Trump Gives Into Pressure, Extends Oil Drilling Moratorium
After numerous conversations with some of his close amigos and Republican confidants in Florida (Rep. Matt Gaetz & Sen. Rick Scott), President Donald Trump has signed an executive edict extending the ban on offshore oil drilling in the state.
It wasn’t just Gaetz and Scott who put the pressure. Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Brian Mast, and every single member of the congressional caucus, including all the “Trump-loving” Democrats like Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (We are obviously joking in a playful way).
Completely shutting down drilling off of Florida’s coast was a rare and fully bipartisan effort by legislators. Kudos to both Republicans and Democrats for working together to make this happen.
Don’t expect much of this cooperation between to continue in the coming weeks and months, and if Trump wins reelection (looks like he will), you can expect congressional Democrats to continue their opposition against the president. READ MORE
The Chorus of Opposition
It’s an election year, of course, the opposing party will detract.
US Rep. Darren Soto @RepDarrenSoto -Pres Trump pretends to protect Florida shores from himself. He was the one pushing to drill for oil off of Florida in the first place. Floridians know better than to believe this stunt.
Rep. Soto is just one of many Florida Democrats calling the move a “stunt.”
Florida state Rep, Carlos “El Cuchillo” Smith (D) apparently sees Trump as more of a dictator than the likes of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Nicholas Maduro.
With all due respect to Rep. Smith, but please take your head out of your culo. Por favor.
Translation: Take your head out of your ass. Please.
“Who’s the real dictator? During the past four years, I’ve seen Trump resort to dictatorial tactics that are all too familiar: constantly lying, disregarding constitutional mandates and turning Americans against one another for his own benefit.”– Rep. Smith (D)
The Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) Council has elected Captain John W. Murray, Chief Executive Officer of Canaveral Port Authority, as chair. Capt. Murray replaces Amy Miller, director of the Port of Pensacola, who served as chair for the past two years.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz @RepDWStweets –After 4 years of torpedoing environmental protections & blocking legislation to protect our coasts, Trump is attempting a cynical election-year Hail Mary. Anybody who cares about climate change or protecting our coastal economies can see through this ruse.
US Rep Kathy Castor @USRepKCastor – If President Trump truly meant what he said, he would call for Senate passage of the bipartisan Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act that passed the House in September of 2019 to make permanent the ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. #ProtectOurCoast
Rep. Val Demings @RepValDemings –Racism has been the ghost in the room, not just in one system but in all systems. Until we deal with inequality in health care, education, housing, lending, policing, and all things, we will never get where we need to be.
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch –Trump encouraged foreign interference in our elections. Then DHS hid intel on Russian interference. And now he’s encouraging Americans to commit voter fraud? Know why he’s trying to shut down intel briefings? So we can’t ask about POTUS using his power to cheat in this election!
Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy –NEWS: @FEMA will award #Orlando 1.6M+ to reimburse @citybeautifulfor expenses incurred to remove debris after Hurricane Irma. I’ll keep pushing for more timely reimbursements so our region can always be ready for the next storm. #FlaPol #FL07
Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB –I’ve had multiple convos with the admin, joined several letters urging action, & my office has participated in the public hearings to highlight the significance of this issue for #FL. Food security is more important than ever & this is a result of bipartisan, bicameral efforts.
Ron DeSantis @GovRonDeSantis -Thanks to @realDonaldTrump or supporting our request for a moratorium on drilling that will protect Florida’s coastlines and beaches. This is another great win for FL’s environment!
