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Israel reopened swathes of its economy including malls and leisure facilities on Sunday, with the government saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by Covid-19 vaccines administered to almost half the population.

https://blog.goo.ne.jp/accesstvchannel/e/7fb2d0b91aadc5356555a273afb86054

https://blog.goo.ne.jp/accesstvchannel/e/3ddeecf8a0375e2ae556fcd94c8a0a2e

Shops were open to all, but access to gyms, hotels and theatres was limited to people with a “Green Pass”: those who have had both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior, or recovered from the disease with presumed immunity.
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Pass-holders could prove their status by presenting a vaccination certificate or downloading a health ministry app linked to their medical files.

Coming exactly a year after Israel’s first documented coronavirus case, Sunday’s easing of curbs was part of a government plan to open the economy more widely next month, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up for reelection.

“We are the first country in the world that is reviving itself thanks to the millions of vaccines we brought in,” he tweeted. “Vaccinated? Get the Green Pass and get back to life.”

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Mask-wearing and social-distancing were still in force. Dancing was barred at banquet halls. Synagogues, mosques or churches were required to halve their normal congregation sizes.

Elementary schoolchildren and pupils in the last two years of high school resumed classes in towns with contagion rates under control. Middle-school pupils were still home-learning, however, prompting some to stage a sit-down protest in a mall.

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“I haven’t been in school in a year,” said 14-year-old demonstrator Rotem Bachar. “How does it make sense to open malls up to crowds, while we can’t attend class if even they are capped at 15 to 20 pupils and have other precautions?”

Israel has administered at least one dose of the Pfizer Inc vaccine to more than 46 percent of its 9 million population, the country’s health ministry said.

Inside Israel’s Covid vaccination rolloutMore good news came out of Israel on Saturday when the country’s health ministry released another round of data on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, further affirming its effectiveness.

The latest numbers, which were compiled through Feb. 13 and compare the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, show that the jab has been nearly 96 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections two weeks after individuals receive their second dose. When it comes to preventing severe infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from the coronavirus, the figure jumps to an efficacy rate around 99 percent.

Israel has emerged as the world’s clearest case study for determining whether the Pfizer vaccine works, since the country has the highest vaccination rate in the world. So far, the data has been consistently promising, though the situation is still fluid and under observation.

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NHL Streaming!! St. Louis vs. Richmond Live Stream Online

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NHL Streaming!! St. Louis vs. Richmond Live Stream Online | How to watch Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers on Live TV

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NHL!! Congratulations to NHL game live streaming. Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers live stream will make sure to have all the NHL games remain enjoyable. Streaming all games online directly from your desktop, tablet, mobile. We do our best to provide NHL live stream videos of the highest quality available around the web forecasting here.

The New York Rangers will host the Boston Bruins on Friday night from Madison Square Garden. The Rangers will look to bounce back from a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday and will try to improve their 6-8 record this season. Meanwhile, the Bruins will look to get back in the winning column after suffering a 7-2 loss to the Islanders. The week before the Bruins put 7 goals on the Flyers in the Winter Classic game in Lake Tahoe.

This is always a battle between these two clubs and a fun one to watch, here is everything you need to know to stream the NHL action tonight.

 

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Click here to Watch NHL Live Stream

NHL!! New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins

When: Friday, February 26 Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NHL Network, NESN, MSG

Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)

Prediction: Anticipated a low-scoring game between these two and will go with the under in this one.

Bet: Under 5.5

Boston Bruins (-185) vs. New York Rangers (+155)

O/U: 5.5

Want some action on the NHL? Place your legal sports bets on this game or others in CO, IN, NJ, and WV at BetMGM.

The New York Rangers are excited to play their first home game in front of fans. The limited crowd would be thrilled if it sees the Rangers start to solve their issues in one-goal games.

“It’ll be exciting,” Rangers coach David Quinn said after practice Thursday. “It’s been strange because we’ve actually been getting used to playing in front of nobody, so I don’t care if there’s 15 or 1,500 people in the building, it’s going to be nice to have people there cheering you on. I know our guys are excited about it.”

