The GOP’s Long Week Of Political Games Costs Americans

29 Jul

Over the past week GOP lawmakers have been in disarray as they desperately try to get in the way of Democrats’ work to lower drug and health care costs, fight inflation, and reduce the deficit. 

Senate Republicans held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss crime, and even though GOP senators claim to “Back the Blue,” every single one of them voted against the American Rescue Plan, which provided critical funding to many local police departments. Many of these same Senate Republicans also backed Trump’s budget plan that proposed to defund the COPS program — which provides funding to state and local law enforcement agencies. 

NBC News: “House Republicans who opposed Covid aid still see funds flow to local police departments”

Wall Street Journal: “The [Trump] administration’s 2021 budget, like all its previous budgets, recommended eliminating the Community Relations Services and Community Oriented Policing Services and placing their functions under other parts of the department to ‘improve efficiency.’”

Wednesday was a busy day of ignoring the needs of Americans for Senate Republicans as 41 of them voted against advancing the PACT Act — a bill that would expand health care access for combat veterans suffering from toxic burn pit exposure. And if that weren’t enough, there’s a video of GOP lawmakers celebrating their decision to block health care from veterans.

The Hill: “Republican lawmakers blocked passage of a bill in the U.S. Senate Wednesday that expands healthcare coverage for military veterans who were exposed to toxins and burn pits during their service.”

Newsweek: “Video shows two Republican senators fist bump after they blocked a bill to support veterans after they are exposed to chemical weapons.”

32 Senate Republicans and 187 House Republicans voted against the CHIPS and Science Act this week opposing legislation that would tackle inflation, lower costs, and bring manufacturing jobs back to America. Congressional Republicans keep showing that siding with China and Big Pharma is the GOP party line. 

Washington Post: “[The CHIPS Act] would provide $52 billion in subsidies to domestic semiconductor manufacturers… in a bid to strengthen the United States’ competitiveness and self-reliance in what is seen as a keystone industry for economic and national security.”

On top of all of that, while millions of Americans are living in fear that their rights could be stripped away, Senate Republicans are playing political games. Every Senate Republican should answer if they support codifying federal protections for same-sex marriage.

Vox: “Many Senate Republicans, rather than confront the substance of new legislation that would provide federal protections for same-sex marriage, are instead arguing that a vote on the bill is unnecessary.”

Washington Post: “The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would enshrine the right to same-sex and interracial marriage in federal law, is only four short pages long. Yet in the week since the House passed the measure on a bipartisan vote and Democratic leaders indicated they planned to put it on the Senate floor, few Republican senators have found the time to read it — or so they said Tuesday.”

Over the past week, congressional Republicans showcased how far the GOP is willing to go to push their extreme MAGA agenda, and after a week of turning their backs on Americans, the GOP owes the American people answers. 

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Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee: Strengthening Economic Security and the Rules-Based Order

29 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and Japan on the occasion of the inaugural ministerial meeting of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee.

Begin Text

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo co-hosted Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs HAYASHI Yoshimasa and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry HAGIUDA Koichi for the inaugural ministerial meeting of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee (EPCC) on July 29, 2022. The Ministers affirmed their shared resolve to present a positive economic vision that highlights the benefits of a rules-based international economic order and emphasized the need to make our economies more competitive and resilient.

The Ministers considered the complex global economic context that has produced increased levels of risk and uncertainty for all. They noted recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic remains incomplete, and the pandemic has contributed to various economic challenges including supply chain disruptions, increasing commodity prices, and greater inequalities, many of which have disproportionately impacted historically underserved communities. The Ministers strongly condemned Russia’s brutal, unprovoked, and unjustified aggression against Ukraine and shared the view that it has exacerbated such challenges and undermined energy and food security around the world. The Ministers affirmed the need to address the climate crisis in the face of complications due to energy insecurity.

The Ministers also recognized the pandemic has significantly altered social and economic life through accelerated adoption of various technologies, including digital transformation, providing new opportunities as well as challenges. They noted technological innovation – including in critical and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and renewable and circular technologies – presents transformative potential, as well as risks for our economies if abused. The Ministers committed to continue taking steps to realize a full and sustainable recovery from the pandemic and enhance the international order in the post-pandemic world to optimize new opportunities and prepare for unprecedented challenges.

