It’s all about Florida
Even though there are quite a few other battleground states that are up for grabs in the 2020 election cycle, Florida (again) is the most coveted state that both Democrats and Republicans see as a must-win, if their respective presidential candidates have any hope to win the presidency.
Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris have recently made quick trips into the state, but it appears as if Trump Victory is most invested in winning Floridians over.
Both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been here several times over the past couple months, and now the Trump campaign has launched yet another bus tour that will traverse the state and has deployed First Daughter Ivanka Trump to campaign for dad.
Ivanka Trump made a day trip to Tampa where she rolled some dough at a local bakery and bought some goodies, goodies that may have made their way into President Trump’s belly.
Tampa native former Attorney General and Trump Advisor Pam Bondi sat down with Ivanka Trump to talk about her father’s accomplishments and talk about the election, of course. MUST READ
Trump Winning Florida…
The latest FAU poll shows that President Trump has made up all the lost ground on Biden and is in a virtual tie.
State Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters told The Floridian that a win for Trump is all-but assured.
“It’s all about leadership at the top.,” said Gruters They’re taking their orders from Joe Biden. He was campaigning from the basement, but now that he’s losing.”
Later that day…
Rising Republican congressional star Byron Donalds told The Floridian that he was going to join the Conservative House Freedom Caucus and the not-so-Conservative and ultra-liberal Congressional Black Caucus in the House.
We wish Donalds good luck trying to find common ground in the CBA and made to feel like he belongs. READ MORE
No Pay for Me
AG Commissioner Nikki Fried is not taking her 3% payraise the Florida legislature approved earlier this year. Good for her. Fried has also asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to do the same. Fried’s senior staff will also forgo it pay raise. Expect this move to play out during a probable 2022 gubernatorial run against DeSantis.
Rick Scott @SenRickScott–Just spoke with @SecElaineChao regarding the damage Pensacola’s 3 Mile Bridge suffered during Hurricane #Sally and have requested @USDOT provide any assistance available to help expedite repairs.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets- US House candidate, FL-23#NeverAgain begins with education. It is clear that more must be done to teach our students the history and lessons of the Holocaust and ensure the horrors witnessed by so many are not forgotten.
Congressman Greg Steube @RepGregSteube–America deserves to know the full extent of the FBI corruption that happened during the Obama Administration. I discussed the Senate’s announcement of their hearing with former FBI Director Comey and other Obama officials later this month on
Rep. Donna E. Shalala @RepShalala-The scientists and experts at the CDC should write the guidelines for COVID-19 testing, not politicians. Whoever was responsible for this decision not only undermined our efforts to combat this virus, they cost many people their lives.
Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB-Today, we commemorate the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. On this important day in our nation’s history, may celebrate our freedoms and continue to uphold & defend the founding principles of our nation. Happy #ConstitutionDay!
“Byron Donalds says he’ll join House Freedom and Black Congressional Caucuses” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Just as former Republican Congressman Allen West did in 2011 after winning his congressional race, Republican congressional nominee Byron Donalds, who has all-but elected to the U.S. Congress after winning the contentious Republican primary race in Florida’s GOP-heavy 19th District, says he will join the House Freedom Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus once he wins the general election this November Then Rep-elect Allen West declared that he would join the all-Democrat Congressional Black Caucus to challenge the group’s “monolithic” ideology that has failed the Black community. After accepting the CBC’s hesitant invitation, West became the first black Republican member of the House of Representatives from Florida since Reconstruction to join, and the first Republican member since 1997 to be allowed in. After winning her election to the House in 2014, Rep. Mia Love (R) joined the caucus. Now Donalds looks to follow in West and Love’s footsteps, but the problem that the probable member of congress will have is that the group is solely aligned with Democrat Party ideals, and appears to frown upon Republicans joining because of their opposition to their agenda. If he is invited to join the CBC, the friction between Donalds’ and the groups contrasting ideologies would make for some entertaining reading. “Working with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the issues that line up with my principles should be easy but I also think it’s important that in the Congressional Black Caucus we have people from all sides of politics that are black to be a member of that caucus,” said Donalds.
