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House will vote Wednesday morning on $1.9tn Covid relief bill – live


White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the lack of Republican support for the coronavirus relief bill in the Senate.

Psaki said Joe Biden would “continue to leave the door open to working with Republicans” as he attempts to advance his legislative agenda.

But so far, Republicans have generally shown little interest in working in a bipartisan fashion to tackle America’s problems.

The White House press briefing has now concluded.

Facing more questions about Joe Biden’s immigration policies, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated that now is not the time to come to the United States.

“We are still digging our way out of a dismantled and immoral and ineffective immigration policy that was being implemented by the last administration,” Psaki said. “It’s going to take us some time.”

According to multiple reports, more than 3,000 migrant children are currently being detained by the US along the southern border, as the number of unaccompanied minors trying to enter the country has surged.

Yikes: press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Joe Biden’s dog, Major, would be euthanized after he caused a minor injury for someone in the White House.

Psaki indicated he would not be. “Major Biden is a member of the family,” Psaki said.

The press secretary also would not confirm whether it was a Secret Service agent who was injured by Major, as CNN reported.


Attention all dog lovers: Jen Psaki has provided an update on the whereabouts of Joe Biden’s two German Shepherds, Champ and Major.

The White House press secretary confirmed details of the CNN report that Major was involved in an incident when he was surprised by an “unfamiliar person” at the White House.

Major’s reaction to the person resulted in a “minor injury”, Psaki said. The injury was treated by the White House medical unit, and it required no further medical attention.

Psaki said the dogs were already scheduled to return to Delaware for a few days, while Jill Biden completes her west coast trip to military bases.

“The dogs will return to the White House soon,” Psaki said.

That will be a relief for the many Americans who were thrilled that dogs had returned to the White House, given that the Trump family had no pets.


Biden’s name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says

Joe Biden’s name will not appear on the stimulus checks distributed as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“He didn’t think that was a priority or a necessary step,” Psaki said. “His focus was on getting them out as quickly as possible.”

Donald Trump’s name appeared on the first round of stimulus checks last year, an unprecedented move that sparked intense criticism among Democrats.


Psaki grilled on surge of unaccompanied migrant children at the border

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was grilled on the situation at the US-Mexican border, as the number of unaccompanied migrant children trying to enter the country has surged.

Psaki refused to confirm reports that more than 3,000 migrant children are being detained along the southern border.

The press secretary also would not say whether the situation at the border qualified as a “crisis,” insisting she did not want to put “labels” on the issue.

The secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, previously said that he does not consider the border situation to be a crisis, sparking criticism among Republicans.

Joe Biden will meet virtually with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed at her briefing.

This will mark the first such meeting between leaders of the nations that make up “The Quad.”

Biden has already held virtual meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, was asked about inflation concerns in connection to the likely passage of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Ramamurti reiterated that the Biden administration was more concerned about the possibility of doing too little rather than too much to address the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The senior adviser added that the White House will “always be carefully monitoring inflation” to make the best decisions for the US economy.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is now holding her daily briefing, and she is joined by Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Ramamurti highlighted Joe Biden’s visit to a local Washington business earlier today, noting that the business received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established by the first coronavirus relief bill.

Ramamurti said the Biden administration has worked diligently to ensure that PPP loans go to the small businesses that need them most.

According to Ramamurti, the administration has already approved more than 300,000 loans for businesses with fewer than five employees.

Joanna Walters

Jury selection got underway this morning in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of murdering George Floyd last May.

The process was delayed yesterday for legal machinations over the ruling by the court of appeals last Friday that the judge in the case, Peter Cahill, must reinstate an earlier charge from the case of third degree murder, alongside second degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

Protesters march in Minneapolis to demand justice for George Floyd on the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial yesterday.

Protesters march in Minneapolis to demand justice for George Floyd on the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial yesterday. Photograph: Tim Evans/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

The start of proceedings this morning in downtown Minneapolis illustrates why the unusually long time of three weeks has been provided to sit a jury.

The Associated Press reports:

Jury selection began with the first potential juror excused after she revealed during questioning that she thought the way the officer acted was “not fair.”

