Federal Judge Strikes Down Vaccine Mandates from Biden

Sandy Brick felt her freedom was on the line. The Head Start teacher taught through the pandemic and opposed a federal “jab-or-job” mandate from the president.

Judge Terry A. Doughty, on the bench of a U.S. District Court in Louisiana, on Wednesday agreed. He ruled the federal government cannot require Head Start program teachers, staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor can it require adults or students to wear masks. His order “permanently enjoins the vaccine and mask mandate in 24 states,” a release from the Liberty Justice Center says, and impacts 280,000 teachers, staff and volunteers.

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Democrats Block Release of Hunter Biden Financial Documents in Probe

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to block a resolution proposed by Republicans to coax out documents related to the investigation of Hunter Biden’s financial affairs.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the ranking member of the committee, spearheaded the resolution, saying he has tried multiple times to get the relevant Suspicious Activity Reports on the Biden family’s financial dealings from the U.S. Treasury Department but has been unable to obtain the documents.

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Gov. Abbott Declares Mexican Drug Cartels Terrorists, Calls on Biden to Do the Same

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued an executive order officially designating certain Mexican drug cartels as foreign smuggled into the U.S. to kill Americans at an alarming rate.

In one year’s time, fentanyl killed nearly 20 times more people than those killed in terrorist attacks over decades.

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Inspector General: Denying Religious Exemptions to Service Members Who Refuse COVID-19 Vaccines Violates Federal Law

A Department of Defense Office of Inspector General report has found that officials in the U.S. military who issued widespread denials of religious exemption requests by service members who refused to take the COVID-19 shots violated federal law.

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Report Reveals ‘Shocking Long-Term Gaps in Federal Oversight’ over Prison Deaths

The Department of Justice’s tally of how many people died while in custody missed hundreds of deaths over the past couple of years, a 10-month U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probe revealed.

The problems spanned many years over multiple administrations, and committee staffers said there is widespread blame for the oversight. The investigation found that changes to the methods for collecting the data and a transition of the agency within the Justice Department responsible for carrying out the act’s requirements led to the problems.

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Seven Midwest States Enter Hydrogen Coalition

Seven Midwest states entered a coalition to pursue clean hydrogen development as an alternative to gas and diesel fuel.

The governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin signed onto the Midwest Hydrogen Coalition. The coalition will accelerate clean hydrogen development, from production and supply chain to distribution in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and other industries.

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Clinton, Obama Economist Says U.S. ‘Has a Serious Inflation Problem’

Two top economists from Democratic presidential administrations are raising the alarm about inflation this week even as the Biden administration touts its progress on the issue.

Lawrence Summers, who served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Bill Clinton and Director of National Economic Council for President Obama, pointed to the latest consumer price inflation data, saying the U.S. “has a serious inflation problem.”

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Report: Transit Agencies May Turn to Taxpayers for More Money When COVID-19 Funds Dry Up

Transit agencies could turn to taxpayers for more money when federal COVID-19 money runs out.

With federal money dwindling, some mass transit agencies are preparing to seek more tax dollars at a time when fewer people are riding, according to a report from a credit rating agency.

Some workers never plan to return to the office, creating uncertainties for mass transit agencies and the taxpayers who fund them, especially those more dependent on riders for fare revenue. A new report from S&P Global Ratings said transit systems could seek additional tax dollars when federal COVID-19 money runs dry in 2025.

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Biden: Republican Officials Shouldn’t Interfere with His Immigration Policies

President Joe Biden doesn’t want Republican officials interfering with his immigration policies, saying their initiative to send people north from the border is “playing politics” and “un-American.”

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, he said, “Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings using them as props. What they are doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless.”

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Republican U.S. Reps Urge Defense Department to End Military Vaccine Mandate

A group of 47 members of Congress are urging the Secretary of the Department of Defense to “immediately revoke” the COVID-19 vaccine mandate he issued last August for all service members, civilian personnel, and contractors. They’ve also asked him to re-instate those who’ve already been discharged for noncompliance.

In a Sept. 15 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, they wrote “to express our grave concern over the effect of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the readiness of our Armed Forces, particularly the U.S. Army.

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Florida and Connecticut Attorneys General Lead Bipartisan Effort to Classify Illicit Fentanyl as Weapon of Mass Destruction

fentanyl pills on the hood of a vehicle

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong are leading a multistate, bipartisan effort urging President Joe Biden to classify illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).

