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Politicians Warn Of Recession If Debt Limit Is Hit In Coming Weeks

Numerous democratic politicians have taken to addressing their concerns that if the debt limit is hit in the coming weeks, it could spell a crippling recession for the U.S. economy.

Speaking with CNBC, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen explained that she sees Oct. 18 as the deadline for the debt ceiling to be addressed by Congress. If the ceiling isn’t dealt with, the U.S. would default on their debt for the first time in history.

“I do regard Oct. 18 as a deadline. It would be catastrophic to not pay the government’s bills, for us to be in a position where we lacked the resources to pay the government’s bills.”

The debt limit had previously been suspended back in 2019 until July 31 of this year. On Aug. 1, the debt limit reset to $28.4 trillion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) has echoed Yellen’s sentiments, and announced on Twitter that he has filed cloture on legislation passed by the House in order to suspend the debt ceiling, and that the Senate will be voting on moving forward Wednesday.

Schumer had previously attempted to gain approval of a debt ceiling increase multiple times, but failed due to the filibuster blockade that the GOP put in place back in June, which requires 60 majority votes.

Yahoo! Finance explains that as of now, the 100 votes are split evenly between the two parties. The Democrats have been able to reach just 51 votes thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

Schumer expressed his desire to “avoid irreparable economic harm to people and families.” Schumer also called for Republican senators to show they don’t have to “link arm in arm with those extreme members of their conference” by voting in favor of suspension.

The tense situation has been muddled with mudslinging between the two parties, with President Joe Biden accusing Republicans on Monday of playing “Russian roulette” when it comes to the debt ceiling, and that the GOP needs “to get out of the way” in order for the U.S. to avoid a financial crisis.

Biden also explained that the Trump administration is at fault for the need to raise the debt limit because of “the reckless tax and spending policies” that occurred during that time. “In four years, they incurred nearly eight trillion dollars,” Biden said.

In his press conference, Biden gave America an idea of what economic problems would arise if the government is forced to default on its debt.

“Defaulting on the debt would lead to a self-inflicting wound that takes our economy over a cliff and risk jobs and retirement savings, social security benefits, salaries for service members, and benefits for veterans.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) has shown no inclination for the GOP to help Democrats through their votes in order to raise the borrowing limit, while also accusing Democrats of “sleepwalking” towards a debt default.

Yahoo! Finance discussed a majority of ways this debt ceiling bout could end, one of which is the filibuster being lifted by McConnell if Schumer continues his strategies. Another involves Schumer moving to ban to the use of the filibuster in regards to the debt ceiling, although it is noted that maneuver would carry some risks with it due to the senate containing a number of filibuster advocates.

While the general belief is that a positive resolution, no matter what party it comes from, is more likely to occur as opposed to a debt default, the latter is still an intimidating possibility that could send the U.S. financial status spiraling.

President Biden Announces New Vaccine Mandate For Working Americans 

President Joe Biden announced this week that he would be imposing a new stringent set of vaccine requirements for federal workers, large employers, and health care staff in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19. 

The new requirement is set to apply to over 100 million Americans; about two-thirds of the workforce in the nation. 

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us. Vaccinated America is growing frustrated with the 80 million people who have not received shots and are fueling the spread of the virus. While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for a while,” Biden said.

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The new plan requires the Labor Department to force businesses with 100 or more employees to either get everyone vaccinated or get tested once a week. Companies that refuse could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee who refuses to comply.

Biden also signed an executive order that requires every government employee to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and they can’t opt for regular testing. The same standard will also be applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government. 

“300,000 educators in federal Head Start programs must be vaccinated, governors need to require vaccinations for school teachers and staff. The 17 million health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid will also need to be fully vaccinated, we’re expanding the mandate to hospitals, home care facilities and dialysis centers around the country. We have the tools to combat the virus if we come together to use those tools,” Biden said.

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The new “emergency temporary standard” from the Labor Department will also require all large employers to give their employees paid time off to receive their vaccines if they haven’t done so yet.  “If businesses don’t comply, the government will take enforcement actions, which could include substantial fines up to nearly $14,000 per violation,” according to officials.

“Each employer will decide exactly what they want to do, but what we’re saying through the Department of Labor rule making process is a minimum of testing once a week or full vaccination,” a senior administration official said.

