Western Pa. 2022 primary day election guide: Information on races, candidates and issues

Primary election day in Pennsylvania is Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and anyone in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

The state has an online tool to let voters find their polling place by entering their address.

For more information on polling places, go to the official election pages for your county:

• Allegheny County election page

• Westmoreland County election page

• Armstrong County election page

Source: Western Pa. 2022 primary day election guide: Information on races, candidates and issues

Election coverage from TribLIVE

U.S. Senate

Democrat Republican
John Fetterman Kathy Barnette
Malcolm Kenyatta Jeff Bartos
Alexandria Khalil George Bochetto
Conor Lamb Sean Gale
David McCormick
Mehmet Oz
Carla Sands

• Pa. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman had stroke but is on way to ‘full recovery’

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, has suffered a stroke but is on his way to a “full recovery,” the campaign said Sunday.

• John Fetterman brings bid for U.S. Senate to Greensburg as primary nears

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and a leading Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat, made his ultimate goal clear when he spoke to an informal gathering of about 130 people Tuesday evening in Greensburg.

• Trump’s smackdown of David McCormick shows the risks for Republicans trying a MAGA makeover

Standing before a wall-sized American flag at an American Legion hall here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, David McCormick talked up his background in the Army, called himself a “happy warrior,” and ticked through the reasons he wants to be Pennsylvania’s next senator.

• Poll: Kathy Barnette is neck-and-neck with Oz, McCormick in Pa. Senate race

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette now appears to be running neck-and-neck with the two big-spending front-runners, Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, just days before the May 17 primary, according to a new poll.

Biden administration cancels Alaska oil and gas lease sale – CBS News

The Biden administration has canceled one of the most high-profile oil and gas lease opportunities pending before the Interior Department. The decision, which halts the potential to drill for oil in over 1 million acres in the Cook Inlet in Alaska, comes at a challenging political moment, when gas prices are hitting painful new highs.

In a statement shared first with CBS News, the Department of the Interior cited a “lack of industry interest in leasing in the area” for the decision to “not move forward” with the Cook Inlet lease sale. The department also halted two leases under consideration for the Gulf of Mexico region because of “conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.”

Federal law requires the Department of the Interior to stick to a five-year leasing plan for auctioning offshore leases. The administration had until the end of the current five-year plan — set to expire at the end of next month — to complete these lease sales.

Source: Biden administration cancels Alaska oil and gas lease sale – CBS News

‘No more switching clocks’: Senate passes act to make daylight saving time permanent | US news | The Guardian

The Senate unanimously approved a measure Tuesday that would make daylight saving time permanent across the United States next year.

The bipartisan bill, named the Sunshine Protection Act, would ensure Americans would no longer have to change their clocks twice a year. But the bill still needs approval from the House, and the signature of Joe Biden, to become law.

“No more switching clocks, more daylight hours to spend outside after school and after work, and more smiles – that is what we get with permanent daylight saving time,” said Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the original cosponsor of the legislation, in a statement.

Source: ‘No more switching clocks’: Senate passes act to make daylight saving time permanent | US news | The Guardian

Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address As Prepared for Delivery | The White House

Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President, our First Lady and Second Gentleman. Members of Congress and the Cabinet. Justices of the Supreme Court. My fellow Americans.

Last year COVID-19 kept us apart. This year we are finally together again.

Tonight, we meet as Democrats Republicans and Independents. But most importantly as Americans.

With a duty to one another to the American people to the Constitution.

And with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.

Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated.

He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined.

He met the Ukrainian people.

From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world.

Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retirees teachers turned soldiers defending their homeland.

In this struggle as President Zelenskyy said in his speech to the European Parliament “Light will win over darkness.” The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States is here tonight.

Let each of us here tonight in this Chamber send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world.

Please rise if you are able and show that, Yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people.

Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression they cause more chaos.

They keep moving.

And the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.

That’s why the NATO Alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War 2.

The United States is a member along with 29 other nations.

It matters. American diplomacy matters. American resolve matters.

Putin’s latest attack on Ukraine was premeditated and unprovoked.

He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy.

He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond. And he thought he could divide us at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready.  Here is what we did.

We prepared extensively and carefully.

We spent months building a coalition of other freedom-loving nations from Europe and the Americas to Asia and Africa to confront Putin.

I spent countless hours unifying our European allies. We shared with the world in advance what we knew Putin was planning and precisely how he would try to falsely justify his aggression.

We countered Russia’s lies with truth.

And now that he has acted the free world is holding him accountable.

Along with twenty-seven members of the European Union including France, Germany, Italy, as well as countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, even Switzerland.

We are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine. Putin is now isolated from the world more than ever.

Together with our allies –we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions.

We are cutting off Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system.

Preventing Russia’s central bank from defending the Russian Ruble making Putin’s $630 Billion “war fund” worthless.

We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come.

Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime no more.

The U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.

We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts your luxury apartments your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.

And tonight I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights – further isolating Russia – and adding an additional squeeze –on their economy. The Ruble has lost 30% of its value.

The Russian stock market has lost 40% of its value and trading remains suspended. Russia’s economy is reeling and Putin alone is to blame.

Together with our allies we are providing support to the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Military assistance. Economic assistance. Humanitarian assistance.

We are giving more than $1 Billion in direct assistance to Ukraine.

And we will continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and to help ease their suffering.

Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.

Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO Allies – in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west.

For that purpose we’ve mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, and ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

As I have made crystal clear the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power.

And we remain clear-eyed. The Ukrainians are fighting back with pure courage. But the next few days weeks, months, will be hard on them.

Putin has unleashed violence and chaos.  But while he may make gains on the battlefield – he will pay a continuing high price over the long run.

And a proud Ukrainian people, who have known 30 years  of independence, have repeatedly shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards.

To all Americans, I will be honest with you, as I’ve always promised. A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world.

And I’m taking robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions  is targeted at Russia’s economy. And I will use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers.

Tonight, I can announce that the United States has worked with 30 other countries to release 60 Million barrels of oil from reserves around the world.

America will lead that effort, releasing 30 Million barrels from our own Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And we stand ready to do more if necessary, unified with our allies.

These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home. And I know the news about what’s happening can seem alarming.

But I want you to know that we are going to be okay.

When the history of this era is written Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger.

While it shouldn’t have taken something so terrible for people around the world to see what’s at stake now everyone sees it clearly.

