President Biden Tweets for Friday’s Open Thread

Pardon Our Mess. Photo by Marty Mankins.

It’s Friday.

For Friday, July 9th, 2021, President Biden has received his daily brief. This afternoon he’ll deliver remarks and sign an EO on “promoting competition in the American economy.” This evening he’ll travel to his home in Delaware.

The White House has published a fact-sheet regarding the EO.

I’m going to skip all the hand wringing words and explanation on why this must be done and just focus on the bullet points.

Okay, I lied, I will include these words before the bullet points:

Today President Biden is taking decisive action to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses. Today’s historic Executive Order established a whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy. The Order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy. Once implemented, these initiatives will result in concrete improvements to people’s lives.

White House.gov. 07/09/2021

The first set of bullet points:

  • Make it easier to change jobs and help raise wages by banning or limiting non-compete agreements and unnecessary, cumbersome occupational licensing requirements that impede economic mobility.
  • Lower prescription drug prices by supporting state and tribal programs that will import safe and cheaper drugs from Canada.
  • Save Americans with hearing loss thousands of dollars by allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter at drug stores.
  • Save Americans money on their internet bills by banning excessive early termination fees, requiring clear disclosure of plan costs to facilitate comparison shopping, and ending landlord exclusivity arrangements that stick tenants with only a single internet option.
  • Make it easier for people to get refunds from airlines and to comparison shop for flights by requiring clear upfront disclosure of add-on fees.
  • Make it easier and cheaper to repair items you own by limiting manufacturers from barring self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products.
  • Make it easier and cheaper to switch banks by requiring banks to allow customers to take their financial transaction data with them to a competitor.
  • Empower family farmers and increase their incomes by strengthening the Department of Agriculture’s tools to stop the abusive practices of some meat processors.
  • Increase opportunities for small businesses by directing all federal agencies to promote greater competition through their procurement and spending decisions.

Antitrust bullet points:

  • Calls on the leading antitrust agencies, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously and recognizes that the law allows them to challenge prior bad mergers that past Administrations did not previously challenge.
  • Announces a policy that enforcement should focus in particular on labor markets, agricultural markets, healthcare markets (which includes prescription drugs, hospital consolidation, and insurance)and the tech sector.
  • Establishes a White House Competition Council, led by the Director of the National Economic Council, to monitor progress on finalizing the initiatives in the Order and to coordinate the federal government’s response to the rising power of large corporations in the economy.

This order will encourage the FTC:

  • to ban or limit non-compete agreements.
  • to ban unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions that impede economic mobility.
  • Encourages the FTC and DOJ to strengthen antitrust guidance to prevent employers from collaborating to suppress wages or reduce benefits by sharing wage and benefit information with one another.

Healthcare bullet points:

  • Directs the Food and Drug Administration to work with states and tribes to safely import prescription drugs from Canada, pursuant to the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.
  • Directs the Health and Human Services Administration (HHS) to increase support for generic and biosimilar drugs, which provide low-cost options for patients.
  • Directs HHS to issue a comprehensive plan within 45 days to combat high prescription drug prices and price gouging
  • Encourages the FTC to ban “pay for delay” and similar agreements by rule.

This is the one I hope actually happens, so it probably won’t:

In 2017, Congress passed a bipartisan proposal to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter. However, the Trump Administration Food and Drug Administration failed to issue the necessary rules that would actually allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, leaving millions of Americans without low-cost options.

  • Directs HHS to consider issuing proposed rules within 120 days for allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter. 

I can attest to hearing aids being very expensive, if my mom could buy one for cheaper, she might actually try it, versus complaining how expensive it is, as she continues to demand that I repeat myself, only for her to say “why are you yelling at me!”

Just imagine the avoided arguments if all parties could actually hear the words someone is saying!

Hospitals:

  • Underscores that hospital mergers can be harmful to patients and encourages the Justice Department and FTC to review and revise their merger guidelines to ensure patients are not harmed by such mergers.
  • Directs HHS to support existing hospital price transparency rules and to finish implementing bipartisan federal legislation to address surprise hospital billing.

Health Insurance:

  • Directs HHS to standardize plan options in the National Health Insurance Marketplace so people can comparison shop more easily.

Transportation:

Airlines:

  • Directs the DOT to consider issuing clear rules requiring the refund of fees when baggage is delayed or when service isn’t actually provided—like when the plane’s WiFi or in-flight entertainment system is broken.
  • Directs the DOT to consider issuing rules that require baggage, change, and cancellation fees to be clearly disclosed to the customer.

Rail:

  • Encourages the Surface Transportation Board to require railroad track owners to provide rights of way to passenger rail and to strengthen their obligations to treat other freight companies fairly.

Shipping:

  • Encourages the Federal Maritime Commission to ensure vigorous enforcement against shippers charging American exporters exorbitant charges.

