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The Senate is spending the day in emotional, raw debate on voting legislation that Democrats and civil rights leaders say is needed to protect democracy. But it is almost certain to be defeated. Without filibuster rules change, it's shaping up to be a devastating setback for President Joe Biden and his party. Biden has been unable to persuade two holdout Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, to change Senate rules and overpower a Republican filibuster. The two senators withstood stark criticism from Black leaders and civil rights organizations. Advocates warn states are making it more difficult to vote.

BNSF railroad wants a federal judge to prevent two of its unions from going on strike next month over a new attendance policy that would penalize employees for missing work. The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad went to court after the unions that represent nearly half of BNSF's 35,000 workers threatened to strike over the new policy that is set to go into effect on Feb. 1. Union officials say the policy violates their contracts and could provide an incentive for workers to show up sick. But the railroad said a strike would hurt the economy too much, and it shouldn't be allowed because BNSF believes this is a minor contract issue.

The sweeping elections bill now in the Senate deals with much more than voting changes. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would create national automatic voter registration, allow all voters to cast ballots by mail and weaken voter ID laws. It also would ban partisan gerrymandering and force “dark money” groups to disclose their major donors. It's an effort by Democrats to pass a major overhaul before the November elections. And it's a response to what voting advocates say is an effort by Republican-led states to make it harder for Black Americans and others to vote. But the bill appears headed for defeat because of unanimous opposition from Republicans and resistance from two Democratic senators.

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Pfizer's chief executive, Albert Bourla, has been awarded the prestigious Genesis Prize for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. In Jerusalem, the Genesis Prize Foundation said Wednesday that Bourla had received the largest number of votes in an online campaign in which some 200,000 people in 71 countries participated. The $1 million award is granted each year to a person for their professional achievements, contributions to humanity and commitment to Jewish values. Bourla, the son of Holocaust survivors, plans on donating the award to projects aimed at preserving the memories of victims of the Nazi genocide of European Jews during World War II. 

The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection has subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald Trump’s legal team who filed bogus legal challenges to the 2020 election that fueled the lie that race had been stolen from the former president. The panel is demanding information and testimony from Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Boris Epshteyn. All four publicly pushed Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims in the months after the election. Epshteyn called the committee illegitimate and its efforts part of a “witch hunt” against Trump and his supporters. The others who were subpoenaed did not respond to messages seeking comment. 

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Puerto Rico’s nearly five-year bankruptcy battle is ending after a federal judge signed a plan that slashes the U.S. territory’s public debt load as part of the largest municipal debt restructuring in U.S. history and allows the government to start repaying creditors. The plan was approved Tuesday after the judge held heated hearings in recent months and as the island struggles to recover from deadly hurricanes, earthquakes and a pandemic that deepened its economic crisis. A federal control board appointed to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances said the plan cuts Puerto Rico’s central government debt by 80% and saves the government more than $50 billion in debt service payments.  

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The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection has subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald Trump’s legal team who filed bogus legal challenges to the 2020 election that fueled the lie that race had been stolen from the former president. The panel is demanding information and testimony from Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Boris Epshteyn. All four publicly pushed Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims in the months after the election. Epshteyn called the committee illegitimate and its efforts part of a “witch hunt” against Trump and his supporters. The others who were subpoenaed did not respond to messages seeking comment. 

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The Biden White House this month pushed to protect statistical agencies like the U.S. Census Bureau from political interference. Its report was issued just days before newly disclosed documents showed the “unprecedented” extent of the Trump administration’s efforts to gain politically from the 2020 headcount. The report from a White House task force said the American people have a right to expect “accurate information, data, and evidence" from agencies charged with compiling data. Shortly after the report came out, new documents released over the weekend revealed that political appointees in the Trump administration’s Department of Commerce tried to exert unusual influence on the 2020 census, the nation’s once-a-decade head count.

Lawyers for a man convicted of murder for fatally shooting his wife as they rode in an SUV in Atlanta are asking Georgia’s highest court to overturn his conviction. Seventy-nine-year-old Claud “Tex” McIver is serving a life sentence after being convicted of felony murder in the September 2016 shooting of his wife. Prosecutors said he was driven to kill her because he coveted his wife’s money. Defense attorneys said her death was a terrible accident. In their appeal, McIver’s attorneys have argued that the judge made multiple mistakes during the trial, and the conviction should be reversed. The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Wednesday.