Thursday morning news – April 1, 2021

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden unveils new $2.3T spending plan » Speaking in Pittsburgh Wednesday, President Biden pitched his plan for another multi-trillion-dollar spending package.

BIDEN: It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. 

The price tag: roughly $2.3 trillion dollars.

The proposal, billed as an infrastructure investment would devote about $620 billion dollars to transportation-related upgrades. But critics say much of the proposal has little to do with infrastructure.

The plan sets aside $400 billion for caregiving initiatives for the disabled and the elderly. More than $200 billion is devoted to affordable housing.

It also calls for an array of environmental and green economy initiatives that the president says will create millions of good union jobs.

He proposes paying for the plan, in part, by raising the corporate tax on foreign earnings from 21 to 28 percent.

Republicans are not impressed. Texas Congressman Kevin Brady:

BRADY: No president has ever raised business taxes trying to rebuild an economy from an economic crisis. I think at the end of the day, this will be the biggest economic blunder, frankly, of our lifetimes. 

Democrats on Capitol Hill are signaling that they’re once again prepared to use a process called budget reconciliation to pass the plan without any Republican support.

The president is expected to unveil yet another huge spending plan later this month centered on child care, healthcare, and education. Together the plans could cost up to $4 trillion dollars.

Pfizer says COVID vaccine protects younger teens » Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in kids as young as 12.

The announcement could be one more step toward beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.

Pfizer’s announcement came after a study of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers between the ages of 12 and 15 including 12-year-old Caleb Chung.

CHUNG: Participating in this trial and potentially helping other kids to feel safe and want to get the vaccine in the future when it becomes publicly available was some way that I could actually help out. 

The study showed no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents.

Some of the kids reported side effects were similar to young adults such as pain, fever, chills and fatigue. The study will continue to track participants for two years to collect data on long-term protection and safety.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in the coming weeks plan to ask the FDA and European regulators to allow emergency use of the shots starting at age 12.

Capitol Hill police officers sue Trump over riot injuries » Two Capitol Police officers injured during the Jan. 6th Capitol riot are suing former President Donald Trump. WORLD’s Paul Butler reports.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby sustained injuries in hand-to-hand combat as they tried to hold off Capitol intruders.

And in a 40-page lawsuit, they say Trump is directly to blame for spawning the violent siege. Both officers are asking for unspecified compensation along with damages of more than $75,000 dollars each.

Hemby said he’s still receiving medical care for hand and knee injuries. Blassingame said rioters shoved him into a stone column and some hurled racial slurs at him. Both said they’re still suffering emotional trauma.

More than 100 officers sustained injuries during the riot and one officer died the next day.

Trump attorneys have maintained that the former president called only for a peaceful gathering and was not responsible for the Capitol siege.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.

Biden administration reverses Trump transgender military polices »

The Biden administration on Wednesday reversed Trump-era restrictions on transgender people serving in the military.

Speaking at the Pentagon Defense Dept. spokesman John Kirby announced newly revised policies.

KIRBY: They prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity of an individuals identification as transgender. They provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender. 

Transgender service members will also receive what the administration calls medically necessary transition-related care.

The changes come after a two-month Pentagon review, which President Biden announced just days after taking office.

The new policies are largely a reset to Obama era policies. They will be effective in 30 days.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has also called for a reexamination of the records of service members who were discharged or denied reenlistment under the previous policy.

Justice Dept. probing allegations against GOP Rep. Gaetz » The Department of Justice is investigating GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz over a former relationship.

The DOJ is probing allegations that Florida lawmaker had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

Gaetz emphatically denies any criminal wrongdoing, and said he is the victim of an extortion scheme involving a former Justice Department official.

GAETZ: On March 16th, my father got a text message demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million dollars in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away.

He said his family has been cooperating with the FBI and said his father was wearing a recording device, at the FBI’s direction, to “catch these criminals.” He demanded the Justice Department release the recordings.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Wednesday that it’s too soon to make any determinations about the case.

MCCARTHY: I just read the story. Those are serious implications. If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that was the case. But right now Matt Gaetz says it’s not true, and we don’t have any information, so let’s get all the information. 

Gaetz went public about the investigation shortly after The New York Times first reported it. He said—quoting here—“No part of the allegations against me are true.”

(AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar) A Metra suburban commuter train moves along elevated tracks in Chicago on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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