We see the unity among leaders of nations and a more unified Europe a more unified West. And we see unity among the people who are gathering in cities in large crowds around the world even in Russia to demonstrate their support for Ukraine.

In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.

This is a real test. It’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people.

To our fellow Ukrainian Americans who forge a deep bond that connects our two nations we stand with you.

Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he will never gain the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people.

He will never extinguish their love of freedom. He will never weaken the resolve of the free world.

We meet tonight in an America that has lived through two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced.

The pandemic has been punishing.

And so many families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep up with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, and so much more.

I understand.

I remember when my Dad had to leave our home in Scranton, Pennsylvania to find work. I grew up in a family where if the price of food went up, you felt it.

That’s why one of the first things I did as President was fight to pass the American Rescue Plan.

Because people were hurting. We needed to act, and we did.

Few pieces of legislation have done more in a critical moment in our history to lift us out of crisis.

It fueled our efforts to vaccinate the nation and combat COVID-19. It delivered immediate economic relief for tens of millions of Americans.

Helped put food on their table, keep a roof over their heads, and cut the cost of health insurance.

And as my Dad used to say, it gave people a little breathing room.

And unlike the $2 Trillion tax cut passed in the previous administration that benefitted the top 1% of Americans, the American Rescue Plan helped working people—and left no one behind.

And it worked. It created jobs. Lots of jobs.

In fact—our economy created over 6.5 Million new jobs just last year, more jobs created in one year
than ever before in the history of America.

Our economy grew at a rate of 5.7% last year, the strongest growth in nearly 40 years, the first step in bringing fundamental change to an economy that hasn’t worked for the working people of this nation for too long.

For the past 40 years we were told that if we gave tax breaks to those at the very top, the benefits would trickle down to everyone else.

But that trickle-down theory led to weaker economic growth, lower wages, bigger deficits, and the widest gap between those at the top and everyone else in nearly a century.

Vice President Harris and I ran for office with a new economic vision for America.

Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up
and the middle out, not from the top down.

Because we know that when the middle class grows, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy do very well.

America used to have the best roads, bridges, and airports on Earth.

Now our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world.

We won’t be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century if we don’t fix that.

That’s why it was so important to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—the most sweeping investment to rebuild America in history.

This was a bipartisan effort, and I want to thank the members of both parties who worked to make it happen.

We’re done talking about infrastructure weeks.

We’re going to have an infrastructure decade.

It is going to transform America and put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st Century that we face with the rest of the world—particularly with China.

As I’ve told Xi Jinping, it is never a good bet to bet against the American people.

We’ll create good jobs for millions of Americans, modernizing roads, airports, ports, and waterways all across America.

And we’ll do it all to withstand the devastating effects of the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.

We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, begin to replace poisonous lead pipes—so every child—and every American—has clean water to drink at home and at school, provide affordable high-speed internet for every American—urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities.

4,000 projects have already been announced.

And tonight, I’m announcing that this year we will start fixing over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair.

When we use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America – we are going to Buy American: buy American products to support American jobs.

The federal government spends about $600 Billion a year to keep the country safe and secure.

There’s been a law on the books for almost a century
to make sure taxpayers’ dollars support American jobs and businesses.

Every Administration says they’ll do it, but we are actually doing it.

We will buy American to make sure everything from the deck of an aircraft carrier to the steel on highway guardrails are made in America.

But to compete for the best jobs of the future, we also need to level the playing field with China and other competitors.

That’s why it is so important to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act sitting in Congress that will make record investments in emerging technologies and American manufacturing.

Let me give you one example of why it’s so important to pass it.

If you travel 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, you’ll find 1,000 empty acres of land.

It won’t look like much, but if you stop and look closely, you’ll see a “Field of dreams,” the ground on which America’s future will be built.

This is where Intel, the American company that helped build Silicon Valley, is going to build its $20 billion semiconductor “mega site”.

Up to eight state-of-the-art factories in one place. 10,000 new good-paying jobs.

Some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in the world to make computer chips the size of a fingertip that power the world and our everyday lives.

Smartphones. The Internet. Technology we have yet to invent.

But that’s just the beginning.

Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who is here tonight, told me they are ready to increase their investment from
$20 billion to $100 billion.

That would be one of the biggest investments in manufacturing in American history.

And all they’re waiting for is for you to pass this bill.

So let’s not wait any longer. Send it to my desk. I’ll sign it.

And we will really take off.

And Intel is not alone.

There’s something happening in America.

Just look around and you’ll see an amazing story.

The rebirth of the pride that comes from stamping products “Made In America.” The revitalization of American manufacturing.

Companies are choosing to build new factories here, when just a few years ago, they would have built them overseas.

That’s what is happening. Ford is investing $11 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 11,000 jobs across the country.

GM is making the largest investment in its history—$7 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 4,000 jobs in Michigan.

All told, we created 369,000 new manufacturing jobs in America just last year.

Powered by people I’ve met like JoJo Burgess, from generations of union steelworkers from Pittsburgh, who’s here with us tonight.

As Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says, “It’s time to bury the label “Rust Belt.”

It’s time.

But with all the bright spots in our economy, record job growth and higher wages, too many families are struggling to keep up with the bills.

Inflation is robbing them of the gains they might otherwise feel.

I get it. That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.

Look, our economy roared back faster than most predicted, but the pandemic meant that businesses had a hard time hiring enough workers to keep up production in their factories.

The pandemic also disrupted global supply chains.

When factories close, it takes longer to make goods and get them from the warehouse to the store, and prices go up.

Look at cars.

Last year, there weren’t enough semiconductors to make all the cars that people wanted to buy.

And guess what, prices of automobiles went up.

So—we have a choice.

One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer.

I have a better plan to fight inflation.

Lower your costs, not your wages.

Make more cars and semiconductors in America.

More infrastructure and innovation in America.

More goods moving faster and cheaper in America.

More jobs where you can earn a good living in America.

And instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America.

Economists call it “increasing the productive capacity of our economy.”

I call it building a better America.

My plan to fight inflation will lower your costs and lower the deficit.

17 Nobel laureates in economics say my plan will ease long-term inflationary pressures. Top business leaders and most Americans support my plan. And here’s the plan:

First – cut the cost of prescription drugs. Just look at insulin. One in ten Americans has diabetes. In Virginia, I met a 13-year-old boy named Joshua Davis.

He and his Dad both have Type 1 diabetes, which means they need insulin every day. Insulin costs about $10 a vial to make.

But drug companies charge families like Joshua and his Dad up to 30 times more. I spoke with Joshua’s mom.

