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Joe Biden’s baseball field: The summer of Washington | ticker VIEWS



With rising temperatures in Washington,

It is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and President Joe Biden will spend a fair part of the summer in his beloved Delaware, at Rehoboth Beach. 

It’s an Atlantic Coast playground where much of Washington decamps to cool out in July and August.

However, in Washington, it is hot and the temperature is rising. 

At 150 days in office, Biden has secured a complete victory on his first priorities: ending the pandemic and economic recovery. 

Without any Republican votes in Congress, the American Rescue Plan was enacted and is doing its job.

Close to 70 per cent of the country will be at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day on July 4. The economy and jobs are coming back strongly, with growth forecast above 5 per cent this year.

It was with these winds at his back that Biden could meet with 30 allies in Europe, including Australia.

American allies renewed their support for US, carrying Western power into summit with Putin last week.

Biden outlined issues where the two countries could work through tough problems, such as Russia-based cyber attacks on US infrastructure; leave no doubt that the US would respond fully if provoked by Russian behaviour; and reaffirm core US values of democracy and human rights to Putin.

  By all measures, Biden achieved what he wanted to accomplish.

In the United States, it is the height of the baseball season in America, so let’s do some inside baseball analysis:

Biden returned to Washington at the next critical juncture of his presidency:  to win approval in Congress of multitrillion dollar program to rebus the country and provide economic security – in education and health and opportunity – for American families.

With his decades of service in Congress, Biden wants to see whether he can do at least some of this important work in the way he prefers to do it:  with bipartisan cooperation. 

And that effort is underway.  At the same time, he wants to hold all his Democrats together – and he needs virtually every Democratic vote in the House and Senate to win floor votes.

This is unfolding on two tracks.  A smaller joint bill with some Republicans on “basic” infrastructure: roads, bridges, broadband.  About a trillion dollars, and Biden wants it paid for without new taxes or user fees on the middle class. 

This package may get there. We will know in the next week or so if the talks are successful.

If a deal is reached, perhaps 15 Republicans can join with most Democrats to pass it in the Senate.

However this smaller package hardly meets the ambitious program Biden and Democrats want given the urgency of the country’s needs. So, a parallel mega-bill of perhaps $5 trillion will get underway. 

The test for that package is whether Democrats will hold united against withering Republican attacks on a “radical, socialist, extremist” program of “tax and spend” that will bankrupt the country.   

If these scenarios play out with Biden victories, there will be some earnest rebuilding of infrastructure across the country.  And people will see that things are getting better. And that will paty political dividends for Biden.

If the bipartisan talks fail, and Democrats cannot maintain the unity required to see the mega-Biden program through, then Biden’s legislative program comes to a griding halt.

That would have the most profound consequences for how much President Biden can indeed accomplish in these first four years.  A home run?  Or three strikes and you’re out?

Read more by Bruce Wolpe here. This article was edited by Keira Wright and Brittany Coles.

Global Politics

Travel bubble bursts between Australia and NZ



New Zealand has suspended its travel bubble with Australia

The nation has halted its travel bubble arrangements for at least eight weeks as Australia continues to battle against the delta variant of COVID-19.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fronted the media and stated that “the Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile”. 

From 11:59pm tonight, Australians will be unable to travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight

This restriction will be in place for at least the next eight weeks.

The trans-tasman route is already closed to travellers flying into New Zealand from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as those states battle COVID-19 outbreaks. 

“For New Zealanders in Australia, we are absolutely committed to getting you home,” Ms Ardern said. 

Jacinda Ardern has paused the trans-Tasman arrangement with Australia.

Constant disruption to trans-Tasman travel bubble

Flights to New Zealand inside the bubble have been paused and restarted as different Australian states have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks. 

“For the next seven days, we will have managed return flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories. 

“Only New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand will be able to fly home.” 

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Global Politics

“National emergency” – Sydney in crisis as COVID cases rise



Sydney has declared a national emergency as COVID-19 cases rise across the Australian city

Sydney and the state of New South Wales is calling on the Australian Federal Government to “refocus the national vaccination strategy”.

As the delta variant of the virus spreads throughout the city, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government have declared a national emergency.

New South Wales Government officials say that the spreading of the virus is “threatening the safety of other states.”

“This is not just a challenge for New South Wales – it’s a challenge for Australia”

They’ve encouraged people in virus-ravaged south-western and western Sydney to urgently “do their duty” and get vaccinated against coronavirus.

“The national emergency, every citizen has a duty to do what they can to defeat whatever is happening to us – in this case, it is a Delta variant of a virus,”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

The Premier has stressed the importance of getting vaccinated as NSW records its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases today.

“We need to vaccinate younger people, between that 20 and 40-year-old age group,”

The Premier said.

Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant says Australia urgently needs to “correct the mythology about AstraZeneca”.

“There is no doubt that if we want to contain this virus and stop it seeping out to other parts of Greater Sydney, stop it impacting our freedom and our economy, but also stop it spreading to other states, we need to have a discussion about refocusing the national vaccination strategy,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

The issue will be addressed at today’s National Cabinet, she said.

At least 53 of today’s NSW cases were infectious in the community

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Is a $52 billion boost enough to end a global chip shortage?



As the race to combat the global chip shortage continues the Biden administration is big to end the crisis

US President Joe Biden is preparing to spend $52 billion to boost the worsening shortage of semiconductor chips.

The White House is still waiting for congressional approval on the big spend but is pushing ahead with plans of how to invest the money wisely.

The Commerce Secretary says America “needs to incentivise the manufacturing of chips” if the country wants the crisis to end.

She added that officials have been speaking with the impacted industries on a daily basis which has helped address the shortage from the ground up.

Whilst there have been reports that the sector is gradually improving, but the car manufacturing sector may still be impacted by delays.

Biden recently called for Semiconductor chips to be produced locally in the US, but this company is ignoring his plea.

Semiconductor manufacturer ‘Global Foundries’ has ignored US President Joe Biden’s request for new plants to be built locally amid the global chip shortage.

Construction will begin on the $4 billion Asian plant in 2023. This goes against the Biden administration’s wishes to return chip manufacturing to American soil.

The company will join rivals including ‘Samsung’ and ‘Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’ which are all also trying to address the current chip shortage.

The President has been under increasing pressure to secure a constant supply of this crucial tech that is used in so many modern devices.

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