Salem Radio Network News Sunday, May 9, 2021

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Bernie Bennett

Reporting from Capitol Hill, Bernie Bennett has updates on what’s going on in the House.

Biden Administration to Reunite Families Separated a the Border

Mon, May 3, 2021 at 6:39 pm

The Biden administration said Monday that four families that were separated at the Mexico border during Donald Trump’s presidency will be reunited in the United States this week in what Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas calls “just the beginning” of a broader effort.

Two of the four families include mothers who were separated from their children in late 2017, one Honduran and another Mexican, Mayorkas said, declining to detail their identities. He described them as children who were 3 years old at the time and “teenagers who have had to live without their parent during their most formative years.”

Parents will return to the United States on humanitarian parole while authorities consider other longer-term forms of legal status.

The average stay for an unaccompanied child in Border Patrol custody has plummeted to about 20 hours, below the legal limit of 72 hours and down from 133 hours in late March.

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Florida Governor Lifts COVID Restrictions

Mon, May 3, 2021 at 6:19 pm

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended all of the state’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions through an executive order Monday, calling it “the evidence-based thing to do” while citing the availability of vaccines.

The Florida governor declared the suspension of restrictions at a press conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he signed a bill passed by the legislature last week that allows the governor to overrule local emergency orders starting July 1.

DeSantis also signed a separate executive order removing all local orders July 1, but he said his executive order outlawing COVID-19 emergency orders immediately served to “bridge the gap” between now and July 1.

Florida has stayed under a state of emergency since March 2020, and last week, DeSantis extended the state of emergency for an additional 60 days.

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Vaccine Hesitancy in Congress

Mon, May 3, 2021 at 6:17 pm

Vaccine hesitancy among lawmakers slows a return to normalcy on Capitol Hill.

 

Several Republican members who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19 say they feel no need to be vaccinated now, since the antibodies are in their systems.

Lawmakers, like the rest of the country, are all eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. But President Biden’s speech to Congress last week looked like he was addressing a group that hadn’t gotten a single shot.

With a crowd a fraction of its usual size the speech underscored how life on Capitol Hill has been slow to return to normal and how difficult it is to persuade holdouts to get immunized.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi estimated a day after the address that about 75 percent of House members have been vaccinated, a figure unchanged since March.

Until more members get vaccinated, Pelosi said, the House won’t return to pre-pandemic operations.

Several Republican members who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19 say they feel no need to be vaccinated now, since the antibodies are in their systems.

 

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Caitlyn Jenner Says No Boys in Girls Competition

Mon, May 3, 2021 at 6:11 pm

California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner (R) said Saturday that she does not support trans girls competing on the sports team that corresponds with their gender identity, saying that it would not be “fair.”

During an interview with TMZ, the Olympian and reality television star said, “This is a question of fairness. That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school.”

She added, “It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”

When asked a follow-up question about whether banning trans women and girls from their respective sports teams would de-legitimize their identity, Jenner avoided answering.

Her comments come as a slew of state legislatures debate the issue of trans youth in sports.

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Romney Booed in Utah

Mon, May 3, 2021 at 6:08 pm

Sen. Mitt Romney was booed on Saturday at the beginning of his speech at the Utah Republican Party’s organizing convention.

Video of the speech published by The Salt Lake Tribune captured the crowd cheering loudly just as he asks the crowd what they felt about President Biden’s first 100 days in office.

While some attendees are seen standing and applauding, loud boos can also be heard.

The boos became louder after Romney, a frequent critic of former President Trump suggested that he wasn’t a fan of Mr. Trump’s “character issues.”

During the convention, the Utah GOP narrowly voted against a resolution to censure Romney, according to a vote tally published by KUTV News reporter Michael Locklear.

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) Says “America is not Racist”

Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 12:22 am

The only Black Republican in the Senate says race is too important an issue to be used as a political football.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has used the Republican response to President Biden’s address to Congress to vow that “America is not a racist country.”

Sen. Scott seized on Mr. Biden’s calls that passage of major police reform could help stamp out institutional racism nationwide. He’s the lead GOP negotiator as the two parties seek an accord on legislation overhauling police procedures.

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Maryland Governor Lifts Mask Restrictions

Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 12:20 am

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan today (Wednesday) announced that face masks will no longer be required outdoors and dining restrictions will be lifted.

Holding a press conference on the state’s response to COVID-19, Hogan shared the new updates of the mask mandate based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and advice of leading public health experts. Hogan said starting May 1 all restrictions for outdoor dining will be lifted, which includes standing services outdoors in bars and restaurants.

But seated service and physical distancing requirements will remain in place indoors at bars and restaurants.

This comes as Maryland is already ramping up its vaccination rate with more than 4.5 million vaccines having been administered and 60 percent of Marylanders over the age of 18 being vaccinated.

The state’s COVID-19 cases have dropped 33 percent in the last two weeks with the positivity rate dropping to 3.89 percent, as well.

