The bi-weekly news digest of major headlines.
We here at MWM Media have not refused to cover the Capitol Incident. We are still massing reports, video, and other information to correlate it and bring you the most accurate accounting of the event.
If you have any information you wish for us to review, you may place it in the comments section of this post. Thank you in advance.
We sometimes report current events after everyone else because we wish to have all the information we can find for the most accurate and objective reporting on major incidents.
First Call: Presidents Biden and Xi Off to a Rocky Start
On January 10th, President Biden and the Chinese President Xi Jingping had a two-hour call where they discussed several topics and were off to a rough start.
From the onset, it was clear that neither would give on the topics of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang, which many speculate will prolong the tensions held over from the Trump administration.
President Xi warned Biden in regards to the three regions, instructing him to “act prudently”.
The United States has not been silent on its disapproval of China’s policies, which the US considers strict. Biden stood his ground, saying that he had concerns about “Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xingjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.”
While wanting reassurances that the U.S./Taiwan policies would see no extensive changes, China has expressed low expectations when seeking a softer treatment by the U.S., referencing the Trump-era tariffs and technology sanctions.
“Taiwan is the first issue-always-more so than tariffs,” Deputy Director of Fudan University’s Center for American Studies, Xin Qiang, stated while going onto to say, “China wants to wait patiently to see what the U.S. will say and do in terms on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang. The struggle concerning those issues between China and the U.S. will shape the direction of the relationship in the upcoming four years.”
The new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has come out in support of Taiwan along with the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who has recommended an imposition of costs on China for the country’s crackdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and its threats to Taiwan.
Both Presidents shared concerns over the “COVID-19 pandemic, global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation”.
The administration is looking over the actions that were taken during the Trump Administration, most notably the tariffs on more than $350 billion on Chinese products. The administration says the tariffs will stay in place pending any adjustments to them.
One thing is clear, there are conflicting reports on what was said during the call and how it went, with the more contradictory accounting coming from state-approved Chinese outlets.
It has been noted that Biden was paraphrased saying Xi was a “thug” without a “democratic –with a small ‘d’– bone in his body” on his campaign trail.
9/11-Style Investigation Into Capitol Hill Incident
On the 13th of January, senators impressed upon Congress to investigate the January 6th Capitol Hill incident. Lindsey Graham and Ron Johnson released a statement which included “calling for an independent commission to be appointed to investigate the security failures that allowed the Capitol to be breached on January 6th resulting in five deaths.”
The statement also impressed the importance of Congress not being allowed to investigate themselves regarding the incident. They wish the commission to be neutral and non-partisan.
This seemed to follow a letter that was sent to President Biden by Kean and Hamilton as well as leaders in the House and the Senate on the 12th of January imploring the people addressed that the commission should be to fact find and establish a timeline of the series of events on January 6th.
In the letter, Hamilton and Kean said the members of the commission should have the power to interview witnesses, review documents, videos, communications and computer media via subpoena if needed.
On January 15, 2021, House Speaker Pelosi announce the 9/11-style commission would be created.
$1.9 Billion Stimulus Gamble May Cause Cuts to Farm Aid and Medicare
The reconciliation gambit to pass President Biden’s aid plan may lead to billions of dollars cut from critical programs, like Medicare and farm aid.
There are top Democrats who don’t consider the possibility dire, referring to history Congress has of heading off any funding cuts. In order to stave off the budget cuts, they would need to Republicans on board or vote on yet another reconciliation.
The looming threat about the cuts comes from the 2010 pay-as-you-go rules, rules that require Congress to offset legislation costs.
The Republicans are in a unique position which will show whether they are there for their constituents or their for themselves depending on how they cast their votes. They have previously used their votes as leverage which led to GOP policy wins. The other option is to withhold their votes, allowing the cuts to happen in hopes it will cause backlash for the Democrats and punishing them for the reciliation bill in regards to President Biden’s relief bill.
Some posit that the cuts can be avoided by changing the wording, but that would require a minimum of 10 votes from Senate Republicans.
The rule has been waived and they seem to be looking to avoid any more large reconciliation packages.