Imagine what it’s like to look at your child who needs insulin and have no idea how you’re going to pay for it.

What it does to your dignity, your ability to look your child in the eye, to be the parent you expect to be.

Joshua is here with us tonight. Yesterday was his birthday. Happy birthday, buddy.

For Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.

Drug companies will still do very well. And while we’re at it let Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, like the VA already does.

Look, the American Rescue Plan is helping millions of families on Affordable Care Act plans save $2,400 a year on their health care premiums. Let’s close the coverage gap and make those savings permanent.

Second – cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combatting climate change.

Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit; double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind, and so much more;  lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again.

Third – cut the cost of child care. Many families pay up to $14,000 a year for child care per child.

Middle-class and working families shouldn’t have to pay more than 7% of their income for care of young children.

My plan will cut the cost in half for most families and help parents, including millions of women, who left the workforce during the pandemic because they couldn’t afford child care, to be able to get back to work.

My plan doesn’t stop there. It also includes home and long-term care. More affordable housing. And Pre-K for every 3- and 4-year-old.

All of these will lower costs.

And under my plan, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in new taxes. Nobody.

The one thing all Americans agree on is that the tax system is not fair. We have to fix it.

I’m not looking to punish anyone. But let’s make sure corporations and the wealthiest Americans start paying their fair share.

Just last year, 55 Fortune 500 corporations earned $40 billion in profits and paid zero dollars in federal income tax.

That’s simply not fair. That’s why I’ve proposed a 15% minimum tax rate for corporations.

We got more than 130 countries to agree on a global minimum tax rate so companies can’t get out of paying their taxes at home by shipping jobs and factories overseas.

That’s why I’ve proposed closing loopholes so the very wealthy don’t pay a lower tax rate than a teacher or a firefighter.

So that’s my plan. It will grow the economy and lower costs for families.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get this done. And while you’re at it, confirm my nominees to the Federal Reserve, which plays a critical role in fighting inflation.

My plan will not only lower costs to give families a fair shot, it will lower the deficit.

The previous Administration not only ballooned the deficit with tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporations, it undermined the watchdogs whose job was to keep pandemic relief funds from being wasted.

But in my administration, the watchdogs have been welcomed back.

We’re going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans.

And tonight, I’m announcing that the Justice Department will name a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud.

By the end of this year, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office.

The only president ever to cut the deficit by more than one trillion dollars in a single year.

Lowering your costs also means demanding more competition.

I’m a capitalist, but capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism.

It’s exploitation—and it drives up prices.

When corporations don’t have to compete, their profits go up, your prices go up, and small businesses and family farmers and ranchers go under.

We see it happening with ocean carriers moving goods in and out of America.

During the pandemic, these foreign-owned companies raised prices by as much as 1,000% and made record profits.

Tonight, I’m announcing a crackdown on these companies overcharging American businesses and consumers.

And as Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up.

That ends on my watch.

Medicare is going to set higher standards for nursing homes and make sure your loved ones get the care they deserve and expect.

We’ll also cut costs and keep the economy going strong by giving workers a fair shot, provide more training and apprenticeships, hire them based on their skills not degrees.

Let’s pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and paid leave.

Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and extend the Child Tax Credit, so no one has to raise a family in poverty.

Let’s increase Pell Grants and increase our historic support of HBCUs, and invest in what Jill—our First Lady who teaches full-time—calls America’s best-kept secret: community colleges.

And let’s pass the PRO Act when a majority of workers want to form a union—they shouldn’t be stopped.

When we invest in our workers, when we build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out together, we can do something we haven’t done in a long time: build a better America.

For more than two years, COVID-19 has impacted every decision in our lives and the life of the nation.

And I know you’re tired, frustrated, and exhausted.

But I also know this.

Because of the progress we’ve made, because of your resilience and the tools we have, tonight I can say
we are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines.

We’ve reached a new moment in the fight against COVID-19, with severe cases down to a level not seen since last July.

Just a few days ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—the CDC—issued new mask guidelines.

Under these new guidelines, most Americans in most of the country can now be mask free.

And based on the projections, more of the country will reach that point across the next couple of weeks.

Thanks to the progress we have made this past year, COVID-19 need no longer control our lives.

I know some are talking about “living with COVID-19”. Tonight – I say that we will never just accept living with COVID-19.

We will continue to combat the virus as we do other diseases. And because this is a virus that mutates and spreads, we will stay on guard.

Here are four common sense steps as we move forward safely.

First, stay protected with vaccines and treatments. We know how incredibly effective vaccines are. If you’re vaccinated and boosted you have the highest degree of protection.

We will never give up on vaccinating more Americans. Now, I know parents with kids under 5 are eager to see a vaccine authorized for their children.

The scientists are working hard to get that done and we’ll be ready with plenty of vaccines when they do.

We’re also ready with anti-viral treatments. If you get COVID-19, the Pfizer pill reduces your chances of ending up in the hospital by 90%.

We’ve ordered more of these pills than anyone in the world. And Pfizer is working overtime to get us 1 Million pills this month and more than double that next month.

And we’re launching the “Test to Treat” initiative so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they’re positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost.

If you’re immunocompromised or have some other vulnerability, we have treatments and free high-quality masks.

We’re leaving no one behind or ignoring anyone’s needs as we move forward.

And on testing, we have made hundreds of millions of tests available for you to order for free.

Even if you already ordered free tests tonight, I am announcing that you can order more from covidtests.gov starting next week.

Second – we must prepare for new variants. Over the past year, we’ve gotten much better at detecting new variants.

If necessary, we’ll be able to deploy new vaccines within 100 days instead of many more months or years.

And, if Congress provides the funds we need, we’ll have new stockpiles of tests, masks, and pills ready if needed.

I cannot promise a new variant won’t come. But I can promise you we’ll do everything within our power to be ready if it does.

Third – we can end the shutdown of schools and businesses. We have the tools we need.

It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.  People working from home can feel safe to begin to return to the office.

We’re doing that here in the federal government. The vast majority of federal workers will once again work in person.

Our schools are open. Let’s keep it that way. Our kids need to be in school.

And with 75% of adult Americans fully vaccinated and hospitalizations down by 77%, most Americans can remove their masks, return to work, stay in the classroom, and move forward safely.

We achieved this because we provided free vaccines, treatments, tests, and masks.

Of course, continuing this costs money.

I will soon send Congress a request.

The vast majority of Americans have used these tools and may want to again, so I expect Congress to pass it quickly.

