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March 24, 2020

Schumer: Senators Move Closer to Coronavirus Stimulus Agreement

This Day in History | 1989

An oil tanker named the Exxon Valdez spills 10.8 million US gallons (260,000 barrels) of crude oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska.

Good morning Middle Americans, 

After a lot of bull sh!t (pardon my language, but that’s what happened) it looks like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senator Chuck Schumer have reached a deal on the massive $2 trillion dollar coronavirus emergency spending bill.  We were expecting a vote yesterday on the GOP led Senate version of the bill, but then things got derailed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who showed up at the 11th hour and torpedoed the original plan with a wish list that obviously came from the far-left flank of the Democratic caucus.  We’ll see what winds up in the final version of the bill, but some of the things that Pelosi wanted $300 million for migration and refugee assistance and tax credits for solar and wind energy. Like I said bull  sh!t.  Perhaps Louisiana GOP Senator John Kennedy said it best when he said, (the American people are) thinking that the brain is an amazing organ. It starts working in a mother’s womb, and it doesn’t stop working until you get elected to Congress.”

Also today, we have stories on Sen. Rand Paul, who continued to work and even go to the gym for days while he was apparently infected with COVID-19.  Sen Amy Klobuchar also announced yesterday that her husband has contracted the disease. This follows news last week that two members of Congress also tested positive.  This while Surgeon General Jerome Adams is warning the country that things are going to get much worse this week. 

Finally – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is sponsoring a bill that would bar members of congress from trading stock. The bill comes after several senators were accused of cashing out their stocks after they received a confidential briefing back in January on how bad the coronavirus will hurt the economy. 

Read all about it!

-Fraser Dixon 

Mnuchin, Schumer Say Coronavirus Rescue Package Deal Very Close

(Politico) – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that they are “very close” to an agreement on a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package, raising the possibility of a Senate vote on the legislation as early as Tuesday.

Following a series of late-night meetings in Schumer’s office in the Capitol — and a phone call with President Donald Trump to review the status of the discussions — Mnuchin and Schumer told reporters around midnight that they hope to have the final agreement in place in the morning.

“There are still documents that are going to be reviewed tonight and turned around, there’s still a couple of open issues, but I think we’re very hopeful this can be closed out tomorrow,” Mnuchin said.

While Trump had sent a late-night tweet that appeared to slam House Democrats over the demands for the rescue package, Mnuchin claimed it wasn’t related to his own discussions with Schumer.

Read more here

GOP Skeptical of Pelosi’s $2.5 trillion Counterproposal to COVID-19 Stimulus

(Axios) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled on Monday a sweeping counterproposal to Senate Republicans’ $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

House Democrats’ legislation — which comes with a $2.5 trillion price tag — comes after negotiations between Capitol Hill leaders and the White House broke down over the weekend, culminating in two failed procedural votes that have left the Senate Republicans’ bill in limbo.

Democrats, who have asserted that the Senate GOP bill is a corporate slush fund that doesn’t do enough to help American workers, are hoping that the release of this bill will give them more leverage in negotiations with Republicans.

But Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics during a national crisis by stalling action on their bill, calling this latest measure a “Democratic wish list” — as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell characterized it.

Learn more here

Related: Bill Could Delay Mortgage, Car Payments

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): ‘A Bunch of Idiots’ are Running the Country

(Washington Examiner) – Sen. John Kennedy condemned his Democratic colleagues for opposing the Republican-led legislation crafted to address the economic effects of the coronavirus.

On Sunday evening, a procedural vote to move forward with coronavirus legislation failed to earn the 60 votes it needed after Democrats voted against the package. They did so again on Monday. In a speech from the floor on Monday, Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, said the discord is leading the public to believe the country is run by a “bunch of idiots.”

“Do you know what the American people are thinking right now?” Kennedy asked. “They’re thinking that the brain is an amazing organ. It starts working in a mother’s womb, and it doesn’t stop working until you get elected to Congress.”

He continued, “Do you know what the American people are thinking right now, Mr. President? They’re thinking that this country was founded by geniuses. But it’s being run by a bunch of idiots. Do you know what the American people are thinking right now, Mr. President? They’re thinking, why do the members of the United States Senate continue to double down on stupid?

See Kennedy’s speech here

Sen. Rand Paul Remained at Work on U.S. Capitol For Six Days After Coronavirus Test

(Time) – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was tested a week ago for the novel coronavirus, but continued working at the Capitol because he “felt that it was highly unlikely” he was sick since had no symptoms of the illness, he said Monday. Paul also said he did not have direct contact with anyone who tested positive for the virus or was sick.

Paul announced Sunday that he had tested positive for the virus, becoming the first case of COVID-19 in the Senate and raising fears about further transmission of the virus among senators, including some who are in their 70’s and 80’s.

“Since nearly every member of the U.S. Senate travels by plane across the country multiple times per week and attends lots of large gatherings, I believed my risk factor for exposure to the virus to be similar to that of my colleagues, especially since multiple congressional staffers on the Hill had already tested positive weeks ago,” Paul said in a statement Monday.

Find out more here

Dumped Amid Coronavirus, Former Bloomberg Campaign Aides Sue for Pay and Benefits

(Reuters) – Former organizers for Michael Bloomberg’s unsuccessful presidential bid sued the billionaire’s campaign on Monday, saying he laid them off amid the global coronavirus pandemic after promising pay and benefits through the November election.

Employees resigned from good jobs to take positions with Bloomberg’s campaign, and they now face unemployment and the loss of their health insurance in the midst of the spreading virus, field organizers Alexis Sklair, Sterling Rettke and Nathaniel Brown said in their complaint, one of two proposed class action lawsuits potentially representing thousands of workers.

“They promised salaries nearly double that of other campaigns,” alleged their complaint, filed on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. “And they pledged to keep this promise regardless of whether Bloomberg won the Democratic nomination.”

Learn more here

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez To Co-Sponsor House Bill Banning Members Of Congress From Trading Stocks

(Newsweek) – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and two of her House colleagues announced on Monday plans to introduce a bill that would bar members of Congress from trading individual stocks.

Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) are promoting a renewed push for the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, after it was originally introduced to the Senate in December 2018 by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

“Members of Congress should not be allowed to buy and sell individual stock,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a press release. “We are here to serve the public, not to profiteer.”

Read more here


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