Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. The cherry blossoms are halfway to peak bloom!
The House has left town for a three week recess. The Senate is in session this week, however, and will confirm a handful of Biden nominations. Among them is Dr. Rachel Levine, Biden’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Levine has the unique distinction of presiding over Pennylsvania’s COVID-19 response as the state’s lead health official. Under Levine’s watch, positive COVID-19 patients were housed among vulnerable populations in nursing homes, and as a result, the state has some of the highest nursing home deaths in the country.
If given the nod at HHS, Levine intends to dismantle the Office of Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, and, during questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) refused to say whether or not the office will support puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatments for children.
Levine’s nomination, combined with the recent confirmation of California Attorney General Xavier Beccerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, means HHS is about to become a heat seeking missile for the culture wars. Beccerra is an active opponent of religious liberty, conscience protections, waged war on the Little Sisters of the Poor (the elderly group of nuns who challenged the Obamacare contraceptive mandate because it violated their Catholic faith), and supports the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion.
The notion of a “moderate” Biden presidency is increasingly dismantled as its own nominees pursue radicalism wrapped in the veneer of elite gentility.
Meanwhile, the southern border remains overwhelmed — and under wraps. The Biden administration will not let the press access its facilities, talk to border patrol agents, or go on ride-alongs with border officials. This, as holding facilities for migrant children are at capacity (COVID-19 restrictions were lifted by the CDC), and Customs and Border Patrol has more than 4,200 minors in custody along the border, a record.
I closely observed the Trump administration’s immigration policies and penned a lot of commentary around their implementation and effects. I can say with quite a bit of confidence that what is happening at the border is exactly the same as the 2019 border surge — but the numbers are higher, and the conditions are proportionately worse. But what was headline news every single day three years ago has received only marginal mainstream coverage, and not nearly the breathless floor speeches and moral panicking that characterized the response under Trump.
This is even more absurd when one considers that Biden is getting exactly what he asked for. In the first Democratic primary debate, Biden said when he is president, illegal immigrants should “immediately surge to the border.” In his first weeks in office, Biden undid the Remain in Mexico policy and the safe third country agreements, two of Trump’s policy developments that effectively stemmed the tide of illegal crossings — and reduced the child sexual exploitation and abuse those migrants suffer at the hands of traffickers.
The Biden administration owns every single aspect of this border crisis, as well as the human misery that is the result of policies that signal one clear message: if you can get into the country, you can stay.
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