Democrats Pelosi

Pelosi says Democrats willing to compromise at $2T for coronavirus bill, rejected by Trump admin – Fox News

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democrats were willing to compromise at $2 trillion for the fourth coronavirus stimulus package, but that the Trump administration rejected their offer.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that Democrats have been “mightily trying to find common ground.”


“We’ll take down a trillion, if you add a trillion,” Pelosi said Friday. “They said absolutely not. Then we would be in range.”

Senate Republicans are pushing a package with a price tag of approximately $1 trillion, while Democrats’ HEROES Act, which passed in May, reaches about $3.4 trillion. Republicans and Democrats have reached a stalemate in negotiations, prompting President Trump to float the possibility of taking executive action to provide some economic relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged on Friday that the idea of the White House and Republicans adding $1 trillion to their price tag for the fourth package was a “a non-starter.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that it is Republicans who are “stuck.”

“You should have seen their faces,” he said. “They’re the ones stuck.”

Schumer also slammed the possibility of Trump signing an executive order to address some issues he has prioritized, such as a payroll tax cut and other provisions.

“The biggest problem with executive orders is not what they do, but who they leave out,” Schumer said, pointing to Democrats’ push for further coronavirus testing, treatment and contact tracing to be included in the legislation.

The president this week said he would not hesitate to take executive action if talks on Capitol Hill came to a stalemate.

The president also tweeted this week: “I’ve notified my staff to continue working on an Executive Order with respect to Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Protections, Unemployment Extensions, and Student Loan Repayment Options.”

Trump said he was considering taking executive action to halt evictions and suspend payroll taxes.


“A lot of people are going to be evicted, but I’m going to stop it because I’ll do it myself if I have to,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders, and we’re looking at that very seriously right now.”

There are some 110 million Americans living in rental households; up to 23 million renters – or 20 percent – are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30, according to an analysis by the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.

With the supplemental $600 in unemployment benefits now officially lapsed, about 24 million Americans say they have little to no chance of being able to pay next month’s rent, according to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Rent and mortgage payments are typically the largest monthly expense for Americans: One in four tenant families pays more than half of its income for rent, a rate that’s even higher in cities like San Francisco and New York, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“They’re thrown out viciously,” Trump said. “It’s not their fault.”

The president similarly suggested that he could use his executive authority to lower payroll taxes — a proposal that he’s advocated for since the beginning of the virus-induced economic crisis, but one that has garnered little support from both Democrats and Republicans.

“I can do that also through executive order, so we’ll be talking about that,” Trump said.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

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board Democrats

Both Democrats, GOP are now on board for a second wave of PPP loans – Yahoo Finance

part of the HEALS Act. They want the “hardest hit small employers” to be able to get a second loan.” data-reactid=”16″ type=”text”>On Monday, Senate Republicans announced their plan for another wave of the Paycheck Protection Program as a part of the HEALS Act. They want the “hardest hit small employers” to be able to get a second loan.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said he’s largely on board with how the Republicans laid out their proposal during a Yahoo Finance interview on Tuesday.

Democratic plan and the Republican plan.” data-reactid=”22″ type=”text”>Cardin noted that “there’s a lot of similarities” between his Democratic plan and the Rep

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accuses Democrats

Cruz accuses Democrats of coordinated effort to keep schools, businesses closed to hurt Trump – Fox News

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday accused Democrats of deliberately seeking to extend coronavirus lockdowns of businesses and schools so that President Trump suffers politically ahead of the presidential election.

Democratic-aligned teachers’ unions have remained opposed to opening schools. In Los Angeles, the teachers’ union has made overtly political demands as part of its reopening plan, including defunding the police, taxing the wealthy, implementing a moratorium on charter schools, providing “Medicare-for-all,” and obtaining more federal funding.

“We’re 100 days out from the presidential election — the only objective Democrats have is to defeat Donald Trump,” Cruz told CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” anchored by Margaret Brennan. “And they’ve cynically decided [the] best way to defeat Donald Trump is shut down every business in America, shut down every school in America.”


