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Pelosi faces growing Democratic unrest over Covid relief


Reported by By HEATHER CAYGLESARAH FERRIS and JOHN BRESNAHAN | Updated: 

URL of the originating web site: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/15/nancy-pelosi-house-coronavirus-deal-415112

Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks to her office Sept. 14 on Capitol Hill. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

Pelosi’s stance is increasingly putting her at odds with moderate members in her caucus, some of whom are growing more vocal in their anger by the day and with less than two months before the election. A call between the centrist New Democrat Coalition and leadership grew heated Tuesday as Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) defended their posture, even as several lawmakers pleaded for them to change tacks in the coming weeks.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) pressed Pelosi on why members wouldn’t stay in town waiting for a deal, to which the speaker told her to “take a poll of your colleagues,” according to Democrats on the call. “I’m always here,” Pelosi added. And the exchanges only grew stormier after Pelosi dropped off and Hoyer took over.

“My conviction is to actually do my goddamn job and come up with a solution for the American people,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who sits in a GOP-leaning seat, said, according to two sources on the call. “We have to bring something to the floor.”

Hoyer, who has privately pushed the speaker to reconsider her strategy, was sympathetic to the moderates’ concerns but wouldn’t break with Pelosi on the call.

“I don’t want to undermine Nancy in any way,” Hoyer said multiple times on the call.

The mixed messaging from the leadership wasn’t cutting it with frontliners, who have spent the last few months facing urgent demands from their constituents for some kind of congressional action to address the twin health and economic crises.

“Every member of the leadership team, Democrats and Republicans, have messed up. Everyone is accountable,” said Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.). “Get something done. Get something done!”

Pelosi and senior Democrats argue their strategy is the only way to ensure that Democrats don’t simply cave to a GOP proposal that would fail to address major sectors of the economy, most especially aid to state and local governments who are facing a potentially catastrophic loss of revenue.

“A skinny deal is not a deal,” Pelosi said on a call with Democratic members Tuesday. “It is a Republican bill.”

And Pelosi has strong backing from progressive groups and labor unions, who are demanding that Congress pass a robust stimulus package in order to help the battered economy. While millions of jobs have returned, payrolls are down more than 11 million jobs from pre-pandemic employment levels. Poverty and food insecurity have gotten worse, and many economists fear the United States is on the verge of a long-term downturn unless more dramatic steps are taken by the federal government.

Pelosi made a similar argument to her leadership team in a private meeting on Monday night, where she again reiterated that Democrats should stand firm in their funding demands for the next package, according to people in the room. The California Democrat told members that she is still working to negotiate with the White House, but didn’t offer details on the status of those talks.

Pelosi tried to appease her caucus Tuesday, telling them in the morning call that the House wouldn’t depart Washington until there is a coronavirus funding compromise.

“We have to stay here until we have a bill,” Pelosi said, according to multiple Democrats on the call.

But that move only seemed to lead to more consternation after she and Hoyer later clarified that lawmakers would, in fact, be able to leave town as long as they could return within a day’s notice to vote on a bill — the same arrangement the House had during the August recess.

Many Democrats said they felt torn, anxious to get at least some money out the door — without caving to a GOP bill that shortchanges the most desperate Americans.

“We can‘t wait around forever for the proposal we think is the perfect proposal and that obviously won’t be helpful to anybody. Time is of the essence here,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who flipped a GOP seat in 2018.

But he added that Democrats can’t accept a number too low, either: “If you’re looking at something that is wholly insufficient and does not address the complexity of the money, then you’re actually just wasting that money.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the highly influential freshman lawmaker, also said she has wrestled with the issue even as she has seen the pandemic’s devastating influence back home.

“This administration, it seems what they want to do is cut another $1,200 check, but they don’t want to actually provide state and local [aid],”Ocasio-Cortez said. “That $1,200 is a nice little sugar high, and I support giving another stimulus check, but a second check in and of itself alone — if we’re not going to support state and local funding, if it’s not going to include significant investments in testing, tracing capacity and infrastructure — all it is is a little sugar high. It’s not going to solve the critical issues of the pandemic.”

