U.S. Politics

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Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2021, 05:52:47 AM »
Democrats are moving the country forward while Republicans once again vote against Americans. Republicans have no interest in working for the American people as their allegiance is for billionaires and corporations. There were 13 Republicans that did vote to pass this bill so they deserve all the credit for making this happen. But their party as a whole is disgraceful. 6 Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for voting against this historic bill that benefits ALL Americans.     

House passes $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes transport, broadband and utility funding, sends it to Biden

The House passed a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature.

The legislation would put $550 billion in new funding into transportation, broadband and utilities.

The House passed a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill late Friday, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk in a critical step toward enacting sprawling Democratic economic plans.

The Senate approved the revamp of transportation, utilities and broadband in August. The legislation’s passage is perhaps the unified Democratic government’s most concrete achievement since it approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in the spring.

The measure passed in a 228-206 vote. Thirteen Republicans supported it, while six Democrats voted against it. Biden could sign the bill within days.

Washington has tried and failed for years to pass a major bill to upgrade critical transportation and utility infrastructure, which has come under more pressure from extreme weather. The White House has also contended passage of the bill can help to get goods moving as supply-chain obstacles contribute to higher prices for American consumers.

The vote Friday followed a day of wrangling over how enact the two planks of the party’s agenda. The push-and-pull exemplified party leaders’ months long struggle to get progressives and centrists — who have differing visions of the government’s role in the economy — behind the same bills.

Democrats entered the day planning to pass both the infrastructure legislation and the party’s larger $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate package. A demand from a handful of centrists to see a Congressional Budget Office estimate of the social spending plan’s budgetary effects delayed its approval. Progressives sought assurances the holdouts would support the bigger proposal if they voted for the infrastructure bill.

After hours of talks — and a Biden call into a progressive caucus meeting urging lawmakers to back the infrastructure bill — the party’s liberal wing got assurances from centrists that they would support the larger package.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said the group reached a deal to back the infrastructure plan in exchange for a commitment to take up the safety-net bill “no later than the week of November 15.” A group of five centrists separately issued a statement saying they would back the Build Back Better legislation pending a CBO score that assuages their concerns about long-term budget deficits.

Ahead of the vote, Biden aimed to assure his party that both plans would pass.

“I am confident that during the week of November 15, the House will pass the Build Back Better Act,” he said in a statement of the social spending bill. The House is out of Washington next week, and it could take the CBO days or weeks to prepare a score of the legislation.

The bills together make up the core of Biden’s domestic agenda. Democrats see the plans as complementary pieces designed to boost the economy, jolt the job market, provide a layer of insurance to working families and curb climate change.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would put $550 billion in new money into transportation projects, the utility grid and broadband. The package includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects, along with $66 billion for passenger and freight rail and $39 billion for public transit.

It would put $65 billion into broadband, a priority for many lawmakers after the coronavirus pandemic highlighted inequities in internet access for households and students across the country. The legislation would also invest $55 billion into water systems, including efforts to replace lead pipes.

Before the vote, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told MSNBC that “the moment the president signs this, then it’s over to our department on the transportation pieces to get out there and deliver.” It can take years to complete major projects after Congress funds them.

The spending package includes universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, investments in affordable housing, premium reductions under the Affordable Care Act, major investments aimed at addressing climate change and an additional year of the expanded child tax credit.

Here's a closer look at what's in the infrastructure bill that now heads to Biden's desk:


- Roads, bridges, major projects: $110 billion

- Passenger and freight rail: $66 billion

- Public transit: $39 billion

- Airports: $25 billion

- Port infrastructure: $17 billion

- Transportation safety programs: $11 billion

- Electric vehicles: $7.5 billion

- Zero and low-emission buses and ferries: $7.5 billion

- Revitalization of communities: $1 billion

Other infrastructure

- Broadband: $65 billion[/b]

- Power infrastructure: $73 billion

- Clean drinking water: $55 billion

- Resilience and Western water storage: $50 billion

- Removal of pollution from water and soil: $21 billion


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2021, 05:52:47 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2021, 06:22:01 AM »
So, the left wing "squad" voted against American infrastructure and to help their constituents. No surprise there but these 13 Republicans deserve a great amount of respect to help their constituents and to help move our country forward. Was just on Twitter reading far right wing MAGA extremist tweets and they are outraged this huge bill passed. How could anybody be outraged about investing in our own country and the American people so our country can be state of the art with technology and sound infrastructure? Guess they are just sour grapes that President Biden accomplished this historic feat or are just delusional in their own ignorance and conspiracy theories.