The woman, a mother of three from Mexico, said she saw bystander video showing Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, but she didn’t understand why the officer didn’t get up when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

“That’s not fair because we are humans, you know?” she said.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson noted that the woman said on her questionnaire that she wanted to be on the jury “to give my opinion of the unjust death of George Floyd.”

Potential jurors must show they can set aside their opinions on the case and view the evidence fairly.

The woman said she would be willing to change her mind if she saw evidence from a different perspective, but Nelson used one of his 15 peremptory challenges to dismiss her without providing a reason.

Cahill ruled on several pretrial motions, setting parameters for trial testimony. Jurors will hear when Chauvin stopped working for the police department, but they will not be told that he was fired or that the city made a “substantial offer” to settle a lawsuit from Floyd’s family. Those details will not be allowed because they could imply guilt, Cahill said.

The city had no immediate comment when asked about the settlement offer. A message left with an attorney for the Floyd family was not immediately returned.

Here’s our weekend dispatch from Amudalat Ajasa in Minneapolis:

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • The House will hold its final vote on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill tomorrow morning, House majority leader Steny Hoyer’s office said. The Democratic-controlled House is expected to pass the bill, and Joe Biden has said he will sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.
  • A coalition of American environmental groups has urged the US to cut 50% of emissions by 2030, in order to address the climate crisis and inspire similar action from America’s allies.
  • Biden’s promise of a more humane US immigration system is facing its first big test. Congressional Republicans have criticized the Democratic president as the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the US-Mexican border has surged.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Joe Biden paid a visit to WS Jenks and Sons hardware store in Washington, DC, to highlight the work of the Paycheck Protection Program.

The PPP is a small business loan program that was approved by the first coronavirus relief bill, and the Biden administration has been working to ensure the money from the program goes to actual small businesses rather than larger companies.

Jordan Fabian

President Biden visits W.S. Jenks & Son hardware store in NE DC, which received a PPP loan

March 9, 2021

WS Jenks and Son, which opened in 1866 and is the oldest hardware store in Washington, received a PPP loan.

During the visit, reporters tried to ask the president about the situation at the US-Mexican border, but Biden did not respond.

House majority leader Steny Hoyer’s office has confirmed to the Guardian that the chamber has received the coronavirus relief bill from the Senate.

The House rules committee is now holding a meeting on the legislation, paving the way for a final vote tomorrow morning.

Hoyer’s office said the House will convene tomorrow at 9 am ET to take up the bill, which is expected to pass and then go to Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

Oliver Milman

Senator Tom Cotton has repeatedly attacked Democrats who voted for the Covid-19 relief bill for giving money to “murderers and rapists” in prison, citing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted in the Boston Marathon bombing.

The Arkansas Republican has neglected to mention, however, that during Donald Trump’s presidency he twice voted for Covid bills that provided payments for prisoners.

Prisoners’ advocates say payments are warranted, as many will be released into a situation where the pandemic has ravaged the US economy, leading to high unemployment and many families struggling to pay for basic necessities.

Payments also decrease the burden on prisoners’ families, who often have to provide for them after they are released.

“Providing stimulus funds to incarcerated people helps protect the health and wellbeing of those behind bars and provides relief to their loved ones at home,” the Prison Policy Initiative said last year.

Progressive congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman said she will vote for the coronavirus relief bill, despite serious concerns about the changes made by the Senate.

“While I will continue to pressure my party to live up to its banner as the party of the people, I cannot ignore the immediate need for relief,” Watson Coleman said in a statement.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

March 9, 2021

On Friday, Watson Coleman raised the possibility of opposing the bill because of the “outrageous” changes made by the Senate, including limiting eligibility for the $1,400 direct payments and scrapping the minimum wage increase.

“What are we doing here? I’m frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill,” Watson Coleman said on Friday.

The House is scheduled to hold its final vote on the bill tomorrow morning.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

This trend is outrageous:

Eliminating $15/hr

Reducing thresholds for payments (cutting off ~400k New Jerseyans)

Cuts to weekly payments

What are we doing here? I’m frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill.


