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Millions of masks are set to be sent to households under the Biden share plan

President Joe Biden will announce a program to send cloth masks to disadvantaged U.S. communities to help contain the coronavirus pandemic and will decide to postpone a proposal to send masks to every American for the time being, according to two government officials familiar with the plans.

The US is likely to be shipping millions of masks across the country “soon,” Biden said Tuesday at a virtual roundtable event with key black workers who discussed the pandemic response with him.

Brig. General David Sanford, director of the task force on the supply chain, told Bloomberg Law that the administration intends to focus on “major disadvantaged populations” first.

The government is taking the more targeted move after considering whether to send masks to all Americans, a term that has been postponed for the time being, according to another government official who was aware of the discussions.

It’s not immediately clear which communities and groups will receive masks, although Biden has made justice a core objective of his pandemic response. Sanford said the masks would be “sent to people served by food banks and community clinics.” The coronavirus has disproportionately affected color communities, and data compiled by Bloomberg shows that white people are receiving the vaccine in greater numbers than minorities.

Color communities and other marginalized groups have also suffered disproportionately from the pandemic, both in terms of contracting the virus and the need to go to hospital and die. For example, COVID-19 death rates for black Americans were twice that of white Americans last summer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Biden has made eliminating these differences an important part of his plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanford said the masks will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for the use of fabric face masks.

– Bloomberg News

Biden visits storm-ravaged Texas on Friday

President Joe Biden will travel to Houston on Friday to see firsthand the devastation caused by the winter storm and arctic cold spell.

Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are set to fly to the battered city while millions struggle to return to normal life after the storm knocks out water and electricity across Texas.

The first family will meet with local leaders to discuss ongoing recovery and will visit a COVID-19 health center where vaccines are being distributed.

Biden promised to visit Texas last week but wanted to wait until his trip wouldn’t disrupt local authorities.

“I don’t want to be a burden,” said Biden. “When the president lands in a city in America, he has a long tail.”

Temperatures have almost normalized throughout the Lone Star State. But millions of Texas residents remain on the boiling water note after freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall caused power outages and burst pipes across the state.

Biden on Saturday declared a major disaster in Texas and called on federal agencies to identify additional resources to address the ailment.

He spoke to the governors of the seven states hardest hit by winter weather and tweeted a photo of himself on the phone with Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has shipped dozens of generators and supplies, including fuel, water, blankets, and ready meals, to the affected areas.

– New York Daily News

Senator Ron Johnson brings up conspiracy theory when he hears about the Capitol uprising

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson alleged Tuesday that leftists posing as Trump supporters played a role in storming the Capitol.

The Wisconsin Republican, who said the attack was “not a riot,” read from an unconfirmed report of the riot that alleged that “false Trump supporters” and provocateurs were helping to fuel the violence.

“An organized cell of agent provocateurs corresponds to (ed) people as an unintentional follow-up force behind plainclothes militants fighting the police,” Johnson said during a Senate hearing on security deficiencies that led to the January 6 disaster.

The report, which painted a sympathetic portrait of the majority of the seditious crowd, was written by J. Michael Waller, an analyst for the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank accused of promoting Islamophobia.

The report appeared to blame the violence against the Capitol police, who fired tear gas to prevent the rioters from breaking through the building.

“The tear gas changed the behavior of the crowd,” said Johnson, quoting Waller. “It was incredulous when people saw that the police who were backing them were shooting at them.”

Johnson did not give security officials an opportunity to respond to claims that the rioters were not true Trump supporters.

– New York Daily News

Ocasio-Cortez says congressional workers need second jobs to make ends meet

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., on Tuesday called for higher pay for congressional workers, saying that various “workers” cannot make enough to make ends meet in Washington, DC

AOC noted that young people of color and working-class families may have the resources to take on relatively low-paying jobs as lawmakers’ advisors, citing the majority of congressional staff remaining white.

“Congress is not paying enough to keep working class talent,” she tweeted. “Many cannot afford to work here or need a second job.”

Ocasio-Cortez boasts that she pays her interns $ 15 an hour and her lowest-paid aide makes more than $ 50,000 a year.

But she said paying decent wages means having a smaller team because lawmakers are allotted a fixed amount for spending on staff.

“Low wages close the door to so many talented people right outside the gate that they can’t take the opportunity,” she tweeted. “Some wages are so low that they essentially need generational wealth to be subsidized.”

– New York Daily News

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