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No brotherly love for Biden as blue-collar workers slam ‘Bidenomics’ before Philly visit: ‘Still struggling’

Just before his planned visit to the City of Brotherly Love, President Biden said wages were at their highest since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but blue-collar workers there feel their income hasn’t improved much. “We’re still struggling. We could be better,” Donny told Fox News. “Wages could be better.” WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS Joe, who works in a butcher shop, said inflation was so bad it didn’t matter if wages increased slightly. “Everything’s so high,” he said. “Food is so expensive right now it’s not even funny.” Biden tweeted Sunday that “real wages for the average American worker,” were higher than before the pandemic. Twitter had marked the president’s claim as containing a “factual error” because real wages — adjusted for inflation — were higher on March 15, 2020, when lockdowns began in the U.S., according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But they were higher at the end of February, after the first COVID-19 cases were diagnosed. ‘MESSED UP’: AMERICANS REACT TO BIDEN’S HANDLING OF THE ECONOMY AND ‘BIDENOMICS’ PUSH “I work as much as I can so this way I can make ends meet,” Joe told Fox News. “I’m making a little more money, but I’m also paying more for everything,” he added. “So nothing’s really changed.” Chauncey didn’t see improvement, either. “I really can’t tell the difference, honestly,” the trucker said. “I just wake up every day and just do what I got to do. What else can you do?” REPORTERS GRILL WHITE HOUSE ON BIDEN’S ECONOMIC RECORD: ‘IS IT ENOUGH?’ Biden is set to visit Philadelphia on Thursday as he continues touring the nation pushing “Bidenomics.” But several blue-collar workers criticized the president, arguing he hadn’t done enough to help improve wages. “He needs to get the hell out of office,” Dan, a bakery worker, told Fox News. “I think soon as he gets out of office we’ll be in much better position.” He said the economy is “absolutely worse” than before Biden came into office, though he acknowledged wages had gone up slightly. “That’s only because everything’s so high,” he said. Wages must increase “if everything in the world is so much higher.” But William, a Philadelphia native, thought blue-collar workers’ situation had improved. “I’m glad that Biden did take over because there’s more jobs opportunity now,” he said. “We was better when he took over office.” Valerie said problems with the economy predated Biden.  “I don’t feel like the president before him did anything, and he’s not doing anything,” she told Fox News. “I feel like we’re still in the same rut that we were in. Like we haven’t move forward. We’re still stuck.”
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Senate takes first steps to regulate AI in annual defense bill

The Senate this week took some initial steps toward regulating the use of artificial intelligence in the government as senators from both parties indicated they would push for amendments to the annual defense policy bill that seek to put some guardrails on the rapidly advancing technology. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he is pushing for this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to contains a package of several amendments that includes one addressing several issues related to AI and national security. Among the measures being proposed in the AI amendment is a “bug bounty” system that would encourage white-hat hackers to help the Defense Department find vulnerabilities in the AI systems they use. This is an idea that Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., has worked on for more than a year. “We’re trying to put together a bounty system, where we find bugs that use AI, that we have alternative ways of protecting against them,” Rounds told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. CRUZ SHOOTS DOWN SCHUMER EFFORT TO REGULATE AI: ‘MORE HARM THAN GOOD’ Other ideas in the amendment are aimed at getting a better understanding of how the Pentagon uses AI and how it might defend against AI-generated threats. It includes language aimed at enhancing the government’s knowledge of its current AI capabilities and providing Congress and officials with a direction on where it’s headed by calling for various reports by Pentagon officials as well as financial regulators. “Artificial Intelligence is here right now, is used to defend our country today, our adversaries use it as well,” Rounds said when asked to describe other provisions in the amendment. “What we want to do is to find out on a department-by-department basis where they’re using AI today, what their plans are, whether or not they have a series of solutions to protect our country against other people that are using AI.” “It’s also telling the Department of Defense that we want to find out what their long-term plan is for not just gathering the data that you can on AI but also in terms of how they’re going to coordinate all the related AI systems that they currently use or plan on using it in the future,” Rounds said. “And finally, we’re talking about personnel … that understand AI and will incorporate AI in the future.” MINORITY GROUPS SOUND ALARM ON AI, URGE FEDS TO PROTECT ‘EQUITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS’ Schumer has said for months that he wants the Senate to learn more about AI and that a broader bill to regulate AI would be coming soon, some time after more listening sessions take place in the fall. On the Senate floor Tuesday, Schumer praised this first initial step to attack the problem. “The Senate has already done important preliminary work to bring ourselves up to speed on this issue,” he said. “But the NDAA will be the Senate’s first opportunity this year to pass real AI legislation.” Rounds said the basis for the amendment’s proposals came from recommendations in an AI commission report from last year. These measures are not “all-inclusive,” he said, but are a “very simple first step” for the Senate to take. BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PUSHING TO MAKE AI WOKE, ADHERE TO FAR-LEFT AGENDA: WATCHDOG AI has been a hot topic on Capitol Hill so far this year as tech executives have met publicly and privately with lawmakers who are discussing if and how to start regulating the technology. Last week, the House of Representatives passed its version of the NDAA and included an AI provision by Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., which called for the Pentagon to launch a study into potential weak points in the U.S.’s military defenses that could be exploited by AI weaponized by foreign adversaries. Other provisions in the House NDAA bill encourage the Defense Department to explore how it can use AI to boost U.S. national security.
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Democratic congressman appears to confirm Hunter Biden discussed business deals with the president

