Newswire: Department of Justice begins Supreme Court defense of student loan forgiveness

Howard University Graduation

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

In a filing sent to the U.S. Supreme Court this week, the Department of Justice agreed with President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive student loans.

In 2022, the president promised to forgive all outstanding student loan debt for millions of borrowers, up to a maximum of $20,000 each.

Republicans are leading the way in suing the federal government to stop the plan.
The Department of Justice, however, said last week in a court filing that Biden’s actions are perfectly legal.

Lawyers from the Department of Justice said that Congress gave the president “clear permission” to go ahead with his plan.

A federal judge in Texas invalidated a program in October that would have helped 40 million people with their student loan debt.

Two people who didn’t qualify for aid under Biden’s scheme sued the initiative on behalf of the conservative Job Creators Network Foundation. At the time, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the government strongly disagreed.

“The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents, backed by extremist Republican special interests, have sued to prohibit millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief,” Jean-Pierre remarked.

The HEROES Act of 2003, according to the White House, gives the Secretary of Education the authority to forgive student debt.

“The program is consequently an illegal exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated,” wrote Judge Mark Pittman, a Donald Trump nominee. “In this country, we are not dominated by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” he continued.

Federal student loan debt of up to $10,000 will be forgiven for borrowers with yearly incomes of less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021, and up to $200,000 for married couples or heads of households.

Borrowers who also got a federal Pell grant might have up to $20,000 in their loans discharged. Six states with Republican governors sued to stop Biden’s plan to forgive debts. This made the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on the plan.

One plaintiff in Texas lost her right to have her federal student loans forgiven because the federal government did not service her loans. Since the other plaintiff did not obtain a Pell award, the amount of debt relief to which he is entitled is just $10,000.

They said they had no way of voicing their disapproval of the program’s regulations because the administration had not followed the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice and comment rule-making procedure.

Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, stated in a statement, “This verdict supports the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government.”

According to CNN’s reporting, Bernie Marcus, the former CEO of Home Depot, and a key Trump donor, established the Job Creators Network Foundation.
Two challenges challenging Biden’s debt relief plan will be argued before the Supreme Court in February.

In February, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases.
In its petition, the Justice Department said, “The lower courts’ decisions have wrongly taken away the Secretary’s legislative authority to give targeted student loan debt relief to borrowers affected by national emergencies.”

Newswire : Record number of people signed up for Obamacare during 2022

Doctor talking to patient

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden said he promised to lower costs for families and ensure that all Americans have access to quality affordable health care.
On Tuesday, Dec. 27, the president proclaimed that he’d delivered on that promise.
A record number of people – nearly 11.5 million – signed up for insurance on – about 1.8 million more and an 18% increase over last year.
With enrollment remaining open through Jan. 15, and not counting those who signed up for coverage through their state marketplaces, Biden said gains like those have helped to drive down the uninsured rate to eight percent, the lowest level in U.S. history.
“In recent days, we received further proof that our efforts are delivering record results and bringing families the peace of mind that comes with health insurance,” the President stated.
“Right now, four out of five people who sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act can find health care coverage for $10 a month or less. These lower rates were set to expire at the end of this year, but thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, we were able to extend them and save millions of Americans on Obamacare an average of $800 a year.”
The Biden administration noted that, on Jan. 1, Americans will see the benefits of additional cost-saving measures because of the Inflation Reduction Act. That includes seniors realizing a month’s supply of insulin capped at $35, Medicare beneficiaries paying $0 out of pocket for recommended adult vaccines covered by their Part D plan, and prescription drug companies needing to pay Medicare a rebate if they try to raise their prices faster than inflation for drugs administered at a doctor’s office.
“We’re not finished working to make health care a right, not a privilege,” Biden declared.
The administration continues to encourage individuals to visit by Jan. 15 to take advantage of lower rates and sign up for health care for the coming year.

