JUICE – Florida Politics’ Juicy Read -11.30.20 – COVID Continues KILLING At A High Rate – Byron Donalds To Join Freedom Force – Lame-Duck, Scott, Wasserman Schultz, Flynn- Pardons

JUICE – Florida Politics’ Juicy Read -11.30.20 – COVID Continues KILLING At A High Rate – Byron Donalds To Join Freedom Force – Lame-Duck, Scott, Wasserman Schultz, Flynn- Pardons

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
|
November 30, 2020

 

 

Targeting House Democrats

With congressional Democrats on the defense after coming close to losing their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans like Congressman-elect Byron Donalds are poised to make life in the House very uncomfortable for their wounded counterparts.

Donalds says he’s joining the Republican version of the “Squad.” 

The newly-elected member of Congress told The Floridian that it was a “no-brainer” to join the Freedom and the Freedom Force to help push back against the Democratic Socialism that is spreading within the halls of Congress.

 

Stay tuned for fireworks. READ MORE

COVID on the Rise

The vaccines and treatments can’t come any sooner. Many Americans could die from the spreading pandemic before the first batch of vaccines is able to take effect inside those who are fortunate enough to receive it. READ MORE

Ron DeSantis @GovRonDeSantis-For too long, Floridians have been paying high prices for prescription drugs. Yesterday, we took another step towards lowering those prices by submitting a proposal to @HHSGov for a first of its kind Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program. Info

Marco Rubio @marcorubio-On Covid, media emphasized bad news even when we had positive developments & did more Trump/hydroxychloroquine stories than all vaccine stories combined. Part of a broader pattern of characterizing everything as bad news Republicans are to be blamed for

Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets -A @JoeBiden Administration will confront America’s problems, not retreat from challenges or the world stage. The president-elect has put forward a diverse, experienced team of crisis-tested professionals ready to lead on day one.

Rick Scott @SenRickScottThank you to @USOCC for taking action to stop banks from discriminating against companies that are considered politically decisive Fair and equal access should always be observed.

Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutchThe @JoeBiden@KamalaHarris team is a return to the kind of experience, professionalism, strong values, & sound judgment that should drive American foreign policy and national security.

On Day 1, these leaders will restore our standing around the world & strengthen our security.

Rep. Lois Frankel @RepLoisFrankelThe nominees @JoeBiden has selected to lead our #foreignpolicy are deeply experienced & historic.They represent a shift back to an America that is ready to lead the world, not retreat from it, & stand up for our values at home & abroad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “Scott defends 6 U.S. oil executives jailed in Venezuela over “made up charges”” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida Senator Rick Scott (R), a longtime critic of Venezuela and its socialist Maduro regime, is once again taking aim at the criminal government, slamming Nicolas Maduro and his regime for its treatment of the “Citgo 6” oil executives. The “Citgo 6,” which are six U.S. oil executives held on corruption charges for over three years in Venezuela, and now convicted and sentenced to prison terms on Thanksgiving day. The men are all employed by the Houston-based refining company of the same name, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. In the sentencing, five of the men, who are U.S. citizens, were sentenced to 8 years and 10 months while the 6th man, a permanent resident in the United States, was sentenced to 13 years. Senator Scott commented that “the Venezuelan regime has wrongfully convicted the #CITGO6 with ‘made up’ charges,” noting that “this is a grave injustice and demonstrates the lawlessness of the” Maduro regime.” Moreover, the former Florida Governor asserted that “the US will continue to fight for these American citizens and their families.”

“DeSantis says Florida ready to distribute vaccines” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) says that he is ready to distribute vaccines once they come online, but is still receiving heavy criticism from Florida Democrats who argue that the Governor has been missing in action during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) is arguably one of the loudest, most biased detractors of them all, and according to one Tallahassee-based lobbyist, Smith is “talking out of his ass again.” Rep. Smith claims that DeSantis doesn’t want to be “held accountable” for what he says is “failed leadership.” Many of DeSantis’ other critics maintain that the Governor has done a terrible job in terms of keeping Floridians safe as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the sunshine state, but the Governor and his supporters are now fighting back, providing information regarding what the Governor has been securing as Floridians continue to face financial and health difficulties during this time. Earlier this week, the DeSantis announced that the Agency for Health Care Administration had officially submitted the Section 804 Importation Proposal to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program.

