In Biden’s initial acts as the 46th US president, he signed 15 executive orders. These included a package to boost the federal response to the coronavirus crisis and orders reversing the Trump administration’s stance on climate change and immigration.
Covid relief package and vaccine rollout
Biden passed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill into law within two months of his appointment.
The emergency relief package funds vaccinations and support struggling families and communities.
The twofold plan focuses on overcoming the Covid health crisis and then investing in American jobs to promote economic recovery.
It includes funding to provide direct economic relief, safely reopen schools and mount a national vaccination program.
More than half of adults in the United States have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and the country has surpassed 200 million administered doses.
The US also rejoined the World Health Organisation, with Dr. Anthony Fauci as the head of delegation.
Dr. Fauci is the top infectious disease expert in the US.
Biden signed four executive actions to advance racial equity.
He directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to redress discriminatory federal housing policies.
He also signed an Executive Order to end the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) use of private prisons.
This comes after former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Georgia Floyd.
President Biden said the verdict was a ‘giant step towards justice in America’, but added there is still work to be done to dismantle systemic racism in the country.
‘It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off the whole world to see,’ he said, before declaring that systemic racism is ‘a stain on our nation’s soul’.
The president also signed executive orders to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, pledging to bring down the rate of global heating to 1.5C by 2030.
Biden also reviewed a number of Trump-era rollbacks, including revoking the pipeline for TC Energy Corp.’s controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.
A recent global summit hosted by the US opened with the president’s climate pledge.
The US pledged to cut in half the amount of climate-wrecking coal and petroleum fumes it is pumping out.
Jab or jail: Duterte’s warning to Filipinos
The President of the Phillipines is threatening his citizens with jail, if they don’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine hesitancy is a serious problem in the Phillipines.
In a country where more than 23,000 people have died from COVID-19, a recent poll indicated only a third of Filipinos are willing to get inoculated.
The nation’s leader has threatened those who fail to do so.
In a televised address, Rodrigo Duterte warned: ‘You choose, Covid vaccine or I will have you jailed’.
He says that village leaders should “keep a list of those who refused to be vaccinated”.
The comments put the hardline leader at odds with health officials who say vaccines are voluntary.
Last year the President ordered police and military to kill citizens who defied lockdown restrictions.
There have been more than 1.3 million cases of coronavirus in the country since the start of the pandemic.
“Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis in this country,” Duterte told citizens in his address. “I’m just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government.”
“The first wave has really depleted the resources of government,” the President said. “Another one would be disastrous for this country.”
Duterte claims that is why “the stricter you are, the better”.
In response to his comments, the nation’s Justice Secretary says he believes the President “merely used strong words to drive home the need for us to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity as soon as possible”.
Menardo Guevarra added that there is currently no law that penalises people who refuse to get a COVID vaccine.
Millions of American families are about to get cash in their pockets
From next month, around 36 million American families are due to begin receiving payments totalling up to $1800 through to December this year.
Lawmakers have temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) available to families with children in 2021.
Known as the enhanced Child Tax Credit, it was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the American Rescue plan.
The efforts will increase the previous $2,000 annual tax credit to $3,600 per child, with half being paid in cash instalments and the rest claimed on 2021 tax returns.
Families will get monthly payments of up to $300 for each child 6 years old and under and up to $250 for each child 6 to 18 years old.
These funds can help parents afford necessities like diapers, school supplies, and food. But this increase in the CTC payments has only been approved for 2021.
The Biden administration has also proposed to extend this new cash-back system for five years if successful.
An estimated 90 percent of children in the United States will automatically get the CTC. Even if a parent is making little to no income, they can still be eligible for the new CTC.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris says residents need to “spread the word”
Fresh study reveals divide in the U.S
A new poll has found that around one-third of Americans are convinced that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
The Monmouth University study found that 32 percent of respondents are of the impression that widespread voter fraud was the reason President Biden won the election.
In similar polls conducted by the university in November, January and March, this figure has remained steady.
Unsurprisingly, the research also found that the majority of those who believe in the voter fraud theory are either Republican or Republican-leaning.
The Monmouth poll surveyed 810 U.S. adults from June 9-14. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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