Newswire: U.S. hosting delegation from 49 African nations in three-day summit

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden will host leaders from across the African continent in Washington during a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Senior administration officials said the Summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities.
Africa will shape the future — not just the future of the African people, but of the world, an administration official stated.
White House officials further stated that Africa will “make the difference in tackling the most urgent challenges and seizing the opportunities we all face.” “I look forward to working with African governments, civil society, diaspora communities across the United States, and the private sector to continue strengthening our shared vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations,” Biden said in statement.
Fifty African delegations from 49 countries are expected to gather and engage in discussions that include governance, investment, development, climate change, and health.
 Brukina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan were not invited because the African Union suspended those nations and Eritrea also won’t have representation because America doesn’t have diplomatic relations with that nation.
In a press briefing, a senior administration official said America plans to announce, “major deliverables and initiatives.”
“This is also about defining a global agenda together where there are opportunities where Africans should – will, must – sit at the table and help us work through some of the most difficult challenges in this consequential decade,” the official stated.
The summit will explore how America can work with African governments on security challenges, and a senior official said the Pentagon already is taking a three-pronged approach – blending defense, development, and diplomacy – to address African security challenges.
Discussions also are expected to center on finances, morality, and other hot-button topics like human rights. “While we do not wish to make our African partners choose sides, the U.S. strives to be the partner of choice by offering relationships based on mutual respect and values,” an official from the U.S. Department of Defense stated.
“By providing higher quality products and services and by working together with our partners on issues that are important to them. We are confident that our relationship will bring about long-term stability and prosperity.”
Senior administration officials said Biden’s foreign policy is “rooted in values – values like promoting human rights. Human rights will always be on the agenda, and the president will not shy away from raising these issues with any foreign leader anywhere in the world.”

Newswire: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries announces bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

By Scott Wong and Sahil Kapur, NBC News

WASHINGTON — New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the fourth-ranking House Democrat, said Friday that he will run to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the party’s leader after Republicans took back control of the chamber in last week’s midterm elections.
His announcement in a letter to colleagues came a day after Pelosi said in a powerful floor speech that she is stepping down after a two-decade reign as the top leader of House Democrats.

If Jeffries is successful, it would represent a historic passing of the torch: Pelosi made history as the first female speaker of the House, while Jeffries, the current Democratic Caucus chairman, would become the first Black leader of a congressional caucus and highest-ranking Black lawmaker on Capitol Hill. If Democrats were to retake control of the House — a real possibility with Republicans having such a narrow majority — Jeffries would be in line to be the first Black speaker in the nation’s history.
The ascension of the 52-year-old Jeffries to minority leader would also represent generational change. Pelosi and her top two deputies — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. — are all in their 80s and are receiving from within the party for “new blood” in leadership; Hoyer will not seek another leadership post while Clyburn plans to stay on and work with the next generation.
Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., are seeking to round out the new leadership team, announcing Friday that they will run for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in leadership. Clark, 59, announced a bid for Democratic Whip, while Aguilar, 43, is running for Democratic Caucus Chair.
Pelosi endorsed all three to succeed her leadership team in a statement Friday, saying they are “ready and willing to assume this awesome responsibility.” Clyburn has also endorsed the three, while Hoyer backed Jeffries for leader on Thursday.
“In the 118th Congress, House Democrats will be led by a trio that reflects our beautiful diversity of our nation,” Pelosi said. “Chair Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Clark and Vice Chair Aguilar know that, in our Caucus, diversity is our strength and unity is our power.”
Clyburn, a towering figure in the caucus and close ally of President Joe Biden, called his protege Jeffries “absolutely fantastic” and signaled support for a full slate of younger set of leaders taking the reins of the Democratic leadership apparatus: Jeffries, Clark, and Aguilar

Newswire : President Biden to Buffalo and America: ‘White Supremacy will not have the last word’

