The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Everything Republicans Oppose, They Now Call ’Socialist’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republicans have devised a new definition for the term socialism: anything we don't support.

According to Merriam-Webster, socialism is defined principally as "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods."

But congressional Republicans accused their Democratic colleagues and President Joe Biden this week of being socialists for considering reforms to the Supreme Court.

"Biden is dead set on packing the Supreme Court with activist justices who will rubber stamp the Socialists' anti-America agenda," tweeted Rep Mo. Brooks of Alabama on Wednesday. Biden has not endorsed any changes to the court, but signed an executive order on April 9 to create a commission to study various proposals for reforming it.

After a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill on Thursday to increase the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, "Democrats want to add 4 new justices to the Supreme Court of their choosing to force their socialist agenda on the American people. They would rather dismantle this nation than dignify the Constitution. It should scare every single American."

"Packing courts is a play right out of the socialist handbook," charged New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. "Hugo Chavez packed Venezuela's Court from 20 to 32 judges to tilt 45,000 rulings in his favor and destroy a nation. We can not and will not allow it here."

In a Fox News appearance on Friday, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin made a similar argument. "This is exactly what socialists do. We see this over and over again, when they try to take over a country — they, once they get in power, they try to take over the courts."

National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer said in February that this is his party's playbook for the 2022 elections: repeatedly accuse Democrats of being socialists who want to kill jobs.

Although Biden has expressly said he is not a socialist and very few congressional Democrats have actually endorsed socialism, Republicans have simply continued applying the terms to everything they oppose.

Brooks has said that temporarily letting members of the House work remotelyduring the pandemic, making sure the votes of Black Americans aren't suppressed, and offering legal protections for undocumented people brought to the United States by their families as kids are all socialism.

He, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert each argued that gun safety laws, such as universal background checks, amount to socialism.

Mullin said in February that a $15-an-hour minimum wage was a "socialist" plot to "add $54B to the deficit and devastate small businesses recovering from the pandemic."

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who cosponsored the For the People Act in the last Congress, decried the pro-democracy and voting rights legislation in March as ""socialism ... served on a platter."

Numerous GOP lawmakers also attacked Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan for pandemic relief as a socialist wish list and are now attempting defeat his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan with the same bogus claim. Georgia Rep. Rick Allen tweeted on April 5 that the "'infrastructure' plan is just a Trojan horse to advance socialist Green New Deal priorities."

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted, "72+ radical Socialists introduced a resolution to EXPEL me from Congress" over her calls for violence against Democratic lawmakers and her record of racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic attacks.

Donald Trump and his allies used similar attacks during his unsuccessful campaign for reelection in 2020.

These latest attacks come as Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated at their inability to make Biden and policy proposals unpopular with the public.

"Biden is a horrible villain for us," one Senate staffer told Politico this week, lamenting the GOP's inability to turn people against him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republicans Demand Gas Tax Hike To Fund Infrastructure

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Among Congressional Republicans' reasons for opposing President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan is its provision for increasing the corporate tax rate.

Some GOP lawmakers are urging instead a hike in the gasoline tax to fund infrastructure investments.

Unlike a corporate tax increase, a higher gasoline tax could disproportionatelyhurt working and lower-income Americans. It would impact those who have to drive to and for work and apply equally to lower- and higher-income drivers.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who attended a meeting on Monday between Biden and a group of Congress members from both parties to discuss the infrastructure plan, told the Washington Post that he urged Biden to reconsider increasing the gasoline tax.

"Roads, bridges, and ports are undoubtedly infrastructure, and I believe that energy grids, broadband, and clean water can fit the definition as well. But I have concern that moving too far beyond this could sink the bill," Young said.

Biden's plan calls for partially rescinding the massive corporate tax cuts that were included in Donald Trump's 2017 tax law, raising the rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and closing some loopholes. This would bring in an estimated $2.5 trillion in new revenue over the next 15 years.

Corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have opposed the tax rate increases included in the plan. The Republican lawmakers they have helped bankroll have indicated that they all plan to oppose the increases.

"I view the 2017 tax bill as one of my signature achievements in my entire career," Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) told reporters on Monday. "It would be an almost impossible sell for the president to come to a bipartisan agreement that included the undoing of that signature."

But polls show strong public support for both Biden's infrastructure plan and the corporate tax increases that would fund it. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released on April 7 found 65 percent support for a funding the plan through increased corporate tax revenues, including 42 percent support from Republican voters.

John Anzalone, who was pollster for Biden's 2020 campaign, told Axios on Sunday that raising taxes on corporations is a political winner: "We can take control of the tax narrative like we did in the Biden campaign — which was to say, 'No, that's not true, your taxes aren't going to increase, it's only those who are making over $400,000 and big corporations, who haven't been paying their fair share of taxes over the years.'"

Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested a gas tax increase might be considered, but the administration decided against it.

Biden, who has repeatedly said he will not raise federal taxes on families making less than $400,000 annually, has indicated he is against increasing the tax on gasoline. Reuters reported on Monday that, according to a White House official, Biden told lawmakers that increased gas taxes would not provide a significant boost to federal revenues.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Senate GOP Memo On Biden Jobs Plan Is Replete With Lies

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new messaging memo from the Senate Republican Conference to its members' communications teams frames President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan as a "job-crushing slush fund."

According to Politico, the memo, dated April 11, dismisses the $2.25 trillion infrastructure package as a "partisan plan to kill jobs and create slush funds on the taxpayer dime."

The memo is the latest in a series of attempts by Congressional Republicans to dent the bipartisan popularity of Biden's plan. Recent polling has shown that the vast majority of likely American voters, including 57 percent of Republicans, back the plan to invest trillions of dollars in roads, bridges, broadband, transit, water systems, clean energy, and human infrastructure like child care.

But Senate Republicans are signaling they will unanimously oppose the plan, just as they did the similarly popular $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Among the memo's false statements:

Biden's Partisan, Job-Crushing Slush Fund spends just 5% of the total $2.7 trillion on roads and bridges.
The rest is:
  • a wish list of non-infrastructure spending on failed Obama policies;
  • a dog's breakfast of slush funds for Democrats' pet projects without any accountability or transparency;
  • expensive green energy mandates on Americans;
  • a ban on the right to work;
  • and a flurry of tax hikes that will to drive companies out of the U.S. and give China and Russia a say in the United States' tax laws.
As a result, the plan will eliminate at least 1 million jobs.

