Politics Rundown: US investigates deadly airstrike and seeks to avoid government shutdown

Biden encourages COVID-19 vaccination, but judge halts federal mandate.

Hannah Larson, Staff Writer

The omicron coronavirus strain was recently discovered in South Africa and shows signs of being more dangerous than other variants. President Joe Biden said the recent omicron variant  is not cause for alarm, but rather for heightened concern. He called on Americans to receive the vaccine and booster shots and wear masks to prevent potential lockdowns. Biden said the United States will institute travel restrictions for eight southern African countries to prevent the spread of the recently detected variant. 

VACCINE MANDATE BLOCKED

District Judge Matthew Schlep blocked the Biden administration from enacting a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for thousands of health care workers after determining that the vaccine mandate overreaches beyond Congressional authority. The ruling comes after 10 states sued the Biden administration over a federal order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for over 17 million health care providers. 

SYRIAN AIRSTRIKE INVESTIGATION

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that four-star general Michael Garrett will investigate a 2019 U.S. airstrike in Syria that killed civilians. Garrett will look into how many civilians were killed and if the U.S.’s attack remained in accordance with the rules of war. The investigation comes after a New York Times story reported that the military acted to hide the airstrike and resultant death toll. 

IMPENDING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Congress needs to either pass a spending bill or a short-term resolution before Friday Dec. 3 or the government will shut down. Without an extension, the current measure that provides money for federal agencies will expire. Following that deadline, Congress plans to raise or eliminate the debt ceiling to keep the government from defaulting on its payments or risk economic collapse. 

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