Category Archives: Austerity

Corporate Donations Poured Into Manchin’s PAC Ahead of Final ‘No’ on Build Back Better

“This is the way things work when democracy has been weakened,” argued one progressive organization. “The powerful get special access to our government, while we’re told, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you.'”

By Jake Johnson.  Published 12-22-2021 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: ABC News

New federal disclosures reveal that major corporations poured donations into West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s political action committee in the weeks leading up to his pivotal announcement Sunday that he would oppose the Build Back Better Act, a stance that progressives argue is motivated by the senator’s deference to special interests.

CNBC reported late Tuesday that Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that donors to Manchin’s Country Roads PAC raked in 17 contributions from corporations in October and 19 in November as he pared back and repeatedly threatened to tank Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate legislation. Continue reading

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Low-Income Americans to Congress: ‘I Am the Cost of Cutting Build Back Better’

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2021

With President Joe Biden and many congressional Democrats bowing to right-wing party members’ demands to gut their once far-reaching agenda to tax corporations and the wealthy to fund expanded public benefits and climate action, low-income people from across the United States convened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to say that “I am the cost of cutting the Build Back Better plan.”

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, said during Wednesday’s rally, which was organized by the Poor Peoples’ Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, an effort that he co-chairs. Continue reading

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Unemployment Benefit Cut-Off Will Slash Annual Incomes by $144 Billion: Analysis

“By failing to extend unemployment benefits, Congress and the White House will harm working people struggling in the pandemic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-17-2021

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

The decision by Congress and the Biden administration to let pandemic-related unemployment programs expire earlier this month will slash annual incomes across the U.S. by $144.3 billion and significantly reduce consumer spending, the Economic Policy Institute estimates in an analysis released Friday.

Drawing on recent research (pdf) examining the 26 states that prematurely ended the emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs, EPI argues that the “best available evidence” indicates the benefit cut-offs thus far have resulted in “all pain and no gain.” Continue reading

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Democrats Urged to Reject Latest GOP Attempt to Hold Social Security ‘Hostage’

“Lindsey Graham and his fellow Republicans will stop at nothing to cut the American people’s earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-21-2021

Senator Lindsey Graham. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday said he would be willing to vote to raise the federal debt ceiling in exchange for a policy that could result in cuts to Social Security and Medicare, a proposed trade-off that progressive advocacy groups implored Democrats to reject.

With members of Congress staring down an August deadline to increase the debt limit—the amount of money the federal government is legally permitted to borrow to meet its financial obligations—Graham (R-S.C.) told Bloomberg that he could bring himself to vote yes on a debt ceiling hike if Democrats agree to legislation establishing commissions tasked with crafting Social Security and Medicare “reforms.” Continue reading

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‘It’s Not Up to Him,’ Respond Critics as DeJoy Says He Plans to Remain Postmaster General for a ‘Long Time’

“DeJoy is daring Senate Democrats to do something about him.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-24-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Update:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said during a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday that he intends to remain in his role “for a long time” and added, “Get used to me.”

But critics were quick to note that how long DeJoy remains postmaster general is ultimately up to the Postal Service Board of Governors, which is composed of up to nine Senate-confirmed officials who have the authority to remove and replace DeJoy. The postmaster general does not serve a fixed term. Continue reading

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The American Money Tree: The Untold Story of US Aid to Israel

Congress quietly wedged billions of dollars of aid to Israel even as it debated for months over a measly $600 to help Americans endure the COVID downturn.

By Ramzy Baroud. Published 12-30-2020 by MintPress News

Benjamin Netanyahu ecember 2020. Photo: P.M. of Israel/Twitter

On December 21, the United States Congress passed the COVID-19 Relief Package, as part of a larger $2.3 trillion bill meant to cover spending for the rest of the fiscal year. As usual, US representatives allocated a massive sum of money for Israel.

While unemployment, thus poverty, in the US is skyrocketing as a result of repeated lockdowns, the US found it essential to provide Israel with $3.3 billion in ‘security assistance’ and $500 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation. Continue reading

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‘This Is His Top Priority’: McConnell Advances Another Trump Judge as Covid Relief Bill Remains Unfinished

“As a government shutdown looms, and as the pandemic rages on across America, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to push through Trump’s judges until the very end.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-19-2020

Photo: THE WORLD NEWS/Twitter

Having kept the Senate in session over the weekend to complete work on a nearly $1 trillion coronavirus relief package and an omnibus government funding bill, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday moved to advance yet another of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judicial appointees as the desperately needed stimulus legislation remained unfinished.

The Republican-controlled Senate’s vote to limit debate on Thompson Michael Dietz, a Trump nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, came as Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) suggested that coronavirus relief talks could spill into Monday as negotiators struggled to resolve a number of outstanding issues. Continue reading

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‘Republican Party Doesn’t Give a Damn About You’: McConnell Admits Direct Checks Only Included to Help GOP Win in Georgia

“Given that this conversion only came after ‘Kelly and David got hammered,’ no one should be fooled—or let him get away with it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-2020

Screenshot: ABC News

After opposing another round of stimulus checks for months in the face of deteriorating economic conditions and widespread suffering, Republican congressional leaders have finally agreed to include direct payments in a coronavirus relief package that could be approved by the end of the week.

During a private GOP conference call Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) provided a straightforward and revealing reason for the sudden change of heart: “Kelly and David are getting hammered.” Continue reading

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‘What a Failed State Looks Like’: GOP Under Fire for Blocking Necessary Funds as Covid Vaccine Distribution Begins

“The end of a tragic, crippling pandemic is in sight and Senate Republicans can’t get around to authorizing any money to complete the job.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2020

Margaret Klessens, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, gets the COVID vaccine in Massachusetts. Photo: Dr. Sanjay Gupta/Twitter

As U.S. distribution of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine kicked off Sunday with the shipment of millions of doses to sites across the nation, Senate Republicans faced mounting outrage for continuing to block federal funds that crisis-ravaged states and localities desperately need to carry out an unparalleled mass inoculation effort.

Facing large budget shortfalls due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of relief from the deadlocked Congress, state and local governments will soon be tasked with executing a rapid vaccination campaign that will require large quantities of supplies as well as new clinics, additional workers, and public outreach—all of which will cost money that states and localities fear they don’t have. Continue reading

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‘Pass the Damn Covid Relief Bill’: Shoplifting of Essentials on Rise as Millions Struggle to Feed Families

“This state of austerity is an artificial cruelty designed to redistribute wealth, enrich the obscenely wealthy, and keep us under the thumb of employers and politicians.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-10-2020

A Publix supermarket in McDonough, Georgia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

With one-time $1,200 direct payments provided by Congress earlier this year long gone and the Republican Party refusing to renew enhanced unemployment benefits, which were shown to reduce poverty for several months, evidence is mounting that more people in the U.S. are being forced to steal food and other necessities as economic suffering mounts.

As the Washington Post reported Thursday, nearly 26 million Americans, or one in eight, reported not having sufficient food last month. The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to turn to food banks for the first time in their lives, but now that the federal government has allowed the Farmers to Families food box program to begin running out of money a month ahead of its expiration date, even those who have been able to rely on aid are likely to face even more desperate circumstances. Continue reading

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