Posts tagged with "NBC News"

Schumer urges Republicans not to block anti-Asian hate crimes measure

April 14, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said Tuesday that he plans to bring a bill targeting anti-Asian hate crimes to the floor this week—and urged Republicans not to block it, NBC News reports.

“Combating hate in the Asian American community can and should be bipartisan,” Schumer said at a press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Asian American lawmakers.

According to NBC, Schumer noted he needs 60 senators to vote to proceed to the legislation—which means that, even if all 50 Democratic members were to vote in favor of taking up the bill, they would still need support from 10 Republicans.

“I hope it’ll be many more than 60. Who would oppose this very simple, but necessary legislation?” Schumer asked.

The legislation, which Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced in March, would direct the Department of Justice to expedite the review of COVID-19-related hate crimes reported to law enforcement agencies and help them establish ways to report such incidents online and perform public outreach.

The bill also would direct the attorney general and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue best-practices guidance on how to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID–19 pandemic.

If the bill advances to debate, Schumer said he intends to hold a vote on a bipartisan amendment from Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), stemming from their own anti-hate crime proposal. Their bill would streamline the national reporting systems used by law enforcement agencies and train them in investigating hate crimes. It would also create a hate crimes hotline, establish programs to rehabilitate offenders, and expand assistance and resources for victims.

Pelosi, meanwhile, said a similar measure proposed by Representative Grace Meng (D-New York) will be marked up in committee in the House in the next week and will get passed immediately on the floor.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Biden targets ‘ghost guns’ and ‘red flag’ laws in new gun control measures

April 9, 2021

In a Rose Garden speech on March 8, President Joe Biden announced that he would introduce regulations to limit “ghost guns;” and would make it easier for people to flag family members who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms with a series of executive actions taken in the wake of recent mass shootings, NBC News reported.

The actions Biden intends to take are limited—and will still likely face legal opposition from gun rights advocates, who view any efforts to limit access as a violation of the Second Amendment.

The changes come in the wake of shootings in Georgia and Colorado and focus not just on trying to limit mass shootings, but also at reducing other forms of gun violence, such as suicides and domestic violence, Biden said.

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it is an international embarrassment,” Biden said in remarks he made in the Rose Garden. He was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland. A number of Democratic congressional members, gun control advocates, and local officials also attended.

Biden also announced he is nominating David Chipman, a gun control advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.

The White House detailed the planned executive actions, arguing that Biden’s instructions to the Department of Justice will curb access to guns, NBC News said.

Biden directed the DOJ to write rules that will reduce the proliferation of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms often made from parts bought online and that do not have traceable serial numbers. Biden said he wants kits and parts used to make guns to be treated as firearms where the parts have serial numbers and are subject to a background check.

Biden also sought to reduce access to stabilizing braces, which can effectively turn a pistol into a more lethal rifle while not being subject to the same regulations that a rifle of similar size would be. Biden said the alleged shooter in Boulder appears to have used one of these devices.

Finally, he asked the DOJ to publish model “red flag” laws for states to use as guides. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement agencies to petition state courts to temporarily block people from obtaining firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. Biden said states with such red flag laws have seen a reduction in the number of suicides.

Biden directed the DOJ to issue a report on firearms trafficking, which hasn’t been done since 2000. He also will announce support for programs aimed at “reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration,” according to a fact sheet shared by the White House.

The new guidelines are bound to face opposition from both sides of the aisle in Congress, NBC noted.

“The idea is just bizarre to suggest some of the things we are recommending is contrary to the Constitution,” Biden said.

And he has vowed to do more. In a call with reporters Wednesday night, administration officials stressed that Thursday’s actions were just the first step and that Biden would still pursue legislative solutions to gun violence.

“This is an initial set of actions to make progress on President Biden’s gun violence reduction agenda,” one official said. “The administration will be pursuing legislative and executive actions at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence.”

“The job of any president is to protect the American people, whether Congress acts or not,” Biden said. “I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe from gun violence. But there’s much more that Congress can do to help that effort.”

Biden asked Congress to pass legislation already through the House to tighten background checks and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. He also called again for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and removed liability protections for gun makers.

