Aug 02, 2020
Trump administration insisted this Democratic congressman hold hearings in person. Now he has COVID-19
This news has been received from: alternet.org
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Days after being forced to share air with a Texas congressman (and staunch anti-mask enthusiast)—who tested positive for COVID-19 the very next day—Democratic congressman Raúl Grijalva announced Saturday that he, too, has tested positive for the deadly virus.
WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement after testing positive for COVID-19:
“The Attending Physician of the Capitol informed me that I tested positive for COVID-19.As a result, I will be self-isolating in quarantine at his recommendation. I currently have no symptoms, feel fine, and hope to make a quick and speedy recovery.
“While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously. Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families. I’m pleased that Speaker Pelosi has mandated the use of masks at the Capitol to keep members and staff safe from those looking to score quick political points. Stopping the spread of a deadly virus should not be a partisan issue.
“I urge all of us to recognize the severity of this virus and follow the CDC guidance to keep our family, friends, and loved ones safe. We can all play a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
Unlike those working for Rep. Louie Gohmert, the aforementioned Texas congressman, the majority of Rep. Grijalva’s staff has been working remotely for months; thus, also unlike with Rep. Gohmert, no “in-person” reveal party of his COVID-19 test results was required. However, as The Washington Post’s Radley Balko points out, the hearing that brought the congressman (and others) together also wasn’t required.
“This is infuriating,” Balko tweeted in a thread on Saturday. “Grijalva chairs the committee investigating the clearing of Lafayette Square. He wanted his hearing to be via video. The Trump administration said it wouldn’t cooperate unless Grijalva flew from Arizona to D.C. to appear in person.”
“Given his comorbidities,” Balko continued, “Grijalva and his staff told me they saw this as a childish taunt—a dare. He agreed anyway, because he thought investigating what happened is important.”
News Source: alternet.org
Tags: religious right
Pennsylvania May Seek Federal Loan to Pay Jobless Benefits
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania has contacted the U.S. Department of Labor about a loan to prop up its unemployment compensation trust fund as President Donald Trump pushes states to help pay for an extension of federal unemployment benefits.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said it was waiting for federal guidance to understand the full impact of Trump's executive order. But, it said, reducing the benefit from $600 a week to $400 a week will make it harder for families to get by during the pandemic.
It places a larger financial burden on states, the administration said, noting that it has inquired about a federal loan as a precautionary measure.
It's not clear whether Trump has the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits by executive order or whether states will sign on.
Under Trump’s plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100.
Pennsylvania had $3.4 billion in its unemployment compensation trust fund at the beginning of the year, according to federal figures. Wolf's administration didn't immediately say how much is left.
Just this year, Pennsylvania paid the final installment on $2.8 billion in bonds it issued in 2012 to retire a post-recession unemployment compensation debt that businesses owed to the federal government. The total debt service was $3.4 billion.
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