US Senate to take up voting rights legislation, asteroid to brush by Earth: 5 Things podcast
Biden to amp up the pressure on the Senate to change filibuster rules for voting rights during Atlanta speech
President Joe Biden is traveling to Atlanta on Tuesday to deliver a major speech on voting rights, looking to turn up the heat on reluctant senators as Democrats face pressure to pass two pieces of pending legislation opposed by nearly all Republicans on Capitol Hill. © DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images US President Joe Biden speaks at the US Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC. - Thousands of supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a bid to prevent the certification of Biden's election victory.
On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Senate to take up voting rights legislation
Democrats were able to pass a bill through the House, but doing so in the Senate may be impossible without eliminating the filibuster. Plus, research from Israel shows a 4th COVID-19 vaccine dose may not be as effective against omicron, we hear some tips on finding at-home COVID-19 tests, Tonga remains isolated after a tsunami and a massive asteroid passes by Earth.
Chuck Schumer Plans to Show Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema Why to Change Filibuster Rules
The Senate's top Democrat has laid out his plan to bring voting rights legislation to the Senate floor, which could set up a vote on changing the filibuster.A memo sent by Schumer to Senate Democrats Wednesday lays out how he plans to sidestep procedures that have been used by Republicans to block consideration of voting rights legislation. The Senate requires 60 votes to initiate debate on most bills, which has been a stumbling block for Democrats as they've sought to advance voting rights legislation in the evenly divided chamber.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning, I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Tuesday, the 18th of January, 2022. Today voting rights, plus new research on a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
- A pair of earthquakes slammed Western Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least 22 people. That death toll may rise as rescuers work to reach remote villages in one of the country's most underdeveloped regions.
- A drone attack at an oil facility in Abu Dhabi has killed at least three people and also sparked a fire at the international airport. The attack was claimed by Houthi rebels from Yemen as the United Arab Emirates continues to support Yemeni militias fighting the Houthis.
- And the Las Vegas Raiders have fired general manager Mike Mayock. He held the job for three seasons as the Raiders improved their record each year, but they lost their first round playoff match up to the Cincinnati Bengals over the weekend.
Protecting voting rights isn’t enough to save democracy
Election law expert Richard L. Hasen on the problem of election subversion — and what can be done to stop it.The rejection of the legitimacy of the 2020 election by many Republicans has fueled widespread, state-level voter suppression campaigns and a growing effort to subvert America’s election system.
The Senate today will take up voting rights legislation that already passed the House last week. The House passed a bill that combined two pieces of voting rights legislation. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the justice department's oversight of election law changes in states with the history of discrimination, and the Freedom to Vote Act would set minimum federal requirements for early voting and mail-in voting. President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders had been hoping to pass voting rights laws by eliminating the filibuster rule that would require 60 votes instead of the 50, in a simple majority vote. Republicans in the Senate remain unanimously opposed and Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are opposed to changing Senate filibuster rules. Vice President Kamala Harris spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, pushing for Senate action on voting rights.
Senate to take up voting rights bill Tuesday, missing Schumer deadline
Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on Thursday night that the Senate will take up voting rights legislation on Tuesday, missing his self-imposed deadline to hold a vote on changing the filibuster by Monday, Jan. 17. The change in the Senate schedule comes after Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) announced he was isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 in a breakthrough case, leaving Democrats one vote short on their ability to start debate on the voting rights bill. Senators are also worried about the potential for another snowstorm in Washington, D.C., on Sunday into Monday. "I have a short announcement about the schedule.
Today, our freedom to vote is under assault. In Georgia and across our nation, anti-voter laws are being passed that could make it more difficult for as many as 55 million Americans to vote, 55 million Americans. That is one out of six people in our country. And the proponents of these laws are not only putting in place obstacles to the ballot box, they are also working to interfere with our elections.
More locally, activists continue to push for voting rights reform. In Chicago yesterday, a caravan worked for voting rights. Bishop Tavis Grant spoke from Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a group founded by Rev. Jesse Jackson.
No matter what you do to stop us, you will not stop the vote. No matter what you do to stop us, you will not stop the vote. The vote is alive, the dream is alive, and the push is on.
And MLK's own son, Martin Luther King III, yesterday criticized how legislation has stalled.
Martin Luther King III:
We're here to call on President Biden and the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote John R. Lewis Act and to warn that our democracy stands on the brink of serious trouble without these bills. Last week, the president said, "He's tired of being quiet about voting reps." Well, we're tired of being patient. Since January 6th, 2021 when the insurrectionists attacked our Capitol, 19 legislatures have passed 34 laws, clawing back voting rights for their citizens. States like my home state, where new laws, I should say of Georgia, are designed to confuse voters so they don't know where to go. They kick people off the voter rolls so they show up to vote and find out they're not registered. They close polling stations and limit voting hours. So working parents and folks without access to transportation, can't get there in time.
King family to rally in Arizona for voting bills for MLK Day
PHOENIX (AP) — As the nation prepares to mark the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., some members of his family are spending it in conservative-leaning Arizona to mobilize support for languishing federal voting rights legislation. Martin Luther King III; his wife, Arndrea Waters King; and their daughter Yolanda Renee King, 13, will take part Saturday in an on-the-ground campaign for voting rights in Phoenix. They will march with local activists and supporters from Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, a predominantly Black church, and speak about the importance of “no celebration without legislation.
For their part, Republicans have accused Democrats of trying to pass a federal election bill that benefits them. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month, "It isn't about voting rights it's a naked power grab." McConnell last week blasted President Biden after Biden spoke to the country on voting rights.
12 months ago, this president said disagreement must not lead to disunion. But yesterday he invoked the bloody disunion of the Civil War, the Civil War to demonize Americans who disagree with him. He compared, listen to this, a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traders. How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential.
