On Friday, Trump sent a cease and desist order to his grand old party-- or at least to the RNC, the NRSC and the NRCC-- demanding they stop using his name and image in their fundraising efforts for Republican candidates.
"Trump," reported Politico, "was furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him-- without his permission. Trump, who made his fortune in licensing, has always been sensitive to how his name has been used to fundraise and support members, even while in office."
One Trump advisor told Politico that "Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn’t give anyone-- friend or foe-- permission to use his likeness without explicit approval."
And while those 3 committees Trump is threatening with lawsuits send out a stream of poisonous messaging calling Biden's popular COVID-rescue package not bipartisan and too expensive and a Democratic Party boondoggle, Biden is getting massive plaudits from Republican mayors thrilled-- like their constituents-- with the legislation. Politico reported last night that "Republican mayors in Texas, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma are among those backing Biden's state and local government funding plan as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill that's before the Senate, defying GOP lawmakers in Washington, who are broadly resisting the spending... The clash between local and national Republicans is a rare public division in a party that has generally been united in opposition to policies being pushed by Biden and Democrats in control of Congress. It's a breach that Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have gone out of their way to exploit as the coronavirus legislation enters the final stretch."
"In a crisis and an emergency, you check partisanship at the door, and you get through the crisis," said John Giles, the Republican mayor of Mesa, Ariz. "You can get back to playing politics when the crisis is over. And so this is one of those times."
...Giles and other mayors say their residents are locked in a struggle to fill pantries with food as municipal reserves and other dedicated funds are running dry.
"There has been an overwhelming backlash from our Republican congressmen and senators because of how much money is in this bill," said Arlington, Texas, Mayor Jeff Williams. "For us, the reality is the need is very much here for cities."
Williams said that when he talks with his counterparts in Washington he tells them "we have seen the great economists of our country all come together" in support of these additional funds for state and local governments.
He also draws on comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. While Powell hasn't taken a specific position on state aid or the coronavirus legislation itself, he has often spoken of the drag on the economy from the loss of more than a million state government jobs during the pandemic.
Biden underlined the conflict within the party by inviting a bipartisan group of governors and mayors to the White House last month to discuss local funding issues. Pelosi late last month said Republicans in Congress were choosing to "mock" the aid package despite its broad support, citing a bipartisan letter signed by mayors across the country requesting more aid-- including signatures from more than 30 Republicans.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican who attended the White House meeting, told Politico, "We're hoping that it doesn't become a partisan punching bag." He said he hoped that "hearing from local officials that are on the ground, day in and day out, will be something that motivates elected officials from both parties" to support the funding.
..."It would be a dereliction of duty for me not to try to fight for $116 million that would allow us to restore our police, fire and other core services," said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, a Republican.
City and county leaders are amplifying calls for support because the new bill sets aside more than $100 billion for municipal and county governments — just over $120 billion in a "local fiscal recovery fund," according to the latest Senate version of the bill.
So while just 38 cities got funding in the first round in March, the United States Conference of Mayors estimates the new formula expands eligibility to 19,000 cities, towns and villages. That's why more than 30 Republican mayors signed on to the letter in support of the package last month that Pelosi touted, with Giles, Holt, Suarez and Williams among them.
Giles said the city of Mesa was lucky enough to get $90 million in the first round of aid, but added, “We could have turned in twice that much in receipts that were tied to virus relief; our expenses have gone higher."
"Because we're in the food bank business, we're in the buying laptop computers for school business, we're in the rent, utility business. We're doing all of these things that we weren't doing a year and a half ago," he said.
Even some Republican governors have publicly vouched for the plan, including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Larry Hogan of Maryland, citing the financial stakes ahead.
In an analysis yesterday, the NY Times' Jim Tankersley wrote that Biden is trying to jump-start the ailing economy Trump left him by using the COVID-rescue bill to bet on "the lowest-paid workers in America, and to the people who are currently unable to work at all." Tankersley asserts that the plan "overwhelmingly helps low earners and the middle class, with little direct aid for the high earners who have largely kept their jobs and padded their savings over the past year. For the president, the plan is more than just a stimulus proposal. It is a declaration of his economic policy-- one that captures the principle Democrats and liberal economists have espoused over the past decade: that the best way to stoke faster economic growth is from the bottom up. Biden’s approach in his first major economic legislation is in stark contrast to Trump’s, whose initial effort in Congress was a tax-cut package in 2017 that largely benefited corporations and wealthier Americans."
Biden, apparently oblivious to the plight of millions of minimum wage workers across the country, said today that "The end result is essentially about the same. I don’t think any of the compromises have in any way fundamentally altered the essence of what I put in the bill in the first place." States with no minimum wage at all, with minimum wages below the federal level or with minimum wage levels that will not support a family start with Biden's own state of Delaware where the 100% Democratic-controlled government just raised the hourly rate this year from $9.25 an hour to 10.25 an hour. State is worse shape than Delaware, with 2021 changes:
Alabama- $7.25 with no change
Florida- $8.56 to $10.00
Georgia- $5.15 with no change but workers are paid the $7.25 federal mandate
Hawaii- $10.10 with no change
Idaho- $7.25 with no change
Indiana- $7.25 with no change
Iowa- $7.25 with no change
Kansas- $7.25 with no change
Kentucky- $7.25 with no change
Lousiana- $7.25 with no change
Michigan- $9.65 with no change
Minnesota- $10,00 to $10.08
Mississippi- $7.25 with no change
Montana- $8.65 to $8.75
Nebraska- $9.00 with no change
Nevada- $8.00 to $8.75
New Hampshire- $7.25 with no change
North Carolina- $7.25 with no change
North Dakota- $7.25 with no change
Ohio- $8.70 to $8.80
Oklahoma- $7.25 with no change
Pennsylvania- $7.25 with no change
South Carolina- $7.25 with no change
South Dakota- $9.30 to $9.45
Tennessee- $7.25 with no change
Texas- $7.25 with no change
Utah- $7.25 with no change
Virginia- $7.25 to $9.50
West Virginia- $8.75 with no change
Wisconsin- $7.25 with no change
Wyoming- - $5.15 with no change but workers are paid the $7.25 federal mandate
The White House spin is that Biden's plan "is more focused on people than on businesses and is expected to help women and minorities in particular, because they have taken an outsize hit in the pandemic recession [and that] researchers predict it could become one of the most effective laws to fight poverty in a generation. Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy estimates that the plan’s provisions, including a generous expansion of tax credits for low-income Americans with children, would reduce the poverty rate by more than a quarter for adults and cut the child poverty rate in half." Has anyone tried to seriously cut poverty is a generation? A generation would mean George W. Bush (no), Obama (not really) and Trump (no). That's some low bar. The White House touts tax credits, subsidies for child care, broadened eligibility under the Affordable Care Act,expanded food stamps, rental assistance and (miserly) unemployment benefits. They also try to keep a straight face when they say Biden tried including a $15/hour minimum wage hike, something he torpedo-ed. Although other countries gave their citizens generous monthly checks during the pandemic, the White House claims that Biden's cheap-skate plan will "help right now to pay their bills, buy groceries and stave off eviction or foreclosure... Many economists predict that the increase in consumer spending would spur more hiring and business production, helping to lift the economy to its fastest annual growth rate since the mid-1980s."