Research contact: @NBCNews

 

Rights and wrongs: Congress prepares for heated battle over massive voting rights bill

March 30, 2021

Congress is preparing for a heated battle over the way Americans vote, with the two parties set to clash over proposed federal election standards versus Republican-led state restrictions, NBC News reports.

At issue is the fate of the For the People Act, which would that would modify the rules for American elections from start to finish. The bill would expand access to the ballot box by:

  • Creating automatic voter registration across the country and offering same-day registration for federal races;
  • Restoring the voting rights of the formerly incarcerated;
  • Enforcing the time allotted for early voting to at least 15 days in every state nationwide;
  • Providing universal access to mail-in voting;
  • Modernizing America’s voting infrastructure; and
  • Making Election Day a national holiday.

The House measure passed 220-210, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in voting against it. The divisions between the two parties are sharp, NBC notes. President Joe Biden and Democrats say federal intervention is needed to stop Republicans from reviving racist Jim Crow-style restrictions that make it harder for minorities to vote. Republicans say Democrats are executing a power grab to remove necessary protections on the voting process and usurp authority from states.

Where they agree: This is about the future of democracy.

According to the network news outlet, the fight is sure to touch raw nerves in a country that saw its Capitol attacked just months ago by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters—who were egged on by groundless claims that rampant fraud had stolen the election from their candidate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has promised a Senate vote on the House bill after the committee process, along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which empowers the federal government to review discriminatory voting laws.

“This Senate will once again be the forum where civil rights is debated and historic action is taken to secure them for all Americans,” Schumer said in a letter to senators. “Each of these bills will receive full consideration in committee and eventually on the Senate floor.”

The bill, known as H.R.1 and S.1, got a hearing on March 26 in the Senate Rules Committee that featured rare sparring on the panel between Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), signaling the commitment on each side to their irreconcilable positions.

McConnell criticized the bill as “a grab-bag of changes” that go beyond voting rights. He highlighted a provision to restructure the Federal Election Commission, calling it a ploy to make it more partisan. He called the campaign finance restrictions an assault on free speech and a gift to “cancel culture.”

“ The S.1 bill is highly unlikely to win the minimum ten Republicans needed to break a filibuster. And Democrats have yet to unify their 50-member caucus to secure a majority.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Democrats, Republicans squabble over D.C. statehood effort

March 24, 2021

Lawmakers on the House Oversight and Reform Committee clashed on Monday over the effort to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state—a proposal that has been gaining popularity among Democrats and the public, NBC News reports.

GOP members faced off with Democrats over “the Washington, D.C. Admission Act“—which was introduced in late January in the House by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents D.C.; and in the Senate by Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware.

According to NBC, Democrats argued that Washingtonians are treated as second-class citizens—performing the responsibilities of citizens, but not receiving representation in Congress in return. Republicans, by contrast, voiced their staunch opposition to the effort, claiming that the legislation violates the Constitution.

Norton, however, noted that the Constitution’s Admissions Clause gives Congress authority to admit new states, with 37 current states having been admitted through an act of Congress. The longtime delegate who has pushed for D.C. statehood for years explained that the issue is personal.

“My own family has lived through almost 200 years of change in the District of Columbia, since my great grandfather, Richard Holmes, as a slave, walked away from a plantation in Virginia, and made his way to the district. Today it is my great honor to serve in a city where my father’s family has lived without equal representation for almost two centuries,” she said. “Congress can no longer allow D.C. residents to be sidelined in the democratic process.”

Norton said that D.C. has “never been closer” to statehood until now—with Democrats in control of the House, Senate, and White House.

Democrats have intensified their push for D.C. statehood since they took control of the Senate this year. The House would likely pass the legislation again, which it did in the last Congress, but it has little chance of clearing the evenly divided Senate given the 60-vote hurdle to overcome a filibuster.

Many GOP lawmakers have expressed opposition to D.C. statehood given that any congressional representation would almost certainly be Democratic.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Shoppers snap up furniture and fashion from Oprah’s interview with Harry and Meghan

March 23, 2021

You might not be able to sit down with Oprah, but you can sit down like Oprah, thanks to patio furniture that resembles the set featured in her interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, NBC News reports.