“Wasserman Schultz upset Senate GOP pushing “lame duck judges” over COVID relief” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is fuming mad over the Republican-led U.S. Senate’s cramming through of “Trump’s lame duck judges,” namely Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, instead of passing COVID relief funding for Americans. “26 million Americans go hungry, and all the Senate will do is buck precedent and cram through Trump’s lame duck judges,” tweeted Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “Tell @SenateMajLdr McConnell to get back to DC and pass #COVID relief now!” Senate Republicans have rejected the most recent House virus relief spending bills because of the non-COVID-related items that have been inserted to be funded. Republicans have been pushing for a smaller, leaner pandemic recovery stimulus bill, but Pelosi and House Democrats are refusing to come down from their initial $3 trillion spending measure. “I think it reinforces the argument that I’ve been making for the last few months, that something smaller – rather than throwing another $3 trillion at this issue – is more appropriate,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to Reuters.

“Trump questions Biden on lackluster Thanksgiving message” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – As he presses on with his legal challenges in several key battleground states narrowly to former Vice President Joe Biden, President Donald Trump stuck to his voter fraud message by questioning how “a candidate with ‘80,000,000’ votes” could only garner 1000 views on a Thanksgiving message he put out in observance of the national holiday. “Biden’s Thanksgiving Day Address gets just 1000 views online, a record low,” stated President Trump. “Observers say a candidate with “80,000,000” votes would get many more online viewers. Numbers don’t lie, or add up!” In reality, Biden’s Thanksgiving message has garnered roughly 5 million views. Biden released a total of 2 messages, one of them is a message that they spent part of the holiday speaking to frontline healthcare workers over Zoom or some other messaging vehicle. “Jill and I were honored today to talk to some of the heroes on the front lines of this crisis,” stated Biden. “We’re thankful today and every day for the nurses and firefighters who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe. We see the very best of America in your courage and selflessness.” But even as the Biden transition has already begun, Trump and his team say this election is far from over, and say that they have the evidence to prove their widespread voter fraud and voting irregularities claim.

“President Trump pardons General Michael Flynn” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Just in time for Thanksgiving, and as expected. President Donald Trump has pardoned his former National Security Advisor, General Michael T. Flynn. “It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” Trump stated in a tweet. According to CNN, General Flynn “pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI” about contacts he had in Russia, later disavowing his plea and “tried to get the case thrown out.” Earlier this week, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz urged President Trump to exercise his “pardon power.” Could Roger Stone be next to be pardoned? Democratic lawmakers are up in arms, to say the least, and will be commenting on the president’s decision to grant the full pardon.

“Trump Grants ‘Full Pardon’ To Decorated Army Gen. Michael Flynn” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump on Wednesday has granted a “full pardon” to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a decorated former US combat commander, whose is finally getting the justice long deserved. “It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” The White House shortly after sent out a formal statement, explaining the president’s reasoning to pardon Flynn, saying he “should never have been prosecuted” and the pardon “achieves that objective” that “finally bringing to an end the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man.” “The prosecution of General Flynn is yet another reminder of something that has long been clear: After the 2016 election, individuals within the outgoing administration refused to accept the choice the American people had made at the ballot box and worked to undermine the peaceful transition of power,” the statement reads. “These efforts were enabled by a complicit media that willingly published falsehoods and hid inconvenient facts from public view, including with respect to General Flynn. They amounted to a brazen assault on our democracy and a direct attack on our fundamental political values.”

“Obama jabs ‘Evangelical Hispanics’ for voting Trump” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – During an interview with the Progressive morning political show, “The Breakfast Club” to promote his new book, former President Barack Obama took a political jab at “evangelical Hispanics.” President Obama said that many Americans “were surprised” that “Hispanic folks” came out in large numbers to vote for President Donald Trump over former vice president Joe Biden. Obama questioned the Hispanic support for Trump, citing the accusations that Trump “says racist things about Mexican,” adding that he has incarcerated or caged illegal immigrants or “detainees, undocumented workers.” “People were surprised about a lot of Hispanic folks who voted for Trump, but there’s a lot of evangelical Hispanics who you know, the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans or puts detainees, undocumented workers in cages they think that’s less important than the fact you know he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion,” said Obama. When then-Republican presidential candidate Trump announced his run for president, Trump stated that Mexico wasn’t “sending their best.” Trump also said that those immigrants that were being allowed to come across the border were also criminals. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” said Trump. “They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

“Gaetz Urges Trump to use “Pardon Power”” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R), a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump (R), appeared on FOX News this week, sharing his thoughts on why he believes that the President has been the victim of a witch hunt, and his pardon power. As the President continues to challenge the results of the 2020 election, the Florida lawmaker has supported the President’s move to contend the results, and he shared a clip of his interview regarding the battle that lies ahead. “President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to,” Gaetz noted, adding that “the Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with” the President “to deliver for the American people.” In turn, Gaetz has received criticism online for his comments, but the lawmaker maintains that the chips have been stacked against the President in an unfair manner, and it’s put the President in a position where he “should wield that pardon power effectively and robustly.”