The Ministers resolved that the United States and Japan stand for open, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth that delivers prosperity, upholds democratic values, reduces economic disparities, and protects human rights in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. They reiterated the importance of commitments to promote broad-based economic prosperity for our middle classes, including through economic and foreign policies that benefit workers and small businesses and increase women’s economic participation. They intend to promote this vision through the EPCC and other platforms, including the G7, APEC, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). They committed to advancing policies that support a multilateral trading system based on free and fair trade and that counter economic coercion and non-market policies and practices, emphasizing the importance of offering workers, businesses, and countries around the world a level playing field.

The Ministers shared the view that the United States and Japan, as the world’s two largest democratic economies, can demonstrate that democracies provide the best model for prosperity, stability, and security. In this context, the Ministers committed to continue sharing insights and exchanging views on our respective economic agendas, including President Biden’s plan to build from the bottom up and the middle out, as well as Prime Minister Kishida’s “new form of capitalism.” They further reviewed ways to defend workers, companies, and investors against the harms of unfair, anti-competitive, and non-market policies and practices. The Ministers also welcomed cooperation between the two countries in furtherance of shared objectives under the CoRe Partnership, as well as with like-minded partners, and emphasized our joint leadership in enhancing the rules-based economic order and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

The Ministers committed to countering threats to economic security and to the rules-based international economic order and noted recent developments in both countries, including passage of Japan’s Economic Security Promotion Act. The Ministers focused on the resilience and diversification of critical supply chains to promote their transparency, security, and sustainability. The Ministers also intend to collaborate in promoting and protecting critical and emerging technologies in a manner consistent with international rules and norms, including through research and development, as well as export controls, so as to support technological competitiveness and resilience and to address the challenges posed by the illicit diversion of technology critical for weapons development.

The Ministers expressed grave concern about, and opposition to, harmful uses of economic influence, including economic coercion as well as unfair and opaque lending practices, in ways that threaten the legitimate interests of sovereign nations, as well as those of individuals and industries. The Ministers affirmed these practices undermine legitimate sovereign choices, challenge the free and open rules-based international order, and are best addressed through a collective response. Respecting the importance of sustainable finance for long-term economic growth and development, they stressed the need to work together bilaterally and multilaterally to promote fair and transparent development finance across all debtors and creditors in accordance with internationally recognized principles, rules, and standards. In addressing these issues, the Ministers expressed their intention to deepen discussions and foster cooperation among like-minded partners.

The Ministers emphasized their conviction that economic security is indispensable to overall security, and that diplomacy and economic policy are intertwined and require a coordinated approach. Towards that end, the EPCC can provide an essential channel for bilateral collaboration, and the Ministers also confirmed their intention to meet periodically in this forum and to cooperate on economic priorities during the United States’ 2023 APEC host year and Japan’s Presidency of the G7 in 2023.

Recognizing the importance of carrying forward the priorities identified under the EPCC, the Ministers charged their undersecretaries and vice-ministers with implementing the EPCC Plan of Action based on their economic vision, ensuring robust private sector engagement to inform ongoing efforts, and convening the next EPCC vice-ministerial meeting before the end of 2022.