While the focus of Oprah’s widely watched conversation with the couple revolved around several bombshell revelations about the royal family, the patio furniture and the outfits and accessories worn by Meghan and Oprah Winfrey also got lots of attention.

According to NBC, several news outlets already have tracked down a set of chairs that they claimed were the ones used in the interview. The set, which was available on Amazon and at several other retailers, was listed for about $600 and is sold out on multiple sites. Another nearly identical set of rattan chairs on Walmart.com retailed for over $300 and is also sold out. Lookalikes for other items, such as the outdoor rug, the low table and the succulents centerpiece, were also featured in articles and quickly sold out.

It wasn’t just the patio furniture that had people talking.

Oprah’s Götti eyeglasses spawned articles with several lookalike frames, and the designer of Meghan’s dress was quickly identified as Giorgio Armani.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData’s retail division, attributed the fascination with clothing, accessories and even patio furniture to two things.

“First of all, a lot of famous people tend to be very put together in their outfits. Someone like Oprah will have a stylist, will think about what she’s wearing. … That does make the clothes they wear quite enviable,” Saunders told NBC News. “The other thing, when you have someone like Meghan, a lot of people admire her, [which] makes her a kind of icon as an individual, and people look to emulate that in terms of the things she’s wearing to try to get a bit of that kind of attitude or personality into their own psyche.”

There was also lots of speculation about the significance of the lotus flower featured on Meghan’s dress, which mirrors similar treatments of the sartorial and styling choices other politicians, royals, and world figures make when they appear in public. An entire industry has cropped up dedicated to analyzing the choices celebrities make with their ensembles, which can often carry significant meaning, be it positive or negative.

“Where there’s a very high-profile event, be it an inauguration or big interview like this that lots of people tune in to, inevitably the products and the outfits and garments featured really gather a lot of attention,” Saunders said. “You start having a lot of curiosity about where these products came from, and then people search them out online or find things that are similar.”

The fascination then leads to increased spending as the items are quickly sourced and sell out online. As consumers have sought out such information more readily, designers have become more vocal on social media, taking ownership of certain looks and sharing details about the process and inspiration behind them.

The designers and stylists behind outfits worn by the Obamas, Kate and Meghan have made similar posts in the past, and Ivanka Trump used social media to promote her eponymous clothing line after an appearance at the Republican National Convention.

After Biden’s inauguration, the hairstylist who worked on Michelle Obama’s hair posted on Instagram about the look. The designer who made first lady Jill Biden’s ensemble for inauguration night shared that it featured the official flowers from every state and U.S. territory.

“Social  media platforms have really democratized fashion and trends, because it becomes very, very easy for a designer to really showcase their wares to very large audiences in a way that in the past you just couldn’t do,” Saunders said. “Before the advent of social media, to amplify your brand you would have to get a placement in one of the big magazines, you’d have to get on the news or be talked about in the media, and that wasn’t always easy.”

Now, not only is it easier for the designers to promote the looks, but consumers are also so eager to emulate what they see on famous figures that other designers and brands will often launch similar styles or “knockoffs” to capitalize on the fascination and spending.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Biden says Putin is a ‘killer,’ who will ‘pay a price’ for interfering in U.S. politics

March 19, 2021

Moscow responded angrily on March 18—a day after U.S. President Joe Biden labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer” during a TV interview and warned that Russia would “pay a price” for 2020 election interference, NBC News reports.

Following Biden’s comments, which aired in America on Wednesday and also were seen on Russian state TV, Moscow immediately recalled its ambassador to the United States for “consultations,” the foreign ministry said.

Asked about Biden’s comments on Thursday, Putin said he wished his counterpart in Washington good health and was saying that “without irony—but charged that the comments reflected America’s own troubled past.

While praising the American people, Putin said the legacy of slavery and the country’s treatment of Native Americans weighed heavily on its dealings abroad.

“In the history of every people, every state, there are a lot of hard, dramatic and bloody events. But when we evaluate other people or even other governments, we always look as if into the mirror. We always see ourselves in it,” Putin said.

“I remember when I was young and I got into fights with my friends, we always used to say ‘whoever calls names is called that himself,'” he added.

