Deficit-concerned senators blocked the Senate from considering a $48 billion aid package for restaurants and other small businesses Thursday, likely dealing a fatal blow to a monthslong effort to provide a final round of relief for industries that suffered major revenue losses during the pandemic.
The Senate did not invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the small-business aid bill, in a 52-43 procedural vote that was subject to a 60-vote threshold.
All but five of the 50 Senate Republicans voted against cloture, which was more than enough to mount a successful filibuster to prevent the Senate from even considering the measure for debate.
Senate Small Business Chairman Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., worked on the small-business aid package for months. The duo drew on past bipartisan proposals in an attempt to spread benefits far and wide, offering relief to stakeholders ranging from stage, lighting and sound providers for live events to minor league sports franchises.
"We must pass this legislation to keep these vital parts of America's economy and America's social and community life going," Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said on the floor Thursday before the vote. "When minor league teams closed, entire towns have fewer options for coming together. When theaters can't open because businesses they rely on closed down, it disintegrates the fabric of our communities."
Through a period of what Cardin called “fits and starts,” he and Wicker remained optimistic that the bipartisan support needed to pass the bill would materialize once it was brought to the floor.
But as the test vote drew closer, it was apparent they wouldn’t get to 60 votes. So Cardin made a last-ditch offer to cut the size of the package and allow for an open amendment process in hopes of winning over hesitant senators.
“We believe we’ll be able to get the cost of this bill down, but we first need to get on the bill,” Cardin said, citing various offers from senators on both sides of the aisle with ideas on how to more narrowly target the measure.
One of those was an amendment from Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., that he said would limit aid to business owners who incurred debt in order to stay afloat during the pandemic. Manchin said he voted for cloture because of a commitment from Cardin that his amendment would be considered.
Cardin's plea worked on at least one GOP senator. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski had said earlier Thursday she was still undecided because while restaurants in her state “are still facing some pretty tough times,” she wanted to see the cost of the package come down. She ended up voting to advance the bill.
But ultimately it wasn't enough. The only Republicans to vote for cloture on the motion to proceed were Wicker, Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Conservatives in Europe and the United States must fight together to "reconquer" institutions in Washington and Brussels from liberals who threaten Western civilisation ahead of votes in 2024, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday.
Nationalist Orban said the next U.S. presidential election, when Donald Trump suggests he may seek a second term in the White House, and the vote for the European Parliament would make that a vital year. read more
He was addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the United States' most prominent conservative gathering, in Budapest, the first such CPAC event in Europe.
"Progressive liberals, neo-Marxists dazed by the woke dream, people financed by George Soros and promoters of open societies ... want to annihilate the Western way of life that you and us love so much," Orban told the conference.
"We must coordinate the movement of our troops as we face a big test, 2024 will be a decisive year," he said.
His comments were a familiar swipe at Budapest-born billionaire Soros, who he accuses of trying to undermine Europe's cultural identity by supporting immigration. Soros has promoted liberalism since before the 1989 fall of communism, funding education and scholarships.
Orban, who was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term after a landslide election victory in April, is seen by many on the American hard right as a model for his tough policies on immigration and support for families and Christian conservatism.
The EU has accused Orban of curbing media and judicial independence and enriching associates with public funds. He denies any corruption.
Orban laid out 12 points which he said were key to ensuring a dominance of conservativism, including playing by their own rules, standing up for national interests in foreign policy and gaining control over the media.
"We must reconquer the institutions in Washington D.C. and Brussels," Orban said.
Republicans are straight up vowing they will take power permanently in state after state and they are telling you exactly how they will do it.
The Republican members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission are asserting that the Ohio Supreme Court does not have the authority to hold them in contempt of court while their Democratic counterparts on the commission argue otherwise.
The Ohio redistricting commissioners filed their motions in court after petitioners – who are objecting to the latest round of state legislative district maps – asked the court to order members to explain why they should not be held in contempt.
On May 6, the commission resubmitted a plan for Ohio House and Ohio Senate district maps that had already been rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as unconstitutional in March.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, said in his court filing that he cannot be held in contempt when he is acting “in accordance with his solemn duty to ensure orderly and trustworthy elections and to protect the voting rights of Ohioans.”