Fourth, we will continue vaccinating the world.

We’ve sent 475 Million vaccine doses to 112 countries, more than any other nation.

And we won’t stop.

We have lost so much to COVID-19. Time with one another. And worst of all, so much loss of life.

Let’s use this moment to reset. Let’s stop looking at COVID-19 as a partisan dividing line and see it for what it is: A God-awful disease.

Let’s stop seeing each other as enemies, and start seeing each other for who we really are: Fellow Americans.

We can’t change how divided we’ve been. But we can change how we move forward—on COVID-19 and other issues we must face together.

I recently visited the New York City Police Department days after the funerals of Officer Wilbert Mora and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera.

They were responding to a 9-1-1 call when a man shot and killed them with a stolen gun.

Officer Mora was 27 years old.

Officer Rivera was 22.

Both Dominican Americans who’d grown up on the same streets they later chose to patrol as police officers.

I spoke with their families and told them that we are forever in debt for their sacrifice, and we will carry on their mission to restore the trust and safety every community deserves.

I’ve worked on these issues a long time.

I know what works: Investing in crime preventionand community police officers who’ll walk the beat, who’ll know the neighborhood, and who can restore trust and safety.

So let’s not abandon our streets. Or choose between safety and equal justice.

Let’s come together to protect our communities, restore trust, and hold law enforcement accountable.

That’s why the Justice Department required body cameras, banned chokeholds, and restricted no-knock warrants for its officers.

That’s why the American Rescue Plan provided $350 Billion that cities, states, and counties can use to hire more police and invest in proven strategies like community violence interruption—trusted messengers breaking the cycle of violence and trauma and giving young people hope.

We should all agree: The answer is not to Defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.

I ask Democrats and Republicans alike: Pass my budget and keep our neighborhoods safe.

And I will keep doing everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns you can buy online and make at home—they have no serial numbers and can’t be traced.

And I ask Congress to pass proven measures to reduce gun violence. Pass universal background checks. Why should anyone on a terrorist list be able to purchase a weapon?

Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Repeal the liability shield that makes gun manufacturers the only industry in America that can’t be sued.

These laws don’t infringe on the Second Amendment. They save lives.

The most fundamental right in America is the right to vote – and to have it counted. And it’s under assault.

In state after state, new laws have been passed, not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert entire elections.

We cannot let this happen.

Tonight. I call on the Senate to: Pass the Freedom to Vote Act. Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And while you’re at it, pass the Disclose Act so Americans can know who is funding our elections.

Tonight, I’d like to honor someone who has dedicated his life to serve this country: Justice Stephen Breyer—an Army veteran, Constitutional scholar, and retiring Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Breyer, thank you for your service.

One of the most serious constitutional responsibilities a President has is nominating someone to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

And I did that 4 days ago, when I nominated Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. One of our nation’s top legal minds, who will continue Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence.

A former top litigator in private practice. A former federal public defender. And from a family of public school educators and police officers. A consensus builder. Since she’s been nominated, she’s received a broad range of support—from the Fraternal Order of Police to former judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans.

And if we are to advance liberty and justice, we need to secure the Border and fix the immigration system.

We can do both. At our border, we’ve installed new technology like cutting-edge scanners to better detect drug smuggling.

We’ve set up joint patrols with Mexico and Guatemala to catch more human traffickers.

We’re putting in place dedicated immigration judges so families fleeing persecution and violence can have their cases heard faster.

We’re securing commitments and supporting partners in South and Central America to host more refugees and secure their own borders.

We can do all this while keeping lit the torch of liberty that has led generations of immigrants to this land—my forefathers and so many of yours.

Provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers.

Revise our laws so businesses have the workers they need and families don’t wait decades to reunite.

It’s not only the right thing to do—it’s the economically smart thing to do.

That’s why immigration reform is supported by everyone from labor unions to religious leaders to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Let’s get it done once and for all.

Advancing liberty and justice also requires protecting the rights of women.

The constitutional right affirmed in Roe v. Wade—standing precedent for half a century—is under attack as never before.

If we want to go forward—not backward—we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose. And let’s continue to advance maternal health care in America.

And for our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong.

As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.

While it often appears that we never agree, that isn’t true. I signed 80 bipartisan bills into law last year. From preventing government shutdowns to protecting Asian-Americans from still-too-common hate crimes to reforming military justice.

And soon, we’ll strengthen the Violence Against Women Act that I first wrote three decades ago. It is important for us to show the nation that we can come together and do big things.

So tonight I’m offering a Unity Agenda for the Nation. Four big things we can do together.

First, beat the opioid epidemic.

There is so much we can do. Increase funding for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery.

Get rid of outdated rules that stop doctors from prescribing treatments. And stop the flow of illicit drugs by working with state and local law enforcement to go after traffickers.

If you’re suffering from addiction, know you are not alone. I believe in recovery, and I celebrate the 23 million Americans in recovery.

Second, let’s take on mental health. Especially among our children, whose lives and education have been turned upside down.

The American Rescue Plan gave schools money to hire teachers and help students make up for lost learning.

I urge every parent to make sure your school does just that. And we can all play a part—sign up to be a tutor or a mentor.

Children were also struggling before the pandemic. Bullying, violence, trauma, and the harms of social media.

As Frances Haugen, who is here with us tonight, has shown, we must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit.

It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.

And let’s get all Americans the mental health services they need. More people they can turn to for help, and full parity between physical and mental health care.

Third, support our veterans.

Veterans are the best of us.

I’ve always believed that we have a sacred obligation to equip all those we send to war and care for them and their families when they come home.

My administration is providing assistance with job training and housing, and now helping lower-income veterans get VA care debt-free.

Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan faced many dangers.

One was stationed at bases and breathing in toxic smoke from “burn pits” that incinerated wastes of war—medical and hazard material, jet fuel, and more.

When they came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors were never the same.

Headaches. Numbness. Dizziness.

A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin.

I know.

One of those soldiers was my son Major Beau Biden.

We don’t know for sure if a burn pit was the cause of his brain cancer, or the diseases of so many of our troops.

But I’m committed to finding out everything we can.

Committed to military families like Danielle Robinson from Ohio.

The widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson.

He was born a soldier. Army National Guard. Combat medic in Kosovo and Iraq.

Stationed near Baghdad, just yards from burn pits the size of football fields.

Heath’s widow Danielle is here with us tonight. They loved going to Ohio State football games. He loved building Legos with their daughter.

