Democrats Accept 2 of 286 Amendments Sought by Republicans for $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks at the weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 3, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Republicans have criticized Democrats for continuing to push their pandemic stimulus package while accepting little to no Republican input. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday out of 286 amendments proposed by Republicans for the $1.9 trillion spending package, only two were accepted.

“Republicans offered 286 amendments to President Biden’s massive $1.9 TRILLION spending blowout. Democrats accepted 2 of them. So much for Biden’s calls for ‘unity,’” McCarthy said in a statement.

On Feb. 19, Democrats unveiled the full text of a 591-page bill (pdf) titled the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.”

House Republicans held a press conference on Wednesday in which they voiced their opposition to the Democrats’ “rescue” package that includes many items that have little to do with pandemic relief.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), who serves as the Republican Leader of the House Budget Committee, called the $1.9 trillion package a liberal “wish list” because so little of the total funds are going to fighting the effects of the pandemic.

“It’s very simple. We’re here today because Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden decided to use a pandemic to push forward a progressive wish list; items to reward political allies, friends, and donors at the expense of the American working class,” Smith said.

He said that less than 9 percent of the $1.9 trillion is allocated for COVID health spending and only 5 percent is marked to fund the extra needs at schools amid the pandemic.

“Why is it that this package spends more than 25%, according to the Congressional Budget Office, on items that kill millions of jobs,” he added.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest conservative caucus on Capitol Hill, released a fact-sheet on items “Democrats are hoping the public won’t find about [sic]” that are included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the RSC’s newly elected chairman, said in a memo sent to caucus members that Democrats have included items of “special interest pork and other liberal goodies” in the proposal.

“If that’s not bad enough, Nancy Pelosi plugged in a $200 million earmark for an underground tunnel in San Francisco for Silicone Valley employees,” Banks said. “This is a bailout to the special interest groups that gave them power.”

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said another reason why the GOP will oppose the package is because it does not help get kids back to school full time.

“That’s not what this $1.9 trillion liberal wish list, giveaway bill does and that’s why we’re strongly opposing it, and we’re also pushing to expose just what is really in this bill,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the $1.9 trillion package will provide “bold COVID relief to Americans nationwide” and criticized Republicans for obstructing Democrat efforts.

“Republican leaders are reportedly ‘maneuvering’ to get every single Republican member to oppose urgent, bold COVID relief. Every single one! Make no mistake: Democrats are working to quickly deliver the American Rescue Plan and big, bold COVID relief,” Schumer said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Democrat’s rescue package was not addressing the issues that would help reopen the economy.

“Only about 1% of the Democrats’ partisan plan goes to vaccines. Only about 5% of its K-12 funding would even go out this fiscal year. Democrats are not addressing the urgent needs of a re-opening America. They started with a preconceived liberal wish-list and worked backward,” McConnell said.

Source: Democrats Accept 2 of 286 Amendments Sought by Republicans for $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

Opinion: Joe Biden Just Made the Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Since 1950

Buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region, on June 2, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Commentary by Thomas Del Beccaro

Recently, I wrote that the world would be “Living Dangerously for Four Years Under Joe Biden.” In plain terms, Joe Biden is not physically or mentally up to the job.

By dismissing the Chinese regime’s atrocities against the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority who live in Xinjiang in northwest China, as part of “different norms,” Biden could be plunging the world into an international crisis sooner than any of us could have imagined.

In 1968, the historian Will Durant wrote in his “Lessons of History,” that “War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization or democracy. In the last 3,421 years of recorded history, only 268 have seen no war.” Sadly, there has been a war somewhere in the world every year since.

Regardless of the luxuries in which Americans live, it remains true that, in every era, there are regimes that are barbaric or seek domination of their people and often the regions around them, if not more.

China is one such country. Recently, it was reported by the New York Post that “The State Department said it was ‘deeply disturbed’ by a report that claims Muslim women being held in Chinese re-education camps detaining millions of Uyghurs are being systematically raped, sexually abused and tortured.”

