Summary

  • Numerous countless people in Texas stay without power after a winter season storm caused widespread outages in the state. The White Home said Fema has already sent out 60 generators and 225,000 meals to Texas.
  • Senator Ted Cruz confirmed that he took a trip to Cancún as his constituents struggled to get their lights back on. The Texas senator is now flying back to Houston, a day after traveling to Cancún, and he declared he only went to Mexico to drop off his daughters.
  • The Biden administration approved an emergency statement in Louisiana. Like Texas, Louisiana has actually seen freezing temperature levels, power blackouts and water disruptions.
  • Congressional Democrats introduced their sweeping migration expense, based upon the framework set out by Joe Biden when he took office last month. The costs faces massive hurdles in the evenly divided Senate, but if passed, the legislation would offer a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
  • The administration said it will supply $4bn in contributions to Covax, an international effort to make sure fair access to Covid-19 vaccines The Trump administration rejected Covax, due to the previous president’s ridicule for the World Health Company– which is assisting lead the effort together with the Worldwide Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), the Union for Upsurge Readiness Developments, and other groups.
  • Your house held its hearing about the GameStop stock trading controversy. Executives from Reddit, the trading app Robinhood and financial investments firms associated with the stock trades are testifying prior to the House financial services committee.
  • Nasa’s science rover Determination has safely arrived on Mars, beginning a mission to find traces of ancient microbial life on the planet. Scientists at Nasa’s jet propulsion laboratory near Pasadena, California, commemorated after seeing Perseverance make a safe landing.

— Joan E Greve and Maanvi Singh

Updated.

Texas senator Ted Cruz stated that in flying to Cancún while countless his constituents endured a devastating winter season storm without electricity, he was just being a “good papa”, dropping his daughters and their pals off at the Mexican resort location after schools were closed due to the storm.

But the New York City Times discovered that group texts in between Cruz’s other half Heidi and their neighbors recommend otherwise:


Text messages sent from Ms. Cruz to buddies and Houston next-door neighbors on Wednesday exposed a quickly planned journey. Their house was “FREEZING,” as Ms. Cruz put it– and she proposed a getaway till Sunday. Ms. Cruz welcomed others to join them at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún, where they had remained “often times,” keeping in mind the room rate this week ($309 per night) and its great security. The text messages were offered to The New york city Times and verified by a 2nd individual on the thread, who decreased to be recognized since of the private nature of the texts.

If Mr. Cruz intended to leave the impression that he indicated to remain for only a day, his big suitcase and the group text Ms. Cruz had sent out planning a longer itinerary suggested he had actually cut his trip short. NBC reported independently that Mr. Cruz had actually rebooked his return ticket on Thursday morning.

Here’s more background on the scandal:

Upgraded.

United States vaccine circulation: track your state’s progress

Vaccination against Covid-19 has been under way in the United States because mid-December, with health care employees and long-term care facility locals receiving the very first doses.

Countless doses have been administered, however numerous Americans have had trouble accessing the vaccines in a timely manner. Amongst the Biden administration’s leading concerns has actually been developing a federal vaccine distribution plan, however states might still do not have a consistent supply of doses and the personnel necessary to administer what they get.

Some states have actually started to expand eligibility to vital workers, individuals with health conditions, and others.

The Guardian has actually envisioned the proportion of vaccinated population in each state from information supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Details of state-by-state breakdown of vaccination rates:

Find Out More:

Biden administration has vowed $4bn to money the global vaccine effort

The administration said it will supply a preliminary $2bn contribution for Covax, a worldwide effort to ensure fair access to Covid-19 vaccines.

It will release another $2bn through 2021 and 2022, the administration stated in a declaration.

The Trump administration rejected Covax, due to the previous president’s disdain for the World Health Company– which is assisting lead the effort along with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), the Coalition for Upsurge Readiness Developments, and other groups.

The US will be providing the funds to Gavi, which will utilize the cash for the Covax initiative. Joe Biden will reveal the financing plan tomorrow at the Group of Seven meeting.

Upgraded.