Cruz specifically took issue with Democrats’ plan for a new coronavirus relief bill, which Congress is expected to take up this week. Brennan noted that top Republicans and the White House have also signaled support for a new round of stimulus relief, including $1,200 stimulus checks and tax credits for businesses. Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also suggested Sunday the White House would extend the federal eviction moratorium.

But, Cruz urged them to focus on a broader recovery bill.

“The policy that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are pushing adds an additional $600 a week of federal money to unemployment,” Cruz said. “Except, the problem is, for 68 percent of people receiving it right now, they are being paid more on unemployment than they made in their job.”

That was a concern that some Republicans voiced back in March, although it prompted some skepticism from economic analysts urging for a quick jumpstart to the economy. (“The weird thing about this hypothetical ‘generous unemployment pay will discourage people from entering critical industries’ is… they could just raise wages?” Alex Godofsky wrote on Twitter at the time. “Amazon has already raised wages. Like, it’s okay if wages — and prices — go up for a while. It’s fine.”)

On Sunday, though, Cruz said the problem has become more than hypothetical.


“And I’ll tell you, I’ve spoken to small business owners all over the state of Texas who are trying to reopen and they’re calling their waiters and waitresses, they’re calling their busboys, and they won’t come back,” Cruz continued. “And, of course, they won’t come back because the federal government is paying them, in some instances, twice as much money to stay home.”

In the alternative, Cruz argued in favor of a payroll tax cut and lifting economic restrictions. Although Brennan suggested that those initiatives could come later, Cruz said it’s important to consider them immediately.

“What we ought to focus on, instead of just shoveling trillions out the door, we ought to be passing a recovery bill. Now, what’s a recovery bill? A recovery bill would be lifting the taxes and the regulations that are hammering small businesses so that people can go back to work. A recovery bill would suspend the payroll tax, which would give it a — a pay raise to everyone in America who’s working. That actually gets people back to work.”

Cruz was conducting the interview from his home in Houston, where the U.S. ordered the Chinese Consulate closed, alleging it was involved in rampant theft of secrets. The FBI has said scores of Chinese military-linked researchers lied on their visas to gain access to U.S. research in other institutions.


Cruz noted he has long sounded the alarm on China — “the last time I did this show was from Hong Kong in October,” he said, adding that he was dressed in “all black in solidarity” with pro-democracy protesters.

“One of the most, in fact, the most significant foreign policy consequence of this pandemic is people are understanding the threat China poses,” Cruz said. “And in particular, this virus originated because of communist China’s deliberate cover up. They arrested, they silenced the heroic Chinese whistleblowers that tried to stop this at the outset.”

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candidates Democrats

Democrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos | TheHill – The Hill

Democrats are looking to tie Republicans to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: ‘The most corrupt president in history’ Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDeVos urges school districts to ‘think creatively’ about reopening amid coronavirus Jill Biden promises if Biden’s elected ‘no more Betsy DeVos’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump takes on CDC over schools MORE ahead of the election in November as the administration’s threat to cut funding to schools unless they resume in-person learning galvanizes teachers’ unions and the left.

The attacks by Democrats come as reopening schools has turned into the latest flashpoint over the administration’s response to the coronavirus, which is expected to dominate elections nationwide, from the race to the White House to the battle for the Senate.

Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut federal funding to schools, breaking with recommendations of health experts as he looks to start reopening the U.S. despite a recent surge in coronavirus in states such as Florida and Arizona. DeVos, who has frequently antagonized the left over her tenure, backed Trump’s push.

Colorado Senate candidate and former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Hickenlooper Senate outlook slides for GOP The Hill’s Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue The Hill’s Morning Report – Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE was among the Democrats to go on the offensive, calling on Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump’s convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who ‘protect’ Trump in new ad MORE (R-Colo.) to denounce the president’s stance on the issue as the two head for a heated race in the fall.

“Trump’s latest threat to gut funding for schools who don’t comply with his timeline to open is dangerous,” Hickenlooper said in a statement on Thursday. “He should be providing guidelines for the safe and healthy reopening of our schools, not ignoring the advice of scientists and making political threats. And Cory Gardner should be standing up to him, not remaining silent and failing to stand up for Coloradans.” 

