China stages military exercises as US lawmakers visit Taiwan
China says its military has staged exercises to reinforce its threat to use force to bring Taiwan under its control, as U.S. lawmakers visiting Taiwan made a pointed and public declaration of support for the self-governing island democracy while issuing a warning to China.
Democrats blast Mexico's president for assailing judiciary
Democrats in Congress are sounding the alarm over what they claim is mounting evidence that Mexico’s chief prosecutor is assailing the nation’s independent judiciary and selectively targeting for prosecution opponents of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Biden administration border plan poses midterm danger for Democrats
In a preview of the midterm attacks Republicans plan to intensify this fall, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attacked Biden over the border in a speech on the Senate floor. “They should not wait nearly two months before ending Title 42 in its entirety, but rather start doing so in phases.”The plan the White House is expected to adopt would not fully lift Title 42 until late May, which critics point out is roughly tantamount to another 60-day renewal. CBP has used Title 42 to carry out more than 1.7 million expulsions over the past 24 months, records show. “It’s an abomination that the Biden administration did not lift Title 42 a long time ago,” said former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro. The Biden administration’s dependency on Title 42 deepened as border crossings soared during the spring of 2021.washingtonpost.com
American freed from Venezuela says his ‘nightmare’ has ended
An American oil executive freed from custody in Venezuela says that even as he celebrates with his family the end of a long “nightmare,” he’s praying for the release of five colleagues who are still imprisoned and “deserve the same blessings.”.
Senate confirms big slate of Biden ambassadors to end 2021
The Senate has confirmed more than 30 ambassadors and other Biden administration nominees after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to schedule a vote on sanctions on the company behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany.
McCarthy calls on Pelosi to recall House over U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to recall members of the House to take action on the Afghanistan withdrawal. CBS News congressional reporter Zak Hudak joins CBSN's Elaine Quijano to discuss what McCarthy and other GOP members would like to see done.news.yahoo.com
Biden Raises Cap on Refugee Admissions After Outrage
Chip Somodevilla/GettyThe Biden administration will more than quadruple the cap on refugee admissions into the United States this fiscal year, President Joe Biden announced on Monday, after weeks of harsh criticism from human-rights advocates and Democratic allies for his decision to keep the cap at a record low.“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year,” Biden said in a statement, adding that the administration’s goal is to raise the cap to 125,000 refugee admissions in the next fiscal year. The previous cap, implemented under the Trump administration, was at a mere 15,000 admissions.“It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin,” Biden said. “We are going to rebuild what has been broken and push hard to complete the rigorous screening process for those refugees already in the pipeline for admission.”The about-face comes after blistering attacks from Biden’s allies on Capitol Hill and in immigrant-rights circles following his announcement last month that he would maintain the Trump-era cap on refugees. Biden had initially promised to raise the cap for Fiscal Year 2021 to 62,500—the number announced on Monday—before backtracking, citing a now-waning rush of underage asylum-seekers at the U.S. southern border.That decision infuriated refugee advocates, who noted at the time that the system for refugee admissions and asylum admissions are completely separate. (Refugees apply for safe haven from war, famine, or government persecution while abroad, and undergo intense background checks before they are granted admission into the United States, while those seeking asylum can only do so when inside the United States, typically at a port of entry.)The Biden administration at the time blamed much of the outrage on the media, which did little to persuade supporters of undoing the Trump administration’s hostile legacy on immigration.“Failing to issue a new determination undermines your declared purpose to reverse your predecessor’s refugee policies,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter at the time. “As we face the largest global refugee crisis in history, with 29.6 million refugees worldwide, resettlement serves as a critical tool in providing protection to those fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”News of Biden’s reversal was greeted positively by advocates for refugee reform.“President Biden has reaffirmed what so many Americans have long known—refugees are welcome here and are a blessing to our communities,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a faith-based nonprofit that supports refugees once inside the United States. “The new admissions ceiling reflects our core values as a welcoming nation, and finally aligns public policy with the unprecedented global need of millions forced from their home by violence, war, and persecution.”Biden did, however, include a caveat in his announcement, noting “the sad truth” that the cap on refugee admissions is not a requirement—and the number of refugees admitted into the United States this fiscal year will likely fall far short of 62,500.“We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years,” Biden said. “It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.news.yahoo.com
Senate Democrats urge Biden to condition aid to Brazil
More than a dozen Senate Democrats have sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden complaining of a woeful environmental track record by his Brazilian counterpart and urging him to condition any support for Amazon preservation on significant progress reducing deforestation.