“Ivanka Trump : President Trump is “the most authentic president that we’ve had”” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – With polls showing an upward trend for President Donald Trump in Florida, especially among Hispanics and Latinos, the Trump Victory campaign is making a big push in the Sunshine State with another bus tour that includes Senior Advisors Lara Trump and Katrina Pierson, and are planning strategic events for Ivanka Trump. While Lara Trump and Pierson were launching the bus tour in Miami-Dade County, Ivanka Trump flew into Tampa, Florida to sit down for an intimate “fireside chat” town hall meeting hosted by former Florida Attorney General and Trump Victory surrogate Pam Bondi. Before arriving at the town hall, Trump toured El Segundo, a local and popular bakery that recently received a PPP loan that helped the small business keep is ovens on and doors open. Trump literally rolled up her sleeves on the visit, rolling bread and taking a personal tour the bakery’s owners took her on before buying she bought some bread and sweets she said she would be taking back to The White House. Upon arriving at the town hall, Bondi introduced the First Daughter and divulged to the crowd of about 50 that her friend was “very humble” and highlighted the “problems” President Trump has helped solve since taking office. “Washington hasn’t change Donald Trump, Donald Trump has changed Washington.”- Ivanka Trump. Trump started off by addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that “once we are able to take the reigns off this horse, we are really going to take off.
“Sen. Scott, Corcoran Slam Biden for Opposing School Choice” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – During an interview with the National Education Association in late 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden contrasted himself and Betsy DeVos, the sitting Secretary of Education, and stated that should he be elected as President of the United States in November, not “a penny of federal money would go to private charter schools.” This conflicts with the current two-thirds of parents that support the Charter School, education model. On the heels of Biden’s doubling down on his opposition to school choice, Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran (R) spoke to The Floridian and shared his thoughts on Biden’s position against school choice. In response to Biden’s comments, Corcoran (pictured) said “that he’s (Biden) against the wonderful, beautiful shaping of the hearts, minds, and souls of our school children.” In short, Corcoran believes “that’s what he’s against.” The issue is also close to Senator Rick Scott’s (R), the former Florida Governor, who along with current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, supported a choice in education for parents. Chris Hartline, Senator Scott’s communications director, also provided a statement in response to Biden’s comments, arguing that “as Governor, Senator Scott was a champion of expanding school choice and took decisive action to increase accessibility and flexibility in school options so every Florida family can make the education choice that is right for them.” Hartline added that even though he is now in the U.S. Senate, Scott continues to work to make sure that parents and students have options that fit their needs.”
“Florida’s direct mail voter outreach is too little, too late, critics say” by Tallahassee Democrats’ Jeffrey Schweers – With less than three weeks to go before the books are closed on who can vote Nov. 3, the Florida Division of Elections is just now mailing postcards to nearly 2.24 million Floridians who are potentially eligible but not registered. Secretary of State Laurel Lee touted it as an “unprecedented outreach” that was a sign of commitment from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to expand voter participation. “This bi-partisan effort is focused on enhancing the voices of all of Florida’s citizens by providing accurate and timely information about voter registration and voting options in Florida,” Lee said in a news release last Friday. But voting rights advocates and Democratic Party officials criticize the timing of the mailing as too little, too late, since the registration deadline is Oct. 5 and the U.S. Postal Service has been experiencing mail delays as it consolidates and shuts down mail sites. To them, it’s just another example of foot-dragging by the DeSantis administration when it comes to increasing voter registration. ”These postcards should have been sent sooner, and this initiative should not be their only effort to increase access to the ballot box,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said. “We would like to see the Division of Elections take more steps to expand early voting and increase the number of voting locations all across the state.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Florida, Lee had told voter groups who engage in voter registration, education and outreach that the postcards would go out around midsummer, said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
“Florida prepares to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine” by CBS 12’s Danielle Waugh – A vaccine for COVID-19 has not yet been approved, but officials in Florida are already putting plans in place to distribute millions of doses to the population. Florida was one of a handful of states selected to work on a vaccine distribution pilot program with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health tells CBS12 News that agency leaders hosted a three-day meeting with the CDC to develop at statewide distribution plan. Jared Moskowitz, Director of Emergency Management, says he has already secured millions of syringes and alcohol wipes for the expected vaccines. This week, the CDC released a “Vaccination Playbook” for state and local jurisdictions. The playbook states that a vaccine could be ready as soon as November 2020, and is expected to contain two doses, about 21-28 days apart. The CDC expects to give health care workers, first responders, and vulnerable populations including those 65 years and older the COVID vaccine first. The CDC Director believes the rest of the population could expect to have access to it by spring or summer of 2021. Dr. Jay Wolfson, Dean for Health Policy at the University of South Florida, agrees. “We can do it but it may not happen as quickly and as fluidly as we’d like it to — but we have to have it as our aspiration,” said Wolfson.
