Biden condemns rise in ‘despicable’ anti-Semitic attacks
Joe Biden has released a statement condemning the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks across the country.
“These attacks are despicable, unconscionable, un-American, and they must stop,” the president said. “I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice.
“We cannot allow the toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories to put our fellow Americans at risk.”
Biden noted that attorney general Merrick Garland has pledged to deploy all tools available to the justice department to combat hate crimes.
“We must all stand together to silence these terrible and terrifying echoes of the worst chapters in world history, and pledge to give hate no safe harbor,” the president said.
“Let us all take up that work and create a nation that stands for, and stands up for, the dignity and safety of all of our people.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, reports of anti-Semitic hate incidents increased by 75% during the two weeks of military conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Over those two weeks, 222 hate incidents were reported, compared to 127 for the two-week period before that.
“Many of these incidents appear to have been perpetrated by individuals scapegoating American Jews for the actions of the Israeli government,” the ADL said.
Meanwhile, congressional Republicans criticized Joe Biden’s $6 trillion as a wasteful spending spree that would do little to improve Americans’ lives.
“President Biden’s proposal would drown American families in debt, deficits, and inflation,” Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
President Biden’s proposal would drown American families in debt, deficits, and inflation.
My full statement: https://t.co/5mulxq0UwO
May 28, 2021
McConnell noted that Senate Republicans laid out a counteroffer to the president’s infrastructure plan yesterday, calling for investing an additional $257 billion above baseline infrastructure spending over the next eight years. (Biden has called for spending $1.7 trillion above the baseline level on infrastructure.)
“If Washington Democrats can move beyond the socialist daydreams and the go-it-alone partisanship, we could get a lot of important work done for our country,” McConnell said.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Joe Biden’s newly announced budget as “an unequivocal declaration of the value that Democrats place on America’s workers and middle class families”.
A federal budget should be a statement of our national values. @POTUS Biden’s budget is an unequivocal declaration of the value that Democrats place on America’s workers and middle class families, who are the foundation of our nation’s strength and the key to #BuildBackBetter.
May 28, 2021
“The Biden budget makes historic investments in the American workforce and economy. It does so by seizing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create millions of good-paying Americans jobs, supercharge America’s global competitiveness and power growth for generations to come,” the Democratic speaker said in a statement.
“Congressional Democrats look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to enact this visionary budget, which will pave the path to opportunity and prosperity for our nation.”
The release of Biden’s budget comes as the White House continues to negotiate with Senate Republicans over an infrastructure bill, with the hope that the final proposal can attract bipartisan support in Congress.
Harris becomes first woman to deliver Naval Academy commencement address
Kamala Harris delivered the commencement address this morning at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
The speech made the vice-president the first woman to address the academy’s graduating class since its founding in 1845.
VP Kamala Harris delivers 2021 U.S. Naval Academy commencement address.
Harris just became the first woman to give the graduation speech at the Naval Academy. pic.twitter.com/nbIFvZ7OYz
May 28, 2021
Harris expressed confidence that the Naval Academy graduates are prepared to meet any challenge they may face in a rapidly changing world.
“The American people are depending on you: the best, the bravest, the most brilliant,” the vice-president said. “Class of 2021, you are prepared for all of this. You are prepared for any threat. And you are prepared for this new era.”
Biden proposes $6tn budget to boost infrastructure, education and climate
The Guardian’s Dominic Rushe has the latest on Biden’s $6tn budget proposal Friday:
Biden’s budget would fund a dramatic overhaul of US infrastructure, and dedicate extensive funds to education and climate action—which would put government spending at its “highest sustained levels since the second world war,” Rushe explains.
Importantly, Rushe points out, Biden’s first budget is “largely a political document.” While this proposal makes clear Biden’s hopes for revitalizing the US in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans are already chaffing against its scale.
Indeed, no Republicans voted in favor of Biden’s $1.9tn Covid stimulus bill. Biden has also been forced to limit his infrastructure bill to $1.7tn, down from his originally proposed $2.2tn initiative. So, the chances of getting GOP support for such a budget are slim.
Biden’s two-part initiative to revitalize the US economy is rooted in ramping up its flagging infrastructure and broadening its social safety net. These initiatives would cause the US to have yearly deficits of more than $1.3tn over the next 10 years, with debt increasing to 117% of the value of economic output before 2031.