March 5, 2021

House will vote tomorrow morning on coronavirus relief bill

Okay, now it’s official: the House will hold its final vote on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package tomorrow, not today.

House majority leader Steny Hoyer said moments ago that the House will take up the bill at 9 am ET tomorrow morning, per C-SPAN.

Craig Caplan

Hoyer this morning in his weekly pen and pad announced the potential timing of House vote on final $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill: “Our expectation is, maybe late this afternoon we would adopt the rule…We will then tomorrow at 9am consider the American Rescue Plan and pass that.”

March 9, 2021

The Senate, which passed the relief package on Saturday, sent the bill to the House this morning, and the House rules committee will soon hold a meeting on the legislation.

The Democratic-controlled House is expected to pass the bill, and Joe Biden has said he will sign it as soon as it gets to his desk.

Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver his first primetime address as president on Thursday, the White House announced yesterday.

The speech is meant to mark one year since the start of the country’s shutdowns linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

“He will discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered,” press secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday.

Biden is also expected to tout the passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which he is expected to sign this week.

House Democratic caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries said he is “110% confident” that Democrats have the votes to pass the coronavirus relief bill.

When the House originally voted on its version of the relief bill, the final vote was 219 to 212, with two Democrats joining all Republicans in opposing the measure.

The final vote on the relief package is also expected to fall along party lines, as it did in the Senate.

Three days after the coronavirus relief package was passed by the Senate, the bill has now arrived in the House, according to the Washington Post.

Mike DeBonis

Per 2 sources the American Rescue Act has completed its roughly 70 hour trip across the Capitol. Timing of Rules meeting/floor vote still TBD.

March 9, 2021

The bill will now go to the House rules committee, and the panel will then send the legislation to the floor for a final vote.

It’s unclear whether that final vote will occur this evening or tomorrow morning. Democratic leaders have indicated they do not want the vote to occur late at night.

Joe Biden has said he will sign the relief bill into law as soon as it reaches his desk.

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Police say officer who shot and killed unarmed Daunte Wright intended to fire Taser


Police in a Minneapolis suburb said an officer accidentally shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man on Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop, releasing graphic body-camera footage they say shows the officer intended to use a Taser not a handgun during the death of unarmed Daunte Wright.

The incident plunged the suburb of Brooklyn Center into a night of unrest as Minneapolis remains on edge during the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd. Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in riot gear who deployed teargas and flash bangs to disperse the crowds.

At a press conference inside Brooklyn Center police headquarters, surrounded by riot police and national guard troops, the police chief, Tim Gannon, described the shooting as “an accidental discharge” and confirmed no weapon had been recovered from Wright’s vehicle.

The county medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide.

The mayor of Brooklyn Center, Mike Elliott, said he had spoken to Joe Biden, who offered assistance.

“I want to say that our hearts are aching right now,” Elliott told reporters. “We are in pain right now. And we recognise that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

“We will get to the bottom of this. We will do all that is in our power to make sure that justice is done for Daunte Wright.”

Elliott also said he supported firing the officer involved, who was later identified as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center police department.

Protesters face off with police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Protesters face off with police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Photograph: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Protesters returned to the streets again on Monday evening, despite a 7pm curfew imposed by the governor of Minnesota. Hundreds of people gathered in the cold and rainy weather outside the Brooklyn Center police department, which was ringed by a metal fence, concrete barriers and police dressed in riot gear. Police later deployed flashbangs, teargas and smoke to disperse the crowd.

There are now a few hundred protesters outside the Brooklyn Center police dept, which is circled by fencing. Protesters have also blockaded off parts of Humboldt Ave.

— Oliver Laughland (@oliverlaughland) April 12, 2021

Police are now firing flash bangs, smoke and pepper balls into the crowd. Some are dispersing but others firing fireworks.

— Oliver Laughland (@oliverlaughland) April 13, 2021

Earlier in the day, mourners and outraged community members had made their way to the site where Wright was killed. On a grey, damp morning, Ben Witz and his sister came to the site to lay balloons.

