#AceNewsReport – May.28: Sonya Hightower-LaBosco, a retired FAM who serves as executive director of the Air Marshal National Council, confirmed to Judicial Watch this week that dozens of air marshals that evidently would have been delegated to members of Congress as part of the VIP initiative are waiting for assignments at airports nationwide. “Right now, there are almost 60 in D.C., 40 in Charlotte and another 40 in Orlando,” Hightower-LaBosco said. From January through April the covert VIP service dedicated more than 900 FAM on demand to members of Congress, Hightower-LaBosco said, citing agency data. The politicians often already traveled with plenty of security on flights that did not meet the threat criteria, usually determined by the FBI, for air marshals. In many instances FAM were plucked from high-risk flights to accompany an elected official, leaving the high-risk plane with no coverage:
Congress’s VIP Air Marshal Program Canceled after Maxine Waters Debacle was exposed it earlier this month. As a result, hundreds of FAM are sitting idly at airports around the U.S. because the “VIP missions have stopped,” according to a federal law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the situation. A veteran air marshal who asked not to be identified said “the Washington Field Office in Washington D.C. was almost exclusively dedicated to VIP services for Congress.” Another longtime FAM told Judicial Watch he was deployed on several VIP missions with low-profile members of Congress. He said so many FAM were on standby for the VIP congressional program that now he and many of his colleagues are “sitting around the airport waiting for a mission.”
That was the case during Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ recent trip to Minnesota. Two FAM were pulled from a high-risk fight to accompany the California Democrat on the mid-April jaunt, though she was already covered by a four-man detail, according to multiple law enforcement sources interviewed by Judicial Watch. The veteran FAM sources say the politician had two air marshals reassigned to a plane that would otherwise not qualify because it was not considered high-risk. The transfer forced the high-risk flight to complete its trip without the two air marshals originally assigned to it. Waters received the extra security while traveling to Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb, after police shot and killed a black man with an open warrant related to an aggravated armed robbery. The Derek Chauvin trial was wrapping up around 10 miles away and the 82-year-old lawmaker incited the crowd, encouraging protestors to “get more confrontational” if the former Minneapolis cop was not convicted of murder for George Floyd’s death. “We gotta stay on the street, we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational, we’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” Waters said ahead of closing arguments in Chauvin’s trial. The former officer was convicted and the judge presiding over the trial called the congresswoman’s comments “abhorrent.” Last month Judicial Watch filed a complaint with the chairman of the House Office of Congressional Ethics against Waters for violating House ethics rules by encouraging violence and attempting to intimidate the jury in the Chauvin trial.
Coverage of Waters’ abuse of the VIP air marshal service apparently led to the program’s cancelation, according to numerous government officials interviewed by Judicial Watch. “They were not scheduling us to make sure we were available for the VIPs,” said a longtime air marshal, who is celebrating that the program is finally “done.” FAM are federal law enforcement officers whose primary function is to protect commercial passenger flights by deterring and countering the risk of terrorist activity, aircraft piracy and other crimes to protect the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The VIP service for Congress “left a glaring hole in America’s aviation security,” according to a whistleblower complaint filed this year by the Air Marshal National Council with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General. The group represents around 2,000 air marshals nationwide. In an interview with Judicial Watch, the group’s president, David Londo, called the VIP program “scandalous.” A veteran air marshal said he and many colleagues on the force often asked: “Why are we really here? To protect against terrorism or babysitting?”
#AceNewsReport – Apr.29: No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by President Biden — Address to a Joint Session of Congress
April 28, 2021:
Madame Vice President.
The First Lady.
The Second Gentleman.
Mr. Chief Justice.
Members of the United States Congress and the Cabinet – and distinguished guests.
My fellow Americans.
While the setting tonight is familiar, this gathering is very different – a reminder of the extraordinary times we are in.
Throughout our history, Presidents have come to this chamber to speak to the Congress, to the nation, and to the world.
To declare war. To celebrate peace. To announce new plans and possibilities.
Tonight, I come to talk about crisis — and opportunity.
About rebuilding our nation — and revitalizing our democracy.
And winning the future for America.
As I stand here tonight — just one day shy of the 100th day of my administration.
100 days since I took the oath of office, lifted my hand off our family Bible, and inherited a nation in crisis.
The worst pandemic in a century.
The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.
Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again.
Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.
Life can knock us down.
But in America, we never stay down.
In America, we always get up.
And today, that’s what we’re doing: America is rising anew.
Choosing hope over fear. Truth over lies. Light over darkness.
After 100 Days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for takeoff.
We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. Leading the world again.
We have shown each other and the world: There is no quit in America.
100 days ago, America’s house was on fire.
We had to act.
And thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer – and with the overwhelming support of the American people – Democrats, Independents, and Republicans – we did act.
Together — we passed the American Rescue Plan.
One of the most consequential rescue packages in American history.
We’re already seeing the results.
After I promised 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days – we will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in 100 days.
We’re marshalling every federal resource. We’ve gotten the vaccine to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers.
We’re setting up community vaccination sites, and are deploying mobile units into hard-to-reach areas.
Today, 90% of Americans now live within 5 miles of a vaccination site.
