Liz Cheney vote, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Colonial Pipeline: 5 things to know Wednesday

·4 min read

Cheney ousted from House GOP leadership position in closed-door vote

House Republicans stripped Liz Cheney of her leadership post Wednesday after GOP House members said her public sparring with former President Donald Trump became a distraction to the party hoping to regain the House in 2022. The vote was cast by secret ballot and behind closed doors. As chair of the GOP House Conference, the three-term Wyoming congresswoman had been the third most powerful Republican member of the House. Her ouster leaves a vacancy GOP officials expect to fill in the coming weeks.

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CDC to discuss Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine guidelines for adolescents

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee will meet Wednesday to decide whether to recommend Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12-15.The panel's meeting comes after the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the vaccine for adolescents Monday. Specifically, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will discuss the safety, immune response and effectiveness of the vaccine in 12-15 year-olds, vote on whether to recommend the shots for younger adolescents, and review updated safety data on adults who received a vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson. If the committee recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech shots, they could be available as soon as Thursday, FDA officials said.

Will major fuel pipeline outage cause gas shortage, price hikes?

Experts anticipate more fuel shortages "especially Wednesday" after a major U.S. energy pipeline halted all operations over the weekend to deal with a ransomware attack. The Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline and other fuel from Texas to the Northeast and supplies about 45% of fuel the East Coast uses for driving and flying. If the situation isn't fixed soon, some gas stations in the Southeast that rely on the supply could begin running short within days, experts anticipate. As consumers brace for impact, the possibility of localized fuel outages or price increases depends almost exclusively on how long the pipeline remains down, analysts say. The Colonial Pipeline Co. said Monday it's aiming to "substantially" restore service by the end of the week, which would likely limit most of the fallout.

Israel, Hamas escalate heavy fighting with no end in sight

Israel stepped up its attacks on the Gaza Strip, flattening a high-rise building used by the Hamas militant group and killing at least three militants in their hideouts on Tuesday as Palestinian rockets rained down almost nonstop on parts of Israel. Gaza authorities said the death toll from Israeli airstrikes has climbed to 43, including 13 children and three women. An Israel official also said one person has been killed and one seriously wounded by an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip. The conflict is the heaviest fighting between the bitter enemies since 2014, sparked by religious tensions in the contested city of Jerusalem including the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians by Jewish settlers. It showed no signs of slowing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to expand the offensive, while Gaza militants unleashed a fierce late-night barrage of rockets that set off air-raid sirens and explosions throughout the densely populated Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

Trump officials to defend actions on Jan. 6 riots in hearing

Two senior Trump administration officials plan to defend their actions during the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol when they appear before Congress on Wednesday. Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller will tell the House Oversight Committee that he was concerned before the insurrection that sending troops to the building could fan fears of a military coup and cause a repeat of the Kent State shootings – which saw Ohio National Guard members fire into a crowd at Kent State University, killing four in 1970 – according to a copy of prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. Miller will be joined by former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who is also testifying for the first time about the Justice Department's role in the run-up to the riot.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Liz Cheney vote, Pfizer vaccine meeting: 5 things to know Wednesday