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The Biden administration returns over $2 billion to the Pentagon

The Biden Administration is returning more than $2 billion in unused money for the southern border wall that had been shifted from the Pentagon by the Trump administration and is reviewing on whether to return land the Trump administration had seized from private landowners for the border wall. Congress allotted $1,329 billion for the border barrier construction repair and clean up remining construction sites and to address the damages that the construction caused according to reports from the White House.

The White House felt bound by the President Biden’s statement during his 2020 presidential campaign that he would not build another mile of the wall—the central part of the previous administration.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican on a spending panel overseeing the Department of Homeland Security sent a letter in March to the Government Accountability Office highlighting that it is illegal to refuse to spend money Congress allotted for special purpose. However, under the plan detailed on Friday, the $1,329 Billion for the border wall will instead be used to pay constructors to clean up excavators, bulldozers, and other equipment left at the sites when the Biden administration froze construction project es his first day in office.

Existing sections that will be repaired: a flood levy in Texas that builders damaged while preparing to construct a wall section on top of it, and a 14-mile stretch pf wall near San Diego where soil erosion occurred.
A White House spokesman, for the Office of Management and Budget said no money would used to extend the wall’s length for any of the repair projects but did not rule out whether there will be any future projects on building more barrier. Migrants continue to cross the southern border in large number led by single adults illegally making multiple attempts to cross. It is reported large number of unaccompanied and families crossing the border as well though numbers have fallen in the past two months.

While the Trump administration built 450 miles of border fencing with 30 ft steel bollards placed a few inches apart, most of the wall was built in the deserts and mountains of Arizona and California where the federal government already owned land; 52 miles of fencing was built in areas where no barrier was built. The previous administration was unable to build much in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where large influx of illegal migrants cross because the previous administration had to first seize the land near the border from private owners, facing eminent domain lawsuits would take years to complete.

The Trump administration diverted $10 million from military construction projects and counternarcotic programs under the Pentagon’s budget to help pay for the wall. However, the Biden administration said the $2 billion which it is returning with help fund 66 military construction projects and renovation of an elementary school serving children of military members in Germany and an expansion of a missile field at Fort Greely in Alaska.

Will Vice President Harris Guatemalan President Giammatei and Mexico’s President reach agreement on immigration?

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to meet with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. Giammattei praised Harris for her candid perspective , but emphasized disagreement with U.S on all aspects of the immigration crisis, blaming increased border crossing in part on the discrepancy in messaging. The White House “message changed to ‘we are going to reunite families. And, we are going to reunite children, Giammattei said, and “the very next day the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.

Giammattei also suggest that the U.S. needed to change its perspective on countries in Central America. In a comment, he said, “There is a mistake being made in the United States. They’ve always looked at us like their backyard, that’s a mistake. We’re the front yard. And, if the front yard is bad, how will the house be? If you don’t take care of your front yard, how will your house be?

In using this analogy, the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol was carried out by pro-Trump supporters. Republican unwillingly dismiss the idea that the resurrection was only event which involved “a bunch of tourists” coming to the Capitol, but it was reported the January 6 insurrection occurred when the former president convinced his supporters that the election was stolen, causing the storming of the Capitol. While it was reported some were injured and even some even died, still Republican state legislators endorsing their efforts to erect an infrastructure or strategy that could be used to steal future elections.

Saturday’s event, the former president is making his still spreading conspiracy theories— plotting a comeback for future Republican races, leading fellow Republicans and conservative talking heads in an assault on Biden Chief medical officer Anthony Fauci. Conspiracy theories claims that Fauci covered up or was even involved in China’s developing of the Covid-19 virus. U.S. intelligence is looking into the origin of the virus. But there’s no evidence to prove wild claims about Fauci is immaterial; the baseless speculation which help Trump divert attention from his own denial of the pandemic which led to deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Two Texan Republicans put together the SB7 bill, violation of voters’ rights

Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Briscoe Cain is pushing to enavotoct a Texas voting bill which they call the “bill,” the SB 7 deeming it to be one of the most comprehensive and sensible election reform bills in state history. It is predicted enacting such a bill would clamp down on many Americans particularly people of color and disabled Americans who may find it challenging to cast their votes.
In 2020, Americans faced many political and social issues; the impeachment of a president, racial violence, and injustice against Blacks [killings], the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges
.
Prior to the election, one of the oldest establishments in history, the U.S. Postal Service was forced to shut down part of its operation in mid-summer of 2020 as many of the machine that move ar mail zip code were shutdown.
As election drew near, many Americans feared their mail-in ballots would not be counted before the election deadline, so they were encouraged to mail in their ballots two weeks early.

Despite of stay home restrictions and high rates of COVID cases across the country, many Americans were eager to stand in long lines for hours to cast their vote while others unable to get to the polls used other means mail-in and drive in boxes to cast their votes. Disable voters were provided rides to the polls as they believe it is important to exercise their voters rights.

During this week, two Texan Republican has put together a SB7 bill which they believe is a comprehensive and sensible lection reform bill. The bill follows moves in other Republican-controlled states which sponsors seek to guard against voter fraud, but which indicates the bill is aimed at restricting voting by sections of the population which tend to vote Democrats.

U.S.-China Competing as leaders of the Global Economy

The United States plan to invest in basic and advanced technology research to out compete China in the global economy. To achieve this goal, the U.S. hopes to pass the “Endless Frontier” act that would provide $100 billion over five years to spent on basic and advanced research, education, and training programs in areas of technology such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications and commercialization, biotechnology and advanced energy.

At the initial stage, a U.S. Senate committee voted 24-4 to pass a compromise measure authorizing more than $110 billion in basic advanced technology research over a five-years term. However, the Endless Frontier act which most of the money [$100 billion] must be achieve bipartisan support from the full U.S. Senate and the U.S. House.
This legislation will allow the United States to out-compete countries like China, create more good-paying American jobs and help improve our country’s economic and national security,” said Senator Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who sponsored the bill along with Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana.

“This legislation will allow the United States to out-compete countries like China, create more good-paying American jobs and help improve our country’s economic and national security,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who sponsored the bill along with Senator Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana. After the vote, Schumer said that he intended for the full Senate to “consider and finish” the legislation before the end of the month, and that he expected a strong bipartisan support.
While there both U.S. Senate and Senate House agree to increase funding for U.S. innovation, some Republicans feel the bill lacks tough rules to prevent U.S. subsidiaries that would benefit from the spending bill from later sending research and development abroad would potentially falls into the hands of China.

Senator Marco Rubio spoke on Tuesday to the U.S. Senate and House that legislation must prohibit American money from being invested in China’s military companies. A Republican House aide told Reuters that the “lack of stringent guard rails” counter to the objective of the bill. He pointed out the bill raise concern in his currently written form, it basically promotes taxpayer funded intellectual property, innovation, and research and development that could go into the hands of entities affiliated with or controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Senate Democrats say they are confident sufficient safeguards will be added before it is finished. Another authorized $10 billion will designate at least 10 regional technology hubs; implementing a supply chain crisis-response program to address issues like the shortfall in semiconductors chips harming auto production and and security measures on operations.

White House proposed a reduction infrastructure plan to GOP senators

White House proposed a reduced $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan. Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure would be used to build roads, and bridges, investing in broadband, childcare and education. However, the Republican senators rejected the reduced $1.7 trillion, saying “vast differences “remain.

Although talks between Democrats and Republican senators have not collapsed, the President’s team is holding to a soft Memorial Day deadline to determine whether a compromise is within reach. So far, there is slow progress to move forward on Biden’s $2.3 trillion plan or the Republicans proposed $568 billion offer.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks on the matter, saying “This proposal exhibits a willingness to come down to size,” meaning new offer as talks were underway between key Cabinet secretaries and Republican senators at a crucial point toward making a deal.
After a hourlong meeting, the Republicans quickly rejected the new approach on the deal, describing it as “well above the range” ora proposal that could win bipartisan support.

Forecast: More than 2 million Americans across the U.S. will lose their Pandemic Unemployment Benefit

It is predicted more than 2 million Americans across 18 Republican states will be cut off from enhance federal unemployment benefits that have prevented millions of people from living in poverty. Their governors say these benefits are too generous and employers are complaining that they are not able to fill job vacancies.

Governors cited the 266,000 U.S. jobs in April which fell far below the 1 million predicted by economists. According to Department of Labor Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there are more than 8 million unfilled positions in the U.S. It is no mention of whether unfilled position to financially to meet obligations of working Americans.

Senators Bernie Sanders, Democratic Independent Senator from Vermont begs the difference. He contends, “Let’s be clear, there is not a shortage of willing workers in America.” He goes on to say, “There is a shortage of employers willing to pay workers a living wage with decent benefits. If employers truly want to expand their workforce, there is a simple solution: raise wages and provide decent benefits,” he said.

It is expected more than 2 million Americans across 18 Republican states will be cut off from enhance federal unemployment benefits that have prevented millions of people from living in poverty. Their governors say these benefits are too generous and employers are complaining that they are not able to fill job vacancies.

Governors cited the 266,000 U.S. jobs in April which fell far below the 1 million predicted by economists. According to Department of Labor Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there are more than 8 million unfilled positions in the U.S. It is no mention of whether unfilled position to financially to meet obligations of working Americans.

Senators Bernie Sanders, Democratic Independent Senator from Vermont begs the difference. He contends, “Let’s be clear, there is not a shortage of willing workers in America.” He goes on to say, “There is a shortage of employers willing to pay workers a living wage with decent benefits. If employers truly want to expand their workforce, there is a simple solution: raise wages and provide decent benefits,” he said.

Experts predicts ending the federal unemployment benefit program may not yield expected outcome perceived by Republican led states in hopes of sparking an outpour of job applications. Experts say workers still need to care for a child or elderly person, and there is a fear of exposure to the coronavirus on the job.

The unemployed worker stands to lose approximately $230 per week of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance [PUA] which enable gig workers, independent contractors and self-employment workers to collect the unemployment benefits which they are otherwise ineligible for, and the $300 and-on benefit—that’s according to calculation of the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration provided by MatchWatch based on the national average weekly benefit amount during the first quarter of 2021.

With the exception of Alaska, Arizona and Ohio, most states are ending their PUA program. More than 7 million workers received PUA benefits as of April 24 according to Department of Labor.

In addition to this, most governors are ending the federal program that enables people to collect unemployment who have already exhausted their state benefits, and one that allowed people with multiple sources of income including self-employers— to collect an additional $100 a week.

