US imposes sanctions against Honduran president and family
Secretary of state Antony Blinken has designated President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla Avila and their immediate family ineligible for entry into the US for their alleged involvement in corruption.
The state department alleges that the president accepted bribes from the narco-trafficking organization Los Cachiros in exchange for political favors, while his former wife engaged in fraud and misappropriated funds for her benefit as first lady.
In case you missed it, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture yesterday on the bipartisan infrastructure plan, meaning that the Senate will vote Wednesday on whether to begin debate on the deal negotiated between Republicans, Democrats and Joe Biden to bolster the country’s roads, bridges, public transit and broadband.
A quick recap because let’s face it, this is very confusing: we currently have two infrastructure bills before us: the bipartisan bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation bill that focuses on “human infrastructure” like social services and environmental measures.
Republicans are unhappy because they feel like after negotiating on the bipartisan bill, Democrats tacked on the reconciliation bill as a package deal. They’re also balking at the overall size of the reconciliation bill.
So something that was seemingly all negotiated out is now getting tied up once again in negotiations: the bipartisan group behind the bipartisan deal spent the weekend trying to plug a $100bn hole that arose after Republicans found another issue.
Thus, the cloture. Democrats would like to turn their attention to the reconciliation bill. Republicans, however, are not happy about getting rushed on the bipartisan bill.
Schumer needs 60 votes to get cloture and begin debate. Senate minority whip John Thune told Politico, “He’s not going to get 60, let’s put it that way. The legislation is not drafted, the pay-fors are a long ways away. Patience is going to be a virtue.”
Schumer, however, had the support of the White House.
White House: social media companies ‘should be held accountable’ for Covid misinformation
Ahoy there, liveblog readers. Happy Tuesday.
Yesterday Joe Biden walked back some of his criticism of Facebook, saying he never meant to say “Facebook is killing people” when it came to the spread of misinformation around Covid vaccines.
Later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified a bit further, but did not quite let the social media giant off the hook: “Our fight is not with one social media platform. It is with the virus,” she said. “We have a role, everybody has a role, in combating misinformation…In terms of monitoring whether there have been steps that have been taken, there are all things you all can assess…do you have access from these companies on who is receiving misinformation? I don’t think that information has been released.”
Today, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield went on Morning Joe to speak more about the spread of misinformation on social media. “Right now this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated: 99.5% of people who are in the hospital or who have died from this virus are unvaccinated,” Bedingfield said in an interview with Mika Brzezinski.
Brzezinski asked Bedingfield about section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which exempts platforms from legal liability for content generated by its users.
“Shouldn’t (social media platforms) be held accountable in a real way, shouldn’t they be liable for publishing that information and open to lawsuits?” Brzezinski asked.
“We’re reviewing that, and certainly they should be held accountable, and I think you heard the president speak very aggressively about this,” Bedingfield said. “He understands that this is an important piece of the ecosystem.”
She continued: “It is also the responsibility of the people creating the content. There are conservative news outlets who are creating irresponsible content that is sharing misinformation about the virus that is getting shared on these platforms. It is a big and complicated ecosystem and everybody bears responsibility to ensure we are not providing people with bad information about a vaccine that will save their lives.”