Stimulus Talks Remain Deadlocked as House Told No Votes Expected

(Bloomberg) — Prospects for a quick end to the stalemate over a new stimulus faded Monday with members of the House being told not to expect any action this week and many Senate Republicans rejecting the White House proposal for a deal.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.


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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.

President Donald Trump, well behind Democrat Joe Biden in every recent poll, again attempted to prod negotiations by urging the GOP by tweet to cut short confirmation hearings for his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to focus on bolstering the economy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to talk more this week as they attempt to bridge the gap between the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion proposal and the administration’s $1.8 trillion counteroffer.

Even if they manage to strike a deal, there’s almost no chance of getting legislation written and passed by Congress before the Nov. 3 election, in which control of the White House and the Senate is at stake.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, sent out a notice to lawmakers Monday saying “that due to the Trump Administration’s failure to reach an agreement on coronavirus relief, no votes are expected in the House this week.” The House is not in session this week and most members are away from Washington. But they remain on 24-hour standby, though, should an agreement be reached.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.


© Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.

Trump’s changes in direction last week — first calling off talks in a tweet, then saying he wanted a bigger package than even Democrats have proposed — may have hardened Pelosi’s resolve to hold firm. On Sunday she called the White House offer a “miserable and deadly failure.”

Investors took the standoff in stride. U.S. stocks climbed to the highest in almost six weeks, fueled also by a rally in big technology companies, which Trump highlighted in a tweet Monday morning.

“The stimulus stalemate still looms large, though it failed to derail the market,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investment product at E*Trade Financial.

One big issue for the administration may be Senate Republicans.

Multiple GOP senators participating in a Saturday conference call told Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that any agreement with Democrats that ends up around $2 trillion is too much, according to two people familiar with the call.

One

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House votes to condemn alleged hysterectomies on migrant women

The House adopted a resolution on Friday to formally condemn the alleged forced medical procedures, including hysterectomies, on migrant women detained at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Georgia.

The resolution, which passed 232-157, with 4 lawmakers voting “present,” condemns “performing unwanted, unnecessary medical procedures on individuals without their full, informed consent” and calls for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with investigations into the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga. 

Seven Republicans voted with Democrats in support of the resolution, while Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiFive things we learned from this year’s primaries Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses slate of non-Hispanic candidates Bottom line MORE (D-Ill.) and Libertarian Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashPresident Trump, Melania Trump test positive for COVID-19 The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by JobsOhio – Trump’s tax return bombshell Ron Paul hospitalized in Texas MORE (Mich.) voted “present.”

A whistleblower complaint filed by a nurse at the detention center reported “jarring medical neglect” and alleged “high rates of hysterectomies done to immigrant women.” It also alleged that ICE did not test migrants who had been exposed to COVID-19 or had symptoms.

DHS opened an investigation into the allegations last month. 

“This is about full or partial sterilization and a total lack of consent from the patient,” Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalTrump proposes capping refugee admissions at 15,000 in historic low ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal Hillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns MORE (D-Wash.), the author of the resolution, said during House floor debate.

Jayapal noted that 10 lawmakers visited the detention facility last weekend and spoke directly to women who had been impacted.

“We saw their pain and shock and horror about the irreparable damage that has been done to them and their futures,” Jayapal said.

The resolution adopted by the House further states that the chamber “recognizes that everyone deserves to control their own reproductive choices and make informed choices about their bodies.” 

It also calls on DHS to pause the removal of any individual who underwent any procedure at the Irwin County Detention Center and allow individuals who received alleged unnecessary or nonconsensual procedures to be granted “immediate” access to medical treatment or seek a second opinion.

Rep. Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockHouse to vote on removing cannabis from list of controlled substances House votes to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Cook shifts 20 House districts toward Democrats MORE (R-Calif.) argued during floor debate that lawmakers should wait for an investigation to conclude before adopting the resolution condemning the allegations.

“I would ask the House this very simple question: wouldn’t it be better to let the investigation take its course, have all the facts laid out before us, and then take appropriate actions?” McClintock said.

“If the allegations are true, every bit of the indignation expressed in this resolution and by my

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House votes to condemn baseless QAnon conspiracy theory

Seventeen Republicans and one independent opposed the resolution.

Adherents of QAnon believe President Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. In August, Trump gave a major boost to the baseless theory, saying that he appreciated the support of its followers, calling them “people that love our country.”