But cancer from prolonged exposure to burn pits ravaged Heath’s lungs and body.

Danielle says Heath was a fighter to the very end.

He didn’t know how to stop fighting, and neither did she.

Through her pain she found purpose to demand we do better.

Tonight, Danielle—we are.

The VA is pioneering new ways of linking toxic exposures to diseases, already helping more veterans get benefits.

And tonight, I’m announcing we’re expanding eligibility to veterans suffering from nine respiratory cancers.

I’m also calling on Congress: pass a law to make sure veterans devastated by toxic exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and comprehensive health care they deserve.

And fourth, let’s end cancer as we know it.

This is personal to me and Jill, to Kamala, and to so many of you.

Cancer is the #2 cause of death in America–second only to heart disease.

Last month, I announced our plan to supercharge
the Cancer Moonshot that President Obama asked me to lead six years ago.

Our goal is to cut the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, turn more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases.

More support for patients and families.

To get there, I call on Congress to fund ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.

It’s based on DARPA—the Defense Department project that led to the Internet, GPS, and so much more.

ARPA-H will have a singular purpose—to drive breakthroughs in cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and more.

A unity agenda for the nation.

We can do this.

My fellow Americans—tonight , we have gathered in a sacred space—the citadel of our democracy.

In this Capitol, generation after generation, Americans have debated great questions amid great strife, and have done great things.

We have fought for freedom, expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror.

And built the strongest, freest, and most prosperous nation the world has ever known.

Now is the hour.

Our moment of responsibility.

Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself.

It is in this moment that our character is formed. Our purpose is found. Our future is forged.

Well I know this nation.

We will meet the test.

To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity.

We will save democracy.

As hard as these times have been, I am more optimistic about America today than I have been my whole life.

Because I see the future that is within our grasp.

Because I know there is simply nothing beyond our capacity.

We are the only nation on Earth that has always turned every crisis we have faced into an opportunity.

The only nation that can be defined by a single word: possibilities.

So on this night, in our 245th year as a nation, I have come to report on the State of the Union.

And my report is this: the State of the Union is strong—because you, the American people, are strong.

We are stronger today than we were a year ago.

And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today.

Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time.

And we will, as one people.

One America.

The United States of America.

May God bless you all. May God protect our troops.

###

Source: Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address As Prepared for Delivery | The White House

State of the Union: the 3 issues Biden will likely discuss : NPR

As President Biden is set to make his first formal State of the Union address Tuesday night, he and the country are facing pressing issues, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to inflation and the continuing pandemic.

It also comes at a time when Biden’s political capital is at the lowest point of his presidency with his worst approval ratings on a host of issues and a majority of the country saying his first year in office was a failure.

 

1. The Ukraine crisis

It’s tough to know the political impact of Russia’s invasion. Americans are war-weary and many in the country have shifted to a more populist, inward-looking stance.

But the invasion is hard to avoid. It’s all over cable TV 24/7, and it has galvanized NATO allies and the world’s attention in ways that haven’t happened for years.

2. Inflation rises as a concern

For as much attention as there is on Ukraine right now, make no mistake that pocketbook issues are front of mind for voters.

Those potentially higher gas prices could take a further bite out of Biden’s standing — and surveys have shown inflation topping Americans’ concerns.

3. The ongoing pandemic

Another issue a president has little control over is whether the world is truly moving on from the coronavirus pandemic, which is tied to inflation.

Source: State of the Union: the 3 issues Biden will likely discuss : NPR

Ex-Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher sues district over termination for right-wing Facebook post | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A former Pittsburgh teacher has sued the city school district and its board, saying she was improperly fired after she reposted a right-wing commentary critical of the “welfare state” on her personal Facebook page.

Denise Deltondo, who had been a math teacher, vice principal and kindergarten teacher with 27 years in the district, said administrators and the board “outrageously defamed her and stigmatized her as a racist and bigot,” suspended her and then fired her without a fair hearing.

Ms. Deltondo filed the suit Friday in U.S. District Court, alleging the district violated her rights to free speech and due process to defend herself.

Ms. Deltondo, who describes herself as a Donald Trump supporter, shared a post on her personal Facebook account on Aug. 9, 2020, of a clip that she says in her lawsuit “pointed out the hypocrisy of those who rely on public assistance complaining about ‘privilege’ while profligately spending that public assistance and living a life without the responsibility assumed by taxpayers.”

The post, reproduced in the lawsuit, says in part that “privilege is sending your kids to school early for the before-school programs and breakfast, and then keeping them there for the afterschool program…paid for by the people who DO HAVE TO DEAL WITH RISING TAXES AND COSTS! …you know, us so-called ‘PRIVILEGED’ the ones who pay while you TAKE TAKE TAKE!”

Ms. Deltondo said her only action was to write “awesome read!” in response to the post.

Her page did not identify her as a teacher.

Source: Ex-Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher sues district over termination for right-wing Facebook post | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ukraine cities face intense shelling as Russian convoy closes in on Kyiv

Facing fierce resistance on the ground, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to be moving toward an escalation of his forces’ assault from the air.

Ukraine’s embattled leader accused Russia of war crimes and “state terrorism” Tuesday after a fresh blast struck the heart of the country’s second-largest city, fueling fears civilians would face the brunt of an intensifying assault.

As the conflict escalated on its sixth day, increasingly heavy shelling hit major cities and a vast convoy of Russian forces threatened the capital, Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to defend Kyiv and sought to rally both his country and the international community against what he called “outright, undisguised terror” from Moscow, in a video message posted on social media.

Global condemnation and crippling sanctions have left the Kremlin isolated in the wake of last week’s invasion, confronting a spiraling economy and dogged defense from Ukrainian forces. U.S. officials said they feared Russian President Vladimir Putin, frustrated by his military’s struggles, may see an escalation of violence as his only option.


Latest updates on Ukraine:

  • Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, was hit by intensifying shelling.
  • A huge convoy of Russian forces approached Kyiv.
  • Zelenskyy vowed to defend “the heart of our country.”
  • U.S. officials said they feared a frustrated Putin may order escalation of violence.
  • Moscow insisted Western sanctions won’t get it to change its approach toward Ukraine.

