Aggregating and archiving news from both sides of the aisle.

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Dow futures rise more than 100 points after Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill

Preview: Futures tied to the Dow rose on Sunday evening as a new stimulus package from Washington headed toward final passage this week.

Brent crude breaks $70 after Saudi Arabia's oil facilities attacked by Yemen's Houthis

Preview: Oil prices popped after Saudi Arabia said its oil facilities were targeted by missiles and drones on Sunday.

U.S. hits record daily Covid vaccinations but health officials warn against loosening restrictions

Preview: Last week, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, California and Mississippi all relaxed restrictions to varying degrees.

Cuomo dismisses calls for resignation as 'anti-democratic' but will sign law stripping his emergency Covid powers

Preview: Cuomo also announced that Empire State restaurants outside of New York City can increase indoor dining capacity to 75% starting March 19.

Top Democrat in New York state Senate calls on Gov. Cuomo to resign

Preview: Cuomo said there's "no way" he would resign over the growing number of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct allegations against him.

U.S. will defend troops and interests after rocket attack in Iraq, Defense Secretary says

Preview: Defense officials have previously said the attack had typical hallmarks of a strike by Iran-backed groups. Iran has denied involvement.

Jack Dorsey is offering to sell the first tweet as an NFT and the highest bid is $2.5 million

Preview: The Twitter CEO shared a link Friday afternoon to a platform called "Valuables," where his March 21, 2006 tweet "just setting up my twttr" was up for bidding.

Investors haven't fully grasped inflation is 'dead ahead,' economist Mark Zandi warns

Preview: Moody Analytics’ Mark Zandi warns the economic recovery will unleash strong inflationary pressures.

Two more women accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate conduct

Preview: Cuomo is already facing heat from prior sexual harassment accusations, as well as a scandal over his administration's handling of Covid nursing home death data.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver supports new league that pays high schoolers $100,000

Preview: The NBA boss said the Overtime league is good for basketball and mentioned NBA would pay attention.

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Meghan explains why she's speaking out now

Preview: Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey that she has agreed to speak to her in an interview because now she can. CNN's Max Foster reports.

Princess Diana's chief of staff weighs in on royal rift

Preview: Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana's private secretary and chief of staff, says it's important to remember the royals are also people — and that 'there's a lot of blame to go around' for the current rift.

Biden eyes big win that will send checks to millions of Americans

Preview: • When you could see another stimulus check

Coronavirus variant is 'increasing exponentially' as the US races to vaccinate

Preview: • Governors defend easing restrictions as health officials warn Americans to stay vigilant • Russian disinformation working to undermine US vaccine confidence

New York state senate majority leader calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign

Preview: State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is now calling for the resignation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who faces escalating pressure to step aside from members of his own party.

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YouTube Bans Trump’s Full CPAC Speech Unless Users Add ‘Countervailing Viewpoints’ About Election Claims 

Preview: YouTube has banned the platforming of former President Donald Trump’s full 2021 CPAC speech from their platform, unless users add “countervailing viewpoints” about Trump’s refuted elections claims to their post. Unlike Trump’s 2020 CPAC speech, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a full version of the speech on YouTube. And when you do find it, there […]

‘Huge Development’: Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin Starts To Crack On Filibuster, Signals Openness To Change

Preview: Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (WV) appears to have started to shift his views on the filibuster with remarks that he made on two news shows on Sunday morning. The shift from Manchin comes after he has repeatedly stated that he would not vote to end the filibuster, despite pressure from the far-Left. During the interviews […]

Democrat Congressman Allegedly Failed To Disclose Stock Trades During Pandemic: ‘Extremely Concerning’

Preview: Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) is facing heat following a report released late last week that alleges that he failed to disclose at least $671,000 in stock trades, which would be a violation of federal law. “Malinowski’s stock trades in 2020 included more than two-dozen purchases and sales during the first several weeks of the COVID-19 […]