The claim that the investments will eliminate 1 million jobs is based on a prediction contained in a study conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group representing corporations that would see an increased tax rate under the plan. The group strongly backed the 2017 Trump corporate tax cuts that Biden's plan would partially reverse.

But other estimates have suggested the plan would instead increase the number of jobs. An analysis conducted at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill would create or preserve 15 million jobs over the next decade. A Moody's Analytics report said that the economy will create 19 million jobs if the American Jobs Plan becomes law — 2.7 million more than it would without the legislation.

Several congressional Republicans have said that the bill's human infrastructure provisions don't count as infrastructure. But even the dictionarydefinition they have circulated notes that infrastructure includes the "basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise."

Polling has shown widespread support for the child care and caregiving provisions of the bill, though at least one Senate Republican has attackedcaring for older Americans as an insidious part of Democrats' "liberal agenda."

The plan does not take away any "right to work." It includes a provision — known as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act — that would protect the rights of workers to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.

Fact-checkers have debunked the claim that only five percent of the bill is really infrastructure spending.

The Washington Post noted on April 5 that the five percent figure omits rail and water systems that were even included in Donald Trump's infrastructure proposals, observing, "To say that Biden's plan would devote only five to seven percent of its $2.3 trillion cost toward 'real infrastructure' is highly misleading, the kind of talking point that tries to erase recent history and parts of the English language as a battle begins to heat up in Congress."

The Republican memo was sent just before President Biden was scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the plan with a delegation of Congress members from both parties.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Fed Chair Predicts Imminent Boom, Credits Biden

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Sunday that the economy is likely about to boom, big time. And he credited two of President Joe Biden's efforts for that progress.

On CBS News' 60 Minutes, Powell observed that the economy appears to be at an "inflection point."

"We feel like we're at a place where the economy's about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly," he said, noting, "we and a lot of private sector forecasters see strong growth and strong job creation starting right now. So really, the outlook has brightened substantially."

Powell was picked for the job by Donald Trump in November 2017. As he announced the nomination at a Rose Garden event, Trump called Powell "strong," "committed," and "smart," saying, "I am confident that with Jay as a wise steward of the Federal Reserve, it will have the leadership it needs in the years to come."

But after praising Powell's "integrity and good judgment," Trump largely ignored Powell's advice and savaged him as an "enemy" of America.

From the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Powell warned that it could be a major economic threat. "We are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy," he said in February 2020.

Trump responded by pretending the problem would go away and continuing to attack Powell.

In October, Powell urged more congressional action to address the crisis and its economic fallout, and renewed efforts to curb the virus' spread.

"Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses," he told the National Association for Business Economics. "By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller."

He cautioned that "COVID-19 cases might again rise to levels that more significantly limit economic activity, not to mention the tragic effects on lives and well-being. Managing this risk as the expansion continues will require following medical experts' guidance, including using masks and social-distancing measures."

Trump instead halted all negotiations on a COVID-19 relief package and continued to promote an unsafe immediate reopening of the economy. Cases spiked to an all-time high and the recovery slowed.

Since taking office, Biden has focused on vaccinating everyone and passing massive economic relief. Powell credited both on Sunday for the improved economic situation, saying it was "because of widespread vaccination and strong fiscal support, strong monetary policy support."

After Trump promised in the 2020 campaign to vaccinate just 200,000 people a day, Biden pledged to get that number up to 1 million a day for the first 100 days of his administration. He has far exceeded this goal and CNN reported Monday that at the current pace, half of U.S. adults could be at least partially inoculated by the end of the week.

Powell also expressly praised the pandemic relief bills, saying without them things "would've been so much worse." While some of the bills were bipartisan efforts under Trump, congressional Republicans refused to even consider a House-passed $3 trillion relief package for most of 2020 and unanimously opposed Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Powell noted that his colleagues are forecasting "growth for this year in the range of six or seven percent, which would be the highest level in, you know, 30 years — or even maybe a little bit higher."

Trump promised growth of "four, five, and maybe even six percent ultimately" but failed to achieve even four percent growth for any year of his presidency.

Experts predict that growth could be even better if Congress enacts Biden's $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. A recent Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis suggested an infrastructure bill around that size could boost GDP by up to $320 billion annually.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Poll: Biden Jobs Plan Favored By 73 Percent Of Voters

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The vast majority of Americans back President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan, according to a new poll from Data for Progress and the pro-infrastructure group Invest in America.

But that has not stopped congressional Republicans and their corporate funders from attacking the infrastructure plan.

The April survey of likely voters found 73 percent support the $2.25 trillion investment plan, compared to just 21 percent who oppose it. Even among Republicans, 57 percent said they back Biden's proposal, while 38 percent oppose it.

The poll also found broad support for the main areas of investment included in the plan — physical infrastructure (76 percent support), care economy (74 percent), American manufacturing (65 percent), clean energy (64 percent), and housing (61 percent).

These numbers are in line with the group's earlier polling. Their March 23 data found 57 percent support for a big investment in infrastructure and 69 percent support for a $4 trillion infrastructure program.

Biden's economic policies have been successful and fueled his positive approval ratings so far. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that, for the first time in 16 years, data from Oxford Economics shows the United States is now the leading driver of the global economy. The nation gained 916,000 new jobs in March and its unemployment dropped to just six percewnt — down from record-high unemployment numbers under Donald Trump.

Much of the economic momentum has been fueled by Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which provided $1,400 relief checks for most Americans; average 2021 tax cuts of more than $3,000; more than $125 billion to help schools return to in-person instruction; $350 billion for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; and tens of billions for coronavirus vaccination and testing.

That relief legislation was passed without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate — despite widespread public support and the backing of the American business community.

Politico reported on Tuesday that corporate lobbying organizations are opposing this infrastructure plan — which calls for an increase in the corporate tax rates that were slashed by Donald Trump's 2017 tax law — claiming the increased revenue from corporations would be bad for their corporate members.

