Lawmakers get back to work after delaying infrastructure bill vote
After talks between key lawmakers and White House officials lasted into the evening, the House delayed a vote Thursday on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill as negotiations continue on separate legislation with President Joe Biden’s social welfare priorities. Talks are expected to resume Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said this week she wouldn’t call a vote on the infrastructure bill without also having legislative language for the compromise reached with the Senate and White House on the $3.5 trillion package of Biden’s priorities. A source told USA TODAY that top aides to Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., met with White House officials to try to nail down a compromise on Biden’s budget package to get moderate Democratic senators on board. Dozens of progressive Democrats have threatened to vote against the infrastructure bill unless it moves in tandem with the larger package. If Republicans united against the measure, a loss of four Democrats could have rejected the bill.
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USPS mail delivery will slow down
On Friday, some mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service will begin to take longer to get to recipients because of new standards added by the agency. The USPS will “implement new service standards for First Class Mail and Periodicals,” a spokesperson told USA TODAY. The changes mean an increased time-in-transit for mail traveling long distances, such as from New York to California. But most first-class mail, or standard-sized letters and flats, as well as periodicals, will be unaffected by the changes, according to USPS. The changes are part of the Postal Service’s much-criticized, 10-year strategic plan, which was announced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in March.
Federal judge to hold hearing on Texas abortion ban
A federal judge in Texas is set to hold a hearing Friday on a request by the Justice Department to temporarily halt enforcement of an abortion ban while underlying constitutional questions are resolved. A 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law in September in a ruling that did not reach whether the law is constitutional. It prompted an outcry from reproductive rights advocates who noted the ban conflicts with the court’s abortion precedents. The underlying questions raised by the case are still pending in lower courts. Last week, abortion rights groups brought a new challenge to the Supreme Court in an effort to stop the law’s enforcement. The Texas law passed in September bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Disney World celebrates 50th anniversary
The public had never seen anything quite like it: On Oct. 1, 1971, the imaginary world of Disney came alive with the opening of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Mickey Mouse led the first lucky visitors – a local family – into the Magic Kingdom while beloved characters danced and sang. Setting the stage for what would become the East Coast vacation destination, Maestro Arthur Fiedler conducted the 60-nation World Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood star Bob Hope led the dedication of the Contemporary Resort, and “Music Man” Meredith Willson conducted the grand opening parade’s marching band. On Friday, the resort celebrates its 50th anniversary with the official debut of two new fireworks shows. The celebration will continue for 18 months.
October raises awareness of breast cancer, domestic violence and LGBTQ history
October is Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence Awareness and LGBTQ History Month. Advocates started observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, and developments in treatment since then have given patients greater options and more hope. Domestic Violence Awareness Month, meanwhile, was launched in 1987. The coronavirus pandemic, which experts say has made some people more vulnerable at home, and the case of Gabby Petito, who vanished while on a cross-country expedition with her fiancé and was later found dead, brought nationwide concern about domestic violence back to the forefront. “On average, three women a day are killed in this country from domestic violence, and we’re not doing enough to address it,” one advocate said. LGBTQ History Month also begins Friday. Every day in October one LGBTQ individual’s achievements are spotlighted by the civil rights group the Equality Forum, with upcoming honorees including suffragist Susan B. Anthony and poet W.H. Auden.