Washington (AFP) - US lawmakers agreed on a nearly $900 billion Covid-19 relief package for millions of Americans on Sunday, in a deal that follows months of wrangling and comes as the nation battles the world's largest coronavirus outbreak. The package includes aid for vaccine distribution and logistics, extra jobless benefits of $300 per week, and a new round of $600 stimulus checks -- half the amount provided in checks distributed in March under the CARES Act. Months of partisan debate and finger-pointing, as well as last-minute negotiations, culminated in a deal lawmakers said they hoped t...
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In the wake of the harrowing massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, progressive stalwart Nina Turner focused her ire on the right-wing lawmakers who take money from the National Rifle Association and argued that solutions to gun violence and other injustices plaguing the U.S. will continue to prove elusive until the role of big money in politics is confronted.
"The issue is money in politics," Turner, a former Ohio state senator and co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign, wrote on social media. "They're allowing children to die because of the gun lobby. They're allowing the planet to die because of Big Oil. They're allowing people to go without healthcare and die because of the insurance lobby."
"Inaction is bought," she continued. "Whatever issue you care about, whatever issue you fight for, the roadblocks to progress are always put up by big money. If we're going to talk about how to stop mass shootings, we have to talk about big money in politics and the role it plays."
No shortage of congressional Republicans took to Twitter on Tuesday to offer their proverbial "thoughts and prayers" after 19 children and two teachers were fatally gunned down in a classroom located in a predominantly Latino town 80 miles west of San Antonio.
But when a dozen GOP senators and one ex-senator claimed to be shocked and devastated by the latest mass murder to take place in one of the nation's schools, author Bess Kalb documented how much money they have accepted from the NRA.
Among others, Kalb's spotlight on the glaring discrepancy between expressing condolences and raking in cash from a notorious pro-gun group that has lobbied aggressively to prevent common-sense safety reforms shone on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, former U.S. senator and recently defeated gubernatorial candidate David Perdue of Georgia, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is scheduled to speak at an NRA meeting in Houston later this week.
Below is a collection of Republicans' statements of concern, which Kalb juxtaposed with their NRA cash totals, in descending order:
"Did the NRA send out a message with the words 'horrifying and heartbreaking' yesterday or did its top paid politicians all coincidentally use the exact same language?" Kalb asked.
There have been more than 3,500 mass shootings in the U.S. since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Over the past decade, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass legislation to meaningfully reform the nation's gun laws, thanks in large part to the opposition of GOP lawmakers bankrolled by the NRA.
Turner, for her part, argued that "not only does every politician that takes NRA money have blood on their hands, so does every politician that partakes in and upholds a system that allows these big-money interests to exist."
Republicans talk trash about Trump as endorsements flop: ‘People are willing to stick their necks out’
There have been some successes, with J.D. Vance in Ohio and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, but the intra-party conflicts sparked by Trump's endorsements of unpopular loyalists has made GOP heavyweights more willing to challenge the twice-impeached former president, reported Politico.
“It shows that while people realize Donald Trump is virtually, in every way, still the leader of the Republican Party, people are willing to stick their necks out and support good candidates opposite of Trump when they see them,” said Missouri-based GOP strategist Gregg Keller.
Former president George W. Bush, former vice president Mike Pence and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie all campaigned for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose Trump-endorsed opponent flopped, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) campaigned for Rep. Mo Brooks in his Alabama Senate primary, after the former president withdrew his endorsement.
“We have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday,” Christie said. “But more important than that, what we have to decide is: Do we want to be the party of me or the party of us? What Donald Trump has advocated is for us to be the ‘party of me,’ that everything has to be about him and about his grievances.’”
“Trump picked this fight," Christie added.
Pence has more openly challenged Trump, who reportedly liked his supporters chanting their intentions to hang his vice president, as he prepares a possible 2024 presidential run, and his advisers are trashing the former president behind the scenes.
“I think the former president has been poorly advised because he’s made a lot of endorsements in an effort to showcase his formidability,” said one Pence adviser, “and that has the counter-effect that actually shows the endorsement doesn’t carry the same weight it once did.”
Trump has thrown some races -- and state Republican parties -- into turmoil by waiting months to get involved, after candidates have staked out positions and formed alliances with other GOP candidates, donors and operatives.
“I can’t imagine that somebody’s been running for office for a year, a whole bunch of people take positions on the race, then Trump decides to endorse somebody, and that means you can’t be for them anymore?" said one national GOP strategist. "F*ck that."
NYT’s Maggie Haberman reacts to 'stunning' testimony that Trump approved of ‘Hang Mike Pence’ chants
The House Select Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riots has heard testimony the former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows told aides that former President Donald Trump approved of his supporters calling for the hanging of then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Appearing on CNN Thursday, Haberman said that the testimony lines up well with what Trump was saying publicly about Pence even as rioters stormed the Capitol and chanted for him to be hung.
"We know at the time that Trump was venting to aides that Pence was not doing what he wanted, which was, you know, exerting a power that Pence had told Trump he didn't have to interfere in the certification of the Electoral College vote in Congress that day," she said. "And Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m. that day that he was angry at Pence... he was denouncing pence for not doing this. It's not hugely surprising... that Trump said that and yet it is still pretty stunning."
As the rioters were storming the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, Trump initially resisted calls to tell the rioters to stand down, and he sent out a tweet criticizing Pence for not rejecting certified election results just minutes after the then-vice president was shown on live television being rushed off the floor of the United States Senate.
"Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify," Trump wrote at 2:24 p.m. on January 6th, 2021. "USA demands the truth!"
Watch the video of Haberman below or at this link.
Maggie Haberman reacts to 'stunning' testimony that Trump approved of ‘Hang Mike Pence’ chants www.youtube.com