Among the reasons the Rangers are off to a middling start is their 2-5-3 record in one-goal games. Three of those losses are during a 2-4-1 slide since Feb. 8. The latest occurred Wednesday, a 4-3 setback at Philadelphia, where New York wasted a hat trick by Chris Kreider.

Boston handed the Rangers a pair of one-goal home losses two weeks ago, getting a 3-2 overtime win on Feb. 10 and a 1-0 win two nights later. The Bruins are 7-2-2 in one-goal games but 1-3-0 overall since their past visit to Madison Square Garden.

Boston will be looking to rebound from its worst showing of the season, a 7-2 road loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith scored, but the Bruins allowed five goals in a span of nearly 11 minutes during the third period.

“(Thursday NHL) was hopefully a one-off,” Ritchie said. “We just fell apart and kind of stopped playing, and that’s what happens in this league. There’s a lot of good teams.”

The Bruins have allowed 17 goals in their past four games following a 9-0-1 run from Jan. 21-Feb. 12 when they won six one-goal games. During the past four games, Boston has allowed eight goals in the third period.

“There wasn’t any (urgency),” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said after the Thursday defeat. “That’s a problem because I don’t usually see that with our club.”

While the Bruins are 0-2-0 on Long Island this season, they have done well at Madison Square Garden recently, going 5-0-1 in their past six visits.

The New York Islanders handed the Boston Bruins their third head-to-head loss of the season on Thursday night by a score of 7-2, including five goals in the third period. Now that the Bruins have gotten a good taste of each divisional opponent, it has become apparent that New York’s second team is the biggest threat to the Bruins in the East.

First, and most obviously, the Bruins have an 0-3 record against the Islanders so far this season, their worst record against any team. The games haven’t been particularly close either, as the Islanders seem to have figured out a winning formula against the Bruins. We will go into detail on this shortly.

In addition to their stellar play, the other top teams in the MassMutual East Division have weaknesses that the Bruins have managed to take advantage of. There are no such holes in this New York squad, from what we have seen.

Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers Match-Ups at NHL

Boston’s performances against New York don’t look bad on paper. They’ve won 55% of faceoffs and are neck-and-neck with the Islanders in shots per game. Thursday night was actually their best game against New York statistically, despite the lopsided score. Thirty-six shots and just six giveaways looks likes a winning formula, but the Islanders beat the Bruins in other ways: neutralizing top players, stronger special teams, fewer penalties, and better goaltending.

Boston’s top-heavy offensive attack simply cannot get going against this team. The Perfection Line has been non-existent in two of the three games, while New York’s top line of Mat Barzal, Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee has dominated. This is the first and most important key to the Islanders’ success. To beat the Bruins, you must limit the production of that top line.

On the other end of the ice, the Islander blueliners simply outmatch Boston’s hobbled defense, and Semyon Varlamov is perhaps the only goalie in the East who can hang with Tuukka Rask. He made 34 saves last night, while Jaroslav Halak imploded late in the third period, giving up rebound after rebound.

The Islanders have outplayed the Bruins position by position. They do not commit any dumb penalties or five-minute majors, and they are still dangerous short-handed. They have the character game plan to beat Boston in a seven-game series, especially if they have the home-ice advantage. The Islanders have been remarkably good playing on Long Island this season, having yet to suffer a regulation loss there. They can beat anyone at Nassau Coliseum.

Info: Contenders Have Missing Pieces of NHL

Another reason the Islanders feel more dangerous than other top teams in the East is that from what we have seen, those other teams have weaknesses that the Bruins can exploit.

The Washington Capitals, now tied with Boston with 24 points, are not strong in net. After losing Henrik Lundqvist for the season and Ilya Samsonov to start the year, rookie Vitek Vanecek has been the go-to starter. He has performed above expectations but still not great, with a lackluster .909 save percentage and 2.86 goals against average. He has also given up five goals to the Bruins twice. Samsonov will probably take the job back when he returns, but the situation is now muddier than it should be.

