Americans’ ‘needs are not addressed in the President’s proposal’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday slammed the White House’s most recent stimulus proposal as ignoring key economic issues wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, defending her decision to turn down what she described as a political stunt that would fail to help the public.



Wolf Blitzer, Nancy Pelosi are posing for a picture


© Provided by CNN


“All of my colleagues — we represent these people, I have for over 30 years represented my constituents,” Pelosi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “I know what their needs are, I listen to them, and their needs are not addressed in the President’s proposal.”

When asked whether she could avoid letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, Pelosi replied, “I will not let the wrong be the enemy of the right.”

Pelosi’s comments come after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Senate Republicans will attempt to move forward on a “targeted” coronavirus relief bill when the Senate returns to session next week — a sign that prospects for broad stimulus agreement have all but faded before Election Day.

Despite the urgency expressed throughout the country, the negotiations have only appeared to get further away from a resolution in recent days — and significantly more confusing. While President Donald Trump offered a momentary boost to the prospects of an agreement last week when he called for a “big” deal and proposed a $1.8 trillion offer, Pelosi has rejected the effort as insufficient on several major fronts and the talks are once again stuck without a clear path forward.

Video: Pelosi pushes bill to give Congress a role in removing presidents (CNN)

Pelosi pushes bill to give Congress a role in removing presidents

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Pelosi dismissed Blitzer’s references to other Democrats calling for a relief bill — such as California Rep. Ro Khanna warning that people can not wait for aid until February, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang saying that there was some good in the Republicans’ offer and the Problem Solvers Caucus’ proposal.

While the two men are “lovely,” Pelosi said, “they know nothing about” the specifics of the White House’s proposals and “they are not negotiating this situation — they have no idea of the particulars, they have no idea of what the language is here.”

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus “don’t have any earned income tax credit or child tax credit in their proposal, either,” like the White House proposal, she added.

“With all due respect to the kind of people you were referencing — and I welcome their enthusiasm, I welcome their interests, I welcome their originality of their thinking,” Pelosi said. “But the fact is we have a responsibility to meet the needs of the American people in a retroactive way so they are not at a total loss.”

“Nobody is waiting until February — I want this very much now, because people need help now,” Pelosi said. “But it’s no use giving them a false thing just because the President wants to put a check with his

Read more

Michelle Obama expresses empathy for White House staff ‘touched by this virus’ and urges Americans to vote.

The former first lady Michelle Obama, one of the Democratic Party’s most respected figures, delivered what the Biden campaign called her “closing argument” for Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s candidacy on Tuesday, speaking in deeply personal terms to Americans disillusioned by politics about the need to vote.

In a 24-minute video, Mrs. Obama appealed to parents and young people, white working-class Americans and people of color, lashing President Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus — “he continues to gaslight the American people by acting like this pandemic is not a real threat,” she said — and warning that Mr. Trump’s habit of stoking division could be an effective political tool. She urged voting as the best remedy.

“We can expect that this election will be won by the slimmest of margins, just like it was four years ago,” Mrs. Obama said. “A handful of votes per precinct in Pennsylvania, or Arizona, or Wisconsin, or Florida, or anywhere else will make all the difference.”

As she released the video on her own social media platforms, Mrs. Obama acknowledged Mr. Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis. She alluded to his decision to return to the White House while still receiving treatment for the virus, and the choice to take a drive outside of the hospital on Sunday, a move that some medical experts saw as dangerous for the Secret Service agents around the president.

“My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus, from those at the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service ought never be taken for granted, to all those names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know,” she wrote on Twitter.

In the video, Mrs. Obama appeared to speak implicitly to white voters who are struggling economically and are put off by terms like white privilege.

“It is frustrating to hear some folks say that you’ve been the beneficiary of privilege, that the color of your skin gives you a head start,” she said. “But right now, the president and his allies are trying to tap into that frustration and distract from his breathtaking failures by giving folks someone to blame other than them. They’re stoking fears about Black and brown Americans.”

