Republicans Overturn Clean Water Regulations; AstraZeneca’s COVID Vaccine a Health Concern in Britain; Border Wait Times Longer for Migrants

Congressional Republicans Roll Back New Clean Water Regulations

Though President Joe Biden has pledged to veto the legislation, Republicans garnered enough votes to overturn new clean water regulations that were opposed by agricultural and business leaders. This was the second defeat of environmental policy regulations put in place by Biden. 

In what is becoming a winning combination for Republicans, four Democrats and one Independent joined with the GOP to overturn water protections which environmentalists have fought for since the passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Opponents of the regulations claim they would drive up costs and make it more difficult for affected industries to do business. Proponents of the rules cite potential reduction in water pollution and greater protection for waterways and wetlands. 

AstraZeneca’s COVID Vaccine Created Negative Health Outcomes in Britain

The vaccine against Covid-19 that was produced by AstraZeneca, the global science-led biopharmaceutical business, is no longer available for use in Britain by young people who were under age 30 in 2021. The decision was made after a new study of British immunization and death records showed that some young women developed fatal heart conditions within 12 weeks of receiving the vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the U.S. 

Published in the journal Nature Communications, the research indicated that the drug caused an elevated risk of a rare blood-clotting disease among young women in Britain and other European countries. More than 3 billion doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were distributed to 170 countries where it successfully saved lives.  

Republicans Push New ID Requirements Aimed at Restricting Voting by College Students

As more college-age students become voters Democrats can depend on, Republican legislators are trying to clamp down on how students can vote. Some GOP-controlled states like Idaho are passing new laws that prohibit the use of student IDs cards as proof of voter registration. Others are attempting to close down early voting sites on college campuses and want to eliminate polling locations on college campuses. Pre-registration for teens and blocking out-of-state students from voting in their college towns is also up for discussion. 

Since 2016, election officials in Georgia have allowed students at public colleges and universities to present their student IDs for the purpose of voting.  Ohio lawmakers recently passed legislation that increased student photo ID requirements and banned the use of university account statements or utility bills as evidence of residency. In addition to Idaho and Ohio, other states that disallow student IDs for voting include Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee.    

While Border Wait Times Dramatically Grow, Migrants Flock to Big Cities

The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that the residential population of America’s 20 largest counties increased by more than 300,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022. The increase can be correlated to international migration, which includes anyone who relocated to the U.S. during that twelve-month period.  Some U.S. counties including Los Angeles County in California, the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, and Chicago’s Cook County still lost population despite the new residents. Migrants helped stabilize the population in Seattle’s King County as well as in San Diego and Miami-Dade counties. Migrants often relocate to these locations because of existing migrant communities and less restrictive immigration policies. Census numbers on post-pandemic population growth are not yet available. 

Meanwhile at the border with Mexico, the number of migrants lining up for entry to the U.S. continues to grow as wait times’ increase. President Biden was expected to end Title 42 which limited migration during the pandemic but instead issued new restrictions. Now migrants are required to use a new mobile app to make an appointment at a U.S. port of entry. Almost 2.5 million migrants were detained at America’s borders last year. Those numbers have fallen dramatically in 2023.

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