Biden pitches ‘once in a generation investment’ to Congress (Video & Highlights)
Delivered on the eve of his 100th day in office, the Democrat pitched some $4 trillion (£2.9tn) in spending – the largest overhaul of US benefits since the 1960s, analysts say.
He called it a “once in a generation investment in America itself”.
But the plans face a battle in Congress before they can become law.
There has been widespread opposition to the proposals from the Republican Party, which is unlikely to back tax increases and more government spending.
And while there is a slim Democratic majority in both houses, there has been division among the party over how far to go with the plans.
In a historic moment, US Vice-President Kamala Harris – the first woman to hold that office – and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi both sat behind Mr Biden during Wednesday night’s address. It was the first time two women appeared behind the president during a speech to Congress.
After addressing Ms Harris in his opening remarks as Madam Vice-President, Mr Biden added: “No president has ever said those words from this podium. And it’s about time.”
What did Biden propose?
The 78-year-old president, buoyed by solid approval ratings, presented the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. The White House said the proposals would be funded by tax raises on corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
“It’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1%… to pay their fair share,” Mr Biden said at an event that was scaled back due to the pandemic.
He described the American Jobs Plan as “a blue-collar blueprint to build America” that would boost investment in public transport, high-speed broadband and roads and bridges. He added that the plan would be guided by the fight against climate change.
“When I think climate change I think jobs,” he said. “There’s no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.”
He said the $1.8tn American Families Plan, meanwhile, would focus on children and seek to provide:
- Free pre-school for children aged three to four
- Paid family and medical leave as well as health insurance subsidies
- Tuition-free community college for all
- An extension of key tax breaks that have been expanded during the pandemic
The proposal follows the so-called American Rescue Plan, a $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package that included direct cheques to most Americans, which Mr Biden signed into law last month.
On Wednesday, he framed these latest proposals in the context of foreign policy and said the US was “in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century”. He also called for politicians from both parties to back his plans and said he was willing to work with both sides.
Joe Biden’s speech to Congress started as a victory lap and ended with a warning.
He began by touting what has been by all accounts a very successful rollout of vaccinations in the US, paving the way for a return to some semblance of normalcy in the months ahead. He boasted of hundreds of thousands of new jobs created in his first 100 days and a growing economy. He touted recently passed funding that will help cut child poverty in the US in half.
That was all a set-up, however, for the president’s pitch for more – more spending and more action from Congress. He proposed a trillion-dollar package of universal pre-kindergarten, two years of free college education, family leave and childcare funding. He called for legislation on gun control, immigration, criminal justice reform and voting rights.
He concluded, however, by turning to the 6 January attack on the US Capitol and the threat posed to democracy by the world’s autocratic nations.
He assured the nation that the US will prevail. His ending, however, seemed designed to create a sense of urgency – one that, perhaps, he can harness to achieve the ambitious agenda he set out on Wednesday night.
The Republicans’ Response
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Mr Biden’s first 100 days in office were “an unqualified failure”, accusing him and his party of “hyper-partisanship”.
“In his inaugural address, Biden called for unity. That was a lie, and our nation is worse-off and more divided thanks to Joe Biden,” her statement read.
The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, was more concise. “This whole thing could have just been an email,” he wrote on Twitter.
Senator Tim Scott – a possible contender for the White House in 2024 and the only black Republican senator – followed Mr Biden’s speech with the traditional rebuttal from the opposition party.
He said the proposals would “lower wages of the average American worker” and dismissed them as a “liberal wish list of big government waste”.
Mr Scott then discussed racism in America, accusing Democrats of wanting “the issue more than they want the solution”.
“America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination and it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present,” he said.
CBN Sells Polaris Bank To SCIL
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the completion of the sale of shares in Polaris Bank to Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL), a new core investor.
In a statement signed by its Director, Corporate Communications Department, Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN said that SCIL has paid an upfront consideration of N50 billion to acquire 100% of the equity of Polaris Bank and has accepted the terms of the agreement, including the full repayment of the sum of N1.305 trillion, being the value of the bonds, which as part of its intervention, in 2018, to revoke the licence of the former Skye Bank Plc. and establish Polaris Bank to assume its assets and certain liabilities, the banking industry regulator injected into Polaris through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and is to be repaid over a 25-year period.
The statement reads: “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) are pleased to announce the completion of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the acquisition of 100% of the equity in Polaris Bank by Strategic Capital Investment Limited (‘SCIL’).
“Polaris has been operating as a bridge bank since 2018 when the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened to revoke the licence of the former Skye Bank Plc. and established Polaris Bank to assume its assets and certain liabilities. As part of the CBN intervention, consideration bonds with a face value of N898 billion (future value of N1.305 trillion) was injected into the bridge bank through AMCON, to be repaid over a 25-year period.