While not every atrocity can be remedied by the United States, none of them should be tolerated. All of them should be met by statements from our Commander in Chief that America aspires for freedom for everyone and that no atrocity can be justified or tolerated.

Beyond that, an administration should use diplomacy and economic sanctions at a minimum to confront the atrocities. Military intervention, while a last resort, should never be taken off the table.

With respect to China, a country that permits live organ harvesting, military intervention is not an option for those atrocities. Clear-eyed resolve, diplomacy, and sanctions, however, are a must.

All of which brings us to Joe Biden’s statement related to China and the Uyghurs. In a rambling response on national television, Biden first justified China’s abuses by saying:

“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home . . . So the central—well, vastly overstated—the central principle of [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”

He also said, “Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.”

Atrocities are not justifiable norms and prior wrongs don’t justify current atrocities.

Biden’s comments could be the worst foreign policy blunder since Secretary of State Dean G. Acheson’s speech at the National Press Club on Jan. 12, 1950. In that speech, he “defined the American ‘defensive perimeter’ in the Pacific as a line running through Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines. This denied a guarantee of US military protection to the Republic of Korea (ROK).”

Not long after, the world was plunged into the Korean War after North Korea invaded South Korea in June of 1950. Many reasonably believe that Acheson’s statement that the United States’ sphere of concern, i.e. its defense perimeter, didn’t include what is South Korea today was a green light for North Korea, with the support of China and Russia, to invade South Korea.

Joe Biden’s comments just gave comfort to China that the United States won’t interfere in its domestic atrocities. The same words shall give comfort to Iran, Russia, and every dictator around the world—regardless of whether clarifying statements are made by the Administration in the days and weeks ahead.

God only knows what they will do with Biden’s green light.

The world, on the other hand, now knows just how weak Joe Biden is.

One lesson of history is that wars are started based on an adversary’s weakness and that is why the world will be living dangerously under Joe Biden.

Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer, and former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Source: Opinion: Joe Biden Just Made the Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Since 1950

Trump Impeachment ‘Political Theater,’ Ignores US History: Constitutional Lawyer

Constitutional lawyer Rick Green in an interview with "American Thought Leaders." (The Epoch Times)

The impeachment effort against former President Donald Trump is “political theater” that goes against the history of the United States and the American Constitution itself, according to constitutional attorney Rick Green.

“When we have political actors involved, we get political theater. And that’s a lot of what we’re getting here. Is this the judiciary now? Is the Senate now the judiciary that will try any citizen? Because an impeachment is specifically for someone that is in office, according to the American Constitution,” Green, a former Texas state representative and co-founder of the Patriot Academy, told “American Thought Leaders.”

Trump’s attorneys have stated that it goes against the Constitution to impeach or try a former office-holder.

“Virtually everyone agrees that impeachment in our Constitution is designed for those three categories listed in Article 2, Section 4. And that’s the president, the vice president, and civil officers—so people that are still serving in office,” Green said.

He said the concept being pushed currently in the impeachment trial—that if Trump isn’t convicted he will get away with doing “horrible things,” and future presidents will be able to “do whatever they want and get away with it”—is “a total red herring.”

“It’s literally fantasy,” the attorney said.

House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted on Jan. 13 to approve a single article of impeachment (pdf) against Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” making him the first president to be impeached twice. On Feb. 9, he became the first former president to stand trial.

Democrats allege that the president incited violence at the Capitol in a speech he delivered near the White House on Jan 6. In his address, Trump used the words “fight like hell” in reference to his team’s legal efforts around election integrity. The Democrats allege that Trump used the words to incite his followers to commit violence.

However, Democratic House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), in their arguments on Feb. 10, presented no new evidence to support the allegation that Trump incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month.

donald trump, trump
President Donald Trump at the Save America rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Lisa Fan/The Epoch Times)

Green suggested that in this case, constitutional provisions are being abused in order to “silence” the “opposition.”

“My fear is a separation of powers conflict here that the Senate becomes more and more the judiciary… and now if they can go after someone that’s a citizen like Donald Trump is today, well, they can indict you. They can indict me, they can prevent us from running for future office.

