President Joe Biden drew a red line on his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday, saying he is open to compromise on how to pay for the package but inaction is unacceptable.
The president turned fiery in an afternoon speech, saying that the United States is failing to build, invest and research for the future and adding that failure to do so amounts to giving up on “leading the world.”
“Compromise is inevitable,” Biden said. “We'll be open to good ideas in good faith negotiations. But here's what we won't be open to: We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction, simply, is not an option.”
The president has taken heat from Republican lawmakers and business groups for proposing that corporate tax increases should finance an infrastructure package that goes far beyond the traditional focus on roads and bridges.
Census privacy technique defended
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Wednesday defended a controversial privacy technique being used by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2020 census, a method the agency promised would only make small changes to actual numbers in counts of racial and ethnic groups.
The technique called “differential privacy” adds mathematical “noise,” or errors, to the data to obscure any given individual's identity while still providing statistically valid information.
Bureau officials say the change is needed to prevent data miners from matching individuals to confidential details.
Cuomo accuser gives interview
An aide who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her at his official residence told a newspaper in her first public interview it was a frightening physical encounter in which the Democrat slammed a door and said “I don't care” when she warned someone might see what he was doing.
The woman, who still works in the governor's office, spoke to the Times Union of Albany on the condition of anonymity.
US aid to Palestinians to resume
The Biden administration on Wednesday announced a resumption of U.S. assistance to the Palestinians, including to the U.N. agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, nearly all of which had been eliminated by former President Donald Trump. The State Department said it would provide $235 million to projects in the West Bank and Gaza as well as to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
G-20 to discuss international taxation
Italy's finance minister said Wednesday that Group of 20 advanced economies hope by a ministerial meeting in July to have reached an agreement on international taxation, an issue being pressed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Yellen last week urged the adoption of a minimum global corporate income tax, citing a “30-year race to the bottom” in which countries have slashed corporate tax rates in an effort to attract multinational businesses. She said the Biden administration would work with the other advanced economies of the G-20 to set a minimum.
MSNBC sorry for mistaken identity
MSNBC apologized on Wednesday for mistakenly airing video of another Black congressman while reporting a day earlier on the death of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida.
During the report, the network aired archived video of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi. The report correctly included some still pictures of Hastings. MSNBC tweeted an apology on Tuesday.