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    SEOUL—A lone defector from North Korea has begun wafting balloons over the country laden with face masks, medicine and vitamin pills rather than the leaflets that he previously rained down on the North in defiance of government attempts to stop him. “People are dying because of COVID in North Korea,” Park Sang-hak, who defected from North Korea to South Korea more than 20 years ago, told The Daily Beast. “That’s the top priority. Right now, hundreds of thousands are getting the virus, and thousands are dying every day.” Park, who runs an organization called Fighters for Free Korea, said the need to aid people in the North in the fight against the disease explains why he’s again launching balloons, though he still faces charges for breaking a law imposed by the previous liberal government. The law remains on the books, but he’s confident that under the conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol, he won’t be arrested again. “The law is still there, but they’re not going to try to enforce it,” he said. “The current president as a candidate stated that he...
    (CNN)During the Great Recession, something happened that I found surprising -- and very encouraging. When the United States and other wealthy countries faced a financial crisis, I expected they might cut foreign aid. But instead, from 2007 to 2009, data we analyzed from The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that donor nations increased their commitment to global health aid by 16% -- and millions of lives were saved. Bill GatesRight now, we're at risk of a very different outcome. In a typical year, G7 nations donate about $122 billion to address long-term health, economic development and welfare needs in low-income countries. But this is not a typical year. The crises the world faces have multiplied: Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, food shortages, inflation. Some countries are considering redirecting aid to immediate humanitarian assistance, such as housing Ukrainian refugees. Efforts to fight diseases in low-income countries stand to lose billions of dollars. We cannot turn away from those affected by war. But we don't have to accept extreme suffering in one part of the planet to alleviate it...
    The House of Representatives could vote as soon as Tuesday afternoon on an additional $40 billion in aid to the Ukraine. But lawmakers split off $10 billion in funding for the covid pandemic in order to rush through money for the war-torn country, which is entering its second month of fighting off Russia's invasion. Lawmakers increased President Joe Biden's original $33 billion request, adding $3.4 billion in military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance, for the Ukrainians. The Senate could take up the package next week. While the Ukraine aid is expected to sail through, there is no clear outlook for the covid funds that Democrats had originally tied to the foreign aid. Biden signed off on the deal that dropped covid funding.  'Previously, I had recommended that Congress take overdue action on much needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines and tests, as part of the Ukraine Supplemental bill,' Biden said in a statement on Monday. 'However, I have been informed by Congressional leaders in both parties that such an addition would slow down action on the urgently needed...
    U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a Rose Garden event at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2022.Kevin Lamarque | Reuters President Joe Biden urged Congress on Monday to quickly approve a multibillion-dollar aid package for Ukraine before trying to pass a new round of Covid-19 funding, warning that U.S. aid for Ukraine's fighters has nearly been exhausted. Biden's new position marked a reversal from his prior insistence last month that the military aid and the pandemic funding be bundled together. Decoupling the two bills significantly increases the chances Congress will pass the $33 billion in requested Ukraine funding, while dimming hope for the $10 billion in Covid relief funds Biden said are necessary to supply updated vaccines and shots for the fall. "Previously, I had recommended that Congress take overdue action on much needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines and tests, as part of the Ukraine Supplemental bill," Biden said in a statement released by the White House. "However, I have been informed by Congressional leaders in both parties that such an addition would slow down action...
    This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today. Restaurants and other businesses that have survived more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions could see an infusion of federal dollars in the coming months, as long as U.S. lawmakers reach final agreement on a multibillion-dollar package. The U.S. House has approved a bill with $42 billion for restaurants and $13 billion for a hard-hit industries program that would help small businesses that weren’t eligible for restaurant aid. That legislation, however, only got the backing of six House Republicans, signaling it doesn’t have the support necessary in the evenly divided U.S. Senate to make it to President Joe Biden’s desk. That’s where Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker stepped in with their own bill to provide $40 billion to restaurants and $8 billion to various small businesses. “We’re looking at any way to move this as soon as we possibly can, because it’s pretty desperate,” Cardin said during a brief interview. Aside from the $2 billion gap...
    Republicans doubled down on their demand to hold a vote on an amendment that would keep the Title 42 border restrictions in place as part of $10 billion covid funding bill that President Joe Biden wants passed. 'No amendments, no bill,' GOP Senator Mitt Romney, the lead negotiator for Republicans, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. And Republicans put the blame for the delay in pandemic funding on the White House, calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement that the Trump-era policy on the border would expire in May 'not helpful.'  'Putting this Title 42 issue out just as we were about to move forward on this $10 billion deal was not helpful,' said GOP Senator Roy Blunt. He said the issue was going to to get punted to after Congress' two-week Easter recess, pushing a vote on the measure closer to the end of April. The White House has described the funding measure as 'vital.' Republican Senators Mitt Romney (left) and Roy Blunt (right) doubled down on their demand to hold a vote on an amendment...
