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Joe Biden announces $3.3bn for infrastructure projects in visit to key swing state Wisconsin – as it happened

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Biden announces $3.3bn in infrastructure spending

“I’m here to announce the first-of-its-kind investment: $3.3bn and 132 projects in 42 states,” Biden said in response to cheers.

“And in the process, delivering environmental justice by reconnecting disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods with new opportunities,” he added.

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Key events

Summary

Here is a wrap-up of the day’s key events:

  • Joe Biden announced $3bn in infrastructure investments in local communities across the country. Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Biden said: “Sadly too many communities across America face the loss of wealth, prosperity and possibilities that still reverberate today,” adding that his latest infrastructure project is will deliver “environmental justice by reconnecting disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods with new opportunities”.

  • The House of Representatives passed a bill that would require TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the social media platform or face a total nationwide ban. The vote was a landslide, with 352 Congress members voting in favor and only 65 against. TikTok responded to the House vote describing it as a “ban” on the social media platform, adding that it was “hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts”.

  • The White House said it is “glad” to see a bill move forward that would require the TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the social media platform or face a total ban in the US. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House “will look to the Senate to take swift action” on the bill, adding that it “welcomes ongoing efforts to address the threats posed by certain technology services operating in the United States”.

  • Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate committee on health, education, labor and pensions, said that he will introduce legislation that will establish a standard of 32-hour workweek in the US. In a statement on his legislation, Sanders said: “The financial gains from the major advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, and new technology must benefit the working class, not just corporate CEOs and wealthy stockholders on Wall Street.”

  • The Georgia judge overseeing the election-interference case against Donald Trump and 14 defendants dismissed six of the charges in the wide-ranging indictment, saying they were not detailed enough. One of the 41 charges Trump and some of the co-defendants in the case were charged with was soliciting officials in Georgia to violate their oath of office. Those charges were dismissed.

  • Donald Trump is narrowly leading Joe Biden in a new national poll released a day after both candidates clinched their presidential nominations. The poll by USA Today/Suffolk University found Trump polling at 40% to Biden’s 38%.

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Bernie Sanders is set to introduce legislation to enact a 32-hour week with no loss in pay.

On Wednesday, Sanders, chair of the Senate committee on health, education, labor and pensions, said that he will introduce legislation that will establish a standard of 32-hour workweek in the US.

In a statement on his legislation, Sanders said: “Moving to a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay is not a radical idea … The financial gains from the major advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, and new technology must benefit the working class, not just corporate CEOs and wealthy stockholders on Wall Street.”

“It is time to reduce the stress level in our country and allow Americans to enjoy a better quality of life,” he added.

Moving to a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay is not a radical idea. It’s time for working people to benefit from advancements in AI, automation, and new technology, not just corporate CEOs and wealthy stockholders on Wall Street. pic.twitter.com/O3vUwwH3sN

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 13, 2024

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Joe Biden delivered a speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during which he announced $3bn in infrastructure investments in local communities across the country.

Opening his speech, the president said: “The story of Bronzeville here in Milwaukee is one we see all across the country. Our interstate highway system laid out in the ’50s was a groundbreaking connection [of] our nation’s coast-to-coast … But instead of connecting communities, it divided them. These highways actually tore them apart,” referring to Black communities and other communities of color that were separated as a result of the highway constructions.

“Along with redlining, they disconnected entire communities from opportunities. Sometimes, in an effort to reinforce segregation … More than 100 years ago, Bronzeville was the home of a thriving hub of Black culture and commerce … Sadly too many communities across America face the loss of wealth, prosperity and possibilities that still reverberate today,” said Biden, adding that his latest infrastructure project is set to deliver “environmental justice by reconnecting disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods with new opportunities”.

“We’re going to ensure that good-paying construction jobs created in this project go to members of the community,” Biden continued.

In Milwaukee specifically, Biden’s initiative will see $36m be put towards the 6th Street Complete Streets Project, which will reconnect communities along more than 2.5 miles of the 6th street corridor. The project will also help provide wider sidewalks for children walking to school, safe bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes for faster transit and green infrastructure, the White House announced.

Other projects are set to take place in Atlanta, Georgia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Portland, Oregon, among other towns and cities in the US.

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“Today, we’re making decisions that will transform your lives decades to come and we’re doing it all across America,” said Biden.

He went on to take jabs at Donald Trump, saying: “My predecessor … failed at the most basic duty any president owes the American people … the duty to care.”