“These actions were taken to prevent the imminent collapse of the bank, enable its stabilisation and recovery, protect depositors’ fund, prevent job losses and preserve systemic financial stability. SCIL has paid an upfront consideration of N50 billion to acquire 100% of the equity of Polaris Bank and has accepted the terms of the agreement which include the full repayment of the sum of N1.305 trillion, being the consideration bonds injected.
“The CBN thus received an immediate return for the value it has created in Polaris Bank during the stabilisation period, as well as ensuring that all funds originally provided to support the intervention are recovered. The sale was coordinated by a Divestment Committee comprising representatives of the CBN and AMCON, and advised by legal and financial consultants. The Committee conducted a sale process by ‘private treaty’, as provided in Section 34(5) of the AMCON Act to avoid negative speculations, retain value and preserve financial system stability.
“In the process, parties who had formally expressed an interest in acquiring Polaris Bank, subsequent to the CBN intervention in 2018, were invited to submit financial and technical proposals. Invitations to submit proposals were sent to 25 pre-qualified interested parties, out of which three parties eventually submitted final purchase proposals following technical evaluation. All submissions were subject to a rigorous transaction process from which SCIL emerged as the preferred bidder having presented the most comprehensive technical/financial purchase proposal as well as the highest rated growth plans for Polaris Bank.”
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, was quoted in the statement as saying that: “This sale marks the completion of a landmark intervention in a strategic institution in the Nigerian banking sector by the CBN and AMCON. We commend the outgoing board and management for their vital role since the bridge bank was established; in stabilising the Bank’s operations, its balance sheet and implementing strong governance structures to address the issues that led to the intervention.
“This process has provided the CBN with an unprecedented opportunity to recover its intervention funds in full and promote financial stability and inclusive growth. We wish SCIL well as they implement growth plans to build the bank from the strong foundations that have been established.”
Media Intelligence agency Marks Six years of Operation in Nigeria
Media Intelligence agency Marks Six years of Operation in Nigeria.
P+ Measurement Services, Nigeria’s foremost Independent Public Relations measurement and evaluation agency, celebrates its sixth year of effective operation with qualitative offerings for its numerous clients, as it rebrands with a new business logo, website, and office to deepen penetration.
The leading company has in the past six years engendered the needed growth for its clients, and the rebranding is part of efforts aimed at sustaining its leading position in the sector, having worked with over 47 brands and 17 Public Relations agencies in Africa’s largest economy.
The logo with new colors depicts the innovation and creativity of the brand, as also shown on its new website with the agency service rate, to enable brands and agencies to make faster decisions in budgeting.
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As the only AMEC Member in Nigeria, P+ has strong partnerships with the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and Reelforge Media Monitoring, the biggest media monitoring agency in the East African region, covering more than five countries.
Speaking on the company’s new development, the Chief Insights Officer, Philip Odiakose, said P+ is strongly positioned to effectively deliver on its offerings, with state-of-the-art structure, process and highly skilled media analysts in an exceptional and value-driven business model in line with global best practices.
“Our Measurement and Evaluation report is in-depth, robust, and flexible to accommodate valid metrics that brands desire to see reflected in their customized reports, and also based on the AMEC Standard in accordance with the Barcelona Principle 3.0. We deploy the P+MCA (media content analysis) methodology for media evaluation and analysis based on qualitative and quantitative metrics in analyzing media exposure,” Odiakose affirmed.
He said the new office would serve as a hub in the country and the West Africa sub-region, where the company will provide media monitoring, measurement, evaluation, and performance audit services for brands, media agencies, government agencies and NGOs.
Also as part of its efficient services, the measurement and evaluation company introduced “Get-Reports,” a novel product that allows the purchase of PR performance audit reports in key sectors.
The “Get-Reports” product spans across different industries which includes the 22 Commercial Nigerian Banks PR Performance Audit Report, Top Nigerian Insurance PR Performance Audit Report, Top Nigerian Digital Banks PR Performance Audit Report, and Top Online Streaming Services PR Performance Audit Report.
It’s not too late for NASS to revisit e-transmission of election results – SAN
By Gistflash News
Sept 26, 2021
The clause 52(2) of the bill gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the discretion to determine when, where and how voting and transmission of results will be done.
The Senate had ruled out the possibility of having results transmitted electronically when it voted that the NCC, with the National Assembly’s approval, would determine whether INEC could transmit results electronically or not.
Similarly, the House of Representatives, on July 16, passed the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, maintaining the controversial Clause 52(2) as presented amidst protests, especially by members of the minority caucus.
After the passage of the bill, the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, criticised the proposed electronic transmission of election results, saying it was not feasible in the country for now.
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