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Emmanuel Acho to host the TV special “ The Bachelor ”

Emmanuel Acho, an author and former National Football League player, will host a post-final special of “The Bachelor” after the show’s longtime host Chris Harrison said he “Withdrew” after making comments dismissive of racism.

Mr. Acho, who wrote the book “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” and hosts a show of the same name, said in a statement that it was “both an honor and a privilege” to host the show. one-hour special on March 15th.

“This is an extremely pivotal episode of one of the most famous shows in television history,” he said.

The installment of a black animator ends a season starring the ABC franchise’s first Black “Bachelor” Matt James, but has also been overshadowed by a string of controversies amid calls from fans of the show to increase its ratings. efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

Mr. Harrison’s hiatus came after an interview with Rachel L. Lindsay, the show’s first black “Bachelorette”, in which Mr. Harrison defended the racist actions of one of this season’s three finalists.

The “After the Final Rose” special “will cover current events on the franchise,” ABC said in a statement, as well as conversations between Mr. Acho, Mr. James and the three finalists.

One of the finalists, Rachael Kirkconnell, was criticized for photos that recently surfaced, including one attending a ‘Old South’ plantation-themed ball. Ms Kirkconnell apologized in an Instagram post, saying, “I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

Mr James said the interview between Mr Harrison and Ms Lindsay “was disturbing and painful to watch,” adding that “it was a clear reflection of a much bigger problem than ‘The Bachelor’ franchise does. had failed to resolve adequately for years. “

Mr Harrison, who is still listed as the show’s host on his website, apologized, writing on Instagram that his comments, like his use of the term ‘woke up the police’ to defend Ms Kirkconnell, were ” unacceptable ”.

Ms Lindsay had suggested last week that Mr Acho “would be fantastic” as the host of the special because he was “very outspoken about racial injustice, for social justice, and that’s up to pretty much the person who said, “I can have these uncomfortable conversations and people trust them.” “

Mr. Acho said on Instagram of the announcement: “I love being a bridge for reconciliation. Our world is disconnected and divided, my goal is to unify. “

Mr. Acho, an analyst at Fox Sports, is a former linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles football teams. He left the NFL in 2016 to join ESPN as an analyst.

His YouTube show, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”, covered topics such as the police, the national anthem protests and “Karens & Cancel Culture”. An episode called “A Conversation with the Police” has over two million views.

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Travel News

The impact of the storm in Texas could lead to more cases of the virus, experts say.

More than a week after a powerful winter storm hit Texas, some experts say the conditions – which have forced hundreds of people across the state to huddle in homes, cars and shelters to warm – could lead to an increase in coronavirus cases.

The devastating storm nearly collapsed the state’s electricity grid, leaving millions of people in dark, unheated homes in some of the freezing temperatures in state history.

Reporting of coronavirus cases dropped precipitously for a week in Texas during the storm and then increased sharply again in the week since, so it is still too early to discern a specific growth or decline in the number of cases there. . But experts say conditions created during the storm have raised concerns.

“It’s possible to see a recovery from the Texas storm,” said Katelyn Jetelina, an epidemiologist at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas. “We had a lot of things against us,” Dr Jetelina said, noting that she, like many others, had to move from house to house when she lost power.

People stood in long queues to buy water and food at grocery stores and food distribution sites, spent the night in warming centers, and crashed with friends and family during that the electricity was going out and that pipes were bursting in their houses.

While it is not known how many people are still displaced by the storm, reports from various cities suggest that thousands of people across Texas may have been forced to seek shelter.

In Fort Worth, nearly 200 people took refuge in a convention center. In Dallas, a convention center housed about 650 people, the Texas Tribune reported, and a site in Houston had nearly 800 people, while 500 people lived in emergency shelters in Austin, officials said. Even in Del Rio, a smaller town, officials reported nearly 40 people were to stay at the city’s warming center.