Agriculture:

  • Directs USDA to consider issuing new rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act making it easier for farmers to bring and win claims, stopping chicken processors from exploiting and underpaying chicken farmers, and adopting anti-retaliation protections for farmers who speak out about bad practices.
  • Directs USDA to consider issuing new rules defining when meat can bear “Product of USA” labels, so that consumers have accurate, transparent labels that enable them to choose products made here.
  • Directs USDA to develop a plan to increase opportunities for farmers to access markets and receive a fair return, including supporting alternative food distribution systems like farmers markets and developing standards and labels so that consumers can choose to buy products that treat farmers fairly.
  • Encourages the FTC to limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs—such as when tractor companies block farmers from repairing their own tractors.

Encourages the FCC regarding the Internet:

  • to prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.
  • Revive the “Broadband Nutrition Label” and require providers to report prices and subscription rates to the FCC.
  • Limit excessive early termination fees.
  • Restore Net Neutrality rules undone by the prior administration

Technology:

  • Announces an Administration policy of greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by “free” products, and the effect on user privacy.
  • Encourages the FTC to establish rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data.
  • Encourages the FTC to establish rules barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.
  • Encourages the FTC to issue rules against anticompetitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment.

Banking and Consumer Finance:

  • Encourages DOJ and the agencies responsible for banking (the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) to update guidelines on banking mergers to provide more robust scrutiny of mergers.
  • Encourages the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue rules allowing customers to download their banking data and take it with them.

There will be a lot of “omg did you see what Biden ordered”…both said in a cheery way and a negative way. But like most EO’s, this one is at this point, very toothless, and “encourages” and “directs” a lot of agencies to consider doing this or that it doesn’t actually order them to do anything, yet. Maybe in a 120 days from now, it might do something…

President Biden has tweeted 2 time’s so far…

The above tweets reference his Build Back Better plan, but while the text appears in some form in his remarks from July, 7th, 2021, they aren’t similar enough to share here. You’re welcome.

When Thursday’s Open Thread was posted, President Biden had 2 tweets. He added another 6 tweets giving him a Thursday Tweeting Total of 8 tweets and 0 retweets.

He shared a few tweets before he shared a photo from the meeting with Black leaders and White House officials.

The White House published a readout of the meeting:

President Biden and Vice President Harris met today with leaders from legacy Black civil rights organizations. The group discussed the wave of anti-voter legislation that has recently passed or is pending in state legislatures across the country and the path forward to protect the right to vote. The group also discussed steps the Administration recently announced to address the rise in gun violence and the status of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that is currently being negotiated in the Senate. The President and Vice President reiterated that they will continue to push for Congress to pass critical legislation that protects the right to vote and combats subversion of the election process, while continuing to utilize all existing authorities in an all-of-government effort to ensure full voter participation and elections that reflect the will of the people.

The civil rights leaders provided an update on the work their organizations are doing, both nationally and in the states, to protect the right to vote. They also provided the President and Vice President with their ideas on ways to engage the public on civil rights issues.

White House.gov. 07/08/2021.

The meeting participants included:

  • Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
  • Dr. Johnnetta Cole, National Chair and President of the National Council of Negro Women
  • Wade Henderson, Interim President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human
  • Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP (virtual)
  • Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League
  • Reverend Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network

From the White House:

  • Danielle Conley, Deputy Counsel to the President
  • Tina Flournoy, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President
  • Catherine Lhamon, Deputy Assistant to the President for Racial Justice and Equity
  • Dana Remus, Assistant to the President and White House Counsel
  • Susan Rice, Assistant to the President and Domestic Policy Advisor
  • Cedric Richmond, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement

His last few tweets from Thursday focused on his remarks he gave regarding troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The video is 29 minutes long. President Biden remarks last until the 14 minute and 35 second mark where he begins to answer press questions. His full remarks including the Q&A can be found here.

President Biden (11:32): Today, the terrorist threat has metastasized beyond Afghanistan.  So, we are repositioning our resources and adapting our counterterrorism posture to meet the threats where they are now significantly higher: in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. But make no mistake: Our military and intelligence leaders are confident they have the capabilities to protect the homeland and our interests from any resurgent terrorist challenge emerging or emanating from Afghanistan. 

President Biden (14:05): We’ll never forget those who gave the last full measure of devotion for their country in Afghanistan, nor those whose lives have been immeasurably altered by wounds sustained in service to their country. We’re ending America’s longest war, but we’ll always, always honor the bravery of the American patriots who served in it.

President Biden (1:01): Good afternoon.  Earlier today, I was briefed by our senior military and national security leaders on the status of the drawdown of U.S. forces and allied forces in Afghanistan. When I announced our drawdown in April, I said we would be out by September, and we’re on track to meet that target. Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st. The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart. Our military commanders advised me that once I made the decision to end the war, we needed to move swiftly to conduct the main elements of the drawdown. And in this context, speed is safety. And thanks to the way in which we have managed our withdrawal, no one — no one U.S. forces or any forces have — have been lost.  Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with a increased risk of safety to our personnel.   

The White House press briefing is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. D.C., time.

President Biden’s remarks are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. D.C., time.

This is an open thread

HAPPY FRIDAY!

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About Tiff 2591 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.