Everyone over the age of 16, everyone – is now eligible and can get vaccinated right away.
So get vaccinated now.
When I was sworn in, less than 1% of seniors were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
100 days later, nearly 70% of seniors are fully protected.
Senior deaths from COVID-19 are down 80% since January. Down 80%.
And, more than half of all adults in America have gotten at least one shot.
At a mass vaccination center in Glendale, Arizona, I asked a nurse what it’s like.
She looked and said every shot feels like a dose of hope.
A dose of hope for the educator in Florida who has a child who suffers from an auto-immune disease.
She wrote to me that she was worried about bringing the virus home.
When she got vaccinated, she sat in her car and just cried.
Cried out of joy, cried out of relief.
Parents are seeing smiles on their kids’ faces as they go back to school because teachers and school bus drivers, cafeteria workers have been vaccinated.
Grandparents hugging their children and grandchildren instead of pressing their hands against a window to say goodbye
It means everything to both of them.
There’s still more work to do to beat this virus. We can’t let our guard down now.
But tonight, I can say because of you — the American people – our progress these past 100 days against one of the worst pandemics in history is one of the greatest logistical achievements our country has ever seen.
What else have we done these first 100 days?
We kept our commitment and we are sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85% of all American households.
We’ve already sent more than 160 million checks out the door.
It’s making a difference.
For many people, it’s making all the difference in the world.
A single mom in Texas wrote to me.
She said when she couldn’t work, this relief check put food on the table
and saved her and her son from eviction.
A grandmother in Virginia told me she immediately took her granddaughter to the eye doctor — something she put off for months because she didn’t have the money.
One of the defining images of this crisis has been cars lined up for miles waiting for a box of food to be put in the trunk.
Did you ever think you’d see that in America?
That’s why the American Rescue Plan is delivering food and nutrition assistance to millions of Americans facing hunger – and hunger is down sharply already.
We’re also providing:
Rental assistance to keep people from being evicted from their homes. Providing loans to keep small businesses open and their employees on the job.
During these 100 days, an additional 800,000 Americans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act because I established a special sign up period to do that.
We’re making one of the largest one-time investments ever in improving health care for veterans.
Critical investments to address the opioid crisis.
And, maybe most importantly, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we are on track to cut child poverty in America in half this year.
In the process, the economy created more than 1.3 million new jobs in 100 days.
More new jobs in the first 100 days than any president on record.
The International Monetary Fund is now estimating our economy will grow at a rate of more than 6% this year.
That will be the fastest pace of economic growth in this country in nearly four decades.
America is moving. Moving forward. And we can’t stop now.
We’re in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st Century.
We have to do more than just build back. We have to build back better.
Throughout our history, public investments and infrastructure have transformed America.
The transcontinental railroad and interstate highways united two oceans and brought us into a totally new age of progress.
Universal public school and college aid opened wide the doors of opportunity.
Scientific breakthroughs took us to the Moon and now to Mars, discovered vaccines, and gave us the Internet and so much more.
These are the investments we make together, as one country, and that only government can make.
Time and again, they propel us into the future.
That’s why I proposed The American Jobs Plan — a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.
The largest jobs plan since World War II.
It creates jobs to upgrade our transportation infrastructure. Jobs modernizing roads, bridges and highways. Jobs building ports and airports, rail corridors and transit lines. It’s clean water.
Today, up to 10 million homes and more than 400,000 schools and child care centers have pipes with lead in them, including for drinking water.
A clear and present danger to our children’s health.
The American Jobs Plan creates jobs replacing 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines so every American, so every child – can turn on the faucet and be certain to drink clean water.
It creates jobs connecting every American with high-speed internet, including 35% of rural Americans who still don’t have it.
This will help our kids and businesses succeed in a 21st Century economy.
And I am asking the Vice President to help lead this effort.
It creates jobs by building a modern power grid.
Our grids are vulnerable to storms, hacks, and catastrophic failures – with tragic results as we saw in Texas and elsewhere during winter storms.
The American Jobs Plan will create jobs to lay thousands of miles of transmission lines needed to build a resilient and fully clean grid.
The American Jobs Plan will help millions of people get back to their jobs and their careers.
2 million women have dropped out of the workforce during this pandemic, too often because they couldn’t get the care they need for their family, their children.
800,000 families are on a Medicaid waiting list right now to get homecare for their aging parent or loved one with a disability.
This plan will help these families and create jobs for our caregivers with better wages and better benefits.
For too long, we have failed to use the most important word when it comes to meeting the climate crisis.
For me, when I think about climate change, I think jobs.
The American Jobs Plan will put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy efficient buildings and homes.
Electrical workers installing 500,000 charging stations along our highways.
Farmers planting cover crops, so they can reduce carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it.
There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.
No reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.
The American Jobs Plan will create millions of good paying jobs – jobs Americans can raise their families on.
And all the investments in the American Jobs Plan will be guided by one principle: “Buy American.”
American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products made in America that create American jobs.
The way it should be.
Now – I know some of you at home are wondering whether these jobs are for you.
You feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s rapidly changing.
Let me speak directly to you.
Independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic growth for years to come.
These are good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced.
