Day 778: "No blank checks."
1/ Biden’s budget blueprint aims to cut federal budget deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade. As part of the budget, Biden wants to increase the Medicare payroll tax on people making more than $400,000 per year, as well as impose a tax on households worth more than $100 million. Biden will release his fiscal 2024 budget plan tomorrow and has faced pressure to cut spending by House Republicans, who have refused to raise the nation’s debt limit – setting up the risk of a national default. House Republicans, however, have yet to offer a blueprint to balance the federal budget, but nevertheless are reportedly planning to pursue cuts to the foreign aid budget, as well as health care, food assistance, and housing programs for poor Americans. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN)
2/ The White House condemned Tucker Carlson for his false narrative that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a largely peaceful event, calling his depiction of the “unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution” both “shameful” and “false.” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates added: “We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: that Tucker Carlson is not credible.” Bates was referencing revelations from the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News, which led to the disclosure that a senior vice president at Fox News testified in his deposition that he did not consider Carlson’s show to be a “credible source of news.” (Politico / New York Times / The Hill)
3/ Tucker Carlson claimed that he “passionately” hated Trump, according to documents released from the $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems. On Jan. 4, 2021, Carlson texted an unnamed Fox co-worker: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” adding: “I hate him passionately […] I can’t handle much more of this.” Carlson continued: “What he’s good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.” (NBC News / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ Kevin McCarthy rejected President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s invitation to visit Ukraine. Although there is widespread bipartisan support for Ukraine in Congress, some House Republicans have called for an end to further military and financial aid to the country. “Let’s be very clear about what I said: no blank checks, OK? So, from that perspective, I don’t have to go to Ukraine to understand where there’s a blank check or not,” McCarthy said when informed about the invitation. “I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it. And my point has always been, I won’t provide a blank check for anything.” The Pentagon, meanwhile, blocked the Biden administration from sharing American intelligence with the International Criminal Court in The Hague about Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Military leaders said they feared setting a precedent that might be used to prosecute Americans. The evidence reportedly includes material about Russia’s decisions to deliberately target civilian infrastructure and to abduct thousands of Ukrainian children. (Politico / CNN / New York Times)
5/ A bipartisan group of 12 senators introduced a bill that could be used to ban TikTok. While the RESTRICT Act isn’t aimed just at TikTok, it would give the federal government the ability to restrict or ban technologies from China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela – nations deemed to be U.S. adversaries. The Commerce Department would be tasked with reviewing, identifying, and mitigating perceived risks from technology produced by companies with ties to foreign adversaries that poses “undue or unacceptable risk” to U.S. national security. (CNBC / Politico / NBC News / CNN)
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