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Weekly Newsletter

April 5, 2020

What We’re Standing For

Keeping the pressure on China

As China looks to expand its global influence, it’s critical that the United States keep the pressure on the Communist Chinese government when it comes to national security issues, not only on coronavirus.

The Trump administration is set to tighten rules preventing China from acquiring U.S. private sector technology and using it for military purposes, something Ambassador Haley has loudly warned about.

→ What would the new rules do? The tightened rules would make it harder for Chinese companies to buy optical materials, radar equipment, semiconductors, and other sensitive technologies from the United States. The rules are still awaiting President Trump’s final approval.

→ Why are these rules so important? Official Chinese policy, called “civil-military fusion”, purposely funnels commercial technology to its military. That means we can’t assume that U.S. technology exports will be used for peaceful means.

Last week, President Trump signed into law a bill that increases American support for Taiwan. The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act requires the State Department to report to Congress on steps taken to strengthen relations between the United States and Taiwan, and directs the U.S. to consider “altering” its relationship with countries that take “significant actions to undermine the security or prosperity of Taiwan.”

→ Why is this so important? China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has prevented Taiwan’s participation in global organizations like the World Health Organization. China has also recently amplified its bullying of Taiwan, attempting to meddle in its national election and increasing military drills in its vicinity. The TAIPEI Act is a step in the right direction of formalizing U.S. support for Taiwan, despite China’s objections.

→ How did Taiwan react? Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen posted a picture of the Taiwanese flag flying next to the American flag and wrote, “Friends in freedom, partners in prosperity.”

→ Read more: Taiwan to donate 10 million masks to Europe and U.S. (ABC News)

Fighting for Venezuelan democracy

The United States isn’t letting up pressure on the corrupt socialist Maduro regime either.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Nicolás Maduro and his socialist cronies on charges of drug trafficking and conspiring with terrorists, and offered a $15 million reward for their arrests.

And this week, the Trump administration offered to lift sanctions on Venezuela in exchange for holding new elections, in the hopes of resolving the longstanding crisis in the country. The plan requires both socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó – recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by the United States and dozens of other countries – to step aside and allow for a transitional government until elections could be held. Guaidó would stay on as National Assembly president in the meantime.

Will it work? It’s unlikely that Maduro – a man who has plunged his people into poverty and hunger – will willingly relinquish his grip on power.

So why bother? It’s essential that the United States continue to show support for Venezuelan democracy and the Venezuelan people who have been fighting against the corrupt Maduro dictatorship since last year. Nearly five million people have fled the country. And public services, including the health care system, have all but collapsed, making the Venezuelan people especially vulnerable as coronavirus spreads.

→ Read more: Trump administration indicts Maduro on drug charges (Fox News)

→ Read more: Trump doubles U.S. military assets in Caribbean, bolstering drug fight after Maduro indictment (Reuters)

what we’re standing against

Irresponsible spending

With the ink barely dry on the $2.2 trillion relief bill – the third phase of coronavirus legislation – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is already talking about “phase four.”

Remember how Pelosi tried to stuff the CARES Act with wasteful pork? Now she is getting ready to push for another spending package, and conservatives are sounding the alarm.

What was the reaction: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) didn’t buy what Pelosi was selling, responding: “She needs to stand down on the notion that we’re going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis.” The pushback appears to have been successful. As of yesterday, Pelosi backed down from calling for a bill with items completely unrelated to the crisis, saying she’ll focus on a targeted package instead.

Our take: Congress just passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill that needs to work its way through the system. We should absolutely help people, healthcare responders, and small businesses deal with the crisis at hand, but we should not load up another trillion-dollar (plus) bill with items that have nothing to do with the current emergency.

What we’re watching: One proposal under discussion would offer additional money to states. But some liberal states (Illinois comes to mind) have been irresponsibly spending and taxing their way into a fiscal disaster for years. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to bail out their mistakes in exchange for getting legitimate aid to people in need.

→ Read more: Pelosi abandons sweeping coronavirus legislative agenda, agrees to narrowly-tailored phase-4 relief bill (National Review Online)

→ Read more: McConnell and Pelosi draw coronavirus battle lines (POLITICO )

→ Read more: Pelosi pitches a blue-state bailout (Wall Street Journal)

what we’re smiling about

Heroes come in all different forms. Of course, we are so grateful to the doctors, nurses, and first responders who are saving lives day and night. But we are also grateful to the grocery store workers who take a risk every day to make sure we all have food to eat. Kudos to Kroger for recognizing the important role these workers play and offering them a “hero bonus.” It’s well-deserved.