“I know that was not the view of the Founding Fathers. And when you abuse a constitutional provision in one instance, then other people will be able to abuse it in other instances in the future.”

The constitutional attorney accused the Democratic House impeachment managers of stringing elements of the American Constitution together in order to argue that a former president can be impeached.

“I’ve said this throughout this whole process that what they’re doing and pulling together different parts of the Constitution and creating these new rules is more worthy of a banana republic than a constitutional republic,” he said.

Green said language from Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution was taken, “separated,” and mixed with some of the language in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, in a way that was both “masterful” and “deceptive.”

“The reason they’re doing that is because on one hand, they want to say he’s the president. On the other hand, they want to say, it doesn’t matter if he’s the president, he did something awful, and we can still impeach. Putting those things together is the way that they’re trying to make their case. It’s when we say political theater,” he explained.

“They took a few kernels of truth—a few phrases out of the Constitution that are obviously there, and even few historical stories. They used those to weave that together to create a fantasy of a situation that has never been done in history—but it feels like it’s accurate and is truth because of the little kernels of truth that were thrown out there. That’s frankly good political theater,” Green said of the impeachment managers in the way that they presented their arguments.

The attorney said that at this point, the United States is living “post-Constitution,” and urged Americans to read the text of the Constitution themselves.

“We’re literally ignoring the constitutional history and the plain text of the Constitution. I think it’s important for us to actually as citizens, to go look at the Constitution ourselves, and not just listen to the silver tongue rhetoric,” he said.

He added: “It’s just like any other trial, you walk into a trial. If trial attorneys are really good, they paint the picture that they want you to believe and I’m afraid they’ve done that in this case, but it is new territory, and it ignores 240 years of history in the United States. And most importantly, it ignores the Constitution itself.”

The Democrats face an uphill battle in convincing enough Republican senators that Trump should be convicted. Forty-four Republicans voted on the first day of the trial that the Senate doesn’t have jurisdiction to try Trump because he’s now a private citizen. Several Republican senators said on Feb. 9 that the vote is an indicator of how the GOP members will ultimately vote on the question of whether the former president is guilty.

Democrats need the votes of at least 17 Republicans in order to secure the supermajority needed to convict Trump. If the vote from the first day of the trial is any indication, the impeachment managers need to change the minds of at least 11 Republicans, a task which even liberal media commentators concede is virtually impossible.

Source: Trump Impeachment ‘Political Theater,’ Ignores US History: Constitutional Lawyer

Nevada may switch from caucus to primary

The days of herding relative strangers into Nevada high school gyms for an all-day democracy exercise peppered with puzzling math equations that somehow make or break political futures may soon be at an end.

At least, they will be if the state’s power brokers get their way. And they often do.

“My No. 1 priority is getting rid of the caucuses,” said Harry Reid, former U.S. Senate majority leader and still very much the face of Nevada Democrats. “They don’t work. It was proven in Iowa. We did OK here, but the system is so unfair.”

Technical difficulties derailed Iowa’s Democratic caucuses last year, leading to Nevada’s move away from similar technology that would help hundreds of sites feed numbers used in “caucus math” — a system joyously explained by political organizers and understood by sheer dozens of Nevadans as the way the state awards delegates for state and national party conventions.

Though Nevada’s party avoided similar pitfalls, Reid and a growing coalition believe a presidential primary would allow far more voters to participate and seems to be the anecdotal will of the people.

Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson will soon carry a bill to kill the caucuses. The legislation wouldn’t need bipartisan support with Democrats in the firm majority, but it may get some anyway, as Republicans contacted by the Review-Journal were open to the idea.

But Frierson also plans to join Reid and other state Democrats in advancing a far more politically challenging notion: That Nevada should be the first state in the nation to weigh in on presidential candidates.

“We’re one of the most diverse states in the country, and it would behoove a candidate to come and make their pitch to voters here,” Frierson said. “The political influence is moving west, and Nevada is seen as a very good gauge of where the country is at.”

The end of the caucuses

The move away from caucuses is not a surprise, as elected officials including Gov. Steve Sisolak called for its demise in the days that followed the Feb. 22 statewide contests.

