Cheney replacement forum, Colonial Pipeline, Pfizer vaccine: 5 things to know Thursday

Potential replacements for Rep. Liz Cheney will participate in forum

Following a vote to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her position as GOP Conference chair, Republicans will hold a forum for her potential replacements. The frontrunner is New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has announced a formal effort to take Cheney's old position. Other candidates must declare their candidacy, as Stefanik has done. Lawmakers exiting the vote said on Wednesday that they plan to hold another meeting on Friday to determine who will take Cheney's place. House Republicans removed Cheney as House GOP Conference chair after her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump over his alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and her continued outspoken criticism of the former president.

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Biden administration monitoring Colonial Pipeline as service resumes

President Joe Biden's administration is in "very close contact" with Colonial Pipeline after a cyberattack disrupted fuel deliveries and threatened a gas shortage across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The president also signed an executive order Wednesday to modernize the nation's cyber defense. Colonial Pipeline reopened its pipeline operation Wednesday afternoon after closing it for six days. However, the company said it would take several days before its supply chain could return to normal. One expert told USA TODAY that consumers should expect fuel shortages to go away by Memorial Day. In the meantime, multiple experts have urged Americans not to hoard gas. Still, the practice has persisted.

Latest round of fighting between Israel, Hamas shows no signs of stopping

Israel on Wednesday pressed ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 senior Hamas military figures and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in airstrikes. Israel's military said more raids conducted early Thursday were aimed at several "strategically significant" facilities. On the opposite side, Gaza militants continued to bombard Israel with nonstop rocket fire throughout Wednesday and into early Thursday. In just three days, this latest round of fighting between the bitter enemies has already begun to resemble a devastating 50-day war in 2014. Like in that war, neither side appears to have an exit strategy. The Biden administration has dispatched a top State Department diplomat to the Middle East "immediately" to try to de-escalate the deadly conflict.

US adolescents aged 12-15 can get Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Children ages 12 to 15 in states across the country will be able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Thursday after a federal advisory committee signed off on the shots Wednesday. In fact, children in Georgia have already begun getting the vaccine. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended adolescents in the age group should receive other routine vaccinations along with the COVID-19 shot. Out of an abundance of caution, the original recommendation for COVID-19 vaccines had included a two-week window of separation between a COVID-19 shot and any other vaccine so the cause of any side effects would be clear and so that safety data could be collected. The recommendation was also updated for all age groups by the committee, said the CDC's Dr. Kate Woodworth.

Jennifer Garner, Jill Biden to visit West Virginia schools, vaccination center

First lady Jill Biden and actress Jennifer Garner are set to visit West Virginia on Thursday, touring the Arnoldsburg Elementary School in Clay County and visiting a COVID-19 vaccination center at Capital High School in Charleston. Biden also will visit with West Virginia National Guard members and their families. This is not the first time the pair have met. Ahead of the 2020 election in October, Garner, who grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, hosted a virtual conversation with Biden to discuss her priorities for the country and her plans should President Joe Biden, then a candidate, win the election.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cheney replacements, Colonial Pipeline: 5 things to know Thursday