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10 Things in Politics: Big Tech boosts vax mandates

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Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about:

What we're watching today: President Joe Biden will speak about the Delta variant and the state of vaccinations.

With Phil Rosen.

Google New York Office
Google in New York City. Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

1. UP TO (MAN)DATE?: The US will never have a federal vaccine mandate. (The White House has said this numerous times.) But like masks, corporate America could well fill the void by imposing what are essentially mandates on employees across the nation. It remains to be seen whether large companies will ever explicitly say get the shot or lose your job, but what is clear from the NFL to Facebook is that unvaccinated Americans are facing more onerous requirements if they hold out.

A look at what has unfolded so far:

Google's parent company and Facebook said any employee returning to US offices must be fully vaccinated: And Netflix broke ground in Hollywood by becoming the first major studio to standardize a vaccine requirement across all US productions.

Biden is expected to unveil a requirement for 2 million federal employees: Biden is expected to issue an order today to federal agencies asking employees to confirm they are fully vaccinated or require them to submit to weekly testing, Politico reports. But the order will apparently leave it up to individual agencies to determine whether employees need to show proof of getting the vaccine.

  • This would not apply to the military: Biden is said to be unlikely to sign an additional order requiring that troops receive a COVID-19 vaccine like the existing mandate for active-duty troops to get an anthrax shot. This means it will be up to the Pentagon how to proceed.

Here's a list of companies that have announced requirements so far.

2. Senators advance on infrastructure plan after a bipartisan vote: Biden's $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure agreement advanced in the Senate in a major test vote with the support of 17 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. There's still no actual bill, though senators involved in crafting the legislation praised the progress to get this far. Where things stand now.

3. Republican governors dig in against CDC's new mask guidance: Governors in Texas, Arizona, Iowa, and Nebraska all made clear their states would not follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest advice for Americans - vaccinated or not - to wear masks indoors in areas where COVID-19 cases are high, The Hill reports. Many Republican-controlled state legislatures have already passed laws barring local school districts from requiring masks as well. Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa called the new guidance "not grounded in reality or common sense."

  • Some Republican lawmakers pushed back on wearing masks: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was caught calling House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a "moron" for his opposition to a renewed mandate to wear masks in the Capitol, Politico reports. Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado threw a mask back at a staffer who offered one, later calling it a "face muzzle." More on the simmering tensions just days before lawmakers are scheduled to return home.

4. Pfizer is pushing for booster shots: The drugmaker said its COVID-19 vaccine's protection begins to wane after about six months. The company's chief scientific officer said a third-dose jab would help "maintain the highest level of protection," though the CDC continues to disagree with such a request. Indeed, booster shots remain the subject of a wide-ranging debate.

5. Trump was said to have called the attorney general almost daily to press election-fraud investigations: Sources told The Washington Post that Donald Trump during his final months as president called acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen regularly to alert him to claims of voter fraud or allege improper vote counts. Rosen told few people of the calls, but one of his top aides apparently took notes on some of their conversations. Lawmakers could now ask Rosen to testify about what Trump said.

6. Pelosi splits with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on student loans: Pelosi said Biden could not cancel student-loan debt as Schumer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and other lawmakers have claimed in a push to wipe out $50,000 of debt per student. Pelosi said only Congress could take such action. The White House previously asked two agencies to review Biden's power. More on the disagreement.

7. White House is reportedly unlikely to revoke a Trump-era immigration policy: The Biden administration has shelved plans to phase out Title 42, the controversial public-health law that the US has used to return more than 1 million migrants to Mexico amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, The Washington Post reports. The delay is also due to the large number of migrants still entering the US. More than 188,000 border crossers were taken into custody in June, the largest monthly total in 21 years. More on what's happening and the administration's decision to reinstate fast-track deportations for families.

8. Facebook beat earnings estimates: The social network warned, however, that growth might slow amid Apple's new data-collection rules. As lawmakers crack down on Big Tech with greater antitrust scrutiny than ever before, the tech giant said its pandemic-era boom wouldn't be sustainable.

9. The Ever Given's journey is finally complete: The massive container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March has arrived in the Dutch port of Rotterdam, The Wall Street Journal reports. Among its cargo is womenswear that is now so last season.

10. All the moments you missed at the Olympics: Swimmer Caeleb Dressel fought back tears after a record-breaking swim in the men's 100-meter freestyle. This was Dressel's first individual gold medal.

Finke again: American Bobby Finke looked to be out of medal contention in the inaugural men's 800-meter freestyle. Then he staged an incredible comeback in the final 50 meters that shocked even his teammates. You have to see the gold-medal-winning end for yourself.

American Bobby Finke celebrates after winning gold at Tokyo 2020.
Bobby Finke. ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

Another US Olympian is out because of COVID-19: Pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, whom you probably know from his viral reaction to the national anthem playing during the 2016 games, is out after a positive test. He was considered a medal contender.

Why Simone Biles' vault was so terrifying: Gymnasts refer to what happened to the all-time great as getting "the twisties." Such a feeling can lead to serious injuries for gymnasts who are soaring high up in the air. Here's what her recovery could look like. Elite gymnasts say Biles is lucky she didn't blow out a knee.

Olympic swag: Team USA Olympians on TikTok are showing off the free clothing and merch they receive. It's a wild amount. There's even an athletes-only smartphone.

Today's trivia question: Sticking with Olympic basketball, the 1972 Team USA basketball team suffered a historic and controversial defeat. Feelings remain so raw that at least two members of the team have something about it in their wills. What is it? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

  • Yesterday's answer: The 1992 Dream Team was historically good - to the point that the entire team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. But what you may not know is that through all eight of their games, incredibly, head coach Chuck Daly never even called a timeout.

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