The Capitals boast four strong offensive lines, but aside from John Carlson, their defensive lineup leaves a lot to be desired. Zdeno Chara has not lived up to expectations in Washington, and nobody else poses much of a threat to score. Boston has a similar problem, though not as pronounced. Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Grzelcyk will make the Bruins’ blue line much more dynamic when they return.

The Philadelphia Flyers do have several defensemen who are capable of scoring, and their top six is among the most deadly in the league. However, they seem to have a hard time putting together a full 60-minute effort. Carter Hart is mostly to blame here, as his confidence seems to rise and fall between games. A gritty veteran group like the Bruins can pick on Hart, but they can’t shake Varlamov’s confidence so easily.

Most recently, the Flyers almost gave up a 4-2 lead to the struggling New York Rangers on Wednesday night. These are games that an elite team should be able to close out without much issue. The Islanders are clearly more consistent than the Flyers from the opening face-off to the final horn.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ top six may be better than Boston’s overall, and their defense, though dealing with injury issues of their own, can still get production from all three pairs. They are starting to get healthy, and have won three of their last four games. Their only weakness is goaltending. While Varlamov has secured his spot as the Islanders’ top goalie, Tristan Jarry’s role is not set in stone, as Casey DeSmith is still nipping at his heels. The Bruins would certainly rather face either of them than Varlamov.

 

 

 

Islanders Are Scary NHL Playoff Opponent

After a slow start, the Islanders lead the East with a 7-2-1 record in the last 10 games and have climbed up to third in the division rankings. Their plus-six point differential is second only to Boston (plus-10), and nine different players have registered eight or more points. This is a well-balanced hockey team that has fully bought in to Barry Trotz’s game plan. They play a full 60-minute game and never beat themselves, which cannot be said for the other contenders in the East at the moment.

A team can have a successful regular season through star power and flashy play, but the playoffs give rise to one or two teams that the rest of the league dreads to meet. Those teams are often tight-knit groups, led by home-grown players and hardened by recent playoff runs. The Islanders look and feel like one of those teams.

Though not as flashy as the Capitals or Penguins, they have managed to play better hockey against the Bruins than any other team. They have exhibited a great deal of toughness and character in those games, and a recent appearance in the Eastern Conference Final shows that they are ready to win now. They got a taste of championship gold, and now they want some more.

 

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It would update the formula used to determine which areas should be covered by so-called “preclearance.”

Published

on

“I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian,” Sanders said in a press release Thursday. “In the coming days, I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour and to provide small businesses with the incentives they need to raise wages.”

“That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill,” he added.

On Friday morning, Wyden, who is working closely with Sanders on the amendment, offered more details on the “plan B.”

He said his amendment, if accepted, would levy a 5% penalty on a big corporation’s total payroll if any workers earn less than a specified amount. Wyden added that the penalty would increase over time and include safeguards to prevent companies from trying to outsource labor to evade paying living wages.

“We couldn’t get in the front door or the back door, so we’ll try to go through the window,” Wyden said of the new plan. “While conversations are continuing, I believe this ‘plan B’ provides us a path to move forward and get this done through the reconciliation process.”

The U.S. last raised the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in 2009.

Wyden, who is also the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, added that his amendment would provide an income tax credit equal to 25% of wages, up to $10,000 per year per employer, to small businesses that pay their workers higher wages.

A senior Democratic aide confirmed Friday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is considering adding a provision to the bill in line with what Sanders and Wyden have proposed.

Though Democrats were more vocal about the parliamentarian’s decision, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is working to pass a new piece of legislation aimed at hiking the minimum wage for blue-collar workers.

Nearly eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, Democrats in Virginia are poised to enact state-level legislation they say would boost voter protections.

Backers of the Virginia Voting Rights Act say it’s the most comprehensive bill of its kind — and the first in the South. The legislation cleared a final vote on Thursday and now goes to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

“As we’ve seen on other issues, we can’t rely on the Supreme Court or the federal level always, and so states have to protect themselves,” said Democratic state Del. Cia Price, one of two sponsors of the legislation.

