Weekly Roundup: February 22—28
The Weekly Roundup by GWCD is a collaboration between members of the news & blog committee to compile three main headlines from the week. As one of the goals of the committee is to keep our GWCD community updated on current events, the Weekly Roundup is intended as an easy way for members to read up on the highlights from each week in addition to the articles published regularly by our members.
Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” Passes House in Party-Line Vote
By Jack Castanoli
The Biden Administration’s first major legislative piece passed the House early Saturday morning in a slim party-line vote. The 219-212 vote featured two Democrats break from party-lines to vote against the bill: Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
The bill faces dark waters in the 50-50 Senate, where Republicans and several moderate Democrats have come out against the bill’s provision raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The Senate Parliamentarian ruled against the provision raising the minimum wage, further dimming the provision's paths to be included in the final bill.
The American Rescue Plan’s $1.9 trillion price tag comes with $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans earning less than $75,000 annually, aid to small businesses, a child tax credit increase, and more funding for vaccine distribution.
President Biden Launches Retaliatory Airstrikes in Syria
By Manuel Wallick
In a first for the new administration, President Joe Biden launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias in Syria. This comes after Iranian-backed militias launched multiple rocket attacks against Americans in Iraq.
In the rocket attack against the U.S Embassy in Baghdad, no one was killed, but the embassy complex was hit. In a separate attack, one American contractor was killed with others being injured in the northern city of Erbil. The airstrike comes in retaliation to that attack and was seen as a proportional response according to the Pentagon.
The strike hit militia infrastructure and personnel in Syria with an unclear number having been killed. The attack was launched at the direction of President Biden and also served as a message to groups in the region. Syria condemned the airstrike and compared the Biden Administration to prior administrations, including that of former President Trump.
Some officials in the U.S., including members of the president’s party, have questioned the authority in which the strikes were carried out. This is also resulting in some members wishing to re-examine the war powers of the president. In response to this, President Biden sent a letter to Congress to explain the airstrike.
Trump's Tax Returns Have Been Turned Over to Manhattan District Attorney
By Jane Cameron
Trump’s tax returns were handed over to the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D), on Monday when the US Supreme Court rejected his last-ditch bid to withhold this information. The documents include Trump's tax returns from January 2011 to August 2019.
Additionally, Trump’s financial statements and other information relating to his tax returns will be reviewed. The district attorney’s office has a team in place that will analyze the records for any evidence of criminal activity. Those close to Trump, such as his children and his chief financial officer, will be looked into for any involvement in the illegal activity suspected. Requests for Trump’s tax documents have made it to the Supreme Court twice before and never made it to this point.
As this takes place, the New York state attorney general is also conducting an investigation into the Trump Organization’s business and real estate activities. His mysterious activities dating back years will finally be uncovered, and the former president could potentially face harsh consequences.