Joint Statement from The Working Group on Resettlement to Showcase U.S. Resettlement Programs Nationally and in Colorado

31 Mar

Office of the Spokesperson

On Tuesday, March 29, representatives from the United States and nine other governments, alongside additional non-governmental organizations from the United States and other countries, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, local government, and academia convened a three-day workshop to share best practices and innovations in refugee resettlement.

This Working Group on Resettlement is being held in Denver, Colorado to showcase U.S. resettlement programs locally and nationally that assist newly arrived refugees to integrate into U.S. communities. The Working Group will highlight the process of reception and integration of refugees, the strong partnerships between federal, state, and local governments, the critical role played by the non-governmental sector in service delivery, and the recent overwhelming response from private citizens to help support the large numbers of Afghans and other refugees being assisted throughout the United States.

Successful refugee resettlement would not be possible without the support of local communities; faith-based organizations; local and state governments; and congressional offices.  We are grateful for the hospitality and welcome that the people of Denver and Colorado more broadly have provided to us this week, as well as the generous welcome communities across the United States provide to refugees who have fled persecution and are making a new life for themselves and their families.

WHAT THEY’RE READING: How Biden’s Budget Would Benefit States, Communities Across the Country

31 Mar

Headlines across the country are continuing highlight how President Biden’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023 would impose a new Billionaire Minimum Income Tax on the wealthiest Americans, reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade, advance safety and security at home and around the world, and make the investments needed to build a better America. 

Here is what people in states across the country are reading this week about how Biden’s budget would impact them:

President Biden’s middle class-focused budget comes as Republicans have laid out an agenda of tax hikes and raised premiums. Over the weekend, NRSC Chair and Senator Rick Scott struggled to defend his plan to raise taxes on the poorest Americans and sunset Social Security and Medicare in five years. And Senator Ron Johnson is facing heat at home for saying that Republicans should repeal the Affordable Care Act if they take back power, which could raise premiums and kick millions off of their health insurance.

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IN THE STATES: President Biden Announces Infrastructure Funds to Bolster Supply Chains and Lower Costs

31 Mar

This week, President Biden announced additional Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding that will repair and upgrade ports and waterways across the country to strengthen regional supply chains and lower costs for Americans.

Here is what people in states across the country are reading this week about these critical new investments:

In Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Long-awaited repairs for Emsworth Locks and Dams to get $77M boost in federal infrastructure funds

  • “The funds for the deteriorating passage on the Upper Ohio River system, located 6.2 miles from Pittsburgh’s Point State Park, will be used to construct new lock chambers that will allow large cargo ships to pass through, ‘relieving landside congestion and facilitating timely delivery of goods,’ according to the administration’s announcement.”

In Texas: Brownsville Herald: Going Deep: Port channel project scores major funding

  • “‘The $68 million investment to deepen the Brazos Island Harbor Channel at the Port of Brownsville in Texas will enable increased cargo movements, reduced transit times and improved operational safety,’ [U.S. Representatives Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez] said. ‘Completing the (BIH) deep draft navigation project is a high priority for both the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas as a whole.’”

In Virginia: 13NewsNow: Virginia’s senators, representatives applaud $223 million for dredging, storm mitigation

  • “U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said he, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, and Reps. Bobby Scott and Elaine Luria, all Democrats, were ‘elated’ with the funds provided by the infrastructure law. ‘This funding will advance key infrastructure projects in the region that will invest in the Port of Virginia, boost the local economy, create good-paying jobs, and preserve Virginia’s status as a leader in maritime trade and defense,’ Warner said.” 

In Colorado: Denverite: Denver’s getting the cash it’s been asking for to overhaul the South Platte

  • “The White House’s website says the money comes from ‘President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to strengthen port and waterway supply chains and climate resilience,’ which allocated a total of $2.7 billion across the nation. The Denver project is listed as one of four ‘key projects’ that stretch from Pennsylvania to California.”

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REMINDER: Lindsey Graham Is A Hypocrite

31 Mar

Today’s Senate floor speech from Senator Lindsey Graham was just the final stage of his weeks-long temper tantrum. Lindsey Graham’s remarks on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson are not only wrong and hypocritical, they show a blatant lack of self-awareness from the South Carolina senator. 

Let’s not forget, Lindsey Graham had no issue voting to confirm Judge Jackson as a circuit court judge less than a year ago. 

SCOTUS Blog: “Jackson was confirmed on June 14, 2021, by a vote of 53-44. Three Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – joined all Democrats in voting for her.”

CNN: “Asked about his vote, Graham, who served as chair of the Judiciary Committee in the last session of Congress, told reporters, ‘I think [Ketanji Brown Jackson]’s qualified. I think I try to be somewhat consistent here. I think she’s qualified for the job. She has a different philosophy than I do.’”