In Iowa, Democrat Theresa Greenfield, who is challenging Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstErnst: Renaming Confederate bases is the ‘right thing to do’ despite ‘heck’ from GOP GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who ‘protect’ Trump in new ad MORE (R), is also hitting Republicans’ handling of the virus, homing in on her rival ahead of their race in November.  

“While Theresa has been demanding swift action from Washington, Senator Ernst was voting for a half-trillion-dollar corporate bailout and against paid sick leave for Iowa workers, and saying the ‘bank is not open’ for relief for Iowa communities,” said Greenfield’s press secretary, Izzi Levy.  “Now, with fall just around the corner and coronavirus case counts continuing to rise in Iowa, it’s looking like Ernst’s failed leadership is going to make a return to school harder than ever. She needs to answer for this failure.”

Ernst did not say whether she supported Trump’s push to cut funds to schools that did not open in the fall when asked about it on Thursday. 

“I’d have to look at that policy,” the senator said. “I want it [schools reopening] done safely and sensibly, and I think that’s the right way to do it.” 

In North Carolina, Democrat Cal Cunningham, who is taking on Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump’s convention amid coronavirus uptick Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who ‘protect’ Trump in new ad The Hill’s Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations MORE (R), warned against the politicization of reopening schools, calling on Congress to do the work to ensure that schools open safely at the right time. 

“In my conversations with local leaders and parents, it’s clear that instead of politicizing this issue, they want Congress to do the work to figure out how we can safely get students back in school, whether that’s in person, online or a combination, so they can keep learning and growing,” Cunningham told The Hill. “That means hearing from folks on the ground about what schools need, and, importantly, funding the PPE [personal protective equipment] and technology our educators and students need to be safe and connected.”

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff also called for greater federal leadership during a campaign town hall on Thursday, while in Texas, Democratic candidate MJ Hegar slammed incumbent Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTexas lawmakers ask HHS to set up field hospital, federal resources in the state GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who ‘protect’ Trump in new ad MORE (R) for appearing to question whether children can catch and spread the coronavirus when asked about the safety of students going back to school. 

Democrats argue that the administration’s stance on the reopening of schools puts parents in a tough situation, forcing them to consider whether to send their children back to school amid the pandemic. 

“They [Republican senators] will literally put him above the safety and health of families in their states who are wrestling with an agonizing issue of ‘Do I send my children back to school?’” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Fauci ‘aspirationally hopeful’ of a vaccine by winter The Hill’s Morning Report – Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar MORE (D-N.Y.). “That’s going to drive them down.” 

Teachers unions have also gone on the offensive against Republican senators. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest teachers union in the U.S., released an ad this week calling for greater funding to reopen schools. The ads targeted Republican senators running for reelection in states including Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, Montana and Arizona. 

“They’re [Democratic Senate candidates] legitimately going after the Republican incumbents and saying, ‘If schooling is so important to you, why are you on vacation instead of negotiating a stimulus bill so schools have the resources to reopen safely?’” AFT President Randi Weingarten told The Hill. 

Some Republicans also acknowledged how Trump’s rhetoric on schools could hit home for parents ahead of the start of the school year in the fall, just months before the general election. 

“This strikes at a place where it could cause very real challenges for Republicans,” GOP strategist Doug Heye told The Hill. “Everybody wants the economy up and running, and part of that means that parents need a place for their kids to go, and that’s school and child care.” 

“If the president politicizes that, that makes it that much harder for parents who might be on the fence. … It makes it harder for them to support Trump or support Republican candidates because many of them will view that as Trump politicizing their children,” he continued. 

Still, Republicans have largely remained silent over the Trump administration’s threat to withhold or cut funding from schools that do not reopen by the fall. 

“It’s another example of how Senate Republicans will not hold the president accountable even when he ignores guidelines from public health experts,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Stewart Boss.

Some Republicans, such as Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisCongressman plans to force vote to block decriminalization of psychedelics in DC House Republicans urge White House to support TSA giving travelers temperature checks Coronavirus protests take aim at scientists, elites MORE (Md.), have also spoken out in favor of opening schools, warning that being at home may not be as safe as going to school.