Malinowski said he has faced attacks online from QAnon supporters and received threats after the National Republican Congressional Committee ran an ad that falsely said Malinowski tried to block a provision in a 2006 crime bill that would have expanded registration requirements for sex offenders.

Malinowski, a freshman who worked on national security issues in the Clinton and Obama administrations, was the director of Human Rights Watch from 2001-2013.

“If you’ve seen extra vitriol on my social media, here’s why: the “Q” persona dropped a statement targeting me, citing the discredited NRCC (GOP SuperPAC) attacks on me & my resolution condemning QAnon. My office has gotten 6 death threats since yesterday,” Malinowski tweeted earlier this week.

Speaking on the House floor Friday, Malinowski warned of the threat of QAnon.

“Conspiracy theories, just like this one, have fueled prejudice, terrorism, even genocide and today, social media is fanning the flames,” he said.

The resolution “condemns QAnon and rejects the conspiracy theories it promotes,” while encouraging the FBI and law enforcement to focus on preventing violence, threats and harassment by extremists motivated by fringe political conspiracy theories. The measure also outlines a vision unlikely to be fulfilled — urging Americans, regardless of their political leanings, to seek information from authoritative sources and debate from a “common factual foundation.”

In his remarks, Malinowski alluded to the political gains of QAnon adherents.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has endorsed the baseless theory and made several other racist remarks on video, won a GOP primary runoff in Georgia’s heavily Republican 14th Congressional District in August, and has a clear path to becoming QAnon’s first devotee in Congress. Last month, her Democratic rival in the GOP-leaning district dropped out of the race, citing personal reasons.

Malinowski condemned other conspiracy theories. He added: “Only one of these threats is considered a terrorist threat by the FBI. Only one is winning elections.”

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Dems in Key House Races Fear Loss of Critical Student Votes With College Campuses Empty

In a COVID-less world, Dylan Taylor would be in East Lansing now, spending his free time at a table outside the dorms at Michigan State University beckoning fellow Spartans to register to vote. Instead, the 19-year-old treasurer of the MSU Young Democrats is stuck living with his parents in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights, attending classes via Zoom and trying to replicate election-year campus activism remotely with concepts like “Friend Banking.” “You text people you know and ask them, ‘Are you registered to vote?'” he says. “It is a skewed sample. Everyone says, ‘I’m already registered.’ And then I’m done. It is a lot less effective than being on campus.”



a group of people sitting at a park: Sparsely populated college campuses due to COVID limitations on in-person learning could prove problematic for some Democratic Congressional candidates who rely on student votes and campaign volunteers to help them get elected.


© Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Sparsely populated college campuses due to COVID limitations on in-person learning could prove problematic for some Democratic Congressional candidates who rely on student votes and campaign volunteers to help them get elected.

For Democrats in tough House races across the nation who were counting on students from nearby colleges to work as campaign volunteers and to vote, not having Dylan and people like him on campus is a looming political problem. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, nearly half of American college and universities are offering entirely or mostly virtual classes this fall according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, thereby scattering millions of students who might have been cajoled into voting for the first time and then motivated to support Democrats through peer pressure and appearances from big-name campaign surrogates. Polls consistently show college students skew Democratic by a 70-30 percent margin—the exact percentage, in fact, who said they planned to vote for Joe Biden in a poll of 4,000 students enrolled in four-year colleges by the Knight Foundation this August. So the absence of on-campus organizing is widely seen as an advantage for Republicans.

“That’s a really big deal for my

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House votes to kill Rep. Gohmert resolution to ban Democratic Party

Gohmert reintroduced the privileged resolution last week, forcing a swift procedural vote in the House that mostly fell along party lines.

The resolution also would have directed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to remove “any item that names, symbolizes, or mentions any political organization or party that has ever held a public position that supported slavery or the Confederacy, from any area within the House.”

Gohmert introduced the resolution in July shortly after the House voted to remove the statues of Confederate leaders and replace a bust of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. chief justice who wrote the Supreme Court decision that said people of African descent are not U.S. citizens.

The vote was 305 to 113 for the bill to replace the bust of Taney, which sits outside the old Supreme Court chamber on the first floor of the Capitol, with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the Supreme Court.

That vote came amid a broader push by Democrats to remove statues, portraits and other art in the Capitol honoring Confederate leaders and other controversial figures, at a time of national reckoning over systemic racism after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Gohmert’s resolution cited Democratic Party platforms in the 1800s and the filibuster by some in the party against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law.

