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Posted by Ukrap on

Програма єПідтримка: українці вже витратили 250 мільйонів «ковідних» виплат на книжки – уряд

Загалом громадяни України, які отримали виплати за вакцинацію, вже витратили більше 700 мільйонів гривень, повідомили в Кабміні

Posted by Worldkrap on

COVID Cases Will Continue to Rise, Biden Says

U.S. President Joe Biden warned there’s “going to be a continued rise in cases” and that the “coming weeks are going to be challenging” due to the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. 

The comments came after the president met with his COVID response team Tuesday. Biden encouraged Americans to “take advantage of what we already have” and said, “There’s no excuse for anyone being unvaccinated.” 

Biden also addressed the current shortage of tests that is frustrating many Americans.

“We’re making improvements,” he said. 

The president did not take questions from reporters. 

The United States is dealing with its worst yet surge in coronavirus cases, with over 1 million cases reported in 24 hours, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. 

Biden urged schools to stay open, but the surge in cases has disrupted some school districts’ plans to reopen. 

Schools in Los Angeles will not open again until January 11, and students are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result to be allowed on school grounds. 

Negative tests are also required for students in Washington, D.C., where classes were set to resume Thursday. 

The school systems in Chicago and Seattle are strongly recommending their students get tested before coming back, but they are not requiring students to do so. 

The surge in infections has also left many schools without enough teachers and staff to hold in-person classes. 

Similar problems are having an impact elsewhere, as well. 

The Smithsonian Institution announced that several of its major museums in Washington will have to close or operate under reduced hours for at least 12 days as it experiences “unprecedented staff shortages.” 

Since before Christmas, many airlines have had to cancel flights with a lack of crews healthy enough to work. 

Last month, Biden laid out a new concerted effort to combat the surging omicron variant of the coronavirus, dispatching federal health care workers to short-handed hospitals, pre-positioning the national stockpile of medical equipment around the country and announcing a plan to offer 500 million free COVID-19 test kits to Americans. 

It is unclear when the new tests will become available. 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters. 


Posted by Ukrap on

«Перший візит у 2022-му – до Станиці Луганської»: Боррель повідомив про прибуття до України

«Я тут, аби показати підтримку Євросоюзом суверенітету та територіальної цілісності України»

Posted by Ukrap on

Казахстан: Токаєв заявив про зниження ціни на газ, яка спровокувала протести

Попри це рішення влади, повідомляє казахська служба Радіо Свобода, біля трьох тисяч людей все ще вимагають відставки уряду на площі в Жанаозені

Posted by Worldkrap on

US Manufacturing Catches Breath; Supply Logjam Starting to Break Up 

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in December amid a cooling in demand for goods, but supply constraints are starting to ease and a measure of prices paid for inputs by factories fell by the most in a decade. 

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey on Tuesday also suggested some improvement in labor supply, with a gauge of factory employment rising to an eight-month high. Still, Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee, noted that “shortages of critical lowest-tier materials, high commodity prices and difficulties in transporting products continue to plague reliable consumption.” 

The survey does not fully capture the impact of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, which is rapidly spreading across the United States and abroad. Sky-rocketing infections could force workers to stay home and halt the tentative supply-chain progress. 

“There’s still a lot of ground to make up before supply chains fully normalize, but cooling prices and increased employment are positive signs,” said Will Compernolle, a senior economist at FHN Financial in New York. 

The ISM’s index of national factory activity fell to a reading of 58.7 last month, the lowest level since January 2021, from 61.1 in November. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy. 

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index would fall to 60.1. 

All of the six biggest manufacturing industries — chemical products, fabricated metal products, computer and electronic products, food, transportation equipment, and petroleum and coal products — reported moderate-to-strong growth. 

Manufacturers of fabricated metal products expressed optimism that “we have reached the top of the hill to start down a gentle slope that lets us get back to something that resembles normal.” Their counterparts in the chemical products industry said the “gut feeling says it’s getting easier to source chemical raw materials.” 

