Saturday, Feb 27, 2021 - 22:46:09
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that the relief:

    (CNN)The legislative fight over President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill begins in earnest this week on Capitol Hill, with the House expected to attempt to pass the measure by later this week in hopes of getting it to the Senate and passed into law by mid-March.Republicans have slammed the process as the opposite of the bipartisanship that Biden promised during his 2020 campaign, as Democrats are employing a procedural device that will allow them to pass the measure with a simple majority in both chambers of Congress."The partisan bill Democrats are preparing is stuffed with non-COVID-related liberal goals and more band-aid policies as if the country were going to stay shut down another year," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) tweeted on Monday. "We need 2021 to be different than 2020. Congress should focus on smart policies to help that happen."While there's no doubt that there's some risk...
    Actress Kirstie Alley playfully proposed her own version of the coronavirus relief bill that would in part strip members of Congress of their salaries. “Here’s my bill.... it has 2 items. Congress takes no pay for 6 months. Americans receive $1,000 a month for 6 months. End of Bill,” she tweeted Sunday. Here’s my bill.... it has 2 items. Congress takes no pay for 6 months. Americans receive $1,000 a month for 6 months. End of Bill— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) December 27, 2020 She also tweeted Sunday that the bill needs to be stripped of “BS” so people can get relief instead of the government allocating money to “idiotic studies and enormous donations.” “Get rid of the BS & give Americans $2,000 relief money.. NOW is the time to show favor to Americans.When I read the ridiculous amounts of money for idiotic studies and enormous donations such...
    Trump signed into law $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill. The massive, year-end catchall bill that Donald Trump signed into law combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education, and health care. Highlights of the measure with overall funding amounts and specific amounts for some but not necessarily all initiatives. COVID-19 RELIEF
    President Donald Trump on Saturday night blamed China for the financial strain being felt by Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as he refused to sign into law a massive $900 million coronavirus relief bill. The president repeated calls for stimulus checks to be boosted to $2,000 instead of the $600 promised by the current bill, which was overwhelmingly passed by Congress on Tuesday.  On Saturday night, unemployement benefits lapsed for 14 million Americans after Trump refused to sign the bill while a government shutdown also looms. According to the Brookings Institute, 10 million unemployed workers will lose compensation immediately from Saturday while an additional 3.8 million workers are at risk of losing benefits within weeks.   Yet the president remained adamant that the current proposed legislation is not good enough.  '$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China's fault!' he tweeted from Palm Beach, Florida,...
    Erin Scott | Reuters Capitol Hill lawmakers are wrestling with a big question that's plagued them for months: How to put together another coronavirus relief package that will garner enough support from both parties. On Monday, a new $908 billion bipartisan proposal aims to do just that, except it lacks one key area of aid — second $1,200 stimulus checks. The CARES Act that was passed by Congress in March authorized the first set of $1,200 checks for individuals and $2,400 for couples, plus $500 per child. In the following months, Washington lawmakers have debated whether a second set of checks is necessary. At times, those payments seemed to be one of the few areas with bipartisan support. Now, however, they are at risk of getting left out completely in favor of other initiatives. Today's bipartisan proposal includes enhanced federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week for 16 weeks, food...
    A months-long battle between a California billionaire and his tech entrepreneur neighbor took another twist on Thursday when one of the men made a $500,000 charity donation, in a bid to shame his opponent into settling the case. Bill Gross, 76, announced that he was giving the money to food banks and other charities supporting COVID relief efforts around his Laguna Beach home. Gross, who founded one of the world's largest money managers, Pimco, and is worth an estimated $1.5 billion, told his neighbor that it made more sense to spend the money on charity rather than legal fees. His neighbor and rival, Mark Towfiq, dismissed the $500,000 donation as a stunt, to save Gross's reputation.  Bill Gross, 76, is seen leaving court on Monday following a hearing over his $1 million sculpture Gross's neighbor Mark Towfiq, pictured with wife Carol Nakahara on Monday, is suing Gross'...
    Al Roker has opened up his prostate cancer battle, happily sharing that he appears to be cancer-free after a successful surgery to remove his prostate as well as surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.  The Today weather anchor underwent the five-hour surgery performed by Dr. Vincent Laudone at New York City's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on November 9, three days after he publicly announced his prostate cancer diagnosis.  'Walking around, the number of people who have just given me a thumbs up and said, "Way to go, hope you're doing well," has meant all the world to me,' Roker, 66, told his co-stars Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday morning's show.   Great news: Al Roker, 66, opened up about his prostate cancer battle on the Today show on Tuesday, happily reporting that he appears to be cancer free  Cautious: Roker told his co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, center, and Hoda...
