On the Killing of Rohingya Muslim Advocate Mohib Ullah

30 Sep

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

We are deeply saddened and disturbed by the murder of Rohingya Muslim advocate and community leader Mohib Ullah in Bangladesh on September 29.  Mohib Ullah was a brave and fierce advocate for the human rights of Rohingya Muslims around the world.  He traveled to the Human Rights Council in Geneva and to the United States to speak at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in 2019.  During his trip, he shared his experiences with the President and Vice President and spoke together with other survivors of religiously motivated persecution.

We urge a full and transparent investigation into his death with the goal of holding the perpetrators of this heinous crime accountable.  We will honor his work by continuing to advocate for Rohingya and lift up the voices of members of the community in decisions about their future.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken Opening Remarks at a Local Labor Roundtable

30 Sep

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

IBEW Local #5

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  José, thank you so much, and thanks to all of you for spending the time this afternoon.  It’s really wonderful not just to be in Pittsburgh but to be here, to be with all of you.  I’m looking forward to this conversation.  And these past couple of days have really been on so many levels terrific, not just in our meetings with our European counterpart but actually getting (inaudible) meetings here in Pittsburgh – an industrial city in the last century, a high-tech capital now, but still plenty of both in many ways; and labor leaders who have shaped the history and the future of this city, and our country as well.  And you can really see, I think, in this city as well such a microcosm of so many positive things that we’re trying to do across the country.

And it’s really why we chose Pittsburgh to be the place we would get together for this inaugural meeting of something we’re calling the Trade and Technology Council between the United States and the European Union.  We just wrapped up this morning after having a day and a half meeting.  And as José said, the issues we’re taking on through this council are critical to our economy, to our competitiveness, and to our workers’ livelihoods, now and I think well into the future.  And I just want to spend a couple minutes telling you a little bit about that before we get into our conversation.

Having said that, before I go any further, I’ve got to say right from the start that there’s clearly something, or maybe I should say someone missing today, and that’s Richard Trumka.  I had the opportunity to meet with President Trumka and the AFL-CIO Executive Council in July.  We did it virtually because of COVID.  And even through the screen he was such a powerful, eloquent force and voice just as committed to the issues that mattered in his life as ever.

He cared deeply, of course, not just about labor rights in the United States but worldwide, which was the focus of our conversation, and also about how what we do around the world has an impact here at home on American workers, something that he wanted to make sure that we were keeping front and center in our minds as we went about doing the work of the State Department.

As I told President Trumka and as José noted, we have an administration led by President Biden that is committed to investing in labor diplomacy, including by naming a special representative for International Labor Affairs.  I very much look forward to working with President Trumka’s successor, President Liz Shuler, and I want to congratulate her for being the first woman to hold the position.

One thing that President Trumka said that was very clear was that he wanted trade unions to participate, as he put it, at the table where the Secretary of State works.  I completely agree, and that’s one of the reasons I’m at this table today with all of you.

Simply put, we believe strongly, the President believes strongly, that labor groups have to be our partner in policy, and that includes foreign policy.  More than at any other time since I’ve been working these issues for the better part of more than 25 years now, distinctions between our domestic and foreign policy have faded away.  And our domestic renewal as well as our strength in the world I see as completely entwined.

And one of the reasons that we had the Secretary of Commerce, the U.S. Trade Representative,  the Secretary of State all together here in Pittsburgh was exactly because of that.  Our domestic competitiveness, our national security, and a thriving middle class are mutually reinforcing, and I think mutually necessary.

We are committed to trying to get all three of these pillars strong and right, and we want to make sure that as we’re engaged in an innovation economy that it actually delivers for everyone, for workers across the country.

One of the things I talked a little bit about yesterday as we were meeting with our counterparts and meeting with a broad cross-section of stakeholders in the TTC work was that if we were sitting at this table a hundred years ago and the question we were asking was, “How do you define, how do you calculate, the wealth of a nation?  What makes a nation rich and strong?”  The answer you’d probably get is, “Well, it’s the size of its land mass, its geography, it’s the size of the population, it’s the strength of its military, its abundance of natural resources.”  And all of those things still matter, and in the United States we’re very fortunate that we still have an abundance of each of those things.

But I think as we’re sitting here today, the real answer to that question, “What really makes the wealth of a nation,” the answer more than ever before is its human resources – its people, its workers.  And the job of government, among other things, as we see it, is to do everything we can to unleash those resources, to support them, to defend them, to protect them, to allow them to reach their full potential.  And that starts with the working men and women of our country.  That’s how we see it.

