Latest News USA

Biden resets his own Covid goalposts at CNN town hall

Milwaukee, WI: In his first Town Hall as President on Tuesday, Joe Biden chose Middle America to start laying down markers and clarifying his policies.

People who want a vaccine will be able to get one by the end of July, he promised.

Within 100 days, close to every schoolchild in America will be able to go back five days a week.

A pathway to citizenship would be essential to any immigration reform bill.

But often, during his CNN town hall, the pledges came with caveats.

That end of July deadline? It was about vaccine availability.

Those school reopenings? Five days a week was aspirational.

Immigration reform? Even a piecemeal bill dealing with refugees would be an accomplishment.

Biden’s town hall on Tuesday night went like that: a dash of news, a nuance to boot, and a general attempt to not get bogged down too much on any one thing, only to fixate on it.

But the country is fixated on Covid vaccine right now. So, Biden promised that “by the end of July, we’ll have over 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every single American.” He expects there to be 400 million doses by the end of May. And he set another goal: That things would be largely back to normal in the United States by next Christmas.) It’s worth noting that this is a change from Biden’s previous pledge from last month that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the “spring.” Biden laid the blame for the need to push that timeline at the feet of the Trump administration, insisting that his predecessor “wasted so much time” in dealing with the virus.

 He was careful to pick the spots where he tacked left. He defended a $15 minimum wage hike, but not executive action to wipe away $50,000 in student debt relief. He insisted that people shouldn’t be locked up for drug use offenses, but took great pains to emphasize that he had no plans to defund the police.

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coronavirus Latest News New York

New York renews suspension of medical, student debt collections

New York’s governor and attorney general renewed an order halting state debt collection for the third time on Tuesday.

Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that collection of medical and student debt referred to the Office of the Attorney General is suspended for an additional 30 days, until July 16. The policy also suspends accruing interest for those accounts.

The Office of the Attorney General collects debts owed to the state from settlements and lawsuits, with over 165,000 current matters fitting the criteria, including: Medical debt owed to the five state hospitals and the five state veterans’ homes; Student debt owed to SUNY campuses; Debt related to oil spill cleanup, removal, property damage, breach of contract, and other fees owed to state agencies by certain individuals, small business owners, and homeowners.

The original order freezing collections was announced on St. Patrick’s Day, and its extensions come as coronavirus continues to impact wallets statewide.

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