Heads Of Democratic State Senate, State Assembly Urge Cuomo To Resign

Preview: The Democratic leaders of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate called on Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Sunday amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. “Everyday [sic] there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government,” State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in […]

Biden Signs Executive Order ‘To Make It Easier’ To Vote, Calls GOP Election Reform Efforts ‘An All-Out Assault’ On Voting Rights

Preview: President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Sunday in a move the White House said would expand voting access for Americans. Biden announced the order on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, commemorating the 1965 civil rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery. During the march, the protesters were violently attacked. […]

Manchin: Every Senator Thinks Minimum Wage Should Be Increased

Preview: When a vote came up in the Senate over the weekend on a proposed hike of the minimum wage to $15, eight Democrats voted no. They were Sens. Krysten Sinema of Arizona, Jon Tester of Montana, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Angus King of Maine, Chris Coons and Tom Carper of Delaware […]

Comedian Gabriel Iglesias Hits Back After NYT Columnist Says Cartoon Mouse ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ Stereotypes Mexicans

Preview: Comedian Gabriel Iglesias defended the cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzalez, whom Iglesias is voicing in the upcoming Space Jam sequel, against claims that the mouse perpetuates “corrosive stereotypes.” Iglesias took to Twitter on Saturday, shooting down any attempt at potentially canceling the cartoon mouse over claims that he or his cartoon friends contribute to harmful stereotypes […]

‘Anti-Racist’ Organization Says It Can No Longer Use Dr. Seuss Books To Teach Tolerance Because They Don’t Address Structural Racism

Preview: The “anti-racist” organization, Learning for Justice (formerly known as Teaching Tolerance), says it can no longer use a Dr. Seuss book, that was a key part of their “anti-racism” curriculum to teach acceptance to children after last week’s Dr. Seuss “cancellation” drama. Learning for Justice used to use the Dr. Seuss book, “The Sneetches,” to […]

Andrew Cuomo: ‘There Is No Way I Resign’

Preview: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told media, Sunday, that he will not resign from his position amid allegations that he sexually harassed five women and called critics demanding he step down “anti-democratic” and at odds with the voters of New York. In a conference call early Sunday afternoon, the New York Post reports, a “defiant” […]

New York Lawmaker Pushes Sex Ed Overhaul: Teaching ‘Gender Identity’ To 5-Year-Olds, ‘Anal Sex’ To 11-Year-Olds

Preview: A New York state senator is pushing to reform New York’s health curriculum to include teaching topics such as “gender identity” to children as young as 5 years old. Freshman state Sen. Samra Brouk, a Democrat, is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that would require state educators to adopt sex education standards created by […]

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Preview: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... (Top headline, 1st story, link) Related stories: 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? REVENGE... BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... Queen stresses importance of friends, family... UPDATES...

'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'...

Preview: 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... (Top headline, 2nd story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? REVENGE... BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... Queen stresses importance of friends, family... UPDATES...


Preview: PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? (Top headline, 3rd story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... REVENGE... BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... Queen stresses importance of friends, family... UPDATES...


Preview: REVENGE... (Top headline, 4th story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... Queen stresses importance of friends, family... UPDATES...


Preview: BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... (Top headline, 5th story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? REVENGE... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... Queen stresses importance of friends, family... UPDATES...

Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah...

Preview: Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... (Top headline, 6th story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? REVENGE... BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Queen stresses importance of friends, family... UPDATES...

Queen stresses importance of friends, family...

Preview: Queen stresses importance of friends, family... (Top headline, 7th story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? REVENGE... BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... UPDATES...


Preview: UPDATES... (Top headline, 8th story, link) Related stories: THE ACTRESS BATTLES THE FIRM... 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'... PALACE FEARED BABY WOULD BE TOO DARK? REVENGE... BIG MONEY, BIG RATINGS... Echoes Fergie's explosive 1996 chat with Oprah... Queen stresses importance of friends, family...


