News Headlines 10/13/21

HOUSE PASSES SHORT-TERM DEBT LIMIT INCREASE, HEADS TO BIDEN FOR SIGNATURE: The House yesterday (October 12th) passed a short-term debt limit increase that pushes off a possible unprecedented U.S. default to December, after the Senate approved it last week. As in the Senate, the House approval was on a party-line vote, and it now goes to President Biden for his signature. Senate Republicans had been refusing to provide votes to lift the debt ceiling, with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the Democrats had to do it on their own, even as Republicans were also using the filibuster to block Democrats from doing so. Last week, 11 Senate Republicans joined the Democrats to block the filibuster and allow the short-term increase. However, McConnell has said the Republicans won’t do so again in December, insisting that the Democrats raise the debt limit through the more cumbersome reconciliation procedure in which 50 votes are sufficient. 

U.S. TO REOPEN LAND BORDERS IN NOVEMBER TO THOSE FULLY VACCINATED: The U.S. will reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico starting early next month for non-essential travel to those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The new rules, which will align with a similar easing of restrictions for air travel to the U.S., are set to be announced today (October 13th). Over the last 19 months, travel between the U.S., Canada and Mexico has mostly been allowed only for essential travel, such as trade. Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative Covid test is required, no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, as long as the travelers meet the vaccination requirement.

TWO KILLED IN SHOOTING AT MEMPHIS POSTAL FACILITY: Two U.S. Postal Service workers were killed in a shooting yesterday (October 13th) at a postal facility in Memphis, Tennessee. A third Postal Service employee, who’s believed to be the shooter, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No information was released about the identities of the victims or the shooter or a possible motive. The site of the shooting was the East Lamar Carrier Annex, a facility that’s only used by Postal Service employees. The shooting comes after two other recent ones in the Memphis area. The owner of a sushi counter in a Kroger supermarket in suburban Collierville killed one person and wounded 14 others before killing himself on September 23rd, and a teenage boy was shot and critically wounded in a Memphis school a week later. Another boy was arrested in that shooting.

CORONER SAYS GABBY PETITO WAS FATALLY STRANGLED THREE TO FOUR WEEKS BEFORE BODY FOUND: Teton County, Wyoming, coroner Dr. Brent Blue said Tuesday (October 12th) that Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was strangled to death, and that the 22-year-old died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19th along the border of Grand Teton National Park. Blue had previously classified her death as a homicide, but hadn’t disclosed how she was killed as he awaited the full autopsy results. Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, is considered a person of interest in her case, and remains missing after he disappeared almost a month ago. Petito and Laundrie had been on a months-long cross-country van trip. He returned to his parents’ home in Florida in early September with the van, but without Petito. Her parents reported Petito missing on September 11th when she didn’t respond to calls or texts for several days, but Laundrie refused to talk to them or police before vanishing. Federal officials charged him last month with unauthorized use of a debit card, alleging he used the card and someone‚Äôs personal ID number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges. They didn’t say whose card it was, but it was during the period when Petito was missing.