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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on June 3, amending a Trump-era ban that prohibits U.S. investors from investing in Chinese military companies. The new order expands the previous prohibition list by adding more Chinese defense and surveillance technology firms.

The order also moves the authority of selecting targeted companies to the Treasury Department from the Defense Department.

Biden’s order expands the scope of the national emergency declared by then-President Donald Trump last year and bans more companies involved in “the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights abuse.”

The order “prohibits United States persons from engaging in the purchase or sale of any publicly traded securities” of 59 entities listed in the annex of the executive order.

Blacklisted companies include telecoms equipment maker Huawei, video surveillance manufacturer Hikvision, aerospace firm Aviation Industry Corp. of China, and state-run mobile operators China Mobile and China Telecom.

The Treasury Department will continue to update the list of these Chinese entities. The selection will be determined by the Treasury secretary in consultation with the secretary of state and, if deemed appropriate, the Defense secretary, according to a White House factsheet.

The ban list doesn’t mention subsidiaries of these companies as the list is “intentionally targeted and scoped,” according to the factsheet.

The Trump administration targeted 44 Chinese military companies and intended to include publicly traded subsidiaries that were “50 percent or more owned” or “determined to be controlled” by those companies.

The new order, however, shrinks the scope of the ban by excluding subsidiaries.

The investment prohibitions will take effect on Aug. 2, but investors are permitted to make trades to divest their holding until June 3, 2022.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) raised concerns about Biden’s move to shift the authority to the Treasury Department.

“We know for a fact that Wall Street is helping to finance the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to weaken and ultimately replace American leadership,” Rubio said in a statement.

“While the administration updated the Trump-era policy in important ways, I am very concerned that President Biden’s Treasury Department is too closely aligned with Wall Street to take the actions necessary to prevent American savings from being used to fund the Chinese Communist Party.”

In his final weeks in office, Trump took swift action to ban investments in Chinese military companies, in an effort to curb Beijing’s access to lucrative U.S. capital markets.

Trump’s order aimed to curb U.S. pension and retirement fund investments in companies that support the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Many of these companies are publicly traded on stock exchanges around the world and are tracked by major indexes such as MSCI and FTSE.

The American Securities Association (ASA), which represents regional Main Street financial services companies, welcomed the new executive order.

“ASA strongly supports today’s action by the Biden Administration to prioritize America’s economic and national security interests by continuing the previous Administration’s crackdown on Communist China’s infiltration of the U.S. capital markets,” ASA CEO Chris Iacovella said in a statement.

“For far too long, the CCP has taken advantage of regulatory loopholes to fund its military rise, a cyber army that attacks us, ‘re-education camps’ used to perpetrate crimes against humanity on its own citizens, the use of slave labor in violation of international law, and its new position as the world’s leading polluter.”


Biden Administration

Biden Considers Ending Trump’s Migrant Family Expulsions Next Month




The Biden administration is contemplating ending a Trump-era policy by which U.S. border officials could turn back migrant families to Mexico based on health concerns, Axios reported.

Title 42, a public health order implemented in March 2020 to protect America from an influx of COVID-19, resulted in tens of thousands of migrants being turned away. Axios said the White House is considering ending the order in regard to families by as early as July 31.

Administration officials have found it harder to defend Title 42 as U.S. vaccination rates climb, and death and infection numbers fall, Axios said.

“[It’s] a public health decision that will be made ultimately on those grounds,” a White House official told Axios. The official added the administration would not get ahead of any Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determinations.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas agreed.

“It’s not a tool of immigration policy,” Mayorkas said of Title 42 during a trip to Mexico City Tuesday, according to Reuters. Mayorkas added the order would remain in effect as long as it would benefit public health.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on a plan for stopping the order, as well as the option of letting a court end it, Axios reported Sunday.

White House officials admitted to Axios that not enforcing Title 42 for families could lead to more migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border, and could intensify pressure to end the policy for single adults.

CDC officials and doctors who serve as consultants for the Department of Homeland Security have opposed using Title 42 order to expel migrants.

American Civil Liberties Union has put a temporary hold — until July 2 — on its lawsuit targeting the practice of expelling families while it negotiates with the administration.

Axios reported top officials have suggested Biden end the order, which has been sharply criticized by immigration advocates and many Democrats.

They argue the president should seize the initiative because allowing the ACLU to sue would force the Justice Department to defend Trump’s policy, according to Axios.

A DOJ defense could result in sensitive information being released, and could be seen as contradictory to Biden’s commitment to asylum, Axios said.

The report said that since March, Title 42 has been applied to less than half of family encounters along the border due to limited space in Mexican shelters and some Mexican states refusing to take in families with young children.

