JUICE — Florida Politics' Juicy Read — 1.5.20 — Republicans Committing Treason? — Left vs. Far Left — Grieco, Rubio, Cammack, Donalds, Gaetz — More...

The End of the Florida Democrats?

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
January 5, 2021


Democrats: Republicans Are Committing Treason

With congressional Republicans ready to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes this week, some so-called “Conservative” media outlets have joined Democrats like Florida State Rep. Michael Greico, in taking issue with the move to challenge or decertify the Electoral College vote.

Rep. Greico, who is considered a “moderate” and pragmatic legislator from Miami Beach, Florida, echoed the “treason” narrative that many national Democrats have called the effort to overturn the election. READ MORE



Rick Scott @SenRickScott-I am proud of the hard work by so many in the Administration to develop and quickly distribute this vaccine to the states. We aren’t successful until everyone who wants a vaccine can get one and I know they are working hard to make sure that is a possibility.

Marco Rubio @marcorubio-We have been pushing to protect Americans from the dangers posed by #China investments. Removing Chinese telecom companies from U.S. exchanges is a good start but we still need to pass my American Financial Markets Integrity and Security Act.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets-The 11 GOP Senators who will undermine our democracy this Wednesday will get the same result as every Trump lawsuit: another embarrassing loss. A fitting end to the Trump presidency.

Rep. Val Demings @RepValDemings-I spent most of my adult life enforcing the laws, and believe that no one is above the law. What you are about to hear is shameful and disgraceful, especially coming from the President.

Byron Donalds @ByronDonalds -@SpeakerPelosi has achieved two things as speaker; tearing apart the State of the Union & handing her party the slimmest majority since WWII. We need a leader who puts the people over politics and who doesn't answer to the Squad. That is why I proudly voted for @GOPLeader

Rep. Brian Mast @RepBrianMast-Nancy Pelosi abused taxpayer dollars to lead a sham impeachment investigation against President Trump solely for the purpose of delegitimizing the President. Now, millions of Americans have important questions about voter fraud, but Congress refuses to conduct an investigation.


Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy-Today we start a new chapter in our country. Today we continue our fight for the people of #FL07.


 Greico, Democrats call GOP effort to decertify election ‘treason’ by The Floridian's Javier Manjarres

Democrat Schumer accuses Trump of committing ‘election fraud’ by The Floridian's Jim McCool

Georgia Sec. Of State Raffensperger Trump Could Face Investigation After Leaking The Phone Call by The Floridian's Mona Salama

Conservative Publications And More Republican Lawmakers Slam Cruz-Led Plan to Challenge Electoral College” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – The National Review, the country’s preeminent conservative magazine along with the highly influential Wall Street Journal Editorial Board criticized the group of eleven GOP senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who announced over the weekend their plans to object to the certification of the presidential election results when Congress formally counts the electoral votes this week. In the joint statement from the 11 GOP Senators, the group cited a “long precedent of Democratic Members of Congress raising objections to presidential election results,” and pointed to the 2005 challenge when a “Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged.” “On January 6, it is incumbent on Congress to vote on whether to certify the 2020 election results. That vote is the lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud,” the joint statement from the 11 GOP senator said. “At that quadrennial joint session, there is a long precedent of Democratic Members of Congress raising objections to presidential election results, as they did in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017. And, in both 1969 and 2005, a Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged.”

“Murphy Reelected to Lead House Blue Dog Democrats” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) has just been reelected as the leader of the Blue Dog Coalition for the 117th Congress. The 18-member coalition, which also includes Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D) as a member, unanimously reelected Murphy, who made history in the 116th Congress in becoming the first woman of color to become leader of the Coalition. In being reelected, she is also the second leader in the history of the Coalition to serve two consecutive terms. In a statement, Murphy expressed her gratitude in being able “to again lead this principled and pragmatic group of House Democrats.” She expressed that “as our government navigates this unprecedented health and economic crisis, Blue Dogs will continue to reach across the aisle to find common ground and improve the lives of Americans.” She detailed that the “coalition remains committed to pursuing bipartisan cooperation, being fiscally responsible, and protecting our national security.” Murphy is also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Committee has jurisdiction over issues regarding the people of Central Florida, which includes revenue, critical federal programs like Social Security and Medicare, and trade.