    President Donald Trump called himself the “best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico” on Friday as he announced his administration is awarding $13 billion to the territory. During a press conference, Trump called the financial aid package the “largest emergency relief award in history." It will go toward rebuilding the island’s electrical grid that was wiped out by Hurricane Maria three years ago. Trump acknowledged that the financial relief “should’ve been done many years ago.” He blamed the Democrats for failing to render aid to the island and claimed that Joe Biden “devastated the island” years before it was hit by Hurricane Maria. He said Biden’s 1996 vote to eliminate a tax provision that had allowed Puerto Rico to become a leader in global pharmaceutical manufacturing took away tons of jobs. Trump said he will help bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to Puerto Rico at “a level far greater than it was...
    The federal government has already committed trillions of taxpayer dollars for coronavirus relief this year. Most of that funding came in the form of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed and President Donald Trumps signed in the spring. But where is that money being spent? Are some states receiving more than others, or is the spending fairly even? The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization focused on informing the public about U.S. fiscal policy, has been keeping track of where the federal funds are going. This week, the foundation published a breakdown of where the $1.7 trillion that has been spent so far went and how those monies were distributed on a state-by-state basis. The report details how much has been distributed to each state, the programs — such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the stimulus payments...
    Uber and Lyft users reacted with relief last night after the ride-hailing apps avoided a shutdown in California.  Both companies had threatened to suspend their operations at midnight over a ruling forcing them to reclassify their drivers as employees - but a state appeals court granted an emergency stay on Thursday.  The ruling means they can continue to treat their drivers as independent contractors, at least for now.  The news was met with relief by passengers who say they rely on Lyft and Uber for work and doctor's appointments and feared they would lose their jobs if the apps shut down.  Others feared a shutdown would cause chaos at airports and said they were reluctant to switch to using public transportation during the pandemic.   Uber and Lyft now have until August 25 to file written statements agreeing to expedited procedures to reclassify drivers as employees. The two companies are also...
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Sunday blasted President Trump’s recent executive orders as “a big show” that won’t “do anything” as lawmakers continue to voice their discontent over the president’s moves following the collapse of negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package. Schumer, who appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” is one of the most prominent congressional voices expressing discontent over Trump’s executive orders on Saturday to defer payroll taxes and replace an expired unemployment benefit with a lower amount. While the president cast his actions as necessary given that lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement to plunge more money into the stumbling economy, Schumer and other Democrats argue that the move seems more designed to help Trump’s re-election chances come November and say that the orders will most likely face opposition in the courts. WHAT'S IN PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FOUR CORONAVIRUS RELIEF EXECUTIVE ORDERS? "The...
    Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer slam Trump executive orders, call for GOP to come back to negotiating table Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief Postal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday the idea that the $600 per week enhanced unemployment benefit disincentivizes people from working "belittles the American people." "Americans want to work, but with 10-11 percent unemployment you can't find a job and people shouldn't be given a pay cut," he said on ABC's "This Week." President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE and a number of Republicans, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who has been a key negotiator on coronavirus relief legislation, have argued that the extra $600,...
    President Donald Trump has abruptly walked out of a press conference after a reporter fact-checked him on his dubious claim about signing a 'Veteran's Choice' bill. Trump was taking questions from the press at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey after signing four executive orders on Saturday when CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid pressed him. 'Why do you keep saying that you passed Veterans Choice?' Reid asked. She was referring to Trump's earlier remark: 'I just signed two great bills for our veterans. We passed Veteran's Choice and Veteran's Accountability.' President Donald Trump has abruptly walked out of a press conference after a reporter fact-checked him on his dubious claim about signing a 'Veteran's Choice' bill RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Trump bypasses Congress and hands out $400 per week in... Joe Biden says Donald Trump is waging a 'reckless war'...
    The drug received an FDA fast-track designation last June. The company Relief Therapeutics Holdings AG RFLB.S has the patent of a method that has awakened hope for critically ill patients infected with the new coronavirus. Identified as RLF-100 or Aviptadil, is a treatment that has achieved recovery of seriously ill patients with COVID-19 in just three days by attacking respiratory failure. The RLF-100 is a synthetic form of a natural peptide developed to protect the lungs and, although it is in phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, it has already been urgently administered to seriously ill patients who could hardly participate in the trial. According to the . agency, this treatment received the fast-track designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last June, and the US-Israeli pharmaceutical company NeuroRx Inc partnered with Relief Therapeutics. for the development of the drug in the USA. The treatment also received...
