Tuesday, May 11, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, May 11 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 415,750 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,308) and 5,586 deaths.
► From the AP — Poll: Most in U.S. who remain unvaccinated need convincing — Fewer Americans are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine than just a few months ago, but questions about side effects and how the shots were tested still hold some back, according to a new poll that highlights the challenges at a pivotal moment in the U.S. vaccination campaign.
► From the LA Times — Is needle fear holding you back from getting vaccinated? Here’s what to do about it — Amid the push for herd immunity, 5% of adults may be avoiding vaccines due to an intense fear of needles. It is common, and it can be overcome.
► From the NY Times — To vaccinate younger teens, states and cities look to schools, camps, even beaches — The FDA’s authorization of Pfizer’s COVID shot for 12- to 15-year-olds is a milestone in battling the coronavirus, but actually getting them vaccinated involves new challenges.
► From the Kitsap Sun — Wenatchee fire, ‘crewing challenges’ prompt cuts to summer state ferry service — The agency has said repairs to the Wenatchee following a fire in an engine room on the vessel on April 22 will keep it out of service for “several months.” With the agency down a vessel alongside “continuing pandemic-related vessel crewing challenges for quarantines and vaccinations,” changes on four routes are going into effect.
► From the AP — Inslee signs bill requiring “just cause” eviction
► From the AP — Inslee OKs bill curbing debt-based license suspensions
► From Politico — GOP weighs going bigger on infrastructure — Senate Republicans are signaling that they could raise the price tag of their infrastructure offer to President Joe Biden, days ahead of a pivotal series of meetings that could make-or-break Biden’s hopes for a bipartisan deal.
The Stand (May 10) — Now is the time to go big on infrastructure (by Richard Trumka) — We are at a crossroads: continue with failed corporate-first government or make a job-creating investment in America itself.
► From the Washington Post — West Virginia’s Capito emerges as central figure as Democrats, Republicans seek infrastructure deal — As she returns to Washington, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), has emerged as the GOP’s front-line voice in the high-stakes congressional debate over infrastructure. Hailing from a state that’s eager for federal money — and a party that’s increasingly reluctant to spend it — the second-term senator from one of West Virginia’s most well-known political families may be the best hope to help broker the sort of compromise that Democrats and Republicans insist they want.
► From The Hill — Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up $4T package — President Biden sat down with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Monday to discuss the administration’s proposed $4 trillion spending package, which the moderate-minded lawmaker has floated busting up.
► From the NY Times — Biden defends unemployment benefits, provided workers accept job offers — Biden’s comments and a raft of policy announcements were a pushback to Republican criticism of his economic plan after a disappointing jobs report.
► From NPR — Longtime AFL-CIO official takes up key Labor post in Biden administration — President Biden has named Thea Lee head of the Labor Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs. In that key post, she will will oversee enforcement of labor provisions in U.S. trade policy, including those in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Among other things, the deal requires Mexico to offer workers greater protections, including against forced labor and violence.
► From the AFL-CIO — Thea Lee is the right choice to lead critical trade post — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Biden administration naming former AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee to lead the Department of Labor’s international affairs division: “Thea Lee is a tireless advocate for workers and a brilliant trade economist, and there is no better person to help strengthen enforcement of labor standards that increase the power of workers in the U.S. and around the world.”
► From The Hill — Senate poised for all-day brawl over sweeping elections bill — The Senate Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to debate and vote on a sweeping election bill that progressives view as crucial to the future of democracy and Republicans see as a federal takeover of the voting process.
► From The Hill — Biden announces 1 million have enrolled in special ObamaCare sign-up period — Biden reopened ObamaCare enrollment upon taking office in January, a step that the Trump administration had declined to take after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Sign-ups are still ongoing until Aug. 15, and Biden urged more people to go to healthcare.gov to enroll.
The Stand (May 7) — Lower premiums now available at Washington HealthPlanFinder — Under the new American Rescue Plan Act, more than half a million people statewide will find more savings on their health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, making it easier to get covered and stay covered. But you must sign up or switch plans by Aug. 15.
► From the Washington Post — We must fix the gaping holes in Medicare (by Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal) — Since its inception in 1965, Medicare has not covered such basic health-care needs as hearing, dental care and vision. The result: Millions of senior citizens have teeth rotting in their mouths, are unable to hear what their children and grandchildren say or can’t read a newspaper because of failing eyesight. It is a cruel irony that older Americans do not have coverage for these benefits at the time when they need it the most.
► From the NY Times — Republicans are still waging war on workers (by Paul Krugman) — It now bothers Republicans that some of corporate America has taken a mild stand in favor of social equality and against voter suppression. What doesn’t bother them is the fact that many corporations pay little or nothing in taxes and pay their workers poorly. On such matters the GOP is the same as it ever was: It’s for tax cuts that favor corporations and the wealthy, against anything that might improve the lives of ordinary workers.
LOYALTY VS. DEMOCRACY
► From the AP — McCarthy sets Wednesday vote on Liz Cheney leadership ouster — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy set a Wednesday vote for removing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her Republican leadership post in the chamber after she repeatedly challenging Trump’s false assertions pinning his November reelection defeat on widespread voting fraud. Cheney has also criticized his role in inciting his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as electoral votes were being formally certified, and she was among just 10 Republicans to support the House’s vote to impeach him the following week.
— Jim Brunner (@Jim_Brunner) May 11, 2021
► From the Washington Post — The biggest threat to America is the Republican break with reality (by Eugene Robinson) — The blind-loyalty-even-to-dishonest-insanity Republican litmus test that is about to cost Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) her leadership job is only the most acute manifestation of the party’s decline into utter irresponsibility. It’s bad enough that those who want to remain in good standing must embrace the “big lie” about purported fraud in the 2020 election. But the requirement doesn’t stop there. On issue after issue, Republicans are cynically adopting a kind of pre-Enlightenment insistence on the primacy of belief over evidence.
January 6, 2021.
Narrated by Liz Cheney. pic.twitter.com/YWyNyuySlr
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) May 10, 2021
► From The Guardian — U.S. millionaire CEOs saw 29% pay raise while workers’ pay fell, report finds — The millionaire chief executives of some of the American companies with the lowest-paid workers saw an average pay raise of 29% last year while their workers saw a 2% decrease, according to a report released Tuesday. The Institute for Policy Studies calculated that the average CEO compensation in 2020 was $15.3 million, when looking at the 100 companies with the lowest median wage for workers in the S&P 500 index.
► From Reuters — Worst-paying blue chip employers bolstered CEO pay in pandemic, report says — More than half of 100 companies with the lowest median employee wages in the S&P 500 Index boosted CEO pay by changing the rules for assessing executive performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report published on Tuesday.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Want to get a raise like a boss? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► From Reuters — Pandemic’s labor reshuffle likely just starting for U.S. workers — If the coronavirus pandemic produced its own brand of anxiety for American workers trying to stay healthy while balancing job and family demands, the coming return to “normal” will pose a new set of challenges.
► From the NY Times — FBI asking questions after a pension fund aimed high and fell short — The Pennsylvania teachers’ retirement fund put more than half its assets into risky alternative investments. The math didn’t work out, spurring an investigation.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.