It’s Monday, October 4th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) Biden Goes To Capitol Hill
The Topline: President Joe Biden met with House Democrats on the Hill in an attempt to push his agenda forward last week, but lawmakers say the meeting backfired, and progress is even less likely than before.
Quote Of The Day: “It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s six minutes, six days or six weeks. We’re gonna get it done.”
– President Joe Biden
There are two bills at the center of a battle in Congress right now.
The first is a largely bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The second is a more controversial $3.5 trillion spending bill, known as the reconciliation bill, which contains Biden’s major agenda items.
Far-Left Democrats are trying to connect the two pieces of legislation, with Progressives pushing for the Senate to pass the reconciliation bill before the House votes on infrastructure.
President Biden attended a Democratic caucus meeting last week and sided with progressives by agreeing that one bill can only be passed alongside the other.
Biden’s move garnered severe criticism, with some within the Democrat party saying he folded to the demands of the far-Left, in the process making the bipartisan infrastructure bill more difficult to pass.
2) Newsom Announces Vaccine Mandate For Kids
The Topline: On Friday, California became the first state in the country to require approved COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible children at public and private schools.
Quote Of The Day: “I agree with what Governor Newsom did in California… people need to realize that having a vaccine requirement for schools is not a new novel thing that is very peculiar or specific to COVID-19.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci
Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves the vaccine for children, all high school and middle school students in public and private schools in California will be required to get the shot in order to attend in-person classes. Elementary school students will be next, depending on when the FDA approves them.
Remember: California already has a vaccine mandate on the books for teachers.
Experts predict FDA approval will come some time in the winter, which means the mandate in California would likely take effect before the next fall semester.
There are going to be religious and medical exemptions, but that part of the mandate hasn’t been written yet. Those without an exemption will be required by the state to complete an independent study course at home.
COVID-19 vaccine mandates for kids aren’t overwhelmingly popular nationwide.
In most polls, around 40-50% of parents say they’re hesitant to get their child vaccinated for a few reasons. They say the diseases that kids are already required to get vaccinated for are more dangerous to children than COVID-19. They also say the COVID-19 survival rate for kids is 99.99%. They note that it’s a violation of personal freedom to make them choose between a classroom education and the shot.
The order hasn’t been challenged in court yet, mainly because it hasn’t yet been implemented. Legal experts say once the FDA approves the vaccine for children and the mandate goes into effect, there will be lawsuits filed against the state.
A professor at University of California-Irvine sued the state over the vaccine mandate for school faculty, but a judge this week ruled in favor of the mandate, allowing it to stand.
3) China Censors Tiananmen Square Museum
The Topline: China is continuing its crackdown on symbols of freedom in Hong Kong, including museums documenting the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
In 1989, around a million student-led protestors gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to demonstrate for democracy and free speech. The Communist Chinese military opened fire on them, killing hundreds and possibly thousands of people.
The massacre is also known as the June 4th incident and has significant symbolic importance to today’s pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, which is struggling to maintain itself as a semi-independent territory.
Pro-democracy groups organize candlelight vigils attended by tens of thousands of people to mark the anniversary of the massacre, and they’ve established museums to maintain its memory.
For the last two years, the Chinese Communist Party has banned the outdoor vigils allegedly due to the pandemic. They’ve censored social media groups dedicated to honoring those who were killed on June 4th and now they’re targeting the museums.
Last year, China passed a new national security law which is not subject to local Hong Kong authorities. Under the law, the police now have the power to arrest dissenters, shut down newspapers, and investigate cultural institutions.
In June, they closed the physical location of the June 4th museum, seized its assets, and froze its bank accounts. The exhibit was run by a pro-democracy group known as the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China who were also responsible for organizing the biggest Tiananmen vigils.
On September 25th, the Alliance announced they were disbanding after police accused them of being “[agents] of foreign forces,” and “inciting subversion.”
As the investigation was ongoing, the museum reopened in August as an online-only exhibit.
Organizers were careful to say it had been crowdfunded and was operating independently of the Alliance, but it now appears China has restricted Hong Kong citizens from accessing the site. On September 23rd, administrators started reporting that users were unable to reach the museum’s web address without using VPN’s.
The online museum immediately put out a statement calling it a “disgraceful act to erase historical memory.”
U.S. Point: The Biden administration issued a statement on the closing of the physical museum in June when it took place, saying the United States “condemns” that action.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
On Friday, Merck announced its new antiviral pill for COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by about 50%. Merck plans to seek emergency authorization for use in the United States.
UCLA Professor Lawsuit
A UCLA professor who was suspended and banned from campus for refusing a student request to grade black students more leniently on a final exam is suing the University of California system. He is suing for breach of contract, for violating his right to privacy, for placing him in a false light, for retaliation, and for negligent interference with his consulting business.
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