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Psaki says Dem party infighting is democracy at work: ‘I know it feels foreign’ after Trump

Fox News asks Psaki if Biden believes open borders are unsustainable White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted Thursday that the Democratic Party’s infighting over a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package is democracy at work.

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich asked Psaki during her daily press briefing whether President Biden had "lost control of his party," given the reality that Democrats could fail to deliver on two major pieces of legislation furthering his domestic agenda if moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., cannot agree on the price tag.

MODERATE-PROGRESSIVE STANDOFF WORSENING HOURS BEFORE PLANNED VOTE: LIVE UPDATES

"This is how democracy works," Psaki responded.

"I know it feels foreign because there wasn’t much that happened over the last couple of years," she continued, taking a dig at former President Donald Trump. "But how it works is the American people elect their elected officials, the president of the United States puts forward a bold and ambitious proposal, and then everybody negotiates about it."

"They have different points of view," she added. "That’s how democracy should work We’re in the midst of it right now. We’re not trying to paint over how messy it looks from the outside."

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Progressive House Democrats have vowed to oppose the infrastructure bill, which already passed the Senate, unless it moves in tandem with the party’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Manchin, who supports the infrastructure bill, said he would not support the reconciliation bill due to its price tag.

The House joined the Senate on Thursday to approve a bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and avert a government shutdown for now.

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Rep. Chip Roy introduces legislation to block fines for Biden’s vaccine mandate

Rep. Jackson calls out President Biden’s vaccine mandate EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, introduced a bill Thursday which would prevent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other agencies from imposing fines on individuals or businesses that do not comply with President Biden ‘s proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

According to text of the bill, named the No Taxation Without Congressional Consent Act, "no fine, fee, or taxation shall be imposed on any person for violating a COVID–19 vaccine mandate issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or any other executive agency."

Earlier this month, Biden announced that businesses with 100 or more employees would be forced to require coronavirus vaccinations or test employees weekly.

The bill, introduced by Roy in the House and brought up for unanimous consent by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in the Senate, defines terms and features a provision that insists the bill should not be construed as to allow for federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The legislation, should it pass, would essentially eliminate OSHA’s ability to enforce vaccine mandates on employers and individuals, including government employees.

"Your decision about whether or not to get a COVID vaccine should be yours and yours alone — not Joe Biden’s or a bunch of federal bureaucrats you’ve never heard of," Roy said in a statement to Fox News. "The president’s proposed mandate is both unconstitutional and flat-out tyrannical. No freedom-loving American should comply. This country needs, and her people deserve, healthcare freedom. That means taking control over our care back from politicians and bureaucrats. I am proud to introduce this legislation with my good friend Senator Mike Lee to gut the federal government’s ability to enforce this unconstitutional mandate."

Biden’s move to have OSHA make a rule requiring employees of companies to be tested leaves businesses covering test costs, unless they pass the cost on to employees.

"Unvaccinated Americans aren’t the enemy," Lee said in a statement to Fox News. "We should not be forcing employers to fire some of their valuable, and now hard to find, workers. We shouldn’t be threatening business owners with closure who do not wish to police their workforce’s decisions. Many simply cannot incur the cost of this enforcement in this economy."

According to Forbes , businesses that refuse to comply with the mandate will open themselves up to hefty fines up to nearly $14,000 per violation. As part of the $3.5 trillion spending package, Democrats included a provision that would increase OSHA fines for some businesses that do not comply up to $700,000.

In July, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that a federal vaccine mandate was "not the role of the federal government."

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this article.

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Braun rips Cardona over statement that parents who oppose vax mandates are just mad ‘their guy didn’t win’

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., took aim at Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for controversial comments Cardona made about parents voicing their frustrations at school board meetings.

"I was a little disturbed, and I want to see if you really meant the comment. And it was in relation to … ‘Why are they doing this?’ And I’m going to quote this your response for that engagement was, ‘I think it’s a proxy for being mad that their guy didn’t win.’" the Indiana Republican told Cardona during a hearing Wednesday.

"And I know you probably didn’t mean that, and I’ll give you a chance to retract it," Braun said. "Is that something you’d want to take back?" Cardona responded by touting school boards’ commitment to returning students to classrooms but did not directly address the statement Braun was referring to.

"What about the statement? And I agree with you 100% there, but would you want to take that back … not politicize something where I think it’s an honest and sincere difference of opinion across the country, and I don’t know that I’d want to be on record with that," Braun pressed.

Cardona again declined to directly address the comments.