“Trump gives into pressure, extends offshore oil drilling moratorium for Florida” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – After facing significant bipartisan push back from Florida’s entire congressional delegation over potentially allowing drilling off the coast of Florida, President Donald Trump announced that he would be extending the oil drilling moratorium along the “gulf coast and expanding it to Florida’s Atlantic coast.” Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio led the charge in trying to persuade President Trump to ensure Floridians the drilling off of the state’s coastline was off the table. Moments after the president signed his executive order to extend the moratorium, Sen. Scott tweeted “after many conversations” with the president on “the importance of keeping FL’s coastline pristine,” the he “extended the moratorium for another 10 years.” Rep. Brian Mast (R) stated that it wasn’t “worth the risk of endangering” the environment. “Drilling off the shores of Florida is a non-starter—not worth the risk of endangering our environment, fishing, boating, or tourism,” stated Rep. Mast President Trump’s plan to extend the moratorium is the right one, and it proves that our voices are being heard. We must never tolerate drilling near our beautiful coastline!” “This is kind of leadership we appreciate in Florida as we work to protect our state’s uniquely sensitive environment and economy,” stated Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R). Florida Democrats had a different take on the announcement.
“Poll: Trump And Biden Neck-In-Neck In Battleground Florida” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump and Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden are tied in a new NBC News/Marist poll amongst voters in the battleground state of Florida with less than four weeks until mail voting begins and just eight weeks to go before Election Day. According to the latest NBC News/Marist survey conducted August 31 through September 6, among likely Floridian voters, both Trump and Biden are tied with 48 percent of likely voters. However, expanding the poll data to include a wider universe of all registered likely voters, Trump leads by one point with 48 percent to Biden 47 percent. Regarding polling on favorable impressions, 47 percent of likely voters prefer Trump, versus 46 percent for Biden. When it comes to Latino voters in Florida, Trump leads 50 percent to 46 percent support for Biden. According to the breakdown of Latino groups, Trump is leading sizable among Cuban descent Latino, while Biden is slightly ahead among other Latinos descent in the state. However, when it comes to support from seniors, Biden leads with 49 percent compared to 48 percent for Trump. Biden biggest advantages come from Black, women, and independents groups. Amongst Black likely voters, Biden has a double-digit lead with 83 percent to 11 percent for Trump, 57 percent for Biden to 40 percent for Trump amongst women voters and independents voters with 51 percent for Biden to 40 percent for Trump.
“Shalala Releases Campaign ad Highlighting Leadership” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Donna Shalala (D), who now faces a 2018 rematch against her GOP opponent Maria Elvira Salazar, has just released a new advertisement titled “Leadership.” The advertisement will air in both English and Spanish, and it documents her “experience in managing crisis and leading with bipartisan action.” In a message released to supporters, it states that “the ad contrasts President Trump’s failed leadership with Congresswoman Shalala’s proven track record: leading bipartisan efforts to protect Venezuelans and slam dictatorial regimes; spearheading measures to increase access to health care and lower the cost of prescription drugs, and sponsoring legislation to protect our medical supply chain.” In the advertisement, Shalala argues that “Democrats and Republicans have to come together and to speak with one voice,” adding that this has to happen “now, more than ever.” A narrator highlights that the freshman lawmaker “has sponsored bipartisan legislation to protect our medical supply chain so that we are not dependent on China.” The advertisement comes amidst Florida experiencing rising cases of COVID-19 as the sunshine state looks to completely open. As well, she faces a 2018 congressional rematch, which is set to be a race that all eyes will be on considering that Florida is a battleground state for the upcoming presidential election. Shalala’s congressional district is considered a “Toss-up.”
“DHS set to Label White Supremacists as Terrorist Group” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – This week, the Department of Homeland Security is scheduled to label white supremacists as “the most persistent and lethal threat.” According to draft reports, the Department of Homeland Security is prepared to announce that the threat posed by white supremacists is more urgent than the danger posed by foreign terrorists. In the draft, the Department comments that “foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for Homeland attacks but probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year.” Moreover, the Department noted that Russia “probably will be the primary covert foreign influence actor and purveyor of disinformation and misinformation in the Homeland.” In one of the earliest drafts, the Department expressed that “lone offenders and small cells of individuals motivated by a diverse array of social, ideological, and personal factors will pose the primary terrorist threat to the United States.” In addition, “among these groups, we assess that white supremacists extremists – who increasingly are networking with likeminded persons abroad – will pose the most persistent and lethal threat.” To conclude, the Department asserts “that ideologically-motivated lone offenders and small groups will pose the greatest terrorist threat to the Homeland through 2021, with white supremacist extremists presenting the most lethal threat.”