“Federal employees will have 75 days to get vaccinated or risk being fired. The expectation is if you want to work in the federal government or want to be a contractor, you need to be vaccinated,” press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Additionally, Biden announced a slew of new health and safety measures as a means of slowing the spread of the Delta variant. The Defense Production Act will be evoked in order to accelerate the production of rapid Covid tests. The administration is hoping to send 25 million free tests to US health clinics. 

Biden overall unveiled a six-pillar plan to cobatting the pandemic. According to reports, “The six pillars of Biden’s plan include: vaccinating the unvaccinated; further protecting the vaccinated through booster shots; keeping schools open; increasing testing and requiring masks; protecting the economic recovery; and improving care for those with Covid-19.”

Pentagon Announces Vaccine Mandate For Troops Starting In September 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a memo this week detailing his request to president Joe Biden to require all US troops to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-September. 

“I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion.” 

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Austin said that he will be working to make the vaccine mandatory by mid-September or immediately upon the FDA’s full approval. As of right now vaccines in the military are voluntary when under emergency use authorization by the FDA; which all Covid-19 vaccines in America are currently being distributed under. 

President Joe Biden has the ability to waive the rule and make the vaccine a requirement for any government personnel, and in a recent statement Biden claimed he “strongly” supports Austin’s decision to make the vaccine mandatory. 

“I am proud that our military women and men will continue to help lead the charge in the fight against this pandemic, as they so often do, by setting the example of keeping their fellow Americans safe.”

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John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the president’s message of support is appreciated but doesn’t necessarily constitute for the approval of a waiver over the vaccine requirement. The Pentagon itself will still have to go through the process of requesting a waiver and receiving approval from the president. 

“You can consider this memo today as what we would call in the military a warning order – a warning order to the force that this is coming, and we want you to be ready for it as well. Obviously we’d prefer that you get the vaccine now and not wait for the mandate,” Kirby explained. 

Military services are already working on preparation and implementation tactics for whenever the vaccine becomes a requirement for military and government personnel. FDA approval for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is likely to occur within the next few weeks. 

The Department of Defense released a statement in which they explained that Austin would be consulting with medical professionals and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to best determine how to implement these required vaccines among government groups.

The White House

President Biden ‘Committed’ To Two-State Solution For Israel And Palestine 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed this past Sunday that President Joe Biden is “still committed” to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Blinken was interviewed by ABC, where he explained that “repairing the structural damage in Gaza and dealing with the humanitarian crisis stemming from the recent outbreak of violence is most important to the administration.” 

“Biden has been very clear that he remains committed to a two-state solution. Ultimately, it is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state and, of course, the only way to give the Palestinians the state to which they’re entitled.”

“But that, I don’t think, is something necessarily for today. We have to start putting in place the conditions that would allow both sides to engage in a meaningful and positive way toward two states,” he added.

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been occuring for decades now, and the latest violence has many activists worried that a long-term solution is no where close to feasible right now. 

“In the first instance, we have to deal with making this turn from the violence — we have got the cease-fire — and now deal with the humanitarian situation, deal with reconstruction and deepen our existing engagement with Palestinians and with Israelis alike,” Blinken explained.

Blinken continued to discuss how “the violence is likely to repeat itself if a path forward to help Palestinians live with more dignity and with more hope is not reached.” 

He also credited President Biden’s efforts in the lead-up to the cease-fire between Hamas, who controls both Gaza and Israel, after 11 straight days of destructive warfare that led to the deaths of 248 Palestinians, 66 of which were children; and 12 citizens of Israel, including two children and one Israeli soldier. 

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When asked how the US could help assist Gaza in rebuilding all that’s been lost without directly funding Hamas, Blinken explained that the government “would use independent parties that can help do the reconstruction and development. 

“Hamas is a quasi-government authority that has brought nothing but ruin to the Palestinian people.” 

“What’s the real challenge here is to help the Palestinians and particularly to help moderate Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority deliver better results for their people and, of course, Israel has a profound role to play in that, too,” he said.

As tensions in the Middle East continue, more and more innocent lives are being taken. Activists all around the world have been taking to the streets and social media to express their support and condemnation of the violence that’s occurring to innocent people who were born in a violent space with no protection. 

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President Biden Supports Ceasefire In Call To Israeli Prime Minister

President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this Monday, marking their second phone call within a week. The president has expressed his support of a ceasefire after receiving pressure from fellow Democrats who are urging him to do more to stop the senseless violence. 

Mr. Biden reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks. Mr. Biden also encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.” 