The sentiment from Ocasio-Cortez and others reflects the mounting angst within the Democratic Caucus over the party’s handling of the coronavirus response and whether they need to do more to counteract the GOP’s messaging. The House passed a $3.4 trillion relief package in May but the Senate didn’t act on it.

Some Democrats worry that voters have already long forgotten about the House’s massive relief package from May and will take their anger out on both parties in November. They say that voting on additional bills could help remind people back home that Democrats have been pushing to deliver more aid all along.

“Let’s make sure the American people know what we stand for and where we are,” Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) said.

One idea, Meeks said, is to build out a new proposal to reflect the roughly $2 trillion price tag that Pelosi has described as the lowest figure Democrats would be willing to accept.

“I think we can reemphasize what we’re doing and how we’re intent on spending the money, and even where we made some reductions,” Meeks said.

But Pelosi has roundly resisted calls from some Democrats to negotiate a smaller coronavirus deal or put targeted bills on the floor addressing specific aspects of the pandemic including testing, unemployment aid and small business loans. Talks between Pelosi and the White House, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have been stalled for weeks, even as the coronavirus continues to devastate the U.S. economy, leaving millions without jobs and at risk of losing their homes. More than 6.5 million Americans have been infected with the virus and more than 194,000 have died.

Senate Democrats blocked the GOP’s attempt to advance a “skinny” $500 billion coronavirus relief bill last week, leaving senators in both parties — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself — to speculate that congressional leaders wouldn’t get another coronavirus deal until after the election. That prospect, however, has alarmed many House moderates, particularly those facing tough races in November. Some, led by the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, have drafted their own long-shot compromise in an attempt to pry loose some kind of deal before November.

That group released a roughly $2 trillion plan on Tuesday that would renew now-expired programs like unemployment aid and small business loans, though it also includes billions in spending that Senate Republicans have already rejected, like cash for state and local governments or the U.S. Postal Service. Pelosi has indicated she would negotiate a $2.2 trillion package with Republicans but hasn’t been open to going below that number.

Pelosi didn’t address the Problem Solvers plan during Tuesday’s caucus call, but her position was made clear later in the day when several of her committee chairmen put out a joint statement dismissing the plan as falling “short of what is needed.” Some of those same allies, including House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), also defended Pelosi’s strategy on the caucus call Tuesday.

“For us, not to cave in is really important,” Neal said on the call, according to Democrats who dialed in. But not everyone was in agreement.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) did not sign onto the joint statement. And he said on the caucus call it was clear Democrats would have to address the coronavirus again before going home for the election, noting it’s been four months since the House passed its $3.4 trillion relief bill.

“We can’t leave town without a package,” DeFazio said, stressing Democrats pass a bill that will provide coronavirus aid at least until early next year, when there might be a Democratic president in the White House. “We need to talk about all of our principles in a five month bill.”

Dems want climate change, tax hikes in infrastructure deal


Reported

The top two Democratic leaders on Monday told President Trump that any bipartisan infrastructure package needs to take into consideration climate change and include “substantial, new and real revenue” — a preview of the coming fight over tax hikes.

Trump will host Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) at the White House on Tuesday for discussions on a major infrastructure bill, one of the few policy areas that could see action amid divided government and as the 2020 race heats up.

Democrats want the measure for roads, bridges, waterways and other projects to be paid for with tax increases, and with a final price tag of at least $1 trillion over 10 years. Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget calls for $200 billion in federal spending on infrastructure, which White House officials say will leverage an additional $800 billion in investment through public-private partnerships over the next decade.

“America’s unmet infrastructure needs are massive, and a bipartisan infrastructure package must meet those needs with substantial, new and real revenue,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a letter to Trump on Monday. “We look forward to hearing your ideas on how to pay for this package to ensure that it is big and bold enough to meet our country’s needs.”

The leaders laid out other Democratic priorities: Any deal must extend beyond traditional infrastructure projects, take into account climate change, include “Buy America” provisions and provide jobs for a broad swath of workers.

