House Democrats will introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin will introduce a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday. They will formally announce the bill at a press conference on Friday morning.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing Pelosi for appearing to consider implementation of the 25th Amendment.

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House Democrats introduce $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, unlikely to pass in Senate

WASHINGTON — House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in a longshot push to break the impasse on relief negotiations before the election, though the bill is likely to face opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate if it passes the House.  

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Many of the benefits previously approved by Congress ran out earlier this year, leaving millions of Americans waiting for urgently-needed aid. The $600 federal benefit to unemployment benefits ran out in July, a loan forgiveness program for small businesses expired, and airlines warned of mass layoffs as support for the industry expired. 

The bill, an updated version of the legislation passed earlier by House Democratsprovides another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, reauthorizes the small business lending program, brings back the $600 federal boost to the unemployment benefit through January, and provides assistance for the airline industry.

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The bill also includes: 

  • $225 billion in education funding, with $182 billion for K-12 schools and about $39 billion for postsecondary education
  • $120 billion in grants for restaurants
  • $436 billion in assistance for state, local, and tribal governments
  • $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing, and isolation measures 
  • $15 billion in funding for the United States Postal Service 
  • Increased food assistance benefits

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats as the bill was unveiled. 

Moderate Democrats, many of whom face tough re-election contests, have pushed congressional Democratic leaders for weeks to act on a pared-down COVID-19 relief bill before they leave for their scheduled recess ahead of the election.

The House could act on the bill as soon as this week. Although the Senate is unlikely to act on the legislation, it represents a negotiating point over $1 trillion lower than Democrats’ previous proposal. 

More: Pelosi urges Democrats to win more House seats in the event of Electoral College dispute in presidential election

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House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion relief plan in May, but Senate Republicans declined to take action on the legislation. Since then, Pelosi and Democrats said they would reduce the price of their package by $1 trillion, though Republicans declined the offer. Senate Democrats blocked Senate Republicans’ smaller, $300 billion package in early September, leaving both sides at an impasse in negotiations.  

Nancy Pelosi sitting on a table: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a weekly press conference at the Capitol on September 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.

© Liz Lynch, Getty Images
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a weekly press conference at the Capitol on September 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Democrats and Republicans have been unable to agree on a number of issues, including the amount of the unemployment benefit, which Republicans say disincentivizes work if it is too generous. Democrats offered $600 in their proposals,

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House Democrats Introduce Scaled-Back Coronavirus Aid Package : NPR

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package after weeks of stalled talks.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package after weeks of stalled talks.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Democrats have released a $2.2 trillion coronavirus response package as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempt to revive long-stalled aid negotiations.

The legislation addresses many of Democrats’ top priorities, like additional money for testing and drug development, additional unemployment benefits and small business loans, that were included in the $3.4 trillion bill that passed the House in May. Some of the reduced cost comes from scaling back the duration of the benefits in order to come closer to compromise with Republicans.

Pelosi called the package an effort to follow through on the promise to work with Republicans who are seeking a narrower response.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”

The legislation would revive the expired $600 additional weekly federal unemployment benefit through January and lift caps on how long people can file for unemployment.

Democrats also included another round of direct payments of $1,200 per person and $500 per dependent, money to refresh the popular Paycheck Protection Program with new money for small business loans, additional money for food security programs and $436 billion in relief for states, local governments, tribes and territories.

Republicans balked at the $3.4 trillion package that passed the House in March. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has proposed his own $300 billion bill, but that legislation failed in the Senate earlier this month.

This latest House bill would cost significantly less than the earlier bill from Democrats but it still includes several items that Republicans have already rejected. One controversial provision would temporarily lift a cap on state and local tax deductions that was part of the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. Republicans also reject the idea that state governments need more money from the federal government.

Pelosi is expected to resume talks with Mnuchin this week in hopes of reaching an agreement ahead of the election in November.

