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Republican Senators Push to Give 2 Million More Americans Access to Stimulus

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Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are making a push during negotiations to include 2 million American citizens in the next round of Coronavirus stimulus checks who didn’t receive the relief in the first round, the Hill reports.

What We Know:

  • The White House denied access to the CARES Act, which sent $1,200 direct payments to Americans, to nearly 1.7 million citizens who were married to foreign nationals without Social Security numbers.
  • Democrats fought to have relief checks sent to all taxpayers in the last round of negotiations in March, including those who file taxes using an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Foreign nationals can use an ITIN to file taxes in the United States. When the Democrat’s proposal was blocked by the Trump administration and GOP Senate, those 1.7 million U.S. citizen spouses of ITIN holders were excluded from receiving stimulus checks.
  • Senators Rubio and Tillis are fighting to include those excluded in the next round as Coronavirus relief negotiations heat up. “Senator Rubio believes that no American should be denied a federal stimulus check because they are married to someone who is not a U.S. citizen,” a spokeswoman for Rubio said Thursday.
  • Rubio and Tillis see the proposal having two key benefits. For one, they believe Americans should not be discriminated against for who they marry. In addition, they want to capture as many potential voters as they can with President Trump’s poll numbers dropping and a Republican Senate majority hanging in the balance. Tillis faces a tough race in North Carolina as he attempts to defend his seat.
  • “Any GOP member not voting in favor is certainly going to be targeted as not being fair or equitable, and their motivations are going to be put in question,” Al Cardenas, co-chairman of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said in a statement. “For U.S. citizens to once again be treated in a disparate manner in trying times is mean-spirited, and there’s no logic to it.”
  • Rubio’s bill would provide stimulus checks to 291,000 citizens in Texas, 81,000 in Florida, 31,000 in North Carolina, 16,000 in Wisconsin, 30,000 in Colorado and tens of thousands in other states. This would help American citizens with their financial hardships during the pandemic but also give Republican candidates a potential poll boost in key states.

The push comes as both Republicans and Democrats alike are working to provide a stimulus as fears of a COVID second wave loom over the heads of Americans.

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Coronavirus

Biden Calls Out DeSantis’ Refusal on Mask Mandates

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President Joe Biden told reporters that Governors Ron DeSantis’s decisions against mask mandates would eventually have results that will affect constituents.

What We Know:

  • Biden’s message comes after DeSantis declared he would not impose mask mandates in Florida. DeSantis also said he would withhold funds from any schools that attempt to place guidelines on wearing masks. Currently, Florida faces a severe spike in cases due to the Delta variant and lower vaccination rates.
  • Because of this, Biden gave his stern commandment. The President stated the country needs leadership from everyone, and if some governors do not want “to do the right thing” to beat the pandemic, they should allow businesses and universities to do so. Pres. Biden further reminded the governors that they hold the power to save lives.

 “But if you are not going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing,” said Biden.

  • DeSantis believes the spike in cases is just a pattern, similar to those seen last year despite the President’s pleas. In addition, the Florida governor downplayed the state’s surge in hospitalizations; according to DeSantis, COVID patients only “represent a fraction of the overall hospital beds.”
  • Furthermore, DeSantis responded to Biden’s comments at an August 4th press conference. He claimed the President was singling out Florida over the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, DeSantis stated Biden did not live up to his promise to end the virus’ spread, as he allows the United States to have a “wide open southern border.” DeSantis stated that until Pres. Biden secures the border, he wishes not to hear anything about COVID from him.

On August 5th, Florida saw 20,133 new COVID-19 cases. On July 31, the state recorded 21,683 cases, the highest number since the pandemic’s beginning; August 5th’s results were only 1,550 test results lower.

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Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

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Headlines

NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

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NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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