“A big and bold infrastructure package must be comprehensive and include clean energy and resiliency priorities,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote. “To truly be a gamechanger for the American people, we should go beyond transportation and into broadband, water, energy, schools, housing and other initiatives. We must also invest in resiliency and risk mitigation of our current infrastructure to deal with climate change.”

“A big and bold infrastructure plan must have strong Buy America, labor, and women, veteran and minority-owned business protections in any package,” they added. “This bill can and should be a major jobs and ownership boost for the American people – manufacturers, labor contractors, and women, veteran and minority-owned businesses.”

Pelosi told reporters earlier this month that an infrastructure package “has to be at least $1 trillion. I’d like it to be closer to $2 trillion.”

Trump last year reportedly told lawmakers and senior White House officials that he was in favor of a 25-cent gas tax hike to help pay for an infrastructure overhaul. The gas tax, which supports the Highway Trust Fund and pays for road projects, has not been raised in more than two decades. But on Monday, a source familiar with Schumer’s thinking said the senator would not entertain any gas-tax proposal unless Trump also rolled back some tax cuts from his 2017 landmark tax law.

“Unless President Trump considers undoing some of the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy, Schumer won’t even consider a proposal from the president to raise the gas tax, of which the poor and working people would bear the brunt,” the Democratic source said.

Tuesday’s gathering marks the first meeting between Trump and the top Democratic leaders since the report from special counsel Robert Mueller was made public. It comes as multiple Democratic-led committees in the House have launched investigations into Trump, his administration, his business dealings and whether he obstructed justice.

A handful of other House Democrats will be attending Tuesday’s meeting: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (S.C.), Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (Mass.) and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (Ore.).

On the Senate side, Democratic attendees will include Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray (Wash.), Democratic Policy Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), and Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Tom Carper (Del.), the ranking members of the Finance and Environment and Public Works committees, respectively.

Tax Reform News


Senate to delay corporate tax cut, breaking with Trump and House

Senate Republicans plan to propose delaying a cut in the corporate tax rate until 2019, according to a GOP senator.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also said the individual mandate will not be repealed as part of the Senate tax overhaul proposal expected to be released Thursday.

The proposal breaks with President Trump’s preference that a corporate tax cut be put in place immediately. The House’s tax-reform legislation proposes lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent in 2018.

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Other big changes from the House version include adding back in a deduction for medical expenses and a full repeal of state and local tax deductions.

Republicans are seeking to get a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas.

A House panel could report its version out of committee on Thursday, and that measure could get a vote in the full chamber next week.

The GOP-written legislation is not likely to win over any Democrats, who blast it as a giveaway to the rich and object to cutbacks in breaks used by the middle class. Republicans say their standard deduction increase and tax rate cuts will make up the difference.

This story has been updated.

Blue Dog Democrats taking hard line on GOP tax bill

Blue Dog Democrats taking hard line on GOP tax bill | © Greg Nash

Blue Dog Democrats are lining up in firm opposition to the Republicans’ tax code overhaul, hoping that Tuesday’s election results will force GOP leaders to reach across the aisle for a bipartisan alternative.

The Blue Dogs had initially expressed an eagerness to join Republicans in the push for sweeping tax reform, which stands among the GOP’s top priorities. But the fiscally minded Democrats are quickly racing away from the GOP proposal, largely over projections the bill will hike taxes on millions of middle-class families and lead to a spike in deficit spending.

“Let me just be quite honest,” said Rep. David Scott, a Georgia Blue Dog. “There is no way I can support it.” 

Behind Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the Republicans are pressing forward this week with the marathon markup of their partisan tax proposal. The Republicans, desperate for a major legislative victory following the embarrassing demise of ObamaCare repeal earlier in the year, are scrambling to move the tax bill through the House by Thanksgiving and to President Trump’s desk by Christmas.

But overhauling the nation’s convoluted tax structure is a colossal task — there are reasons Congress hasn’t enacted major tax reforms since the Reagan administration — and the Republicans are facing stiff headwinds from a long list of opponents, including small business groups, realtors, universities and deficit hawks, not to mention Democrats united against the plan.

