Trump re-election bid picks up speed with NASCAR sponsorship

(Reuters) – United States president Donald Trump’s re-election bid will pick up speed this weekend with Trump 2020 the primary sponsor of Corey LaJoie’s car for NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Go Fas Racing announced on Wednesday it had entered into a partnership with Patriots of America PAC, a pro-Donald Trump Political Action Committee, for nine races, including the Cup Series race at the Brickyard.

“I am honored to be part of the President’s re-election campaign through the Patriots of America PAC,” said Go Fas team owner Archie St Hilaire.

“As a Trump 2020 supporter, this team will do everything possible to secure victory on and off the track electing President Donald Trump to a second term.

“Let us bring this country back and Keep America Great.”

LaJoie’s number 32 Ford Mustang will race with a red, white and blue livery and will have TRUMP 2020 decals on the hood and side panels.

In five seasons competing in NASCAR’s top series LaJoie is still chasing a first top-five finish and currently sits 28th in the Cup standings.

“With an estimated 75 million NASCAR fans out there, I was surprised that about 15 million of those fans are not registered voters,” said driver Corey LaJoie.

“I will give my best effort to get NASCAR fans registered to vote, through our team efforts on and off the track. When they see the car, hopefully it makes them race to the polls in November.”

Trump has courted the NASCAR vote and in February made an appearance as grand marshal at the Daytona 500 where he led a pace lap in his presidential limousine and gave the call for “Gentlemen, start your engines”.

Recently, however, Trump and NASCAR have been at opposite sides of the debate on Confederate symbols.

Last month NASCAR banned the Confederate flag, a symbol of oppression and slavery for many Americans, from all its races and events.

Trump, meanwhile, has ruled out renaming U.S. military bases that are named for Confederate leaders and demanded prison time for anyone caught vandalizing U.S. historical monuments.

Many statues and monuments targeted by crowds in recent weeks pay homage to the rebel Confederacy from the nation’s Civil War and are seen as tributes to those who perpetuated slavery.

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Coronavirus: Second wave of UK infections ‘quite a possibility’, says deputy chief medical officer

A second wave of coronavirus infections in the UK is “quite a possibility”, according to England’s deputy chief medical officer.

Dr Jenny Harries said the reimposition of lockdown measures in Leicester, following a local spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, is a “very good lesson” for the rest of the country

She did not rule out further waves of coronavirus infections across the UK – or even a second peak in the country’s overall epidemic – but stressed action would be taken to prevent localised flare-ups from becoming a wider problem.

Dr Harries spoke at a Downing Street news conference on Thursday – the first coronavirus briefing from Number 10 since daily press conferences were scrapped more than a week ago.

Quizzed on the impact of all pupils returning to school in September, she and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson denied that Leicester’s rise in COVID-19 cases was due to some already returning to classrooms last month.

Dr Harries said: “For Leicester, clearly it’s not just the teenagers.

“What we’re seeing is a community transmission, a rise in cases across the community.

“I think it is, sadly for Leicester, a very good lesson for the rest of the country in a way.

“We all need to, as we go forward with the easing of lockdown measures, still to be really careful about how we interact with others about social distancing, about washing your hands.”

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Pofma correction directions issued to Peoples Voice party's Facebook page and Lim Tean's YouTube channel

SINGAPORE – A correction direction was issued on Thursday (July 2) by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to the Facebook page of the Peoples Voice (PV) party over a video containing a false statement about government spending on foreign students.

The Pofma Office also issued another correction direction to the YouTube channel Tean Lim of the party’s leader, Mr Lim Tean, where the video was also posted.

Mr Lim and PV are respectively the first candidate and political party contesting this year’s elections to receive a Pofma correction direction.

The directions were issued on the instruction of the alternate authority for the Minister for Education.

In the video, Mr Lim said: “We spend a quarter of a billion dollars providing free education for foreigners every year.”

The Government said on its fact-checking website, Factually: “This is false and misleading. The Ministry of Education (MOE) does not spend a quarter of a billion dollars to provide free education for foreigners every year.

“While MOE (Education Ministry) spends about $238 million on foreign students a year as stated in a parliamentary reply on 5 August 2019, the significant majority of these students are still required to pay fees higher than those of local students and/or fulfil a bond obligation after graduation.” 

