Congress Wades Into D.C. Crime Policy
Happy Monday! Toblerone chocolate bars will no longer feature the iconic Matterhorn mountain peak on their packaging because the candy’s manufacturer is moving some production from Switzerland to Slovakia. Under the 2017 Swissness Act, national symbols are reserved for products that meet various “Swissness” criteria.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The Pentagon announced a new $400 million security assistance package for Ukraine on Friday, tapping into previously approved congressional aid to send Ukraine additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) ammo, additional artillery rounds, Armored Vehicle Launched Bridges, demolitions munitions, and other arms and equipment.
- Dr. Kevin O’Connor, President Joe Biden’s physician, disclosed Friday the skin lesion removed from Biden’s chest during a routine physical last month was cancerous, but added that all cancerous tissue was successfully removed and no further treatment is required.
- The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security announced Thursday it was adding 28 Chinese firms and individuals to its Entity List, prohibiting American firms from doing business with them unless granted a specific waiver. Agency officials said the restrictions targeted entities supporting Chinese military modernization and facilitating human rights abuses in China and Burma.
- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, visited Iran over the weekend to engage in talks over the country’s apparent enrichment of uranium to near-weapons grade. Upon his return, Grossi refuted claims by Iran’s nuclear chief that the “ambiguities have been resolved,” saying there will be more meetings soon to definitively determine whether the enrichment was accidental, as Iran claims, or purposeful. Iran did agree to grant the IAEA more access to its nuclear infrastructure, including monitoring cameras at some of its facilities.
- At the opening of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress—China’s compliant legislature—the government announced an official growth target of 5 percent for 2023 and a 7.2 percent hike in defense spending. China missed its goal of 5.5 percent growth in 2022 by a sizable margin, but analysts predict 5 percent growth in 2023 is achievable, if not conservative. The 7.2 percent defense spending boost—which comes even as official language on Taiwan remains unchanged in favor of “peaceful reunification”—is the steepest such increase in four years.
- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, said Friday all potential explanations for the COVID-19 pandemic—including the lab leak theory—remain on the table, despite the institution’s previous assessment which found zoonotic transmission to be the most likely cause. Tedros emphasized the need for more transparency from China, where the pandemic began, while U.S. agencies remain divided over the virus’s origins.
- Larry Hogan, the former governor of Maryland, announced Sunday that, after exploring a bid, he will not seek the GOP nomination for president in 2024. “There are several competent Republican leaders who have the potential to step up and lead,” he wrote in a New York Times opinion piece. “But the stakes are too high for me to risk being part of another multicar pileup that could potentially help Mr. Trump recapture the nomination.”
D.C. Facing Congressional Oversight
Pop quiz: Which Democrat said the following?
The fact that more than half a million Americans live in the District of Columbia and are denied a single voting representative in Congress is clearly a historic wrong, and justice demands that it be addressed.
Trick question: It wasn’t a Democrat. It was Mike Pence, circa 2007.