The President of the United State of America, Donald Trump, recently signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package, which finally puts to bed his delay in assenting to the bill.
The bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as money for cash-starved transit systems and an increase in food stamp benefits.
The signing came after a day of vocal criticism from Republicans and Democrats over Trump’s objections to the bipartisan agreement, which passed the House and Senate by large margins with lawmakers believing they had Trump’s support.
- Trump’s eleventh-hour demands, including a push for larger relief checks and scaled-back spending, had blindsided members of both parties. His subsequent delay resulted in a lapse in unemployment benefits for millions struggling to make ends meet and threatened a government shutdown in the midst of a pandemic.
Aside from empowering Democrats to push for the higher checks that his party opposes, It was unclear what Trump had accomplished with the delay.
In his statement,
- Trump repeated his frustrations with the Covid-19 relief bill for providing only US$600 checks to most Americans instead of the US$2,000 that his fellow Republicans rejected.
- He also complained about what he considered unnecessary spending by the government at large.
What they are saying
The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said:
- “The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now. I thank the President for signing this relief into law,” he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, submitted that:
“It is a welcome news for the fourteen million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas Weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”
Despite these positive comments, some slammed Trump’s delay in turning the bill into law.
In a tweet, Representative Gerry Connolly said:
- “ Trump played Russian roulette with American lives. A familiar and comfortable place for him.”
Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, stated that he would offer Trump’s proposal for US$2,000 checks for a vote in Senate – putting Republicans on the spot.
- “The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks. Then, I will move to pass it in the Senate. No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?”
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said:
- “I understand that Trump wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behaviour if he allows this to expire. So, I think the best thing to do; as I said, sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation.”
President Biden directs international air travelers must quarantine upon arrival
President Joe Biden has directed international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the United States.
The United States President Joe Biden has issued an executive order on Thursday that makes it mandatory for international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the US.
Similarly, the executive order also includes a directive that all interstate travellers in the US will be expected to wear a face mask. This travel order applies to airports and planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses and public transportation, but grants them the ability to issue exemptions.
What the US President is saying in the executive order
According to a report from Reuters, President Biden’s order says, ‘‘To the extent, feasible air travellers must comply with applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines concerning international travel ‘including recommended periods of self-quarantine.”
However, the executive order does not explain how it will be enforced as the implementation still remains quite hazy.
The order also directs US agencies to engage with Canada and Mexico on public health protocols for land ports of entry including implementing CDC guidelines. Almost all non-essential travel at US land borders with Canada and Mexico has been suspended till February 21.
The CDC recommends a 7-day quarantine for people arriving in the United States from nearly all countries.
Biden is directing agencies to reconsider international contact tracing requirements for U.S.-bound passengers, which was abandoned by the Trump White House, as well as the possibility of follow-up Covid-19 testing for travellers after they arrive in the United States.
In addition, the US President has also directed that all travellers including US citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country from abroad in an order that underscores the CDC policy announced last week.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Trump administration had resisted calls for the enforcement of a mask-wearing requirement.
- The Biden administration has also announced that it would reimpose coronavirus-related ban on most non-U.S. citizens arriving from European Union, Brazil, the United Kingdom.
- This follows the lifting of the restrictions by former US President, Donald Trump through an executive order on Monday.
Joe Biden sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States
The whole world watched in awe as Joe Biden was sworn in as the new President of the United States.
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
The 78-year-old Democrat and former Vice president to Barack Obama is being sworn in after emerging the winner of last year’s Presidential elections.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, becoming the first woman and the first black and Asian-American person elevated to serve in a role a heartbeat from the presidency.
The inauguration took place at the US Capitol, the same building that was stormed on January 6, by Donald Trump’s violent supporters.
Trump who for months refused to conceded to Biden’s victory at the polls left the White House for the final time hours earlier and flew to Florida after making it clear weeks ago that he will not be attending the inauguration.
Trump’s Vice, Mike Pence attended the ceremony, as he skipped Trump’s farewell military salute event at Andrews base.
The ceremony includes musical performances by Lady Gaga – who sang the national anthem – as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
Former Presidents; Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all present at the inuaguration
What you should know
- At 78, Biden is the oldest president ever to take the oath of office.
- In his speech, Biden swore to defend the constitution and the country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
- History was made as Kamala Harris became America’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice-president.
- Donald Trump skipped the ceremony, becoming the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869.
Joe Biden to return United States to WHO on first day as President
In-coming US President, Joe Biden has resolved to immediately return the country back to the WHO after his inauguration.
The US President-elect Joe Biden plans to immediately return back the country to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the first day after his inauguration as he intends to make a sweeping review of the policies of outgoing President, Donald Trump.
This is as he intends to send top US medical expert Anthony Fauci to speak to the group in a strong rejection of Donald Trump’s snubs and criticisms during the coronavirus pandemic.
This disclosure is contained in a fact sheet released by President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the incoming administration plans to take part in the WHO executive board meeting this week, with Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, heading the delegation and speaking.
The statement says that as soon as the United States resumes its engagement with the WHO, the new administration will work with the body to strengthen and reform the UN health agency.
What this means
- With these announced plans, the Joe Biden administration is showing that it intends to set a new science-based tone in seeking to reverse Donald Trump’s dismissal of strategies to mitigate the virus as well as seek international cooperation in addressing the pandemic.
- It also further reinforces the incoming President’s earlier criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic especially in the early days rather than laying blames.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that President Donald Trump in May 2020, announced that the US would exit the WHO because of what he said was its undue deference to China and failure to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.
- He often referred to the UN health agency as being controlled by China and criticized their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The US had been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions annually, with Trump’s last year decision drawing sharp criticism in Congress, as well as from allies in Europe.