Posts tagged with "VP Kamala Harris"

Biden campaign launches Arizona ad blitz on heels of abortion ruling

April 15, 2024

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign launched a paid media blitz about reproductive rights in Arizona on Thursday, April 11—two days after the state’s Supreme Court upheld a near-total abortion ban  dating back to 1864, reports NBC News.

The seven-figure ad buy focuses on former President Donald Trump’s latest abortion stance, in which he again took credit for overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling because of the justices he appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court and said states should decide abortion policy.

The move is part of a larger, more aggressive strategy to seize on Trump’s record on abortion, with the Biden team quickly mobilizing to respond on an issue it sees as the most motivating one for voters in November.

“Because of Donald Trump, millions of women lost the fundamental freedom to control their own bodies,” the ad opens, with Biden narrating and then saying: “Women’s lives are in danger because of that.”

The 30-second spot, which first aired Thursday on MSNBC, will target key young, female and Latino voters, both on television and online, according to the campaign.

“Your body and your decisions belong to you, not the government, not Donald Trump,” Biden says directly to the camera before he vows: “I will fight like hell to get your freedom back.”

The campaign said it hopes to reach voters in the battleground state this month with ad placements on shows like Abbott Elementary, Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol, The Voice, and  Saturday Night Live, as well as sports events and entertainment programming on TNT, TLC, ESPN, FX, and Bravo.

“This week, women across the state of Arizona are watching in horror as an abortion ban from 1864 with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of a woman will soon become the law of the land for Arizonans,” campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement Thursday. “This nightmare is only possible because of Donald Trump.”

A 60-second spot released on Monday, April 8,  features a testimonial from a Texas woman who says she nearly died twice from a miscarriage because she was denied care.

At the end of that video, the ad text says: “Donald Trump did this.”

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to travel to Tucson on Friday to hold a political event focused on reproductive freedom, where she plans to put Trump front and center on abortion, a Biden campaign official said.

When Biden was asked Wednesday for his message to Arizonans about the state Supreme Court’s Civil War-era ruling, he told NBC News, “Elect me,” adding that he was from the “21st century, not back then. They weren’t even a state.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Democrats seize on Iowa results to campaign on threats posed by Trump

January 17, 2024

Donald Trump’s resounding win on Monday night, January 15, in Iowa has been portrayed as a triumph for the former U.S. president and bad news for those who hoped his attempt to return to the Oval Office would show signs of floundering at the first jump, reports The Guardian-U.S.

Iowa’s Republican caucuses are hardly representative of the nation as a whole, but as the first state to actually cast votes in the 2024 nomination contest, its results were eagerly anticipated across the political spectrum. As they trickled in one message was clear: among Republicans, Trump’s message is still powerful.

Top Democrats, however, did not immediately react to the results with the same level of dismay that might be expected from the dramatic return of their nemesis. Instead it was heralded as an early beginning to the national battle for the White House.

Much reporting suggests Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign team wants to face Trump over other challengers. Doing so would allow them to campaign more on the threat Trump poses than the virtues of Biden himself—an historically unpopular president at this point in his term, blamed for his age, the fact that gas prices were once high; and, perhaps more pressingly, his support of Israel in its offensive in Gaza following the Hamas attacks in October.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis both often poll better in a hypothetical matchup with Biden than Trump does. And while various polls show Trump currently edges Biden in several swing states, Biden actually beat Trump once already in 2020. The unstated core of Biden’s campaign is a message that he can do so again.

In that light, the earlier Trump sews up his apparently inevitable nomination, the more time Democrats have to persuade the U.S. electorate that voting for Biden is the lesser of two evils.

Indeed, Biden seized on the Iowa results immediately to begin fundraising.

The Vice President, Kamala Harris—who took the opportunity of Martin Luther King Day to attack Trump on his threat to democracyfollowed up by emphasizing Trump’s central role in overturning Roe v Wade and ending federal protection for reproductive rights—something Democrats could not pin entirely on either DeSantis or Haley, although both also oppose abortion.

