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Top Republicans In Denial Over Biden Relief Plan’s Immense Popularity

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Congressional Democrats passed the overwhelmingly popular $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan last week without a single Republican vote. Now the GOP minorities in the House and the Senate are having a hard time accepting their defeat.

The legislation, signed into law on Thursday by President Joe Biden, will provide a $1400 relief check and more than $3000 in tax cuts for the average American; expanded unemployment benefits; more than $125 billion to help schools return to in-person instruction; $350 billion for state and local governments; and tens of billions of dollars for coronavirus testing and vaccination.

According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll last week, 75 percent of all registered voters back the massive pandemic relief package, while just 18 percent oppose it. Among Republicans, 59 percent support the legislation and 35 percent do not.

Economists say the law will significantly boost the economy and massively reduce poverty, especially among children. On Sunday, Goldman Sachs boosted its prediction of growth in gross domestic product in the United States for 2021 to eight percent, specifically citing "the latest fiscal policy news" for its bullish expectations.

After unanimously opposing the popular relief plan, Republicans are now reacting in different — and sometimes contradictory — ways to their defeat.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell angrily blamed the American people's stupidity for the enormous popularity of the legislation on Thursday.

"I'm not surprised that the American public's initial reaction to this, before they know what's in it, would be positive," the Kentucky Republican told PBS. "I mean, the thought of many Americans getting a $1400 check, why would they not like that?"

"I understand why the American people's initial response to this is positive. What they do not know is how much of the bill has nothing to do with the pandemic. Less than one percent of it deals with vaccinations. Only about nine percent of it deals with health care," he inaccurately claimed.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio appeared to be in denial about the law's popularity on Saturday, dismissing the polls as "a joke."

"Public polls are only as accurate as the people doing them, the methodology they use and all that stuff," Rubio told The Hill "There's a lot of, a trillion dollars of non-COVID stuff. When people find out about that, they're going to be outraged."

A CNN poll last week showed 85 percent of American adults back the tax credit provisions in the law, 77 percent support the school funding, and 59 percent support the funds for state and local governments.

McConnell also denied that the legislation will stimulate the economy, telling reporters on Wednesday, "The economy's coming back. People are getting vaccine. We're on the way out of this. We're about to have a boom. And if we do have a boom, it will have absolutely nothing to do with this $1.9 trillion."

The No. 3 Republican in the Senate as GOP conference chair, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, lamented on Sunday the enactment of what he called "what is now known as the most progressive bill in the history of the United States, according to the White House."

"We are not gonna stand with the Democrats as they try to exploit a crisis to send lots of money to big cities and to blue states and to really failed pension plans. This is not supposed to be a bailout, it's supposed to be about helping get the disease behind us," he told ABC News.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, attempted to bargain with the American people, trying to convince them to oppose the legislation. He reportedly told his GOP colleagues last week that they would run ads to weaponize portions of the legislation against Democrats who voted for it.

"The $2 trillion stimulus package that President Biden signed into law today is a historic waste of money that not only puts our economy at risk of inflation but also reflects the increasingly liberal priorities of today's Democrat Party," Scott said in a Thursday press release announcing attack ads against Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.

At least one GOP lawmaker has accepted the legislation's popularity and tried to claim credit for provisions in it — despite having voted against the package.

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker tweeted last week that he was proud that the law included a $28.6 billion provision, sponsored by him and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, to assist restaurants hurt by the pandemic.

Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar on Saturday also came under fire for taking credit for the Biden administration's actions to defer disaster loan repayments. Critics said her claims about a "bipartisan COVID relief bill" misleadingly suggested she had backed the popular $1.9 trillion plan.

A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Thursday found that while 41 percent of Americans approve of the job the Democratic majorities in Congress are doing, just 28 percent approve of the GOP minority.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Ivanka Won’t Run Against Sen.  Rubio In 2022 Election

WASHINGTON — After months of speculation, West Miami's U.S. senator won't need to worry about a Republican primary from a future Indian Creek resident. Sen. Marco Rubio's office said Thursday that Ivanka Trump — the daughter of former President Donald Trump and a former White House adviser — has no plans to run against Rubio in the 2022 election. “Marco spoke with Ivanka a few weeks ago, and she offered her support," said Rubio spokesperson Nick Iacovella. A source close to Ivanka Trump confirmed that a meeting recently took place between the two. Ivanka Trump's decision not to run against one...

Republican Senators Joke About Trump’s Deadly Incitement To Rioters

Reprinted with permission American Independent

On the second day of Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, House managers presented evidence to support the charge of incitement to insurrection on which Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on January 13.

Republican lawmakers are treating the proceedings as a joke, ignoring the evidence of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters that left five dead and deriding the entire thing as a "political stunt."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Wednesday tweeted a video of herself walking toward the Senate chamber for the second day of the trial.

