Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness briefing for Thursday, 22 July 2021. You can receive this daily intel brief by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
IMMIGRATION: Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified during a hearing yesterday, and defended House Bill 1603, which would give migrant farm workers a pathway to citizenship. Vilsack said a pathway to citizenship provision for farm workers would not cause an increase in illegal immigration, spurring both doubts and calls for increased border security funding from Republicans. Still, some Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to be in favor of passing an amnesty bill after increases in border security are passed. – M.S.
CHILD TAX CREDIT: During a press conference this week, President Biden touted the Child Tax Credit, which sends direct payments of $250-300 per child per month for the next six months. Biden hinted at this being extended in 2022. Interestingly, Democrats are looking at extending these direct payments through 2024, making them an election year issue. Strategists will pit Republicans who oppose the credit against Democrats who will promise to extend it, if elected. “Republicans are going to have to decide. This is going to be as popular as Social Security, so how dare they try to take it away,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). – M.S.
LOCKDOWNS: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said during a press conference that the nation may face new lockdowns if vaccination rates do not increase as 97% of current COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated people. He said, “I’m perplexed by the difficulty we have in ‘finishing the job’… and we need to keep preaching getting the vaccine is important.” The Republican Senator said the failure to meet an unspecified vaccination target could cause lockdowns similar to 2020. – D.M.
VIETNAM: Ports in southern Vietnam are anticipating backlogs as Ho Chi Minh City and 19 other cities extended lockdowns for two more weeks. COVID outbreaks within manufacturing facilities are forcing workers to quarantine within factories, if they’re allowed to work at all. The disruption is the result of ongoing international port delays, now limiting the availability of containers for export operations. Impacted products include appliances, printers, semiconductors, integrated circuits, clothing and furniture. The continually troubled Port of Los Angeles receives around 33% of all cargo from Vietnam, which will face further disruption.
CYBERSECURITY: The Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America issued recommendations to the Senate on defending critical infrastructure. ITS noted that “the threat from attack is moving from data breaches to interrupting physical critical infrastructure.” This coincides with an FBI announcement that nearly two dozen oil & natural gas pipeline operators were targeted by Chinese state-backed hackers between 2011 and 2013. “This activity was ultimately intended to help China develop cyberattack capabilities against U.S. pipelines to physically damage pipelines or disrupt pipeline operations,” according to the FBI statement. (AC: Read the full statement from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency here: https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/alerts/aa21-201a – D.M.)
JAN 6: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Wednesday she would reject two Republican appointees to the Jan 6 investigatory committee. In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he would pull all his appointed members from the investigation and open a Republican-lead commission unless Speaker Pelosi reseats those members. The issue remains an active political football with accusations of “coverups” and accusations of political extremism on both sides. (AC: The legitimacy and capacity of the Congress to fulfill basic functions of oversight and investigations continues to be called into question. The ongoing perception of a weakened U.S. provides new in-roads for malign actors to exacerbate societal divisions heading into a tumultuous midterm election cycle. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: Nothing Significant to Report
In today’s Early Warning briefing, Mike goes through current economic, financial, and monetary conditions, and provides an update on inflation and the future of the housing bubble. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe