New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has no plans to resign. The U.S. Capitol is beefing up its security – again. And hate to break it to you, but not everyone is getting a third relief check.
It’s Ashley and Alex (tag team, FTW). Let’s do the news thing.
But first, what wasn’t a superspreader event? The Super Bowl, apparently. Officials reported 57 total COVID-19 cases, despite the thousands of fans who traveled to Tampa.
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Make less than $80K a year? You may have a COVID-19 relief check coming your way
Have a sweet six-figure income? Give yourself a pat on the back, just don’t expect to get in on the next round of coronavirus aid checks. Senate Democrats reached a deal with President Joe Biden to limit the eligibility for $1,400 checks in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to Americans earning less than $80,000, according to two sources. The checks would start to phase out at $75,000 and phase out entirely at $80,000 of income for individuals, as opposed to about $100,000 in the version of the legislation passed by the House last week. The compromise clears the way for the Senate to push forward on the bill, which could pass by the end of the week. The deal kept a federal boost to unemployment benefits at $400 a week.
- Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan includes a child tax credit boost popular with Democrats but a “nightmare” to Republicans.
Now that’s ‘Neanderthal thinking’
President Joe Biden said Wednesday it’s a “big mistake” for states to lift pandemic restrictions, calling it a result of “Neanderthal thinking.” Tuesday, the GOP governors of Texas and Mississippi said they’re lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates. Biden said it’s important to listen to the recommendations of scientists – especially as the nation is on the cusp of turning things around with the coronavirus vaccines. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that ‘In the meantime, everyone’s fine, take off your mask,'” he said. “Forget it. It still matters”
- Uncertainty, anger, joy: Texas businesses react to governor dropping state’s mask mandate.
President Joe Biden talks with a volunteer at the Houston Food Bank on Feb. 26 as Texas tries to recover from a brutal winter storm. (Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP)
- A national system to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines has largely failed as states rely on their own systems.
- Rockets strike Iraqi base housing US troops before Pope Francis visit.
- “I have to say something”: Third man accuses Chicago activist priest of sexual abuse.
- The SUV involved in the California crash entered through a hole in the border fence, report says.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken vows the United States will avoid “costly military interventions,” take new approach on trade.
Cuomo is ‘not going to resign’
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is apologetic that he “acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” but made clear Wednesday that he has no intention of stepping down: “I am not going to resign.” Cuomo, a Democrat, appeared in public for the first time since Feb. 24, offering his first on-camera comments since three women – including two former aides – gave detailed accusations of sexual harassment. “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way,” Cuomo said. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” The embattled governor pledged to cooperate with an investigation led by Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
- Analysis: No one is saying it’s rape. They’re saying the accusations against Andrew Cuomo matter.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, "I fully support a woman’s right to come forward, and I think it should be encouraged in every way." (Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
SUV in California crash entered through hole in border fence, officials say
Thirteen people who died after a semitruck slammed into their packed SUV near the U.S.-Mexican border were among 44 who entered the USA through a 10-foot hole cut into Southern California’s border fence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday. “All are suspected to have entered the U.S. illegally,” the agency said in a statement. “Border Patrol is investigating the smuggling events.” Two cars were seen on surveillance video leaving the area of the fence hole. One vehicle, a Suburban, carried 19 people and caught fire after entering the USA. The other vehicle, a 1997 Ford Expedition with seats removed, was transporting 25 people when the big rig hit the SUV’s side, authorities said. A Mexican government official said at least 10 of the victims who died were Mexican nationals.
Law enforcement officers sort evidence and debris at the scene of a deadly crash in Holtville, Calif., on March 2. Authorities say a semitruck crashed into an SUV carrying 25 people on a Southern California highway, killing at least 13 people. (Photo: Gregory Bull, AP)
Police bolster security at US Capitol as QAnon theory claims Trump will become president March 4
A far-right conspiracy theory by QAnon that Donald Trump will rise to power on March 4, the original inauguration day for presidents before 1933, prompted extra security at the U.S. Capitol. Police released a statement that the department “obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.” The conspiracy theory posits that no American president has been officially inaugurated since Ulysses S. Grant in 1869 and a law was passed in 1871 that secretly turned the United States into a corporation, making all presidents after Grant illegitimate. It’s unclear how many QAnon supporters support the inauguration theory and whether there will be any violence in Washington or elsewhere.
What everyone’s talking about
- Prince Philip is “slightly improving” but “hurts at moments” amid hospitalization, Duchess Camilla says.
- Is “universal” income closer to reality? Cities from Stockton to St. Paul are already testing monthly checks for residents.
- “The Voice”: Kelly Clarkson hits back after Blake Shelton says she doesn’t “have time” for the show.
- California’s Pacific Coast Highway is falling into the ocean. Is this the end of the road for one of America’s most scenic drives?
- Duchess Meghan “saddened” by report claiming she bullied palace staff in 2018.
Search warrant executed for Tiger Woods’ crashed car black box
Where is the black box data from Tiger Woods’ crashed car? With authorities. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant to obtain data from the “black box” in the car crash that nearly killed the famed golfer, sheriff’s personnel confirmed Tuesday to USA TODAY Sports. To get their hands on the warrant, law enforcement is required to establish there was probable cause that a crime was committed, even if it’s just a misdemeanor (👀). But sheriff’s deputies downplayed the warrant Tuesday as a routine part of their probe. What the sheriff’s department didn’t seek a warrant for? Woods’ blood, which could have been used to help determine whether he was under the influence of medication at the time of the crash Feb. 23.
Law enforcement officers inspect the car driven by Tiger Woods. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu, AP)
Pentagon: Rep. Ronny Jackson harassed staff, used alcohol on duty
The Pentagon released a biting report regarding the conduct of Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, during his tenure as White House physician in the Trump administration. The Defense Department inspector general, who released the report, said Jackson made “sexual and denigrating statements about one of his female medical subordinates to another of his subordinates.” It details instances in which he “engaged in alcohol-related misconduct, including wrecking a government vehicle.”
A break from the news
- 🐶 Pet-friendly stays: These Airbnbs were wishlisted the most for traveling with your pooch.
- 💛 “What any good human would do”: A Louisiana man helped save an infant abandoned along a highway.
- 🚺 Women’s History Month: On this day in 1887, Helen Keller met Anne Sullivan, her teacher and lifelong friend. Sullivan helped Keller become the first blind-deaf person to graduate from college, and the pair advocated for people with disabilities.
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.
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