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President Joe Biden announces key nominees for Deputy Secretary, Ambassador and US Judge

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WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his administration:

  • Shannon A. Estenoz, Nominee to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior
  • Christopher J. Lamora, Nominee to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Central African Republic
  • David Slayton Meale, Nominee to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  • Jeffrey Samuel Arbeit, Nominee to be a Judge on the United States Tax Court
  • Cathy Fung, Nominee to be a Judge on the United States Tax Court
  • Benjamin A. Guider III, Nominee to be a Judge on the United States Tax Court

Shannon A. Estenoz, Nominee to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior

Shannon A. Estenoz was confirmed by unanimous consent in 2021 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife at the Department of the Interior. As Assistant Secretary, Estenoz oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives. She also chairs the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage and she was appointed to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission by President Joe Biden in 2023.

Estenoz’s career in landscape scale conservation, restoration, public policy, and management spans 26 years including more than seven years as the Department’s Director of Everglades Restoration Initiatives and the Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Her career also includes leadership roles with The Everglades Foundation, the National Parks Conservation Association, the World Wildlife Fund, the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, and three terms as the National Co-Chair of the Everglades Coalition. Estenoz’s public service includes appointments by three gubernatorial administrations. Estenoz chaired the South Florida Water Management District’s Water Resources Advisory Commission and the Broward County Water Resources Task Force. Estenoz has received numerous awards for her work in conservation including from Friends of the Everglades, Audubon of Florida, the Everglades Coalition, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Law Institute, and the Ecological Society of America.

Estenoz is a fifth generation native of Key West, Florida. She holds degrees in International Affairs and Civil Engineering from Florida State University.

Christopher J. Lamora, Nominee to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Central African Republic

Christopher J. Lamora, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon. Previously, he was Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Africa and African Security Affairs. In this last role, he also served as the U.S. Representative to the Great Lakes Contact Group. Lamora also held positions as the Director of the Office of Central African Affairs, Deputy Director of the Office of Economic and Regional Affairs, and Desk Officer for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs. Earlier, Lamora was the Director of the Los Angeles Passport Agency, and served overseas at the U.S. embassies in Guatemala City, Guatemala; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Athens, Greece; Bangui, Central African Republic; and the U.S. Consulate General in Douala, Cameroon. Lamora earned his B.S. from Georgetown University in Washington, District of Columbia. His foreign languages are French, Spanish, and Modern Greek.

David Slayton Meale, Nominee to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

David Meale, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is currently Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, where he also served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. Prior to this role, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He was previously the Bureau’s Director for Sanctions Policy and Implementation. Other positions include: Associate Dean for the Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, District of Columbia; Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine; Deputy Director of the Office of Monetary Affairs in the Economic Bureau; and additional positions in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Guinea, and Washington. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Meale held positions in corporate finance with Sprint Telecommunications. A native of Virginia, he holds a M.S. from the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School, an MBA from Tulane University, and a B.A. from the University of Delaware. He is the recipient of the Baker-Wilkins Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission and has studied Chinese, Ukrainian, and French.

Jeffrey S. Arbeit, Nominee to be a Judge on the United States Tax Court

Jeffrey S. Arbeit is a legislation counsel with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. His work focuses primarily on international tax and issues related to financial assets, transactions, and markets. Before joining the staff in 2015, Arbeit was a tax associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York and clerked for Judge James S. Halpern at the United States Tax Court. Arbeit received an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law, where he served on the Tax Law Review; a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, where he served on the Boston University Law Review; and a B.A. in History from Brown University, where he rowed on the crew team.

Cathy Fung, Nominee to be a Judge on the United States Tax Court

Cathy Fung is a Deputy Area Counsel at the Office of Chief Counsel (Large Business & International), Internal Revenue Service, where she has held multiple attorney positions since 2009. Previously, Fung worked as a tax controversy and litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine (later Dewey & LeBoeuf) from 2006 to 2009. She also served as an attorney-advisor for Judge Robert A. Wherry of the United States Tax Court from 2004 to 2006. Fung received her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 2003. She received an LL.M. Taxation from New York University School of Law in 2004 and an LL.M. in Securities & Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center in 2006. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1995. Fung is a California native and a resident of the District of Columbia.

Benjamin A. Guider III, Nominee to be a Judge on the United States Tax Court

Benjamin A. Guider III has over 15 years of experience as a lawyer advising clients with respect to federal low-income housing tax credits, federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, and a variety of other private and public financing sources. He is currently an affordable housing attorney at Longwell Riess, L.L.C. From 2008 to 2023 he was an attorney at Coats Rose Professional Corporation. Guider is a member of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, as well as a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the State Bar of California. He received his J.D. from Tulane University in 2004 and his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2001.

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US NATIONAL NEWS

THE HOUSE WHITE: Vice President Kamala Harris to Return to Charlotte, NC June 12

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On Wednesday, June 12, Vice President Kamala Harris will return to Charlotte, NC for the fourth stop on her nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour. This will be her fifth visit to the state this year and her 13th since being sworn in.

During each stop of the Vice President’s Economic Opportunity Tour, she is highlighting how the Biden-Harris Administration has built economic opportunity, supported communities, and delivered historic investments for the American people. This includes making unprecedented investments in small businesses, creating a record number of jobs, and increasing access to capital for underserved communities. It also includes erasing medical debt, forgiving more student loan debt than any administration in history, boosting investments in education, making housing more affordable, lowering child care costs, and increasing the wealth of American families.