Nearly 90% of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan do not require a college degree.
75% do not require an associate’s degree.
The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.
And, it recognizes something I’ve always said.
Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions build the middle class.
And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act – the PRO Act — and send it to my desk to support the right to unionize.
By the way – let’s also pass the $15 minimum wage.
No one should work 40 hours a week and still live below the poverty line.
And we need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for women.
Let’s get the Paycheck Fairness Act to my desk for equal pay.
It’s long past time.
Finally, the American Jobs Plan will be the biggest increase in non-defense research and development on record.
We will see more technological change in the next 10 years – than we saw in the last 50 years.
And we’re falling behind in that competition.
Decades ago we used to invest 2% of our GDP on research and development.
Today, we spend less than 1%.
China and other countries are closing in fast.
We have to develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future: advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips, and clean energy.
The Defense Department has an agency called DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – that’s there to develop breakthroughs to enhance our national security – which led to the internet and GPS and so much more.
The National Institutes of Health, the NIH – should create a similar Advanced Research Projects Agency for health.
To develop breakthroughs – to prevent, detect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.
This is personal to so many of us.
I can think of no more worthy investment. And I know of nothing that is more bipartisan.
Let’s end cancer as we know it. It’s within our power
Investments in jobs and infrastructure like the ones we’re talking about have often had bipartisan support.
Vice President Harris and I meet regularly in the Oval Office with Democrats and Republicans to discuss the American Jobs Plan.
And I applaud a group of Republican Senators who just put forward their proposal.
So, let’s get to work.
We welcome ideas.
But, the rest of the world isn’t waiting for us. Doing nothing is not an option.
We can’t be so busy competing with each other that we forget the competition is with the rest of the world to win the 21st Century.
To win that competition for the future, we also need to make a once-in-a-generation investment in our families – in our children.
That’s why I’m introducing the American Families Plan tonight, which addresses four of the biggest challenges facing American families today.
First, access to a good education.
When this nation made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated and best-prepared nation in the world.
But the world is catching up. They are not waiting.
12 years is no longer enough today to compete in the 21st Century.
That’s why the American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America – starting as early as we can.
We add two years of universal high-quality pre-school for every 3- and 4- year-old in America.
The research shows that when a young child goes to school—not day care—they are far more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college.
And then we add two years of free community college.
And we will increase Pell Grants and investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal colleges, and minority-serving institutions.
Jill is a community college professor who teaches today as First Lady.
She has long said any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us – and she’ll be leading this effort.
Second, the American Families plan will provide access to quality, affordable child care.
We guarantee that low- to middle-income families will pay no more than 7% of their income for high-quality care for children up to the age of 5.
The most hard-pressed working families won’t have to spend a dime.
Third, the American Families Plan will finally provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
No one should have to choose between a job and paycheck or taking care of themselves and a loved one – a parent, spouse, or child.
And fourth, the American Families Plan puts money directly into the pockets of millions of families.
In March we expanded a tax credit for every child in a family.
Up to a $3,000 Child Tax Credit for children over 6 — and $3,600 for children under 6.
With two parents, two kids, that’s up to $7,200 in your pocket to help take care of your family.
This will help more than 65 million children and help cut child poverty in half this year.
Together, let’s extend the Child Tax Credit at least through the end of 2025.
The American Rescue Plan lowered health care premiums for 9 million Americans who buy their coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Let’s make that provision permanent so their premiums don’t go back up.
In addition to my Families Plan, I will work with Congress to address – this year – other critical priorities for America’s families.
The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of Americans –protecting people with pre-existing conditions, protecting women’s health.
And the pandemic has demonstrated how badly it is needed.
Let’s lower deductibles for working families on the Affordable Care Act, and let’s lower prescription drug costs.
We all know how outrageously expensive they are.
In fact, we pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world right here in America – nearly three times as much as other countries.
We can change that.
Let’s do what we’ve always talked about.
Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs.
That won’t just help people on Medicare – it will lower prescription drug costs for everyone.
The money we save can go to strengthen the Affordable Care Act – expand Medicare coverage and benefits – without costing taxpayers one additional penny.
We’ve talked about it long enough – Democrats and Republicans.
Let’s get it done this year.
This is all about a simple premise: Health care should be a right, not a privilege in America.
So how do we pay for my Jobs and Family Plans?
I’ve made clear that we can do it without increasing deficits.
Let’s start with what I will not do.
I will not impose any tax increases on people making less than $400,000 a year.
It’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1% of Americans to pay their fair share.
Just pay their fair share.
A recent study shows that 55 of the nation’s biggest corporations paid zero in federal income tax last year.
No federal taxes on more than $40 billion in profits.
A lot of companies evade taxes through tax havens from Switzerland to Bermuda to the Cayman Islands.
And they benefit from tax loopholes and deductions that allow for offshoring jobs and shifting profits overseas.
That’s not right.
We’re going to reform corporate taxes so they pay their fair share – and help pay for the public investments their businesses will benefit from.
And, we’re going to reward work, not wealth.
We take the top tax bracket for the wealthiest 1% of Americans – those making $400,000 or more – back up to 39.6%.