Those who relied on the extended benefits program will lose $606 a week including the $300 add-on benefit if their state terminated it as indicated with the Department of Labor calculations based on national average weekly benefit amount during the first quarter of 2021.

However, some states like Arizona, Montana and Ohio are offering returning-to-work bonuses as high as $2,000, an incentive to attract workers back to work and bonus could also be applied towards child care costs. In addition to a bonus, Arizona is providing funds to cover three-month’s worth of child-care costs to individuals who return to work and earn less than $25 an hour at their new job. So, Senator Sanders’ message seems to be resonating with most employers.

The Biden administration faces pressure as violent clashes escalate in Israel

Washington D.C. where the Biden administration is facing pressure from some Democrats and human rights advocates to condemn Israel’s treatment of Palestinian families who face eviction from their home in Sheika Jarrah, an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. For week, the Israeli-Palestinian tensions spurred by a legal battle over Palestinian homes in Sheika Jarrah.
After Israel captured East Jerusalem in the war of 1967, the government began to view Jerusalem as one unified city. The international community rejected Israel’s annexation, and the Palestinians claimed ownership of East Jerusalem; their territory and want it to be their capital in a future Palestinian state.

After the first Arab-Israeli war In 1948, the Sheik Jarrah; a neighborhood in East Jerusalem fell under the Jordanian occupation. The neighborhood was repopulated by the Jordanian government and the United Nations with the Palestinian refugees, according to Evan Gottesman— associate director of policy and communication at the Israel policy Forum.

The Sheika Jarrah is disputing because Israeli settlers say Jews owned land in that neighborhood before the Israel’s creation and they are fighting in court to regain control. The Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim lands, but bars Palestinians from recovering property or land they lost in the same war.
But in 1958, there were 28 Palestinian families who settled in the Sheika Jarrah neighborhood after being expelled from other Arab towns, according to reports by the Middle East Eye, a digital news outlet covering the Middle East and North Africa. It was reported about 40 Palestinian families now live in the Sheika Jarrah, and about seven of those are facing evictions.
In the United States, the Biden administration has reviewed Middle East policy after four years in which former President Donald Trump favored Israeli over Palestinians. The White has resumed in providing humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden has been briefed on the developments. Psaki said he has directed his advisers to engage “intensively” with senior Israeli and Palestanian officials including leaders throughout the Middle East.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks to both sides Israeli- Palestinians to stop the violence.
“It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint,” Blinken said in a statement Friday. Blinken also addressed the concerns of Palestinian families being evicted from their homes after living in the Sheika Jarrah neighborhood for generations.

Biden reaffirms the purpose for providing the federal bonus unemployment benefits and the guidelines presented by the Department of Labor

The latest development on some governors of Montana and South Carolina are joined by governors of Arkansas and Mississippi will not participate in the weekly $300 bonus benefit program. of the federal [bonus] provided through the American Rescue Plan. They say the weekly payments are keeping unemployment workers in their states from taking jobs. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said in a statement on Monday, “It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled, he said.

This means that the federal bonus benefits of $300 extending to September 6 will end in June in these states which includes other unemployment money [from the state the worker is receiving. It is reported that individual states can choose not to participate in the weekly $300 federal bonus benefit. Responding to governors’ concerns, President Biden on Monday reaffirmed the federal guidelines for receiving the bonus unemployment money. “We’re going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits. That’s the law.”
Biden’s statement in line with the Department of Labor which states if you turn down a suitable job, you can be denied unemployment benefits: “You must be able, ready, and willing to accept a suitable job, according to a department FAQ.
According to the New York Tines on Monday, the Biden administration requested the Labor Department to work with states to make sure unemployed workers can’t continue to draw benefits if they turn down a suitable job offer.

Why some governors want to stop unemployment benefits for the needy?

Since the pandemic begin in mid-March 2020, many Americans struggled to put food on the table. Washington passed three round of stimulus checks to help with families struggling economically.
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that this week the percentage of adult living in households that sometimes or often did not have enough to eat dropped to just over 8 percent last month down from nearly 11 percent in March which came after hundreds of billions in stimulus checks poured out to American households. The federal government has kept tracked of how households are faring during the economic crisis in collaboration with the Census Bureau which conducts biweekly surveys to chart how Americans are doing on a variety of issues such as household debt, missed rent payments, and whether they frequently went to a food bank.

The percentage of Americans struggling with hunger is now at its lowest level since the pandemic began, suggesting the recent flood in aid from Washington is making a significant difference to families struggling economically.
Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week shows the percentage of adults living in households that sometimes or often did not have enough to eat dipped to just over 8 percent late last month, down from nearly 11 percent in March. That is a substantial drop, and it came after hundreds of billions in stimulus checks rolled out.

The pandemic marks the first time the federal government has closely tracked in real time how households are faring during an economic crisis. The Census Bureau has been conducting biweekly surveys to probe how Americans are doing on a wide variety of issues, including household debt, missed rent payments and whether they recently went to a food bank.
While it is worth noting that federal aid clearly plays a major factor, it’s still too early to know to how much stimulus payment help to decrease in hunger and stepped up food aid [SNAP] versus how much has been fueled by improving the economy. Economists concluded that previous rounds of stimulus checks have also led to declines in hunger amid major spikes of unemployment.

James X Sullivan-Leo of University of Notre Dame and his colleagues recently estimated that poverty declined slightly during the first few months of the pandemic after Washington spent trillions on two early aid packages that stepped up unemployment benefits and sent $1,200 checks to millions of Americans among many other forms of aid. However, when some of the initial unemployment benefit expired in July, poverty rose sharply, even though unemployment fell dramatically.
Sullivan said, There’s a real success story here. “The federal response went a real long way to prevent a massive increase in hardship. That’s not to say there weren’t hardships, but it could have been so much worse,” he said.

Governors of South Carolina and Montana is ending their pandemic unemployment benefit for its residents next month citing that the enhanced jobless programs are dissuading people from returning to the workplace and are creating job shortages. If both governors plan to end the pandemic benefits, perhaps they should consider increasing the minimum wages, provide fund programs to provide child care for women who return to work, and mandate businesses and workplaces put in place safety workplace precautions to protect workers from exposure of Covid-19.

President Biden Has Decided to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Afghanistan Sept 11

After twenty years of being in Afghanistan, U.S. President Joe R. Biden has decided to withdraw U.S. troops but will support peace talks between the government and the Taliban. It is reported those talks expected to begin in September as part of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, have made little progress.

The United States officially has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, but there are about 1,000 additional Special Forces personnel in the country.

Mr. Biden has been a critic of America’s presence in Afghanistan, but his concerns were often overruled when he was vice president. Now as U.S. president, he has authority to order an exit; point out that the United States had succeeded in its real task: ousting Al Qaeda and making sure that the country would never again be the launching pad for terrorist attack on the United States, as it was on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We gave that argument a decade, Biden said. “It’s never proved effective. Not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we were down to a few thousand. Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way. U.S. boots on the ground.”

“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for withdrawal, and expecting a different result,” Mr. Biden said.

“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan,” he continued. “Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.

Mr. Biden reflected on how humbling the United States became in achieving objectives cited by the military and other related issues being in Afghanistan— transforming the country into a stable democratically, weaking, the Taliban, fighting corruption and the drug trade which proved to go far beyond the abilities of the United States and its allies or only yielded partial gains in the process.

And, while counting the cost of lives, effort and focus of the nation proved to be staggering as 2,400 American service members had died in Afghanistan. While at Arlington Cemetery, Biden visit the graves of arm servicemen who lost their lives in Afghanistan which at that moment became clear that it was time to bring the war to an end.

President Biden traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the graves of service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan. He said the decision to withdraw American troops was not difficult because it was “absolutely clear” to him that it was time to bring the war to an end.

Biden also experienced first-hand the effects of the war. His son served in a war zone [Iraq] which he rejected the idea that putting soldiers like his son in danger was the only way to achieve the United States goals in places like Afghanistan where U.S. its allies joined efforts to stabilize and modernize the country by rebuilding its military, civil society and infrastructure have largely faltered.

“We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective,” the president said. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.

“We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective,” the president said. “American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American string a troops in Afghanistan indefinitely

Biden recalls other objectives that were added to the mission over the years and that came to justify the continued American military presence that assured an education for girls and opportunity for women, nurturing a sustainable economy and, which led to creating leverage to force the Taliban into peace negotiations.

 

US News

Tue. April, 13, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invites Biden to Address Congress

In a brief letter to President Joe Biden. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited him “to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”

“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help is on The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership. Help is Here!” Pelosi wrote in the letter. She continues:

“In the spirit I am writing to invite you to address a joint Session of Congress on Wednesday. April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi wrote.

It is accustomed newly inaugurated presidents make their first address to Congress within weeks of taking office though Biden have not done so far due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With most lawmakers and a growing number of staff are now vaccinated, it signals that Congressional leaders feel more confident in gathering large groups in the House Chamber.

The House Speaker had previously cited the need to wait for decisions from the Office of the Attending Physician and House Sergeant at Arms on capacity amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama both gave their first addresses in February of their first years in office.

 

 US News

Sun. April 11, 2021, 9:30 p.m.

After a year of the coronavirus breakouts that has killed millions upon millions of people.  Science researchers and investigators have conducted an in-depth study to track where the virus began.

One of the highest officials of the United States, Secretary of State Anthony Blinked shared his view, concluding China failed to share information and provide access to international public health experts in its early stages of the pandemic fueling a global crisis.

“I think China knows that in the early stages of COVID, it didn’t do what it needed to do,” Blinken said on NBC’s Meet the Press.” “And one result of that failure is that the [virus] got out of hand faster and with, I think, much more egregious results that it might otherwise.”

Blinken said that the pandemic revealed the need for a “stronger global health security system to make sure that this doesn’t happen again” and to ensure the world can mitigate public health crisis. Blinken said the World Health Organization must be strengthened and reformed, and that “China has to play a part in that.”

Indeed, it is crucial that every nation commits to improve global health security system; and to inform and collaborate with the World Health Organization in adopting an ongoing oversight policy that will ensure every country/regions adheres to global health requirements and transparency. A starting point is meeting with nations to discuss Climate Change policy to work on commitment.

 

US News

Sat. April 10, 2021, 10:20 p.m.

At the dawn of a new era–the twenty-first century transformation or translation have taken a much broader perspective and scope. Since its usage in the 1880s, the term “infrastructure” come from French, with infra- meaning “below” and structure meaning “building.” Hence, infrastructure is defined as the foundation upon which the structure of the economy is built, often times quite literally. However, the term infrastructure took on new translation in 1987 when a panel of the U.S. National Research Council adopted the term “public works infrastructure” to refer to functional modes including highways, airports, telecommunications, and water supplies, as well as the combined systems that these elements comprise.