Washington Post: “When Jackson was elevated to the appeals court last year, her record on child pornography cases was not an issue.”

Graham also repeatedly voted to confirm Trump-appointed judges with sentencing records similar to Judge Jackson’s.

ABC News: “An ABC News review of federal judges appointed and confirmed during the Trump administration found nearly a dozen had handed down below-guideline sentences in cases of defendants viewing, possessing, transporting or distributing child pornography.”

New York Times: “But Mr. Hawley, Mr. Graham, Mr. Cotton and Mr. Cruz all voted to confirm judges nominated by President Donald J. Trump to appeals courts even though those nominees had given out sentences lighter than prosecutor recommendations in cases involving images of child sex abuse.”

And to top it all off, complaints from Graham about “dark money” are completely hypocritical given his silence as conservative dark money groups flooded the airwaves for Trump and McConnell’s Supreme Court nominees. 

HuffPost: “Republicans claimed there was nothing wrong with Trump letting representatives from an outside group run his judicial selection process, or with a dark money group spending funds to support the eventual nominees. Now, they have taken the hypocritical and cynical approach of loudly crying foul.”

Politico: “Judicial Crisis Network launches $3 million ad campaign for Barrett”

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Hong Kong’s Diminishing Freedoms

31 Mar

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Over the past year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has continued to dismantle Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, placed unprecedented pressure on the judiciary, and stifled academic, cultural, and press freedoms.  As the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Beijing approaches, Hong Kong’s freedoms are diminishing while the PRC tightens its rule.The differences between Hong Kong and cities in mainland China are shrinking due to ongoing repression from the PRC.

This year’s Hong Kong Policy Act Report document’s actions taken by leaders in Hong Kong and the PRC that have further eroded both democratic institutions and human rights, and profoundly impaired independent media operations and freedom of expression.  These policies have far-reaching implications for all aspects of life in the city, including for the international business and financial communities.

Sweeping arrests of Hong Kong residents, as well as the forced closure of institutions including Apple Daily and the June 4 Museum, underscore the scope of these deeply damaging changes. In response to heightened risk and uncertainty, some international firms in Hong Kong have relocated entirely, while others have shifted key staff or operations elsewhere. Beijing will ultimately force many of the city’s best and brightest to flee, tarnishing Hong Kong’s reputation and weakening its competitiveness. Hong Kong’s position as a free, global financial center will continue to suffer as a result.

A fully functioning civil society, rule of law, and individual liberties form the bedrock on which vibrant societies grow.  We stand with people in Hong Kong.

Rick Scott Is Lying, AGAIN

31 Mar

NRSC Chair Senator Rick Scott wrapped up his speech at the Heritage Foundation where he blatantly lied about his agenda for the Republican Party. Rick Scott could hold an event defending his plan every day from now until the election, but the facts would stay the same: His plan would raise taxes on millions of Americans. 

The facts are clear: Rick Scott’s plan would raise taxes on half of Americans. 

CNN: “Scott’s plan does call for raising taxes, specifically that all Americans should pay ‘some’ income tax, even the ‘over half’ of Americans who don’t currently pay any.”

Washington Post: “New tax plan from leading GOP senator would require all Americans to pay federal income taxes”

Florida Politics: “Rick Scott says it’s ‘unfair’ that poor people don’t pay income tax”

NPR: “Sen. Rick Scott wants every American to pay at least some income taxes”

The Guardian: “Republican senator says tax rises in own plan are ‘Democratic talking points’”

Rick Scott laid out his blueprint for the American people – raising taxes for over half the country, including seniors and retirees – and Republicans have already lined up to support it:

Joni Ernst: “I think every Republican, as we step forward, will determine what is in the best interest for their own party dynamics within their states and defending what we believe to be true, liberty, freedom, you name it, that’s what we are for.”

Ron Johnson: “It’s a positive thing.” 

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: “Republicans like Senator @ScottforFlorida have real solutions to put us back on track.”

Senator Mike Braun: “Independents are the individuals that elect the swing-state senators and the president, and I think they want something other than no or I’m not interested… I’m glad Rick did it. Nothing is going to be perfect…we’ve got to be for something.”

Senator Marco Rubio: “I think it’s good that people offer ideas.”

Newt Gingrich: “I strongly endorse the direction Sen. Scott is taking in the Senate, and that Leader Kevin McCarthy is taking in the House. Both men understand that a political party has to stand for something and not simply campaign against the other side.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville: “On board” with Scott’s blueprint 

Congressman Matt Gaetz: “Proud of @SenRickScott for producing this bold agenda!”

Politico: “Those who agree with his decision to put out an agenda — a group that includes senior officials at the RNC — say that donors and GOP voters are eager for a forward-looking agenda laying out what Republicans will do if they win. There’s a concern about a repeat of 2017, when Republicans, after running on repealing Obamacare, had basically no plan to realize that promise.”

