House Democrats Pass $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Republicans Reject

(Bloomberg) — The House passed a $2.2 trillion Democrat-only fiscal stimulus package after the most concerted talks between the top negotiators since early August failed to yield a bipartisan agreement.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier insisted the vote — which at 214-207 saw no Republican support — wouldn’t slam the door on negotiations with the White House on a bill President Donald Trump could sign into law. After sitting down with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin Wednesday, she spoke with him several times by phone again Thursday.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Mnuchin, Pelosi Try To Forge Stimulus Deal With Time Running Out

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Mnuchin, Pelosi Try To Forge Stimulus Deal With Time Running Out

Nancy Pelosi, center, speaks to reporters as she walks to her office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1.

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

Those talks have so far failed to bridge what’s been a gap of hundreds of billions of dollars between the two sides. Sharp differences also remain on components of coronavirus relief, with the Trump administration rejecting the scale of aid Democrats want for state and local authorities, and Pelosi demanding the end of tax breaks she says are devoted to the wealthy.

The speaker told reporters Thursday evening that she would review documents that Mnuchin had sent her to determine where to go next after several calls during the day. “We are going back and forth with our paper,” she said, underscoring the importance of the language used in any deal.

Pelosi said the House’s vote on its own bill would help present in a more public way what Democrats are unified in “pushing for” in the negotiations. Republicans in the Senate, where they have a majority, attempted to pass their own package last month — a $650 billion plan that was blocked by Democrats.

Clock Ticking

With the presidential and congressional elections 33 days away and Congress expected to adjourn beforehand for the final leg of the campaign, time is running short. Private economists have already cut their growth forecasts for the fourth quarter after the failure to find a compromise on another fiscal package.

Economic data are already showing the fading impact of the $2 trillion stimulus enacted in March. Americans’ incomes fell in August by the most in three months after the government’s supplemental unemployment benefits expired, a report showed Thursday.

Although Trump and his aides have continued to express confidence in the recovery, major companies have announced job cuts in recent days. Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it’s slashing 28,000 workers, American Airlines Group Inc. said Wednesday night it would begin to furlough 19,000 employees and United Airlines Holdings Inc. is planning to cut more than 13,000.

“People say we should have a skinny package — no, we don’t have a skinny problem. We have a massive problem,” Pelosi said on the House floor Thursday.

Reduced Package

Democrats reduced their stimulus demands from a $3.4 trillion bill the House passed in May. But the legislation approved Thursday is still more than Republicans have said they could accept. Also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch

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House Republicans won’t expressly reject the QAnon conspiracy theory

  • Insider spoke with a dozen House Republicans about QAnon, a conspiracy theory that alleges a cannibalistic child-sex-trafficking cult has taken over the Democratic Party and global elites. Most of them would not denounce it.
  • The absence of a strong and unified stand in the GOP against QAnon suggests that Republicans have little appetite for alienating their party’s most extreme voters, with fewer than 50 days before Election Day.
  • A supporter of the outrageous conspiracy theory that has taken root in the Republican Party, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is favored to win a Georgia congressional seat in the November elections. House GOP leaders are ready to welcome her.
  • “I don’t think it’s a big deal,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of President Donald Trump who has embraced QAnon supporters. Other Republican lawmakers deflected, saying they’d instead like to see a stronger condemnation for Black Lives Matter activists protesting police brutality.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

QAnon has been labeled a terrorism threat by the FBI and is linked to violent incidents across the country, but many Republican members of Congress Insider interviewed this week would not outright disavow it or call for a stronger condemnation by the party’s leadership. 

Only a handful of elected Republicans have voiced concern about the wild conspiracy theory that has infiltrated the party’s base.

Of the more than a dozen Republican lawmakers Insider talked to, only one — Rep. Peter King of New York — expressly denounced QAnon and its adherents. 

The absence of a strong and unified stand in the GOP against QAnon raises questions of how seriously the party is willing to take a dangerous conspiracy theory animating a part of its base. It also suggests that some Republican lawmakers have little appetite, with fewer than 50 days before Election Day, for alienating their party’s most extreme voters.

In interviews with Insider on Capitol Hill this week, some Republicans claimed ignorance, even though QAnon has received significant media coverage since at least 2018. A resolution denouncing QAnon is pending in Congress, and even President Donald Trump has commented on it.

Other members expressed skepticism about QAnon’s seriousness. At least three lawmakers deflected, saying they’d instead like to see stronger condemnation of racial-justice protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to “defund the police,” a rallying cry for reforms in American law enforcement. 

Those who did criticize QAnon demurred when asked if House Republicans should take a stand against the QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican congressional candidate who is all but certain to win in November after her Democratic opponent suddenly dropped out last week.

Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said she hadn’t “spent time looking into” QAnon.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of Trump, downplayed it.

“I didn’t know anything until y’all started talking about it, and I haven’t taken the time to research it,” Jordan told Insider. “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Trump has

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Cynthia moves IHC against interior ministry’s decision to reject visa extension

In its response to the IHC a day ago, the ministry stated that the American citizen’s visa had been extended twice during 2018-19 which was against the law — File photo

US Blogger Cynthia D Ritchie has submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday, challenging the interior ministry’s decision to deny her a visa extension.

In the petition, Ritchie made the interior secretary, deputy secretary, and director-general Federal Investigation Agency parties to the case, stating that she had fulfilled all the legal obligations required of her — in her visa application — to ensure her continued stay in Pakistan.

Ritchie accused the interior ministry of denying her visa without any solid reason, her petition mentioning that rejecting her visa extension was a violation of the General Clauses Act and the country’s visa policy.

Interior ministry asks Cynthia Ritchie to leave Pakistan within 15 days

Earlier this week, the ministry had rejected Ritchie’s visa extension application and asked her to exit the country within 15 days.

In its response to the IHC a day ago, the ministry stated that the American citizen’s visa had been extended twice during 2018-19 which was against the law.

It mentioned that the blogger had applied for her work visa extension two times, but she was given a business visa by the authority against the visa policy, adding that her company was not registered in Pakistan either.

The interior ministry on Friday had also submitted its comments to the High court in Cynthia D Ritchie’s case, stating that the American blogger should be stopped from making controversial statements that go against the basic rights of citizens.

The response came after the IHC expressed displeasure over the ministry’s comments at the previous hearing, instructing it to provide relevant records of its business visa policy. 

Ritchie accuses PPP leadership of ‘harassment’ and ‘manhandling’

In a video broadcast live on Facebook in May, Ritchie had alleged that a senior PPP leader had raped her while two others had ‘manhandled’ her at a separate occasion.

She had stated that the incidents occurred in 2011 during the PPP tenure, when the individual she accused of rape had been a senior minister.

Ritchie had further alleged that two other senior party leaders — a federal minister and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani (who publicly responded to the allegation) — had “physically manhandled” her when the latter “was staying the President House”.

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