And when you really break it down, that’s what this Trade and Technology Council that we put together is all about.  It’s trying to align with Europe, our largest trading partner – together with us, almost half of the world’s gross domestic product – how we can align more to do things together more effectively and more equitably.  Because one of the things that got lost – and I’ve put myself in this place too over the years, particularly on trade – was we lost sight of the need to have truly equitable impacts and to make sure that as we were moving forward, some of our fellow citizens didn’t get left behind.

So we have this remarkably powerful, large relationship with the European Union and all the countries that constitute it.  It is the most integrated, it is the most interdependent relationship in the world (inaudible).  And for whatever differences there are, it’s profoundly grounded in shared values: democratic governance, fair competition based on market principles, the rule of law, respect for human rights.  All of these things animate both of us, and that’s important because we know other countries are pursuing a very different approach to growth and competition.  So it’s critical from where I stand that the EU and the U.S. stand together to push back on unfair and dangerous policies and practices, and ultimately, most important, prove that the way we do things delivers for people.  Because if we can’t show that and we can’t demonstrate that, we’re simply not going to gain support.

So let me just quickly, before we get into the conversation, highlight a few areas where we made progress this week, these last couple of days with our European counterparts.  First, one of the things we pledged was – and agreed – was to develop and implement uses of artificial intelligence that drive innovation, that strengthen and don’t undermine privacy, that respect democratic values and human rights, and that are focused on impacts, including impacts on labor forces.  That is vitally important.  And that’s, by the way, across the board in everything we’re looking at in terms of technology.

We agreed we would deepen cooperation on investment screening, including by sharing information, for example, on division of investments, types of transactions so that we can better protect our national security while recognizing that foreign investment can be a critical source of growth for many U.S. sectors and many U.S. communities.

Third, we talked about and agreed to work more closely together on effective export controls, including enhancing the capacity of other countries, but focusing on the most sensitive technologies and products, not trying to erect a low fence around everything – because exports are so critical – but making sure that when it comes to things that are truly sensitive, we together build a high fence to protect those technologies and products.

Fourth, we agreed that we would strengthen cooperation on the supply of something we all recognize is especially critical these days, and that’s semiconductors, both to deal with near-term disruptions in supply, but also to try to lay a foundation for longer-term resilience.  That requires, among other things, improving a shared capacity to design and produce leading-edge semiconductors.

Fifth, we agreed to pursue common strategies to try to mitigate and respond more effectively to non-market distortive policies and practices like massive industrial policies and subsidies, forced labor, tech transfer that undermine the competitiveness of our economies, that endanger businesses and consumers, and that undercut workers’ rights.

And finally, we committed to protect worker and labor rights, combat forced and child labor, and to make sure that we had that lens applied to the work that we were doing.

So I say all that knowing that many of you have questions, concerns, even doubts about some of these issues, which I hope we get a chance to talk about.  Because not only do I want to hear them, I need to hear them.  And to be clear, we also talked very candidly with the EU representatives about points of difference, points of friction in our relationship, including, of course, on trade.  Because we want to deal with those areas of difference directly, not try to sweep them under the under the rug or ignore them.

So mostly, what I’m eager to do is, again, hear from you not only on these issues that I just mentioned, but more broadly on this question, which is:  How do we make sure that our diplomacy is working on behalf of America’s workers?  That’s what I want to focus on.  That’s where we really want to be your partners, not only – and this is critical – not only on the landing, but on the takeoff.  Because from my own experience, what I’ve found is this:  More – again, more than ever before, if critical stakeholders in any given issue are not at the table and not with you on the takeoff, it probably is not going to hold up.

And so it’s not good enough to simply say, “Okay, here’s what we did, here’s what we agreed.”  We need to have all of this input; we need the ongoing dialogue.  We need, ideally, the partnership on these issues from the get-go if we’re going to create anything that’s sustainable and actually works for all of our people.

That’s the spirit that we’re bringing to this.  It’s never going to be perfect, to say the least, but that’s at least where our starting point is.

And with that, let me stop talking, because I’m interested in hearing from all of you.

Thank you.

Even More New Local Opinion Pieces Call Out Republicans for Votes To Jeopardize The Economy

30 Sep

PA Small Business Owner to Republicans: “I’m Running My Business and Doing My Job. Now, it’s Time for You To Do Yours.”

Today, Americans across the country are yet again reading about the consequences of Republicans blocking legislation to address the debt ceiling as small business owners, veterans, and more highlight how catastrophic it would be if Mitch McConnell and Republicans get their way. From jeopardizing up to six million American jobs, stopping Social Security payments, and blocking our soldiers from getting paid, Republicans are playing politics with our recovering economy, and voters across the country are taking notice.