"The benefits of infrastructure would be offset by punitive tax increases," Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the outlet. The business group has been pushing for massive infrastructure investment for years, but it also backed the 2017 tax cuts, incorrectly predicting they would "lead to higher wages and catalyze broad economic growth."

As with the pandemic relief plan, GOP lawmakers have been mounting a fervent attack against the infrastructure bill. They have falsely claimed it is secretly a "Trojan horse" to pass the Green New Deal and said they will oppose it because it raises taxes (and also that they would oppose it if it increased the debt).

Like with the American Rescue Plan, the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate can pass this legislation through the budget reconciliation process, circumventing a filibuster by the Senate Republican minority if they stay unified.

But passing this bill in the House without any GOP support might be a bit more difficult, given that two Democratic representatives, Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, resigned in March to join Biden's Cabinet and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) died this week. With those three seats now vacant, House Democrats now hold just a 218 to 212 majority.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republicans Rage Over Budget, Bibi, And Border, But Can't Dent Biden In Polls

Congressional Republicans are once again outraged that President Joe Biden has not allowed them to run his calendar. This time they are furious that he has not yet submitted a formal budget to Congress.

Biden, who was inaugurated on Jan. 20, has been president for just 76 days. He has spent much of that time cleaning up the messes left by Donald Trump: the ongoing deadly coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis the pandemic has caused, and systemic problems of racism and violence made even more visible in the past four years.

Still, Republicans on the House Budget Committee used their official Twitter account on Tuesday to attack Biden for not yet releasing a budget proposal.

"President Biden's lack of transparency is historic as he continues to fail to submit any budget plan or outline to Congress," they charged. "When he does it will be the latest a President has submitted an initial budget outline to Congress in the modern budget era. @POTUS where is your budget?"

Biden's acting budget director has been on the job for less than two weeks. Rather than cooperate with Biden's team to ensure a smooth transition, Trump's team at the Office of Management and Budget pretended that they were going to write the 2022 budget, even after Biden's decisive election victory.

Congressional Republicans are demanding that Biden prioritize filing a budget document as if the president is obligated to do exactly what they tweet he should do.

Over the past two months, they have whined repeatedly when Biden didn't drop everything to meet assorted other GOP demands.

For weeks, they complained that since his inauguration, President Biden had not had a phone conversation with embattled and indicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — even though the two had spoken during the transition and Netanyahu's ambassador to the United States had made clear he was in no rush, saying, "The prime minister is not worried about the timing of the conversation."

"What is @POTUS avoiding?" asked Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson on Feb. 11. "I urge President Biden to ignore the radical left in his party and make a strong show of support for our partnership with Israel by calling @IsraeliPM Netanyahu."

"From Xi and Putin to Mario Kart, President Biden has found plenty of time for many activities since being sworn in," groused Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York on Feb. 16. "It's past time to pick up the phone and call America's loyal friend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."

"Over the years, the U.S. has strengthened our relationship with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, due to our shared interests and values," tweeted Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff on Feb. 17. "Yet, after 28 days, @JoeBiden has still not picked up the phone to call Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu."

Biden and Netanyahu spoke on Feb. 17.

Next, Republicans, who had defended Trump as he attacked and stonewalled the press for four years and set records for the length of time that passed between news conferences, went after Biden for not holding a formal news conference. Biden had frequently answered reporters' questions in informal settings.

"Why does Joe Biden, the least transparent president in history, need to announce his press conference over a week in advance?" asked Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert on March 17 after the White House announced the date.

"What kind of President takes 64 full days to finally have a press conference? NOT a mentally competent one I'll tell you that!" tweeted Jackson on March 18.

"If Trump had gone 60+ days without taking questions and then held a nonsensical press conference like Biden did yesterday, the Dems would be shouting to invoke the 25th Amendment," tweeted Texas Rep. Brian Babin on March 26, the day after Biden spent an hour answering questions from the White House press corps about immigration, Trump, and Biden's plans for 2024.

More recently, congressional Republicans have demanded Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visit the U.S.-Mexico border to witness what they call a "crisis."

"It's time @JoeBiden takes responsibility for the crisis he has created at our border and makes a visit to see it for himself," Sen. Rick Scott of Florida tweeted on March 23.

"Our border is devolving into more chaos as the days go by," claimed Boebert on March 24. "Joe Biden has yet to announce plans to visit and Kamala Harris cackled at the thought."

"Move the southern border to Delaware and Joe Biden might visit it," sniped Texas Rep. Lance Gooden on March 29.

Biden said in response to questions on whether he'd visit the border, "At some point I will, yes. ... I know what's going on in those facilities."

Despite the GOP outrage, voters seem unperturbed.

According to FiveThirtyEight polling averages, Biden continues to enjoy the positive job approval ratings he's seen since taking office. Those averages put current approval of the job he's doing at 53.6% and disapproval at just 39.6%.

This is a significant reversal from his predecessor. After his first week in the White House, Trump never again reached his highest average approval rating of 46% and spent most of his four years in office with a majority of those polled disapproving of his job performance.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden Wants To Raise His Own Taxes, Enraging Republicans

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A group of more than 150 House Republicans is demanding to know why President Joe Biden, who once used a legal tax loophole, is now pushing to close tax loopholes. And the group's head is threatening to investigate the matter, if the GOP regains a House majority someday.

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks chairs the Republican Study Committee, the main coalition of House conservatives. In a letter on behalf of the group last week, he accused Biden of "hypocrisy" for using "a tax shelter strategy derided by the Left to avoid paying Obamacare taxes." Citing the Bidens' voluntarily released tax returns for 2017, 2018, and 2019, he noted that they received income through two corporations, avoiding self-employment taxes. Banks demanded to know whether the Bidens "intend to undo" this by paying more in taxes.

In a Fox News interview on Monday, Banks threatened to launch an Oversight Committee investigation into the Bidens' taxes if his party wins back the majority in the House next year.

"House Democrats used their oversight power to subpoena Trump for his tax returns, but they've completely ignored Joe Biden's abuse of our tax code," he complained. "When we take back the House in 2022, Oversight Republicans won't forget about Biden's legally dubious tax avoidance schemes."