“Buchanan Introduces 10 Bills in “Recovery” Plan” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – With the 117th Congress heading to work, Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) is affirming that “2021 will be the year of recovery and rebuilding.” In turn, the Florida lawmaker has introduced 10 bills on opening day as part of this “recovery” plan, prioritizing the restoration of the American economy, protecting social security and medicare, reducing the debt, fighting the red tide and more. As the co-chair of the 20-member Florida congressional delegation, Buchanan argued that lawmakers “need to make sure people are safe and have jobs to return to.”

Buchanan is the senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and he is involved in developing a major infrastructure bill regarding public-private partnerships that aim to create tens of thousands of new jobs. As well, as part of the 116th Congress, Buchanan took part in six legislative initiatives that were enacted into law, which equals to 23 legislative initiatives that the sunshine state lawmaker has passed since taking office in 2007. The 10 bills introduced by Buchanan are the following: The Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act, which would create a new federal office responsible for stockpiling adequate supplies of critical medicines and encourage companies to ramp up the manufacturing of those drugs. The coronavirus has exposed how dangerously reliant our medical supply chain is on China and other countries, which is why we must take immediate take steps to become less dependent on foreign countries for life-saving drugs.

“Leaked Trump Audio Causes Stir Ahead of Georgia Runoff” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – New audio has been released of a conversation between President Donald Trump (R) and Brad Raffensperger (R), Georgia’s Secretary of State. In the recording, the President is heard saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” and Raffensperger has consistently rejected Trump’s arguments of voter fraud as conspiracy theories. In the final tally, Biden turned Georgia blue with 11,779 votes. Subsequently, President Trump has launched attacks at the Georgia Governor and the Secretary of State over their lack of cooperation in light of President Trump’s legal challenges. Dismissing their responses, Trump commented that “the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” adding that “there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.” In response, Raffensperger told Trump that “the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.” Still, President Trump maintains that he carried Georgia, admitting that “there’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.” This week, lawmakers are also set to meet on Wednesday to certify the Electoral College votes, but some lawmakers have already expressed that they will object to certifying the results.

“Florida state legislator wants Mar-a-Lago fined, closed after 'potential super-spreader party'” by The Hill’s Joseph Choi – Florida state Rep. Omari Hardy (D) called for shuttering Mar-a-Lago after videos of a New Year's Eve party at President Trump's private club appeared to show dozens of attendees celebrating without masks. “My constituents are not snowbirds like @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle. My constituents live here,” Hardy wrote in a Twitter post Saturday. “This is their home, and they're going to have to deal w/ the consequences of a potential super-spreader party at Mar-a-Lago long after Junior & wife leave here on their private jet.” Local NBC-affiliate WPTV reported that Hardy sent a letter to Assistant County Administrator Todd Bonlarron asking that the club be fined and shut down for violating a county mask mandate. In his letter, Hardy said the gathering had the potential to be a “super-spreader event.” "I recognize that the President is a powerful person and that his business, Mar-a-Lago, is a daunting target for enforcement, but the law is the law,” Hardy wrote. “The County's mask mandate applies to all businesses in Palm Beach County. The presidency does not confer to the President and his friends a special privilege to endanger the health and welfare of Palm Beach County’s residents." Trump was not in attendance at the party, though his two adult sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., as well as his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were there as guests. The president had reportedly planned to be at the club for New Year's Eve but returned to Washington, D.C., ahead of the Jan. 6 certification of President-elect Joe Biden's election victory in Congress.

“Governor announces plans to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination efforts throughout Florida” by Click Orlando’s Brianna Volz – To kick off the new year and the state’s fourth week of administering COVID-19 vaccines, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans on Monday to double down on vaccination efforts statewide. So far, more than 255,000 people have been vaccinated in Florida since shots began being administered last month, according to the Florida Department of Health’s most recent daily COVID-19 vaccine report. DeSantis wants that number to grow significantly in the coming weeks and, during a news conference Monday at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital in Longwood, he shared how he intends to make that happen with four new vaccine initiatives. DeSantis said hospitals will be critical to the state’s vaccination efforts. Hospitals that are churning out shots faster will receive more doses, he said. “If you have hospitals like Jackson (Memorial Hospital), that are meeting or exceeding their targets then we’re going to send them more vaccine,” DeSantis said. “If you have other hospitals that are not using it, then future distributions will be reduced accordingly. We don’t want vaccine being idle we want folks to be able to use it and get it into people’s arms particularly our most vulnerable population.” First, the governor said he’s directed the Division of Emergency Management to work with the Florida Department of Health to identify state run COVID-19 testing sites that can be converted into vaccine sites.