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Price’s bill was inspired by portions of the federal Voting Rights Act that were altered by a 2013 high court ruling. Until that decision, the federal government scrutinized proposed changes to voting across nine mostly Southern states, including Virginia, and a handful of other cities and counties with a history of racial discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for election law changes across the South. Republican-led legislatures rushed to pass restrictions that no longer required federal approval. States purged voter rolls, added photo ID requirements, and cut nearly 1,700 polling locations, per one tally. Many states have sought to double-down on restrictive voting rules in the aftermath of the November 2020 election.

Democratic state Del. Cia Price is one of two sponsors of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia.
Steve Helber/AP

Price’s bill builds on the old federal process. It would require local election officials to get public feedback — or permission from Virginia’s attorney general — before they change voting rules. Voters or the attorney general could sue if they believe the change disproportionately affects a voter “based on his race or color or membership in a language minority group.” Any proceeds from the legal actions would go toward a voter education fund.
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The legislation would require election officials to provide voting materials in foreign languages in districts with substantial populations of people whose primary language is not English. It also would prohibit at-large municipal elections if they have the effect of diluting the voting power of racial minorities.

White House officials on Friday will unveil a new partnership between the administration and top business groups to help with the national coronavirus response and vaccine rollout, Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for Covid response, announced.

The partnership includes the Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers as well as leaders in the Hispanic, African American, Asian American and other minority business organizations, Slavitt said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to back Donald Trump if he wins the GOP’s 2024 electoral nomination, further isolating Republicans aligning against the former president.

McConnell said he would “absolutely” support the Republican nominee in 2024 when asked if he would back Trump.

This comes despite him leveling criticism at Trump over the violence of January 6, and the former president issuing a scathing assessment of McConnell’s leadership.
CPAC Highlights Trump’s Influence Over GOP Amid Party’s Civil War
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CPAC Highlights Trump’s Influence Over GOP Amid Party’s Civil War
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McConnell’s comments contrast with other Republicans who have pushed against the president. Those politicians have faced a backlash for doing so and criticism from within their own party.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has faced calls to resign from her position as House Republican conference chair, after voting to impeach the president.

Of those who went against the president, she has been one of the most prominent targets of criticism—but has stood by her position against Trump, doing so in comments made alongside House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the pair were asked about Trump appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend.
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While McCarthy said he thinks Trump should address that event, Cheney said: “I’ve been clear in my views about President Trump, and the extent to which following January 6 I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”

An ally in this stance against Trump has been Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has faced censures since his vote and criticism even from his own family.

After Trump was acquitted, he said he felt the former president needed to be held “accountable” following January 6.

“I am disappointed that the Senate was unwilling to hold former President Trump accountable for his actions,” he said in a statement.

“And I will be looking at alternate options to ensure responsibility and accountability so that what happened on January 6, 2021 will never happen again.”

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) also recently said he would not support Trump in future—despite his opinion that if the former president goes for the nomination he will likely secure it.

“I would not be voting for President Trump, again. I haven’t voted for him in the past,” Romney said, during the DealBook/D.C. Policy Project conference on Tuesday.

“And I would probably be getting behind someone I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent.”

Romney voted to convict Trump at both of his Senate impeachment trials, and has faced a backlash along with the other Republicans who aligned against the former president. State parties have moved to censure those lawmakers who voted to impeach or to convict Trump.

Though McConnell voted to acquit Trump at his Senate impeachment trial, he rested his decision on feeling the proceedings were unconstitutional due to the former president no longer being in office.

He leveled criticism at Trump over the violence of January 6, branding him “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the events of that day.

Following these remarks, McConnell faced harsh criticism from the former president—who branded him a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.” This assessment came in a scathing statement, in which Trump said Republicans will not win back the Senate with leaders like McConnell.

Trump has not ruled out the potential of running in 2024, though has not firmly said he will.