“Majority of Republicans want Trump to run in 2024” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Republicans want President Donald Trump to run again in 2024, and most believe that Democrats stole the election through rampant voter fraud. A new Seven Letter Insight poll of 1500 Americans finds that despite the Election Day results, where former Vice President Joe Biden appears to have defeated President Donald Trump, President Trump still has the support from the overwhelming majority of Americans that believe in his America First Agenda. According to the poll, “79% of Trump voters believe” the 2020 election was stolen away from the president “through illegal voting and fraud,” and 62% of those poll do not accept the election results. You have all heard President Trump call out the “Fake News” media as being un-American and being “the enemy of the people?” Well, of the 72 million Americans that voted for Trump, 83% believe the president’s opinion that the media outlets are the “enemy,” and half of those voters don’t want Republican leaders to work with the incoming Biden administration. One of the most liberal Democratic governors, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, defending Trump and lashing out against the “disrespectful” and “biased” media.

“Waltz Calls Out Pelosi For Holding Back COVID-19 Relief Funds” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Last week, Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) slammed Congress for inaction regarding COVID-19 relief for Americans. She took to Twitter to inform that “it’s been 8 months since we passed a COVID bill,” arguing that Americans need the assistance because a large number of Americans are on the verge of losing their jobless benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R), a lawmaker who has worked closely with Rep. Murphy on passing bipartisan legislation, once again took to Twitter to echo in her remarks, but he aimed his argument at Democratic leadership in Congress. On Twitter, Waltz took the time to offer “just another reminder that $138 billion in #PPP funds is sitting unused because of Nancy Pelosi’s DC swamp politics.” Waltz added that “House Republicans have already tried to release the money. 39 times, in fact.”Finally, he concluded that “we can’t wait to provide relief any longer. We have to act NOW.”

“Recreational marijuana supporters hope Florida turns green” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeffrey Schweers – Forget about blue waves and red waves. A green wave is surging across the U.S. A mix of red, blue and purple states in November voted to either legalize or decriminalize the use and possession of cannabis. And Florida could be next. Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, is leading the petition drive to get a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot to make marijuana available to adults for personal use. Based on the success and normalization of medical marijuana in Florida, Hansen said the chances for passage are good if the amendment makes it onto the ballot. “The medical marijuana market in Florida expanded and the sky is not falling,” Hansen said. “Property values are not going down where you have dispensaries.” The amendment would permit “adults 21 years or older to possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason.” It also would permit Florida’s medical marijuana treatment centers to sell, distribute, or dispense marijuana and related accessories to adults if clearly labeled and in childproof packaging.

“Florida Nears 1 Million Covid Cases, As State Adds Over 7,300 Cases Sunday” by NBC 6 and Tony Pipitone – Florida is inching closer to 1 million COVID-19 cases, as the stated added more than 7,300 new confirmed cases on Sunday, while the virus-related death toll rose by nearly 60. The 7,364 new COVID-19 cases brought Florida’s total to 992,661, according to the daily report from the state’s department of health. With 58 more virus-related deaths among Florida residents, the total rose to 18,500 Sunday. Another 236 non-resident deaths have been confirmed in the state to-date, one more than in Saturday’s report. Deaths may have occurred days or weeks earlier, due to the time it takes to confirm they are coronavirus-related. Because of delays in confirming the deaths, most of them are recorded a week or longer after they occurred. As Florida inevitably approaches 1 million coronavirus infections, perhaps reaching that milestone as early as Monday, the number of new cases per day and the share of tests coming back positive have shown signs of leveling off in the last week. The state is averaging 7,750 new cases a day for the last week, about where it was — 7,602 — for the week ending last Sunday. This week’s total, though, may be artificially deflated by some testing centers being closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Report: Florida fire captain involved in drug conspiracy with friend who accidentally shot, killed him” by Local 10’s Michelle Solomon and Associated Press – A Florida fire-rescue captain who was fatally shot by a friend was involved in “an ongoing conspiracy” with him to buy and sell prescription drugs, according to prosecutors. Jay Rind, 63, told investigators a gun accidentally fired on Nov. 2 while he was showing it to 48-year-old James Gilliard of Stuart. The two were in Rind’s townhome in Palm Beach Gardens and it was Rind who called police. Rind was charged with third-degree felony murder. Rind told investigators that he accidentally shot his friend in the stomach while showing him the firearm and repeatedly explained that he didn’t know the gun was loaded. The affidavit stated that the Nov. 2 meeting was a drug transaction that had been set up between the two in the middle of October via text messages, where the two discussed the gun that went off killing Gilliard. “I need a financial favor and I will throw in my S+W 9mm in the deal,” the text message read from Rind. Prosecutors added charges of trafficking in morphine, conspiracy to sell oxycodone, conspiracy to sell amphetamines and conspiracy to sell morphine.

