- President Joe Biden Sees Infrastructure Plan Blocked By Republicans
- Two vaccinated officials test positive for coronavirus
- The president asks that Russia not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to attack other countries
Washington, Jul 21 (EFE News) .- Republicans blocked President Joe Biden‘s infrastructure plan this Wednesday in the United States Senate, whose objective was to invest 1.2 trillion dollars over eight years in the roads, bridges and ports of the country. Republicans did not even agree to debate the initiative during a key vote, although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the plan to be voted on again in the next few days.
Unanimously, all 50 Republican senators voted against the initiative and 49 Democrats voted in favor; so that the project did not exceed the barrier of 60 supports that it needed to be considered in the Chamber of the Upper House. Schumer had decided to vote on the initiative to “get the ball rolling”; but several Republican senators found his move to be very aggressive and asked him on several occasions to delay it.
Out of agreement
Republicans are particularly concerned about how the money will be raised to pay for infrastructure. The vote came nearly a month after Biden announced outside the White House with a group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers that they had reached an agreement to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. The objective of the plan is to modernize what has been called “physical infrastructure”, that is to say, roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports, among others.
Outside the pact was the so-called “human infrastructure” necessary, for example, to reopen the education centers for children that have closed during the pandemic, as well as to combat poverty, climate change and expand “Medicare”, a coverage program health for people over 65 years. Those points have been included in a $ 3.5 trillion social spending package that Democrats want to pass alone through a legislative formula known as reconciliation, which allows a bill to be passed with a simple majority of 50 votes, in instead of the 60 normally needed. EFE News
Two Vaccinated Biden and Pelosi Counselors Test Positive for COVID-19
Washington, Jul 20 (EFE News) .- A White House official and one of the spokespersons for the president of the US Lower House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, tested positive for covid-19 despite being vaccinated , official sources reported Tuesday. Neither of the two affected, who were not identified, had close contact with the president of the United States, Joe Biden, or with Pelosi, according to those sources.
“Yesterday, a fully vaccinated White House official tested positive for COVID-19 when he was off campus,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki at her daily press conference. That person is isolated, with “mild symptoms” and it has not been determined for now that he has had “close contacts” with “other high-ranking personnel” of the White House, added Psaki.
More cases are reported in the White House
The spokeswoman acknowledged that in recent months there have been more cases of White House personnel who have tested positive for covid-19 despite being vaccinated, but did not want to specify how many and only clarified that none of them is an adviser who has frequent contact with Biden. Both the White House official and the Pelosi spokesperson who tested positive were at an outdoor reception at a Washington hotel last week with a delegation of Texas state legislators who are visiting the capital, according to the newspaper. digital Axios.
At least two of those Texas lawmakers tested positive this weekend, days after also meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris, whose team still determined that she had not run the risk of infection and therefore should not quarantine. Psaki assured this Tuesday that Biden -who is vaccinated- is tested for covid-19 “every two weeks”, as well as a good part of his advisers, while journalists who have access to the president are forced to submit to a quick test the day they go to see it.
Covid protocols are maintained
The White House does not seem willing to change its protocols in light of the new contagion and Psaki assured that “infections from vaccinated people (result in symptoms that) are normally mild.” Since the end of May, both the White House staff and the journalists who cover it have worked from the narrow West Wing without wearing a mask, as long as they are vaccinated, following the guidelines of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . (CDC, in English).
After months with reduced capacity, Psaki’s daily press conference has been held again with dozens of journalists in the seats and corridors of the small room, although practically all of them are vaccinated, according to the Association of House Correspondents White. Capitol employees and the reporters who cover them also work without a mask, who in many cases nevertheless put the mask back on Tuesday after learning that a spokesperson for Pelosi had tested positive, according to The Hill newspaper. That spokesperson has not had contact with Pelosi and both he and the rest of the press office staff worked this Tuesday from home to exercise extreme precautions, explained an adviser to the Speaker of the Lower House, Drew Hammill, in a statement. EFE News
Biden asks to prevent Russia from “using energy as a weapon” against neighboring countries
Washington, Jul 15 (EFE News) .- US President Joe Biden advocated on Thursday to prevent Russia from “using energy as a weapon” against neighboring countries such as Ukraine or Poland, reiterating his “concern” about the Nord gas pipeline. Stream 2, which will link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. Biden spoke this way during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he also assured that he shares a commitment to preserve democracy in the world in the face of the strength of countries like China.
“I have reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my concern for Nord Stream. We are absolutely united in our belief that Russia cannot be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors, ”said Biden. For her part, the German Chancellor acknowledged having discussed the issue with Biden and noted that both expressed “different assessments of what this project implies.”
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is currently under construction and which could allow Moscow to scrap the gas transit route through Ukraine, is something that worries Kiev and also Washington. Before the meeting, the White House had said that Biden would ask Merkel to develop “concrete mechanisms to ensure that energy is not a coercive tool against Ukraine, the (American) allies in eastern (Europe) or any other country.”
At today’s press conference, Merkel assured that Nord Stream 2 “is an additional project and it is certainly not a project to replace any type of transit through Ukraine; anything else would obviously create a lot of tension. ” The recent decision to waive the Nord Stream 2 company from sanctions has facilitated a calmer discussion on the issue with Berlin. EFE News
Biden acknowledges that the Taliban are stronger than ever since 2001
Washington, Jul 8 (EFE News) .- The president of the United States, Joe Biden, acknowledged this Thursday that the Taliban have “more military force” than at any time since the beginning of the Afghanistan war in 2001, and considered “highly unlikely ”that there is a“ united government ”that can control the entire country. In a speech at the White House, Biden defended, however, his plans to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and announced that that process will be complete by August 31, a new deadline earlier than originally announced, of August 11. of September.
“Speed is (synonymous with) security” for the US military, Biden opined during a speech that turned into an impromptu press conference. Since the United States began withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in May, Taliban insurgents have captured 100 of the country’s 402 districts, taking more than 35% of the territories under their control.
Taliban and Afghanistan
“The Taliban are stronger militarily than ever since 2001,” Biden said. However, the president said that “it is not inevitable” that the Taliban will regain control of Afghanistan, and expressed his “confidence in the capacity” of the Afghan security forces. He added that “the only way for there to be peace and security in Afghanistan” is if the Afghan authorities negotiate a “modus operandi” with the Taliban, within the peace talks in the country.
“It is highly unlikely that there is a united government in Afghanistan controlling the entire country,” admitted Biden. Even so, the president defended his withdrawal plans, saying that staying in the country for six months or another year, as requested by some of his critics, would not resolve the security situation and would put US troops at risk. “Once that agreement was reached with the Taliban, the idea of staying there with a minimum number of troops was no longer possible,” he stressed in reference to the agreement reached last year by the government of now-former President Donald Trump with the insurgents. . Biden responded with several “no” to the question of whether the United States will have any responsibility in the event that Afghan civilians die after the withdrawal, adding that it is the Afghan authorities who have to work for the security of the country. “No country has ever unified Afghanistan. Empires have gone there and they have not succeeded ”, he settled. EFE News