The Rundown: House prepares to vote on Biden’s next big bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters about plans to pass President Joe Biden's domestic agenda as the House meets to debate the "Build Back Better" Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters about plans to pass President Joe Biden's domestic agenda as the House meets to debate the "Build Back Better" Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The Rundown: House prepares to vote on Biden’s next big bill

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Hey there! It’s Thursday, and I have Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” stuck in my head because there’s a partial lunar eclipse tonight. “Together we can take it to the end of the line, your love is like a shadow on me all of the time.” Anyway, here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. House Democrats could vote on Biden’s social policy bill as soon as this evening

President Joe Biden’s ambitious social policy and climate change bill could finally reach a vote in the House today.

The roughly $2 trillion bill calls for a massive expansion of the social safety net by creating universal prekindergarten, providing subsidies for child care, lowering prescription drug costs for some seniors and improving Medicare benefits, among other things.

If it passes the House, the bill will then head to the Senate, where Democrats hope to sign off on the legislation before Christmas.

Republicans claim the bill will further inflame rising consumer prices, but Democrats argue the legislation will provide financial aid to struggling Americans and help the U.S. economy get closer to “normal.” [Washington Post]

2. Rittenhouse jury deliberates for a third day

The 12 jurors in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse today continued to consider the man’s fate after his defense team requested a mistrial.

The Chicago Tribune looks into what can be gleaned from notes sent by the jury yesterday. One requested video evidence of the fatal shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man killed by Rittenhouse. That may indicate that jurors had not reached a decision on that shooting.

Veteran Chicago attorney Joe Lopez told the Tribune that he doesn’t think the length of deliberations says anything about where the jury’s head is at, but “it definitely shows that it wasn’t the slam dunk many people thought it was.” [Trib]

3. People wrongly named in Chicago’s gang database can appeal to be removed

The Chicago City Council this week empowered the Police Board to hear appeals from people who want their names removed from the city’s controversial gang database.

“It is certainly a positive step that gang designations will no longer follow people around for the rest of their lives,” said Sheila Bedi, a Northwestern University law professor and director of the Civil Rights and Community Justice clinic.

The database has long been criticized for containing inaccurate information that wrongly funnels large numbers of Black and brown people into the criminal justice system. Two years ago, the city’s top watchdog released a scathing report that found the database was not regularly audited for mistakes. [WBEZ]

4. U.S. jobless claims fall for seventh week in a row

Some good news for the economy: Unemployment claims dropped to a new pandemic low of 268,000 last week, the Labor Department announced today.

Jobless claims are edging closer to their pre-pandemic level of about 220,000 a week, a sign that the U.S. labor market is regaining strength from last year’s brief but intense recession.

Altogether, about 2.1 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment checks the first week in November, down by 129,000 from the week before. [AP]

5. The cast from the Harry Potter movies is reuniting for 20th anniversary

The gang at Hogwarts is getting back together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film in an HBO Max special slated for New Year’s Day.

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and other cast and crew members will be reuniting, but a big name is off the roster: author J.K. Rowling. A source close to the production would not tell NPR why Rowling will not appear or whether she was asked to participate and declined.

Rowling in recent years has drawn controversy over her opinions on transgender issues, with some within the LGBTQ community saying they amount to transphobia. Radcliffe, Watson and Grint distanced themselves from the author and have stood by the trans community. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Oklahoma’s governor commuted the death sentence of Julius Jones, who says he was framed in the 1999 killing of a suburban Oklahoma City businessman. [AP]
  • CVS announced it will close about 900 stores over the next three years as it focuses on online shoppers. [CNBC]
  • A detective says Tiger King star Carole Baskin has refused to be interviewed about the disappearance of her second husband, a case that was reopened after the Netflix series. [AP]
  • Jonah Hill will play Jerry Garcia in an upcoming movie about The Grateful Dead from Martin Scorsese. [Hollywood Reporter]

Oh, and one more thing …

It’s been a big week for Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize winner and creator of The 1619 Project, a series from The New York Times that reframed American history by placing the institution of slavery at the center of the national narrative.

A new book out this week, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, expands on that series. Hannah-Jones joins WBEZ’s Art of Power to talk about her work and why journalism is not a neutral profession.

“I want you to feel deeply disturbed and hopefully guilty by the time you finish my work so that then you will feel the desire to do something differently,” she said. [WBEZ]

You can also catch Hannah-Jones this Saturday at the Chicago Humanities Festival. [CHF]

Tell me something good …

The weather is steadily getting colder, and I’d like to know: What are your plans this winter?

Ken writes:

“One of the great things about winter is that it allows you to stay in all day, light a fire, play board games and make incredible homemade food. That’s what my husband and I do. You can occasionally throw in some binge watching of only the best shows. And when possible, cross-country skiing at the huge park four blocks down.”

Feel free to email me at or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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