The Wider World

$1.9 trillion “rescue” approved


THE $1.9 TRILLION “American Rescue Plan” got final approval by Congress on Wednesday (Shutterstock).

Having navigated the shoals of small margins in both houses of Congress, the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” promoted by President Joe Biden was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

That’s the last hurdle for the bill, which Biden is expected to sign on Friday. The House approved the measure earlier and when the Senate voted in favor of an amended version, the House had to look at it again. The margin was 220-211 on a party-line vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. Once in effect, most American adults will get direct payments of $1400 this year, according to the Associated Press. Additionally, $300 weekly emergency unemployment checks will be in place into September.

“Today, we have a decision to make of tremendous consequence, a decision that will make a difference for millions of Americans, saving lives and livelihoods,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) before the vote,

The “Rescue Plan” also provides aid for businesses and state and local governments, as well as funding for vaccines.

News: Merrick Garland is new AG


After a controversial rejection as a U.S. Supreme Court justice in 2016, Merrick Garland will soon be back in the justice business. The U.S. senate on Wednesday approved his nomination by President Joe Biden to the post of U.S. Attorney General, in charge of the federal Department of Justice.

The vote was 70-30 in favor with 20 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. Garland had been nominated to the high court by then-President Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. His nomination was blocked by the-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who said he wanted the winner of the next presidential election to make the pick.

Business: A generally stimulating stimulus

Buoyed by the potential impact of the new coronavirus stimulus packaged approved Friday by Congress, the Dow Jones Average hit a new record high on Wednesday, climbing 464.28 points to 32,297.02. The S&P 500 also reacted strongly, increasing by 23.27 points and reaching 3,898.81. Only Nasdaq among the top stock indexes retreated, falling by 4.99 points to 13,068.83.

Sports: XFL and CFL together, eh?

The XFL is trying for yet another comeback. After crashing and burning in its one season of spring football in 2001, the reconstituted league regrouped for another campaign in 2020, but five games into the season it ceased operation because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, reports Sports Illustrated, the league, along with the Canadian Football League ­– which plays a slightly different version of the American game – is meeting with the CFL leadership about possible unspecified cooperation and collaboration.

Weather: March is still a (dangerous) lion

The rain that watered our lawns overnight brought mudslides to canyon areas of northeast Orange County, leading to mudslides, evacuations and some street closures. For West Orange County, the forecast is more light rains tonight (Wednesday) and through 7 a.m. Thursday. Daytime highs will be in the low- to mid-50s, with overnight lows in the high 40s. For the coastal area of Huntington Beach, a “beach hazard statement” has been issued by the National Weather Service. The NWS is warning of strong rip currents, higher surf, minor tidal overflow and lightning at local beaches. The “hazard” warning is in place through 7 p.m. Thursday.

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