A bipartisan delegation of governors speaks to the media outside the White House in Washington

A bipartisan delegation of governors speak to the media outside of the White House in Washington, DC on December 4, 2012, after meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet discuss the actions needed to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit. Pictured (l-r) Gary Herbert (R-UT), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Scott Walker (R-WI), Mike Beebe (D-AR) and Jack Markell (D-DE). UPI/Pete Marovich/Pool

Source Article

Read more

Trump pivots again on stimulus talks after bipartisan backlash

The administration’s latest request is unlikely to advance in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected stand-alone legislation in favor of a comprehensive package to address the economic and health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The administration’s $1.8 trillion stimulus proposal on Friday came under heavy criticism from lawmakers in both parties over the weekend, making its chances of passing appear remote.

White House officials will request that Congress approve legislation allowing firms demonstrating a decline in revenue to apply for a second round of PPP funding, which they are not allowed to do under existing law, according to one person familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s internal planning.

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” Meadows and Mnuchin said in a letter to Congressional leaders.

The shift in strategy from the White House caps a week in which the president and his negotiators adopted a dizzying number of different approaches to securing a relief package through Congress. On Oct. 3, the president demanded Congress approve a relief package before three days, later abruptly calling off negotiations with Democrats, and then calling for action on only a handful of priorities, including airline relief and $1,200 stimulus checks. On Wednesday, Mnuchin and Pelosi began discussing a stand-alone measure to provide relief for the airline industry, but those talks were abandoned the next day as Trump again pushed for a wider agreement.

The confusion surrounding the administration’s position continued even as Mnuchin proposed a $1.8 trillion agreement to congressional leaders. On Friday, Trump said he wanted to see a “bigger” stimulus package than either the Democrats or the Republicans had called for. That same day, White House communications director Alyssa Farah told reporters that the White House wanted the final bill to cost “below $2 trillion.” Democrats have been pushing a $2.2 trillion bill as a compromise measure from their initial offer, which cost more than $3 trillion.

The administration’s $1.8 trillion bid was heavily criticized on Capitol Hill, with Pelosi saying it fell short in key areas and some Senate Republicans warning it amounted to a “betrayal” of long-standing GOP priorities. On a call with Mnuchin and Meadows on Saturday, Republicans such as Sens. Rick Scott (Fla), Mike Lee (Utah) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) warned strongly against the proposal.

Pelosi reiterated her objections over the Mnuchin plan in a letter to her House Democratic colleagues on Sunday, stressing that the disagreement between the parties involves policy disputes and that both sides “remain at an impasse.” Pelosi has in particular demanded that the Trump administration adopt Democrats’ plan for robust testing and tracing to contain the novel coronavirus, which was part of the Heroes Act the House passed.

“The heart of the matter is: Can we allow the virus to rage on and

Read more

The bipartisan House task force on America’s future defense is path-breaking

Late last month, a bipartisan congressional task force issued a timely report that, apart from purely security-oriented outlets, received far less media coverage than it deserved. Congressional bipartisanship has become virtually an oxymoron in the current political climate. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee Task Force on the Future of Defense were able to come together to produce a serious, thought-provoking essay that focuses on implementing a defense strategy that is responsive to the threats that will confront America far into the future, indeed as far as the end of this century.

Many of the task force’s proposals have been outlined in previous studies and in congressional testimony. They include a greater focus on funding and developing advanced technologies and incorporating them into military systems and structures; concluding a new arms control agreement with Russia; and controlling the leakage of technology by expanding the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s (CFIUS) purview and the scope of Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) legislation.

Similarly, as others have done, the report called for revitalizing — indeed, “modernizing” — America’s relationships with allies, partners and friends. It went even further, however, by calling on Washington to establish “new alliances to meet emerging threats.” Whether the United States can do so is an open question, not merely because Washington has walked away from a host of international agreements in the past several years, but also because states have become chary about formalizing alliance relationships. On the other hand, America certainly can deepen its political and military ties to friendly countries, in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, as it has done with Sweden, Finland and Singapore in recent years. 

The report recognizes that America’s security fundamentally depends on a civilian and military workforce that is open to innovation and experimentation; meaningful cooperation with the non-defense commercial sector; and an overhaul of budgetary priorities to move away from legacy programs and incorporate cutting-edge technology in the “program of record.” In particular, the report recognizes that the national security workforce is woefully ignorant of the latest technological developments. 

The Department of Defense (DOD) bureaucracy relies far too heavily on consultants and contractors as intermediaries between government and private industry. Moreover, the bureaucratic culture in the Pentagon is suspicious, if not downright hostile, to advances in technology that emerge from the commercial sector. While former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, in particular, strived to close the psychological gap between the DOD and Silicon Valley, the report correctly posits that there is considerable room for improvement — in terms of funding for advanced technologies and contracting with the non-defense industrial base to obtain them. 