    Senate negotiators reached a deal Monday to provide $10 billion in domestic COVID-19 aid but without a provision for global aid. The bill may be passed as soon as this week. Several Republicans, including Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, continued negotiations after a previous COVID-19 aid measure fell apart last month. Romney and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced the new deal Monday in separate statements. MAGA MESS IN ALABAMA: RESCINDED BROOKS ENDORSEMENT LEAVES OTHER CANDIDATES VYING FOR TRUMP’S SUPPORT Schumer said, “After working through the weekend, Senator Romney and I have reached an agreement on a bipartisan COVID-19 Supplemental Appropriations package." Although he is “disappointed” Republicans wouldn’t agree to fund global aid, Schumer praised Romney “for leading the negotiations for the Senate Republicans and working in good faith to reach an agreement on much needed COVID funding." Schumer said President Joe Biden “supports this package and has asked the Senate and House to act quickly to get this bill to his desk.” Romney said that Senate Republicans...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Dem, GOP bargainers say they’ve reached deal on $10B COVID package, after dropping aid to battle pandemic abroad. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    (CNN)Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney said Thursday that Republicans have struck an "agreement in principle" with Democrats on a $10 billion package to help US efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, a breakthrough that could pave the way for new funds to help the United States' response efforts amid growing fears that critical resources are being depleted.Romney, the lead GOP negotiator, told reporters the plan is "entirely balanced by offsets." He said the bill text still needs to be drafted and there needs to be a cost estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office before the Senate can vote on the matter.The Senate, as a result, is expected to scrap Thursday afternoon's procedural vote on the issue -- in order to give time for the bill's text to be drafted and for an official CBO score. The goal is to pass the bill next week, Romney said.The $10 billion price tag overall is less than half of what the White House was seeking. It's also less than the $15.6 billion that had been included in the government funding bill earlier...
    President BidenJoe BidenTrump says he's uninterested in being Speaker if GOP retakes House Biden administration boosts support for antitrust efforts Energy & Environment — Oil companies rebuff House chairman MORE Wednesday called on Congress to authorize billions of dollars in pandemic relief funding that has been stalled due to political fighting.  During a speech at the White House, Biden upped the pressure on lawmakers, warning that without continued funding the U.S. is at risk of backsliding just as the country is turning the corner on COVID-19. "Just as we reached the critical turning point in this fight, Congress has to provide the funding America needs to continue to fight COVID-19," Biden said. "This isn't partisan, it's medicine." A $1.5 trillion government funding bill signed into law earlier this month was going to include $15.6 billion in COVID-19 spending, but it was stripped out after a group of House Democrats objected to one of the offsets, namely using a portion of state aid from a previous relief bill.  Senate Republicans are not interested in setting aside any new funding, and progress...
    PHILADELPHIA — The head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is proposing a potential resolution to the impasse over billions of dollars in new pandemic relief the White House deems crucial: Make all 50 states cover the cost. "That could have been one solution," Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHouse passes sweeping .5 trillion omnibus spending bill House panel refers Amazon to DOJ for potential obstruction of justice 'Urgent' COVID-19 funding hangs in balance amid partisan fight MORE (D-Wash.) told reporters during the the Democrats' annual retreat here. "That's not what happened." Jayapal was among the dozens of Democrats up in arms Wednesday morning when party leaders introduced a massive $1.5 trillion government spending package, including $13.6 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine and another $15.6 billion to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers' frustration was not with those figures, but the decision to cover roughly $7 billion of the health care costs by clawing back money previously allotted to states as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes bill banning Russian oil imports, authorizing sanctions...
    (CNN)The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday to pass a massive $1.5 trillion government spending bill that will fund a wide range of priorities, including delivering desperately needed aid to Ukraine and additional money to fight Covid-19. Lawmakers must pass the 2,741-page bill ahead of a Friday deadline when government funding is set to expire in order to avert a shutdown. The House is slated to move first to approve the sweeping legislation before sending it to the Senate. The bill, known on Capitol Hill as the omnibus, was unveiled early Wednesday morning and is the product of months of talks between negotiators to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. It also includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine and $15.6 billion in Covid relief money among other provisions.A government shutdown is not expected to take place, in part because many lawmakers are anxious to demonstrate support for Ukraine amid Russia's deadly unprovoked assault on the country.House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that lawmakers want to avoid a government shutdown at...
    Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan deal early Wednesday on a $1.5 trillion spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown. The legislation includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine and European allies, and $15.6 billion in funding for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatments in the United States and abroad, the Associated Press reports. President Joe Biden had requested $10 billion for Ukraine and European allies and $22.5 billion for COVID-19 relief.   CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER Lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass the spending measure and avoid a weekend government shutdown. News
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders reach bipartisan deal on Ukraine, COVID aid as part of $1.5T bill financing federal agencies. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Lawmakers say they are close to an agreement to provide billions in new coronavirus relief, set to be tied to a massive government funding bill.  Congress is expected to include at least $15 billion in response to the Biden administration‘s request for new funding for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and testing. Getting a deal on the funds would remove a significant hurdle for passing a government funding bill by Friday night, when lawmakers have to pass legislation or spark a shutdown.  Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP lawmakers warn staff union could hinder Congress' work  Scott reiterates his plan could change after McConnell rebuke McConnell, Scott face off over GOP's agenda MORE (R-Mo.), who has been involved in drafting the bill, said that they were drafting it to include $15 billion.  But that number isn’t locked in, with leadership debating adding more money.  Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHow Sen. John Thune can rescue the GOP from Trump in 2024 Senate GOP shrugs off latest Trump revelation Senate Republicans oppose Biden's .5 billion COVID-19 relief request  MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, appeared...
    Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'Urgent' COVID-19 funding hangs in balance amid partisan fight Two GOP senators share photos from Zoom call with Zelensky despite requests not to Zelensky calls on Congress to implement no-fly zone, block purchases of Russian oil MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday said that Democrats had made a "global offer" as Congress tries to wrap up government funding negotiations by a Friday night deadline. "Democrats have made a reasonable global offer to Republicans and it is my hope that we will reach an agreement very soon so that we can meet the March 11 government funding deadline," Schumer wrote in a "Dear Colleague" letter.  In addition to government funding, the massive bill is expected to include billions in new military and humanitarian assistance to address Russia's invasion of Ukraine. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBarr says no evidence that Trump was 'legally responsible' for Jan. 6 attack House working on bill to ban Russian oil imports Blinken: 'Active discussion' ongoing on banning import of Russian oil MORE (D-N.Y.), in a letter to her caucus over the weekend, said that the...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — University of Chicago Medicine will reopen its Ingalls-Flossmoor 24-hour urgent aid location on Tuesday. The facility closed temporarily in late December, when the hospital said it had to consolidate its resources because of the surge in COVID-19 cases. Staff members were moved to other urgent care centers in Calumet City and Tinley Park. The site will reopen at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
    Share this: New York’s Democrat-controlled Legislature will make key decisions in 2022 on everything from the roll-out of recreational marijuana sales to how best to help New Yorkers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised to announce sweeping initiatives for 2022 in her State of the State address Wednesday, including overhauls of the state’s ethics rules and the public university system. The Legislature has until April to pass a budget and decide the fate of billions in projected surplus.
    Washington — The Federal Reserve will start dialing back its ultra-low-rate policies this year as long as hiring continues to improve, Chair Jerome Powell said Friday, signaling the beginning of the end of the Fed's extraordinary response to the pandemic recession. The Fed's move could lead, over time, to somewhat higher borrowing costs for mortgages, credit cards and business loans. The Fed has been buying $120 billion a month in mortgage and Treasury bonds to try to hold down longer-term loan rates to spur borrowing and spending. Powell's comments indicate the Fed will likely announce a reduction — or "tapering" — of those purchases sometime in the final three months of this year. "Despite the resurgence in case loads, Powell is relatively upbeat about both the economic and inflation outlooks, and is eyeing the start of tapering this year, though perhaps later this year," Sal Guatieri, senior economist with BMO Economics, told investors in a report. No immediate rate hikesPowell stressed that the beginning of tapering does not signal any plan to start raising the Fed's benchmark short-term rate,...