We take the top tax bracket for the wealthiest 1% of Americans – those making $400,000 or more – back up to 39.6%.
That’s where it was when George W. Bush became president.
We’re going to get rid of the loopholes that allow Americans who make more than $1 million a year pay a lower rate on their capital gains than working Americans pay on their work.
This will only affect three tenths of 1% of all Americans.
And the IRS will crack down on millionaires and billionaires who cheat on their taxes.
That’s estimated to be billions of dollars.
Look, I’m not out to punish anyone.
But I will not add to the tax burden of the middle class of this country.
They’re already paying enough.
What I’ve proposed is fair. It’s fiscally responsible.
It raises the revenue to pay for the plans I’ve proposed that will create millions of jobs and grow the economy.
When you hear someone say that they don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% and on corporate America – ask them: whose taxes are you going to raise instead, and whose are you going to cut?
Look at the big tax cut in 2017.
It was supposed to pay for itself and generate vast economic growth.
Instead it added $2 trillion to the deficit.
It was a huge windfall for corporate America and those at the very top.
Instead of using the tax savings to raise wages and invest in research and development – it poured billions of dollars into the pockets of CEOs.
In fact, the pay gap between CEOs and their workers is now among the largest in history.
According to one study, CEOs make 320 times what their average workers make.
The pandemic has only made things worse.
20 million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic – working- and middle-class Americans.
At the same time, the roughly 650 Billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 Trillion.
Let me say that again.
Just 650 people increased their wealth by more than $1 Trillion during this pandemic.
They are now worth more than $4 Trillion.
My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked.
It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out.
A broad consensus of economists – left, right, center – agree that what I’m proposing will help create millions of jobs and generate historic economic growth.
These are among the highest value investments we can make as a nation.
I’ve often said that our greatest strength is the power of our example – not just the example of our power.
And in my conversations with world leaders – many I’ve known for a long time – the comment I hear most often is: we see that America is back – but for how long?
My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we are back, but that we are here to stay.
And that we aren’t going it alone – we’re going to be leading with our allies.
No one nation can deal with all the crises of our time alone – from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to mass migration, cybersecurity, climate change – and as we’re experiencing now, pandemics.
There’s no wall high enough to keep any virus away.
As our own vaccine supply grows to meet our needs – and we are meeting them – we will become an arsenal of vaccines for other countries – just as America was the arsenal of democracy in World War 2.
The climate crisis is not our fight alone, either.
It’s a global fight.
The United States accounts for less than 15% of carbon emissions.
The rest of the world accounts for 85%.
That’s why – I kept my commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on my first day in office.
And I kept my commitment to convene a climate summit right here in America, with all of the major economies of the world – from China and Russia to India and the European Union in my first 100 days.
I wanted the world to see that there is consensus that we are at an inflection point in history.
And the consensus is if we act, we can save the planet – and we can create millions of jobs and economic growth and opportunity to raise the standard of living for everyone in the world.
The investments I’ve proposed tonight also advance a foreign policy that benefits the middle class.
That means making sure every nation plays by the same rules in the global economy, including China.
In my discussion with President Xi, I told him that we welcome the competition – and that we are not looking for conflict.
But I made absolutely clear that I will defend American interests across the board.
America will stand up to unfair trade practices that undercut American workers and industries, like subsidies for state-owned enterprises and the theft of American technologies and intellectual property.
I also told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo—Pacific just as we do with NATO in Europe – not to start conflict – but to prevent conflict.
And, I told him what I’ve said to many world leaders – that America won’t back away from our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.
No responsible American president can remain silent when basic human rights are violated. A president has to represent the essence of our country.
America is an idea – unique in the world.
We are all created equal. It’s who we are. We cannot walk away from that principle.
With regard to Russia, I made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequences.
I responded in a direct and proportionate way to Russia’s interference in our elections and cyber—attacks on our government and businesses – and they did both of those things and I did respond.
But we can also cooperate when it’s in our mutual interests.
As we did when we extended the New START Treaty on nuclear arms – and as we’re working to do on the climate crisis.
On Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs that present a serious threat to America’s security and world security – we will be working closely with our allies to address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy and stern deterrence.
And American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan.
We have the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.
And I’m the first President in 40 years who knows what it means to have had a child serving in a warzone.
Today we have service members serving in the same war as their parents once did.
We have service members in Afghanistan who were not yet born on 9/11.
War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi—generational undertaking of nation—building.
We went to Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.
We delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden and we degraded the terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
After 20 years of American valor and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home.
Even as we do, we will maintain an over—the—horizon capability to suppress future threats to the homeland.
But make no mistake – the terrorist threat has evolved beyond Afghanistan since 2001 and we will remain vigilant against threats to the United States, wherever they come from.
Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond.
And, we won’t ignore what our own intelligence agencies have determined – the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today is from white supremacist terrorism.
And my fellow Americans, we must come together to heal the soul of this nation.
It was nearly a year ago before her father’s funeral, when I spoke with Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s young daughter.
As I knelt down to talk to her so we could talk eye—to—eye, she said to me, “Daddy changed the world.”
After the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer, we can see how right she was – if we have the courage to act.
We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black America.