Most significantly, the report underscores the importance of a “whole-of-government” approach to national security and recommends that the State Department lead such efforts. Regrettably, the term “whole of government” has become a mantra that bureaucrats utter but do not act upon. Unfortunately for them, and the nation they serve, America’s most dangerous potential adversaries, China and Russia, have

Read more

Bipartisan talks continue as House Democrats pass $2.2 trillion coronavirus measure

The House on Thursday night passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, but it has little chance of advancing in the GOP-led Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still trying to work out a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that is acceptable to Democrats and Senate Republicans.

The measure is a scaled-back version of the $3.4 trillion relief package passed by the House in May. No Republicans voted for it, and 20 Democrats, mostly from swing districts, also voted against it. Pelosi is facing pressure from some Democrats to reach a quick compromise with Mnuchin, who is offering a $1.6 trillion bill, but she said on the floor before Thursday’s vote that this is a “values debate. It’s important for people to know what this fight is about. The people have needs, and we have to meet them.”

When it comes to offering relief, Democrats are pushing for more aid to go to state and local governments, while the GOP wants liability protections for schools and businesses, Politico reports. Pelosi told reporters on Thursday night she is still reviewing the latest documents from Mnuchin, and “even if we come to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to — it’s the language.”

More stories from theweek.com
Late night hosts have a pretty good idea why Trump shockingly refuses to condemn white supremacists
7 savagely funny cartoons about the Trump tax revelations
H.R. McMaster says Trump is ‘aiding and abetting’ Putin’s election interference efforts

Source Article

Read more

U.S. House passes Democratic COVID-19 aid plan after bipartisan deal proves elusive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion Democratic plan to provide more economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, as a bipartisan deal continued to elude House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House.

Objections from top Republicans are likely to doom the House Democrats’ plan in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called the $2.2 trillion price tag “outlandish,” although Democrats have reduced the cost of their proposal by over a trillion dollars since May. The House vote was 214-207.

No Republican voted for the Democratic plan, although 18 Democrats voted no, many of them moderates from swing districts who have been urging Pelosi to bring a bipartisan proposal to the House floor.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Representative Abigail Spanberger, one of the Democrats who voted no, said.

Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and the White House on Thursday dismissed Democrats’ $2.2 trillion plan as not serious.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have talked every day this week, including a 50-minute phone call Thursday, in an effort to negotiate a bipartisan aid package to respond to the economic fallout from a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

Congress and the White House approved more than $3 trillion worth of coronavirus relief measures earlier this year, but Mnuchin, as well as members of Congress from both parties, have argued more stimulus is needed.

Asked if there would be a resolution to her negotiations with the administration on Thursday evening, Pelosi told reporters, “No.” She gave no details of their talks but said: “Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language.”

In the absence of a deal with the White House, and with lawmakers preparing to leave Washington for the remaining weeks of the 2020 presidential and congressional campaign, the Democratic-majority House went ahead and passed the Democrats’ proposal.

“Frankly if we had reached a bipartisan agreement…we wouldn’t have this bill on the floor,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “But we also want to let the American people know where we stand.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin differed over aid to state and local governments, Democratic demands for a child tax credit and stronger worker safety protections, healthcare provisions and help for small businesses.

After Pelosi and Mnuchin’s phone call Thursday afternoon, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter: “The two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language, but distance on key areas remain.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the Democratic proposal as “not a serious offer.”

Pelosi said of the White House proposal on Bloomberg TV: “This isn’t half a loaf. What they’re offering is the heel of the loaf.”

Republican Senator Mike Braun told CNBC on Thursday that a deal worth over $1.6 trillion could be rejected by one-third

Read more

House passes Democratic pandemic relief measure as bipartisan talks continue

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion Covid-19 relief bill Thursday night as negotiations between the administration and Democrats have failed to yield a bipartisan deal and the time to pass new relief measures ahead of November’s election ticks away.

The measure passed 214-207. No Republicans supported it and 18 Democrats voted against it. Nearly all of the Democrats who voted against the bill are locked in close re-election races.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in a statement about why she voted against it. “My focus remains on working with Democrats and Republicans to get relief to my district immediately, and partisan gamesmanship will not do it.”

The legislation, known as Heroes 2.0, is a scaled down version from the Heroes Act, which the House passed in May.

The vote occurred as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continue to discuss a bipartisan agreement.

Late Thursday, Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol that she spoke to Mnuchin multiple times Thursday but that there was no deal yet.

Asked if one was possible, she said, “I don’t know. It just depends.”