Protesters outside the home of Texas senator Ted Cruz are contacting him to resign.

Julian Gill of the Houston Chronicle reports:

Julian Gill
( @JulianGillMusic)

Here’s the scene outside the home of Ted Cruz. Now looks like as many cops as protestors. @HoustonChron pic.twitter.com/6ZLOz9LaRD

February 18, 2021

The Republican senator has dealt with backlash after flying with his family to Cancun, as countless his constituents were left without power during the lethal winter season storm that has ravaged Texas.

Here’s more background:

Upgraded.

Power restored to 2m houses in Texas

Power has been brought back to almost 2m homes in the state, the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, revealed.

Some 325,000 still remain without electricity– due to downed power lines or the requirement to reconnect to the electrical grid. The continuous failures are no longer due to a lack of power supply, Abbott stated.

Greg Abbott
( @GregAbbott_TX)

As of this afternoon there are no property power interruptions due to absence of power generation.

If any residence doesn’t have power it is because of downed power lines or the need for the power company to manually reconnect.

If you do not have power contact your local power service provider.

February 18, 2021

Updated.

The Biden administration authorized an emergency statement in Louisiana, authorizing Fema to coordinate disaster relief in the state amid record low temperatures and icy conditions.

The state’s governor, John Bel Edwards, stated “severe winter weather, consisting of record low temperatures, snow, sleet, and freezing rain, has been damaging for numerous areas of Louisiana, most especially through continued power and water failures throughout the state.”

Some of the communities dealing with power interruptions are still recuperating from the typhoons in 2015. A million boil their water, and almost half a million lack water.

The Guardian’s Erum Salam and Alexandra Villarreal are report from Texas:

Countless Texans are facing water lacks after the deadly winter storm damaging the state caused pipelines to break and treatment plants to support, interfering with services and polluting supplies.

Texas officials bought 7 million people– a quarter of the population of the country’s second-largest state– to boil tap water before consuming it following days of record low temperature levels that harmed infrastructure and froze pipelines.

Practically 600 public water systems in more than 140 counties reported disturbances in service, affecting nearly 12 million individuals on Wednesday night, a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokesperson told the Texas Tribune.

Erum Salam
( @salamdogmillion)

This isn’t over. https://t.co/NuOXEjHsKM

February 18, 2021

Medical Facilities in Austin and Houston have been among those struggling with disturbance to water materials.

” We are dealing with our supply chain to offer water for our clients, staff and medical facility operations. We began supplementing our onsite water inventory last week, and products are continuing to show up,” stated David Huffstutler, CEO of St David’s Health care in Austin, in a declaration.

” We continue to deal with the City of Austin in an effort to solve the water failure, however they have actually been not successful in resolving the water supply concern affecting service and water pressure to our healthcare facility.”

Find Out More:

Victoria Bekiempis

Rick Perry, the previous Texas governor who ended up being Donald Trump’s energy secretary, has actually said that Texans would willingly sustain longer periods of sub-freezing temperatures if it stymied Democrats’ energy policy and efforts to combat environment modification.

” Texans would lack electrical energy for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their company,” Perry was priced quote saying in article released Wednesday on the site of Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy.

The post had actually asserted that those “seeing on the left might see the circumstance in Texas as a chance to expand their top-down, radical proposals. Two expressions enter your mind: don’t tinker Texas, and do not let a crisis go to waste”.

Perry’s comments come as countless Texas are having a hard time with a brutal winter season storm, which created a rise in need for electrical power to warm up homes unaccustomed to such severe lows, buckling the state’s power grid and causing widespread blackouts. Frigid temperatures and snow have covered the majority of the main United States today, resulting in a minimum of 2 lots deaths, but Texas in specific has actually reeled because the majority of its power is on a state-run grid that has repeatedly been described as mismanaged.

Residents of the Lone Star state are lining up for supermarket that are lacking food. Pipelines have burst due to the fact that of the cold, leaving citizens without water to drink or prepare food. Lots of are rushing to discover shelter in structures with electrical power. Multiple towns have instituted “boil water” orders, as power outages have actually impacted water treatment facilities

Meanwhile, numerous Texans slammed authorities for their handling of the crisis. The severe winter season storm has, amongst some Republicans, been used to open up a brand-new culture war around the expansion of renewable energy, which is a specified priority of the Biden administration in order to address the climate crisis.