Speaking to Newsmax last week, Trump was asked about a future run and declared: “I won’t say yet, but we have tremendous support.”

He is due to make his first major on-stage public appearance since leaving office on January 20 at CPAC this weekend, in an event also featuring a number of speakers supportive of the former president.

The purpose of the partnership, a White House official told CNBC, is to call on businesses of all sizes “to promote public health measures to help reduce barriers to vaccinations for employees, and to help amplify public health messaging around masking and vaccinations to their customers and communities.” The New York Times reported on the partnership earlier.

Outside of the partnership, Walgreens and Uber are launching a pilot program to offer free rides to pharmacies to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Other companies, such as Dollar General, Best Buy and Target have said they will compensate their employees with paid time off to get the vaccines.

Slavitt added that Lyft is partnering with CVS and the YMCA to provide 60 million free or discounted rides to help people get vaccinated. And Ford and The Gap, he noted, have vowed to donate more than 100 million masks for free distribution.

“I would not present these as federal efforts,” Slavitt said. “I would present these as efforts by organizations around the country that we are encouraging others to take stock of in some cases.”

The White House, with its new business partners, will urge more companies to do the same, he said.

Slavitt said administration officials will hold calls with business groups over the next few weeks urging them to help with the federal response to the pandemic. He said the White House will call on them to require employees to follow public health precautions and educate the public about the importance of getting vaccinated.

“First, require masking and social distancing to protect workers, customers and others on the premises,” Slavitt said. “Second, reduce barriers to vaccinations. Make a plan to get employees vaccinated and make it easier for employees to get vaccinated by providing incentives like paid time off or compensation for employees to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”

Jay Timmons, the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said “no American is safe from COVID-19 until all Americans are safe,” according to a statement. The group represents more than 12 million workers and 130,000 companies. “So manufacturers are proud to join the Biden administration in this call to arms.” He said the group and its members are committed to helping end the pandemic.

Virginia Republicans have consistently voted against the bill in the state legislature. They’ve echoed complaints by representatives of local governments who are concerned about the potential costs of litigation and extra workload.

“It is going to make it an unwieldy, incredibly complicated process,” warned state Sen. Jill Vogel, who’s also a GOP election attorney. “It is a full employment act for lawyers.”

Some local officials — particularly Democrats — have dismissed those concerns.

“It’s not like we’re changing elections all the time,” said Justin Wilson, the Democratic mayor of the city of Alexandria. “Protecting the franchise is probably the most important thing we can do.”
Georgia Republicans File Sweeping Elections Bill To Limit Early And Absentee Voting
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Georgia Republicans File Sweeping Elections Bill To Limit Early And Absentee Voting
After Record 2020 Turnout, State Republicans Weigh Making It Harder To Vote
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After Record 2020 Turnout, State Republicans Weigh Making It Harder To Vote

There has been some movement on Capitol Hill in the wake of the 2013 Shelby v. Holder case. Democrats in the House passed legislation in 2019 that would address issues raised by the Supreme Court. It would update the formula used to determine which areas should be covered by so-called “preclearance.”

But the bill — now named after the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. — went untouched in what was then a Republican-controlled Senate. It remains unclear if any Republicans, who almost universally opposed the House measure, would join Democrats to clear the 60-vote filibuster now that Democrats hold a narrow majority.

Republicans in many state legislatures have pushed to tighten voting rules in the wake of an election that saw the highest voter turnout in 120 years. Democrats in Virginia have moved the opposition direction, adding optional Sunday voting and making ballot drop boxes permanent. The commonwealth has gone from one of the hardest states to vote in to one of the easiest, after Democrats flipped the legislature in 2019, according to a ranking from researchers at Northern Illinois University.

“I think it’s obvious that Democrats want to loosen the rules that assisted them in the last election and that so greatly contributed to undermining confidence in the election,” Republican Todd Gilbert, the minority leader in Virginia’s House, said in a press conference last month.

Voting rights advocates say Republicans are harnessing their own false claims about voter fraud to advance restricting voting policies.