The blowback has made even some Republicans skeptical they can enact the conservative tax overhaul that’s long been at the top of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) wish list.

With that in mind, the Blue Dogs sense an opening for bipartisan compromise, and they’re feeling empowered by Tuesday’s elections, which saw lopsided Democratic victories in state and local contests across the country.

“It shows that we’ve got juice, and if they want to maintain their majority — or at least come close to that in the next cycle — they’re going to have to work with Democrats like us,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Blue Dog.

“The mood of the country’s moving away from them. They’ve not shown that they can get anything done. People are tired of that; they want someone who’s going to work across the aisle, someone who can solve problems.”

Scott agreed, saying the elections should stand as “a wake-up call” for both parties.

“It’s a powerful lesson, and it puts a greater pep in the step of Democrats,” he added. “But we’ve got to be willing to reach across the aisle.”

The Blue Dogs have dwindled in numbers since a rout in 2010, and there are now fewer than 20 members.

And it’s not even clear that Republicans are ready to reach across the aisle simply based on Tuesday’s results. Just a handful of GOP members have come out against the tax bill thus far, and many Republicans expect an easy vote on the House floor next week.

And not all Democrats are so eager to work with the Republicans on the tax plan, which was written with no help from the minority party. Indeed, in the eyes of many Democrats, Tuesday’s election trouncing was largely a reflection of the Republicans’ failure to enact any of their big campaign promises, despite controlling all the levers of power in Washington.

With that in mind, many Democrats see political gold in uniting to deny the Republicans a victory on tax reform, whatever form it assumes.

“The Democratic Party is going to be united,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, told reporters Tuesday. “If we held the vote today, we would be united. And I expect overwhelming Democratic opposition to a bill that advantages greatly the wealthiest in America and leaves the middle class behind.”

It remains unclear if the Republicans will need any Democratic votes to pass a tax package, with only several members peeling off thus far. And although they’ve sprinkled notions of seeking bipartisanship, Republicans wrote the bill themselves and Democrats say they are jamming it through with no hearings.

And if the criticism coming from the Blue Dogs this week is any indication, the GOP bill needs plenty of work if it’s to win the Democrats’ support.

“It will increase the taxes on the middle class and give extraordinary tax cuts to the wealthiest people,” said Scott. “And you and I both know that it is the middle class, it is the lower-income [people] … that will spend the money.

“Giving these tax cuts to the wealthy, they hoard it.”

Echoing Scott, Rep. Sanford Bishop, another Georgia Blue Dog, ticked off a long list of deductions eliminated under the GOP plan he said Democrats can’t support. As one example, “it seems awfully ridiculous for a school teacher not to be able to deduct the pens and the pencils and the papers that she purchases for her children,” he said, “but a corporation can deduct all of the pens and supplies that they provide to their employees.”

The Blue Dogs also oppose new deficit spending proposed under the GOP’s plan — a figure that would reach $1.7 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday.

“It’s complete hypocrisy that Republicans are ignoring that at this point,” Schrader said. “You’d have to close that hole dramatically.”

But Schrader also praised certain elements of the Republican plan, and predicted the GOP was going to need their help.

“They’re going to be desperate,” he added.

Democrat Minority Whip: Obama Grossly Misled American Public on Obamacare


http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/11/democrat-minority-whip-steny-hoyer-barack-obama-grossly-misled-american-public-obamacare/#ixzz2keypowCm

Victims of Obamacare are sharing their stories across the internet; by victims, I mean those individuals who have had their healthcare insurance policies canceled and hit with higher premiums and deductibles because of the Obamacare roll out. Some of these individuals favored health care insurance for all in the form of Obamacare while others did not support government intrusion into their private lives.

steny hoyerBecause of this backlash, Obama made what is now being called a “fake apology” on national television. But, what how are the Democrats in Congress handling this “bungled” implementation of a “thrown together in a rush” health care fiasco? With the 2014 elections just around the corner, one Democrat is calling Obama’s guarantee of “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan, period” grossly misleading the American public.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) stated on KGW-TV, “A lot of Americans, a lot of Oregonians, have stayed with the same policy for a number of years and are shocked that their policy got canceled.”

