President Biden’s public schedule for 02/05/2024:
|In-Town Pool Call Time (9:00 AM Local)
Las Vegas In-Town Pool
Presidential Daily Brief
|The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing (9:00 AM Local)
Las Vegas Closed Press
|Out-of-Town Pool Call Time (9:30 AM Local)
Las Vegas Out-of-Town Pool
Leaves Las Vegas
|The President departs Las Vegas, Nevada en route to Joint Base Andrews (10:10 AM Local)
Harry Reid International Airport, Las Vegas Out-of-Town Pool
Leaves Joint Base Andrews
|The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route to the White House
Joint Base Andrews Out-of-Town Pool
Arrives at the White House
|The President arrives at the White House
South Lawn Open Press
Our economy has created 14.8 million jobs since I took office.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 2, 2024
Unemployment has been under 4% for two full years now.
And inflation has been at the pre-pandemic level of 2% over the last half year.
Our policies are working.
Our economy has created 14.8 million jobs since I took office.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 4, 2024
Experts said that to get inflation under control we needed to drive up unemployment.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 4, 2024
We found a better way.
Under my plan, unemployment has been under 4% for two full years now, and inflation has been at the pre-pandemic level of 2% over the last half year. pic.twitter.com/dJbcZa73VO
Friday was Jobs Report Friday…
The report shattered expectations by adding “353,000” jobs. The report also revised both November and December up versus down. Wages are up. Unemployment is holding steady. By and large the economy is going gang busters.
Inflation is still high–we will likely see it continue to trend downward, but some prices are now just set as higher than we paid before, because consumers are more than willing to buy products or pay for services at the higher price. *shrug*
February’s jobs report will be released on March 8th…
President Biden’s full statement on January’s Jobs Report can be found here.
Superior, Wisconsin (Blatnik Bridge) Tweet
The folks in Superior, Wisconsin are the real deal. pic.twitter.com/wSl9fltREx— President Biden (@POTUS) February 2, 2024
The video clip is 1 minute and 13 seconds long. It was filmed during his visit to the Blatnik Bridge.
You ought to be able to fly with your child – and sit next to them – without paying an additional fee.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 5, 2024
It's time all airlines offered fee free family seating.
Today, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 2, 2024
We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.
But to all those who seek to do us harm: We will respond.
From the White House…
This past Sunday, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Earlier today, I attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base, and I have spoken with each of their families.White House.gov. 02/02/2024.
This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces.
Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing.
The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.
NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby:
Thanks, everybody. Good evening. Sorry we’re a little bit late.
As you all no doubt know, today, in response to the continued attacks on our troops and facilities in Iraq and Syria, and in particular the attack that killed three of our soldiers in Jordan, wounding dozens of others, U.S. military forces struck more than 85 targets at seven facilities utilized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the militant groups that they sponsor. Three of the facilities are in Iraq, four of them are in Syria.
Numerous aircraft, including B-1 bombers, dispatched from the United States were involved in this operation, firing more than 125 precision-guided munitions over the course of about 30 minutes.
Target facilities included command and control centers, as well as headquarters buildings and intelligence centers; rocket, missile, and drone storage facilities; and logistics ammunition supply chain facilities.
These targets were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties and based on clear, irrefutable evidence that they were connected to attacks on U.S. personnel in the region.
The Department of Defense is in the early stages of battle damage assessment, but we believe that the strikes were successful.
We do not know at this time if or how many militants may have been killed or wounded. All U.S. aircraft are now out of harm’s way.
The President has been kept informed throughout the afternoon.
The United States does not seek conflict with Iran or in the broader Middle East. But as President Biden has made clear, we will not hesitate to defend our people and hold responsible all those who harm Americans, at a time and a place of our choosing. That began tonight, but it will not end tonight.
And with that, I’m going to turn it over to Lieutenant General Sims, the Director of the Joint Staff, for a little bit more detail on the operation itself.
General Sims.White House.gov. 02/02/2024.
Lieutenant General Sims, the Director of the Joint Staff:
Thank you, sir. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
Just to add quickly to what Mr. Kirby briefed, we did, in fact, strike at seven different facilities. Within each of those facilities, there were a number of targets. All told, as Mr. Kirby mentioned, 85. They were struck with multiple U.S. aircraft — those aircraft from the U.S. Central Command, as well as, as mentioned, the B-1s that flew from the United States.
This has been in the planning since we were asked to look at it. This was designed around the weather, when we had our best opportunity as it related to the weather. That presented — good weather presented itself today. And as a result, this took place.
As mentioned, it was seven different locations. Of those locations, four of them were in Syria and three of them were in Iraq.
And I will — I’m happy to take your questions.White House.gov. 02/02/2024.
