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Amid Mass Unemployment, Sen. Paul Demands Post Office Layoffs

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) argued during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Friday that the United States Postal Service should cut jobs to save money — despite the fact that the country is currently experiencing a historic unemployment crisis, with tens of millions of Americans collecting job-loss benefits amid a coronavirus-fueled economic downturn.

"When the Post Office becomes desperate for money — less employees," Paul said Friday at a hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. "We started that a few years ago, but we've got to do more of it. Mail keeps dropping, you've got to have less employees."

DeJoy was called to answer questions about recent changes to the Postal Service that have caused significant delays in mail and package delivery.

The slowdowns have caused delays in such varied areas as the delivery of critical medications to veterans and of baby chicks to farmers, with chicks being reported to have arrived dead because of the lag.

Slowdowns at the agency have also raised questions about whether mail-in ballots will be counted on time and whether voters could face disenfranchisement due to Postal Service delays.

Paul, however, called for more cuts at the agency, which could further exacerbate delivery delays.

Paul also argued that the Postal Service should cut the number of delivery days in rural areas from six a week to five — something that would almost certainly impact many of Paul's own constituents in the largely rural state of Kentucky.

Cutting jobs is always unpopular.

However, arguing for more job cuts during a global pandemic, during which unemployment in the United States has risen to record highs, leaving tens of millions of workers jobless, could be politically damaging.

And the Postal Service — which currently employs more than 600,000 people across the country — is almost universally popular with Americans.

In a 2019 Gallup poll, 74 percent of Americans said the Postal Service was doing an "excellent" or "good" job, making it the top-rated federal agency.

That would also make tinkering with the agency politically risky, as Americans like the services they are receiving and could grow angry if they were to lose them.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republicans Skirmish Aboard Their Sinking Ship

Even if November's electoral tsunami is still just a rumor on the horizon, that big blue wave already is rocking Republican boats. We can sense something different in the distance, not only because the polls say so but because political journalism has departed from its banal narrative.

Instead of the repetitious dullness of "Democrats in disarray," there is the freshly entertaining spectacle of "Republican civil war."

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In Senate Showdown, Dr. Fauci Rebuts Rand Paul On Reopening

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Dr. Anthony Fauci turned the tables on Senator Rand Paul Tuesday, after the Kentucky Republican suggested the immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) should be more humble and even point-blank told him he was not the "end all" when it comes to knowing about the coronavirus.

Senator Paul, who recovered after contracting COVID-19, was pushing for schools to re-open, suggesting the coronavirus doesn't kill many children.

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McSally Joins Sinema In Condemning Rand Paul For Spreading Coronavirus

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Centrist Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and far-right Republican Martha McSally were bitter rivals in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race of 2018, but the Arizona senators found some common ground when they joined one another in attacking Sen. Rand Paul over reports that the Kentucky Republican had used the Senate gym while awaiting a coronavirus test.

On Sunday, March 22, Paul announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus — and he has been self-quarantining. But Paul did not self-quarantine until after receiving the diagnosis, and Sinema and McSally believe he should have been self-quarantining even before that.

Sinema, after learning that Paul had coronavirus, tweeted, “I’ve never commented about a fellow Senator’s choices/actions. Never once. This, America, is absolutely irresponsible. You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus.”

McSally, an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump who recently sparked a controversy after insulting CNN reporter Manu Raju as a “liberal hack,” saw Sinema’s tweet and was in total agreement with her. On Twitter, the Republican told Democrat Sinema, “I couldn’t agree more @kyrstensinema. As we ask all Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods and alter their behavior to save lives, we must ourselves model appropriate #coronavirus behavior. No one is too important to disregard guidance to self-quarantine pending test results.”

Paul’s actions are in stark contrast to those of another far-right Republican senator who has self-quarantined: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Although Cruz has not tested positive for coronavirus, he voluntarily self-quarantined as a precaution after learning that a man he interacted with at the recent 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland had tested positive.

In 2018, McSally against Sinema, shocking the political world when she lost to a Democrat in Arizona. In January 2019, Sinema took over the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Jeff Flake. But McSally was appointed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to Arizona’s other U.S. Senate seat: the one once held by the late John McCain. McSally is seeking reelection this year, but polls have shown her trailing Democrat Mark Kelly (a former astronaut) in head-to-head matchups. And if Kelly wins in November, Arizona would end up with two Democratic U.S. senators — which would be a big change from the deep red Arizona that, for decades, was synonymous with Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater.

As of early Tuesday morning, March 24, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland was reporting that the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 had reached 17,156.

Paul, who is the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul and shares many of his libertarian beliefs, is the first U.S. Senator to test positive for COVID-19.