© 2024 Innovation Trail

Up First briefing: Biden visits UAW; Congress tackles shutdown; Olympic doping hearing

With the General Motors world headquarters in the background, United Auto Workers members attend a solidarity rally as the UAW strikes the Big Three automakers on Sept. 15 in Detroit. President Biden will join the workers in solidarity on Tuesday.
Bill Pugliano
/
Getty Images
With the General Motors world headquarters in the background, United Auto Workers members attend a solidarity rally as the UAW strikes the Big Three automakers on Sept. 15 in Detroit. President Biden will join the workers in solidarity on Tuesday.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

President Biden is set to visit striking autoworkers in Detroit today following an invitation from United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain. His visit comes one day before former President Donald Trump plans to give an address in Michigan. The UAW hasn't made an endorsement for the 2024 presidential race yet.

  • "I've not seen anything like this," says NPR's Don Gonyea, who has covered the UAW for decades. On Up First, he says he couldn't find any record of a sitting U.S. president visiting a picket line. "That alone makes this a big moment." 


The U.S. is four days away from its fourth government shutdown in the past decade. Lawmakers return to Washington today to continue efforts to pass a spending bill to prevent a shutdown.

  • NPR's Susan Davis says this potential shutdown is unique because it wasn't supposed to happen. House Speaker McCarthy walked away from the debt ceiling agreement made with Biden in May to appease demands from far-right House Republicans. While a small number of fringe Republicans don't think the politics of a shutdown would be that bad, Davis says that's not the majority view since Republicans want to present themselves as better for the economy.


In some battleground states, more than half of local election administrators will be new since the last presidential election, according to a new report from democracy-focused advocacy group Issue One. Workers have faced threats, harassment and conspiracy theories following the 2020 election.

  • Worker turnover was worse in swing states and competitive districts, according to NPR's Miles Parks. He spoke to former Utah election worker Josh Daniels, who said he spent hundreds of hours researching and debunking conspiracy theories. Experts say new clerks working the next election will be more likely to make mistakes, which could mean more conspiracies. 


An international sports tribunal begins a hearing today in Lausanne, Switzerland. It could finally settle Russian skater Kamila Valieva's 2022 Beijing Olympics doping scandal. After Valieva helped Russia win the team event in Beijing, she tested positive for a performance-enhancing heart medication. The medal ceremony was canceled, and athletes are still waiting for the results. If Valieva is disqualified, the U.S. team will win gold medals, Japan will win silver and Canada will bump up to bronze.

Deep dive

A photo of Jeffrey Ramirez is seen at his parents' home in Vista, California. He was diagnosed with cancer while in prison and died at age 41.
Ariana Drehsler / Ariana Drehsler for NPR
/
Ariana Drehsler for NPR
A photo of Jeffrey Ramirez is seen at his parents' home in Vista, California. He was diagnosed with cancer while in prison and died at age 41.

The U.S. has over 120 federal prisons, yet about 1 in 4 inmate deaths occur at just one of them: the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina.

  • Part of this is expected. Butner's medical center is the Bureau of Prisons's largest cancer treatment facility, so inmates from across the country who need intensive care often go there for treatment.
  • But an NPR investigation revealed a larger issue: people in prison custody nationwide were going months or years without necessary treatment – and in some cases, without diagnoses. By the time they arrived at Butner, it was too late for anything other than palliative care.
  • Butner's medical center has a staffing shortage. The lack of staff, especially at night, is deadly for inmates experiencing medical emergencies. 
  • The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, yet has little independent oversight of its prison systems. Until that happens, more people will likely die preventable deaths within custody.

Today's listen

Westend61 / Getty Images
/
Getty Images

What does compassionate care look like for a person who has chosen to receive hospice care? Hospice care has been in the spotlight since former President Jimmy Carter opted for it in February. Ben Marcantonio, interim CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care organization, says choosing hospice isn't an end to life. Rather, "It's just redefining hope and helping navigate a stage of life that is unfamiliar to us."

3 things to know before you go

On Sept. 11, 2001, 343 firefighters and paramedics were killed, most when the towers collapsed. Now, an equal number have died from 9/11-related illnesses, the FDNY says.
Pool / Getty Images
/
Getty Images
On Sept. 11, 2001, 343 firefighters and paramedics were killed, most when the towers collapsed. Now, an equal number have died from 9/11-related illnesses, the FDNY says.

  • Twenty-two years after 9/11, the number of New York Fire Department employees who have died from illnesses related to the World Trade Center rescue efforts now matches the number of those who died on the day of the attacks.
  • Shenandoah University junior Haley Van Voorhis made history this weekend when she became the first woman who was not a kicker or punter to appear in an NCAA college football game.
  • Susanna and the Elders, a lost painting by Artemisia Gentileschi commissioned by King Charles I's wife, has been found and restored hundreds of years after its creation.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Anandita Bhalerao contributed.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tags
Suzanne Nuyen