Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 25, 2021

Biden and senators reach bipartisan infrastructure deal, search for survivors continues after Florida condo collapse, and more

1

Biden and senators reach bipartisan infrastructure deal

President Biden announced Thursday that he and a bipartisan group of senators agreed to an infrastructure package costing $973 billion over five years and $1.2 trillion over eight years. The deal includes money for traditional infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, tunnels, rail, and broadband, with $579 billion in new spending. "This agreement signals to the world that we can function, deliver and do significant things," Biden, who had pitched a $1.7 trillion infrastructure package, said at the White House after meeting with the senators. Biden said "neither side got everything they wanted in this deal; that's what it means to compromise." He said other White House priorities would be addressed separately in a congressional budget process known as reconciliation, letting Democrats approve some spending without Republican votes.

2

Search continues for survivors after Florida condo collapse

Rescuers continued trying to find survivors in a partial building collapse in Surfside, Florida, through the night Thursday, after the number of those unaccounted for was raised to 99. At least one person was killed and many others were feared dead after a wing of the beachside Champlain Towers South condominiums tumbled down. Search crews said they had heard banging sounds but no voices coming from the pile of rubble where the 12-story building once stood. Experts could not immediate say what caused the disaster. Florida International University said in a statement that FIU Institute of Environment Professor Shimon Wdowinski found land subsidence at the condo site from 1993 to 1999, but said that alone "likely would not cause a building's collapse."

3

Pelosi says House will form select committee on Jan. 6 Capitol riot

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the House would launch a select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters. "It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen and that we root out the causes of it all," Pelosi said. She described the attack as "one of the darkest days in our nation's history." The move came a month after Senate Republicans blocked a proposal to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the incident. The commission would have been modeled after the panel that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

4

CDC extends eviction moratorium for another month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday extended the national moratorium on evictions for a month, but said it would be the last time the deadline would be pushed back. The CDC put the moratorium in place last September. It had been scheduled to expire June 30. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed the extension to continue the program through July 31. The moratorium has been credited with limiting the financial damage that renters have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic. White House officials had urged the CDC to extend the policy to provide more time to distribute $21.5 billion in emergency federal housing aid included in the coronavirus relief bill passed this spring. The Justice Department also is urging housing court judges to slow evictions by making landlords accept federal money to cover back rent.

5

New York suspends Giuliani's law license over 'demonstrably false' election claims

A committee of New York appellate judges on Thursday suspended former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's law license over his efforts to overturn the results of last year's election on behalf of former President Donald Trump. The judges found that Giuliani was not fit to practice law in the state because he "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers, and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for [Trump] and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at re-election in 2020." The First Department Appellate Division's disciplinary committee, which received multiple complaints against Giuliani, said his conduct "immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law." Giuliani's defense team called the action "unprecedented," and said Giuliani posed no "present danger to the public interest."

6

Biden administration to evacuate Afghans who helped U.S. military

The Biden administration said Thursday that the United States would evacuate Afghans who worked with American troops during the final phase of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Afghans who worked as interpreters and contractors have shared their concerns that once the U.S. is out of Afghanistan, they might be hurt or killed by the Taliban. "Those who helped us are not going to be left behind," President Biden told reporters on Thursday. There is a special immigration visa program for these Afghans, but it moves slowly — some applicants have been waiting for years — and lawmakers and veterans of the Afghanistan war have voiced their worries over how long the process can take. Biden, who will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House on Friday, told reporters he does not know where the Afghans will end up.

7

AP: Nearly all people now dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated

Non-vaccinated people account for nearly all new COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, The Associated Press reported Thursday after analyzing government data from May. About 150 of the more than 18,000 people who died of COVID-19 in the month, and fewer than 1,200 of the more than 853,000 of those hospitalized for "breakthrough" infections, had been vaccinated. The report was based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, although the CDC has not estimated the coronavirus toll among fully-vaccinated people. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday that vaccines work so well that "nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19, is, at this point, entirely preventable." 

8

Pence tells Republicans he's 'proud' of role certifying 2020 election result

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday defended his fulfillment of his constitutionally mandated role to certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, sharpening his separation from former President Donald Trump on the issue. Pence, speaking to California Republicans at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, said he "will always be proud" that he and Congress reconvened to certify the results of the 2020 vote after a mob of Trump supporters seeking to reverse the election outcome stormed the Capitol, some of them chanting "Hang Mike Pence." Pence said it was "un-American" to try to defy the results of an election. Pence also praised Trump during the speech, saying he, like Reagan, "disrupted the status quo" and "set a bold new course for America."

9

Harris to visit U.S.-Mexico border

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, her first visit since taking office and taking the lead in the Biden administration's efforts to address the root causes of a surge in migration. The trip follows weeks of criticism by Republicans, who said Harris should have gone to the border sooner. Harris will visit the El Paso Central Processing Center, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. She also will talk to immigrant advocates and legal service providers. She is expected to deliver a speech during the visit. "[Harris' trip to the border] is really about building on the work that she has been doing. This is not happening in a vacuum and it is not just to go and see," said Symone Sanders, Harris' chief spokesperson.

10

Conan O'Brien signs off of late night after 28 years

Conan O'Brien made his farewell appearance as host of TBS's Conan on Thursday night, ending 28 years in late-night comedy talk shows. O'Brien was a writer for The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live before he was chosen to replace David Letterman in 1993, starting a late-night career that included three shows on two networks. O'Brien signed off with Jack Black as his final guest, and thanked the network, and his family, friends, and fans. "I've devoted all of my adult life — all of it — to pursuing this strange phantom intersection between smart and stupid," O'Brien said. "I think when smart and stupid come together, it's very difficult, but if you can make it happen, I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world."

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