Senate Democrats are trying to save federal workers from having big docks in their pay next spring by allowing them to opt out of the mandatory Trump scheme to give them a payroll tax holiday. Trump spent the whole of the year obsessing about “terminating” payroll taxes as stimulus in the coronavirus pandemic, somehow not grasping the basic issue that people who lost their jobs because of the virus aren’t paying payroll taxes anyway. He was so intent on making this thing that no one thought would be helpful that his administration finally just gave in and imposed it on the only people they could—federal workers. The difficulty is that they’ll have to pay the money back in the first quarter of next year, while we’re still going to be in this pandemic.
Democrats want them to be able to opt out and continue to have the withholdings. “During this time of heightened uncertainty, our public servants deserve the ability to choose what makes most sense for them and for their pocketbooks. That’s why the President’s payroll tax deferral must be made optional,” lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, said in a statement. These are the payroll taxes that fund Social Security. Trump has vowed to “terminate” payroll taxes entirely, a plan that could “terminate” Social Security by 2023, the chief actuary for the program says. That’s if there wasn’t a substitute funding plan in place. Given that they haven’t managed a substitute plan for the Affordable Care Act in a decade, it’s hard to imagine Republicans coming up with a Social Security plan.
Members of Congress have been urging the administration to allow federal employees to opt out—they’ve done so in both the House and Senate, and private sector employees and employers have been given that choice. Other than the House and Senate, only the semi-governmental, semi-private Postal Service has been given the option. Even Louis DeJoy, Trump’s corrupt toady postmaster general, opted out of suspending withholding. Federal employee unions have also been asking the administration to allow them to give the withholding a pass. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said in a hearing last month that that was a “reasonable” request, but he hasn’t acted on it, and he and the Office of Management and Budget have kept the policy in place.
So all federal employees who earn less than $4,000 per biweekly paycheck with get the 6.2% bump in pay, but will have to repay that starting in January, with larger withholdings from their paychecks—the regular withholding plus the clawback. So they won’t be able to spend this “extra” pay now because they’ll need it starting in January when their paychecks will be smaller. Which is stupid. But it’s Trump’s big idea so of course it’s stupid. “The President’s payroll tax deferral scheme is nothing more than a scam on hardworking federal employees—making their paychecks look bigger until the end the of the year when they’ll be hit with a surprise increase in their payroll taxes right after the holidays,” American Federation of Government Employees President Everett Kelley said in a statement.
The Democrats’ legislation might be enough of a nudge for Mnuchin to reverse the policy for the remainder of the year, but again, Trump wanted this. He seems to believe that all the federal employees will be so grateful to him for giving them a temporary bonus they’ll vote for him or something. Which shows just how untethered from reality the man is.
Obama to hold ‘drive-in’ rally for Biden in Philadelphia
Former US president Barack Obama's first appearance on the campaign trail for Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be a "drive-in car rally" in Philadelphia on Wednesday, the Biden campaign said.
Philadelphia, with a population of 1.6 million, is the largest city in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in the November 3 election between Biden and President Donald Trump.
The 59-year-old Obama will "hold a drive-in car rally and encourage Pennsylvanians to make their plans to vote early," the Biden campaign said in a statement.
Democrats have been urging voters to cast their ballots early in the states that allow it because of the coronavirus pandemic and the potential for long lines on Election Day.
New survey uncovers the disturbing proliferation of the delusional QAnon conspiracy within the GOP
As outlandish as QAnon's beliefs are, the conspiracy cult has been gaining ground in the Republican Party. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll finds that roughly 50% of President Donald Trump's supporters now embrace at least some of QAnon's claims.
QAnon believes that the United States' federal government has been infiltrated by an international cabal of pedophiles, Satanists and cannibals and that Trump was put in the White House to lead the fight against the cabal. According to the fictional belief set, an anonymous figure named Q is providing updates on Trump's battle. And one of QAnon's beliefs is that R&B superstar Beyoncé isn't really African-American but rather, is really an Italian woman named Ann Marie Latrassi who is passing herself off as Black as part of the conspiracy.
‘Tell McConnell to hold the vote’: Top Democrat calls on Trump to put his money where his mouth is on stimulus
Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called President Donald Trump's bluff in an interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd.
Trump told Fox News Tuesday morning that Democrats are to blame for there not being a stimulus bill. Democrats passed a stimulus bill in May 2020, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to discuss a deal on a stimulus, saying simply that he opposes everything.
"I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats. Not every Republican agrees, but they will," Trump said. In fact, he doesn't have the support of any Republican for his proposal, which is why it hasn't been brought up for a vote. "I want to do it even bigger because this money is going to people who did not deserve what happened to them."