Judith Browne Dianis — executive director of the Advancement Project, a national civil rights group that helped craft the Virginia VRA — said the GOP’s push reflects a broader anxiety about the growing clout of nonwhite voters.

“We need every state to pass its own voting rights law,” Dianis said.

California, Washington and Oregon have passed narrower state-level voting rights acts focused on local elections.

Virginia had some of the tightest Jim Crow-era voting restrictions in the U.S. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who also sponsored the Virginia Voting Rights Act, said the effort reflected broader shifts in what has become a reliably blue state.

Hawley, who faced fierce bipartisan criticism for voting to overturn the election of President Joe Biden, announced Wednesday a bill that would grant low-wage workers a “bonus” through an automatic, advanceable tax credit.

Hawley’s office touted the plan as better than a minimum wage hike because it “does not place a major new burden on small businesses, many of which are still recovering from harmful shutdowns.”

The senators will have their chance to introduce amendments to Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan after the House passes the legislation with a vote expected in the lower chamber later Friday. Democrats hold a thin 50-50 majority in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris the key tiebreaking vote.

Still, debate over the bill in the Senate is expected to be rife with pitfalls, because a single Democratic vote against the plan would sink it.

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The U.S. last raised the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in 2009.

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“I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian,” Sanders said in a press release Thursday. “In the coming days, I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour and to provide small businesses with the incentives they need to raise wages.”

“That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill,” he added.

On Friday morning, Wyden, who is working closely with Sanders on the amendment, offered more details on the “plan B.”

He said his amendment, if accepted, would levy a 5% penalty on a big corporation’s total payroll if any workers earn less than a specified amount. Wyden added that the penalty would increase over time and include safeguards to prevent companies from trying to outsource labor to evade paying living wages.

“We couldn’t get in the front door or the back door, so we’ll try to go through the window,” Wyden said of the new plan. “While conversations are continuing, I believe this ‘plan B’ provides us a path to move forward and get this done through the reconciliation process.”

The U.S. last raised the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in 2009.

Wyden, who is also the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, added that his amendment would provide an income tax credit equal to 25% of wages, up to $10,000 per year per employer, to small businesses that pay their workers higher wages.

A senior Democratic aide confirmed Friday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is considering adding a provision to the bill in line with what Sanders and Wyden have proposed.

Though Democrats were more vocal about the parliamentarian’s decision, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is working to pass a new piece of legislation aimed at hiking the minimum wage for blue-collar workers.

Nearly eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, Democrats in Virginia are poised to enact state-level legislation they say would boost voter protections.

Backers of the Virginia Voting Rights Act say it’s the most comprehensive bill of its kind — and the first in the South. The legislation cleared a final vote on Thursday and now goes to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

“As we’ve seen on other issues, we can’t rely on the Supreme Court or the federal level always, and so states have to protect themselves,” said Democratic state Del. Cia Price, one of two sponsors of the legislation.

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Price’s bill was inspired by portions of the federal Voting Rights Act that were altered by a 2013 high court ruling. Until that decision, the federal government scrutinized proposed changes to voting across nine mostly Southern states, including Virginia, and a handful of other cities and counties with a history of racial discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for election law changes across the South. Republican-led legislatures rushed to pass restrictions that no longer required federal approval. States purged voter rolls, added photo ID requirements, and cut nearly 1,700 polling locations, per one tally. Many states have sought to double-down on restrictive voting rules in the aftermath of the November 2020 election.

Democratic state Del. Cia Price is one of two sponsors of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia.
Steve Helber/AP

Price’s bill builds on the old federal process. It would require local election officials to get public feedback — or permission from Virginia’s attorney general — before they change voting rules. Voters or the attorney general could sue if they believe the change disproportionately affects a voter “based on his race or color or membership in a language minority group.” Any proceeds from the legal actions would go toward a voter education fund.
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The legislation would require election officials to provide voting materials in foreign languages in districts with substantial populations of people whose primary language is not English. It also would prohibit at-large municipal elections if they have the effect of diluting the voting power of racial minorities.