“There are very real possibilities that the coronavirus had events of wide spread or that it was more easily transmitted because people were congregated inside for long periods of time,” said Dr Jetelina. “It’s a little worrying.”

But cases could also go the other way, she said, as millions of people were forced to stay at home as work and school were largely canceled. With the data reporting delay, it is still too early to tell, she noted, so the full impact of the Texas storm on the number of cases will not be known for at least one. week. Even then, said Dr Jetelina, it will be difficult to say whether an increase in cases is linked to the storm or to new, more contagious variants – or a combination of the two.

Although the average rate of new daily cases reported in Texas has returned to pre-storm levels, it remains about half of what it was in January.

This wider drop reflects the decline in cases nationwide in recent weeks, as the daily average of new cases in the United States hovers around 70,000 – well below its high of 250,000 last month .

Stories of people coming together in desperate search for heat and water were ubiquitous throughout Texas.

In San Antonio, Diana Gaitan had more water and electricity than her relatives. So several of them ended up crashing into her home, she said while waiting in a food distribution line at the San Antonio food bank last weekend. At one point, there were a dozen people spending the night at Ms. Gaitan’s home.

“We were all stuck inside the house,” she said.

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Travel News

Manhattan manhole fire and explosion Injury 3

A fire and manhole explosion in Manhattan early Sunday morning damaged cars and storefronts, caused power outages and injured at least three people, officials said.

Firefighters responded to a call about smoke coming from several 56th Street manholes between First and Second Avenues around 4:30 a.m. Firefighters searched buildings on both sides of the street, John Sarrocco said , deputy deputy chief, during a press briefing. .

At around 7:40 a.m., one of the manholes exploded, causing multiple blackouts on the block, as well as an increase in carbon monoxide levels in several buildings in the area, Chief Sarrocco said.

“We escalated the incident to have a second alarm assignment response, which consists of around 200 firefighters,” he said. “These firefighters had to do a thorough search of the buildings on 56th Street between First and Second, register all elevators as there are multiple power outages.”

Several residents who needed electricity for life support systems were assessed by firefighters, he said.

At least three people were injured, including an emergency medical responder, a Con Edison employee and a firefighter who had difficulty breathing, the chief said. Their terms were not immediately available.

A spokesperson for Con Edison said the fire damaged cars and storefronts, but it was not known how much. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

As of Sunday afternoon, 228 clients in a single building on East 56th Street were without service. The Con Edison outage map estimated power would be restored at 7 a.m. on Monday.

Video of the scene showed a gaping hole and broken pieces of asphalt between two parked cars, both badly damaged. Another video showed smoke swelling out of a gaze with flames lapping the edges.

Manhole fires are not uncommon in New York City, especially when winter weather begins to decline, melting snow and washing corrosive rock salt underground where water pipes, power cables, etc. are located. gas and steam pipes, telecommunications cables and sewers.

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Travel News

A Supreme Court test for what remains of the voting rights law

But Paul M. Smith, an attorney for the Campaign Legal Center, who submitted a brief supporting the challengers, said the lower courts have developed a sane framework for identifying restrictions that violate Section 2.

“It’s not enough for a rule to have a racially disparate impact,” he said. “This disparity must be linked to, and explained by, the history of discrimination in the jurisdiction. We hope the court recognizes the importance of keeping this test workable, which plays a vital role in monitoring laws that operate to make voting more difficult for blacks or Latinos. “

The two groups of lawyers defending the Arizona measures have not agreed on the standard the Supreme Court should adopt to maintain the contested restrictions. Mr Brnovich, the state attorney general, said the disparate effect on minority voters must be substantial and caused by the contested practice rather than some other factor. Lawyers for the Arizona Republican Party have taken a harder line, saying race-neutral election regulations that impose ordinary voting burdens are not subject to challenge at all under Section 2.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled that Arizona’s two restrictions violate Section 2 because they disproportionately disadvantage minority voters.

