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Democrats Trillion

Democrats’ new $2.2 trillion bill includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks – CNBC

The big question over whether Congress will pass another coronavirus stimulus bill is, will they or won’t they?

From jobs to savings to retirement plans, the coronavirus pandemic has upended many Americans’ financial lives. And that has resulted in millions of people facing serious financial hardship. They are hoping for more relief, including expanded federal unemployment benefits and a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks as the American economy continues to cope with challenges from Covid-19.

Now, House Democrats have introduced a new, updated bill that reduces the total size of the aid they previously sought with the aim of appeasing Republicans.

The proposal, still dubbed the HEROES Act, includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

This time, they are calling for more generous terms than the first checks that were dispersed in the spring, which would lead to more people qualifying for the money.

Like the first round of stimulus checks, House Democrats are proposing payments of up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per married couple who files jointly, plus $500 per eligible dependent.

Full-time students who are younger than 24 and adult dependents also would be eligible for those $500 payments. That marks a change from dependent pay in the first checks, which only went to children under age 17.

Another change Democrats are seeking would have money also go to those with taxpayer identification numbers, not just Social Security numbers.

The payments would be exempt from being reduced or offset for past due child support, unlike the first checks. Democrats are also calling for the second checks to be protected from garnishment.

The measure also seeks to patch delivery issues that occurred with the first checks.

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The new checks would also be based on 2018 or 2019 federal tax returns.

Federal beneficiaries — those who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, veterans or railroad retirement benefits — would stand to get their payments automatically even if they did not file 2018 or 2019 returns.

The Treasury Department would be required to reach out to people who do not typically file tax returns to let them know how they can submit their information in order receive the money.

To be sure, the challenge will be to get both parties to agree on the Democrats’ proposal, which also includes $600 per week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits through January. That’s well above unemployment aid Republicans have said they are willing to give. President Donald Trump’s executive order in August included a $300 per week federal boost to unemployment benefits, that’s now expiring in many states.

There are a number of items that both parties want: the Paycheck Protection Program, child care, enhanced federal unemployment payments, stimulus checks and airline industry funding, said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former Senate staff member.

“If it was just those items, I would say it could potentially move the needle,” Hoagland said. 

But the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion proposal is still far from the $1.2 trillion in spending Trump has said he will support. Both parties would potentially have to meet in the middle in order to finalize a deal, Hoagland said.

“I remain skeptical that it’s going to somehow result in a quick action on a package,” Hoagland said.


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Democrats Wisconsin

Wisconsin Democrats to organize Veep reunion in latest dig at Josh Gad’s YouTube channel – The A.V. Club

Veep

Veep
Photo: HBO

Earlier in this stupid quarantine, Josh Gad made an effort to bring some bright spots to our miserable lives by hosting a seemingly endless series of big reunion specials over Zoom. On his YouTube page, Gad put together chats with the casts of Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Goonies, Splash, and The Princess Bride. It was exciting in its audacity, proving that celebrities were just as bored and desperate for human contact as the rest of us have been in 2020—not to mention the fact that it probably forced some people to confront what may be an irrational hatred of ol’ Josh Gad.

But then, Josh Gad stopped doing it. Or at least we stopped hearing about it. Maybe he’s on Zoom right now, chatting with all of the surviving James Bonds, and we don’t even know? Either way, a new group has since stepped in to continue Gad’s good work: The Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The state, once reliably “blue,” went to Donald Trump in 2016 partially thanks to years and years of Republican machinations (harsh voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and the construction of a bunch of stupid roundabouts that probably made it harder for people to drive to the polls), but the cheese-headed Democrats are apparently calling in some favors ahead of the 2020 election. They’ve already hosted fundraisers/reunions with the cast of The Princess Bride (in your face, Gad!) and Parks And Recreation (in your face… Eagleton?), and Variety says they’re now putting together a Veep reunion.

The event will be held on October 4, and you’ll have to give at least a little money to the Wisconsin Democrats to attend, but if you’re willing to pay up you’ll get to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Sam Richardson, Tim Simons, Tony Hale, Clea Duvall, Matt Walsh, and some “surprise guests” talk about Veep. You can see a video of Louis-Dreyfus talking about the event below. Naturally, there’s a lot of talk about defeating Trump and electing Joe Biden, but there is weirdly little talk about tearing down Wisconsin’s many roundabouts and replacing them with traditional intersections, where no one ever makes a mistake about when and where they should go. Oh well, we imagine someone will address tha

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Democrats Trump

Trump and Democrats Brace for Showdown Over Supreme Court Seat – The New York Times

The president’s determination to confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election set lawmakers on a collision course as Congress deals with other major issues.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Peter BakerMaggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — President Trump and his adversaries mobilized on Sunday for an epic campaign-season showdown over the future of the Supreme Court even as the nation prepared to honor the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an outdoor viewing to be held according to pandemic-era guidelines.