She said that the details matter just as much as how many dollars are being spent, which is an indication that they could be further along in negotiations than they are letting on.

“Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language,” she said.

According to two sources briefed on the negotiations earlier Thursday, Mnuchin has offered Pelosi a total spending level of $1.62 trillion, up from the $1.5 trillion he had previously suggested.

Inching closer to Pelosi’s demands, Mnuchin agreed to $250 billion more spending for state and local efforts — something President Donald Trump has previously objected to — as well as $150 billion more for the nation’s schools, $75 billion more for testing and tracing efforts, $60 billion for rent and mortgage assistance and $15 billion in food assistance. The details of the offer were first reported by Roll Call.

But on many issues, that offer was still short of what Democrats are demanding.

Mnuchin has also not agreed to re-upping the $600 per week in federal unemployment insurance, offering a level of $400 per week instead, creating a major sticking point for any deal.

“That’s why we not only have a dollars debate,” Pelosi said earlier Thursday, “we have a values debate. Still, I’m optimistic.”

Mnuchin’s proposals are largely similar to those made by the Problem Solvers caucus, a bipartisan congressional group. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., praised the move, saying, “to the extent Secretary Mnuchin has indicated that he will use the Problem Solvers proposal as a basis for any counteroffer actually brings us much closer to an agreement than we’ve ever been.

Even if a deal is reached between Pelosi and Mnuchin, it’s unclear what Senate Republicans would do with a bill or how it would be received

Read more

House approves $2.2 trillion stimulus plan from Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal put forward by House Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued talks in an effort to reach an agreement.



a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


© Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The measure passed largely along party lines amid GOP opposition with a final tally of 214-207. Eighteen Democrats crossed party lines to vote against the bill, while Republicans were united in opposition.

The legislation will give Democrats something to point to as lawmakers face pressure from constituents to deliver more aid as the pandemic continues to take a devastating toll across America. But the Democratic plan has been rejected by Republicans as too costly and is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-led Senate, and time is quickly running out to clinch a bipartisan agreement that could be signed into law ahead of Election Day.

Pelosi, as she walked off the House floor, told a group of reporters Thursday evening ahead of the vote that there will be no agreement on any stimulus deal Thursday night, but talks with Mnuchin will continue.

Pelosi stressed that the central issue is less about whether they can reach a topline agreement in principle, but about whether they can nail down the actual details in legislative language.

“Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said she was headed back to her office to review documents sent to her by Mnuchin and would figure out where things go next after that.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Thursday afternoon, but after the call there was still no deal at hand.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted later that during the call “the two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon.”

Video: Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly (CNN)

Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

In an indication of how challenging it may be to reach a bipartisan agreement at this point, Pelosi, on a private call with the House Democratic whip team Thursday morning, sounded very down about the prospects of a deal for a new stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, according to two people on the call.

Pelosi repeatedly spoke of the “different values” held by Democrats and Republicans, making clear that even the latest offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fell far short of what was needed to

Read more

House Passes $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill in Absence of Bipartisan Deal

WASHINGTON—The House passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Thursday as bipartisan negotiations with the Trump administration dragged on, with Democrats moving forward on their legislation in the absence of a deal with Republicans.

The vote had earlier been postponed to give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin more time to agree on an aid package. But those conversations haven’t yet yielded a bipartisan agreement.

“We’re still far apart,” Mrs. Pelosi said Thursday. “Hopefully, we can find our common ground on this and do so soon.”

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin spoke multiple times on Thursday. Mrs. Pelosi said Thursday evening she was going to review documents from Mr. Mnuchin, but no deal was likely Thursday evening.

The legislation passed 214-207, with 18 Democrats joining Republicans in opposition to the bill.

Voters will have a chance to help shape the American economy when they go to the polls in November. WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath breaks down where President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden stand on key economic issues. Photo Illustration: Carlos Waters/WSJ

The Democratic bill would give money to state and local governments, send another round of stimulus checks to many Americans, reinstate a $600 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits, and give assistance to airlines, restaurants and performance venues, among other measures. Republicans have panned the bill, giving it no chance of passage in the GOP-controlled Senate.

After Mrs. Pelosi put forward her $2.2 trillion plan this week, Mr. Mnuchin made a $1.6 trillion counteroffer, an increase from the $1.5 trillion that the administration had previously signaled it could support. The new offer from Mr. Mnuchin included $250 billion in funding for state and local governments, which has been a key disagreement in the talks. Republicans had earlier offered $150 billion for state and local governments.

The Democrats’ $2.2 trillion price tag marks a reduction from the $3.5 trillion bill House Democrats passed in May. Instead of the $915 billion for state and local governments Democrats originally sought, their new bill now seeks $436 billion for localities and municipalities.