“Florida Senators Introduce Legislation To Restart Cruising” by Cruise Critic’s Chris Gray Faust – Florida lawmakers have teamed up to introduce a bill that would allow cruise lines and ports to resume operations. The Set Sail Safely Act, introduced Wednesday by Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with an advisory committee from the private sector, to “address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes” needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations. Currently, cruise lines are under a “no sail order” from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until September 30, 2020, and have been since March 13 when many COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect. Most cruise lines have imposed voluntary pauses on operations through October 31 and beyond. The news comes just a week after a meeting last week of the Miami-Dade County Tourism and Ports Committee, at which Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio spoke passionately about the need for cruise lines in the U.S. to be able to show government agencies their new precautions – and get back out on the water again.
“Enough is enough,” he said. “The cruise industry is close to devastation. … We’ve got to get back to work.” The legislation has widespread support among the cruising community, including the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); the American Association of Port Authorities; the Florida Ports Council; the Miami-Dade Tourism and the Ports Committee and Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
“‘We do not believe in them’: Florida bar bans people wearing masks” by WFLA – A sports bar in the Melbourne area is doing big business by banning facemasks. The owner vows to throw out anyone who puts on a facemask in the bar. The signs at Westside Sports Bar and Lounge on US 192 in West Melbourne says masks are prohibited. “We find it completely unnecessary to have facemasks at all. We do not support them; we do not believe in them,” owner Gary Kirby said. Those who go in with a mask will be asked to take it off, if they did not they would be forced to leave. Kirby says it’s a security issue. He says someone committed a crime while wearing a mask and was not identifiable on the security cameras. The owner said it’s good for business. “My Facebook, the business page, has taken off. They love it,” Kirby said. The bar serves food, so it was not forced to shut down like other bars in the state. There is no criminal law requiring masks, you cannot be arrested at the bar for not wearing one. It’s up to each individual business to decide whether customers must wear masks, and up to customers to decide which business to patronize. The owner says he’s gotten a death threat for prohibiting masks but isn’t backing down. He said he’s going to start making shirts advertising the no-mask policy.
“Florida Nursing Homes are Ignoring Reopening Order, Task Force Member Says” by Spectrum News’ Cait McVey – It’s time for Florida’s long-term care task force to reconvene. That’s according to task force member Mary Daniel, amid reports that LTC facilities across the state are ignoring the governor’s reopening order. Crystal Thigpen of Seminole is among those being turned away. Though her mother has been approved as a “Compassionate Care Giver” for her grandmother, Thigpen said she has been repeatedly denied status as an “Essential Caregiver” by the nursing home. “In an email, they told me I misunderstood the guidelines,” Thigpen said. “I didn’t qualify. Flat out. I basically didn’t qualify, and even if I did qualify, the orders aren’t mandate.” It’s something we’ve touched on in previous coverage, when we spoke with Mary Daniel just days before Governor Ron DeSantis signed off on the task force recommendations. Those recommendations were not mandated and at the time, Daniel felt it wouldn’t be a problem. “It is a bit of a concern, but there is a remedy in our recommendations,” Daniel said at the time. The recommendations include a path to file a complaint with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). But a once confident Daniel said the process is not working for everyone, and she is now calling on the task force to reconvene. “I want them to reconvene, and I want them to make this mandatory,” Daniel said. We’ve reached out to AHCA repeatedly to find out more on noncompliance issues and have been told our requests are still processing.