“The bottom line is that it’s safe for children to go back to school. It is not safe for them to remain at home,” Harris, who is a doctor, said on Thursday. 

Republicans say that Trump’s handling of school openings going forward could ultimately determine how the issue will play down the ballot, though they acknowledged it could backfire on Trump and Republicans.

“Part of that will be how much Trump doubles down on this rhetoric,” Heye said. “The more he does so, the more it will create opportunities for Democratic candidates running for Senate.”

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Democrats optimistic

Democrats optimistic about chances of winning Senate | TheHill – The Hill

Democratic senators are feeling increasingly optimistic about their chances of winning back the Senate majority in November. 

Republicans, with a 53-47 seat edge, have spent most of the cycle viewed as the front-runners for holding onto their majority, even though they were defending 23 seats to Democrats’ 12. 

But Democrats have seen their odds boosted in recent weeks by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFour men charged for trying to tear down Andrew Jackson statue in DC Video shows workers removed social distancing signs before Trump Tulsa rally: WaPo Biden slams Trump for not sanctioning Russia over Afghan militant ‘bounties’ intelligence MORE’s crumbling poll numbers amid widespread criticism of his handling of the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread anger over police brutality toward African Americans.

“I feel good about them, I do. I mean certainly better than a year ago,” said Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KainePolice reform in limbo after Senate setback Trade groups make lobbying push to be included in small business loan program In the next COVID-19 bill, target innovation and entrepreneurship MORE (D-Va.), the party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, asked about the party’s chances.

He caveated that the lead up to November would be full of “twists and turns,” but “if the elections were today I would feel … good.” 

The coronavirus pandemic has also crushed what had been a strong economy, undermining Trump’s greatest strength. National polls have shown presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump for not sanctioning Russia over Afghan militant ‘bounties’ intelligence Why Biden’s big lead should worry Democrats White House goes through dizzying change in staff MORE with a double-digit lead over Trump, and a number of GOP senators suddenly find themselves either behind in polls or in neck and neck races.

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyGridlock mires chances of police reform deal House, Senate jockey for leverage in police reform debate Skepticism looms over police reform deal MORE (D-Conn.) said he was feeling “better than I have in the last year and a half” about the party’s chances of regaining control of the Senate, which Democrats lost in the 2014 election. 

“The playing field is getting bigger, Trump’s numbers continue to be in free fall, our candidates are outraising Republican incumbents everywhere. I don’t know that we could be better in a position than we are today,” Murphy said. 

Democrats are also careful to temper their optimism. They note that the election is still months away and it is anyone’s guess what will happening in a year that has already seen an impeachment trial, a once-in-a-century health pandemic, an economic downturn and a national reckoning with police brutality and systemic racial inequality after George Floyd’s death in police custody.

“I’m encouraged but it’s four months and 10 days away,” said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinMcCarthy calls for police reform conference ahead of vote Senate panel votes 21-1 to back Justice IG measure over Graham objections Police reform in limbo after Senate setback MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat. 

A national Democratic strategist added that the party had a “very good shot” at taking back the Senate, putting it at “50-50 or better.”

“There are a lot of warning signs” for Republicans, the strategist added. “I think that a big part of how the map has shifted in our favor is that the number of states in play has grown and that’s been almost entirely to our benefit.” 

Democrats need to gain three seats and win the White House or net four seats to have a simple majority outright. Complicating their calculations, Republicans and political handicappers view Alabama, where Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is up for reelection, as a likely GOP pick up. 

Strategists and political handicappers agree that the core Senate battleground states, beyond Alabama, are Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina, where GOP Sens. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyWhere things stand in 13 battleground states Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll Arizona councilman sparks backlash after saying ‘I can’t breathe’ at anti-mask rally MORE, Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerHickenlooper leads Colorado primary rival Romanoff by 30 points: poll Democrats spend big to bolster struggling Hickenlooper The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Rep. Mark Takano says Congress must extend worker benefits expiring in July; WHO reports record spike in global cases MORE, Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Appeals court rules using Pentagon funding for border wall illegal | Esper visits NATO after Trump announces Germany drawdown | Russian intel unit reportedly offered bounties for killing coalition troops in Afghanistan Ernst sinks vote on Trump EPA nominee Overnight Energy: Trump wants to open up 82 percent of Alaska reserve for drilling | Trump directs aid to Maine lobster industry crushed by tariffs | Conservation bill creates strange bedfellows MORE and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisWhere things stand in 13 battleground states Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll The Hill’s Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night MORE are on the ballot. 