Biden’s plan would be funded, in part, by increasing taxes on corporations and the extremely wealthy. He supports increasing corporate taxes to 28%, up from 21%. All Republicans oppose this tax increase plan, as do some Democrats.
at 3.30pm EDT
Joe Manchin has slammed GOP senators who blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to study the deadly Capitol insurrection on 6 January.
“Choosing to put politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable, and the betrayal of the oath we each take is something they will have to live with,” Manchin, a Democrat senator from West Virginia, has said.
Senator Joe Manchin
Choosing to put politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable. And the betrayal of the oath we each take is something they will have to live with. My statement on the January 6th Commission vote: pic.twitter.com/tlPme9LMIo
May 28, 2021
“This was our chance to have a bipartisan commission that would allow for an impartial investigation into the events of that horrific day, so that we are better able to prevent another attack on our nation,” Manchin also says.
Manchin tells viewers that Democratic leadership in the house and Senate accepted Republicans’ proposed changes “because a commission of this nature must be bipartisan to be successful.”
He recognizes the “six brave Republicans” who favored establishing the commission, while pointing out that four more were needed to advance this legislation.
Manchin, in his address, has also issued a broad apology about the commission’s failure to progress.
“You deserve better, and I am sorry that my Republican colleagues and friends, let political fear prevent them from doing what they know in their hearts to be right.”
at 3.31pm EDT
Today so far
Joe Biden’s remarks to troops at Joint Base Langley-Eustis have now concluded. Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Senate Republicans blocked consideration of the bill to form a bipartisan commission to study the Capitol insurrection. The final vote on whether to start debate on the commission bill was 54-35, with six Republicans joining 48 Democrats in supporting the motion to advance the proposal. Democrats needed 60 votes to take up the bill because Republicans invoked the first official Senate filibuster of the Biden era to defeat the legislation.
- Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer condemned Republicans for preventing the commission bill from moving forward. “Shame on the Republican party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” Schumer said in a floor speech shortly after the vote concluded.
- Biden spoke to US troops to thank them for their service ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. Speaking at the military base in Hampton, Virginia, the president expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by service members and their families. “Simply stated, you are the backbone of the country,” Biden said.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Biden speaks to troops before Memorial Day: ‘You are the backbone of the country’
Joe Biden delivered remarks to US troops at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
The president began his speech with an emotional retelling of how his son, Beau, decided to join the military. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.
Biden said the sacrifices that his son made to join the military reminded him of the sacrifices that service members and their families make every day.
“Simply stated, you are the backbone of the country,” Biden said.
“Simply stated you are the backbone of this country, you are the backbone of the country,” Pres. Biden says to military service members and their families. https://t.co/dw4Kx8GzNd pic.twitter.com/MhgDWLWPS9
May 28, 2021
Jill Biden spoke at Joint Base Langley-Eustis before Joe Biden delivered his own remarks to US troops ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.
The first lady, who has made supporting military families a primary focus of her work, expressed appreciation for the sacrifices of service members and their loved ones.
“Our military is a community bound together by love,” the first lady said. “It’s time that our nation matches that devotion.”
The stage is set at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, where Joe Biden will soon speak to US troops to thank them for their service ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
Today’s site. Thank you, advance team! pic.twitter.com/SZou1kWrKK
May 28, 2021
Biden celebrates progress in US fight against coronavirus in Virginia
As the Senate voted on the January 6 commission bill, Joe Biden delivered remarks on the country’s fight against coronavirus in Alexandria, Virginia.
Appearing alongside Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, the president celebrated the significant progress that the state has made to limit the spread of coronavirus since he took office in January.
Virginia has received more than $247 million in federal funding for community vaccination sites, and more than 1,000 pharmacies across the state have participated in the federal vaccination program.
Pres. Biden: “If we succeed, we can celebrate our independence from the virus together on the Fourth of July, as we celebrate our independence as a nation. And the future is only going to get brighter.” https://t.co/u6H8vujYyc pic.twitter.com/82bvHFj7t0
May 28, 2021
As more Virginians have gotten vaccinated, case numbers have consistently fallen in the state, with deaths and hospitalizations having decreased substantially since January.
Although this progress is encouraging, Biden emphasized the importance of getting even more Virginians vaccinated in order to get the virus under control by July 4.
“If we succeed, we can celebrate our independence from the virus together on the Fourth of July, as we celebrate our independence as a nation,” Biden said. “And the future is only going to get brighter.”