Nevada State Democratic Party Executive Director Alana Mounce said she was proud of the work her staff and organizers did to run a successful caucus in trying times last year, but it’s ready to move on.

“We know moving forward it’s time to move to a primary process, and time to have Nevada be the first early state in 2024,” Mounce said.

Although the state party has built up considerable organizing muscle in part due to the hands-on nature of caucuses, Mounce said the end of caucuses will shed a considerable financial and time-consuming weight that will allow for more focus on registering new voters and recruiting volunteers.

Democrats preparing campaign

With a new Democratic National Committee led by Jaime Harrison, a former Senate candidate and South Carolina Democratic Party chair, and Iowa’s pitfalls just a year in the rearview, Nevada is preparing to make a play.

“There are a lot of changing names and faces at DNC, and what you’re seeing, possibly, is the development of a campaign to make the argument for Nevada to be No. 1, which I’m ecstatic for,” said Alex Goff, one of two DNC members elected by the state party.

“I grew up in Mississippi,” Goff continued. “I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served across the country and in other countries before moving here. There are so many people here with those stories. Their jobs brought them here, and they became Nevadans. You get a nice cross-section of the country.”

Nevada’s growing, diverse population and bellwether status in the West — a region where Democrats have grown in strength as the Midwest has grown more unpredictable — will be two major platforms for the campaign to stand on. The state also boasts a large union population and a mix of college and non-college educated voters.

But Goff also noted Nevada’s logistical strength for campaigns: Two urban centers holding about 85 percent of the population, situated in large media markets with easy travel between them.

Mounce believes the strength and organization of her party will appeal to a Harrison-led DNC due to his time leading South Carolina’s party.

Allison Stephens, the state’s other DNC member, said she too will “do everything I possibly can” for Nevada to be first on the calendar, but she cautioned against pushing the national party too hard.

“We don’t want to compromise our position as No. 3 in the nation,” Stephens said. “We can not fall below third. If changing to a primary would jeopardize our early state status, I would be concerned. We do have to work within the parameters of the party.”

National implications

The DNC will continue to review the previous cycle for at least another two months before discussing any possible changes to the nominating calendar.

“Every four years, the DNC looks back at what worked and what didn’t work, and the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will continue to evaluate all areas of our nominating process and make recommendations for any changes,” spokesman David Bergstein said.

This review is expected to complete on March 31, at which point the DNC as a whole will take up the conversation.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it was “too soon” to discuss the nominating calendar when asked during her daily briefing.

“We are certainly not focused on the next political campaign here quite yet, and we don’t have any point of view to share on the order of the presidential nominating contests, though Nevada’s a little warmer,” she said. “But you know, all great states.”

Iowa and New Hampshire, the two states that nominate before Nevada, are mounting their own campaigns to stay put, and other states are likely to make their own pushes to move up.

Frierson is sensitive to this.

“We will have to work through (the bill’s) language and work with the national parties — both Democrats and Republicans — and convince them of Nevada’s importance in the West,” he said.

Frierson noted the Legislature has no control over other states, which could simply move their own nomination dates further ahead absent a national calendar agreement. New Hampshire, for example, already has a state law declaring it must hold the first presidential primary election.

He said he is also working with local election officials on a cost estimate for the state, which would assume the cost burden currently borne by the state parties in the caucus system.

The typical Nevada primary, held in June for local and statewide offices, would remain, Frierson said. The new primary would only be used for selecting presidential candidates.

Republicans will wait and see

Eric Roberts, executive director of the Assembly Republican Caucus, said the demise of the caucuses could garner mixed support from his party.

“My gut feeling without talking to anyone about it is that the more conservative Republicans may want to keep (the caucuses), and the more moderates may want to go to a primary,” he said.

Roberts noted the Republican-controlled 2015 Legislature attempted a similar change, but the bill died.

Unlike 2020, Republicans will have a competitive presidential nominating process in 2024, and some state leaders have adapted a wait and see approach as the empowered Democrats look to change state law.