    President Donald Trump threatened to veto the Republican coronavirus relief proposal unless it includes a payroll tax cut, which would overwhelmingly benefit the rich and potentially cut funding for Social Security and Medicare. Trump confirmed reports about his push to include a payroll tax holiday in an interview with Fox News that first aired on Sunday. “I would consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll tax cut,” Trump said, claiming that “a lot of Republicans like it.” “It’s been proven to be successful and it’s a big saving for the people. It’s a tremendous saving and an incentive for companies to hire their workers back and to keep their workers,” Trump later said during a Monday appearance in the Oval Office. “The payroll tax to me is very important.” Though a few Republicans, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have expressed support for a payroll tax cut, a “number of Republicans oppose” the measure and have...
    HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Governor Tom Wolf voiced his support for the RESTAURANTS Act of 2020, a bill that if made into law would provide billions in funds to independently-owned restaurants nationwide. The bill, Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed To Survive Act of 2020, was introduced to the House of Representatives on June 15. The funds would go towards the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, overseen by the Department of Treasury, and would allow for grants to be provided to independent restaurants and food purveyors struggling amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the bill stipulates that the Department of Treasury would have to prioritize establishments in marginalized communities; additionally, any eatery making revenues of $1.5 million or more will not qualify for government funding under the RESTAURANTS Act. If a restaurant closes permanently during 2020, they would need to return funds provided to them by the RESTAURANTS Act...
    Dozens of media companies received coronavirus relief loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) over the past several months, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department. The lending program, established by Congress in late March to buoy small businesses during the pandemic, has distributed about $521 billion in loans that are forgivable so long as they are used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. Though the funding was largely intended for businesses with less than than 500 employees, some loans were claimed by major corporations like Shake Shack, prompting public backlash that led several companies to return their loans. Some media outlets also returned funding, even though they met the program’s qualifications. Axios returned its $4.8 million loan, citing the political polarization around the program and questions over whether media outlets should accept funds from the federal government. Other media companies that received loans...
    BOSTON (CBS) – Since the pandemic started in March, most of us have experienced a range of emotions. Processing those emotions can be challenging —particularly for frontline workers who may not have an outlet for grief, anxiety or fear. Registered Expressive Arts Therapist Jennie Kristel knew that what she needed in that period of uncertainty was art. “I needed to get into the studio. I needed to make art. I wanted to do it with others. I wanted to share the experience I was happy to facilitate that.” Registered Expressive Arts Therapist Jennie Kristel held zoom art therapy sessions. (WBZ-TV) She offered a Zoom arts therapy workshop and the response was “huge.” Each session was comprised of roughly four to six people. Participants met weekly, meditated, created art and discussed it. Conversations touched on questions about the “new normal” and how to deal with loss. The experience of coming together...
    An article written for The Atlantic by three law professors (Micah Schwartzman and Richard Schragger of the University of Virginia and Cornell University’s Nelson Tebbe) focuses on Trump’s total disregard for the separation of church and state during the coronavirus crisis. The Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution is quite clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” One needn’t be an atheist or an agnostic to respect that separation of church; Trump, however, has given far-right white evangelicals preferential treatment. “Under this principle of disestablishment, at the very least, the government cannot give special privileges to religious organizations beyond what is available to similarly situated nonreligious groups,” Schwartzman, Schragger and Tebbe explain in The Atlantic. “But the past few months have seen a near-complete collapse of this principle at the national level, at least with respect to government funding of...
    Cartoon dubious rich person Betsy DeVos issued a new rule on Thursday that will require public schools to share more of the CARES Act relief funds—meant for public schools—with private schools. Specifically, DeVos’ rule will cut into the already low $13.5 billion allotted for the country’s public K-12 schools. According to NPR, the education secretary’s new rule would re-imagine the intention of the CARES Act funds to mean that public schools must pay for tutoring and transportation for private school students. This new “reading of the law” would take the $127 million already being received by private schools and add another $1.23 billion. That’s a 10-fold increase. As Daily Kos’ Laura Clawson reported back in May, DeVos’ Department of Education has attempted to cajole the public into believing that private schools—particularly religious private schools—are in the same boat as public schools. A claim that is not exactly true, regardless of decontextualized reporting by The New...
    Igor Derysh June 27, 2020 9:00AM (UTC) Art Laffer, a longtime economic adviser to President Donald Trump, urged Republicans against funding additional coronavirus relief even as a company in which he held stock cashed in on tens of millions in small business aid. Laffer, who popularized the idea of "trickle-down economics" and advised Trump on tax cuts and coronavirus relief, called for the president and Senate Republicans to "cut the [coronavirus] spending" in a letter released on June 16. : "There is no limit to worthy causes, but there is a limit to other people's money," the letter addressed to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and signed by 20 prominent Republicans, including Laffer, fellow Trump adviser Stephen Moore and tax-cut zealot Grover Norquist, said. "The inside-the-Beltway crowd falsely calls these trillions of dollars a 'stimulus' to the economy. But government can only give money to some people, as Nobel-prize winning...