Machinery makers reported that “costs for steel seem to be coming down some.” They also noted improvements in “performance by suppliers” and “on-time deliveries.” But transportation equipment manufacturers said capacity remained “limited due to the global chip shortage.” 

The ISM survey’s measure of supplier deliveries declined to a reading of 64.9 from 72.2 in November. A reading above 50% indicates slower deliveries to factories. 

The ISM’s Fiore said transportation networks, a harbinger of future supplier delivery performance, were still performing erratically, but there are signs of improvement. 

Raw materials have been in short supply as global economies rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic. Shortages have also been exacerbated by the shift in demand to goods from services early in the pandemic. Millions of workers needed to produce and move raw materials remain sidelined. 

U.S. stocks were trading mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index having hit fresh record highs earlier in the session. The dollar was flat against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices were mostly lower. 

Price gauge falls 

The nascent signs of improvement in supply chains suggest inflation at the factory gate could soon begin to subside. The survey’s measure of prices paid by manufacturers tumbled to 68.2 last month, the lowest level since November 2020, from 82.4 in November. The 14.2-point plunge was the biggest since October 2011. 

This supports the Federal Reserve’s long-held view that the current period of high inflation is transitory. Inflation is well above the U.S. central bank’s flexible 2% target. 

“The report is consistent with our expectation that inflation will hit an inflection point probably in the first quarter of this year,” said Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The ISM survey’s forward-looking new orders sub-index fell to a still-high reading of 60.4 from 61.5 in November. With customer inventories remaining depressed, the slowdown in new order growth is likely to be temporary or limited. 

Factories hired more workers, but turnover rates remained high, a trend which manufacturers said started in August. 

Indeed, a separate report from the Labor Department on Tuesday showed a record 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in November, which will put pressure on businesses to raise wages to attract workers. 

“Replacing those workers is proving unusually challenging,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. “This is the tightest labor market ever.”

There were 10.6 million job openings at the end of November. The high number of vacancies meant there was a 0.65 unemployed person per job opening, an all-time low. Before the pandemic, there were normally about 2.3 unemployed people per job opening. 

The ISM’s measure of manufacturing employment rose to an eight-month high of 54.2 from 53.3 in November. This, together with very low first-time applications for unemployment benefits, supports the view that job growth accelerated in December. 

According to a preliminary Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 400,000 jobs in December after rising by 210,000 in November. The Labor Department is scheduled to publish December’s employment report on Friday. 



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French Scientists Discover New Coronavirus Variant ; Researchers Say Omicron Easily Avoids Immune System

As the world continues to struggle with the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the still-lingering delta variant, scientists in France said they have discovered a new variant that contains multiple mutations.

Experts at the IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille say they discovered the new variant back in December in 12 patients living near Marseille, with the first patient testing positive after traveling to the central African nation of Cameroon. 

The French scientists said they have identified 46 mutations in the new variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, that could make it more resistant to vaccines and more infectious than the original virus.  

The results were posted on the online health sciences outlet medRxiv, which publishes studies that have not been peer-reviewed or published in an academic journal. B.1.640.2 has not been detected in other countries or been labeled a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, a new study out of Denmark reveals omicron is better at avoiding a person’s immunity even if they are vaccinated against COVID-19. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen studied 12,000 households and discovered that omicron was between 2.7 to 3.7 times more infectious than delta among vaccinated Danes.  

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, also found that unvaccinated individuals are more likely to transmit the coronavirus than those who had been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot. Vaccine effectiveness against symptoms was reduced to around 40% against symptoms and to 80% against severe disease when dealing with omicron, while booster shots improved those numbers to 86% against symptoms and 98% against severe disease.

“Our findings confirm that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant primarily can be ascribed to the immune evasiveness rather than an inherent increase in the basic transmissibility,” the researchers wrote.  