U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee 2022 Plan of Action

Realizing Peace and Prosperity through the Rules-Based Economic Order

  1. The United States and Japan pledge to further improve competitiveness and resilience by expanding and deepening cooperation based on the CoRe Partnership. The two countries seek to further enhance cooperation, stability, prosperity, development, and peace in the Indo-Pacific region through innovative economic arrangements including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
  2. The United States and Japan are united in our strong condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The two countries remain steadfast in our solidarity with Ukraine and continue to support Ukraine. In this regard, the two countries welcomed the Lugano Declaration.
  3. The United States and Japan are committed to working together to mitigate the effects of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine on markets for energy and food. The two countries underscore the need to sustain momentum toward energy transition and decarbonization, and we recognize the roles of renewable energy, nuclear power, ammonia, clean hydrogen-based solutions, carbon capture utilization and storage, as well as carbon recycling in achieving long-term energy security and net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. The United States and Japan also acknowledge the need to strengthen investment in the energy sector and to ensure secure energy resources in the near term, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), in response to the current crisis. Japan welcomes the increase of U.S. shale oil and gas production as needed to stabilize global energy markets. The two countries further affirm the necessity of supporting energy security and methane emissions reductions in the Indo-Pacific region and globally. The two countries also commend the progress of advanced nuclear reactor projects and pledge to work together to create more resilient nuclear supply chains.
  4. The United States and Japan pledge to support the openness of our agricultural supply chains, reaffirming the importance of not imposing export prohibitions or restrictions on food in a manner inconsistent with relevant WTO provisions, and seek to cooperate with other partners to strengthen global food security. The two countries also call on all countries to implement policies that improve sustainability and productivity in food production, and to develop resiliency in agriculture, food systems, and the food supply chain, and to promote access to agricultural inputs such as fertilizer. In this regard, the two countries reiterated the importance of the Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity adopted at the 12th Session of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. In addition, the United States and Japan encourage dialogue between producer and consumer countries as well as the use of data to enhance global food security.
  5. The United States and Japan commit to enhancing international efforts to address barriers on cross-border data flows, while respecting different approaches to data governance. The two countries further reaffirm the role of U.S.-Japan cooperation in multilateral initiatives, such as promotion and expansion of the newly established Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) Forum and support for efforts to develop the OECD Trusted Government Access to Personal Data Held by the Private Sector. In doing so, U.S.-Japan cooperation advances a common understanding and foundation to promote data free flow with trust among like-minded democracies.
  6. In cooperation with interagency partners, the United States and Japan intend to promote information sharing on cybersecurity threats including through discussion of threat assessment and mitigation efforts in the Japan-U.S. Cyber Dialogue. We also affirm our intention to collaborate on the Japan-U.S.-EU Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Week for the Indo-Pacific region.
  7. The United States and Japan are committed to coordination on business and human rights to foster an environment in which companies uphold human rights, and we welcome ongoing bilateral discussions.

Countering Economic Coercion and Unfair and Opaque Lending Practices

  1. The United States and Japan pledge to coordinate with other like-minded partners to address and respond to economic coercion, effectively confront non-market policies and practices, and deliver calibrated messaging to the international community, including in multilateral fora such as the WTO, OECD, G7, and G20.
  2. To help ensure debt transparency and sustainability, internationally coordinated debt treatments, fair lending practices that respect the autonomy of debtor countries, and society-friendly infrastructure investment, the United States and Japan call on all actors to adhere to international rules, standards, and recognized principles, including the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment and the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. The two countries further call on all major economies to adhere to other relevant international obligations and standards, as appropriate, including the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
  3. The United States and Japan plan to work together to promote fair and transparent development finance. We emphasize the critical role of creditor coordination to ensure fair burden sharing among all creditors in debt treatments under the Common Framework and for other vulnerable countries, such as Sri Lanka.

Promoting and Securing Critical and Emerging Technologies and Critical Infrastructure

  1. The United States and Japan, noting the transformative opportunities that technological innovation provides, commit to explore and support joint research and development projects for critical and emerging technologies both between the United States and Japan and among like-minded partners.
  2. In support of the U.S.-Japan Global Digital Connectivity Partnership, the United States and Japan intend to continue supporting efforts to deploy secure and open 5G networks globally in view of an ambition to significantly expand market share of Open RAN in the global 5G market by 2030, particularly through workshops, seminars, and proof-of-concept projects in third countries, and to promote secure technology options for advanced communications networks, including Open RAN-based approaches to wireless network technology.
  3. Recognizing the on-going efforts in the U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy (Internet Economy Dialogue), the United States and Japan intend to continue to strengthen our coordination in international and multilateral venues on digital policy issues and to foster collaboration with partners to promote and support strategically important and mutually beneficial projects of secure and trusted submarine cable systems.
  4. The United States and Japan seek to continue joint efforts to enhance U.S.-Japan cooperation on more effective and agile export controls on critical and emerging technologies, including microelectronics and cyber surveillance systems, to address the misuse of critical and emerging technologies by malicious actors and inappropriate transfers of emerging technology through research activities. The two countries are continuing our collaboration to enhance export controls on materials, technology, and research that could be used to develop weapons, including WMDs and their means of delivery, and are doing so through international export control regimes, information exchange, and coordinated outreach.
  5. The United States and Japan affirm the importance of sharing information relating to threats to critical infrastructure.