Here are the 6 Democrats who voted against the bill and the 13 Republicans that voted for it.

Bush, Bowman, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressely, Tlaib

Bacon, Gonzalez, Garbarino, Fitzpatrick, Katko, Kinzinger, Malliotakis, McKinley, Reed, Chris Smith, Upton, Van Drew, Young

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2021, 11:18:09 PM »
President Biden has cut child poverty in half. Another historic feat for his administration.

The U.S. is cutting poverty in half. Shame on us for not doing this sooner

A surge in COVID-19-inspired initiatives will reduce Americans in poverty by a whopping 20 million people. Why didn't this happen sooner?

The myth of “the welfare queen” that flourished under Ronald Reagan, powered 40 years of Republican election victories and guided government policy as America largely dismantled its social safety net, is finally dead. Or at least on life support.

Instead, the nation is finally learning that the real beneficiaries of government aid are women like New Hampshire’s Christina Darling, who is spending her monthly checks for $550 a month in the new expanded child tax credit program on things like buying more fresh produce for her two kids. Her new monetary lifeline isn’t leading to fur coats or a Cadillac — the stuff of GOP campaign trail fantasy for decades — but it is helping make payments on the modest car that the 31-year-old bought to take the children safely to day care. Darling told the Associated Press she might even occasionally hire a babysitter — to get more involved in civic life and run for her city’s council.

"The additional money does help alleviate the pressure,” another New Hampshire beneficiary of the program — 29-year-old Brianne Walker, a mother of three who quit a job to raise her two siblings after her mom died from a drug overdose and began receiving $800 a month this summer — told the AP. The news service talked to parents across the nation about the new tax credit program — part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Biden, which expanded the benefits and turned it from a more complicated year-end tax filing to the monthly checks — and found the payments were going to rent, paying off debt, or putting more food on the table, and giving beleaguered working-class folks a chance to breathe.

One study suggested that the new, expanded tax credits — going out to more than 35 million households with children — could reduce child poverty in America by 45%. That’s remarkable, and it’s just part of a broader trend as the shock of the global pandemic forced the government to take the economic struggles of the poor and the lower middle class more seriously than any time since Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty in the mid-1960s.

A New York Times report last week looked at the wider array of expanded safety programs that were enacted since early 2020 to respond to the economic shocks of the coronavirus outbreak — one-time government stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits, and increased food stamps — and the impact was staggering. Experts cited by the Times found that some 20 million Americans rose out of poverty since 2018, which would essentially cut the rate of those the government classifies as poor in half, now at the lowest level since Washington began keeping track.

"Wow — these are stunning findings,” Bob Greenstein, a veteran anti-poverty expert now with the Brookings Institution, told the newspaper. That sums up the almost giddy mood of experts who hadn’t seen such a rapid policy shift in their lifetimes. For a brief, shining moment in the 1960s, defeating poverty had seemed like the final frontier for a nation that had helped win World War II and was sending astronauts to the moon — and LBJ’s Great Society did make a significant dent for a few years before the backlash. White resentment politics that played up any reports of abuse and ignored the public good had won the day by the 1980s.

Those same forces of reaction are still out there, still lurking. The vast web of conservative think tanks created amid the anti-welfare backlash is still arguing — with little or no evidence — that these programs discourage able-bodied people from working, the great immoral panic of capitalism. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector told the Times, “You want policies that encourage work and marriage, not undermine it” — but that just seems totally bass-ackward. Affording child care or a working automobile actually helps people find jobs, and what historically has been more destructive to marriage than poverty?

That’s why it’s so critical that the public keeps hearing these success stories — like Walker and Darling or 24-year-old Jessica Moore of St. Louis, who lost her job as a banquet server with the pandemic but has used her stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits to buy a car and enroll in community college, where she’s studying to become an emergency medical technician. In other words, a job. Are you listening, Heritage Foundation?

