In This Episode
- Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema say they might not support a budget bill with a $3.5 trillion price tag, but Democrats in the House won’t support the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package unless the larger bill passes, too. We spoke with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal about how House progressives are thinking about these two crucial bills.
- America is facing two major heat waves in the Pacific Northwest and in the eastern and central U.S. Abroad, there are wildfires burning in Canada, Russia, Greece, Algeria, Turkey, and Italy, all fueled by extreme heat and dry vegetation, and causing evacuations and mass destruction.
- And in headlines: rebel Tigray and Oromo forces announce an alliance against Ethiopia’s government, Texas House Democrats may face arrest for their exodus, and NASA’s next space suit is delayed.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Thursday, August 12th. I’m Gideon Resnick
Priyanka Aribindi: And I am Priyanka Aribindi, and this is What A Day, where we will not pet a dog unless they have a vaccine verification.
Gideon Resnick: I will consider walking one. That’s as far as I’ll go. If there’s an unvaccinated dog that’s like six feet away, that seems safe to me.
Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, less than six feet, get away from me.
Gideon Resnick: Right. On today’s show, the CDC strongly recommended COVID vaccine for pregnant people. Plus, NASA says its next moon mission might be delayed because astronauts need new spacesuits.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, let’s talk about the latest from Congress.
[clip of Rep. Pramila Jayapal] Our members are still very clear that a majority of our progressive caucus will vote on the bipartisan bill only after the Senate has passed the reconciliation bill.
Priyanka Aribindi: That was the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Pramila Jayapal. You got a chance to talk with her yesterday, Gideon, about the two big spending bills that lawmakers are currently debating. And there’s been alot of movement on it in the past week. So please get us all up to speed.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I think I have all this right. But as a quick refresher, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal passed on Tuesday with the support of 19 Republican senators. That bill has things like improvements for roads, bridges, Internet—things like that, physical infrastructure.
Priyanka Aribindi: Awesome.
Gideon Resnick: Awesome stuff. And then early yesterday morning, the other $3.5 trillion budget blueprint was approved as well. All 50 Democratic senators voted to advance that. So when it comes to that second one, the challenge is actually turning it into actual legislation down the road, legislation that can accomplish major goals like Medicare expansion, universal pre-K, family leave, financing domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles, create a civilian climate corps, and a lot more.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s a lot. But it sounds like there is a ‘but’ coming.
Gideon Resnick: There is. There is at least one that is on the way. OK, so here it is. Just hours after that vote happened, Senator Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator—all 50 voted to advance this—surprise, surprise, said that he didn’t think he could support an ultimate budget bill with that $3.5 trillion price tag attached to it, you know, same story.
Priyanka Aribindi: Surprise, surprise.
Gideon Resnick: Yep, same story, different day. And then Senator Kyrsten Sinema has basically taken the same stance, vote to advance this but not necessarily support something of that cost. So where does that leave us? The blueprint is now going to the House where we’re expecting that members are likely to take it up the week of August 23rd.
Priyanka Aribindi: Great guys. That is just great stuff. If that budget bill gets hung up in the Senate, that’s going to be a big deal for the other bill, because in the House, there are some interesting dynamics playing out with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Gideon, give us the scoop. What is going on here?
Gideon Resnick: OK, so basically, as Jayapal told me earlier and has repeatedly been saying, House progressives are just not going to support the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that passed the Senate until and unless the Senate also passes that other bill we were talking about, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation one that can fit all of those other priorities. And per Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on board with that strategy too, despite some recent rumblings from other Democrats in the House who want to take a vote on the infrastructure bill alone. Now, the margins in the House are really slim, so the votes of these progressive Democrats are quite important to how this is all going to shake out. That’s why there has been a spirited back and forth on this and why we’re even talking about it right now. But another argument that House progressives have been making is that Democrats shouldn’t really risk scuttling the passage of the reconciliation bill, otherwise they would effectively be going against the agenda of the President. And as Congressman Jayapal mentioned, Biden previously said aloud that going big is not really the issue for Democrats.
