Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Laurie McGrinley, Christopher Rowland, 1/26/2021
“The Biden administration said Tuesday it was on the cusp of securing an additional 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States.
“The purchases would increase available supply by 50 percent, bringing the total to 600 million doses by this summer.
“Because both products — one developed by Pfizer and German company BioNTech, and the other by Moderna — are two-dose regimens, that would be enough to fully vaccinate 300 million people. An estimated 260 million people in the United States are currently considered eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, although Pfizer and Moderna have initiated trials for children as young as 12, the results of which could expand the pool….”
ProPublica, Biranna Bailey, The Frontier, 1/26/2021
“A federal economic relief package passed by Congress in March promised to provide a lifeline for hospitals, particularly those in rural communities where many facilities struggled to survive even before the coronavirus pandemic.
“But over the past 10 months, the distribution of more than $100 billion in CARES Act funding for health care providers has been plagued by a dizzying rollout and, at times, contradictory guidelines for how to use the funding. The result has been a patchwork of problems for rural hospitals, which were already at far greater risk of closure than other health care facilities and in dire need of help, The Frontier and ProPublica found….”
The Trump Years, 1/25/2021
“‘…The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a big spotlight on the need for major investment in our rural communities’ said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, in a statement provided to POLITICO.
“‘After years of attempting to make these investments, what I know is this: the organization of government often makes it difficult to facilitate real on-the-ground success. A concept like a Rural Envoy at the White House who has real power to coordinate between agencies and make sure that each agency’s work supports another agency’s work in rural America would be an improvement,’ Wyden said.
“The Agriculture Department is expected to be the first response to many of these problems, given the department’s sprawling mission that touches nearly every corner of rural America, from funding affordable housing to building rural hospitals to deploying broadband access to combating climate change….”
NPR, Ryan Lucas, 1/22/2021
“President Biden has asked the director of national intelligence to draw up a comprehensive threat assessment on domestic violent extremism in the country as the new administration seeks to tackle what it calls a “serious and growing national security threat.”
“The move is one of several the White House press secretary announced Friday to address mounting concerns about domestic extremism, particularly in the wake of the violent insurrection more than two weeks ago by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol….”
Politico, Aaron Lorenzo, 1/22/2021
“The Treasury Department and IRS are working to get unclaimed economic relief “payments to as many as 8 million households that haven’t yet received their due.
The undertaking, announced by the agencies Friday, is part of a broader initiative started by President Joe Biden’s executive order mobilizing the full federal government on various parts of Covid-19 relief and will include a web tool to help people find out if they’re eligible….”
CBS News, 1/22/2021
“Biden signed two executive orders on Friday … one would increase federal food assistance and another streamlines the delivery of stimulus checks….”
The Storm Lake Times, Art Cullen, 1/22/2021
“US Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack of West Des Moines promised Monday to quickly ramp up efforts to make agriculture an integral tool in battling climate change.
“In his first interview since being asked to serve by President Joe Biden, Vilsack told The Storm Lake Times that a ‘fairly significant shift’ is occurring toward conservation agriculture that involves far more funding for existing mechanisms such as the Conservation Reserve Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. He believes that he will have significant executive authority through the Commodity Credit Corporation and the latest Covid relief bill to fund efforts to build resiliency in natural resources and markets. Control of the Senate furthers the possibilities for another relief bill and renewable energy program….
“‘We can create a whole new suite of revenue streams to protect from the vagaries of trade,’ Vilsack said….”
The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, 1/21/2021
“Most of the times Dr. Anthony S. Fauci made an appearance in the White House briefing room in 2020 — before eventually being banished from public view for his grim assessments of the coronavirus pandemic — he had President Donald J. Trump glowering over his shoulder.
“On Thursday, Dr. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease specialist, was back, this time with no one telling him what to say….
“‘The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know — what the evidence, what the science is — and know that’s it, let the science speak,’ Dr. Fauci said, pausing for a second. “It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.” …
ABC News, 1/21/2021
“ …The 10 orders signed by Mr Biden on Thursday local time are aimed at jump-starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks …
- “Mr Biden’s administration is planning to take a more aggressive approach to the virus
- “Americans will be required to wear masks on planes, trains and buses
- “ Mr Biden is also putting forward a new relief package that includes a minimum wage increase. ….”