“U.S. Supreme Court set to hear Florida-Georgia water battle” by News Service of Florida – After years of battling between Florida and Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court next month will again take up a dispute about water in a river system that links the two states. The Supreme Court last week scheduled oral arguments Feb. 22 in the case about divvying up water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, which stretches from northern Georgia to Apalachicola Bay in Franklin County. Florida filed the lawsuit in 2013, though the two states have fought for decades about water in the river system. Florida contends that Georgia is using too much water from the system, damaging the Apalachicola River and the long-iconic oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay. Federal appellate Judge Paul Kelly, a special master appointed by the Supreme Court, dealt a blow to Florida in December 2019 when he said Florida had not adequately shown that Georgia’s water use caused problems in the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay. Kelly’s recommendation went to the Supreme Court, where Florida and Georgia in 2020 filed briefs that gave vastly different descriptions of the issues. In one brief, Florida’s attorneys attacked Kelly’s findings and argued that “Georgia’s insatiable upstream consumption (of water) has decimated Apalachicola’s oyster fisheries.” “The harm to the Bay’s oyster fisheries is undeniable. Apalachicola is renowned across America for its oysters, which account for 90% of Florida’s oyster harvest and 10% of the nation’s,” the brief said. “What’s more, oysters --- and oystering --- have created a distinct way of life in Apalachicola passed down from generation-to-generation; whole communities depend on the fisheries for their economic livelihood. The oyster is to Apalachicola what the lobster is to many New England towns.”

“Florida yet to present plan for prison inmates, guards, despite high-risk status” by Fox 13’s Jordan Bowen – New numbers show Florida leads the country in COVID-19-related deaths among prisoners, according to data collected by the Marshall Project. Despite the data, the state has yet to roll out a plan for vaccinating prison inmates and guards, which are both considered high-risk populations. "Prisons are notorious for the congestion and spread of normal infectious diseases," USF Professor of Public Health Dr. Jay Wolfson said. Since the pandemic began, Florida has recorded 189 COVID-19 related deaths among prisoners, which is more than any other state. This is according to the Marshall Project, which is a non-profit organization tracking COVID-19 cases in state and federal prisons. "They are a natural place that breed infectious disease once they have been planted there. The dilemma is prisoners are required to be taken care of there as a matter of law," Dr. Wolfson said. In December, researchers from seven of the nation's top universities submitted a report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging the agency to prioritize the vaccination of inmates and prison staff. In the report, the CDC says states should include prisons in the early stages of vaccine distribution. According to a map in the report, Florida is among 11 other states with distribution plans that don't include prisons. "Once the prisoners get it, the staff are going to get it much easier. They go home at night. They go shopping in the grocery store. They serve as the primary vehicle for contagion and community spread. They need to be protected first," Dr. Wolfson said.

“Students return to schools as Florida pediatric cases hit new peak” by WFLA’s Justin Schecker – Coronavirus cases for the under 18 age group in Florida are hitting a new peak during the pandemic as students return to school after winter break, a University of South Florida epidemiologist tells 8 On Your Side. “Just like every other age group we are seeing increases,” Dr. Jason Salemi said. “We are beyond even where we were during the summer surge in terms of the number of daily cases each day with the pediatric population.” Salemi said the state is averaging about 1,500 new COVID-19 cases per day over the last week in the under 18 age group. There have been more than 182,000 total pediatric cases during the pandemic. While most children become who become infected have milder or no symptoms, a Harvard study raised concerns about children silently spreading infection to others. “How do we keep the adults in those schools safe and how do we limit transmission from schools back in the community,” Salemi said, adding districts must continue mitigation strategies like mash wearing, hand washing and improving ventilation. Florida’s brick-and-mortar schools must remain open, according to the executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis. He has said parents must have the option to choose and that closing schools was “the biggest public health blunder in modern American history.”

