The horrifically inadequate pandemic bill Congress is debating now doesn't include any relief for regular ole Americans whose lives have been turned topsy-turvy because Trump and, basically, the rest of the government were too careerist/cowardly to treat the pandemic seriously. There is no $2,000 a month stipend like Canada's, let alone the skimpy $1,200 stipend being pushed by progressives. Conservative Republicans with a couple of conservative Democrats in tow-- Senator Joe Manchin (WV) and New Jersey Blue Dog/scumbag Josh Gottheimer-- presented the so-called bipartisan "compromise," except it is neither bipartisan nor a compromise. Every person involved is distinctly right of center and viciously anti-family/pro-corporate. Their bill stinks to high Heaven in every conceivable way and any Democrat who votes for it-- starting with Steny Hoyer-- should be primaried (as Hoyer is).
I don't understand why only 17 Democrats signed onto this letter by Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Katie Porter to congressional leadership making a very convincing case for "at least six months of unemployment insurance (UI) in addition to direct cash payments, to ensure that meaningful relief reaches Americans who need it most."
Look at that video above narrated by Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner. This morning, RootsAction is launching a "No Honeymoon" campaign aimed at Biden and the mostly awful neoliberal team he has been assembling. RootsAction is calling it "a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country... The campaign’s demands of the Biden administration will include a $15 federal minimum wage, cancelation of student debt, a major rollback of mass incarceration, the Green New Deal and ending U.S. military intervention."
Norman Solomon, one of the masterminds beyond the idea said that "We have no intention of going silent about progressive principles just because the president will be a Democrat. Far from the chatter of party power brokers and Biden insiders, the energized progressive base around the country is paying attention and cannot be mollified by smiles and symbolic gestures. We have a progressive agenda and we’re going to fight like hell for it, without delay."
Progressive outrage towards Biden may have to take a backseat for a moment while progressives figure out how to deal with Congress' coming betrayal on the pandemic relief package. "The proposal includes enhanced federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week for 16 weeks, food assistance and student loan forbearance, as well as funding for small businesses, schools and vaccines. A second part would include state and local aid and liability protections. If approved, the aid would come as earlier initiatives that included $1,200 stimulus checks and $600 per week enhanced federal unemployment benefits through the CARES Act, as well as subsequent emergency measures put in place by President Donald Trump, have all expired."
Bernie is still fighting for stimulus checks for families and Biden said he favors that too-- though he's investing no political capital at all in it, so it sounds like he's lying (just like Trump did when he pretended he wanted to see checks go out to families. Get used to it; it's one of the hallmarks of Biden's long and ugly career in politics.
Ioana Marinescu, assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice: "Having a broad-based support like a stimulus check would ensure that nobody who needs help would fall through the cracks while at the same time providing stimulus for businesses who would get more customers... I do think that would be great to get a stimulus check. But I think the overall need for stimulus of the economy is such that just getting something would be great rather than waiting even longer."
It looks like the conservative fake compromise is for a measly $748 billion that includes nothing for families and nothing for struggling state and local governments. But you know what it will include?
Draft legislation circulating in the U.S. Senate would shield employers and health care industry executives from legal consequences when their business decisions injure or kill workers, customers and patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The unprecedented proposal to gut legal protections-- which is being depicted as moderate compromise legislation and potentially attached to badly-needed state and local aid — follows a Harvard study showing a surge in worker COVID deaths following their requests for government regulators’ help.
The Huffington Post reported on Monday that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is joining GOP senators in backing corporate immunity legislation. A draft of the legislative language obtained by the Daily Poster includes provisions that would:
• Shield companies from all coronavirus-related actions retroactively-- for at least one year, or until the pandemic is over-- except in cases of “gross negligence.” Most coronavirus-related lawsuits would be forced into federal courts, which are considered more friendly to business interests.
• Restrict the enforcement of longstanding laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when companies say they are attempting to comply with governments’ coronavirus guidance.
• Empower the United States Attorney General to deem coronavirus-related lawsuits from workers, customers and attorneys “meritless” and then file civil actions against them as retribution. In order to “vindicate the public interest,” courts would be allowed to fine respondents up to $50,000.
• Shield health care executives from lawsuits through language copied word-for-word from a statute passed in New York by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid a spate of COVID deaths in that state’s nursing homes.
...“We are wiping out the laws of negligence,” said Michael Duff, a former National Labor Relations Board official who is now a professor at the University of Wyoming College of Law. “As a practical matter, we are substantially immunizing businesses from risky conduct.”
...“What they want to do in this bill is throw every lawsuit out before it conceivably gets to a jury,” he said. “It means that a judge has the authority to dismiss a case right upfront. Because there’s no way that plaintiffs are going to be able to meet this standard-- gross negligence.”
...Sanders criticized Democrats for their handling of coronavirus relief talks. “What kind of negotiation is it when you go from $3.4 trillion to $188 billion in new money?” he said. That is not a negotiation. That is a collapse.”