fbpx
Connect with us

Headlines

House Foreign Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on Cuba

Published

on

Although Tuesday’s meeting intended to address Cuba’s pro-democracy protests, officials focused more on contrasting opinions.

What We Know:

  • José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s executive director of the Americas, and Rosa María Payá, the director of Cuba Decide and daughter of the late Cuban activist Oswaldo Payá, were witnesses at the hearing. Alongside Congress members, they discussed ways to help the island’s citizens.
  • The witnesses reminded Congress that the Cuban regime was committing human rights violations by jailing political opponents and acting violently towards demonstrators, among others. Additionally, Vivanco and Payá stressed they hold limited knowledge of the situation due to the island’s unreliable internet access.
  • However, Vivanco and Payá disagreed on ways to control the situation; Payá called for the United States to sanction the Cuban leaders and anyone who attacks the protestors. She also suggested that Congress make “full use” of the Magnitsky Act; doing so would let the president freeze the human rights abusers’ assets and prevent them from entering the United States. Payá insisted that Congress review “all options under international law.” On the other hand, Vivanco asked politicians to end the embargo, which was “an ongoing policy of isolation.”
  • Politicians experienced the same discord. Although Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that the United States should consider sanctioning regime officials and encourage allies and that the U.S. should encourage its allies to speak out in favor of the July 11th protests, they clashed on other terms. For example, Cuban-American Miami Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar argued with Cuban-American New Jersey Democrat Rep. Albio Sires on restoring the island’s internet access. Salazar stated the Biden administration should consider boosting the network capabilities around Havana’s U.S. Embassy and Guantánamo Bay’s U.S. Naval Base; she declared the Department of Defense should hold the capabilities to increase internet signals from U.S. territory. Rep. Salazar also informed Congress the Cuban exile community would fund the project if the Biden administration cannot. Rep. Sires dissented Salazar’s statements, sating that America alone could not circumvent Cuba’s internet blockages.
  • Florida representatives also called out several congress leaders for their hypocrisy. Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz attacked Republicans for supporting governmental change in Cuba while also pushing for voter restriction in the United States. She referenced how the party largely denies viewing the events of Jan. 6 as an insurrection yet suggests they are “the champions of freedom.” New York’s Cuban-American Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis denied Wasserman Schultz’s claims.
  • Recently, the Biden Administration declared it would look into sending internet access to the island, reinstate remittances, and work with international organizations to sanction Cuban leaders for human rights violations. This follows protests and complaints from Cuban-American citizens and leaders alike. However, the White House has not taken any affirmative action in following its promises.

The Miami Herald declared that further discussions of Cuba policy in a divided Congress would be viewed “through a political lens” ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

Comments

comments

Headlines

Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Published

on

On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Published

on

Florida recently saw 10,207 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus cases, the highest number since July 23, 2020.

What We Know:

  • On July 23, 2020, Florida reached a high of 10,170 hospitalizations, just six months before the COVID-19 vaccine became available. The new record makes Florida the leader in per capita hospitalizations for the virus.
  • Most of the new cases come from the highly contagious Delta variant. On average, Florida sees 1,525 adult and 35 children hospitalizations daily. In addition, Saturday revealed a peak in positive numbers, as the stated reported  21,683 occurrences of COVID-19. The day prior, the Sunshine State saw 17,093 cases.
  • Many hospital employees believed the excess hospitalizations would end soon because of an increase in vaccinations. However, the Delta variant changed all this. The Associated Press wrote that several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic Florida and the UF Health North emergency room, needed to operate overcapacity and put beds in hallways to treat patients; the Mayo Clinic will continue to do so until the current surge ends. In Tampa, some local ambulances already needed to divert ambulances to other locations because of capacity concerns.
  • The higher numbers also are a direct result of a loosening of restrictions and a governor’s stubbornness. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis actively declares he will not enact any more mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Along with the state Legislature, this makes it difficult for local officials to impose restrictions that will ease the positive numbers.
  • Medical officials scorned DeSantis for his adamance on the issue. Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care, commented that the state would not be in its position now if DeSantis focused more on lowering cases than proving Dr. Anthony Fauci wrong. Gainesville infectious disease expert Dr. Frederick Southwick agreed with Ashby’s statement, saying that DeSantis needed to stop acting like “Florida won the pandemic.”

DeSantis recently announced that Florida would resist any federal authorities’ campaigns to enforce mask mandates inside schools despite the criticism.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Headlines

NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

Published

on

NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

LIVE TALK RADIO

BNA DAILY PODCAST

Trending