    More On: mta De Blasio lugs out a giant $15B check to stump for congestion pricing ‘That would send the wrong message’: MTA to delay fare hikes until 2022 NYC’s worst-in-the-nation traffic congestion threatens push to reopen Cops hunt attempted NYC subway thief who left mom with brain injuries The MTA is still mulling service cuts in the coming years, despite receiving nearly $15 billion in federal aid since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Wednesday. Transit leaders anticipate a multi-billion dollar deficit as soon as 2025, if the authority opts to skip this year’s planned fare increase, Chief Financial Officer Bob Foran said during the authority’s monthly board meeting. “We’re going to run out of federal aid by 2024, and we’ll face a $3.5 billion cumulative deficit in ‘24 and ‘25,” Foran told board members. “At some point, we need to figure out where is our ridership needing us to take them, what are the levels of service that we need to provide to meet the needs… so that we don’t have to do some...
    Stats all, folks ANY case for not unlocking fully on June 21 has surely evaporated. The Health Secretary’s stats prove it. With deaths at rock-bottom any case for not unlocking has surely evaporated, The Sun Says Yes, cases of the Indian variant, now dominant here, are rising. But so what, if hospitalisations remain as flat as they are? Deaths are still rock-bottom, with just one UK-wide today. And the vaccines provably conquer the Indian strain. As Matt Hancock said, of 12,000-plus cases only three people jabbed twice ended up in hospital. That is a negligible fraction. Tomorrow over-25s will be invited for theirs. They must not hesitate. Nor must Boris next week as he makes the final call on ending lockdown for good. As Matt Hancock said, of 12,000-plus cases only three people jabbed twice ended up in hospital. That is a negligible fraction Aid showdown THE foreign aid rebellion, against the Government and most of the public, is not over. Speaker Lindsay Hoyle rightly killed today's Tory backbench bid to bolt an aid clause on to an unrelated...
    The Biden administration is reserving a Trump policy ban on undocumented students receiving pandemic aid.  Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaHouse Republicans press Biden Education secretary on reopening outreach White House posts visitor logs for first time since Obama Overnight Health Care: Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine 96 percent effective in teens | Nearly 940,000 sign up for ObamaCare coverage in special enrollment MORE announced the new plan on Tuesday, finalizing a regulation which lets universities distribute $36 billion to students as a part of their federal pandemic aid, dismissing their immigration status as a qualification for the aid.  The move will help universities expand opportunities to students who are in financial aid need. It also reflects the department's main goal to provide resources and guidance to institutions, students, and communities throughout the pandemic, according to a press release.  "These funds are critical to ensuring that all of our nation’s students – particularly those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – have the opportunity to enroll, continue their education, graduate, and pursue their careers,” Cardona said in the press release. “With this action, thousands of institutions will...
    VIDEO3:4503:45Stealing from Main StreetCNBC Investigations Korena Keys' small business was hard hit when the pandemic first took hold last year. Her digital media firm, KeyMedia Solutions in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, saw its sales plummet 60% in May from the previous year. She was able to secure a loan from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program for $115,000 to keep workers employed until things stabilized. So when Keys received paperwork from the SBA in January that there was an additional $150,000 loan taken out in her business's name under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, she thought it might be a mistake.Korena Keys runs a digital marketing firm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She received aid from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, but found out her identity was stolen to obtain a fraudulent loan under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for $150,000.Alex Herrera | CNBC"We'd made a conscious decision not to apply for any other assistance," Keys said. "We thought those funds need to be left for businesses that weren't faring as well." Although she says...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Struggling concert venues across the country still have not received the billions of dollars in federal aid that was part of the coronavirus relief package signed into law in December. Some venue owners say they can’t hold much longer. READ MORE: 21% Of Gen-Zers Would Not Get COVID-19 Vaccine, STAT-Harris Poll Finds “It’s been harrowing, to say the least,” Tecla Tesnau, the Owner of Ottobar, said. Many venues haven’t had any revenue and can’t turn a profit with reduced capacity restrictions in place in Maryland. “So many [venues] held on, waiting for this relief, but several hundred had no choice but to shutter forever,” Audrey Fix Schafer, a board member and spokesperson for the National Independent Venue Association, said. CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: TIMELINE: Coronavirus In Maryland, Tracking The Spread Latest coronavirus stories from WJZ Latest CDC Guidelines The $16 billion shuttered venue operators grant was supposed to be open to applicants last Thursday, but technical glitches closed the site and not a single application went through. Now, it’s stalled indefinitely, putting venues in a very tough...
    SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A plan to revitalize one San Jose neighborhood hit hard by COVID-19 has a unique twist: Get the city to buy up vacant storefronts to help struggling businesses get back on their feet. “This was one of our favorite hangouts. Some of the best menudo, and they’re gone. They couldn’t make it,” said Jesse Haro, in front of a boarded up Mexican restaurant. READ MORE: Construction Set To Begin On Gondola Connecting Alpine Meadows To Squaw Valley Haro, of the Alum Rock Village Action Committee, can go up and down Alum Rock Avenue talking about all the stores and restaurants in this neighborhood business district that have closed or are in danger of closing because of the pandemic. “A lot of the businesses in the village, they are immigrant businesses and have really been struggling,” he told KPIX 5. Now, his group has come up with plan to revitalize the area. A boarded up restaurant in East San Jose. (CBS) “What we are proposing is that the City of San Jose purchase these empty buildings...
    [The stream is slated to start at 10 a.m. ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.] Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell appear for a second day for virtual Capitol Hill testimony, this time talking Wednesday with members of the Senate Banking Committee. The focus of the hearings is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, adopted in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic to provide financial aid to individuals and businesses. The semiannual hearings are mandated as part of the act and mark Yellen's first testimony on the Hill outside of her confirmation hearing. In Tuesday's appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, the pair discussed the state of the economy, market valuations, climate change and a host of other issues. Both officials emphasized the strides the economy has made over the last year as well as the challenges that remain. Read more:Fed sets up panels to examine risks that climate change poses to the financial systemPowell and Yellen agree valuations in the market...
    [The stream is slated to start at Noon ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.] Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appear Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee as part of a mandated update on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The hearing focuses on how CARES money has been allocated and the economic progress made under the program. Fed officials last week raised their forecast for 2022 gross domestic product growth to 6.5%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1984. Nevertheless, Powell said in remarks prepared for Tuesday's hearing that while the economy is "much improved" since the Covid-19 pandemic began, "the recovery is far from complete." Yellen also issued hopeful yet cautious notes, saying she sees the economy reaching full employment again next year while stressing that "we should be clear-eyed" about how much work is left to do. Read more:Powell says the Fed is committed to using all its tools to promote recoveryThe Fed can fight inflation, but it...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — In 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden was “Sheriff Joe,” the enforcer making sure federal dollars from a massive economic aid package were getting to the right places and quickly. This time, President Biden’s role is different: He’s lead salesman for the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, eager to score political points as Americans begin to reap benefits from the massive government relief effort. Biden signed the bill into law Thursday and then extolled it in a prime-time address to the nation that night. On Friday, he celebrated the package again, this time with Democratic lawmakers in his first Rose Garden event as president. Biden said Friday that he would draw on his experiences in 2009, saying he worked four to five hours daily for six months to ensure that the stimulus succeeded. That same type of focus will be needed for coronavirus relief. “The devil is in the details,” the president said. “It’s one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It’s going to be another thing to implement it. It’s going to require fastidious oversight to...
    By JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — In 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden was "Sheriff Joe,” the enforcer making sure federal dollars from a massive economic aid package were getting to the right places and quickly. This time, President Biden’s role is different: He's lead salesman for the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, eager to score political points as Americans begin to reap benefits from the massive government relief effort. Biden signed the bill into law Thursday and then extolled it in a prime-time address to the nation that night. On Friday, he celebrated the package again, this time with Democratic lawmakers in his first Rose Garden event as president. Biden said Friday that he would draw on his experiences in 2009, saying he worked four to five hours daily for six months to ensure that the stimulus succeeded. That same type of focus will be needed for coronavirus relief. "The devil is in the details," the president said. “It’s one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It’s going to be another thing to implement it. It’s going...
    By JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — In 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden was "Sheriff Joe,” the enforcer making sure federal dollars from a massive economic aid package were getting to the right places and quickly. This time, President Joe Biden’s role is different: He's lead salesman for the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, eager to score political points as Americans begin to reap benefits from the massive government relief effort. Biden signed the bill into law on Thursday and then extolled it in a prime-time address to the nation that night. On Friday, he was to celebrate the package again, this time with Democratic lawmakers in his first Rose Garden event as president. The White House has plotted an ambitious campaign to showcase the law's contents while looking to build momentum for future, more difficult parts of the president’s sweeping agenda. Biden will travel to the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia next week to talk it up and other top administration officials will fan out around the country to do likewise. West Wing aides say there is...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — In 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden was “Sheriff Joe,” the enforcer making sure federal dollars from a massive economic aid package were getting to the right places and quickly. This time, President Joe Biden’s role is different: He’s lead salesman for the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, eager to score political points as Americans begin to reap benefits from the massive government relief effort. Biden signed the bill into law on Thursday and then extolled it in a prime-time address to the nation that night. On Friday, he was to celebrate the package again, this time with Democratic lawmakers in his first Rose Garden event as president. The White House has plotted an ambitious campaign to showcase the law’s contents while looking to build momentum for future, more difficult parts of the president’s sweeping agenda. Biden will travel to the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia next week to talk it up and other top administration officials will fan out around the country to do likewise. West Wing aides say there is a determination to avoid...