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According to a readout of the call, “Mr. Biden expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end. Additionally, the two leaders agreed that they and their teams would remain in close touch.”

The White House and Biden Administration has been facing massive amounts of pressure from the public as well who have been speaking out against the Israeli airstrikes on Palestine as the number of dead and wounded Palestinians far outnumbers the number in Israel; even worse Palestine’s population is 60% children. 

This past weekend thousands of protesters gathered all around the US, and world, in support of the Palestinians who are being forced to live in violent conditions. 30 Democratic senators called for an immediate ceasefire as well. 

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“There isn’t really a path to peace without the United States playing a role, and so I hope the Biden team’s going to be very active over the next few days to try to wind down these hostilities,” Senator Chris Murphy said. 

Senator Bernie Sanders, wrote in The New York Times over the weekend that “the U.S. should stop supporting Netanyahu.” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to question if U.S. aid has contributed to violence in Palestine. 

“Our role as White House, as the federal government, is to play a constructive role in diplomacy, to have intensive, quiet discussions with leaders in the region,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Palestinian diplomat Maen Rashid Areikat said that the president needs to do much more if he actually cares about the well being of the innocent people being murdered violently overseas due to militant conflict that has nothing to do with them. 

“The United States and the international community need to work more diligently to rein in Israel and tell them enough is enough.”

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Biden To Call For Universal Preschool As Part Of New Family Plan 

President Joe Biden is set to deliver his first joint address to Congress this week, where he is planning on calling for universal preschool as a part of his American Families Plan. According to his administration Biden is looking to make a major “investment in our kids,” and will be laying out how his proposal will help families with basic expenses. 

White House officials claim that the administration has held briefings with key senators to discuss the details of the proposal itself. The child care proposal comes after Biden began enforcing the American Relief stimulus packages to help aid Americans struggling to make ends meet with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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According to the White House Biden will be calling for a national partnership among all the states to provide free, high quality, accessible preschool care to all 3 and 4-year-old children. Once fully implemented, the act will help more than 5 million children and save the average family $13,000. 

The $200 billion investment is set to prioritize more underprivileged areas first, as these have been the hardest within the past year. The main goal is to give every family the freedom to decide where they want their child to go to preschool without worrying about the cost. The plan will also work to ensure all publicly-funded preschools are high quality, meaning they have a low student-to-teacher ratio, offer a developmentally appropriate curriculum, and create an overall supportive environment that is inclusive for all students. 

According to reports from CBS news, “the president is seeking to leverage tuition-free community college and teacher scholarships to support those who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree or another credential that supports their work as an educator, or to become an early childhood educator. Educators will also receive job-embedded coaching, professional development, and wages that reflect the importance of their work.”

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All employees working in pre-k programs and Head Start will earn a wage of at least $15 an hour as a part of the American Families Plan. Additionally those with the proper qualifications will receive compensation commensurate with kindergarten educators. 

Currently the average child care worker earns $11.65 an hour, so the inclusion of these financial provisions for workers will hopefully work to bring back some of the thousands of child care workers who were forced to leave the labor force due to the pandemic. 

Studies have shown that kids who participate in pre-K are more likely to take honors classes and are less likely to repeat a grade while kids in lower-income areas do better once they reach middle school. This is due to a multitude of educational inequality issues within America, but a lot of it roots back to the access most children have to preschool programs. 

“Together, these plans reinvest in the future of the American economy and American workers, and will help us out-compete China and other countries around the world.”

This proposal, along with the proposals for the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, will include a tax increase for major corporations and the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

The White House

Biden’s Stimulus Plan Relieves Lower-Income Americans Of Heavy Taxes

The relief law also extends the federal boost for unemployment benefits as well as food stamps and other aid programs for struggling renters and homeowners throughout the country. The overall goal of this relief package was to specifically help lower-income households who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. 

Biden Working On $3 Trillion Package To Improve Infrastructure In America 

President Joe Biden is working on assembling a new package of investments that would divide $3 trillion among the nation’s infrastructure and domestic needs throughout the next few years. Biden met with Senate Democrats privately this week to begin laying out the groundwork for improving the country’s roads, hospitals, and green energy systems. The investments will be part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” campaign promise. 

According to sources, this package will resemble the recent $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill that the president just passed in that it will include family-friendly policies; for this package though the policies will focus on education and paid family leave. 