Strengthening Supply Chain Resilience

  1. The United States and Japan seek to advance efforts under the Japan-U.S. Commercial and Industrial Partnership and other frameworks to foster supply chain resilience in strategic sectors, including, in particular, semiconductors, batteries, and critical minerals. Towards this end, the two countries:
    1. Welcome the progress of the Joint Task Force announced by President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida to explore the development of next generation semiconductors and commit to continued cooperation through this mechanism.
    2. Recognize that Japanese companies are increasing investment in battery manufacturing in the United States, contributing to supply chain resiliency, and that it is important for the two countries to build a strong battery supply chain to lead collaboration between like-minded countries.
    3. Underscore the importance of cooperation, including providing financial support, to build a diverse and robust supply chain of critical minerals, including rare earths, especially to address bottlenecks in processing, which will increase energy security and support the clean energy transition. The two countries plan to work closely with other partners through the Minerals Security Partnership announced on June 14, 2022 in Toronto. We note the importance of engagement with the private sector.

End Text

Targeting Russia’s Global Malign Influence Operations and Election Interference Activities

29 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The Russian Federation has demonstrated determination in its attempts to undermine the democratic processes and institutions essential to the functioning of our democracy and that of other countries.  It is crucial for our democracy, and democracies around the globe, to hold free and fair elections without malign outside interference.

In response, the United States is sanctioning two individuals and four entities that support the Kremlin’s global malign influence operations and election interference activities.  This action is separate and distinct from the broad range of measures the United States and its allies and partners continue to impose on Russia’s economy and financial system in response to its unlawful invasion of Ukraine, which constitutes another clear example of Russia’s disregard for the sovereignty and political independence of other states.

The sanctioned individuals and entities played various roles in Russia’s attempts to manipulate the United States and our allies and partners, including Ukraine.  This action follows a series of designations aimed to expose and disrupt Russia’s persistent election interference and destabilization efforts against Ukraine.  The United States will continue to act to deter and disrupt these efforts to safeguard our democracy, as well as help protect the democracies of our allies and partners.

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

Opening Remarks with Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Hagiuda Koichi

29 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Benjamin Franklin Room Washington, D.C.

U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning everyone.  Ministers Hayashi, Hagiuda, Secretary Raimondo, it’s wonderful to welcome each of you here to the State Department.  And Gina and I are delighted to welcome you to Washington for what is the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee.

Earlier this year when President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida announced the creation of the EPCC – appropriately, “epic,” as we call it – this was a reflection of the strength of our two countries’ economic relationship and partnership, Japan’s and America’s leadership in the global economy, and the seriousness of the economic challenges facing our workers, our businesses, our people.  As the world’s first and third largest economies, it is critical that we work together to defend a rules-based international economic order, one in which all countries can participate, compete, and prosper.

Recent events in the world – around the world prove how necessary this new gathering is.  COVID-19 has revealed the vulnerability of critical supply chains.  A growing number of countries struggle with debt burdens due to unsustainable and nontransparent lending practices.  Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, its blockade of the Port of Odessa has caused a spike in global food prices and fuel prices as well.  The coercive and retaliatory economic practices of the People’s Republic of China force countries into choices that compromise their security, their intellectual property, their economic independence.  These and other challenges call for our two countries to work together even more closely on economic matters.  This has always been a key element of our bilateral relationship, and with EPCC we will make our cooperation in this arena even stronger.

The EPCC also complements the work of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which our two countries launched with 12 others in Tokyo this spring to create a stronger, fairer, more resilient economy across the entire Indo-Pacific.  Our conversations today and in the weeks ahead – and by the way, in the weeks ahead will also be leading to Japan assuming the leadership of the G7, the United States APEC next year – but all of these conversations, including through EPCC, will address our shared priorities, including securing critical infrastructure, building better supply lines and supply chains, shaping emerging technologies so that they deliver opportunity without undermining our security or, for that matter, our values.

On these issues and more, we will advance our shared vision of a open, inclusive, sustainable economic growth rooted in the rules-based international order.  Ultimately, our cooperation will help move us closer to a future in which trade and commerce support workers, create incomes, create opportunity where countries are secure from coercion and aggression, where people, ideas, goods, and capital move freely, where universal human rights are respected, and countries and people can forge their own paths.  Japan and the United States both share that vision.

(Off-mike.)

FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI:  Thank you, Tony.  (Off-mike.)

(Via interpreter) I would like to thank Secretary Blinken and Secretary Raimondo for hosting.  Currently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a serious challenge to the international order, but we must never allow unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.

(Interruption.)

