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Stacey Abrams Supports Manchin’s Voting Rights Proposal

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Former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams has stated that she supports Sen. Joe Manchin’s new voting rights legislation.

What We Know:

  • Last week, Manchin (D-WV) stated that he would vote against the For the People Act, a bill being pushed out by his own party. This bill would guarantee “automatic and same-day voter registration, place limits on gerrymandering, and restore voting rights for felons.” He also stated that he wouldn’t vote for eliminating the filibuster rules because it has been useful in the past with maintaining Democratic laws in place.
  • In response to his party’s bill, Manchin proposed his own updated version of the legislation, with a list of criteria that he would support. According to CNN, Manchin’s proposal includes making Election Day a holiday, banning gerrymandering, creating a mandate that enforces 15 consecutive early voting days or more, and enforcing a voter ID requirement that allows alternatives, such as utility bills.
  • Abrams has said that she wouldn’t “explicitly” support the voter ID aspect of the bill, but she wouldn’t reject it entirely. She believes that Manchin’s voter ID requirement brings up a point that many have tried making for years, and that’s that people can showcase their identity in multiple ways. Abrams supports voter identification, just not the type that has harsh restrictions that turn voters away because they can’t prove their identity.
  • Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) still plans to vote against the voting rights bill. Even with Abrams’ endorsement and Manchin’s changes, he feels that it’s still “an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) feels that most New Yorkers would have an issue with the voter ID mandate, and she herself also disagrees with it.
  • A few Republicans have named Manchin’s proposal the “Stacy Abrams substitute.” Abrams’ political pull scares the GOP; she was an integral part of Georgia turning blue during the 2020 elections, increased the number of Black voters in the state, and almost won her governor’s race. Abrams illustrates everything that the GOP is trying to stop with their own set of voter laws.
  • Machin has received the backing of some Democrats. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) sees Manchin’s revisions as a way to bring Democrats closer to achieving their goal of passing fair voting laws. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) praised Manchin’s efforts to enhance the bill and plan to work through some of his main points.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) still plans on putting the For the People Act on the Senate floor on Tuesday for a procedural vote. Manchin has not decided on if he will vote for or against the bill, but he will continue speaking with GOP members in hopes that they back his revisions. Due to the filibuster rule, the bill needs a unanimous vote from Democrats and at least 10 Republicans to pass.

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Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

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Coronavirus

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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Florida recently saw 10,207 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus cases, the highest number since July 23, 2020.

What We Know:

  • On July 23, 2020, Florida reached a high of 10,170 hospitalizations, just six months before the COVID-19 vaccine became available. The new record makes Florida the leader in per capita hospitalizations for the virus.
  • Most of the new cases come from the highly contagious Delta variant. On average, Florida sees 1,525 adult and 35 children hospitalizations daily. In addition, Saturday revealed a peak in positive numbers, as the stated reported  21,683 occurrences of COVID-19. The day prior, the Sunshine State saw 17,093 cases.
  • Many hospital employees believed the excess hospitalizations would end soon because of an increase in vaccinations. However, the Delta variant changed all this. The Associated Press wrote that several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic Florida and the UF Health North emergency room, needed to operate overcapacity and put beds in hallways to treat patients; the Mayo Clinic will continue to do so until the current surge ends. In Tampa, some local ambulances already needed to divert ambulances to other locations because of capacity concerns.
  • The higher numbers also are a direct result of a loosening of restrictions and a governor’s stubbornness. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis actively declares he will not enact any more mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Along with the state Legislature, this makes it difficult for local officials to impose restrictions that will ease the positive numbers.
  • Medical officials scorned DeSantis for his adamance on the issue. Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care, commented that the state would not be in its position now if DeSantis focused more on lowering cases than proving Dr. Anthony Fauci wrong. Gainesville infectious disease expert Dr. Frederick Southwick agreed with Ashby’s statement, saying that DeSantis needed to stop acting like “Florida won the pandemic.”

DeSantis recently announced that Florida would resist any federal authorities’ campaigns to enforce mask mandates inside schools despite the criticism.

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NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

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NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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