IN THE STATES: Dems Put GOP and Their Ultra-MAGA Agenda on Defense

13 May

In the states this week, Democratic state parties in the battlegrounds held press events as part of a press day of action highlighting what’s at stake this November as Republicans continue pushing their radical, anti-choice agenda. These events came a week after reports of SCOTUS’ draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed a GOP majority could focus on a federal abortion ban. 

Here’s a look at some of the coverage of the events: 

And across the country, while Democrats took aim at the GOP’s extreme agenda to restrict reproductive rights, Republicans talked about the possibility of moving on a federal abortion ban.

Also this week, as new polling shows the GOP plan that could sunset Medicare and Social Security after 5 years is “universally unpopular,” the DNC launched new ads targeting seniors on Facebook to make sure they know that Republicans could put their hard-earned benefits at risk. 

As the latest step in the Biden-Harris administration’s laser-focus on lowering costs for Americans, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced new steps this week to reduce high-speed internet costs for millions of Americans. 

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REMINDER: Every Single Republican Voted Against Funding For The Police

13 May

While President Biden is taking critical steps to provide cities and states with historic funding through the American Rescue Plan to make our communities safer, including local police departments and other programs to address the causes of crime and ease the burden on police, let’s not forget every single congressional Republican voted against every cent of this funding that has been used to get police officers back on the streets. 

Congressional Republicans opposed every penny of this funding as part of their ultra-MAGA agenda:

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

Indy Star: “Noblesville plans to give police officers and firefighters bonuses of $2,000 and other city employees $1,000 with its haul of federal coronavirus economic aid.”

NNY360: “Federal COVID-19 funding will pay to rehire Watertown police officers”

This isn’t anything new for this MAGA party – Donald Trump proposed massive cuts to critical community policing programs, which many Republicans supported:

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.’”

President Biden is using every tool at his disposal to fight violent crime and keep our communities safe: 

NBC News: “Biden to urge cities to spend Covid relief money on police, crime prevention”

ABC News: “Biden to announce $10 billion from American Rescue Plan for policing, public safety”
Associated Press: “Biden to urge local leaders to boost public safety spending”

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Secretary Blinken’s Call with Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Park

13 May

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken held his introductory call yesterday with Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin to discuss continued U.S.-ROK cooperation to address critical global challenges. The Secretary congratulated Foreign Minister Park on his May 12 appointment as foreign minister and reaffirmed the U.S. resolve to work closely with the ROK on the wide range of important bilateral, regional, and global issues. The Secretary emphasized our ironclad, mutual commitment to the defense of the ROK and our shared goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan in support of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Park condemned recent DPRK ballistic missile launches. In addition, the Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed U.S. and ROK efforts to provide assistance to Ukraine and hold the Kremlin and its enablers accountable for President Putin’s brutal, unprovoked war.

Condolences on the Passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

13 May

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. We extend our sincere condolences to his family and the people of the United Arab Emirates. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was a true friend of the United States. We deeply valued his support in building the extraordinary partnership our countries enjoy today. We mourn his passing, honor his legacy, and remain committed to our steadfast friendship and cooperation with the United Arab Emirates.

G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan

13 May

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.

Begin Text.

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, express our strongest opposition and deplore the increasing restrictions imposed on the rights and freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

We stand with the Afghan people in their demand for equal rights in line with the Taliban’s commitments to all Afghans and Afghanistan’s obligations under international law. We condemn the imposition of increasingly restrictive measures that severely limit half the population’s ability to fully, equally, and meaningfully participate in society, including the recent announcement on women’s appearance in public along with new punishments for family members to enforce compliance with these restrictions.

With these moves, the Taliban are further isolating themselves from the international community. Echoing our joint statement, together with Norway, from March 24, we call on the Taliban to urgently take steps to lift restrictions on women and girls, respect their human rights, and meet the expectations of Afghans and the world to permit their full, equal, and meaningful participation in work, education and public life, as well as freedom of movement and freedom of speech, which is crucial for long-term peace, stability and development of the country.

End Text.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Ngoc

13 May

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman met today in Washington with Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc to discuss the remarkable progress made over the years in bilateral relations between the United States and Vietnam.  The two leaders discussed the strong security and economic cooperation between the United States and Vietnam, which has proven vital in contributing to a rules-based, interconnected, and open Indo-Pacific region.  They also discussed our shared efforts to confront climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Deputy Secretary also raised human rights and the importance of Vietnam’s fulfillment of its international human rights obligations and commitments.

Joint Statement on Syria

13 May

Office of the Spokesperson

Representatives of the United States, the Arab League, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom met in Brussels on May 10, 2022, to discuss the crisis in Syria.

Begin Text.

We applauded the European Union for convening the Brussels VI Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region and welcomed the generous support pledged for vulnerable Syrians, Syrian refugees, and their host countries.  We also urged continued support to Syrian refugees and host countries, until Syrians can voluntarily return home with safety and dignity, according to UN standards.

We remain committed to reducing the suffering of the Syrian people.  We highlighted the importance of sustaining and increasing humanitarian aid to Syrians through all modalities, including UN-mandated cross-border aid, and continued implementation of UNSC Resolution 2585.

We reiterated our continued support for UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, for UNSC Resolution 2254, and for a political resolution to the crisis, with full respect for the unity and territorial integrity of Syria.  We also reaffirmed our commitment to the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as to prevent violent extremism, and underlined the need to continue working closely with international partners to ensure a lasting defeat of Daesh and other terrorist organizations consistent with UNSC Resolution 2254.  We also underscored the need to continue to press for accountability and justice for the atrocities perpetrated in Syria, as well as to press for the release of the arbitrarily detained and a full accounting of the missing.

End Text.

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

13 May

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reports that 60 community members, including 20 women and 10 ex-combatants, are benefiting from its Community Violence Reduction project in a village in North Kivu’s Masisi Territory, where they are gaining skills in the installation and maintenance of street lighting.

Concluding Session, Committee on Information Calls for Fighting Misinformation, Protecting Journalists

13 May

The United Nations Committee on Information — concluding its forty-fourth session today under the shadow of the tragic killing of yet another journalist in the line of duty — approved two resolutions detailing Member States’ priorities for the Department of Global Communications, from fighting misinformation to helping States protect the fundamental rights to expression and opinion.