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January 1, Bipartisanship in trouble: Pelosi, GOP clash over Jan. 6 probe



Good morning Middle Americans,

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rebuffed two Republicans selected by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on a committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection on the grounds of maintaining the “integrity” of the inquiry. Though Pelosi has accepted three of McCarthy’s appointees, he said the GOP won’t participate in the probe if all five of his picks aren’t appointed, calling Pelosi’s decision “an egregious abuse of power.” Pelosi refused Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, as they are both allies of former President Donald Trump– a central figure in the investigation. “Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda,” Banks said. In turn, Banks’ comment has reportedly peeved the Democratic members of the committee.

Citing more potential tension between the two parties, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Wednesday to start a a debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, lobbying for more time to write the legislation. While the measure failed to advance in a 49-51 vote, legislators said their goal is to reach an agreement by early next week. A bipartisan group of 22 senators said that they are “close to a final agreement” and are “are optimistic that we will finalize, and be prepared to advance, this historic bipartisan proposal to strengthen America’s infrastructure and create good-paying jobs in the coming days.”

Three of the nation’s largest drug distributors alongside manufacturer Johnson & Johnson were part of a landmark $26 billion settlement resolving claims that the companies helped fuel a nationwide opioid epidemic. “There’s not enough money in the world frankly to address the pain and suffering,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. The lawsuit, brought by New York State, accused distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen of maintaining lax restrictions that allowed for large quantities of addictive painkillers to fall into illegal channels. J&J allegedly downplayed the addiction risk in its opioid marketing. All of the companies have denied the allegations.

A federal judge blocked a law recently passed in Arkansas that would ban almost all abortions. US district judge Kristine Baker issued a preliminary injunction, temporarily halting the law in its tracks while litigation to determine its constitutionality proceeds. The law, which would’ve taken effect on Friday, would ban all abortions “except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency” and made no exception for rape or incest. Baker called the law “categorically unconstitutional” and that women in Arkansas would “suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief.”

States in the Eastern US have been inundated with smoke originating from the wildfires in the West– nearly 3,000 away. Unfortunately, the smoke brings poor air quality and other harmful health effects as companions. “When that smoke is associated with a local fire, our research has actually shown that there are less hospitalizations and ER visits on average because people are protecting themselves from the smoke and fire,” said National Weather Service emergency response meteorologist, Julie Malingowski. “However, if you’re far away from them … there’s not that same type of warning system because you’re not in any danger because of the fire.”

In California, cities are experiencing an uptick in crime that appears to be increasingly brazen. TJ Maxx cameras show two men leaving a store with their arms full of stolen merchandise. “They didn’t even run out, they walked out,” Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz said. “And so, that’s sending a message that we, the criminals, are winning.” An LAPD investigation is under way, but there haven’t been any charges or arrests. Sandoz blames the incident on Prop 47, a 2014 referendum that lowered criminal sentences on crimes such as shoplifting. “If they’re caught, they’re probably given the equivalent of a traffic ticket,” she said.

Be well,

Fraser Dixon


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