Banks added: "Joe Biden advocated for expanding Medicare, and is pushing to close tax loopholes and for a $3 trillion tax hike. At the same time, 'Amtrak Joe' made $13 million through speaking fees in just three years, then skimped over $500,000 from Medicare recipients through tax loopholes."

Despite Banks' claims of questionable legality, the Fox News report describes Biden's actions as "entirely legal" and notes that the president has pushed to close these kinds of loopholes in the past.

And unlike his predecessor, Biden made his tax returns public during his 2020 campaign. Based on that information, the Wall Street Journal reported in July 2019 that Biden had used the loophole, while noting that the Obama-Biden administration unsuccessfully pushed in 2016 to eliminate that and other tax loopholes.

A campaign statement at the time defended Biden's actions. "The salaries earned by the Bidens are reasonable and were determined in good faith, considering the nature of the entities and the services they performed," the statement said, calling the use of the corporations a "common method for taxpayers who have outside sources of income to consolidate their earnings and expenses."

The GOP's letter comes after Biden pledged to increase taxes on corporations and on those who — like himself during his time in the private sector — earn more than $400,000 annually.

By closing corporate tax loopholes and restoring some pre-Trump corporate tax rates, Biden hopes to raise funds to help pay for his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan for infrastructure investments over the next decade.

Unlike Biden, Banks has opposed efforts to increase the tax burden of the wealthiest Americans. He signed a pledge never to raise taxes and even pushed to make Donald Trump's massive 2017 tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent.

If Biden's infrastructure plan becomes law, it will provide trillions in investment in roads, bridges, broadband, water, transit, and other priorities — and support more than 15 million jobs over the next decade.

Trump, whom Banks backed, argued in 2016 that his own use of loopholes to avoid taxes was proof of his own brilliance and made him uniquely qualified to fix them. He did not do so.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Governors Who Opposed Rescue Plan Will Still Take $55 Billion

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is highlighting her staunch opposition to the American Rescue Plan in her reelection campaign messaging as a way to attract potential supporters and obtain their contact information. But like other governors who have attacked President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, she has not turned down the huge financial infusion her state will receive from it.

"I stood alongside 21 other Republican Governors to OPPOSE President Biden's plan to use YOUR taxpayer dollars to bail out blue states like CA, NY, and IL," Reynolds tweeted on Thursday. "Will you sign your name alongside side mine to tell Biden you OPPOSE his blue state bailout?"

The tweet links to a petition that contains required fields for email addresses and phone numbers and the disclaimers "Paid for by the Kim Reynolds for Iowa Committee" and "By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and texts, including automated calls and texts, to that number."

But the provision of the relief bill that she is attacking, which directs $350 billion in direct aid to state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, stands to help her and her constituents in a big way.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee estimates that Reynolds will receive about $1.379 billion for her state government. Iowa's local governments will receive about $1.162 billion more, and the state will get another $153 million for capital projects. In total, Iowa will receive about $2.7 billion, not including the $1,400 stimulus checks and average 2021 federal tax breaks of $3,000 for most individuals.

A Reynolds spokesperson did not respond to multiple inquiries for comments about the funds. She has given no indication that she plans to refuse them.

According to data from the Rockefeller Institute of Government, Iowa receives more from the federal government than it sends to Washington, D.C., meaning Iowans are not actually bailing out anyone.

Democratic leaders in the state panned Reynolds' hypocrisy on Thursday.

"Iowans expect steady leadership that will get us through this pandemic and help us recover stronger than ever: Kim Reynolds has failed that test," Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn said in an emailed statement on Thursday. "Even after the American Rescue Plan has been passed and Iowans are already seeing direct relief, she's continuing these absurd political games. This kind of divisiveness doesn't make us stronger, and it certainly doesn't help our schools or small businesses recover."

Iowa Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls told The American Independent Foundation, "Thank you President Biden and Congresswoman [Cindy] Axne for leading when Republican politicians like Kim Reynolds are trying to score political points instead of taking bold and decisive action to defeat the pandemic and heal our broken nation."

Reynolds' claim that "21 other Republican Governors" opposed the $1.9 trillion package is not accurate.

On February 27, she joined 20 GOP governors and Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in signing a letter organized by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster that criticized the formula by which the state funds would be allocated.

"Unlike all previous federal funding packages, the new stimulus proposal allocates aid based on a state's unemployed population rather than its actual population, which punishes states that took a measured approach to the pandemic and entered the crisis with healthy state budgets and strong economies," the letter reads. "A state's ability to keep businesses open and people employed should not be a penalizing factor when distributing funds. If Congress is going to provide aid to states, it should be on an equitable population basis."

The letter, which took no position on the overall merits of the relief plan, was also signed by the Republican governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

States led by the 22 governors who signed the letter stand to receive a total of more than $55 billion. Adding in the funds for capital projects and local governments, the states will get more than $97 billion under the plan.

Not one of the governors has said they plan to refuse the aid.

The American Independent Foundation reached out to each of those governors to see if they plan to accept the funds.

A spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in an email that he "plans to accept the funds and direct the resources where they are needed most."

Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and Bill Lee of Tennessee have already indicated that they plan to use every penny they receive.

Like Reynolds, Sununu attacked the $1.9 trillion package as a "bailout" and opposed its passage in a series of February 27 tweets.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also explicitly opposed the bill's passage, calling it "hyper-partisan" and "everything that's wrong with DC."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Gang Tries To Punish Rep. Cheney For Impeachment — And Fails

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Wyoming's Republican-controlled Senate killed a scheme by Donald Trump backers to make it harder for a pro-impeachment congresswoman to keep her seat.

The state Senate voted on Wednesday to defeat a bill to require primary candidates in future elections to receive an outright majority or face a runoff.

Supporters said such a bill would prevent unpopular candidates from winning with a narrow plurality, while opponents called it unnecessary and costly for county elections officials. It failed following a 15-14 vote.

The bill was largely seen as targeted against Wyoming's at-large U.S. representative, House Republican Caucus Chair Liz Cheney — who has already drawn multiple 2022 primary challengers.

Cheney earned the ire of Trump and his supporters for not being loyal enough to the twice-impeached, one-term president. She criticized his foreign policy, voted to impeach him for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, and said in February that she does not believe Trump "should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."