    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Alaska Native corporations are eligible for a share of coronavirus relief funding set aside for tribes, a federal judge ruled late Friday in a case that has been closely watched around Indian Country. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., initially granted a request from tribal nations to withhold money from the corporations while he determined whether they qualified for a share of $8 billion. Mehta said the corporations can be treated as tribal governments for limited purposes after sorting through arguments that picked apart the language in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, congressional intent and the history of other federal laws. “It stands to reason that Congress, in its effort to distribute emergency funds quickly to Indians under the CARES Act, intended to get those dollars in the hands of the same entities that deliver public services to Indians,” he...
    By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Alaska Native corporations are eligible for a share of coronavirus relief funding set aside for tribes, a federal judge ruled late Friday in a case that has been closely watched around Indian Country. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., initially granted a request from tribal nations to withhold money from the corporations while he determined whether they qualified for a share of $8 billion. Mehta said the corporations can be treated as tribal governments for limited purposes after sorting through arguments that picked apart the language in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, congressional intent and the history of other federal laws. “It stands to reason that Congress, in its effort to distribute emergency funds quickly to Indians under the CARES Act, intended to get those dollars in the hands of the same entities that deliver public...
    A significant number of U.S. small business owners who got money from the government-backed small business coronavirus relief program say they will end up laying off hundreds of thousands of workers anyway. As many as 653,000 small businesses that were awarded forgivable, 1% loans from the Paycheck Protection Program could begin cutting employees as early as next month as their federal funding runs out. What's more, 70,000 of those businesses are expected to lay off at least 10 workers each. Those findings come from a survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses that was released this week. It found that 14% of the 4.6 million companies that have received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program are considering laying off workers when they deplete their government loan funds. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox The Paycheck Protection Program was one of the first relief programs to launch following...
    The North Carolina House approved the state's second coronavirus relief package for the state Thursday. The bill, which allocates a portion of the $3.5 billion of direct aid provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper. The package approved Thursday would provide $150 million to support local governments that did not qualify for direct federal aid. It also includes $100 million to support schools, hospitals, provide economic relief and offset other coronavirus-related costs. House Bill 1023 was presented on the House floor by Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth. "What this bill does is the next phase of allocating some of the coronavirus funds to those that are needing it across the state," said Lambeth, the senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The CARES Act authorized by Congress in late March earmarked more than $4 billion...
    In the Pioneer Press, Dave Orrick writes: “Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday approved $841 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for local governments throughout Minnesota that have been shackled with costs responding to the pandemic. The plan has widespread support from state lawmakers in both parties and seemed destined for approval more than a week ago until partisan standoffs over other issues derailed it in a weeklong special session of the Legislature. The federal CARES Act essentially gave Walz the power to distribute the funds as he saw fit. He opted for the plan. That left the previously finger-pointing parties to express relief.” For MPR, Dan Kraker says, “Minnesota utility regulators have once again thrown their support behind Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. On Thursday, the state Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 to deny petitions for reconsideration filed by several Ojibwe bands, environmental groups and the state...
              WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday. More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs. Jovita Carranza, Administrator U.S. Small Business Administration, testifies as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looks on, during a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing to examine implementation of Title I of the CARES Act, Wednesday, June 10, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP) While the government has asked survivors to return the money, it’s not clear they have to. The errors occurred mainly because of a lag in reporting data on who is deceased...
    Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected This week: Congress set for showdown on police reform legislation Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings MORE issued a new rule Thursday advancing a policy requiring public schools to share more coronavirus relief funds with private schools than federal law currently mandates. The new rule orders school districts to allocate their aid for private institutions based on their total number of private school students. Public school officials argue that the funding should be shared based on the number of low-income students at local private schools, the basis of fund-sharing under other federal rules.  The Education Department maintains that coronavirus-related relief funds are separate from federal aid and should be used to benefit...
    By Marcy Gordon | Associated Press WASHINGTON — Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday. More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs. While the government has asked survivors to return the money, it’s not clear they have to. The errors occurred mainly because of a lag in reporting data on who is deceased — a lapse that tax experts say is almost inevitable. The revelation of more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds erroneously paid out shines a light on the part of the government’s massive relief program with which most ordinary Americans are most familiar. It...
    By MARCY GORDON WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday. More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs. While the government has asked survivors to return the money, it’s not clear they have to. The errors occurred mainly because of a lag in reporting data on who is deceased — a lapse that tax experts say is almost inevitable. The revelation of more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds erroneously paid out shines a light on the part of the government’s massive relief program with which most ordinary Americans are most familiar. It follows disclosures that...