[clip of Rep. Pramila Jayapal] I mean, when we did the American Rescue Plan, he said constantly, the problem is not that we go too big, it’s that we go too small. That was true for the Rescue Plan and COVID, but it’s also true for climate change and the Build Back Better plan. And so if you remember, our first push was for 6 to 10 trillion to really address these crises, including climate at the rate that we need to address them.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. She also rebutted that overall argument about the big price tag, which is what she’s really been hearing from her conservative colleagues.
[clip of Rep. Pramila Jayapal] This entire thing could be completely paid for with increased taxes on large corporations and on the wealthiest. And at the end of the day, the net number is going to be significantly less and potentially even as high as zero, assuming that everyone goes along with the tax increases on the wealthiest and the corporations, something that is ridiculously popular across the country with Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
Priyanka Aribindi: Don’t see an issue with anything she’s saying.
Gideon Resnick: Nope.
Priyanka Aribindi: Seems like a lot of the Democrats are saying the fate of these two bills has to be linked. And something that ties into your conversation yesterday about the big U.N. climate report is that that $3.5 trillion budget bill is intended to have provisions to address climate change. In a moment, we’ll talk about the extreme weather that the world is facing right now, but has either this weather or this report changed the tenor of the conversations about this bill?
Gideon Resnick: I don’t know if it’s like really moving the Manchin minds, as it were, so far, but Congresswoman Jayapal said it just added more credence to the argument that her caucuses are making for a long time now, and that the question of financial cost is irrelevant when we’re thinking about the costs of doing nothing, which is the cost of losing the planet. And she, like most Americans, was experiencing the real-time effects of our burning planet as we spoke.
[clip of Rep. Pramila Jayapal] I mean, I’m sitting here in Seattle, we have yet another heat wave that has hit us this week. And we have yet another set of conditions that people in Seattle never thought we would see. And I’ll tell you that already, you know, what we’re doing is far less than what we feel like we need to do, but it would still be significant if we’re able to get the clean energy standards, the Civilian Climate Corps, big investments in transit. I mean, all of these things are really critical for us to do. And I just think the cost is not having a planet.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Gideon Resnick: That’s it, right? So that’s the latest on Congress as it works to pass those two big spending bills. But that leads us right into this next topic of extreme weather once again. Priyanka, what is the latest on all of this?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, there is so much happening across the world right now in terms of extreme weather. I thought we could follow up on what Congresswoman Jayapal was saying and that big climate report, with a rundown of what’s going on here and abroad, just so you have the context on how severe this has become.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it is beyond comprehension. So first off, here in America, we are experiencing yet another massive heat wave.
Priyanka Aribindi: Two actually. So right now, there are major heat waves on both sides of the country that are affecting all of the lower 48 states. As a result, 175 million Americans are currently under excessive heat warnings and advisories through this weekend. So if you live in America, whether you know it or not, this most likely applies to you right now. The most intense temperatures at the moment are in the Pacific Northwest, which, if you remember, already been scorched this summer. The warning that they’re currently under extends from western Oregon and Washington into northwest California, where the Dixie fire is still continuing to burn. For the record, the Dixie fire is the second largest the California has ever experienced, and it’s still growing with only 25% of it contained.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I hate the fact that every day is a new climate record of some shape or form. So what then about this second heat wave do we need to know?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so on the other end of the country, the eastern and central U.S. are experiencing extreme heat as well, with cities like Chicago, New York, Philly, D.C. and Detroit all under heat advisories. Like the climate report said, climate change fueled by humans is why we’re seeing things like this happen more frequently and at way more extreme levels.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, and also, as this happens, it’s becoming very, very fatal for people, too. Like, that’s the other reminder here is there’s a deadly human cost as well.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So The New York Times has a report on this that we will link to in our show notes, but it says that during the last major heat wave in June across Oregon and Washington State, 600 more people died than would have been typical during that same time period.
