ScotSkim: Biden’s First Budget, MLB All-Star Game, and AstraZeneca
April 13, 2021
President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve a $1.5 trillion spending plan that would invest in government agencies addressing issues in education, housing, public health, and climate change.
Biden’s spending plan request for the fiscal year of 2022 increases the budget by 8% from the year before and is another step in his legislative agenda. This is separate from both the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package and the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan.
The plan calls for a less than 2% increase in military spending, which divided Congress along partisan lines as Republicans argued for an increase in spending for the military, while Democrats argued for the opposite.
Additionally, the plan would increase funding to the Education Department by 41% to $102 billion, with most of the money going to the Title I program, which funds high-poverty schools.
The plan also calls for a 23% increase in funding to the Department of Health and Human Services and would create a new agency called the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health that would focus on innovative research.
The plan also grants $69 billion towards public housing and an additional $14 billion towards fighting climate change and protecting the environment.
MLB reschedules All-star game
Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star game out of Atlanta in response to new election laws in Georgia that make voting more difficult.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made this announcement after discussions with lobbying civil rights groups and stakeholders. This move was opposed by both Democrats and Republicans alike within Georgia, even though they disagree over the new voting laws.
The new voting laws in Georgia made voting more challenging by adding identification requirements for absentee voting, limiting the number of drop boxes, giving more authority to legislatures over elections, and making it a misdemeanor for groups to provide food or water to voters standing in lines.
In other states, similar voting laws are being discussed and passed, which some corporations have voiced their opposition against. Of all the corporations that oppose Republican voting legislation, the MLB has taken the most drastic action in rescheduling the All-Star game.
The MLB hasn’t yet decided where the All-Star Game’s new location will be, but the game is scheduled to take place on July 13.
AstraZeneca Vaccine Worries
Due to recent evidence that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine may be connected to rare blood clots, British authorities recommended that the vaccine not be given to anyone under the age of 30.
According to data from Germany, there is one report of clots for every 100,000 doses with even fewer reports of clots in the U.K. To put things into perspective, women that take birth control pills have a higher chance of getting blood clots normally than someone who takes the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The United Kingdom and European Union both emphasized that the vaccine’s benefits still outweigh the risks despite the link between the vaccine and blood clots. Many countries have already imposed age restrictions on the AstraZeneca vaccine and are continuing to look at the data since the vaccine is much cheaper than other vaccines, and its use is critical to global immunization efforts.
“We are advising preference for one vaccine over another vaccine for a particular age group,” said Wei Shen Lim, a chair of Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.