Family Values, Foreign Assistance and Self-Interest, Refugees

(1) Biden speaks to Congress, unveils American Families Plan. (2) Samantha Power takes the helm of USAID. (3) the DOD and DHS undo Trump wall actions. (4) Biden increases refugee cap.

In this edition: (1) Biden speaks to Congress, unveils the American Families Plan. (2) Samantha Power takes the helm of USAID. (3) the DOD and DHS undo Trump wall actions. (4) Biden increases the refugee cap.

Share The Stringer by Daniel Mollenkamp

Last week, President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress outlining his agenda, as well as the second part of his proposal to rebuild America, the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which he says will “restore the middle class and help families make ends meet.”

The Democrats reportedly plan to attempt to use reconciliation to pass the American Families Plan through, but it will certainly face a tougher legislative fight than the infrastructure portion of his plan which is still moving through Congress.

I was struck, when watching the speech, by how much of the core principles behind the progressive agenda have seemingly been adopted, in a somewhat diluted way of course, by the Biden Administration in such a quick time.

For the details of the plan—to continue the grand tradition of schilling my own work here—see the coverage I did for Investopedia.

A handful of other items you might have missed:

  • Former Obama-era Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power took the helm of U.S. Agency for International Development and delivered her first speech in that role. The gist, if I can reduce it so grotesquely, was that foreign assistance is in America’s self-interest, particularly as we see the erasure of distinctions between national interest and international crises. She’ll come to a USAID that, if the Biden budget request is a guide, has slightly more funding; her twin goals at the moment are handling the wretched increase in coronavirus cases in India and encouraging diversity in USAID. It may pay to review her Pulitzer-winning 2002 book, A Problem From Hell.

  • The DOD said it was reverting the funds the Trump administration had diverted to pay for the border wall, in accordance with a presidential proclamation issued on Biden’s first day in office (in addition to other things, the money was initially intended to fund schools for military children). Homeland Security also said that it is working to protect the border communities in San Diego, Calif., and in Hidalgo County, Texas, who are endangered by the way the Trump administration built the wall, which included blowing holes in the Rio Grande’s flood protection barrier system and improperly compacting soil.

  • Biden also increased the refugee cap from 12,000 to 62,500.

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