May 12, 2020

House Democrats released a $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Tuesday, which includes a combined $875 billion for state and local governments. But one progressive priority didn't make it into the bill's 1,815 pages, and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus say they'll disrupt a scheduled Friday vote on the bill to try to make sure it does.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), as well as 58 other Democrats, had pushed for the HEROES Act to include what they called a "Paycheck Guarantee" program. It would've extended $600 billion in funding to small businesses over the next six months to help cover their payroll costs. But Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) turned it down, saying it was too expensive. The HEROES Act will extend an already implemented tax credit to businesses, at an additional cost of $200 billion to the government.

Jayapal and Pocan responded to Tuesday's HEROES Act rollout by saying Friday was too soon for a vote. "We must have more time to determine what is in and what is not in this legislation," they said in a letter to House Democratic leadership. They'd like the vote to pushed off until next week, after a "full caucus meeting and conversation ... to ensure that it truly reflects the priorities and the work of the entire caucus." Kathryn Krawczyk

May 10, 2020

Some traditional conservatives in the White House — like new chief of staff Mark Meadows — are growing wary of how much the federal government is spending during the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reports. But it doesn't look like President Trump shares their concerns.

Senior administration officials reportedly discussed the so-called "Eagle Plan," a 29-page memo reportedly written by Paul Touw, the chief strategy officer to State Department Undersecretary Keith Krach, who is close to Jared Kushner. The proposal, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, calls for giving Americans a $10,000 one-time payment in exchange for curbing federal retirements benefits, such as Social Security, which Trump has long promised to protect.

While some officials and advisers, like conservative economist Art Laffer, supported the idea, the White House apparently shot it down without much thought. "The mere thought of this so-called 'plan' is ludicrous on its face," said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley. "President Trump has been clear that while he is in office, the American people can feel secure without a shadow of a doubt that he will completely protect Social Security and Medicare — end of story, full stop." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

October 11, 2019

Another day, another immigration defeat for President Trump.

On Friday, a federal judge in Manhattan struck down the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, which would've made it harder for immigrants to receive visas if they were deemed likely to rely on public benefits. The promise of the rule had already reportedly led undocumented immigrants to shun their benefits, but has now received a nationwide ban that the Trump administration will probably challenge.

The policy proposal published in the federal record in August would allow immigrant's current or possible reliance on food stamps, Medicaid, or housing aid count against them when getting a green card or visa. Advocacy groups and state attorneys general sued to block it. The judge for the Southern District of New York sided with them on Friday, temporarily blocking the policy from taking effect nationwide and saying it could cause "irreparable harm" if it went into effect now.

Immigration authorities have long possessed the ability to reject migrants on assumption they'd become a "public charge," but it was first codified into policy by Trump. The public charge resurgence even inspired Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli to parody poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, suggesting it should read "give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge." Kathryn Krawczyk

May 16, 2019

As some Democratic candidates for president are turning down Fox News for town hall events, it's the other way around for one member of Congress.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who announced his 2020 candidacy in April, told CNN on Wednesday he "would absolutely do a Fox town hall." This question was posed to him after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she turned down an event with the network, which she blasted as a "hate-for-profit racket."

Apparently, though, Fox has no interest in doing one with Swalwell. "They told us we can't have one which is a little bit confusing to us because they have given them to people who are polling at the same place as us," Swalwell told CNN. He went on to say that it's "frustrating" and decided the network must be "afraid to give me the opportunity."

A spokesperson for Fox denied this and told CNN that they've left the door open for a future opportunity with Swalwell. Fox Senior Vice President of News Bill Sammon previously said that the network's attitude on town halls is, "Let's do some town halls but be selective about it," The Washington Post reports.

The 2020 Democratic candidates, clearly, have very different opinions on the merits of going on Fox News, which the Democratic National Committee has decided not to hold 2020 debates with. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has already held a town hall with the network, as has Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), while the campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told journalist Yashar Ali on Wednesday she hasn't "entertained" an offer to do so. When Sanders' campaign manager was asked by CNN for a comment about Warren turning down Fox, he responded, "To each their own." Brendan Morrow

January 22, 2019

A judge in North Carolina on Tuesday rejected Republican candidate Mark Harris' request to certify the results of the state's disputed 9th congressional district race.

The final tally from the November election has Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. The state's election board said it could not certify the results because it is investigating allegations that a man working on behalf of a firm hired by Harris illegally collected absentee ballots. To make things even more complicated, the election board that launched the investigation was ruled unconstitutional and dissolved, The News Observer reports, and the next board won't be created until Jan. 31 or later.

During the hearing, Wake County Superior Court Paul Ridgeway said "this is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place, and asking this court to step in and exert extraordinary power in declaring the winner of an election, when that is clearly the purview of another branch of government." Harris and McCready did not attend the hearing, but afterwards, a spokesman for McCready said "the most important thing is that people get the answer they deserve," and he believes "both sides agree that it's important that the people of North Carolina have a voice in Washington." Catherine Garcia

December 27, 2017

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a legal challenge to President Trump's voter fraud panel, ruling that the group behind the lawsuit, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, is "not a voter" and has no standing to sue, Reuters reported Tuesday. President Trump, who has claimed without evidence that thousands of people voted illegally last year, created the bipartisan Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity by executive order in May. Judge Stephen Williams wrote that EPIC "has suffered no informational or organizational injury from the defendants' attempt to collect voter data." EPIC President Marc Rotenberg called the decision "surprising," The Hill reported. Harold Maass

December 21, 2017

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels dismissed two lawsuits that claim President Trump's continued ownership in his real estate company violates the Constitution's Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses.

One case was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, along with hospitality business owners and employees, and the other by a New York attorney on behalf of members of the public, and Daniels ruled that the plaintiffs were unable to show injury related to foreign governments patronizing Trump businesses. He also said Congress is the "appropriate body to determine" if the clauses have been violated. An attorney for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said there is "no question that there will be an appeal, and our legal team is in the process of exploring our next steps." Catherine Garcia

July 21, 2016

The NBA has decided to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, after the state neglected to change a controversial law requiring transgender individuals use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex, The Vertical reports. Earlier this year, North Carolina passed its controversial House Bill 2, which prompted league commissioner Adam Silver in April to threaten to relocate the game after calling the law "problematic."

The All-Star Game comprises a full weekend of activities that bring the NBA's biggest stars and brightest upcoming talents to one city, generally resulting in a boon for tourism and business. The NBA had held off on moving the game despite the fact that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the law back in March, with Silver hoping state lawmakers would "do the right thing" in due time.

With no action by North Carolina legislators to change the law and only roughly seven months until the game, which tips off Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, the league has reportedly decided to move the All-Star festivities because it must begin finalizing the logistics of the weekend. The NBA is reportedly leaning most heavily toward reolocating to the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, though other cities are lobbying for the chance to host the weekend. Read more at The Vertical. Kimberly Alters

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