    More than $1 billion in coronavirus relief payments was sent out to deceased Americans, the Government Accountability Office found. A total of $1.4 billion was sent to over a million dead people in payments based on their most recent tax returns, the agency said in a Thursday report to Congress. Now, their families are being told they cannot cash the checks for themselves and that they should return them to the IRS. In the rush to deliver financial relief to millions struggling under COVID-19 restrictions and closures, the GAO reported that the Treasury Department and the IRS failed to check the first three batches of payments against the death records maintained by the Social Security Administration as is typical. The GAO also noted that the IRS currently does not have a plan to notify ineligible recipients, including relatives of the deceased. The findings are part of a wide probe...
    Tax attorney Kelly Erb, who's written about the issue on her website, says there's no legal basis for asking for the checks back. "I think it's really disingenuous of the IRS," Erb said Tuesday. "It's not a rule just because the IRS puts it on the website. In fact, the IRS actually says that stuff on its website isn't legal authority. So there's no actual rule — it's just guidance — and that guidance can change at any time." After Congress passed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package in March, checks of up to $1,200 were automatically sent in most cases to people who filed income tax returns for 2018 or 2019, including some who are incarcerated. A couple of weeks later, the IRS directed state correction departments to intercept payments to prisoners and return them. The IRS doesn't yet have numbers on how many payments went to prisoners, Smith...
    Coronavirus — The consumer protection agencies indicated that the temporary credit measures adopted by both the National Microfinance Commission (Conami) and the Superintendency of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (Siboif) are positive, but that a further deterioration in the portfolio could be avoided. Credit, if these had been applied two or three months ago, as the countries of the Central American region did. For several months, consumer defense agencies have asked the Daniel Ortega regime for financial relief for all debtors, since with the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies have closed temporarily or totally, generating higher unemployment, affecting the commerce and other sectors and consequently many clients fell into default with their loans. In the opinion of Juan Carlos López, executive director of the Consumer Advocacy, the regulations would have been more far-reaching if it had been a public policy. Also read: ¿Why are the BCN and Siboif measures insufficient...
    By JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate approved a plan Tuesday to spend $1.2 billion in federal relief money to combat COVID-19. Senators voted 43-0 on a bill that nearly mirrors Gov. Henry McMaster's suggestions on how to spend the money by reimbursing a trust fund to pay unemployment benefits. It calls for paying for an extra week of school for many students and creating a state stockpile of protective equipment for a future pandemic. The Senate met as COVID-19 cases in South Carolina continued to surge. Officials reported 890 new cases Tuesday. It was the first time in seven days that South Carolina didn't have more than 900 cases. But before a week ago, the state had never reported that many cases. The number of people in the hospital from COVID-19 hit a new record Tuesday at 824 patients and the rate of...
    The rise in poverty many economists projected as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has been largely avoided, capped by the relief bills passed in March, two new studies posit. But the one time payment of $1,200 per person was just one time, and the extra assistance in unemployment benefits, as well as their extension to contract and gig workers, ends at the end of July with no apparent intention on the part of Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate to extend it. Not everyone has avoided destitution, the studies point out, and many people have experienced food insecurity and homelessness in the long delays before assistance reached them. Others have been excluded because they don't qualify, particularly undocumented workers even if they have American children. But, says Zachary Parolin, with Columbia University's team forecasting this year's poverty rate, "Right now, the safety net is doing what it’s supposed...
    The Associated Press By STEPHEN GROVES, Associated Press SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Monday that she'll be sending $200 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to city and county governments, but warned the economic impact of the pandemic could last for years. The Republican governor visited the state's largest city, Sioux Falls, to explain that cities and counties will be able to access the funds based on their population. That means Sioux Falls city leaders can get up to $41.5 million reimbursed for what they spend on addressing the coronavirus. The state has received $1.25 billion from the federal government as part of a relief package for the coronavirus pandemic, part of which the governor is still hoping can be used to make up losses in tax revenue due to the economic downturn. Noem said she was concerned businesses and tax revenue could be...
    When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas last September, the small island of Abaco was among the hardest hit. Dorian stalled over the island for two days, unleashing some of the strongest winds ever recorded in the Caribbean.   Shortly after the storm died down, and long before Bahamian government aid arrived, an American disaster assistance response team arrived onboard a high-speed super-yacht. Access crews set to work clearing roads with chainsaws, so that survivors could find their way to the team’s medical staff. Their doctors and paramedics ultimately helped triage or treat nearly one in 10 of the island’s population.  The team’s marine specialists used sonar systems to survey the sea floor for hazards, while aviation experts set up an air traffic control system at Abaco’s damaged airport. The operation allowed over 1100 civilian and military aid flights to land, and many evacuees to escape. The team claims to have even...