    President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will go on the road next week to pitch the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package Mr. Biden signed on Thursday.  In what the White House has dubbed the "Help is Here" tour, either the president, the vice president or their spouses are expected to be on the road nearly every day next week. The stops will mark the first public events outside of the Washington, D.C. area for everyone except the president, who has already made trips to Texas and Michigan during his first days in office. Mr. Biden delivered his first prime-time address on Thursday night, paying tribute to the over 500,000 American lives losts to the COVID-19 virus in the year since the World Health Organization named the deadly virus a pandemic. Mr. Biden also announced the start of a nationwide public relations tour to laude his first major legislative achievement, signing the American Rescue Plan into law. "In the coming weeks and months I'll be traveling along with the...
    Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Sunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Georgia DA investigating Trump taps racketeering expert for probe: report MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday sharply criticized a planned $5 billion fund for debt repayment targeting disadvantaged farmers in the COVID-19 stimulus package set to be passed by the House this week, calling it "reparations." Speaking on Fox News, Graham characterized the fund as part of a Democratic "wish list" that passed despite Republican opposition as part of the $1.9 trillion package approved by the Senate over the weekend. "Let me give you an example of something that really bothers me. In this bill, if you're a farmer, your loan will be forgiven up to 120 percent of your loan...if you're socially disadvantaged. If you're African-American, some other minority. But if you're [a] white person, if you're a white woman, no forgiveness. That's reparations. What does that have to do with COVID?" he asked. Graham's comments drew fire from House Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos...
    Bloomberg Sustainable debt sales in LA increase amid global boom (Bloomberg) – Sustainable debt sales are suddenly on the rise in Latin America, as investors seeking higher returns in green and social securities become more comfortable buying high-yield bonds. Borrowers in the region They have raised about $ 8.7 billion in international debt deals tied to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) projects so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This is close to the record of $ 10.8 billion issued all of last year, and there is much more to come. Governments across the region are planning green bond sales, and IDB Invest, part of the Inter-American Development Bank, is working with borrowers on 15 additional green, social and sustainability bonds this year. The growing volume of sales reflects a market that once It was relatively small and is now increasingly global and liquid, in part because ESG-focused mutual funds have grown. Many issuers can reduce their borrowing costs in the market, by 0.15 percentage point or more. “The momentum we are seeing in Latin America...
    New York : Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is confident that the House will approve the financial aid this Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Burton / . The pieces are being arranged positively so that this Tuesday the House of Representatives approves the President’s American Rescue Plan Joe biden. Although not all Republicans are happy with the changes made, the Speaker of the House, Nancy pelosi (California), seems to maintain the necessary unity in the face of a possible onslaught from the Republicans. The leader of the Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal (Washington), announced since Saturday that the country needs this new aid of $ 1.9 billion dollars, despite the fact that some of the members of the group questioned the sending of $ 1,400 dollars to fewer people. “It is important to note that, although we believe that any weakening of the House provisions was bad policy and bad policy, the reality is that the final amendments were relatively minor concessions,” he said. The represent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) has criticized the approval of the bill in the...
    The day after the Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package along party lines, all eyes turned to Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Schumer insists Democrats unified after chaotic coronavirus debate MORE (D-W.V.), a key moderate vote in the chamber's evenly split Democratic majority who doesn’t seem to relish in the role. Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” the West Virginia senator denied taking pleasure in his capacity to make or break Democratic agenda items in a chamber that gives them the majority but is split 50-50. “I didn’t lobby for this position. I’ve never changed, Martha. I’m the same person I have been all my life and since I’ve been in the public offices, I’m the same. I’ve been voting the same way for the last 10 years,” Manchin told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. Manchin made the rounds on multiple Sunday talk shows that included addressing his firm stance to not eliminate the filibuster but that it...
    Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan told believers that the COVID-19 vaccine is a 'vial of death,' a claim that was shared on Twitter and Facebook despite their misinformation policies.  A video of Farrakhan saying the vaccine 'is death itself' was reportedly shared on Facebook and YouTube, where it remained until Saturday night, according to Fox News.  A link to the video still remains on Twitter despite Farrakhan comparing the vaccine to the Kool-Aid from the Jonestown Massacre of 1978 when more than 900 members of an American cult called the Peoples Temple died in a mass suicide-murder under the direction of their leader Jim Jones. 'This is the biggest dose of Kool-Aid that the enemy has ever offered... created by what you call warp speed. You know anything that's warped is misshaped. Anything that's warped is crooked.   Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (pictured) told believers that the COVID-19 vaccine is a 'vial of death,' a claim that was shared on Twitter and Facebook despite their misinformation policies. 'By rushing so fast to get something out, bypassing normal...