See the latest opinion pieces calling out Republicans on the debt ceiling, below:

In Pennsylvania:

Erie Times-News: Erie brewer: Sen. Toomey’s debt ceiling games risk disaster for businesses like mine

Well, senators, I may be too busy running a business to pay attention to most of the twist and turns of Washington, but most voters aren’t dummies. When you tell us you’re willing to play political games with our economy, we believe you. And when you put the brewery I’ve worked so hard to keep alive for the past year and a half at risk again by creating a disastrous, self-made economic crisis, you’re absolutely right I’ll remember that next November — and the name of every Republican who opposed suspending the debt ceiling and wanted to put my business back in danger.

I’m running my business and doing my job. Now, it’s time for you to do yours.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Republicans are the clowns in the debt ceiling circus. The act isn’t funny anymore

In case you missed it, on Monday, Republicans in the narrowly divided U.S. Senate voted to block the approval of new borrowing intended to pay for old debt that they’re complicit in racking up.

While entirely unsurprising, the GOP’s united front on the debt ceiling is the most transparent kind of political cynicism.

In Georgia:

Cobb County Courier: Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans Are Playing Political Football With Veterans’ Livelihoods

With Senate Republicans turning the long-standing bipartisan tradition of raising America’s debt ceiling into a facetious political game, the GOP is putting millions of Georgians’ livelihoods at risk — especially for veterans like me.

As a third-generation wartime veteran, I served eight years in the Marine Corps on active and reserve duty with some of the bravest men and women I have ever met. I, and the other more than 697,000 veterans who live in Georgia, have dedicated our lives to service to this country — and we’d do it all over again. But as we watch Mitch McConnell lead Republicans to put their own politics above the livelihoods of millions of active duty military members, veterans, and Americans — it’s clear that the GOP cares more about partisanship than what’s best for our country.

In Florida:

Panama City News Herald: Failing to raise the debt ceiling affects all of us | Guestview

Raising the debt ceiling should be a bipartisan effort by both Democrats and Republicans, as this is something that affects all of us. The current Republican leadership is playing games with the future of the American economy to score political points, which could impact us for decades to come. Senator McConnell agrees that we can never allow America to default, as do most Republicans. So I ask, what are they waiting for?

In Utah:

The Salt Lake Tribune: Republicans — even Mitt Romney — will crash the economy just to make Democrats look bad, Editorial Board writes

There are partisan arguments going in both directions and fair amounts of blame to go around. But right now, it is the play-acting fiscal conservatives of the Republican Party who are about to push the global economy into a horrible recession just for the chance to make the Democrats, who now hold the White House and razor-thin majorities in Congress, look bad.

This is not responsible governing. This is a political death cult. And it is troubling in the extreme that even such normally responsible adults as Utah Sen. Mitt Romney appear to be supporting such destructive actions.

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Joint Statement on the Outcomes of the U.S. – Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue in Geneva on September 30

30 Sep

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Russian Federation at the conclusion of the U.S.-Russia bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue:

Today in Geneva, interagency delegations from the United States and the Russian Federation convened for the second meeting of the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue since President Biden and President Putin committed to an integrated, deliberate, and robust process in June.  The United States delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman, and the Russian delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.  The discussion was intensive and substantive.

The two delegations agreed to form two interagency expert working groups – the Working Group on Principles and Objectives for Future Arms Control, and the Working Group on Capabilities and Actions with Strategic Effects.  The delegations additionally agreed that the two working groups would commence their meetings, to be followed by a third plenary meeting.

DHS Secretary Warns Over 350,000 Illegals Could Flood Our Southern Border If Title 42 Is Revoked

30 Sep

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly asked DHS officials whether the department was prepared for 350,000 to 400,000 illegal border apprehensions in October if a court order that lifts Title 42 takes effect at the end of the week.

The United States has NEVER recorded that number of illegal border apprehensions in a single month, and it would nearly double the 21-year record reached in July.

Title 42 was implemented by the Trump administration to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020. But, the Biden Administration is actively working to stop using Title 42 to expel migrant families at the southern border who are attempting to enter from countries with a high COVID-19 infection rate.

Fortunately, Republican Representatives Chip Roy and Yvette Herrell are leading a discharge petition for H.R. 471, allowing for Title 42 to continue to be enforced at our southern border.

This reporting also comes at a time when DHS is already under fire for not testing illegals entering the country for COVID-19. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks has proposed legislation known as the REACT Act, which would require a negative COVID test before any illegal immigrant is released from custody.

Unfortunately, just yesterday, House Democrats again blocked consideration of this legislation.

BIDEN’S BORDER CRISIS BY THE NUMBERS:

  • There were 208,887 border apprehensions in August – a 317% INCREASE from last year.
  • August was the second straight month with over 200,000 apprehensions.
  • Over 1,200,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the border since February 1, 2021.
  • In August, Joe Biden released 43,941 illegal immigrants into the U.S.
    • In President Trump’s last full month in office, only 17 illegal immigrants were released into the U.S.
  • Fentanyl seizures in 2021 have nearly doubled 2020 numbers, according to records quietly released by Customs and Border Protection.