If broken into parts, the infra means “below,” therefore, the infrastructure is the underlying structure of a country and its economy—the fixed installations that it needs in order to function. These include roads bridges, dams, the water and sewer systems, railways and subways airports and harbors which are generally government-built and publicly owned. In certain context, people may use the term as the intellectual infrastructure or the infrastructure of science research.

The Brent Spence Bridge spans the Ohio River and has more than 1 billion in fright passing across it every day. The gridlock has become a constant reminder of unfulfilled promises in the nation’s longest debate on its infrastructure- a promise deferred on needed repairs.

“It’s been battered around by both parties for a long time, but the need is now, said Brad Slabaugh, general manager of Hilltop Companies, a construction firm that sits in the shadow of the bridge. “We had promises from past administrations and we would like to see those promises come through,” Slabaugh said.

 

U.S. News

Wed. April 9, 2021

President Joe Biden’s pitches an ambitious infrastructure proposal which highlights the present conditions of the Brent Spence Bridge. The debate with Republican and Democrats on the U.S. infrastructure with one of the most highly multifunctional bridges in the nation which is a major economic source impacting U.S. supply chain.

Touted as a rare bipartisan opportunity, infrastructure is seldom a top priority for debate in a deeply divided capital.

However, debating from a postmodern perspective, the Brent Spence Bridge, built nearly 60 years ago— considering its economic impact as the gateway [I-75] to the North and South stretching from Miami and Michigan is one of the longest neglected projects in which the Biden administration is taking a new look or perspective using the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan—a broader and bolder plan than past administrations which provide broadband internet within reach for every American, investing $100 billion, $400 billion to increase wages for those who care for the elderly and $45 billion to replace lead pipes. Biden said this week, “To automatically say that the only thing that’s infrastructure is a highway, a bridge or whatever—that’s just not rational. It really isn’t.”

 

US News      Biden makes a pitch to Congress in support of his Skinny Budget Plan

Fri. April 9, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

On Friday, the White House unveiled an early budget proposal. The plan is a glimpse into President Joe Biden’s domestic spending priorities, ramping up spending on education health, and climate initiatives; and military spending would remain relatively flat.

This is Biden’s first budgetary pitch to Congress which can also reshape it in an appropriations process that could possibly take months.

The so-called skinny budget calls for a $118 billion increase in discretionary spending from fiscal year 2021. The type of spending that lawmakers can change from one year to the next. That would be a 16% spending increase from current levels of domestic spending. Programs like Social Security and Medicare are not included but will be part of full spending proposal later in the spring.

The 58-page blueprint includes significant boosts to agencies critical to achieving his domestic priorities such as the Education Department including other increases:

  • Department of Education (+41 % from last year).
  • Department of Commerce (+28%).
  • Department of Health and Human Services (+23).
  • Environmental Protection Agency (+21%).
  • National Science Foundation (+20%).
  • Department of Defense, relatively unchanged from existing levels.

The proposed budget plan also includes $69 billion to expand public housing. It proposes a new medical research [R & D] agency toward curing diseases such as cancer, report from STATS NEWS.

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, acting Office Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said that the current crisis brings “a moment of possibility,” she said. “The upcoming appropriations process is another important opportunity to continue laying a stronger foundation for the future and reversing a legacy of disinvestments of in crucial priorities,” she wrote.

This is sharp break from President Donald Trump’s conservative agenda as his budget plan last year was aimed toward slashing major domestic programs like Medicaid and the size of federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.

As White House prepares to negotiate its multimillion-dollar infrastructure package, and Congress returning to session next week, it is “moment of opportunity” for lawmakers to strike a deal on federal budget before funding expires at the end of September.

 

US News Biden Propose Big Corporations to pay taxes on Earned Revenue

Wed, April 8, 2021, 9:30 p.m.

Big Corporations have maneuvered their way to reduce or avoid paying their tax bills. For some companies like Apple and Bristol Myers Squibb have used such maneuvers by moving their profits offshore. This practice has enriched company accountants as well as their shareholders. As a result, companies are profitable, but have not paid no federal income tax liability to the U.S. Treasury Department.

As it stands the Biden administration is proposing a tax plan that will help raise the revenue to invest in roads, bridges, and water pipes and economic agenda, investments that are so badly needed. The Biden administration aim to raise $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years to help finance the infrastructure proposal. That would include nudging corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% imposing a strict new minimum tax on global profits as well as levying harsh penalties on companies that try to move profits offshore.

Such change would affect 45 corporations according to the Biden’s estimates because it would be limited to companies earning $2 billion or more a year. Companies aren’t going to be able to hide their income in place like Cayman Island and Bermuda in tax haven, ” Biden said Wednesday during his remarks at the White House.  Biden defend his tax increases saying that they are necessary to pay for the infrastructure investments the nation needs to help reduce the federal deficit over the long term.

With the President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, the Biden administration officials say that the law increased the incentives for companies to shift profits to lower-tax countries while reducing tax receipts in the United States to match their lowest level as a share since World War II.

Treasury secretary  said in rolling out the plan, “it would end a global race to the bottom’ of corporate taxation that has been destructive for American economy and its workers. Yellen said, “Our tax revenue are already at their lowest level in generations. If they continue to drop lower, we will have less money to invest in roads, bridges, broadband and R & D.

While the plan is ambitious, it will be a challenge to enact as some of the proposal like certain changes to how global minimum tax is applied to corporate income which could be put in place by the Treasury Department through legislation while most would need the approval of Congress, including increasing the corporate rate.  Considering Democrats’ narrow majority in both Senate and House, the tax rate could drop. Joe Manchin of Virginia a swing vote, said that he prefers a 25% corporate rate. Biden, however, said that he’s willing to negotiate: ” Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain. But, he added, “inaction is not an option.”

 

US News       Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman move into Official Vice-Presidential Residence

Wed. April 7, 2021, 10:00 p.m.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will finally return home–not in the Blair House, but in her 33-room official residence. She will take Marine Two to the Victorian home which has housed vice presidents and their families since the Mondales in the 1970s.

Vice president Harris stopped in Chicago to tour a coronavirus vaccination site before flying on to Washington while Mr. Emhoff visited Washington State. Scheduled improvement delayed the vice president’s move into the Victorian home which involved two months of innovations, including the installation of a new heating and air system, refurbished wooden floors and updated chimney liners, reports from an official of the vice president.  The home features a large veranda, a pool and sunroom that sits on the ground of the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington. The Navy provides funding for most of the structural renovation such as the heating and air conditioning and or refurbishing of floors according to Philip Dufour who served as the home’s manager and social secretary to Vice President Al Gore. It is reported the Navy has awarded contracts worth at least $4.2 million in air conditioning and heating upgrades since 2018.

Payment for preservation of home improvements was funded by the coffers of the Vice President’s Residence Foundation in 1991 after Vice President Dan Quayle initially solicit donations for various home improvements including $130,000 pool, a .gym and a putting green which [then] vice president Biden, former resident said about Mr. Quayle, “He’s my favorite vice president. While Biden acknowledged that he is a fan of the pool, he also said that his granddaughters love it.

The Victorian home has unique foundation and with pieces of artwork, and new drapes [a complimentary portrait of the Vice President] would be an added attraction.  It is was reported, the Bidens painted the dining room the name shade of blue as their home in Delaware, and hung pieces on loan from the National Gallery of Art.

 

Vice President Kamala D. Harris— Tyler Gordon/ Artist

 

The Art Photo of Vice President Kamala Harris [here]

 

 US News    Will Democrats use the budget reconciliation to pass Biden’s Infrastructure Budget Plan?

Tue. April 6, 2021, 11:25p.m.

It seems that Democrats may need to use the budget reconciliation process again. With the ruling from the Senate parliamentarian, Democrats will have more flexibility to pass key components on Biden’ agenda — his infrastructure plan and other domestic priorities to bypass GOP opposition in moving forward with legislation.

Democrats have already used budget reconciliation to push through Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last month. Using budget reconciliation lowers the threshold to advance legislation in the Senate from 60 to 51 votes. In the Senate is an extremely thin majority, a 50-50 split Senate, the tool will allow Democrats to pass bills without GOP support and avoid a filibuster as long as their party remains unified.

Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that the budget resolution from fiscal 2021 which was used in the Covid-19 relief and can be used for another bill according to a statement on Monday evening from an aide of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y.

With the parliamentarian Senate, its role is delivering rulings over Senate procedures, that had played a pivotal role during the reconciliation process in passing the stimulus relief measure which ruled that Democrats couldn’t include a $15 minimum wage increase in the bill.  Republican have yet to weigh in on MacDough’s latest ruling that gives Democrats another opportunity to use the reconciliation process. Democrats acknowledged that” some parameters still needs to be worked out.”

Parliamentarian’s role is to revise budget solutions which may contain budget reconciliation instructions,  This confirms the leader’s interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues according to a statement on Monday evening from Schumer Spokesman.

However, Democrat have not committed to definitely using budget reconciliation for the next big spending package as they assess whether a bipartisan compromise is achievable reiterated by the White House. White House Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the administration is engaging with both parties and will invite back member next week to address infrastructure.

 

US News          Recovering from a Post-Recession-Pandemic crisis

Tue. April 5, 2021, 7:40 p.m.

Welcoming signs of the U.S. recovering from the devastated coronavirus pandemic that caused businesses to shutter across the nation, leaving many Americans in financial crisis. New evidence of the U.S. outperformance appeared Friday as the U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy had gained 916,000 new jobs in March and unemployment rate fell to a post-recession-pandemic low of 6%.

While year 2020 seems to be the darkest winter ever, the economy begin to rebound after American household begin to see some relief, receiving $600 stimulus checks in bank accounts in January. In the month of December alone, the United States imported a record of $221 billion worth of goods: furniture, laptops, and clothing before receiving the second round of $14,000 checks in March.

With a fraught roll out of Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines; an presidential and Vice Presidential inaugurations, Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris along with health officials immediately coordinated an emergency plan to accelerate distribution of the CovId-19 vaccines. After three weeks in office, President Biden promised to the American people within his first 100 days in office he and his health would administer 100 million doses of the vaccine to the Americans. In keeping his promise, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan providing a more generous spending for vaccinations. According to the Washington post, 62.4 million people–18% of the population have been fully vaccinated.  At the end of March, the United States had vaccinated more than twice as large share if its population that gave the U.S. leading edge over the European Union.

