President Donald Trump answers a reporter’s question during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Photo: White House/flickr
President Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have the capacity to handle an unprecedented increase in mail-in ballots because it lacks funds that his administration is blocking, remarks that were immediately viewed as an open admission of election sabotage by a president who has previously called USPS “a joke.”
During his daily Covid-19 briefing Wednesday evening, Trump dismissed Democratic congressional leaders’ demands for $3.5 billion in election assistance for states and $25 billion for USPS as “ridiculous” and vowed to continue blocking the funds. While USPS leadership insists it has “ample capacity” to meet election needs, postal workers have warned that without emergency funding, the agency could struggle to deliver mail-in ballots on time in November. Continue reading →
President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he is considering circumventing Congress to unilaterally suspend collection of the payroll tax, a move advocacy groups and lawmakers said would be an “unconstitutional” abuse of power and a destructive attack on Social Security funding.
Trump said during a Covid-19 press briefing that his administration is examining a variety of potential executive orders should Congress fail to reach an agreement on the next stimulus package by the end of the week, a deadline Democratic leaders and the White House set on Tuesday. Continue reading →
“If investors or Kodak employees were trading based on the unauthorized disclosure or discussion of nonpublic information, then it would appear to be a clear violation of securities law. The SEC should hold them accountable.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday reportedly launched an investigation into Kodak after Sen. Elizabeth Warren demanded a probe of possible insider trading at the tech company, which gifted its CEO nearly two million stock options just a day before President Donald Trump last week handed the company a $765 million federal loan to produce generic pharmaceuticals to combat Covid-19.
“Good,” Warren tweeted in response to reports of the SEC’s investigation. “If investors or Kodak employees were trading based on the unauthorized disclosure or discussion of nonpublic information, then it would appear to be a clear violation of securities law. The SEC should hold them accountable.” Continue reading →
In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP’s newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a “carefully tailored” plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.
But a look at the legislative text (pdf) released by Senate Republicans shows the HEALS Act is replete with massive gifts to the Pentagon and defense contractors that would do nothing to aid the unemployed, provide nutrition assistance to hungry children, prevent an avalanche of evictions, or stop the spread of coronavirus. Continue reading →
With Republicans in Congress intent on drastically reducing aid for unemployed Americans and altering the Paycheck Protection Act in the next coronavirus relief bill, workers across the country are rapidly losing hope that they will ever be able to return to their jobs, according to new polling.
A survey released Friday by AP-NORC found that while 78% of workers who were furloughed or laid off in the early days of the pandemic believed in April that they’d be able to return to work eventually, just 34% are optimistic about their prospects now. Just 18% have already returned to their jobs, and 47% say they no longer believe their old jobs will be available ever again. Continue reading →
Shortly after publicly ditching one attack on Social Security—the payroll tax cut—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Thursday that the Republican coronavirus relief package will include legislation sponsored by Sen. Mitt Romney that one advocacy group described as an “equally menacing” threat to the New Deal program.
In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell touted Romney’s TRUST ACT as “a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Senate Democrats, to help a future Congress evaluate bipartisan proposals for protecting and strengthening the programs that Americans count on.” Continue reading →
Israeli army demolished a COVID-19 quarantine center in Hebron on July 21, Photo: via Twitter
Palestinians living near the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the occupied West Bank are without a badly-needed testing and quarantine center following the Israeli government’s demolition of a building that was meant to give relief to overwhelmed hospitals.
The Israeli Civil Administration demolished the building, being constructed on land belonging to Palestinian Hebron resident Hazem Maswada, on Tuesday, claiming the structure was being erected illegally without a permit. The building was set to open to the public next week. Continue reading →
Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate are demanding that the Trump administration immediately reverse an order requiring hospitals to send Covid-19 patient information directly to a Health and Human Services database instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a change that threw the data-collection process into chaos as states struggle to cope with soaring infections.
NPRreported Friday that “hospital data in Kansas and Missouri is suddenly incomplete or missing” following the Trump administration’s directive, which took effect on July 15 to the dismay of experts and local officials who previously relied on the CDC system to track the coronavirus and allocate resources. Continue reading →
Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Photo: White House/flickr
The Democratic chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee revealed Friday that the Trump administration is blocking Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials—including agency director Dr. Robert Redfield—from testifying at a congressional hearing next week on school reopenings as the White House continues its efforts to force the resumption of in-person classes in the fall.
“It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said in a statement. “This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall.” Continue reading →
Ethics watchdogs on Wednesday slammed a ruling by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general, who decided this week that Moncef Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive now heading the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine task force, does not have to disclose or divest his investments in the industry.
As the co-director of Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership aimed at finding a vaccine for Covid-19 by the end of 2020, Slaoui is in the position to award contracts to pharmaceutical companies researching potential vaccines and treatments. Continue reading →