A New York Times-Siena College poll released late last week found Democratic candidate Mark Kelly leading McSally by 9 percentage points in Arizona and Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham leading Tillis by 3 percentage points in North Carolina. A separate Fox News found Tillis trailing by 2 points, 37 percent to Cunningham’s 39 percent. 

Beyond those states, Montana, Iowa and Georgia are also viewed as potential battlegrounds and pick up opportunities for Democrats. The Cook Political Report recently moved Montana to a “toss up” race, while Iowa and the two Georgia races are rated as “lean Republican.”

Republicans are hoping to unseat Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersDemocrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll Congress should reinstate tax certificate program to foster media ownership diversity Black voters need a new Senate as much as a new president MORE (D-Mich.), though he remains the favorite to win.

Kyle Kondik, the managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, put Democrats’ chances of winning back the Senate at at least 50-50. 

“I think it’s fair to say that Republicans started the cycle favored, you know now it looks like 50-50 or maybe even a slight Democratic advantage,” he said. 

It’s not the first time Democrats have had rosy polling, only to fall short. They were widely expected to win back the Senate and retain the White House in 2016, only for Trump to pull a huge surprise. Democrats gained two seats that year in the Senate, not enough to take the majority.

“The reality is the polls are four months out,” Durbin said. “I was thinking of polling in my original House race four weeks out that had me losing terribly, and I won. So you’re a fool if you take an early poll and go to sleep on it.” 

But the Democratic mood is rising as poll after poll shows dismal news for Trump. The New York Times-Siena College poll found Biden leading Trump by 14 points in a hypothetical matchup, 50 percent to 36 percent.

“Whatever Joe Biden is doing, he should continue doing,” Durbin said.

“If that means working out of his basement in Delaware so be it. I know it is frustrating. He told me he is frustrated by it. But by maintaining a certain level of decorum and respect he is such a sharp contrast to the president that I think it is part of the reason that poll numbers are going his way,” he added. 

A national GOP strategist said Republicans need to turn the contest into a choice between the president and Biden rather than a referendum on Trump.

“I think the more that this race becomes a contrast between the president’s vision and that of Joe Biden’s the better it will be for all Republicans,” the strategist said. “It cannot be a referendum. A referendum on anyone is never ideal, it needs to be a choice.” 

The numbers have set off alarm bells among some Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have been publicly signaling for Trump to change course.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneKarl Rove says Trump is ‘behind’ in presidential race Gridlock mires chances of police reform deal GOP: Trump needs a new plan MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, told reporters that while the polls fluctuate, the current numbers were a “message that there needs to be certainly a change in probably strategy.” 

“I think right now obviously Trump has a problem with the middle of the electorate, with independents, and they’re the people who are going to decide a national election,” Thune said.

“I think he can win those back but it will probably require not only a message that deals with substance and policy but I think a message that conveys a perhaps different tone,” he added.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGridlock mires chances of police reform deal Jaime Harrison: GOP police reform bill ‘doesn’t go far enough’ SEC’s Clayton demurs on firing of Manhattan US attorney he would replace MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump who is up for reelection, added that there was “unease” in the country that is blowing back on the president and urged Trump to focus on policy differences with Biden. 

“As we get closer to the election, when we have our conventions, when we have our debates, the policy differences will begin to merge,” he said. “What I would tell him is talk about where you’re going to take the country policy wise, how that differs from where Biden would go.” 

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Democrats Scale

Democrats Scale Down Convention Footprint In Milwaukee : Coronavirus Live Updates – NPR

The scaled-down Democratic National Convention will no longer be held at the Fiserv Forum, but instead include events at the convention center in downtown Milwaukee.

Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

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Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The scaled-down Democratic National Convention will no longer be held at the Fiserv Forum, but instead include events at the convention center in downtown Milwaukee.

Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The in-person Democratic National Convention will be scaled down significantly as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the Milwaukee event now relying heavily on “live broadcasts and curated content,” organizers have announced.

“Convention planners said that host city Milwaukee would anchor the events for the week,” organizers said in a press release Wednesday, “and that programming would include both live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, will still formally accept the party’s nomination in person during the Aug. 17-20 convention, but the convention committee said state delegations should not plan to travel to Milwaukee and should instead plan to conduct convention business remotely.

Coronavirus Concerns Shift Presidential Debate From Michigan To Florida

Trump RNC Acceptance Speech Moves to Jacksonville After Coronavirus Dispute

Additionally, the main venue is changing. “With fewer people gathering in person at this year’s event, convention planners are modifying the convention campus. All convention proceedings will move from Fiserv Forum to the Wisconsin Center, the convention center located in downtown Milwaukee,” the release said.

“Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. “That’s exactly what we’ve done with our convention. Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people.”

The party’s decision comes as its counterpart, the Republican National Committee, has faced resistance in its quest to hold a mostly normal, in-person convention.

Following a squabble between President Trump and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the party made the decision to move Trump’s acceptance speech to Jacksonville, Fla., though some of the convention’s smaller events will remain in Charlotte.

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Democrats pledge

U.S. Democrats pledge transformative change with police reform bill – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional Democrats unveiled sweeping legislation on Monday to combat police violence and racial injustice through transformative change, two weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody led to nationwide protests.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stands with Congressional Democrats during a moment of silence to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others inside Emancipation Hall after weeks of protests against racial inequality in the aftermath in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The 134-page bill would take numerous steps including allowing victims of misconduct to sue police for damages, ban chokeholds and require the use of body cameras by federal law enforcement officers, restrict the use of lethal force, and facilitate independent investigations of police departments that show patterns of misconduct.

“A profession where you have the power to kill should be a profession that requires highly trained officers who are accountable to the public,” Representative Karen Bass, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, told a news conference.

Democrats expect to bring the legislation to the House of Representatives floor by July 4.

While expecting resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate, Democrats hope to enlist the aid of public sentiment as protests against police brutality continue and polls show widespread public concern about police violence.

The legislation would not cut or abolish funding for police departments. Senior Democrats said calls for “defunding” the police from protesters and other activists, express a desire for more investment in communities. They promised that such issues would be addressed in subsequent legislation.

“We have confused having safe communities with hiring more cops … when in fact the real way to achieve safe and healthy communities is to invest in these communities,” said Senator Kamala Harris, seen as a potential running-mate to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election.

President Donald Trump and Republicans have seized on the defunding issue as a weapon against Democrats.

“LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!” Trump tweeted on Monday.

After a weekend in Washington with no public events, Trump was scheduled to hold a “roundtable with law enforcement” at the White House on Monday afternoon.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also took to Twitter to showcase Republican support for police, saying: “Democrats want to defund you, but Republicans will never turn our backs on you.”

Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, where a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, was the latest in a string of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police that have sparked fresh calls for reforms. here

Among the legislation’s provisions, Democratic aides and analysts say allowing for civil suits against police could prove the most effective in curbing police brutality. But it is likely to face opposition from Republicans.

A Reuters investigation published last month revealed how qualified immunity here, refined over the years by the U.S. Supreme Court, has made it easier for cops to kill or injure civilians with impunity. [nL1N2DH13L]

Reporting by David Morgan, additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Scott Malone, Grant McCool and Bill Berkrot

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Congressional Democrats

Congressional Democrats to unveil police reform package next week – The Washington Post

Congressional Democrats are expected to roll out sweeping police reform legislation Monday, following nearly two weeks of sustained protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing in police custody.

The legislation, called the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, includes an array of measures aimed at boosting law enforcement accountability, changing police practices and curbing racial profiling, according to an outline circulated on Capitol Hill on Saturday and obtained by The Washington Post.

“Persistent, unchecked bias in policing and a history of lack of accountability is wreaking havoc on the Black community,” reads the outline, which lists Floyd’s name along with those of other African Americans who have been killed in encounters with officers.

