Happy Friday! Apologies for the lateness of this newsletter; somebody seems to have tripped over a cable down at Substack HQ this morning.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a significant expansion of the scope of federal vaccine mandates, signing an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all federal employees—removing the previous alternative of regular testing—and instructing the Department of Labor to develop a rule obligating businesses with 100 or more employees to make full vaccination or weekly testing compulsory. Biden also said his administration plans to mandate vaccines for all those who work in hospitals or other medical facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.
The Taliban allowed a Qatari flight carrying about 115 Americans and U.S. permanent residents to depart Kabul on Thursday, the first such flight since U.S. forces completed their withdrawal last month. Another plane is expected to depart on Friday for those who weren’t able to reach the airport in time. The Taliban did not permit any Afghans without permanent residence abroad or a second nationality to leave the country.
The White House formally withdrew its nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on Thursday. President Biden blamed Senate Republicans for blocking someone he argued would have been an “exemplary” ATF director, but a handful of Senate Democrats opposed Chipman—a staunch gun control advocate—as well.