Biden news – Cuomo faces fresh allegations as Obama praises president on Covid-19 relief bill

Fighting Biden virus aid, GOP rekindles Obama-era strategy , and other top stories in politics from March 07, 2021.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly facing fresh allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

According to reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, two more women have come forward to accuse Mr Cuomo of misconduct.

Karen Hinton, a former press aide, has said Mr Cuomo invited her to his hotel room after a work event in Los Angeles in 2000. She said the former governor embraced her as she tried to leave and pulled her towards him when she tried to move away.

Ana Liss, a former aide to the governor, has further accused Mr Cuomo of hugging and kissing her on both cheeks in an incident in 2014.

According to ABC 7, a protest is expected outside the governor’s office, with demonstrators calling for his resignation.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is receiving high praise after his American Rescue Plan passed in Senate, with former President Barack Obama, who Mr Biden once served alongside as vice president, crediting his former second-in-command for pushing forward a bill that “will improve the lives of families across the country”.

With Mr Biden’s plan set to provide $1.9 trillion in Covid-19 relief once it is approved by the House and signed by the president himself, Mr Obama said the bill’s success in Senate was proof of the importance of voting.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog tracking the latest on US politics as President Joe Biden prepares to issue an executive order aimed at expanding voting access as the country marks the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”.

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 12:14
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Trump tells GOP to stop using his name to raise funds

Former President Donald Trump has reportedly demanded that GOP bodies stop using his name and likeness to raise funds and rally support without his permission.

According to Politico, which cited an unnamed Trump adviser, lawyers for the former world leader have sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) demanding that they stop using Mr Trump’s name and image in fundraising emails and merchandise without his consent.

The development comes after Politico reported that Trump had been furious that his name was being used by organisations that support Republicans who had voted to impeach him.

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 12:29
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Biden to issue executive order expanding voting rights

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order today aimed at making it easier for Americans across the country to vote.

The new measure will direct federal agencies to outline a plan for expanding voter registration and improving the distribution of election information to voters within 200 days.

The EO will come as the US marks the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”, the 1965 incident that saw state troopers and police officers attack civil rights demonstrators protesting against racial injustice in Selma, Alabama.

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 12:35
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Obama applauds Biden administration for Covid-19 relief bill success

Former President Barack Obama has applauded President Joe Biden, who once served as his second-in-command, on the passage of his administration’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill in Senate.

“Elections matter—and we’re seeing why. Congratulations to the Biden Administration and to the American people on a COVID relief bill that will improve the lives of families across the country,” Mr Obama wrote in a Twitter thread.

“This landmark legislation will help families pay rent and put food on the table, lift millions of children out of poverty, make health care more affordable, aid small businesses, fund broad-based vaccination efforts, and make it easier for states to reopen schools,” he said.

“This is the kind of progress that’s possible when we elect leaders across government who are devoted to making people’s lives better—and a reminder of why it’s so important to vote,” the former president added.

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to give final approval of the bill on Tuesday, before sending it off to the president’s office for his signature.

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 12:40
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China tells Biden to reverse Trump’s ‘dangerous’ practice on Taiwan

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has called on the Biden administration to reverse former President Donald Trump’s support for Taiwan, which Beijing has claimed as its territory.

Speaking at a news conference during an annual meeting of China’s ceremonial legislature, Mr Wang said Beijing’s claim to Taiwan is an “insurmountable red line”.

“The Chinese government has no room for compromise,” Mr Wang said.

The US does not have an official relationship with Taiwan, but does have informal ties, which many perceived Mr Trump as strengthening when he sent a US envoy to the island before departing the White House.

The decision further came not long after the Trump administration lifted restrictions on diplomatic interactions with Taiwan amid opposition from China.

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 13:08
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Biden condemns state lawmakers’ ‘all-out assault on the right to vote’ in ‘Bloody Sunday’ address

In remarks being made virtually at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast this morning, President Joe Biden takes aim at what he branded state lawmakers’ “all-out assault on the right to vote”.

In prepared remarks published by the White House, the president says “every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote counted”.

“If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote”, he says.

