LOCAL NEWS YEAR IN REVIEW: President Biden and Democrats Delivered Big for Working Families

31 Dec

This year, President Biden and congressional Democrats took office and quickly delivered for the American people while helping our country recover from a once in a generation pandemic and corresponding economic crisis. In 2021 alone, Democrats passed both the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – two of the most important pieces of legislation in decades that will rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out. 

In local news across the country, Americans have spent the last year reading about how President Biden and Democrats have delivered big for working families. Here’s just a small sampling of what they’ve been reading this year:

THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN: President Biden and congressional Democrats’ American Rescue Plan put money in pockets of working families, funded our vaccination program, and kick started our economic recovery. 

Across local front pages:

On local TV:

In local headlines:

PRESIDENT BIDEN’S BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW: President Biden and congressional Democrats accomplished what Donald Trump and Republicans never could: they worked across the aisle to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will rebuild roads and bridges, replace lead pipes, and create good-paying jobs. 

On front pages:

Democrats barnstormed the country with events to tout the law:

In Pennsylvania:

In North Carolina:

In Georgia:

In Ohio:

In Arizona:

In Michigan:

In Wisconsin:

In local headlines:

ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK: Thanks to President Biden’s swift action, nearly 6 million jobs have been created, over 200 million Americans are vaccinated, and average weekly unemployment claims are the lowest since 1969. Americans have more money in their pockets – retail sales are up by $90 billion and the US is on pace for the fastest economic growth in 40 years.

In local headlines:

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International Travel Challenges During COVID-19

31 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

International Travel Challenges During COVID-19 U.S. citizens who choose to travel internationally should be aware that they may face unexpected challenges related to COVID-19 as they attempt to return to the United States or attempt to travel from one overseas location to another.  U.S. citizens who do choose to travel internationally should make contingency plans, as they may have to remain in a foreign country longer than originally planned, which will be at their own expense.  The Department recommends international travel insurance with coverage for COVID-related trip cancellation and medical benefits.  In general, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover overseas medical costs.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs provides country-specific information and advice regarding COVID-19 on each U.S. Embassy’s website.  We update these resources whenever we receive new information, and encourage U.S. citizens to review Travel Advisories and U.S. Embassy COVID-19 information pages before travel. U.S. citizens should also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for regular updates and follow TravelGov on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Before boarding a flight to the U.S., all air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.  This includes U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs).

In addition, some countries have imposed other travel requirements. These may include quarantine on arrival, mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements, proof of vaccination, travel restrictions, and closed borders. Some countries have also imposed travel restrictions requiring mandatory quarantine for those testing positive on departure, which could delay a traveler’s ability to travel to another country. Foreign governments in any country may implement restrictions with little notice.

U.S. citizens planning to travel overseas or currently overseas and planning to return to the United States should also contact their airline for specific information about testing requirements for travelers. Airlines may adopt and modify their own specific policies to implement the CDC’s testing rule.

More information on international travel can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad.html and here: https://cdc.gov/travelrequirements.

For press inquiries, please contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov.

Security Council Committee on Libya Meets with Libyan Investment Authority, 16 December

31 Dec

On 16 December 2021, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya met with a delegation from the Libyan Investment Authority, an entity subject to the assets freeze measures imposed in resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), as modified by resolution 2009 (2011), to discuss issues related to the assets freeze.

Stand News Arrests and Closure

30 Dec

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The Hong Kong government’s December 29 raid and arrest of seven senior staff at Stand News have forced yet another of the few remaining bastions of free and independent media in Hong Kong to cease operations.  Journalism is not sedition.  We call on PRC and Hong Kong authorities to cease targeting Hong Kong’s free and independent media and to immediately release those journalists and media executives who have been unjustly detained and charged.

Freedom of expression, including media freedom, and access to information provided by an independent media are critical to prosperous and secure societies.  These freedoms enabled Hong Kong to flourish as a global center for finance, trade, education, and culture.  By silencing independent media, PRC and local authorities undermine Hong Kong’s credibility and viability.  A confident government that is unafraid of the truth embraces a free press.

Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2617 (2021), Security Council Renews Mandate of Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate for Four Years

30 Dec

The Security Council, acting through its written silence procedure today, renewed the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the expert body that supports the United Nations counter-terrorism architecture until 31 December 2025, with an interim review slated to be conducted in December 2023.

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

30 Dec

On 29 December 2021, 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 approved the addition of the entries specified below to 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 2368 (2017), and adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

Secretary Blinken’s Call with French, German, and UK Foreign Ministers

29 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss.  They discussed the importance of continued coordination to deter any further Russian aggression against Ukraine and affirmed the consensus among Allies and partners to impose massive consequences and severe costs on Russia for such actions.  They reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.  The Secretary and his counterparts also discussed their shared concerns about the pace of developments in Iran’s nuclear program as time runs short for Tehran to return to the JCPOA.  They highlighted their solidarity with Lithuania in the face of escalating political pressure and economic coercion by the People’s Republic of China and rejected those practices.  They also discussed Libya’s ongoing efforts to organize national elections and agreed on the importance of the electoral process advancing without delay.

Leadership on Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights: Rina Amiri and Stephenie Foster

29 Dec

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Two highly qualified and respected leaders will advance the State Department’s vital work to support Afghan women, girls, and human rights: Special Envoy Rina Amiri and Senior Advisor Stephenie Foster.  They bring decades of public policy, diplomatic, and advocacy experience to the Department.

I welcome Rina Amiri back to the Department as the Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, with her breadth and depth of expertise and strong track record advising governments, the United Nations, peacebuilding organizations, and think tanks.  As Special Envoy, she will work on issues of critical importance to me, this Administration, and U.S. national security: the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women, girls, and other at-risk populations in all of their diversity.  We desire a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan, where all Afghans can live and thrive in political, economic, and social inclusivity.  Special Envoy Amiri will work closely with me toward that goal.

Special Envoy Amiri’s important work will be complemented by the contributions of Stephenie Foster, the new Senior Advisor for Women and Girls Issues within the Department’s Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts (CARE) team.  Stephenie’s diverse public and private sector experiences, including at the Department, and her passion for advancing women and girls’ safety and equality will help advance CARE’s around-the-clock relocation and resettlement efforts on behalf of our Afghan allies and their families.

I welcome Rina and Stephenie back to the Department and look forward to their contributions to this work of vital importance.

DNC on Passing of Senator Harry Reid

29 Dec
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison released the following statement in response to the passing of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

“Senator Harry Reid was a true lion of the Senate. He was as tough as they come. A great man, and a great leader. We’ve all heard the countless stories of how he changed the course of history, but Senator Reid’s greatest strength was that he remained humble through it all and never forgot where he came from. Senator Reid gave us a masterclass in what it meant to serve and fight on behalf of the people he represented. My deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and the entire state of Nevada. While we lost an American icon, his memory will not be forgotten – and my hope is that we can strive to emulate his leadership and follow in his footsteps to create a better country for all.”
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