“Cities are literally on fire with the pain and anguish wrought by the violence visited upon black and brown bodies,” it reads. “There are countless others whose stories we will never know.”

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

It was not clear whether Republicans in Congress or President Trump would back the bill.

In recent days, some Republicans have expressed support for legislation to rein in police violence, but it remains to be seen whether they will support elements of the expansive proposal offered by the Democrats. In August, after the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, there was a push for bipartisan gun violence legislation — an effort that stalled weeks later.

The House Judiciary Committee has planned a hearing Wednesday, the first on police issues since the protests broke out. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a hearing slated for June 16.

The bill contains several provisions that would make it easier to hold officers accountable for misconduct in civil and criminal court. One proposal long sought by civil rights advocates would change “qualified immunity,” the legal doctrine that shields officers from lawsuits, by lowering the bar for plaintiffs to sue officers for alleged civil rights violations.

Another section would change federal law so that victims of excessive force or other violations need only show that officers “recklessly” deprived them of their rights. The current statute requires victims to show that officers’ actions were “willful.”

The bill would also expand the Justice Department’s powers to investigate and prosecute police misconduct, according to the outline, which said those capabilities had been “undermined by the Trump administration.” It would grant subpoena power to the department’s Civil Rights Division to conduct “pattern and practice” investigations, looking for departmentwide evidence of bias or misconduct, and provide grants to state attorneys general to do the same.

Other provisions seek to directly change police practices.

The bill seeks to ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants in drug cases at the federal level, while pressuring states and municipalities to enact similar prohibitions by withholding funding.

Those types of maneuvers have fueled outrage over police brutality in recent days. Floyd died after then-officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis late last month. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder. Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was fatally shot in March by Louisville police officers serving a no-knock warrant.

To keep “problematic” officers from bouncing from one law enforcement agency to another, the bill would create a “national police misconduct registry” to compile complaints and discipline records, according to the outline.

It would also limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.

Additionally, the outline covers broad proposals to prevent discrimination by law enforcement, creating a cause of action for racial profiling in civil court, conditioning federal funding for state and local law enforcement on anti-discrimination policies and requiring the U.S. attorney general to collect data on racial profiling.

“While there is no single policy prescription that will erase the decades of systemic racism and excessive policing,” the outline reads, “it’s time we create structural change with meaningful reforms.”

Democratic leaders are scheduled to unveil the legislation at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Capitol.

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

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House Democrats pass doomed $3T coronavirus relief bill – New York Post

May 15, 2020 | 9:52pm

House Democrats passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday night despite Senate Republicans and President Trump declaring the so-called Heroes Act dead on arrival.

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California complained that the 1,800-page bill was “the largest bill in the history of Congress” — and that it was unfurled this week without a committee hearing.

Democrats defended the bill, arguing that Republican foot-dragging forced them to move ahead with a unilateral proposal.

“There is pain. There is suffering. There is death throughout the land. Congress must act to provide relief to the American people,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

The bill passed with 14 left-wing and centrist Democrats voting “no” and a single Republican — Rep. Peter King of New York — voting in favor.

Before passing the bill, Democrats authorized proxy voting for future legislation and defeated a GOP push to ban illegal immigrants from getting stimulus checks.

Congress previously passed four major coronavirus relief packages after laborious late-night negotiations between Democrats and White House representatives.

After passing the fourth major package last month, Republicans had said they wanted to pause for reflection and criticized proposed state bailouts.

The new relief bill includes almost $1 trillion in funding for state and local governments, which Republicans including Trump are wary of granting.

It would authorize another round of stimulus checks up to $1,200, create a $200 billion “heroes fund” giving hazard pay to medical workers, allocate $175 billion to rent and mortgage aid and spend $75 billion on virus testing and contact tracing.

The bill also would extend the $600-per-week federal boost in unemployment insurance payments through January 2021. The boost currently runs through July.

Additional items include a boost in food stamps payments expected to cost $10 billion, a $25 billion bailout for the Postal Service, $3.6 billion for state elections offices and $5.5 billion for expanding high-speed internet to libraries and homes.

