Breaking down breaking news

EWU+Students+wonder+if+they+qualify+for+stimulus+checks.

EWU Students wonder if they qualify for stimulus checks.

By Karlee Van De Venter, Arts and Features Editor

 

Lately, it feels like there is so much going on: in the world, in the news, in our lives. Keeping up with current events was hard enough already, and now we’ve got a lot of information getting thrown at us at all times. Use this breakdown of some current topics to get the basic understanding and what you need to know. 

  • Stimulus update
    • The Senate voted and passed the proposed stimulus package with a few revisions. The final vote was 50-49, with no Republican support.
    • Tuesday, March 9, the House will vote on the Senate’s proposed changes. It is reportedly likely that the House will approve the revisions. 
    • If the House approves, it would then go to Biden’s desk within the following few days. 
    • Biden is also reported to pass the package. Once he signs off, stimulus checks would start going out within days.
    • The package includes $1,400 stimulus payments for taxpayers and extensions on unemployment benefits, and costs a total of $1.9 trillion. 
  • COVID-19 restrictions in Texas
    • Texas Gov. Abbott declared that state mandates aren’t needed anymore, and will fully open the state by March 10. 
    • Multiple states have started lifting mask mandates and decreasing COVID-19 restrictions, but no other state has opened up 100% besides Texas. 
    • Health officials across the country are warning it may be too early to return to normal. 
    • National COVID-19 rates are down, and vaccination rates are up. But recently the drop in daily cases has plateaued, at an average of around 65,000 new cases every day. 
  • Warren’s proposed wealth tax
    • Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed an increased wealth tax, which would apply 2% to individual net worth above $50 million. There’s also an additional 1% if the individual net worth is above $1 billion. 
    • Warren used a similar proposal as a key campaign topic while running for presidency in 2020. 
    • The wealth gap has continued to grow throughout the pandemic. The top 0.1% made more and paid less taxes than everyone else during COVID-19. 
    • Despite polling popularly among Americans, many lawmakers have yet to publicly support the increase. 
    • The increase would go into effect in 2023, with around 100,000 Americans paying. 
    • The raise would bring more revenue to the government, but the exact number is disputed. Warren proposes the money raised goes towards education and childcare. 
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
  • Voting rights and the filibuster
    • The House passed a bill regarding voting rights in America recently, in response to some lower-level governments attempting to restrict voting rights. 
    • The bill would introduce automatic registration for eligible voters, registration on Election Day, minimum 15 days of early voting, mail-in voting expansion, and further voting rights for those with finished prison sentences in many states. 
    • It also proposes to eliminate the filibuster (a rule that requires a supermajority, 60 votes, on many Senate bills). Then policy could be passed with just 51 votes, instead of 60 like they do now. 
    • However, it is unknown if the bill will get through the Senate. It still needs 60 votes, and the Senate is currently split 50-50. 
    • If the bill does not get passed, there is a potential for significant disenfranchisement among voters in America. 
  • Biden won’t penalize Mohammed bin Salman
    • American journalist Jamal Khashoggi was violently killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. 
    • American intelligence discovered that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, directly approved the killing. 
    • Biden decided against penalizing him directly, stating the cost was too high. Despite strong opinions about Saudi Arabia during his campaign for president, the president sided with his national security team. 
    • Actions taken against the prince could harm America’s relationship with our key ally. So instead, the Biden administration plans on enacting a series of penalties among lower-level officials. 
    • Some travel bans were put into place regarding others involved in the killing, as well as some forces or organizations under the prince’s control. 
  • Capitol building post-riot 
    • After the Capitol riot Jan. 6, approximately 5,000 members of the National Guard have remained in Washington, D.C. They were planned to leave March 12, but Capitol police have requested an extension. 
    • Capitol police claim there is a 93% increase in threats against lawmakers this year compared to this time last year. 
    • After discovering there was a potential militia attack planned for March 4, meetings were cancelled and there was no attack. 
    • However, leaders of the Capitol police have expressed that the potential threat showcased the police team was not ready for high-level threats. 
    • The Defense Department still needs to respond to the request.