“Florida man to be released early after serving 31 years for nonviolent marijuana crime” by CNN’s Eric Levenson – A Florida man who has spent 31 years in prison for a nonviolent marijuana crime could soon be a free man. Richard DeLisi has been incarcerated since 1989 when, at the age of 40, he was convicted on charges of racketeering, trafficking in cannabis and conspiracy after agreeing to help smuggle more than 100 pounds of marijuana from Colombia into Florida. He received a 90-year prison sentence. His case has received legal support from the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit that advocates for ending prison sentences for cannabis offenses. With 31 years in prison, DeLisi is the country’s longest-serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner, according to the group. DeLisi, now 71, could be released from South Bay Correctional Facility as early as December 4, though the exact release day still depends on several factors, according to the Florida Department of Corrections press secretary Kayla McLaughlin. “It feels amazingly wonderful to know that I will be home with my family and loved ones very soon,” DeLisi said in a statement to Last Prisoner Project. “I am grateful to everyone who has been there and helped me along in these long years.” His impending release comes as the American public has increasingly approved decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. Despite that growing acceptance, people like DeLisi remain incarcerated — some for decades — for nonviolent drug crimes.

“Sumter County commissioners fighting plan to extend Florida Turnpike” by Villages News’ Meta Minton – Sumter County commissioners plan to lobby local and state leaders to reject a plan to extend the Florida Turnpike. County Administrator Bradley Arnold said he would prepare a letter to local legislators expressing opposition. He said environmental groups also are against it. A state task force released a report this month on plans to extend the turnpike intro Citrus County, where it would connect with the Suncoast Parkway, which would extend 150 miles to the Georgia border. Another task force issued a report on that project and a third task force released a report on a similar project in southwest Florida. Commissioner Doug Gilpin, who represents an area of western Sumter County that includes Lake Panasoffkee, said area residents oppose the turnpike. “There’s no one in District 2 that I can find who wants a turnpike,” he told other commissioners Tuesday night. “FDOT is bound and determined for whatever reason they want to connect these corridors.” A turnpike extension has been rejected several times since 1999, when a proposed 49-mile, $500-million extension was scrapped after local governments opposed it. The task force report did not make an unqualified endorsement of a turnpike extension. Instead, it said the state first should maximize the use of existing corridors before building new highways. The report also included a “no build” option.

“Incoming Florida congressman tests positive for Covid-19” by CNN’s Rosa Flores and Paul LeBlanc – Rep.-elect Carlos Gimenez of Florida announced Friday evening that he and his wife tested positive for Covid-19 Thursday and are self-isolating in their home. “After several negative tests, both Lourdes and I tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. We are both feeling good and experiencing no symptoms at this time,” Gimenez said in a statement. “I will continue attending New Member Orientation virtually and preparing our office to serve the people of Florida’s 26th Congressional District from Westchester to Key West until I can resume my normal schedule. I am extremely grateful for all of the incredible health care workers who are tirelessly dedicated to their patients.” Prior to flipping a south Florida House seat earlier this month, Gimenez, a Republican, was the mayor of Miami-Dade County. He defeated Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. His diagnosis follows a growing number of lawmakers from both parties and chambers of Congress that have announced they’ve tested positive. Rep. Rick Allen, a Republican from Georgia, and Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat from Nevada, announced separately on Wednesday that they had contracted the virus. Their announcements came just days after two other lawmakers — Reps. Bryan Steil, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Joe Courtney, a Democrat from Connecticut — said they had been diagnosed with the virus as well.