In 2016, black, Latino and Native American voters were about twice as likely to vote in the wrong constituency as white voters, wrote Judge William A. Fletcher for the majority in the 7-to-4 decision. Among the reasons for this , he said, there were “frequent changes in the polling stations; confused placement of polling places; and high rates of residential mobility. “

Likewise, he wrote, the ban on ballot collectors has had a disproportionate effect on minority voters, who use ballot collection services much more than white voters because they are more likely to be poor, older, housebound or disabled; lack of reliable transportation, child care and courier services; and need help understanding the voting rules.

Judge Fletcher added that “there is no evidence of fraud in the long history of third party ballot collection in Arizona.”

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Travel News

At CPAC, a golden image, a magic wand and reverence for Trump

“We’re so disgusted with Republicans that, frankly, if Trump doesn’t show up, we don’t care who wins,” Sany Dash said as she worked at her Trump merchandise stand.

Ms Dash’s store, Bye Bye Democrats, was bustling with life on Saturday as CPAC attendees browsed jeweled MAGA pouches, plush elephants, and a tapestry depicting a picture of Mr. Trump drinking coffee accompanied by a reading text: “The best part of waking up is Donald Trump is president.” (“We sold probably 1,400 rolls of Nancy Pelosi toilet paper here,” she said. “Our toilet paper is always a hit.”)

Yet Ms Dash, an Indo-American from New York who called herself a Trump supporter of “Day 1,” has been more angry at the moment with Republicans, and more particularly with Rep. Liz Cheney of the United States. Wyoming, who urged his party to break with the former president. Ms Dash said she is preparing to open a store in Wyoming in the next two months and call it Bye Bye Liz.

“Liz Cheney is a descendant of a warmonger,” she said. “Sorry, we went to war with Iraq, and so many people died – the lives of millions of people have changed.”

She continued, “I don’t care what she has to say now. It’s like the Bush girls in Austin. I don’t care how you woke up in Austin, just because now you get along with Michelle Obama, but your dad killed a lot of people. So excuse me, I don’t want anything to do with you people.

Like all dozens of CPAC attendees surveyed, Dash said she hopes Mr. Trump will run for president in 2024. There are other Republicans she loves, including Governor Kristi Noem of Dakota. from the South – “I love Kristi Noem, because she stands up for herself,” she said, calling her a “Trump woman” – but she said she would only stay with the GOP if Mr. Trump , or someone who is committed to leading the way he did, was the candidate.

“I mean, I’ve heard the rest of them – if they’re really successful, that’s wonderful,” she said. “If they don’t, I won’t be there, like everyone else. It’s that simple. “

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Travel News

Recovered from the 1941 shipwreck, letters reveal the love and sacrifice of war

“Imagine having my lips pressed tight to yours with my arms around you tight… hearts beat in unison,” a serviceman stationed in India told his beloved, Iris, in 1941.

This passionate prose comes from a love letter from World War II – one of more than 700 letters found aboard the wrecked SS Gairsoppa that restorers strive to piece together.

On February 16, 1941, as the Gairsoppa, a British freighter, was heading for Ireland, a German U-boat torpedoed the ship near the coast, killing all but one of the 86 crew on board. It remained uncovered three miles under the Atlantic Ocean until 2011, when a US company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, found the wreckage. From 2012 to 2013, the company recovered various treasures: personal items of crew members, more than 200,000 pounds of silver and 717 undelivered letters.

The artifacts were eventually donated to the Postal Museum in London. In 2018, the museum exhibited some of the letters in an exhibit titled “Voices From the Deep”.

So far, around 100 letters have been completely processed, according to Jackie Coppen, senior curator at the Postal Museum. The final treatments, including the love letter to Iris, began after Christmas. The Guardian reported this month on efforts to reconstruct the letters.

“We were there really long before the pandemic,” said Eleni Katsiani, another conservator of the Postal Museum. “Now we’re just putting our notes together and hoping we can go back and continue.”