LaRose said, through attorneys in his court filing, that he laid out for the commission the “logistical realities” of holding a primary for state legislative races in 2022. During commission meetings, LaRose explained his reasoning for why the commission had to choose what’s become known as Map 3, a plan adopted by the commission in February. LaRose said that was the only plan that gave local elections officials a chance to hold a primary on August 2 given certain deadlines they would have to meet.
“Petitioners cannot ignore realities and the established deadlines (that Secretary LaRose does not have the authority to change) that they acknowledged in the Gonidakis Case and take contrary positions calling for contempt in this action,” wrote attorneys representing LaRose in the filing. The “Gonidakis Case” refers to a federal court case where judges have given Ohio until May 28 to adopt a constitutional plan or the federal court will implement the unconstitutional Map 3.
Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.) and Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) filed together to echo LaRose’s response and added, “the resubmittal of the plan adopted by the Commission on February 24, 2022 (the “Third Plan”) was not an act of defiance, but an act of necessity under the electoral emergency facing the Secretary of State and Ohio voters.”
The Republican commissioners all made the argument – even Auditor Keith Faber who voted against the maps – that the Ohio Supreme Court does not have the authority to hold the commission in contempt because it is a different branch of government and would result in a separation of powers violation.
Coloradans have elected just one Republican governor in the last 50 years. A current GOP candidate for governor has an idea that could change that: stop counting each vote equally.
Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, who holds the top line on the 2022 Republican primary ballot, says Colorado should create an electoral college system for electing candidates to statewide office.
The plan, which would be the first of its kind on the state level, would give far more voting power to Coloradans in rural, conservative counties and dilute the voting power of Coloradans in more populous urban and suburban areas. Even as turnout numbers vary over time, the sheer number of rural conservative counties would create a built-in advantage for Republicans.
Lopez outlined his proposal at a May 15 campaign stop in Silverton. An audio recording of the event made by a political tracker was provided to 9NEWS.
“One of the things that I’m going to do, and I’ve already put this plan together, is, as governor, I’m going to introduce a conversation about doing away with the popular vote for statewide elected officials and doing an electoral college vote for statewide elected officials,” Lopez said.
Lopez said his electoral college plan would weight counties’ votes based on their voter turnout percentage to encourage turnout.
“I’ve already got the plan in place,” Lopez said. “The most that any county can get is 11 electoral college votes. The least that a county can get is three.”
More than 80% of Colorado voters live in just 11 of the state's 64 counties, meaning that the other 15% or so would actually decide the races in this complete scam of an election layout. If turnout is even across the state, the state's least populous county, San Juan (pop. 646) would have the same "electoral college votes" as Denver County or El Paso County (both pop. 700,000+). It's a laughable scam that would ensure Republican victories permanently.
As governor, Mastriano would have the opportunity not just to speak, but to act. The Trump-endorsed 58-year-old, who won the Republican nomination for governor on Tuesday, would gain significant influence over the administration of the battleground state’s elections should he prevail in November, worrying experts already fearful of a democratic breakdown around the 2024 presidential contest.
Those concerns are made especially acute in Pennsylvania by the fact that the governor has the unusual authority to directly appoint the secretary of state, who serves as chief elections officer and must sign off on results. If he or she refuses, chaos could follow.
“The biggest risk is a secretary of state just saying, ‘I’m not going to certify the election, despite what the court says and despite what the evidence shows, because I’m concerned about suspicions,’” said Clifford Levine, a Democratic election lawyer in Pennsylvania. “You would start to have a breakdown in the legal system and the whole process.”
Mastriano’s backers appear well aware of the stakes. A video posted to Telegram by election denial activist Ivan Raiklin from Mastriano’s victory party on Tuesday showed the candidate smiling as Raiklin congratulated him on his win and added, with a thumb’s up, “20 electoral votes as well,” a reference to the state’s clout in the electoral college.
“Oh yeahhhh,” Mastriano responded.
Mastriano did not respond to a voice mail or an email sent to a campaign account for media.
But Mastriano told Stephen K. Bannon, a former adviser to Trump who now hosts a podcast popular on the right, that he had already selected the person he would appoint as secretary of state if elected.
“As far as cleaning up the election, I mean, I’m in a good position as governor,” he said in the April 23 appearance on Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. “I have a voting-reform-minded individual who’s been traveling the nation and knows voting reform extremely well. That individual has agreed to be my secretary of state.”
He added that he planned to decertify voting machines in several Pennsylvania counties, a power given under state law to the secretary of state. “It’s going to be a top issue for me,” he said.