Meanwhile, most economists expect China this year to grow at a faster annual rate than the United States. But since the $21 trillion U.S. economy is still significantly larger than China’s measured in dollars, the American contribution to global growth will be slightly larger, according to Oxford Economics.

Predictions by some economists such as Lawrence Summers who was the top economic adviser to President Barack Obama say that too much stimulus aimed to spur the economy could lead to inflationary price spiral. While some predict that strong growth could drive up long-term interest rates which could prompt investors to pull out their money from emergent markets to earn higher interest rate in the U.S. could create larger overflows which would undermine the recovery prospects of the poor and middle-class nations.

However, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March and the $900 billion bill passed in December, will add almost 1.5% to the global economy’s growth rate this year.

Last month, Laurence Boone, OECD chief economist said, “This will not only benefit the U.S. economy, but it will fuel global growth.” The OECD also say the impact if the U.S. government rescue plan will be felt in India, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom Canada and elsewhere. By the end of next year, global output will be $3 trillion larger than it would have been without the new U.S. spending, Boone said.

 

US News

Sun. April 5, 2021, 9:00 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson [J&J] is taking over a Baltimore vaccine production facility, the Emergent BioSolutions Inc. plant that was cited for a major manufacturing error last month. With the help of the Biden administration, J&J announced Saturday that it was assuming full responsibility regarding the manufacturing of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine just days after officials learned the Emergent BioSolutions-Baltimore plant had ruined 15 million doses of another vaccine manufactured by J&J.

The U.S. Health and Human Services [HHS] Department was notified about the contract manufacturer-Emergent BioSolutions accidently mixed up the ingredients from two vaccines which forced delay authorization of the plant’s production lines.

To mitigate the problem, DHHS directed J&J to install a new leadership team to oversee all aspects of production and manufacturing at the Emergent Baltimore facility according to an HHS official familiar with the measure.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration has acknowledged the delay, but said it won’t alter its timeline for when the country will have enough doses for all adults. The Biden team hasn’t disclosed how many doses it would have received this month had the error not occurred. But federal officials are worried that the mix-up will lessen public confidence in the vaccines as there is a deep concern about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid a health scare that has prompted some European countries to restrict its use.

AstaZeneca said in a statement that it would work with the Biden administration to find an alternative site. The Emergent-Maryland company has built a profitable business by teaming up with the federal government primarily by selling its anthrax vaccines to the Strategic National Stockpile.

Reorganization of the Baltimore plant is another setback for the AstraZeneca which like J&J does not yet have the emergency authorization from the FDA for its vaccines. In addition to the two other vaccines authorized for emergency use, Pfizer BioTech and Moderna, it is not clear whether the AstraZeneca vaccines could be cleared in time to meet U.S. needs. However, one of the health officials said that HHSD is discussing working with AstraZeneca to adapt its vaccine to combat new Covid-19 variants. At this time, none of the Johnson and Johnson doses made by Emergent have been released by the F.D.A. for distribution. Dr. Janet Woodcock, the agency acting commissioner said in a statement that the agency “takes its responsibility for helping to ensure the quality of manufacturing of vaccines and other medical products for use during this pandemic very seriously.”

 

US News

Sat. April 3, 2021, 12:40 p.m.

The U.S. is forced to use a different diplomatic policy than used by past administration

It is reported some immigrant rights advocates say it’s partially because Biden and his administration were slower to coalesce behind a clear strategy in the early weeks of his term, with a crucial focus on the coronavirus pandemic and the aid package to help solve it, caused the start of migrants coming to the U.S. While Biden spent [more than] his first two weeks to get his picks [nominees] confirmed for chiefs of White House administration to help in coordinating a [clear] agenda or [strategy] in handling  the influx of young migrants coming to U.S. border, he had immediately focused on setting up logistics and distribution of the coronavirus vaccines; to develop a bipartisan legislation to pass the $1.9 trillion aid package. This entire process consumed considerable time—with the hope of passing with bipartisan support of both chambers.

Some group activists and politicians believe the White House administration needed to be proactive by addressing this issue weeks before the initial influx of migrants coming to the southern border. Executive director of Community Change Action [a progressive grassroots group] Lorella Praeli touted this idea, “The White House needed to be, or should have been more proactive, framing and telling the story three weeks before they really started to do it,” she said.

Frustration is spurring on the Hill about Biden’s continued use of the Trump-era authority—known as Title 42 which expels many migrants who gathered at the border. The White House has told reporters and Hill staff that they have no timeline to stop using the authority.

In such circumstance, the administration has tried to respond quickly by sending delegations to the border, coordinating with some Democrats in border districts as well.

Meanwhile, President Biden announced that he is installing Vice President Kamala Harris to coordinate a diplomatic policy with the North Triangle and Mexico while reversing a Trump-era policy that allowed immigration services to reject applications for asylum due to space unanswered on the applications. Conservatives claim that the reversal of Trump’s policies and Biden’s language could be key to creating the situation at the border. Contrary to what the conservatives claim, immigrant experts say few migrants would make such  a dangerous journey based on who is in the White House.

It is noted that the Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy ended when President Biden took oval office. The policy forced migrants to wait out their claims on the Mexico side of the border in tent camps and reinstated the Central American Minors program allowing children to file asylum claims from their home countries. Despite of increasing number of people encountering at the border, the United States is on pace to act on the influx of migrants coming to the border.

While migrant surges have been a challenge for past administrations, the Obama administration and Trump administration, the Biden administration, however, is facing a much more difficult challenge with the migration at the border. Unlike the Obama administration and Trump administration,  the Biden administration is dealing with the devastation from hurricanes, violence and poverty, it also must deal with the young unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman move into Official Vice-Presidential Residence

Wed. April 7, 2021, 10:00 p.m.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will finally return home–not in the Blair House, but in her 33-room official residence. She will take Marine Two to the Victorian home which has housed vice presidents and their families since the Mondales in the 1970s.

Vice president Harris stopped in Chicago to tour a coronavirus vaccination site before flying on to Washington while Mr. Emhoff visited Washington State. Scheduled improvement delayed the vice president’s move into the Victorian home which involved two months of innovations, including the installation of a new heating and air system, refurbished wooden floors and updated chimney liners, reports from an official of the vice president. The home features a large veranda, a pool and sunroom that sits on the ground of the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington. The Navy provides funding for most of the structural renovation such as the heating and air conditioning and or refurbishing of floors according to Philip Dufour who served as the home’s manager and social secretary to Vice President Al Gore. It is reported the Navy has awarded contracts worth at least $4.2 million in air conditioning and heating upgrades since 2018.

Payment for preservation of home improvements was funded by the coffers of the Vice President’s Residence Foundation in 1991 after Vice President Dan Quayle initially solicit donations for various home improvements including $130,000 pool, a .gym and a putting green which [then] vice president Biden, former resident said about Mr. Quayle, “He’s my favorite vice president. While Biden acknowledged that he is a fan of the pool, he also said that his granddaughters love it.

The Victorian home has unique foundation and with pieces of artwork, and new drapes [a complimentary portrait of the Vice President] would be an added attraction. It is was reported, the Bidens painted the dining room the name shade of blue as their home in Delaware, and hung pieces on loan from the National Gallery of Art.

 

Vice President Kamala D. Harris— Tyler Gordon/ Artist

A lasting impact of the pandemic has influenced Americans to decision-making.
The spread of the coronavirus has made an impact on everyone and every aspect. In 2020, lockdowns became reality for all people around the world.
Now, US. Travelers escaping the city this summer will need to pay significantly more for accommodation than before the pandemic as the price of short-term rentals jumps in line with the rising vaccination rates and loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.
Since the restrictions have been lifted around the country, resuming American pastime is becoming the focal point of today. More and more Americans are feeling safer, and consequently eating out; visiting parks; going to the beach are no longer restricted for the most part.

For nationwide restaurant chains and independent eateries are saying that there is a growing demand for workers; and frankly aren’t enough workers to staff kitchens and dining rooms just as Covid-19 restrictions relax and more consumers want to eat out again.

For example, fast food operators like owners of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and restaurants are offering signing bonuses for recruits. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is offering perks such as free college tuition to employees who work at least 15 hours a week after four months on the job. Other fast-food chains like Taco Bell is offering paid family leave to company store managers while MacDonald’s Corp owners are assessing what pay and benefits its U.S. employers would like as a best place to work.

Atlanta-based restaurant operator Daniel Halpern, who runs fifty TGI Fridays and other restaurants recently increased hourly wages and is offering employees immediate pay.

During the pandemic, U.S. restaurants shifted their store operations to online launching online food brands or rely on takeout services. Sales at bars and restaurants increased up to 13.4% in March compared with the month of February, according to U.S. Labor Department.

Despite of Chipotle fast-food chain offering its college tuition initiative, servers, hosts and line cooks are reluctant to come back because they are fearful to contract Covid-19; have moved on to other industries or remain on unemployment benefits.

Other sectors of the U.S. economy also are struggling to add staff especially with manufacturers, live-event coordinators [in entertainment] and other companies wresting with labor shortages. Some restaurant owners have had to pass on some of the increases to customers in the form of higher prices as other prices rises at the same time— operation and overhead, for example. Consequently, consumer fast-food prices in March grew to 6.5% compared to last year, biggest year-on- year since 1998, the Labor Department data show. It was also reported McDonalds and Pizza Hut owners are closing earlier in the evening than if they were fully staffed, cutting off potential sales.

Food-service jobs on Indeed.com cited mid-April jobs stood at 16.2% higher than February fiscal year 2020 reflecting the highest number for severs, cooks, hosts and managers and other restaurant jobs posting since the pandemic began spreading in the U.S.

However, restaurants were struggling with employment before the pandemic when unemployment stood at 3. 5%; Covid-19 created new problems restaurateurs said. Many restaurant and bar workers were laid off when the pandemic hit last year. Economists expect it would take time for workers who dropped out of the market to return.

New York City, some restaurants are closing earlier due to labor shortage according to report on April 11 by McDonald’s. It is reported supplemental unemployment benefit of $300 a week could be reason for workers to return to work according to economists and restaurant owners as federal and average state unemployment payments can surpass thew weekly pay of an employee working 40 hours at $15 an hour. The median hourly wage for a fast-food worker in 2020 stood at $11.47, Law Department data show. However, restaurants like full service and high-end restaurant Wolfgang Puck’s Spago-Beverly Hills, servers earns as much as $100,000 a year plus tips are also struggling to recruit workers. Mr. Puck said in an interview that expended unemployment benefits and new options like personal chef gigs are contributing to staffing shortages at Spago and other restaurants .

