Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, February 18, 2021, 1:55 PM

Democrats will introduce President Biden’s immigration bill, which would grant legal status to 11 million people from Mexico and Central America, reports the Washington Post. The U.S. Citizenship Act is the core of Biden’s strategy to reform the immigration system, and establishes two pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The New York State Senate could potentially vote to remove Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unilateral emergency powers, which were originally granted at the beginning of the pandemic, writes the New York Times. Cuomo’s broad powers enabled him to control much of New York’s pandemic response, and to become a leading national voice in the crisis. Now, New York State Democratic leaders are maneuvering to pass a bill as early as next week that would limit the governor’s ability to supersede state laws pertaining to the pandemic response, and would create a 10-person commission to review future pandemic-related actions by Cuomo.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will investigate the causes of widespread power outages across Texas after extreme winter weather hit the state, according to the Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the committee will “look into it to see how things could have turned out better and will turn out better in the future.”

The House Financial Services Committee began holding hearings today on the parties involved in the GameStop frenzy, reports the Wall Street Journal. Vlad Tenev, Robinhood co-founder; Ken Griffin, hedge-fund manager at Citadel LLC; and Keith Gill, a trader known by the alias “Roaring Kitty” are some of the individuals testifying.

Facebook blocked news in Australia after a long-standing fight with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which will soon require tech giants like Facebook and Google to compensate media publishers for news content that appears on their sites, writes the Times. Google complied with the soon-to-be law, by establishing a three-year global agreement with News Corps to pay for content, but Facebook instead moved to immediately restrict people and publishers from sharing or viewing news in Australia. William Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, said“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.”

The European Union will impose travel bans and freeze assets on associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to the jailing of Alexei Navalny, reports Reuters. EU ambassadors showed strong support for the sanctions, especially after Putin’s government expelled German, Polish and Swedish diplomats on Feb. 5 without notifying the EU foreign policy chief who was in Moscow at the time.

The United Kingdom and Canada imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Myanmar military leaders for their roles in the military coup on Feb. 1, writes Reuters. Before the coup, the UK had imposed sanctions on 16 others for human rights violations, and now will sanction three more, whereas Canada will sanction nine military personnel. The British government will also end aid programs to the Myanmar government.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, Quinta Jurecic, David Priess, Scott R. Anderson and Molly Reynolds discuss the end of the Senate impeachment trial.

Bryce Klehm announced an episode of Lawfare Live, on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m., in which Lawfare’s editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes will answer questions about Merrick Garland’s upcoming confirmation hearing to be the Attorney General.

Brett Raffish analyzed civilian oversight as a police accountability mechanism.

Howell shared an episode of Rational Security, the “Not Guilty but Sort of Guilty” edition.

Sean Quirk explained the latest Chinese and U.S. military confrontations in the South China Sea and President Biden’s China strategy.

Scott More argued that the U.S. is far ahead of China in biotechnology development.

Abby Lemert and Eleanor Runde discussed the latest China technology and national security news, including China’s recent decision to block the Clubhouse app.

Tasha Jhangiani argued the U.S. needs the capability to declare a cyber state of distress.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring a conversation with New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth about the global cyber arms race.

Lester Munson shared an episode of Fault Lines, in which Morgan Vina, former Chief of Staff to Amb. Nikki Haley, discusses the Africa Challenge.

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