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Chinese foreign minister Wang Webin criticized the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan during a joint meeting with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and called on the Eurasian alliance to “prevent the United States from shirking its responsibility.”In a meeting Wednesday, Wang said that the U.S. needs to do more to prevent the Taliban from gaining in strength and to provide greater security assistance to the Afghan government. “As the initiator of the Afghan issue, the United States cannot simply walk away, create more problems for the Afghan government and dump the ‘burden’ on regional countries,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement following the SCO summit.AFGHAN VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS ARE ‘RAW’ AND UP AGAINST SEASONED TALIBAN FORCES: GREG PALKOTWang alleged during the meeting – which included four member nations that neighbor Afghanistan including China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – that the summit was necessary because of the “hasty withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO troops” from the two-decades-long war.But the harsh rhetoric regarding the U.S. withdrawal has become a common talking point for China.China is competing with the United States to show that it can be a reliable ally to developing nations.China says it is concerned about an expanding terrorist threat in the region and called on the SCO member nations to work as a united front to “prevent the ‘three forces’ of terrorism, separatism, and extremism.”China has used the threat of terrorism as a justification for the genocide it is committing against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.GREG PALKOT GOES INSIDE AFGHAN MILITARY TRAINING AS TALIBAN FORCES SURGEFollowing the attacks on 9/11, the U.S. designated the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – a Uyghur Islamic militant group – as a terrorist organization with alleged ties to Al Qaeda. But in 2020, the Trump administration removed the designation and said that there was “no credible evidence” of continued extremist ties – a move that angered China.Chinese officials routinely point to allegations of extremism among the Uighur populations for justification of wrongful imprisonment and forced labor.The U.S., along with several western nations, have condemned China’s treatment of the Uyghur populations as mass human rights abuses.China has rejected these claims and in a press conference on terrorism Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for increased measures surrounding counter-terrorism initiatives. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPBiden argued earlier this month that the U.S. role in Afghanistan has been completed and said it is now up to the Afghan government to protect its nation’s sovereignty – though the U.S. will continue to help counter Taliban forces through airstrikes.
President Biden said Thursday that he is considering establishing an internet source for the Cuban people after the government shut off access amid mass protests.An internet blackout was enforced by the communist state Sunday after Cubans hit the streets in historic protests over food shortages, inadequate access to the coronavirus vaccine, and unreliable electricity.”We’re considering whether we have the technological ability to reinstate that access,” Biden during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday.Biden also dismissed both communism and socialism in answer to a question.”Communism is a failed system, a universally failed system, and I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute,” the president said. “Cuba is, unfortunately, a failed state and repressing their citizens,” he continued. “There are a number of things that we are considering doing to help the people of Cuba, but they would require…a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government.”DESANTIS CALLS ON FLORIDA COMPANIES TO PROVIDE INTERNET TO CUBA AFTER GOVERNMENT SHUTS IT DOWNThe Cuban government ended the internet shutdown Wednesday, allowing videos and images to surface that revealed suppressive efforts by police forces to quell the protests, but service has been unreliable. The president’s comments come one day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a letter to Biden asking him to reinstate the internet for the Cuban people. Other top Florida officials including Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Republican Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr joined DeSantis’ calls and held a joint press conference Thursday to plead with the president to take action. “We are seeing on the island of Cuba people fighting against a communist dictatorship,” DeSantis said. “A free Cuba is a noble cause. “We have to stand with the people of Cuba against the communist dictatorship, and one of the most effective things we can do as a country is getting internet back on the island, but we need the Biden Administration to step up to make this happen,” he added. WHITE HOUSE CALLS COMMUNISM A ‘FAILED IDEOLOGY’ AFTER HISTORIC CUBA PROTESTSBiden pointed to calls for reallowing remittance assistance to Cubans – a policy that was reversed under the Trump administration – but said he would not consider that option at this time. “Because the fact is it is highly likely that the regime would confiscate those remittances,” Biden said.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHe further outlined the possibility that the U.S. could send aid in the form of COVID vaccine distributions, as the virus remains a serious threat in Cuba. But he said he would only permit such an option if he was “assured” that an international organization would oversee the administration of the vaccines to ensure fair distribution among the population.