While it is unclear how he knew about it, Trump's longtime strategist Corey Lewandowski endorsed the Wyoming legislation before it was even publicly announced, suggesting it would help Republicans defeat her.

"What we have in Wyoming — which is a statewide district, one member of Congress represents the whole state — we've got six, seven, or eight candidates who all think that they're the best candidate to beat Liz Cheney," he told a right-wing outlet in February. "The problem with that is, in a multi-candidate field, the incumbent has an advantage — name ID, money, recognition, which means if we have six or seven candidates running, she may have the chance to get through a primary."

"Now, I believe they're going to change the rules in Wyoming and that would then require a runoff if you don't get over 50 percent," he added. "That's very good news for the Trump candidate. The former president will choose, I believe, and a small group of advisors will help him make some recommendations on who he ultimately endorses in that race, but I can assure you, it will not be Liz Cheney."

Don Trump Jr. also got involved, urging pro-Trump forces in Wyoming to pressure their legislators to back the bill, Senate File 145, to punish Cheney.

"Any Republican in Wyoming who does Liz Cheney's bidding and opposes SF145 is turning their back on my father and the entire America First movement," he tweeted on March 9. "Support SF145 and let's send Lincoln Project Liz into retirement in 2022!"

The Team Trump effort to change the law and oust Cheney is part of a wider plan to retaliate against the handful of congressional Republicans who voted to impeach him, backed his conviction, or spoke out against his seditious attempts to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 victory.

Donald Trump himself reportedly told Wyoming's Republican state chair last month that he was willing to come campaign in the state, aiding the anti-Cheney effort.

Last month, he endorsed a primary challenger to an Ohio representative who backed Trump's second impeachment.

"Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th district because he does not represent their interest or their heart," Trump said in a press release. "Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

He has also vowed to campaign against other "disloyal" Republicans, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and "disloyal and very bad" Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Polls Show Massive Support For Biden’s Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing a plan for somewhere between $3- and $4 trillion in American infrastructure improvements. While Congressional Republicans are again making noise about opposing it, a new poll finds wide support for many of its likely components.

A survey by Data for Progress and the pro-infrastructure group Invest in America, released Tuesday, found that 57 percent of American likely voters believe now is the time for a big investment, while just 35 percent believe it is not.

When told of the basics of a $4 trillion infrastructure plan, voters backed it 69 percent to 22 percent. Even Republicans supported it 50 percent to 42 percent.

Asked about specific components likely to be included in Biden's Build Back Better plan, the vast majority of Americans surveyed supported each:

  • 87 percent support repairing roads and bridges — including 84 percent of Republicans.
  • 85 percent support repairing drinking water systems — including 80 percent of Republicans.
  • 79 percent support improving broadband in rural communities — including 72 percent of Republicans.
  • 68 percent support building and promoting pollution-free public transit — including a 49 percent plurality of Republicans.
  • 72 percent support modernizing the electrical grid with clean energy infrastructure — including 56 percent of Republicans.
  • 68 percent support cleaning up abandoned gas wells and mines — including 56 percent of Republicans.
  • 71 percent support weatherizing homes and buildings for better energy efficiency — including 59 percent of Republicans.
  • 77 percent support modernizing schools and early learning centers — including 67 percent of Republicans.

Like the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, this legislation could be passed under budget reconciliation rules that allow the majority to enact legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate — circumventing the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid the filibuster. Or the two parties could collaborate and pass some or all of the plan through the normal process if at least ten Senate Republicans opt to work with the Democratic majority.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said earlier this month that he will not back using reconciliation for an infrastructure bill without trying to work out a deal with Republicans first.

But Senate Republicans — who unanimously opposed the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law despite strong public support, even among GOP voters — are already signaling they'd rather try to obstruct this plan too.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that his caucus will oppose any new revenue to pay for the infrastructure, calling Biden's plan a "Trojan horse."

He predicted that the Democrats will pass the bill on their own, without GOP support: "I fully expect that's what they'll try to do, and that's because I don't think there's going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase."

Asked about plans to collaborate on portions where there is agreement and to consider the rest under reconciliation rules, Senate Minority Whip John Thune told HuffPost on Tuesday: "If the ploy is to lure Republicans to vote for the easy stuff and then do all the controversial stuff through reconciliation — I don't think our guys take the bait."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) dismissed the plan as a "boondoggle."

Donald Trump ran in 2016 on a promise to enact a massive infrastructure plan to "build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports, and airports."

He falsely claimed in his June 2015 presidential campaign announcement that he would "rebuild the country's infrastructure" better than anybody else could. "Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought."

But his promised $2 trillion plan went nowhere with either Democrats or Republicans in Congress, his administration's botched "infrastructure week" kickoffs became a national joke, and he called off bipartisan negotiations in 2019 because he was mad House Democrats were doing oversight of his administration.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Texas GOP Says Rep. Roy’s Lynching Endorsement Was ‘Inappropriate’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The Republican Party of Texas called out one of its own on Friday for pro-lynching comments made during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on violence against Asian Americans. But it rejected demands from Democrats that Rep. Chip Roy resign from Congress.

The committee's ranking member, Roy said during the hearing on Thursday, "The victims of race-based violence and their families deserve justice" before immediately pivoting away from the subject, saying, "I would also suggest that the victims of cartels moving illegal aliens deserve justice. The American citizens in south Texas, they are getting absolutely decimated by what's happening at the southern border deserve justice. The victims of rioting and looting in the street ... last summer deserve justice."

Roy then went on:

We believe in justice. There are old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That's what we believe. My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys.

Allen West, the pro-secession state GOP chair and former Florida congressman, said in a statement, "Congressman Chip Roy's comments were inappropriate and unfortunate, no one should infer hanging as a metaphor." He added, "My recommendation to Congressman Chip Roy would be to engage the brain before firing the mouth, it would avoid embarrassing situations such as this."

But West dismissed suggestions that Roy should step down for the comments, writing, "While his comments about hanging were dumb, they're not grounds for resignation."

Roy also repeated the inflammatory statement that China's government is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, calling it "the bad guys."