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Biden’s Anti-American Energy Agenda Jeopardizes Our National Security Again

31 Mar

During the Trump administration, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was built up when President Trump added 30 million barrels of oil in 2020. Now, the Biden administration is weighing a plan to release roughly a million barrels of oil a day from U.S. reserves, for months on end. The total release could be as much as 180 million barrels, the largest ever draw from our emergency oil reserve and 25 percent of the total SPR reserves when at peak capacity.

This move follows President Biden’s release of 30 million barrels in early March, and  50 million barrels of oil in November of 2021, which did nothing to prevent a spike in energy prices.

MAKE NO MISTAKE: This move is dangerous. The SPR is supposed to be used for national security emergencies and major weather events, not for Biden to use as a political Hail Mary when his policies fail. Drawing down our strategic reserves by over 25 percent poses a huge national security risk, and represents a large expense to American taxpayers because it will be refilled under skyrocketing gas prices.

BIDEN’S ANTI-ENERGY AGENDA:

  • In March 2020, President Trump, directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to purchase 30 million barrels to begin filling the SPR.
  • On day one of Joe Biden’s presidency, he launched his war on American energy when he killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which could be supplying 830,000 thousand barrels of oil from Canada to U.S. refineries.
  • In his first week in office, President Biden issued an executive order suspending all oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.
    • While a federal judge ruled the leasing bans to be illegal, Biden’s administration has issued ZERO new leases on federal lands.
  • In May 2021, President Biden removed sanctions against Nord Stream 2, which were previously put in place by former President Trump.
  • In February 2022, President Biden reversed course and reimposed the Trump sanctions, noting the “overwhelming incentive to move away from Russian gas…”
  • President Biden’s Far-Left Socialist agenda, Build Back Better, was an effort to cripple domestic energy by increasing oil and gas production payments to 20%, increasing bonding and surety requirements to more than 15 times their current levels, imposing a new severance tax, and establishing new annual fees of $10,000 per mile for offshore pipelines.
  • President Biden’s FY22 Budget request explicitly opposed funding the construction or maintenance of projects that would lower the cost of gas, diesel, or energy derived from fossil fuels
  • Biden’s Department of Energy has slow walked liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports that could reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia.
  • Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed extensive new rules that would require companies to disclose “climate-related risks” in an attempt to push Democrats’ environmental agenda through the inappropriate vehicle of securities law. This is a blatant move to starve American energy companies of capital and to publicly shame businesses not politically favored by Democrats.

WHAT BIDEN SHOULD BE DOING: 

  1. End Biden’s federal freeze on all new oil and gas projects
  2. Fast-track pending LNG export permits
  3. Expedite approval of all pipeline and energy development
  4. Stop the regulatory assault on U.S. energy development and financing

IT’S SIMPLE: The Biden administration’s complete failure on energy has resulted in unaffordable costs to fuel our cars, skyrocketing electricity bills, and higher greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing on our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is like using Flex Seal to plug a hole on the Hoover Dam. This action is not a substitute for American energy production, and could have dangerous consequences to our national security.

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Additional Sanctions on Russia’s Technology Companies and Cyber Actors

31 Mar

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States will continue to impose severe costs on the Russian Federation in response to President Putin’s illegal war.  Today, we are targeting entities and individuals in our efforts to shut down the Kremlin’s sanctions evasion networks, which play an important role in the Russian Federation’s ability to continue its unconscionable war on the citizens of Ukraine.  This follows our March 15 and March 24 designations of individuals and companies in Russia’s defense-industrial base that are directly supporting Putin’s war machine.

Today, the United States is designating 21 entities and 13 individuals.  Of those being designated, 10 of those individuals and 17 entities are involved in sanctions evasion networks to procure of western technology.  These designations will further impede Russia’s access to western technology and the international financial system.  We will continue to target President Putin’s war machine with sanctions from every angle, until this senseless war of choice is over.  The Russian Federation not only continues to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine with its attacks, but it is escalating the devastation of population centers, including schools, hospitals, residential areas, and places where civilians are taking shelter from the Russian bombardment.

The United States is also designating three individuals for their involvement in malicious cyber activities, one of whom the Department of Justice indicted  last week.  The United States will continue to hold President Putin’s cyber actors to account for disruptive, destructive, or otherwise destabilizing cyber activity targeting the United States and its allies and partners.

In addition to the sanctions imposed today, the Department of the Treasury is also expanding its Russia sanctions authorities.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with me, identified the aerospace, marine, and electronics sectors of the Russian Federation economy pursuant to section 1(a)(i) of Executive Order 14024.  This allows for sanctions to be imposed on any individual or entity determined to operate or have operated in any of those sectors and provides an expanded ability to swiftly impose additional economic costs on Russia for its war of choice in Ukraine.