 President Biden and First Lady lay flowers at memorial to the shooting victims in Buffalo, NY
By Hazel Trice Edney
( – As President Joe Biden stood amidst the heartbroken in Buffalo, N.Y. calling White supremacy a “poison” in the U.S., historians and scholars of America’s racism not only agreed with him, but outlined specifically how America must change. 
“The FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Justice Department have all confirmed that the primary domestic terrorism threat comes from racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists who advocate for the superiority of the white race,” writes the Southern Poverty Law Center, a foremost authority on hate in America, in response to the killing of 10 predominately Black shoppers by a White 18-year-old in Buffalo Saturday.
The President, accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden, flew into New York Tuesday operating in the roll of comforters-in-chief. According to an account from the White House, “the President and First Lady met with family members of the victims, law enforcement and first responders, and local leaders at a community center to offer their condolences and comfort to those affected by this tragedy.”
He declared in a speech: “What happened here is simple and straightforward: Terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism…Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group.”
The killer, Payton Gendron, went into the TOPS grocery store where predominately Black family members did their regular shopping on a daily basis. On Saturday, people were preparing for Sunday dinners, birthday parties or just stopping by the store for snacks and supplies. Gendron shot people in the parking lot on the way in and then proceeded to fire the gun inside, killing more people with a rifle speckled with writing, including racial slurs. 
Before he was arrested, he had killed 10 people and injured three others. According to widespread reports, a manager had asked Gendron to leave the store the day before the killings as he loitered inside. He was also investigated by state police less than a year ago after authorities at his high school reported that he made threatening remarks concerning a murder/suicide. He was then examined by a mental hospital but was not charged.
On Tuesday, Biden called on the community to support the victims and survivors and to take action to prevent future tragedies. Namely, he called on Americans to reject the racist white “replacement theory” believed to have inspired the gunman behind the tragic Buffalo shooting and other shootings. 
According to a statement by the SPLC, “the attack in Buffalo is the direct result of white nationalist propaganda, specifically the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, being promoted and now mainstreamed by major public figures. This false notion — that white people are being systematically replaced by Black people, immigrants and Jews — has deep historical roots but has gained traction in recent years. And with that traction has come violence, both physical and political.”
The SPLC statement continues, “In recent years we have seen multiple white gunmen commit horrific acts of violence against people of color, Jews, Muslims and immigrants, justified on the premise of the false conspiracy narrative. This time it took an 18-year-old extremist driving over 200 miles to murder 10 innocent people and injure three others – the vast majority who were Black – to bring this lie and its deadly consequences to the national forefront.”
Biden’s appeal for Americans to take stands against White supremacy and to speak up against the wrong of racism, is not enough, he said. 
The SPLC agrees. The organization made several recommendations to end the repeated terrorist attacks:
•”It is especially important that politicians, civic leaders and law enforcement officials repudiate dangerous and false conspiracy theories like the ‘great replacement’ theory, which has now moved from far-right extremist spaces into the political mainstream. Despite its clearly violent implications, far too many politicians and pundits now repeat the myth regularly.”
•”Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, should provide more resources for programs and processes for early intervention. Programs in these areas should focus on extended support for victims, survivors and targeted communities more broadly, as the trauma resulting from racially motivated violence often reverberates widely.”
•”Congress should immediately enact the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (S.964/H.R. 350) to establish offices within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI to monitor, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism — and require regular reports from these offices.”
•”Tech companies must create — and enforce — terms of service and policies to ensure that social media platforms, payment service providers and other internet-based services do not provide forums where hateful activities and extremism can grow and lead to domestic terrorism. Social media platforms and online payment service providers must act to disrupt the funding of hate online to prevent their services from helping to incubate and bankroll terrorists and extremism,” The SPLC recommended.
Meanwhile, in Buffalo, Biden read off the names of each of the dead, giving brief descriptions of their errands that day or something about their lives:  As a nation, I say to the families: We remember them. We’ve been reading about them.  We visited the memorial where…the show of the love for them.:
•“Celestine Chaney, 65 years old.  Brain cancer survivor.  Churchgoer.  Bingo player.  Went to buy strawberries to make her favorite shortcake.  A loving mother and a grandmother.”
•“Roberta Drury, 32.  Beloved daughter and sister.  Moved back home to help take care of her brother after his bone marrow transplant.  She went to buy groceries for dinner.  The center of attention who made everyone in the room laugh and smile when she walked in.”
•Andre Mackneil, 53.  Worked at a restaurant.  Went to buy his three-year-old son a birthday cake.  His son [celebrating] a birthday, asking, “Where is Daddy?”• Katherine Massey, 72.  A writer and an advocate who dressed up in costumes at schools and cut the grass in the parkand helping local elections.  The glue of the family and the community.
•Margus Morrison, 52.  School bus aide. Went to buy snacks for weekly movie night with the family.  Survived by his wife and three children and his stepdaughter. The center of their world.
•Heyward Patterson, 67.  Father.  Church deacon.  Fed the homeless at the soup kitchen.  Gave rides to the grocery store to neighbors who needed help.  Putting food in the trunk of others when he took his final breath.
•Aaron Salter, 55.  Retired Buffalo police officer for three decades.  Three decades.  Loved electric cars.  A hero who gave his life to save others on a Saturday afternoon.  And had that man not been wearing that vest that he purchased – bulletproof vest – a lot of lives would have been saved.  A beloved father and husband.
•Geraldine Talley, 62.  Expert [baker]. And known for her warm, gentle personality.  A friend to everybody.  Devoted mother and grandmother.
•Ruth Whitfield, 88.  Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother who sang in the church choir.  A caretaker of her husband, bringing him clean clothes, cutting his hair, holding his hand every day she visited him in the nursing home.  Heart as big as her head.
•Pearl Young, 77.  A mother, grandmother, missionary of God.  Public school teacher who also ran a local food pantry.  Loved singing, dancing, and her family.
Biden continued, “And all three are injured: Zaire Goodman, 20.  Shot in the neck but fighting through it.  Jennifer Warrington, 50.  Christopher Braden, 55.  Both treated with injuries, on a long road to recovery.” 
The President concluded, “Jill and I bring you this message from deep in our nation’s soul: In America, evil will not win — I promise you.  Hate will not prevail.  And white supremacy will not have the last word.”