Source: Ukraine cities face intense shelling as Russian convoy closes in on Kyiv

US, EU, UK to sanction Russian central bank, block SWIFT | AP News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States, European Union and United Kingdom on Saturday agreed to put in place crippling sanctions on the Russian financial sector, including a block on its access to the global financial system and, for the first time, restrictions on its central bank in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

The measures were announced jointly as part of a new round of financial sanctions meant to “hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.” The central bank restrictions target the more than $600 billion in reserves that the Kremlin has at its disposal, meant to limit Russia’s ability to support the ruble amid tightening Western sanctions.

Cumulatively the steps announced by the West since Russia began the invasion would potentially amount to some of the toughest sanctions on any country in modern times, and if fully carried out as planned, would severely damage the Russian economy and markedly constrain its ability to import and export goods.

Source: US, EU, UK to sanction Russian central bank, block SWIFT | AP News

Bob Beckel, former co-host of Fox News’ ‘The Five,’ dead at 73

FNC star Sean Hannity announced Beckel’s death during his nightly primetime show on Monday

Bob Beckel, the longtime Democratic operative whose appearances on Fox News Channel included a stint as host of “The Five,” has died. He was 73 years old.

FNC star Sean Hannity announced Beckel’s death during his nightly primetime show on Monday.

“We miss him already,” Hannity said of his former FNC colleague, whom he called a “dear friend.”

Source: Bob Beckel, former co-host of Fox News’ ‘The Five,’ dead at 73

U.S. intel shows Russian military officials given order to proceed with invasion of Ukraine

“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that,” President Joe Biden said Friday, citing U.S. intelligence.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has picked up intelligence showing that Russian military officials were given an order to go ahead with an invasion of Ukraine, a U.S. official and another person with knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

The intelligence, which was developed very recently, informed President Joe Biden’s startling declaration Friday that the U.S. believes President Vladimir Putin has already decided to invade, the people said.

Source: U.S. intel shows Russian military officials given order to proceed with invasion of Ukraine

Donald Trump, Don. Jr. and Ivanka must comply with New York attorney general subpoena, judge rules | Just The News

Former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Don Jr., must be interviewed under oath in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) probe of the Trump Organization’s business practices.

The three Trumps are required to sit for a deposition within three weeks, Engoron ruled.

The order came after a two hour hearing with attorneys for the Trumps and James’ office, according to AP.

The ruling is likely to be appealed.

The former president defended his financial documents under question in James’ probe earlier this week.

Source: Donald Trump, Don. Jr. and Ivanka must comply with New York attorney general subpoena, judge rules | Just The News

Crackdown on Freedom Convoy continues as Canadian police arrest at least 170 protesters

Ottawa Police said 47 people were arrested Saturday amid an unprecedented police effort to clear the streets of protesters against COVID restrictions.

Hundreds of Canadian police swept through the country’s capital Saturday, arresting protesters and clearing out vehicles in an attempt to bring an end to a three-week protest against COVID-19 restrictions.

At least 170 people were arrested Friday and Saturday, after police began the crackdown of the so-called Freedom Convoy on Friday morning. Officers, some in riot gear, approached the protest zone and scuffles broke out in some areas as police, including some officers on horses, pushed the crowd back.

Protesters were gone from the street in front of Parliament Hill by Saturday morning. Police said on Twitter that protesters were “aggressive and assaultive” throughout their attempts to clear the area, and pepper spray was used to disperse them. They also said children had been brought to the front of the police line.

Source: Freedom Convoy arrests continue in Canada; Vivek Murthy tests positive

Canadian police start arresting protesters in Ottawa

Some protesters surrendered and were taken into custody following the three-week siege of Canada’s capital by truckers angry over the country’s Covid-19 restrictions.

OTTAWA, Ontario — Police began arresting protesters Friday in a bid to break the three-week siege of Canada’s capital by truckers angry over the country’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Some protesters surrendered and were taken into custody, police said. Some were seen being led away in handcuffs.

Police made their first move to take break up the traffic-snarling occupation late Thursday with the arrest of two protest leaders. They also sealed off much of the downtown area to outsiders to prevent them from coming to the aid of the self-styled Freedom Convoy protesters.

The capital represented the movement’s last stronghold after three weeks of demonstrations and blockades that shut down border crossings into the U.S., caused economic damage to both countries and created a political crisis for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Over the past weeks, authorities had hesitated to move against many of the protesters around the country, in part for fear of violence. The demonstrations have drawn right-wing extremists and veterans, some of them armed.

Source: Canadian police start arresting protesters in Ottawa

Turns out the real threat to ‘norms’ was the Clinton campaign

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign allegedly paid an internet company to “infiltrate” servers in order to link former President Donald Trump to Russia in 2016.

From the perspective of several years ago, it’s the stuff of an implausible political thriller or a conspiratorial YouTube account. One presidential campaign spies on another as part of a broad effort to get government agencies to pick up the baton and launch a high-stakes investigation of the new president that hampers his first years in office and consumes massive public attention.

Where could such a thing happen? Maybe Brazil or Equatorial Guinea? Well, we now know it happened in these United States.

The latest from special counsel John Durham is that a tech executive connected to the Hillary Clinton campaign mined Internet contacts between Russia and the entities connected to Donald Trump in a search for material to try, as Durham put it in a court filing last week, to “establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative’ tying then-candidate Trump to Russia.”

Durham’s probe is a righteous effort to get to the bottom of a matter that deranged American politics for two solid years but has been derided or ignored by the mainstream press, with baleful consequences.

Russiagate did more than its share to undermine the norm that losing campaigns should accept the result of free-and-fair elections and to erode confidence in institutions at the highest levels of our government. One way to minimize the harm is to insist on accountability. The people who were most invested in Russiagate for the longest, though, are least interested in revisiting its origins, let alone in apologizing for their own credulousness or malice.

Source: Turns out the real threat to ‘norms’ was the Clinton campaign

Biden and Putin will talk Saturday as US warns Americans to leave Ukraine in 48 hours over fears of Russian attack – CNNPolitics

(CNN)President Joe Biden plans to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, a person familiar with the matter said, as the US warns Russia could attack Ukraine using bombs and missiles at any moment.

The high-stakes talks come at what US officials describe as a critical juncture in the ongoing crisis. A significant increase of Russian ground forces and military assets have surrounded Ukraine, and Putin could decide at any moment to activate them into a deadly invasion.
He hasn’t decided whether to act, the White House said Friday. But that has not stopped American officials from dramatically increasing their warnings an attack is now a “distinct possibility” and could occur swiftly.