"I’ll take it that you don’t want to retract it at this point," Braun said, visibly frustrated.

Cardona’s comments were publicized in a Business Insider story in which the education secretary shared his thoughts on mask mandates and critical race theory.

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AOC’s Civilian Climate Corps, drug price controls, tobacco taxes in Dems’ $3.5T ‘infrastructure’ bill

The massive $3.5 trillion spending bill being floated by Democrats in Congress contains tens of billions of dollars in spending that advances progressive ideology and liberal causes.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Grabien Media Founder Tom Elliot outlined several provisions in the spending bill including $15 million dollars to resource centers for people "who are underserved due to their sexual orientation or gender identity." In another provision , over $20 billion dollars is directed to rent support for victims of "stalking" and "dating violence."

The bill also contains $50 million meant to "reduce human-wildlife conflicts on National Forest System land."

PELOSI BLASTED FOR REPEATING BIDEN TALKING POINT THAT $3.5 TRILLION BILL WILL COST ‘ZERO’

The so-called infrastructure bill has other items from the progressive wish list including free school lunches year-round for runaway and migrant children, doubling most federal cigarette taxes, and $2.25 billion for the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed "Civilian Climate Corps."

"FYI: The word ‘tax’ is used 1,829 times," Elliot added. "The word ‘taxes’ is used 69 times. The word ‘taxation’ is used 7 times. Supposedly all of these new taxes add up to $3.5 trillion."

Democrats insist that the bill, which is currently being debated in the Senate, won’t cost the American taxpayers a cent because it will be "paid for" by ending tax loopholes for the rich. The cigarette tax would not merely tax higher-income Americans

"The bill’s price tag is $0 because it will be paid for by ending failed, special tax giveaways for the richest taxpayers and big corporations, adding nothing to the debt," White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Axios last week.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed with that claim.

"It’s not about a dollar amount," the California Democrat told reporters. "The dollar amount, as the president said, is zero. This bill will be paid for."

Republicans have ripped Build Back Better, a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, as a massive social policy bill that "ultimately provides benefits to wealthy liberal elites at the expense of working-class families." Moderate Democrats, like Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., have also raised concerns about the reconciliation package.

A $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Pelosi wanted a vote on this week in the House is in jeopardy as bitter, intra-party clashes continue among Democrats over the sprawling, separate $3.5 trillion package. Left-wing Democrats have said they will sink the infrastructure package that already passed the U.S. Senate without the "Build Back Better" plan being brought to the floor simultaneously.

However, moderate Democratic Sens. Sinema and Manchin are standing in the way of the latter’s passage in its present form over concerns about the price tag. Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report

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DOJ watchdog Horowitz reveals nearly 200 FBI FISA applications failed to go through accuracy reviews

A report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released Thursday details "widespread" shortcomings in how the FBI applies for surveillance warrants.

In the report , the Inspector General reviewed over 7,000 FISA applications and found that that 183 didn’t have the appropriate factual accuracy review procedures, or "Woods Procedures." FILE: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz speaks during a Senate Judiciary hearing. In 2019, Horowitz released a severely critical report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the procedures used to open a FISA investigation onto former Trump campaign official Carter Page . Horowitz indicated at the time that his office would take a broader look at the FISA application process.

DOJ officials noted that FBI Director Chris Wray made reforms to address these problems in March 2020 and the issues of non-compliance outlined in Thursday’s report took place before those reforms.

BLINKEN, MAYORKAS, GARLAND TO TRAVEL TO MEXICO TO DISCUSS ‘SECURITY ISSUES’

"The OIG initiated this audit to determine whether the significant errors found in the December 2019 OIG report were indicative of a more widespread problem with the Woods Procedures compliance," Horowitz’s Thursday report states.

"Given the FBI’s reliance upon its Woods Procedures to help ensure the accuracy of its FISA applications, we believe the missing Woods Files represent a significant lapse in the FBI’s management of its FISA program."

The report lists 10 recommendations for the FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division to ensure compliance.

In a statement to Fox News , the FBI said it fully accepts the Inspector General’s recommendations and has cooperated with the OIG’s review of its Woods Procedures.

"The FBI’s FISA authorities are indispensable national security tools and a vital means of accomplishing our mission of protecting the American people from national security threats. But our mission is also to uphold the Constitution, and the FBI remains committed to executing our FISA process with the unwavering rigor it requires," an FBI spokesperson said.

