Need to know: here are your top 4 national stories from June 29, 2021
1. Biden Selling Infrastructure Package to Americans
On Tuesday, President Biden traveled to La Crosse, Wisconsin, to deliver remarks on the Infrastructure package and what it will do for the American people.
“We’ll put American workers to work in good-paying jobs. Not minimum wage jobs, not $15 an hour jobs, prevailing wage jobs, good-paying jobs, repairing our roads and our bridges. We all know why that matters,” expressed Biden.
Along with this Infrastructure package creating jobs, fixing roads and bridges, Biden says that it will also fix the lead in water pipes.
The President explains that up to 400,000 schools in America are currently at risk for exposure to lead due to unclean drinking water. He argues that this plan will have, “Every single American child at home or in school, will soon be able to turn on that faucet and their moms and dads know that water they’re drinking is clean and safe.”
Biden also expresses how our economy needs an updated and improved power grid. He argues that power outages from extreme weather cost the economy $70 billion annually.
“This deal will modernize the power grid, be more energy-efficient, resilient to extreme weather, resilient against bad actors who try to hack and attack the grid because I spent a lot of time in Europe trying to work on that. And it’s going to strengthen and revitalize our natural infrastructures like our coastline and levees are preparing our physical infrastructure for wildfires, was another extreme weather,” said Biden.
The President also made a case for the need for electric vehicles, specifically electric buses for schools. Biden argued that 95% of school buses run on diesel putting thousands of kids and bus drivers at risk of polluted air, posing health problems.
“We owe it to our kids to clean up the school buses, and this deal will help do just that,” said Biden.
Biden’s speech comes amid growing concerns from Republicans, specifically Senator Minority Leader McConnel, on signing the reconciliation bill, a part of the infrastructure package, that contains a list of things only Democrats want.
Today Biden argued that “This deal isn’t just the sum of its parts. It’s a signal to ourselves and the world that American democracy can come through and deliver for all our people.”
President Biden will continue to travel across the country to advocate for the American Family’s Plan and the Child Tax Credit while continuing to “make a case for the American people” until the bipartisan infrastructure package is passed.
2. Biden to travel to Surfside, Florida
On Thursday, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Surfside, Florida, where the 12-story building tragically collapsed last Thursday.
So far, 11 people have been found dead, leaving a total of 150 people still accounted for. Search, and rescue teams continue to search for missing people on day 6, as many families and friends cling to hope.
Today, Press Secretary announced that Biden and the First Lady would travel to Surfside to, “Thank the heroic first responders, search and rescue teams and everyone who has been working tirelessly around the clock, and meet with the families who have been forced to endure this tragedy waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loved ones.”
This comes after newly released photos of the 40-year-old building, taken by a contractor 36 hours before the collapse, show damage such as cracking concrete, corroded rebar under the pool, and standing water in the basement-level parking garage.
NIST scientists, FEMA, OSHA, and the FBI are currently still on the collapse scene.
3. Delta Variant Posing an Issue for Americans?
The CDC believes that the Delta variant could become the dominant strain here in the United States. The delta variant that now makes up for more than 20% of cases here in the U.S. could now cause news surges in cases, resulting in Covid restrictions going back into place.
Despite many states reaching the President’s goal of 70%, over half of the population still isn’t vaccinated. Just as mask mandates and Covid restrictions got lifted, they might be going right back into place.
As the Delta variant spreads fast in Los Angeles County, LA county officials encourage everyone to wear masks indoors, regardless if they have been vaccinated or not. This announcement comes just weeks after California officially reopened the state on June 15.
The dangerous Delta variant is twice as transmissible as previous coronavirus strains. Health officials continue to plea with American’s to get vaccinated. Those who are unvaccinated are at greater risk of getting severely ill.
4. Afghanistan withdrawal could be completed within days
Today United States officials announced that U.S. troops could be withdrawn from Afghanistan within a couple of days. This comes as a part of Biden’s goal of ending America’s longest war.
President Biden initially ordered troops in April to leave Afghanistan by September 11. However, John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, stated that the troops’ withdrawal doesn’t mean it’s the end of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
Kirby stated, “It is my understanding with the completion of the retrograde of US forces, retrograde, withdrawal, of US forces from Afghanistan, with accepting, of course, whatever is left behind to protect our diplomatic presence, that that does not necessarily mean the end of Resolute Support.”
A total of 2,500 American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.