For all the latest today and throughout the voting rights fight stay with USATODAY.com.
There's troubling news out of Israel. Research there found that the increase in antibodies produced by a fourth shot of COVID-19 vaccine is not enough to prevent infections from the omicron variant. In the clinical trial, 274 medical workers at Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv received a fourth dose last month. Some received Pfizer and others Moderna after all previously received three Pfizer shots. Both groups showed that the boost in antibodies was slightly higher than after the third vaccine last year, but that it did not prevent the spread of omicron. The variant now dominating the world. The Israeli government says more than half a million people have received a fourth dose there, though the country has seen a recent outbreak that caused a record setting number of cases and rising hospitalizations. Some health officials there though have emphasized that the four dose campaign has still been worthwhile because the second booster returns the level of antibodies to what it was at the beginning of the third booster.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s family says 'we're tired of being patient,' urges Democrats to pass voting rights legislation
"If you can deliver an infrastructure bill for bridges, you can deliver voting rights for Americans," said Martin Luther King III at a protest in DC.Marchers braved frigid temperatures in the nation's capital to participate in the DC Peace Walk across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. King's descendants, including his son, Martin Luther King III, 13-year-old granddaughter Yolanda Renee King, and daughter-in-law Arndrea Waters King, led the procession while holding a banner that called on Congress to "Deliver for Voting Rights.
Meanwhile, cases driven by omicron appear to be dropping in the U.S. In the week ending Sunday, the U.S reported 5.44 million cases around the country compared to 5.66 million in the week ending Saturday. But that may be driven by a lack of reporting in recent days, in some places. 62.7% of people in the U.S are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with 74.6% at least partially vaccinated.
COVID-19 at-home tests can still be hard to find around the country. While the White House is preparing to launch a website this week with free tests, many Americans are still searching for them in pharmacies and other stores, often with little success. But there are some tricks if you know where and when to look. Reviewed.com's, Felicity Warner has more.
Obviously at home tests are super scarce at the moment especially with the recent spiking cases with the omicron variant. And while tests are selling out quickly, a majority of retailers are actually working to keep up with the demand and replenish them. So it's a matter of being pretty consistent about looking. So you can get tested places like Amazon, Rite Aid, Target, CVS, Walmart, and other major pharmacies and grocery chains. And you might even want to check some of your smaller pharmacies and chains locally to you. And as I mentioned currently with the demand you may need to be extra persistent in your search right now. So that means maybe calling multiple stores in your area or checking retailers outside of where you normally shop.
If you can't find at home tests, you should try to see what local facilities or pharmacies are conducting COVID-19 tests. I think that's your best next option. You may also be able to get tested through your healthcare provider as well. And also look for information from your local and state health departments, too. There's often popup testing sites locally, where you can get tested as well.
The Voting-Rights Victory Democrats Aren’t Celebrating
A progressive law in the nation’s largest city seems to be a step too far for national Democrats.The law represents one of the biggest single expansions of voting rights in recent years, as well as an enormous victory for immigrants in the nation’s largest city. But Americans didn’t hear about it in Biden’s speech in Atlanta. Nor would they know about it from listening to congressional Democratic leaders who have championed both the party’s election overhaul and liberal treatment of immigrants.
Although rapid at home COVID tests, those are the antigen tests are slightly less sensitive than PCR tests which means they tend to be less accurate, experts are saying that it's accurate enough to detect an infection and can be super helpful in determining a positive case. The accuracy also depends on factors like how you're administering the test since you're doing it at home by yourself. If you're not following the manufacturer's instructions for nasal swabbing, for example, that may affect the accuracy of the test. So you're going to want to make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Sometimes they'll have videos or detailed information on their website that you can follow to make sure you're getting peak accuracy.
For more help on what to buy and how to get the most out of what you've already got, head to Reviewed.com.
A British woman has been found dead after the weekend tsunami in the Pacific island country of Tonga. Fifty-year-old Angela Glover had been living in Tonga since 2015 with her husband and founded the Tonga Animal Welfare Society there. Her brother told Sky News that she was killed after trying to rescue her dogs. Her death comes after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted on Saturday underwater some 40 miles from the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa that led to tsunami was crashing ashore. Officials in the country have not yet confirmed any other deaths related to the tsunami, but the United Nations said that two people were reported missing. It's not clear if Glover was one of them.
Across the Pacific two people drowned at a beach in Peru from waves created by the volcano and flooding caused damage from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California. The eruption cut internet across Tonga and even government websites remained without updates for much of the weekend. The company that owns the single underwater fiber optic cable that connects the country to the rest of the world said it was likely broken during the eruption and repairs could take weeks.
A massive asteroid will pass by earth today. The space rock is the biggest asteroid to come within 2.3 million miles of us this year. And it's so big you might be able to see it in the sky. It's called 1994 PC 1 and has an estimated width of 3,600 feet. The asteroid was first discovered in 1994 and if it were to hit earth would cause nearly complete catastrophe, destroying everything within a 25 mile radius of the impact, but it's expected to only get as close as about 1.2 million miles away.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us all year long, seven mornings a week on Apple Podcast, Spotify, your smart speaker device, or wherever you get your audio. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show and I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Ossoff and Collins clash over her past support for voting rights legislation .
Freshman Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), who has kept a low profile for much of his first year in office, spoke up Thursday evening on the Senate floor to challenge Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) over what he characterized as her evolving position on voting rights legislation. Ossoff, the youngest member of the Senate, made the bold move of tangling with Collins by suggesting she had flip-flopped on her support for the Voting Rights Act, an implication that Collins fiercely disputed as inaccurate in a tense back-and-forth between the two senators on the floor.