“And that’s not just a children’s joke. The meaning is quite deep psychologically. We always see our own qualities in another person and think that he/she is like ourselves. And coming from that, evaluate his/her actions and evaluate him/her overall.”

Putin’s response was delivered during a call with residents of Crimea marking the anniversary of its 2014 annexation from Ukraine. He added that Russia would still cooperate with the U.S. where it serves Moscow’s interests.

The comments came shortly after the Kremlin said Biden’s remarks suggested that he “definitely does not want to improve relations” between the two countries, NBC News noted.

“I won’t be wordy in reaction to this,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “I will only say that these are very bad statements by the U.S. president.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not cite specific reasons for recalling ambassador Anatoly Antonov on Wednesday, but Russia’s embassy in Washington, D.C. released its own comment early Thursday blaming “certain ill-considered statements of high-ranking U.S. officials” for putting the “already excessively confrontational relations under the threat of collapse.”

During Wednesday’s interview with ABC News Biden said that Russia would face consequences for meddling in last year’s presidential election after a declassified report from the U.S. national intelligence director’s office found earlier this week that Putin authorized influence operations to help former President Donald Trump in last November’s election.

“(Putin) will pay a price,” Biden said, when asked about the report. Biden did not disclose what price Putin could pay, only saying, “You will see shortly.”

The Kremlin had earlier dismissed the allegations in the report as baseless.

Asked if he thinks Putin is a killer, Biden said, “I do.”

Biden also confirmed that he once told Putin the Russian leader doesn’t “have a soul.” He said Putin responded to the comment, made during a visit to the Kremlin as vice president in 2011, by saying “We understand each other.”

The State Department said Wednesday that it was aware of Russia’s decision to recall its ambassador.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the Biden Administration will take a more straightforward and direct approach in its relationship with Russia than did former President Donald Trump.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Elon Musk officially has been crowned the ‘Techno-King of Tesla’

March 16, 2021

Tesla officially gave CEO Elon Musk the title of “Techno-King [AKA Technoking] of Tesla,” in a new regulatory filing on Monday, March 15, NBC News reports.

Musk will retain his position as CEO, Tesla said. Zach Kirkhorn, Tesla’s CFO, has also been given a new title: “Master of Coin.”

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 15, the electric vehicle company said: “Effective as of March 15, 2021, the titles of Elon Musk and Zach Kirkhorn have changed to Technoking of Tesla and Master of Coin, respectively. Elon and Zach will also maintain their respective positions as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer.”

It’s unclear what has prompted the new titles, NBC news says. Last month, the Californian startup announced it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin.

Tesla shares surged by 600% last year, quadrupling Musk’s personal fortune and briefly putting him ahead of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man. Tesla shares have had a rockier start to 2021, but last week the stock surged 20% in one day after data from the China Passenger Car Association showed Tesla sold 18,318 Model 3s and Model Ys made at its Shanghai vehicle plant in China.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Key takeaways from the review of Capitol Hill security after January 6 insurrection

March 10, 2021

A report commissioned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) in the wake of the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol calls for increased staffing and intelligence for the Capitol Police, a permanent “quick reaction” force, and “mobile” fencing.

On Monday, House members were briefed on the final draft of the report by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré. NBC News reported that the network was provided a copy by a senior Democratic aide.

According to NBC, the report says the force currently is ill-equipped to deal with the “volume and nature” of the threats facing the Capitol complex, many of which are coming from “domestic elements.”

“The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) were understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained to secure the Capitol and Members when violently attacked by a large mob,” the report says, and is still vulnerable over two months later.

“The USCP is not postured to track, assess, plan against, or respond to this plethora of threats due to significant capacity shortfalls, inadequate training, immature processes, and an operating culture that is not intelligence-driven,” the report says.

The House is expected to incorporate Honore’s findings into a new funding bill to boost security around the campus and pay for some of the expenses incurred after January 6 — such as the National Guard deployments and the cleanup and repair costs.

Among the takeaways from the report are the following, according to ABC News:

  • More Capitol Police officers. The report found that Capitol Police were “understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained” to secure the Capitol and suggested filling all existing vacancies on the force—about 233 officers—and adding another 854 officers in various roles, including as intelligence specialists, civil disturbance units, and dignitary protection agents. If enacted, the additions would make the Capitol Police force, which already has more than 2,000 officers, among the largest departments in the entire country.