 

“Biden still ahead as Wisconsin completes recount; certification deadline looms” by Fox News’ Evie Fordham – Wisconsin completed a partial recount Sunday, which added to President-elect Joe Biden’s lead in the 2020 presidential election by an additional 87 votes ahead of Tuesday, when the state is set to certify results. President Trump vowed to challenge the outcome in court even before the recount concluded. He spent $3 million to force a recount. “The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!” Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County, the state’s other big and overwhelmingly liberal county targeted in a recount that Trump paid for, reported its results Friday, a 132-vote gain for Biden. Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden’s winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes. Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden’s winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes.

“Biden’s win means some Guantanamo prisoners may be released” by Associated Press – The oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center went to his latest review board hearing with a degree of hope, something that has been scarce during his 16 years locked up without charges at the U.S. base in Cuba. Saifullah Paracha, a 73-year-old Pakistani with diabetes and a heart condition, had two things going for him that he didn’t have at previous hearings: a favorable legal development and the election of Joe Biden. President Donald Trump had effectively ended the Obama administration’s practice of reviewing the cases of men held at Guantanamo and releasing them if imprisonment was no longer deemed necessary. Now there’s hope that will resume under Biden. “I am more hopeful now simply because we have an administration to look forward to that isn’t dead set on ignoring the existing review process,” Paracha’s attorney, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, said by phone from the base on Nov. 19 after the hearing. “The simple existence of that on the horizon I think is hope for all of us.” Guantanamo was once a source of global outrage and a symbol of U.S. excess in response to terrorism. But it largely faded from the headlines after President Barack Obama failed to close it, even as 40 men continue to be detained there. Those pushing for its closure now see a window of opportunity, hoping Biden’s administration will find a way to prosecute those who can be prosecuted and release the rest, extricating the U.S. from a detention center that costs more than $445 million per year.

“Pennsylvania Republicans to ask Supreme Court to review case after dismissal: candidate” by Fox News’ Angelina Stabile – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has tossed out an election lawsuit to delegitimize mail-in ballots, but Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell said his team will on Sunday ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, which questions the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s Act 77. Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 77 into law in October 2019, administering no-excuse mail-in voting. Parnell told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday that the state Supreme Court dismissing the case was a “blatant political act.” “What I’m trying to do is bring a sense of clarity to an election where 50% of the people in the state of Pennsylvania have no clarity,” he said. “And the fact is because they dismissed my case with prejudice, they’re saying that anybody else in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can challenge the unconstitutionality of Act 77 but me.” “We had hope that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, would take their oath to the Constitution seriously and not put party before their oath to the Constitution,” he went on. “But clearly, I think this is a blatant political act on their part.” Pennsylvania’s highest court on Saturday night threw out a lower court’s order preventing the state from certifying dozens of contests on its Nov. 3 election ballot. The state Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, said the underlying lawsuit was filed months after the expiration of a time limit in Pennsylvania’s expansive year-old mail-in voting law allowing for challenges to it.

“US officials quiet on Iranian assassination amid fears of dangerous escalation” by CNN’s Vivian Salama and Barbara Starr – US officials told CNN they are closely monitoring fallout from the alleged assassination Friday of one of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, which Iran blamed on Israel, but they are hesitant about speaking publicly about the issue to avoid further inflaming an already tense situation. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, viewed as one of the masterminds of Iran’s controversial nuclear program, was assassinated by gunfire and explosives while riding in a vehicle east of Tehran. Iran alleged that Israel is behind the assassination and called it an act of terrorism. Israel hasn’t officially responded to the allegation. The attack comes weeks after the International Atomic Energy Agency, the top nuclear watchdog, said that Iran now has 12 times the amount of enriched uranium that is permitted under the 2015 nuclear accord. President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear agreement, a move that was applauded by Israel and the Arab Gulf states, but which critics said emboldened Iran to shun its obligations under the agreement. President-elect Joe Biden has said he will renew efforts to negotiate with Tehran over its nuclear program when he takes office and any escalation following Fakhrizadeh’s death would only complicate an already tough task.