Whoever controls this narrative between now and the 2022 midterm elections is going to control the future of America’s middle class, which has been shrinking for generations. Even progressives agree that a lot of the 2020-21 government aid was emergency relief that won’t be continued, but the last 17 months have also taught us how a real safety net can improve daily life, especially for children who need to start out life with a fair shot.

Several key decisions loom, including whether to make the expanded child tax credit permanent but also an array of pro-family programs proposed by the Biden administration that would greatly expand child care — probably the most pro-job, anti-poverty measure in the toolbox — and make community college tuition-free, and much more. Conservatives will argue that America can’t afford this, and to be sure it wasn’t cheap to so sharply reduce the poverty rate. It’s estimated that — largely because of the one-off payments made necessary by the pandemic — spending on the basic social safety net quadrupled to $1 trillion.

The costs of the proposals forward are not as great, and there’s a powerful case — given the improvement these programs have made in people’s lives, and, thus, in a civil society — that how can we afford not to do this? Remember, we’re talking about the United States of America, the nation that just spent $2.26 trillion on an almost “forever war” in Afghanistan that after its first year or two seemed to accomplish little or nothing.

Regardless of which party is in power, the White House and Congress never ask, “Can we afford it?” as they constantly expand the Pentagon budget to an astronomical $750 billion a year, or more than the next 11 biggest nations combined. Just a modest rightsizing of what still would be the world’s most powerful military would free up hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild America’s middle class. So would simply restoring tax rates on our uber-profitable corporations and the billionaires who run them back to the historically low level those rates were at in 2017 (or, heaven forbid, the 50% top marginal tax rate that existed *after* Reagan’s popular 1981 tax cut).

Given the obscene space program funding fortunes accumulated by the likes of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Walmart’s Walton family — employers where low-wage workers often already get government benefits like food stamps to make ends meet — even a wealth tax of the kind proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren deserves a debate, in the name of restoring balance to a U.S. society that’s spent 40 years careening off the rails.

It’s impossible, frankly, not to look at America’s struggling working-class moms finally putting some greens on the dinner table or driving off to community college and wonder why this hasn’t been a top priority — as opposed to new fighter jets and propping up the U.S. yacht industry. The news that the United States is cutting poverty in half — at least for now, if the jackals can be held at bay — is, on one hand, a feel-good story, yet in another way, it’s a deeply troubling one. Because the world’s richest nation had the power and the ability to do this years ago. The fact that we didn’t should be a moment of national shame and reflection.


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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2021, 11:18:09 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2021, 02:44:49 AM »
Josh Hawley sued for accepting nearly $1 million in illegally coordinated campaign expenses

The Giffords gun safety organization has sued the National Rifle Association and the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley and U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, alleging group used shell corporations to improperly aid the Republican lawmakers in 2018.

The suit alleges two NRA affiliates made up to $35 million in illegal campaign contributions — in the form of coordinated communications efforts — to the GOP Senate campaigns of Hawley, Rosendale, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, as well as Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

It was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week.

The NRA Political Victory Fund, a political action committee, and the NRA Institute for Legislative Action spent millions on supposedly independent political advertising for the six Senate candidates and Trump in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 federal election cycles, according to the suit.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance group, is representing Giffords, a gun-safety group founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in part to counter the NRA's influence in national politics.

Under a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, outside groups are allowed to spend unlimited amounts on political speech, including advertisements in favor of candidates.

But federal campaign finance rules require such advertisements to be commissioned without coordinating with campaigns. Coordinated messaging counts as an in-kind contribution.

Political action committees are subject to a $5,000 limit per cycle on contributions, including in-kind contributions, to a single candidate. Corporations are not allowed to spend treasury funds for coordinated messaging on behalf of political candidates.

The suit accuses the NRA and the campaigns of using the same political messaging firms to disguise coordinated campaign activity as independent advertising.

The NRA paid Starboard Strategic Inc., a Virginia and Maryland-headquartered company, for advertising in support of the candidates. The candidates paid a company called OnMessage that the suit says is “functionally indistinguishable" from Starboard.