The president’s determination to confirm a replacement for Justice Ginsburg before the Nov. 3 election set lawmakers on a collision course with one another at a time when Congress already has major issues on its agenda, including spending bills to keep the government open past next week and a stalled coronavirus relief package to help millions of Americans left unemployed by the pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the United States.

Undaunted by the prospect of such a volatile fall, Mr. Trump prepared to announce a nominee as early as Tuesday in hopes of pressuring the Senate to ratify his choice before voters decide whether to give him a second term and spoke multiple times with Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. Even as a moderate Republican senator reaffirmed her opposition to such an accelerated timetable on Sunday, others like Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee fell in line and it appeared increasingly likely that Mr. Trump may get the votes to proceed, although there were a few holdouts still to be heard from.

The political maneuvering took place even as the nation was mourning Justice Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights and a hero to the left who died at age 87 on Friday night. Admirers continued to flock to the Supreme Court building, where they left flowers, candles, signs, newspaper front pages and pictures of the woman who late in life came to be called the Notorious R.B.G. by her fans.

The justice may lie in repose at the court for two days, with a ceremony there as early as Tuesday followed by an outdoor viewing, leaving unclear whether the president would wait to announce his chosen replacement until afterward. Justice Ginsburg’s death unleashed a wave of fund-raising by both parties, particularly among liberals, who poured forth $100 million through ActBlue, the donation-processing site, by noon on Sunday. Mr. Trump’s campaign began selling “Fill That Seat” T-shirts based on a chant at the president’s campaign rally on Saturday night.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential challenger, on Sunday denounced Mr. Trump’s decision to move ahead with a nomination and appealed to the handful of moderate Senate Republicans to stop the president from making a lifetime appointment that would shift the balance of power on the nation’s highest court without waiting to see the results of the election.

“To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power,” Mr. Biden said in a speech in Philadelphia, noting that Republicans refused to even consider President Barack Obama’s nominee after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, citing the coming election. “I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it. President Trump has already made it clear this is about power, pure and simple.”

If Mr. Trump wins the race, Mr. Biden added, then the Senate should consider his choice. “But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn,” said Mr. Biden, who has promised to make his first appointment to the Supreme Court an African-American woman. “As the new president, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor, a nominee who should get a fair hearing in the Senate before a confirmation vote.”

A new poll showed that the American public agrees with him and opposes Mr. Trump’s plan to rush a new justice onto the court. Of those surveyed by Reuters and Ipsos since Justice Ginsburg’s death, 62 percent said her seat should be filled by the winner of the November election, including the vast majority of Democrats and even half of Republicans.

Video

transcript

transcript

‘The Voters of This Country Should Be Heard,’ Biden Says

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, said the Senate should wait until after the presidential election to vote on a Supreme Court nominee to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The voters of this country should be heard. As I said, voting’s already begun. By the time we get to the middle of October, there will be millions and millions and millions who have already voted. In just a few weeks, all votes in this nation will be heard. They’re the ones who the Constitution envisioned should decide who has the power to make this appointment. And even if President Trump wants to put forward a name now, the Senate should not act until after the American people select their next president, their next Congress, their next Senate. If Donald Trump wins the election, then the Senate should move on his selection and weigh the nominee he chooses fairly. But if I win this election, President Trump’s nominee should be withdrawn. And as the new president, I should be the one to nominate Justice Ginsburg’s successor. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Like I said, as I speak, we’re probably passing 200,000 deaths lost to this virus. Tens of millions of Americans are unemployed, health care in this country hangs in the balance before the court. And now, in a raw political move this president and the Republican leader have decided to jam a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court through the United States Senate. That’s the last thing we need at this moment. So I appeal to those few Senate Republicans, the handful who really will decide what happens, please follow your conscience. Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don’t go there.

Video player loading

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, said the Senate should wait until after the presidential election to vote on a Supreme Court nominee to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.CreditCredit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

One reason Mr. Trump may feel differently is the possibility that he may not be that winner. Mr. Biden has consistently led the president in polls for months, and a new survey released Sunday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found the Democrat’s lead stable at 51 percent to 43 percent, essentially unchanged since before the two parties’ nominating conventions. Mr. Trump’s focus on law and order in recent weeks has not changed the overall dynamics of the race, and nine in 10 of those surveyed said their minds were firmly made up.

The White House hopes that a Supreme Court fight will make a difference when everything up until now has not, giving Republican voters who care about the courts, particularly those opposed to legal abortion, a reason to turn out for him despite any concerns about his handling of the coronavirus, the state of the economy or other issues.

