Newswire: Senate confirms Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson to powerful DC Appellate Court

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson

By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire National Correspondent

The U.S. Senate on Monday, June 14, confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. President Joe Biden nominated Judge Jackson to fill one of the vacancies on the District appellate court, considered one of the most powerful courts in the nation. Most view the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as a kind of farm system for Supreme Court justices. President Biden stated his desire to fill any Supreme Court vacancy with a woman of color throughout his campaign. Judge Jackson’s nomination cleared the Senate with a 53-44 vote. Three Republicans – Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – voted with Democrats to confirm. “I think she’s qualified for the job,” Graham conceded, noting that “she has a different philosophy than I do.” Since 2013, Judge Jackson has served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she has written more than 550 opinions. A 2013 nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Jackson previously served as an assistant federal public defender, and vice chair for the U.S. Sentencing Commission. “We applaud the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,” stated Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Her extensive litigation experience, service as a federal public defender, and distinguished career as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia make her preeminently qualified for this position.” Hewitt continued:“Judge Jackson, who has clerked at every level of the federal judiciary and is a champion for justice, will be an excellent addition to what is considered the nation’s second-highest court. “For too long, the Senate has gone without confirming Black women to the federal appellate bench. The Biden administration’s commitment to appointing fair-minded jurists committed to equal justice and the rule of law, and who represent the rich racial and ethnic diversity of America, is a welcome departure from the past four years and signals a brighter future for our nation.” Judge Jackson fills the seat of Merrick Garland, who now serves as U.S. Attorney General. With Republicans controlling the Senate at the time and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) serving as Majority Leader, the chamber declined to consider Garland’s nomination by President Obama to the Supreme Court. Under President Trump, McConnell and Republicans confirmed two Supreme Court nominees, including one pick just weeks before Trump lost to Biden in the November election. This week, McConnell now the Sen. Minority Leader, said he won’t consider any Supreme Court nominations from President Biden. “I’m methodically and intentionally setting aside personal views, any other inappropriate considerations, and I would think that race would be the kind of thing that would be inappropriate to inject into my evaluation of a case,” Judge Jackson told senators during her confirmation hearing. “I’ve experienced life in perhaps a different way than some of my colleagues because of who I am, and that might be valuable – I hope it would be valuable – if I was confirmed to the court.”

Newswire: Republican opposition to Biden’s Infrastructure Plan puts truck drivers at risk

HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) — Trucks began arriving here to pre-position water, military rations, ice and tarps for the post-hurricane relief effort. The trucks, which began arriving Oct. 20, have delivered supplies from Key West to northern Miami-Dade County since the storm passed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lisa M. Macias).

By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan beyond improving dilapidated roads and bridges across the country. Commonly called the American Jobs Plan, the President’s proposal earmarks $115 billion on repairing bridges and 20,000 miles of highways and roads. Approximately $85 billion would go toward public transportation improvements while $20 billion would improve road safety to reduce crashes, something the National Transportation Safety Board has on its latest Most Wanted List. The safety board noted that truck crash fatalities are rising on America’s highways, and implementing a comprehensive strategy to eliminate speeding-related crashes must occur. Protecting vulnerable road users through a safe system approach and preventing alcohol- and other drug-impaired driving also top the Most Wanted List. The board also wants lawmakers to craft legislation requiring collision-avoidance and connected-vehicle technologies on all vehicles and eliminate distracted driving. While most Democrats back the President’s plan, it doesn’t appear that there are enough Republican votes for passage. “We’re going to have discussions in our committee about safety and infrastructure regarding trucking, probably a variety of things on safety,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told NJ.com. “We’ve got a lot of congestion and growth and issues,” said Cantwell (D-Washington). “We have some things that are infrastructure investments, and there’s some that are just very specific safety.” Reportedly, bipartisan talks are on the brink of collapse. “We continue to think there needs to be major progress by Memorial Day,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN. “All that is not going to happen by Memorial Day. But we really need to get this done this summer, which is why we continue to want to see, even just in the few days between now and the holiday, some real progress if we’re going to pursue this path.” The NTSB’s push for legislation comes as truck driver deaths sit at their highest level in more than three decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent report showed that 885 large truck occupants died in 2018 – an increase of about 1 percent compared to the prior year. It is the highest since 1988 when 911 occupants of large trucks died. Trucking industry groups have offered both their support and skepticism about President Biden’s infrastructure plan. “We commend President Biden for leading on infrastructure and putting forward his Administration’s vision to modernize and revitalize our nation’s aging transportation networks,” said Chris Spear, the president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations. “The health of our economy, the strength of our supply chain, and safety of the motoring public require us to make big, bold investments in our nation’s roads and bridges, and this plan would steer much-needed critical projects along our National Highway,” Spear stated. However, Spear added that the associations did not believe the administration’s funding proposal is politically tenable nor a reliable long-term solution to the shortfall facing the Highway Trust Fund, which is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world. NATSO, the trade association representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, offered its approval for the President’s plan. “We are pleased to see that the Administration’s plan did not incorporate tolling existing interstates and commercializing rest areas, which would harm off-highway businesses and highway users,” stated NATSO president and CEO Lisa Mullings. “NATSO is encouraged by the Biden Administration’s commitment to the nation’s immediate and long-term infrastructure needs as outlined in today’s proposal. “NATSO and its member locations are eager to work with the Administration to advance its infrastructure objectives, including building a reliable and safe nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations.”