After Democratic colleagues, including Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, called out Roy's comments, the Texas Republican doubled down on them Thursday evening.

"Apparently some folks are freaking out that I used an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree about carrying out justice against bad guys. I meant it. We need more justice and less thought policing," he told NBC News. "We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese Communists who seek to destroy us. No apologies."

Others condemning Roy included Texas Democrats Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, who put out a statement on Thursday calling on Roy to resign immediately. "It is an outrage, and terrifying, to hear a Congressman claiming any connection between lynchings and justice," he wrote. "Roy's comments are painful and offensive to a country reeling from the horrifying anti-Asian attacks in Atlanta this week. Roy is perpetuating the racist systems that harm us and contributing to the terror people of color face every day in our country."

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also blasted Roy, telling CNN his comments were "shameful and disgusting and disgraceful."

Roy responded to West's criticism by complaining that he had not reached out to him personally. He told the Texas Tribune that his analogy had come from "a Willie Nelson lyric" and promised, "I will continue to 'engage my brain' to combat the leftist mob which demands that we police speech rather than focus on fighting evil-doers - be they murderers, cartels, or the dangerous Chinese Communist Party."

"Beer for My Horses," a 2003 song recorded by Nelson and Toby Keith, contains the line: "Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street, for all the people to see."

Roy is no stranger to making comments that draw immediate and strong criticism.

In January, he warned that if Democrats won runoff elections for Georgia's two Senate seats, the nation would find itself in a "hot" civil war.

Last year, he smeared a 20-year-old survivor of the 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, as "functionally illiterate" for his criticism of Donald Trump's family separation policies, compared anti-racism protesters to the white former cop charged with murdering George Floyd, and likened coronavirus safety guidelines to "Nazi Germany."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

175 House Republicans Vote For $36 Billion In Medicare Cuts

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The House of Representatives voted 246 to 175 on Friday to pass a technical fix that would prevent tens of billions in cuts to Medicare and other programs. But 175 House Republicans opposed the effort.

Lawmakers voted on a bill, authored by Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth, to waive automatic budget cuts triggered by a 2010 law designed to cut federal spending.

The American Rescue Plan, passed last week without a single Republican vote, will provide $1.9 trillion to help curb the coronavirus pandemic and remedy the economic damage it has wrought.

But because that plan will increase the federal budget deficit, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Actrequires that cuts automatically be made to Medicare, farm subsidies, and other federal programs to offset some of its cost. According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, this would mean $36 billion in Medicare reductions as well as and tens of billions in cuts to other things — unless Congress votes to stop them.

Yarmuth noted that similar legislation in the past has been nonpartisan, even when it has followed policy changes that have themselves been politically controversial.

"When Republicans used reconciliation to pass tax cuts for the rich, Democrats voted with them ... [to] protect Medicare and other programs despite our strong opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," he wrote in a statement on Friday, March 12.

He warned that "if Republicans play political games and don't do their jobs, Medicare and the seniors that depend on it will pay the price."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and more than a dozen other House Republicans cited the potential automatic cuts to Medicare as a major reason they opposed the $1.9 trillion relief bill.

"The American people deserve better than Biden and Pelosi's political payoff scheme," McCarthy (CA) tweeted on March 11. "It causes $36 billion in cuts to Medicare."

But given a chance to fix it, all but 29 members of his caucus voted to allow those cuts to go into effect.

The bill will now go to the Senate, where it will require at least 10 GOP votes to advance to President Joe Biden's desk for a signature.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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.

Why Have No House Republicans Signed On To Stop Medicare Cuts?

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The House of Representatives will vote this week on a bill to stop billions in automatic cuts to Medicare. GOP lawmakers who previously railed against the cuts are now silent on whether they'll back the legislative fix.

The bill is authored and co-sponsored by Democratic House committee chairs: Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth, Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott, Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, and Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal. Not a single Republican has signed on as a co-sponsor so far.

Last week, Congressional Democrats passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to help curb the coronavirus pandemic and fix the economic damage it has caused — without a single Republican vote in favor.

Because that legislation increases the deficit, a provision of a 2010 law designed to cut federal spending could automatically force cuts to Medicare, farm subsidies, and other programs. According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, this would mean $36 billion in Medicare cuts and tens of billions of dollars in reductions to other programs.

This bill would waive those cuts — a move Kentucky Rep. Yarmuth said should be treated as a nonpartisan technical correction.

"When Republicans used reconciliation to pass tax cuts for the rich, Democrats voted with them to ... protect Medicare and other programs despite our strong opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," he said in a press statement on Friday. "This legislation should have the same outcome, but if Republicans play political games and don't do their jobs, Medicare and the seniors that depend on it will pay the price."

But while at least 19 House Republicans cited the possible Medicare cuts as part of their rationale for opposing the $1.9 trillion relief bill, none are saying whether they will back the bill to avert them.

A spokesperson for only one of the 19 had responded to a request for comment before this story was published.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy (CA) tweeted on March 11, "The American people deserve better than Biden and Pelosi's political payoff scheme. It causes $36 billion in cuts to Medicare."

Don Bacon

Bacon (NE) tweeted on March 10, "The Budget Committee said the 'COVID' bill will cut $3B from Nebraska Medicare. This totally partisan $1.9T bill comes when $1T has not been spent from previous relief bills."

Kevin Brady

Brady (TX) tweeted on Feb. 11, "Punish health care heroes? #WaysandMeans Democrat's partisan Covid bill cuts Medicare funding by $18 billion or more. Who is hurt? Doctors, nurses, health care heroes, nursing homes, hospitals."

Ken Buck

Buck (CO) tweeted on March 12: "The spike in deficit spending from House Democrats coronavirus aid package would trigger $381 billion in cuts to Medicare annually for the next five fiscal years, via the Congressional Budget Office. Translation: Democrats are taking away your healthcare during a pandemic."

Tim Burchett

Burchett (TX) tweeted on March 10, "The American taxpayers just got hosed for $1.9 trillion and Tennessee seniors got $8.4 billion cut from Medicare in the so called #CovidRelief bill."

Vern Buchanan

Buchanan (FL) tweeted on Feb. 27, "The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned this week that Pelosi's bill could trigger a $36 billion cut in Medicare funding."