    New York — The New York City Councilman, who aspires to fill the Bronx District 15 seat in Congress, has the goal of expanding the income subsidy to families below the poverty line. Barely I was 25 years old when he was elected as a New York City councilman. Now, six years later, Ritchie Torres is just days away from knowing whether he will be favored by voters in the Bronx’s District 15, to be the congressman to replace José Serrano in that seat. In mid-2019, when he announced his application on the social network Twitter, the young Afro-Latino, with a Puerto Rican father and an African-American mother, published: “My story is the history of the Bronx, a story of improvement. 12 years ago: I was on . of suicide. 6 years ago: I overcame the obstacles and became the youngest councilor in New York ”. Since that time,...
    Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOvernight Health Care: FDA withdraws emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine | Surging coronavirus cases raise fears of new lockdowns | Trump on coronavirus: 'If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any' Hillicon Valley: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos open to testifying before Congress | Former eBay staffers charged with aggressively cyberstalking couple behind critical newsletter | Senators call for making telehealth expansion permanent after COVID-19 Bipartisan senators call for making telehealth expansion permanent post-coronavirus MORE (R-Miss.) and Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dems press Trump consumer safety nominee on chemical issues | Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry | 180 Democrats ask House leadership for clean energy assistance 180 Democrats ask House leadership for clean energy assistance Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act MORE (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on Thursday to establish a $120 billon fund for independent food service or...
    AVONDALE — The developer who took over redevelopment of the massive old Marshall Field’s warehouse at the Avondale/Logan Square border is now opening up the space for coronavirus relief efforts while he looks to finish developing the site. In early April, developer Knickpoint Ventures invited mutual aid groups on the Northwest Side to take over 4,000 square feet of previously unused warehouse space in the massive Fields complex at 4000 W. Diversey Ave. to help people in need amid the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, the groups have used the warehouse to sort and pack up grocery boxes and other donations before delivering them to people in need. The move has allowed the volunteer-led groups to expand, accept more donations and work more efficiently, said Lindsey Lucenta, a volunteer with the Logan Square Mutual Aid, one of the groups operating out of The Fields. Prior to the partnership, the groups...
    (CNN)Bipartisan lawmakers warn the Trump administration's largest disbursement of federal rescue dollars is being deliberately held in secret. Inspectors general warn the Treasury Department is deliberately withholding information on trillions in rescue spending. Transparency watchdogs warn there is no indication the Trump administration will cooperate with a myriad of legal oversight requirements in the more than $2 trillion CARES Act.Bottom line: For months there has been a simmering oversight war brewing between the Trump administration, lawmakers and the entities tasked with overseeing the largest emergency economic rescue package in the nation's history. The stakes are enormous, with checks and balances over trillions in federal spending currently hanging in the balance. It's now starting to boil over.Coming to a headRead More"The position is simply not sustainable." That's what an administration official told CNN of the current refusal to release details about loan recipients of the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program. More...
    DC Shorts Laughs goes virtual June 16-21. (Courtesy DC Shorts) toggle audio on and off change volume download audio WTOP's Jason Fraley previews DC Shorts Laughs From the coronavirus to racial conflicts, it’s been a double gut-punch for America lately. This week, the DC Shorts Film Festival is hoping to lighten the mood with six days of virtual comic relief during DC Shorts Laughs, streaming Tuesday through Sunday. “We did debate is this something that we do?” Programming Director Joe Bilancio told WTOP. “The staff and the board came together and thought it really is a good time to bring some levity. We certainly advocate for Black Lives Matter and all the realities that COVID has brought, but it really is just a way to sort of bring people together.” The films include both never-before-seen features and favorites from the past. “It’s things that were submitted that didn’t screen; it’s things...
    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department is withholding $679 million in coronavirus relief funding for tribes while a challenge over its initial round of payments to tribal governments plays out in court. The money is part of $8 billion that Congress set aside for tribes. The federal rescue package was approved in late March with a deadline for the funding to be distributed to tribes by April 26. The payments were delayed as the Treasury Department grappled with methodology. It decided to use federal tribal population data for the initial $4.8 billion distribution to 574 federally recognized tribes in early May. Much of the remaining $3.2 billion based on tribes’ employment and expenditure data went out Friday, the department said. As part of the legal wrangling, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas argued it was shortchanged $7.65 million because the Treasury Department relied on federal population...
