OnPolitics readers, happy hump day!
Starting this week, the Biden administration will send 400 million free N95 masks to distribution centers across the country. The endeavor is part of a larger campaign to tackle the rampaging COVID-19 omicron strain.
The masks will be available starting late next week at “tens of thousands” of pharmacies, community centers, and other venues, according to the White House.
To ensure accessibility, each person will be restricted to three masks. The distribution effort is described by the White House as “the greatest deployment of protective equipment in US history.”
Today’s top stories from Washington are brought to you by Amy and Chelsey.
The first press conference of the year is held by the President.
At his first press conference of 2022, President Biden took questions about COVID-19, inflation, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Ukraine.
The president pitched his Build Back Better agenda as a viable answer to the country’s domestic difficulties.
“If price rises are your concern, my Build Back Better plan is the perfect answer,” Biden said of inflation, which hit a 39-year high in December.
Biden also voiced optimism that portions of the $1.85 trillion measure would be passed by Congress before the 2022 midterm elections. “I believe we can break apart the package, grab what we can now, and come back later to fight for the rest,” he said.
The Supreme Court’s decision this month to overturn the administration’s vaccine-or-testing requirement was a “mistake,” according to the president.
“I believe we’ve seen a rise in cases, not a decrease,” he remarked.
He also addressed the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, saying that if Putin decides to invade, he will face “serious economic consequences.” Hundreds of thousands of Russian troops have been stationed on the Ukrainian border by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden added of Putin, “I don’t think he wants a full-fledged war.”
Quickly, here are some stories you’ll want to read.
“Do not doubt my faith”: At a Montgomery County Tea Party PAC gathering on Monday, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, slammed a young woman of unknown age who he accused of questioning his faith.
Justices on the Supreme Court have weighed in on the masking debate: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Supreme Court Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch pushed back on reports that the two are feuding over wearing masks in the nation’s highest courtroom.
REDA ALSO Are You Planning on Relocating Shortly? You Should Notify the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Postal Service for Four Reasons:
What we know about Ukraine is as follows: Officials from both the United States and Russia have been increasingly gloomy about the prospect of a diplomatic solution to the crisis, with one Russian ambassador last week declaring that discussions between the two countries had come to a “dead end.”
The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday that it would side with Sen. Ted Cruz and decide that a federal statute violates the First Amendment because it limits how candidates get compensated when they give to their campaign in the name of combating corruption.
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The Trump Organization allegedly misled banks and tax officials, according to the New York Attorney General.
Late Tuesday, the New York attorney general’s office told a judge that its investigators had found evidence that former President Donald Trump’s corporation used “fraudulent or deceptive” asset values to obtain loans and tax benefits.
According to the court filing, state officials haven’t decided whether to file a civil action in response to the allegations, but detectives must interrogate Trump and his two eldest children as part of the investigation.
The probe, according to Trump and his lawyers, is politically motivated.
Attorney General Letitia James’ office provided the most thorough explanation yet of a long-running inquiry into charges that Trump’s corporation inflated the value of assets to achieve advantageous loan conditions or misrepresented the value of land to reduce its tax burden in court records.
The Trump Organization exaggerated the value of land contributions made in New York and California on documentation submitted to the IRS to justify several million dollars in tax deductions, according to the investigation.
According to James’ office, the company misrepresented the size of Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, claiming it was nearly three times its actual size, resulting in a $200 million difference in value, citing deposition testimony from Trump’s longtime financial chief Allen Weisselberg, who was charged with tax fraud last year in a separate criminal investigation.