(Via interpreter) It is a powerful indication of the close collaboration between Japan and the United States that the first ministerial meeting of the Japan-U.S. Economic Policy Consultative Committee, which the two leaders concurred to hold in July at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting in May, was realized as concurred.  I would like to thank Secretary Blinken and Secretary Raimondo for hosting.

Currently, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a serious challenge to the international order, but we must never allow unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.  At the same time, we are concerned that there are prominent attempts to use economic influence unfairly and opaquely to realize their strategic interest and to modify the existing international order.  In order to effectively deal with this, it is essential to discuss foreign policy and economic policy as a unit, rather than discussing foreign policy and economic policy individually.  It is also necessary to strongly disseminate such efforts by Japan and United States and lead the collaboration of the international community.

From that point of view, this economic 2+2 is a timely framework.  In addition, it is important to promote multi-layered bilateral cooperation in terms of policies, institutions, and technological development, with a focus on the CoRe, or Competitiveness and Resilience Partnership, in order for Japan and the United States to maintain competitiveness and resilience in the ever-changing international economic situation.  Now, under Prime Minister Kishida’s new form of capitalism, Japan is aiming for an economic society that balances solving social issues and economic growth, while emphasizing investment in people and promotion of –

(Interruption.)

Japan and the United States should work together.

Today, I look forward to discussing how Japan and United States exert our leadership towards realization of sustainable and inclusive economic growth of the international community, including the Indo-Pacific region, as well as maintenance and reinforcement of the rules-based free and open economic order.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much, (inaudible).

SECRETARY RAIMONDO:  Good morning.  Tony and I are thrilled to host you this morning.  I had the opportunity the other evening to express my condolences to Minister Hagiuda, but I haven’t seen you, so Minister Hayashi, please – and your delegation, please accept our condolences for Prime Minister Abe.

It’s a pleasure to be here, as I said, and I could not agree more with you, Minister Hayashi, that the international rules-based order that the United States and Japan, along with our friends and allies, built is being challenged, which means it’s incumbent upon us to strengthen our tie and step up to ensure that they cannot challenge this rules-based order.  And I would suggest convenings of this kind are more important than ever, so thank you for enduring the long flight to be here with us.

We have a number of similar initiatives ongoing that all aim at the same goal.  Last November, Minister Hagiuda and I launched the JUCIP, the U.S.-Japan Commercial and Industrial Partnership, to ensure that METI and the Department of Commerce work together to promote competitiveness and innovation.  Today, of course, we are convening for the first time our economic 2+2 to discuss shared concerns of interest that are central to both foreign and economic policy.

I would say this format is the first of its kind.  It is ambitious, exciting, and timely in light of the threats that we are seeing around the world.  And the reality that, as you said, Minister Hayashi, economic security is very much more than ever tied to national security.

We have a mandate today to track what we have achieved together thus far and to drive cooperative efforts going forward in a way that can help further strengthen the rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific, and indeed, in the world.

I would take a minute to highlight that we’ve made significant achievements so far.  I’m especially proud of Commerce and METI’s joint work already underway in the JUCIP.  It’s already leading to concrete outcomes that we’ll discuss later today, including in the session which I am leading around building supply chain resilience.

Today in the rest of my comments, I also plan to focus on the newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which we believe is vital to establishing strength in the – economic strength in the Indo-Pacific.  I want to thank Minister Hagiuda for the leadership you’re providing in the JUCIP, but also in the IPEF, and for your close partnership in ensuring the success of the supply chain ministerial last week and the virtual ministerial for IPEF this week.  I commend you for participating in the virtual ministerial for IPEF and then immediately getting on a plane and coming here today.

Our shared interests make it imperative for us to continue leveraging dialogues like this, like the 2+2, like the JUCIP, like the supply chain, like the IPEF, to figure out concrete joint solutions for promoting economic growth, economic security that will also help us address the threats to the global economic order and enhance economic security and resilience.  So I’m excited to have a productive discussion today.

MINISTER HAGIUDA:  (Via interpreter) Commerce Secretary Raimondo, State Secretary Blinken, at the outset allow me to reiterate our heartfelt gratitude to deep condolences expressed to former Prime Minister Abe.  Former Prime Minister Abe always said Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy.