“They are led by the same people and located at the same address, and no internal separation or firewall exists between the staff who work for each entity," the suit says. “OnMessage has been nominated for, and has accepted, industry awards for [NRA] ads contracted through Starboard."

The companies, which the suit alleges are actually one firm operating under two names, then coordinated to create and place complementary advertisements—exactly the type of coordination that is not supposed to be allowed between campaigns and outside groups.

“By falsely claiming their advertising spending was independent, however, the NRA affiliates evaded [federal] contribution limits, source prohibitions and disclosure requirements," the Campaign Legal Center said in a statement.

OnMessage previously drew controversy in Missouri after the Kansas City Star revealed that soon after Hawley was sworn in as state attorney general in 2017, he brought consultants from the firm who would go on to run his Senate campaign into his official office to help direct taxpayer-funded staff.

A report issued by the state auditor's office in 2020 was unable to say conclusively whether the arrangement violated the law because state business was being conducted using private email and text messages.

During the 2018 campaign, Rosendale seemed to publicly confirm his campaign was coordinating with the NRA, the suit alleges. At a July 18, 2018, fundraiser, Rosendale said the NRA Institute for Legal Affairs political director, Chris Cox, would make expenditures in support of Rosendale, then accurately described the content and the timing of the ads that ran weeks later, according to the suit.

The suit says Rosendale accepted up to $383,196 in coordinated expenditures. Hawley accepted up to $973,196, the suit says.

The bulk of the illegal expenditures—$25 million of the $35 million total alleged—went to Trump's 2016 campaign, according to the suit.

Although the suit only names Hawley and Rosendale, other matters concerning the other candidates named in the suit could be proceeding at the Federal Election Commission, the federal regulator for campaign finance violations. The FEC keeps proceedings secret while they are ongoing.

The suit arose from an administrative proceeding at the FEC that Giffords brought in April 2019, but the commission— long derided as a toothless regulator—took no action.

A September court order gave the agency 30 days to act. If the agency did not act, Giffords would be allowed under that order to bring the matter to civil court. The FEC has not acted since that court order.

Because the original complaint was made in 2019, it did not cover the 2020 elections, when Rosendale, Tillis, Gardner, Cotton and Trump all ran again for federal office.

Representatives for the NRA, Hawley, Rosendale, Tillis, Johnson and Gardner did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday.

Missouri Independent is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Missouri Independent maintains editorial independence.


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2021, 03:48:24 AM »
Once again folks, there's no such thing as a "Liberal Media" which right wingers constantly lie about and here's another perfect example. The media is owned by right wing corporations, and our main stream media and cable news outlets like CSPAN, allow far right wing extremists like Matt Schlapp to push lies and propaganda without ever being called out on their blatant lies. This is how lies are being peddled in the main stream media from these right wing hacks who come on these programs.

C-SPAN host raked over the coals for letting Matt Schlapp spew lies about 2020 election for an hour

Washington Journal weekend host Bill Scanlan was hammered by a listener on his own show after an interview with conservative Matt Schlapp who went off on a rant about the 2020 election being fraudulent. The claim, which has become known as "the big lie," has been proven false by even conservative news outlets.

A woman from Illinois said that she'd been a loyal CSPAN viewer for 20 years and was aghast hearing Scanlan allowing Schlapp "go on, and on, and on. Even though I got into your program late, I didn't even hear a Democrat come on. All I heard were Republicans and Independents and it seems that times when I tune in to listening to your show that a lot of times I hear that mostly Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents that are getting through on your show."

She went on to say that she doesn't understand why Scanlan allowed Schlapp to "sit there and tell all those lies that he did."

This isn't the first time that Bill Scanlan is being questioned about allowing conservatives to rant on his airwaves. In 2010, The Atlantic reached out to ask why Scanlan allowed "a caller to launch into a grotesque anti-Semitic rant on Monday, and why he didn't challenge the caller or cut him off." He refused to comment. By 2020 when another caller went off on a racist rant, Scanlan learned to drop them. That didn't extend to guests spinning falsehoods on air.