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Sen. McConnell Previews President Biden’s Address

Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 12:13 am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pronounced President Biden’s first 100 days a massive disappointment and accused the president of breaking his campaign promise to bring the nation together in the wake of a tumultuous 2020.

Sen. McConnell ticked through what has become a familiar list of Republican grievances with Mr. Biden: his decision to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline; passage of the $1.9 trillion American Spending Plan without any Republican votes; introduction of H.R. 1, a Democratic proposal to overhaul the nation’s election laws; the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan; and his handling of the migrant surge at the southern border.

McConnell said Democrats seem to be racing to pass as many of their large and expensive policy priorities before losing control of the House or Senate in 2022.

 

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Some Mexican counties refused vaccination teams

Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 9:27 am

Mexican health authorities say 14 of the country’s roughly 2,600 townships have refused to allow vaccination teams to administer anti-coronavirus vaccines there

VERBATIM:

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said Friday the townships were concentrated largely in the heavily indigenous states of Chiapas (CHEE-ah-pahs) and Oaxaca (OH-ah-ZAH-kah). He did not give specific reasons why those communities did not want to be vaccinated, citing only “cultural and perhaps religious beliefs.” He said the decisions had been made by town councils, and said authorities are trying to set up a scheme in which people who wanted vaccines could get them in a neighboring township.

 

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Ontario, Canada enacts new restrictions amid surge of COVID cases

Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 9:26 am

The premier of Canada’s most populous province says he will be limiting outdoor gatherings to those in the same household and will close playgrounds and golf courses amid a record wave of coronavirus infections fueled by variants

VERBATIM:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says those who live alone will be able to meet someone from another household outside. Police have been given the power to write tickets. Interprovincial travel will also be limited. Ford blamed a lack of vaccines but made no mention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that Pfizer is doubling the amount of vaccines to Canada over the next month and getting millions more in May and June.

 

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Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1st

Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 9:24 am

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1st

VERBATIM:

He made the announcement Friday, as he unveiled plans aimed at bolstering Alaska’s pandemic-battered tourist industry. Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.” Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after COVID-19 restrictions kept them away last year.

 

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Mother of Boy Shot at Maryland Police Barracks Speaks Out

Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 2:34 pm

The mother of a 16-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a Maryland State Police trooper says her son was “an awesome young man.”

On Wednesday, Kristee Boyle provided a family statement that says her son, Peyton Ham, was an honor student who loved spirited political debates at the family dinner table. The State Police superintendent said a trooper responding to a pair of 911 calls fatally shot Ham outside a home in the Southern Maryland city of Leonardtown. Investigators determined that Ham had an airsoft gun and a knife in his possession and pointed the replica toy gun at the trooper before he was shot.

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No Charges for Officer Who Shot Woman During January 6th U.S. Capitol Attack

Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 2:31 pm

Federal prosecutors won’t charge a police officer who shot and killed a woman as she climbed through the broken part of a door during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Authorities had considered for months whether criminal charges were appropriate for the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego.

The Justice Department’s decision officially closes out the investigation. Prosecutors said they had reviewed video of the incident, along with statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses, examined physical evidence from the scene and reviewed the autopsy results. The officer was not charged.

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House Committee Approves Floor Debate on Reparations

Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 2:25 pm

Legislation that would create a federal exploratory commission on reparations for Black Americans was approved Wednesday by a House committee for the first time.

It was a day of many firsts for the longstanding bill known as H.R. 40, as it had previously never received a markup or a committee vote. Democrats passed the bill without any GOP support after engaging in partisan bickering over who was responsible for slavery.

Democrats said the measure is needed to rectify modern-day disparities in pay, health care, education and housing that negatively impact the African American community. Republicans spoke in opposition to the legislation, including Burgess Owens, a Utah Republican and an African American, who says the bill would divide the nation. Rep. Tom McClintock, a California Republican, said, “You say this is healing. It is precisely the opposite.”

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GOP Rep. Kevin Brady Won’t Seek Reelection

Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 2:22 pm

Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection next year after serving since 1997.

Brady is term-limited in his role as the top Republican on the powerful panel with jurisdiction over the tax code, meaning he wouldn’t be able to keep the position in the next session of Congress. He previously served as the committee’s chairman from 2015 to 2019, including while Republicans enacted their 2017 tax overhaul under former President Trump. Brady said during remarks before the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference, “This term, my 13th, will be the last.”

He acknowledged that the House GOP’s internal rule limiting members to six consecutive years of committee leadership at a time played a role in his decision to retire. Brady’s district outside Houston is a GOP stronghold and is not expected to become competitive for Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.

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Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border czar, will step down from her post at the end of the month in a surprising move but one the administration said was pre-planned

Sun, Apr 11, 2021 at 11:13 am

Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border czar, will step down from her post at the end of the month in a surprising move but one the administration said was pre-planned

VERBATIM:
Jacobson, who was U.S. ambassador to Mexico under former President Obama, agreed to join the administration as a border coordinator for President Biden’s first 100 days in office, a period ending later this month.