Cyber attack tied to China boosts development bank's chief
Claver-Carone was elected as the new president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the fall of 2020. (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)MIAMI – The cyberattack crested just as finance officials from across Latin America were descending on Washington to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank. On Sept. 24, 2019, requests from more than 15,000 internet addresses throughout China flooded the bank’s website, knocking part of it intermittently offline. Details of the attack, which has not been previously reported, are contained in an IDB internal document reviewed by The Associated Press. But membership has been a cheap way for China to expand its reach in Latin America.
Leading Senate Dem says outlook bleak on immigration bills
WASHINGTON – A leader of Senate Democrats' drive to help millions of immigrants become citizens cast severe doubt on its prospects Monday, as one of President Joe Biden's early priorities seemed in danger of running aground in a Congress his own party controls. A top Republican senator who's been pivotal in past efforts to find bipartisan compromise on the issue also expressed pessimism. Ad“I don't see a means of reaching that,” Durbin, a veteran of past efforts to strike an immigration deal, said of a comprehensive bill in this two-year Congress. Durbin spoke three days before the House plans to approve a pair of bills that would advance pieces of Democrats’ immigration agenda. Both face uphill fights in the Senate, where Democrats would likely need at least 10 GOP votes in the 50-50 chamber.
In early foreign policy tests, Biden takes on world as it is
Biden in his early days in office has vowed a dramatic reordering of U.S. foreign policy from his predecessor. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden in his early days in office has vowed a dramatic reordering of U.S. foreign policy from his predecessor. The early preference for caution and incrementalism comes as Biden has repeatedly declared that “America is back.” But in early foreign policy tests, Biden has demonstrated, as many of his predecessors have experienced, that a push away from the previous commander-in-chief's policies is easier said than done. AdSullivan pushes back against the notion that Biden's foreign policy approach has been modulated from his candidacy. On China, Biden has been clear-eyed in seeing Beijing as the United States' most significant competitor.
Democrats consider piecemeal approach to immigration reform
(AP Photo/Christian Chavez)WASHINGTON – After decades of failed attempts to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden are signaling openness to a piece-by-piece approach. They unveiled a broad bill Thursday that would provide an eight-year pathway to citizenship for 11 million people living in the country without legal status. “Even though I support full, comprehensive immigration reform, I’m ready to move on piecemeal, because I don’t want to end up with good intentions on my hands and not have anything,” said Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin has said that any final Senate bill likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. AdIndeed, comprehensive bills negotiated by bipartisan teams of lawmakers failed multiple times during Republican George W. Bush’s administration and again in 2013 during Democrat Barack Obama's.
Democrats unveil broad immigration reform bill with citizenship path for 11 million
Advertisement“There are some in Congress, I’ll say from both parties, who argue against going big on immigration reform,” Menendez said. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more with both approaches.”Menendez cautioned that the approach is not all or nothing but, rather, emphasizing the goal of robust immigration reform. Citizenship Act moving forward today.”AdvertisementWhite House officials offered few new details to the outline they unveiled last month, when they said the bill was sent to Congress. Its centerpiece is an eight-year path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status, with a five-year wait for permanent legal status, often referred to as a green card, and three more years before citizenship is granted. “This is the White House signaling to the Hill, ‘We haven’t given up on comprehensive immigration reform,’” Suro said.latimes.com
Epstein warden now running new prison despite ongoing probe
FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. The Epstein Victims Compensation Program said Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, it has temporarily run out of funds. AdThe Justice Department’s inspector general has not completed an investigation into lapses that allowed Epstein to end his life. AdHis suicide cast a spotlight on the federal prison agency, which has been plagued for years by a staffing shortage and violence, and on safety lapses inside one of the most secure jails in America. N’Diaye is being placed at a prison where more than 61% of the inmates have tested positive for the virus.
EXPLAINER: Why is the military taking control in Myanmar?
Myanmar military television said Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 that the military was taking control of the country for one year, while reports said many of the countrys senior politicians including Suu Kyi had been detained. “There’s internal military politics around that, which is very opaque,” said Kim Jolliffe, a researcher on Myanmar civilian and military relations. AdMyanmar's military leaders “must immediately free the democratic leaders of Myanmar and remove themselves from government,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “If not, the United States and other countries should impose strict economic sanctions, as well as other measures” against the military and military leaders, he said. He also questioned Suu Kyi's ability to lead given her defense of the military's actions against ethnic Rohingya Muslims.
Why Biden's immigration plan may be risky for Democrats
The 2020 election provided several warning signs that, despite Democratic efforts to build a multiracial coalition, Latino support could be at risk. “It means so much to us to have a new president propose bold, visionary immigration reform on Day 1. Menendez was part of a bipartisan immigration plan championed by the “Gang of Eight” senators that collapsed in 2013. President George W. Bush also pushed an immigration package — with an eye toward boosting Latino support for Republicans before the 2008 election — only to see it fail in Congress. Still, Latinos haven't forgotten past immigration failures and have often blamed Democrats more than Republicans.
