Biden’s new Trump ban as big tech targets politicians

 

New US President Joe Biden is expected to speak out against racism towards Asian Americans on Tuesday afternoon (local time), which has escalated during the pandemic.

Donald Trump and his supporters often referred to the coronavirus as the "China virus" and Mr Biden will introduce executive action to promote equality and stamp out prejudice.

Meanwhile, Google said on Tuesday (local time) it would halt political contributions for politicians who voted against certifying the election of Mr Biden, citing the deadly US Capitol violence earlier this month.

Mr Trump has been accused of inciting the riots over his insistent baseless claims of election fraud, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Washington DC police officer.

 

Google's political action committee, known as NetPAC, had paused all political contributions and reviewed its policies following the deadly siege in Washington as Congress was preparing to certify presidential results.

"Following that review, the NetPAC board has decided that it will not be making any contributions this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certification of the election results," a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Other tech firms including Facebook and Microsoft also paused political contributions after the January 6 unrest.

The 147 Republican politicians who voted against Mr Biden's certification are accused of complicity in Mr Trump's attempt to overturn what was a free and fair election.

 

The former president spent weeks both before and after his defeat making false claims about election fraud and is facing a Senate trial after being impeached for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol.

On Tuesday, local time, the acting police chief of the Capitol formally apologised to Congress for the security failures on behalf of his department which failed to quell the uprising of Mr Trump's supporters.

""We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the larget," acting chief Yogananda Pittman said. "The department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough."

Microsoft has said it would decide by mid-February on whether to resume US political contributions.

"As Microsoft executives have said internally to employees, this is not a normal year," Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement last week.

"The company believes that opposition to the Electoral College undermined American democracy and should have consequences."

But Mr Biden has said that the Senate impeachment trial of his predecessor "has to happen" but expressed doubts that 17 Republicans could be found to secure the two-thirds majority in the chamber needed to convict the 45th POTUS of "incitement to insurrection" over the Capitol riot earlier this month.

In his first such poll as president, Mr Biden scored a 63 per cent approval rating in his first such poll, with the majority of registered voters surveyed him after a busy first week in the Oval Office following his inauguration.

 

 

HOW BIDEN'S 'BUY AMERICAN' MOVE AFFECTS AUSTRALIA

Meanwhile, a move to boost the "Buy American" campaign by Mr Biden could have major trade implications for Australia.

Mr Biden announced he will appoint a Director of Made in America, whose job is to ensure the US maximises locally produced goods.

The President signed an executive order to usher in new "Buy American" initiatives including $A780 billion worth of federal purchasing power.

Australian trade experts were mulling the possible implications today as Mr Biden signed yet another executive order - this one aiming to increase domestic manufacturing by harnessing the purchasing power of the federal government.

It will also aim to close loopholes for companies taking business overseas.

For Australian firms, it's likely to have greatest impact in defence housing construction, transport logistics and pharmaceutical delivery.

 

Senior trade sources told News Corp that Australia has massive exposure to the US government's $A780 billion purchasing power.

But the new order is unlikely to restrict Australia's procurement rights under its Free Trade Agreement with America as well as its entitlements under a World Trade Organisation deal.

"We have two sets of rights which make us believe the 'Buy American' order will have a lot of impact on Australia," a senior trade source said.

"But we do have some big infrastructure companies here, and we have huge access under the Free Trade Agreement.

"This gives Australia major exposure to the 'Buy American' push."

 

Political science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus from Houston University said the new order would definitely have real international ramifications.

"The Biden Administration are committed free traders but an economic slump in the US has pushed them to adopt policies to favour US firms," Prof Rottinghaus said.

"Foreign trade will be depressed by this approach, making it a challenge for the new Biden Administration to mend fences that might have been damaged by the Trump Administration."

 

President Biden has signed an executive order aimed at boosting his "Buy American" efforts following years of "Buy American, Hire American" initiatives from former president Donald Trump.

Existing laws already require the government to give work to US firms when possible, but there are many exceptions and waiver opportunities that for years have frustrated advocates for small and medium-size businesses.

Biden administration officials said the president's executive order would go further than previous efforts by reducing opportunities for waivers from the Buy American requirements and by tightening standards restricting opportunities for overseas companies.

 

The order aims to increase domestic manufacturing by harnessing the purchasing power of the federal government and closing loopholes for companies taking business overseas.

The federal government spends $A780 billion annually on goods and services, which Biden officials hope the order will keep more of in the United States.

Former president Trump signed multiple executive actions focused on his "Buy American, Hire American" agenda dating back to early 2017.

In April of that year, the 45th president signed an executive action encouraging federal agencies to purchase US-made iron, steel and manufactured goods.

Two years later, he signed another two actions, focused on encouraging the use of US-made materials in federally-financed infrastructure projects.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Biden's new Trump ban as big tech targets politicians


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