This is the second time to date that correction directions were issued by an alternate authority for a minister.

The first was on Monday, when correction directions were issued over false statements about cross-border travel arrangements between Singapore and Malaysia which appeared on two Facebook pages.

When asked about the correction direction on Thursday night, Mr Lim said: “I feel that this is another intimidation tactic… to try to intimidate the opposition, especially during this important period of elections.”

He added that the issue is a “distraction”.

As of Thursday night, a correction notice on the false statement had been posted in the description of the video on both the Facebook page and the YouTube channel.

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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson’s father criticised for flying to Greece during COVID-19 pandemic

The prime minister’s father has been criticised for flying to Greece during the coronavirus pandemic.

Government advice currently urges Britons against all but essential international travel.

But Boris Johnson’s 79-year-old father Stanley arrived in Athens on Wednesday to visit his mountain villa.

He shared a video on Instagram of his plane landing.

Mr Johnson also posted a picture of himself wearing a face mask, which appeared to have been taken in an airport.

The PM’s spokesman said the Foreign Office advice on international travel remains in place, but said: “It is for individuals to make the judgements themselves.”

According to the Daily Mail, he flew to Athens via Bulgaria because the Greek government has banned direct flights from the UK until the middle of July.

Mr Johnson told the newspaper he was visiting the country on “essential business trying to COVID-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season”.

He added: “I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they’re taking it very seriously here.

“The Greeks are trying to stop bulk arrivals from the UK but they were quite happy to have me coming in.

“All they wanted to know was where I was coming from and what I was doing. Then I had my temperature taken and was swabbed twice.”

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The PM’s father said air bridges had to be established “as soon as possible”, saying: “From what I’ve seen the arrival of the British will not be a danger to the Greeks because they’re so careful here.”

Mr Johnson’s trip has caused anger among MPs, amid claims it shows “it is one rule for the Conservatives and one rule for everyone else”.

Labour’s shadow minister for mental health Rosena Allin-Khan said: “Most people have been following the guidelines and socially distancing – not everyone will get a holiday this year.

“Those closest to the prime minister have different rules though.”

Labour MP Kate Osborne said: “Dominic Cummings broke the lockdown rules now it’s @BorisJohnson’s father.

“One rule for the elite and another for everyone else it seems.

“They’re laughing directly in the face of people up and down this country. Shame.”

Neil Coyle, another Labour MP, told the Press Association: “(Mr Johnson) has ignored government advice and he has also entered Greece through a secondary route, so I imagine the Greek authorities will be interested in how he has got there and what he is doing to ensure he’s not spreading anything.

“The government has taken away rights to travel for all of us, but (the PM’s) own family is not affected.”

Alistair Carmichael, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “This is simply further evidence that when it comes to following the rules, it is one rule for the Conservatives and one rule for everyone else.

“Whilst the prime minister is continuing to ask people to make huge sacrifices, especially the people of Leicester, he must reflect on how much of a kick in the teeth these reports will be.”

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Singapore GE2020: Jobs, immigration, cost of living are key issues in party political broadcast

SINGAPORE – With the worst recession looming for Singapore owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, bread-and-butter issues such as jobs, housing, immigration, the goods and services tax and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) were the focus of the seven parties on Thursday (July 2) in the first party political broadcast for the July 10 general election.

The parties involved in the broadcast across 19 TV and radio channels were the Reform Party (RP), National Solidarity Party (NSP), Peoples Voice (PV), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Workers’ Party (WP), Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and People’s Action Party (PAP).

In his 13-minute speech, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat called for voters to give the ruling PAP a clear mandate “to lead Singapore through the storms ahead”.

“We face severe challenges, not just over the next few months, but for many years to come, said Mr Heng, 59.

“Our urgent priority over the next few years is to protect lives and save jobs. Through four Budgets, we have injected almost $100 billion into this effort.”

Aside from highlighting the struggles faced by Singaporeans, the opposition parties also called on voters to give them the mandate to provide checks and balances on how the country is governed, with PSP secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock, pointing out that the status quo, where the PAP “ownself check ownself” is not enough.


