#GoodMorningDC. Here's the world you are waking up to this Friday morning.
—The U.S. made airstrikes against an Iranian-back militia in Syria
—Republicans continue to cancel anyone in the party who speaks out against Trump
—Biden’s COVID relief bill will not include a $15 minimum wage
Good Morning DC!
Another day, another drama. Bombarding Syria? Well, that didn’t take long. Last night, the U.S. made precision airstrikes against an Iranian-backed militia in Syria, in response to a recent attack that killed a U.S. service member.
“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces...conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced last night. Specifically, Kirby added, “The strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kait’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kait’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).”
It has not even been 100 days, and the new president is already defining his presidency with military intervention.
In April 2017, Psaki asked the question ”what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.” Great question to ask the new president in 2021.
Biden bombed Belgarde in 1999 without the authorization of the UN Security Council and he came into the office with a track record of using military intervention instead of diplomacy. Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it.
“Trump’s erratic, impulsive actions are the last thing we need as Commander-in-Chief. No president should order a military strike without fully understanding the consequences. We don’t need another war in the Middle East, but Trump’s actions toward Iran only make that more likely,” Biden tweeted in 2019. What changed now that he is Commander-in-Chief? Does the President think America needs a new war in the Middle East?
Trump had a problem getting the House and the Senate to agree on $2000 stimulus checks, but Joe Biden has been two months in office, and the campaign promise that checks are coming is still the carrot on the long stick Americans hope for. Biden’s honeymoon is over, and America is in for the rude awakening.
There won’t be the $15 minimum wage after all. Late Thursday afternoon, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, the first woman to serve in the nonpartisan role, ruled against the increase in the minimum wage that was to be included in the Covid relief bill.
Question: Is help on the way?
“President Biden is disappointed in this outcome, as he proposed having the $15 minimum wage as part of the American Rescue Plan,” Psaki said. “He [Biden] respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process. He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full time and live in poverty,” she added.
Biden will now do all he can to make Congress pass the American Rescue Plan which includes $1400 checks for most Americans. In the campaign he said $2000, he did not say $1400 on top of Trump’s $600, which drives the point home about the need for precision in life and journalism.
The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. Three Republicans voted to pass the act along with the House Democrats. The act will allow for sweeping legislation protecting transgender rights. This bill is one of President Biden’s top priorities and he hopes to get it passed by the Senate within his first 100-days.
“Transgender rights are human rights — and the House made that clear today by passing the Equality Act,” President Biden said in a Tweet posted on Thursday. “Now it's time for the Senate to do the same.”
It’s Friday, but with CPAC heating up, fasten your seatbelts this weekend. On Thursday, Mitch McConnell went on record with Bret Baier that he will “absolutely” support Donald Trump as GOP nominee if he decides to run in 2024.
Side with Trump, or else, is the new motto of the Republicans. Representative Herrera Beutler got censured over Trump’s impeachment vote. Trump does not forget.
On Tuesday, members of Clark County in Washington pledged to withhold funds from Herrera Beutler’s future campaigns until she appears in-person during the group’s May meeting to “explain her action to this body,” The Columbian reported.
"The idea that a Republican would join with cancel culture is beyond wrong," said McCarthy on Fox News after Liz Cheney said Trump should have no role in the future of the Republican Party. Wait a minute, then why is Nick Haily absent for the keynote speakers line-up at CPAC?
If the Republican party does not believe in cancel culture, as the House Minority Leader McCarthy claims, they should stop canceling within their ranks.
Trump endorsed Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. “Strong on Military, Vets, the Border, and our Second Amendment, Jerry has my Complete and Total Endorsement for his re-election in 2022!”, stated Trump in a statement that sounds like a tweet.
Meanwhile at the State Department…
Secretary Blinken is making his first virtual visit as Secretary of State to Mexico and Canada today. He will meet individually with Mexican Government officials to discuss the bilateral trade relationship, shared security challenges, regional migration, climate change, and other issues of mutual interest. In (remote) Canada, he will meet with Prime Minister Trudeau and a few of his cabinet officials to discuss President Biden’s first bilateral meeting this week.
In addition to government meetings, Secretary Blinken will also tour the border crossing between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and will meet with students in Canada to discuss opportunities and policy options for our two Arctic nations. And we’ll obviously have much more for you on that tomorrow.
Alexei Navalny is no longer in prison in Moscow and at this point, his whereabouts are unknown even to his legal team.
The removal of Venezuelan President Maduro continues to be a primary U.S. objective, “We believe that Maduro is a dictator, that Maduro is corrupt, that Maduro is responsible for the suffering of his people. And we will continue to support the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people,” said Ned Price.
In a phone call with the president of Kenya, Biden "discussed the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights crises in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and the need to prevent further loss of life and ensure humanitarian access."
Across the pond, the Royal Family is intervening in the fight against Covid. Queen Elizabeth called refusing the vaccine “selfish” and urged the people of Great Britain to “think about others before themselves.”
On the side of Who’s Who in the DC press corps, Newsday’s Washington Bureau Chief Tom Brune got elected to the Standing Committee of Correspondents, the 5-member board that helps oversee press operations in the U.S. Capitol.
KFILE penned a column in WaPo about the reality of pediatric brain cancer and everything his late daughter went through: six surgeries, infections, ICU visits, seizures, chemotherapy, and her death. Heartbreaking.
What will Biden do today?
This morning at 9:40 AM EST, the President and the First Lady will travel to Houston, Texas.
At 12:50 PM CST, The First Lady will visit Houston Food Bank to package food and water for the local community. At 12:55 PM CST President Biden will tour the Harris County Emergency Operations Center. At 2:20 PM CST, the President and the First Lady will tour and meet Houston Food Bank volunteers. At 5:00 PM CST, Biden will deliver remarks at the FEMA COVID-19 vaccination facility at NRG Stadium. At 10 PM EST, the President and the First Lady arrive back at the White House.
The White House COVID-19 Response Team will hold a press briefing at 11 AM EST.
Heads-up: On Wednesday, March 3, First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Meriden in Connecticut.
And that’s a wrap for this Friday morning, February 26, 2021. If you are disappointed with the state of politics, don’t be. Remember, there are no saviors. Au revoir until Monday. In the meantime, if you love what you read, tell your friend about Good Morning DC. No spin, just good old journalism.
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