See the video below:

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2021, 03:48:24 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2021, 03:57:32 AM »

The criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, part of his larger crusade to invalidate Joe Biden’s win at the time, appears to be gaining steam. Fani Willis, the Atlanta D.A. leading the inquiry, is expected to soon convene “a grand jury dedicated solely to the allegations of election tampering,” the New York Times reported Saturday, though the decision isn’t yet finalized. The news is the latest development in the investigation against Trump and his allies, which has been quietly moving forward since Willis opened it in February. If she convenes a grand jury, it would be a step toward holding the former president accountable for, among other things, pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden's victory in the state.

The pace of the Georgia investigation has thus far been hampered by local issues demanding Willis’ attention, as well as a backlog of cases overwhelming her office. Willis’ team has looked to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot for backup, as congressional investigators are pursuing evidence that could be of considerable use to them. But that avenue has also been bogged down “by delays in the panel’s fact gathering,” according to the Times. Nonetheless, Willis appears ready to get the ball rolling. Convening a special grand jury focused solely on Trump’s attempts to interfere with Georgia’s election results would indicate “that her own investigation is ramping up,” the paper notes. A special grand jury would consist of 16 to 23 members and be able to issue subpoenas, though the Times adds that Willis “would need to return to a regular grand jury to seek criminal indictments.”

There are many charges the former president could be hit with in relation to his post-election conduct in Georgia, according to a recent analysis by D.C. think tank the Brookings Institution. They note that Trump made personal “entreaties to senior state officials”—from Secretary of State Raffensperger to Attorney General Chris Carr to Governor Brian Kemp, all of whom are Republicans—“to alter the outcome of a presidential election” whose results had already been certified. Among the crimes Trump could be charged with are “criminal solicitation to commit election fraud” and “state RICO violations,” the report concluded, an analysis based entirely on publicly-available data. Criminal liability could also extend to Trump allies who allegedly assisted Trump’s effort to subvert the results, the  Brookings Institution notes, such as his former counsel Rudy Giuliani. 

The probe in Georgia is not the only active criminal investigation the 45th president and his inner circle are facing. The D.C. attorney general is investigating Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol, while the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is examining Trump’s financial dealings—a probe that has already produced numerous charges against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO, with further indictments potentially on the way.

As my colleague Bess Levin recently noted, Raffensperger, a Republican, bolstered the potential case against the former president last week with the release of his new book. “I felt then—and still believe today—that this was a threat,” he wrote of Trump’s call asking him to “find” more votes. “For the office of the secretary of state to ‘recalculate’ would mean we would somehow have to fudge the numbers. The president was asking me to do something that I knew was wrong, and I was not going to do that.” Raffensperger has said he would “gladly participate” in an interview with Fulton County prosecutors investigating Trump’s alleged election meddling.

Also worsening the potential case against Trump is Trump himself, the Times notes, by adding commentary about his conduct in Georgia. At a rally in the state in September, the former president recalled to the crowd how he called Kemp about Georgia’s “big election-integrity problem” and asked him to “help us out and call a special election.” Norman Eisen, one of the authors of the Brookings Institution report, told the Times that, by elaborating on his original conversation with Kemp, Trump “offered the prosecution free admissions about the content of that exchange.”


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2021, 12:03:18 AM »
More Texas voters unhappy than satisfied over power grid, abortion and property taxes

Texas voters have a net disapproval for how state leaders have handled the reliability of the electricity grid, abortion and property taxes, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

In an October poll of 1,200 registered voters, respondents expressed major disapproval for the state's handling of the reliability of the main power grid after statewide power outages in February left millions of Texans without power for days. Only 18% of voters approved of how state leaders handled the issue, and 60% of voters disapproved. Even lawmakers themselves have expressed frustration that the laws they wrote to prepare the power grid for extreme weather haven't led to enough preparations ahead of this winter.

"The lurking uncertainty and doubts about the electricity grid [are] a mine waiting to go off," said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. "If there's another even moderate infrastructure problem in the state in the grid or service delivery writ large that can be connected with the February outages and the failure of the Legislature to respond in a way that people expect it to be effective, it's a real political problem for incumbents."