The president and the first lady will also soon deliver remarks in Hampton, Virginia, to kick off the start of Memorial Day weekend, so stay tuned.
The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports on the upcoming Senate vote on Democrats’ election reform bill:
The senate will vote in about a month on sweeping legislation that would dramatically expand access to the ballot box, Chuck Schumer, the senate majority leader, said Friday.
The announcement came immediately after senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to probe the 6 January attack on the US capitol. Republicans used the filibuster, a procedural tactic that prevents legislation from moving ahead in the senate unless it has 60 votes.
In a Dear Colleague letter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announces a pretty ambitious schedule with a vote on S1 during the last week of June. pic.twitter.com/o67dexFMg9
May 28, 2021
The comments from Schumer are significant because there is some handwringing over how exactly Democrats plan to get over the filibuster when it comes to passing the sweeping voting rights bill.
Those conversations have become more urgent in recent weeks as Republicans have moved aggressively in state legislatures across the country to impose new restrictions. Schumer said the senate would vote on the bill during the last week of the senate’s June work period.
A key senator in the vote will be Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who continues to back the filibuster, even as it harms his own party. Manchin has also said he wants bipartisan buy-in for the bill. After the Friday filibuster blocking the 6 January commission, Manchin tweaked Republicans for not supporting the panel.
“To see fear take over is truly disheartening,” Joe Manchin told reporters after the vote, calling Republicans cowards in an oblique way
May 28, 2021
Pelosi: ‘Republican Senators surrendered to the January 6th mob assault’
House speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized Senate Republicans for blocking consideration of the January 6 commission bill.
“Mitch McConnell asked Senate Republicans to do him a ‘personal favor’ and vote against the January 6th Commission,” the Democratic speaker said in a new statement.
“In doing so, Mitch McConnell asked them to be complicit in his undermining of the truth of January 6th. In bowing to McConnell’s personal favor request, Republican Senators surrendered to the January 6th mob assault.”
Pelosi argued the vote on the commission bill brought “shame” to the Senate and would make the country less safe. She indicated that House committees, which are under Democratic leadership, would continue to investigate the attack.
“Honoring our responsibility to the Congress in which we serve and the Country which we love, Democrats will proceed to find the truth,” Pelosi said.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney commended the six Republican senators who voted in favor of taking up the January 6 commission bill.
“Thank you to Senators Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski, Portman, Sasse, and Romney for voting for truth and defense of our constitution,” the Republican congresswoman said on Twitter. “History will remember those who put country ahead of politics.”
Thank you to Senators Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski, Portman, Sasse, and Romney for voting for truth and defense of our constitution. History will remember those who put country ahead of politics.
May 28, 2021
Cheney was ousted as House Republican conference chair earlier this month over her criticism of Donald Trump’s lies about the presidential election, which sparked the Capitol attack.
Last week, Cheney voted with 34 other House Republicans and every House Democrat in support of the commission bill.
Progressives are already pointing to the Republican blockade of the January 6 commission bill as evidence for why Senate Democrats should eliminate the filibuster.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter, “If Senate Republicans can block an independent commission investigating a deadly armed attack on the Capitol because it might hurt their poll numbers with insurrectionists, then something is badly wrong with the Senate. We must get rid of the filibuster to protect our democracy.”
If Senate Republicans can block an independent commission investigating a deadly armed attack on the Capitol because it might hurt their poll numbers with insurrectionists, then something is badly wrong with the Senate. We must get rid of the filibuster to protect our democracy. https://t.co/foIyeTOFar
May 28, 2021
At least two Senate Democrats — Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — have indicated they are still against eliminating the filibuster.
Although Manchin expressed severe disappointment about today’s vote, he previously indicated he would not be willing to end the filibuster to make the commission happen.
A spokesperson for Republican Senator Pat Toomey told HuffPost that he was not in Washington for the commission bill vote today because of a family obligation.
However, the spokesperson said, Toomey would have voted in favor of starting debate on the bill.
Sen. Toomey’s spokesperson tells me he missed the vote because of a family commitment but would have supported advancing Jan 6 commission bill pic.twitter.com/4N5EHw7IIO
May 28, 2021
The Pennsylvania senator also voted to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection shortly after the Capitol attack, and he had expressed openness to the commission proposal.
Toomey’s “aye” vote would have made seven Republicans in support of advancing the bill, but that is still short of 10 Republican votes necessary to overcome the filibuster.