The omicron outbreak continues to wreak havoc on cities and countries around the world, pushing enormous strains on health care systems.

Authorities in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales reported more than 23,000 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 22,577 new cases set just on New Year’s Day, with 1,344 hospitalizations, breaking the record of 1,268 hospitalizations seen back in September at the height of the delta outbreak.  Neighboring Victoria state posted 14,020 new cases Tuesday, breaking Monday’s record of 8,577 new cases.

The states of Queensland, South Australia and the island of Tasmania also reported record numbers of new infections Tuesday, pushing Australia’s total number of COVID-19 infections past the milestone 500,000 mark.

The surge has led to a critical shortage of staffers at hospitals across Australia, with healthcare workers furloughed after contracting the virus. Testing centers have also been forced to shut down either because of staffing shortages or a backlog of tests. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected calls for the federal government in Canberra to provide free rapid antigen tests to all Australians.

Another Chinese city has entered into a full lockdown after three people tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Authorities have ordered all 1.2 million residents of the central city of Yuzhou to remain in their homes, and have closed nearly all public facilities including schools, transportation and shopping malls.  

The strict lockdown measures in Yuzhou are similar to those imposed in the northwestern city of Xi’an, where 13 million residents have been confined to their homes since December 23 due to an outbreak of the delta variant that has now sickened more than 1,600 residents. The lockdowns are part of Beijing’s “zero-COVID” strategy that includes mass testing, lengthy quarantine periods and snap lockdowns.

In Hong Kong, chief executive Carrie Lam announced Tuesday that the semi-autonomous city is extending its vaccine requirements for public venues. Lam said that all Hong Kongers will have to show proof of vaccination to enter museums, public libraries and schools effective February 24. The expanded vaccination mandate, which already covers entertainment venues, was imposed in the wake of Hong Kong confirming its first omicron infection cluster.

And the United States posted 1,082,549 new COVID-19 infections Monday, setting a new global one-day record, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.  The numbers are nearly double that of the previous record of about 590,000 set just last week, driven mostly by the omicron variant.  

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and  Agence France-Presse. 

Posted by Worldkrap on

NATO Head Schedules Special Meeting with Russia Amid Ukraine Crisis 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has scheduled a special meeting of allied ambassadors and top Russian officials for next week as both sides seek dialog to prevent open conflict over Ukraine, a NATO official said on Tuesday. 

Worried about Russia’s military build-up along Ukraine’s border, the Western military alliance has been seeking a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council for months but the forum seemed in jeopardy after an espionage dispute in October. 

The meeting of the council, a format used for dialog since 2002, will take place in Brussels on Jan. 12 after U.S. and Russian officials hold security talks on Jan. 10 in Geneva. 

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, flew to Ukraine on Tuesday for a two-day trip to show support for Kyiv, which aspires to join the bloc and NATO. 

Moscow wants guarantees that NATO will halt its eastward expansion and end military cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia, which have territorial disputes with Russia. 

Moscow also denies U.S. assertions that it is planning an invasion of Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of building up its own forces in the east of the country. 

“Any dialog with Russia would have to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions… and take place in consultation with NATO’s European partners,” the NATO official said. 

Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, confirmed that Russian officials will attend the NATO meeting in Brussels. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and other senior Russian officials are expected to attend the Brussels talks, after meeting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Geneva. 

On Jan. 13, talks will continue in the broader format of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which includes the United States and its NATO allies, as well as Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states. 

The EU’s Borrell, who was central to the bloc’s strategy of increased sanctions on top Russian officials in 2021, believes “the EU cannot be a neutral spectator in the negotiations if Russia really wants to discuss Europe’s security architecture,” according to an EU spokesperson. 

The European Union sees Ukraine as a “strategic partner,” the spokesperson said. 

Borrell, accompanied by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, will visit Ukraine’s contact line with Russian-backed separatist rebels during his visit. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss their next steps later in January. 