Now is our opportunity to make real progress.
Most men and women in uniform wear their badge and serve their communities honorably.
I know them. I know they want to help meet this moment as well.
My fellow Americans, we have to come together.
To rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.
To root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system.
And to enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already.
I know the Republicans have their own ideas and are engaged in productive discussions with Democrats.
We need to work together to find a consensus.
Let’s get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
The country supports this reform.
Congress should act.
We have a giant opportunity to bend to the arc of the moral universe toward justice.
And with the plans I outlined tonight, we have a real chance to root out systemic racism that plagues American life in many other ways.
A chance to deliver real equity.
Good jobs and good schools. Affordable housing. Clean air and clean water.
Being able to generate wealth and pass it down through generations.
Real opportunities in the lives of more Americans – Black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native American.
I also want to thank the Senate for voting 94—1 to pass the COVID—19 Hate Crimes Act to protect Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from the vicious hate crimes we’ve seen this past year – and for too long.
I urge the House to do the same and send that legislation to my desk as soon as possible.
I also hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans.
To all the transgender Americans watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back.
And another thing.
Let’s reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which has been law in this country for 27 years since I first wrote it.
It will close the so—called “boyfriend” loophole to keep guns out of the hands of abusers.
It’s estimated that more than 50 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner – every month in America.
Pass it and save lives.
And I need not tell anyone this, but gun violence is an epidemic in America.
Our flag at the White House was still flying at half—staff for the 8 victims of the mass shooting in Georgia, when 10 more lives were taken in a mass shooting in Colorado.
In the week between those mass shootings, more than 250 other Americans were shot dead.
250 shot dead.
I know how hard it is to make progress on this issue.
In the 1990s, we passed universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high—capacity magazines that hold 100 rounds that can be fired in seconds.
We beat the NRA. Mass shootings and gun violence declined.
But in the early 2000’s, that law expired and we’ve seen the daily bloodshed since.
More than two weeks ago in the Rose Garden, surrounded by some of the bravest people I know – the survivors and families who lost loved ones to gun violence – I laid out several steps the Department of Justice is taking to end this epidemic.
One of them is banning so—called “ghost guns.”
They are homemade guns built from a kit that includes the directions on how to finish the firearm.
The parts have no serial numbers, so when they show up at a crime scene, they can’t be traced.
The buyers of ghost gun kits aren’t required to pass a background check.
Anyone from a criminal to a terrorist could buy this kit and, in as little as 30 minutes, put together a lethal weapon.
But not anymore.
I will do everything in my power to protect the American people from this epidemic of gun violence.
But it’s time for Congress to act as well.
We need more Senate Republicans to join with the overwhelming majority of their Democratic colleagues, and close loopholes and require background checks to purchase a gun.
And we need a ban on assault weapons and high—capacity magazines again.
Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We’ve done it before … and it worked.
Talk to most responsible gun owners, most hunters – they’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having 100 rounds – 100 bullets – in a weapon.
They will tell you that there are too many people today who are able to buy a gun, but who shouldn’t be able to.
These kinds of reasonable reforms have the overwhelming support of the American people – including many gun owners.
The country supports reform, and the Congress should act.
This shouldn’t be a Red vs. Blue issue. It’s an American issue.
And here’s what else we can do.
Immigration has always been essential to America.
Let’s end our exhausting war over immigration.
For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform and done nothing about it.
It’s time to fix it.
On day one of my Presidency, I kept my commitment and I sent a comprehensive immigration bill to Congress.
If you believe we need a secure border – pass it.
If you believe in a pathway to citizenship – pass it.
If you actually want to solve the problem – I have sent you a bill, now pass it.
We also have to get at the root of the problem of why people are fleeing to our southern border from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador.
The violence. The corruption. The gangs. The political instability. Hunger. Hurricanes. Earthquakes.
When I was Vice President, I focused on providing the help needed to address these root causes of migration.
It helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave.
Our plan worked.
But the last administration shut it down.
I’m restoring the program and asked Vice President Harris to lead our diplomatic efforts.
I have absolute confidence she will get the job done.
Now, if Congress won’t pass my plan – let’s at least pass what we agree on.
Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for the Dreamers – the young people who have only known America as their home.
And, permanent protections for immigrants on temporary protected status who come from countries beset by man—made and natural made violence and disaster.
As well as a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers who put food on our tables.
Immigrants have done so much for America during the pandemic – as they have throughout our history.
The country supports immigration reform.
Congress should act.
And if we are to truly restore the soul of America – we need to protect the sacred right to vote.
More people voted in the last presidential election than ever before in our history – in the middle of one of the worst pandemics ever.
That should be celebrated. Instead it’s being attacked.
Congress should pass H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and send them to my desk right away.
The country supports it.
Congress should act.
As we gather here tonight, the images of a violent mob assaulting this Capitol—desecrating our democracy—remain vivid in our minds.
Lives were put at risk. Lives were lost. Extraordinary courage was summoned.
The insurrection was an existential crisis—a test of whether our democracy could survive.
But the struggle is far from over. The question of whether our democracy will long endure is both ancient and urgent.
As old as our Republic. Still vital today.