“Judge to weigh case on Florida's unemployment problems” by Fox 35 – A Leon County circuit judge has scheduled a hearing next month to decide whether to toss out a class-action lawsuit that seeks damages because of problems with the state’s unemployment-compensation system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge John Cooper has scheduled a hearing Feb. 16 on motions by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and Deloitte Consulting, LLP to dismiss the case, according to court documents. Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a revised lawsuit in November after Cooper dismissed an earlier version in September. In the dismissal, Cooper allowed the plaintiffs to file a revised complaint. The revised version makes a series of allegations and contends, in part, that the department and Deloitte were negligent and breached a fiduciary duty to the plaintiffs, who lost their jobs during the pandemic and faced problems getting unemployment benefits. The department administers the unemployment program, while Deloitte was a contractor that helped put in place the CONNECT online system, which could not handle a pandemic-caused crush of unemployment applications. But attorneys for the Department of Economic Opportunity and Deloitte argue that the lawsuit should be dismissed for several reasons, including that it would violate the constitutional separation of power between the judicial and executive branches of government.

“Men arrested in Florida for allegedly trafficking children” by KGNS’s Max Fernandez – A Florida traffic stop landed two men in jail for allegedly trafficking children. Investigators say a traffic stop on I-10 led to the arrest of these men, Frank Leija Moreno and Jackson Perez-Godinez. Deputies say when they pulled this car over, the suspects were in the front seat and two teenage boys were in the back. The Sheriff’s Office said the group got nervous and their stories didn’t add up. They soon learned the boys were from Guatemala and smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico for forced labor. “I mean, getting drugs off is one thing, getting drugs off the street,” said Bob Johnson, Florida sheriff. “That’s one thing. But getting these guys off the street is, is really big because this is what they do for a living. They take advantage of kids.” Authorities say the boy’s families paid more than $1,000 each to send them to the U.S. Agents say the boys were told they would have to work off additional travel expenses. The Sheriff’s Office says Moreno is a sex offender from Texas and Perez-Godinez is from Guatemala and illegally in the country.

“Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine begin Florida rollout” by Tampa Bay Times’ Allison Ross – Florida is moving into another stage in the COVID-19 vaccination process this week, with frontline health care workers and others at the forefront of receiving shots last month now starting to roll up their sleeves again. Both of the coronavirus vaccines approved in the United States require two doses per person, with a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine required after three weeks and a second dose of the Moderna vaccine after four weeks. Florida’s first coronavirus vaccine shots, from Pfizer, were administered Dec. 14 — three weeks ago. That means hospitals and county health departments, already straining to administer first doses, must now double back for those ready for round two. “Will the places providing immunizations be in a position to be able to handle it? They will have to double their capacity to keep up,” said Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. He pointed out that different organizations are using different methods and technology to schedule vaccinations. Many vaccines are given via a series of doses, with the first shot priming the body’s immune response and the second dose amplifying recognition and immune response, said Cindy Prins, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Florida. The COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness is roughly 50 percent a couple weeks after getting the first shot but goes up to greater than 90 percent with the second dose. (Other coronavirus vaccines in development use only a single shot.)

Kamala Harris

“Kamala Harris accused of plagiarizing MLK anecdote in October interview with Elle magazine” by Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn – Vice President-elect Kamala Harris apparently appropriated an anecdote first told by civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. when she was interviewed by Elle Magazine for a feature that was published in October, at the height of the 2020 presidential election campaign. Harris has repeatedly boasted of her parents' involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In the Elle interview, she recalled accompanying them to marches as a toddler in a stroller. "Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young," writer Ashley C. Ford led off the piece. "She laughs from her gut, the way you would with family, as she remembers being wheeled through an Oakland, California, civil rights march in a stroller with no straps with her parents and her uncle. At some point, she fell from the stroller ... and the adults, caught up in the rapture of protest, just kept on marching. By the time they noticed little Kamala was gone and doubled back, she was understandably upset." "My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing," Harris told the magazine. "And she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’" After the interview resurfaced Monday, Twitter user @EngelsFreddie and Andray Domise, contributing editor of the Canadian publication Maclean's, noted that Harris' story resembled one told by King in a 1965 interview published in Playboy. "I will never forget a moment in Birmingham when a White policeman accosted a little Negro girl, seven or eight years old, who was walking in a demonstration with her mother," King said at the time. "'What do you want?' the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked at him straight in the eye and answered, 'Fee-dom.' She couldn't even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful! Many times when I have been in sorely trying situations, the memory of that little one has come into my mind, and has buoyed me."