Preview: THE ROYALS: MEGHAN COMES FOR KATE! (Main headline, 1st story, link) Related stories: HARRY LECTURES WINDSORS


Preview: HARRY LECTURES WINDSORS (Main headline, 2nd story, link) Related stories: THE ROYALS: MEGHAN COMES FOR KATE! Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron

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Unruly party near Colorado University in Boulder prompts police to vow arrests

Preview: Police in Boulder, Colo., said Sunday that they were working to identify those who took part in a large street party on University Hill that resulted in three officers being assaulted by bricks and rocks, reports said.

This Day in History: March 8

Preview: Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in "The Fight of the Century." Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, vanishes

Arizona Bath & Body Works turns into slugfest between customer, employees

Preview: Scottsdale Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Kevin Quon told FOX News that the incident was started over someone cutting in line and that it was "not mask nor race related." He added that two female subjects involved in the fight have been cited criminally for the incident.

San Francisco TV reporter robbed of camera at gunpoint

Preview: The SFPD's Park Station said the camera was recovered on Thursday and that the incident remains an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD tip line at 1-415-575-444 or text a tip to TIP4111 and begin the text message with SFPD.

Floyd’s cause of death, ex-cop’s force will be keys at trial

Preview: A Minneapolis police officer was swiftly fired and charged with murder after bystander video showed him pressing his knee into the neck of George Floyd, ignoring the Black man’s cries that he couldn’t breathe. But even with that powerful footage, legal experts say the case isn’t a slam dunk.

Daytona Beach prepares for tens of thousands of bikers to ride into town

Preview: City officials are hoping to avoid a coronavirus outbreak similar to an incident which occurred at a Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally in August. Researchers linked 266,000 coronavirus cases, or about 19% of 1.4 million new coronavirus cases in the U.S. between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2, to the 10-day event.

DC police charge 12-year-old after four carjackings, second suspect still at-large

Preview: Washington, D.C., police arrested a 12-year-old boy Friday who with another male is suspected of going on a carjacking spree, targeting four cars in one hour before police apprehended him, according to reports.

Biden administration converting Texas migrant centers to rapidly release detained families in 72 hours or less

Preview: The Biden administration will transform two Texas facilities where detained migrant families are held into Ellis Island-style rapid processing centers, meaning adults and children who cross the border will be housed for a maximum of 72 hours before being released into the U.S.

Florida men arrested after shooting at car on I-4, crashing in high-speed chase caught on video, deputies say

Preview: Two Florida men have been arrested after shooting at a car on Interstate 4 and leading deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in a rollover crash, authorities said.

Capitol rioter accused of assaulting cops with chemical spray served as Marine, to remain jailed before trial

Preview: A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that a former Marine accused of dousing at least 15 police officers with a chemical spray outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and bragging about it later on video will remain in custody, according to a report.

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New York State Senate Leader Calls For Cuomo's Resignation - NPR

Preview: New York State Senate Leader Calls For Cuomo's Resignation  NPR New York state senate majority leader calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign  CNN Cuomo again refuses to resign despite new allegations, slams 'anti-democratic' critics  Fox News Arrogant Andrew Cuomo faces a fall: Goodwin  New York Post Andrew Cuomo’s behavior should not be tolerated, no matter his excuses  Washington Post View Full Coverage on Google News

Manchin Expresses Openness to Making Filibuster Harder to Use - The New York Times

Preview: Manchin Expresses Openness to Making Filibuster Harder to Use  The New York Times What happens next with the Covid relief bill (and when you could see another stimulus check)  CNN COVID relief bill could hit Biden's desk early this week  CBS Evening News Opinion: Bernie’s $15 Wage Goes Down Hard  The Wall Street Journal Biden's $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill Heads to Final Vote  Bloomberg Politics View Full Coverage on Google News

Boarded up and lined with barbed wire, Minneapolis braces for murder trial in George Floyd’s death - The Washington Post