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House Democrats introduce bill to avert government shutdown

Sept. 21 (UPI) — House Democrats unveiled a stopgap bill Monday to avert a government shutdown, but Republicans immediately opposed it because it didn’t include bailout money for agriculture.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced the bill, known as a continuing resolution, to extend federal funding past the Sept. 30 deadline and avoid a government shutdown weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“The continuing resolution introduced today will avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes and keep government open until Dec. 11, when we plan to have bipartisan legislation to fund the government for this fiscal year,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The proposal omits a $30 billion commitment supported by President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers to refill a bailout for farmers through the Commodity Credit Corp.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized the bill Monday, promising a fight between Senate Republicans and their colleagues in the House. Both chambers of Congress must approve identical bills before they can be signed by the president.

“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need,” McConnell tweeted Monday. “This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”

The president announced more aid to farmers on his campaign tours, including a second round of $14 billion from the Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The new aid sought by the White House would replenish those funds.

Democrats called the farm aid an election-year giveaway for farmers hit hard by coronavirus and Trump’s trade policies.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed in theory on a stopgap bill at the beginning of September, but details have not been hammered out as the clock winds down on an Oct. 1 deadline.

The bill is separate from a new proposed $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, passed by the House in May that has stalled in the Senate.

On Monday, the White House said it might accept a stopgap bill, even without the additional aid for farmers.

“We do prefer additional farm aid in the CR…Most of all, we want a clean CR to keep the government open,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told The Washington Post.

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House Democrats introduce stopgap measure funding government until Dec. 11

House Democrats Monday introduced a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government running until Dec. 11.

Nita Lowey wearing glasses

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The measure maintains fiscal year 2020 spending levels and provides more time for lawmakers to work out a deal on a bill that funds the government for the remainder of the year. It does not include new federal coronavirus aid. Democrats and Republicans have yet to work out a deal on a new round of funding to address the impact of the pandemic.


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House and Senate lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a bill to fund the government. That’s when current funding expires and the fiscal year ends.

The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.

Senate Republicans had called for a measure that extended funding until Dec. 18.

Democrats blame Senate Republicans for the lack of movement on a long term deal.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, controlled by Republicans, stalled movement on spending bills after Democrats threatened to attempt to add police reform measures and coronavirus aid.

“While the House did its job and passed bills funding nearly every government agency, Senate Republicans did not even begin the appropriations process,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, said Monday. “Because of their irresponsibility, a continuing resolution is sadly necessary. This clean continuing resolution keeps government open while giving Congress additional time to negotiate annual appropriations bills that will invest for the people.”

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Original Author: Susan Ferrechio

Original Location: House Democrats introduce stopgap measure funding government until Dec. 11

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House Democrats introduce stopgap spending bill nine days before government shutdown deadline

Nonetheless, White House officials suggested Monday that they might be able to accept the so-called “continuing resolution,” or CR, even without the farm money.

“We do prefer additional farm aid in the CR…. Most of all we want a clean CR to keep the government open,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House.

It was not immediately clear if Senate Republicans would support the legislation, if the House passes it this week as expected and sends it to the Senate.

Much of Washington’s attention is focused on the coming Supreme Court nomination battle following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and neither party has shown interest in a high-stakes government shutdown showdown weeks ahead of the election.

Democrats oppose the farm bailout money because they view it as a political payoff to farmers hurt by Trump’s trade policies. The president announced a new round of aid to farmers in a visit last week to battleground Wisconsin, coming from the same fund that would be replenished by the new funding stream the administration was seeking as part of the stopgap spending bill.

At one point Friday Pelosi and Mnuchin had appeared to reach a tentative deal to trade the farm bailout money for food assistance for schoolkids affected by the pandemic. But that agreement never materialized. Republicans accused Pelosi of backing out of a deal with Mnuchin, while Democrats insisted there wasn’t really a deal to begin with.

The short-term spending bill, as introduced in the House, also does not include any new provisions related to economic aid for the coronavirus. Talks around a new coronavirus relief bill are essentially dead, despite pressure on Pelosi from moderate House Democrats to revive them.

Congress in recent years has frequently failed to pass the 12 annual must-pass spending bills to fund government agencies on time, and has had to resort to short-term spending bills. There have also been a number of government shutdowns, with a lengthy one running from December 2018 until January 2019.

Although a large portion of the federal budget — including programs like Medicare and Social Security — runs on autopilot, funding for government agencies including the Pentagon and Department of Health and Human Services must be renewed annually by Congress.

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