*I omitted the Q&A*
East Palestine, Ohio Tweets
One year ago, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, threatening the safety of countless families.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 3, 2024
Since then, my Administration has mobilized a whole-of-government response to make this community whole again.
And we’ll continue…
Show more =’s doing everything we can to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for their mess.
While my Administration takes action to improve rail safety, I continue to call on Congress to do its part by passing the Bipartisan Railway Safety Act.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 3, 2024
From the White House…
- FACT SHEET: One Year After Train Derailment, Biden-Harris Administration Continues to Support People in East Palestine, Ohio and Nearby Communities and Hold Norfolk Southern Accountable
The above fact sheet says; In February, President Biden will travel to East Palestine, Ohio, to meet with residents impacted by the Norfolk Southern train derailment, discuss Federal support to the community, and hold Norfolk Southern accountable.
Don’t Hate Tweet
Americans know that blaming a group of people based on the words of a small few is wrong.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 4, 2024
That’s exactly what can lead to Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate, and it shouldn’t happen to the residents of Dearborn – or any American town.
We must continue to condemn hate in all forms.
We should work toward less hate and more at least “like” not even love. Though we should attempt to love thy neighbors…
Bipartisan Border Deal Tweet
We’ve reached an agreement on a bipartisan deal that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades. And it includes support for Ukraine and Israel and provides humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 5, 2024
I urge Congress to pass this bill immediately. pic.twitter.com/jGuiDDxIO9
The PDF of the Bipartisan National Security Supplement Bill is 370 pages long. I will attempt to include PDF page numbers where I can in the fact-sheet posted below the statements from the President and Vice President.
From the White House…
For too long, going back decades, the immigration system has been broken. It’s time to fix it. That’s why over two months ago I instructed members of my administration to work with a bipartisan group of Senators to – finally – seriously address the issue. And, that’s what they’ve done – working around the clock, through the holidays and over weekends. Now we’ve reached an agreement on a bipartisan national security deal that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades. I strongly support it.
It will make our country safer, make our border more secure, treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation. It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. It will make our asylum process fairer and more efficient while protecting the most vulnerable. It will expedite work permits so that those who are here and qualify can get to work more quickly. It will create more opportunities for families to come together – through short-term visits as well as increased permanent lawful pathways. It ensures the most vulnerable, unaccompanied young children, have paid legal representation. And it will provide the resources I have repeatedly requested to secure the border by adding border patrol agents, immigration judges, asylum officers, and cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect and stop the flow of fentanyl. While this agreement doesn’t address everything I would have wanted, these reforms are essential for making our border more orderly, secure, fair, and humane.
The bipartisan national security agreement would also address two other important priorities. It allows the United States to continue our vital work, together with partners all around the world, to stand up for Ukraine’s freedom and support its ability to defend itself against Russia’s aggression. As I have said before, if we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself to just Ukraine and the costs for America will rise. This agreement also provides Israel what they need to protect their people and defend itself against Hamas terrorists. And it will provide life-saving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people.
There is more work to be done to get it over the finish line. But I want to be clear about something: If you believe, as I do, that we must secure the border now, doing nothing is not an option. Working with my administration, the United States Senate has done the hard work it takes to reach a bipartisan agreement. Now, House Republicans have to decide. Do they want to solve the problem? Or do they want to keep playing politics with the border? I’ve made my decision. I’m ready to solve the problem. I’m ready to secure the border. And so are the American people. I know we have our divisions at home but we cannot let partisan politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation. I refuse to let that happen. In moments like these, we have to remember who we are. We’re the United States of America and there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.
I urge Congress to come together and swiftly pass this bipartisan agreement. Get it to my desk so I can sign it into law immediately.White House.gov. 02/04/2024.
Our immigration system has been broken for decades. That is why President Biden and I have spent the last three years putting forward solutions to fix it and address the root causes of migration.
On the first day of our Administration, we sent a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress that included an increase in funding for border security and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, such as Dreamers who have been here for years.
We have partnered with countries in the Western Hemisphere to address global pressures that are forcing people from their homes, and worked with the private sector to promote investment in Central America. Last October, as part of our national security supplemental request, we asked for $14 billion for border security, which would increase personnel and technology to secure the border and provide assistance to cities to manage the influx of migrants.
At each step, we have been clear: Congress must act. Unfortunately, we have too often been met with those who sought to play political games instead of participating in solutions.
For the past two months, President Biden, members of our Administration, and bipartisan Senate negotiators have worked together. Thanks to their collaboration, additional solutions are now at hand. Congress must quickly pass this agreement.