Gideon Resnick: That is insane.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s three times higher than the state’s official estimates, and it suggests that the impact of the heat wave may have been even larger than what was originally reported. So if you’re in areas that are experiencing heat waves and extreme temperatures this week, please, please be safe. Let this be a reminder to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Check in on your neighbors, your family and community members who might not have access to the resources to stay cool, and do your best to avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the day. Gideon. I know you’re a really big runner, but maybe not this week. I don’t know.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, if I don’t show up tomorrow, we’ll have a couple of reasons why to point to. But in all seriousness, so the dual heat waves are just two of the extreme weather events that are happening right this very moment. There are so many others around the world. What are some of those other ones to watch right now?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it is really mind blowing to see all of the weather events that are happening right now. Currently, there are wildfires burning in the western U.S. and Canada that most of us know about and have seen in the newspapers, but there are also ones in Russia, Greece, Algeria, Turkey and Italy, with the ones in Siberia being larger than all of the others combined.
Gideon Resnick: Wow.
Priyanka Aribindi: Just, yeah, really terrifying stuff. Just like in the US, the wildfires abroad are being fueled by extreme heat and dry vegetation and are causing evacuations and mass destruction of people’s homes and livelihoods. And fires aren’t all, were also in the midst of hurricane season. As a recording last night, tropical depression Fred. Affecting the Caribbean and heading towards Florida by tomorrow. Really just not great news, but it’s so important to realize the scale and intensity that our climate disaster has reached. We will continue to keep you updated on what’s happening, what we can do about it, and the actions that we need governments and corporations to take to prevent this from getting even worse. But that is the latest for now.
Gideon Resnick: It’s Wednesday, WAD squad, and for today’s temp check, we are talking about recalls of unfortunate merch: a company called Lingua Franca is now offering to alter sweaters it sold last year that said, quote unquote, “Cuomosexual” or “Cuomo for President” following an AG’s report about the governor showing a pattern of sexual harassment and his subsequent resignation, both of which happened quite recently. The sweaters cost over $300, so it’d be a shame to just throw them away I guess. Instead reformed cuomosexuals can have the sweaters embroidered with a phrase of their choice. One existing option sold by Lingua Franca says, “Let boys cry” and I’ll just say that is what I am already planning on going with. But Priyanka, what are your thoughts on this move by Lingua Franca and do you have any advice for people that are buying topical political merch?
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh my God, so many thoughts. All right. So first of all, if you bought this, you bought the sweater, I’m imagining you did it in like a a frenzied moment of passion in like maybe April or May of last year. And I think, like, this kind of applies to all purchases, but like, maybe we should stop and think for a moment about if this is a thing we are going to wear more than once, if this is something that you want to be seen in public wearing? Like, I don’t even know in the height of like Andrew Cuomo, like when we thought he was maybe OK, like that was anything you want to be seen in? I don’t know. I just we talked a lot about climate and the disasters that we’re currently facing, maybe we shouldn’t be buying things that we’re only going to use or wear one time, especially if they’re $380. That is just my thought.
Gideon Resnick: So, yeah, I think with all purchases, be them 300 or more or less, it is important that we take a beat and say, you know, read the words that are on your sweater aloud a couple of times and see how people in the room are responding to them.
Priyanka Aribindi: I you were going to buy anything during COVID also just like, what have you sweat suit. Like let it be something that like is practical and makes sense.
Gideon Resnick: Exactly. Go home and embroider yourself. That way you will not encounter these problems. But just like that, we have checked our temps. Good luck if you are in this particular position, I suppose, with an expensive sweater that you can’t wear. Will be back after some ads.
Gideon Resnick: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: Rebel Tigray forces in Ethiopia announce that they have formed an alliance with rebels from Ethiopia’s most populous region, Oromiya. This is the latest development in a conflict that started last November after a fall out between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Tigray leaders. Nine months later, thousands of people have been killed and many more have fled or are victims of atrocities committed by the Ethiopian military. A new report from Amnesty International revealed that women and girls in the Tigray region became victims of systemic sex crimes by Ethiopian and allied forces. The conflict has also led to a hunger crisis affecting over 400,000 people. Now the Tigray People’s Liberation Front will combine forces with the Oromo Liberation Army to fight against the government forces. Oromo leaders claim that similar talks are also going on with other regions.