“FBI, GBI aware of 'specific threats' related to Georgia Senate races” by Fox News’ Brooke Singman – The FBI and Georgia state law enforcement officials are "aware" of "specific threats" to the state's Senate runoff election on Tuesday, Fox News has learned. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Monday told Fox News that the threats apply to "various counties" in the state. "The GBI has been made aware of specific threats regarding Tuesday’s upcoming election," the GBI said in a statement. "Our agency is working with federal, state, and local partners to investigate them." The GBI added: "The goal is to ensure a safe election and that all voters have access to polling locations." The FBI Atlanta Field Office told Fox News Monday that it is "aware of the threats." "We take all threats seriously and are communicating with our local, state and federal partners," an FBI spokesperson told Fox News. "As always we ask everyone to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement." The FBI and GBI were notified after Georgia’s Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said it learned of a "threatening email" that was sent to several Cherokee County employees "regarding threats to polling locations on Election Day." The sheriff's office said the email was referred to the GBI and the FBI and that "an investigation into the emails began.” "It was discovered that employees from several Georgia counties received the same email," the sheriff's office said. "Currently the source of the emails has not been identified." The FBI spokesperson declined to comment further. A source from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office told Fox News that email was a "threat of violence."

“Federal judge hints at possible discipline against lawyer after another GOP election lawsuit is tossed” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly and Katelyn Polantz – A federal judge in Washington, DC, suggested on Monday that lawyers representing the Wisconsin Voters Alliance and other groups, which have backed efforts in several courts in line with President Donald Trump seeking to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win, could face professional discipline. The group had asked the DC District Court to block the Electoral College vote and Congress from confirming Biden's win. District Judge James Boasberg fully rejected their requests, calling it a "fundamental and obvious misreading of the Constitution" and "the undermining of a democratic election for President of the United States." Boasberg also wrote in a seven-page opinion that the case may not have been filed seriously from the beginning. He noted the group hadn't properly notified its targets -- which included Vice President Mike Pence -- of the lawsuit, and had filed it in the wrong court. "Courts are not instruments through which parties engage in such gamesmanship or symbolic political gestures," Boasberg wrote. "As a result, at the conclusion of this litigation," he added, "the Court will determine whether to issue an order to show cause why this matter should not be referred to its Committee on Grievances for potential discipline of Plaintiffs' counsel." Erick Kaardal, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not respond to CNN's requests for comment. Trump and his allies have lost around 50 court cases they've brought since the election, with many seeking to push unfounded theories of possible fraud, throw out millions of legitimate votes and overturn Biden's win so Trump can remain in office.

“Trump says he hopes Pence 'comes through' while he rallies for Georgia senators” by CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Ryan Nobles and Nikki Carvajal – President Donald Trump appeared zeroed-in on the vice president's role in certifying the 2020 presidential election results as a potential Hail Mary during a rally meant for a pair of Georgia GOP Senate candidates on Monday night, saying that he hoped Mike Pence would "come through for us." Pence holds a largely ceremonial role when Congress affirms the Electoral College vote electing Joe Biden on Wednesday. "I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you," Trump admitted. "I hope that our great vice president -- our great vice president, comes through for us. He's a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him as much." But Trump, who was seen in the Oval Office with the vice president shortly before departing for Georgia, wouldn't say exactly what he wants Pence to do, given that his role in certifying electors is largely ceremonial. Trump laughed it off and added: "Nah, Mike is a great guy he's a wonderful man and a smart man and a man that I like a lot." "But he's gonna have a lot to say about it," the President added. "And he you know one thing with him, you're gonna get straight shots -- he's gonna call it straight."

“Proud Boys Leader Arrested in Connection With Burning of Black Lives Matter Banner” by WSJ’s Rachael Levy – The leader of the far-right Proud Boys was arrested on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., and charged in connection with unrest that followed pro-Trump protests in the nation’s capital last month. Metropolitan Police arrested Enrique Tarrio, 36 years old, and charged him with destruction of property related to the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner belonging to a historic Black church, a police spokesman said. Police also charged him with possession of what they said were two “high-capacity firearm magazines.” Mr. Tarrio didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment. A social-media account for the Proud Boys on Monday night said the group had started a legal-defense fund for him. Mr. Tarrio told the Washington Post in December he participated in burning a Black Lives Matter banner that had been ripped from the Asbury United Methodist Church, a historic Black church during unrest that followed pro-Trump protests in the capital. He told the Post he would plead guilty to destruction of property, pay the church the cost of the banner and accept arrest if authorities filed charges. The night of the burning, brawls broke out between some demonstrators and counterprotesters. Several people, including eight police officers, were hurt, authorities said at the time. Mr. Tarrio’s arrest came the same day civil-rights groups filed a lawsuit against Mr. Tarrio and Proud Boys International LLC over vandalism they say the group committed at another Black church, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. “I love a good fight,” Mr. Tarrio said on a social-media post about the lawsuit earlier on Monday. He included an expletive to describe one of the representatives who filed the complaint.