The coronavirus pandemic made an unprecedented impact on every aspect of American society. Democracy, the crucial principle of American society has came under scrutiny among leaders elected by the people— people who entrusted leaders to voice their needs in matters concerning them. Before the pandemic spread, America begin to believe that it was on track and was headed in the right direction. Despite 2008 recession and unemployment, there was hope for recovery. While hope of recovering from a great recession became a crucial driver to move forward, a huge awakening came after 2016 presidential election when president Donald J. Trump vowed that if elected, he would “Make America Great Again.”

In 2020, million of  Americans believed that aiming toward making America great would become a reality. But, unfortunately, 2020 became the most challenging; facing two presidential impeachments, the spread of the deadliest virus Covid-19 and a divided nation.

On Jan 20, America watched as President Joseph R. Biden took the oath of office. With his message of “Healing the Soul of America,” once again, America’s hope was lifted as Biden promised 100 million coronavirus vaccines will be administered into the arms of the people in his first 100 days in office which went beyond the expected numbers.  So far, President Biden is still fighting to keep his promise as Congress passed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan under the American Recovery Act which also includes a proposal of $2.1 trillion infrastructure plan to build bridges, roads, airports and issues concerning schools, broadband, health and childcare.

But within his 100 days, Biden has been forced to make unpopular decisions maintaining President Donald Trump’s low cap refugees law of 1,500 which he said he would rescind the 1,500 cap and raise refugees entry to 162,000. Critics from both isles said oppose his decision to keep cap at 1,500, but later said that he would raise at 162,000 in May.

Meanwhile, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been strong criticized about their [so-called] no action for the growing surge of unaccompanied Children and teenagers at the southwestern border. GOP-Republicans are saying Biden and Harris need to visit the border and address this issue.

A string of massive shootings are popping up everywhere that recently Indianapolis and Georgia as well as police-killings in Minnesota and Chicago. In response to the shootings, President Biden has respond issuing executive order as recently as this week.

But, GOP-Republicans continue to criticize the Biden administration particularly concerning  unaccompanied  immigrants [aliens] at the southwest border. One may question, why hasn’t the GOP provided an effective plan or alternatives that would stop the flow of aliens coming to the border? Perhaps, if GOP focus on an alternative that would help the Biden administration, this could be resolved.

Treasury Secretary hunts for revenue through global minimum tax

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is embarking on negotiating a global minimum tax on multinational corporations as White House administration channels its efforts to raise revenue aimed to help drive President domestic agenda– to “build back better plan.”

The effort could be more challenging than U.S. establishing coalition of allies in fighting the war in Afghanistan. If, Ms. Yellen succeeds in global negotiation of tax laws, this could prove one of biggest policy legacies of yellen’s term.

It also could prove central to Biden’s presidency. The $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation signed into law last week was financed completely by additional federal borrowing. However, the White House administration is expected to raise taxes at least partly to pay for for its other big ticket spending priorities–massive infrastructure and job package being discussed by White House officials and congressional Democrats. It was pointed out that a key source of new revenue probably will be corporate taxes which Donald Trump sharply cut in 2017. While Biden has not proposed to reversing Trump’s cut in corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, he said he would aim to raise potentially billions of dollars more in revenue from big businesses.

Some tax experts, business groups and Republican lawmakers say that raising the tax rate could damage U.S. competitiveness. They also say countries worldwide both have recently, and over the past several decades have joined the U.S. in reducing the tax rates to attract corporate investors [investment] which economists view as destructive a ‘race to the bottom.’ According to Tax Foundation, a right-leaning think tank reports that the average tax rate among countries is 24%. France and other countries lowered their corporate tax rates as each country seems to think it can steal business from others by lowering taxes while the richest MNCs are the only ones who benefit in the race to the bottom said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University a mentor of Yellen.

Treasury Sec. Yellen is working to curb the practice through an effort at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] in which 140 countries are participating. The goal is for countries to agree in principle to a minimum corporate tax rate–although it would be nonbinding –that would make it harder for MNCs to play countries off by threatening to leave. Yellen is hoping that she negotiate an agreement for minimum tax rate. Yellen in her confirmation hearing told U.S. Senators that ” A global minimum tax could stop the destructive global race to the bottom on corporate taxation and help discourage harmful profit-shifting.” She added. “It’s necessary for U.S. to be globally competitive, and that’s why these OECD negotiations are so important.”

After provided with $714 million in relief funds, the largest schools districts have not announced their plans to return to in-person learning

The coronavirus vaccine is starting to roll in for distributions. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. More than 381 million doses have been administered in health care facilities and nursing homes and the older people ages 65 and older, President Biden have issue orders for all states prioritized teachers and school staff to start receiving their vaccination shots. This announcement comes after parents and teachers refused to return to in-person class instructions. Teachers unions from across the country has said educations will not return until they are provided with COVID-19 vaccines, assured that safety measures are in place and school buildings have the proper ventilation.

On Thursday of last week, President Joe Biden signed the $1,9 trillion Covid-19 bill; the largest Democratic-led bill in the history in order to reopening the schools had been closed since Mid-March of last year.

The bill includes $730 millions for schools to reopen, for Covid-19 logistics and distribution; testing and contact tracing to fight the virus, and for school infrastructure that include ventilators in schools.

Although several school districts have reopen for public school children K-8 grades, some school districts like Poland Public Schools and teacher unions, there were debates centered on when to reopen school safely. Seattle and Kent Public Schools

In Washington State, spokesperson for the Washington Education Association said the educators’ union agrees a safe return to schools is best for those who choose to return. However, spokesperson Julie Popper said Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation assumes all schools can provide a safe in-person learning.

In a statement Popper said that “some districts are not yet prepared to safely welcome students back to the buildings.” She added, Local unions are activeky bargaining with districts to ensure the return to buildings is as safe as possible and shortcutting those safety processes is not in the best interest of our students, staff, or communities. School district must partner with local unions and community groups, including communities of color—to ensure safety measures and robust mental health supports are in place before returning to buildings and for families that opt for remote learning.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Washington Education Association said the educators’ union agrees a safe return to schools is best for those who choose. However, spokesperson Julie Popper said the governor’s proclamation assumes all schools can provide safe in-person learning.

“Some districts are not yet prepared to safely welcome students back to buildings,” Popper said in a statement. “Local unions are actively bargaining with districts to ensure the return to buildings is as safe as possible. Shortcutting those safety processes is not in the best interest of our students, staff, or communities. School districts must partner with local unions and community groups – including communities of color – to ensure safety measures and robust mental health supports are in place before returning to buildings and for families that opt for remote learning.”

The Washington schools districts have been implementing a hybrid model of instruction and only a few schools remain fully remote. As of March it is reported that 40.9 of student population are receiving in-person instruction weekly, according to Office of State Public Instruction. It is noted that the Office of Superintendent Public Instructions have received $714 million Covid-19 relief fund for schools which is available to districts with a plan to return.

Bernie Sanders asks to Amazon CEO: “What is your problem with Amazon Workers organizing?”

Chair of National Budget Committee Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent-VT is puzzled because he does not understand why Jeff Bezo, multi-billionaire the founder of Amazon.com is preventing workers from organizing union at U.S. plant-facilities.

Recognized the most richest man on Earth with a net worth of $184 billion, was asked to attend this week’s Senate Budget committee hearing on income inequality, but decline. Amazon has become the topic of conversation across the country after thousands of workers in a small suburb of Birmingham known as Bessemer, Alabama; thousands of workers in Bessemer, Alabama are trying to form a union at an Amazon warehouse. Joint-effort of President Joe Biden and Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio have publicly stated their support for Alabama workers’ unionization plan.

During his appearance on MSNBC Sunday, Senator Sanders challenged the billionaire why he chooses to oppose workers who want to form a pro-union at the facility for better working condition and better pay.

[As] “the richest man on the planet, what is the problem with Amazon workers organizing for better working condition and better pay? You are worth $182 billion. “You cannot continue to have it all when so many are struggling.” Sanders told MSNBC host Ali Velshi after declining his Senate invitation.

The pro-union labor group who represents the Amazon employees in Alabama are seeking “just-cause” instead of “at-will” employment,— the ability to challenge write-ups and terminations perceived as wrongful and safer conditions in the workplace particularly amid a pandemic when workers are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. In October, the company revealed 20,000 of its employees had tested positive or presumed positive for the deadly virus.

A Bessemer worker filed a claim against Amazon with the National Labor Relations Board accusing it of unfair labor practices; the NLRB cited Amazon’s corporate wing setting up DoltwithoutDues.com. The site makes false claims about employees in Alabama, a right-to-work state, being forced to pay union dues.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski said: “We respect our employees’ rights to join or not to join a labor union, but the fact is that Amazon already offers what these groups claim they want.” Ms. Levandowski said that the company believes that not all employees have this view. The Company provides employees an opportunity to work at Amazon by offering potential workers some of the best jobs everywhere we hire, and encourage them to compare pay, benefits, and our work environment to any other company with similar jobs.

Senator Sanders’ official website features petitions support unionization efforts at multi-billion dollars corporations like Walmart and Amazon for example a petition fundraising campaign featured a message on the website from Sanders to Bezos.

Mr. Sanders points out that multi-billionaire companies pay their employees low minimum wages— lower than what CEOs of companies earn in ‘one second’ compared to the average employee wage earns in ‘one year.’ Rather than a company with a multi-billion dollars net worth [who says] it provides the “best jobs everywhere we hire with pay and benefits and [safety environment] is viewed as inequitable to its employes. An invitation to meet with the National Budget committee would provide Amazon an opportunity or clarify reason for opposing to a pro-union labor group at Amazon.

Republicans’ resistance is likely defined as an election issue

U.S. Congress passed one of the largest relief bill in history, a COVID-19 relief bill which President defined as his $1.9 trillion plan– a backdrop of the American Recovery Act. The key focus of the bill is tillion to jumpstart the economy caused by the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.

[Every] Republican opposed the bill by voting “no” Wednesday leaving the Democratic-led U.S. House to pass the $1.9 trillion legislation. Republicans called the bill “a laundry list of left-wing priorities that predate the pandemic” signaling that the bulk of the spending would go to an array of items unrelated to COVID-19 from Amtrak railroad services to arts and humanities programs.