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman, N.Y., on Wednesday appeared to accidentally reveal that President Biden had discussed Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals with him during a hearing in which two IRS whistleblowers testified before the House Oversight Committee.  Goldman pressed IRS supervisor Gary Shapley, who previously blew the whistle on alleged political influence surrounding prosecutorial decisions throughout the federal probe into the president’s son, about whether the president had any connection to his son’s business dealings.  “Hunter told his dad, according to (Biden family business associate) Rob Walker, ‘I may be trying to start a company or try to do something with these guys,'” Goldman said. “Now let me ask you something. That doesn’t sound much like Joe Biden was involved in whatever Hunter Biden was doing with the (Chinese oil and natural gas company) CEFC if Hunter Biden is telling him that he’s trying to do business with them, does it?” JAMIE RASKIN SAYS HUNTER BIDEN ‘EXERCISING HIS SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS’ IN JAB AT REPUBLICANS Shapley agreed but noted that it shows that the younger Biden told his father that he was talking to the president about his business.  “That is true, Hunter Biden does try to do business,” Goldman interrupted. “That’s correct.” Goldman asserted that Shapley has no “direct evidence” connecting President Biden to any of his son’s business deals, and that he actually has proof that he wasn’t involved.  Moments earlier he referred to messages on WhatsApp that said President Biden only sat with his son and never discussed business dealings.  Another IRS employee, special agent Joseph Ziegler, whose identity was revealed during the hearing, testified before the committee that the president’s youngest son raked in over $17 million from business deals in China, Ukraine and Romania, beginning while his father was vice president. Those deals included multimillion-dollar payments to Biden family-linked companies from 2014 to 2019, including $7.3 million from Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. “This brings the total amount of foreign income streams received to approximately $17 million, correct?” Comer asked Ziegler. “That is correct,” Ziegler responded. Zieler and Shapley allege that the officials at the Justice Department, FBI and IRS interfered in the investigation into Hunter Biden, moves they said were politically motivated.  Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar and Peter Kasperowicz contributed to this report. 
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Former transgender Democrat state lawmaker charged with sexual exploitation of children