Newswire: Biden: States should open vaccinations to all adults by May 1

President Joe Biden

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 Just hours after signing into law his massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden addressed the nation and announced the implementation of his next phase of a national strategy to put the pandemic in the country’s rear-view mirror. The President declared that he would direct states, tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for the coronavirus vaccine by May 1. In his first prime-time address since taking over the Oval Office, President Biden proclaimed a goal of getting the nation closer to normal by the July 4 holiday. “If we do our part, if we do this together, by July 4, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day,” he noted as he stared firmly into the television camera. Speaking from the East Room of the White House, President Biden said returning to normal requires everyone to continue wearing face coverings, social distancing, and getting vaccinated. More than 529,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began, and nearly 30 million have contracted the virus. “We all lost something,” the President declared. “A collective suffering, a collective sacrifice, a year filled with the loss of life. In the loss, we saw how much there was to gain. An appreciation, respect and gratitude,” he uttered. Within his first hours in office, President Biden launched a comprehensive strategy to defeat the pandemic. He noted that in the seven weeks since, the Administration has delivered more than 81 million vaccinations and more people can visit their loved ones again. “There is more work to do,” the President reminded viewers. He promised that the White House COVID-19 Response Team has concluded that the accelerated vaccination efforts will enable prioritized vaccinations that will prove far enough along by the end of April that officials could lift all eligibility restrictions at that time. The President outlined a “ramped-up effort” to create more places for people to get vaccinated, enabling officials to reach those hardest hit and most challenging to reach. Over the next six weeks, the Administration will deliver vaccines directly to up to an additional 700 community health centers that reach underserved communities, increasing the total number of participating community health centers across the country to 950, White House officials said. The Administration also will double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program, making the vaccine available at more than 20,000 pharmacies in locations convenient to all Americans. Pharmacies are also directed to expand mobile operations into the hardest-hit communities to reach more people. The Administration promises to more than double the number of federally run mass vaccination centers, run by FEMA, the U.S. military, and other federal agencies in partnership with states, to ensure that we reach the hardest-hit communities in this historic effort. “Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do,” President Biden said. He also used the national platform to denounce racism and hate crimes against Asian Americans, whom the previous Administration targeted as the cause of the pandemic. “There have been vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated,” President Biden remarked. “At this very moment, so many of them, our fellow Americans, are on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”

Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast and Slow-ride only in-person event of the virtual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma

Sunday March 7th was the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast held in the Wallace Community College parking lot and a Slow-ride of over 200 cars across the bridge were the only in-person activities of the four-day Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The Unity Breakfast, which was held in a socially distanced way with people in their cars viewing the speakers on two large television screens, featured a host of speakers including President Joe Biden, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Mayor James Perkins, Martin Luther King III, Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Charles Steele, SCLC President, Jonathan Jackson representing his father Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and many others. Several persons received awards including Congressman James Clyburn, Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia and LaTosha Brown and Attorney Cliff Albright, co-founders of Black Voters Matter also made presentations. In his video comments, President Biden announced his plans to sign an Executive Order later in the day, making it easier to register and vote and mobilizing all Federal agencies to support voter registration and participation. Biden who had attended the Unity Breakfast in 2014, when he was Vice-President, said, “We must be vigilant or people will take our basic rights away. The Republicans have been chipping away at voting rights for many years. Now 256 measures have been introduced in 43 state legislatures to cut back and suppress the right to vote and make it difficult for people to vote.” Biden and other speakers promoted support for and passage of HR-1 “For the People Act” which will strengthen voting rights, make voter registration automatic and contains ethics provisions to reduce the influence of money in campaigns; and HR-4 “the John Lewis Voting Rights Act” which would restore Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stripped out by the U. S. Supreme Court in Shelby vs. Holder, and again allow for Justice Department pre-clearance of state and local voting regulations. Congresswoman Terri Sewell said she was proud to stand on the shoulders of the many foot-soldiers that made the Civil Rights Movement and Voting Rights Movement a success. She said that she had just voted to approve the American Rescue Plan which will provide financial and healthcare benefits to the American people and mitigate the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. “ I regret that this is our first celebration of Bloody Sunday without my friend and mentor, Congressman John Lewis, who passed in 2020. We must redouble our efforts to pass HR1 and HR 4 to honor his memory,” said Sewell. Sherrilyn Ifill with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said it was important to support HR-1, HR-4 and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, for criminal justice reforms. She suggested calling your Senators at 202-224-3121 (the U. S. Capitol switchboard) and urge them to vote for these important reforms. Cliff Albright in his remarks said, “The movement is not over. As we did in 1965, we must continue to do today.” He urged the crowd to “Push their U. S. Senators to end the filibuster, an undemocratic relic of slavery. We will not be able to pass HR-1, HR-4 and other critical legislation, as long as the 60 vote requirements of the filibuster remain in place.” LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said. “ I am a child of Selma. This community trained me and taught me to believe in the power of people and when people rise up they can make meaningful change.” Rev. Bernard Lafayette spoke to honor the contributions of civil rights leaders who had died in the past year: Dr. Joseph Lowery, C.T. Vivian, Congressman John Lewis, Attorney Bruce Boynton and Vernon Jordan. At the conclusion of the Unity Breakfast, about 200 cars, with their flashers on participated in a slow-ride across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the spot where marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday in 1965. A group of family members led by Rev. Lafayette said prayers and then placed wreaths at the Voting Rights Memorial Park on the eastern side of the bridge.

Newswire: Senate passes $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

U.S. Capitol with flag

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden promised help was on the way to an America still battered by COVID-19, and after a marathon session of debate known as vote-a-rama and some dissension in the Democratic ranks – particularly Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia—the U.S. Senate finally passed the president’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Saturday, March 6.
“Today, the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan bringing us one step closer to delivering much-needed relief,” President Biden said from the White House shortly after the measured passed along party lines.
“When I took office, I promised help was on the way. Thanks to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Democrats, we’ve taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise. I hope the American Rescue Plan receives quick passage in the House so it can be sent to my desk to be signed,” the president continued.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared just prior to the vote that “we’re not going to make the same mistake we made after the last economic downtown, when Congress did too little to help the nation rebound, locking us into a long, slow, painful recovery. We are not going to be timid in the face of big challenges.”
The vote was the first significant test of the Biden Presidency. It served as a litmus test of how united Democrats would be after four years of having debilitating Donald Trump-led legislation rammed through a favorable Senate.
During the four years of Republican control, a host of Democrat-proposed bills stalled in the upper chamber in what became known as former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s graveyard.
Sen. Manchin, who has discovered new and swing-vote power, has wielded it mightily, forcing changes to the bill that was passed by the House a week earlier.
The West Virginia moderate objected to the president’s and other Democrats who fought to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. That portion of the bill was removed to facilitate the legislation getting through the reconciliation process. Sen. Manchin held up the vote for hours wanting – and receiving – a change from $400 to $300 to the federal unemployment insurance addition to the bill.
Ultimately, the bill passed along party lines 50-49 – one Republican Senator was absent, and therefore, Democrats didn’t need Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
The bill still must be returned to the House for final approval before it heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.
Once the bill becomes law, it’s believed that the IRS would quickly begin sending out a new round of stimulus payments. Single tax filers making $75,000 or less would receive $1,400, while married couples who file jointly and make less than $150,000 would receive $2,800.
Families will also receive $1,400 per child, and adult children claimed as dependents would also receive $1,400.
Unlike previous stimulus payments, single tax filers making at least $80,000, or couples earning more than $160,000, will not receive a check. It’s also important to know that the IRS will determine eligibility based on either a 2019 or 2020 tax return.
If you have not filed your 2020 taxes, the government will use 2019 income. Individuals who may have lost their jobs or whose incomes decreased in 2020 should file as soon as possible. Otherwise, the IRS will use your 2019 income.
Like the previous stimulus, you are not required to pay taxes on the payments, and those owing child support or student debt to the federal government will be protected from garnishment.
The bill allows for the first $10,200 of unemployment payments tax-free, and those who receive food stamps will see a 15 percent increase in those benefits through September. Families whose children’s schools have remained closed are also in line to receive EBT benefits through the summer.
The legislation sends about $20 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent and utility bills.
It also contains a provision that allows families with minor children to claim a larger tax credit this year. Those who qualify would receive a child tax credit of $3,600 for each child under six. Families will also receive $3,000 for each child under age 18, up from the current credit of up to $2,000 per child under age 17.
The American Rescue Plan also provides $15 billion to the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program, which provides long-term, low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Severely impacted small businesses with fewer than 10 workers will be given priority for some of the money.
Additionally, more people will qualify for higher premium subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.
“Today’s passage of bold relief legislation is exactly what Georgians had in mind when they sent me to the Senate to help our state recover from the devastation of this once-in-a-century pandemic and corresponding economic downturn,” stated Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).
“For months, families and communities across the nation have been waiting for the substantive federal assistance they need to pay their rent, buy food and medicine, safely reopen all of our schools and keep essential workers on the job – and because of Georgia, that help is finally just around the corner.”
________

