Tag Archives: Unveil

Democrats unveil $3.5T go-it-alone plan to fulfill Biden’s agenda

Senate Democrats announced a top line budget number late Tuesday that will propel their plan to enact the full array of President Joe Biden’s social welfare and family aid promises without Republican votes.

The proposal sets an overall limit of $ 3.5 trillion for the spate of Democratic policy ambitions that won’t make it into a bipartisan infrastructure deal, if Congress can reach one. If the still-forthcoming budget resolution can clear both chambers with lockstep party support, it will unleash the power to circumvent a GOP filibuster using the so-called reconciliation process, the same move that Democrats used to pass the president’s $ 1.9 trillion pandemic aid package in March.

Combined with a bipartisan infrastructure compromise that’s still getting shaped into legislation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the budget’s investments in infrastructure, the middle class and more would total about $ 4.1 trillion, “which is very, very close to what President Biden asked us for.” Biden will also attend Democrats’ lunch on Wednesday to discuss the plans, Schumer said.

“We are very proud of this plan,” Schumer said. “We know we have a long road to go … If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations.”

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee reached agreement on the overall total for their party-lines spending plan during their second meeting this week with Schumer and White House officials in the Capitol. Their next step is ensuring all 50 Democratic caucus members can support the $ 3.5 trillion figure, said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the budget panel.

“The goal is for the Budget Committee to all be on the same page and then sell it to the caucus,” he said. “Once the Budget Committee is on the same page, numbers will start to come out. But we still have a little ways to go to get there.”

The budget resolution will require backing from every Democrat to make it through the upper chamber and officially kick off reconciliation, which will formally instruct various committees to turn the president’s priorities into legislative text. Progressives like Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had pushed for a top line as high as $ 6 trillion, while centrists have endorsed a smaller figure that doesn’t rely on deficit financing.

Despite getting trillions less than his original ask, Sanders said the agreement on $ 3.5 trillion is a “big deal” when it comes to “transforming our infrastructure.” The budget plan is set to expand Medicare to cover vision, dental and hearing for seniors — a major priority for Sanders.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), both moderates, said earlier Tuesday that they’ll need time to sort through the plan compiled by the Budget Committee.

“We need to pay for it,” Manchin said. “I’d like to pay for all of it. I don’t think we need more debt.”

Before an agreement was reached, Kaine and fellow Budget panel member Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) didn’t dismiss Manchin’s financing demand outright.

“There are many ways to get there,” Van Hollen said. “Certainly, it’s important that everyone who says it needs to be paid for also identifies ways to pay for what needs to be done.”

Democrats’ massive party-line package is expected to include policies like Biden’s proposal for two years of free community college, paid leave, health care subsidies, extending the boosted child tax credit and helping families cover child care costs.

Schumer has said he hopes to adopt the budget resolution on the floor in the next few weeks. That vote will be “the first step” toward passing the “remaining elements” of Biden’s social and economic plans without Republican support, the leader told Democratic senators in a letter this month, warning of “the possibility of working long nights, weekends, and remaining in Washington into the previously-scheduled August state work period.”

Meanwhile, negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would require support from at least 10 Senate Republicans, are starting to get shaky amid GOP concerns over spending and ways to finance the legislation.

Embarking again on a reconciliation bill will be arduous and painful for Democratic lawmakers. The process involves enduring two more vote-a-rama sessions in the Senate, each of which will allow Republicans to fire off a barrage of politically tricky amendments.

The Senate parliamentarian, who serves as the chamber’s nonpartisan procedural enforcer, is also expected to shoot down parts of the proposal that are found to be out of bounds under the special budget process.

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William, Harry to unveil Diana statue as royal rift simmers

Royal watchers will be looking closely for any signs of a truce — or deepening rift — on Thursday when William and Harry unveil a statue of their mother.

LONDON, UK — They were once so close.

Princes William and Harry grew up together, supported each other after their mother’s untimely death and worked side by side as they began their royal duties — two brothers seemingly bonded for life by blood, tradition and tragedy.

But those links are now painfully strained as William sits in London defending the royal family from allegations of racism and insensitivity made by Harry and his wife, Meghan, from their new home in Southern California.

Royal watchers will be looking closely for any signs of a truce — or deepening rift — on Thursday when William and Harry unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. The event in the Sunken Garden at London’s Kensington Palace will be their second public meeting since Harry and Meghan stepped away from royal duties over a year ago.

People shouldn’t expect a quick resolution of the conflict because the two men are fighting over core beliefs, says Robert Lacey, a historian and author of “Battle of Brothers: William, Harry and the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult.’’ William is defending the monarchy, and Harry is defending his wife.

“It’s a matter of love versus duty, with William standing for duty and the concept of the monarchy as he sees it,” Lacey said. “And then from Harry’s point of view, love, loyalty to his wife. He is standing by her. These are very deeply rooted differences, so it would be facile to think that there can just be a click of the fingers.”

But finding some sort of rapprochement between the princes is crucial to the monarchy as Britain’s royal family seeks to appeal to a younger generation and a more diverse population.

When Harry married Meghan just over three years ago, it seemed as if they would be central figures in that next chapter of the royal story.

The Fab Four — William and his wife, Kate, together with Harry and Meghan — were seen as a cadre of youth and vigor that would take the monarchy forward after the tumultuous 1990s and early 2000s, when divorce, Princess Diana’s death, and Prince Charles’ controversial second marriage to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, cast doubt on the future of the institution.