In an effort to position the party for 2022 election, Republicans might potentially view as an opportunity to gain-seats in House and Senate majorities.

While the Republicans voted “no” to the bill, they must remember Mr. Biden had the backing of leading economists, city mayors, the labor unions and members as well as many American who struggle every day to put food on the table amid the pandemic. The “laundry list ” which Republican described as unrelated to COVID-19 — Amtrak rail transportation, the arts and entertainment industry as well as the health care professionals, Health and Human services all are related because many Americans held jobs in these areas when the pandemic hit and many were laid off —redefined.

The relief bill defined or highlighted providing $1,400 relief checks to Americans, extends unemployment benefits, addresses ‘child poverty and health care programs’ and speed up the supply COVID-19 vaccinations and school reopenings all critical items Democrats frequently tout.

Chris Taylor, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said ” the American people will remember that House Republicans voted against cutting childhood poverty in half” and getting stimulus checks into the hands of struggling Americans,” among other benefits. He added, “House Republicans left American families out to dry. ” The people won’t forget that.”

As such, public opinion polls showed strong bipartisan support of the bill particularly among economists, city mayors, labor unions and members and the Americans. Implications are Republicans will switch to other issues as the pandemic recedes. For example during the debate, some Republicans spent as much time hitting the Biden administration over an upsurge in illegal border crossings, including children, and decision to keep schools closed defined as “distractions.”

U.S.-China: Scheduled next week, high-level talks with Chinese officials in Alaska

The bitter trade war between the US and China began when former U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on exports of agricultural products, technology, appliances and so on. This prompted retaliation from China President Xi Pinjing who imposed tariffs on U.S. imports—buying less of U.S. agricultural products.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong told the British Broadcasting News [BBC] the new American leader [President Joe Biden] would be someone who believes in multilateralism and international trade. Lee also posits the U.S. is still number one, but China is number two—that it’s not far so behind and believes that that is what’s difficult for the U.S. to accept.” Some estimates that the China economy is slated to overtake the U.S. to become the world’s largest by 2028. Five years before it was forecast.

China economic rise in recent years accompanied by increasing aggression internally and externally under the leadership of Xi Jinping. This rise has led to condemnation of its action from many in the West and some concerns among partners in Asia. Despite reactions from other nations, Prime Minister Lee said that he could not afford to take sides.

It is a problem for many countries, which is why we are all hoping and encouraging the two large powers to think very carefully before deciding that the other one is an adversary which hs to be kept down, if not put down,” he said.

It is a problem for many countries, which is why we are all hoping and encouraging the two large powers to think very carefully before deciding that the other one is an adversary which has to be kept down, if not put down,” he said. “What we would like to see is China being a country where its prosperity, development and growing strength is welcomes by other countries in the world, who see this as an opportunity for them to prosper together and live in a stable world together.”

The Biden administration will hold its first high-level talks with Chinese officials in Alaska next week.

A call for coalition efforts–the United States, EU-United Nation Security council and allies to impose arm embargo against the Burmese Military/Myanmar

Myanmar, also known as Burma has suffered decades of repressive military rule, poverty due to years of isolationist economics policies, and civil war with ethnic minority groups. In 2011, the military junta was officially resolved at a 2010 general election, and a nominally civilian government was established. As such, the transition to civilian leadership in 2011 spurred hopes of democratic reforms. But the military, the Tatmadaw took control over parts of the government. Military and civilian leaders, including Suu Kyi faced international condemnation for continuant human rights abuses and brutal violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Western state of Rakhine, which a United Nations report said such action of abuse and violence were committed with “genocidal intent.”

On February 1, 2020. The military claimed it was acting in response to election irregularities, citing charges it later imposed on elected leaders —the civilian leader, Daw Aung San Stuu Kyi who was accused of illegally importing walkie-talkies perceived as a ridiculous accusation. The goal of the Burmese military was to nullify the results of the November 2020 democratic election, a similar experience that happened in the United States. On January 6, an insurrection at the Capitol designed to nullify the results of its own free and fair election, promptly condemned the Burmese military actions. As a response to such Burmese military actions, U.S. President Joe Biden declared the situation a national emergency and ordered the government to take steps to prevent Burmese military leaders from using $1 billion assets held in the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later expanded sanctions to include individual members of the Burmese military.

Although an approach to declare a national emergency and order the U.S. government to place hold on Burmese military assets of $1 billion, it is suggested Biden administration work coherently with the European Union [Obama Administration strategy with Afghanistan], the Nations Security council and allies to impose arms embargo against the Burmese military. Recommendation for more actions comes from 130 nongovernmental global organizations [NGOs] as taking such action by cutting the supply of weapons, tanks, trucks and planes that are being used to crack down on [peaceful] protesters throughout the country. To restrain the supply of weapons to the Burmese military, the U.S. use its relationship with Singapore to prompt change in Myanmar since the country is ally to U.S. and use its leverage as the largest investor in the Burmese economy.

The U.S. should ensure that companies that do business in America are not doing business with Singaporean companies that have interests in Myanmar. However, the U.S. must remember that Burmese military has spent much of the past decades operating under economic sanctions imposed by European Union and the United States as they are not afraid of the fragmented sanctions; to take step to impose continacy sanctions and arms embargo can help pressure the military which will harm their cause.

Biden delivers on his promise– $1,400 stimulus checks to struggling Americans

Many Americans are struggling to maintain their households during the pandemic will soon see stimulus relief checks landing in their bank account or expect to get them in the mail as early as this month. President Biden on Saturday that the $1,400 coronavirus stimulus checks will start being distributed in March. This is the first round of stimulus checks that will be given out under Biden. Last year, former President Trump passed two stimulus checks, one for $1,200 and another for $600.

According to Reuters, payment will go to 85 percent of Americans. The Senate and House Democrats debated the $1.9 trillion bill for weeks with provisions that includes an increase to a $15 minimum wage being taken out of the relief package in order to get the bill through.

The president said, “This plan puts us on a path to beating the virus. This plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and the breathing room they need to a fighting chance to survive.”

This is the first major bill Democrats were able to push through after they won the House Senate and White House during the 2020 election.

Biden said “It’s a good day today. When we took office 45 days ago, I promised the American people help was on the way. Today, I can say we’ve taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise that help is o the way.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gives a thumbs up after leaving the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, Retrieved from Getty  Images

After a legislative process that involve House Senate voting 50-49 entirely along party lines came after the Senate remind a 24 hour overnight session. Senate Republicans sought to amend the legislation but the Senate Democrat stood in solidarity to defeat any major changes to the bill considered as one of the largest federal aid packages in history.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York keep his 50 member caucus intact throughout the process, but not without some last-minute drama. The so-called vote -a-rama session was delayed for 10 hours on Friday as Senate Democrat reached a last-minute deal with Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat of West Virginia on the size of federal unemployment insurance benefits.

Now, legislation will go back to the House where the bill is made ready to send to send to Biden’s desk before federal unemployment benefits expire date March 14.

The Senate Republicans criticized Democrats for using “ budget reconciliation process to pass their $1.9 trillion   After a legislative process that involve House Senate voting 50-49 entirely along party lines came after the Senate remined a 24 hour overnight session. Senate Republicans sought to amend the legislation but the Senate Democrat stood in solidarity to defeat any major changes to the bill considered as one of the largest federal aid packages in history.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York keep his 50 member caucus in tact throughout the process, but not without some last-minute drama. The so-called vote -a-rama session was delayed for 10 hours on Friday as Senate Democrat reached a last-minute deal with Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat of West Virginia on the size of federal unemployment insurance benefits.

Now, legislation will go back to the House where the bill is made ready to send to send to Biden’s desk before federal unemployment benefits expire date March 14.

The Senate Republicans criticized Democrats for using “ budget reconciliation process to pass their $1.9  trillion coronavirus relief package  along party lines and rebuked Democrats for using the legislation as a poor way to pass their [liberal priorities].

Republicans argue voters picked a president who promised bipartisanship. The Democrat’s goal was to ram through ‘the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation on a razor-thin margin.’

The Senate bill included changes from the House version of the bill which was passed last week. In the House’s  legislation minimum wage  would have increased from $7.25 to $15 an hour which the Senate parliamentarian determined it violated Senate rules. In response to parliamentarian rules. Sen. Bernie Sanders sought to overrule the parliamentarian and pass the minimum wage hike as an amendment to the relief package on Friday when Senate eight Democrats joined Republicans in voting against it a sign that it had no chance of passing.

Democrats agreed on an amendment from Sen Manchin that provide $300 a week in payment through September 6 Rathan than  $400 a week through August that was originally laid out in the bill while there would be a change in providing a $10,200 tax relief for laid-off workers for households with incomes of $150,000 a year.

A race to the finish line–Senate and House agreement on changes before passing package

The Senate Democrats agreed on a smaller federal enhancement benefit payment to jobless Americans. This agreement would involve providing a $300 a week federal enhance benefits rather than the posed $400 passed by the House last week, but no longer under the revised$1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that the Senate Democrats agreed to after hours of negotiation.

The new arrangement would also make the first $10,200 worth of benefits tax-free for households with annual incomes less than $150,000. Prior to latest version of the bill, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin halted the process with the Democrats’ crucial 50th vote signaled he wouldn’t support the initial changes his Senate colleagues were proposing to the House version. which would have extended the $300 benefits boost through the end of September. Sen. Manchin suggested he was open to a less generous plan proposed by the Republicans. However after extracting some concessions, he sided with his party.

The Senate House reached a deal after voting on a series of amendments in a process known as a ‘vote-a-rama’ before moving to a final vote on the entire relief package. The amendments included the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide benefits to freelancers, gig workers, independent contractors and certain people affected by the pandemic.

Nearly a year ago, Congress created the PUA programs and the PEUC program consist increases to duration of payments for those in the traditional state unemployment system. The programs included a $600 weekly boost that lasted four months in the $2 trillion relief package in order to help cushion laid-off workers during the pandemic economy downturn. The programs were extended and the %300 weekly enhancement was added as part of lawmakers’$900 billion relief deal passed in December.

To answer the call of million of struggling Americans, President Joe Biden proposed to provide a $400 boost and continuing the programs through the end of September as part of the massive relief package just before taking office.

On Friday, President Biden was pleased of the changes that Senate House made in the bill.

To answer the call of million of struggling Americans, President Joe Biden proposed to provide a $400 boost and continuing the programs through the end of September as part of the massive relief package just before taking office.

