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Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are trying to ease tensions and calm trade fights between the world’s top economies. The collapse of a project in the American heartland shows just how deep a chill has set in.
Biden dispatched Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a visit to Beijing and a meeting with Xi last week and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is planning her own visit in July, but underneath the pomp of top-tier visits by US officials, there is growing resentment among ordinary Americans and state and local politicians toward Chinese attempts at US investment.
There’s no clearer example of the grassroots shift in sentiment than in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where a failed agricultural complex led to new proposals at both the federal and state level to restrict China-linked development.
The city this year abandoned a project that, just two years earlier, it had aggressively sought as an economic bonanza: a $700 million corn mill that would have risen from rich farmland on the outskirts of the community. The mill faced a groundswell of opposition, especially regarding its owner: a Chinese company, Fufeng.
The saga combined swirling local concerns, opaque federal rules, saber-rattling politicians, and potential loopholes in security laws — ultimately concluding with an unusual public warning from the Air Force that the corn mill posed a national security threat.
The ripples reached beyond Grand Forks, as Biden’s administration in May quietly moved to tighten scrutiny of foreign property purchases near the city’s Air Force base and other military facilities.
The abandoned corn mill also illustrates a political shift. Politicians who once backed the project— including North Dakota’s governor, Doug Burgum, a Republican running for president — now oppose it. Some Republican-led states, including Burgum’s, seek to restrict or outright ban Chinese property purchases. The mayor of Grand Forks, Brandon Bochenski, says cities like his shouldn’t be left to determine foreign investment policy. Read the full story from Josh Wingrove.
- The president departs the White House at 4 p.m. to travel to Camp David.
- Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a briefing at 3:15 p.m.
More Affirmative Action Reactions
Biden said the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is being called into doubt, but said he still opposes expanding the bench or other large-scale reforms.
Chief Justice John Roberts, at times, has tried to slow the Supreme Court’s conservative revolution. But he was in the vanguard Thursday, enshrining his long-held views in a signature opinion abolishing racial preferences in college admissions.
Employers seeking to achieve a diverse workforce will have to rethink their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs — as well as racial affinity groups — to avoid potential legal consequences after the Supreme Court curtailed the use of race as as a factor in college admissions processes.
The Supreme Court’s ruling threatens to narrow the recruiting pipeline for major law firms, which traditionally stick to rigid standards and recruit from only a small number of elite law schools.
Politics, Probes, and 2024
Candidate Tim Sheehy runs a company that gets most of its money from federal government contracts, presenting potential conflict-of-interest questions not usually faced by Senate hopefuls.
A “standing order” that former President Donald Trump has claimed authorized him to instantly declassify documents removed from the Oval Office could not be found by either the Justice Department or Office of Director of National Intelligence.
What Else We’re Reading
A recent series of federal court decisions blocking states’ enforcement of bans on gender-affirming care for minors demonstrate that the laws can’t stand up against constitutional challenges, attorneys who represent transgender people told Bloomberg Law.
JetBlue is raising questions about US air traffic control actions, joining United Airlines in blaming federal regulators for worsening congestion on a heavy travel week ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
Revenue in 17 states is down this fiscal year through April, according to the Urban Institute. Over in Florida and Texas — red states where levies are primarily collected through sales rather than income — it’s a different picture. While the pace of tax collections has slowed, they are among about a dozen states seeing revenue grow 5% or more this year as consumers keep spending.
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