Newswire: Karine Jean-Pierre selected as first Black woman White House Press Secretary

Karine Jean-Pierre

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Karine Jean-Pierre, whose long career in Democratic communications led her to the podium last year as the second Black woman to hold a White House daily briefing, will regularly host those news conferences.
On Thursday, May 5, President Joe Biden announced that he has selected the Martinique native as his next White House press secretary.
“Karine not only brings the experience, talent, and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,” Biden said in a statement.
He added that outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki set the standard for returning decency, respect, and decorum to the White House Briefing Room.
Meanwhile, the historic nature of the appointment wasn’t lost on the President and others. “Karine is a lifelong public servant and fierce LGBTQ advocate,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute.
When Jean-Pierre steps to the podium on May 13, she’ll become the first Black woman and first openly gay person to hold that job.
“We are proud to have advocated for her historic nomination. As White House press secretary, she will not only be able to use her podium to represent the Biden administration but also the LGBTQ community during a time of unprecedented anti-LGBTQ hate and attacks,” Parker stated.
“As the first out LGBTQ person and the first Black person to hold this office, her appointment will inspire countless young people looking for hope and motivation during a dark chapter in our nation’s history,” Parker continued.
“Shattering this lavender ceiling is a testament to Karine’s grit, power, and commitment to our country’s potential. We are confident she will continue to be a strong ally and partner as she works in the highest office of the land.”
Psaki described Jean-Pierre as passionate. “She is smart, and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague but an amazing mom and human. Plus, she has a great sense of humor,” Psaki tweeted.
National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. said Jean-Pierre’s selection demonstrates that the Biden-Harris administration has held up its promise of a diverse staff.
“The NNPA, representing the Black Press of America, resolutely congratulates Karine Jean-Pierre, elevated as senior assistant to the President and White House press secretary,” Chavis stated.
“This is another historic step forward by the Biden-Harris administration in fulfilling their promise of equity and equality in the White House.”
In a 2021 appearance on The Chavis Chronicles, the Dr. Chavis-hosted PBS-TV show, Jean-Pierre said representation matters. “We’ve seen that from the first day of this administration, the President signed an executive order to deal with racial inequity and making sure that we saw diversity and inclusion across the board in the federal government,” Jean-Pierre said during her appearance on the show with Dr. Chavis.

“We’re living in a polarized country right now, and the one thing that President talked about when he was running, he wanted to make sure that he was the President for all,” Jean-Pierre remarked.