Newswire: Biden calls for help in conflict-torn Horn of Africa

Family fleeing Tigray war

Mar. 1, 2021 (GIN) – In what may be President Biden’s first major test in Africa, a key U.S. ally stands accused of undertaking a campaign of ethnic cleansing, massacring hundreds of unarmed civilians and threatening the fragile stability of the region.
 
President Joe Biden, confronting the scenario linked to U.S. ally Ethiopia, shared his concerns in a telephone call this week to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
 
Biden’s phone call comes as the international community reels from the horrific details in a new report by Amnesty International describing the massacre of unarmed civilians in less than 48 hours by Eritrean troops in the restive northern Ethiopian province of Tigray last year.
 
Testimonies by over 40 witnesses described the systematic killing of civilians by soldiers in the northern city of Axum, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that may amount to a crime against humanity, according to an internal United States government report obtained by The New York Times.
 
The U.S. government report written in early February, echoed some of the Amnesty findings. It documents in stark terms a land of looted houses and deserted villages where tens of thousands of people are unaccounted for.
 
Survivors and witnesses described extrajudicial executions, indiscriminate shelling and widespread looting after Ethiopian and Eritrean troops led an offensive to take control of the city during the conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in mid-November.
 
Satellite imagery analysis supported reports of indiscriminate shelling and mass looting in the ancient city of Axum, said Amnesty, and appeared to reveal the sites of new mass burials near two of the city’s churches.
 
“The evidence is compelling and points to a chilling conclusion,” said Deprose Muchene, Amnesty’s director for east and southern Africa. “Ethiopian and Eritrean troops carried out multiple war crimes in their offensive to take control of Axum. Above and beyond that, Eritrean troops went on a rampage and systematically killed hundreds of civilians in cold blood.”
 
Ethiopian authorities issued a statement on Friday referring to “complex challenges in the region” and reasserting their intention to arrest senior members of the TPLF, which it described as a criminal “rogue group”.  Ethiopia’s ambassador to Belgium, Hirut Zemene, told a webinar on Thursday that the alleged massacre in November was a “very highly unlikely scenario” and “we suspect it’s a very, very crazy idea.”
 
Eritrea’s information minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, on Friday said his country “is outraged and categorically rejects the preposterous accusations” in the Amnesty report.
 
Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched the military campaign on Nov.4, accusing the TPLF of attacking federal military camps in Tigray and seeking to destabilize the country. Communications to the northern state were cut and journalists and humanitarian organizations were denied access.
 
But thus far Mr. Biden and other American officials have been reluctant to openly criticize Mr. Abiy’s conduct of the war, while European leaders and United Nations officials, worried about reports of widespread atrocities, have been increasingly outspoken.
 
The African Union has been unable to resolve any of these issues, not least because other member states are leery of antagonizing the country that hosts their organization, according to a regional expert. The EU has suspended nearly $108 million in aid to the government in Addis Ababa, to no apparent effect. The UN has done little more than wag a disapproving finger.
 
Abiy, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2019 for making peace with neighboring Eritrea, declared victory against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after federal troops seized the city of Mekelle in late November, and said no civilians had been killed. His government denies the presence of thousands of soldiers from Eritrea.
 
It is hoped that Kenyatta will use his bully pulpit to address this and other major crises when he takes the chair of the African Union Security Council this month. 