“I first called for President Biden to take swift action in July and call fentanyl what it is – a weapon of mass destruction,” Moody said. “Now, I am leading a bipartisan coalition of 18 attorneys general demanding the president take action now, declare fentanyl a WMD and join us in our fight to prevent the death and destruction caused by this highly-lethal substance from getting even worse.”

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Poll: Voters Say Biden Has Further ‘Divided’ Country

The majority of Americans say President Joe Biden has further divided the country, according to a new poll.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released the polling data, which showed that 58.7% of surveyed voters say that “Biden has divided the country during his time as president.”

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Tentative Deal Reached to Avoid National Rail Strike

The freight railroad industry reached a tentative deal with rail worker unions Thursday morning to avoid a national rail strike that threatened to cripple the nation’s already stressed supply chain.

The tentative agreement still must be ratified in a vote of the unions’ workers.

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Two More Texas Counties Declare Invasion at Southern Border, Bringing Total to 29

Two more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing to 29 the total that have done so so far, with more expected to follow.

The judges and county commissioners of Wharton and Burnet counties this week signed resolutions calling for “additional measures to secure the border, stop the invasion at the border, and protect our communities.”

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Four More Texas Counties Declare Invasion at Southern Border, Bringing Total to 22

The judges and commissioners of four more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing to 22 the number of counties that have done so.

Jasper, Madison, Throckmorton and Wichita counties are the latest to declare an invasion.

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Appeals Court Hands Air Force Class Action Plaintiffs a Win in Vaccine Mandate Lawsuit

A panel of three Sixth Circuit judges have denied the Air Force’s attempt to overturn class certification granted to all members of the Air Force by a federal district court judge in July. In doing so, they handed another win to roughly 10,000 airmen and women fighting against the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The appeals court judges denied an emergency motion made by the Air Force requesting it stay the class certification and injunction granted in Hunter Doster, et al. v. Hon Frank Kendall, et al., by U.S. District Judge Matthew W. McFarland of the Southern District of Ohio. In July, McFarland granted class status and issued a preliminary injunction preventing retaliation against those in the Air Force who don’t comply with the mandate as the lawsuit continues. His order remains in effect.

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Report: Record 63 Percent of Small Businesses Freeze Hiring

Small businesses are increasingly unwilling to hire because they can’t afford to take on new costs, according to a newly released survey.

The small business network company Alignable released the survey Wednesday. It found that 63% report putting hiring on hold “because they can’t afford to add staff, and 10% of that group is laying off workers.”

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GOP Governors to Biden: Student Loan Plan Will Be Costly for American Taxpayers

President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will be costly for American taxpayers, a coalition of GOP governors said in a letter sent Monday to the White House.

The letter, signed by 22 GOP governors, tells Biden to “withdraw” the plan, citing cost estimates of up to $600 billion, or $2,000 per American taxpayer.

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few,” the coalition wrote.

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Chipmakers Receiving Taxpayer Subsidies Under New Law Can Resume Business in China After 10 Years

Chipmaking companies that receive U.S. taxpayer funding under the $280 billion CHIPS Act of 2022 will be able to do business with foreign countries like China after a 10-year waiting period, according to guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday.

The legislation that President Biden signed last month was designed to build a domestic supply chain for computer chips, used for electronic devices and vehicle technology, as a way to reduce reliance on other countries like China and Taiwan.

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Merchant Banking Organization: Gun, Ammunition Purchases by Credit Card Will be Coded

An unloaded handgun sitting on the center console of a vehicle with the magazine clip next to it

The international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases has given its approval to establish one for transactions made at gun stores.

The International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group met on Wednesday to discuss a request made by Amalgamated Bank to set up such a code.

An ISO spokesperson told The Center Square that RMMG members could not decide whether to approve the application. That elevated the discussion to the ISO leadership that oversees standards for retail financial services.

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Number of Americans Citing ‘Hardship’ from Inflation Rises

The majority of Americans say inflation is causing them financial hardship, according to a new poll.

While the Biden administration heralded a pause in the rise of inflation for the month of July, a new Gallup poll indicates that Americans are feeling the pain more now than at the beginning of this year.

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Independent Voters Say Biden’s Attacks on ‘MAGA Republicans’ Went Too Far

President Joe Biden has turned up the rhetoric against Trump supporters and what he calls the “ultra MAGA” wing of the Republican party, but new polling shows most Americans fear his comments are too divisive.