“John Bolton defends Trump over allegation he disparaged fallen soldiers” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – When the liberal publication The Atlantic printed their opinion story that President Trump made disparaging remarks about veterans who have died in the war in France, calling them “suckers” and “losers,” it was only a matter of time before individuals privy to access to the president sounded off in disagreement with the publication. Trump has categorically denounced the allegations and now one of his most ardent detractors, former National Security Advisor John Bolton has disavowed the entire opinion as being “simply false.” “According to what that article said, the president made disparaging remarks about soldiers and people buried in the cemetery in connection with the decision for him not to go to the ceremony that was planned that afternoon, and that was simply false,” Bolton said on the Fox News channel. “I don’t know who told the author that, but that was false.” Bolton added that Trump canceled the 2018 trip to the French cemetery for Americans who died in WWII because of weather not because he held any contempt for the fallen soldiers. But while he didn’t come out to wholly support the president, saying that while he “can’t prove” Trump ever said those disparaging words, Bolton added that “the president has a habit of disparaging people” and “ends up denigrating almost everybody that he comes in contact with whose last name is not Trump.
“Trump expands oil drilling moratorium for Florida” by Politico’s Ben Lefebvre and Zack Colman – President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday a decade-long ban on oil drilling off the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina — a decision that surprised energy industry executives by reversing the administration’s earlier pledges to open those waters to exploration. The move, announced at a campaign appearance in Jupiter, Fla., represents an election-year victory for drilling opponents in the crucial presidential swing state, where fear of oil slicks fouling the beaches has run high for decades among people in both political parties. But it comes despite vows by a series of Republican presidents — Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and now Trump — to open up more of the U.S. coast to drilling to foster American energy independence. “In a few moments I will sign a presidential order extending the moratorium on offshore drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast and expanding it to Florida’s Atlantic Coast as well as the coast of Georgia and South Carolina,” Trump said at the event. The current moratorium on drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico expires in 2022. A congressional aide who works on the issue said their office had gotten no advance heads-up from the White House. “As of yesterday they said there would be no announcement,” one congressional aide said on Tuesday morning. The new move is expected to be done by Presidential Memorandum, according to an administration official. That vehicle — the same one the Obama administration used to withdraw parts of Alaska from drilling — would have the same impact as a Congressional moratorium, an industry source added.
“Biden loses his Florida lead as Latino voters shift to Trump” by Yahoo News’ Kathryn Krawczyk – The sun may be setting on Democrats’ hopes of picking up Florida. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has seemingly lost his advantage over President Trump in the crucial swing state of Florida, an NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday found. A lot of that shift seemingly stems from Florida’s Latino voters, who have gone from resoundingly supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 to actually tipping in Trump’s favor this time around, the poll showed. Less than two months before election day, Biden and Trump are tied in Florida with 48 percent support among likely Florida voters. Biden had previously pulled as much as a 13-point lead over Trump in Florida. That dip comes as a majority of Latino respondents say they’re voting for Trump over Biden, 50-46 percent; Latino voters went for Clinton 62-35 in 2016. A poll from the Miami Herald and Bendixen & Amandi International backed up NBC News’ findings, at least in Miami-Dade County. Biden still has a strong advantage, 55-38 percent, in the heavily Democratic part of the state, the Tuesday poll found. But it’s not the best news considering Clinton won that county by 30 points in 2016 and still lost the state by 1.2 points. In addition, the Miami Herald poll found Trump and Biden are splitting Hispanic voters, 47-46, though there’s a larger margin of error among that smaller subset.