Democrats start reining in expectations for immigration bill
The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending.
Florida eye doctor gets clemency from Trump in health fraud
He was convicted in April 2017 on 67 counts, including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying patient records. A White House statement credited Menendez with supporting clemency for Melgen, who was a donor to Democratic politicians and a longtime friend of the Cuban-American New Jersey senator. In a statement of his own, Menendez said he did very little on Melgen’s behalf and did not expect the clemency decision from Trump. “I don’t pretend to know what motivates President Trump to act, but I am pretty sure it’s not me,” Menendez said. A federal jury in New Jersey failed to reach a verdict on charges that Melgen used his relationship to bribe Menendez.
Trump global broadcasting chief quits amid VOA staff revolt
Former President Donald Trumps hand-picked chief of U.S. international broadcasting has quit amid a burgeoning staff revolt and growing calls for his resignation. Michael Pack resigned as the chief executive office of the U.S. Agency for Global Media just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump’s hand-picked chief of U.S. international broadcasting has quit amid a burgeoning staff revolt and growing calls for his resignation. Michael Pack resigned as the chief executive office of the U.S. Agency for Global Media just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday. That reassignment prompted a new round of criticism and demands for VOA chief Robert Reilly to resign.
Biden bets big on immigration changes in opening move
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)SAN DIEGO – For the opening salvo of his presidency, few expected Joe Biden to be so far-reaching on immigration. He also extended temporary legal status to Liberians who fled civil war and the Ebola outbreak to June 2022. Former President Donald Trump's administration also took hundreds of other steps to enhance enforcement, limit eligibility for asylum and cut legal immigration. The survey of more than 110,000 voters in November showed 9 in 10 Biden voters but just about half of Trump voters were in favor of a path to legal status. Biden's bill calls for more technology at land crossings, airports and seaports and authorizes the Homeland Security secretary to consider other steps.
Sen. Bob Menendez accuses Trump media agency nominee Michael Pack of possible self-dealing, illegal activity
The ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is telling the White House that President Donald Trump's nominee to lead a federal media organization could have been involved with self-dealing and illegal activity. The move by Menendez comes after Trump mentioned Pack during a recent tirade against lawmakers who haven't confirmed a number of his nominees to key positions. Pack is a conservative documentary filmmaker who once worked on two films with former White House chief strategist and 2016 Trump campaign boss Steve Bannon. Pack engaged in inappropriate or unlawful activity related to transactions between his business (Manifold Productions) and his non-profit (Public Media Lab)" and "whether Mr. Pack has yet to provide the Committee with the requested information or to engage in a good-faith and serious effort to do so," Menendez said.cnbc.com
Senators ask Apple CEO Tim Cook about the company's COVID-19 app privacy practices
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, at the 2019 DreamForce conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Nov. 19, 2019. Four U.S. senators sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday asking questions about the company's COVID-19 app and how it handles personal data. The app includes a screening tool for for COVID-19 symptoms as well as up-to-date information from trusted sources about the coronavirus outbreak. 2 in the health and fitness category on Apple's App Store. Last week, many of the same senators plus Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown sent similar questions to Verily CEO Andrew Conrad about the Alphabet company's COVID-19 screening program.cnbc.com
I feel like I got played. Politics derails Armenian hopes for genocide recognition
It makes me angry.Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who has coauthored resolutions to recognize the Armenian genocide since 2006, requested the unanimous consent of the Senate on Wednesday to pass the latest attempt. The United States Congress cannot stand idly by and let the truth of genocide be silenced, he told fellow senators. But in the decades that followed, efforts in Congress to pass a resolution that singularly recognizes the Armenian killings as genocide has failed. Turkey has spent millions lobbying against recognition of the genocide, he said in an email. AdvertisementToday, scholars and historians widely agree that what happened to Armenians was a systematic killing and should be recognized as a genocide.latimes.com
New Jersey Sen. Menendez accused of taking bribes to help friend
Sen. Robert Menendez is due in federal court Thursday to face bribery and other charges. Menendez allegedly went to bat for Florida's Dr. Salomon Melgen on issues big and small in exchange for campaign contributions and extravagant gifts. Nancy Cordes reports.cbsnews.com
Paula Reid, CBS News Justice Department Reporter, discusses the indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez on federal corruption charges. He's accused of accepting nearly one million dollars worth of gifts and contributions in exchange for political favors that benefited a friend.cbsnews.com