“House Passes Rules Package for New Session of Congress” by WSJ’s Natalie Andrews – The House on Monday passed rules that weakened a procedural tool Republicans had used to force Democrats to take tough political votes as well as added exemptions to a budget rule that progressives deemed a win. The rules package for the new Congress passed on partisan lines in a 217-206 vote. The rules are set by the majority party’s leadership and must be passed at the beginning of each session of Congress. The new package strengthens congressional oversight, seeks to protect whistleblowers and specifically defines that any current and former White House employees can be subpoenaed. It also renews proxy voting, which allows lawmakers to vote remotely during the pandemic by designating a lawmaker to vote on their behalf. Republicans object to the remote-voting rule and are disputing it in court, though some GOP lawmakers have used it. The package also instructs lawmakers to honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender-neutral. Among specific changes, the new rules strike ‘‘himself or herself’’ and insert ‘‘themself,” and changes “chairman” to “chair.” The rules also change familial terms to make them gender neutral, changing “uncle” and “aunt” to “parent’s sibling,” for example. Democrats said the rules change was designed to reflect the increasingly diverse Congress, but Republicans called the move was absurd. “They are trying to limit our First Amendment rights,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said on Fox News. “You no longer can say ‘father, mother, son, daughter.’”

“Most U.S. COVID-19 vaccines go idle as New York, Florida move to penalize hospitals” by Reuters’ Carl O’Donnell and Jonathan Allen – More than two-thirds of the 15 million coronavirus vaccines shipped within the United States have gone unused, U.S. health officials said on Monday, as the governors of New York and Florida vowed to penalize hospitals that fail to dispense shots quickly. In New York, hospitals must administer vaccines within a week of receiving them or face a fine and a reduction in future supplies, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, hours before announcing the state’s first known case of a new, more infectious coronavirus variant originally detected in Britain. “I don’t want the vaccine in a fridge or a freezer, I want it in somebody’s arm,” the governor said. “If you’re not performing this function, it does raise questions about the operating efficiency of the hospital.”

New York hospitals on the whole have dispensed fewer than half of their allocated doses to date, but performance varied from one group of hospitals to another, Cuomo said. The NYC Health + Hospitals system, the city’s main public hospital network, has only administered 31% of its allotment, compared with 99% for a few private hospitals in the state. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an even lower vaccine uptake for New York overall, saying fewer than one in five of the 896,000 doses shipped to the state since mid-December have been given.

“Democrats start to eye a post-Pelosi era” by Politico’s Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris – Nancy Pelosi just won what may be her final term as speaker — and the battle to succeed her is just beginning. House Democrats are already starting to shift their focus toward a bloc of ambitious colleagues jockeying to take over when she finally steps aside, even as Pelosi maintains a firm hold on her caucus. The dynamic could turn awkward over the next two years as younger members begin maneuvering to seize their shot at the top while trying not to alienate the leader they all want to replace. Pelosi still hasn’t definitively said this is her last term but has signaled as much, and is eager to seal her legacy without losing any leverage. “It’s her job, frankly, to help us with that transition, to help us create a succession plan. I don’t want it to be the kind of thing where people are afraid to voice it, because, ‘The speaker’s still in power, and I don’t want to intrude on her,’” said Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), who has backed Pelosi and says she wants a caucus-wide discussion about her successor. Pelosi, for her part, has said publicly and privately it's up to the caucus to choose its leaders and she has no plan to pick a successor. “I don’t think anybody should be considered the heir apparent to that seat,” added Wild, who is starting her second term. Publicly, most Democrats insist they are focused on President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and looking to Pelosi’s leadership to muscle his agenda — particularly more Covid relief — through a narrowly divided House. But privately, Democratic lawmakers and aides acknowledge they’re already bracing for the inevitable tension that could arise between the most powerful speaker in a lifetime and the Democrats auditioning to replace her and her longtime deputies.