“A great portion of the history of the Democratic Party is filled with racism and hatred,” Gohmert said in July. “Since people are demanding we rid ourselves of the entities, symbols, and reminders of the repugnant aspects of our past, then the time has come for Democrats to acknowledge their party’s loathsome and bigoted past, and consider changing their party name to something that isn’t so blatantly and offensively tied to slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination, and the Ku Klux Klan.”

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7 ‘discarded’ military votes for Trump found in Pennsylvania, campaign blames Democrats

The Trump campaign on Thursday accused the Democrats of “trying to steal the election” after seven military ballots cast in favor of the president were found “discarded” in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania — despite no immediate allegations of any malfeasance.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie walking down the street


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“BREAKING: FBI finds military mail-in ballots discarded in Pennsylvania. 100% of them were cast for President Trump. Democrats are trying to steal the election,” Matt Wolking, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, tweeted Thursday afternoon, linking to a press release from David Freed, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Freed said his office had begun “an inquiry into reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.”

“At this point we can confirm that a small number of military ballots were discarded. Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time. Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters and some cannot. All nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump,” the statement said.

Freed’s office put out a revised statement hours after the first saying the number of Trump ballots was actually seven.

“Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those 2 ballots are unknown,” the updated statement said.

Both statements were highly unusual as U.S. Attorneys typically do not publicly announce they’ve opened an inquiry. The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to give further comment about the probe, except to say the general election ballots were improperly opened by county staff.

The second statement noted that Freed’s office had been investigating the case with the FBI since Monday at the request of Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Salavantis is a Republican, and Trump won the county by almost 20 points in 2016. Salavantis was told about the find last week by the county’s elections director, the county solicitor said in a statement.

While the nature of the inquiry, including whether there’s a criminal component, is unclear, the Justice Department’s 2017 guidelines for “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses” says that, “Because the federal prosecutor’s function in the area of election fraud is not primarily preventative, any criminal investigation by the Department must be conducted in a way that minimizes the likelihood that the investigation itself may become a factor in the election.”

In the evening, DOJ released a letter Freed sent to the county board of elections, reporting his initial findings — including that at least part of the problem appeared to be bureaucratic.

“The FBI has recovered a number of documents relating to military ballots that had been improperly opened by your elections staff, and had the ballots removed and discarded, or removed and placed separately from the envelope containing confidential voter information and attestation,” the letter said.

It noted, “the appropriate method for processing received military ballots is to securely store the ballot, unopened” until Election Day,

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White House, Trump campaign push unusual DOJ announcement about 7 ‘discarded’ military votes

The Trump campaign on Thursday accused the Democrats of “trying to steal the election” after seven military ballots cast in favor of the president were found “discarded” in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania — despite no immediate allegations of any malfeasance.

“BREAKING: FBI finds military mail-in ballots discarded in Pennsylvania. 100% of them were cast for President Trump. Democrats are trying to steal the election,” Matt Wolking, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, tweeted Thursday afternoon, linking to a press release from David Freed, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Freed said his office had begun “an inquiry into reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.”

“At this point we can confirm that a small number of military ballots were discarded. Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time. Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters and some cannot. All nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump,” the statement said.

Freed’s office put out a revised statement hours after the first saying the number of Trump ballots was actually seven.

“Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those 2 ballots are unknown,” the updated statement said.

Both statements were highly unusual as U.S. Attorneys typically do not publicly announce they’ve opened an inquiry. The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to give further comment about the probe, except to say the general election ballots were improperly opened by county staff.

The second statement noted that Freed’s office had been investigating the case with the FBI since Monday at the request of Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Salavantis is a Republican, and Trump won the county by almost 20 points in 2016. Salavantis was told about the find last week by the county’s elections director, the county solicitor said in a statement.

While the nature of the inquiry, including whether there’s a criminal component, is unclear, the Justice Department’s 2017 guidelines for “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses” says that, “Because the federal prosecutor’s function in the area of election fraud is not primarily preventative, any criminal investigation by the Department must be conducted in a way that minimizes the likelihood that the investigation itself may become a factor in the election.”

In the evening, DOJ released a letter Freed sent to the county board of elections, reporting his initial findings — including that at least part of the problem appeared to be bureaucratic.

“The FBI has recovered a number of documents relating to military ballots that had been improperly opened by your elections staff, and had the ballots removed and discarded, or removed and placed separately from the envelope containing confidential voter information and attestation,” the letter said.

