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Here’s What You Need To Know On Wednesday, December 21st, 2022





1. House and Senate on the Clock to Pass National Budget


Ahead of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's visit to US Capitol in Washington

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

What You Need to Know:

Tuesday morning Congressional negotiators released an almost $1.7 trillion deal to keep the country funded and avert a government shutdown. If approved, which many think it will, the $1.66 trillion budget will fund the government through the next fiscal year, September 30, 2023.

Among the top-funded government departments or programs, a large increase of $858 billion in defense spending, which features $40 billion in aid to Ukraine. Domestically, there is $40 billion in spending to assist areas of the country recovering from drought, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. A new addition to the government spending bill is a ban on the use of the Chinese app, TikTok, by government employees on government devices. Removing the app was a bipartisan effort, initiated by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and endorsed by outgoing House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).


2. Jill Biden is “All In”



Source: SAUL LOEB / Getty


What You Need to Know:

After initial skepticism, First Lady Jill Biden is “all in” on her husband seeking another four-year term of office, according to a new report Thursday.

As recently as early fall, Jill Biden, 71, was described as “not a proponent” of 80-year-old President Biden running again, but shifted her outlook after last month’s midterm elections, when Democrats kept control of the Senate and only narrowly lost their majority in the House, CNN reported, citing seven people familiar with the first lady’s thinking.

Jill Biden is now fully on board with a possible 2024 campaign, despite one source describing her as “exhausted” from several weeks of taking a prominent part in White House events.


3. Court Upholds Ban on Contractor Vaccine Mandate in 3 States




Source: ROBYN BECK / Getty

What You Need to Know:

A federal appeals court panel has upheld a decision blocking President Joe Biden’s administration from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations as part of federal contracts with three states.

The ruling, dated Monday, is the latest in a series of setbacks for Biden’s attempt to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates by requiring contractors doing work for the federal government to ensure their employees are vaccinated.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans applies only to contracts involving Indiana, Louisiana and Mississippi. But the mandate has been blocked or partially blocked in half the states as a result of multiple lawsuits.

Biden’s administration is not enforcing the contractor vaccination requirement in any states, as the legal battles continue to play out.


4. Davante Lewis Becomes First Openly LGBTQ Person Elected to Louisiana State Government



What You Need to Know:

Davante Lewis became the first openly LGBTQ person ever elected to a state-level office in Louisiana. He is also the first openly LGBTQ Black person elected in state history.

Lewis defeated three-term incumbent Lambert Boissiere III, a Black Democrat from New Orleans. The Associated Press called the race for Lewis with votes still being counted Saturday night.

The number of LGBTQ people holding elected office in the country has surged over the past five years, but Louisiana has largely been left out of that trend.


5. Black and Missing: Darian Boone


The family and friends of Darian Boone are seeking the help of the public to find their loved one. The 28-year-old was last seen November 19 on the 3800 block of Garrison Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a black sweatsuit and brown Timberland boots.

Police located his abandoned 2006 Chrysler 300 in Northwest Baltimore on November 23 but did not find any clues or information regarding his whereabouts.

Anyone with information about Darian’s disappearance should go to the Black and Missing Foundation website.