But her exit comes as the administration grapples with historic levels of attempted border crossings and as the White House names new personnel, like Vice President Harris, to respond to the border surge.”

Congressional Republicans have criticized the Administration for not recognizing the border crossings as a national crisis.

Bernie Bennett in Washington.

 

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Biden’s Border Czar Quits

Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 1:08 am

Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border czar, will step down from her post at the end of the month in a surprising move but one the administration said was pre-planned.

Jacobson, who was U.S. ambassador to Mexico under former President Obama, agreed to join the administration as a border coordinator for President Biden’s first 100 days in office, a period ending later this month.

But her exit comes as the administration grapples with historic levels of attempted border crossings and as the White House names new personnel, like Vice President Harris, to respond to the border surge.”

Congressional Republicans have criticized the Administration for not recognizing the border crossings as a national crisis.

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McConnell on Biden’s Call for a Supreme Court Study

Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 1:05 am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans hammered President Biden’s executive order establishing a commission to study whether to add seats to the Supreme Court.

McConnell said in a statement the order and growing calls from liberals to expand the high court marked “open disdain for judicial independence” and that Mr. Biden’s action marked a “direct assault” on the judiciary.

McConnell also said, “Rational observers know well there is nothing about the structure or operation of the judicial branch that requires ‘study’.”

The Senator added, “This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberals’ years-long campaign to politicize the Court, intimidate its members, and subvert its independence.”

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President Trump Meets with GOP Party Donors

Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 1:02 am

The Republican Party is bringing hundreds of donors and several presidential prospects to the former president’s doorstep in south Florida this weekend.

The location of the invitation-only gathering suggests that the GOP is unwilling or unable to replace Former President Trump as its undisputed leader and chief fundraiser. Mr. Trump himself will headline the closed-door donor retreat, which is designed to raise millions of dollars for the GOP’s political arm while giving donors exclusive access to the party’s early 2024 prospects and congressional leaders. The former President’s Republican critics were not invited.

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President Biden Orders a Study on Restructuring the Supreme Court

Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 1:00 am

President Biden has ordered a study on overhauling the Supreme Court, creating a bipartisan commission Friday that will spend the next six months examining issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for justices, among other issues.

The study will focus on adding seats to the Supreme Court, creating a commission that will spend the next 180 days examining the incendiary political issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for its justices.

In launching the review, Mr. Biden fulfilled a campaign promise that came amid pressure from activists and Democrats to reshape the Supreme Court after its composition moved sharply to the right during President Trump’s term. Mr. Trump added three justices to the high court, including conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before last year’s presidential election.

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House Ethics Committee Investigates Rep. Gaetz

Sat, Apr 10, 2021 at 12:58 am

The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation of Florida congressman Matt Gaetz.

The committee cited reports of sexual and other misconduct by the Florida Republican in a statement Friday. The news comes as Gaetz has retained two prominent New York attorneys as he faces a Justice Department investigation. A Gaetz spokesperson said in a statement Friday that Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner will lead the Republican congressman’s legal team. The statement says Gaetz will “fight back against the unfounded allegations against him.” Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

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President Biden Says Infrastructure Bill Will Help Contain China’s Growth

Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Pushing for trillions of dollars in spending, President Biden and Democratic lawmakers are directing Americans’ eyes to the rear-view mirror, pointing to a booming, ambitious China they say is threatening to quickly overtake the United States in global clout and capacity.

It’s a national security pitch for a domestic spending program: that the $2 trillion proposal for investments in U.S. transport and energy, manufacturing, internet and other sectors will make the United States more competitive in the face of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s massive infrastructure-building campaign.

That pitch hasn’t won over Republicans. They say his proposal has been loaded down with unnecessary spending projects and that raising taxes will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans could support a “much more modest” approach, one that doesn’t rely on corporate tax hikes to pay for it.

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China Cautions Japan

Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm

China’s foreign minister has cautioned Japan against teaming up with the U.S. to counter China, ahead of a U.S.-Japan summit next week.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said that Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that their two countries should ensure that bilateral relations “do not get involved in the so-called confrontation between major countries.”

Japan, a close U.S. ally, shares U.S. concerns about China’s military buildup and claims to territory in the South and East China Seas.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga travels to Washington to meet President Biden on April 16 in the U.S. leader’s first in-person summit since taking office in January.

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FL Rep. Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign

Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Congressman Matt Gaetz said Monday he will not leave Congress, suggesting that accusations against him stem from political foes angry that he “loathes the swamp.”

The Florida Republican, starting his fifth year in Congress, has been battling to preserve his political career since reports last week that he is under federal investigation for possible sex crimes. In a column in the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, Gaetz predicted that “some of my feckless colleagues in Congress” will call for him to step down.

he wrote Monday, “No, I am absolutely not resigning.”

A high-profile ally of Former President Trump, Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and denied the accusations Monday.

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Editorial Cartoons

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Bob Gorrell
Wed, Apr 28, 2021

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