On VE Day Russia declares war on Ukraine, Biden seeks to counter China’s tech rise

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Yahoo Finance contributor Kevin Cirilli joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the latest political news.

Video transcript

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AKIKO FUJITA: Well, the Biden administration announces that 20 major internet service providers have agreed to offer discounted plans to low-income households. Let’s bring Yahoo! Financial contributor Kevin Cirilli as part of his weekly KC3. Kevin, nice to talk to you today. Let’s start with this plan. I mean, how many Americans are we talking about that could be affected?

KEVIN CIRCILLI: This is going to be anywhere between 40% of eligible Americans or 48 million American households. And that’s part, of course, of the Biden Build Back Better plan that the administration is really pushing this week. For those who qualify, $30 per month towards Internet services for eligible households. And there are, get this, 20 companies that have signed on to participate in this, including AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

And together, when you add up all the coverage areas, that’s over 80% of the US population. So definitely a massive, massive step forward in terms of trying to bridge that digital divide.

AKIKO FUJITA: The other story that you are watching closely today, this $33 billion aid package specifically targeting Ukraine has still not been passed. What’s the latest on that front?

KEVIN CIRCILLI: So I think in terms of — the next thing I look at is Ukraine. And earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke during his annual Victory Day address. And Ukrainian President Zelenskyy did the same, who said, and I quote, that this is not a war of two armies, but a war of two worldviews. Meanwhile, President Biden is asking for $33 billion in additional funds to be allocated to support Ukraine.

And NATO officials are back in DC this week, meeting with various administration officials as well as lawmakers on Capitol Hill. I spoke with a NATO official last night, who told me he was confident Congress would get that $33 billion in funding for President Biden’s office. President Biden, for his part, will be at the State Department on Friday for a series of meetings. So there is no doubt that support for Ukraine is still strong.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, definitely as we go deeper into this war. President Biden also spoke recently at United Performance Metals, a metals manufacturer near Cincinnati. We know he talked a lot about more independence, less dependence on China. What’s the latest on that front?

KEVIN CIRCILLI: You know, this bill, the US Innovation and Competition Act, is currently in conference. And it’s a great conference. Dozens of Republicans and Democrats are on it in the Senate and House, as they try to reconcile the legislation between the two chambers. But President Biden’s frustration was palpable Friday when he spoke in Cincinnati. He said, in quotes, pass this fucking bill and send it to me. If we do, it will help bring prices down, bring jobs home, and fuel the return of American manufacturing.

It’s about this shortage of semiconductor chips that he says is…he made the case for work while he was in Ohio. And both senators from Ohio, Senator Portman and Senator Brown, Republican and Democrat respectively, supported this bill. They think it will create jobs. But it is also a component of national security. And the administration as well as supporters of the bill say it would reduce some of China’s overreliance on semiconductor chips. And this shortage has just really wreaked havoc on the US economy and other economies, for that matter, around the world.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. And we’ve already heard warnings from some CEOs who said it was going to last a little longer. Yahoo! Financial contributor Kevin Cirilli, as always, thank you for joining us.

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