Condemning the deadly 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol Building Biden goes on to condemns the actions of rioters that day.

Rather than celebrating the 2020 election’s “powerful demonstration of voting,” he said, “we saw an unprecedented insurrection on our Capitol and a brutal attack on our democracy on January 6th. A never-before-seen effort to ignore, undermine and undo the will of the people.”

“And to think that it’s been followed by an all-out assault on the right to vote in state legislatures all across the country happening right now,” he continues.

“During the current legislative session, elected officials in 43 states have already introduced more than 250 bills to make it harder for Americans to vote. We cannot let them succeed,” he says.

Held on the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when state troopers and police officers attacked civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama as they rallied against racial discrimination, the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast is being held as a drive-in event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Biden’s comments come as he is set to sign an executive order today seeking to expand voting access across the country.

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 13:29
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John Lewis asked Biden to help ‘heal and unite’ US in final days, president says

The late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis asked Joe Biden to stay focused on helping “heal” and “unite” America in the final days before his death, the president has said.

In remarks prepared for the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast this morning, which marked the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” – the day state troopers and police officers attacked civil rights demonstrators, including Lewis, in Selma, Alabama, as they marched as part of a voting rights campaign, Mr Biden says that he and his wife, Jill Biden, were able to speak with the civil rights hero in the days before his passing.

“But instead of answering our concerns about him, ‘how are you doing, John,’ he asked us to stay focused on the work left undone to heal and to unite this nation around what it means to be an American,” Mr Biden said.
 
“That’s the God’s truth. John wouldn’t talk about his pending death or his concerns. He said we just got to get this done,” he said. “That we are all created equal. That we all deserve to be treated equally.”

Lewis had helped lead the protest in 1965 that was met with violence from state troopers and police.

Mr Biden noted that this was the first commemoration of Bloody Sunday without the civil rights icon, who died on 17 July, 2020.

Mr Biden said that “in our lifetime, for Black Americans, the fundamental right to vote has been denied by white supremacy hiding both behind white hoods and in plain sight in state houses and courtrooms.”
 
“Yet those torches and burning crosses, the batons, tear gas, fire hoses, attack dogs, and unfair laws and trials could not stop progress. The blood of John Lewis and hundreds of other brave and righteous souls that was spilled in Selma, on this Sunday in 1965 sanctified a noble struggle,” he said.
 
The president called for Americans to “stay focused on the work ahead”.
 
“Let’s remember all those who came before us as a bridge to our history so we do not forget its pain, and as a bridge to our future so we never lose our hope,” he said.
 

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 13:50
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B-52s flown over Mideast in US warning to Iran

Two B-52 bombers were reportedly flown over the Mideast on Sunday in a warning to Iran amid growing tensions between Washington and Tehran.

According to the Associated Press, the two B-52s were flown over the region alongside military aircraft from Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The mission was noted as the fourth bomber deployment of its kind this year, as well as being the second under President Joe Biden.

Read more here:

Chantal Da Silva7 March 2021 14:10
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Poll shows Biden’s approval rating high thanks to Covid leadership

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that more than two-thirds of respondents – 68 per cent – approve of Joe Biden’s pandemic leadership. His approval rating has remained at essentially the same level since he took office.

Of the poll respondents, 35 per cent of Republicans gave Mr Biden positive feedback, as did 67 per cent of independents and 98 per cent of Democrats.

The approving feedback comes just as Mr Biden celebrates the passage of a historic $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill and a single-shot vaccine development partnership between pharmaceutical giants Merck and Johnson & Johnson.

Graig Graziosi7 March 2021 14:31
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Biden expected to sign $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Tuesday

Joe Biden is expected to sign the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill when it hits his desk on Tuesday. The bill was passed without the help of any Republicans, and includes $1,400 stimulus checks for American adults, the extension of unemployment expanded benefits until 6 September, and provides billions of dollars of funding for state and local governments, testing, vaccines, businesses and schools.

An amendment to the bill aimed at raising federal minimum wage to $15 per hour was defeated when eight Senate Democrats defected to vote alongside Republicans.

The federal minimum wage has not been increased since 2009.

Graig Graziosi7 March 2021 14:49