Biden’s rhetoric, and the concern that he has gone too far, ratcheted up when the president gave a primetime speech last week blasting the “ MAGA Republicans” as a “threat to Democracy” and “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

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Gas Prices Continue Decline, Still Much Higher than Last Year

Gas prices have continued a steady decline in recent weeks, coming down from record-high gas prices this summer, but the Congressional Budget Office says natural gas prices may see an increase from the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.

According to AAA, the current national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.78, down from $4.08 a month ago and down significantly from earlier this summer when prices surpassed $5 per gallon. Prices have dropped about a nickel in the past week.

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Minnesota Department of Agriculture, University of Minnesota Ask Businesses to Report Food Sourcing Practices

A Minnesota Department of Agriculture and University of Minnesota partnership is surveying state businesses that source, distribute or serve food.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant funds the three-year Statewide Cooperative Partnership for Local and Regional Markets, which designed the survey.

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Kentucky Life Expectancy Falls Sharply

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the overall health of Kentucky and the rest of the nation. Now, researchers can point out how the coronavirus has affected the population.

According to the University of Louisville’s Kentucky State Data Center, the life expectancy at birth for a Kentuckian has dropped by 3.4 years from 2019 to 2021.

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Union Deletes Document After Report Shows Taxpayer-Funded Collusion with Biden Administration

A national labor union representing over 100,000 federal employees pulled a document off its website after a report showed the Biden administration was using taxpayer dollars to help public unions grow their members, and as a result, their budgets.

The Center Square reported the story, which cited a news release on the National Federation of Federal Employees’ website where the labor group explicitly thanked the Biden administration for helping it recruit more federal workers.

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More Americans Expect Civil War than Not in Next 10 Years, Poll Finds

Political tensions have ramped up year after year, and now nearly half the country thinks a civil war could happen in the U.S. in the next decade.

Newly released polling data from YouGov and The Economist show that “two in five Americans believe a civil war is at least somewhat likely in the next decade.”

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Budget Group: Student Loan Payment Deferments Cost Taxpayers $155 Billion, Benefits Doctors, Dentists More than Most

Estimates vary widely on how much President Joe Biden’s $10,000-20,000 per borrower cancellation of student loans will cost taxpayers, but a new analysis estimates the significant cost of a less-covered aspect of Biden’s plan.

When Biden announced the debt cancellation, he also announced an extension of student loan repayments “one final time” through Dec. 31 of this year. In March of 2020, then-President Donald Trump first suspended the repayments citing COVID-19. Since then, the suspension has been extended several times. Interest does not accrue while the payments are suspended.

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Border Chief in Sworn Testimony: Southern Border ‘Is Currently in a Crisis’

As part of ongoing litigation against the Biden administration, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody continues to uncover what she calls “damning evidence” about the consequences stemming from Biden administration policies changing federal immigration laws.

Moody’s chief deputy on July 28 deposed U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who testified under oath that the Biden administration purposely reduced U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention capacity and changed the removal process of people illegally in the U.S.

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Judge Issues Permanent Injunction on Biden Ban on New Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Lands, Waters

A federal judge sided with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and 12 other plaintiff states in a Louisiana-led lawsuit, issuing a permanent injunction against the Biden administration’s moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and water.

U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty issued the permanent injunction, declaring that the president exceeded his authority when halting oil and gas leasing and drilling permits.

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Nearly 100 Republicans Urge Pelosi to Hold President Biden Accountable for Student Loan Plan

Nearly 100 Republican members of Congress have called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold accountable President Joe Biden for what they say is his “illegal $300 billion student loan giveaway.”

Initially, the cost estimate was $300 billion. However, since then, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) projects that “cancelling up to $20,000 for some borrowers will cost taxpayers between $440 billion and $600 billion over the next ten years, with a central estimate of roughly $500 billion.”

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Gov. Abbott Accelerates Busing of Foreign Nationals from Southern Border to New York City

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is accelerating the state’s busing to New York City of foreign nationals who’ve entered the U.S. through the southern border.

The majority coming in are believed to not have valid asylum claims, are bypassing federal immigration law, and instead of being deported are being released into the U.S. under new Biden administration policies, attorneys general who’ve sued the administration argue.

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New York Gov. Hochul Calls Remote Learning During Pandemic ‘A Mistake’

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday called it “a mistake” the state switched to remote learning in schools at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago.

Hochul, a Democrat running to serve a full term in November, made her remarks during a wide-ranging speech at the University of Albany commemorating Women’s Equality Day. That included her calling on the Department of Labor to study the impact the coronavirus had on women in the workforce.

