News Headlines 6/23/21

REPUBLICANS USE FILIBUSTER TO BLOCK DEMOCRATS’ SWEEPING VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION: Senate Republicans on Tuesday (June 22nd) blocked the Democrats’ voting rights legislation, using the filibuster to prevent debate from starting on the sweeping bill. The measure failed on a 50-50 party line vote, 10 short of the 60 needed to overcome the GOP filibuster. The For the People Act seeks to not only remove barriers to voting, but also to limit partisan influence over the drawing of congressional districts, and to restrict the influence of money in politics. But Republicans have blasted it as federal overreach into the states’ authority to conduct their own elections. President Biden, who called voting changes being passed in many Republicans states since the 2020 election “an ongoing assault of voter suppression that represents a Jim Crow era in the 21st Century,” declared, “This fight is far from over.” However, it’s unclear what Democrats’ next move on the issue might be.

ADMINISTRATION INCREASING EFFORTS TO GET YOUNGER AMERICANS VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19: The administration is increasing its efforts to get younger Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 amid growing concerns about the Delta variant, which now makes up more than 20 percent of coronavirus infections in the  U.S. Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a White House briefing yesterday (June 22nd), “The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19. Good news: Our vaccines are effective against the delta variant.” Meanwhile, the White House acknowledged yesterday that the U.S. would fall short of President Biden‘s goal of having 70 percent of American adults having gotten at least one shot of a vaccine by July 4th. However, it said we’ve already reached that threshold for those aged 30 and older, and will meet it for those age 27 or older by the Fourth of July.

FED CHIEF POWELL SAYS SPIKING INFLATION TEMPORARY: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in testimony before Congress yesterday (June 22nd) that spiking inflation in the U.S. is likely to be temporary, and that it mostly reflects short-term supply bottlenecks. He also said before the congressional oversight panel that prices fell sharply last spring at the start of the pandemic, which make inflation data now compared with a year ago look much larger. Consumer prices rose five percent in May compared with a year earlier, which is the largest increase in 13 years. Powell further said most of the inflation has been in areas like used cars, airplane tickets and hotel rooms, in which demand has soared as the economy has reopened, with many companies having not been ready for the quick surge.

COLORADO POLICE CHIEF SAYS KILLED OFFICER WAS AMBUSHED: Arvada, Colorado, Police Chief Link Strate said Tuesday (June 22nd) that an officer who was one of three people killed in a shooting a day earlier had been ambushed by the suspect, who the chief said had expressed hatred toward police. Strate said that Police Officer Gordon Beesley, quote, “was targeted because he was wearing an Arvada police uniform and a badge.” Strate didn’t give details about the suspect, 59-year-old Ronald Troyke, who also died in the shootout in a shopping district, or reveal how they knew he intentionally attacked Beesley. Strate also didn’t say what started the shootout, in which another man, John Hurley, who was described as a “Samaritan” by officials, also died. The chief didn’t say what Hurley did, but said he was a, quote, “true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.”