It’s simple: The Biden administration has worked to open the southern border, not secure it. Our communities are less safe because they stopped building the wall, brought back Catch and Release, and got rid of the Remain in Mexico policy.

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Republicans Keep Picking Disaster Over the American People

30 Sep

Congressional Republicans are hellbent on stopping our country from moving forward and throwing it into turmoil instead. From playing politics with the debt ceiling to endless fear-mongering about vaccine requirements, Republicans are wildly out of touch with the American people. 

Republicans are playing a dangerous game with the debt ceiling and voters across the country are not amused: 

  • Navigator Polling: “A majority of Americans support Congress passing a bill to raise the debt ceiling.”
  • Navigator Polling: “Americans have major concerns about failing to raise the debt ceiling, including a delay in Social Security payments, a delay in veteran’s benefits, and job losses, and view them as credible potential consequences.”


Despite Republican talking points, vaccine requirements are incredibly popular because the American people know they work and are tired of this pandemic:

  • Associated Press: “With the highly contagious delta variant driving deaths up to around 2,000 per day, the poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that overall, 51% say they approve of the Biden requirement, 34% disapprove and 14% hold neither opinion.”

  • Gallup: “Americans generally approve of President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 plan mandating that millions of U.S. workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Roughly six in 10 U.S. adults are in favor of those requirements for federal government workers, employees of large companies, and workers at hospitals that receive federal healthcare funds.”
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The Department of State Celebrates the Dedication of the New U.S. Embassy in Maputo

30 Sep

Office of the Spokesperson

In a display of the enduring friendship and strategic partnership with Mozambique, U.S. Ambassador Dennis Walter Hearne, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Managing Director Tracy Thomas, Mozambican Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Ernesto Max Tonela, Maputo City Secretary of State Vicente Joaquim, and Maputo Province Governor Julio Parruque today dedicated the new U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.

The new campus provides a secure, innovative, sustainable, and resilient platform for U.S. diplomacy in Mozambique. The 10-acre compound sits on the coast of the Indian Ocean and models the latest energy efficient features.  It is on target to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver certification – a globally recognized mark of achievement in high performance, best-in-class, green buildings.

Allied Works Architecture of Portland, Oregon is the design architect for the project, and Yost Grube Hall Architecture, also of Portland, Oregon, is the architect of record.  Pernix Federal, LLC, of Lombard, Illinois constructed the facility, creating more than 1,000 jobs for Mozambicans and injecting more than $22 million into the local economy.

Since the start of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program in 1999, OBO has completed 168 new diplomatic facilities. OBO currently has more than 50 active projects either in design or under construction worldwide.

OBO provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and that support U.S. diplomats in advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad.

For further information, please contact Christine Foushee at FousheeCT@state.gov or visit www.state.gov/obo.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin

30 Sep

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke by phone today with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.  The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed the close U.S.-Malaysia partnership, the importance of upholding the international rules-based order, peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and efforts to address the worsening crisis in Burma.

10 Far-Left Policies Hidden In The Democrats’ Reckless $4.3 Trillion Tax And Spend Bill

30 Sep

The House Democrats’ $4.3 trillion tax and spend bill is the largest tax increase and the largest spending increase in our nation’s history. It’s also filled with a wish list of Far-Left Socialist policies that are nothing more than “corporate welfare, cronyism, and corrupt political payoffs.”

Here is a list of 10 of the most outrageous Far-Left policies hidden in the bill:

  1. Funds abortions by ignoring bipartisan Hyde Amendment protections
  2. Props up the Green New Deal with $630 billion at the expense of small businesses
  3. Imposes $2.1 trillion in tax increases on American families and job creators
  4. Gives tax breaks and handouts to the wealthy and corrupt
  5. Creates a $250 tax deduction for union dues, putting more money into the pockets of union bosses.
  6. Creates a new surveillance program that allows the IRS to monitor and track every single bank transaction made without a warrant, permission, or limit.
  7. Provides $20 billion for the National Climate Bank to send kickbacks to radical environmentalists.
  8. Provides FAKE NEWS organizations with up to 750 employees with a tax cut at a time when their readership has declined due to their liberal bias.
  9. Impedes and bans domestic energy and mineral production, increasingour dependencies on resources supplied by OPEC, Russia, and China.
  10. Includes provisions that promote amnesty for more than 8 million illegal immigrants.

It’s simple: Not only does this bill impose the largest tax and spending increase in our nation’s history, it’s also a Trojan Horse for House Democrats to force their Far-Left Socialist agenda on the American people.

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