Steve Cohen, a Memphis congressman who is the ranking member of the Aviation Subcommittee, weighed in as well, with an unsubtle example of the general anti-Trump 2024 message:

“While the Republican race is not technically over, with a clear frontrunner now in place, it is seen as likely that many more Democrats will join the President and Vice President in focusing their messaging squarely on Trump, regardless of how long Haley and DeSantis cling on.”

Research contact: @GuardianUS

Biden Administration to buttress HIPAA to protect abortion seekers and providers

April 14, 2023

The Biden Administration is updating the nation’s main health privacy law to offer stronger legal protections to people who obtain abortions in their state or who cross state lines for the procedure, as well as their doctors and loved ones, reports Politico. 

On Wednesday, April 12, the Department of Health and Human ServicesOffice for Civil Rights said it would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to bar health care providers and insurers from turning over information to state officials for the purpose of investigating, suing or prosecuting someone for seeking or providing a legal abortion.

The new rule would add language to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—commonly known as HIPAAwould cover both people who cross state lines to obtain a legal abortion or who qualify for an exception to their home state’s ban, such as in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. 

The move, a longtime ask of abortion-rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers, comes just days after a Texas court ruling threatening access to the abortion pill—the most common method for ending a pregnancy.

Vice President Kamala Harris will meet Wednesday afternoon with the White House’s Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access to discuss the new HIPAA rule and other potential responses to the court decision. 

During a call with reporters on the new rule Tuesday night, a senior administration official said that, while the agency released guidance when Roe fell last June—telling doctors they do not have to comply with demands for information from law enforcement or state officials about a patient’s abortion—they have gotten feedback from health providers and advocacy groups that a clearer and more binding rule would offer better protection.

“We found that even with the permissible disclosures [policy], some providers get fearful when they receive a subpoena or they might feel like they have to turn the information over,” said the official, granted anonymity as the condition for the briefing on the new rule.

That chilling effect, the official added, is also affecting pregnant patients and causing them to avoid the medical system entirely.

“They’re scared, they are concerned about their medical information being misused and disclosed,” the official said. “As a result, individuals may hesitate to interact with providers, health plans, pharmacies, or related health applications out of fear that their data will be tracked or shared inappropriately.”

The agency will take public comment on the proposed rule for the next 60 days, and will then issue a final rule.

Democratic lawmakers and abortion-rights advocates have been pleading with the Biden Administration for months—beginning before Roe was overturned—to take this step, and the calls have grown louder as conservative states ramped up enforcement of their anti-abortion laws.

In January, Democrats in Congress introduced the Secure Access for Essential Reproductive (SAFER) Health Act, which would have made similar updates to HIPAA with respect to abortions and miscarriages, but the bill has not moved in either chamber.

Research contact: @politico

Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed; makes history as first Black woman on Supreme Court

April 11, 2022

The Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the newest member of the United States Supreme Court on Thursday, April 7—delivering on President Joe Biden’s vow to successfully nominate the first Black female associate justice in the court’s history, reports The Daily Beast.

The confirmation of a judge whose nomination has received broad public support nevertheless came through by a narrow vote of 53-47, a tally cut almost entirely along party lines and nearly matching the vote margins of much more controversial nominees. Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) joined their Democratic colleagues in supporting Jackson.

Jackson, who held the same seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia once occupied by Attorney General Merrick Garland, was long seen as the presumptive nominee for first vacancy on the court under Biden.

In addition to fulfilling Biden’s campaign-era vow to “making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court,” the 51-year-old judge has a lengthy résumé as a jurist and attorney that features many of the accomplishments seen as prerequisites for a spot on the court: two degrees from Harvard University, both with honors; a Supreme Court clerkship under the justice she is now set to replace; and eight years as a district court judge following a unanimous confirmation vote in 2013.