Find Out More:

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast associate, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next couple of hours.

Here’s where the day stands up until now:

  • Hundreds of countless individuals in Texas stay without power, after a winter storm triggered widespread interruptions in the state. The White House said Fema has actually already sent 60 generators and 225,000 meals to Texas.
  • Senator Ted Cruz validated that he took a trip to Cancun as his constituents struggled to get their lights back on. The Texas senator is now flying back to Houston, a day after traveling to Cancun, and he declared he just went to Mexico to drop off his children.
  • Congressional Democrats introduced their sweeping immigration expense, based on the structure set out by Joe Biden when he took workplace last month. The expense faces enormous difficulties in the equally divided Senate, but if passed, the legislation would supply a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
  • Your home is holding its hearing about the GameStop stock trading controversy. Executives from Reddit, the trading app Robinhood and financial investments companies involved in the stock trades are testifying before your home monetary services committee.
  • Nasa’s science rover Perseverance has actually securely arrived on Mars, starting a mission to find traces of ancient microbial life in the world. Researchers at Nasa’s jet propulsion laboratory near Pasadena, California, commemorated after seeing Determination make a safe landing.

Maanvi will have more turning up, so remain tuned.

Updated.

Nasa’s Determination rover safely arrive at Mars

Nasa’s science rover Perseverance has safely landed on Mars, starting a mission to discover traces of ancient microbial life in the world.

Scientists at Nasa’s jet propulsion laboratory near Pasadena, California, celebrated after seeing Determination make a safe landing.

NASA
( @NASA)

Touchdown confirmed. The #CountdownToMars is complete, but the objective is simply beginning. pic.twitter.com/UvOyXQhhN9

February 18, 2021

The rover has actually already begun sending images back from Mars’ surface area, and Perseverance is also anticipated to gather samples of ancient sediment from Martian rock for later analysis back on Earth.

Reuters has more information on the mission:


The robotic automobile cruised through space for nearly 7 months, covering 293 m miles (472 m km) before piercing the Martian environment at 12,000 miles per hour (19,000 km/h) to begin its technique to touchdown on earth’s surface.

The spacecraft’s self-guided descent and landing throughout a complex series of maneuvers that Nasa dubbed ‘the seven minutes of terror’ stands as the most elaborate and difficult task in the annals of robotic spaceflight. …

The landing represented the riskiest part of two-year, $2.7 bn undertaking whose main objective is to search for possible fossilized signs of microbes that might have grown on Mars about 3bn years ago, when the fourth world from the sun was warmer, wetter and possibly hospitable to life.

The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports:

Georgia Republicans revealed new legislation on Thursday that would make it considerably harder to vote in the state following an election with record turnout and surging participation amongst Black voters.

The sweeping measure would block officials from offering early ballot on Sundays, a day traditionally used by Black churches to set in motion voters.

The costs also provides citizens less time to request and return mail-in tallies and bans organizers from offering food or water to citizens standing in line to cast a tally.

Republican Politicians vowed the modifications after Joe Biden directly carried the state in November and Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, both Democrats, won sensational upsets over Republican incumbents in November. State authorities, including Republicans, have actually stated consistently there was no evidence of fraud in the elections, but Republicans have actually pledged to enforce new constraints anyway.

Updated.

According to NBC News, Ted Cruz at first planned to return from Cancun on Saturday however booked a journey back to Houston today, amidst public outrage over the Republican senator’s journey.

Peter Alexander
( @PeterAlexander)

NEW: Ted Cruz reserved his return ticket from Cancun to Texas at 6 a.m. today, according to a source with understanding of the scenario. Cruz was initially reserved to return on Saturday.

February 18, 2021

Cruz has said that he flew to Cancun merely to drop off his children, but this timeline recommends that the senator was intending on a longer holiday before news of the trip ended up being public.