“After record-breaking victories, this is what newly elected GOP women had to say about the future of their party” by CNN’s Alison Main and Rachel Janfaza – In the wake of a record number of Republican women winning seats in Congress, two of the newly elected lawmakers, Rep. Nancy Mace and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, stressed the importance of building representation in the Republican Party to serve as a check on their Democratic counterparts. Mace, who flipped a South Carolina House seat red, said her party had more women running this year, adding that this trend needs to persist if Republicans want to continue to diversify. She later admitted that Democrats have previously done a better job recruiting women to run. “We really reflect the faces of America,” Mace told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” about the incoming Republican freshman class. “The diversity and the inclusion that we have in the Republican Party. That is our future. And if we don’t get on board with recruiting the right people — minorities, women, veterans, et. cetera, then we’re going to lose in the future.” Malliotakis, who also flipped a House seat red in New York, called the GOP a “big tent party,” and credited the victories to the work of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, No. 3 Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Elise Stefanik. The New York Republican, who is the daughter of a Cuban refugee and Greek immigrant, noted that many of her soon-to-be colleagues share similar backgrounds to hers.

“Trump’s Payroll-Tax Deferral Creates Predicament for Congress” by WSJ’s Richard Rubin – President Trump’s decision to defer payroll taxes until the end of the year is leaving challenges for lawmakers to manage after he leaves office in January, and they haven’t figured out what—if anything—to do. Members of Congress in both parties weren’t keen on the August executive action, which let employers stop collecting the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax from many workers in the final four months of 2020. The move was meant as a form of relief during the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but few employers stopped withholding. That created a predicament for Congress. Employees whose payroll taxes temporarily shrank will face double withholding starting in January, which could pinch households that haven’t planned for it. Doing nothing could cause harm for those workers, but helping only them could be unfair to others whose taxes continued to be withheld. “No one will be happy no matter how that gets resolved,” said Mark Mazur, a former Obama administration official who now directs the Tax Policy Center. “It’s kind of like a no-win thing.” Mr. Trump couldn’t get Congress to cut payroll taxes, so he used the administration’s ability to defer tax deadlines after a disaster to delay payments of the employees’ portion of Social Security taxes. He promised that if he won re-election, he would push to turn that delay into a real tax cut.

“Biden Plans to Roll Back Trump-Era Education Policies” by WSJ’s Madeleine Ngo – As with environmental and immigration policy, President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to bring sweeping changes to education and to reverse some of the civil rights-related moves made under President Trump. The current education secretary, Betsy DeVos, sought to bolster school-choice programs, proposed cuts to public-school funding and called for swift school reopenings during the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Biden, meanwhile, has said he wants to expand resources for public schools and has pledged to appoint a teacher to head the Education Department. “The DeVos administration has basically chosen to side on the powerful and not the vulnerable, not the marginalized,” said Arne Duncan, former President Barack Obama’s education secretary. “That’s going to fundamentally change.” A spokeswoman from the Education Department, Angela Morabito, defended the department’s current policies, especially on school choice, saying: “There is no one less powerful and more marginalized than the student trapped in a failing, government-assigned school with no way out.” Mr. Biden frequently points to his wife, Jill Biden, a community college professor and member of the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, to underscore his support for educators. “For American educators, this is a great day for you all. You’re going to have one of your own in the White House, and Jill’s going to make a great first lady,” Mr. Biden said during his presidential victory speech earlier this month.

“State, Local Governments Slashed Spending After Covid. Next Year Could Be Worse.” By WSJ’s David Harrison – In March, as the coronavirus was beginning its march across the country, Kansas City leaders approved a budget flush with new spending. Five months later they pared it back. The pandemic-induced economic downturn hit the nation’s state and local governments harder and faster than any other in almost 70 years. In May, public-sector employment plummeted, with fewer people working for state and local governments than at any point since 2001, according to the Labor Department. As hard as this year has been, next year could be worse. Governments went into the downturn with fat reserve funds and have benefited from federal aid. Barring a quick economic recovery or another round of stimulus, state and local officials could have to make more cuts. Moody’s Analytics estimates state and local governments faced a $70 billion to $74 billion shortfall in the 2020 fiscal year. That could balloon to $268 billion in 2021 and $312 billion in 2022 absent more federal help. Unlike the U.S. government, almost all state and local governments are required to balance their budgets every year. In Kansas City, Mo., as in many communities across the country, workers have lost jobs or taken pay cuts. Fewer buses ply their routes. Social workers juggle more cases. And fewer police officers are on the street, despite an alarming rise in crime. Officials anticipate more difficult decisions next year. “All those sorts of things that are important to how we function in our daily lives are things that we may not be able to address,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

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Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Pennsylvania can lead the way, just like it did many years ago. Very important things happening!

Joe Biden –It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, and listen to each other again.

To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy.

We are not enemies. We are Americans.

 

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at www.brownpeople.org Email him at [email protected]