The internet survey was conducted from Oct. 22-31, a few days after the conclusion of a third special legislative session, and has a margin of error of +/ - 2.83 percentage points. For now, that special session wrapped up nearly 10 months of frantic activity at the Legislature, which passed laws that loosen gun restrictions in the state, severely restrict abortion access and double down on state spending on border security.

According to the poll, 39% of voters approved of how state leaders have handled abortion policy while 46% disapproved. Lawmakers this year passed the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, barring the procedure before many people know they are pregnant.

Only 20% of voters said they approved of the Legislature's handling of property taxes, while 46% said they disapproved. The Legislature has tried for years to cut increasing property taxes for homeowners across the state, but voters see only minor reductions in their bills.

Voter disapproval for the state's handling of the issue increased from June, when pollsters at the University of Texas last asked about the issue after the Legislature's regularly scheduled five-month special session.

The state's handling of property taxes was unpopular across the political spectrum, but disapproval increased the most among Republicans. In June, 33% of Republicans disapproved of how the issue had been handled. By October, that share had grown to 43%.

During the final days of the most recent special session, lawmakers approved placing a higher homestead exemption on next year's ballots that would amount to about $176 in yearly savings for the average homeowner. Voters would still have to approve that change.

But Henson said voters don't appear convinced by the minor effect on their tax bills.

"The approach that they've taken up to this point is not moving public opinion, and to the extent that it is moving public opinion, it's moving it in the wrong direction," he said.

In particular, voters had net approval for Gov. Greg Abbott using state money to add border barriers between Texas and Mexico, with 53% approving and 40% opposing. More than 90% of Republicans approved of that use of state money.

"He's playing the right tune," said Joshua Blank, research director for the Texas Politics Project. "There's no threat to the mantle of fiscal conservatism."

Henson said the issue's popularity likely means voters next year will hear more from Republicans about border security and immigration than about property tax cuts.

But there are also signs of concern for GOP leaders. More than 50% of independents disapproved of how the state handled immigration and border security, and half of independents disapproved of the state's handling of abortion policy.

Blank said there was a "significant decline" in how independents evaluated the state's handling of immigration since June, when 26% approved and 33% disapproved.

"What exactly is driving this among independents who are generally defined by their lack of attention to politics, we can't know," he said. "It's hard to say, but it's something to keep an eye on."

A plurality of 47% of voters opposed banning abortions after about six weeks, as the state's new law does, and 45% approve. Fifty-seven percent of voters oppose the law's provision allowing private citizens to sue people they believe helped someone obtain an abortion, including 35% of Republicans. Only 30% of voters said they approved of that portion of the law. If the plaintiff wins such a lawsuit, the law allows that person to be awarded at least $10,000, as well as costs and attorney fees.

"The idea of bounties and the problems with having private enforcement of public laws of what are seen currently as constitutional rights strikes at least more people as problematic than the actual law itself," Blank said.

Overall, the polls showed an uptick in approval of how the state has handled abortion policy since the last time voters were polled on the subject in June. Then, 32% of voters approved and 42% disapproved. Blank said that was marked by an increase in approval from Republicans as more voters learned of the state's new abortion law, which was passed in May.

Polls remained consistent on exceptions to abortion restrictions. More than 80% of voters said abortions should be allowed if a woman's health was at risk, and nearly three quarters said they should be allowed in cases of rape or incest. Nearly 60% said they should be allowed if there was a strong chance of a serious defect to the baby, but support for other exceptions dropped substantially from there.

On the state's growing racial and ethnic diversity, 41% of voters said it was a cause for optimism while 28% said it was a cause for concern. Both Republicans and Democrats said on the net it was a cause for optimism, but independent voters said it was a cause for concern.

Younger voters were more likely to believe the state's racial and ethnic diversity was a cause for optimism. Fifty-three percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believed it a cause for optimism while only 32% of those 65 years and older agreed.

Blank said that differences among age groups reflect how the state's younger residents are more likely to be people of color.

"That is the leading edge of the changing demographics of the state, so really that is the group that should be more optimistic," he said. "Conversely, the over 40, over 50, over 60 population in Texas is significantly more white, and so they're looking at a Texas that is going to be very different from the one that they were in growing up, so it's not surprising to see more reticence toward that among that group."