    The White House and its Senate Republican allies have decided to delay action on another massive round of coronavirus spending until July, hopeful that an improving job market will lessen the need to add more borrowing to what is already the nation’s largest deficit in history. The jobs report for May, showing that employers added nearly 3 million jobs as coronavirus shutdowns ended, has lowered the urgency for the Senate and White House to hold formal negotiations on a proposal to answer the House relief package, which totals $3.5 trillion. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday the administration won’t extend $600-a-week federal unemployment benefits, on top of regular unemployment payments, beyond July because they are a disincentive to work. He said the administration is eyeing instead a smaller “bonus” to encourage people to go back to work. TOP STORIES Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history NASCAR rejects...
    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - When Damon McParland pulled up in his van in a west-side neighborhood, little did his son, Aidan, know he had a little surprise waiting for him. For the last three weeks or so, the father-son bagpipe tandem have been traversing the city playing little community get togethers for birthdays and last-day-of-school events as part of UnitedWePipe. The May 29 gig brought together four friends who met at Lincoln Magnet School - Alex Remolina, Jack McLaughlin, Joe Tisckos and McParland - for Remolina’s graduation party. TOP STORIES Four St. Louis police officers charged with beating undercover colleague Biden: Dr. Kings assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyds death did Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history “When I saw this advertised, I thought what an awesome way to celebrate their high school graduation considering the unique circumstances with COVID-19,” said Melissa Remolina, Alex’s...
    The national debt rose above $26 trillion for the first time this week, as the U.S. government spends at a historic pace while pumping trillions into coronavirus relief. The debt has been climbing upward at a startling pace. According to data released by the Treasury Department, the national debt hit $24 trillion on April 7 and $25 trillion on May 5. TRUMP POISED TO ADD MORE DEBT THAN OBAMA IN FIRST TERM Meanwhile, the government recorded a budget deficit of $1.88 trillion for the first eight months of this budget year, larger than any annual shortfalls in U.S. history. The deficit for the October-May period was more than double the $738.6 billion for the same period last year, according to Treasury Department numbers released Wednesday. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that this year’s deficit will hit $3.7 trillion, which would be more than double the record $1.4 trillion deficit set in...
    Washington — The next relief package aimed at responding to the coronavirus pandemic likely won't be passed by the Senate until at least mid-July, Senator John Thune, the second highest-ranking Republican in the upper chamber, said Monday. Thune, of South Dakota, told reporters at the Capitol that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested a "July time frame" for its next package, likely after the Senate returns to Washington from the two week-long recess that begins July 3 and ends July 17. Thune said the Senate has a packed calendar for the remainder of June, with the upper chamber set to vote on two of President Trump's nominations to the federal courts of appeals and bipartisan legislation that supports conservation and maintenance projects on federal lands. The Senate Armed Services Committee is also weighing the 2021 defense authorization bill, and several Senate panels are convening for hearings focused on the coronavirus pandemic...
    ANALYSIS/OPINION: There are many tragic ironies unfolding since even before the death of George Floyd. As we see sincere people demonstrating for change in this country regarding how people of color are treated within policing and the justice system, Democrats and left-wing leadership see this righteous activism as an opportunity to reinforce the status quo. I say this as a former community organizer for the left a great deal of my adult life. Whenever there was an issue on which people could be “organized” the goal was always to increase that rage and concern in order to access as many people as possible. For the Democrats, marches based on outrage and people gathering to protest are the most effective means with which to gather names and to expand political influence. The horrible irony is the passion of these well-meaning citizens is being exploited by the Democrats and their “social justice”...
    (CNN)The Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it is taking additional steps to provide federal coronavirus relief funding to health care providers and hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured.The agency, which has come under fire in recent weeks for delays in distributing the $175 billion in federal support that Congress authorized in late March and April, expects to dole out about $15 billion to providers that participate in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program but have not yet received payments from the relief fund that Congress authorized. The money is intended to compensate those that lost revenue or had increased expenses because of the coronavirus pandemic.The agency will launch a portal Wednesday that will allow eligible Medicaid and CHIP providers to report their annual patient revenue, which is used to determine their share of the $15 billion fund. This will allow the agency to...
    Although a surprisingly positive May jobs report was released Thursday morning, President Donald Trump wants his administration to push forward with more economic support for Americans. President Trump held a news conference Friday to tout the encouraging U.S. jobs report for the month of May. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated that the employment level would drop by 8.3 million in May. However, non-farm payrolls actually increased by 2.5 million in May. The unemployment rate was projected to be 19.5% in May, but it was 13.3%, an improvement from April's 14.7%. The May employment figures were the largest month-to-month job increase in U.S. history. "The numbers are great and this leads us onto a long period of growth," Trump told reporters at the White House Rose Garden. "We will have the greatest — we will go back to having the greatest economy anywhere in the world. Nothing close. And...
