Zelensky’s Historic Address

Happy Thursday! President Biden signed a bill into law yesterday banning most private ownership of big cats, including tigers, lions, leopards, and cheetahs.

Unfortunately, the legislation does nothing about problematic ursine ownership.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • With a surge in respiratory viruses leading to shortages across the country, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday it will release Tamiflu, the prescription antiviral, from the Strategic National Stockpile to states that request it. Tamiflu hasn’t been quite as difficult to find in recent weeks as other medications—like children’s Tylenol—but the flu has been particularly pervasive so far this fall.
  • The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced this week it seized about 50 million fentanyl tablets and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022, by their calculations enough of the synthetic opioid to produce 379 million “potentially fatal doses.” The 50 million tablets seized were approximately double what the DEA captured in 2021, when a record 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses.
  • President Joe Biden told a woman at a political rally last month that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is “dead, but we’re not going to announce [that it’s dead],” according to a recently resurfaced video of the exchange. Citing Iran’s crackdown on protesters and support for Russia’s war effort, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council told Axios Tuesday that resurrecting the Iran deal is “not our focus right now” and they “don’t see a deal coming together anytime soon.” On Wednesday, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on an Iranian manufacturing company and several Iranian officials—including the country’s prosecutor general and members of the Basij Resistance Forces paramilitary group—in response to the regime’s recent killing of two protesters.
  • The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday the median existing-home sales price in the U.S. was $370,700 in November—down from a record $416,000 in June, but up 3.5 percent from November 2021—while sales of previously owned homes declined for the tenth straight month, down 35.4 percent year-over-year.
  • Incoming Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced Wednesday he is appointing Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for the 2024 cycle, putting her in charge of efforts to recapture the House majority. The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday the GOP’s 2024 national convention will be held in Milwaukee from July 15-18, 2024.

Zelensky Addresses Congress

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on December 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images.)

Back in March, just three weeks after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a virtual address to Congress, pleading for America to come to the beleaguered nation’s aid. Nine months of brutal fighting later, Zelensky addressed Congress again Wednesday—and this time it was in person, his first known trip outside Ukraine since the war began.

Zelensky’s visit, geared towards shoring up what he described as “solid, bicameral, and bipartisan” American support, comes at a critical moment in the war, as Congress scrambles to pass an omnibus bill that includes $45 billion in military assistance to Ukraine before Christmas. The narrow Republican House majority that will take control of the lower chamber in January is expected to be less amenable to such spending.

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