"Day two of the impeachment," she says with a smile. "I'm getting ready to head the floor. What we're going to hear today is the House managers are going to lay out their claims about impeachment and against the president, and we hear that they have produced a Hollywood-type movie for us to see."

Blackburn also tweeted, "The Democrats spoke of unity, but their actions have proven otherwise. This impeachment is a political stunt that will only further divide our nation."

The deadly attack by Trump supporters on January 6 killed five, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, and injured 140 police officers, some seriously. Two police officers have died by suicide in the wake of the attack.

During the attack, rioters chanted, "Hang Mike Pence!" and evidence has suggested that some intended to take hostages.

In his opening statement Tuesday, House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said that failing to hold Trump accountable for inciting the riot could lead to further violence:

President Trump has sent his lawyers here today to try to stop the Senate from hearing the facts of this case. They want to call the trial over before any evidence is even introduced. Their argument is that if you commit an impeachable offense in your last few weeks in office, you do it with constitutional impunity. You get away with it. In other words, conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president and your second year as president and your third year as president and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all. This would create a brand new January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America. A January exception.
And everyone can see immediately why this is so dangerous. It's an invitation to the President to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door, to hang onto the Oval Office at all costs, and to block the peaceful transfer of power. In other words, the January exception is an invitation to our founders' worst nightmare. And if we buy this radical argument that President Trump's lawyers advance, we risk allowing January 6th to become our future.

"We're one day in to the stupidest week in the Senate," tweeted Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. He criticized President Joe Biden for somehow failing to stop the trial in another post: "Disappointing. @POTUS went from calling for unity to letting Democrats' partisan impeachment charade continue."

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was one of several Republicans calling impeachment a waste of time that could be dedicated to other work, tweeting, "Democrats want a week of political theater raging at Donald Trump instead of focusing on reopening schools or getting millions of Americans back to work."

Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio also complained Tuesday that the trial was "a waste of our time."

During the gripping 13-minute video Democrats played on the first day of the trial, Rubio and several other Republican senators, including his fellow Floridian Rick Scott and Arkansas' Tom Cotton, would not even watch. Kentucky's Rand Paul reportedly doodled his way through the trial on a pad in his lap.

In an example of how a government can do several things at once, despite Cruz's concern, the Biden administration intends to release new guidance for reopening schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week, and the American Rescue Plan proposed by Biden to provide economic relief for those suffering during the coronavirus pandemic has been projected to get the economy back on track as early as the end of the year.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Sen. Rubio Complains That Impeachment Trial Is ‘Stupid’

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Appearing on Fox News Sunday to chat with host Chris Wallace, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) delved into his feelings on former President Donald Trump. What about Trump, specifically? Oh, just the articles of impeachment against him. In a word, Rubio said he finds the trial "stupid."

In a very slightly more eloquent attempt to express himself, Rubio added, "We already have a flaming fire in this country," and that a trial would amount to "a bunch of gasoline." Just another way of arguing that a trial would rupture unity efforts, even though as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued last week, ignoring all that's gone is actually what is more likely to sow division in the country. Why? Because we need accountability.

As of Sunday morning, at least one Republican sees the impeachment trial differently than Rubio, however. We can check out more of what Rubio said below, as well as what one of his peers in the Senate argued.

Rubio said he does think Trump "bears responsibility for some of what happened" and that it was "certainly a foreseeable consequence of everything that was going on." It would be fascinating to hear what Rubio qualifies as "some" of what happened when a group of pro-Trump rioters surged into the U.S. Capitol and effectively terrorized elected officials. Rubio, instead, stressed he thinks that is "separate" from the idea of revisiting it and "stirring" it up.

Here's that clip.

Wallace also asked Rubio how he feels about whispers that Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, may run for a senate seat in Florida. Given that Rubio is up for reelection in 2022, a primary challenge is considerably important. Rubio, however, dodged the meat of the question by declaring that he doesn't "really get into the parlor games of Washington."

He did say that if he wants to be "back in the U.S Senate, I have to earn that every six years" and that he doesn't own his seat. Which is true, but would ring as a touch more meaningful if Florida didn't have rampant voter suppression issues.

Wallace also spoke to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) about the impeachment trial, posing the same question to both Republicans. Did they agree with fellow Republicans who argued that the trial should be thrown out under the alleged basis that it's unconstitutional to convict a former president? Rubio said yes, he'd definitely vote to nix the trial, but Romney thinks the proceedings are constitutionally solid. (Which, of course, they are.)

"if you look at the preponderance of the legal opinion by scholars over the years," Romney explained, "the preponderance of opinion is that yes, an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office." Romney, voted to convict in the first trial, however, did not say how he would vote a second time, noting they have yet to actually hear arguments and evidence from both sides.