NEWS AND OPINION:
For the third year in a row, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is stepping up to help the nation’s small restaurants, bolstered by some very handy support from American Express. We’re talking about those beloved spots which add much character and charm to the American legacy. Some could get a handsome boost.
The two organizations have teamed up to fund the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program” for the third year in a row. The unique outreach will once again award $1 million in grant funding to 25 restaurant recipients across the country. Each individual grant provides $40,000 to help with exterior improvements, operating costs and other matters.
The big-hearted organizations need some input from patrons who are privy to some of the best menus in the nation.
“We are asking for your help to find cozy cafes, delicious dives, and other beloved restaurants that contribute to their neighborhood’s unique history and identity. Our focus is on small or independently owned restaurants that are located in historic buildings or neighborhoods, tell an inclusive story about cuisine and community in the United States, and have been disproportionately impacted by economic challenges, disasters, or other hardships,” the organization said in a public call for nominations.
There’s a deadline. Funding applications from restaurant owners and nominations from admiring patrons will be accepted until March 12.
Curious? Visit Savingplaces.org/historicrestaurants for information.
Surprise. The White House gets a mundane grade as far as the economy goes.
A Fox News poll released Sunday found that two-thirds of registered U.S. voters — 66% — now disapprove of the way President Biden is handling inflation. A hefty portion of Republican respondents — 93% — agree with that, along with 77% of independents and even 37% of Democrats.
Meanwhile, 62% of voters overall give Mr. Biden a thumbs down on his treatment of the U.S. economy broadly. That particular finding includes 93% of Republicans, 68% of independents and 29% of Democrats.
Such negative reviews on pocketbook issues won’t do the White House any favors. The poll also revealed that voters overall say the state of the economy is the most important issue facing the country today — above immigration, climate change, gun policy, crime, health care, voting rights, abortion and foreign policy.
The Fox News poll featured this pivotal question: “Compared to a year ago, do you feel like you have more money in your pocket?”
The poll revealed that 57% of voters say they now have “less money” in their pocket compared to a year ago; 31% said they had “about the same amount” while a mere 12% said they had “more money” in their pocket.
The Fox News poll of 1,006 registered U.S. voters was conducted Feb. 19-22.
THE ‘BALANCED’ APPROACH
“America is the most compassionate nation in the world, but our immigration system is broken. Reforming that system is a job for Congress, and any balanced legislative approach must include measures to strengthen border security,” Rep. Mike Johnson said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
The Louisiana Republican has introduced the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act which he says will help ensure that the U.S. asylum system is reserved only for those who are “legitimately fleeing persecution or imminent harm.”
Mr. Johnson’s legislation elevates the minimal asylum standard under current law which allows illegal immigrants apprehended at the border to claim a “credible fear of persecution.” It also would require immigrants to demonstrate a credible fear of persecution “that is more probable than not” — a measure meant to curtail fraud and help ensure only legitimate claims are approved.
The bill also grants the Department of Homeland Security power to remove asylum seekers to safe third countries where they would have access to a full and fair procedure to apply for asylum without the current necessity for bilateral agreements with those countries. In addition, it would terminate asylum status when seekers return to the country from which they sought asylum, absent a change in the country’s conditions.
“This bill will help ensure that our asylum system is reserved for those truly seeking refuge in America from violence or persecution,” Mr. Johnson said.
He is vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, a member of the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees, and a former constitutional law litigator.
Former President Donald Trump continues to weigh in on assorted matters in his quest for reelection to the White House.
“When I was your president, we didn’t start conflicts, Patriot – we ended them,” Mr. Trump said in a campaign fundraising message sent Sunday, personalized with a capital letter addressing his supporters.
“We rebuilt our great military like never before, and we maintained peace through strength. I was the only president in generations who didn’t start a war. Unlike Joe Biden, I refused the terrible advice of Washington bureaucrats and so-called ‘diplomats’ who know only how to enter conflict, but never how to get out,” he said.
“Just look at the disgrace that occurred in Afghanistan when the Biden administration attempted to exit the conflict — pure incompetence at its worst. Today, Biden has us teetering on the brink of World War III,” Mr. Trump advised.
POLL DU JOUR
• 67% of U.S. adults have had an annual health screening with a physician in the past year.
• 64% have had a dental check-up and cleaning in the past year.
• 54% have had an eye or vision check-up in the last year.
• 50% have received a flu vaccine in the past year.
• 45% have received a COVID-19 vaccine or booster in the past year
• 18% have spoken to a mental health professional or counselor in the past year.
SOURCE: An Axios-Ipsos American Health Index survey of 1,213 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 17-21.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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