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Fox News Poll: Tight race for Virginia governor

McAuliffe says parents shouldn’t choose their children’s curriculum Virginia voters give Democrat Terry McAuliffe the advantage over Republican Glenn Youngkin by 48-44 percent in the race for governor, according to a new Fox News Poll.

This benchmark survey of the Virginia governor’s race shows it is still up for grabs. That four percentage-point edge is within the survey’s margin of sampling error and both candidates are below 50 percent support. In addition, while both McAuliffe and Youngkin backers have a high degree of vote certainty (each at 79 percent), one in five voters say they may change their mind before casting their ballot.

Overall, three quarters are "extremely" (46 percent) or "very" (29 percent) interested in the election. Among just those interested voters, McAuliffe is up by 2 points (49-47 percent).

The survey, released Thursday, was conducted September 26 through September 29 among Virginia registered voters. The second and last scheduled debate of the campaign was September 28.

McAuliffe is the preferred candidate among Black voters (by 69 points), moderates (+18), women (+10), and parents (+9). Youngkin is the choice among independents (+23), White voters (by 13 points), and men (+2).

He’s also ahead (+13 points) among the small subgroup that has a negative opinion of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. The Republican leads by 10 points among economy voters, while the Democrat leads by 50 among those who say the pandemic is the most important issue to their vote. The economy is the top issue to Virginia voters (32 percent), followed by the coronavirus pandemic (20 percent), health care (12 percent), taxes (9 percent), and abortion, crime, and education (each 7 percent). On their personal financial situation, by a 9-point margin, more Virginians report they are falling behind than getting ahead (27 vs. 18 percent), with a 54 percent majority holding steady.

Majorities favor COVID vaccine requirements for teachers (66 percent) and employers with more than 100 employees (60 percent). A larger number, 71 percent, favor mask requirements for teachers and students.

There’s no real difference between parents and non-parents on these COVID mandates, although moms are more likely than dads to want teachers and students to wear masks by 11 points.

McAuliffe favors vaccine mandates for teachers, while Youngkin opposes requiring the shot.

Democrats are at least twice as likely as Republicans to favor requiring teachers be vaccinated (90 vs. 45 percent), teachers/students wear masks (95 vs. 45 percent), and vaccines at companies with 100+ workers (88 vs. 34 percent).

The candidates spar over critical race theory, with Youngkin vowing to ban the teaching of it and McAuliffe saying it isn’t being taught in Virginia schools. While 27 percent of voters favor teaching CRT in public schools, a larger 39 percent oppose it, and 32 percent haven’t heard enough to say. The largest share of Democrats favor it (47 percent) compared to a majority of Republicans opposing it (65 percent), while opinions are consistent among parents and non-parents alike. "The Republicans’ hopes for capturing the governorship in the Old Dominion hinge upon running […]

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School board group asks US for help policing threats

Virus Outbreak School Boards

FILE – In this Aug. 12, 2021 file photo, protesters against a COVID-19 mandate gesture as they are escorted out of the Clark County School Board meeting at the Clark County Government Center, in Las Vegas. The nation’s school boards are asking President Joe Biden for federal assistance to investigate and stop a growing number of threats made against their members, on Thursday, Sept. 30. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

A group representing school board members around the country asked President Joe Biden on Thursday for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats made over policies including mask mandates, likening the vitriol to a form of domestic terrorism.

Parents and community members have been disrupting meetings and threatening board members in person, online and through the mail in a trend that merits attention from federal law enforcement agencies, the National School Boards Association said in a letter to Biden.

“Whatever you feel about masks, it should not reach this level of rhetoric,” NSBA Interim Executive Director Chip Slaven told The Associated Press by phone.

School boards around the country have been disrupted by unruly attendees out to interfere with business and silence other viewpoints.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said responsibility for protecting school boards falls largely to local law enforcement but “we’re continuing to explore if more can be done from across the administration.”

“Obviously these threats to school board members is horrible. They’re doing their jobs,” she said during a press briefing.

The association asked for the federal government to get involved to investigate cases where threats or violence could be handled as violations of federal laws protecting civil rights. It also asked for the Justice Department, FBI, Homeland Security and Secret Service to help monitor threat levels and assess risks to students, educators, board members and school buildings.

“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the association wrote.

The association represents more than 90,000 school board members in 14,000 public school districts.

The letter documents more than 20 instances of threats, harassment, disruption, and acts of intimidation in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and other states. It cites the September arrest of an Illinois man for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct for allegedly striking a school official at a meeting. In Michigan, a meeting was disrupted when a man performed a Nazi salute to protest masking.

