The White House is working hard to sell the bipartisan infrastructure deal that was announced by President Joe Biden and senators last week
Uncertainty still remains over whether US President Joe Biden will sign a bipartisan infrastructure package into law if it doesn’t tick a number of boxes.
Speaking in Wisconsin, Biden says the $1.2 trillion package is proof that America’s democracy can function and the deal will accelerate the nation.
But the bipartisan agreement has come under criticism by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers.
Democrats are concerned the two-party agreement will make it more difficult to pass the larger spending bill on climate change, health care and education
Biden says he knows that neither party got everything they wanted in the infrastructure deal, but this is what it means to compromise and reach consensus…
In yesterday’s briefing, the White House referred to last week’s press conference when Biden said he will not sign the bill if it doesn’t arrive with the American Families Plan and other priorities attached.
The Press Secretary admits these comments upset some Republicans who do not see the two plans as linked and are hoping to defeat the Families Plan when it goes to vote.
Biden redacts his veto threat
Biden later corrected himself, saying he left an impression that he was issuing a veto threat on the very plan he has agreed to – which is not his intent.
It follows news last week that Republicans and Democrats had agreed to work together to pass a wide-ranging national infrastructure package.
The White House Press Secretary says Biden expects to sign the infrastructure bill and the families bill into law, it’s just unclear whether this will be done separately or together…
Hong Kong reopens to those vaccinated – but what’s the catch?
Good news for those eager to travel – parts of the world is slowly reopening
Hong Kong will allow vaccinated tourists from all but 10 places in the world to enter the city starting from August 9…
It’s a significant easing of some of the tightest border curbs in the world.
Vaccinated visitors from countries now considered “medium-risk” — which includes the U.S. and Canada will be able to enter the city for the first time since the pandemic started.
There is a slight catch, however
Visitors and residents from medium-risk countries must spend seven days in hotel quarantine after they arrive.
Those entering Hong Kong will also be required to have a positive antibody test from a laboratory recognized by the Hong Kong government to prove they were vaccinated against Covid-19.
Antibody testing facilities at the airport will be available starting in mid-August, according to an official government statement.
Associated risk level:
For these “high-risk” places, only fully inoculated residents can return but they must serve a hotel quarantine period of 21 days.
Hong Kong has fully vaccinated 2.5 million people — about 33% of its population.
Biden battles on – Trump Turmoil deepens
As Washington prepares to take its summer break, President Biden continues to battle on the policy and program fronts he has led since Inauguration Day
On his agenda?
- Ending the pandemic
- Restoring the economy
- Pursuing voting rights
- Social equity
- Racial justice
- Gun control
- Confronting climate change
- And restoring America’s leadership in the world
In each area, there is progress – and challenges
With 70% of Americans now vaccinated, the Delta strain is hurting, with infections accelerating to significant levels – but the vaccines work.
This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated
Fewer people still are hospitalized or dead.
The renewed push to get as many as possible protected is now being augmented by mandates from governments and businesses that their employees are to get the jabs as a condition of employment. (This may prove ultimately to be the key for the last mile of protection here in Australia.)
What about the economy?
Employment is up, the economy is growing at over 6%, and wages are increasing, with $15 per hour the new norm in many businesses.
Child poverty is being cut in half, but employment is still not back at pre-Covid levels. Millions who are behind in their rent face possible eviction in the coming weeks.
While Biden has campaigned strongly on protecting voting rights, ending police violence, gun control, greater access to education and tackling global warming, no legislation on those fronts has yet been enacted.
On a foreign front – under Biden’s leadership, America is absolutely back with US alliances strong across Europe and Asia
However, there is turmoil in Afghanistan, prospects have dimmed for a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia are testy, tensions with China are as intense as ever, and there is no dialogue with North Korea.
In Washington, the toughest tests of Biden’s legislative program are pending right now
He is applying all the lessons learned from his and President Obama’s first term in working his Democrats and those Republicans who are willing to win his policies on infrastructure, education, climate, and health care.
Biden knows that his presidency is in the balance.
As Biden battles on, the man he defeated, Donald Trump, continues to spread turmoil and division.
Trump will not countenance any blame or responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – an attack intended to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory.
Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, and especially the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, upended the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to examine the threat to democracy posed by Trump.
Trump is determined to remain a potent force in the party, and the decider of its future.
He has raised more money this year than anyone else – over $100 million – and supplicants journey to his homes to pay tribute and seek favour.
Trump is hardly invincible. There are chinks in his cladding. His preferred candidate for a House seat in Texas lost to another Republican Trump declined to endorse.
Damning notes from the Justice Department show Trump’s intense pressure on the Acting Attorney General to declare the election corrupt; he refused.
The Biden Justice Department has ruled that Trump’s tax returns have to be turned over to Congress. Trump attacked the Republicans supporting the bipartisan infrastructure deal with Biden – but the agreement is holding.
Love Actually in real life – Brits unite with U.S vaxxed travellers
At 4 am local time, Britain officially opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from both the US and EU, allowing friends and family to reunite after months apart
The border restrictions apply to all of the countries on the UK’s so-called “amber list” – except for France which is suffering from a recent uptick in Covid-19 infections.
Travellers wanting to arrive in Britain will be required to take a test prior to departure as well as another swab on the second day after touching down.
Since July 19, all people in who were vaccinated in the U-K have been able to travel freely to and from amber nations – but these new laws open the borders up to travellers who were vaccinated in other countries.
It follows major airline companies welcoming the changes to border restrictions, saying it will provide a much needed boost to the aviation and travel sector.
Hong Kong reopens to those vaccinated – but what’s the catch?
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