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News Wrap: Biden scraps corporate tax hike in push for infrastructure deal

In our news wrap Thursday, President Biden has scrapped his call for a corporate tax hike with the hope of sealing an infrastructure deal, the Justice Department is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fights back against coalition trying to oust him, and Minneapolis crews began reopening an intersection known as a memorial site to George Floyd.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The United States will donate 75 percent of its unused COVID-19 vaccine doses to nations in need. The White House has announced plans to ship 80 million doses by month's end. President Biden had come under growing pressure to send vaccine overseas.

    Today, his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called it the right thing to do.

  • Jake Sullivan:

    Thanks to the ingenuity of American scientists and the resilience and commitment of the American people, we're in a position to help others. So we will help others.

    And, as the president has said, the United States will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported that vaccine shipments in Africa have all but stopped as infections spike. We will return to all of this after the news summary.

    The U.S. Justice Department is investigating postmaster general, Louis DeJoy. It's alleged that he pressured employees at his former business to give money to Republican candidates. A spokesman confirmed the investigation today, but said that DeJoy never knowingly violated campaign finance laws.

    President Biden is making concessions in his proposal for an infrastructure deal, including offering to scrap the idea of a hike in corporate income taxes. Senate Republicans had rejected that idea.

    Today, the White House confirmed that Mr. Biden is now offering instead to create a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent to ensure that all corporations pay something. If there's no deal by Monday, he could try to pass a package with only Democratic votes.

    In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked a political coalition that's on the brink of ousting him from power. He urged right-wing parties to oppose the — quote — "dangerous left-wing alliance." The coalition deal involving factions from across the political spectrum brought both skepticism and hope in Jerusalem.

  • Moshe Shain:

    They seem to have been able to get rid of Bibi Netanyahu, but that's not enough of a reason to make a government. So, I wish them luck, and I wish us all luck with the new government.

  • Zvi Yosef:

    I think that the political situation has been deadlocked for too long. We have to try something new, even though it's a little bit scary and there's a lot of unknowns.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Netanyahu is cranking up pressure on former allies to abandon the coalition before it can win confirmation in the Israeli Parliament.

    Crews off the coast of Sri Lanka worked today to avert an environmental disaster. A container ship loaded with chemicals is slowly sinking near the Port of Colombo, after being damaged by a fire. The ship had 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals on board, including tons of plastic pellets. It could also leak hundreds of tons of fuel oil.

    Back in this country, Minneapolis tried to reopen the street intersection where George Floyd was killed by a white police officer just over a year ago. A community group led crews that removed concrete barriers and memorial items. With that, other activists put up makeshift barriers and insisted they will stay until the city meets a list of demands.

    In this country, first-time claims for unemployment benefits hit another pandemic low last week, at 385,000.

    And Wall Street had a down day, led by tech stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 23 points to close at 34577. The Nasdaq fell 141 points. The S&P 500 slipped 15.

    And famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey died today. His family gave no cause of death. Bailey handled a series of headline-grabbing cases, from the suspected Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo, to Patty Hearst, and to O.J. Simpson. He also had a long series of personal legal troubles. F. Lee Bailey was 87 years old.

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