Former Ayer Rajah MP Tan, 80, in calling for change, noted: “For the past 20 years, the PAP has had a strong monopoly. However, prosperity has not flowed to all Singaporeans.” He pointed to the unemployment among professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) – said by the Ministry of Manpower to be 39,000 as of June last year – and their jobs being displaced by foreigners, adding that “the previous mandate did not always mean good outcomes for Singaporeans”.

NSP secretary-general Spencer Ng and PV’s Mr Michael Fang Amin also raised the issue of foreign labour, with the former saying that foreigners competing for jobs had “depressed our wages”.

Mr Ng, 40, said: “We want a country which considers all Singaporeans first. We want a government that ensures our people have the priority for quality jobs.”

Peoples Voice is calling for all S-Passes to be frozen and Employment Passes to be reduced significantly, said Mr Fang, 43, so that Singaporeans can have the best-paying jobs.

He added: “A government is like a father to its citizens. And a father who provides for alien children while allowing the breakfast, lunch and dinner of his own children to be stolen is a bad father.”

In his speech, Mr Heng said the PAP has delivered what it promised during the last election in 2015, adding: “We have begun transforming our economy to create good, fulfilling jobs for our people.

“We are also providing wage subsidies to help businesses keep Singaporeans in their jobs. And we are creating many new jobs – in both the public and private sectors – for both fresh graduates, as well as those who are seeking employment.”

Training opportunities have been set up for those who are unable to find a job immediately, and older workers will get help via mid-career pathway programmes and special hiring incentives, he added. Those who are self-employed, as well as lower-wage workers and those with disabilities, also receive special support.


SDP chief Chee Soon Juan said in his speech that the PAP has not kept to its 2015 election promise to “lessen the burden of our cost of living”.

The 57-year-old said that water prices, town council fees and healthcare costs, among others, have gone up, with the GST set to follow. He also pointed to the declining value of Housing Board flats, saying that the PAP has admitted that they will “become worthless at the end of the 99-year lease”.

“The future for Singaporeans, young and old, are looking increasingly bleak,” he said.

“Trust the PAP? Trust doesn’t come from what you say, it comes from what you do.”

The SDP, he said, has drawn up a plan which includes a $500 monthly income for the elderly and a retrenchment benefit scheme for workers who have lost their jobs.

Pointing to young Singaporeans who were “caught in a mire of housing debts”, NSP’s Mr Ng wants to make housing affordable for future generations. He also called for the GST to be abolished for basic necessities.

RP candidate and campaign manager Charles Yeo, 30, said it wants “substantial government spending now to combat the immediate economic effects of the crisis”.

“There should be an end to the cruel policy of austerity. We want vastly improved social safety nets, universal health care, cash payments to families, a seniors’ pension and a minimum wage.”


Providing checks and balances in the way Singapore is governed is what the opposition will do in Parliament, said the six parties during the broadcast.

Dr Tan maintained that a PAP monopoly is “not a formula for success”.

“If you put us into Parliament, we will be there to check how the next Government will spend our reserves over the next five years,” he said.

“The PAP will tell you that they can ‘ownself check ownself’. Do you agree?”

WP chief Pritam Singh said his party will provide “a contrast of voices” and question the PAP when needed. Support for the WP will also encourage new blood to contest future elections and allow it to provide a check and balance to “safeguard Singapore for the coming generations”.

Noting that its WP MPs in Parliament have raised issues such as the GST test balloon, the Keppel Offshore & Marine bribery case and the constitutional amendment on the Reserved Presidential Election, Mr Singh, 43, said the party has “highlighted issues on the governance of Singapore and the financial burdens on Singaporeans”.

He added: “By discussing governance, we help you to keep the government accountable.

“By raising bread-and-butter issues, we remind the Government of the things that it may forget or ignore.”

Closing out the broadcast, Mr Heng, who spoke last and was alloted the most time to speak because the PAP has the largest number of candidates in the field, said: “To work together effectively, we must all pull in the same direction. A strong and capable government will help us achieve this, even more so during a crisis.”

The next party political broadcast will be on Thursday, July 9, which is Cooling-Off Day.

In between the two broadcasts, Singaporeans will also be able to watch candidates speak in the constituency political broadcasts (CPBs) on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 from 7pm, from Friday to Wednesday.

