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Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Over 150 companies, including PepsiCo, Amazon and Target, urged Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, in a letter published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The companies, which collectively employ 4 million U.S. workers, expressed support for the sweeping bill that is named after civil rights leader and former Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who died last year

  • The bill would restore an updated version of the Justice Department's preclearance authority to approve voting changes in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination.
  • Other signatories include Macy’s, Ikea, Nestlé USA, Patagonia and Cisco.

What they're saying: “Despite decades of progress, impediments to exercising the right to vote persist in many states, especially for communities of color,” the group wrote in a letter to members of Congress.

  • “We need federal protections to safeguard this fundamental right for all Americans," the letter reads.

Go deeper

Biden signals openness to ending filibuster for voting rights legislation

President Biden participates in a CNN town hall at Baltimore Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday at a CNN town hall he'd be willing to consider doing away with the filibuster in the Senate in a bid to protect voting rights and "and maybe more."

Why it matters: With an evenly split Senate, legislation requires at least 10 Republican votes making it highly unlikely any new voting rights bill would pass with the filibuster in tact.

"Atmospheric river" swings parts of Pacific Northwest from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. The storm system claimed the lives of two people in Washington state after a tree fell on a vehicle amid powerful winds Sunday.

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California, Oregon and Washington state.