That so many letters were found intact after nearly seven decades under the ocean was extraordinary, agreed Ms Katsiani and Ms Coppen. Discovered in the ship’s cargo storage under piles of mail bags and sediment, the letters were isolated from decaying forces such as currents, light, heat and oxygen, according to the museum.

After the letters were collected, they went through “a gentle cleaning process” that involved fresh water washing and freeze drying, Ms. Katsiani said.

“The rescue operation did a lot for their immediate survival because if they were allowed to dry out they would turn to dust – they would completely disintegrate,” Ms. Katsiani said.

Some of the letters are so fragmented and delicate that it’s nearly impossible to put pieces together, the curators said. Ultimately, they hope to digitize the letters, making them even more accessible to the public, like what was done for the “Voices From the Deep” exhibition.

“It’s like a puzzle, putting them together, which is why we end up reading a lot of them,” Ms. Coppen said.

Correspondence discovered on board the Gairsoppa ranged from Christmas cards to commercial documents. The Conservatives also noted that the correspondence was written on notepaper from countries such as India, Norway and Sweden. The destinations of the letters varied, with most going to Britain and the United States. Ms Katsiani said many were heading to the Salisbury Plain area in southern England, an area known as a training ground for British soldiers.

Two notable pieces of correspondence come from a Major Wilson to his two children, Pam and Michael. The letters, stamped on December 1, 1940, bore the address of an Inglewood hotel in Torquay, England, where Tories believed the two children could have been evacuated during the war.

The letters were found side by side almost 70 years later, according to the Postal Museum.

“They are now in my storage box, next to each other,” Ms. Coppen said. “It feels like they were related to something more than luck.”

In his letter to Pam, the father writes, “You can be sure Mom will send you back to Wycombe as soon as it becomes practical politics. In the meantime, we all need to make the most of things as they are. The war has changed the plans and lifestyles of most people – mine included! “

In the letter to his son, he congratulated him on his improved writing and for joining the Cubs and encouraged him to improve his spelling. The letter also came with a small gift: a glass envelope of used stamps from around the world.

In 2019, the Postal Museum, with the help of the BBC’s ‘The One Show’ program, helped reunite a recipient with a letter addressed to them almost 80 years ago.

In a letter to Phyllis Aldridge, Pvt. Will Walker, of the First Wiltshire Regiment in Allahabad, expressed his excitement over Mrs Aldridge’s acceptance of her marriage proposal, writing: “I cried with joy, I couldn’t help myself. If you could only know how much it made me happy, honey, to know that you accepted me and that you will be mine forever.

However, Mrs. Aldridge – at that time Mrs. Ponting – never received the kind words of Private Walker.

It wasn’t until after the letter was featured on an episode of “The One Show” that Ms. Ponting was reunited with the letter, according to the museum.

Following the 80th anniversary of the Gairsoppa sinking this month, Ms Coppen said, the 700+ letters showed the poignant power of connection and the value of just putting a pen on paper.

“These are people’s stories, aren’t they?” Mrs. Coppen said letters. “This is the everyday, mundane thing written on a piece of paper.”

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Impacting Travel

The race to create a global digital COVID-19 passport is on

The global travel industry seems to agree that a secure electronic documentation system to verify travelers’ identification information (like a traditional passport) and linked to their COVID-19 test results and vaccination records, will be key. to restart international travel at any time. significant level.

But the road to realizing such a universally recognized verification system is fraught with logistical challenges, and the integration of technologies that will be necessary to support it is still in the experimental stages. The UK’s Royal Society published a document earlier this month detailing 12 criteria that would need to be met for so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports to work effectively.

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Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Center for Demographic Sciences at the University of Oxford and lead author of the paper, told Forbes: “International standardization is one of the criteria that we believe is essential.” In part, the report reads: “Current evidence and precedents suggest that a COVID-19 vaccine passport system is feasible, but that all criteria have not yet been met.”