It noted, “the appropriate method for processing received military ballots is to securely store the ballot, unopened” until Election Day, but that some elections staffers said

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US House votes to ban Xinjiang imports over forced labor

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region, vowing to stop what lawmakers say is systematic forced labor by the Uighur community.

Despite opposition by US businesses, the act passed 406-3 in a sign of growing outrage over Xinjiang, where activists say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people have been incarcerated in camps.

“Tragically, the products of the forced labor often end up here in American stores and homes,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote.

“We must send a clear message to Beijing: These abuses must end now.”

The Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act still needs to be passed by the Senate, which may have limited time before November 3 elections.

The United States already bans products made through slavery but the act would put a blanket ban on products from Xinjiang, saying that forced labor is inextricably linked to the region’s economy.

“We know forced labor is widespread and systematic and exists both within and outside the mass internment camps,” said Representative Jim McGovern, a Democrat who helped lead the bipartisan act.

“These facts are confirmed by the testimony of former camp detainees, satellite imagery and official leaked documents from the Chinese government,” he said on the House floor.

Republican Representative Chris Smith said: “We cannot be silent. We must demand an end to these barbaric practices and accountability from the Chinese government.”

Xinjiang is a global hub for cotton with one study by a labor group estimating that 20 percent of the garments imported into the United States contain at least some yarn from the region.

The act passed despite criticism from the US Chamber of Commerce, the premier business lobby, which argued that the law would prohibit legitimate commerce rather than find ways to root out products from forced labor.

After the act was introduced, the State Department issued an advisory that it said would educate US companies in Xinjiang and the Customs and Border Protection Agency said it was banning specific products traced to forced labor in the region.

McGovern criticized the efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration, saying: “These piecemeal actions fall far short of addressing a regional economic system that is built upon a foundation of forced labor and repression.”

Activists and witnesses say that China is seeking to forcibly homogenize the Uighur population in re-education camps including by restricting the practice of Islam.

China argues that it is providing vocational training to reduce the allure of extremism.

Former national security advisor John Bolton wrote in a recent book that Trump voiced support for the camps when his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping explained them to him.

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No more chokeholds, no-knock warrants, Virginia House says in mostly party-line votes

The passage of the 11 police-overhaul bills, which now must be voted on by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) if they are to go into effect, mark key points in the House Democrats’ legislative agenda for the special session, which began in person on Aug. 18 and has since been conducted online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats won the majority in both chambers of the General Assembly last fall after decades of control by the Republican Party.

Also on Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed into law a package of bills, advanced by Democrats and passed by both chambers last week, that would broaden access to absentee voting, including creating drop boxes for ballots — another key issue for Democrats.

“Virginia is making it easier to vote in the upcoming election—not harder,” Northam tweeted Friday afternoon.

Only one measure Democrats put forward was defeated — a bill that would have allowed victims to sue police if an officer failed to intervene when a victim was deprived of their rights by another officer. That bill was defeated by a single vote.

Republicans attacked the bills as “anti-police,” but Democrats asserted that elected officials ought to listen to their constituents as well as police, many of whom supported some of the bills.

“While people say we’ve been rushing, we’ve been waiting for quite some time,” Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico) said during debates on the bills Thursday. “This is not a war against police. This is a war for justice, for each and every citizen of the Commonwealth.”

Del. Ronnie Campbell (R-Rockbridge), objecting to the proposal to ban police use of neck restraints such as chokeholds, noted that the Senate has amended its bill to allow exceptions if the officer is in fear for his life. Without chokeholds, police would have no option when in a fight but to pull their gun, he said.

But House Democrats would not allow a similar amendment, asserting that police have other options to control suspects.

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said some members of his party would have supported some of the bills if the majority had been willing to compromise.

“Much of the legislation rammed through today by Democrats had the potential to be thoughtful reforms of how police do businesses,” he said in a statement after Friday’s session. “Sadly, the majority was so bent on punishing law enforcement that they refused to listen to reason.”

The bills that passed the House would:

● ban sexual relations between officers and arrestees;

● eliminate minor pretexts for traffic stops;

● codify the ability of prosecutors to dismiss charges;

● ban no-knock search warrants;

● require any officer to report the misconduct of another;

● require police to stop the use of excessive force by another officer;

● allow decertification of an officer who is fired or resigns due to violation of law or departmental policies and procedures, or during an internal investigation;

● ban the use of chokeholds;

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