State Sen. James Settelmeyer, the Republican minority leader, said he supports the change from caucuses to a primary, but he’d like to see the presidential nomination combined with Nevada’s traditional June primary, which would also keep costs the same.

“I don’t think states should vote early,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of only a small percentage of the nation or a few states determining the leader of the free world.”

Settelmeyer said he carried a bill to switch to a primary in the past. Bipartisan support is possible, as long as Democrats are willing to discuss the changes and work through committees.

“I think the concept of trying to do something to increase voter participation is very appealing, and I believe we need to do that,” Settelmeyer said.

The senator also said he believes that bipartisan support from the Legislature would help the state make a case to the national parties.

“I would hope (the parties) would respect legislators in this state,” he said. “If all of our Republicans voter in favor of this, that would carry weight. But if all of us rejected it, that would also mean something.”

Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald said he personally likes the caucus system, as it spurs engagement within the party, but he is willing to adapt if Nevadans prefer a primary.

McDonald said his party’s caucus went so poorly in 2012 that it nearly lost its First in the West status on the Republican nominating calendar, but the system saw success in 2016.

“If they’re run right, they’re great,” McDonald said. “But they can also be a disaster.”

McDonald, also one of the state’s Republican National Committee members and a lifelong Nevadan, said he supports Nevada being moved up in the calendar, but it must be done with cooperation from the national parties and other states.

“I think anyone from here would want us to be first,” he said, “but you have to have respect for the party and your fellow states in order to get respect back.”

Source: Nevada may switch from caucus to primary

Longest-Serving Woman in Congress Says She Feels Increasingly Alienated in Democratic Party

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) (2nd L) speaks as then Rep.-elect Andy Levin (D-Mich.) (L), and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) (R) listen during a news conference in Washington, on Nov. 29, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The longest-serving woman in Congress, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), told The Hill in a recent interview that she struggles with a growing sense of alienation within the Democratic party as she fights for the interests of her largely working-class Midwest constituents while the Democrat party is increasingly dominated by representatives from wealthy, often coastal districts.

“They just can’t understand,” Kaptur told the outlet, referring to the difficulty some of her Democrat colleagues have in relating to the concerns of blue-collar constituents like hers.

“They can’t understand a family that sticks together because that’s what they have. Their loved ones are what they have, their little town, their home, as humble as it is—that’s what they have,” she added.

Kaptur told the outlet that she worries that the voices of congressional Democrats who represent wealthy districts are increasingly drowning out those who represent heartland districts.

“It’s been very hard for regions like mine, which have had great economic attrition, to get fair standing, in my opinion,” Kaptur said, adding that, as a Democrat who represents a working-class district, she feels like a minority within her party.

In the interview, Kaptur touched on congressional district data, which showed that 19 out 20 of the nation’s wealthiest districts are represented by Democrats.

“Several of my colleagues who are in the top ranks have said to me, ‘You know, we don’t understand your part of the country.’ And they’re very genuine,” Kaptur said. “You can’t understand what you haven’t been a part of.”

The idea that Democrats are losing touch with their blue-collar roots and are increasingly turning into the party of the elites while Republicans are on track to becoming a multiethnic working-class coalition was an oft-repeated theme in the wake of the 2020 election.

In his first remarks following the November election, in which the GOP defied expectations and made gains in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House Minority Leader, declared, “This election cycle has made one thing clear: The Republican Party is now the party of the American worker.”

The 2020 election results, in general, reinforced the view that the Republican party is poised to become a multiethnic coalition of working-class voters. In the presidential race, for instance, former President Donald Trump won the largest share of non-white voters, a traditionally Democrat demographic, of any Republican since 1960.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) commented on the fact that Trump won Zapata County, in Texas, by a margin of 52–47 percent in 2020, while he lost that same county to Hilary Clinton in 2016 by a margin of 65–32 percent.

“#Florida & the Rio Grande Valley showed the future of the GOP: A party built on a multi-ethnic multi-racial coalition of working AMERICANS,” Rubio wrote in a tweet.

Source: Longest-Serving Woman in Congress Says She Feels Increasingly Alienated in Democratic Party