That approach, she said, is “morally wrong, and yes, it is racist. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.”

“As a Black woman who has — like the overwhelming majority of people of color in this nation — done everything in my power to live a life of dignity, and service, and honesty, the knowledge that any of my fellow Americans is more afraid of me than the chaos we are living through right now, well, that hurts,” Mrs. Obama said.“Imagine how it feels to wake up every day and do your very best to uphold the values that this country claims to holds dear — truth, honor, decency — only to have those efforts met by scorn, not just by your fellow citizens, but by a sitting president.”

Mrs. Obama said on Twitter

Read more

House Democrats’ resolution condemns harassment of Asian Americans

House Democrats passed a resolution Thursday condemning the harassment of Asian Americans and directly blamed President Trump amid reports of an uptick in such incidents nationwide.

The resolution, which passed 243-164 with 14 Republicans joining Democrats, is tangled in the larger debate around how the U.S. should address China’s role in the global pandemic.

Rep. Grace Meng, the resolution’s sponsor, said in a tweet that Mr. Trump’s use of the terms “China virus” and “Kung Flu” were making scapegoats of Asian Americans.

“This is wrong & dangerous,” she wrote. “Passing [the resolution] sends a unified message that such bigotry, hatred and xenophobia will not be tolerated.”

Ms. Meng, New York Democrat, voted for her bill via proxy.

The resolution doesn’t carry the weight of law but does express consensus of the House.

“Sadly this bigotry is being fueled by some in Washington, and you would think, I thought this would be almost unanimous consent to condemn violence against Asian Americans. Even from the White House itself, which uses dangerous, false and offensive terms to describe the coronavirus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said on the floor.

Republican leaders denounced the resolution, accusing Democrats of pushing it through to score political points and shying away from penalizing China.

“Did the virus start in China? Yes. Did it start in Wuhan, China? Yes. Did China lie to the United States about the severity and origins of this virus? Yes,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise deflected criticism of Mr. Trump by highlighting the fact that the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing in February titled “The Wuhan Coronavirus.”

They said the vote wasted time that could’ve been spent working on stalled coronavirus relief to get aid out to the American public.

Mr. Trump has doubled down on blaming China while insisting that the blame is not directed at Asian Americans.

While Democrats made it clear the resolution was aimed at Mr. Trump, the text didn’t name the president and called on all officials to condemn “any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form.”

It also requests federal law enforcement to aid state and local efforts to collect data on harassment and hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action launched a website in March where people can report such incidents.

Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of groups tracking these reports, found that more than 2,500 incidents — ranging from physical attacks to verbal accosts to discrimination — have been submitted as of August. The vast majority of these anecdotal reports show Asian Americans being blamed for spreading the virus.

Data from Pew Research gathered in July found that Asian Americans were the most likely — compared to White, Black and Hispanic Americans — to report negative reactions from others because of their ethnicity since the outbreak began. Nearly 40% of Americans said it was more common to direct racist views at Asian

Read more

Postal Service’s plan to send face masks to Americans allegedly nixed by White House

The United States Postal Service drafted plans to distribute 650 million reusable cotton face masks to Americans last spring — five to every household — as the country grappled with the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, according to USPS internal documents obtained by a watchdog group.



a man holding a sign: A U.S. Postal Service worker wearing a protective mask and face shield removes mail from a dropbox in San Francisco, Calif., Aug. 17, 2020.


© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A U.S. Postal Service worker wearing a protective mask and face shield removes mail from a dropbox in San Francisco, Calif., Aug. 17, 2020.

The draft was among nearly 10,000 pages of USPS documents turned over to American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The emails, memos and legal correspondence released illustrate how the agency struggled to address the pandemic in its earliest weeks, as front-line postal workers feared for their safety and executives worried about disruptions to the agency’s service and funding.


MORE: Gulf between Trump and doctors on mask wearing gets wider

According to the draft release, the agency, working with the Department of Health and Human Services, would first send masks to areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates at the time — including Louisiana’s Orleans and Jefferson parishes; King County, Washington; New York; and Wayne County, Michigan.

