Tag Archives: coronavirus relief

Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform

“The entire culture and mentality needs to change to bring these words to life, and to save lives,” said one civil liberties advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-24-2022 by Common Dreams

George Floyd Protest in Washington, DC – May 30 2020 Photo: Geoff Livingston/flickr/CC

Exactly two years after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, President Joe Biden on Wednesday is expected to unveil an executive order aimed at reforming federal policing standards and pushing state and local law enforcement agencies to improve their policies as well.

Civil rights groups on Tuesday expressed cautious optimism regarding the upcoming order, which has reportedly changed since a draft document was leaked earlier this year and garnered criticism from police groups. Continue reading

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‘Reprehensible’: Biden Slammed for Urging States to Spend Untapped Covid Funds on Cops

“The real crime,” said one critic, “is giving this money to cops instead of using it for air cleaning to protect the American people from the airborne plague that has killed more than a million of us.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: manhhal/flickr/CC

News that President Joe Biden is planning to urge states and cities to use unspent money from last year’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to further increase police funding elicited furious responses on social media Friday.

NBC News first reported that the president is expected to make his reallocation request on Friday during a White House event with mayors and law enforcement officials. The meeting is scheduled to take place just one day after Politico reported that the Biden administration is preparing to ration vaccines as Senate Republicans continue to stonewall a multibillion-dollar Covid-19 aid package. Continue reading

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‘Release the Dough’: Minneapolis Teachers Strike for First Time in More Than 50 Years

“We’re on strike for safe and stable schools and systemic change,” said the leader of the local teachers union.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Becky Pringle/Twitter

The Minneapolis teachers’ strike entered a second day Wednesday as union representatives and district officials resumed negotiations over smaller class sizes, improved student supports, and better pay.

In addition to demanding caps on class sizes and counselors in every school, the union is seeking higher starting salaries for educational support professionals (ESPs) as well as “a 12% salary increase for first-year educators and 5% increase for second-year teachers,” the Star Tribune reported. Continue reading

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Economists Say Raise Pay to Solve Public School Staffing Crisis

“This moment of crisis for the country’s schools,” says the co-author of a new report, “could be a turning point.”

By Kenny Stancil,  Published 2-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Foxy1219/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A new report out Thursday documents growing staffing shortages in public K-12 schools throughout the U.S. and makes clear that the crisis cannot be solved without raising pay and investing in the education workforce—starting by using unspent federal Covid-19 relief funds as a “down payment.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which first presented its research last week to a task force of the American Federation of Teachers, employment in public elementary and secondary schools decreased by nearly 5% overall from fall 2019 to fall 2021. The number of people employed as teachers fell by 6.8%, bus drivers by 14.6%, and custodians by 6%. Continue reading

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After Getting ‘Stealth Bailout’ During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

“When it’s time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo,” said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-21-2021

Members of the Patriotic Millionaires hold a federal tax filing day protest in New York City. Photo: Michael Kink/Twitter

Major U.S. companies that got a “stealth bailout” thanks to congressional pandemic relief legislation are now lobbying against President Joe Biden’s proposal to hike taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations through the Build Back Better package, according to a new Accountable.US analysis provided exclusively to Common Dreams.

Accountable.US takes aim at the recent lobbying activities—and in some cases, statements from top executives—of Apple, Baxter International, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, DuPont de Nemours, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, Oracle, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Walmart. Continue reading

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Utilities Took $1.25 Billion in Pandemic Aid Then Shut Off Power to Households Nearly 1 Million Times: Report

“These companies took bailout dollars from taxpayers and turned around to lobby against shutoff moratoria proven to save lives.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2021

A new report from BailoutWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that leading U.S. utilities took $1.25 billion in pandemic relief funds even as they cut off power to vulnerable households nearly a million times. Photo: Matt Wiebe/Flickr/cc

Over a dozen leading U.S. utility companies took more than a billion dollars of publicly-funded pandemic bailout money while pulling the plug on power to vulnerable households nearly a million times, according to a new report out Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and BailoutWatch report—entitled Powerless in the Pandemic: After Bailouts, Electric Utilities Choose Profits Over People—details how utilities used their political power “to secure bailouts that cost taxpayers $1.25 billion, cushioning them from the pandemic economy,” while disconnecting vital services from some of the most vulnerable U.S. households. Continue reading

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Trump Holdovers Accused of ‘Sabotaging’ Effort to Get Checks to 30 Million Social Security Recipients

“President Biden can’t stand for this any longer. He must protect Social Security beneficiaries by firing Saul and Black immediately.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-25-2021

Graphic: SocialSecurityWorks/Twitter

House Democrats and progressive activists are accusing the leadership of the Social Security Administration—currently headed by Trump holdover Andrew Saul—of slow-walking the Biden administration’s effort to distribute direct coronavirus relief payments to tens of millions of seniors and people with disabilities.

In a letter (pdf) to Saul on Wednesday, Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee raised alarm on behalf of “the nearly 30 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries who are still awaiting their economic impact payments (EIPs)”—checks approved under the recently passed American Rescue Plan. Continue reading

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Congress Urged to Take ‘Immediate Action’ to Stop Debt Collectors From Snatching Relief Checks

A legislative fix is needed, said one observer, to prevent “a flood of new judgments from debt collectors to siphon stimulus funds out.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Direct payments from the newly approved coronavirus relief package began landing in people’s bank accounts with striking quickness this weekend, but a glaring shortcoming of the American Rescue Plan caused by the arcane procedural tool that Democrats used to pass the bill could prevent checks from reaching many vulnerable households.

Unlike the Covid relief bill that Congress passed through regular order in December, the new $1.9 trillion legislation does not include protections barring debt collectors from hoovering up the checks and using them to pay off people’s private debts—which, as The American Prospect‘s David Dayen put it, makes the American Rescue Plan “also a cash cow for debt collectors.” Continue reading

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‘Enough Is Enough’: 8 Senate Dems Slammed for Going ‘Hand-in-Hand With GOP’ to Oppose Covid Relief for Undocumented Workers

“Let us be clear on this. Not only do undocumented community members pay taxes, they are also suffering as much as anyone else because of this pandemic.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-5-2021

John Hickenlooper speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 456,000 and U.S. senators participated in a 15-hour overnight voting session, eight Democrats elicited outrage and condemnation from rights advocates and progressives for backing a GOP amendment to explicitly exclude undocumented immigrants—including essential frontline workers—from receiving direct Covid-19 relief.”We expected this vote from Republicans, but seeing Democrats vote this way is a betrayal to the values they say they stand for.”

The “vote-a-rama” on a series of nonbinding Republican amendments culminated in the Senate approving along party lines a budget resolution that could eventually enable congressional Democrats to implement President Joe Biden’s $1.9 American Rescue Plan—which does not include relief checks for undocumented immigrants. 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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