Vice President Harris launched her Economic Opportunity Tour in April with a moderated conversation in Atlanta, GA. She continued it last month with a speech in Detroit, MI and a moderated conversation in Milwaukee, WI. She is being joined along the way by Administration officials, members of Congress, local leaders, and small business owners.

The Vice President was last in Charlotte back in April to announce $20 billion in Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund grants that will mobilize private capital and deliver clean energy and climate solutions. In March, she was in Raleigh with President Biden to highlight their ongoing work to lower prescription drug costs, protect Medicare and Medicaid, and fight for reproductive freedom. Vice President Harris also visited Black Wall Street in Durham to announce investments in strengthening entrepreneurship, increasing access to capital, and supporting small businesses. She began 2024 by visiting Eastway Middle School in Charlotte to announce $285 million in funding to help schools across the nation hire and train mental health counselors.

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US NATIONAL NEWS

RECORD AMOUNT RAISED FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN IN MAY ALONE – $141 MILLION IN SMALL DONATIONS, ALMOST $300 MILLION OVERALL!

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Today, President Trump’s Campaign, together with the RNC, announced a massive $141 million fundraising haul in May, a response of support for President Trump while facing the sham Biden trial and verdict that outraged and motivated Americans from every walk of life. This overwhelming financial success is the result of over 2 million donations, A RECORD, which came in at an average of $70.27. In addition to the staggering amount, 25% of May’s donors were brand new to the 2024 campaign, making the month the best ever recorded for any Campaign in History. Additionally, organizations supporting President Trump raised another $150 million in May. Taken together, the Campaign, and other Trump supporting organizations, raised almost $300 million during the month of May alone, ALSO A RECORD!

“We are moved by the outpouring of support for President Donald J. Trump. The American people saw right through Crooked Joe Biden’s rigged trial, and sent Biden and Democrats a powerful message – the REAL verdict will come on November 5th,” said Trump Campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles. “President Trump raised $141 million in small donations alone this month because Americans remember the Roaring Economy, Secure Border, and Peace through Strength at home and abroad under President Donald J. Trump, and want us to return to prosperity and success when he is re-elected in November.”

This total comes after the Campaign raised $53 million online in the 24 hours - 37.6% OF THE TOTAL HAUL AND MORE THAN $2 MILLION PER HOUR – since Crooked Joe Biden and his New York henchmen secured their rigged verdict in hopes of swaying the election.

“The American people saw the Biden Trials for what they are, a Political Hoax and Election-Interfering attempt to keep President Trump away from voters and confined to a freezing courtroom, THE ICEBOX. Based on these record contribution numbers, and Polling, it didn’t work because voters understand the clear contrast between Donald J. Trump’s record of success, and Joe Biden’s failures,” said RNC Chairman Michael Whatley and Co-Chairman Lara Trump. “Unfortunately for Democrats, their rigged political operation has backfired in a historic way, and Republicans are in a stronger position than ever to FIRE Crooked Joe Biden and Make America Great Again by electing President Trump on November 5.”

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US NATIONAL NEWS

Chairman Williams: “Weaponizing Federal Resources: Exposing the SBA’s Voter Registration Efforts”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a full committee hearing titled Weaponizing Federal Resources: Exposing the SBA’s Voter Registration Efforts.”

Chairman Williams’ opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, and welcome to today’s hearing which will focus on the SBA’s Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Michigan to register voters.

I’d like to start off by thanking our witnesses for being here with us today. Your input on these important issues is greatly appreciated.

This Committee is charged with oversight of the Small Business Administration. This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly, and today we will look into how much this agency has deviated from the core mission of helping Main Street America. The SBA is tasked with aiding, counseling, and protecting the interests of small businesses across our great nation. Instead of fulfilling these goals, the SBA has entangled itself in electioneering activities that not only lack a constitutional basis, but also betray the trust and purpose for which the Agency was established.

This MOU with Michigan demonstrates a gross misalignment of the SBA’s priorities. Small businesses have been crushed the past few years with stubborn inflation, high interest rates, and a significant labor shortage. And while all of these issues have been hurting Main Street’s ability to thrive, the SBA has decided to dedicate their staff’s time and resources to register voters in a key swing seat ahead of the 2024 election.

Not only does this agreement turn its back on the entrepreneurs that are struggling, but it opens up a whole host of potential conflicts of interest.

If a president and their agencies were permitted to freely involve themselves in elections, they could misuse this influence to stay in power. The American people need to have confidence that Agencies are acting to carry out their duties without the fear of political interference. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, and as the SBA is planning events around Michigan, the American people are going to be left wondering if the event is only being held to register President Biden’s target voting blocks.

Because of the potential to misuse this new power to register voters, the Committee immediately sent letters and started asking questions about how the SBA is carrying out these orders. And as we started asking questions, the lack of transparency was astounding. It took the SBA over 6 weeks to even show us the MOU after their initial press release announcing the new electioneering agreement. Additionally, after an SBA employee was caught on tape bragging about the Administrator’s campaign activities, they failed to make him available to speak with the Committee until we issued the first subpoenas in more than a decade.

This Committee will not stop calling out this misuse of power and will use every tool at our disposal to get the answers we need from the SBA.

I want to thank you all again for being here with us today, and I am looking forward to today’s important conversation.

With that I will yield to our distinguished Ranking Member from New York, Ms. Velázquez.

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