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Senate confirms Biden consumer watchdog, unleashing industry crackdown

The Senate confirmed Rohit Chopra as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday, putting in place a seasoned regulator and Wall Street critic to police lending.

Senators approved Chopra in a 50-48 vote. No Republican supported his nomination, reflecting long-running antagonism from the right over the very existence of the consumer bureau, which Democrats set up a decade ago to crack down on predatory lending.

Chopra, who for the last three years served at the Federal Trade Commission, is expected to revive a more aggressive posture toward the finance industry after Democrats blasted the Trump administration for weakening consumer safeguards. The agency is the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Chopra helped her set up the bureau after its enactment in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.

Credit reporting companies, small-dollar lenders, debt collectors and financial technology startups are among the players expected to face scrutiny from Chopra’s CFPB, as well as the student loan industry and mortgage servicers. The agency under interim leadership for the last eight months has already taken some initial steps to address lenders’ pandemic-era treatment of consumers and to advance the Biden administration’s racial justice priorities.

“It’s already on the track, but Chopra’s going to be driving the train faster,” said Allyson Baker, a former CFPB enforcement attorney and the chair of the law firm Venable’s financial services practice.

Chopra’s confirmation is the latest victory for progressives who have so far succeeded in putting their stamp on the Biden administration’s recruitment of top financial regulators. President Joe Biden has scattered allies of Warren and other liberal lawmakers throughout agencies tasked with overseeing the finance industry, including Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler.

“Rohit is a terrific champion for consumers,” Warren said in a statement. “I look forward to his leadership at the bureau as he works to return it to its core mission of protecting consumers from discrimination and predatory institutions.”

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U.S. and Russia say they held ‘substantive’ arms control talks in Geneva

U.S.-Russia summit in Geneva WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States and Russia said in a joint statement on Thursday that they had held "intensive and substantive" talks in their second meeting within a framework that is aimed at easing tensions between the world’s largest nuclear weapons powers.

The two countries have agreed to set up two working groups, which will convene ahead of a third plenary meeting. A date for the third gathering was not provided.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose countries hold 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, agreed at a June summit in Geneva to embark on an integrated bilateral ‘Strategic Stability Dialogue’ to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.

Armed with mandates from their leaders, delegations from the two nations restarted talks in July, the first time in nearly a year that the two had held so-called strategic stability talks amid frictions over a range of issues, including arms control.

During the second meeting held on Thursday in Geneva, the delegations headed by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov agreed the working groups would focus on principles and objectives for future arms control and capabilities and actions with strategic effects.

A senior U.S. administration official told reporters that Washington thought it was "a very productive meeting."

"Today the discussion was very interactive and broad-based, and we think we were able to cover a variety of issues," the administration official said, declining to provide specifics.

"I think this was a good building-on of the meeting that we had in July and both delegations really engaging in a detailed and dynamic exchange," the official added.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Daphne Psaledakis; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Rosalba O’Brien)

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Critics point to Kyrsten Sinema post calling for corporations to ‘pay their fair share’ of taxes

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ) heads back to a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure in the basement of the U.S. Capitol building after the original talks fell through with the White House on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said they are now pursuing a two-path proposal that includes a new set of negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators. Samuel Corum/Getty Images Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was elected to the US Senate in 2018.

Before being elected, Sinema advocated raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans.

But Sinema, a former member of the Green Party, has become more conservative in recent years.

US Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has told colleagues she opposes raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans as part of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending proposal, The New York Times reported this week.

But the Democrat from Arizona, who once served as a spokesperson for the left-wing Green Party, didn’t always object to making corporations and the rich "pay their fair share."

In a 2011 post on Twitter, Sinema – then a member of the Arizona state Senate – said doing so was only "common sense." Sinema deleted this post on September 30, 2021. Screenshot/Twitter Sinema’s liberal critics began pointing to that comment on Thursday. "So you’re voting for Build Back Better, then?" asked Karoli Kuns , managing editor of the progressive blog Crooks and Liars.

Sinema’s murky opposition to her fellow Democrats’ reconciliation proposal, which would expand Medicare, cut tuition at community colleges, and extend the child tax credit has threatened its passage in a chamber where the party can not afford to lose a single vote. While she has balked at the price tag, she has not explicitly detailed her objections, angering progressives .

Back in Arizona, leaders of the state Democratic Party have threatened to hold a " no confidence " vote if she delays or votes against the $3.5 trillion package.

This post has been updated.