A former Democrat New Hampshire state representative who identifies as transgender was charged by a federal Massachusetts court Tuesday with child exploitation. According to a press release from the office of the U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts, Stacie-Marie Laughton, 39, a biological male who identifies as female, was charged with one count of sexual exploitation of children, as well as aiding and abetting.  The release stated Laughton has been charged alongside former “intimate partner” Lindsay Groves, a daycare worker in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, who a preliminary forensic review showed had more than 10,000 text messages between the two “that included discussion about, and transfer of, explicit photographs that Groves had taken of children while employed at Creative Minds daycare.” RED-STATE DEMOCRAT, GOVERNOR HOPEFUL BREAKS WITH PARTY, TAKES LITERAL SAW TO HIGHER TAXES IN NEW AD Those messages included sexually explicit images of children who appeared to be approximately three to five years old, and “explicit descriptions” of sexual contact with each other, as well as children, the release said. The investigation is ongoing. Laughton was initially arrested in June for allegedly distributing “sexually explicit images of children,” the latest in a string of run-ins with the law that includes making bomb threats and stalking. After being elected to the New Hampshire legislature in 2012, Laughton was unable to serve due to still being on probation for a 2008 felony conviction of credit card fraud. BLACKBURN, GOP DEMAND ANSWERS FROM BIDEN ADMIN ON ILLEGAL ALIEN ACCUSED OF RAPING CHILDREN IN TENNESSEE Laughton was also arrested for making a bomb threat against the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in 2015 and was arrested again in 2021 on charges related to the misuse of the state’s 911 texting system. Despite Laughton’s criminal past, the candidate was elected for a second term to represent Nashua, New Hampshire, in the 2022 elections, but was never seated after being jailed again for multiple stalking-related charges. According to the press release, Laughton will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this report.
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In battle versus Trump, DeSantis, rest of GOP 2024 field, Pence ‘confident we’ll have the resources’

HUDSON, N.H. – EXCLUSIVE – Former Vice President Mike Pence in recent days has faced a handful of stories spotlighting his Republican presidential campaign’s lackluster fundraising figures. But Pence, in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday during a campaign swing through New Hampshire, emphasized “I’m confident we’ll have the resources to take our case to not only here in New Hampshire, but in Iowa and every state all across this country.” Pence raised $1.2 million from his campaign launch on June 7 through the end of last month, which marked the close of the April-June second quarter of 2023 fundraising. Committed to America, a super PAC supporting Pence’s 2024 White House bid which launched in mid-May, said it brought in $2.7 million in fundraising. TRUMP VS DESANTIS: HOW EACH IS FARING IN FUNDRAISING FIGHT “I couldn’t be more grateful for the fact that in between our campaign committee and the folks at our super PAC that we were able to raise $4 million in about three weeks,” Pence highlighted. “You know, for a small town guy from southern Indiana, that’s a whole lot of money. And we continue to see that support growing.” But Pence’s fundraising lags far behind many of his rivals for the GOP nomination, including his one-time boss, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.  TRUMP’S LEAD OVER DESANTIS, REST OF GOP FIELD, NARROWS A BIT IN KEY EARLY STATE: POLL Trump, who’s making his third straight White House bid, is the commanding front-runner in the latest polls in the Republican nomination race, holding a significant double-digit lead over DeSantis in most surveys. Pence – due to his actions upholding the Constitution on Jan. 6, 2021 by certifying Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election which alienated him from the former president’s loyal MAGA base – has struggled to gain much traction to date in the 2024 race. And the former vice president, along with the rest of the large field of Republican contenders, is polling in the single digits.  North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who launched his Republican presidential campaign on the same day as Pence, brought in $11.7 million in the same time period. But $10.2 million of Burgum’s haul was a personal investment from the multi-millionaire former software company CEO turned two-term governor. WHO’S IN AND WHO’S ON THE SIDELINES — YOUR GUIDE TO THE 2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION RACE Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 GOP nomination and who launched his 2024 campaign a day ahead of Pence, slightly out raised the former vice president. But Pence, unlike some orf his rivals who’ve used giveaways and gimmicks to bring in contributions, has made only minor investments in trying to secure on-line donations to his campaign. Pence remains confident he’ll reach the thresholds needed to make the stage at the first Republican presidential nomination debate – a Fox News hosted showdown August 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “We’re very confident that we’ll meet that criteria,” Pence told Fox News as he pointed to the debate threshold required by the Republican National Committee (RNC) for candidates to qualify for the first debate. The RNC is also requiring candidates bring in donations from 40-thousand individual contributors, with 200 donors in 20 different states or territories. “We’re working around the clock to hit that 40,000 individual donors,” Pence said, adding that he was confident he’d also reach the donor threshold ahead of the debate. Pence, who was interviewed as he kicked off a three-day swing in the state that holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP presidential nominating calendar, said that a key focus of his campaign is “meeting people.” “That’s how we’re spending the next three days here, in the first-in the nation primary state. I’m excited about doing a half a dozen town hall meetings and backyard parties, and Karen and I are grateful for the outpouring of support that we’re seeing,” he said. And Pence, as he’s done in his other recent campaign swings through New Hampshire, stopped at one of New England’s most beloved institutions: Dunkin. “You always got to stop at Dunkin Donuts. One look at me. You can tell I’m a fan of Dunkin Donuts. And it’s not just the coffee,” Pence said during his Fox News interview, which was held at the Dunkin’ location in Hudson.
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Whistleblower confirms attorney who donated to Biden’s 2020 campaign ‘refused to bring charges’ against Hunter

IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley confirmed Wednesday that U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves, who donated to President Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, “refused to bring charges” against Hunter Biden for tax evasion. “The Justice Department allowed the president’s political appointees to weigh in on whether to charge the president’s son,” Shapley said during the heated House Oversight Committee hearing looking into allegations the Department of Justice politically interfered with an investigation into Hunter Biden. “After U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves, appointed by President Biden, refused to bring charges in March 2022, I watched U.S. Attorney [David] Weiss tell a room full of senior FBI and IRS senior leaders on October 7, 2022, that he was not the deciding person on whether charges were filed,” he added. DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN MELTS DOWN, CLAIMS DOJ, FBI, IRS ‘KEEP DEMOCRACY IN CHECK’ DURING HUNTER BIDEN HEARING According to Federal Election Commission records first reported by the Daily Caller, U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, donated to Biden’s 2020 campaign while working at law firm DLA Piper prior to his nomination and confirmation to the position in 2021. The donations, totaling $1,500, were given in April 2020 and May 2020 during the Democratic presidential primaries. The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. WATCH: WHITE HOUSE DISMISSES DISMAL BIDEN APPROVAL RATINGS, CLAIMS THEY ‘DON’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY’ The House probe has centered around Shapley and fellow whistleblower Joseph Ziegler’s claim there was a pattern of “slow-walking investigative steps” into Hunter Biden, which included instructions not to speak with him at his residence, tipping the president’s son and staff off about the ongoing efforts and delaying enforcement actions in the months before the 2020 presidential election. The two agents were assigned to the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax and gun charges. Biden ultimately pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor tax offenses as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors in a lenient deal that prompted criticism from Republican lawmakers.  The hearing comes as House Republicans continue to investigate the president and his family after the DOJ failed to find evidence of criminal conduct. Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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Maine Gov. Mills vetoes bill to apply minimum wage laws to farmworkers

A bill to pay farmworkers in Maine a $13.80 per hour minimum wage was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday, who says she supports the concept but had questions about the bill’s language. Lawmakers will get an opportunity to override the veto next week. MAINE GOV. JANET MILLS EXPANDS ABORTION ACCESS LATER IN PREGNANCY IF DEEMED MEDICALLY NECESSARY BY DOCTOR House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross sponsored the bill, which would cover farmworkers under Maine’s annually indexed minimum wage. But the bill was amended to entitling them to overtime pay as well. The governor, in her veto letter, said changes made at her behest didn’t alleviate her concerns about the “scope of the language.” Talbot Ross accused the governor of “using the power of her office to maintain inequality amongst Mainers.” MAINE LEGISLATURE TO CONSIDER SALARY INCREASES FOR GOVERNOR, LAWMAKERS “In its amended version, this legislation simply would have ensured that farmworkers are paid the same state minimum wage that every single other worker in Maine is paid. It would have recognized that the people who perform the backbreaking labor entailed by harvesting our food should be paid at least as much as the people who serve us a coffee,” she said. Mills said she intends to issue an executive order to formally reestablish a stakeholder group “to allow for a longer and more in-depth analysis” of the bill with the goal of arriving at “a shared understanding of how to implement a minimum wage bill for farmworkers.” She said she’ll present her own bill next year based on the conclusions.
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