Preview: Boarded up and lined with barbed wire, Minneapolis braces for murder trial in George Floyd’s death  The Washington Post Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin awaiting trial | GMA  Good Morning America Floyd’s cause of death, ex-cop’s force will be keys at trial  Fox News Hundreds march through downtown Minneapolis on eve of Derek Chauvin's trial  Minneapolis Star Tribune One person killed in shooting at George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis  CNN View Full Coverage on Google News

Afghanistan conflict: US warns of new Taliban 'spring offensive' - BBC News

Preview: Afghanistan conflict: US warns of new Taliban 'spring offensive'  BBC News U.S. proposes interim power-sharing government with Taliban in Afghanistan  The Washington Post Blinken offers plan to bolster Afghan peace process, report indicates  POLITICO U.S. Pushes U.N.-Led Peace Conference in Letter to Afghan Leader  The New York Times Secretary of state Blinken proposes steps to boost Afghanistan peace talks  The Guardian View Full Coverage on Google News

Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Say They Targeted Saudi Oil Port - The Wall Street Journal

Preview: Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Say They Targeted Saudi Oil Port  The Wall Street Journal Brent crude breaks $70 after Saudi Arabia's oil facilities attacked by Yemen's Houthis  CNBC Witnesses in Saudi Arabia's Dhahran City Hear Loud Bang  Bloomberg Three Reasons the Saudi Attack Won't Spike Oil Prices  Bloomberg Houthis strike Saudi oil giant’s facilities in the kingdom’s east  The Washington Post View Full Coverage on Google News

United Center limits vaccinations to only Chicagoans after majority of appointments made by those outside the city - Chicago Tribune

Preview: United Center limits vaccinations to only Chicagoans after majority of appointments made by those outside the city  Chicago Tribune COVID vaccination site opens in Chicago's Austin neighborhood  WGN News Chicagoans in Phase 1B-Plus of State Vaccine Plan Now Eligible for Appointments at United Center  NBC Chicago Chicago COVID vaccine: United Center mass vaccination site changes causes confusion as IL expands eligibility  WLS-TV Chicago Expands Eligibility For COVID Vaccinations At United Center  CBS Chicago View Full Coverage on Google News

University of Colorado Boulder party broken up by police, officers injured - CBS News

Preview: University of Colorado Boulder party broken up by police, officers injured  CBS News Police officers injured breaking up large gathering in Colorado  CNN CU Boulder party broken up by local police  9NEWS Tear gas and pepperballs deployed as violence ensued at Boulder block party  FOX 31 Denver Three officers injured while responding to massive party in Colorado  NBC News View Full Coverage on Google News

Bowling Green State University student dies after alleged fraternity hazing incident - ABC News

Preview: Bowling Green State University student dies after alleged fraternity hazing incident  ABC News Ohio college student in critical condition, organs to be donated after alleged hazing incident  NBC News Wiant family continues anti-hazing law push in light of Bowling Green accusations  NBC4 Columbus BGSU student dies after alleged hazing incident; family to donate his organs  WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland Bowling Green sophomore's organs will be donated following alcohol-related hazing incident  Fox News View Full Coverage on Google News

U.S. and South Korea agree on cost-sharing deal for troops - POLITICO

Preview: U.S. and South Korea agree on cost-sharing deal for troops  POLITICO US and South Korea reach agreement on cost sharing for American troops  CNN US, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops | TheHill  The Hill U.S., South Korea scale back annual drills  POLITICO US and South Korea agree on new cost-sharing deal for troops View Full Coverage on Google News

Lindsey Graham says Trump has a 'dark side' and a 'magic': Axios - Business Insider

Preview: Lindsey Graham says Trump has a 'dark side' and a 'magic': Axios  Business Insider The GOP is having a change of heart on economics. It could have implications for policymaking.  NBC News As Republicans rethink fiscal policies, a potential new model for the party emerges  Yahoo News How the GOP blew its chance at a 2022 working-class coalition in just 10 hours, 43 minutes | Will Bunch  The Philadelphia Inquirer The GOP has its guy, still (yep, that guy)  The Boston Globe View Full Coverage on Google News

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Democrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster 

Preview: The Senate is threatening to box in President Biden and congressional Democrats, who pledged to enact a bold agenda if given power.With the House passing a slate of big bills and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schu...