Although the two chambers have worked out most the bill, there is one more issue to work out before sending the final legislation to the President for his signature, the lawmakers’ self-imposed deadline of March the 14 for the passing the relief package could cause Americans who are receiving PUA and PEUC benefit payments which is expected to phase out over the month —the $300 enhancement also ends next weekend.

Some Republican Governors stand by the mask orders, but not all

While several state governors have decided to lift the mandate order of mask-wearing, other governors are maintaining the order of mask-wearing which is aligned with CDC and the recommendation of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of infectious disease and chief of response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It should be remembered in early summer of last year, governors of California and Florida and Texas began to ease the restrictions of mask-wearing and social-distancing. As a result, hundreds and thousands of people again fallen prey to the Covid-19 as they gathered in large crowds on beaches and social clubs and bars. And, again hospitalization quickly accelerated reached high levels thus many died.

Public health experts have concluded face coverings are essential to slowing the spread of the virus, which has killed more than half a million Americans. However, it appears the tide is changing as there is resistance to public health measures in the United States, especially mask-wearing which has become politicized, with many republican states enacting fewer and looser COVID-19 protocols.

President Biden said that deciding to end the wearing of masks in Texas and Mississippi is “Neanderthal thinking” when, the Covid-19 pandemic has killed over 500,000 million Americans.

While some states such as Florida and South Dakota have never been under statewide mandate, others like Alabama and Ohio, the mask mandates remain in effect. However, Rep. Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia said that on Wednesday he was not ready to ease any restrictions including in-door mask mandate. The West Virginian governor issued mandate for all businesses to continue following safety guidelines.

Rep. Governor Abbott’s executive order in Texas will lift mask restrictions statewide set to go in effect on March 10 and forbid local authorities from penalizing residents who do not wear face coverings. His executive order will remove all restrictions on businesses in counties without a high number of hospitalizations.

The Texas executive order also counter against statistics which reported about 7,500 new cases a day on a seven-day average according to Reuters data, and it was ranked 47th in the list of states that have vaccinated the highest percentage of their populations.

On Tuesday, Rep. Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi also, lifted the mask order in his state and removed all restrictions on businesses.

Although Texas reported a 47% vaccination rate which is higher than any other state, and Mississippi governor has lifted restriction of mask-wearing and businesses, might consider high-risk of other contagious variants due to lifting restrictions.

Biden calls on states to prioritize vaccinations for teachers

It is an ongoing conversation about whether there will be enough vaccines Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate most of the population by the end of Biden’s first 100 days. To date, 76.9 million shots have been administered to medical healthcare workers and nursing homes and facilities and groups ages 75 and older. But, the urgent push for teachers to return to in-person classroom is now the key topic of the conversation as parents are protesting that there kids need to return to in-person instructions while teachers’ union are refuting to return to the classroom demanding school districts implement safe measures before schools are reopen for in-person instructions.

To meet their demand, President Joe Biden called in U.S. states to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers to ensure children could return to school quickly and safely. He added that every educator should receive at least one shot by the end of March.

Biden also announced that Merck Co., and Johnson & Johnson single-shot Covid-19 vaccine will join efforts to administer the shots same as those seen during World War II. With three vaccines now available, he believes there will be enough vaccine for each adult in the United States by the end of May.

The President said that he was upbeat about reaching his goal of delivering 100 million Covid-19 in his first 100 days, but urged Americans to remain vigilant in wearing masks and observing social-distancing.

US News

Cecilia Rouse has said she will make promoting racial and gender equity in the economy a priority as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Retrieved from New York Times

After her confirmation hearing, the Senate voted [95 to 4] on Tuesday to confirm Dr. Cecilia Rouse as chair of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors [C.E.A]. She is the first Black leader of C.E.A. in its 75-year history. Dr. Rouse is the dean of the Princeton School of Public and international affairs and a former member of the council under President Barack Obama, She won the praises from both Republican and Democrats alike in her confirmation hearing with senators on the Banking Committee voting unanimously to send her nomination to the full Senate.

Amid economic and public health crisis, a coronavirus pandemic, and a dire congressional debate on Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid package. As C.E.A. chair, she sees a larger set of priorities which includes overhauling the inner workings of the federal government to promote racial and gender equality in the economy.

Ms. Rouse testified in her hearing, “As deeply stressing as the pandemic and the economic fallout have been, it is also an opportunity to rebuild the economy better than it was before—making it work for everyone by increasing the availability of fulfilling jobs and leaving no one vulnerable to falling through the cracks.”

One of her initiatives as council chair will be to audit the ways in which government collects and reports economic data—to break down by race, gender, and other demographic variables with the goal of improving the government’s ability to target economic policies to help historically disadvantaged groups.

Ms. Rouse’s goal is to help design policies that will be economically effective. When asked how would she judge effectiveness? She replied, by keeping our eyes on this ball, and asking ourselves every time we look at a policy what are the racial and ethnic impacts?”

Indeed, a focal point is to keep eyes on the ball while analyzing a policy, what are the racial and ethnic impacts?

Indeed, Ms. Rouse points out some valid points. As she previously points to the impacts of the pandemic and economic fallouts that includes business closures, and employee layoffs, it can an opportunity for innovation and creating [green] jobs via of technology innovation. Another point she made that government needs to collect and report [credible] economic data not only limit to race, gender and other demographic variables such as demographics on U.S. households, employment and income and so on. Collecting such data will provide a roadmap on how to decide on what policy to implement and how will it address racial and ethnic inequality that significantly impact the economy.

Biden Administration set “rule” to approach China’s business practices

The Biden administration plans to allow the rule set by the Trump administration aimed toward combating Chinese technology threats to take effect next month, over objections from U.S. Businesses according to people familiar with the matter. The rule proposed in November, enables the Commerce department to ban technology-related businesses transactions, determined as a national security threat—part as effort to secure U.S. supply chains. Companies in technology, telecommunication, finance and other industries oppose by saying the rule would stifle innovation while hurting competitiveness. US. business community had expected the rule to be delayed while Biden administration revisits the U.S. policy or conduct review on Chinese technology.

In its plans to move forward with the plan, officials are concerned that blocking or diluting the rule would send the wrong message about the new administration approach to China perhaps fueling criticism that it is taking a weaker approach as perceived by the people. However, administration officials have signaled to the business community that they won’t enforce the rule aggressively, but would soften the impact, although business representatives say the rule will still subject firms like smaller one to new costs and uncertainty.

It is noted that the rule is “unworkable for U.S. businesses in its current form and should not be considered as the final publication without significant revisions, said the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from companies like Amazon.com Inc. Citigroup Inc. and Walmart Inc. in a comment filed with Commerce Department in January. The International Business Machine Corporation said the rule as written was ‘massively overbroad’ and would harm the economy and fail to increase U.S. national security. A representative of the Commerce Department said that the agency continues to accept public comments on the rule through March 22, adding the rule become final then.

In response to those concerned, the agency is committed to provide “trustworthy information and communications technology and services that are essential to our national and economic security and remain a top priority for the Biden/Harris administration, the representative stated.

The rule which is set for March 22, could affect as many as 4.5 million American businesses –small, medium and large according a representative of the Commerce Department,potentially requiring businesses to get government clearance for purchases and deals involving sophisticated technology with what the regulation calls a “foreign adversary,” or face potential unwinding of deals or other enforcement.

The new government oversight of foreign trades would apply to technology transactions involving critical U.S. infrastructure, networks and satellite operations, large data hosting operations, widely used Internet connectivity software, advanced computing drones and advanced robotics according to a draft rule could affect sales or some cases, use of technology. The telecommunication and financial-services industries are partly affected by the rule because they are heavy users of information technology services that handle sensitive consumer data as many other consumer-facing business also have a large stake as well. The rules fate is being closely watched as overseer of the Biden administration’s policy direction on China.

Indeed, the rule could affect sales and business deals with China technology, perhaps enforcing such rule will mitigate cyber attacks posing threats to U.S. national security.

GOP support for Stimulus Plan, but concern about extraneous provisions

Many Republican conservatives have different views on Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus relief which is a backdrop of the American Recovery Act. The key focus of the bill is ‘to build back better’ campaign which urgently need to be addresses. Frankly speaking, most Republicans agree on much of the Biden’s build back better plan so as increasing payments to $2000 from $600. And, nearly seven out of ten Republicans said it was important for the current bill to include $1,400 direct checks should be paid to Americans, according to the Survey-Monkey poll. However, Republicans are concerned about the size of the bill which described having ‘extraneous provisions’ like a proposal to raise federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and $350 billion in aid for state and local government. A Trump voter from the suburbs Melissa Kern, 53, says, “People need help right now, and I’m OK with my tax dollars doing that–I’d help feed my neighbors if they needed it. But I am not on board with sending money to rebuild and bail put cities that have not been run very well for years,” Ms Kern said.

Tara Davis, a 40-year-old foster mother of Burlington, N.C. said, “It’s like Republican establishment doesn’t have any common sense. “We’re finding out all this money that’s just been wasted and they couldn’t give people $2,000?” She added, It’s sickening. Anyone that the establishment hates, that’s who I like.”

Judy Betty, a Republican and retired principal from Marana, Arkansas, said that she mostly opposed the second round of stimulus payments but felt let down by the congressional Republicans who she thinks didn’t fully investigate fraud claims surrounding the election—charges that were repeatedly shown to be baseless. Ms. Betty seems to think that the Republican Party had become a” Party of Trumpism”– that she and others be supported and believed him.

Sharon Tomski, a teacher at a Catholic high school in the Milwaukee suburbs, believed that any stimulus plan should be targeted for those who lost income as a result of the pandemic. However, Ms Tomski doesn’t wish that the Republican Party return to the era of fiscal austerity. While Patricia Dorenbosch, a 75-year-old Republican retiree from Henderson, Nevada expressed that she was turn off by former president’s actions after the election, blaming him for stoking the attack and pushing baseless claim of voters fraud, but appreciate new leadership emerging in Washington although she did not vote for him. Ms. Dorenbosch said, “I’m pleased so far—I really am surprised, but I am. I agree with a lot of things. She added, ” We don’t have a lot of this blowhard kind of attitude. We’re are not attacking people so much.

Indeed, Ms. Dorenbosch couldn’t have said it better as the old saying is if the leader is doing it, I’m doing it. Such Republican voters as Ms, Dorenbosch, Ms, Davis, Ms, Betty and Ms, Kern are echoe their sentiment as a constant reminder of what kind of leadership the American people need; an oath keeper with dignity, humility, trustworthy in defending the Constitution of the United States.