“Florida Sens. Rubio, Scott push to keep daylight saving time amid pandemic” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have teamed up in a campaign to push to keep daylight saving time amid the pandemic. Americans are set to move their clocks back by one hour on Sunday, Nov. 1. But the Florida lawmakers announced they are introducing legislation to ensure the sun won’t set so early in the day during the coronavirus pandemic. Their bill would keep the U.S. on daylight saving times through Sunday, Nov. 1, 2021. “After months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer,” Scott said in a statement. “I’m glad to join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress.” The senators say their bill would provide stability for families already adjusting to the change of virtual learning, working from home and other Covid-19 disruptions. “Our government has asked a lot of the American people over the past seven months, and keeping the nation on Daylight Saving Time is just one small step we can take to help ease the burden,” Rubio said. A release from the pair of lawmakers said that keeping daylight saving time could reduce the risk of cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression, as well as car crashes and robberies. It said there would be benefits to the economy, citing a JP Morgan Chase study that found economic activity decreases by 4.9 percent when clocks are moved back. In 2018, Florida lawmakers introduced a bill to keep Florida on daylight saving time permanently, but the bill couldn’t be enacted without congressional approval. Daylight saving time began in the U.S. during World War I as a way to conserve energy, maximizing sunlight hours at night by taking a sunlight hour from the morning when most were still sleeping. Since the Uniform Time Act of 1966, daylight saving time has been observed from 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in March until 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. The other four months are known as standard time.
“Bloomberg’s bucks quickly paying dividends for Biden in Florida” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Kelly Phares – The top super-PAC backing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is using an infusion of cash from multibillionaire business and media mogul Mike Bloomberg to go up with new TV commercials in the crucial general election state of Florida. Priorities USA announced on Thursday that they’re buying a week’s worth of ad time on statewide broadcast television in Florida – thanks to a $5.4 million donation from Bloomberg. The infusion of money is part of the $100 million investment in the Sunshine State that the former New York City mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential nomination contender announced on Monday as part of his efforts to help elect Biden and defeat President Trump in November’s general election. The super PAC says that their spots will start running on TV in all 10 of Florida’s media markets starting Friday. And Bloomberg officials tell Fox News that the donation to Priorities USA this week is the first distribution of the $100 million donation. “If Joe Biden wins Florida, he wins the election. Mike Bloomberg’s support means we can continue the important work of connecting with Florida voters to hold Donald Trump accountable for his utter failure in combating the coronavirus,” Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil said. “The stakes have never been higher and we are fortunate to have Mike Bloomberg as a partner and are looking forward to continuing to work together in this fight to elect Joe Biden.” Priorities USA said overall it’s invested $12.5 million in Florida to run digital and television ads in both English and Spanish.
“Florida middle school student told to remove Black Lives Matter Mask” by CBS 12’s Kyle Spinner – The mother of a middle school student says her 12-year-old daughter was told she couldn’t wear a Black Lives Matter mask in class, WJXT reported. “Her teacher told her to take it off,” Jennifer Brown said. “She was, like, ‘You just have to take it off. We can’t wear that here.’” The black mask has the words “I can’t breathe” printed in large, red letters followed by “Black Lives Matter” below in white letters. According to the school district’s code of conduct, political or activist symbols aren’t prohibited, but faculty does have the discretion to ban anything they deem disruptive. “The school administration may limit student attire any time such attire is believed to adversely affect classroom instruction or the school environment. Therefore any item that disrupts classroom instruction or the school campus will not be allowed,” the policy reads. Brown said her daughter was not offered a replacement mask and was forced to wear it inside-out. “This is America. It’s about freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of everything,” Brown said. “I feel like if they want to wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ or whatever, I feel like they should be able to wear what they want.” Masks aren’t required to be worn by the district but are heavily encouraged.
“Top Democratic super PAC launches Florida ad blitz after Bloomberg donation” by The Hill’s Max Greenwood – The top Democratic super PAC backing Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is using a seven-figure cash injection from billionaire Michael Bloomberg to launch a new advertising blitz in Florida. Priorities USA announced on Thursday that it would use the $5.4 million donation from Bloomberg to buy a week of air time across Florida’s 10 media markets beginning Friday. The ads are updated versions of spots previously run by Priorities, including a coronavirus-focused spot that is currently at the center of a lawsuit by the Trump campaign. The ad buys come after Bloomberg announced that he would spend $100 million to boost Biden in the Sunshine State, where polls show the former vice president running neck-and-neck with President Trump. The donation from Bloomberg, a former New York mayor who ran briefly for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, will focus primarily on advertising and voter mobilization efforts, particularly surrounding absentee voting. “If Joe Biden wins Florida, he wins the election. Mike Bloomberg’s support means we can continue the important work of connecting with Florida voters to hold Donald Trump accountable for his utter failure in combating the coronavirus,” Guy Cecil, the chair of Priorities USA, said in a statement. The latest investment by Priorities adds to the group’s already massive spending in the state. The super PAC has so far dropped $12.5 million in Florida, mostly on English- and Spanish-language digital and TV ads.