Additionally, the report recommended adding more K9 units to help Capitol Police scan for explosive devices on the Capitol complex, due to the number of vacant units and “aging” dogs. It also suggested reestablishing the department’s mounted unit—which was disbanded in 2005—to serve as a “force multiplier” in high-trafficked areas to help control crowds.

Honore’s team recommended the use of body cameras “to improve police accountability and protect officers from false accusations of misconduct,” and more intelligence support for the department.

  • New rapid response team. The report called for the creation of a permanent Quick Reaction Force—comprising federal law enforcement officers or a military police battalion under the command of the D.C. National Guard—to help Capitol Police with future emergencies.

The report also recommended the creation of Civil Defense Units within the Capitol Police, to be kept on standby when Congress is in session; as well as for all officers to be given civil disturbance training and their own riot gear to use in emergency situations.

  • More barriers around the Capitol. The report recommended a “mobile fencing option,” which in the future can be assembled and taken down quickly,; in place of the temporary fencing currently surrounding the Capitol, which requires a “significant” number of personnel to patrol.

A retractable fencing system and more integrated system of cameras, sensors and alarms could “enable an open campus while giving security forces better options to protect the complex and its Members should a threat develop,” the review team wrote in the report.

  • Tweaking the chain of command. The report found that the Capitol Police Board’s decision-making process “proved too slow and cumbersome” to effectively respond on January 6, when National Guard troops took hours to arrive on the Capitol grounds to help police clear the halls of Congress. It recommended allowing the Capitol Police chief to request the help of federal law enforcement and the National Guard in emergencies, without first needing the sign-off of the board—an opaque, four-person body that includes the chief, the architect of the Capitol, and the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, who are appointed by congressional leaders.

In addition, the report recommended an “independent review” of the efficacy of the Capitol Police Board’s “authority” over the department.

  • Background checks, harder access points, and tougher member security, Honore’s team recommended revamping the screening procedures used on campus for legislative staff and congressional employees.

“Requiring background checks for identification card holders and employing card readers more widely throughout the complex would decrease insider threat risks and enhance the safety of all Members, staff, and legislative employees,” according to the report.

The report also suggested repairing and securing the doors and windows around the Capitol that were used by rioters to break into the building, and erecting screening portals for staff and visitors around the complex to make it easier for Capitol Police to monitor visitors seeking to enter the building.

Pointing to the increasing number of threats to members of Congress, the report recommended expanding the Dignitary Protection Division’s ranks to better protect lawmakers at home and in Washington. Currently, only members of leadership have full-time security details.

The report also recommended the creation of a new office to “centrally manage” lawmakers’ travel from their districts to the Capitol, in coordination with state and local law enforcement partners.

According to ABC News, ahead of the report’s release, Republicans have criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appointment of Honore to conduct the review— pointing to his increasingly partisan tone on Twitter and attacks against Republicans.

“While there may be some worthy recommendations forthcoming, General Honore’s notorious partisan bias calls into question the rationality of appointing him to lead this important security review,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-California) said in a statement Sunday. “It also raises the unacceptable possibility that the Speaker desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress.”

Research contact: @abcnews

Ted Cruz piñata brings smiles—and sales—to a Texas party store owner

March 3, 2021

In mid-February—while most of his friends and neighbors were struggling with shortages of food and water, historically cold weather, and flooding in their homes—one Texas retailer decided to take a controversial news story and turn it into a commercial “smash hit.”

Carlos De La Fuente, the owner of ABC Party HQ in Dallas, created a piñata inspired by the viral photos of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) walking through the Cancún International Airport after he and his family left their dog, their home—and his constituents statewide— to vacation in a warmer clime

According to a report by NBC News, the image circulated widely following the backlash over the senator’s trip to Mexico amid the state’s 100-year winter storm.

In the photo, Cruz sported a mask with the Texas flag as he rolled his suitcase. The store created the unique design as the storm forced it to close for six days starting on February 13.