These actions demonstrate our resolve to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its aggression against Ukraine and commitment to take further actions against persons supporting evasion of the sanctions that the United States and our allies and partners have put in place.  We will use all authorities at our disposal to enforce sanctions, expose and identify malicious actors, and promote accountability for President Putin’s war of choice.

For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release .

McCarthy’s Clown Show Keeps Rolling

31 Mar

Even after giving Madison Cawthorn a “talking-to,” it’s clear that Kevin McCarthy has no control over his clown show of a caucus. Kevin McCarthy has spent the last two years enabling, defending, and doing nothing to hold his members accountable for their disgraceful behavior – it’s no wonder he can’t control Cawthorn running his mouth.

Kevin McCarthy said that he was going to give Madison Cawthorn a talking-to for his latest incendiary comments. 

Politico: “Madison Cawthorn is going to get a talking-to from Kevin McCarthy over his latest volatile comment: that he’s seen cocaine use and gotten invited to orgies since arriving in Washington.”

But it turns out Kevin McCarthy still has no control over his caucus as Madison Cawthorn is now doubling down and even attacking McCarthy.

ABC’s Ben Siegel: “Cawthorn appearing to describe @GOPLeader and his GOP colleagues as ‘the mob’ here for criticizing his unsubstantiated claims that colleagues have invited him to orgies and to do cocaine in DC.”

This is not a bug, but rather a feature of Kevin McCarthy’s weak leadership. McCarthy has once again failed and his clown show of a caucus rolls on.  

CNN’s Melanie Zanona: “And for those keeping track at home, here are some of the things McCarthy has had to talk to his members about: orgy allegations, white nationalist conferences, jewish space lasers, and depictions of anime violence against Dems, to name a few.”

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Democrats Attempt to Revive Socialized Medicine With Drug Pricing Scheme

31 Mar

Democrats are working toward their goal of socialized medicine with their so-called Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would be the largest government power grab concerning private health insurance since the Affordable Care Act.

MAKE NO MISTAKE: We all want to keep the cost of lifesaving medicine affordable for Americans, but H.R. 6388 is a bait and switch by Democrats to accomplish their Socialist agenda. This reckless bill will only increase government control over healthcare, destroy healthcare innovation, and burden those most in need of affordable medication.

DEMOCRATS’ SOCIALIST HEALTHCARE POWER GRAB:

  • HR 6388 is another attempt by the Democrats to revive socialized medicine and their drug pricing scheme that will destroy medical innovation and lead to fewer cures.

  • It’s the largest expansion of the federal government’s role in private health insurance design since Obamacare, and it gives health care middlemen, such as pharmacy benefit managers, a pass to keep hiding out-of-pocket savings from patients. It’s not the right approach.

  • It uses a Budget Gimmick to Delay a Trump Admin Rule that “Finds” Money Simply by Delaying Regulations:

    • The Congressional Budget Office’s score indicates this will cost the federal government more than $11 billion over the next 10 years through higher subsidies for higher premiums.

    • For one additional year, further delays the Trump administration rebate rule (which would lower out-of-pocket costs for patients with all diseases), “saving” $20 billion.

  • It also creates a $9 billion slush fund by adding the remaining nearly $9 billion in purported savings to the Medicare Improvement Fund (MIF), which Democrats will likely spend on other partisan priorities.

REPUBLICAN SOLUTIONS TO PRESCRIPTION COSTS:

  • Some of the more than eight million Americans who use insulin products face affordability and access challenges.

  • Thanks to the 2020 launch of a new regulatory approval pathway, biosimilar insulins can now come to market, joining existing follow-on insulins and authorized generics in driving down costs through competition.

  • Regulatory actions taken by the Trump Administration, such as the creation of the Part D Senior Savings Model and the issuance of new flexibilities for high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), have helped to address certain drivers of high out-of-pocket insulin spending.

  • Congress could build on these efforts or pursue market-driven solutions, such as by redesigning the Medicare Part D benefit with an out-of-pocket cap or allowing for more Part D plan choices, to reduce prescription drug costs for consumers.

  • When weighing policy options that involve new government mandates, policymakers should proceed with caution, given the potential for premium hikes, deficit increases, and other unintended consequences.

Instead of a Socialist tax-and-spend spree, House Republicans have offered a real solution to increased healthcare costs. The Lower Costs, More Cures Act, or H.R. 19, works to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all diseases, not just diabetes, by:

  • Lowering health care costs and ensuring America leads in health care innovation for more cures and treatments.

  • Giving patients more drug price transparency and ensuring public disclosure of drug costs and discounts.

  • Increasing low-cost options by bringing more generic and biosimilar competition to the marketplace fast. It caps seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $50 per month.
  • Allowing high deductible health insurance plans to cover insulin before the deductible kicks in.

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