In our news wrap Wednesday, New York City ordered 46,000 police, firefighters and other city employees to get vaccinated by Nov. 1 — or get placed on unpaid leave. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered most Russian workers to take off for at least a week as COVID cases and deaths keep rising. Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to murdering 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida in 2018.
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Major new developments tonight on COVID-19 vaccinations.
The FDA has approved mixing and matching booster doses of the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer vaccines. The CDC still has to give its approval.
Meanwhile, the White House rolled out plans to vaccinate 28 million young children nationwide with low-dose shots of Pfizer's vaccine.
Jeffrey Zients, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator:
We have secured vaccine supply to vaccinate every child ages 5 through 11. And as soon as the vaccine is authorized by the FDA, we will begin shipping millions of doses nationwide.
These vaccine doses will be shipped with all the supplies needed to vaccinate kids, including smaller needles.
Also today, New York City ordered 46,000 police, firefighters and other city employees to get vaccinated by November 1 or be placed on unpaid leave.
We will return to vaccinating American children after the news summary.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has ordered most Russian workers to take off from their jobs for at least a week, as COVID cases and deaths keep rising. More than 1,000 Russians died in the previous 24 hours, the most yet. Only about a third of the country's adult population is fully vaccinated.
Back in this country, Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to murdering 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. It was one of the nation's deadliest school shootings. Families of the victims were at the hearing. Some shook their heads, and others were moved to tears.
Cruz then offered a brief apology.
Nikolas Cruz, Defendant:
I am very sorry for what I did, and I have to live with it every day. And if I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to help others. And I am doing this for you, and I do not care if you do not believe me.
The court will begin selecting a jury in January to decide if Cruz gets life in prison or a death sentence.
President Biden was out today pitching a scaled-back economic package. As of last night, it totaled roughly $2 trillion in social and climate spending. That is down from $3.5 trillion. The president visited Scranton, Pennsylvania, today and told reporters — quote — "I think we will get a deal."
Senate Democrats tried and failed again today to advance a voting rights bill. They needed 60 votes to limit debate, but all 50 Republicans voted no. Democrats wanted to counter new voting restrictions in GOP-controlled states. Republicans said that was federal overreach.
Party leaders spoke before the vote.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY):
It's ludicrous for any Republican to assert that the federal government has no role to play in safeguarding elections when state laws disenfranchise American citizens.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
For multiple years running, Washington Democrats have offered a rotating merry-go-round of rationales to explain why they need to federalize voting laws and take over all of American elections themselves.
We will talk with a Democratic senator later in the program.
President Biden's nominee for ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, today defended his actions as mayor of Chicago in the handling of a Black teenager's death. Laquan McDonald was killed by a white police officer seven years ago today.
Emanuel told his Senate confirmation hearing that he did nothing wrong, but that the tragedy has stayed with him.
Rahm Emanuel (D), Former Mayor of Chicago: I said then, I'm the mayor and I am responsible and accountable for fixing this so this never happens again.
And to be honest, there is not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this and about the what-ifs and the changes and what could have been.
Emanuel said that legal rules barred release of the police video of McDonald's killing for more than a year.
A new climate study concludes that worldwide production of fossil fuels will have to be cut by more than half to avert dangerous levels of global warming. The United Nations report also says that many governments plan to double coal, oil, and natural gas output through 2030. The findings come days before a U.N. climate summit convenes.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 152 points to close at 35609. The Nasdaq fell seven points. The S&P 500 added 16.