Can our democracy deliver on its promise that all of us – created equal in the image of God – have a chance to lead lives of dignity, respect, and possibility?
Can our democracy deliver on the most pressing needs of our people?
Can our democracy overcome the lies, anger, hate and fears that have pulled us apart?
America’s adversaries – the autocrats of the world – are betting it can’t.
They believe we are too full of anger and division and rage.
They look at the images of the mob that assaulted this Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy.
They are wrong. And we have to prove them wrong.
We have to prove democracy still works.
That our government still works – and can deliver for the people.
In our first 100 Days together, we have acted to restore the people’s faith in our democracy to deliver.
We’re vaccinating the nation. We’re creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. We’re delivering real results people can see and feel in their own lives.
Opening the doors of opportunity. Guaranteeing fairness and justice.
That’s the essence of America.
That’s democracy in action.
Our Constitution opens with the words, “We the People”.
It’s time we remembered that We the People are the government. You and I.
Not some force in a distant capital. Not some powerful force we have no control over.
It’s us. It’s “We the people.”
In another era when our democracy was tested, Franklin Roosevelt reminded us—In America: we do our part.
That’s all I’m asking. That we all do our part.
And if we do, then we will meet the central challenge of the age by proving that democracy is durable and strong.
The autocrats will not win the future.
The future will belong to America.
I stand here tonight before you in a new and vital hour in the life of our democracy and our nation.
And I can say with absolute confidence: I have never been more confident or more optimistic about America.
We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and “We the People” did not flinch.
At the very moment our adversaries were certain we would pull apart and fail.
We came together.
With light and hope, we summoned new strength and new resolve.
To position us to win the competition for the 21st Century.
On our way forward to a Union more perfect. More prosperous. More just.
As one people. One nation. One America.
It’s never been a good bet to bet against America.
And it still isn’t.
We are the United States of America.
There is nothing – nothing – beyond our capacity – nothing we can’t do – if we do it together.
#AceWorldNews – TURKEY:Jan.07: US. has shelved the handover of two leftover frigates to Turkey as Congress excluded Turkey from a bill seeking permission to transfer vessels to foreign countries citing Turkey’s sour relations with Israel and the latest gas row with Greek Cyprus.
‘ USS Frigate McClusky ‘
The move is interpreted by foreign policy experts as an action that will lead Turkey to think twice before getting into new arms purchases.
Signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama, the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2013 authorizes the transfer of the frigates Curtis and McClusky to Mexico on a grant basis.
It took the better part of two years, but Congress has finally approved the potential transfer to Taiwan and Mexico of six frigates being decommissioned by the US Navy. The move means negotiators have permission to make a deal for transfer of the ships, four of which are still in service.
Signed into law Thursday by President Barack Obama, the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2013 authorizes the transfer of the frigates Curts and McClusky to Mexico on a grant basis.
The act also authorizes the sale of the frigates Taylor, Gary, Carr and Elrod to Taiwan, Defense News reported.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON: Jan.06: Republicans are assuming full control of Congress for the first time in eight years in a day of pomp, circumstance and raw politics beneath the Capitol Dome AP reported.
They planned to move swiftly Tuesday toward a veto showdown with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL pipeline, summoning unity despite a tea party-backed effort to unseat House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
“NATO encirclement, the US-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border and a US nuclear first-strike policy are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy,” he added.
‘ Dennis Kucinich: Let’s get ready for US-Russia war-Screenshot from 2014-12-04 16:10:36 ‘
Kucinich also warned US Congress that the country’s treasury is being drained for Washington’s “military adventures.”
He noted that the resolution demanded Russia to be isolated and in other words, “let’s get ready for war with Russia.”
In an interview last week, hawkish Republican Senator John McCain rejected a possible conflict between the United States and Russia.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – Dec.01 – The GOP is preparing to mount a full-scale assault on President Obama’s regulatory agenda, using the party’s strengthened hand in Congress to delay, soften or block contentious administration rules at every turn.
As long as Obama sits atop the executive branch, Republicans’ power to derail scores of rule making efforts now under way is limited.
But control of both the House and Senate in the next Congress will enable GOP lawmakers to ratchet up their attacks on what they view as overzealous regulation.
In a statement Thursday, the Pentagon thanked both countries for their “willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”
Obama has tried to close the detention centre since he took office, but has been blocked by Congress. Both the House and the Senate have voted to keep it open.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights, a group that represents Yemini Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim, praised his release.
“We are grateful to the Republic of Georgia for offering our client a new home where he can begin to rebuild his life after more than a decade in Guantánamo without charge or trial,” the group said in a statement.
The centre noted that Hakim is the first Yemeni to be transferred out of the detention center since 2010 and that 84 of the 143 detainees still at Guantánamo are Yemeni.
The government has balked at sending Yemenis back to their country because of instability there.
Wells Dixon, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, though, said the turmoil in Yemen should not force detainees to be kept in Guantánamo any longer than necessary.
“As we welcome Mr. Alhag’s resettlement, we are reminded that the remaining Yemeni men should be sent home or resettled without further delay,” he said, using an alternate name for Hakim.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – November 05 – In the early hours of Wednesday morning the Republicans won control of the Senate and among the arguments one major point of this election stood out clearly:
‘THE PEOPLE DECIDE ON REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS BLAME OBAMA ‘
A number of Democrats blame one person President Obama for this defeat.