The poll showed broad support for gun rights, with 46% of voters saying they approved of how the state had handled Second Amendment rights and 32% saying they disapproved. But when the questions became more specific, voters began to show disapproval for the state's handling of gun violence and a recently enacted law that allows legal gun owners over the age of 21 to carry handguns in most public places in Texas without a permit.

A plurality of voters — 41% — disapproved of the state's handling of gun violence while 35% of voters approved. A majority of voters — 55% — opposed the state's permitless carry law, while 38% said they supported it.

While 51% of voters say Texas state government serves as a model for other states to follow, 42% of voters disagree with that statement. Moreover, that number has steadily dropped over the last decade. In February 2010, nearly 60% of voters said Texas served as a model, while only 31% disagreed.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2021, 12:03:18 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2021, 12:19:48 AM »
Democrats are turning their focus to a social safety net and climate bill after Congress passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

The House aims to approve the plan next week, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said both chambers aim to pass it by Thanksgiving.

Democratic leaders have to keep nearly every member of their caucuses on board as they iron out the final details of the sprawling economic package.

While many Democrats let out a sigh of relief when the House passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill, the party has a grueling few weeks ahead of it to enact the rest of its economic agenda.

The more than $1 trillion package passed Friday that would refresh transportation, broadband and utilities fulfills one part of President Joe Biden’s domestic vision. Democrats now have to clear multiple hurdles to enact the larger piece, a $1.75 trillion investment in the social safety net and climate policy.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said Democrats aim to pass the social spending bill by Thanksgiving. Meeting the deadline will require both chambers of Congress to rush while keeping nearly every member of a diverse Democratic caucus united — a challenge that has led to repeated roadblocks as lawmakers advanced the bills this year.

Biden on Saturday sounded sure that his party would line up behind a sprawling bill that it aims to sell on the midterm campaign trail next year.

“I feel confident that we will have enough votes to pass the Build Back Better plan,” he told reporters.

Biden also signaled he could sign the infrastructure bill next week after lawmakers return to Washington. Asked Monday when the president would sign the bill, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said “I do not have a date, but it will be very soon.”

His administration plans to send key officials around the country to sell the benefits of the package, NBC News reported, citing a memo from a White House official.

The House plans to take the next step in passing the social spending plan. The chamber will try to approve the bill during the week of Nov. 15 once it returns from a weeklong recess. With no Republican support expected, Democrats can lose no more than three votes for the package.

It would then go to the Senate. To pass the bill under special budget rules, all 50 members of the Democratic caucus will have to support it.

Schumer will have to win over conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has not yet blessed a framework agreement on the legislation. The House could also send the Senate a bill that includes four weeks of paid leave for most American workers — a provision Manchin has opposed.

Once the Senate irons out any objections from Manchin or other Democrats, in addition to any constraints budget reconciliation rules put on the bill, it could approve a different version of the plan than the House does. The House would then need to vote on the Senate plan or go to a conference committee with the upper chamber to hash out disparities.

All told, Democrats will have to navigate a series of obstacles to get the bill to Biden’s desk in the coming weeks. Pulling it off will require cooperation and trust between centrists and progressives who have disparate views about how large of a role the government should play in boosting households and combating climate change.

The infrastructure bill passed only after House progressives and centrists made a nonbinding pact to approve the social spending plan this month. Five centrist Democrats said they would vote for the larger bill if a coming Congressional Budget Office cost estimate projects it will not add to long-term budget deficits.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who has pulled off a range of legislative high-wire acts in her career — expressed confidence that the centrists will honor their side of the deal.

“As has been agreed, when the House comes back into session the week of November 15th, we will act with a message that is clear and unified to produce results,” she wrote to House Democrats.

The nonpartisan CBO could take weeks to release a cost estimate for the sprawling plan. However, the centrist holdouts in a Friday statement committed to voting for the legislation “in no event later than the week of November 15th.”

If Democrats can push the bill through Congress this month, they will still have another big lift on their hands before the end of the year. Lawmakers need to raise or suspend the debt ceiling sometime in December — or risk the first-ever default on U.S. debt.



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