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Daily Skimm: President Biden, NY Legislation, and Prenatal Testing

 U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room
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Jan 20, 2022

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It’s been 365 days of the Biden admin.

A full year, already?

You know it. On January 20, 2021, President Biden was sworn in amid a backdrop of masks…and mittens. It came at a time when US democracy seemed to be hanging on by a thread. But Biden’s win came with a laundry list of promises — on everything from climate change to immigration to the economy. Here's where we stand with...

COVID-19…In his victory speech, Biden said he’d work to get COVID-19 “under control.” That includes mass vaccine availability, nationwide testing, and keeping schools open. Fast forward to now: only 67% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated. Testing demand has at times exceeded supply — and the admin is only now sending them to Americans. Cases have hit over 1 million per day while hospitals across the country are overwhelmed. So no, the pandemic isn’t under control.

Economy…Inflation has reached a record high. But so has the stock market. The admin signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. And a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill. But the president’s Build Back Better plan — which includes funding for everything from universal pre-k to climate incentives to expanding Medicare — has stalled in the Senate.

Other promises…are a mixed bag. Biden pulled US troops out of Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war. But the Taliban swooped right in. Biden urged the Senate to pass the Equality Act and bypass the filibuster to approve voting rights legislation. But despite a last-ditch effort, Dems weren't able to change filibuster rules to make it happen. And still no word on forgiving student loan debtpaid family leave, and other campaign promises.

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The Biden admin still has a long list of promises to get through. Now, with a 40% approval rating and midterms around the corner, the pressure is on for his admin to deliver.

And Also...This

Who doesn’t want a rap sheet…

Musicians. This week, “Rap Music on Trial” legislation passed through an initial stage in the New York state senate. Since the ‘90s, police and prosecutors have used rap lyrics to pursue criminal cases against rap artists. In some cases, lyrics have been presented as evidence rather than viewed as artistic expressions. Now, the NY bill — first introduced in Nov — would prevent prosecutors from using an artist’s lyrics in criminal cases. If all the artists throwing their support behind it jumped on a song together, it’d probably be a banger. Think: Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, and Kelly Rowland. Bronx native Fat Joe said lyrics “are a creative form of self-expression and entertainment — just like any other genre.” And Jay-Z’s lawyer said this was “a long time coming.” Next up: It heads to the state senate for a vote.

  • Drakeo the Ruler: In 2018, the late California rapper Drakeo the Ruler was convicted of murder after prosecutors used his lyrics to prove he was guilty. But he was later acquitted in 2019.

Where justice is being served…

Michigan. Yesterday, the University of Michigan announced a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 people. There are allegations dating back to the '60s that a former sports doctor, Robert Anderson, sexually abused students, athletes, and others during routine medical exams. For those getting déjà vu, it's because convicted sex offender Larry Nassar also worked at a university in Michigan. But this is a different case, at a different school. As with Nassar, Anderson's abuse spanned decades. Ultimately, Anderson retired in 2003, and he later died in 2008. One report found that the school missed many chances to stop the abuse. Now, the 1,050 victims will receive $460 million. And an additional $30 million has been set aside for future claims. A lawyer representing hundreds of victims say the settlement will provide “justice and healing” for the men and women who came forward.

...Oh and speaking of UMich, over the weekend, the school’s president was fired for an inappropriate relationship with a university employee. 

Who has us doing the sniff test…

Procter & Gamble. Starting next month, the company is going to raise the cost of its laundry detergents and other goods (think: Tide, Downy, Gain, and Bounce) to offset inflation costs. Time to load up.

Who's giving “Cool Runnings” a reboot irl...

Jamaica's four-man bobsled team.

While we don't talk about Bruno...

We should be talking about prenatal testing.

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