The Hill’s Jessica Taylor reported that Republicans have clinched Senate control in an election night rout that saw Democrats around the country crushed by the growing unpopularity of President Obama.
The GOP gained the six seats they needed to win the majority with after defeating Democratic incumbents in North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado along with picking up open-seat Democratic seats in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota.
This mid-term election told the people of America one thing and that was they do not want this President, and above all they do not like his policies.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – November 04 – Public campaigning gave way to the privacy of the voting booth Tuesday with control of the Senate, the make-up of the House and three dozen governorships at stake AP reported.
‘ VOTING GETS UNDERWAY IN MID-TERM ELECTIONS 2014 ‘
President Barack Obama, his approval ratings low, was not on the ballot midway through his second term.
But even he said his policies were, and Republicans rushed to agree.
Above all else, what’s at stake in Tuesday’s midterm elections is control of the U.S. Senate. That, in turn, will shape the fate of President Barack Obama’s agenda for the rest of his term.
And everything else that Congress wants to do, or stop from getting done Associated press said.
This year’s Senate races have featured astronomical spending, ceaseless attack ads and innumerable slaps at a president who’s not on the ballot.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – November 03 – A reshuffling of President Barack Obama’s staff looks all but certain after Tuesday’s congressional elections, which are likely to bring humbling losses to his Democratic party and could add to pressure on him to reboot his presidency.
Forecasters say that Republicans, who have made Obama’s unpopularity a top issue in the elections, are in a strong position to capture the six seats they need to take over the Senate from Democrats. They are also expected to expand their majority in the House of Representatives.
But current and former White House aides say that even if those predictions prove correct, Obama will likely resist calls to clean house for the final two years of his administration, a departure from the dramatic makeovers quickly ordered by many of his predecessors after similar setbacks at the ballot box.
Even slow-motion staff turnover could add some new talent to an inner circle that has been criticized as too insular. But it remains to be seen whether new blood would be enough to help a diminished president overcome Washington gridlock and push through new initiatives to burnish his legacy.
#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES (New York) – October 16 – A New York high school has lifted its ban on a Christian student organization after first rejecting the students’ request for renewal.
Ward Melville High School of East Setauket decided late last week to renew the group Students United in Faith after receiving a letter from the Liberty Institute, a conservative law firm.
Last year, administrators at the school denied SUIF recognition under the charge that the student organization lacked sufficient numbers of interested persons to garner recognition.
“We are hoping that the school doesn’t make this an annual tradition of violating the Equal Access Act,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s director of strategic litigation, in a statement to The Christian Post.
“Congress can pass laws and the courts can issue opinions, but if great Americans like John Raney and Jeremy Johnson don’t take a bold stand for freedom, we will all lose our liberty.”
Students wanted to start a SUIF chapter at the Long Island-area high school last year, but their request was denied.
#AceNewsServices – INDIA (Kashmir) – October 12 – Civilians on both sides of the Kashmir Line of Control got a brief respite today from a solid week of cross-border fighting between Indian and Pakistan forces, but leaders on both sides indicate it is likely to remain brief indeed.
Modi bragged that the week of fighting had given Pakistan a “befitting lesson,” and that Indian soldiers had successfully “shut their mouth” so that they dare not repeat their violations.
The assessment on the Pakistani side was just a belligerent, for while the National Security Committee ruled out war with India, Premier Nawaz Sharif ordered the army to engage in a “tit for tat” strategy of retaliation against India.
The two nations have warred in the past over the Line of Control, and as usual both sides are insisting that the other is wholly to blame for the violations, which have killed dozens of civilians.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – October 09 – Key members of Congress are weighing dramatic changes to the embattled Secret Service, including moving it out of the Homeland Security Department and breaking up its mission.
‘ Changing Shape of the Secret Service ‘
The proposals come as lawmakers assess how to improve the agency after a series of scandals, including a White House break-in by a man with a knife last month.
The agency’s director, Julia Pierson, resigned amid the controversy, but lawmakers are promising they’ll continue their focus once Congress reconvenes after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 29 – Senate Democrats at a press conference on September 09 unveiled a constitutional amendment designed to alter First Amendment freedoms argued that their effort is both non-partisan and absolutely essential to advance the agenda of the Democratic Party.
“We are here today to overturn Citizens United,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D., N.M.), the amendment’s author.
‘ US Citizens United ‘
However, the language of the amendment does not specifically address Citizens United, and would not require Congress to address the issues raised in the case.
Rather, legislators would be given free rein to enact restrictions on political speech as they see fit. Given efforts by Reid and others to demonize Republican donors, conservatives voiced concerns about the consequences of campaign finance regulators uninhibited by any constitutional limitations.
Speakers claimed that even a majority of Republican voters support their proposal. However, they also stressed that campaign finance reform, and Udall’s amendment specifically, is a prerequisite for the advancement of key Democratic policy priorities, including a minimum wage hike, stringent environmental regulations, and income redistribution.
