Background Briefing: March 1, 2023


Amid Rising U.S./ China Tensions, the House Holds a Hearing of Its New Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party

We begin with worsening relations with China following the spy balloon, compounded by concerns that China might arm Russia in its war against Ukraine, then, adding to the strained relations, the FBI Director announced yesterday that the coronavirus pandemic was likely caused by a lab leak in China, then topping this off last night the House held a hearing of the new Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. The bipartisan committee heard testimony from H.R. McMaster, a former National Security Advisor in the Trump administration who warned that President Xi Jinping’s China poses a greater threat than the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Joining us is Joshua Shifrinson, a Professor at the Center for International Security Studies at The University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. His research focuses on U.S. grand strategy, the durability of NATO, U.S. relations with its allies during and after the Cold War, and the rise of China. He is the author of Rising Titans, Falling Giants: How Great Powers Exploit Power Shifts.


As of Today 42 Million Americans Will Have Food Stamp Benefits Cut Down to $6 Per Person Per Day

Then, starting today 42 million Americans will lose $3 billion in monthly food stamp benefits, reducing the average food stamp benefit down to $6 per person per day which is less than what many experts say is necessary for a healthy diet. With food prices rising such as eggs, the cost of which has risen 60% this year, food banks will be hard pressed to make up for the sudden shortfall as donations are drying up while demand is skyrocketing. Joining us is Ellen Vollinger, the Legal Director at the Food Research and Action Center, an anti-hunger nonprofit to discuss this blow to low-income families and children as a result of a December deal in the Congress to avoid a Republican threat to shut down the government.


The Latest Power Grab by Our Far-Right Supreme Court Using Its “Major Questions Doctrine.”

Then finally we speak with Persis Yu, the Deputy Executive Director & Managing Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center who was previously a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center and the director of its Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. She was in the Supreme Court for yesterday’s oral arguments in cases brought by Republicans to kill the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program. We discuss how this case should never have been before the court due to a lack of standing and how it is the latest in this far-right court’s power grab know as the “major questions doctrine” that usurps the expertise of government agencies as the court appoints itself the decision maker on critical issues like climate policy and now the crushing student debt problem.