Posts tagged with "Senator Elizabeth Warren"

Senate panel votes to require Pentagon to assign new names to bases dubbed for Confederates

June 12, 2020

The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require the Pentagon to rename bases and other assets that are named after Confederate military leaders, a source confirmed to The Hill.

The move comes as Americans have hit the streets for 16 nights straight to protest the murder in Minnesota of George Floyd on May 25—and to assert that Black Lives Matter.

The amendment, offered by committee member Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), was approved by voice vote on Wednesday, June 10, during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the source familiar with the situation told The Hill.

The amendment would give the Pentagon three years to remove the Confederate names.

The news, which was first reported by Roll Call, comes after President Donald Trump said he would “not even consider” renaming the Army bases, insisting on his Twitter feed:

It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.

Just two days before Trump’s tweets, an Army spokesperson said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were “open” to renaming the 10 bases that are named after Confederate military officers.

Specifically, the bases, which are in Southern states, are Fort Lee, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Polk, Fort Pickett, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Rucker and Camp Beauregard.

During a briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also said Trump would veto the NDAA if the massive policy bill mandated changing the names of the bases.

The inclusion of the amendment to force the Pentagon to change the base names, coupled with McEnany’s veto threat, potentially puts the White House on a collision course with Congress over what’s generally considered a must-pass bill. Republicans disinclined to confront the president still have opportunities to strip the amendment if they want, such as when the bill hits the Senate floor as soon as next week.

Research contact: @thehill

Democrats block Senate coronavirus bill, calling it a bailout for corporations and Trump’s family

March 24, 2020

Who will benefit from the bills that the U.S. Congress is churning out to deal with COVID-19? Will it be everyday Americans and the healthcare heroes who are struggling to stem the pandemic; or big business—including what Senator Elizabeth Warren has characterized as a “slush fund for Donald Trump and his family”—and Wall Street?

According to a report by The Huffington Post, Democrats are raising serious concerns about the Senate’s massive emergency legislation aimed at propping up the economy and giving relief to workers hit hard by the growing coronavirus pandemic—saying it’s tilted too far in favor of Wall Street and big corporations.

The bill—said to offer at least $1 trillion to prop up an economy paralyzed by the virus—would represent the largest government response thus far to the crisis.

On Wednesday, March 18, lawmakers passed and President Donald Trump signed into law Democratic legislation that makes coronavirus testing free, expands unemployment insurance benefits and provides paid leave to some displaced workers.

Now, the HuffPost says, Democrats have leverage over the final shape of the bill because it will require 60 votes for passage and Republicans number 53 in the 100-seat Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) attempted to advance the bill on Sunday evening, emphasizing the need to move quickly to help those who have been laid off during the crisis. He said both sides had ample time to reach a deal on outstanding issues before a final vote on Monday.

But Democrats unanimously blocked the measure over its provisions allowing the Trump administration to lend hundreds of billions of dollars to major industries like hotels, casinos, cruise lines, and oil and gas.

“We’re fiddling here, fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets, fiddling with our health care,” a visibly frustrated McConnell said in a floor speech—followed by a press release—after the vote, accusing Democrats of partisan obstruction that threatened the economy.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), meanwhile, said his party opposed moving forward with the bill “because among other problems it includes huge bailouts without protections for people and workers and without accountability, and because it shortchanges our hospitals and health care workers who need our help.”

Schumer said he was hopeful changes could be made in ongoing discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin but added that “we are not yet at that point.”

The high-stakes negotiations, which have been taking place all weekend, gained even more urgency on Sunday after Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. He is the first member of the Senate to contract the virus. Four other Republican senators, some of whom were in close proximity to Paul on Capitol Hill earlier this week, also were self-isolating and did not vote Sunday.

“Wall Street’s going to do just fine. They’ve always rebounded real well … let’s take care of the people we’re asking to take care of us if we need them,” Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, said in a floor speech.