Michael Burgess

Burgess (TX) tweeted on March 1, "Besides not being compliant with the 'Byrd Rule,' Dems $1.9 trillion #COVID19 bill could lead to cuts in Medicare and raising fees for student loans."

Buddy Carter

Carter (GA) tweeted on March 4, "GA is the worst-hit state under the Pelosi Payoff because it rewards blue state lockdowns while punishing hardworking Georgians and seniors. If this plan becomes law, GA seniors will be hit with an $11.5b Medicare cut. Our senators from GA can and should stop this very bad deal."

Rick Crawford

Crawford (AR) tweeted on March 3, "Arkansas seniors will face the brunt of the damage due to the President's bailout bill. Seniors stand to endure Medicare cuts of approximately $4.7 billion over ten years. AR will also get $390 million LESS in direct Medicare funding. How is this bill good for AR, again?"

Mario Diaz-Balart

Diaz-Balart (FL) tweeted on March 10, "If this fake #COVID bill becomes law Florida's seniors will be hit with a $30.8B Medicare cut over 10 years."

Jeff Duncan

Duncan (SC) tweeted on Feb. 26, "Another reason to oppose the 'COVID-19 relief' bill – It could cause $36 billion in cuts to the Medicare Program to offset the Democrats reckless spending on their radical priorities that are unrelated to COVID-19."

Drew Ferguson

Ferguson (GA) tweeted on March 10, "Georgians are being robbed left, right, and center by Pelosi's Payoff to Progressives. It's unimaginable that our two new Senators – Warnock and Ossoff – voted to cut Medicare funding by $11.2 billion for Georgia's seniors. It's just plain wrong."

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Greene (GA) tweeted on Feb. 24, "The Biden Bailout cuts healthcare for seniors on Medicare. Under Statutory PAYGO, the plan will cause an approximately $30 billion cut to the Medicare program every year starting in 2022 and continuing for next 10 years. Why would Grandpa Joe hurt seniors?"

A spokesperson for Greene said her office would not "respond to requests from 'journalists' with pronouns in their signature."

Yvette Herrell

Herrell (NM) tweeted on Feb. 27, "Democrats wouldn't cut their earmarks for a Silicon Valley subway and a bridge to Canada, but their COVID bill triggers cuts to your Medicare," referencing two infrastructure provisions later stripped from the final version of the bill.

Mike Johnson

Johnson (LA) tweeted on March 8, "More important data that every Louisianian should see: The #PelosiPayoff will cut Medicare for Louisiana's seniors by $649 MILLION per year for TEN years. Calling this a 'rescue plan' is a sham."

Matt Rosendale

Rosendale (MT) tweeted on March 9, "The Democrats' $1.9 trillion stimulus spends an exorbitant amount on far-left priorities but still manages to take money from Montana seniors. Their bill will slash $1.6 BILLION from our state's Medicare over 10 years... This means about a $168 MILLION cut every year. No way!"

David Schweikert

Schweikert (AZ) tweeted on March 3, "ARIZONA SENIORS: The $1.9 Trillion Biden Bailout would result in a $8.1 Billion Cut to Medicare in our state if signed into law."

Jason Smith

Smith (MO) tweeted on Feb. 17, "As a result of Biden's bailout package, $30 BILLION will be cut from Medicare next year alone. $30 BILLION. These cuts will be devastating for our seniors and the providers who care for them."

Lloyd Smucker

Smucker (PA) tweeted on March 6, "President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Bailout will trigger $17.2 billion in automatic cuts to Medicare over the next decade. These cuts will hurt Pennsylvania's seniors."

A spokesperson for the House Budget Committee said she is optimistic the final vote will be bipartisan. "Presumably no one wants to see these critical programs upended, especially amid this once-in-a-generation crisis, and it is our hope that the votes will reflect that." she said in an email to The American Independent Foundation.

Updated with a comment from the House Budget Committee.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Rep. Greene ‘Pissing Off’ Republicans, But They Won’t Stop Her

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republican leaders at the beginning of the year urged Americans not to hold Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's long history of bigoted comments and support for conspiracy theories against her, and to give her a chance before judging her as she took her seat in the House of Representatives.

Less than ten weeks into her term, she has already become a major problem for them.

On Wednesday morning, Greene unsuccessfully tried to adjourn the House of Representatives before members could vote on passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. When 40 GOP colleagues joined with Democrats to oppose the motion, she went ballistic.

"With the woke progressive fire hose spraying on and on and on, my Republican colleagues are constantly saying they want to stop the Democrats. But when the time comes to stop them, it's business as usual for some," Greene complained in a press release. "Yet some Republicans are so annoyed at the inconvenience of voting, they are putting their personal schedules ahead of the wishes of the People who put them in office.

"By voting against my motion to adjourn, some of my Republican colleagues are siding with the Democrats and enabling their policies that will destroy America. These Republican votes are the 40 white flags of the Surrender Caucus," she concluded.

It was the fourth time Greene has used the same parliamentary stunt to attempt to obstruct Congress and waste time. The disruption has not only upset the Democratic majority, but it has also proven a major pain for her Republican colleagues. Each time she's tried it, a larger number of GOP lawmakers have voted against her motions to adjourn.

Last Wednesday, several of them apparently complained to her about the interference, which impeded a Committee on Foreign Relations markup session and a classified briefing.

"Some GOP members complained to me that I messed up their schedule," Greene angrily tweeted. "I'm not sorry for interrupting fundraising calls & breakfast. GOP voters are tired weak Rs."

More and more House Republicans have been openly critical of her strategy.

"It's frustrating," Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan told CNN on Wednesday. "I don't see that this is resonating at home, the motions to adjourn. I mean it's just a pain. It's a pain in the ass."

"It's just pissing everyone off," an unnamed Republican member told the network.

Rep. Buddy Carter, a Georgia Republican, added, "Tactics without reason, they go nowhere."

After Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island suggested Wednesday that perhaps a rule change would be needed to restrict motions to adjourn, Greene responded by calling him "Rep. Mussolini." Cicilline tweeted in response, "I'm an Italian and a Jew. Mussolini was a fascist dictator in league with Adolf Hitler, who murdered six million Jews. Marjorie Taylor Greene can get lost."