Also, the Biden administration has cited humanitarian concerns to set up a process for exempting more migrants.

Axios said more than 350,000 migrant adults have been expelled during the past 4 months.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday the U.S. donated 1.35 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico, where officials say they will be available to residents in 4 border towns.

Mexican officials said there’s no reason to continue restricting nonessential travel once the doses are administered.

As a senator from California, Vice President Kamala Harris signed on to an April 2020 letter with fellow Democrats accusing the Trump administration of violating federal law when it took the drastic step of implementing Title 42.

Politico reported Harris, whom Biden chose to spearhead the effort in solving the border crisis, has supported the administration’s decision to keep the border closed under the very same provision, according to 2 people familiar with the vice president’s thinking.

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Biden Administration

Republicans blast Biden administration’s plan to have VA cover gender transition surgery




“Advocating for taxpayer-funded gender transition surgeries is an absolute disgrace,” Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale said.

GOP lawmakers have leveled criticism against the plan for Veterans Affairs health coverage to include gender transition procedures.

“We are taking the first necessary steps to expand VA’s care to include gender confirmation surgery — thereby allowing transgender vets to go through the full gender confirmation process with VA at their side,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said Saturday, according to CNN. “There are several steps to take, and that will take time,” he said. “But we are moving ahead, methodically, because we want this important change in policy to be implemented in a manner that has been thoroughly considered to ensure that the services made available to veterans meet VA’s rigorous standards of quality health care.”

But House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mike Bost, a veteran who served in the Marines, took issue with the move.

“President Biden and Secretary McDonough should be less focused on winning the culture wars and more focused on helping the veterans who are suffering from the actual wars,” House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mike Bost told the outlet. “Congress has been waiting for months for them to come to the table and help us deliver care and benefits to toxic-exposed veterans who are sick and dying. We have gotten no response,” he said. “Yet, somehow they found time to decide that taxpayers should pay for gender transition surgeries at VA medical facilities.”

Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale described the move as a “radical policy proposal.”

“Advocating for taxpayer-funded gender transition surgeries is an absolute disgrace,” Rosendale said in a statement to Fox News. “This is yet another radical policy proposal by an administration with no concern for the reality of its harmful effects on those suffering from mental illness who have sacrificed for our country.”

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Biden Administration

Biden Admin: Canada, Mexico Borders Will Stay Closed Due to COVID-19




The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the COVID-19-related restrictions on nonessential travel between the United States, Mexico, and Canada until July 21.

“To reduce the spread of #COVID19, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade & travel,” the department wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening.

The agency, in a separate statement, noted that there have been “positive developments” during talks between the three nations about reopening the borders. The DHS did not indicate when the borders would be opened up again.

Those restrictions were first implemented in March 2020 at the start of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 18 noted that border restrictions are causing widespread frustration, but he again announced an extension of the requirements that were set to expire on Monday.

“I get it, it’s frustrating to a whole bunch of people that just want to get back to normal,” he said, adding that he wants 75 percent of Canadians to get vaccinated first before opening the border again. “But, it’s really important that we have from the very beginning to keep Canadians safe.”

Some House lawmakers and border communities, namely along the U.S.-Canada border, that have been hit hard by the pandemic restrictions have pushed to relax them ahead of the busy summer travel season.

“The inability of the U.S. and Canadian governments to reach an agreement on alleviating border restrictions … is simply unacceptable,” Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), co-chairs of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, said in a joint statement on June 18.

The two lawmakers panned the apparent “lack of transparency surrounding these negotiations” and added that they are “a disservice to our constituents and the millions of residents on both sides of the border waiting to see their loved ones, visit their property, and renew business ties,” according to their statement, noting that the “arrival of vaccines in record time has been a modern marvel.”

“There’s no other way to say it: another month’s delay is [expletive],” the congressman wrote on June 18.

Canada is mostly off-limits to Americans. Casual, tourism, and leisure visits are all prohibited, and exceptions exist for foreign workers, international students, and some family members.

For travelers coming into Canada, there are strict quarantine and testing measures. Such policies have drawn criticism from human rights groups as well as individuals who were forced to be kept inside hotel rooms for weeks and could not leave.

“Our biggest concern may be that the whole thing is premised on distrust. They’re suggesting people won’t properly quarantine at home, and I’m not sure the evidence supports that,” said Cara Zwibel, of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, earlier this year amid reports that travelers were being kept in hotels with little food or water for lengthy periods of time, according to TravelPulse.

The United States is also holding working-group meetings on relaxing travel restrictions with the UK and the European Union, but U.S. and airline officials said previously they did not expect the Biden administration to lift the restrictions until around July 4 at the earliest.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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