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Investigation of Journalists by Customs Unit Is Under Review

An internal review has been launched into the actions of a special Customs and Border Protection unit that used sensitive government databases intended to track terrorists to investigate as many as 20 U.S.-based journalists, including one from The Associated Press.

The review is focused on activities of the Counter Network Division, which under the administration of former President Donald Trump used the databases to investigate leaks to the media and to screen journalists as potential sources of information, as was detailed in a report by Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General.

The purpose of the internal probe is “to ensure that the activities in question during the prior administration remain an isolated incident and that proper safeguards are in place to prevent an incident like this from taking place in the future,” CBP spokesperson Luis Miranda said Monday.

The review was initially reported by Yahoo News, which last month also was first to report on the OIG investigation.

The AP obtained a redacted copy of the inspector general report, which referred possible criminal charges for misusing government databases and lying to investigators at the Justice Department for a Border Patrol agent on temporary assignment with the Counter Network Division and two other Homeland Security employees. Prosecutors declined to prosecute.

It’s not publicly known whether the agent, Jeffrey Rambo, or the other employees were subjected to any internal discipline. Customs did not provide details on the investigation, characterizing it as part of a broader effort by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus, who took up the position in December after serving as police chief in Tucson, Arizona, to ensure protection of First Amendment rights.

“We do not condone the investigation of reporters for exercising those rights,” Miranda said. “CBP is committed to conducting its law enforcement and national security mission with adherence to the highest standards.”

The inspector general report was sparked after The Washington Post exposed Rambo and a leak investigation involving reporter Ali Watkins, who was with Politico at the time and now writes for The New York Times.

In the course of its investigation, the inspector general found that the Customs unit was using its vast databases to investigate others as well, including Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and AP investigative reporter Martha Mendoza.

Rambo said he conducted CBP record checks on “15 to 20 national security reporters,” according to a FBI summary of the questioning that was contained in the inspector general’s report. 

He said he had investigated Mendoza as part of an effort to “vet” her before trying to establish a relationship with her because of her expertise in writing about forced labor, an area of interest to Customs because it enforces trade laws.

The revelation prompted a letter of protest in December from AP Executive Editor Julie Pace. “This is a flagrant example of a federal agency using its power to examine the contacts of journalists,” she wrote. “While the actions detailed in the inspector general’s report occurred under a previous administration, the practices were described as routine.”

Posted by Ukrap on

Кулеба обговорив російську агресію та «скоординував позиції» із головою МЗС Великої Британії

Ліз Трасс розповіла про підходи Лондона до переговорів Росії з НАТО

Posted by Worldkrap on

Hundreds of Motorists Stranded in Snow on Highway near US Capital City

Hundreds of motorists, including a U.S. senator, became stuck in sub-freezing temperatures Monday and Tuesday on an interstate highway in (the mid-Atlantic state of) Virginia after a crash during heavy snowfall involving six tractor-trailers.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said both directions of Interstate 95 were closed between the towns of Ruther Glen and Dumfries, located about 50 kilometers south of Washington.

No one was injured in the collision Monday afternoon, but it brought traffic to a halt on the main U.S. east coast highway. Motorists couldn’t move due to accumulating snow, forcing many to spend the night in their cars. One stranded driver told a television station she feared running out of gas.

Among the stranded was Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who tweeted a photo of his predicament on the highway Tuesday after sunrise. “My office is in touch with VaDOT (the Virginia Department of Transportation) to see how we can help…,” Kaine tweeted 19 hours after beginning his normal two-hour commute to Washington.

Earlier Tuesday, the state transportation department tweeted (at 5:20 a.m. local time) that crews would begin “taking people off at any available interchange” in both directions.

Between 18 and 28 centimeters snow fell in the area Monday, according to the National Weather Service, causing thousands of traffic accidents and stranding vehicles.

Power outages darkened thousands of homes and, the transportation department said, took traffic cameras offline, hindering response efforts. 