“This is more difficult because there was another, there was another unarmed shooting,” Witz said, explaining that family members lived in the area and that the community was still traumatized from Floyd’s killing and the unrest that followed.

“It seems like it’s a common occurrence now with the police,” Witz said. “It’s crazy what’s happening. It really is.”

According to Brooklyn Center police, the incident occurred shortly before 2pm, when an officer pulled over a vehicle due to an alleged traffic violation.

The body-camera footage showed Wright being apprehended by two officers, when a third female officer approaches the scene. A struggle ensues and Wright gets back into his vehicle, at which point the female officer opens fire.

“Holy shit. I just shot him,” the officer is heard saying.

As the body-camera footage was released, a small group of activists in the police headquarters waiting area demanded the officer, who has not been identified, be fired immediately.

“Seeing the video just confirms what we already knew,” said Toshira Garraway, the founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. “It’s just killing after killing after killing.”

She added: “They will always say, ‘I was afraid, or it was an accident.’ But the fact of the matter is: this was a murder. If she is not fired, this is only going to escalate.”

Fatal police shooting sparks protests in Minneapolis – video


Fatal police shooting sparks protests in Minneapolis – video

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told reporters she was on the phone with her son as the encounter occurred. According to her account, reported by local TV news, her son called as he was being pulled over and asked about insurance for the vehicle, which she had recently given him.

She said she heard officers instruct her son to get out of the car and then “scuffling” shortly before the phone hung up.

“A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, who was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot and she put it on the driver’s side, and my son was laying there lifeless,” she said.

Police said officers determined the driver had an outstanding warrant.

Mother whose son was shot dead in Minneapolis suburb: 'I just want my baby home' – video


Mother whose son was shot dead in Minneapolis suburb: ‘I just want my baby home’ – video

Heavily armored national guard troops worked to barricade the police station on Monday morning, as fewer than a dozen protesters faced the building across a road.

Two national guard Humvees, guardsmen carrying long guns and dozens of officers in riot gear were outside the station as police installed concrete blocks. A couple of members of the Original Black Panthers of Minneapolis group chatted with state troopers.

Witz, 40, a liquor store employee, said he was concerned the business would be vandalized if protests over Wright’s killing led to major unrest.

“It was like a war zone,” Witz said of the unrest that followed Floyd’s death. “And now we’re seeing it here and, I mean, why do we have to vandalize, I mean, I, as a white person I don’t get it, but I want to be educated.”

On Sunday evening, hundreds of protesters marched to the police station and were met by officers in riot gear who discharged teargas, flash-bangs and other munitions. Crowds had largely dispersed by midnight.

The Minnesota department of public safety commissioner, John Harrington, said around 20 businesses at the Shingle Creek shopping center were broken into. The mayor, Elliott, urged protesters “to be peaceful and that peaceful protesters are not dealt with force”.

Brooklyn Center is a suburb in north-west Minneapolis with a population of about 30,000. Tensions are high as the murder trial of Chauvin entered its third week.

Some protesters damaged police vehicles.
Some protesters damaged police vehicles. Photograph: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

Amid drizzle and grey skies on Monday, protesters such as Bethany Hemrich came to pay her respects near the site where Wright had been shot dead less than 24 hours before.

“As a mother of a Black child, I couldn’t even fathom,” Hemrich, who is white, said. “My son is 10, and I brought him to [the] George Floyd memorial and had to explain racism to him.”

As her voice broke, she continued: “They didn’t have to kill him. I feel like if it was a white person, they wouldn’t have shot him.”

Quinn Redeemed, 46, spoke of the tension in the area around police-involved deaths of Black people.

Redeemed said: “This just added gasoline to the fire. We’re tired and fired up. The world needs to really see what’s going on. And now, the world is watching Minnesota.”

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Police kill student who fired at them at Tennessee high school, authorities say


A student at a Tennessee high school has been shot and killed by police after opening fire on officers responding to reports of a gunman on campus, authorities said on Monday.

