What Now?! – 5/6/21

A federal judge struck down the national eviction moratorium, “potentially leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes,” CNBC reports.

“Some 1 in 5 renters across the U.S. are behind on their payments amid the pandemic, and states are scrambling to disburse more than $45 billion in rental assistance.”

“The pandemic crisis is finally winding down for much of the country, with both vaccinations and the economy surging. But the Covid-19 housing crisis hasn’t even hit yet, and Washington’s efforts to head it off have stalled,” Politico reports.

“A federal moratorium on evictions is set to expire June 30, leaving millions of tenants facing long-term damage to their credit and the potential loss of their homes if they can’t scrape together more than a year’s worth of back rent. Now, the Biden administration is racing to end a bottleneck that has prevented state and local governments from distributing nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that Congress allocated to keep those tenants from going over a financial cliff.”

Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld the company’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account, CNN reports. However, the decision will be revisited in six months.

“Donald Trump and his inner circle [were] anxiously awaiting Facebook’s decision about whether to reinstate him to the platform, viewing it as the propellant for an increasingly likely second presidential campaign in 2024,” Axios reports. “The decision […] could shape the campaign, because Trump’s confidants view Facebook as the linchpin to his fundraising and online political strategy.”

Which is why Trump exploded after the decision, blasting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), his own Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Mitch McConnell in a new statement:

Warmonger Liz Cheney, who has virtually no support left in the Great State of Wyoming, continues to unknowingly and foolishly say that there was no Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election when in fact, the evidence, including no Legislative approvals as demanded by the U.S. Constitution, shows the exact opposite.

Had Mike Pence referred the information on six states (only need two) back to State Legislatures, and had gutless and clueless MINORITY Leader Mitch McConnell (he blew two seats in Georgia that should have never been lost) fought to expose all of the corruption that was presented at the time, with more found since, we would have had a far different Presidential result, and our Country would not be turning into a socialist nightmare!

“The Biden administration on Wednesday came out in support of waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, a breakthrough for international efforts to suspend patent rules as the pandemic rages in India and South America,” the New York Times reports.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) writes in the Washington Post: “While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country. Trump has never expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now suggests that our elections, and our legal and constitutional system, cannot be trusted to do the will of the people. This is immensely harmful, especially as we now compete on the world stage against Communist China and its claims that democracy is a failed system.”

Cheney also notes that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) once said Trump “bears responsibility” for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol but now “McCarthy has changed his story.”

McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) — the top two House Republicans — are quietly working behind the scenes to boost Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-NY) bid for House Republican Conference Chair, according to Punchbowl News. McCarthy has reached out to candidates, seeking to help clear the field for Stefanik, a close ally of his. And Scalise is openly supporting Stefanik.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal editorial page writes that “purging Liz Cheney for honesty would diminish the party” and that McCarthy “knows Ms. Cheney is right. The election wasn’t stolen.”

Stefanik told Republicans that former President Donald Trump backed her bid to be House Republican Conference chair in a phone call earlier this morning, according to Punchbowl News. “Trump doesn’t have a say in the leadership election, but Stefanik is his close ally and the 45th president has a unique disdain for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the current occupant of the leadership slot. Furthermore, the House Republican Conference is all but completely behind Trump as the leader of the GOP.” A vote by the House GOP caucus could come as soon as next week.

Cheney voted in line with Trump 92.9% of the time and Stefanik voted with Trump just 77.7% of the time. In today’s GOP, personal loyalty to Trump is everything and policy positions don’t matter.

Dan Balz: “The growing effort to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from the third-ranking Republican leadership position in the House further accelerates her party’s full capitulation to Donald Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election. The move against Cheney is a sign of political cowardice. While shocking, it is not surprising for a party that has lost its way.”

“The majority of Republican lawmakers appear to have stopped believing in truth — or lack the courage to speak the truth. Cheney is not among them. She has been fearless in calling out Trump’s lies about a stolen election, and she has been forceful in rebutting the former president whenever he repeats the falsehoods that led to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.”

Cheney isn’t just going after Trump. She’s also undermining the House GOP’s 2022 midterm message which is premised on a lie.

“Liz Cheney is not fighting to hold onto her job as House GOP conference chair,” Politico reports. “Cheney has been telling people that if holding onto her leadership role requires having to lie or stay quiet, she doesn’t believe that’s a price worth paying.”

“It’s a remarkable turn of events for Cheney, a conservative scion once viewed as a rising force within the GOP and even floated as a possible future speaker. Her current lack of action is also a 180-degree turn from just a few months ago, when Cheney was actively whipping to keep her leadership post — a job once held by her father.”

“Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie. As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: ‘I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.’”  — Sen. Mitt Romney, on Twitter.

When President Biden was asked about the GOP’s treatment of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), he responded: “I don’t understand Republicans.”

“Any elected official should stand their ground. If you feel firmly about something, you should stand your ground. But I also believe that we need to come together as a party, recognize we have differences within the party but the goal with us should be to win seats.” — Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), quoted by Politico, defending Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

“One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”  — Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by The Recount, echoing his 2010 comments that, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

“Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have asked a judge to appoint a ‘special master’ — or independent review — for materials seized when the FBI executed search warrants on Rudy Giuliani’s home and office last week,” CNN reports.