But, several countries, as well as several industry organizations and technology companies, are already working to realize the concept. In Europe, the race has started to create a standardized COVID-19 vaccination passport that allows its holders to cross national borders without the hassles of quarantine and testing before the summer holiday season begins. The push is being led by Greece, which relies on tourism for a fifth of its GDP and suffered drastic economic losses due to a shortage of visitors last summer.

Alex Patelis, the chief economic adviser to the prime minister of Greece, explained: “We call them certificates, not passports.” He said: “Ultimately, certificates need some kind of unique QR code”, and that “Greece is working on a series of bilateral agreements with third countries to allow mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.” Greece is currently testing its vaccine. certification program through agreements with Cyprus and Israel.

In January, some U.S. airlines began using a third-party app called VeriFLY to make the process of verifying that passengers met COVID-19 testing requirements to enter the United States to be more seamless.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in November that it was in the final stages of creating its ‘IATA Travel Pass’ mobile app, which had already been in development for a few months. Like ‘CommonPass’, another digital health passport being developed by The Commons Project, a non-profit foundation backed by the World Economic Forum, seeks to provide an interoperable software platform that can be integrated with advanced identification and technology-based technologies. the cloud, linking directly to users’ lab results and vaccination records securely and in real time.

As more and more people get vaccinated, the demand for this type of digital product will undoubtedly increase, with enough built-in flexibility to meet the diverse health requirements of the nations of the world, in addition to the evolving immunization and testing standards of the world. future. And, the urgency of the situation, in terms of the travel industry’s need to recover as quickly as possible, will surely inspire new heights of technological innovation.

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Video: House adopts $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan

“Since the emergence of the coronavirus, our nation has been in a state of perpetual mourning. The number of Americans killed by this pandemic is almost equal to one death per minute, every minute for a year. Every corner of society has been touched. “We have acted quickly, Madam President, but we have also acted deliberately, guided by the fact that the American people need us to act urgently.” “Throughout this process, Republicans have been completely left out. I sit on the Committee on Energy and Trade. I sit on the budget committee. I sit on the Rules Committee. Throughout the increases in each of these committees, Republicans have offered sincere amendments to improve the bill for the American people, while only two of the 245 proposed Republican amendments have passed, the rule before us today. hui deleted the only amendment adopted by roll call. vote. “” The tentacles of this pandemic have infiltrated all facets of the life of our communities. The point of this rescue program is that it understands these complexities and addresses these many needs. For example, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen more and more reports of abuse against women and children, so this bill helps fund shelters and shelters. We need this package to end the suffering of the nation. Let’s pass this bill. “Don’t call it a bailout bill. Don’t call it a bailout bill. If you’re a friend of the speaker, you do pretty well with it. this bill, but for the American people it is a loser. “Almost every one of the 592 pages of this bill includes a liberal pre-pandemic chimera.” “The American people need to know that their government is there for them. And as President Biden said, help is on the way.” “Raising the average wage is a financial necessity for our families, a tremendous stimulus for our economy and a moral imperative for our country. In this light, therefore, it is inevitable for all of us that the minimum wage of $ 15 is reached, although it is inconceivable for some, it is inevitable for us. This vote, the yeas are 219, the nays are 212. The bill is passed without objection and the reconsideration motion is laid on the table.

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Travel News

Three Wichita police officers injured in ‘possible explosion’, officials say

Three police officers from Wichita, Kan., Who had been sent to check on a vacant house, were injured on Saturday by “a possible explosion from an unknown device,” police said.

The three officers were taken to hospital – two with minor injuries and one in serious but stable condition, Wichita Police Department said on twitter.

The police were dispatched around 4 p.m. local time “to check on a vacant residence” and were injured after entering the house, police said.

Chief Gordon Ramsay said police were called to the house by the owners, who noticed the windows were open and feared someone had been inside. When the police arrived, they checked around the house and received the key from the owner.

“They walked inside and almost immediately when they entered the door there was some sort of gunshot, gunshot or explosion,” Chief Ramsay told reporters. .

