1 Biden Announces Sweeping New Covid Plan
President Biden has unveiled his new plan for fighting Covid – and it’s pretty huge. The biggest hallmark? He’s pushing new COVID vaccination mandates that impact nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers. As Mr. Biden told the nation during his address, the “unvaccinated are overcrowding our hospitals” and “something needs to be done.” His plan? Under an executive order, he’s directing the Labor Department to create a rule requiring vaccinations or once a week testing for companies with more than 100 employees. As part of that, under the plan, all federal workers must be vaccinated. Same for health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals. Biden is also calling on large entertainment venues and sports stadiums to require proof of vaccination or testing for entry. He is also instructing some drug chains to sell rapid at-home COVID tests at cost. And for those not at home, but traveling? He’s instructing the TSA to double fines for travelers not wearing masks.
2 Justice Dept Suing Texas Over Abortion Law
The Justice Department is suing Texas over a controversial new abortion law. In announcing the lawsuit, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the law to banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy is "clearly unconstitutional" under longstanding U.S. Supreme Court precedent. He also noted the law offers no exceptions for rape or incest and expressed concern that other Republican-led states could follow suit with similar laws. Not only that, Garland noted the law deputizes private citizens "to serve as bounty hunters authorized to recover at least $10-thousand per claim.” "Because this statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services," he added. "This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it."
3 Taliban Clears 200 To Fly Out Of Kabul
The Biden Administration is confirming a flight with American citizens on board landed in Qatar after leaving Afghanistan. However, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne didn't say how many Americans were on the plane. Horne did note more than six-thousand U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been brought to the U.S. as part of the evacuation effort – but that’s since July. Horne also said the Taliban has cooperated in letting Americans and others leave from the Kabul airport. But there’s another airport – Mazar e Sharif in northern Afghanistan – which has at least three charter flights that the Taliban still refuses to allow lift off for. And while the State Department has been short on details about the status of those flights – or who is on them – but maintains that the status has ‘nothing to do’ with ‘inaction’ by US government.