More than 277,000 customers remained without electricity early Tuesday, according to poweroutage.us.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.

Posted by Ukrap on

У Києві за три новорічні вихідні двоє людей постраждали через піротехніку – ДСНС

Раніше повідомлялося, що в новорічну ніч в Україні виникло 125 пожеж у житловому секторі, на яких загинуло 12 людей та четверо травмувалися

Posted by Ukrap on

Голови МЗС країн НАТО проведуть позачергову зустріч через накопичення російських військ біля України

Дипломати країн НАТО обговорять накопичення військ Росії біля кордонів та на території України, а також «ширші безпекові проблеми Європи»

Posted by Worldkrap on

Schools Scrambling to Respond as US Sees Record Coronavirus Surge

As the United States deals with its worst yet surge in coronavirus cases, students across the country are having to cope with sudden changes to try to stop the spread of infections. 

Driven by the omicron variant, the average number of new COVID-19 cases has surpassed 400,000 per day, double what it was a week ago and triple the number from two weeks ago. 

That has led school officials to reconsider their plans for bringing students back to classrooms following winter breaks that in many places spanned the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. 

Schools in Los Angeles will not open again until January 11, and students are being required to show a negative COVID-19 test result to be allowed on school grounds. 

Negative tests are also required for students in Washington, D.C., where classes resume Wednesday. 

The school systems in Chicago and Seattle are strongly recommending their students get tested before coming back, but they are not required. 

The surge in infections has also left many schools without enough teachers and staff to hold in-person classes. 

The combination of those shortages and efforts to slow the tide of new cases prompted schools in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia to shift some or all of their classes back to the online learning platforms that students have had to rely on for education through much of the pandemic. 

Similar forces are having impacts outside of schools as well. The Smithsonian Institution announced that several of its major museums in Washington will have to close or operate under reduced hours for at least 12 days as it experiences “unprecedented staff shortages.” 

Many airlines, while also battling winter weather issues, have had to cancel flights with a lack of air crews healthy enough to work. 

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters. 

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Mexico Asylum Applications Nearly Double in 2021, Haitians Top List

The number of asylum applications in Mexico nearly doubled in 2021 from two years earlier, the head of the country’s Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) said on Monday, with most applications being from Haitian and Honduran migrants. 

When compared to 2019, the 131,448 applications mark an increase of 86.84%, according to COMAR. 

“By far, the main nationalities (who requested refuge) were Haitians and Hondurans,” said Andres Ramirez, the head of COMAR, adding that Cubans were a distant third. 

The rise in the number of Haitians making their way through Mexico has been spurred by economic malaise, a devastating earthquake and political turmoil following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July. 

In the previous two years, most applications were filed by Honduran migrants. 

Some 72% of those who applied for asylum in 2021 received a positive response, Ramirez said. Another 2% were also granted complementary protection. 

Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries have long been crossing Mexico on their way north toward the U.S. border, but in recent years, more and more migrants have applied for asylum in Mexico. 

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Blinken Calls for ‘United’ NATO Stance on Russian Troop Buildup Near Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with eastern NATO allies Monday about Russia’s military buildup along Ukraine’s border, calling for a “united” NATO stance.

In a phone call Monday with his counterparts in nine eastern NATO countries, known as the Bucharest Nine, Blinken said the United States was committed to “close consultation and coordination with all of our Transatlantic Allies and partners as we work toward de-escalation through deterrence, defense and dialogue,” according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price. 

Blinken called for “a united, ready and resolute NATO stance for the collective defense of Allies” according to Price.

In addition, Blinken “underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment” to NATO’s Article 5, which calls for the joint defense of any member of the seven-decade-old military alliance, which formed after World War II. 

Ukraine is not a member of NATO but has petitioned to join the alliance for more than a decade, a stance that has angered Russia. 

Russia has been demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and reduce its deployments in central and eastern Europe. 