“Florida sees nearly 1,000 people move there daily as high-tax residents seek shelter: report” by Fox Business’ Audrey Conklin – Nearly a thousand people are moving to Florida every day, as those living in high-tax states seek shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Home sales have doubled in some parts of Florida, and the state is bringing 950 new residents in per day, The New York Times first reported, citing data from the International Sales Group’s summer 2020 Miami Report and an August report from Douglas Elliman. Florida’s 35-year average daily population growth sits at 777 domestic migrants, according to the Miami report. “Florida has consistently been one of the most desirable states in terms of weather and tax climate, maintaining a strong daily average population growth throughout the last couple of decades,” the Miami report notes. Migrants have been flocking to Florida from Northern states such as New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts based on tax return filings. “The U.S. is experiencing a domestic trend toward and population shift from states in the Northeast and Midwest to states in the South like Florida and Texas,” the Miami report states. “According to U.S. Census data, Florida had the highest level of net domestic migration from 2017-2018.” The Elliman report found that new contracts for single-family homes and condos continued to surge in five Florida counties after doubling in July. Palm Beach County saw a 268-percent increase in single-family home contracts worth more than $1 million in July.
“State lawmakers estimate $300 federal unemployment checks will hit bank accounts between Sept. 11 and 20” by ABC Action News’ Heather Leigh – Unemployed as he struggles to make ends meet — Rob Watson is getting $275 a week from the state since he lost his job in March. “Just getting 275 a week, and I have a family of seven here to support and it’s very hard,” he said. That amount has many state lawmakers demanding it be increased at a time when so many people are in need of help. “I mean come on, Montana pays $508 a week and Florida pays $275,” said State Senator Jason Pizzo, who represents District 38. “Come on.” Watson’s responsibilities, like so many other Floridians, are endless. “Rent, lights, water, food,” Watson said, as he lists off his bills for the month. He was getting a weekly $600 federal check through the CARES Act until that money expired in July. More than a month later states, including Florida, will get some of the $40 billion being pulled from FEMA to help Jobless Americans though LWA (Lost Wages Assistance). “Right now, Florida has been approved for three weeks,” said State Representative Anna Eskamani, who represents District 47. This means each person that qualifies will get $900, minus taxes, with payments estimated to hit bank accounts between September 11 and 20. Some Floridians have updated ABC Action News on Tuesday saying they’re already starting to see CONNECT reflect the payment. The money may not have made the direct deposit but CONNECT shows the payment.
“’Great environmentalist’ Donald Trump pledges to uphold Florida’s offshore drilling ban” by News Service of Florida’s Jim Turner – President Donald Trump, giving in to pressure from members of his party, signed an executive order Tuesday extending a moratorium on oil drilling off Florida’s shores as he ramped up his 2020 re-election effort in the critical battleground state. Trump acknowledged he didn’t plan to take action on the moratorium during an afternoon speech beneath the Jupiter Lighthouse. But the president said he was challenged by senators and others, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, who contended such an order would make him the top environmental chief executive since President Teddy Roosevelt more than 110 years ago. “Who would have thought Trump is the great environmentalist? You hear that? Did you hear that? That’s good. And I am, I am,” Trump said during the speech that highlighted efforts to protect the Everglades and often diverted into campaign rhetoric. The order extends to June 30, 2032, a moratorium on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, east of the Military Mission Line, and adds the South Atlantic coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to the moratorium. The action came more than two years after Florida officials were assured the state’s coastline wouldn’t be opened as part of the administration’s effort to expand oil and gas production nationwide. Republicans were quick to tout that the order protects the environment and the state’s tourism economic engine. “Our oceans are a major driver for economic activity and are worth protecting at all costs,” tweeted state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who along with DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody, attended the event held in Jupiter.