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“We’re going to ensure that good-paying construction jobs created in this project go to members of the community,” Biden said.

“We’re making sure the construction materials of this project are made in America,” he added.

Biden announces $3.3bn in infrastructure spending

“I’m here to announce the first-of-its-kind investment: $3.3bn and 132 projects in 42 states,” Biden said in response to cheers.

“And in the process, delivering environmental justice by reconnecting disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods with new opportunities,” he added.

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Joe Biden speaks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Joe Biden has started speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he is set to announce billions of dollars in new infrastructure projects for local communities across the country.

We will bring you the latest updates.

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Alabama’s Republican senator Katie Britt has responded to news outlets fact-checking her State of the Union rebuttal in which she used the story of a woman who was sex-trafficked as a child.

Speaking to Texas senator Ted Cruz, Britt said: “Unbelievable!” before going on to accuse news outlets of wanting to “silence a conservative woman for speaking out on this topic”.

She added: “They don’t want to bring light and help the women who are actually being trafficked.”

“They want to silence a conservative woman for speaking out on this topic.”

— Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) on the media fact-checking the sex trafficking story that she included in her State of the Union rebuttal pic.twitter.com/i9dj10H4gD

— The Recount (@therecount) March 13, 2024

During her State of the Union rebuttal – which was widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike, Britt appeared to imply that Karla Jacinto Romero, an anti-trafficking activist, was sex-trafficked in the US during Joe Biden’s presidency. However, Romero was actually trafficked in Mexico from 2004 to 2008 when George W Bush was president.

Britt also claimed that Jacinto was trafficked by drug cartels; however, Jacinto said that she was trafficked by a pimp who was operating separately.

Following the spotlight that was cast on to Jacinto Romero as a result of Britt’s speech, Jacinto told CNN: “I think she should first take into account what really happens before telling a story of that magnitude.”

“Someone using my story and distorting it for political purposes is not fair at all,” Jacinto Romero added.

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Pennsylvania’s Democratic senator John Fetterman has issued his response to the latest TikTok bill, saying that the legislation does not seek to ban the popular social media app.

Writing on Twitter/X, Fetterman said:

“Let me be very clear: this legislation to restrict TikTok does NOT ban the app. It separates ties to the Chinese Communist party and prevents them from accessing the data of Americans – especially our kids.”

He went on to urge Senate Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer to put the bill on the Senate floor soon.

Let me be very clear: this legislation to restrict TikTok does NOT ban the app.

It separates ties to the Chinese Communist Party 🇨🇳 and prevents them from accessing the data of Americans—especially our kids.

Leader Schumer should put this bill on the floor soon.

— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) March 13, 2024

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Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the new bill that seeks to have ByteDance divest TikTok “is not an attempt to ban” the popular social media platform.

Speaking on the House floor this morning, Pelosi said:

This is not an attempt to ban TikTok. It’s an attempt to make TikTok better. Tic-tac-toe – a winner.

Pelosi makes bizarre reference to tic-tac-toe during speech about TikTok – video

Kari Paul

Some Senate Democrats have publicly opposed the TikTok bill, which faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, citing freedom of speech concerns, and suggested measures that would address concerns of foreign influence across social media without targeting TikTok specifically.

Senator Elizabeth Warren said:

We need curbs on social media, but we need those curbs to apply across the board.

The Democratic senator Mark Warner, who proposed a separate bill last year to give the White House new powers over TikTok, said he had “some concerns about the constitutionality of an approach that names specific companies”, but will take “a close look at this bill”.

Authors of the bill have argued it does not constitute a ban, as it gives ByteDance the opportunity to sell TikTok and avoid being blocked in the US.

Representative Mike Gallagher, the Republican chairman of the House select China committee, and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the panel’s top Democrat, introduced legislation to address national security concerns posed by Chinese ownership of the app. “TikTok could live on and people could do whatever they want on it provided there is that separation,” Gallagher said, urging US ByteDance investors to support a sale.

It is not a ban – think of this as a surgery designed to remove the tumor and thereby save the patient in the process.

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No Labels, the centrist group planning a third-party presidential bid, will announce a nominating committee on Thursday to select a presidential candidate in the coming weeks, its co-chair Joseph Lieberman said.

Lieberman, who is expected to be part of the committee, told the Washington Post that it will also be charged with making sure that the selected nominee has a path to victory in the 2024 election. He said:

We are going to do a final determination that at least at this point we have met all of our standards, and we are not going to be a spoiler and that we are not going to re-elect Trump and that we actually have a chance to win.