Newswire: Black unemployment rate Improves
amid historic jobs report

Black men on unemployment line

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

America – and most notably Black America – is back to work, declared President Joe Biden as he announced one of the most robust job reports in modern times. “History has been made here,” the president declared.
The economy created 467,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate for Black workers fell to 6.9 percent and dropped to 5.8 percent for African American women.
The president highlighted the 6.6 million jobs added to the U.S. economy in the year since he took office.
“It comes alongside the largest drop in the unemployment rate in a single year on record, the largest reduction in childhood poverty ever recorded in a single year, and the strongest economic growth this country has seen in nearly 40 years,” President Biden asserted.
He also acknowledged the struggles that many American families still face, noting that prices have increased sharply during the pandemic. “Average people are getting clobbered by the cost of everything,” President Biden said. “Gas prices at the pump are up. We’re working to bring them down, but they’re up. Food prices are up. We’re working to bring them down as well.”
White House officials said they plan to enact policies to slow inflation.
Before the president’s remarks, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 222-210 to pass the COMPETES Act, a bill to help America keep up with China in the semiconductor chip industry.
The legislation seeks to tackle such economic issues as supply chain disruptions and a global shortage of semiconductor chips, essential for producing smartphones, medical equipment, and cars.
The bill would introduce several changes to American trade rules to level the playing field for domestic businesses and combat China’s market-distorting trade practices.
“Democrats are prepared to build on this extraordinary economic momentum: continuing our work to lower families’ costs, strengthen our supply chains, and make more goods in America,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared.
“Under the leadership of President Biden and House Democrats, our nation will continue to Build Back Better to create more good-paying jobs and lower costs for families across America,” Pelosi stated.

Newswire: Voting Rights activists, Civil Rights leaders
vow to keep fighting to pass voting rights bills

Nsé Ufot

By Barrington M. Salmon

( – Marc Morial said he, like much of the country, watched the tug-of-war between Democratic and Republican senators over passage of two critical voting rights bills with dismay last week.

After 50 Republicans and two Democrats voted against a carve-out to allow a debate or a vote on passage of the bills, Morial – among other civil rights leaders – were left perturbed but resolved to keep on fighting until the upper chamber of the U. S. Senate passes both bills. The fate of African-Americans and this country hang in the balance, he added.

“We’re working on precisely what happens next,” said Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans. “We will not be defeated; we will not give up. I’m dismayed and disappointed by the actions of 52 senators who will not allow this to come to floor, allow debate. This issue is far more important than the filibuster rule. Advocates and activists have to take the fight to the streets to let the public know about the obstruction of the senators. It’s old-fashioned obstructionism.”

The bills are crucial because they could override the damage already being done as dozens of state legislatures have already passed laws that are tantamount to voter suppression. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “between January 1 and December 7 last year, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. More than 440 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.”

Morial said he expects President Joe Biden to use his executive powers and the Department of Justice to sue the states, while using the tools at its disposal to blunt voter suppression and Republican intransigence.

Aided by the filibuster, Republicans had blocked debate on legislation that combined the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act four times prior to last week’s heated debate. After the more than 10-hour deliberations, Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Machin of West Virginia joined 50 Republicans to defeat a change to the filibuster rules 52-48. Democrats needed 10 Republican votes to break the filibuster. They also failed to secure the votes to unilaterally change Senate rules to override the filibuster and allow the bill to pass with 51 rather than 60 votes.

Nsé Ufot, activist, community organizer, and the CEO of the New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund (NGPAF), agreed with Morial about the grave and consequential threat to democracy not passing both bills poses.

She and other primarily Black female organizers and activists have been in the trenches fighting the Republican-dominated legislature in Georgia which passed a law last year that severely restricts the freedom of Black and brown people to vote, and which also gives Republicans the power to determine which ballots voters cast will be counted.

“I’m a woman of my word and walk it as I talk it with friends, others and the trash Republican Party,” she said during a recent interview. “Republicans have been successful in framing it as a Black issue and the press has helped out by framing it as a partisan issue. But what we’re seeing is an existential threat to our democracy and our ability to govern. Bipartisanship is absolutely not a virtue. Republicans have changed the electoral infrastructure. I think Democrats get it: not being able to pass the Build Back Better Act might have been the wake-up call.”