“Democrats signal plans to target filibuster if they take back Senate, as GOP embraces campaign issue” by Fox News’ Chad Pergram – One of my dogs suffers from FOMO: “Fear Of Missing Out.” If she’s inside, she wants to be outside, romping in the backyard. You never know when a squirrel will curvet from the fence to the shed and then acrobatically vault to a nearby tree branch. This holds my pet in rapt attention. If you’re a dog, you don’t want to miss it. And of course, if she’s outside on squirrel patrol and I close the back door, she wants to be inside. You never know when treats may magically appear on the couch. Or, perhaps the mailman will arrive. Opposite is always best. Such is the role of the Senate majority when it comes to the filibuster – be it Democrats or Republicans. The filibuster exasperates both sides when they are in the majority. And, naturally, if you are the majority party, you want to ram legislation through the Senate without the nettlesome encumbrances of a pesky minority. Naturally, the Senate’s minority party, Democrats or Republicans, fully embrace the filibuster. After all, this is your opportunity to thwart the majority. And, it can take as few as 41 senators, or, in some instances, just a lone senator, to stymie the other side. Democrats and Republicans would obviously prefer to be in the majority. But with the filibuster, it’s never quite good enough. It’s kind of like my dog. Inside? Or outside? The viewpoint shifts based on whether the filibuster is advantageous or not. Republicans are fighting to maintain control of the Senate this fall. It’s going to be close. And, Democrats are making clear that if they capture the Senate, and, if Joe Biden wins the White House, they may well try to obliterate the filibuster. Democrats held the House, Senate and White House in early 2009 after President Obama’s landslide victory. In the beginning, Democrats even held a supermajority in the Senate. Enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster to approve a stimulus plan. But after Democrats lost a seat in a special election, Democrats had to deploy a lot of parliamentary creativity to maneuver around a Republican filibuster to pass Obamacare.
“GOP growing more indifferent to Trump controversies as election nears” by CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett – Public health experts reacted with alarm after President Donald Trump held an indoor rally with thousands of maskless supporters at a packed arena in Nevada amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic. But many Republicans on Capitol Hill had a different view.
“No, it doesn’t,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, when asked if the rally troubled him at all. After Trump urged his North Carolina supporters to go to the polls even after voting absentee, prompting concerns of people illegally voting twice and also crowding polling places amid the pandemic, Republicans shrugged it off. “I’m fine with the fact that they check up on whether their vote counted,” said Sen. Richard Burr, the state’s senior Republican senator. And after the President’s own admission to Bob Woodward that he played down the coronavirus to avoid a panic, even privately telling the veteran journalist that the virus is five times deadlier than the flu and then saying the opposite publicly, GOP senators in difficult reelection races had no qualms. “No,” Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler said when asked if it’s a concern the President lied about the virus. “It’s fake news.” “You guys are awful,” added Arizona Sen. Martha McSally when asked if Trump made a mistake when he misled the public. Others declined to respond, making clear they did not want to address the controversy at all. “Not right now,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, a vulnerable Iowa Republican who refused to comment three times over the past week when asked about Trump’s comments to Woodward.
“FBI Director Flags Worries Over Russian Election Meddling, White Supremacists” by WSJ’s Rachael Levy – FBI Director Christopher Wray highlighted concerns about white supremacists and Russia’s meddling in the presidential election to hurt Joe Biden in a wide-ranging hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee. Mr. Wray said Russia is attempting to influence the election via social and state media, among other methods, “to sow divisiveness and discord” and “primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently flagged Russian influence accounts to Facebook and Twitter, which removed them before they could gather a broad following, Mr. Wray said. Russia doesn’t appear to have targeted election infrastructure so far, as it did in 2016, he added. Spokespeople for Facebook and Twitter said they have been working with the FBI. At the annual hearing Thursday on world-wide threats, Mr. Wray also discussed antifa and mail-in ballots, often giving answers at odds with comments from President Trump and Attorney General William Barr. Mr. Wray said misinformation circulating on social media could undermine Americans’ trust that their votes will be counted. The FBI is unaware of any mail-in ballot fraud in a major national election, he said, though it has previously seen fraud efforts at the local level. The president and Mr. Barr have repeatedly said mail-in voting invites fraud. Mr. Wray also described the agency’s investigation of crimes in recent violent demonstrations by individuals adhering to a wide range of movements and ideologies, including the boogaloo—an antigovernment, mostly far right movement—as well as antifa and armed groups calling themselves militias.
