Bipartisan

A bipartisan delegation of governors speaks to the media outside the White House in Washington

A bipartisan delegation of governors speak to the media outside of the White House in Washington, DC on December 4, 2012, after meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet discuss the actions needed to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit. Pictured (l-r) Gary Herbert (R-UT), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Scott Walker (R-WI), Mike Beebe (D-AR) and Jack Markell (D-DE). UPI/Pete Marovich/Pool

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Trump pivots again on stimulus talks after bipartisan backlash

The administration’s latest request is unlikely to advance in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected stand-alone legislation in favor of a comprehensive package to address the economic and health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The administration’s $1.8 trillion stimulus proposal on Friday came under heavy criticism from lawmakers in both parties over the weekend, making its chances of passing appear remote.

White House officials will request that Congress approve legislation allowing firms demonstrating a decline in revenue to apply for a second round of PPP funding, which they are not allowed to do under existing law, according to one person familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s internal planning.

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” Meadows and Mnuchin said in a letter to Congressional leaders.

The shift in strategy from the White House caps a week in which the president and his negotiators adopted a dizzying number of different approaches to securing a relief package through Congress. On Oct. 3, the president demanded Congress approve a relief package before three days, later abruptly calling off negotiations with Democrats, and then calling for action on only a handful of priorities, including airline relief and $1,200 stimulus checks. On Wednesday, Mnuchin and Pelosi began discussing a stand-alone measure to provide relief for the airline industry, but those talks were abandoned the next day as Trump again pushed for a wider agreement.

The confusion surrounding the administration’s position continued even as Mnuchin proposed a $1.8 trillion agreement to congressional leaders. On Friday, Trump said he wanted to see a “bigger” stimulus package than

The bipartisan House task force on America’s future defense is path-breaking

Late last month, a bipartisan congressional task force issued a timely report that, apart from purely security-oriented outlets, received far less media coverage than it deserved. Congressional bipartisanship has become virtually an oxymoron in the current political climate. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee Task Force on the Future of Defense were able to come together to produce a serious, thought-provoking essay that focuses on implementing a defense strategy that is responsive to the threats that will confront America far into the future, indeed as far as the end of this century.

Many of the task force’s proposals have been outlined in previous studies and in congressional testimony. They include a greater focus on funding and developing advanced technologies and incorporating them into military systems and structures; concluding a new arms control agreement with Russia; and controlling the leakage of technology by expanding the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s (CFIUS) purview and the scope of Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) legislation.

Similarly, as others have done, the report called for revitalizing — indeed, “modernizing” — America’s relationships with allies, partners and friends. It went even further, however, by calling on Washington to establish “new alliances to meet emerging threats.” Whether the United States can do so is an open question, not merely because Washington has walked away from a host of international agreements in the past several years, but also because states have become chary about formalizing alliance relationships. On the other hand, America certainly can deepen its political and military ties to friendly countries, in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, as it has done with Sweden, Finland and Singapore in recent years. 

The report recognizes that America’s security fundamentally depends on a civilian and military workforce that is open to innovation

Bipartisan talks continue as House Democrats pass $2.2 trillion coronavirus measure

The House on Thursday night passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, but it has little chance of advancing in the GOP-led Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still trying to work out a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that is acceptable to Democrats and Senate Republicans.

The measure is a scaled-back version of the $3.4 trillion relief package passed by the House in May. No Republicans voted for it, and 20 Democrats, mostly from swing districts, also voted against it. Pelosi is facing pressure from some Democrats to reach a quick compromise with Mnuchin, who is offering a $1.6 trillion bill, but she said on the floor before Thursday’s vote that this is a “values debate. It’s important for people to know what this fight is about. The people have needs, and we have to meet them.”

When it comes to offering relief, Democrats are pushing for more aid to go to state and local governments, while the GOP wants liability protections for schools and businesses, Politico reports. Pelosi told reporters on Thursday night she is still reviewing the latest documents from Mnuchin, and “even if we come to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to — it’s the language.”

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U.S. House passes Democratic COVID-19 aid plan after bipartisan deal proves elusive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion Democratic plan to provide more economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, as a bipartisan deal continued to elude House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House.

Objections from top Republicans are likely to doom the House Democrats’ plan in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called the $2.2 trillion price tag “outlandish,” although Democrats have reduced the cost of their proposal by over a trillion dollars since May. The House vote was 214-207.

No Republican voted for the Democratic plan, although 18 Democrats voted no, many of them moderates from swing districts who have been urging Pelosi to bring a bipartisan proposal to the House floor.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Representative Abigail Spanberger, one of the Democrats who voted no, said.

Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and the White House on Thursday dismissed Democrats’ $2.2 trillion plan as not serious.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have talked every day this week, including a 50-minute phone call Thursday, in an effort to negotiate a bipartisan aid package to respond to the economic fallout from a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

Congress and the White House approved more than $3 trillion worth of coronavirus relief measures earlier this year, but Mnuchin, as well as members of Congress from both parties, have argued more stimulus is needed.

Asked if there would be a resolution to her negotiations with the administration on Thursday evening, Pelosi told reporters, “No.” She gave no details of their talks but said: “Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until