CPBs are one-off arrangements to give parties and candidates more air time to put their messages out to voters in view of the Covid-19 situation, which has meant that traditional election rallies, which typically attract thousands, are not allowed.

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

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Nicola Sturgeon mocked by Rees-Mogg for ‘modelling herself on Trump’ with latest threat

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It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Parliament “there is no border between Scotland and England”. Ms Sturgeon said “she couldn’t rule out” quarantining visitors from other parts of the UK to control the number of coronavirus cases in Scotland.

She said in a St Andrews House briefing: “If we did see an ongoing divergence between infection rates and levels in Scotland and other parts of the UK, from a public health perspective, we would require to give consideration about how we mitigate that and guard against infection rates rising in Scotland as a result.”

But the leader of the House of Commons said it may not be a “bricks and mortar” structure in the vein of Hadrian’s Wall or US President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico, but Ms Sturgeon wants a “metaphorical wall”.

During Business Questions on Thursday, Mr Rees-Mogg criticised Ms Sturgeon’s “shameful” remarks after SNP Commons business spokesman Tommy Sheppard said the Government is “led by someone who thinks the border does not exist”.

But Mr Rees-Mogg slated the SNP MP and added: “He mentions borders, and I noticed that Nicola Sturgeon wishes to have a wall – perhaps she is modelling herself on other leading political figures – between England and Scotland.

“But, as my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said, there is no border between England and Scotland and it was shameful to call for a border of that type of kind to be erected to stop people travelling freely between constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

“One never thought that Nicola Sturgeon would model herself on American political figures and want to build a wall – at least a metaphorical wall if not actually getting like Hadrian with the bricks and mortar.”

It comes after Scotland’s First Minister criticised the UK Government for failing to consult her ahead of announcing proposed changes to the quarantine regime.

The FM said she wanted to “take a bit of time to consider the public health impact” of the plan and the evidence underpinning it.

With the proposals expected to be set out on Friday, Mr Shapps clashed with a senior member of Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party in the Commons.

Mr Shapps told SNP transport spokesman Gavin Newlands: “I’d appreciate his help in ensuring that air bridges can get going as quickly as possible.

“I’m very keen to get the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government, on board so we can get this thing announced.”

As many as 75 countries could be exempted from the quarantine restrictions when the list is finally published.

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A Scottish Government spokesman, added: “To allow us to move out of lockdown, it is critical that we keep the transmission of the virus as low as possible, and that includes transmission from high to low-risk areas.

“Scotland has in place enhanced surveillance to identify those risks and has long-established powers, enhanced by recent coronavirus legislation, to manage them.

“We are having to take unprecedented steps to deal with the challenges that the pandemic brings.

“As we hopefully suppress the virus further, we will continue to consider any measures that might be necessary to protect against the risk of imported cases of the virus.”

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Sturgeon Island battle: Islanders seek their own path out of coronavirus lockdown

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Hospitality firms like hotels and B&Bs will reopen to customers on July 15 in Scotland, though other places like caravan parks with no shared facilities will be able to open earlier. But islanders are fearing a second wave of COVID-19 could occur once tourism reopens up in Scotland as well as hosting major events.

Statistics from VisitScotland show tourists from other parts of the UK made around 12 million visits north of the border in 2018, two weeks of which would be roughly 461,000 visitors.

The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) also said in their Visitor Trends Report indicated that more than 30 million visits were made to 232 Scottish attractions in 2018/19.

Hector Macleod, chair of the Western Isles third sector interface, raised fears that Western Isles could become “challenged” once tourism starts up again.

He added to a recent government panel: “The island communities are in a different place.

“We are opening the islands up to transport and tourism in the middle of July and in conversation with public health officials we may be at the end of July into August, challenged first at this time.”

Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Transport spokesman at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) said some people in the islands want to carry on lockdown.

He added: “There’s a genuine fear because of the demographics of course and there’s the people that worry about the state of our economy.”

The council’s leader Roddie Mackay, added that people have “fear” from “increased exposure” once ferry services increase to the islands.

Meanwhile, on the Isle of Arran off the coast of Ayrshire, their Economic Recovery Group (ARG) wants to limit tourists to people staying multiple nights.

The group say they want to limit Social distancing and “no day visitors” for the time being.