In a Sunday phone call, U.S. President Joe Biden told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the United States and its allies would “respond decisively” should Russia further invade Ukraine.

Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, with the West protesting and imposing sanctions.

Biden has made little progress with Russian President Vladimir Putin in getting him to withdraw about 100,000 troops stationed along Russia’s border with the former Soviet republic, although U.S. officials have said they do not believe Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.

The U.S. and Russian leaders held a 50-minute phone call last Thursday, with Biden again warning Putin that the United States and its Western allies would impose significant economic sanctions against Moscow if Putin were to carry out a Ukraine invasion. Biden said last month that he is not considering sending U.S. troops to Ukraine. 

The United States has been dispatching small arms and ammunition to Ukraine, along with Javelin missiles it says should be used only in defense.

The Kremlin said last week that Putin warned Biden that new U.S. sanctions on Russia could lead to a complete rupture in Washington-Moscow relations.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters. 


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Schumer: Senate to Vote on Filibuster Change on Voting Bill

Days before the anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate will vote soon on easing filibuster rules in an effort to advance stalled voting legislation that Democrats say is needed to protect America’s democracy. 

In a letter Monday to colleagues, Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider” the rule changes by January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the Democrats seek to overcome Republican opposition to their elections law package. 

“Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process,” Schumer wrote, “and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration — they will be the new norm.” 

The election and voting rights package has been stalled in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, blocked by a Republican-led filibuster with Democrats unable to mount the 60 votes needed to advance it toward passage. 

So far Democrats have been unable to agree among themselves over potential changes to the Senate rules to reduce the 60-vote hurdle, despite months of private negotiations. 

Two holdout Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have tried to warn their party off changes to the Senate rules, arguing that if and when Republicans take majority control of the chamber, they could then use the lower voting threshold to advance bills Democrats strongly oppose. 

President Joe Biden has waded only cautiously into the debate — a former longtime senator who largely stands by existing rules but is also under enormous political pressure to break the logjam on the voting legislation. 

Voting rights advocates warn that Republican-led states are passing restrictive legislation and trying to install election officials loyal to the former president, Donald Trump, in ways that could subvert future elections. 

Trump urged his followers last January 6 to “fight like hell” for his presidency, and a mob stormed the Capitol trying to stop Congress from certifying the state election tallies for Biden. It was the worst domestic attack on a seat of government in U.S. history. 

How the Senate filibuster rules would be changed remains under discussion. 

It seems certain that a full-scale end of the filibuster is out of reach for Democrats. Changing the rules would need all 50 votes, and Manchin and Sinema have made it clear they are unwilling to go that far.

Senators are wary of a sweeping overhaul after seeing the fallout that came from Democrats ending the filibuster for some judicial and executive branch nominees. Once Republicans took power, Senator Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader, did away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations — ushering three Trump-picked conservative justices to the high court. 

But despite their reluctance on major filibuster changes, Manchin and Sinema both support the election legislation. In fact, Manchin helped craft the latest package in an unsuccessful effort to win Republican support. Now the two Democrats’ colleagues are working on ways to change the filibuster so at least this legislation could pass. 

Private talks with senators have been under way for weeks and continued during the holiday break.

Ideas include forcing senators to hold the floor, old-fashioned style, rather than simply raise their filibuster objections — a scene that would have echoes of the 1950s and 1960s when Southern segregationists filibustered civil rights legislation. 

Other ideas are also being considered, and some Democrats have noted that Sinema has mentioned she is open to hearing the arguments as part of a full debate. 

Republicans are so worried Democrats will end the filibuster that McConnell has taken other actions to try to keep Manchin and Sinema close so they don’t join the rest of their party in making any drastic changes. 

One Republican, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, argued on Monday that ending the filibuster would turn the Senate into a “Lord of the Flies”-style institution where majority rules, no matter what. 

“It is absurd and dangerous to the institution itself,” Lee said in a statement. He said Schumer and his “disastrous plan” must be stopped.