“Black legislators sound warning on Florida primary amendment” by Politico’s Gary Fineout – Florida Republican and Democratic leaders ramped up their rhetoric against a proposed constitutional amendment that would open state primary elections to all voters regardless of political party. Leading the charge on Tuesday were Black legislators, who said the adoption of Amendment 3 would diminish the political clout of Black and Hispanic voters by giving white candidates better odds of winning legislative seats now held by people of color. “Not only is this a bumpy road to falsely create moderation, it has a very, very consequential impact on minority communities,” said Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson. “If you’re for Amendment 3, you’re not for the minority community. Period.” The citizen initiative is being pushed by billionaire health care executive Mike Fernandez, who left the Republican Party after President Donald Trump‘s election. If passed by 60 percent of voters, Amendment 3 would allow all voters, including those who have no party affiliation, to cast ballots in Florida’s August primaries for state legislative seats and statewide posts such as governor. The top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to the November general election. The system would be similar to California‘s. It would not apply to federal races. The Republican Party of Florida, which has controlled the Legislature and governor’s mansion for 22 years, last week voted to oppose Amendment 3 and asked GOP leaders to speak out against the measure. Party Chair Joe Gruters, who has called the proposed amendment misleading, said Republicans are “moving ahead with plans to try to take it down.”
“Trump tears into Kamala Harris at campaign rally, claims she’s ‘further left’ than Bernie Sanders” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – President Trump argued to supporters in North Carolina on Tuesday night that Sen. Kamala Harris is “further left” than Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described Democratic socialist and a favorite of the progressive left. Ripping into the 2020 Democratic ticket, Trump said that his opponent Joe Biden had formed an “unholy alliance with the most extreme and dangerous elements of the radical left.” “You know who’s further left than crazy Bernie? Kamala,” the president continued. “She could never be the first woman president. That would be an insult to our country.” He added that he wanted to see a woman president — just not Harris. Trump added that Biden is a “nicer person but not smart.” He said that the left is running the Democratic Party, adding “you don’t want to be dealing with the left. These people are stone-cold crazy.” He told the crowd of North Carolinians, about half of whom wore masks, that “your state should be open,” to boisterous cheers. If Biden is elected, Trump said “the economy will collapse.” He claimed that the former vice president “wants to impose a $4 trillion dollar tax hike, ban American Energy, eliminate America’s borders, confiscate your guns, appoint pro-crime judges, destroy the suburbs, indoctrinate your children, and implement a ruinous shutdown of the entire U.S. economy.” Trump said that Biden supports cutting police funding and ending cash bail, referring to a criminal justice plan where Biden proposed ending the cash bail system. Earlier Tuesday, Biden was asked if he wants to “defund the police.” “I not only don’t want to defund the police I am the one calling for $300 million more in local policing, community policing,” Biden told a reporter. “The only person calling to defund the police is Donald Trump. Look at his budget he calls for cutting police funding for state and local help by $400 million.”
“AstraZeneca pauses coronavirus vaccine trial after unexplained illness in volunteer” by CNN’s Maggie Fox – Drug giant AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. It’s a standard precaution in vaccine trials that is meant to ensure experimental vaccines don’t cause serious reactions among participants. “As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company said in a statement sent to CNN. The company is testing its vaccine, called the Oxford vaccine because it was developed with Britain’s University of Oxford, in the United States as well as the UK, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” the statement added. “In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” Earlier Tuesday, AstraZeneca joined eight other companies in signing a pledge promising they would not seek premature government approval for any coronavirus vaccine. They promised they would wait until they had adequate data showing any potential vaccine worked safely.
“New U.S. Coronavirus Cases Fall Below 25,000” by WSJ’s Allison Prang and David Hall – The U.S. reported fewer than 25,000 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily total in nearly 12 weeks, as Labor Day weekend came to a close. Many Americans are adjusting the routines that traditionally mark the back-to-school season and the unofficial end of summer, with some digging in for an extended time working from home, others contemplating a return to workplaces and many preparing for myriad models of in-person or remote education. But the return to school has already hit some snags. Coronavirus outbreaks on some college campuses have forced some students to return to online learning and are straining on-campus quarantine capacity. And public schools in Hartford, Conn., delayed their return to in-person and online learning after a ransomware virus caused an outage that affected several critical systems. New cases: California reported more than 2,000 new cases for Sept. 7, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Florida had more than 1,800 new cases, and new cases in Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina topped 1,000. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Twitter that his state saw improved case numbers this weekend. “But the real report card will be the coming two weeks,” he wrote. “Thanks to everyone who followed common sense distancing this Labor Day.”