    In early March, the Growhaus discovered that its building was unsound, and the nonprofit had to close its greenhouse, offices, classrooms and neighborhood market at 4751 York Street. But since then, the organization dedicated to filling a food void in the Globeville and Elyria Swansea neighborhoods has been busier than ever. "Since the COVID outbreak in mid-March, we have pivoted our focus to two big efforts," says Growhaus executive director Kayla Birdsong. "One is maybe the biggest food access project we've ever taken on." The Growhaus's mission has always involved growing food, educating the neighborhood about healthy shopping and eating, and providing good, locally grown food at reasonable prices. But when much of Colorado's economy shut down, many of the organization's neighbors lost their jobs or were unable to return to work. So the Growhaus fired up a rapid-response food delivery system to get free grocery boxes to those...
    Washington (CNN)In March, Congress authorized trillions of dollars in spending to help address the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic -- much of it aimed at getting cash into people's hands immediately to help them pay their bills and buy groceries. It called for sending direct payments to most Americans and expanded unemployment benefits, and included emergency grant and loan programs for small business owners as well as tax cuts, loans and other subsidies. Yet only about half of the economic support authorized by legislation since early March has gone out the door, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a think tank tracking the spending. Stimulus money was the first out, and it more than made up for many Americans' loss of income. Total income rose 13% from February to April when accounting for the direct payments and unemployment benefits. But for the most part, the...
    Paul Van Doren, the founder of skateboarding shoes and apparel company Vans, once said that Vans isn’t so much a shoe and apparel company as it is a people company that makes shoes and apparel. Although the brand originated in 1966, that statement has perhaps never resonated more than during the turbulent times of the coronavirus outbreak. Without a doubt, this is one of the toughest times that fashion and apparel companies have faced. But this historic chapter in history is also a meaningful opportunity for businesses to show their true colors — loudly, proudly and in the case of Vans, one signature skateboard swivel logo at a time. “Looking after our people has always been and will remain top priority,” says Nick Street, vice president of global integrated marketing at Vans, and one of the keynote speakers at the Brands Across America event on June 5. To that end,...
    UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council called for urgent action Tuesday to help the growing number of countries already facing or at risk of “debt distress” because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Norway’s U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, head of the 54-nation U.N. body, told a meeting on financing and recovery for the crisis that the decision by the world’s 20 major economic powers to freeze debt service payments for the world’s poorest countries through the end of the year isn’t enough. She said the Group of 20’s freeze will free about $11 billion until the end of the year, but it’s estimated that eligible countries have an additional $20 billion in multilateral and commercial debt combined coming due in 2020. TOP STORIES President of law and order: Trump takes aim at Lowlife & Scum as riots rage Coronavirus hype...
    A cash-strapped airport spa chain snagged $5.6 million in federal coronavirus aid weeks after warning investors that its independent auditor had raised “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue operating amid hefty losses, The Post has learned. New York-based XpresSpa told investors it had obtained the Payroll Protection Program loan in a May 7 regulatory filing — just days after its board cut ties with an auditor critical of its business. XpresSpa didn’t say why it fired CohnReznick, but on April 20 the company revealed the auditor had issued a warning about the state of the company’s financials before the pandemic forced it to shutter its US operations. “The report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 included an explanatory paragraph indicating that there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” the...
    Washington (CNN)It's been two months since Congress allocated about $13 billion for K-12 schools in its coronavirus-related emergency aid package -- but the money hasn't yet reached many school districts amid questions over how it should be spent.School districts across the country, which quickly shifted to remote learning in March, are already winding down lessons. Now, as they consider what reopening in the fall could look like, they're unsure how much federal aid to expect. Guidance issued by US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in late April instructed states to allocate a bigger portion of the federal assistance to private schools, which some Democrat and Republican lawmakers and state leaders say is counter to the intent of the law. DeVos said last week that she intends to formalize her guidance by moving ahead with a legal rule-making process -- which could take at least a month and further hold up planning...
    (CNN)A World War II veteran from Minnesota is celebrating his 100th birthday with an act of kindness that will help feed thousands of people in his community.Mickey Nelson, 99, is walking 100 miles through his small city of Clarks Grove in an initiative he has named "Walking to 100." Nelson, who turns 100 on June 27, said he was inspired to walk to raise money for coronavirus relief after reading the story on war veteran Tom Moore who raised more than $37.4 million by walking 100 laps around his garden.Instead of walking laps, Nelson is walking miles to mark his 100th birthday. Since beginning his walk in May, Nelson has raised over $42,000 -- all which will go to The Salvation Army's feeding and emergency programs."During the years of the depression, they had soup lines and other ways for people to get food and that stood out to me because...
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