He added that stopping Trump from being re-elected is “a goal even greater than restoring bipartisanship to Washington”.

No Labels delegates on Friday voted in favor of moving forward to field a presidential candidate in the 2024 election after months of weighing the launch of a so-called “unity ticket”.

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White House says it wants to see Senate ‘take swift action’ on TikTok bill

The White House said it is “glad” to see a bill move forward that would require the TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the social media platform or face a total ban in the US.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House “will look to the Senate to take swift action” on the bill, adding that it “welcomes ongoing efforts to address the threats posed by certain technology services operating in the United States”.

The bill would not ban apps like TikTok, she said, but it would “ensure that ownership of these apps wouldn’t be in the hands of those who can exploit us or do us harm”.

She added that the White House will support the bill “in a technical way”, in order to make sure it is on the “strongest possible footing”.

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr will announce his running mate on 26 March, his campaign announced.

The New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the former pro wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura are at the top of Kennedy’s list of potential running mates, the New York Times reported.

Kennedy told the paper he was speaking to Rodgers – a fellow conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine campaigner – “pretty continuously” and had been in touch with Ventura since being introduced by him at an event in Arizona last month.

In Kennedy’s search for a running mate, those who have turned him down include Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky; Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii; and Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur who failed in runs for the Democratic presidential nomination and for the mayoralty of New York City.

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Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

A group of congressional Democrats including the former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and armed services veterans urged the current Republican speaker, Mike Johnson, to “lead, follow or get out of the way” of more military support for Ukraine in its war against Russian invaders.

“In the military, we have a great expression,” Mikie Sherrill, a House Democrat from New Jersey and a former navy helicopter pilot, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

‘Lead, follow or get out of the way.’ That is exactly what our speaker has to do.

Mike Johnson, the Republican House speaker. Photograph: Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Last month, Senate Democrats and Republicans passed a $95bn foreign aid package covering Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel.

The Democrats who spoke on Wednesday faced vocal competition from protesters with Code Pink: Women for Peace, opposing funding for Israel in its war on Gaza. On Ukraine policy, though, House Republicans have proved more obstructive than Medea Benjamin, the Code Pink co-founder, was able to be at the Capitol.

Under the direction of Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee who openly favors Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, Johnson has shown no sign of bringing the Senate package up for a vote. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, recently emerged from meeting Trump to say that if Trump is re-elected, he will not give “a penny” to Ukraine.

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Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Joe Biden is expected to formally open his Wisconsin campaign headquarters when he visits Milwaukee this afternoon. He’s en route now.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will talk to reporters and answer questions aboard Air Force One on the way.

The Republican party will hold its convention in Milwaukee this July as it prepares to officially declare Trump its nominee to face Biden at the ballot this November.

Wisconsin is crucial to Biden’s re-election ambitions. He very narrowly won the state in 2020 in his domination of the upper midwest against the former president.

Then there was an almighty, surreal battle as Trump set his political dogs on the trail of overturning the result, with a variety of plots. All failed and last December, a group of Republican fake electors in Wisconsin acknowledged that Biden won the presidency and agreed they would not serve in the electoral college in 2024 as part of a settlement agreement in a civil lawsuit.

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Biden hits campaign trail after unofficially clinching nomination to face Trump

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Joe Biden is on his way to his second swing state of the week when he visits Wisconsin this afternoon, two days after showing up in New Hampshire to tout his election agenda and just hours after unofficially becoming the Democratic party’s nominee for president in the 2024 election.

The current US president and his predecessor, Donald Trump, won primary elections in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington state on Tuesday night, solidifying a rematch in November that a majority of voters aren’t looking forward to.

They won’t be officially anointed until their respective party conventions this summer, but both have now amassed enough delegates during the primary season to be unassailable as the nominees.

Biden, his vice-president Kamala Harris and cabinet members are fanning out across the country after Biden’s handily energetic State of the Union address last week, with swing states and districts very much in mind.

With today’s latest poll numbers showing that many voters are disgruntled and open to persuasion this election (though maybe the hard work will be persuading them to vote at all, not to switch allegiance), Biden and Trump have their work cut out.

The Associated Press notes that the last presidential election featuring a rematch came in 1956, when Republican president Dwight Eisenhower again defeated the Democratic opponent he had beaten four years prior, Adlai Stevenson.

Joe Biden departs the White House, headed for Marine One, on his way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin today. Photograph: ABACA/REX/Shutterstock
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