Day 125: "We have to be ready."
1/ Biden doubled FEMA’s budget for extreme weather preparation ahead of hurricane and wildfire season, saying “We’re going to spare no expense, no effort, to keep Americans safe and respond to crises when they arise.” The $1 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program will help communities prepare for hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. The U.S., however, logged 22 separate weather and climate-related disasters in 2020 that each exceeded $1 billion in damages. The administration will also start a new NASA initiative to develop “next generation climate data systems” to track the impact of climate change. “We all know that the storms are coming, and we’re going to be prepared,” Biden added. “We have to be ready.” (CNN / Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times)
2/ The Biden administration extended special protections for Haitians temporarily living in the U.S. after they were displaced by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010. The temporary protected status designation will be in place for 18 months and could protect as many as 150,000 Haitians already living in the U.S. In 2017, the Trump administration ended temporary protected status for nearly 60,000 Haitians, forcing them to leave the U.S. And, in a meeting on immigration in 2017, Trump said Haitians “all have AIDS” and questioned why the U.S. would admit people from “shithole countries” like Haiti after lawmakers floated the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti as part of a bipartisan immigration deal. (New York Times)
3/ More than 500 Biden campaign and Democratic Party staffers called on Biden to do more to protect Palestinian human rights and “hold Israel accountable for its actions.” The letter praises Biden for helping negotiate a ceasefire, which went into effect Friday, but called for him to acknowledge the “power imbalance” and the disproportionate number of deaths caused by Israeli forces compared with those caused by Palestinian militants. More than 230 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza before the ceasefire, destroying 1,500 housing and commercial units and displacing more than 75,000 people. 12 people in Israel were killed by Hamas rockets. (Washington Post / Axios)
4/ Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Belarus for faking a bomb threat in order to force down a Ryanair flight and arrest a dissident journalist. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sent a MiG-29 fighter jet to intercept a commercial plane flying through the country’s airspace and ordered the plane to land in the capital. No bomb was found on board and Belarus’s top investigative agency said it had opened a criminal case into a false bomb threat. “This shocking act,” Blinken said, “perpetrated by the Lukashenka regime endangered the lives of more than 120 passengers, including U.S. citizens. Initial reports suggesting the involvement of the Belarusian security services and the use of Belarusian military aircraft to escort the plane are deeply concerning and require full investigation.” The European Union, meanwhile, called on all E.U. airlines to avoid flying over Belarus and ban Belarusian airlines from flying over the bloc’s airspace or landing in its airports. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)
5/ The Trump administration secretly obtained the 2017 phone and email records of a CNN correspondent. The Justice Department informed Barbara Starr in May that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records last year for the two months between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017. It is unclear when the investigation was opened, and whether it happened under Jeff Sessions or William Barr. Starr was never the target of any investigation. In 2020, the Trump Justice Department also secretly obtained the phone records of three Washington Post reporters from 2017, who had covered the FBI’s Russia investigation. (CNN)
6/ Trump’s Commerce Department operated an intelligence-like agency to conduct criminal investigations into Americans’ social media posts, looking for comments critical about the administration and the census. Despite opening more than 1,000 cases, few resulted in arrests or criminal charges. The Investigations and Threat Management Service also searched employees’ offices at night and searched their emails looking for foreign influence. The Biden administration ordered ITMS to pause all criminal investigations in March, and in May suspended all activities. (Washington Post)
poll/ 58% of voters support using reconciliation to pass Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan together. 55% of voters believe Republicans should work with Biden to pass the two bills. (Data For Progress)
poll/ 53% of Republicans believe Trump is the actual President, not Biden. 87% of Republicans also believe the government should place new limits on voting to protect elections from alleged fraud. (Ipsos)
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