Whether the two sides can close the remaining distance, though, is unclear. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that Mrs. Pelosi should accept the administration’s new offer.

“It is a good proposal, but it is one she is not interested in,” she said of Mrs. Pelosi. She didn’t rule out a further revision to the White House position. “Right now, we have the $1.6 trillion number, and I’ll let you know if that number goes up,” she said.

Both the White House and House Democrats are renewing their attempts to reach a deal as the absence of another stimulus bill is beginning to visibly weigh on the economy. With no new aid in sight,

American Airlines Group Inc.

and

United Airlines Holdings Inc.

said they would go forward for now with a total of more than 32,000 job cuts.

Government

Read more

House Democrats Narrowly Pass $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Without Bipartisan Deal

House Democrats narrowly passed their own $2.2 trillion stimulus bill on Thursday night despite ongoing negotiations with Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The legislation, dubbed the HEROES Act 2.0, is a trimmed-down version of the roughly $3 trillion HEROES Act passed in May. At the time, Republicans blocked the legislation—which they called a “wish list”—due to its high price tag.

The new version, approved by the chamber in a 214-207 vote, includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, extended $600 weekly unemployment benefits, $436 billion in emergency aid for state and local governments, $225 billion for schools and childcare, Paycheck Protection Program funding, as well as assistance for airlines and the restaurant industry. 18 Democrats voted against the measure.

Pelosi
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walking through Capitol Hill on October 1, 2020.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Newsweek subscription offers >

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated the new package would fail in the Senate. The GOP, who want a smaller bill, recently proposed a roughly $500 billion package, about half the figure of their previously proposed $1 trillion HEALS Act. “We’re very, very far apart,” McConnell said. “The thought that Senate Republicans would jump up to $2.2 trillion is outlandish.”

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise said the HEROES Act was “no better than the last bill that failed the American people,” and criticized the bill for including funding for undocumented immigrants.

As Americans grow frustrated with the stalled-deal, lawmakers have blamed each other along partisan lines for their failure to pass another package amid the pandemic. Democrats say the GOP isn’t providing sufficient funds and Republicans have accused the Democrats of using the coronavirus to further their political agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she was “optimistic” that the months-long stimulus deadlock will end with an agreement being stuck. She has, however, also said that both sides of the political aisle still “have a dollars debate” and “values debate” to conquer. When asked about the chances of a deal on Thursday, Pelosi said, “I don’t know. It just depends. We’ll see.”

Hours before the House vote, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the Trump administration offered $1.6 trillion to Pelosi on Wednesday. Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said the Speaker and Mnuchin held negotiations for about 50 minutes today and ended talks with “distance on key areas.”

It is unclear whether Democrats would concede another $600 billion—so far, Pelosi has resisted—but one thing the two parties have agreed on is the inclusion of another round of stimulus checks.

As Congress prepares to adjourn, Pelosi has stressed the urgency to pass a deal soon. “I never say this is the last chance until Election Day, although that’s 33 days away,” she said.

Newsweek reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for comment.

Source Article

Read more

House on track to vote on $2.2 trillion stimulus plan from Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight

The House of Representatives is on track to vote Thursday evening on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal put forward by House Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued talks in an effort to reach an agreement.



a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


© Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Time is quickly running out to clinch a bipartisan agreement that could be signed into law as Democrats move forward to advance a plan that Republicans have rejected as too costly and is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-held Senate.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Thursday afternoon, marking the latest discussion between the top stimulus negotiators, but after the call there was no deal at hand.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted later that during the call “the two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon.”

In an indication of how challenging it may be to reach a bipartisan agreement at this point, Pelosi, on a private call with the House Democratic whip team Thursday morning, sounded very down about the prospects of a deal for a new stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, according to two people on the call.

Pelosi repeatedly spoke of the “different values” held by Democrats and Republicans, making clear that even the latest offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fell far short of what was needed to deal with her view of the scale of the current economic issues.

Pelosi’s framing on the private call earlier Thursday tracks with the criticism she’s leveled at Republicans during stimulus negotiations for months — that the Trump administration simply isn’t willing to do what’s necessary on the fiscal side of things to address the depth of the economic problems created by the pandemic.

Republicans say it is now up to Pelosi to counter the roughly $1.6 trillion proposal Mnuchin put on the table Wednesday, which is hundreds of billions of dollars away from the roughly $2.2 trillion plan House Democrats could vote on as soon as later Thursday.

Video: Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly (CNN)

Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that she is “hopeful that we can reach agreement” on a bipartisan deal, but nevertheless made clear that the two sides are not on the same page on key issues.

“We’re kind of in the ballpark on some things,” Pelosi said, but added, “still way off in terms of state and local

Read more