The Weekly National News Roundup | Shlomo Rudman

Biden Unveils Defense Budget Proposal – The White House released today an outline of what President Biden would like in the upcoming defense budget, requesting $753 billion to be allocated to the Pentagon, a slight increase that is likely to upset progressives and defense hawks alike. The budget outline for fiscal year 2022 does not expressly detail what the funds would be used for, but the Biden administration said it would put China at the top of the Pentagon’s priority list, noting that the Communist country is America’s most potent and serious foe.

Biden Rolls Out New Gun Restrictions – In response to several mass shootings that occurred over the past few weeks, President Biden announced executive actions to target the illegal proliferation of guns in the United States, specifically targeting “ghost guns” – homemade guns without serial numbers that are more difficult to track. “Nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment,” Biden said in announcing the executive actions. “They’re phony arguments suggesting these are Second Amendment rights at stake with what we’re talking about. But no amendment, no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.” Legal scholars contend that Constitutional amendments are, indeed, absolute.

US Defense Chief to Visit Israel – Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will visit Israel in the coming weeks for official discussions with government and military leaders, as tensions simmer over President Biden’s attempts to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the Iran nuclear deal. According to a Pentagon statement, Secretary Austin will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, with discussions covering “shared priorities” and a recommitment to ensuring the safety of Israel and the working relationship between the Jewish state and the United States. Austin will also be visiting Germany, Britain and the NATO headquarters in Belgium over the course of his overseas trip.

Jobless Claims Rise – Initial unemployment applications ticked up to 744,000, an increase of 16,000 over the previous week, as the economic rebound from the coronavirus-precipitated crash struggles to gain a strong foothold. The figures are well above the 694,000 new jobless claims economists had predicted, with some blaming the Biden administration for prioritizing liberal wishlist items over agendas that could help the average American and American businesses recover from the pandemic.

Investigations Into Trump Continue – Following his loss to Joe Biden in the presidential election, prosecutors in New York ramped up their investigations into President Trump finances as one of the wealthiest men in America. This week, officials from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took possession of at least three boxes of documents and a computer from Jennifer Weisselberg, the former daughter-in-law of Alan Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Ms. Weisselberg had previously claimed to have documents relating to the Trump Organization that she obtained through divorce litigation.

Biden Restores Aid to Palestinians – President Biden this week restored financial aid to the Palestinians that had been suspended under the Trump administration, giving them $125 in aid, and also endorsed a two-state peace solution between the Palestinians and Israel. The State Department said the United States would give $150 million to the UNRWA agency and $75 million in economic and development assistance for the West Bank and Gaza as well as $10 million for peacebuilding efforts.

British Variant Now Most Common Strain in US – The B. 1.1.7 coronavirus strain first found in the UK, believed to be more contagious and slightly more deadly than the one first seen around the world, is now the most common strain in new infections in the US, according to the CDC. “It is the most common lineage, period,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “These trends are pointing to two clear truths — one, the virus still has hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm’s way, and we need to remain vigilant, and two, we need to continue to accelerate our vaccination efforts.”

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