Newswire: Biden supports right of Amazon workers to organize union

President Joe Biden

By Brian Freeman    

President Joe Biden on Sunday expressed his backing for union efforts by Amazon workers in Alabama.
“Workers in Alabama – and all across America — are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. It’s a vitally important choice — one that should be made without intimidation or threats by employers,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union.”
His tweet included a video in which he addressed the workers involved, emphasizing that the choice whether or not to organize was theirs and that there should be “no coercion” by the company.
“I have long said America wasn’t built by Wall Street,” Biden said. “It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Throughout his political career, Biden has sought to project an image as a friend of organized labor, according to Politico.
However, he has largely not been involved in attempts to organize Amazon’s employees at a location in Bessemer, Alabama, where some 6,000 workers work. Ballots were sent out to workers at the plant on February 8. Responses must be received by March 29th by the National Labor Relations Board, with counting starting the next day, NBC News reported.
Vice reported that Amazon has taken steps to convince workers to reject the union, including sending out pamphlets encouraging them to vote against organizing. Other attempts by Amazon to convince workers not to unionize has been holding mandatory meetings and establishing a website encouraging employees to “do it without dues.”
Amazon has also placed anti-union posters and messages in restrooms used by the workers.
Workers report inhumane working conditions in the sprawling Bessemer warehouse, where their every movement is monitored by the same computers that direct them to pick up products to fill orders. The workers say that the company discourages restroom breaks and send them complaint notices if they take too long to do their jobs.
If the Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union (RWDSU) is successful in winning this election, it will be the first Amazon facility to unionize in the United States. There are 6,000 workers at the Bessemer plant who are eligible to vote.
Biden’s statement is an important indication of his support for unions and willingness to publically address this sensitive issue

Newswire: Biden’s new message to Africa clears way for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to head World Trade Organization

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Feb. 8, 2021 (GIN) – At a virtual meeting this past weekend with members of the African Union Summit 2021, President Joe Biden shared his vision for more trade and investment opportunities while advancing peace and security.
 “The United States stands ready now to be your partner in solidarity, support and mutual respect,” Biden said in a video address, his first speech to an international forum as U.S. president.
 He described a future “committed to investing in our democratic institutions and promoting the human rights of all people, women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and people of every ethnic background, religion and heritage.”
 The message was warmly welcomed by Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. The African Union looks forward to “resetting the strategic AU-USA partnership,” he said.
 Biden’s tone was a major departure from that of the previous administration, which framed its Africa policy within the context of U.S. competition with China or as a theater for fighting violent extremism.
 On his first day in office, Biden repealed the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from Muslim-majority and African countries, including Libya, Somalia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.
 “Just the very fact that Biden did it [addressed the African Union] changes the tone immeasurably from the previous administration,” said Michael Shurkin, a senior political scientist focusing on Africa at the RAND Corporation told the Voice of America.
 “By focusing on Africa for Africa’s sake, Africans for Africans’ sake, that’s actually a far more effective way to compete with the Chinese,” he added
 In January 2018, President Donald Trump was criticized for allegedly using a derogatory term in describing African nations.
 Last week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He expressed his grave concern about the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region and urged immediate, full, and unhindered humanitarian access to prevent further loss of life.
 The State Department is also reportedly considering action against President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, a staunch U.S. military ally who recently won his sixth term through a bloody election.
 In other news, the Biden administration has ended the deadlock over the next head of the World Trade Organization by expressing its “strong support” for Nigeria’s ex-finance minister.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was frontrunner for the role until the Trump administration last October said it wanted South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee.  Ms Yoo has now withdrawn her candidacy. If confirmed, Dr Okonjo-Iweala would be the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. 
 

Newswire: Biden signs executive orders aimed at tackling racism in America

President Joe Biden

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders that his less than two-week-old administration hopes will be a catalyst to tackling America’s long-standing race problem. Biden’s action focused on equity and included police and prison reform and public housing.
“America has never lived up to its founding promise of equality for all, but we’ve never stopped trying,” President Biden wrote on Twitter just before signing the executive orders.
“I’ll take action to advance racial equity and push us closer to that more perfect union we’ve always strived to be,” the President proclaimed.
Within hours of taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, President Biden signed 17 executive orders to reverse damaging policy put forth by the previous administration. Throughout his campaign, President Biden pledged to do his part in the fight against systemic racism in America.
One of the Jan. 20 executive orders charged all federal agencies with reviewing equity in their programs and actions. President Biden demanded that the Office of Management and Budget analyze whether federal dollars are equitably distributed in communities of color.
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the President reinstated a policy from the Barack Obama administration that prohibited military equipment transfer to local police departments. The President noted the disturbing trends he and the rest of the country reckoned with in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.
The order prevents federal agencies from providing local police with military-grade equipment, which was used by Ferguson, Missouri officers after police shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown.
The previous administration reinstated the policy to allow federal agencies to provide military-style equipment to local police.
Like Obama, President Biden has said he also would attempt to eliminate the government’s use of private prisons where unspeakable abuses of inmates – mostly those of color – reportedly occur almost daily.
President Biden also issued a memo that directs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote equitable housing policies with the executive orders. He also signed an order to establish a commission on policing.