Today historic kickoff of Japan-U.S. Economic 2+2 has materialized.  Toward further deepening of Japan-U.S. alliance, a new page has been opened.  This is how we think.  Foreign and security policies and economic policy have become inseparable.  Unilateral use of economic force in violation of international rules to fulfill diplomatic demand should never take place.  State‑of‑the-art technology should be developed and utilized to further reinforce basic human rights and democracy.

Further, building economic architecture for a new era, including digital, is an urgent challenge that cannot wait.  Vis-à-vis wider-ranging challenges, Japan and the United States – the world’s number one and number two democratic economic powers sharing universal values – will have – work hand in hand.

The 2+2 will not only be confined to Japan-U.S. bilateral, but will be a foundation which will bring peace and prosperity widely in the Indo-Pacific region.  This is, as it were, compass for realizing free and open Indo-Pacific.  This is our belief.

I’m looking forward to having a very good discussion.  Let us send out to the world Japan‑United States unified and clear message.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you so much, Mr. Minister and colleagues.  And just to add my voice as well to Gina’s and to the minister’s, I had an opportunity to pay respects upon the assassination of Prime Minister Abe, and I think and I hope that the spirit of leadership and vision he brought to our relationship, which was exceptional, will help animate us in the work that we’re doing together.

It’s wonderful to have all of you here.  We’re going to get into our session.  I’m remiss in – for those of you who haven’t been here before, this is the Benjamin Franklin Room.  Ben Franklin is gazing at us.  He was our first diplomat, he signed our first treaty, he charted the Gulf Stream, he captured electricity, he forced an ethos of self-government – and virtually none of this did he do while sober.  (Laughter.)  But we will be serving tea this morning.  (Laughter.)

So, Mark.

MODERATOR:  And with that, I will be serving as your moderator today and try to keep us on time on this rather ambitious agenda.  We have two plenary sessions, each divided into two bits.  The first session will be “Realizing Peace and Prosperity Through the Rules-Based Economic Order.”  The speaking order will be Minister Hayashi, followed by Secretary Blinken, Minister Hagiuda, followed by Secretary Raimondo, and we’re going to allow about 20 minutes for this session.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.

DNC on the 57th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

29 Jul

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison issued the following statement marking the 57th anniversary of the signing of legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid:

Fifty-seven years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid. As a result, millions of seniors and low-income Americans finally got the health care they needed. Since then, these programs have provided millions of Americans dignity and peace of mind — knowing affordable, quality health care is within reach.

The Democratic Party is proud of our work to build on the legacy of Medicaid and Medicare. From the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which guarantees health care for children from low-income families, to the Affordable Care Act, which expanded access to health care and ensured people with preexisting conditions could not be denied care, we have fought to make health care more accessible and affordable. President Biden and Democrats in Congress continue those efforts — working to lower health care premiums and bring down prescription drug costs. 

That record stands in stark contrast to the Republican Party, which has time and again sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act and now has a plan to cut Medicare and Social Security. But no matter how far the GOP strays, Democrats will always protect Medicaid and Medicare and work to ensure that every American can access affordable health care.

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IN THE STATES: Dems Make Clear Americans Can’t Afford GOP’s Extreme Agenda

29 Jul

In the states this week, as we approach 100 days to Election Day, Democratic state parties across the country started to kick off “Too Extreme GOP” press tours and events to drive home the contrast between Republicans’ ultra-MAGA agenda of banning abortion with no exceptions and cutting Americans’ Medicare and Social Security benefits, and Democrats’ agenda of lowering costs for working people and protecting reproductive freedom. 

On Wednesday, 41 Senate Republicans voted against advancing the PACT Act — a bill that would expand health care access for combat veterans suffering from toxic burn pit exposure. Across the country, local news highlighted how Republicans took out their frustrations with Democrats working to lower drug prices on our veterans, voting to block veterans from receiving the health care they’ve earned. 

On Thursday, Democrats sent the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act – designed to make America more competitive with China, create jobs in the U.S., and help lower the price of goods – to President Biden’s desk, despite most House Republicans trying to block the bill and choosing to side with Big Pharma and China instead of voting to create jobs in America and secure our domestic supply chains. 

And throughout the past two weeks, Vice President Kamala Harris has traveled across the country, calling out Republicans for their extreme anti-choice agenda and emphasizing that Democrats are the last line of defense when it comes to protecting Americans’ reproductive freedom. 


