Good morning, NBC News readers.
President Joe Biden is ready to unveil his $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan, plus more good news on Covid-19 vaccines and with another upset, the men’s Final Four is set.
Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.
‘The wish list’: Biden makes his move with push for far-reaching infrastructure overhaul
In a speech Wednesday, President Joe Biden will lay out the first part of a massive, multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan that is expected to include projects as varied as highways and “human infrastructure,” like child care.
The kitchen-sink approach is designed to push the economy in a greener and more equitable direction, paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald and Shannon Pettypiece report.
The $2 trillion proposal, which is being called the American Jobs Plan, will focus on projects that could get bipartisan support, like roads and bridges, expanded broadband internet access and investments in clean energy. It also includes an expansion of home health care services, which are in demand for the aging population.
The sweeping legislative package would be legacy-making for the nascent Biden administration, but it will face a steep climb up Capitol Hill, where time to pass major bills is already waning.
“There is a sense of spending fatigue on some quarters on Capitol Hill, not only among Republicans but some Democrats, as well,” said one Democratic political strategist.
Others might argue that now is the time to act and spend his political capital: Biden currently has high national approval ratings on his handling of the economy and Covid-19, according to new polling. But, there are warning signs, too: He’s getting lower marks on culturally divisive issues like immigration and gun control.
Wednesday’s top stories
Pfizer says its Covid vaccine is 100 percent effective in young teens
There is positive news on the vaccine front: the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines have been found to be 90 percent effective in their “real world” study, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And Pfizer just announced Wednesday that its Covid vaccine is 100 percent effective in young teens and that it plans to request emergency use authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds within the coming weeks.
But, all that said, the White House and public health officials are sounding the alarm that we are not done with the pandemic yet. Andy Slavitt, the White House coronavirus senior adviser, warned Tuesday that governors who lift Covid-19 restrictions before enough people have been vaccinated are “playing with fire” and could risk sparking another wave of infections.
Day 2 of Derek Chauvin trial: Tearful witness regrets not doing more to possibly save George Floyd’s life
The teenage bystander who recorded a viral video of George Floyd’s death broke down in tears on the witness stand Tuesday, saying she regrets not doing more to possibly save his life. Catch up on how the case unfolded during Day 2 of testimony as Chauvin’s defense attempted to portray bystanders as an angry mob that diverted officers’ attention. By David K. Li and Janelle Griffith | Read more
Gaetz says DOJ probe into possible relationship with teen girl is part of extortion plot
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., accused a former Justice Department official of a multimillion-dollar extortion plot on Tuesday, hours after a news report said the lawmaker was being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a minor and paid for her to travel with him. By Dartunorro Clark | Read more
OPINION: Racism against Asian Americans is heartbreaking. How do we talk to our kids about it?
Before we speak to children, we need to have an honest discussion with ourselves about our own experiences, the director of child, adolescent & family psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center writes in an opinion piece. The goal is to give children both the language and an open door to talk about race and racism. By Suzan Song | Read more
Texas lawmakers weigh changes to protect families wrongly accused of child abuse
Following an NBC News and Houston Chronicle investigation, legislation has been introduced to require a second medical opinion before Child Protective Services can take a child from their family. By Mike Hixenbaugh | Read more
BETTER: 5 small things that successful couples do every week
The pandemic may have caused a shift in our career goals and personal dreams. Now is a good time to check in with your partner and get on the same page. By Dana McMahan | Read more
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Also in the news …
As temperatures climb, working from home could morph into working outdoors. These products might help.
One Holy Week
This week in Jerusalem, three of the world’s major religions are gathering for Holy Week. NBC News’ Matt Bradley reports on how the ongoing pandemic is impacting the religious observations.
“The people who live in Jerusalem, they are holy people,” said one longtime resident of the Old City. “Together Jews, Muslims, Christians… We give Jerusalem as an example to the world that we live, we suffer, but we live.”
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