Greene sounds off on GOP after Hill story

Preview: GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) on Saturday fired back at her Republican colleagues who told The Hill that they were growing increasingly frustrated with her efforts to delay congressional business by forcing ...

World on brink of fourth wave of coronavirus

Preview: A year after the frightening beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the world stands on the brink of a fourth wave of infection as nations race to vaccinate their populations and stave off a new surge in hospitalizations...

Leaders of Newsom recall effort say they have enough signatures

Preview: Leaders of effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Sunday that they have collected enough signatures to spark a special election this year. At a press conference, organizers announced th...

Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it'

Preview: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview that aired Sunday that he thinks former President Trump can make the GOP "bigger" and "stronger," or he "could destroy it."Graham, who has been c...

Texas patrons threaten to call ICE on Mexican restaurant for keeping mask mandate

Preview: Patrons at a Mexican restaurant in Texas threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on employees over their refusal to work maskless, according to the establishment's owner."This has been ongoing...

Meghan Markle says royal family discussed her unborn son's skin color

Preview: Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex, said that before her son with Prince Harry was born, there were conversations within the royal family about "how dark his skin might be.""That was relayed...

Missouri pastor faces backlash after suggesting wives should lose weight, strive to look like Melania Trump

Preview: A Missouri pastor sparked outrage following a sermon he gave that many are calling sexist and misogynistic.

GOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke

Preview: A GOP senator who opposed both impeachments of former President Trump said Sunday that he believes impeachment-supporting Republicans such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) still have a place in the party.In an interview...

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott remarries after divorce from Jeff Bezos

Preview: Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has remarried after her 2019 divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, her new husband confirmed over the weekend.Teacher Dan Jewett said he had married Scott in a post d...

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Cop Pepper Sprays Black Mom With Toddler In Disturbing Body Cam Video

Preview: Rochester Police Department was also responsible for the handcuffing and pepper spraying of a 9-year-old Black girl just last month.

Prince Harry Says He Was 'Trapped' In The British Royal Family

Preview: "My father and my brother ... they are trapped," the Duke of Sussex told Oprah in a CBS interview.

Meghan Markle Says Royal Family Lied For Others, But Wouldn't Protect Her

Preview: The Duchess of Sussex accused the royal family of silencing her in the bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Prince Harry Heartbreakingly Compares Meghan Markle To Princess Diana

Preview: The Duke of Sussex got emotional while telling Oprah how his wife’s experience with British tabloids stacks up to his late mother’s.

8-Year-Old 'Minari' Star Alan Kim Sobs In Adorable Speech After Critics Choice Win

Preview: "Is this a dream?" Kim blubbered between gulps of air after winning the Best Young Actor award.

Meghan Markle Says Royal Family Expressed Racist Concerns About Her Son's Skin Color

Preview: The Duchess of Sussex also said that Archie, her son with Prince Harry, was not offered a title or protection by the British royal family.

Meghan Markle Says She Contemplated Suicide: 'I Just Didn't Want To Be Alive Anymore'

Preview: The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah on Sunday, "I just didn’t see a solution."

Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Reveal They Secretly Got Married Before The Royal Wedding

Preview: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped the wedding bombshell during their interview with Oprah.

Chris Wallace Asks Joe Manchin If He's 'Enjoying' His Power 'A Little Too Much'

Preview: The conservative West Virginia Democrat, a key swing vote in the Senate, appeared on four Sunday shows.

New York Senate's Top Democrat Calls For Cuomo To Resign

Preview: “We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign,” said state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

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Dispatches from a Pandemic: ‘There is haunting silence’: This is life in Italy, one year after national lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19

Preview: ‘The presence of increased police patrols in a crowded square in Como on a recent Saturday evening is further evidence of a developing social malaise that needs to be kept in check.’

