Weekend Review: $1.9 Trillion Budget Resolution Passes, Biden Reduces Direct Payments
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion budget resolution was approved by the Senate after an all-night “vote-a-rama” that lasted into Friday morning. Vice President Kamala Harris provided a tie-breaking vote and the budget passed without Republican support.
The resolution was also approved by the House and will be modified into a reconciliation bill, which will require further debate and a vote from both chambers. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans presented amendments to the bill for a series of votes.
With bipartisan support, the Senate voted to bar raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour during the pandemic. Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders noted that the plan was written to provide an incremental increase starting after the pandemic, so he did not oppose the effort to block an immediate increase. Sanders promised to do everything he could to “end the crisis of starvation wages…around the United States” in the final reconciliation bill.
Stimulus payments lowered from $2000 to $1400 for qualifying individuals
Also receiving bipartisan approval was an amendment to prevent undocumented immigrants and “upper income tax-payers” from receiving stimulus payments. The payments have been reduced to $1400 from the $2000 per individual Biden promised just prior to the Georgia runoffs. The flimsy spin is that Biden was including the last round of $600 payments in his originally stated total and will be “finishing the job” with $1400.
Problematically for Biden, he said that “$2000 checks will go out the door” if Democrats won the Senate seats in Georgia, which they did. He used it to directly compel to voters, telling them the power was “literally” in their hands to make it happen.
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said he would advise Biden “that is not the place to compromise,” adding, “if you want to see us lose a Senate race in Georgia in two years, then modify the promise made — break the promise made during the Georgia runoff.”
D.A. Seeks New Warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse After Kenosha Shooter Moved Without Notifying Court
Prosecutors filed for a new warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man who shot three people, killing two, at a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse was no longer living at the address which was provided to the court and had been moved to a “safe house” after receiving death threats.
After a notice of hearing was returned to their office without a forwarding address, the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office was informed by Rittenhouse’s new attorney that he had been moved without notifying the court at the recommendation of his old attorney. He alleged that a “high-ranking member” of the Kenosha Police Department advised Rittenhouse and his previous attorney to provide the wrong address and keep the location of the safe house from prosecutors. The department denied that allegation.
Prosecutors argue that Rittenhouse is unremorseful and careless since receiving donations to post his $2 million bond. He was recently seen at a bar fraternizing with apparent members of the Proud Boys, a group heavily implicated in the January 6th attack on the US Capitol.
Prosecutors have requested that Rittenhouse be rearrested and held under an increased bond.
House Votes to Strip Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Committees
Far-right Georgia Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has been removed from two committees: the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee. The House voted to strip Greene of the seats following powerful testimonies from members of both parties.
Colleagues like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Cori Bush shared details of last month’s attack on the Capitol. All women of color, they each said they were made more afraid by the events of the day because they had already been targeted by white supremacists for death threats and other forms of intimidation.
Greene stood accused of helping to stoke the flames that led to the insurrection. Mother Jones found that she was the moderator of a pro-Trump, extremits forum which provided a trove of comments which suggested murdering Democratic rivals, such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former president Barack Obama. Greene was found to have liked and shared such posts.
During a closed-door meeting with Republicans, Greene apologized and said she “absolutely” regrets her online activity. She admitted to subscribing to “false flag” theories about school shootings, which led to her harassing Parkland survivor, David Hogg.
Greene’s sympathy did not last long. She soon took to Twitter to call the Democrats and 11 Republicans in the House who voted for her removal “a bunch of morons.”