“Trump needed a circuit-breaking event to change the dynamic of the race, which has clearly favored Biden so far,” said Douglas B. Sosnik, who was President Bill Clinton’s White House political director during his 1996 re-election campaign. “Up until now, the election has largely been about the impact of the coronavirus on the health of the public and of the economy, and any day that’s the focus is a bad day for Trump.”

Mr. Trump vowed at his campaign rally on Saturday night to pick a woman, and people informed about the process said on Sunday that he was considering Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta and Kate Todd, a deputy White House counsel.

Judge Barrett, a favorite of conservatives for her staunch opposition to abortion, is considered the favorite, and many Republicans active in court issues would be disappointed if the president picked anyone else. Judge Lagoa is seen as the second choice, appealing to the president in particular because of her Cuban-American heritage and ties to Florida, a must-win state for Mr. Trump this fall.

Ms. Todd, who has been helping to manage the judicial nomination process, has admirers in the White House, although she is thought to be a distant third. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, has also been promoting Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, who was appointed to the bench by Mr. Trump just last year and at age 38 is viewed by many as too young, according to the people close to the process.

Mr. McConnell has committed to holding a vote on Mr. Trump’s forthcoming nominee, but not to any particular time frame and in theory could wait for the lame-duck session after the election. Mr. McConnell plans to meet with his leadership team on Monday and with the whole Republican conference on Tuesday.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, confirmed on Sunday what she had said before Justice Ginsburg’s death, that she opposed a vote so close to the election. “I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia,” she said. “We are now even closer to the 2020 election — less than two months out — and I believe the same standard must apply.”

But many Republicans who four years ago blocked Judge Merrick B. Garland, Mr. Obama’s choice to replace Justice Scalia, indicated that they had no problem going ahead with Mr. Trump’s selection, saying the difference now was that the president and the Senate majority were from the same party.

“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican president’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” Mr. Alexander said in a statement on Sunday. “The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.”

“Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot,” he added.

A number of other Republicans who were seen as possible objectors to a pre-election confirmation have also indicated they will support one, including most prominently Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who previously vowed to do the exact opposite if a vacancy occurred in the last year of Mr. Trump’s term.

Still silent on Sunday, however, were a handful of Republicans who could in theory join Ms. Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins of Maine in blocking a quick vote: Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa. With a 53-to-47 majority and Vice President Mike Pence to break ties, Mr. McConnell could afford to lose only one of them.

Image

Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

The average Supreme Court confirmation takes about 70 days from the nomination, and it was not clear how the Senate would proceed with just 42 days as of Tuesday, especially with annual spending bills and the coronavirus relief package still to be addressed. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that Democrats had ways to obstruct the process.

“We have our options,” she said on “This Week” on ABC. “We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now, but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country.”

But with the new fiscal year starting on Oct. 1, Ms. Pelosi ruled out holding up spending bills as leverage. “There is some enthusiasm among — some exuberance on the left to say, ‘Let’s use that,’ but we’re not going to be shutting down government,” she said.

Since the elimination of the filibuster in Supreme Court nominations, Democrats in the Senate have much less ability to stall or block confirmation. Some Democrats, frustrated over their lack of influence, have floated what would have normally been considered far-fetched ideas like another impeachment or adding seats to the Supreme Court to offset Trump appointees if they take over the White House and Congress. Ms. Pelosi declined to rule out another impeachment, but it seemed implausible.

For Mr. Trump, the confirmation process is likely to be led by Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, who is known to many in the Senate from his defense of the president during the impeachment trial this year.

Even Senate leaders seemed uncertain how the process would play out. “This should take as long as it needs to take but no longer,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “There is plenty of time to get this done. But to get it done before Election Day, everything has to work, I think, pretty precisely.”

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington.

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Democrats Moderate

Moderate Democrats pressure Pelosi, House leadership to move new coronavirus bill: ‘Stop the stupidity’ – Fox News

Moderate Democrats, especially those in swing districts, have been pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass another coronavirus relief bill, signaling that blaming the Senate Republicans and the White House for the inaction isn’t flying back home with their constituents who need help.

One of the boldest efforts of revolt came Tuesday when the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus revealed their $1.5 trillion coronavirus relief plan, with 25 Democrats breaking with their leadership and joining 25 Republicans on a compromise proposal.

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., was among the backers of the plan and said his frustration with leadership’s failure to make a deal pales in comparison to the frustration of his constituents needing help. It’s been four months since the House passed its $3 trillion HEROES Act — which died in the GOP-led Senate — and now Rose and fellow frontline Democrats have been urging House leadership to put another bill on the floor that could actually become law.

