US Domestic News Roundup: Top U.S. senator demands inquiry into Justice Dept grants system; U.S. Justice Department to launch new crackdown on firearms trafficking and more
The origin of the so-called Bootleg fire, which was first reported July 6 in the Fremont-Winema National Forest some 250 miles south of Portland, came to light as ground crews made increasing headway in curtailing the blaze. Biden says CDC will advise unvaccinated kids to mask up in school this fall U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control is likely to advise that kids who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks when they return from summer holidays to school in the fall.
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Top U.S. senator demands inquiry into Justice Dept grants system
A top U.S. Senate Republican has demanded an investigation into new Justice Department grant-management software, after Reuters reported https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-47-billion-grant-programs-tech-woes-take-toll-justice-groups-2021-07-12 that technological glitches in the system have delayed funding programs from police departments to victims' service providers. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley in a letter on Wednesday asked Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to launch a formal probe into the department's roll-out of the new software, known as JustGrants, which manages a $4.7 billion grant program.
U.S. Justice Department to launch new crackdown on firearms trafficking
The U.S. Justice Department this week is formally launching a new effort to crack down on firearms trafficking, in a strategy that involves the creation of five strike forces that will partner with local law enforcement to disrupt criminals selling guns used in crimes. The strike forces, which were first announced in June https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/us-justice-department-launch-new-effort-crack-down-firearms-trafficking-2021-06-22, will be concentrated in "significant gun trafficking corridors" including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Republicans abandon Capitol riot probe after Pelosi rejects Jordan, Banks
The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday withdrew his five nominees to serve on the special committee probing the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of them. Pelosi had earlier rejected Representatives Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, staunch defenders of former President Donald Trump, from serving on the panel investigating the Trump supporters who assaulted Congress in an attempt to stop it from certifying President Joe Biden's election.
Pennsylvania decertifies county's voting machines after 2020 audit
Pennsylvania's top election official has decertified the voting equipment of a rural county that participated in an audit of the 2020 election requested by a Republican state lawmaker and staunch ally of former President Donald Trump. Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid said on Wednesday that Fulton County violated the state election code by giving a third party access to its election databases and other certified equipment in an audit of the 2020 results.
Republicans nix U.S. infrastructure debate, which could resume next week
U.S. Senate Republicans blocked a move to open debate on Wednesday on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure that is a top priority for Democratic President Joe Biden, but the chamber was poised to take it up again as early as Monday. Republicans objected to opening debate on the bill https://www.reuters.com/world/us/whats-us-senates-12-trillion-infrastructure-plan-2021-06-24 because it was not yet written, although it is not unusual for the chamber to vote on a skeleton "shell" bill to move the legislative process along.
Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty ahead of rape trial in Los Angeles
Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of rape and sexual assault involving five women in Los Angeles ahead of a second trial. Weinstein, 69, arrived at Los Angeles Superior Court for his first appearance there in a wheelchair, wearing a brown jail uniform, after being extradited from New York on Tuesday where he was serving 23 years in prison for rape and other sexual offenses.
Lightning found to have ignited Oregon's mammoth Bootleg fire
A destructive Oregon wildfire that ranks as the largest among dozens raging across the drought-parched Western United States in recent weeks was ignited by lightning but smoldered for days before it was detected, forest officials said on Wednesday. The origin of the so-called Bootleg fire, which was first reported July 6 in the Fremont-Winema National Forest some 250 miles south of Portland, came to light as ground crews made increasing headway in curtailing the blaze.
Biden says CDC will advise unvaccinated kids to mask up in school this fall
U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control is likely to advise that kids who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks when they return from summer holidays to school in the fall. The CDC is "going to say that what you should do is everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing masks in school. That's probably what's going to happen," Biden said at a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, in response to a question about school safety from a concerned parent.
U.S. retailers scramble to stock shelves as kids head back to school
At Stationery and Toy World, a family-owned shop in New York's Upper West Side, manager Gary Rowe is having difficulty getting all the pens and folders he ordered for the important back-to-school season. His usual vendors have low stocks of Pilot's erasable FriXion pens and Paper Mate Flair marker pens - and prices are high on stationery and other in-demand school supplies.
Pandemic goes on for the unvaccinated, Biden tells Trump-area town hall
President Joe Biden pleaded with Americans on Wednesday to get vaccinated, as rising COVID-19 cases threaten to undermine progress against the pandemic and slow the country's economic rebound. "Look, it's real simple. We have a pandemic for those who haven't gotten a vaccination. It's that basic, that simple," Biden said at a town-hall event in Ohio that was broadcast on CNN.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)