“Peter Strzok book claims IG Horowitz changed report on Clinton email probe at last second” by Fox News’ Tyler Olson – Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, in his memoir released Tuesday, accused Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz of changing his report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation from a draft that largely was supportive of how Stzork handled himself to the more critical final product after the DOJ and possibly the White House had seen the draft. Strzok was fired from the bureau after being removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team over anti-Trump text messages sent from his work phone. Those messages, sent to bureau colleague Lisa Page, were a major topic of the nearly 600-page report, which said there was “no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations” but that Strzok’s actions “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” Strzok made the accusation in his book, “Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump.” He said, in a chapter titled “Bait and Switch,” that a prior draft of the inspector general (IG) report did not include the part about his texts potentially creating an appearance that the investigation was biased. The Clinton email investigation was codenamed “Midyear Exam.” “In time I actually found myself looking forward to the public release of the IG’s report,” Strzok wrote. “By late May the IG had concluded in his draft report that there was no documentary or testimonial evidence of bias in Midyear Exam.”
“United Arab Emirates and Israel to sign normalization agreement at White House next week” by CNN’s Vivian Salama, Kylie Atwood and Zachary Cohen – The White House will host a signing ceremony between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to document a new normalization deal between the two Middle Eastern countries that was brokered by the US, several administration officials said on Tuesday. The ceremony, dubbed by the White House as the Abraham Accords, will be the first Middle East White House peace signing in 26 years, according to a senior administration official. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will likely lead the Israeli delegation, the official said, and Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed will lead the UAE delegation. It’s expected to be attended by world leaders from other countries in the region but the exact list of attendees is still in the works, an administration official said. White House officials hoped to schedule the ceremony around the anniversary of the Oslo Accords, an agreement brokered by then-President Bill Clinton and signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Negotiator Mahmoud Abbas on September 13, 1993, a second administration official said. Responding to the news, UAE ambassador to the US Yousuf al Otaiba said, “We look forward to the ceremony on 15th. This historic breakthrough will open a new chapter in opportunities and stability for the region. Now that annexation is off the table, we can work together on building upon this solid foundation of peace.” The Trump administration, an ally to both nations, has worked to bring the two sides together to achieve normalization, which would entail the establishment of political and economic ties for the first time in both countries’ histories.
“Millions of Students Head Back to School for a Year Like No Other” by WSJ’s Tawnell D. Hobbs – Many students are heading back to school this week, virtually and in person, with some campuses reopening to students for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit about six months ago. For some students in grades K to 12 who returned to in-person instruction on Tuesday, the first day started with a temperature check and new rules, which require masks and social distancing. Some buildings look different inside, with hallway floors marked with arrows for traffic flow and signs on walls reminding students to keep apart and wash hands. Visitors are being kept out of many schools, denying parents the time-honored tradition of walking their children to class on the first day. Many districts offered students the option to learn remotely or in-person, or a mix of both. But some districts are starting online only, including many of the largest, such as Chicago and Houston. Districts in virus hot spots more often delayed reopening until after Labor Day. “We are doing much better now than we were last spring,” said Curtis Jones Jr., superintendent of the Bibb County School District in Macon, Ga., that reopened only online Tuesday. The district had shut down three weeks early in the spring because of stress in the community over remote learning, including connectivity issues, parental pressure to close and teachers untrained in remote learning. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been pushing for schools to open for in-person learning as an option for families who want or need it. Some parents say they work full time and can’t help educate their children at home, while others are critical of remote learning after the method produced generally dismal results in the spring.