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could face dissent in her caucus ahead of Tuesday’s vote to confirm the passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. With the Democrats’ slim 221-211 House advantage, Pelosi can afford no more than four defections in the vote scheduled for Tuesday. But two members of her caucus, Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, could be confirmed to Biden administration posts as soon as Wednesday. That could amplify gripes coming from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other left-leaning House comrades after some of their major initiatives were stripped out of the American Rescue Plan Act — and could test Pelosi’s ability to keep her troops in line. AOC retweeted a message from her fellow Democrat, New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Friday night. “What are we doing here?” Watson Coleman griped in a tweet that bemoaned the elimination of a federal minimum-wage increase and a cut to unemployment benefits. “I’m frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill,” she added. New Jersey Rep. Bonnie...
    More On: Coronavirus ‘I will not self-suffocate’: Fiery protests erupt at this state capital over COVID restrictions Biden cheers passage of $1.9 trillion COVID aid bill One year on, NYC still has no clear ideas for a COVID-19 memorial Here’s what’s in, what’s out of latest COVID relief bill passed by Senate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing dissent in her caucus ahead of Tuesday’s vote to confirm the passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. With the Democrats’ slim 221-211 House advantage, Pelosi can afford no more than four defections in the vote scheduled for Tuesday. But two members of her caucus, Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, could be confirmed to Biden administration posts as soon as Wednesday. That gives extra weight to the whines coming from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other left-leaning House comrades after some of their major initiatives were stripped out of the American Rescue Plan Act — and could test Pelosi’s ability to keep her troops in line. AOC retweeted a message from her fellow Democrat,...
    Reuters March 6, 2021 0 Comments Democrats in the U.S. Senate said Friday they had resolved their differences over unemployment aid in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill, enabling them to move forward with the sweeping package after hours of delay. The deal would scale back the level of jobless benefits provided in the version of the bill that passed the House of Representatives last week and set up new tax breaks for people receiving them, according to Democratic aides. “We have reached a compromise that enables the economy to rebound quickly while also protecting those receiving unemployment benefits from being hit with (an) unexpected tax bill next year,” said Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a key centrist who had pushed to scale back the aid. The compromise among Democrats, who control the chamber by the narrowest possible margin, allowed them to move to a series of votes in which Republicans would try to change the bill. The first Republican effort — to adjourn for the night — fell short by a vote of 48 to 50. The...
    Reuters March 5, 2021 0 Comments A battle over extending federal jobless benefits during the coronavirus pandemic delayed progress in the U.S. Senate on Friday on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill, as senators jousted over the scope of competing proposals. After the Senate defeated a last-ditch attempt by some of Biden’s fellow Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage, work on his first major legislative package since taking office in January ground to a halt as senators met behind closed doors to find a way forward. “We’re completely stalled out,” No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune told reporters. Unemployment compensation was one of many battles ahead on the sweeping bill, as the Senate braced for dealing with scores of amendments that could extend into the weekend. The legislation currently calls for providing $400 per week in federal jobless benefits, on top of state benefits, through Aug. 29 to help Americans who have lost jobs amid the economic trauma of the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate and House of Representatives. Congress is...
    Miami : The United States Senate began Thursday to study the financial support package for the $ 1.9 trillion pandemic, President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority that will face multiple obstacles. Republicans seemed to agree in their opposition to the proposal due to its high cost, while legislators prepare for marathon days that will include up to 20 hours of debate and a long list of amendments that will force controversial votes before the final approval of the project. But Biden needs to implement, as soon as possible, its key elements, including direct checks of up to $ 1,400 for most Americans, vaccine financing, expanded unemployment benefits, resources to help quickly open schools and money for schools. companies and communities most affected. Vice President Kamala Harris broke the chamber’s 50-50 tie to allow debate to begin. The process was immediately hampered when Republican Senator Ron Johnson demanded that the entire coronavirus package be read aloud in plenary, a procedure that is almost always waived. The version that was approved in the House of Representatives last week was 630 pages...
