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Biden, Democrats to scale back bill / Accusations of sexism at Blue Origin / Justice Kavanaugh tests positive for COVID-19

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Biden, Democrats to scale back bill.

Daily News Brief: Biden, Democrats to scale back bill.


President Biden and Congressional Democrats are attempting to scale back a planned $3.5T spending bill in an attempt to reach a compromise with conservative Democratic Sens.


 Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she still plans to hold a vote today on a separate public works bill that allocates $550B in new spending. That bill is broadly popular, but may be unable to pass the House should progressive Democrats not get assurances that a deal on the broader bill has been reached. Biden is going to Capitol Hill in person this afternoon for negotiations.

The original reconciliation bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, planned to spend $3.5T over 10 years to address a number of top agenda items for Democrats, including a Medicare expansion, universal pre-K, two years of free community college, and a child tax credit extension.

It's unclear exactly what provisions would be removed, but sources told the AP that a "compromise in the $2T range" was possible.

Manchin had previously said he would not consider voting for a bill that cost more than $1.5T.

Democrats in the Senate must be unified to pass the bill, as it is not expected to garner any Republican votes.

Biden has said the spending package would be paid for by raising taxes on businesses earning more than $5M per year and on individuals earning more than $400,000 per year.

There is no set deadline for passing either bill, so Pelosi's vote on the smaller infrastructure package could be delayed again.


Justice Kavanaugh tests positive for COVID-19.

Daily News Brief: Justice Kavanaugh tests positive for COVID-19.


Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is COVID-19 positive, though he's experiencing no symptoms, the court said in a press release Friday.


 Kavanaugh has been fully vaccinated since January, the court said, noting that his vaccinated wife and daughters tested negative. All other justices have tested negative.

Kavanaugh's positive test means he did not attend Justice Amy Coney Barrett's ceremonial swearing-in, which took place Friday with all other justices present.

Kavanaugh last had contact with the other justices on Monday, when they met to review appeals.

He participated in a three-mile run for charity in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

The justices are scheduled to resume in-person arguments for the court's new session on Monday, Oct. 4.


Accusations of sexism at Blue Origin

A number of current and former employees of Blue Origin say the space exploration company fosters a toxic work environment.

 A group of 21 current and former employees allege sexism against women, serious safety concerns, and a harsh attitude toward internal feedback in an essay posted on the website Lioness. 


The safety concerns, specifically, were apparently a primary motivator for many of those who signed on to the essay – they believe that trying to get CEO Jeff Bezos into space to compete with billionaire competitors Elon Musk and Richard Branson took precedence over safety.

The essay was signed by Alexandra Abrams, the former head of Blue Origin's Employee Communications. None of the other current or former employees included their names.

Abrams writes that Blue Origin executives sexually harassed women and showed "clear bias against women" in their decision-making. "One-hundred percent of [Blue Origin's] senior technical and program leaders are men," she writes.

The essay also alleges that environmental concerns were regularly dismissed and were never a priority.

In terms of safety, many of those who signed on to the essay said they "would not fly on a Blue Origin vehicle."

Blue Origin's VP of Communications Linda Mills told CNBC that Abrams was "dismissed for cause" two years ago and that the company has "no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind."

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