Today marks President Biden’s 86th day in office.
For day 86–President Biden will receive his daily brief. This afternoon the busy bee will welcome the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Suga Yoshihide for an Official Working Visit. The pair will then hold a bilateral meeting. At 4:15 p.m. D.C., time the PM of Japan and President Biden will hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden. Friday evening President Biden will leave D.C., for his home in Delaware.
The daily White House press briefing was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. D.C., time, therefore a replay of the briefing will be provided at the end of this article.
For Thursday President Biden had tweeted two times when the Open Thread was published he added 5 more tweets giving him a Thursday total of 7 tweets and 0 retweets.
2:36 p.m. D.C., time he pushes the American Jobs Plan.
For more information on the American Jobs Plan you can visit:
The above sends you to the main page, where there are drop down menus that provide a small summary of what they say President Biden’s plan will do.
When you click the plus sign, featured in the above image this appears:
President Biden’s plan will modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main-streets. It will rebuild bridges in disrepair, providing critical linkages to our communities. And it will replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations and facilities, and expand transit and rail service into new communities that need them most.WhiteHouse.gov.
For those that want more details about the plan, at the link shared above, you can find the American Jobs Plan/Made in America Tax Plan fact-sheet that was published by the White House on March 31st, 2021. Or you can just click the link I provided. 😉
4:32 p.m. D.C., time he shares a live feed to remarks he offered regarding the new U.S. Sanctions on Russia.
The video feed is 34 minutes and 47 seconds long. President Biden begins speaking at the 25 minute and 25 second mark. According to the time-stamp provided by the White House he started speaking at 4:56 p.m. and concluded his remarks at 5:03 p.m. D.C., time. His full remarks can be found here.
The new sanctions are in response to the SolarWinds cyber intrusion.
Highlights from his remarks.
Today, I’ve approved several steps, including expulsion of several Russian officials, as a consequence of their actions. I’ve also signed an executive order authorizing new measures, including sanctions to address specific harmful actions that Russia has taken against U.S. interests.
I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so, to be — I chose to be proportionate.
The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of ecs- — of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable, predictable relationship.
If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further actions to respond. It is my responsibility, as President of the United States, to do so.
But throughout our long history of competition, our two countries have been able to find ways to manage tensions and to keep them from escalating out of control.
[He addressed his proposed Russian summit]
To that end, I proposed that we meet in person this summer in Europe, for a summit to address a range of issues facing both of our countries. Our teams are discussing that possibility right now.
And out of that summit — were it to occur, and I believe it will — the United States and Russia could launch a strategic stability dialogue to pursue cooperation in arms control and security. We can address critical global challenges that require Russia and the United States to work together, including reining in nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, ending this pandemic globally, and meeting the existential crisis of climate change.White House.gov. 04/15/2021.
Ahead of his remarks the White House posted the following regarding the Russia sanctions:
The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) carried out the following actions pursuant to the new E.O.:
- Treasury issued a directive that prohibits U.S. financial institutions from participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; and lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. This directive provides authority for the U.S. government to expand sovereign debt sanctions on Russia as appropriate.
- Treasury designated six Russian technology companies that provide support to the Russian Intelligence Services’ cyber program, ranging from providing expertise to developing tools and infrastructure to facilitating malicious cyber activities. These companies are being designated for operating in the technology sector of the Russian Federation economy. We will continue to hold Russia accountable for its malicious cyber activities, such as the SolarWinds incident, by using all available policy and authorities.
The fact-sheet goes on to explain additional sanctions of 32 entities and individuals “carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. The U.S., is also expelling ten diplomats “from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, DC. The personnel include representatives of Russian intelligence services.”
There was also a background call with Biden Administration Officials that explained “On SolarWinds, we’re formerly naming the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service — the SVR — as the perpetrator of the broad-scope cyber espionage campaign that exploited the SolarWinds Orion platform and other information technology infrastructures.”
From the Treasury Department:
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took sweeping action against 16 entities and 16 individuals who attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government.
TREASURY TARGETS KNOWN RUSSIAN AGENT KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK:
Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik) is a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2018, Kilimnik was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding unregistered lobbying work. Kilimnik has also sought to assist designated former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. At Yanukovych’s direction, Kilimnik sought to institute a plan that would return Yanukovych to power in Ukraine.
Kilimnik was designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for having engaged in foreign interference in the U.S. 2020 presidential election. Kilimnik was also designated pursuant to E.O. 13660 for acting for or on behalf of Yanukovych. Yanukovych, who is currently hiding in exile in Russia, was designated in 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13660 for his role in violating Ukrainian sovereignty.Treasury Department. 04/15/2021.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of Kilimnik.
The New York Times explains: The revelation, made public in a Treasury Department document announcing new sanctions against Russia, established for the first time that private meetings and communications between the campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and their business associate were a direct pipeline from the campaign to Russian spies at a time when the Kremlin was engaged in a covert effort to sabotage the 2016 presidential election.
Rick Gates said in a statement that the polling data was “simplistic and outdated,” and that the polling data given to Kilimnik was “never in real time.” Gates added “It was from both public and internal sources. It was not massive binders full of demographics or deep research. It was ‘topline’ numbers and did not contain any strategic plans.””
What does this mean? It means as we suspected from 2017, that Impeached Former Asshole and his Asshole friends colluded with Russia to aid Impeached Former Asshole, in 2016’s Presidential Election.