“We don’t know if someone was inside, if it was a trap, we don’t know if it was a gun or if it was some type of improvised device, ”he said. “This is what we are currently investigating.”

A bomb squad and a SWAT team were at the scene, according to police, who asked people to avoid the area. The chief said residents of the immediate vicinity had been evacuated.

A video posted on Twitter by Michael Stavola, a reporter for The Wichita Eagle, showed police telling someone over loudspeaker to come out unarmed and that they would not be hurt.

“It’s still an active situation”, the police said on twitter. “We will provide updates as we learn new information.”

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives mentionned that his agents were also at the scene, working with the state and local authorities to investigate.

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Biden Agenda faces tough tests as stimulus measure heads to Senate

WASHINGTON – President Biden’s platform faces its biggest test as Democrats prepare to maneuver his $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package through the equally divided Senate, an effort that could strain the fragile alliance between progressives and centrists and the limits of its power in Congress.

An early morning House vote to pass the broad pandemic aid measure only underscored the depth of partisan division over the proposal, which all Republicans opposed. But the road to the Senate is much more bumpy, with a thicket of obscure rules and leeway with one voice threatening to jeopardize crucial aspects of the plan as Democrats rush to hand it over to Mr. Biden within two weeks.

Already, Mr Biden’s proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025 as part of the plan has failed due to the measure’s fiscal rules, which Democrats are pushing as part of the plan. ‘a complex process that allows it to pass by a simple majority. vote, bypassing the Republican opposition.

In the coming week, they will also face challenges in managing other aspects of the bill through procedural hurdles and political pitfalls, including debates over how much to spend to close state budget deficits and community and how to distribute expanded tax benefits aimed at helping the poor. families.

The challenge for Mr. Biden will be to hold both sides together in the face of the unified Republican opposition to secure a bill that White House officials say will protect vulnerable Americans until the pandemic is over and energize. the economy as it reopens completely.

“We have no time to waste,” Biden told the White House on Saturday. “If we act decisively, swiftly and boldly now, we can finally get ahead of this virus.”

Progressives are pushing for party leaders to change Senate rules to keep the wage increase in the bill, saying Democrats must not lower their ambitions for Mr Biden’s first major legislative package.

The minimum wage debate, New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told reporters, “sets the stage for the effectiveness of our term for the remainder of the term.”

But moderates, including Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, want to keep Senate rules intact – which actually require 60 votes to advance most major laws – and are opposed. to the inclusion of such an increase in the minimum wage in the package. .

Party leaders and White House officials remain confident that Mr. Biden has the votes, regardless of the fate of the pay rise. All but two of the House Democrats voted for the legislation, called the US bailout, which enjoys broad bipartisan support among voters. But the Republicans in Congress have united against it, having effectively been excluded from drafting the bill.

“The House’s partisan vote reflects a deliberately partisan process and a missed opportunity to meet the needs of Americans,” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, said in a statement.

The measure now passes to the Senate, which is split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris controlling the tiebreaker. Mr Biden’s early attempts to find common ground with moderate Republican senators on the package yielded only broad expressions of bipartisan aspiration, with Republicans coming up with a plan representing less than a third of what the president asks to face the toll of a crisis that has left 10 million Americans without work.

With unemployment benefits set to start expiring on March 14 for workers who have been laid off the longest in the crisis, Democrats have just two weeks to complete the Senate package and send it back to the House and Mr. Biden. Because party leaders decided to use a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to quickly move legislation forward and bypass Republican opposition in the Senate, the bill will need to adhere to a series of strict budget rules. along the way.

As the House included the federal minimum wage hike in the version it passed on Saturday, a key Senate official warned it broke reconciliation rules, allowing Republicans to challenge it and remove it from the reconciliation process. package. It is likely that further changes to the bill will be needed to ensure that it conforms to Senate rules and can garner support from all Democrats.