Meanwhile, on Shetland, the famous Up Helly Aa fire festival was axed over fears mass numbers could bring chaos to the island.

In a statement, the Up Helly Aa Committee said the unanimous decision followed consultation with key partners.

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It said: “The nature of Up Helly Aa, the numbers involved and the potential of large numbers of visitors to the isles are all risks that were taken into account.

“The festival going ahead in its current format would be difficult with any restrictions in place and with uncertainty surrounding what guidance would be in place in January, there was no guarantee the festival could happen at all.

But the Scottish Tories say the sector needs more support before it reopens next month.

Jackson Carlaw MSP, Scottish Conservative Leader, said: “Even by the most cautious of estimates Scotland’s tourist industry stands to lose millions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of customers. That’s because the SNP Government is refusing to open up the tourism and hospitality industry in line with the rest of the UK.

“The damage happens now financially, but also for the future too – these are people who would have come to Scotland but are now being made available to competitors.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also wants VAT to be cut to 15 percent for six months.

The calls have been backed by Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, who said: “In the Northern Isles and across Scotland, local hotels, B&Bs and tourist attractions play a vital role in our communities.

“The seasonal nature of tourism means that many businesses will not have the income to avoid closing down after the support packages end.

“With most of the summer already gone and many people still anxious about travel, these businesses face the prospect of ‘three winters in a row”.

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson warns people not to ‘overdo it’ as pubs prepare to reopen on Saturday

Downing Street has warned people not to “overdo it” when the coronavirus lockdown in England is eased this weekend.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to welcome customers for the first time in more than three months on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When he announced the major relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown, Boris Johnson said “our long, national hibernation is coming to an end” and “life is returning to our streets”.

But as the weekend nears, the prime minister’s spokesman has said: “We do want people to be able to enjoy themselves but at the same time, now we have got coronavirus under control we need to keep it under control.

“The guidance is there, we want people to follow it and then we can make more progress together in the fight against coronavirus.

“The PM has said that it is important that people don’t overdo it.”

Mr Johnson will appear at a Downing Street news conference on Friday ahead of the easing of the restrictions.

Hairdressers and barbers will also reopen on Saturday, as will hotels, leisure facilities and tourist attractions.

Asked if the PM would be visiting a pub or restaurant himself on Saturday, his spokesman said: “He’s talked about his enthusiasm for a haircut and pint previously but I don’t know exactly what he’s doing on Saturday yet.”

When asked if Mr Johnson would get a haircut, he responded: “It will be plain for all to see next week what he’s been doing at the weekend if that does happen.”

The two-metre social distancing rule will also be reduced.

From Saturday, people will be required to keep one-metre apart from others, while also taking measures to mitigate the risk of transmitting the virus.

This includes wearing a face mask on public transport, regular handwashing, being outside and limiting time spent with others.

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Singapore GE2020: Ong Ye Kung takes down video showing young boy as it violates election rules

SINGAPORE – Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has removed a three-minute video from his Facebook page, featuring a young boy living in Sembawang, after he was informed the video violates election rules.

“I had a nice conversation with a boy Jony who lives in Sembawang about how it is a good place to grow up. Jony is a great sport, we had a good chat, and we put up a short (video),” said Mr Ong in a Facebook post on Thursday (July 2).

“However, we have been informed by authorities that this is not in line with electoral rules. We have therefore taken down the video. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

The Parliamentary Elections Act prohibits primary and secondary school students from taking part in election activities between Nomination Day and Polling Day.

This means they are not allowed to appear in a video or take part in activities to promote a political party during this period.

“While this prohibition does not apply outside of this period, political parties should refrain from inappropriate use of young children who will not fully understand what they may be promoting or subjecting themselves to,” the Elections Department website says.

Mr Ong is running for re-election in Sembawang GRC, where he has been overseeing the Gambas ward.

The video shows Mr Ong in conversation with Jony, a boy in school uniform who lives in Sembawang Crescent.

“What are the places in Sembawang that you like?” Mr Ong asks him in the video.

He replies he likes Canberra Park, the beach and the hot springs park. And Mr Ong responds that “there was nothing” in that area before Sembawang GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak decided to “make this into a nice park”.

The minister also explains the concept of Build-to-Order (BTO) Housing Board flats to Jony.

