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1) Legislative Battle Continues In Washington
The Topline: This week, President Joe Biden’s agenda faced a crucial test in Congress with Democrats attempting to pass two massive spending bills worth trillions of dollars.
Quote Of The Day: “It’s not about a dollar amount. The dollar amount, as the president said, is zero. This bill will be paid for.”
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
The Two Bills
Two bills facing debate in Washington, D.C. include the infrastructure bill — a trillion-dollar measure funding roads, bridges, airports, etc — and a second social spending bill worth $3.5 trillion.
That bill would include many of Biden’s campaign promises, including massive increases in entitlement spending, climate change measures, free childcare and expanded paid family leave.
The $1 trillion infrastructure measure passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but now it’s being held up by Democrats in the House who say they won’t support it unless they get certain assurances regarding the separate $3.5 trillion social spending measure.
Even though House Republicans were initially open to supporting the infrastructure bill, nearly everyone in the party is now opposed because it’s being tied to the larger, Liberal social spending bill.
Even without Republican support, the social spending measure can still pass, thanks to budget reconciliation, an elaborate process which allows Democrats to bypass a Republican filibuster if they can come to an agreement on the legislation.
Moderate Democrats say the cost is too high, but Progressives say it isn’t enough.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the $3.5 trillion price tag was “fiscal insanity” and refused to support anything more than $1.5 trillion. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) also said $3.5 trillion was too high for her to support.
Progressives want more spending – as high as $6 trillion – and told Speaker Pelosi they have fifty members who pledged to vote against the infrastructure bill unless they get their say on the social spending bill.
On Thursday night, House Democrats delayed a vote on the infrastructure bill.
2) Biden’s New DACA Initiative
The Topline: The Biden administration has proposed a new version of President Obama’s controversial DACA order which exempted some illegal immigrants from deportation. After a federal judge struck down the original order, saying it was unconstitutional, President Biden has put forward a new version.
The New DACA
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allowed most young people who came to the country illegally as minors to stay in the United States, but the policy has remained in legal limbo for most of its existence.
According to the rule, anyone between the ages of 15 and 40 can apply for DACA status if they meet specific criteria:
- The person had to come to the U.S. illegally before the age of 16.
- The person had to continuously reside in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and prove he or she was “physically present in the United States” on June 15, 2012 — the date the original DACA policy was announced.
- The person has to be honorably discharged as a veteran; or have completed a high school education, or currently be enrolled in some kind of schooling, including vocational education.
- The person cannot have been convicted of a felony, a “serious” misdemeanor, or “three or more other,” separate misdemeanors.
Someone younger than 15 can apply if they are currently in removal proceedings or have a final deportation order.
Numbers: Over 825,000 people received DACA status between 2012 and this July, but the number of those eligible for deferral is estimated to be at least 1.8 million.
Supporters say DACA recipients came to the United States by no fault of their own; in many cases, this is the only country they’ve ever known; and they will contribute to the economy.
Opponents say many DACA recipients came here as unaccompanied minors with the help of human smugglers — and DACA will encourage others to do the same.
Remember: DACA only stays deportation; it does not give its recipients U.S. citizenship — though Biden does support legislation to that effect.
3) Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Under Scrutiny
The Topline: In a Daily Wire exclusive, new documents reveal how a law firm employing a leading Virginia gubernatorial candidate is trying to silence parents who say public school staff abused their special needs children.
Quote Of The Day: “I’m not gonna let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions… I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
– Terry McAuliffe, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Virginia
In 2019, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe took a job with the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, one of the largest vendors of the Fairfax County Public Schools. The firm is often paid millions of dollars for taking on work fighting parents on behalf of the district.
Parents have claimed their special-needs children were being systematically abused by school staff, with so many alleged victims that it turned into a class action lawsuit. They claim teachers would sometimes assault special needs students or leave them alone in rooms rather than educate them.
The allegations include putting a nonverbal autistic child in solitary confinement 700 times, shoving a bullied eight-year old into a cardboard box and telling him it was his “safe space,” and putting a child in a chokehold.
Parents tried to advocate for their children, but the school district paid $700 an hour to the law firm, which tried unsuccessfully to get the parents’ lawsuit dismissed, and has been fighting them since.
Election Point: Teachers unions are one of the biggest funders of McAuliffe’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign, having donated nearly a million dollars.
Daily Wire Exclusive
A mom of one of the special-needs students filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the school system’s legal bills. She was charged $300, but she got the documents, and gave them to The Daily Wire.
After the story was published, the district filed a lawsuit against the woman for sharing the records.
The documents had redactions, but they say they meant to redact more, and because of their mistake, they wanted to force her to return the documents, tell them who she’d given them to, and even seek damages from her.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
Vaccine Mandate Firings
A North Carolina-based hospital system has fired around 175 unvaccinated employees for failing to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Last week, Novant Health said around 375 unvaccinated workers had been suspended and given five days to comply with the mandate. United Airlines is also poised to fire hundreds of employees after its vaccination deadline for U.S.-based workers passed this week. Almost 600 employees face losing their jobs for not complying.
On Wednesday, Youtube announced they are expanding their “medical misinformation policies” with new guidelines regarding all vaccines, not just COVID-19 vaccines.
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