As a reminder colluding isn’t a crime.
7:30 p.m. D.C., time he thanks New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for unveiling a sweeping gun violence prevention package.
According to the link shared by Governor Murphy:
Governor Phil Murphy today unveiled a sweeping series of reforms aimed at reducing the epidemic of gun violence. The proposals, when paired with previous steps the Governor and members of the Legislature have taken to reduce gun violence, will further solidify New Jersey’s standing as a national leader in gun safety.NJ.gov. 04/15/2021.
Some bullet points of the proposals:
Funding Gun Violence Prevention Measures
- Increasing Violence Intervention Funding: Cities and states across the country have been demonstrating that we can achieve rapid, sustained reductions in shootings by investing in evidence-based, community-driven strategies like group violence intervention, relationship-based street outreach, and hospital-based violence intervention programs. Though the FY2022 budget process, Governor Murphy proposes an additional $10 million in funding for these initiatives in New Jersey.
- Dedicating $2 million to Rutgers GVRC: Governor Murphy established the Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University due to the federal government’s failure to dedicate funding to research gun violence as the public health epidemic that it is. The Governor’s FY2022 Budget proposal will dedicate $2 million to help the DVRC collect much-needed data in this area.
Supporting Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
- Requiring Firearm Safety Training: S-2169/A-5030 (Weinberg/Reynolds-Jackson) would modernize firearm ID cards, as well as require completion of a firearm safety course in order to receive a permit to purchase a gun or receive a firearm ID card. Connecticut, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maryland and the District of Columbia all have laws requiring individuals to undergo safety training prior to being able to purchase.
- Mandating Safe Storage of Firearms: Owning a firearm for protection in the home can present a substantial obstacle to safe firearm storage, with individuals often opting to keep weapons loaded and easily accessible. Last legislative session, the Assembly passed A-3696/S-2240 (Downey/Gopal) requiring firearm owners to store the firearm in a securely locked box or container; in a location where a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or to secure the firearm with a trigger lock.
- Raising Minimum Age to Purchase Long Guns to 21: Under current law, a person 18 years of age and older may obtain a firearms purchaser identification card and a handgun purchaser is required to be at least 21 years old. The bill (A-1141/S-3605, Freiman/Cryan) increases from 18 to 21 the age at which a person is eligible to receive a firearms purchaser identification card used to purchase shotguns and rifles but would still allow for those at least 18 to possess a long gun for purposes of hunting; military drills; competition; target practice; training; or under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
More of the States plan can found at the above link. Just so it’s clear, this plan, is a State plan.
8:13 p.m. D.C., time he shared an image from his meeting with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
The White House posted the following readout of the meeting:
Today, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hosted the leadership of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) in the Oval Office to discuss critical issues of shared importance, including combating anti-Asian hate, the American Jobs Plan, immigration and education policies.White House.gov. 04/15/2021.
The President highlighted his recent Statement of Administration Policy that condemns in the strongest possible terms the increasing acts of anti-Asian bias, harassment and violence, and conveyed his ongoing support of the legislation introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Grace Meng, which moved forward in the Senate yesterday with bipartisan support.
The President and Vice President shared their vision in the American Jobs Plan to invest in shared CAPAC infrastructure priorities, including care economy infrastructure and digital infrastructure.
The President expressed his commitment to diversity throughout the Administration, including the recent appointment of Erika L. Moritsugu as Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Senior Liaison, where she will be a vital voice to advance the President and the Administration’s priorities.
This meeting underscores the long-term partnership between President Biden, Vice President Harris, and CAPAC on crucial issues, and the Administration’s continued attention to their legislative goals and priorities.
9:23 p.m. D.C., time he urges the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Congress.gov says that H.R.7–Paycheck Fairness act will limit “an employer’s defense that a pay differential is based on a factor other than sex to only bona fide job-related factors in wage discrimination claims, enhances nonretaliation prohibitions, and makes it unlawful to require an employee to sign a contract or waiver prohibiting the employee from disclosing information about the employee’s wages. The bill also increases civil penalties for violations of equal pay provisions.”
The summary of the bill says it will direct the “Department of Labor to (1) establish and carry out a grant program for negotiation skills training for girls and women, (2) conduct studies to eliminate pay disparities between men and women, and (3) make available information on wage discrimination to assist the public in understanding and addressing such discrimination. The bill also establishes the National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace for an employer who has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women. Finally, the bill requires the EEOC to issue regulations for collecting from employers compensation and other employment data according to the sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in enforcing laws prohibiting pay discrimination.”
The bill passed the House on April 15th, 2021, 217 yea’s, 210 nay’s, and 2 Congresspeople did not vote.
President Biden has not tweeted so far for Friday.
As promised a replay of Friday’s daily White House briefing.
Live feed to the joint press conference with President Biden and Japan Prime Minister H.E. Suga Yoshihide.
The White House.
This is an Open Thread.
A little note: Today marks 100 day’s since assholes attempted to overthrow our government because the guy they supported lost an election.
The Lincoln Project is replaying events from January 6th, 2021.
It’s also being reported that one of the insurrectionists aka “rioters,” has become the first to plead guilty to charges stemming from his attempt to overthrew our government.
From the linked article: Originally hit with six charges in connection with the U.S. Capitol siege, Jon Schaffer told a judge he would plead guilty to a two-count criminal information: obstructing an official proceeding and entering a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon, referring to the bear spray that the guitarist admitted to carrying inside the building.
HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.