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Oversight Republicans Investigate Why DOE Hasn’t Spent COVID Relief Funds, Role of Teachers Unions

Oversight Republicans have launched an investigation into how the U.S. Department of Education has handled billions of COVID-19 relief dollars, raising the alarm about the major learning loss experienced by students.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona demanding documents and answers as to why most of the money has reportedly remained unspent.

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Military Whistleblower Report Alleges COVID-19 Vaccine Illegally Administered

 A new whistleblower report signed by nine officers across five branches of the military claims the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is unlawful.

The report was sent to Congress urging an investigation into what it called illegal and fraudulent activity by the DOD. The memorandum was published by Liberty Council, a nonprofit legal group that in January maintained there was no legal COVID-19 vaccine available despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration saying there was. 

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Survey: 56 Percent of Companies Dropping COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates to Retain Talent, Grow Workforce

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers 2022 Pulse survey, business leaders are implementing a range of measures to retain talent and grow their workforce, including dropping COVID-19 vaccine mandates as a condition of in-person employment.

According to the survey, 56% of companies said they were dropping COVID-19 vaccine mandates for on-site work. The survey findings, published Aug. 18, came after vaccine mandates continue to be challenged and overturned in courts and after it remains questionable that the COVID-19 vaccines were effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

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Feds: Food Prices Continued to Surge in July, but Overall Inflation Held Steady

Consumer prices remained high in July but showed only a slight increase from June, a pause from months of surging prices.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis Friday released the Personal Consumption Expenditure Index data, a key marker of inflation closely watched by the U.S. Federal Reserve when it makes its interest rate decisions.

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17 Texas Counties Have Declared an Invasion at Southern Border

The judges and county commissioners of seven more Texas counties signed resolutions declaring an invasion at the southern border this week, citing unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling occurring at the U.S. border with Mexico under the Biden administration.

The seven counties – Chambers, Ellis, Hardin, Johnson, Liberty, Orange, and Wilson – also expressed support for Gov. Greg Abbott to protect the sovereignty of Texas and secure the border.

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Poll: Americans Skeptical of DOJ’s Motives in Trump Raid

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence has led to a drop in trust for the law enforcement agency, a new poll shows.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar group, released the poll Thursday, which showed a large segment of Americans say the raid has lessened their confidence in federal law enforcement and that they question the motives for the raid.

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Taxpayers to Pay Billions After Biden ‘Forgives’ $10K to $20K in Student Loan Debt per Borrower

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday his administration would “forgive” $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 per year. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the plan could cost taxpayers more than $200 billion.

The total income cap is expected to be higher for married couples, likely around double the $125,000 mark, though that has not been confirmed.

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Pandemic Triggers 89 Percent Increase in U.S. Food Stamp Spending

Spending on food stamps has increased by $53.5 billion – an 89% increase – in the two pandemic years. By comparison, that’s how much the entire program cost in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Spending on the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program grew 88.5% from $60.3 billion in 2019 to $113.8 billion in 2021. Spending on the SNAP program had previously peaked at $79.8 billion in 2013 before declining for the next six years.

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Critics Push Back as Biden Administration Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Grow Public Unions

The federal Office of Personnel Management is actively helping public unions recruit more members, and critics are calling it a major conflict of interest.

OPM recently released updates to FedScope, a public database of federal employees, that will allow union leaders to recruit those employees to grow their member rolls, and as a result, their coffers.

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‘Unprecedented’: Judge Ruling Moves Trump Raid Affidavit One Step Closer to Release

Judge Bruce Reinhart on Monday released an order rejecting the Department of Justice’s argument that the affidavit used to justify a raid of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence should remain entirely sealed, moving the document one step closer to potentially being released.

The federal government now has until Thursday to propose redactions and make any other arguments as to why the document should not be made public.

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Federal Data: Retail Sales Remain Flat, Job Openings Decline

Retail sales did not meet expectations and the number of job openings declined in states around the country, newly released federal data show. 

The U.S. Census Bureau released data Wednesday showing retail sales remained unchanged for the month of July, despite expectations of a 0.1% increase. A drop in gas prices and auto sales helped fuel the decrease.

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$4.3M Minnesota Taxpayer Subsidies Expected to Create 321 Jobs

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will give $4.3 million of taxpayer money to five private businesses through the Minnesota Job Creation Fund and the Minnesota Investment Fund.

The state says these projects will create 321 jobs over the next three years and will eventually boost the local tax base.

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