This package will also ensure that the United States can continue to fulfill its role of global leadership by supporting the people of Ukraine in their brave fight against unprovoked Russian aggression; providing Israel what it needs to defend itself against Hamas terrorists; ensuring life-saving humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people; and strengthening our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.
This agreement on border security and immigration does not include everything we have fought for over the past three years — and we will continue to fight for these priorities – but it shows: we can make the border more secure while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation.
Let us remember: we are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants have always helped strengthen our country, grow our economy, and drive innovation. We know that in America, diversity is our strength. So rather than politicize this issue, let us all address it with the urgency and seriousness it requires.White House.gov. 02/04/2024.
The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports the bipartisan agreement announced in the Senate that would address a number of pressing national security issues. President Biden has repeatedly said he is willing to work in a bipartisan way to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system. From his first day in office, he has called on Congress to act and over the course of several months, his administration has worked with a bipartisan group of Senators on important reforms and necessary funding. This agreement, if passed into law, would be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve had in decades. It will make our country safer, make our border more secure, and treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation. This bipartisan national security agreement would also advance our national security interests by continuing our support for the people of Ukraine and Israel as they defend themselves against tyranny and terrorism while also providing much-needed humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by conflicts around the world. The Biden-Harris Administration calls on Congress to not delay and immediately pass the bipartisan national security agreement.White House.gov. 02/04/2024.
Provides Temporary Emergency Authority for the President to Shut Down the Border When the System is Overwhelmed (starts @PDF pg. 205)
- Establishes a new temporary authority, the “Border Emergency Authority,” that allows the President and Secretary of Homeland Security to temporarily prohibit individuals from seeking asylum, with limited exceptions, when the Southwest Border is overwhelmed. The authority preserves access to other protections, consistent with our international obligations, and will sunset after three years.
- Importantly, this authority is to be used when the number of migrants encountered at the border reaches very high levels – levels that strain the U.S. government’s ability to process migrants. Additionally, the authority is limited to a set number of days each calendar year – in the third year of implementation the authority may only be exercised for half of a given calendar year.
- The United States is a country of refuge for those fleeing persecution. For that reason, the legislation requires asylum access be preserved for a minimum number of individuals per day, limited to those using a safe and orderly process at ports of entry, when the authority is invoked.
Expedites Access to Work Authorization for Hundreds of Thousands of Migrants (starts @PDF pg. 320)
- Ensures that those who are here and qualify are able to get to work faster. It provides work authorization to asylum seekers once they receive a positive protection screening determination. This will allow asylum seekers to begin to support themselves and their families in the United States much earlier than the current 180-day statutorily required waiting period, which only begins after an individual submits an asylum application. This will also reduce the resource strain on our cities and states who have been supporting asylum seekers during this existing waiting period.
- This bill provides work authorization to approximately 25,000 K-1, K-2, and K-3 nonimmigrant visa holders (fiancé or spouse and children of U.S. citizens) per year, and about 100,000 H-4 spouses and children of certain H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders who have completed immigrant petitions (temporary skilled workers) per year, so they no longer have to apply and wait for approval before they can begin working in the United States.
Establishes an Efficient and Fair Process for Consideration of Asylum and other Protection Claims by those arriving at our Southwest Border (starts @PDF pg. 115)
- Today, the process to get to a final decision on a migrant’s asylum claim can take 5-7 years. That is far too long. Once fully implemented, this bipartisan agreement would – for the first time – give the Administration the authority and resources to reduce that process to 6 months. This gets people quick decisions on their asylum claims rather than leaving them and their families in limbo for years.
- The agreement also for the first time gives Asylum Officers the authority to grant a claim at the protection screening stage if the case is clear and convincing, thereby reducing the strain on the asylum system.
Recalibrates the Asylum Screening Process (starts @PDF pg. 201)
- Moves consideration of statutory bars to asylum eligibility, such as criminal convictions, into the screening stage. This will ensure that those who pose a public safety or national security risk are removed as quickly in the process as possible rather than remaining in prolonged, costly detention prior to removal.
- Modifies the screening threshold for asylum from “significant possibility” to “reasonable possibility,” with the goal of making it more likely that those who are screened in to pursue protection claims are ultimately found to have a valid asylum claim. Currently, of all migrants screened in and allowed to go to the next phase, only roughly 20 percent are ultimately granted asylum.
Provides Critical Funding for Combatting Smuggling and Drug Trafficking, Border Security, and Asylum Processing
- Funds the installation of 100 cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect fentanyl at our Southwest Border ports of entry.
- Over 1,500 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel including Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers.
- Over 4,300 new Asylum Officers and additional U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services staff to facilitate timely and fair decisions.
- 100 new immigration judge teams to help reduce the asylum caseload backlog and adjudicate cases more quickly.
- Shelter and critical services for newcomers in our cities and states.