Meghan, a biracial former TV star from Los Angeles, was expected to be an important part of that effort, with Black and Asian commentators saying that for the first time there was a member of the royal family who looked like them.

But the words “Fab Four” were quickly replaced in tabloid headlines by “Royal Rift.”

First, their joint royal office was dissolved. Then, Harry stepped away from royal duties and moved his family to North America in search of a more peaceful life. William pressed on with royal tasks, including goodwill events like accompanying his grandmother to Scotland this week to tour a soft drink factory.

The relationship was further strained in March when Harry and Meghan gave an interview to U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Harry confirmed rumors that he and his brother had been growing apart, saying “the relationship is ‘space’ at the moment” — though he added that “time heals all things, hopefully.” Harry also told Winfrey that his father, Prince Charles, didn’t accept his calls for a time.

And then came the real shocker. The couple revealed that before the birth of their first child, an unidentified member of the royal family had expressed concern about how dark his skin might be. Days after the broadcast, William responded, telling reporters that his was “very much not a racist family.”

But whatever their disagreements, out of respect for their mother, William and Harry won’t put their differences on display during the statue ceremony, said historian Ed Owens, author of “The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public 1932-1953,” which examines the royal family’s public relations strategy.

“We’re not going to see any acrimony or animosity between the brothers on Thursday,’’ Owens said. “I think reconciliation is a long way off, but nevertheless these are expert performers. Harry and William have been doing this job for long enough now that they know that they’ve got to put, if you like, occasional private grievances … aside for the sake of getting on with the job.”

Lacey believes William and Harry will ultimately reconcile because it is in both of their interests to do so.

Harry and Meghan need to repair relations to protect the aura of royalty that has allowed them to sign the lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify that are funding their life in California, Lacey said. If they don’t, they risk becoming irrelevant like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who were shunned by the royal family after the duke gave up the throne in the 1930s to marry an American divorcee. His brother, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, then became king.

“It’s very appealing, particularly in America, the idea that they rebelled against this stuffy old British institution,” Lacey said. “But there’s a point they can’t go too far, and they’re approaching that point.’’

“On William’s side, it is impossible to go on ostracizing, boycotting the only members of the royal family who are of mixed race in a multiracial world of diversity,” he added.

The critical moment may be next year, when the queen celebrates her platinum jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne.

Under normal circumstances for these big occasions, the queen would want the whole family together on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where the royals have traditionally gathered to wave to the public.

“Who’s going to be on the balcony at Buckingham Palace?” Lacey asked. “That family grouping has surely got to include Meghan and Harry and their two children, Archie and Lili, alongside their cousins, the children of William and Kate.’’

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Author: DANICA KIRKA Associated Press
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Princes William, Harry unveil Princess Diana’s statue

The brothers unveiled the statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

LONDON, UK — Princes William and Harry unveiled a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday Thursday in a small — and brief — ceremony at London’s Kensington Palace.

Diana’s family joined the two brothers for the ceremony at the palace’s Sunken Garden, a place in which the princess once found solace. It was the first time the brothers have appeared in public together since the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip.

The brothers later issued a joint statement in which they described their mother’s strength and character as “qualities that made her a force for good around the world.”

“Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy,” they said.

RELATED: William, Harry to unveil Diana statue as royal rift simmers

RELATED: Diana legacy lingers as fans mark late royal’s 60th birthday

Below is the full statement:

“Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better. 

Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.

Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who keep our mother’s memory alive.”

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Author: Associated Press
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

Biden to Unveil Plan to Build Black Wealth During Tulsa Visit

President Biden on Tuesday will announce several initiatives to reduce racial disparities, including a pledge to boost federal contracts to minority-owned businesses by 50 percent and a rollback of two Trump-era actions that have hamstrung fair housing laws.

Mr. Biden, who was scheduled to appear in Tulsa, Okla., to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre of Black citizens at the hands of a white mob, has aimed many of his recent policy moves at bolstering the Black middle class.

His choice of a city whose vibrant business district was decimated by racial violence was seen as a fitting backdrop to emphasize his commitment to erasing the wealth gap between races, a key campaign promise, White House officials said.

The administration will seek to increase the percentage of contracts to small businesses in underserved communities, a commitment that could mean an additional $ 100 billion for businesses designated as “disadvantaged” by the federal government.

The average Black family has one-tenth of the assets that a comparable white family possesses, and the administration is seeking to fortify the main source of wealth for Black households: homeownership.

Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge will oversee the creation of a task force that will propose solutions to racial discrimination in the appraisal of housing in Black neighborhoods, part of a separate-but-unequal system of segregated homeownership that has grown out of discriminatory housing laws and racist lending policies.

On Friday, Ms. Fudge announced a $ 100 million initiative intended to spur Black homeownership in areas historically off-limits to minorities because of biased zoning laws or discrimination by banks. The program will boost down payments for recipients of Federal Housing Administration loans, giving borrowers equity comparable to that of their more affluent neighbors.

In addition, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will issue two Fair Housing Act rules that reverse efforts by the Trump administration to weaken protections.

Under the proposed White House budget released last week, the department’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity division’s staff will increase about 20 percent. Ms. Fudge has already said she also intends to enforce an Obama-era program intended to desegregate the suburbs.

“Because disparities in wealth compound like an interest rate, the disinvestment in Black families in Tulsa and across the country throughout our history is still felt sharply today,” a statement posted on the White House website said. “The median Black American family has thirteen cents for every one dollar in wealth held by White families.”

Author: Glenn Thrush
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News