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday condemned a fiery speech by President Biden as “utter nonsense” for alleging GOP voting reform laws were comparable to the Civil War. “This is our new president who promised to lower the temperature, bring America back together and rebuild a civil society where we can dialogue as fellow citizens,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “We’ve won two World Wars, faced down the Soviets, unwound brutal segregation, defeated actual Jim Crow laws, and endured the 9/11 attacks,” he said. “But now the sky is falling?”TEXAS SPEAKER CALLS ON STATE DEMOCRATS WHO FLED TO WASHINGTON TO FORFEIT THEIR PAYMcConnell’s exasperation was over an address given by the president Tuesday, where he called on congressional Republicans to help stop the “concerted” effort by GOP-led states to “undermine” the electoral process. “We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” Biden said in a rebuttal to GOP calls for voter reform.A national trend emerged in traditionally red states following the 2020 general election to address what some believed were lax voting regulations.Some Republicans have alleged the expansion of mail-in voting during the pandemic left room for fraud – a suspicion heightened by Donald Trump’s accusation of a fraudulent election. Biden used a favored line by Trump when he told onlookers, “The ‘big lie’ is just that, a big lie.””In 2020, democracy was put to a test,” the president continued. “Because of the extraordinary courage of elected officials, many of them Republicans…democracy held.”But McConnell took issue with the president’s narrative and argued political debate over voter regulations is not comparable to historical tests the U.S. has endured. HERE’S WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN THE TEXAS ELECTION BILLS DEMOCRATS KEEP COMPARING TO JIM CROW”These false comparisons are an insult to the actual hurdles that Americans have overcome,” McConnell said Wednesday. The minority leader further criticized 60 Texas lawmakers who fled their state to block the Republican passage of a voting bill. Texas Democrats have argued the legislation is suppressive and alleged GOP lawmakers stonewalled efforts of bipartisanship. “In reality, they’ve just come here to Washington to snap selfies, bask in the limelight and beg Senate Democrats to take over Texas elections,” McConnell said. “More than 80 percent of Texans support voter I.D.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”But Democrats have pulled out the same Chicken Little playbook that failed in Georgia. The same big lies,” he said.”The big lies and the fake outrage failed in Georgia. The big lies and fake outrage failed here in the Senate last month. They will fail in Texas,” he added.
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan on Wednesday called on state Democratic lawmakers to give up their daily stipend of $221 as they hunker down in Washington, D.C. to avoid passing a voting reform bill.At least 51 of the state’s 67 House Democrats boarded a private plane for the nation’s capital Monday in an effort to prevent a quorum and deny Republicans the ability to pass a controversial voting bill. Another nine Democratic Senators are believed to have joined the House members in D.C. TEXAS SENATE PASSES REPUBLICAN-BACKED VOTING REFORM BILL”While these Texas Democrats collect taxpayer money as they ride on private jets to meet with the Washington elite, those who remain in the chamber await their return to begin work on providing our retired teachers a 13th check, protecting our foster kids, and providing taxpayer relief,” Phelan said in a statement Wednesday. “Those who are intentionally denying quorum should return their per diem to the State Treasury immediately upon receipt.”Texas Democrats flew to D.C. to meet with President Biden and encourage Congress to pass federal legislation barring increased voter regulations under the “For the People Act” and the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”While Texas House members have been unable to pass a voting reform bill under the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott, Senate Republicans passed their version titled Senate Bill 1 Tuesday.HERE’S WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN THE TEXAS ELECTION BILLS DEMOCRATS KEEP COMPARING TO JIM CROWDespite a number of Democratic Senators leaving the special session for Washington, a quorum in the Senate was maintained with 22 of its 31 members present, allowing for the passage of the bill. Some Democrats have rejected the notion that their trip to Washington means they are not working. “We’re doing our jobs,” state Rep. Chris Turner told Fox News Tuesday. “We’re working harder doing what we’re doing right now than we would be if we had stayed in the chamber to watch them run through a voter suppression bill on a party-line vote.”But not all Texas Democrats in Washington said they would keep the per diem amount allotted to lawmakers under a special session.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Representative Beckley will not be accepting any per diem payments and will return any per diem that has been paid to her each day that she has not been in Austin since the quorum break,” her spokesman said in a statement Wednesday, adding her office has been working since Monday to ensure the proper paperwork is filed and money returned to the state. The special session called on July 8 by Abbott was set to last for 30 days, meaning Texas Democrats could be remaining in the nation’s capital for several weeks to come.Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.