BIPARTISAN LAWMAKERS OFFER CORONAVIRUS RELIEF SOLUTION IN EFFORT TO BREAK LOGJAM

“The pressure is loud and forthright and it is bipartisan in nature,” Rose told Fox News of the urging on both GOP and Democratic leadership to move a “real” bill. “Because that pressure is reflective of where the American people are. They are sick and tired of politics.”

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y.

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y.

“To the leadership, we said this very simple message: It’s time for you to stop playing games. Let’s stop the charade. Let’s stop this stupidity. Let’s put the country first.”

The Problem Solvers’ effort was designed to break the logjam on stalled coronavirus talks between Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the White House. Instead, it met with unified resistance from Pelosi and her leadership team.

In a rare move, all eight major Democratic committee chairs put out a joint statement Tuesday rejecting the bipartisan plan, saying it “falls short of what is needed to save lives and boost the economy.”

PELOSI TO KEEP HOUSE IN SESSION UNTIL CORONAVIRUS DEAL REACHED AS ELECTION QUICKLY APPROACHES

A national Democratic source said the move by the Problem Solvers Caucus Democrats “undermined” Pelosi’s negotiating position in trying to secure a robust coronavirus deal.

“The Problem Solvers Caucus’ play put Democrats in disarray and clearly undermined Schumer and Pelosi in such important negotiations,” the source told Fox News.

“That statement is highly unusual,” the source continued about the swift condemnation from Democratic chairs. “It shows how worried the Democratic leadership is that Pelosi is being undercut.”

Democrats took control of the House in 2018 thanks to flipping some 40 seats from red to blue. Those front-line members fighting for another term in office have been among the most outspoken about wanting a deal.

SENATE FAILS TO ADVANCE ‘TARGETED’ $300B CORONAVIRUS BILL; RELIEF IN LIMBO

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Problem Solvers Caucus member who opposed the $3 trillion bill in May and flipped a GOP district, criticized Pelosi’s resistance to a smaller coronavirus package.

“What the House put forward months ago isn’t moving forward,” Spanberger, D-Va., said in urging for a different approach.

Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger speaking at a press conference sponsored by the Problem Solvers Caucus and the Common Sense Coalition to announce

Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger speaking at a press conference sponsored by the Problem Solvers Caucus and the Common Sense Coalition to announce “principles for legislation to lower prescription drug prices” at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Other moderate Democrats, like Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said members are starting to push the leadership to do something.

“You are seeing a level of anxiety rise within the members for there to be a deal,” Murphy said. “For there to be progress toward getting the deal done. And, hopefully, with that increased pressure, we will start to see negotiations start anew and start moving our way towards that.”

Feeling the concern from members, Pelosi told her caucus on a conference call Tuesday that she plans to keep the House in session until a deal is reached on a coronavirus relief proposal. One Democrat on the call confirmed that those in close races “were really pressuring [Pelosi] to get something done.”

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., later clarified that the commitment meant House leadership would stay in Washington and would call members back within 24 hours for a vote if there is an agreement.

Rose said the commitment from Pelosi shouldn’t be hailed as a breakthrough or “newsworthy.”

“This should just be how business is done in our nation’s capital as we fight to the American people,” said Rose, who is in a competitive race for his district in Staten Island and Brooklyn. “We should not stop until we put another bill on the floor of Congress. And then, quite frankly, we’ve got to send the message to Mitch McConnell that he’s got to do his damn job.”

REPUBLICANS UNVEIL NEW AGENDA IF THEY WIN BACK HOUSE

McConnell, R-Ky., brought up a $300 billion GOP bill to the Senate floor last week, but Democrats blocked it from advancing, dismissing the partisan proposal as “emaciated.”

But McConnell has capitalized on the divisions among House Democrats. First, he highlighted a letter signed by more 100 House Democrats earlier this summer that urged Pelosi to pass extended unemployment benefits. Pelosi, in trying to secure a larger deal, said she wasn’t going to do piecemeal legislation.

“Even Speaker Pelosi’s own House Democrats are sick of her blocking COVID-19 relief,” McConnell tweeted Wednesday.

From the White House point of view, the Problem Solvers Caucus proposal that Pelosi doesn’t like moved the needle. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday the $1.5 trillion proposal was encouraging and it should provide a “foundation” to come back to the table with Pelosi and Schumer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., joined by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2src2src. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., joined by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Trump also appeared to give the GOP a greenlight for higher spending. The highest offer on paper Senate Republicans have made so far was a $1 trillion package in July that failed to advance.

“Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway,” Trump tweeted.

The last offer Democratic leadership made before talks broke down was over $2 trillion — down $1 trillion from the more than $3 trillion HEROES Act passed in May that was chock-full with the Democratic priorities and amounted to the biggest spending bill in congressional history.