“If people think this is some kind of esoteric issue, not related to jobs and the economy and wages and women’s rights and income and wealth inequality and healthcare and global warming, you are deadly wrong,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), one of the amendment’s cosponsors.
Sanders and others at the event billed the measure as an attempt to roll back the 2010 Supreme Court decision inCitizens United v. FEC, which removed limits on electioneering and express advocacy communications. However, the constitutional amendment’s language is far more sweeping, leading some to suggest that the ruling is being used as a way to rally support for far stricter regulations on political speech.
Merely rolling back Citizens United would not affect many of the groups frequently demonized by Democratic campaign finance reformers.
‘ Americans for Prosperity ‘
Americans for Prosperity, for example, has engaged this cycle almost exclusively in issue ads, not electioneering communications or express advocacy.
Such groups were permitted to do the same even prior to the Citizens United ruling, explained campaign finance attorney Jason Torchinsky.
“What non-PAC groups have done with issue ads outside the 30/60 day windows this cycle weren’t impacted by Citizens United,” Torchinsky said in an email. “Non-PAC groups were airing issue ads before [Citizens United] was decided, and if it were repealed or reversed groups would continue to do issue ads and speak out about matters of public policy.”
The language of the amendment would empower Congress to “regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”
If enacted, the amendment would allow Congress to regulate any expenditure—even those made by individual voters—aimed at convincing others to vote a certain way. Because in-kind spending is considered an expenditure under federal law, any activity by any person designed to “influence elections” could fall under Congress’ purview.
Opponents of the constitutional amendment say that amounts to nothing short of the de facto repeal of the First Amendment.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 29 – The Obama administration has banned the U.S. military from using anti-personnel land-mines in a unilateral decision that goes against warnings from top military leaders and many in Congress.
The administration stated in a series of announcements this week that landmines will no longer be used and that the Defence Department would begin destroying stockpiles of the devices, which have historically been used to protect U.S. forces from enemies in war-zones.
The controversial executive decision, which comes as America steps up strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), has been in the works for some time despite protests from top U.S. military leaders, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The United States will not use anti-personnel landmines,” President Obama announced this week in New York City.
“So we will begin destroying our stockpiles not required for the defense of South Korea,” a military zone that the administration says poses unique challenges, according to Obama. “And we’re going to continue to work to find ways that would allow us to ultimately comply fully and accede to the Ottawa Convention,” a treaty banning landmines that the United States has not actually signed.
Obama’s announcement was criticized by leading lawmakers, who warned that the decision is not backed by U.S. military commanders who view the use of landmines as a key tool in the protection of American forces.
“It’s disappointing to see that, once again, the White House has overruled the advice of our military commanders,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), said in a statement.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 29 – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) told MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart that Congress should vote for a new authorization to defeat all terrorist groups that pose a threat to Americans.
“We are shirking our responsibility by not voting on this,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
“The president says he’s using this certain section of the Constitution and also Bush’s authorization from many years ago. He can get a new authorization.”
Ros-Lehtinen said the new authorization should include “the terror group of the day,” be it ISIL, al-Nusra Front, or others.
“We’ve got to kill them like cockroaches,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “And like the saying goes, and then there goes two.”
#AceNewsServices – September 21 – This toxic practice makes seriously decayed meat look fresh for weeks and is banned in many countries including the European Union and Japan.
‘ Toxic Meat Being Sold As Fresh ‘
Many consumers are unaware that over 70% of beef and chicken in the United States and Canada is treated with poisonous carbon monoxide gas and the FDA allows it, despite the known public health risks.
A bill was introduced in Congress that would require the labelling of meat that has been treated with carbon monoxide but it was never enacted and the topic was swept under the rug entirely. [Bill: H.R. 3115 (110th) introduced on July 19, 2007; never enacted.]
This practice makes meat appear and smell fresh even when contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E-coli 0157:H7.
Carbon monoxide makes meat appear fresher than it really is by reacting with the meat pigment myoglobin to create carboxymyoglobin.
This bright red pigment masks the natural tell tale signs of spoiled meat such as rank odours and slime.
Meats containing carboxymyoglobin will appear red and fresh for days or even weeks beyond the point of spoiling.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 21 – Seemingly regular cycle of food contamination scares about various food processing facilities prompted Congress to require revisions to Food and Drug Administration food safety regulations.
A comment period on the rule proposals will begin after they are officially published in the Federal Register on Sept. 29.
CQ Roll Call’s Georgina Gustin reportsthat the new rules are designed to make the inspection process less burdensome, especially for small and organic food growers, as the agency is dropping a nine-month delay on developing risk analysis on manure and eases restrictions on the agricultural water quality standards.
The proposed rule for produce products also clarifies what constitutes a covered farm, saying that those with produce sales – not food sales – under $25,000 annually will not be subject to the rules.
Additionally, the revised regulations on preventive controls for animal food addresses concerns raised by brewers and livestock farmers, that unprocessed spent grains – a by-product of the brewing process – would be not be subject to new regulations when sold as animal feed.
The proposed rules on foreign supplier verification requires annual on site auditing of foreign suppliers, but companies with well-documented supply chains could opt out.