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Friday's Mini-Report, 3.5.21

Today's edition of quick hits.


Today's edition of quick hits:

* On the Hill: "On the verge of passing a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill, Senate Democrats agreed to lower the measure's federal unemployment benefits to $300 a week and extend the coverage to September, according to two Democratic sources."

* CDC: "More than half of the people in the United States 65 or older are at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden's Covid-19 response team said Friday. That's creating more pressure for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release its guidance for what people can safely do after being fully vaccinated."

* Texas: "The Public Utility Commission of Texas on Friday signaled it didn't intend to reverse $16 billion in electric overcharges that an independent market monitor had flagged as stemming from the state's weeklong blackouts."

* New York: "Top aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo were alarmed: A report written by state health officials had just landed, and it included a count of how many nursing home residents in New York had died in the pandemic."

* Trade: "President Biden and the head of the European Union agreed to suspend tariffs on a variety of products for four months as they seek a negotiated solution to one of the longest-running trade disputes on record."

* Middle East: "President Joe Biden called off an airstrike against a second target in Syria last week after a woman and children were spotted in the area, a senior administration official told NBC News."

* Brazil: "After two straight days of record COVID-19 deaths in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday told Brazilians to stop 'whining' and move on, in his latest remarks attacking distancing measures and downplaying the gravity of the pandemic."

* In his field, Tim Wu is a real rock star: "President Biden on Friday named Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor, to the National Economic Council as a special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, putting one of the most outspoken critics of Big Tech's power into the administration."

* Keep an eye on this one: "President Joe Biden intends to work with Congress to repeal the war authorizations that have underpinned U.S. military operations across the globe for the past two decades and negotiate a new one that reins in the open-ended nature of America's foreign wars, the White House said Friday."

* A growing list: "Sen. Tina Smith said Thursday she supports abolishing the Senate filibuster amid growing debate over whether Democrats should throw out the 60-vote threshold now that they control the chamber."

* Michael Pack, back in the headlines: "Last summer, an appointee of former President Donald Trump was irate because he could not simply fire top executives who had warned him that some of his plans might be illegal.... Instead of turning to inspectors general or civil servants to investigate, Pack personally signed a no-bid contract to hire a high-profile law firm with strong Republican ties. The bill — footed by taxpayers — exceeded $1 million in just the first few months of the contract."

* A twisted approach to the ACA: "There was no better symbol of the Trump administration's plans for sabotaging the Affordable Care Act than how, soon after the inauguration, its Department of Health and Human Services prioritized erasing mentions of the law on its web page."

* Noted without comment: "Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Thursday that it is the job of Fox News to serve as the opposition to the Biden administration, clearly stating the political biases of a network that until 2017 billed itself as 'fair and balanced.'"

Have a safe weekend.