Jun 30, 2020
GOP senator: Congress must find out what Trump knew of Russian bounties, and when
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Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseHouse Republican accuses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube of not doing enough to combat Chinese propaganda Schumer: GOP police reform bill 'does not rise to the moment' Nebraska Democrats call for their Senate nominee to drop out of race MORE (R-Neb.) says Congress needs to get to the bottom of what President TrumpDonald John TrumpIntelligence suggests Russian bounties led to deaths of several US troops in Afghanistan: report Obama called Philonise Floyd before brother's memorial service: NYT President Trump tries to cover his tracks by attacking the rule of law MORE was told about Russia offering bounties to Taliban militants to kill coalition troops in Afghanistan, calling for a “proportional response” from the U.S.
Sasse, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters Monday that explosive reports over the weekend that Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, offered bounties on U.S. service members should be investigated by Congress and the effort should transcend the “short-term politics” he said usually dominates Capitol Hill.
“I’ve been hearing from military families in Nebraska constantly for the last 36 hours and they’re livid,” he said. “This is a story about the targeting of American men and women in uniform. This is about putting crosshairs on the backs of people who are fighting for our freedom. This is not about short-term politics.”
Sasse said Congress “is broken” and needs to pull together to “get to the bottom of two questions.”
“Who knew what, when inside the administration. Did the commander-in-chief know? If not, why the heck not? What’s going on in that process?”
Sasse said the second question is “what is our plan to impose proportional response on our enemies in this battle?”
He said such a response “would mean Taliban and GRU agents in body bags.”
He called on colleagues to put aside their partisan differences and investigate the intelligence claims, which Trump said on Monday that U.S. officials did not find “credible.”
“This institution needs to be really serious about the oversight we do,” he warned.
Sasse said he spoke with Trump Sunday evening and with members of the U.S. intelligence community on Sunday and Monday on the subject.
“I think that it should be clear that we are deadly serious about this topic because it’s a deadly serious topic. Most of the families that have contacted me are not the kinds of people who do 24-hour news cycle,” he said.
Sasse said the White House needs to do a better job in responding to the reports.
“Right now, I don’t think the messages that we’re hearing coming out of the White House are serious enough, about the magnitude of the problem,” he said.
The New York Times first reported on Friday that American intelligence officials had concluded that the Russian military intelligence agency had offered bounties to militants to kill coalition troops.
The bombshell allegation received little response from the White House on Friday and Saturday.
Trump finally broke his silence Sunday morning, claiming on Twitter “nobody briefed or told me.” He said neither Vice President Pence nor White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsIntelligence suggests Russian bounties led to deaths of several US troops in Afghanistan: report Bolton on Trump denying he was briefed on bounties on US troops: 'Just another day at the office in the Trump White House' Top GOP lawmaker calls for answers from White House after report on Russian bounties on US forces MORE were briefed either.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that intelligence assessments concluded the Russian bounties led to the deaths of U.S. troops.
Trump tweeted on Sunday evening that the intelligence community didn’t find the allegations to be credible.
“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” Trump wrote.
Sasse isn’t satisfied with those answers.
“Who knew what, when? Did the commander-in-chief know? And if he didn’t, how in the hell didn’t he know?” he said.
Asked if he would support legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGOP lawmakers voice support for Israeli plan to annex areas in West Bank Lighthizer denies Bolton claim that Trump asked Xi for election help GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst MORE (N.J.), the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, placing new sanctions on Russia, Sasse said, “I’m looking for something more urgent than that.”
“We should be talking about GRU and Taliban agents in body bags,” he said.Tags Bob Menendez Mark Meadows Donald Trump Ben Sasse
News Source: thehill.com
Calls for stimulus checks worth $2,000 to be sent EVERY MONTH until coronavirus pandemic ends
DEMOCRATIC senators have called for for $2,000 stimulus checks to be sent every month until the coronavirus crisis ends.
On Monday, Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, along with Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders put forward the Monthly Crisis Support Act to provide ongoing support for hard-hit Americans and working families.Markey suggested monthly payments instead of another one-off check Markey outlined the suggested bill in an op-edCredit: Getty Images
Yesterday, Markey and the mayors of Easthampton and Lynn urged the Senate to approve emergency legislation during a Zoom call, where he noted that state and local governments laid off around 1.6 million workers nationwide.
In an op-ed for the Boston Globe the next day, Markey laid out how this legislation would provide $2K for people who earn less than $120,000 until three months after the crisis ends.
It would allocate $2,000 for up to three dependents per households – and immigrant families would get assistance through their taxpayer number.
In the article, Markey cited the 43 million Americans who filed for unemployment since the outbreak first pummeled the US economy, meaning one in four people are out of a job over the past three months.
"Providing recurring monthly payments is the most direct and efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most vulnerable in this crisis, particularly low-income families, immigrant communities, and our gig and service workers," he wrote.Harris and other senators feel that more than one check is neededCredit: AP:Associated Press Sanders, Harris, and Markey introduced the Monthly Crisis Support ActCredit: Getty Images - Getty
"Payments under our proposal would provide nearly $600 billion per month to American households, more than twice as much as the CARES Act.
"When 40 percent of households making less than $40,000 a year have lost their jobs during this crisis, the question is not about whether America can afford to do this. The question is whether we can afford not to."
Markey detailed how this economic "safety net" forbids debt collectors from seizing the rebate payments, as well as ensuring that homeless people and those in foster care get a payment.
The MA politician said this can be done via data from low-income support programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, and housing assistance programs.
Markey said that the CARES Act Congress passed in March, which allocated a direct payment of $1,200 per person, wasn't enough.Markey said $1,200 wasnt enoughCredit: Getty Images - Getty Markey said one more check wasn't enough, citing the pandemic's impact on local economiesCredit: Getty Images
"A single check is not sufficient for the millions of households that are struggling with the health and economic crisis we face," he said. "Americans need more than just one payment."
The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act on May 15, providing $875 billion to bolster states, cities and towns.
But the Republican-controlled Senate hasn't approved it, Markey said.
During the teleconference on Sunday, he cited GOP lawmakers excluding about $150 billion in state and municipal funding from an interim stimulus package that helped out hard-hit hospitals, health care facilities and gave loans to small businesses struggling to stay afloat, reported Mass Live.
He said this could result in $1.3 trillion shortfalls in state and local budgets over the next three years.1 Pelosi reassured people that another payment would not be pushed back Credit: EPA Mitch McConnell said the HEROES Act previously said the HEROES Act wouldn't be approved in the SenateCredit: Reuters
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously said the HEROES Act has no chance of passing in the Senate, Donald Trump has said he supported another round of stimulus checks that may be more than $1,200.
“I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it,” Trump told Fox Business. “I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion.”
House Speaker Pelosi allayed fears the stimulus checks would be pushed back, saying "of course" Congress would have enough time to negotiate another bill before the August recess.
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Congress resumes on July 20, but goes on recess again from August 10 to September 7 – leaving a window of 15 working days between the July and August recesses for Congress to give the green light on another check.
July seems out of the question for sending out checks, but August is a possibility because McConnell, a Republican, said he wants to approve a stimulus package before August 7, Congress’ last day in session.
If Congress does not act in August, the next opportunity is from September 10 to 25.Trump said he supported another direct paymentCredit: Getty Images - Getty Trump backs new coronavirus stimulus bill but says it must be jobs-focused because 'people want to go to work'