Ufot said she and other activists have said repeatedly that the right to vote is reflective and affects

everything. “There is no Build Back Better, no student loan debt forgiveness, nothing moving,” she said. “You have to get people in the states accountable to communities. They stole seats, gerrymandered and consolidated power.”

Ufot said she doesn’t like pretending as if she doesn’t see what’s real.

“I’m greatly frustrated. The people we work with get it. When we’re hosting events, organizing, building, ordinary Americans get it,” she said. “The demand has come from ordinary people. Leaders in the House and Senate get it. The House has done its part and we’re waiting on the Senate to get it together.”

The New Georgia Project was one of coalition of voting rights organizations that boycotted President Joe Biden’s speech in Atlanta on January 11, 2020. Leaders held a press conference to announce their boycott as a way to express their deep displeasure with the way Biden has mishandled and overlooked the issue.

“Yes, boycotting this event (was) absolutely the right thing. We’re asking them to do something else with their time. Go somewhere else to Arizona or W. Virginia,” said Ria Thompson-Washington on the day of the speech. “We (Black women) brought out the vote, brought them two senators. The organizers are fine. Biden should be using his powers to ensure that these bills pass such as whipping up the Senate to ensure that the filibuster is removed, no longer allowed to influence the passage of these critical laws.”

Thompson-Washington, an activist and independent consultant on voting rights and housing issues, said Biden’s visit to Georgia was widely rejected because they (activists) have already shown what they can do.

“Every single Latinx and Black vote led to the two Georgia Senate seats. The time for Biden to come was when the Georgia legislature was passing those horrible laws. That’s when he should have been in Georgia. He should have been in Georgia on Jan 6 last year thanking people for holding the line,” she said.

Republican legislators introduced bills in the legislative session following record turnout and a surge in Black and non-white voters in the 2020 presidential election last November and the senate races in January that propelled Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossof to the US Capitol and who helped Democrats gain control of the upper chamber. The GOP has pointed to voter fraud to justify the new restrictions, despite no evidence of wrongdoing.

Former President Donald Trump and other Republican elected officials freely admit that if they allow everyone to vote, the GOP will never win an election again because they don’t have the overall numbers to do. So, under the guise of election integrity, Republicans in state houses introduced more than 500 bills to restrict voting.

More than 1.3 million people voted by mail in the 2020 general election in Georgia and since then Georgia Republicans has led the way with wave after wave of voter suppression laws, voter subversion and gerrymandering. The bill signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp includes an end the right to vote by mail without having to provide an excuse, which Georgia Republicans made law across the state in 2005. Among the law’s provisions are new limitations on the deployment of ballot drop boxes; the reduction of polling stations in Black neighborhoods; and a requirement that voters submit their driver’s license or state ID number as part of their vote-by-mail application. Republicans have also criminalized the act of providing food and/or water to voters waiting in line to vote.

But the most alarming part of the law, activists and advocates say, is the provision that gives state officials the authority to override county election board officials and allow Republicans to potentially disqualify voters in Democratic-dominated areas.

Democrats and other critics have castigated Republicans for their willingness to destroy democracy in their desperate racist bid to hold on to power, with more than a few Democrats likening Republican efforts not just to a weaponization Trump’s Big Lie about a stolen election, but also as modern-day Jim Crow tactics reminiscent of the Jim Crow/segregation era.

Ufot and Thompson-Washington said organizers will continue to do their work on the ground to bring greater numbers to the voting booth. They promised not to ease up on the pressure on Biden, Democrats or Republicans.

“We gave them the votes, a governing trifecta of the White House, the House and the Senate. Forgive me for expecting them to govern,” said Ufot. “What’s the point of winning if you won’t govern? We want you to act like the house is on fire because it is. This country has a high tolerance for Black suffering. Because this is happening to Black people, you don’t care. I’m probably not going to get invited to anymore White House dinners but I’m good with that.”