Gideon Resnick: The CDC updated guidance urging pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, referencing new safety data that found no increased risk of miscarriage among people who received the vaccine within the first 20 weeks of gestation. Though there isn’t much data on birth outcomes since the vaccine has only been available since December of last year, researchers argue that the risks of COVID during pregnancy outweigh the theoretical prenatal risks of the vaccine. In more vaccine news, California became the first state to require the vaccines for COVID for educators and school staff. National teachers unions estimate that 90% of teachers across the country have already been vaccinated at this point, but this new requirement targets school support staff like bus drivers and janitors who have lower inoculation rates. The FDA may also approve a third vaccine doses for the immunocompromised, depending on how the vote goes when the CDC advisory group meets this Friday.
Priyanka Aribindi: That is a lot of really good vaccine news. And what sticks out to me specifically is the guidance for pregnant people. That’s great. Texas House Democrats who committed the crime of hating voter suppression might now be facing arrest. Last month, over four dozen Texas Democrats fled the state chambers and went to DC to prevent the passage of laws that they believe would stifle voting rights. Earlier this week, the Republican-led state House voted along party lines to dispatch officers to enforce the attendance of the missing members. And State House Speaker Dav Phelan has already signed 52 warrants of arrest. All of this came promptly after the conservative Texas Supreme Court overturned a ruling that found that Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker Phelan did not have the right to arrest elected officials. Yesterday, 11 Democrats are back in the chambers to cast dissenting votes against the enforced arrest of their colleagues.
Gideon Resnick: Think they should all split as different groups and be in little pockets in all 50 states.
Priyanka Aribindi: Run in different directions!
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, exactly. That’s the easiest way to to avoid the situation. The next NASA mission to the moon will likely be delayed due to issues with the astronauts’ fits. So new extravehicular space suits that are being developed by NASA likely will not be ready in time for reforecast in 2024 launch. That is according to a report this week from the department’s Inspector General. So the suits will have cost about a billion dollars to develop at the time they’re finished, probably even more once you buy all the cool patches of flags and various rockets we need to make a good first impression.
Priyanka Aribindi: Got to have the patches!
Gideon Resnick: Got to have those patches ready to go. Extravehicular space suits let astronauts survive outside the spacecraft, i.e., when they are ghost-riding the whip. This is the first time a new suit of this kind has been built by NASA in over 40 years. NASA’s Inspector General said April 2025 was the soonest that the space suits are going to be ready, at which point we don’t even know if wearing space suits will actually still be cool.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, there’s a lot going on here, but I think the biggest takeaway is that we got to look, I mean, the best we possibly can when we are meeting aliens for the first time, but we have no idea what is in style up there, what the season is, what the trends are. So we’re going to going in with no information. This is just going to, we’re going to waste a billion dollars.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. This is like the worst version of the dinner with your in-laws type of situation, and we need to be very careful. And those are the headlines. One more thing before we go, the Crooked pod Hysteria hosted by Erin Ryan and Alissa Mastromonaco has had excellent interviews lately. That includes Amanda Knox, Senator Tammy Baldwin, astrophysicist Dr. Chandra Prescod-Weinstein, Akilah Green of Black Lady Sketch Show, and more. New episodes of Hysteria drop every Thursday. You should listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Gideon Resnick: That is all for today. If you like the show make sure you subscribe, leave a review, Ghost-ride the whip, and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just phrases sewn into sweaters like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.
[together] And back off, dogs!
Gideon Resnick: They have fake vaccine cards, all of them. They’re—
Priyanka Aribindi: I would love to see pundit. Don’t back off. Come over here. It’ll be great.
Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes. Sonia Htoon and Jazzi Marine are our associate producers, and Kelly Sadikun is our intern. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.