Democrats are also unhappy with the portion of the bill aimed at helping distressed industries with at least $450 billion in loans. The massive fund would be controlled by the Treasury Department and could include bailouts to hotels, casinos, cruise lines, and the oil and gas industry. It includes virtually no restrictions on how the money would be distributed, allowing properties owned directly by President Donald Trump to receive a bailout, for example, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations.

Another provision in the bill Democrats oppose would allow Mnuchin to delay publicly releasing the names of businesses that receive a bailout, as well as the amounts of those loans, for six months.

“We’re not here to create a slush fund for Donald Trump and his family, or a slush fund for the Treasury Department to be able to hand out to their friends,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts.) told reporters. “We’re here to help workers, we’re here to help hospitals. And right now what the Republicans proposed does neither of those.” 

Research contact: @HuffPost

Biden: Trump doesn’t have ‘intestinal fortitude’ for gun control; ‘no compromise’ with McConnell

September 4, 2019

Former vice president and current candidate for president Joe Biden said Monday that he sees little hope for a compromise in Washington, D.C., that would tighten restrictions on gun sales—adding that President Donald Trump “has no intestinal fortitude” to follow through on his talk of pushing Congress to act in the wake of yet another mass shooting, NBC News reported.

The still-dominant Democratic frontrunner has made his ability to work with Republicans a touchstone of his presidential campaign, the network said—but he told reporters in Iowa that guns will not be an issue that can be dealt with across the aisle.

“I said I’ll work with {Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell where we can agree. But on this one, he’s not going to agree … so we just have to beat him, flat out beat him,” Biden said a Labor Day picnic in Cedar Rapids. “I think there’s no compromise. This is one we have to just push and push and push and push and push. And the fact of the matter is, I think it’s going to result in seeing some of them [Republicans] defeated.”

Guns are an issue on the agenda for Congress when it returns to Washington this month after the August recess, but Biden said he’s not holding his breath for action.

Part of the problem, he told NBC News, is that Trump has on several occasions voiced some support for new gun safety measures, including universal background checks, only to backtrack later.

“I’ve seen nothing,” he said of a possible solution in Congress this fall. “The president has no intestinal fortitude to deal with this. He knows better. His instinct was to say yeah, we’re going to do something on background checks. What’s he doing? Come on. This is disgraceful. This is disgraceful what’s happening.”

Biden’s head-to-head rival, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), told NBC News, “[W}e know what the pieces are …— universal background checks, assault weapons off our streets, get rid of bump stocks and the ability to fire weapons in a short period of time. There are a lot of things we could be doing. So why doesn’t it happen? And the answer is corruption. It’s corruption. Right now we have a Washington that is held hostage by the gun industry and the NRA. That has to stop.”

Research contact: NBCNews

CNN to host five top Democratic candidates at back-to-back town halls on April 22

April 18, 2019

Five Democratic presidential hopefuls will take questions and lay out policies, one right after the other, at CNN town halls next Monday, April 22, in New Hampshire—the state that traditionally hosts the first primary challenge of the campaign season, the cable news network has announced

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana, Senator Kamala Harris (California), Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) will participate in the live, internationally telecast event.

The current leader in the race—former Vice President Joe Biden, with 27% of the vote in Iowa, according to a recent Monmouth University poll—is still undeclared; and, therefore, has not been invited to the event.

The CNN town halls are being co-hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. The presidential candidates will field questions directly from students and young New Hampshire Democrats, said a CNN spokesperson, who added that the audience will be drawn from the two schools and a pool of young Democrats living in the state.

Chris Cuomo will moderate the Klobuchar (7 p.m. ET) and Sanders (9 p.m. ET) town halls, Anderson Cooper will moderate the Warren (8 p.m. ET) and Buttigieg (11 p.m. ET) town halls, and Don Lemon will moderate the Harris (10 p.m. ET) town hall.

The CNN town halls will take place on the campus of Saint Anselm College, and has been scheduled coincide with the release of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School’s new national poll of young voters.