“Sembawang is growing, with more and more people moving into Sembawang, because it is a happening place, it is a fun place,” Mr Ong says.

“I’m explaining all this to you so that you know, if you support us, these are all the things we will deliver and make life better for you.”

Jony then asks Mr Ong: “But what if you guys don’t get elected?”

This prompts Mr Ong to reply: “Good point.”

The video ends with the phrase “Sayang Sembawang” and “Make Sembawang Special” before the People’s Action Party (PAP) logo is shown.

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

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House approves $1.5T plan to fix crumbling infrastructure – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House approved a $1.5 trillion plan Wednesday to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into projects to fix roads and bridges, upgrade transit systems, expand interstate railways and dredge harbors, ports and channels.

The bill also authorizes more than $100 billion to expand internet access for rural and low-income communities and $25 billion to modernize the U.S. Postal Service’s infrastructure and operations, including a fleet of electric vehicles.

Lawmakers approved the Moving Forward Act by a 233-188 vote, mostly along party lines. It now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, where a much narrower bill approved by a key committee has languished for nearly a year. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not attempted to schedule a floor debate and none appears forthcoming.

The idea of “Infrastructure Week” in the Trump era has become a long-running inside joke in Washington because there was little action to show for it. Still, Wednesday’s vote represented at least a faint signal of momentum for the kind of program that has traditionally held bipartisan appeal.

Democrats hailed the House bill, which goes far beyond transportation to fund schools, health care facilities, public utilities and affordable housing.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a sponsor of the legislation, called it a “transformational investment in American infrastructure that will create millions of jobs.”

Republicans ridiculed the bill for what they called a Green New Deal-style focus on climate.

“Instead of seeking bipartisan solutions, this bill adds $1.5 trillion to the nation’s debt and disguises a heavy-handed and unworkable Green New Deal regime of new requirements as an ‘infrastructure bill,’” said Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, the top Republican on the transportation panel.

Graves blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for turning what has traditionally been a bipartisan issue in Congress — infrastructure — into what he called “a partisan wish list.”

Republicans scored a rare procedural victory, winning approval of an amendment to block money from the bill going to Chinese state-owned enterprises or companies responsible for building internment camps for the nation’s Uighur minority.

The White House promised a veto if the measure reaches the president’s desk. In a statement this week, the White House said the bill “is heavily biased against rural America,” is based on debt financing and ”fails to tackle the issue of unnecessary permitting delays” that have long impeded infrastructure projects.

President Donald Trump has frequently declared his support for infrastructure projects and pledged during the 2016 campaign to spend at least $1 trillion to improve infrastructure. Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly called for enactment of an infrastructure package — but those efforts have failed to result in legislation.

Hopes were dashed last year when Trump said he wouldn’t deal with Democrats if they continued to investigate him. The House later impeached him.

Trump said after signing a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that low interest rates made it a good time to borrow money to pay for an infrastructure bill. No formal proposal has emerged, although the White House has suggested the next virus response bill could include an infrastructure component.

The centerpiece of the House legislation is a nearly $500 billion, 5-year surface transportation plan for roads, bridges and railways. The White House said in its veto threat that the proposal is “heavily skewed toward programs that would disproportionately benefit America’s urban areas.” The bill would divert money from the Highway Trust Fund to transit and rail projects that “have seen declining market shares in recent years,” the White House statement said.

Democrats countered that the bill would rebuild the nation’s transportation infrastructure, not only by fixing crumbling roads and bridges, but also by investing in public transit and the national rail network, boosting low- and zero-emission vehicles and cutting carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.

The bill also authorizes $130 billion in school infrastructure targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and educators, Democrats said. The schools portion alone could create more than 2 million jobs, they said.

The bill would spend more than $100 billion to create or preserve at least 1.8 million affordable homes. “These investments will help reduce housing inequality, create jobs and stimulate the broader economy,” Democrats said in a “fact sheet” promoting the bill.

The measure also would upgrade child care facilities and protect access to safe drinking water by investing $25 billion in a state revolving fund that ensures communities have clean drinking water and remove dangerous contaminants from local water systems.

Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Reps. Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith, both of New Jersey. Two Democrats opposed it: Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Ben McAdams of Utah.

Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this story.

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