White House officials on Friday will unveil a new partnership between the administration and top business groups to help with the national coronavirus response and vaccine rollout, Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for Covid response, announced.

The partnership includes the Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers as well as leaders in the Hispanic, African American, Asian American and other minority business organizations, Slavitt said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to back Donald Trump if he wins the GOP’s 2024 electoral nomination, further isolating Republicans aligning against the former president.

McConnell said he would “absolutely” support the Republican nominee in 2024 when asked if he would back Trump.

This comes despite him leveling criticism at Trump over the violence of January 6, and the former president issuing a scathing assessment of McConnell’s leadership.
CPAC Highlights Trump’s Influence Over GOP Amid Party’s Civil War
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CPAC Highlights Trump’s Influence Over GOP Amid Party’s Civil War
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McConnell’s comments contrast with other Republicans who have pushed against the president. Those politicians have faced a backlash for doing so and criticism from within their own party.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has faced calls to resign from her position as House Republican conference chair, after voting to impeach the president.

Of those who went against the president, she has been one of the most prominent targets of criticism—but has stood by her position against Trump, doing so in comments made alongside House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the pair were asked about Trump appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend.
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While McCarthy said he thinks Trump should address that event, Cheney said: “I’ve been clear in my views about President Trump, and the extent to which following January 6 I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”

An ally in this stance against Trump has been Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has faced censures since his vote and criticism even from his own family.

After Trump was acquitted, he said he felt the former president needed to be held “accountable” following January 6.

“I am disappointed that the Senate was unwilling to hold former President Trump accountable for his actions,” he said in a statement.

“And I will be looking at alternate options to ensure responsibility and accountability so that what happened on January 6, 2021 will never happen again.”

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) also recently said he would not support Trump in future—despite his opinion that if the former president goes for the nomination he will likely secure it.

“I would not be voting for President Trump, again. I haven’t voted for him in the past,” Romney said, during the DealBook/D.C. Policy Project conference on Tuesday.

“And I would probably be getting behind someone I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican Party that I represent.”

Romney voted to convict Trump at both of his Senate impeachment trials, and has faced a backlash along with the other Republicans who aligned against the former president. State parties have moved to censure those lawmakers who voted to impeach or to convict Trump.

Though McConnell voted to acquit Trump at his Senate impeachment trial, he rested his decision on feeling the proceedings were unconstitutional due to the former president no longer being in office.

He leveled criticism at Trump over the violence of January 6, branding him “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the events of that day.

Following these remarks, McConnell faced harsh criticism from the former president—who branded him a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.” This assessment came in a scathing statement, in which Trump said Republicans will not win back the Senate with leaders like McConnell.

Trump has not ruled out the potential of running in 2024, though has not firmly said he will.

Speaking to Newsmax last week, Trump was asked about a future run and declared: “I won’t say yet, but we have tremendous support.”

He is due to make his first major on-stage public appearance since leaving office on January 20 at CPAC this weekend, in an event also featuring a number of speakers supportive of the former president.

The purpose of the partnership, a White House official told CNBC, is to call on businesses of all sizes “to promote public health measures to help reduce barriers to vaccinations for employees, and to help amplify public health messaging around masking and vaccinations to their customers and communities.” The New York Times reported on the partnership earlier.

Outside of the partnership, Walgreens and Uber are launching a pilot program to offer free rides to pharmacies to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Other companies, such as Dollar General, Best Buy and Target have said they will compensate their employees with paid time off to get the vaccines.

Slavitt added that Lyft is partnering with CVS and the YMCA to provide 60 million free or discounted rides to help people get vaccinated. And Ford and The Gap, he noted, have vowed to donate more than 100 million masks for free distribution.

“I would not present these as federal efforts,” Slavitt said. “I would present these as efforts by organizations around the country that we are encouraging others to take stock of in some cases.”

The White House, with its new business partners, will urge more companies to do the same, he said.

Slavitt said administration officials will hold calls with business groups over the next few weeks urging them to help with the federal response to the pandemic. He said the White House will call on them to require employees to follow public health precautions and educate the public about the importance of getting vaccinated.

“First, require masking and social distancing to protect workers, customers and others on the premises,” Slavitt said. “Second, reduce barriers to vaccinations. Make a plan to get employees vaccinated and make it easier for employees to get vaccinated by providing incentives like paid time off or compensation for employees to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”

Jay Timmons, the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said “no American is safe from COVID-19 until all Americans are safe,” according to a statement. The group represents more than 12 million workers and 130,000 companies. “So manufacturers are proud to join the Biden administration in this call to arms.” He said the group and its members are committed to helping end the pandemic.

Virginia Republicans have consistently voted against the bill in the state legislature. They’ve echoed complaints by representatives of local governments who are concerned about the potential costs of litigation and extra workload.

“It is going to make it an unwieldy, incredibly complicated process,” warned state Sen. Jill Vogel, who’s also a GOP election attorney. “It is a full employment act for lawyers.”

Some local officials — particularly Democrats — have dismissed those concerns.

“It’s not like we’re changing elections all the time,” said Justin Wilson, the Democratic mayor of the city of Alexandria. “Protecting the franchise is probably the most important thing we can do.”
Georgia Republicans File Sweeping Elections Bill To Limit Early And Absentee Voting
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Georgia Republicans File Sweeping Elections Bill To Limit Early And Absentee Voting
After Record 2020 Turnout, State Republicans Weigh Making It Harder To Vote
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After Record 2020 Turnout, State Republicans Weigh Making It Harder To Vote

There has been some movement on Capitol Hill in the wake of the 2013 Shelby v. Holder case. Democrats in the House passed legislation in 2019 that would address issues raised by the Supreme Court. It would update the formula used to determine which areas should be covered by so-called “preclearance.”

But the bill — now named after the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. — went untouched in what was then a Republican-controlled Senate. It remains unclear if any Republicans, who almost universally opposed the House measure, would join Democrats to clear the 60-vote filibuster now that Democrats hold a narrow majority.

Republicans in many state legislatures have pushed to tighten voting rules in the wake of an election that saw the highest voter turnout in 120 years. Democrats in Virginia have moved the opposition direction, adding optional Sunday voting and making ballot drop boxes permanent. The commonwealth has gone from one of the hardest states to vote in to one of the easiest, after Democrats flipped the legislature in 2019, according to a ranking from researchers at Northern Illinois University.

“I think it’s obvious that Democrats want to loosen the rules that assisted them in the last election and that so greatly contributed to undermining confidence in the election,” Republican Todd Gilbert, the minority leader in Virginia’s House, said in a press conference last month.

Voting rights advocates say Republicans are harnessing their own false claims about voter fraud to advance restricting voting policies.

Judith Browne Dianis — executive director of the Advancement Project, a national civil rights group that helped craft the Virginia VRA — said the GOP’s push reflects a broader anxiety about the growing clout of nonwhite voters.

“We need every state to pass its own voting rights law,” Dianis said.

California, Washington and Oregon have passed narrower state-level voting rights acts focused on local elections.

Virginia had some of the tightest Jim Crow-era voting restrictions in the U.S. State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who also sponsored the Virginia Voting Rights Act, said the effort reflected broader shifts in what has become a reliably blue state.

Hawley, who faced fierce bipartisan criticism for voting to overturn the election of President Joe Biden, announced Wednesday a bill that would grant low-wage workers a “bonus” through an automatic, advanceable tax credit.

Hawley’s office touted the plan as better than a minimum wage hike because it “does not place a major new burden on small businesses, many of which are still recovering from harmful shutdowns.”

The senators will have their chance to introduce amendments to Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan after the House passes the legislation with a vote expected in the lower chamber later Friday. Democrats hold a thin 50-50 majority in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris the key tiebreaking vote.

Still, debate over the bill in the Senate is expected to be rife with pitfalls, because a single Democratic vote against the plan would sink it.

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