According to The Daily Caller:

“So I think the President saying you could stay with it and not being honest that a lot of these policies were going to get canceled was grossly misleading to the American public and is causing added stress and added strife as we go through a really difficult time with healthcare,” Schrader added.

Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer acknowledged two weeks ago that Democrats had been aware that some people might lose their insurance plans when the law took effect, saying, “We knew there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage.”

At a Tuesday briefing with reporters, Hoyer said he disagreed with Schrader’s statement.

“Do I think he grossly misled? No,” Hoyer stated.

“I think the president was not precise, and I think that, he should have been precise,” Hoyer said. “We all should have been more precise.”

Wow! There is so much manure coming out of Washington these days that a couple of these Democrat Obama idolators needs to stand in the small garden plot my parents have to fertilize it for this spring’s planting season. They would have a bumper crop for sure!

It is nice to see that Schrader is calling Obama’s statement “grossly misleading;” however, Obama lied – not once, not twice, but repeatedly, in order to deceive the American public into accepting Obamacare for something it is not. The only reason America is going through a “really difficult time with healthcare” is because of the unconstitutional, atrocious Obamacare. Schrader is attempting to fool his constituency and the American public into thinking he is advocating for the citizenry. The only thing he is advocating for is keeping his seat in the House to be exempt from Obamacare and assist with the “nobility rule” of the American masses.

“We knew some people had policies that covered what they needed but we wanted them to purchase more than what they needed because we know what is best for everyone where their health is concerned.”

I can see where single males might need that prenatal care coverage or contraceptive coverage and possibly baby murder coverage; after all, the pregnancy rate among single males is staggering. (Yes, this is heavy sarcasm.)

Hoyer, in contrast to Schrader, excuses outright lying by qualifying that the president and Congress “were not precise.” Hello? Hoyer? Anybody home in that brain of yours? I can see the lights are on but no one is answering the door!

These people think Americans are stupid. Video evidence abounds showing Obama making a precise, definitive, clear, unmistakable statement – “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan, period.” I pride myself on reading and verbal comprehension as it was drilled into me by first my mother, then my college professors and nursing instructors. Can someone please tell me where this statement is not precise and where this statement is unclear? Obama didn’t give all the details and hid from the American public the true effect of this healthcare monster. He engaged in deception and fraud.

Obama has been back-peddling and issuing qualifying statements in contrast to his “less than precise” statement, even to the point of denying making that definitive statement. This man thinks everyone in America is a fool and that video evidence is a lie. Everyone is lying; everyone is against him; everyone misunderstood. This is the repertoire of victim mentality.

Poor, poor Obama! He’s a victim of those nasty Republican, the terrorist Tea Party groups and those annoying Christians so we have to help him by supporting his anti-American agenda; if we don’t, we’ll be labeled as racists. Democrats act like their hands are tied by their political party. Democrats passed this law without a single Republican vote. Democrats passed this law without even reading it. Democrats chose to knowingly inflict injury on the American public. So, Democrats own this mess and no amount of “playing victim” can change that. There are no victims in Washington.

Schrader and Hoyer need to go; vote them out. Obama and his cronies knew when this law was passed millions of Americans would lose healthcare insurance they were satisfied with. Those Democrats who were elected after the law was passed knew weeks before implementation millions of Americans would lose healthcare insurance they were satisfied with. Schrader is hitting the band wagon early to keep his position. Hoyer, his nose still up Obama’s anus, really doesn’t give two shakes so he follows lead by issuing qualifying statements.

As time goes on and the full impact of Obamacare is exposed, there will be more manure, back-peddling, and qualifying statements issued all around in order that these deceiving Democraps can keep their seat of power. It all revolves around keeping themselves part of the “ruling nobility:” no more, no less. Sadly, they don’t care what they have to do to remain there even if it means selling out their constituents and all of America. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson would be so proud of this “New Deal – Great Society.”

 

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/11/democrat-minority-whip-steny-hoyer-barack-obama-grossly-misled-american-public-obamacare/#ZjC3GcOqLqarJSp6.99

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