“Ilhan Omar’s Democratic colleague says she ‘doesn’t belong’ in party” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – One of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Democratic colleagues is claiming she doesn’t belong in the party, further raising questions about the divide between moderates and the party’s more progressive wing. In a video obtained by the New York Post, a National Republican Congressional Committee employee purportedly asks fellow Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., why he defended her controversial statement about “some people” doing “something” on September 11, 2001. The video from Thursday shows Peterson denying that he defended those comments and twice claimed Omar, D-Minn., didn’t belong in the Democratic Party. “I don’t defend her. She doesn’t belong in our party,” he said. Walking near the Capitol, he added that “she doesn’t belong in our party.” Omar’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Earlier this year, Peterson seemed to apologize for Omar’s comments about the 9/11 terror attack. “I think she was trying to say that some people in her community feel like they’re being targeted,” he said during an interview in April. The video of Peterson, which came out nearly a week after the attacks’ 19th anniversary, prompted renewed attention to Omar’s comments. Republicans have long held up her, along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and their fellow “squad” members, as evidence that the Democratic Party is becoming more radical. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has praised Ocasio-Cortez, she’s also indicated that the “squad” of progressive freshman lawmakers wasn’t representative of the party as a whole. Speaking with The New York Times, Pelosi criticized their power in attempting to reject a bipartisan package for border security. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following,” Pelosi said last year. “They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”
“Federal judge temporarily blocks USPS policy changes nationwide” by CNN’s Paul P. Murphy – A federal judge issued a historic decision to temporarily block the US Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from changing a wide swath of USPS policies or protocols ahead of November’s presidential election. The opinion from Judge Stanley Bastian in Eastern Washington’s US District Court enjoin Trump administration postal policies as harmful to voters’ ability to cast ballots this November and deliberately suppressive to voters. It places the judge at the center of a political furor in which the court steps into the extraordinary position of stopping the entire USPS from making any changes that may affect efficient mail delivery nationwide. “Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement,” Bastian wrote. “This is evident in President Trump’s highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump’s campaign to stop the States’ efforts to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes.
“It is easy to conclude that the recent Postal Services’ changes is an intentional effort on the part of the current Administration to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state, and federal elections, especially given that 72% of the … high speed mail sorting machines that were decommissioned were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016.” The USPS must now undo all changes made in the last few months, including the only one DeJoy has taken ownership of: significantly restricting late and extra trips, according to the decision. The decision mandates that all election mail, regardless of postage, must be treated as first-class mail. It also states that USPS must notify the court of all requests — prior, current or future — to reconnect mail sorting machines within three days of Thursday’s order or within three days of a future request.
“Lawmakers Close In on Spending Deal to Avert Shutdown” by WSJ’s Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes – Lawmakers are aiming to unveil Friday a bipartisan spending bill averting a government shutdown next month, but Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over another round of coronavirus relief despite President Trump’s renewed interest in a deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed earlier this month to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government running when its funding expires on Oct. 1. Lawmakers and aides said they were finishing up discussions Thursday on a bill they planned to introduce midday Friday that would keep the government funded likely into mid-December. Democrats had hoped to extend its duration into 2021, but didn’t intend to derail talks over its end date, aides said. The bill is expected to be introduced in the House, but will reflect a bipartisan agreement between both chambers. “I don’t think anybody wants to be responsible for shutting down the government on the eve of an election in the middle of a pandemic, so it’s a rare outbreak of common sense on both sides,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. Lawmakers and administration officials had agreed to keep the spending bill “clean,” or largely devoid of any controversial, partisan measures. But with little other legislation expected to pass this fall, they were discussing whether to include a smattering of other provisions, including an extension of flood insurance and funding for highways. Lawmakers are also weighing whether to include a bipartisan measure that would give the U.S. Census extra time to finish its count of the U.S. population and deliver that information to the president and Congress.