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Schumer and Pelosi said they were “encouraged” by Trump’s statement for more spending and want the GOP to meet them halfway.

“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement Wednesday.  “We look forward to hearing from the President’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

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Democrats nervous

Democrats are nervous about Trump’s persisting edge over Biden on the economy – NBC News

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump trails Joe Biden nationally and in most swing states. He trails on questions of character and most policy issues, like the coronavirus, health care and even crime.

Except one — and it’s a big one: Americans in battleground states still trust Trump over Biden on the economy, which often tops the list of decisive issues for voters.

The president’s edge on the economy has begun to worry some allies of Biden, who say he needs to do more to neutralize it or Trump could use it to nail down swing voters as Election Day nears. His lead persists even with 8.4 percent unemployment and during a recession that Democrats say has been fueled by Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic.

“I do think there’s work to do here in connecting the dots,” said Hari Sevugan, a Democratic campaign veteran who worked for Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign and for Barack Obama in 2008. “We need to do a better job of showing that a failure to deal with the pandemic was a failure to look out for the economy.”

Many voters don’t see the issues as connected: Trump enjoys a net approval rating of 3.5 points on his stewardship of the economy in the RealClearPolitics average while getting a net disapproval score of 15 points on his handling of the coronavirus.

While Trump’s economic edge has narrowed in national polls, it remains significant in key states likely to decide the election.

In Wisconsin, Trump enjoys a net approval of 8 points on his handling of the economy in a new poll by Marquette Law School. In Florida, Trump leads Biden by 13 points on which candidate is better on the economy, and in Pennsylvania he leads Biden by 10 points on the same question in a pair of NBC/Marist surveys released this week.

“We’ve done a really good job saying Trump is incompetent at handling just about every other issue,” Sevugan said. “The only thing that is his escape hatch is his handling of the economy. Closing off that lane for Trump does a lot of the work of the election.”

Biden steps up his economic message

Biden has delivered two speeches in the last week aimed at diminishing Trump’s advantage on the economy. In Wilmington, Delaware, on Sept. 4, he said working Americans continued to suffer because Trump has “mismanaged the COVID crisis.” On Wednesday in Warren, Michigan, he assailed the president for failing to keep his promise to bring jobs back to the United States.

A Biden adviser said the campaign has cut into Trump’s margin on the economy and plans to keep chipping away at it by conveying to voters that when it comes to economic suffering, “all roads lead back to COVID.”

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The adviser, who discussed strategy on condition of anonymity, said Biden doesn’t necessarily need to win the argument on the economy given his myriad other advantages. The adviser said breaking even or neutralizing the margin would sufficiently weaken the “last pillar” that is “propping” Trump up.

Robert Wolf, a Biden donor who founded the holding company 32 Advisors, said the recovery has been “K-shaped,” diverging for “haves and have-nots,” as opposed to the “Super-V-shaped” recovery claimed by Trump administration officials.

“Right now, people are focused a little more on COVID and school reopenings and the recent shootings, but I would agree that the overarching theme is going to be about who is best for the economy,” he said. “And I am just hopeful that Joe’s messaging breaks through.”

Trump has touted the 1.4 million U.S. jobs added in August as evidence that the economy is on the rebound. It is an unprecedented scenario — the fastest economic collapse followed by one of the sharpest job recoveries in U.S. history, all in an election year.

“You have a situation where we built the greatest economy in the history of the world. We were forced to close it because of the China plague that came in,” Trump said Tuesday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “Next year is going to be one of the greatest years in the history of a country economically, unless the wrong person gets in.”

The argument — focus on the past and the future, not the present — highlights the reality that as voters begin to cast ballots, the economy is both Trump’s most powerful weapon and his most exposed target.

A big part of his task is to convince the small set of persuadable voters in key states that his record before the crisis shows he’ll be better for their pocketbooks than Biden. That requires skipping over six months of shareholder joy and Main Street pain.

‘Smoke and mirrors’

But voters can hold complicated sets of views. Biden leads on most substantive issues, and a clear majority of voters think he’s more empathetic, honest and trustworthy than Trump. And while most Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, they don’t blame him for the economic fallout.

“For Democrats to contest it, to break even on the economy, is a total win,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster and strategist, who said the issue typically favors the GOP.

Trump’s other message — that Biden is controlled by anarchists who are inciting violence and crime in major cities — has fallen flat in polls.

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Liam Donovan, a lobbyist and former GOP operative, said Trump’s “appeals to law and order definitely resonate with his base” but probably won’t move undecided voters. A positive economic message, however, could be a better closing argument.