Source: Biden and Putin will talk Saturday as US warns Americans to leave Ukraine in 48 hours over fears of Russian attack – CNNPolitics

If Russia invades Ukraine, there will be no Nord Stream 2, Biden says | Reuters

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday warned that if Russia invades Ukraine, there would be no Nord Stream 2, but did not specify how he would go about ensuring the controversial pipeline would not be used.

Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Biden said, “If Russia invades… again, then there will be longer Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

When asked how he would do that, he responded, “I promise you we will be able to do it.”

Europe’s most divisive energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed by Russian energy giant Gazprom to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine.

Source: If Russia invades Ukraine, there will be no Nord Stream 2, Biden says | Reuters

Pittsburgh Removed From Consideration For Republican National Convention In 2024 – CBS Pittsburgh

Live Winter Storm Tracker: Mix Of Rain, Snow And Ice Causes Power Outages And Messy Roads

The bid committee for the RNC announced the news Friday, a release from the city said.

The city said Visit Pittsburgh initiated the bid last year and Mayor Ed Gainey previously signed a letter of support “as a matter of procedure.”

READ MORE:Port Authority Closes Saw Mill Run Boulevard Bridge After Part Shifts

“I look forward to engaging with our business community to find opportunities for economic growth and empowerment for our city,” Gainey said in a city-issued release. “While I still had questions regarding the RNC’s impact on safety, covid-19 mitigation, and effect on Pittsburgh, I am committed to bringing in events that showcase Pittsburgh’s incredible values. We are one of the most welcoming cities in America and I look forward to sharing our home with the world. As we look for future events to come to Pittsburgh I am dedicated to ensuring the benefits are shared equitably with our small, local, and diverse businesses and that these events reflect and embody the values of Pittsburgh.”

Source: Pittsburgh Removed From Consideration For Republican National Convention In 2024 – CBS Pittsburgh

Whoopi Goldberg suspended from ‘The View’ following Holocaust remarks

ABC News president Kim Godwin released a statement announcing the “View” star would be placed on a two-week suspension.

“The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended following her controversial remarks about the Holocaust.

“Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments,” ABC News president Kim Godwin said in a statement Tuesday evening. “While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments.”

“The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends and communities,” Godwin added.

ADL, JEWISH GROUPS CONDEMN WHOOPI GOLDBERG’S HOLOCAUST COMMENTS, ACCUSE HER OF MINIMIZING JEWISH SUFFERING

Goldberg went viral on Monday when she argued that the Holocaust “isn’t about race,” stunning her colleagues at the table.

“What is it about?” co-host Joy Behar asked.

“It’s about man’s inhumanity to man, that’s what it’s about,” Goldberg said.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG ISSUES APOLOGY FOR HOLOCAUST COMMENTS: ‘I STAND CORRECTED’

“But it’s about a White supremacist going after Jews and Gypsies,” guest co-host Ana Navarro said as Goldberg attempted to speak over her.

“But these are two White groups of people,” Goldberg said as her colleagues disagreed.

Jewish groups condemned the comments, accusing her of minimizing Jewish suffering.

Goldberg attempted to explain her remarks during her appearance on “The Late Show.”

‘THE VIEW’ HOST WHOOPI GOLDBERG CLAIMS HOLOCAUST WASN’T ABOUT RACE: ‘THESE ARE TWO WHITE GROUPS’

“It upset a lot of people which was never, ever, ever, ever my intention… I thought we were having a discussion,” Goldberg told Stephen Colbert. “I think of race as being something that I can see… “You couldn’t tell who was Jewish. They had to delve deeply to figure it out… My point is, they had to do the work.”

She also told Colbert, “I don’t want to fake apologize…I’m very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying.”

Source: Whoopi Goldberg suspended from ‘The View’ following Holocaust remarks

U.S. weighs sending 5,000 troops to Eastern Europe to counter Russia : NPR

The Biden administration is considering sending as many as 5,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, a U.S. official confirmed to NPR, in what would be a step-up in American military involvement in the region amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. troops could be headed to Romania and Poland, or possibly Bulgaria or Hungary. No final decision has been made but the troops have been told to be ready to move, the official said.

U.S. service members could be drawn from their existing posts elsewhere in NATO countries in Europe. Some of the troops would also likely come from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The New York Times, which first reported the news of planned troop movements, said senior Pentagon officials laid out a number of options for President Biden on Saturday.

Among them, sending 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Eastern European countries and the Baltics, “with the potential to increase that number tenfold if things deteriorate,” according to the Times.

There are no plans to send more Americans into Ukraine itself, according to the paper.

Source: U.S. weighs sending 5,000 troops to Eastern Europe to counter Russia : NPR

State Department reduces staff at US embassy in Ukraine, orders some family members to leave – CNNPolitics

(CNN)The State Department announced on Sunday night that it will be reducing staff levels at the US Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, beginning with the departure of nonessential staff and family members.

“On January 23, 2022, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” the State Department said in a statement.
CNN reported on Friday that the embassy had requested that the State Department take this step as Russia has continued to mass forces and equipment near Ukraine’s borders, sparking fears of a renewed invasion.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s latest intelligence assessment, shared with CNN this week, assessed that Russia has now deployed more than 127,000 troops in the region. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that Russia was in a position to launch an invasion “at any point.”
The State Department has already issued the highest-level travel advisory for Ukraine, telling Americans not to travel to the country and to be aware of reports that Russia is planning for significant military action against Ukraine.
US officials still don’t know what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans are or whether he has even decided to invade. But some officials who have seen the intelligence say there is evidence that Russia is planning to try to take Kyiv and overthrow the government, as CNN has previously reported.
The UK foreign office said in a statement on Saturday that it has information the Russian government is planning to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.”

Source: State Department reduces staff at US embassy in Ukraine, orders some family members to leave – CNNPolitics

GOP senators claim secret service ‘hid’ Hunter Biden travel info

The Secret Service improperly redacted hundreds of pages of records related to Hunter Biden’s overseas travel — and apparently withheld information about trips to China, Russia and other countries, two leading Republican senators claim.

In a Tuesday letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) alleged the agency “hid names and other information contained in email conversations regarding Hunter Biden without any proper legal justification.”

The senators specifically noted that documents turned over at their request “do not show whether [Secret Service] personnel or Hunter Biden traveled to Kazakhstan in May or June 2014” during a trip to Paris.

Biden — whose father, President Biden, was vice president at the time — decided to ditch his Secret Service bodyguards before flying to Kazakhstan to pursue a deal on behalf of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, the Washington Examiner reported last year.