Her most recent confirmation before being named to the Supreme Court, however, cut along narrow partisan lines, a preview of the battle to come for her lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court. Jackson, who was nominated to replace outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer in February following the announcement of his retirement at the end of the court’s current term, will not alter the ideological makeup of a Supreme Court that is widely dominated by conservative justices. But many Republicans fought her confirmation as hard as if she might be the pivotal “swing seat” as the nation’s highest court considers a potential overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Capitol staff crowded into the Senate chamber to observe the historic vote, which was presided over by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to serve in that office. Several members of the House Congressional Black Caucus lined the Senate floor to observe the milestone firsthand.

In her testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Jackson promised to make the principle of “Equal Justice Under Law”—the words inscribed on the edifice of the Supreme Court itself—“a reality and not just an ideal.”

“I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility, and my duty to be independent, very seriously,” Jackson said in her opening remarks before the committee in March. “I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath. I know that my role as a judge is a limited one.”

Upon her nomination, Biden called Jackson “a proven consensus builder, an accomplished lawyer, a distinguished jurist on one of the nation’s most prestigious courts,” who would “bring to the Supreme Court an independent mind, uncompromising integrity, and a strong moral compass and the courage to stand up for what she thinks is right.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Biden targets ‘ghost guns’ and ‘red flag’ laws in new gun control measures

April 9, 2021

In a Rose Garden speech on March 8, President Joe Biden announced that he would introduce regulations to limit “ghost guns;” and would make it easier for people to flag family members who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms with a series of executive actions taken in the wake of recent mass shootings, NBC News reported.

The actions Biden intends to take are limited—and will still likely face legal opposition from gun rights advocates, who view any efforts to limit access as a violation of the Second Amendment.

The changes come in the wake of shootings in Georgia and Colorado and focus not just on trying to limit mass shootings, but also at reducing other forms of gun violence, such as suicides and domestic violence, Biden said.

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it is an international embarrassment,” Biden said in remarks he made in the Rose Garden. He was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland. A number of Democratic congressional members, gun control advocates, and local officials also attended.

Biden also announced he is nominating David Chipman, a gun control advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.

The White House detailed the planned executive actions, arguing that Biden’s instructions to the Department of Justice will curb access to guns, NBC News said.

Biden directed the DOJ to write rules that will reduce the proliferation of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms often made from parts bought online and that do not have traceable serial numbers. Biden said he wants kits and parts used to make guns to be treated as firearms where the parts have serial numbers and are subject to a background check.

Biden also sought to reduce access to stabilizing braces, which can effectively turn a pistol into a more lethal rifle while not being subject to the same regulations that a rifle of similar size would be. Biden said the alleged shooter in Boulder appears to have used one of these devices.

Finally, he asked the DOJ to publish model “red flag” laws for states to use as guides. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement agencies to petition state courts to temporarily block people from obtaining firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. Biden said states with such red flag laws have seen a reduction in the number of suicides.

Biden directed the DOJ to issue a report on firearms trafficking, which hasn’t been done since 2000. He also will announce support for programs aimed at “reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration,” according to a fact sheet shared by the White House.

The new guidelines are bound to face opposition from both sides of the aisle in Congress, NBC noted.

“The idea is just bizarre to suggest some of the things we are recommending is contrary to the Constitution,” Biden said.

And he has vowed to do more. In a call with reporters Wednesday night, administration officials stressed that Thursday’s actions were just the first step and that Biden would still pursue legislative solutions to gun violence.

“This is an initial set of actions to make progress on President Biden’s gun violence reduction agenda,” one official said. “The administration will be pursuing legislative and executive actions at the same time. You will continue to hear the president call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence.”

“The job of any president is to protect the American people, whether Congress acts or not,” Biden said. “I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe from gun violence. But there’s much more that Congress can do to help that effort.”

Biden asked Congress to pass legislation already through the House to tighten background checks and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. He also called again for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and removed liability protections for gun makers.

Research contact: @NBCNews