“If President Trump is going to win four more years, it is because voters are hopeful about the future, not fearful. After a bumpy 2020, people are looking for some semblance of normalcy or at least hope,” he said. “The recent jobs numbers and anticipated GDP data could easily be worked into the argument that things are under control and moving in that direction.”

Rick Tyler, a longtime Republican strategist and outspoken Trump critic, said the president’s advantage on the economy exists “because Trump has told his story and has repeated that story ad nauseam” that he built the greatest economy in history.

Tyler said Trump inherited a growing economy from the Obama-Biden administration and stole credit for the continued pace of growth. And he said Biden needs to stay focused on puncturing Trump’s economic narrative and not get “sucked into” his distractions.

“It’s all smoke and mirrors,” Tyler said. “It is a false story, but, nevertheless, when there are no facts [being offered] to refute it, it becomes a truth.”

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Democrats dominate

Democrats dominate mail-in ballot requests in key swing states – Fox News

After five months of tweets and soundbites from President Trump warning that voting by mail will lead to a “rigged election” and “massive voter fraud,” a clear partisan divide is forming among those participating in that process.

Election officials in key general election battleground states are noticing a surge of requests for absentee ballots by Democrats – upending a trend of Republicans in some crucial states typically dominating voting by absentee ballot through the mail.

In North Carolina, which last Friday became the first state to start sending out general election ballots to registered voters who requested them, more than three times as many Democrats than Republicans have sought ballots so far.

And it’s not just North Carolina.

VOTING BY MAIL GETS UNDERWAY AS NORTH CAROLINA BECOMES FIRST STATE TO START SENDING OUT BALLOTS

In Florida – the largest of the crucial swing states – 47.5% of requests for ballots have come from Democrats and only 32% from Republicans. It’s a similar story in Pennsylvania – another key battleground state – where ballot requests by Democrats are nearly triple those of Republicans.

In this photo provided by Wisconsin Watch, election workers Jeff and Lori Lutzka, right, process absentee ballots at Milwaukee's central count facility on Aug. 11, 2src2src. (Will Cioci/Wisconsin Watch via AP)

In this photo provided by Wisconsin Watch, election workers Jeff and Lori Lutzka, right, process absentee ballots at Milwaukee’s central count facility on Aug. 11, 2020. (Will Cioci/Wisconsin Watch via AP)

In Ohio, half of ballot requests so far have come from Democrats, with 38% coming from Republicans. In Wisconsin, right now an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans have requested ballots. Michigan currently appears to be the only key state where Republicans have the edge over Democrats in absentee ballot requests.

The trend began this spring, with the primary season upended as the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation. With serious health concerns of voting in person at polling stations amid the pandemic, many states took moves to make it easier to vote by absentee ballot – by mail or by depositing the ballots in a secure drop box.

And the trend continues. Figures from the secretary of state’s office in New Hampshire – which holds its state primary on Tuesday – indicate requests for Democratic primary ballots were nearly triple the requests for GOP primary ballots.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING BY MAIL IN 2020

A recent USA Today/ Suffolk University national poll found that 56% of Republicans said they would vote in person on Election Day, compared with just 26% among Democrats. The poll indicated that Democrats are more than twice as likely than Republicans to vote by absentee ballot or mail.

Last month, after railing against voting by mail since the early spring, the president made an about-face in his charge against voting by mail – at least in Florida’s case.

“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!” the president tweeted.

A few days later, Trump told supporters in North Carolina who had called into a telephone rally that “you can request absentee ballots right now. Absentee ballots are great.”

Regardless of his opinion of voting by mail in Florida and North Carolina, some Republicans remain concerned that the president’s rhetoric on voting by mail will come back to bite the GOP this autumn.

Former Rep. Zach Wamp, a conservative from Tennessee and one-time Trump critic who’s working with the election advocacy group Issue One to push for Congress to approve more election security funding, recently told Fox News he’s “concerned that the president may be unintentionally suppressing the very voters who are most upset with the mob and the socialist agenda.”

“They typically are more conservative which means they like to be careful in how they vote,” Wamp emphasized.

And former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who last year launched a long-shot unsuccessful primary challenge against the president, recently told Fox News that Trump’s attacks on voting by mail “will suppress Republican turnout in battleground states.”

Pointing to the voting-by-mail registration in Florida, Weld argued that “Trump can’t afford to give up such a margin in who’s going to be voting by mail.”

But Erin Perrine, the Trump reelection campaign’s director of press relations, told Fox News that “the president by no means has said that people should not vote absentee, to request a ballot, to put a ballot in the mail.”

