in the U.S. approximately every 10 days. Researchers state that without “decisive and immediate public health action,” the variant “will likely have devastating consequences to COVID-19 mortality and morbidity in the U.S. in a few months.”

The warning mirrors modeling done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who predicted last month that the variant could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.

US REPRESENTATIVE DIES OF COVID-19

Rep. Ron Wright of Texas, 67, has died from complications of COVID-19 after contracting the virus in January. Wright, who had been living with lung cancer since his diagnosis in 2018, was admitted to Baylor Hospital in Dallas two weeks ago, where he remained until his death.

Rep. Wright becomes the first sitting member of Congress to die of the virus; though Representative-elect Luke Letlow died from complications of COVID-19 in December, less than a week before he was set to be sworn in.

Wright is survived by his wife (who was also hospitalized), his two sons, his daughter, his nine grandchildren, and his brother.

SOUTH AFRICA HALTS ASTRAZENECA VACCINE ROLLOUT

South Africa temporarily suspended its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a small clinical trial of 2,000 participants revealed that it provided only minimal protection for mild to moderate cases of the variant circulating the country.

University of Oxford professor of vaccinology Sarah Gilbert says that researchers are working with AstraZeneca to adjust the vaccine so that it better protects against new variants.

National News

HOMELESS SHELTER EXEC ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio ordered an independent audit of the city’s nonprofit shelter providers after The New York Times released a report alleging multiple sexual abuse allegations.

10 women accused Bronx Parent Housing Network chief executive Victor Rivera of sexual assault or harassment, with two alleging that he coerced them into performing oral sex.

Rivera, who was placed on leave last week, called the allegations “unfair, baseless, and without merit.”

World News

AT LEAST 18 DEAD IN FLASH FLOOD

A flash flood in northern India, caused by a glacial burst, has resulted in the deaths of at least 18 people, with 165 more still missing. Two hydroelectric plants, several bridges, and a number of houses were destroyed or washed away, and as of Monday morning, more than 2,000 rescuers were taking part in an effort to free 37 workers trapped in a tunnel filled with mud and debris.

NETANYAHU PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN PUBLIC CORRUPTION TRIAL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded not guilty today on charges of corruption. Accused of accepting lavish gifts and offering to grant favors to media moguls in exchange for favorable coverage, Netanyahu was indicted last year on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes.

While Israeli law requires Cabinet ministers to resign when charged with criminal offenses, it does not expressly address the case of a prime minister under indictment, and Netanyahu hopes to extend his rule in the March 23 election.

While the court instructed the prosecution to provide a list of exhibits for the first stage of witness testimony by March 1, it is unlikely that witnesses will be called prior to the election.

Sports

SUPER BOWL

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 on Sunday night in Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl victory and the Chiefs’ first since the 2002-03 season.

The matchup came down to a battle in the trenches, which the Bucs won handily, pressuring Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes a Super Bowl-record 29 times. The Chiefs had been without their starting offensive tackles, having lost both to injury.

In a history-making night, Maral Javadifar, assistant strength and conditioning coach, and Lori Locust, assistant defensive line coach, became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl, and Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate the same.

Watch the funniest commercials of the Super Bowl below:

2020 NFL AWARDS

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named NFL’s Most Valuable Player on Saturday for the third time in his career.

Other notable recipients included Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (Rookie of the Year), Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald (Defensive Player of the Year), Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (Offensive Player of the Year), Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski (Coach of the Year), Washington quarterback Alex Smith (Comeback Player of the Year), and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (Walter Payton Man of the Year).

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