Source: GOP senators claim secret service ‘hid’ Hunter Biden travel info

Voting bill collapses, Democrats unable to change filibuster

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting legislation that Democrats and civil rights leaders say is vital to protecting democracy collapsed when two senators refused to join their own party in changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster after a raw, emotional debate.

The outcome Wednesday night was a stinging defeat for President Joe Biden and his party, coming at the tumultuous close to his first year in office.

Despite a day of piercing debate and speeches that often carried echoes of an earlier era when the Senate filibuster was deployed by opponents of civil rights legislation, Democrats could not persuade holdout senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia to change the Senate procedures on this one bill and allow a simple majority to advance it.

Source: Voting bill collapses, Democrats unable to change filibuster

Biden defensive in rare solo news conference ahead of 1-year mark in office – ABC News

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, President Joe Biden held a formal news conference at the White House Wednesday, fielding reporter questions on his handling of the pandemic, the economy and his legislative agenda, characterizing the country as unified — but not as much as it could be — and raising eyebrows by saying Russia was likely to invade Ukraine.

“It’s been a year of challenges, but it’s also many years of enormous progress,” Biden said to begin, ticking through his administration’s successes before fielding questions from reporters.

With Biden facing the limits of what he can accomplish with an evenly-divided Senate, unable to get either his signature social spending package or major voting rights reform through Congress in recent weeks, and with the pandemic still raging well into its second, his approval rating in polls has hit an all-time low. A Jan. 12 Quinnipiac poll found his approval rating to be 33%, a 3-point drop from November.

“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes,” Biden said in his opening remarks. “But we’re doing more now. We’ve gone from zero at-home tests a year ago to 375 million tests on the market just this month.”

He said the bottom line on COVID-19 is the country is “in a better place than we’ve been and have been thus far” and reiterated his position not to go back to lockdowns and school closures.

“Some people may call what’s happening now a new normal. I call it a job not yet finished,” Biden said with confidence. “We’re moving toward a time that COVID-19 won’t disrupt our daily lives or COVID-19 won’t be a crisis, but something to protect against and a threat. Look, we’re not there yet. We will get there.”

Source: Biden defensive in rare solo news conference ahead of 1-year mark in office – ABC News

Democrats Fail in Push to Change Senate Filibuster, Sinking Elections Bill

WASHINGTON—Democrats failed in their effort to change the Senate’s filibuster procedures to muscle through blocked elections legislation, dealing a setback to President Biden and party leaders on what they have termed their top domestic policy priority.

With Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona siding with all Republicans in the evenly split Senate, 52 lawmakers opposed the rule change, while 48 were in favor, shy of the majority required.

The Democrats’ gambit was a last-ditch effort to salvage a sweeping elections bill that unified the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party. Earlier, Republicans had blocked the elections bill from advancing, with 49 votes in support and 51 against, short of the 60 needed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) voted “no” to preserve the right to bring the bill back up for a vote.

Democrats had made the elections bill and changes to the filibuster two parts of a single campaign, arguing that Republicans are trampling on voting rights, particularly for lower income and minority voters, by tolerating restrictive new state laws and then using Senate procedures to stop Congress from intervening.

Urging passage of the bill and a change to the filibuster if needed, Mr. Schumer asked: “Are we going to let our democracy backslide in the 21st century? Are we going to be dragged back into the abyss of voter suppression?”

Source: Democrats Fail in Push to Change Senate Filibuster, Sinking Elections Bill

Pittsburgh named possible location for 2024 GOP national convention | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh has been named as a possible location for the 2024 GOP national convention, according to Politico.

The Republican National Committee has narrowed its search for a convention location down to four cities, including Milwaukee, Nashville and Salt Lake City.

Politico reported that party officials are planning to visit each city in the coming months before making a final decision in the spring.

Should the party choose Pittsburgh, it would be the first time the city has ever hosted a modern national party convention, either Democrat and Republican.

Source: Pittsburgh named possible location for 2024 GOP national convention | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Chicago parents sue teachers union over canceled classes

A group of Chicago parents is suing the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) after teachers refused to return to in-person instruction due to COVID-19 concerns and school officials canceled classes entirely.

Attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center, representing a group of Chicago parents, filed a lawsuit Thursday night to end the union’s “illegal strike.”

Seventy-three percent of teachers in the union voted on Tuesday not to return to the classroom, alleging the city has not done enough to ensure they are protected against the coronavirus as cases spike in the state.

Source: Chicago parents sue teachers union over canceled classes

Jan. 6 protester claims in federal lawsuit that D.C. police beat her | Just The News

Victoria White filed a federal lawsuit against the Washington, D.C., police department claiming assault, battery and excessive force after officers allegedly beat her in the West Terrace tunnel of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.White claims she was hit by officers about 40 times in the head and face over the course of four minutes.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and initially sought $1 million in damages, The Epoch Times reports.

Her attorney Joseph McBride points to three hours of surveillance footage from Jan. 6 released last month that allegedly shows White was pushed into the tunnel after she told the crowd not to enter the Capitol. Video reportedly shows White being hit by officers with batons and fists about 40 times over four minutes.

Epoch reports that McBride said he believes a Metro D.C. police supervisor is the officer in a white shirt on video was particularly violent and targeted White’s head and face with a steel baton and punches. The officer is labeled in the lawsuit as Officer John Doe 1.

The lawsuit seeks damages from D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and seven officers “with a dollar amount significantly higher than the preliminary ask of one million dollars,” McBride said. The suit alleges “unreasonable seizure/excessive force and violations of Due Process” and claims including negligence, assault, battery, and emotional distress.

Source: Jan. 6 protester claims in federal lawsuit that D.C. police beat her | Just The News

Supreme Court poised to decide limits of Biden vaccine mandates for businesses, health care workers | Fox News

The Supreme Court will hold a high-stakes public session Friday to decide whether the U.S. government can begin enforcing sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

With the Biden administration citing a “grave danger” to public health caused by unvaccinated Americans, the Supreme Court will hold a fast-tracked, high-stakes public session Friday to decide whether the U.S. government can begin enforcing sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements affecting nearly 100 million workers.

The justices will hear separate oral arguments over federal vaccine and testing rules for larger businesses and vaccine mandates for health care workers at facilities receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding. Enforcement of the policies – announced in November – has been put on holding pending resolution in the high court. Written rulings could come within a matter of days.

Source: Supreme Court poised to decide limits of Biden vaccine mandates for businesses, health care workers | Fox News

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