“Trump blasts Michigan secretary of state for mistakes on ballots for military” by Fox News’ Caitlin McFall – President Trump slammed Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson after some 400 ballots were made available for military service members, but with a considerable error — the ballots listed a Libertarian candidate as Trump’s running mate instead of Vice President Mike Pence. The president took to Twitter to accuse Benson of “purposely” and “illegally” altering the ballots after hundreds had been downloaded from the state database earlier this week that listed Jeremy Cohen, Jo Jorgenson’s Libertarian running mate, under Trump’s name instead of Pence. “The Democrat Trump Hater Secretary of State of Michigan, purposely misprinted Ballots for the Military, putting the wrong names on the Ballot, and actually listing a member of another party as a replacement for Vice President Mike Pence.” Trump wrote in a fiery tweet Thursday. “Everybody is totally confused by their egregious behavior, which is just the way they want it,” Trump continued. “This was not a mistake, it was done illegally and on purpose. We want Mike!” The error was listed on ballots intended for Michigan residents in the military and overseas, as a part of the Military and Overseas Empowerment (MOVE) Act, a local news publication first reported. The ballots, which are typically downloaded or printed by a local clerk’s office for the voter, were only available during a two-hour window before the error was caught, according to a report by The Detroit News. Benson fired back at Trump on Twitter Thursday afternoon, making a point to remind the president of her name.
“Bipartisan negotiations over spending bill are not finished yet but moving in right direction” by CNN’s Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly – Democrats and Republicans are still trading proposals to keep the government open after September 30. One of the key sticking points is a disagreement over how long the spending bill should go through. According to one Democratic aide familiar with negotiations, Democrats sent a proposal to Republicans Wednesday night and are waiting to hear back. Democrats want a continuing resolution to go to February, when there is a chance Democrats will have won the White House or the Senate. Republicans are looking for a shorter-term continuing resolution to run through mid-December. House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said Thursday that Democrats planned to introduce the stop-gap bill on Friday, with a likely vote on Tuesday of next week. Democrats are asking for two key “anomalies” (a fancy way of saying additional spending or unrelated legislation) to be connected to the CR. They are asking for $3.6 billion in election security funding. They are also looking to include bill language that seeks to extend the 2020 Census by four months. The census extension, though it has the support of some Republicans like Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, is considered a non-starter by the White House, according to an administration official. “Part of the thing is the dates. Some of it we are not going to agree to. The cleaner it is, the quicker it is,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby told reporters Thursday. Republicans, meanwhile, have requested that more funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation be included. The CCC is an entity that provides money for farmers who have experienced losses. It’s been responsible for paying farmers for funding lost as a result of recent trade wars.
“Trump Announces a New Round of Farm Aid in Battleground Wisconsin” by WSJ’s ndrew Restuccia and Jesse Newman – President Trump unveiled $13 billion in new aid to farmers facing economic harm from the coronavirus pandemic as he aimed to boost support among rural voters at a campaign rally. “I’m proud to announce that I’m doing even more to support Wisconsin farmers,” said Mr. Trump, speaking outside an airport hangar with Air Force One parked behind him, as he announced the agriculture aid. Wisconsin, whose economy is heavily reliant on agricultural production, is seen as a key battleground in the coming presidential election. Mr. Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin in 2016 and polls show he is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic rival, in the state. The president used the event to draw a contrast with Mr. Biden, arguing that the former vice president would hurt the state’s farmers and loggers. “If Joe Biden gets in, the radical left will shut down Wisconsin’s timber production for environmental reasons,” Mr. Trump said. Mr. Biden hasn’t outlined plans to eliminate timber production. Thursday’s event was the latest in a series of Trump campaign rallies in crucial states. Mr. Trump went to Nevada last week and is scheduled to travel to Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania in the coming days. The newly announced aid would be the second tranche of money issued as part of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. In April, the administration unveiled $19 billion in relief for the agriculture sector, including $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers and $3 billion in mass purchases of dairy, meat and produce. The funds came from coronavirus-relief legislation passed by Congress earlier this year as well as from the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp., a Depression-era program designed to stabilize farm incomes.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–A vote for Republicans is a vote for safe communities, great jobs, and a limitless future for ALL Americans. Instead of letting Washington change us, despite all that we have been through, we are changing Washington!
Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi–Our Latino community has always been a central part of our American story. This #HispanicHeritageMonth and every month, House Democrats are committed to lifting up our Latino community and opposing the Trump Admin’s campaign of hatred & xenophobia