On Day 21, while brainstorming how to resettle thousands upon thousands of new refugees this year, the Biden White House is also considering amped-up travel restrictions for those who currently live in the United States.
Florida Travel Ban Under Consideration.
At the same time as Biden pledges to raise refugee admissions by a whopping 110,000—and don’t forget those displaced by climate change—the White House is considering domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, to mitigate the spread of new COVID-19 variants.
This follows confirmation from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky that COVID-19 testing requirements for domestic travel are also under consideration.
While airlines were in favor of a mask mandate, requirement for testing before domestic travel would require a 42 percent increase in testing capacity nationwide, says Tori Emerson Barnes, an executive vice president at the U.S. Travel Association. A coalition of aviation-related industry groups sent a letter to the White House on January 29 in opposition to a testing requirement.
Biden Calls Xi… for TWO HOURS.
President Joe Biden held his first call as president with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Per the White House readout, they discussed coercive economic practices, the crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, aggression toward Taiwan, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pair spoke for two hours, while the readout from the White House was just one paragraph long.
Biden and Xi are well acquainted, and Biden underscored on “Face The Nation” last weekend that “I know [Xi] pretty well.” The two leaders had dozens of hours of private meetings as counterparts under the Obama administration.
“I’ve spent a lot of time—apparently, I was told by the folks at State—I’ve spent more time in private meetings with Xi Jinping than any world leader. I have 25 hours of private dinners with him, just he and I, and one interpreter,” Biden said in 2018. A FOIA request from The National Pulse submitted in September 2020 yielded a projected three-year wait time for details of those meetings.