Senator Ted Cruz stated he flew to Cancun to drop off his wife and children prior to flying back to Texas, where a winter season storm is triggering widespread power outages.

The Recount
( @therecount)

Sen. Ted Cruz at the Cancún airport:

” The other day my daughters asked if they could travel with some buddies, and Heidi and I concurred, so I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here and now I’m headed back to Texas.” pic.twitter.com/5d8UwlmZWv

February 18, 2021

Arriving at the Cancun airport for his trip back to Houston, Cruz stated that his house had been impacted by the blackouts, so his family no longer had heat or power.

” The other day my daughters asked if they might take a trip with some good friends, and Heidi and I concurred, so I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here and now I’m headed back to Texas,” Cruz informed a news crew at the airport.

Some press reporters kept in mind that Cruz appeared to have a fair amount of luggage for simply dropping his household off in Mexico and flying home a day later.

Seung Minutes Kim
( @seungminkim)

Big suitcase for just dropping off his girls https://t.co/KvVgvMEms3

February 18, 2021

Donald Trump apparently snubbed Nikki Haley, when the former UN ambassador asked for a meeting with the former president at Mar-a-Lago yesterday.

Politico’s Playbook reports:


Nikki Haley reached out to former President Donald Trump on Wednesday to request a sit-down at Mar-a-Lago, however a source familiar tells Playbook that he turned her down. The 2 have not spoken since the insurrection on Jan. 6, when Haley blasted Trump for inciting his advocates to storm the Capitol.

The snub comes less than a week after Politico released an interview with Haley, in which she said Trump had “let us down” by spreading lies about the governmental election.

” We require to acknowledge he let us down,” she said. “He decreased a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have actually followed him, and we should not have actually listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

Trump has actually been snapping versus Republican Politicians who blame him for the Capitol insurrection. After the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said Trump was “almost and morally responsible” for the riot, the former president released a statement calling McConnell “an ugly, sullen, and unsmiling political hack”.

Updated.

Congressional Democrats introduce sweeping immigration bill

Lauren Gambino

Congressional Democrats presented sweeping legislation to overhaul the United States migration system on Thursday, stating it was time to move beyond the “hateful scary program” of the last 4 years.

Throughout a press conference, Democrats, led by the chief sponsors of the bill, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and Senator Bob Menendez, argued that after years of failure, now was the time to pass migration reform.

The expense, based upon a framework outlined by president Joe Biden on his very first day in office, provides an eight-year path to citizenship for many of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. It would likewise allow farmworkers, those with short-term safeguarded status and Dreamers to use instantly for citizenship.

All petitioners would need to pass background and security checks in addition to pay their taxes and application charges. To prevent a surge at the border, only immigrants in the United States by 1 January 2021 are eligible.

The bill faces an uphill battle in Congress, where Democrats keep narrow majorities and Republicans have actually moved further right on the issue under Donald Trump Democrats argued on Thursday that Trump’s defeat used a window of opportunity to move forward with a brand-new technique after years of failure.

” The reason we have actually not gotten immigration reform over the finish line is not since of an absence of will,” Menendez informed reporters on Thursday. “It is due to the fact that time and time again we have actually compromised too much and capitulated too quickly to fringe voices who have actually refused to accept the humanity and contributions of immigrants to our country and dismiss everything … as amnesty.”

The House budget plan committee has revealed it will hold a markup hearing for Joe Biden‘s coronavirus relief costs on Monday.

The budget plan panel will bind the arrangements together from 9 other markup hearings to develop a single reconciliation bill that the full House will vote on.

Home Budget Committee
( @HouseBudgetDems)

Markup News: Monday, Feb. 22, @HouseBudgetDems will increase the American Rescue Strategy Act of2021 ⤵ https://t.co/RPnO3wW9YU

February 18, 2021

Your home speaker, Nancy Pelosi, stated earlier today that she hoped the chamber would be able to pass the relief costs by the end of next week.

Biden is seeking to sign the expense prior to 14 March, when expanded welfare are currently set to expire.

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