Some House Republican leaders opposed Greene's House primary candidacy last year, noting her history of bigoted statements and her embrace of the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory. But after she won the GOP nomination in Georgia's 14th Congressional District, they embraced her and even gave her National Republican Congressional Committee funds.

In November, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged everyone to give Greene and other QAnon-backers "an opportunity before you claim what you believe they have done and what they will do." He praised them for making the GOP minority caucus "very diverse."

When Democrats moved to strip her of committee assignments in early February over her statements and actions, the GOP leadership rose to her defense. As he and 198 other Republicans voted not to hold her accountable for her "conduct," McCarthy attacked Democrats for trying to "distract Congress."

While she did not apologize, Greene tried to distance herself from her previous behavior, saying comments she made before being sworn in as a House member "do not represent me ... do not represent my district, and they do not represent my values."

But since taking office, she has embarrassed herself and the institution repeatedly.

She bullied the transgender daughter of a Democratic colleague, misgendered trans people, and falsely claimed that the proposed Equality Act would let men use women's locker rooms and bathrooms.

She denounced the United States providing aid to other countries, among which she included Guam, which has been a U.S. territory since 1899.

She incorrectly claimed a proposal made by the House Agriculture Committee on forgiving loans to farmers would not apply to white people.

She also argued that a rule prohibiting guns on the House floor was the "real voter suppression."

The American Independent Foundation reached out to McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney to see whether they believe Greene has now been given a sufficient chance to prove herself. None immediately responded.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Poll: Americans Blame Republicans, Not Biden, For Partisan Divide On Relief

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Congressional Republicans' effort to pin blame for the lack of bipartisanship over the American Rescue Plan on President Joe Biden has failed badly.

A Pew Research Center poll released on Tuesday found that 57 percent of Americans believe the Biden administration made a "good faith effort" to work with Republicans on the mammoth pandemic relief legislation. Forty percent said they did not believe the administration had made such an effort.

Among Democrats, the number of those polled who answered yes to the question was unsurprisingly high — 87 percent. Among Republicans, that figure was much lower, at just 23 percent.

Asked if Republican leaders did the same with the administration, just 42 percent of total respondents said yes and 55 percent said no.

Biden announced in January that he would ask Congress to approve the $1.9 trillion legislation to provide $1,400 relief checks for most Americans; unemployment benefits to those out of work due to the pandemic; tax cuts for working families; and hundreds of billions more in funding to help schools reopen safely, assist cash-strapped state and local governments, and improve coronavirus vaccination and testing.

From the beginning, Republicans opposed the legislation; not a single one voted for it at any step of the process.

On February 1, ten Senate Republicans countered with a proposal that would have given Biden less than a third of what he requested, saying they were doing so "in the spirit of bipartisanship and unity." Biden hosted them at the White House for a lengthy meeting, but made clear he would not accept an insufficient bill.

Rather than suggest an alternative that was closer to what Biden had asked for, GOP lawmakers then began a campaign to attack the bill as too partisan.

After blocking a House-passed $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the Senate last year, Republicans tried to rewrite history and pretend that congressional coronavirus efforts had always been bipartisan.

In reality, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider any relief legislation at all from May until September, calling this "the reasonable thing to do" and claiming, "It allowed us to learn the coronavirus didn't mysteriously disappear."

After Congress passed less than a trillion in relief in December, Senate Republican Whip John Thune made clear that his party would try to block any further relief under Biden.

Seizing on Biden's inaugural address call for "unity," Republicans accused the new president and the Democratic majorities in Congress of somehow breaking that promise by proceeding with the $1.9 trillion legislation against their wishes.

Then, after unanimously trying to block the bill, Republicans denounced it as not "bipartisan" enough.

While the bill met partisan disagreement in the Congress, it proved popular among voters in both parties.

A Morning Consult/Politico poll, released Wednesday, found 75 percent of registered voters support the $1.9 trillion relief plan — 18 percent are against it.

Among Republican voters, 59 percent support the bill and just 35 percent oppose.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Now That Trump Is Gone, GOP Demands Presidential Press Conferences

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

After years of defending Donald Trump, Republicans are attacking President Joe Biden for lack of "presidential transparency." But Trump's administration set modern records for holding the fewest press conferences.

On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee tweeted a video noting that it has been "49 days without a Biden press conference."

"Every day Pres. Biden goes without a press conference, he sets a new modern record for a lack of presidential transparency," they charged.

Trump's former White House press secretary — turned Fox commentator — Kayleigh McEnany launched a similar attack on the new administration last week.

"Where's Joe? It's been 41 days, at this point President Trump had had multiple press appearances, press conferences. President Barack Obama had as well," she told Fox News.

This claim is highly misleading. While Trump held his first formal solo press conference on Feb. 16, 2017 — nearly a month into his lone term — he gave exactly zero more over his entire first year. His then-spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed in early 2018 that more were unnecessary because Trump frequently communicated with the public "through Twitter."

According to the American Presidency Project, Trump gave the fewest in the first year of his administration of any president dating back to Calvin Coolidge.

He gave just nine solo press conferences over the first three years of his administration, before giving 35 in his pandemic-plagued final year.

Biden has not yet given a solo press conference but has repeatedly taken press questions in less formal settings.

Moreover, Biden's administration has been providing daily press briefings. Press secretary Jen Psaki takes questions from reporters at each, representing the administration.

The Trump White House repeatedly set records for the longest gaps between press briefings. In one period in 2019 and 2020, the administration went more than 300 days without a formal briefing.

Over that time, Stephanie Grisham held the title of White House press secretary for more than nine months without ever giving a single press briefing. Last January, two authors offered to donate $200,000 to charity if she gave even one briefing. She still refused.

Though Trump often called himself the "most transparent" president in history and took occasional questions at impromptu press gaggles outside the White House, his administration also attempted to restrict access to unfriendly reporters, revoking press passes from several White House journalists.

"We look forward to holding a full formal press conference, but in the meantime the president takes questions from the reporters covering the White House regularly, including this morning," Psaki told CNN last week. "And his focus day in and day out is on getting the pandemic under control and putting people back to work. That's what people elected him to do."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.