CONGRESS PASSES $1.9 TRILLION COVID RELIEF BILL, HEADS TO BIDEN FOR SIGNATURE: President Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill was approved by Congress yesterday (March 10th), passed by the House on a near party-line 220-211 vote after having been passed by the Senate, also on a party-line vote, over the weekend. All Republicans in the House and Senate voted against it. The legislation now heads to Biden, who said he will sign it on Friday. A central part of the bill will send $1,400 to most Americans, and it also includes money for Covid vaccines and testing, aid to state and local governments, help for schools, the restaurant and airline industries, and more. It further extends $300 weekly emergency unemployment benefits into September, and includes expanded tax credits for children and child care.
- Biden will deliver the first prime-time address of his presidency tonight, marking the one-year anniversary of the Covid pandemic, and will speak about the relief legislation during his remarks.
SENATE CONFIRMS GARLAND AS ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Senate confirmed federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland as the new U.S. attorney general Wednesday (March 10th), approving his nomination on a 70-30 bipartisan vote. The elevation of the widely-respected Garland comes five years after Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote on his nomination for the Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama after the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Among those who voted to approve Garland’s nomination yesterday was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who in 2016 as majority leader blocked the vote. Garland said during his confirmation hearings that his first priority would be to fight extremist violence, initially focused on the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6th.
AIDE CLAIMS CUOMO GROPED HER IN GOVERNOR’S MANSION: An aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has charged that he groped her in the governor’s residence late last year, The Times-Union of Albany, New York, reported yesterday (March 10th), the most serious allegation that’s been made of several by women accusing him of sexual harassment. According to the report, the unnamed woman was alone with Cuomo after he summoned her to come to the governor’s mansion to help him with his cellphone. She charges he closed the door, reached under her shirt and fondled her. Cuomo said through a spokesman in response, “I have never done anything like this,” while also saying, “The details of this report are gut-wrenching.” He cited an ongoing investigation in saying he wouldn’t address the specifics of any allegation, including this one. Cuomo has refused any calls to resign.
TRIAL FOR 18-YEAR-OLD ACCUSED OF KILLING TWO DURING WISCONSIN PROTESTS DELAYED FOR MONTHS: The trial for 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who’s accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August against police brutality, was delayed yesterday (March 10th) by at least seven months. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, faces multiple charges, including reckless homicide. The trial was scheduled to begin on March 29th, but both the prosecution and defense said they needed more time to prepare. A new trial date was set for November 1st. However, the judge said the trial could potentially be pushed back further.
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