“Inside McConnell's handling of Trump's election challenge” by Politico’s Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine – Mitch McConnell explicitly warned Senate Republicans not to challenge Joe Biden’s presidential win. But now that a dozen of his members are going there, the GOP leader is taking his thumb off the scale. The Kentucky Republican actively sought to avoid a divisive circus over the election results, making his position well-known throughout the GOP conference. Yet senators and aides say he is not actively whipping his members to side against Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who are leading the electoral objections in the Senate. Instead, he’s offering guidance when it’s sought, fielding calls from at least half the Senate GOP conference, according to a source familiar with the matter. McConnell told senators on a recent conference call that “this is a very difficult decision for each one of you, you each have to make it yourselves,” recounted Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “‘I've voted twice on declarations of war.’ And he said, ‘This is right up there.’ But … there's a lot of noise out there and I won’t judge anybody for their decision.’”

It’s the latest and highest-profile example of the GOP leader’s subtle-post election effort to lead the party as President Donald Trump fractures Republicans. Tuesday's Georgia runoff races will determine whether McConnell is majority leader for two more years and may be as much a referendum on his moves over the past few weeks as they are on Trump’s erratic fight against the election results. McConnell doesn’t criticize Trump, publicly or privately. But he is unmistakably steering his party in his own direction, perhaps more than ever before, and often away from the president’s whims. The majority leader stuck to the Covid relief deal he negotiated with congressional leaders and the president’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, spurning Trump’s last-minute demand for $2,000 stimulus checks and spending cuts. He introduced a bill with Trump’s bigger checks, a repeal of tech liability protections and the establishment of an election fraud commission — but the Senate took no action on it and he rebuffed a House-passed bill boosting direct payments.

“Trump at Runoff Rally in Ga.: 'I Don't Concede!'” by Newsmax’s Eric Mack – Stumping on the eve of the Georgia Senate runoffs, President Donald Trump talked about his own election fight, emphatically insisting 'I don't concede" at what may well be the final consequential campaign rally of his presidency. In Dalton, Ga., on Monday night, Trump told a raucous crowd: "There is no way we lost Georgia." "That was a rigged election," he said, "but we are still fighting it, and you're going to see what will happen. "I had two elections," he added. "I won both of them. It's amazing. I did much better on the second one." The House and Senate will weigh the Electoral College votes in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Some Republicans in both chambers are planning to contest the certification of votes in a number of battleground states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan. "Can't let it happen – nothing and no one will be able to stop them," Trump said of losing the Senate, which is what brought him to Georgia ahead of the key runoff races that'll decide which party controls the chamber. At the same time, though, he seemed to refererencing his own race against Joe Biden, who Trump claims benefited from rampant and systemic voter fraud. "The Senate seats are the last line of defense. I must preface, because they will say, 'He just conceded.' "No, no, I don't think so. I don't concede." Before the Electoral College drama expected to play out for hours on Wednesday, incumbent Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both R-Ga., face stiff challenges Tuesday by Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The races have taken on huge significance, in that they'll ultimately determine whether Dems or Republicans hold chamber control.

“Sen. Loeffler: I Will Oppose Electoral College Certification” by Newsmax’s Charlie McCarthy – Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., said Monday night she will oppose certification of the Electoral College results. A joint session of Congress will meet Wednesday to certify the electoral votes and decide the presidential election. "On January 6th, I will vote to give President [Donald] Trump and the American people the fair hearing they deserve and support the objection to the Electoral College certification process," Loeffler said in a statement on her official Twitter account. Loeffler said she has introduced legislation to establish a commission to investigate election irregularities and recommend election integrity measures. Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., are running against Democratic opponents Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, in Tuesday's U.S. Senate runoffs.

“AOC Not Ruling Out Primary Run Against Schumer” by Newsmax – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Monday she won't rule out a primary run against Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The freshman representative said last year she doesn't plan on staying in the House forever, when asked about future plans. When asked again by Punchbowl News for the first issue of its newsletter, Ocasio-Cortez responded, "I'm a no bull**** kind of person. I'm not playing coy or anything like that," The New York Post reported. "I'm still very much in a place where I'm trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.," she said. When asked whether she thinks Schumer, who serves as Senate minority leader, is doing a good job, she responded, "It's a hard thing to say too. We've had to deal with a fascist president and [Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell." Schumer is up for reelection in 2022. President Donald Trump has encouraged Ocasio-Cortez to run against Schumer, while Schumer himself has said he's confident of his own chances of holding his seat against any challenges. New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said in late December Ocasio-Cortez would be making a mistake to challenge Schumer.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of 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. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at Diversenewmedia@gmail.com

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