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1/ Biden asked Congress for $33 billion in additional funding for military, economic, and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and “its fight for freedom.” The funding request includes more than $20 billion in military and security assistance, $2.6 billion to support the deployment of American troops and equipment to the region, and $1.9 billion for cybersecurity and intelligence support, as well as $8.5 billion in economic assistance for the Ukrainian government to provide basic economic support. “Investing in Ukraine’s freedom and security is a small price to pay to punish Russian aggression, to lessen the risk for future conflicts,” Biden said. The request is more than twice the size of the $13.6 billion package approved last month and intended to last until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. “The cost of failing to stand up to violent aggression in Europe has always been higher than the cost of standing firm against such attacks,” Biden said. “That is as it always has been, and as it always will be. America must meet this moment, and do its part.” The House, meanwhile, passed legislation allowing Biden to use a World War II-era law to quickly supply weapons to Ukraine on loan. (NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
2/ The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank for the first time since 2020. In the first three months of 2022, gross domestic product in the U.S. declined at a 1.4% annualized rate. Economic forecasts had projected growth of roughly 1%. Last year, the U.S. economy grew by 5.7% – the fastest pace since 1984. Biden blamed the contraction on “technical factors,” citing the Omicron wave of the coronavirus, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, companies with stockpiled inventories from 2021, and a jump in imports with a drop in exports. Consumer spending, however, grew at a 2.7% annual rate in the first quarter despite the Omicron wave, which limited spending on restaurants and travel in January. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the economy. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
3/ Senior Trump administration officials overruled Pentagon officials in 2020 to award a $700 million pandemic relief loan to a struggling trucking company. A report released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis describes career employees at the Defense Department concluding that the trucking company Yellow didn’t qualify for the pandemic loan program because it wasn’t critical to maintaining national security. Corporate lobbyists for Yellow, however, worked closely with Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to secure the loan anyway, with Esper certifying that the Yellow was “critical to maintaining national security.” Yellow lost more than $100 million in 2019 and was sued by the Justice Department over claims that it had defrauded the federal government for a seven-year period. Last month, Yellow agreed to pay $6.85 million to resolve allegations “that they knowingly presented false claims to the U.S. Department of Defense by systematically overcharging for freight carrier services and making false statements to hide their misconduct.” (New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill that would ban all abortions in the state and incentivizes private citizens to sue anyone who “performs or induces” or “aids or abets the performance” of an abortion. The “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act” prohibits abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy – before many women even know that they are pregnant – and would immediately cut off abortion access in the state. Oklahoma is the second state to pass a restrictive law modeled after Texas’ six-week abortion ban and the state has absorbed about half of all Texas patients who have been forced to leave their state for abortions. The bill already cleared the Oklahoma House in March and now goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it. (CNN / Washington Post / Axios / Axios)
5/ Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp banned the instruction of so-called “divisive concepts” pertaining to race and racism in the classroom. In all, Kemp signed seven education bills into law, including the “Protect Students First Act,” which defines “divisive concepts” as, among others, those that teach “the United States of America is fundamentally racist; an individual, by virtue of his or her race, is inherently or consciously racist or oppressive toward individuals of other races,” and “an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race, bears individual responsibility for actions committed in the past by other individuals of the same race.” The same measure also gives an athletic oversight committee the authority to exclude transgender children from playing high school sports. Also among the measures signed into law is a “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” that codifies the “fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education” of their children, and a measure that bans books deemed “harmful” from school libraries. (NBC News / CNN / Axios / Fox 5 / WSB-TV)
6/ Boeing has lost $1.1 billion so far on costs associated with Trump’s Air Force One contract. CEO David Calhoun said “Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken” the deal to modify two 747 jumbo jets to serve as Air Force One. The deal was negotiated by Calhoun’s predecessor after Trump publicly criticized the existing contract in 2016, tweeting “Cancel order!” Later, in 2018, Trump bragged that “Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that.” (CNBC / CNN)
7/ Trump claimed that he feared protesters throwing tomatoes, pineapples, and other “very dangerous” fruit could have killed him at campaign rallies. In a videotaped deposition Trump gave in October 2021 as part of a lawsuit filed by a group of protesters who allege they were assaulted by his security guards at a 2015 campaign rally, Trump insisted that fruit can be “very dangerous stuff […] you can get killed with those things.” He added that “tomatoes are bad” and that “some fruit is a lot worse.” Trump told the attorney for the plaintiffs that he expected his security guards to “knock the crap out” of anyone who was “about to throw a tomato” at a rally, framing the violence as “self-defense.” (Daily Beast / Axios / Washington Post / CNN)
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