“Our organization is uniquely suited to undertake this historic mission of delivering face coverings to every American household in the fight against the COVID-19 virus,” the then-postmaster general and CEO, Megan J. Brennan, said in the prepared release.

The White House declined to comment on the draft proposal, referring questions to the Department of Health and Human Services.

An HHS spokesperson said roughly 600 million of the total 650 million masks have been delivered under Project America Strong as “part of a multi-prong approach to re-opening the American economy while limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

A spokesman for the Postal Service did not respond to a message seeking comment.



a man in a suit and tie: Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services,, Robert Kadlec, on Capitol Hill, Sept. 16, 2020.


© Anna Moneymaker/New York Times, Pool via AP
Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services,, Robert Kadlec, on Capitol Hill, Sept. 16, 2020.

“There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic,” one administration official told The Washington Post about the proposal.

Instead, the initiative, announced by the Trump administration under the “Project: America Strong,” was a more targeted program to send face masks to critical infrastructure sectors, companies and health care, community and religious organizations.

The program is no longer accepting new requests for face masks, according to its website, and instead encourages applicants to purchase face masks elsewhere or make their own.

President Donald Trump said on Aug. 12 that the government would also send 120 million face masks to schools ahead of the fall.

“The Postal Service connects every single person in American, and the president could have used it for public health, but he didn’t,” Austin Evers, the executive director of American Oversight, told ABC News, calling out Trump. “An opportunity to deliver science-based public health

Read more

House passes resolution to denounce Covid-19 racism toward Asian Americans

The House passed a resolution Thursday to denounce the racism toward Asian Americans that has risen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure demands the condemnation of all forms of racism and scapegoating and calls on public officials to denounce any anti-Asian sentiment. While the legislation won heavy Democratic support, it also got some Republican backing, passing 243-164. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., the resolution’s main sponsor, said the vote showed that “the House said, ‘Enough.'”

“For months, Asian Americans in my home state of New York and in communities throughout the nation have been verbally and physically attacked, spat on and shunned,” Meng said. “Enough of the demeaning usages of ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ especially from our nation’s leaders, such as President Trump, GOP leader McCarthy and others. Enough of the scapegoating. Enough of using the Asian American community to stoke people’s fears about Covid-19.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the House minority leader.

Meng added: “The House made clear that we reject this xenophobia and violence, and I thank all who joined me in standing up to bigotry and ugliness against Asian Americans. Everybody deserves to feel safe in the country we call home.”

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

The legislation, which was introduced in March, also calls for authorities to investigate and collect data about coronavirus-related hate crimes, which have continued to rise since the pandemic began. The reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate received 2,583 reports of anti-Asian discrimination nationwide over about five months. New York City alone reported more than 248 incidents of harassment and discrimination related to Covid-19 from February to April, with over 40 percent identified as anti-Asian incidents.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said it was important for the nation’s leaders to send a clear message rejecting bigotry. She said the legislation likely passed because of the “dire nature” of the anti-Asian sentiment across the country.

But the support for an Asian American-centered issue also, in part, speaks to the importance of representation among legislators, Chu said. She said there is a record number of Asian American and Pacific Islander members of Congress, about 20.

“It is significant that it was able to be passed on, but it is also a result of the fact that we do have more representation in Congress,” Chu said. “We were able to educate our fellow members of Congress about what was going on to the Asian community with regard to these Covid-19 hate crimes and incidents.”

Chu said the support the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus got from other congressional caucuses, including those representing Black, Latino and Native American lawmakers, was fundamental in pushing back against pandemic-related racism.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Chu said she suspects that those who voted against the measure did not want to put blame on President Donald Trump for anti-Asian American racism.

Read more

House condemns racism against Asian Americans amid pandemic



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


© Provided by Associated Press
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted Thursday to condemn racism against Asian Americans tied to the coronavirus outbreak, approving a Democratic resolution on a mostly party-line vote. Republicans called the legislation an election-year effort to criticize President Donald Trump and “woke culture on steroids.”

