Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Monday, March 8, 2021:
STIMULUS CHECKS IMMINENT
The Senate passed the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package on a party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against. The bill now heads back to the House for final approval before President Biden signs it into law. Among the key provisions: $1,400 checks for eligible adults and dependents, a six month extension of $300 weekly unemployment benefits, $170 billion for schools, $350 billion for states and cities, $27 billion for rental assistance and a major new child benefit (more on that below). Biden is planning to hit the road this week to sell the package. USA TODAY
CHILD TAX CREDIT
A lot of ink has been spilled over the $1,400 checks (in) and the minimum wage hike (out), but economists believe the most transformational aspect of the bill is the expansion of the child-tax credit. Under the new law, most families will get a monthly check from the government of up to $300 per child. More than 93 percent of American kids are eligible for the benefit, which essentially amounts to a guaranteed basic income for poor and middle-class families. And unlike the current child-tax credit, the money is going out as monthly checks, rather than as an annual tax reduction. The benefit is temporary, but Democrats say they plan to make it permanent. CALCULATE WHAT YOU'LL GETNow the real pandemic baby boom begins.
COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS
Epidemiologists estimate that somewhere between 70 and 85 percent of Americans need to get vaccinated to hit the herd immunity threshold that would effectively defeat Covid, and new polling suggests that target may be possible after all. According to Pew Research, 69 percent of U.S. adults now plan to get their shots if they haven’t already -- up from 60 percent in November and 52 percent in September. The daily vaccination rate hit a record 2.9 million on Saturday and is up to 2.2 million on a weekly rolling average. LA TIMESEd. note: On Friday, we wrote that the U.S. fell below 40,000 daily new cases, according to JHU. The correct number is closer to 65,000.
The top Democrat in New York’s state legislature is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign, the most high-profile state official yet to come out against Cuomo in the wake of several sexual harassment accusations against him. Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the scandals surrounding Cuomo -- he was most recently accused of presiding over a “toxic work environment” -- have become a distraction “that is drawing away from the business of government.” In a weekend call with reporters, Cuomo said “there’s no way I resign.” NY TIMESDoes he get to keep the Emmy at least?
POPE IN IRAQ
Pope Francis is headed back to Rome after an historic trip to Iraq in which he visited cities that had been decimated by ISIS and called on Iraqi’s Christian minority to forgive the Muslim extremists who have been persecuting them for years. The pope met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most powerful Shiite cleric in the country, to urge for a peaceful coexistence between the religions. He was trailed throughout his visit by Iraqi Christians chanting “Viva, viva Papa!” who said they were thrilled that a pope had finally recognized them. AP
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TWEET FOR SALE
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put the first-ever tweet up for auction as a non-fungible token (NFT). Bidding on the March 2006 tweet -- which reads simply “just setting up my twtr” -- is already up to $2.5 million. The winner will get an autographed digital certificate that includes metadata from the original tweet. REUTERS
Meghan Markle told Oprah Winfrey in a tell-all interview that her life as a royal had become so unbearable that she contemplated suicide, and that the royal family -- whom she and Harry refer to as “The Firm” -- had concerns about how dark baby Archie’s skin and told the couple he would not receive security or a title upon his birth. Harry also spoke about a falling out with his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, over his decision to step back and denied the reports that he had “blindsided” the queen. CBS NEWS
The lineup for the Grammy awards has been announced: Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Roddy Rich, BTS, Billie Eilish and Harry Styles are among the performers. Trevor Noah will host Music’s Biggest Night from Los Angeles on Sunday. BILLBOARD
…Nicolas Cage, tying the knot with girlfriend Riko Shibata in Las Vegas. It’s Cage’s fifth marriage: PEOPLEFifth time’s a charm!...MacKenzie Scott, the philanthropist and ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, with her new husband, Dan Jewett, a Seattle science teacher. Jewett has already signed the Giving Pledge and says he plans to help his wife give away her fortune to charity: SEE PIC
LEFTOVERS: EMINEM VS. GEN Z
Eminem is firing back at young people on TikTok who have been calling for him to be “cancelled” for his past use of offensive lyrics, particularly the 2010 hit Love the Way You Lie with Rihanna. The rapper released an animated video for his song Tone Deaf in which he raps, "You think gettin' rid of me's a piece of cake? I'm harder than findin' Harvey Weinstein a date": WATCH