“McConnell accuses Democrats of playing ‘Goldilocks’ games with coronavirus relief” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday accused Democrats of playing “Goldilocks games” with coronavirus relief to struggling Americans by refusing to agree to any bill until it was just right. McConnell, R-Ky., made the remarks in the Senate after lawmakers returned from a summer recess without making any headway on legislation to help Americans reeling from the health crisis, joblessness and limited school reopenings. But McConnell tried to put the blame on Democrats for the impasse for rejecting piecemeal efforts. “The Democratic leaders have spent months playing these Goldilocks games,” McConnell said Tuesday. “They’ve complained about every single thing we put forward. But they’ve produced nothing of their own with any chance whatsoever of becoming law.” McConnell’s remarks came as he unveiled a scaled-back bill that the Senate is expected to vote on Thursday in a procedural motion. The legislation – expected to cost about $300 billion – has little chance of becoming law as Democrats panned it as “emaciated” compared with their $3 trillion proposal that passed the House in May. McConnell framed the debate as an opportunity to do something. “Senators will not be voting on whether this targeted package satisfies every one of their legislative hopes and dreams,” McConnell said. “That’s not what we will do in this chamber. We vote on whether to make laws, whether to forge a compromise, whether to do a lot of good for the country and keep arguing over the remaining differences later.” But Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., panned McConnell’s attempt as a “show vote” that does nothing in terms of forging compromise. He knocked Republicans for leaving town this summer and returning now with a partisan measure that is going nowhere.
“Trump visibly distressed over Atlantic story fallout from claims he disparaged the military” by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak – President Donald Trump was visibly distressed this weekend over the fallout that ensued from the story published in The Atlantic alleging that he privately disparaged the war dead. In several conversations since the story was published Thursday, Trump vigorously denied that he made the comments and touted what he’s done for the military. Two people who spoke with him said it was clearly a sign of how much the story had resonated with Trump — and his fear that it could hurt his support with the military. When the story first appeared on Thursday, Trump was outraged during his flight from Pennsylvania and demanded that aides begin denying it. That included sending his chief of staff Mark Meadows to the back of Air Force One to tell reporters it wasn’t true. His angered reaction prompted officials to mobilize the massive pushback effort that began Thursday night.
By the weekend, however, Trump appeared more deflated than outraged at the allegations lobbed against him, based on conversations he had. It was a relatively quiet weekend at the White House until Trump decided he wanted to hold a Labor Day news conference. Just as aides believed the story was quieting down, Trump accused top Pentagon military leaders of being beholden to defense contractors, an astonishing comment from the President as he’s trying to bolster support with those people. Trump had been privately upset that more of the top brass at the Pentagon had not defended him in the wake of The Atlantic’s story and some saw this as a response to that.
by WSJ’s John D. McKinnon – Three influential GOP senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would make social-media platforms more responsible for their online content, an initiative likely to face fierce resistance from Silicon Valley. The legislation takes aim at Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which gives online companies broad immunity from legal liability for user-generated content on their platforms. Its main provisions would narrow the scope of the companies’ latitude to police content by tightening standards for material that can be removed or restricted while still maintaining the protection. Companies would still be free to remove content that is considered lewd or harassing, for example. But the legislation would restrict the ability of companies to censor content that is considered “otherwise objectionable,” which critics say has given the companies too much latitude. Instead, content could only be removed under the law for more specific findings of unsuitability, such as being excessively violent. Republicans including President Trump contend that social-media platforms routinely censor conservative viewpoints—but not comparable opinions by liberals, which the industry has disputed. “Social media companies are routinely censoring content that to many, should be considered valid political speech,” one of the sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said. “This reform proposal addresses the concerns of those who feel like their political views are being unfairly suppressed.” In addition to Sen. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill is sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the Commerce Committee chairman, and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), who’s a member of both panels.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–The Real Polls are starting to look GREAT! We will be having an even bigger victory than that of 2016. The Radical Left Anarchists, Agitators, Looters, and just plain Lunatics, will not be happy, but they will behave!
Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi –The sad state of America’s coronavirus response today is the result of President Trump’s failure to lead these past months and Mitch McConnell’s one-sided pause. We can’t waste a day. The Senate must pass the #HeroesAct or the situation will worsen.