“Calling it a step that would be appropriate to ensure attorney-client privilege is protected, prosecutors filed the request under seal last Thursday, the day after the searches were conducted.”

The same process was used for the Michael Cohen case.

“As a federal investigation into Rudy Giuliani escalates, his advisers have been pressing aides to former President Donald Trump to reach into a $250 million war chest to pay Mr. Giuliani for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election on Mr. Trump’s behalf,” the New York Times reports.

“The pressure from Mr. Giuliani’s camp has intensified since FBI agents executed search warrants at Mr. Giuliani’s home and office last week, according to people familiar with the discussions, and comes as Mr. Giuliani has hired new lawyers and is facing his own protracted — and costly — legal battles.”

Jonathan Chait: “According to CBO rules, funding enforcement can’t produce costs or savings. If Congress wants to give the IRS an extra $1 billion, that increases the deficit by $1 billion. If Congress cuts money from the IRS — hey, look, savings! Now you can spend that money on something more fun than government jobs for tax nerds.”

A senior White House economic aide demurred on the question of whether President Joe Biden will nominate Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for a second four-year term, saying the decision on selecting the next central bank chief will come after a thorough “process,” Bloomberg reports.

Said adviser Jared Bernstein: “It’s neither yes nor no.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said “she is neither predicting nor recommending that the Federal Reserve raise interest rates as a result of President Biden’s spending plans, walking back her comments earlier in the day that rates might need to rise to keep the economy from overheating,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Ms. Yellen suggested earlier Tuesday that the central bank might have to raise rates to keep the economy from overheating, if the Biden administration’s roughly $4 trillion spending plans are enacted. Ms. Yellen’s remarks come as lawmakers debate the merits of the administration’s spending proposals, which many Republicans have said are too costly and risk stoking inflation.”

Former President Trump launched “a communications platform,” after months of being banned from sites like Twitter and Facebook, Fox News reports. “The space will allow Trump to post comments, images, and videos.”

30-second launch video hypes the initiative as “a beacon of freedom” and a “place to speak freely and safely.”

In other words, Trump started a blog.

“The Treasury Department said Wednesday it may have to take extraordinary measures to fund the government if the federal borrowing limit is reinstated this summer, but warned it could run out of cash much sooner than in previous debt limit episodes,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Treasury said it expects Congress will vote to raise or suspend the borrowing limit before the current suspension expires on Aug. 1. If it doesn’t, the Treasury will take steps as it has in the past to continue to temporarily finance government operations.”

“But officials emphasized that the government continues to face sizable and uncertain borrowing needs related to the pandemic, as well as substantial uncertainty about government revenues and spending over the coming months.”

NBC News: “President Joe Biden’s Labor Department on Wednesday rescinded a Trump-era rule that would have made it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.”

“President Joe Biden said his team is working to schedule a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Europe next month,” Bloomberg  reports.

The Times of London has an excellent preview of the U.K.’s Super Thursday elections, where more than 5,000 seats are up for grabs.

Reuters: “The Scottish National Party’s bid to win a clear mandate for having another independence referendum was balanced on a knife edge on the eve of Thursday’s parliamentary election, with polls showing the expected result was too close to call.”

Meanwhile, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government for the third time in two years, the Jerusalem Post reports.  Politico: “His failure to reach an agreement late Tuesday raises the possibility that Netanyahu’s Likud party could be pushed into the opposition for the first time in 12 years.” Opposition Leader Yair Lapid has now been given four weeks to form a new government.

“A federal judge has ordered the release of a key Justice Department memo supporting former Attorney William Barr’s conclusion that former President Donald Trump should not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice over episodes investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller,” Politico reports.

“I operate off the proposition that if Obama had not been, ‘We’re not going to look back, we’re only going to look forward,’ the Trumpsters would have been a lot less bold about doing the reckless damage that they did.”  — Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), quoted by the New Republic, on why the Biden administration should be doing more to investigate past actions by the Trump administration.

“U.S. birth and fertility rates dropped to another record low in 2020 as births fell for the sixth consecutive year to the lowest levels since 1979,” CNBC reports.  “The number of births in the U.S. declined last year by 4% from 2019, double the average annual rate of decline of 2% since 2014.”  The country’s birth rate is so low that it is “below replacement levels,” meaning more people die every day than are being born.

Richard Cordray is expected to be appointed by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona as the head of the agency’s Office of Federal Student Aid, Politico reports.

“The selection of Cordray, who previously was attorney general of Ohio and ran unsuccessfully to be governor, is a major victory for progressives who have been calling on the Biden administration to take more aggressive action on student loans and for-profit colleges.”

President Biden is considering naming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to a high-profile ambassadorship, possibly India, Axios reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “What Now?! – 5/6/21

  1. If there is a god he or she would choke every time a Republican uses these words: Freedom, Liberty and especially “patriot”.

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