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A White House source claimed that the plans are still preliminary, but the overall goal is to use the money to help improve the nation’s economy and overall quality of life for every American. Senator Richard Blumenthal is just one of many Democrats who are prepared to move forward with the package should they be blocked by Republicans. “We need to get it done,” Blumenthal proclaimed. 

This package is also likely a response to the Biden Administration’s handling of the US-Mexico border and immigration in general; a topic that the administration is already under fire for due to a slew of migrant crossings and other failed promises brought on by Biden and his team. 

According to Yahoo News, “an infrastructure package would include roughly $1 trillion for roads, bridges, rail lines, electrical vehicle charging stations and the cellular network, among other items. 

“The goal would be to facilitate the shift to cleaner energy while improving economic competitiveness.”

“A second component would include investments in workers with free community college, universal pre-kindergarten and paid family leave. No part of the proposal has been finalized and the eventual details of any spending could change,” sources said. 

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Democratic committee chairmen earlier this month to “start working with their Republican counterparts to begin to craft a big, bold and transformational infrastructure package. The goal is to build swiftly on the coronavirus rescue plan to help people in every zip code by creating good-paying jobs for the future.” 

The Federal Reserve estimates that the spending with the Covid-19 relief bill and this infrastructure package could help the economy grow by up to 6.5%. Biden’s campaign also previously promised an increase on corporate taxes and for individuals making about $400,000 annually, which would also help the economy. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee debated a $300 billion measure to invest in clean drinking water and broadband internet access this week while Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is set to speak to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee later this week. The Senate Finance Committee is also scheduled to meet and discuss tax spending as a means for paying for this package; all of these committee meetings have to do with the overall relief package the Biden Administration has been working on since last month. 

Biden is expected to release his budget in the coming weeks while Congress continues to discuss and meet regarding the details of this infrastructure package, which lawmakers claim could be ready by this summer.

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Executive Order From Biden Could Improve How US Colleges Handle Sexual Misconduct

President Joe Biden is potentially going to improve on a Trump Administration policy that weakened how American colleges and universities that receive federal funding handle cases of sexual misconduct and assault accusations on campus, according to administration officials. 

Biden is projected to sign an executive order this Monday that would direct the Department of Education to review certain changes to policies that were implemented by former president Donald Trump. These policies include Title IX which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded institutions. 

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While Biden was campaigning he had a major focus on gender equality, and a big piece of that was a commitment to do better at protecting the young women of America who are constantly threatened at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. He promised to strengthen Title IX if he won and “sign a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council,” according to two administration officials.

Biden had the plans to create the council before he even took office as well. The order will direct the DOE to review Title IX, and potentially shift how colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct/assault in the future. 

Back in 2018 Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, rescinded an Obama-era policy that made it standard for cases regarding sexual assault to require “preponderance of evidence,” and instead required “clear and convincing evidence” to make an allegation valid. Essentially, colleges and universities needed clear cut evidence that an assault occurred to actually do anything about it. These changes that were enforced by DeVos allowed colleges and universities to get away with ignoring the hundreds of allegations that appear on their campuses every year. 

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“The DeVos changes reduced the liability of colleges and universities for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstered the due process rights of the accused, including the right to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party advocate at campus hearings,” according to the Associative Press.

With the DOE now expected to review these policies, it’s expected that Biden is intending to make America’s colleges and universities a much safer place for students, and giving them the security of knowing that should something happen to them, they’ll have all the resources, information, and support they need to make sure they remain safe and the right parties are punished appropriately. 

The White House Gender Policy Council is a resurrection of the White House Council on Women and Girls, which was an Obama-era council that worked to combat issues specifically related to women’s rights. That council was disbanded under Trump, and Biden’s resurrection of it with a new name aims to “acknowledge that inequities can affect people of all genders, however, the council will primarily focus on issues facing women and girls due to the disproportionate barriers they face,” an official claimed. 

According to White House officials, “the new council is tasked with helping push gender equity on the administration’s domestic and foreign policy efforts. Some of the issues the council will focus on include combating sexual harassment, addressing structural barriers to women’s participation in the workforce, decreasing gender wage and wealth gaps, addressing caregiving issues that have disproportionately impacted women and responding to gender-based violence.”

Mortgage

Biden Administration Looking To Reverse Trump-Era Mortgage Policy

The Trump-era policy removed a lot of protections for those who were dependent on loans for their payments, as well as created the space for riskier loans to be dealt out.