Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Amends 29 Entries to Its Sanctions List

3 Feb
On 2 February 2023, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al‑Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities enacted the amendments specified with underline and strikethrough in the entries below on its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2610 (2021), and adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Estonian Secretary General Vseviov

3 Feb

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with the Secretary General of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jonatan Vseviov today in Washington, D.C.  Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary General Vseviov emphasized the importance of continued support for Ukraine and of imposing costs on Russia.  They also discussed security cooperation and energy security.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Knutsson

3 Feb

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Jan Knutsson today in Washington, D.C.  The Deputy Secretary reiterated U.S. support for Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession and conveyed our firm belief that Sweden and Finland are ready to join the Alliance.  The Deputy Secretary and State Secretary discussed continued and sustained support for Ukraine, addressing challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China, and U.S.-EU cooperation during Sweden’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.   The United States and Sweden will continue to strengthen their close bilateral relationship in the face of regional and global challenges.

DNC Statement On Republican Response to State of the Union

2 Feb

DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa released the following statement in response to the selection of Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union:

“Sarah Huckabee Sanders led the public charge for Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda — from defending the appointment of conservative justices who later voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and paved the way for extreme state abortion bans to cheerleading trillions in corporate tax giveaways. The MAGA Republican Party was out of touch with the American people then, and it’s just as out of touch and extreme with the American people now.”

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DeSantis Proposes Tax Breaks for Wealthy Developers While Cutting Medicaid

2 Feb

While working Floridians struggle with some of the highest health care costs in the country, Ron DeSantis is proposing cuts for critical services, including Medicaid. At the same time, the Florida GOP is pushing major tax handouts for wealthy housing developers in the state instead of prioritizing relief for Florida families.

While Floridians are already being crushed under sky-high health care costs in the state, DeSantis is calling to cut billions from Medicaid.

Politico: “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday proposed a $112.3 billion spending plan that cuts $1.4 billion from Florida’s current health care budget as the administration seeks to rein in spending on charity care.”

Spectrum News 13: “Studies show Florida hospital bills rank among the highest in the nation”

WUSF: “Study finds employees in Florida pay among the highest rates for health insurance”

More than a million Floridians could have their health care ripped away in April while DeSantis has refused to expand Medicaid.

Florida Politics: “As many as 1.75 million Floridians could lose Medicaid coverage once the state begins taking steps on April 1 to return its Medicaid program to pre-pandemic levels.”

HuffPost: “While Ron DeSantis Is Fighting Culture Wars, Millions Of Floridians Are Losing Their Health Care”

New tax incentives for ultra-wealthy developers are just the latest round of DeSantis and Florida Republicans gifting tax breaks to the extremely rich and corporations while working Florida families struggle with skyrocketing housing costs.

Orlando Sentinel: “The package doesn’t provide direct relief for the millions of Floridians who have seen their rent go up astronomically in recent years. Instead, it relies on a trickle-down approach by giving tax incentives to developers in exchange for lower-than-market-value rental rates on their projects. The proposal comes as Florida renters saw rates jump 21% from 2020 to 2021 and continue to rise through most of 2022.”

Miami Herald: “It’s unclear if any of the changes will lead to lower rates any time soon for Floridians, who are paying the highest homeowners insurance premiums in the nation. But hundreds of thousands of homeowners covered by state-run Citizens Property Insurance are almost guaranteed to end up paying more.”

Seeking Rents: “Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled state Legislature teamed up to pass a pair of bills that made it easier for billionaires to hide their fortunes from the outside world — and from federal taxes.”

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Anti-Choice Extremists Make National Abortion Bans A 2024 Litmus Test

2 Feb

As potential 2024 GOP candidates push for extreme anti-abortion restrictions, a major anti-abortion group is giving 2024 Republicans two options: Support an extreme national abortion ban or risk losing their support.

Associated Press: Anti-abortion activists aim to sway GOP White House hopefuls
By Sara Burnett and Jill Colvin

  • Emboldened anti-abortion activists are looking to the 2024 presidential election as an opportunity to solidify their influence over the Republican Party.
  • Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, the most influential group in the anti-abortion movement, is telling each potential GOP presidential hopeful that to win its backing — or avoid being a target of its opposition — they must support national restrictions on the procedure. Exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother are acceptable, the activists say, but leaving the question for states to decide is not.
  • “It is a level of protection that goes to every single state. That’s the baseline of what we’re looking to do,” said Frank Cannon, Susan B. Anthony’s chief political strategist. “Anything less than that will not be acceptable and will not be somebody that SBA can support. So, it’s that simple.”
  • That directive is creating an early litmus test for Republicans considering entering the first presidential election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that enshrined federal protections for abortion for roughly 50 years. While the hard-line stance could please anti-abortion activists who hold sway in GOP primaries, it could create problems for the party’s eventual nominee in the general election.
  • Voters protected abortion rights via ballot measures in six states in 2022, including Kansas, a state former President Donald Trump twice won by double-digit margins. AP VoteCast, a survey of the midterm electorate, showed the Supreme Court’s decision was broadly unpopular. About 6 in 10 said they were angry or dissatisfied by it, and roughly the same percentage said they favor a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.
  • Supporters of abortion rights say the issue was a “game changer” that helped Democrats last year and that will motivate voters even more in 2024, after two years of seeing the effects of restrictions.
  • Pressure from the anti-abortion movement has put Trump, who announced his third run for the presidency last year, in perhaps the most complicated position.
  • He is arguably more responsible for the overturning of Roe than anyone else, having appointed three anti-abortion Supreme Court justices who backed last year’s ruling. But he has also made clear that he believes pushing any further will hurt Republicans, and he accused anti-abortion leaders of failing to do enough to help GOP candidates in the midterms.
  • SBA Pro-Life America, which raised over $60 million for 2020 campaigns along with its affiliated super PAC, is talking with each potential candidate, Cannon said. While records are being discussed, what matters in 2024 is what policies the candidates prioritize when they announce their bids. SBA’s specific request is to support “at a minimum” a “heartbeat bill” or “pain-capable” bill, he said.
  • Trump’s stance has provided an opening on the right for potential rivals like former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom are evangelical Christians with long-held anti-abortion stances.
  • [Pence’s] advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, has pushed for Congress to pass legislation including a national abortion ban beginning around six weeks of pregnancy and a bill that would establish legal personhood at conception.
  • Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, is another potential candidate who signed abortion prohibitions into law in her state. The 2016 law bans abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy and includes an exception if the mother’s life is in jeopardy but not for cases of rape or incest.
  • Others see abortion as a potential vulnerability for DeSantis. A spokesperson for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who is also exploring a potential run, recently unloaded on DeSantis, questioning where he stands on the issue.
  • “Governor Noem was the only Governor in America on national television defending the Dobbs decision,” Ian Fury wrote in an email to the National Review. “Where was Governor DeSantis? Hiding behind a 15-week ban. Does he believe that 14-week-old babies don’t have a right to live?”
  • Cannon stressed that those in the anti-abortion movement are the “foot soldiers” of the Republican Party during elections and comprise a huge percentage of primary voters.
  • “No Republican candidate can win the presidency without the backing of the pro-life movement,” he said.

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