The resolution, approved 243-164, calls on all public officials to condemn anti-Asian sentiment and to investigate hate crimes after a rise in aggression and violence from those blaming people of Asian descent for the pandemic. The measure does not name Trump but notes inflammatory terms used by him and other Republicans — including “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung flu” — and says they have perpetuated an anti-Asian stigma.



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, with House Democrats, speaks during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., Pelosi, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


© Provided by Associated Press
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, with House Democrats, speaks during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., Pelosi, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “at the same time that the coronavirus pandemic is broken out, so too has a disturbing epidemic of hate and discrimination” against Asian Americans and Asian immigrants, including physical and verbal attacks and vandalized businesses. She blamed Trump for trying to divert attention from Russia’s meddling in elections to demonize China.



Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., center, speaks next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, of S.C., during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


© Provided by Associated Press
Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., center, speaks next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, of S.C., during a news conference about COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., called Republican opposition to the resolution “disgraceful.”

“The president is fueling racism and inspiring violent attacks on Asian Americans and Asian immigrants,” Takano said. Trump has often used the term “kung flu” on the campaign trail as he has tried to turn focus to the virus’s origins in China amid criticism of his response to the pandemic.

Republicans said Trump was turning his ire toward China’s government and not Asian Americans. Trump in March insisted that Asian Americans were “amazing people” and not at fault for spreading the virus.

Several House Republicans spoke against the resolution. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said it was “just another opportunity to attack the president.” Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs called it “woke culture on steroids.” Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said it was “ridiculous” and a “waste of time” as the House was about to adjourn for the week and Democrats and the White House have so far failed to agree on additional coronavirus relief.

“At the heart of this resolution is the absurd notion that referring to the virus as a Wuhan virus

Read more

62% of Americans Worry Trump is Rushing a COVID-19 Vaccine

For weeks now, U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly made predictions, sometimes verging on promises, that a COVID-19 vaccine is imminent. “We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1st,” he said at a Sept. 4 news conference. “We think we can probably have it some time during the month of October.” As the Washington Post reported last week, administration officials say the President has become “fixated” on speeding up a vaccine development process that is already underway at an unprecedented rate and scope, to the point where nothing else captures his attention.

This single-mindedness is driving up skepticism among Americans about the viability of a coronavirus vaccine that comes through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation published Sept. 10, a majority of U.S. adults, 62%, said they’re worried that that pressure from the White House could lead the FDA to approve a vaccine before it’s determined to be safe and effective.

Despite Trump’s promises, it will likely be months before a coronavirus vaccine is available to the public, but these polling data may not bode well for American’s willingness to get vaccinated even then. A third of Americans have already said that they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Gallup poll released in August.

This is especially concerning because vaccine uptake may be a deciding factor as to whether the country will be able to put an end to the pandemic. More people getting vaccinated would be especially necessary if the approved vaccination can only provide only limited immunity, and the FDA has signaled that it would approve a vaccine if it prevents disease or makes the illness less severe in as few as 50% of people.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration has faced criticism for repeatedly refuting scientific evidence about the coronavirus outbreak, including about the effectiveness of face masks and the importance of COVID-19 tests, and for what detractors see as undermining the FDA’s credibility.

This seems to have tainted the public’s perception of the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While 67% of Americans said they trust the CDC for reliable coronavirus information, that’s a decline of 16 percentage points from April, when that number was 83% Meanwhile, about half of U.S. adults polled by Kaiser said the FDA and CDC are not paying enough attention to science when considering coronavirus treatments and recommendations, while 39% and 42% said the FDA and CDC, respectively, are paying too much attention to politics. Again, there’s a significant gap between Democrats and Republicans, with the former much more worried about the politicization of the federal health agencies.

Critics say that Trump has politicized many of the efforts to contain the virus—and now, the vaccine development process. Experts on vaccine hesitancy have criticized the Trump administration for emphasizing how quickly vaccines are being developed,

Read more