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“If you are in a higher comorbidity section of the country, if there are concerns, absolutely request your absentee ballot and submit it early. Make sure that your vote has been counted,” Perrine said Monday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

Republicans generally have directed their warnings toward vote-by-mail states that are sending ballots to voters whether they request them or not.

And Republican National Committee national press secretary Mandi Merritt told Fox News that “our voters are highly motivated by their enthusiasm for President Trump and are going to vote – many just prefer to vote in person either by early voting or on Election Day.  The reality is no one is better at turning out voters than Trump victory, and the Biden campaign simply can’t match our ground game.”

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Democrats question

Democrats question whether Trump is breaking the law with RNC speech – POLITICO

“That opinion, which noted that the President and Vice President are not covered by any of the provisions of the Hatch Act, is limited to the civil provisions of the Hatch Act and does not opine on criminal provisions found in Title 18 of the U.S. Code,” reads the previously unreported letter, which was sent to House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney.

A committee aide confirmed it is monitoring the RNC speech for possible violations and said Trump and Pence — who is also expected give his RNC speech on federal property — could face repercussions if they “intimidate, threaten, command or coerce” a federal employee to engage in political activity, quoting the criminal statute.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump confirmed Monday that he plans to deliver his acceptance speech on the fourth and final night of the convention from the White House, though some aides had pushed him to choose another location. “We’re doing a real speech on Thursday — live from the White House,” he said in Oshkosh, Wis.

Democrats, and even some Republicans, have expressed concerns that federal employees who would be assisting Trump with the speech would essentially be campaigning for the president, a violation of the Hatch Act.

“For the president of the United States to degrade once again the White House, as he has done over and over again, by saying he’s going to completely politicize it, is something that should be rejected right out of hand,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an interview on MSNBC last week.

Democrats had asked the Office of Special Counsel for guidance on the speech. Federal employees have faced a growing number of complaints since Trump took office that they are using their platform to campaign for the president or his allies.

In the agency’s initial letter, officials wrote that while Trump could deliver the speech from the White House since he is exempt from the Hatch Act, there could be Hatch Act implications “for those employees, depending on their level of involvement with the event and their position in the White House.” In the follow-up letter on Monday, the agency said it is prohibited from issuing advisory opinions on the criminal provisions of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, an apparent response to a question from the committee.

More than 300 Republican delegates will still gather in Charlotte, the official RNC host city, on the first day to officially nominate Trump for president. But most other in-person activities will be held in Washington, D.C., including some of the four nights of prime-time speeches. Trump last month abruptly canceled the events that had been moved to Jacksonville, Fla., as the state grappled with a surge in infections.

Trump had also considered the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s famous address, for his speech, but it raised similar ethical questions.

First lady Melania Trump is expected to deliver her speech from the White House Rose Garden, while Pence is considering Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., best known as the site of a major battle in the War of 1812.

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Democrats spurn

Democrats spurn AOC and uplift Bill Clinton at the party’s own risk – The Guardian

Though the traditional theater of the Democratic national convention is gone, the screaming delegates and balloon drops swapped for an endless procession of sleek videography, who speaks and for how …
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Democrats Fight