The bill also proposes new funds for the Census and health insurance programs.

The bill would give relief to wealthy residents of high-tax states like New York by waiving the $10,000 cap on the federal State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction for 2020 and 2021.

Republican opposed provisions they said steer funds toward abortions and away from deporting illegal immigrants.

In a reflection of the wide-ranging priorities included in the package, the bill would authorize banks to work with state-legal cannabis businesses.

“This really is an exercise in legislative futility,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who managed House floor debate for Republicans. “It would make more to sense in my view, Madam Speaker, to send it straight to Santa Claus.”

Although Democratic leaders are pushing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow a vote, even some Democrats acknowledge the bill is a starting point for negotiations.

“Every one of [the coronavirus bills] has started out with a proposal that then has been negotiated to reach bipartisan support,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told The Post.

McConnell on Friday vowed the House bill was going nowhere.

The Heroes Act “reads like the speaker of the House pasted together random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word ‘coronavirus’ on top of it,” McConnell said.

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House Democrats readying new $1.2T coronavirus stimulus bill – New York Post

May 11, 2020 | 1:34pm | Updated May 11, 2020 | 4:01pm

The White House has started informal talks with Republicans and Democrats in Congress about what to include in another round of coronavirus relief legislation.

At the same time, Democrats have crafted a $1.2 trillion-plus package without input from the administration or Hill Republicans, Axios reported Monday, citing congressional sources.

House Dems may bring their phase 4 coronavirus relief package — aka CARES 2 — to the floor for a vote as early as this week.

But it’s going nowhere, at least for now, according to the website.

Republicans say they are still waiting for billions in aid allocated in the first $2.2 trillion CARES Act to be spent before considering an additional package.

The dueling comes as more than 80,000 Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, and US unemployment has surged to 14.7 percent, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Kevin Hassett, one of President Trump’s top economic advisers, said the unemployment rate could rise to somewhere “north of 20 percent” in May or June, even as the commander-in-chief urges more states to reopen to fire up the economy.

Despite the predictions that their package will be DOA in Congress, House Dems see their plan as a way to highlight their priorities and prod Republicans and Team Trump toward more economic relief for individuals, state and local governments, and the US Postal Service.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her caucus also want to show voters that they’re still on the job, despite members remaining in their districts.

Their legislation, which is still being written and is subject to change, according to Axios, is expected to include:

  • About $1 trillion for state and local governments, which many state and local officials say are going broke as their spending soars to deal with the outbreak.
  • Roughly $25 billion to keep the US Postal Service in business.
  • Expanded food and other nutritional benefits, Medicaid funding and a continuation of increased unemployment insurance payouts, which are set to expire at the end of July.
  • Another round of direct payments to all Americans to juice spending.

House leaders also want to narrow down the guidelines for how the funds are allocated to ensure that people aren’t “double dipping” into the different sources of money, a senior Democratic aide told Axios.

For example, they don’t want someone who is getting increased unemployment money to also get cash through the Paycheck Protection Program.

“We’re trying to limit the amount of overlap so people aren’t abusing the system,” the aide said.

The package will not include liability protection for businesses that reopen and whose workers catch the virus as a result, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says is a top priority for the GOP.

It also will not include a payroll tax cut, something Trump has championed, but which Democrats say will never happen.

Administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, said they were holding discussions with lawmakers on issues including potential aid to states.

Hassett said future legislation could also include food aid to help Americans struggling with hunger amid widespread job losses.

It also could include broadband access for those who lack it, Hassett added.

But the White House signaled it is in no hurry to pass another relief bill.

“Let’s take the next few weeks,” Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday.”

“We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers’ money that we do it carefully,” Mnuchin said.

“We’ve been very clear that we’re not going to do things just to bail out states that were poorly managed.”

Kudlow said he took part in a Friday conference call with House lawmakers from both parties, and plans to do the same on Monday with members of the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans.

“If we go to a phase-four deal, I think that President Trump has signaled that, while he doesn’t want to bail out the states, he’s willing to help cover some of the unexpected COVID expenses that might have come their way,” Hassett said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

With Post wires

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