The House Select Committee announced Wednesday it will hold its first hearing on July 27 to inquire into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.The committee will include eight Democrats and five Republicans who will investigate and report on what happened on Jan. 6.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has already submitted her panelists, including Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who went against the GOP and criticized Donald Trump for his alleged role in the lead-up to the attack. HOUSE DEMS SET TO VOTE ON JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE AS GOP LEADERSHIP PUSHED MEMBERS TO OPPOSE PELOSI EFFORTCheney was also only one of two Republicans to vote in favor of the committee’s inquiry into the attack, following a filibuster that blocked the establishment of an independent bipartisan commission in May by Senate Republicans. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who worked to create the original independent commission that would have held five Democrats and five Republicans, will be the committee’s chair.Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Zoe Lofgren of California, Pete Aguilar of California, Elaine Luria of Virginia, and Stephanie Murphy of Florida will also sit on the panel – a selection that has frustrated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.McCarthy has accused Pelosi of “playing politics” with the inquiry. PELOSI CREATES SELECT COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE JAN. 6 RIOT, SAYS ‘REPUBLICANS ARE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH’”Putting Adam Schiff and Raskin on it looks more like an impeachment committee than one that wants to get to the bottom of the questions that are still out there,” he said in an interview with Fox News Tuesday. Schiff led the prosecution of Donald Trump during his first impeachment in 2019, while Raskin managed the proceedings during the second impeachment after the attack on the Capitol.”I haven’t made a decision yet, even to appoint,” McCarthy said. “I’m discussing it with my members. I have a real concern, the scope of what we’re looking at.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPPelosi maintains the ability to veto any of McCarthy’s picks. The Select Committee panel has not set a target end date to when the investigation and a report will be completed.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued an amicus brief Wednesday with 16 other GOP-led states in support of the recent Arkansas ban on ‘experimental’ transition-related care for transgender minors.The brief outlined why top legal officials in 17 states supported the controversial ban implemented in April.”We are filing this brief because, like Arkansas, we are concerned about the surge in recent years of children suffering from gender dysphoria and other forms of gender-related psychological distress,” Marshall said in a statement Tuesday. “Like Arkansas — and like those challenging the SAFE Act — we are concerned because these vulnerable children are suffering greatly and need help. The vital questions are, how do we help them, and how do we avoid serious irreversible damage.”NOEM SAYS IT WAS ‘TOUGH’ TO BE ‘ATTACKED BY MY FRIENDS’ IN CONSERVATIVE MEDIA OVER TRANS-ATHLETE BILLThe brief follows a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in May, challenging a state’s ability to deny minors “gender-affirming” treatment.The ban, which goes into effect by the end of this month, prohibits treatment such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery for transgender minors.The ACLU has argued that forcing children to go through puberty as their “assigned” sex at birth, rather than their identifying sex, puts them at risk of “extreme distress” as their bodies naturally develop.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of puberty blockers for children who have started puberty at an early age.The suit argues that banning puberty blockers for transgender kids is discriminatory as they are still permitted in the state of Arkansas for cisgender children in order to allow them to go through puberty with their peers.”The law bans the care only when provided to affirm the gender of transgender youth,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Such brazen discrimination cannot be reconciled with the Constitution.”BIDEN HHS REVERSES TRUMP-ERA POLICY LIMITING TRANSGENDER HEALTH RIGHTSBut the attorney generals have argued that using treatments like puberty blockers for transgender children is “experimental” and pointed to countries like Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom who classify it as such.”The evidence also shows that nearly all children whose gender dysphoria is treated with puberty blockers to ‘buy time’ will proceed to take cross-sex hormones and seek other medical interventions with irreversible, lifelong consequences—complications such as infertility, loss of sexual function, increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, bone density problems, risk of altered brain development, social risks from delayed puberty, and mental health concerns,” Marshall said. Supporters of transition-related care for transgender minors argue it allows children to grow into their chosen identities without having to carry irreversible traits that naturally occur without puberty blockers such as facial hair in males or breasts in females. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe attorney generals argued that as children’s brains are not fully developed and they lack life experience, they should not be allowed to make life-altering decisions. “With the stakes so high, the harms so great, and the known benefits so paltry, the Arkansas legislature did not have to embrace an experimental path in lieu of the one that has served the medical profession so well for so long: First, do no harm,” Marshall said Tuesday. Marshall was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.Fox News could not immediately reach the ACLU for comment.
In a late-night announcement Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Budget Committee had reached an agreement to allot $3.5 trillion for a spending package that would complete President Biden’s infrastructure plan. “The Budget Committee has come to an agreement,” Schumer told reporters following a closed-door meeting with Democratic lawmakers. “You add that to that the $600 billion in a bipartisan plan and you get to $4.1 trillion, which is very, very close to what President Biden has asked us for,” Schumer said. “Every major program that President Biden has asked us for is funded in a robust way.”BIDEN STOPPING IN RED PART OF BLUE STATE TO PUSH BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEALThe plan will fund a budget reconciliation package so that Democratic lawmakers can sidestep the need for GOP support and shield the funds from a filibuster. The budget will cover costs to expand Medicare, address climate change, childcare and education – all big-ticket items deemed “human infrastructure” that Republicans said they would fervently reject. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPDemocrats will meet with Biden Wednesday, the majority leader said following the closed-door meeting.”We are very proud of this plan. We know we have a long road to go. We’re going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans’ lives a whole lot better,” Schumer said.