- 1,200 new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel for functions including enforcement and deportations.
- More resources to fund transportation needs to enable increased removals.
- Support to partner nations hosting large numbers of migrants and refugees, and funding to partner nations to ensure cooperation in accepting returns associated with the implementation of the Border Emergency Authority.
Strengthens Federal Law Against Fentanyl Trafficking (search “Fentanyl Trafficking” using the find option in your web browser)
- Declares that international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency and gives the President authority to impose sanctions on any foreign person knowingly involved in significant trafficking of fentanyl by a transnational criminal organization.
- Allows for transfer of sanctioned persons’ forfeited property to forfeiture funds and authorizes Treasury to impose additional restrictions against sanctioned persons upon a determination that their transactions are of primary money laundering concern.
- Directs Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to issue guidance on filing suspicious transactions reports related to fentanyl trafficking by transnational criminal organizations.
Increases Lawful Pathways to Come to the United States (search “Immigrant Visas” using the find option in your web browser)
- For the first time in over 30 years, raises the cap on the number of immigrant visas available annually by adding an additional 250,000 immigrant visas over 5 years (50,000/year). 160,000 of these visas will be family-based, and the other 90,000 will be employment-based.
- These additional immigrant visas expand lawful pathways to the United States, prioritizing family reunification and reducing the time families have to spend apart, and get U.S. businesses access to additional workers.
- Establishes a faster pathway to permanent status for the approximately 76,000 Afghan allies who entered the United States under Operation Allies Welcome and their families. (starts @PDF pg. 244)
Promotes Family Unity and Stability for Noncitizens (starts @PDF pg. 307)
- Provides relief to over 250,000 individuals who came to the United States as children on their parents’ work visa. These individuals have resided lawfully in the United States since they were children and have established lives here in the U.S but have since “aged out” of continuing to receive lawful status through their parents and have no other means of lawfully remaining in the United States with their families. Noncitizens who lived lawfully in the United States as a dependent child of an employment-based nonimmigrant for at least 8 years before turning 21 will be eligible to remain temporarily in the United States with work authorization.
- In support of family unity, the bill makes clear that certain noncitizens can travel to the United States on a temporary visitor (B) visa to visit their family members.
Ensure the Humane and Fair Treatment of Those Seeking Asylum, Especially the Most Vulnerable
- Children should not be expected to represent themselves in a court – and this agreement will provide, for the first time, government-mandated and funded legal counsel for unaccompanied children age 13 or younger as they go through the process to seek asylum. The bill would also provide counsel to particularly vulnerable, mentally incompetent adults.
- Strengthens legal requirements that migrants always be provided with clear and accessible information about their rights, including their right to counsel.
- Mandates that only trained Asylum Officers are permitted to conduct protection screenings.
- Provides critically-needed military aid to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Russian aggression. Russia continues to launch aerial assaults on Ukrainian cities and is actively attacking Ukrainian forces.
- Invests in our defense industrial base, supporting American jobs across our country, and produce weapons and equipment that the United States can send Ukraine to help Ukraine’s military protect its people, defend against Russian attacks, and succeed on the battlefield.
- Enables the United States to continue to send economic assistance to Ukraine. Putin has made destroying Ukraine’s economy central to his war strategy and boosting Ukraine’s economy is essential to its survival. If Ukraine’s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting. This aid will help Ukraine pay its first responders, import basic goods, and provide essential services to its population.
- Authorizes the United States to provide additional military aid to help Israel defend itself from Hamas, which committed horrific acts of terror on October 7th, and whose leaders have pledged to repeat the attacks of October 7th over and over again until Israel is annihilated.
- The aid in this agreement will also help Israel replenish its air defenses and ensure it is prepared for any future contingencies.
- This includes its defense against Iran and groups backed by Iran, including Hezbollah. The funding in this agreement is essential to supporting Israel’s short- and long-term defense needs against a broad array of immediate and future threats.
- Includes important humanitarian aid funding to help civilians in need around the world, whether it’s to address the spillover effects of Putin’s war and help Ukrainians who have been displaced by Russia’s invasion, or to help Palestinians in Gaza, where we are actively working to increase the flow of aid for Palestinian civilians who have nothing to do with Hamas.
- Provides resources to help our allies and partners in the region build the capabilities necessary to address threats from an increasingly assertive PRC and to meet emerging challenges. It is critically important that we maintain our focus on the Indo-Pacific and preserve peace and stability.
“New” from the White House…
- Readout of White House Domestic Policy Council and National Endowment of the Arts “Healing, Bridging, Thriving” Summit on Arts and Culture in our Communities
- Statement from President Joe Biden on the Restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly
- Letter to the Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148)
This is an Open Thread.