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Biden administration taking credit for Trump’s accomplishments on vaccine partnership

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Jen Psaki, the White House’s press secretary, was questioned on Tuesday about Biden’s administration taking acknowledgment for a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and Merck to increase production of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

In late February, The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was issued authorization for emergency use, after taking part in Trump admin’s Operation Warp Speed. On Tuesday, Psaki disclosed that the federal government would call on the Defense Production Act to support Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

“We wrote our first story at The New York Times about a possible partnership between Merck and [Johnson & Johnson] for manufacturing on Jan. 21,” a reporter said to Psaki at Tuesday’s press conference. “My understanding is that talks between those companies have been in the works ,could you help explain how it is that the Biden administration deserves credit for bringing these two together when it looks like the discussions had been under way before you guys got here?” the reporter asked.

Psaki answered that she was “talking about when [the partnership] was finalized so that we could move it forward.”

 “Of course, there are conversations between companies, but in terms of getting it to a point, and obviously the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was only approved last weekend, right?” she asked.

“But there’s a difference between conversations and it moving forward and the use of the Defense Production Act, which is something this president, and not the prior president, committed to invoking,” Psaki continued.

“Also, the commitment to help upgrade, help get the manufacturing facilities to the place where they needed to be in order to produce the vaccines. So I’m only conveying what got it across the finish line. And I think it’s clear that that has only happened relatively recently,” she added. 

Psaki said that Johnson & Johnson was far behind in manufacturing but that the Biden administration took necessary action so that “we will have more than enough doses to vaccinate the American people.”

On Tuesday, President Biden announced that every U.S. adult should be able to receive the vaccine by the end of May.

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Assault on The Second Amendment

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Biden stands behind House gun background check bills that would stiffen restrictions

The Biden administration stated Monday that they “look forward” to working with Congress to fortify the federal gun background check system and to implement “commonsense” steps to reduce gun violence, persuading for support of the House to pass two measures that would “close existing loopholes” in the system.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” the Office of Management and Budget had stated on Monday.

OMB claims that the federal gun background check system “is a proven tool to reduce gun violence and save lives.”

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and 131 joint sponsors this month brought in H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which would warrant a background check for every firearm sale.

The legislation would use the present-day background check process in the U.S. to “ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.”

And Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., and 91 cosponsors brought in the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, which would further fortify background check procedures before a federal firearms licensee may transfer a firearm to a person who is not a licensee.

The White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who last month called gun control a “priority” for the Biden administration.

Psaki claims gun control is “a priority to him on a personal level.”

The National Rifle Association recently pledged to resist any pressure from Biden: “It will be up to these millions of law-abiding gun owners, and millions of NRA members, to make their voices heard in opposition to any infringement upon their constitutional rights.”

Biden said, “Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”

“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change,” Biden said. “The time to act is now.”

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Manchin promises to block Biden infrastructure bill

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Manchin said he won’t pass Biden’s next legislative proposal using reconciliation if Republicans aren’t included

Senator Joe Manchin, a democrat, has pledged to block Biden’s infrastructure bill if it does not gain any support from any Republicans.

In an interview with Axios that aired Sunday, Manchin said he’ll insure GOP lawmakers have more of a voice on Biden’s next package. The previous package they did notwas the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that Democrats are passing via budget reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority.

“I’m not going to do it through reconciliation,” Manchin, D-W.Va., said. “I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them out completely before we start.”

Manchin, one of the most powerful members of the 50-50 Senate, said he believed that it would be possible to get 10 Republicans to support an infrastructure bill and reach the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster: “I sure do.”

President Biden is said to be laying the foundation down for another major economic relief package, with senior Democratic officials proposing as much as $3 trillion in new spending on a jobs and infrastructure bill that would become the foundation of Biden’s “Build Back Better” program, according to The Washington Post, citing three people familiar with the matter.

It’s uncertain what the measure would entail, but on the campaign trail, Biden emphasized the need for new infrastructure investments and measures to combat climate change, as well as ways to restore the manufacturing industry and revamp housing, education and health care.

The White House has refused to comment on what the next big legislative priority is.

The infrastructure proposal is sure to get a lot of criticism from Republicans, and possibly some moderate Democrats, who are worried about the excessive level of government spending.

The legislation would be in addition to the $1.9 trillion relief plan that congressional Democrats are set to pass by mid-March, as well as the nearly $4 trillion in stimulus measures under former President Donald Trump.

The nation’s deficit totaled a record $3.1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year, and the national debt is on course to hit $28 trillion.

Manchin said the infrastructure bill can be big, as long as it’s paid for with tax increases, including raising the corporate tax rate to 25% from 21% “at least” and repealing portions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans.

He said he would start by demanding that the package be 100% paid for. Otherwise, he said, the nation’s soaring debt could trigger “a tremendous deep recession that could lead into a depression if we’re not careful.”

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YouTube to possibly reinstate Trump

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once ‘risk of violence has decreased’

On Thursday, Youtube’s chief executive officer announced that the company plans to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s channel once an “elevated risk of violence” associated with him has ended.

The video-sharing platform, which is owned by Google, first issued a temporary suspension of the then-president’s account on Jan. 12, following the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Since then, his suspension has become permanent.

Now the YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is suggesting that Trump will be permitted to return to the platform once she and other company leaders asses that the risk level has decreased.

“We will lift the suspension of the Donald Trump channel when we determine the risk of violence has decreased,” she stated at an event that was hosted by the Atlantic Council, according to Politico.

YouTube will reportedly rely on a mix of indicators to determine the level of violence, including statements by government officials, law enforcement preparedness, and the presence of violent rhetoric on its own platform.

Wojcicki claims the recent warning from Capitol Police about a potential militia attack on the Capitol on March 4th, which caused the House to adjourn Wednesday, constituted what she called an “elevated risk of violence.”

“We will turn the account back on, but when we see reduced law enforcement in capitals in the U.S. and fewer [threat] warnings,” she said. “Those would be signals to us [that it is] safe to turn the channel back on.”

The statement from YouTube may appear to indicate the company is going to end its censorship of Trump, supporters shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet.

On Thursday, the day Wojcicki made the statement, YouTube deleted videos of Trump’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference from its platform and even suspended one popular channel, Right Side Broadcasting Network, that chose to post it.

These actions don’t exactly indicate that YouTube will be allowing Trump back on the platform. It could also mean they are planning to string the suspension along, and they have set up framework to do so.

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