Research contact: @CNNPolitics

Administration aims $100 billion tax cut at the rich

August 2, 2018

As if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did not provide enough payback to President Donald Trump and his elite donors in 2018; the POTUS now is contemplating a unilateral move that would cut taxes, mainly for rich people, by $100 billion.

Specifically, the administration is considering bypassing Congress in an effort to cut capital gains taxes—a gambit that many say would not be lawful; but, like the earlier act, would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy.

Indeed, The New York Times reported on July 30, that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said last week at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina that his department was “studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to account for inflation in determining capital gains tax liabilities.”

Mnuchin noted that the Treasury Department could change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains, the Times said—thereby, enabling taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, such as a home or a share of stock, for inflation when it sells.

As an example, the Times said, if a high earner spent $100,000 on stock in 1980 , and sold it for $1 million today, he or she would owe taxes on $900,000. But if the original purchase price was adjusted for inflation—as Mnuchin and Trump are considering— it would be about $300,000, reducing  his or her taxable “gain” to $700,000. That would save the investor $40,000.

If it can’t get done through a legislation process, we will look at what tools at Treasury we have to do it on our own and we’ll consider that,” Mnuchin told the Times, emphasizing that he had not concluded whether the Treasury Department had the authority to act alone.”

As the news hit the streets, Democrats pushed back. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) took to Twitter to voice her disgust, saying “@realDonaldTrump wants to go around Congress & hand $100 billion to his rich buddies on top of $1.5 trillion he gave away to billionaires & big corporations last year. DC works great if you’re rich & powerful. How about a gov’t that works for everyone?

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll fielded in April found that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act already had lost its luster among American voters. Just 27% of the electorate called it a good idea, down from 30% in January. A 36% plurality called it a bad idea, while the rest had no opinion.

Research contact: @mmurrarypolitics

Oh, you beautiful doll: Brooklyn company raises over $600K for a Ruth Bader Ginsburg action figure

July 11, 2018

Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the Supreme Court justice perhaps best-known for her strong voice in favor of gender equality and her dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore—always has been a woman of action. Now, a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign, started by the Brooklyn-based creative house FCTRY and asking for $1 pledges since April, has raised an amazing $613,655 from 15,652 backers to produce a lifelike action figure of the plucky, intellectual jurist. When the fundraising window ended on July 10, the campaign had exceeded its original funding goal of $15,000 by over 4 000%, MIC reported.

The action figure’s prototype was sculpted by Mike Leavitt, a Seattle-based master caricaturist who portrayed the diminutive, soft-spoken member of the court with her characteristic, piercing gaze. The six-inch replica comes wearing her “righteous robe”, carrying a teeny-tiny gavel, pointing a finger, and wearing pulled-back hair and wire-rim glasses. The dolls will be available for shipping in September.

One dollar from the sales of each $20 action figure will be donated by FCTRY to She’s the first, an organization that fights gender inequality through education. STF provides scholarships to support girls who will be the first in their families to graduate from high school, and strains students everywhere to be global citizens.

On its Kickstarter page, FCTRY said it selected RBG as the subject of its newest campaign because she’s a “tremendously positive and inspirational character to so many different kinds of people.”

But she is not the only action figure available to support a good cause. RBG is just the latest offering from FCTRY, which also sells replicas of former President Barack Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, yes, President Donald Trump. (The POTUS already is sold out. Sorry.)

“Knowing that some of these figures will surely wind up in the hands of young girls and boys who may, quite possibly, grow up entirely free of all of the antiquated stereotypes that RBG has spent her life dismantling is both gratifying and humbling,” FCTRY’s Kickstarter says.

Followers already are asking for more versions of the figure. In fact, one woman who already had order 3 RBGs and 2 Obamas pleaded in an email to the Kickstarter site, “And yes …[Rachel] MADDOW! My 89-year-old mom would be over the moon.” Another said, “MADD … Wait for it …DOW!”

Finally, liberals, take heart. For $100, you can have a full dream team of RBG, Warren, Hillary, Obama, and Bernie shipped straight to you, with proceeds going to several good causes.

Research contact: @fctry