Senate Democrats are now spending the weekend charting possible ways to save the minimum wage provision, which would gradually increase the minimum wage to $ 15 by 2025.

Progressives in the House warned on Friday that they could suspend votes for the stimulus package if the wage hike is removed. The debate fueled an already simmering dispute over whether Democrats should try to abolish Senate rules, primarily those governing filibusters that impose a 60-vote threshold to move forward, which the minority party uses. for a long time to block major legislative initiatives.

“It’s not about whether you have the votes – it’s about whether you do what you say,” said Reverend William J. Barber II, Campaign of the Poor co-chair. organization that plans to continue lobbying for Ms Harris to force a vote on the merits of the parliamentarian’s decision and for Mr Manchin, Ms Sinema and other lawmakers to support the adoption of the necessary procedural measures to ensure that the minimum wage provision becomes law. “Don’t hide behind a ruler. Don’t hide behind a hijacked meeting. “

Mr Biden has publicly acknowledged that the pay rise may not be included in the bill and has indicated he will sign the package regardless. Her chief of staff, Ron Klain, ruled out the possibility of Ms Harris overstepping the directives of Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate MP who said the proposal was out of order due to reconciliation. Leading Democrats have signaled they have no plans to oust Ms MacDonough, who became the first woman to hold the post in 2012, despite Liberal calls to do so.

Still, White House economics officials argue that even raising the wage to $ 9.50 this year, as the bill provides, would increase the incomes and expenses of the economy’s lowest-paid workers, contributing thus to fuel economic growth.

Democrats have started drafting alternative plans – including tax penalties for large companies that pay low hourly wages – that could qualify under Senate rules and achieve similar goals. Major Democrats, including Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, are considering the possibility of including an amendment that would penalize companies that pay workers less than $ 15 an hour, which could impose a increasing tax on the payroll of large companies.

Party leaders say they will find common ground that will allow the stimulus package to move forward.

“We have a consensus in our caucus that we are here to do the job for the American people,” President Nancy Pelosi of California said at a press conference on Friday. Asked whether Democrats would ultimately be able to pass the legislation without the inclusion of the minimum wage provision, she said, “absolutely.”

Democrats are bracing for further revisions to the law following Ms MacDonough’s advice, including changing how quickly people can reap the benefits of an expanded tax credit meant to help low-income families with children. With some moderate Democrats in favor of targeting elements of the relief plan, they may also be forced to reduce or otherwise change the allocation of the $ 350 billion allocated to state, local and tribal governments.

Republicans face their own dangers in opposing the measure en masse. The bill enjoys strong, bipartisan support in national polls, with seven in ten Americans approving it. Most polls show significant support from Republican voters for this effort. Some display majority Republican support.

The core provisions of the bill that Republican lawmakers have called wasteful – including direct payments of $ 1,400 per adult and child to people earning up to $ 75,000 per year and couples earning up to $ 150,000 – are supported by no less than four in five Americans.

Business groups and budget hawks have drawn common ground, urging Democrats to reduce or amend the package in the Senate. The American Chamber of Commerce has called for a bipartisan compromise on the wage increase to an amount of less than $ 15 an hour. The US Travel Association called on lawmakers on Saturday to take further action in the bill to support an industry that “lost half a trillion dollars and millions of jobs last year” – with no immediate rebound in sight .

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which has expressed concerns about the size of the package and the targeting of its spending, has urged lawmakers to cut the bill’s $ 350 billion in aid to states and local governments , and reduce the number of Americans who receive direct payments to avoid sending money to people who did not lose hours or income during the crisis.

But without the majority support needed to clear the filibuster in the Senate, some Democrats see negotiations with Republicans as the only way to push through a minimum wage hike.

“Not the response we were hoping for, but the response as a lawyer that I expected,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, written on twitter the rejection by the parliamentarian of the provision relating to the minimum wage, which he described as “within the limits”.

“Now we have to do it the hard way and the old fashioned way,” he added.