David B Rausch, the director of the Tennessee bureau of investigation, said at a news conference that police found the student in a bathroom at Austin-East magnet high school in Knoxville, a city about 180 miles (290km) east of Nashville. They ordered him out, but he wouldn’t comply, and that is when he reportedly opened fire, Rausch said. Police fired back.

The student died at the school, and an officer was wounded and taken into surgery, authorities said. No one else was hurt.

“It’s a sad day for Knoxville, and it’s tough for Austin-East,” Rausch said.

Asked about the overwhelming police response to a call that came in just before afternoon dismissal, the Knoxville police chief, Eve Thomas, said, “We have a student, a school incident. It’s our worst fear, an active shooter in a school.”

The shooting comes as more classrooms are reopening to students after months of remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, which cut down the number of mass killings in the US. The nation has seen series of mass shootings in recent weeks, including eight people killed at three Atlanta-area massage businesses on 16 March and 10 people killed at Colorado supermarket on 22 March.

Speaking outside a hospital, Knoxville’s mayor, Indya Kincannon, told WATE-TV that she had spoken with the wounded officer and he was conscious and in good spirits.

Kincannon, a former Knox county schools board president, spoke at a February press conference about the gun violence that took the lives of three Austin-East students less than three weeks apart this year. Two of the victims were 15, and the other was 16. The shootings did not take place in the school.

Law enforcement officers respond to the shooting.
Law enforcement officers respond to the shooting. Photograph: Saul Young/AP

“I know that school is a safe place,” Kincannon said at that time, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “It’s a place where people are learning … The issues with violence are happening in the community, and it’s affecting kids when they’re outside of the school. That’s why we are focusing our efforts to protect the innocent, protect the school, protect the children and students and staff.”

Bob Thomas, the superintendent of Knox county schools, tweeted on Monday that a shooting had occurred but the building had been secured.

“The school building has been secured and students who were not involved in the incident have been released to their families,” Thomas said.

He added in a separate tweet that authorities were gathering information and about “this tragic situation” and that additional information would be provided later.

Police urged people to avoid the area, adding that a reunification site had been set up on a baseball field behind the school for students to be reunited with family.

Last week, the Republican governor signed off on legislation that would make Tennessee the latest state to soon allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns – openly or concealed – without first clearing a background check and training.

The state’s governor, Bill Lee, backed the legislation over objections from law enforcement groups, who argued that the state’s existing permit system provided an important safeguard for knowing who should or shouldn’t be carrying a gun.

The law, which does not apply to long guns, will take effect 1 July. The new measure also increases certain penalties relating to theft, and also makes exceptions for people with certain mental illnesses and criminal convictions.

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Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore near deal for NBA’s Timberwolves


Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore appear to be close to owning the Minnesota Timberwolves, finalizing a deal with current owner Glen Taylor, according to reports.

The pair released a statement on Saturday:

“We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor. Our respect for him and the legacy he built lays an amazing foundation for what is to come. We are excited by the prospect of getting to know the Timberwolves organization, the talented team and their incredible fans.”

The letter of intent paves the way for a 30-day exclusive negotiating window. If a deal is finalized, they would first become minority owners, according to the Athletic, and in 2023, would gain full control.

The Athletic reported an agreement was reached on a $1.5bn price and that the team would remain in Minneapolis – a requirement from Taylor, who has owned the team for almost 30 years.

ESPN also reported the deal was being finalized.

Rodriguez attempted last year to buy the New York Mets alongside ex-fiancee Jennifer Lopez, and Lore was among the other partners in that bid.

Lore, a billionaire New York native, stepped down as Walmart CEO in January. The former entrepreneur created (sold to Walmart for $3bn) and (sold to Amazon for $545m), among other business ventures.

A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez retired in August 2016 with 698 home runs, a .295 average and 2,086 RBIs in 22 years. He was suspended for the 2014 season for violations of Major League Baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

A-Rod, now 45 years old, earned about $448m as a player. The 14-time All-Star started his career with Seattle, signed a record contract with Texas in December 2000, and then moved from shortstop to third base when he was traded from the Rangers to the New York Yankees ahead of the 2004 season.

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