    More On: Coronavirus Tourism groups in Thailand petition to reopen country to international travelers China makes COVID-19 anal swabs mandatory for foreigners Fauci: Trials of third vaccine to fight COVID variants will start this month Cuomo relaxes some COVID restrictions with one-shot J&J vaccines set to arrive Senate Republicans on Wednesday blasted $350 billion in state and local aid in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill, singling out those funds as “wasteful” amid a California rail project being cut from the bill after it became the face of alleged “pork.” The GOP attack on state and local aid comes ahead of a protracted struggle over amendments to the bill, which is expected to pass the Senate this week with few if any Republican votes. The Republicans’ statements follow the Tuesday night removal of a $140 million rail project near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district that critics decried as unrelated to the pandemic. The Senate parliamentarian said the rail project and a smaller $1.5 million appropriation for the Seaway International Bridge in Massena, New York, weren’t acceptable under special budget...
    The North Carolina House is expected Wednesday to approve a COVID-19 relief package that spends $1.7 billion in federal aid. House Bill 196 includes $600 million for COVID-19 testing, tracing and other prevention tasks. It allocates funding to support schools, colleges, universities, farms, fisheries and small businesses, and it bolsters mental health and substance abuse services. The federal funds were provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump in December. North Carolina received a total of $4 billion in direct aid from the federal measure. The General Assembly passed a bill last month that set aside $2.2 billion of the federal aid for reopening schools, COVID-19 vaccine distribution and rental assistance. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the legislation. Cooper released his proposal last month for spending the federal aid, which called for $287 million for colleges and universities. The Republican proposal provides $290 million for higher education emergency relief. Lawmakers plan to allocate more than $100 million to K-12 public schools and another $40 million to...
    By PATRICK WHITTLE, Associated Press PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A congressman from Maine who cast one of two Democratic votes against the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill said the proposal contained too much unnecessary spending. Rep. Jared Golden, who represents Maine's vast, mostly rural and politically mixed 2nd Congressional District, said he “won’t support trillions more in funding that is poorly targeted or in many cases not necessary at this moment in time.” The proposal, which had strong support from Democratic President Joe Biden, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday. The only other Democrat to vote against the proposal was Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon. The proposal passed along party lines by a fairly thin margin. Golden said he supported portions of the bill that focus on key recovery projects such as vaccine distribution and emergency federal unemployment assistance. “This bill addresses urgent needs, and then buries them under a mountain of unnecessary or untimely spending,” Golden said. The aid bill's next test is in the U.S. Senate. ___ MASSACHUSETTS The number of cities and towns in Massachusetts...
    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walk side-by-side to the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol February 7, 2018 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images A bipartisan group of senators is urging Senate leaders to expand a key economic relief provision when the chamber takes up the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package next week. Nine lawmakers wrote Friday to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pushing them to boost the employee retention tax credit in the bill working its way through Congress. The policy, first implemented as part of the CARES Act last spring, aims to encourage companies to keep workers on payroll while the pandemic damages the economy. As structured now, businesses can claim refundable tax credits for 70% of eligible wages and health-insurance costs for up to $10,000 per employee each quarter. Employers now qualify through June if government public-health orders fully or partially restrict their business, or if during a quarter they take in less than 80% of the revenue they saw...
    Reuters February 26, 2021 0 Comments The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will aim to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill on Friday in what would be the first major legislative victory of his presidency. A spirited and potentially long debate was expected, as most Republicans oppose the cost of the bill that would pay for vaccines and other medical supplies to battle a COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work. The measure would also send a new round of emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and state and local governments. A group of Senate Republicans had offered Biden a slimmed-down alternative, but the White House and some economists insist a big package is needed. Biden has focused his first weeks in office on tackling the greatest public health crisis in a century, which has upended most aspects of American life. Democrats control the House by a 221-211 margin, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is counting on nearly all of her rank and file to get the bill...
    Reuters February 24, 2021 0 Comments The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Friday on legislation to provide $1.9 trillion in new coronavirus relief, Representative Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said. “The American people strongly support this bill, and we are moving swiftly to see it enacted into law,” Hoyer said on Twitter on Tuesday. The House Budget Committee approved the measure on Monday. Passing more relief to ease the economic effects of the pandemic is a top priority of Democratic President Joe Biden. Although polls show Americans want more economic support, Democrats – who narrowly control Congress – and Republicans differ sharply over how best to provide it. The U.S. coronavirus death toll this week surpassed the grim benchmark of 500,000 victims. Millions more have been left jobless by the pandemic. The sweeping legislation is intended to stimulate the U.S. economy and carry out Biden’s proposals to provide additional money for COVID-19 vaccines and other medical equipment. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Leslie Adler)