Democrats fight back in Postal Service showdown with Trump – CNN

(CNN)Democrats are launching an emergency effort to thwart what they warn is President Donald Trump’s attempt to squeeze the US Postal Service — one of the country’s most beloved institutions — to suppress the vote in November’s election.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on the House to return to Washington, likely next weekend, for an unheard of session during presidential convention season.
Democrats have also demanded that new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testify on August 24 to answer charges that his controversial new policy changes are intended to deliberately slow voting by mail.
The long feared post-Election Day showdown involving Trump’s false claims about voting fraud is already here — more than two months early — due to the building fight in Washington over the Postal Service.
The aggressive Democratic counter-attack — coming at the start of a critical two-week political crunch that contains the Democratic and Republican National Conventions — follows Trump’s incessant falsehoods about mail-in voting inviting a “catastrophe” in November. The President admitted last week that he opposed $25 billion in new funding for the agency because it could be used to expand such ballot access.
The comment left him open to charges that he is deliberately trying to deny the franchise to voters who fear going to polling stations because of the pandemic that has been exacerbated by his mismanagement and has now killed more than 170,000 Americans.
“The Postmaster General and top Postal Service leadership must answer to the Congress and the American people as to why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election,” Democratic leaders, including Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said in a statement announcing the hearing they want to have next week with DeJoy, a top Trump fundraiser.
The swift Democratic mobilization puts the raging dispute over the sanctity of November’s vote at the center of the election campaign and escalates tensions that could spill into a prolonged political and legal imbroglio if November’s result is tight.
Already, several states say they’re considering legal action against the Trump administration over concerns about the USPS and mail-in voting.
It also comes with many Democrats worried that DeJoy’s policy changes, which have slowed delivery times, removed high-speed letter sorters from commission and included warnings that mail-in ballots will no longer be treated as a priority, will severely impact the election on November 3.
As a matter of strategy, highlighting Trump’s comment last week that he opposed $25 billion in new funding for the mail system because it would lead to more mail-in voting may also boost Democratic efforts to convince voters to cast their ballots early and potentially bank a lead for the party nominee Joe Biden.
It is not clear how effective Democratic action in the House could be. A standalone bill to finance the Postal Service may not make it past the Republican-led Senate. The White House would likely demand concessions on a new economic stimulus bill in return for agreeing to such steps. Negotiations between the two sides broke down this month over Democrats’ insistence on more money for state and local governments, GOP cuts to long-term unemployment benefits for millions of Americans and issues including USPS funding.
Millions of extra voters are expected to cast their vote by mail this year, given their wariness about showing up at polling places with the virus still raging. Trump has responded to the prospect with false claims that mail-in voting is rife with fraud and will lead to the most corrupt election in history.
His new misinformation drive comes as a CNN/SSRS national poll released Sunday shows the presidential race has significantly tightened with Biden at 50% to Trump’s 46% among registered voters, right at the poll’s margin of error. An earlier Wall Street Journal/NBC poll had the former vice president up 9 points.
Trump’s prospects have been harmed by his erratic handling of the coronavirus — which helped to plunge the US economy, which he had hoped to ride to reelection, into freefall.
The President, however, says victory ought to be assured because of what he styled as successful leadership on both issues.
“I hope to win, how can you not when you see numbers like this both on the virus and on the economy?” the President said Saturday at a news conference at his New Jersey golf resort.
The United States has more Covid-19 cases and more deaths than any other nation. While some countries that did a far better job than the US of suppressing the virus are fighting a resurgence, the scale of the US tragedy remains staggering. For 16 out of the 20 days leading up to Saturday, the US reported more than 1,000 new deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

USPS, White House pledge no more removal of sorting machines

Despite Trump’s damaging claims, there was one sign that the administration was beginning to realize the President’s charges about fraud and concerns about the sanctity of the USPS could rebound on him.
“Sorting machines between now and Election Day will not be taken off line,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday. CNN and other news organizations reported Friday that the postal service has reduced operating hours in several states and was removing letter collection boxes from some neighborhoods, according to union officials.
The agency also said Sunday that it will stop removing collection boxes until after late November, citing “recent customer concerns” over the decisions.
The concession came after the USPS warned almost all 50 states and Washington, DC, that mail-in ballots may not be received by election offices in time to be counted.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the runner-up to Biden in the Democratic primary race, warned on “State of the Union” that more than the integrity of the Postal Service was at stake.
“What is most important, whether you’re a Democrat, whether a Republican, whether you’re a progressive, whether you’re a conservative, do you believe in American democracy?” Sanders asked.
“Do you believe that, in the midst of a pandemic, when we have lost 170,000 people already, people have got to put their lives on the line to go into a voting station, or can they vote in through a mail-in ballot?”
Meadows, however, signaled on the same show that the White House will not let up on its warnings of massive pending electoral fraud — and an attempt to draw a false distinction between “absentee balloting” and “mail-in voting” despite rigorous systems in place to ensure the authenticity of all votes.
Told by Tapper that there is no evidence of fraud in mail-in voting in general elections in the US, Meadows replied: “There’s no evidence that there’s not either.”

Trump: ‘There’s fraud, there’s theft’

Besides trying to skew the election ahead of time by limiting mail-in balloting, Trump may also be renewing his baseless claims because he’s looking ahead to after the election.
He warned on Saturday that mail-in ballots could delay the result of the election for “months or for years.”
“These ballots are all going to be lost. They’re going to be gone … the ballots are lost. There’s fraud. There’s theft. It’s happening all over the place.”
Election experts say election fraud is tiny compared to the size of the US electorate and that there is no evidence that mail-in voting systems already in place in multiple states are any more prone to irregularities.
Trump appears to be either offering himself a face-saving way out if he loses big to Biden or to be laying the political groundwork for multiple legal challenges in a desperate bid to hang on to power if he loses narrowly.
He is playing with fire since his claims risk severely damaging the prospects that the election will be seen as free and fair by all voters. Such a national consensus forms the bedrock of the American political system itself.

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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.”

KUDLOW BELIEVES TRUMP WILL USE EXECUTIVE ACTION FOR CORONAVIRUS RELIEF

“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.

PELOSI CALLS CORONAVIRUS ‘TRUMP VIRUS’ FOLLOWING REVIVED WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE BRIEFING

“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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