Costco Wholesale intends to pay its staff $16 hourly minimum wage, a dollar more than its competition Amazon and Targets

Costco Wholesale Corporation is raising the minimum wage for its hourly workers to $16 should legislative process approve the proposed increase by the Senate, then sent to President for his signature. Costco will pay a dollar more than what its competitors Amazon.com Inc and Target pay per hour.

Costco’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Jelinek made the announcement to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders-Vt-I. Jelinek in the hearing on wages at large companies, saying “It takes a lot of time to interview, find employees, lot of labor involved just to hire individuals. “We want people to say with us,” Jelinek said in his answer to Sen. Sanders.

Issaquah, Washington-based Costco with a workforce of over 180,000 employers in the U.S. has seen their sales soared during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers stocked up their pantries.

The company raised their hourly wages to $15 in 2019 and offered premium pay to workers during the virus outbreak. Jelinek emphasized the importance of maintaining a competitive business particularly in unprecedented times. “In my past experience, wages usually don’t put people out of business, how you run your business will put you out of business,” Jelinek said at the hearing.

Even as big corporations raise their hourly wages, many small businesses have opposed a $15 federal minimum wage, saying it would lead to job cuts and closures.

A Decade ago American Workers received $7.25 per hour minimum wage: Will Congress increase hourly wages to $15?

President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plan that includes a $15 minimum wage by 2025 is opposed by most Republicans as they perceive it as being too much and believe employers would be unable to pay their workers $15 and-hour.

Democrats suffered a setback on Thursday when they tried to push through a $15-minimum-wage-per-hour as part of President Biden’ $1.9 billion stimulus package after the Senate top rule enforcer said that the increase could not be included in the bill.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Thursday morning briefing, “President Biden is disappointed in this outcome. “He respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process. “He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full time and to live in poverty.”

Top democrats vow to continue fighting for the increase which would be the first such raise since 2009. Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, the chairman of the Budget Committee said “I’m confident we have a majority in the United States Senate including the vice president who would vote to increase the minimum to $15 an hour as President Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan.’

Mr. Sanders said because of the archaic and undemocratic rule of the Senate, Democrats are unable to move forward to end the starvation s wages— raising the income of 32 million Americans.

Mr. Sanders said he will try an alternative approach by proposing an additional measure that would tax deduction away from companies who fail to pay their workers at least $15 hourly wages.

Still employers of companies particularly those with high economic of scale could more security for workers, paid for performance in the form of bonuses and profit-sharing while providing affordable health insurance plans to suit their needs. Just as CEO of companies who have excessively annual net earning such as Amazon Inc. could provide tenured workers [long-term employees] the opportunity to buy company bonds or shares.

US. Secretary Blinken is mending Diplomatic Fences

While democracy is described as “ power of the people.” It is defined a government on behalf of all people according to their will. With a beginning of a new administration, it is important that America re-energizes its alliances. As part of his effort to re-energize American alliances fraught for four years, Sec. of State Antony J. Blinken has scheduled his first month in his job with a blaze of diplomacy. Lining up dozens of his counterparts around the world an joint gatherings of Asian and European leaders without leaving his office in the U.S. State Department.

With international travel restrictions, most diplomatic travel remained postponed. Instead, Mr. Blinken is relying on technology via telephone, video screens and ZOOM Conferences. Mr. Blinken and President Biden realized the tremendous challenge in restoring the bonds with key allies, establishing open communication and American leadership against rivals like China and Russia, confronting threats such as climate change and a nuclear Iran.

Although Mr. Blinken have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, US. State officials remains caution about Blinken’s foreign travel with his aides, security personnel and support staff and journalists many who are at risk of contracting the virus. Although the State Secretary is not scheduled for travel, senior administration officials said that he might not take to the air until April even so, that timeline is uncertain.

To assume role of U.S. State Secretary. opened face-to-face communication is essential for establishing diplomatic relations. Diplomats say proximity breeds familiarity that cannot be replicated such as body language, eye contact and handshakes, shared meals, cultural events experiences, exchange of gifts, occasional hallway encounters and outdoors walks and other moment away from their aides. Under normal conditions, events are part of a sweeping Europe trip that includes Munich Security Conference, a trip to NATO.

It is “a lost opportunity at the moment of reinvigoration for transAtlantic relationship in particular,” said Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, the executive director of “The Future if Diplomacy Project” at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She adds, “you think of all the pictures from summits, where leaders are leaning over one another” she said. “That’s where the actual details are ironed out.”

Indeed, open-face-to-face communication cannot be replicated especially when communicating with leaders and diplomats from China as their persona is quiet and reserve, accustomed to nods and bows when spoken to. Diplomatic nuances when dining and walking as Chinese tranquil, deep thinkers. From a business perspective, they are not quick decision-makers— decisions are made collectively. with a focus on the better good for all– cultural awareness and diplomatic approach are effective practices.

Internal Relations – Senate approves Biden’s pick Linda Thomas-Greenfield to lead U.S. Resurgence at U.N

In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, United States Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate has confirmed Thomas-Greenfield to serve.

Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 78 to 20. Ms. Thomas-Greenfield life story started in her birthplace of Louisiana where she attended segregated schools. As a young child growing up in Louisiana she saw how racial tension and its impact on southern Black communities. She recount times when the KKK would regularly burn crosses in yards on the weekends. As a undergraduate student at the Louisiana State University [LSU] during that time of David Duke, a formal ku klux klan was a student on campus. She faced harassment an her dormitory and was confronted by her history teacher who use racial slurs against her.

After graduation, she enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin [UW-Madison].

With a professional philosophy she developed during her post in the Foreign Service, Ms Thomas-Greenfield said “Diplomacy is driven by relationships, and talking about difficult topics while chopping onions for gumbo sauce cab break barriers and foster success, she said. While assigned to Rwanda in 1994, near the start of the country’s genocide, she was mistaken by a man for a Tutsa women he had been sent to kill. She escape death by talking to him. Facing such experience, she learned by using power of kindness and compassion, she will survive.

With Her diplomatic skills [words] positioned her to serve as ambassador to Liberia from 2008 to 2012; one one year stint as director general of the Foreign Service; top U.S. diplomat for African Affairs from 2013 to 2017 — assist overseeing the response to the Ebola epidemic. However, she was pushed out of the department by Sec. of State Rex W. Tillerson. Yet, during her confirmation some Republican lawmakers had concerns about a speech Ms. Thomas-Greenfield delivered to Chinese Confucius Institute, a Chinese government educational organization that American officials have accused to spreading spreading China Propaganda in the U.S. Her speech was being criticised by some, saying [it] lack criticism of China’s human rights record [or] predatory-lending practices in developing countries.

Rep. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Rep. Marco Rubio of Florida specifically use her Savannah State Speech during Ms. Thomas-Greenfield confirmation hearing stating that she was soft and naive to Confucius Institute. Ms. Thomas express regret to agree to make the speech, but contested the insinuation about her record. “If you look at what I have done prior to that, she said,” there is no question that I am not at all naive about what the Chinese are doing and I have called them out on a regular basis. which she included sharp criticism of China on other points in the hearing.

Despite political critics, American experts on China and veteran diplomats who know Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said it was important to place her Savannah State speech in the context of the serverness [severe downturn] in U.S.-China relations that accelerated during the Trump administration.

Perhaps, one should reflect on how “democracy” is sometimes inappropriately demonstrated or taken out of context– taken account the conversation on social media and political figures lately. It is important to point out the word “diplomacy” can be misinterpreted or misunderstood when it is used out of context. One must refer to Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s philosophy and her purpose — clearly defines

“Diplomacy is driven by relationships, and talking about difficult topics while chopping onions for gumbo sauce cab break barriers and foster success.”

Economists see possible ‘boom’ in economic recovery

Whether one sees the glass as being half empty or half full depends on what variables or factors are weighed. Prior to last week’s snowstorm that hit the Southern states—Texas, Oklahoma and the Mississippi Valley, and the coronavirus vaccines were gradually gaining momentum with results of millions of doses being received in the people’s arm are important matters. Despite shuttered businesses, employers are forced to be more creative by shifting office work to remote work at home. And, while employers are having to cut down their workforce, it is possible through such circumstances, there is a beam of hope [light] if one can see opportunity for innovation- to explore other ventures. To see the glass as being half full or half empty is opportunity for job creation.

Perhaps if America wants to build back better, using the same familiar tactics may not achieve the end goal. For example, about a half century ago, the U.S. economy was built on industrialized automotive industries. In the 1990’s the focus was on job creation in information technology.

Since the pandemic crisis, America again is forced to recreate itself; to explore new horizons. Already, there is focus on technology innovation that includes online shopping, political and social media platforms via of cloud-computing services becoming key driving force reshaping business perspectives in job creation that ultimately lead to economic growth. Amazon who transformed into a multifaceted business employing tens and thousands of hires across the nation.

As previously stated, despite of U.S. economy appears to be mired in a pandemic winter of shattered businesses, high employment and slow job growth, but a shift in business perspective could create a possible post-Covid-boom. It is expected the pandemic will be followed by a period of strong economic as businesses reopen and Americans resumes their normal activities. Economists have begun to talk about a rebound that will bring down unemployment drives up wages and may foster years of stronger growth.

 

There are signs that the economy has turned a corner–retail sales rose last month as consumers received the latest round of government aid. Record of unemployment claims have declined from early January-though they remain high. Business investment is picking up, a sign of confidence from corporate leaders.

Economists surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia this month predicted that U.S. output will increase 4.5% this year which makes it the best year since 1999. Some economists expect and even stronger output. Economists at Goldman Sachs forecast that the economy will grow to 6.8% this year and the unemployment rate will drop to 4.1% by December, a level that took eight years to achieve after the last recession. Chief economist, Jan Hatzius said, “We’re extremely likely to get very high growth rate. Whether it’s a boom or not. I do think it’s a V-shaped recovery, he added referring to steep drop followed by a sharp rebound.

This growing optimism stems form the confluence of several factors 1) coronavirus cases are falling in the United States, 2) the vaccine rollout though slower than expected is gaining steam and 3) largely because of trillion of dollars in federal aid as the economy appears to have made it through last year with less structural damage in the form of business failures, home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies than many people had feared last spring. The last factor is consumers are siting on a trillion dollar cash pile as a result of months of lock-down-induced savings and a successive rounds of stimulus payments which could be in everyone’s favor If Congress approves of the aid to households that President Biden has proposed. One predicts when the pandemic ends cash could flow like water that coming from melting snow as consumers are released from their cabin fever, travel rush to book hotel rooms and restaurant dining.

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