Newswire: Tornado victims still suffering

Robert Daniel, 47, was supervising seven inmates working at a candle factory that was destroyed by a tornado in Mayfield, Ky. Daniel died protecting the inmates.
Army National Guardsmen with the 301st Chemical Battalion and Air Guardsmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing continue searching and rescuing in Mayfield, KY, on December 12th, 2021. PHOTO: Spc. Brett Hornback, 133rd, Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

By Hamil R. Harris

( – Robert Daniel was more than a supervisor at Graves County Jail. He was a father of seven who enjoyed rehabilitating inmates at a work-release at a Candle Factory in Mayfield, Ky.
Daniel was working on Dec. 10th when a mammoth tornado rumbled through his Western, Kentucky town destroying property and killing more than 80 people. Daniel was one of eight victims of a series of more than 80 tornados. 
“The last thing he did was make sure [the inmates] were taken care of, even at his own peril,” said, George Workman, a co-worker at the jail who described Daniel to reporters on the scene as a hero.
Nearly 100 people have been confirmed dead along the 250-mile path of destruction in Kentucky and across the south central U.S. 
President Joe Biden toured neighborhoods where homes had been reduced to piles of rubble, including bricks, personal belongings, cars flipped upside down, and trees mangled with insulation and other parts of houses and buildings. Biden has promised all federal resources available for survivors of the tragedy.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the tornados and the severe weather system that hit only a few weeks before Christmas.
According to reports, when Daniel’s friends saw news reports of the destruction at the candle factory they rushed to the scene. Jason Blair and A.J. Ferguson said they found Daniel crushed by a big wall that fell on him. One of the inmates was found under Daniel, but survived. Blain and Ferguson said they believed it was Daniel’s large frame that saved the inmate.
Daniel’s daughter, Jenna, told CBS News that her father died saving lives, and for that, “he deserves all the honor.” She also said, “He did his job and he did it well because all of his inmates survived.”
Reported deaths: 21 in Graves County; 17 in Hopkins County; 15 in Warren County; 11 in Muhlenberg County; 4 in Caldwell County; 2 in Marshall County; and one each in Franklin, Fulton, Lyon and Taylor counties. The age range of those killed now ranges from 2 months old to 98 years old. Twelve of those killed were children.
There currently are approximately 122 Kentuckians unaccounted for as local, state and federal crews continue rescue and recovery efforts.
About 568 Kentucky National Guardsmen continue to support the storm relief. Seventy-nine soldiers and airmen completed search and extraction and fatality search and retrieval at the factory site in Mayfield, with two chaplain​s serving for spiritual support.
Those wanting to donate can make checks to the Kentucky State Treasurer. In the memo line please note the donation is for the “Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.”
To help the tornado victims and their families, the checks can be sent to Public Protection Cabinet, 500 Mero Street, 218 NC, Frankfort, KY 40601.
At Daniel’s funeral, the  sanctuary was packed with people – Black and White – for the burly man who had a big sense of humor and was nicknamed, “Harp,” according to the Louisville Courier journal.
“You know it’s true whenever you hear it from the inmates,” said George Workman, a Graves County jailer in the Courier Journal. “They said that he was taking care of them, telling them to get to the wall, which is the safe place. They were headed that way, and that was the last that they saw of him. He was pushing the last one of them in.”
Yvonne Coleman Bach, associate publisher, and the staff at the Louisville Defender Newspaper contributed to this story.


Newswire: House passes Bipartisan Infrastructure deal; President Biden moves to sign legislation

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Congress has finally passed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill with lawmakers present at a date he’ll determine soon.
Known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the White House called the measure a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.
“For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated ‘infrastructure week’ without ever agreeing to build infrastructure,” The White House said in a statement.
“The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.”.
The White House said the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal would rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.
“The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads,” President Biden declared.
“It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.”
The President proclaimed that the bill would make historic investments in environmental clean-up and remediation, “and build up our resilience for the next superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that cost us billions of dollars in damage each year.”
“I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15,” President Biden continued. The Build Back Better Act will be a once-in-a-generation investment in our people, the White House stated.
“It will lower bills for healthcare, childcare, elder care, prescription drugs, and preschool. And middle-class families get a tax cut,” President Biden demanded.
“This bill is also fiscally responsible, fully paid for, and doesn’t raise the deficit. It does so by making sure the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share and doesn’t raise taxes a single cent on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.”