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MAGA Republicans 🤝 Chinese Communist Party

29 Jul

What do 32 Senate Republicans, 187 House Republicans, and the Chinese Communist Party have in common? They all opposed the CHIPS and Science Act — legislation that would tackle inflation, lower costs, and bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

These MAGA Republicans sided with China against American jobs because they oppose efforts to lower prescription drug costs. 

The Hill: “House Republican leadership [urged] members of its conference to vote against a bill to bolster the domestic chip manufacturing industry and fund scientific research, a reversal from its position earlier in the day that comes hours after Senate Democrats struck a deal on a multibillion-dollar reconciliation package.”

Congressional Republicans’ opposition to the CHIPS and Science Act has shown that siding with China and Big Pharma is the GOP party line. The American people do not want this backward agenda.

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Vanuatu National Day

29 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States of America, I offer my best wishes in celebration of your National Day on July 30.

As we all emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to reconnecting and supporting the return of Peace Corps Volunteers to Vanuatu, a testament to the strength of our relationship. Our shared values serve as the foundation of our longstanding partnership, and we are committed to working together to address emerging challenges to shape a better future.

Please accept my congratulations as you celebrate your country’s independence.

REMINDER: Every Single House Republican Voted Against Efforts to Lower Gas Prices

29 Jul

As Big Oil rakes in record profits on the backs of struggling Americans, let’s not forget that every single House Republican voted against legislation to crack down on gas price gouging. While Democrats remain laser-focused on bringing down costs for families, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly failed to deliver for the American people.

CBS News: “The House of Representatives passed a bill along party lines that seeks to lower gas prices by cracking down on alleged price gouging by energy companies. The House vote was 217-207: no Republican supported the bill.”

This comes as a majority of House Republicans — 187 to be exact — voted to hold American jobs hostage because they are angry that Democrats are actually working to lower prescription drug costs. That’s right: 187 MAGA Republicans opposed a bipartisan bill that would bring thousands of manufacturing jobs back home and lower costs because they are so beholden to China and Big Pharma. 

The GOP has made clear that they are all talk, no action: While President Biden and the Democrats take real steps to bring down prices and tackle inflation, Republicans have voted against lowering costs at every turn.

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Secretary Blinken’s Travel to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda

29 Jul

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda August 2-12, 2022.

Secretary Blinken will first travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, August 3-5 to participate in the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.  At each ministerial, the Secretary will emphasize the United States’ commitment to ASEAN centrality and successful implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.  He will also address the COVID-19 pandemic, economic cooperation, the fight against climate change, the crisis in Burma, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.  The Secretary will meet bilaterally with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn to discuss U.S. support for ASEAN and efforts to strengthen our bilateral relationship with Cambodia.  Secretary Blinken will also engage with alumni of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.

In Manila, the Philippines, on August 6, the Secretary will meet with President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo to discuss bilateral efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Philippines alliance, including through increased cooperation on energy, trade, and investment, advancing our shared democratic values, and pandemic recovery.

Then, Secretary Blinken will travel to South Africa August 7-9.  The Secretary will launch the U.S. Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, which reinforces the U.S. view that African countries are geostrategic players and critical partners on the most pressing issues of our day, from promoting an open and stable international system, to tackling the effects of climate change, food insecurity and global pandemics, to shaping our technological and economic futures.

In Pretoria, he will lead the U.S. delegation to the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue to reinforce and deepen our commitment to bilateral cooperation on global issues as well as a wide range of shared priorities, including health, infrastructure, trade and investment, and climate.  In Johannesburg, he will join in the South African celebration of National Women’s Day.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 9-10, the Secretary will meet with senior DRC government officials and members of civil society to discuss our mutual interest in ensuring free, inclusive, and fair elections in 2023, promoting respect for human rights and protecting fundamental freedoms.  He will also focus on combating corruption, supporting trade and investment, addressing the climate crisis, building agricultural resilience, and support regional African efforts to advance peace in eastern DRC and the broader Great Lakes region.

Finally, the Secretary will travel to Rwanda on August 10-12, where he will meet with senior Rwandan government officials and civil society members to discuss shared priorities, including peacekeeping.  The Secretary will focus on the role the government of Rwanda can play in reducing tensions and ongoing violence in eastern DRC.  He will also raise democracy and human rights concerns, including transnational repression, limiting space for dissent and political opposition, and the wrongful detention of U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Paul Rusesabagina.