“That’s the reason that I’ve gotten creative and made some piñatas, so that people can come and support,” De La Fuente told NBC News. “I’m always looking for something positive out of negative things so that we can all get a laugh out of it.”

Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 3 1/2 foot piñata sells for $100 and—although they are only sold at the one store—they had already resulted in about $2,000 in sales as of March 2.

As for the papier-mâché creations they make themselves, this isn’t the first time the store has highlighted a politician. For example, the store made piñatas of Senator Bernie Sanders’ inauguration meme, which went viral across social media.

“I’m always keeping up with news trends and what’s going on in the world, both positive and negative,” he said.

De La Fuente says he’s received a positive reaction on the piñatas from his community members, whom, he says, are especially supportive of local businesses.

“We’re now getting back to opening up,” said De La Fuente, “because the temperatures are there and [we] are ready to get back to work.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Why President Biden can’t make states vaccinate teachers—or anyone else for that matter

Febraury 24, 2021

Although President Joe Biden wants to vaccinate teachers in order to speed school reopenings, more than half the states are not making either of those actions a priority—highlighting the limited powers of the federal government, even during a devastating pandemic.

“I can’t set nationally who gets in line, when, and first—that’s a decision the states make,” Biden said while touring a Pfizer plant in Michigan on Friday, February 19, reports NBC News. “I can recommend.”

Under the U.S. Constitution, the powers of the federal government are far-reaching, but not all-encompassing. States historically have retained control over public health and safety—from policing crimes to controlling infectious diseases; including distribution of coronavirus vaccines that Washington helped create.

Now, as the United States leads the world in COVID deaths, criticism of the federalist system that has allowed the states to do as they please is spiking.

“There’s a pretty strong argument that the confusion we’ve created has, in fact, cost human lives,” Donald Kettl, a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas told NBC News, adding, “We pay a pretty high price sometimes for letting states go their own way.”

The federal courts—not the federal government—have been able to exert their will over the states on issues from school desegregation to abortion to voting rights. But schools, abortion clinics and elections are still run or regulated by the states.

The federal government has spent the past two centuries trying to come up with creative ways to push its agenda on the states, sometimes by dangling the promise of federal funding as a carrot—and the threat to withhold it as a stick.

For instance, to build the Interstate highway system, the feds promised to foot 90% of the bill if states put up just 10%. The catch was that the roads had to abide by regulations that started small—bridges needed to be tall enough to allow tanks to pass under, to cite one requirement—but quickly grew to encompass the nationally uniform system of roads we take for granted today.

Washington pulled a similar move in 1984, NBC notes, when it forced states to raise the drinking age to 21 if they wanted highway money.

But just as often, the courts have pushed back against what they view as Washington overreach.

“When you boil it down, the delivery of public health interventions resides, really, at the state and local level,” Josh Michaud, associate director for Global Health Policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, told the news outlet. “That’s been the model since very early on in our republic.”

So, for example, today, states can institute mask mandates, but many have questioned the constitutionality of Biden’s proposed national mandate. He ended up, instead, issuing mask mandates for federal property and interstate travel, like planes and buses, over which the courts have long ruled that the feds have authority.

Similarly, the CDC legally can’t force states to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations with any particular priority, said Sarah Gordon, an assistant professor of health law and policy at Boston University.

“They are actually quite limited in what they can do,” Gordon said. “The federalist separation of national versus local public health authority in the United States has, repeatedly, hamstrung rapid and effective pandemic response.”

The CDC has called for vaccinating all essential workers, including teachers, before moving on to those under 75. But several states have chosen to vaccinate people over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions first.

“We are going to rely on the CDC definition of an essential worker. But that’s a lot of people, including teachers,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont told the Hartford Courant‘s editorial board. “I’m not sure you move grandma to the back of the line so you can move [teachers] forward.”

Jon Valant, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies education policy, said Biden’s most effective tool to push states to vaccinate teachers might be the bully pulpit.

“What the federal government can do is mostly a combination of guidance, cover and pressure,” he said. “Teachers unions can be a lightning rod, and if you’re prioritizing teachers because the CDC or the federal government says to, it helps to protect you from critiques.”

Research contact: @NBCNews