: ‘Would you consider working for me?’ Clubhouse, the invite-only social network, is a hotbed for job interviews

Preview: 'One of the massive benefits of Clubhouse is you can actually hear the real person --- not a CV,' said one recruiter.

The Moneyist: My wife spent $50K on cosmetic procedures. It horrifies me to see so much money being blown on something so frivolous’

Preview: ‘She has paid for all this with her income, and she is frugal in other ways.’

Futures Movers: Brent crude tops $70 a barrel as Saudi-Yemen fighting escalates

Preview: Oil prices shot more than 2% higher Sunday, after Saudi Arabia and Yemen rebels traded airstrikes.

TaxWatch: Millions of Americans who were unemployed last year face another shock: A 2020 tax bill they can’t afford

Preview: A new bill wants to block federal income taxes on the first $10,200 a person received in unemployment benefits last year.

Key Words: Trump could make GOP stronger, or ‘he also could destroy it,’ Graham says

Preview: In an interview broadcast Sunday night on "Axios on HBO," the South Carolina Republican -- who has continued to support Trump, even after blaming him for the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob -- said the former president has a "dark side" and "some magic," and he's trying to "harness the magic."

MarketWatch: U.S. on ‘tipping point of another surge,’ COVID-19 experts warn

Preview: Another coronavirus surge could be right around the corner, U.S. public health officials say, and now is not the time to relax COVID-19 restrictions.

The Wall Street Journal: Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott marries Seattle school teacher

Preview: MacKenzie Scott, the philanthropist formerly married to Jeff Bezos, has married again following her 2019 divorce from the Inc. founder, according to a person familiar with the matter.

NewsWatch: Housing is a luxury? Here’s what the K-shaped recovery means for real estate

Preview: A K-shaped recovery from the COVID-induced downturn could be accompanied by an increasingly unequal housing market.

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Cuomo: Resigning amid sexual harassment allegations would be ‘anti-democratic’

Preview: Cuomo says resigning amid sexual harassment allegations would be ‘anti-democratic’ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will “not resign” amid sexual harassment allegations. The governor expressed that he feels it would be “anti-democratic” to step down and he does not want this to become a political decision.

Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill with no GOP support

Preview: The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, capping off a marathon overnight session with a final vote of 50-49 and every republican voting “no.”

Trump's favorite legal trick may save him yet again

Preview: Once again, a question of where we stand on the law seems to boil down to partisan affiliation.

Actually, now is the perfect time to criticize Joe Biden

Preview: Biden's priorities are still being set. Now is the time to let the White House know what's important.

What a $15 minimum wage will — and won't — do for Americans

Preview: The pandemic proved our economy runs on hourly low-wage workers. Shouldn’t we pay them fairly?

GOP senators: Keep Black Lives Matter's name out of your mouths

Preview: The dog whistle from GOP senators about last summer's protests is gross.

The GOP wants the Supreme Court to keep Democrats from winning elections

Preview: Republican lies about voter fraud are giving way to naked grasping for power.

The Democratic Party controls Washington. It's time to act like it.

Preview: The Democratic Party controls Washington. It’s time to act like it.

Texas is opening back up — again. It's going to kill people — again.

Preview: Yes, some state Covid numbers have decreased. Which is exactly why Texas needs to stay the course.

Biden marks 'Bloody Sunday' by signing voting rights order

Preview: President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at leveraging federal resources to expand access to voting. The order comes on the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when 600 peaceful protesters marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., led by the late congressman John Lewis. The demonstrators were urging for the passage of the Voting Rights Act before being met with violence from white police officers.

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Mets star Marcus Stroman has big plans for cleats he designed

Preview: PORT ST. LUCIE — Marcus Stroman got tired of wearing what he perceived as inferior cleats, so he designed his own. The Mets right-hander says he spent the last two years developing a cleat under the SHUGO brand, incorporating his personality and desire for safety on the mound. Stroman previously tore an anterior cruciate ligament...

Jacob Trouba ‘felt good’ in return to Rangers lineup

Preview: Defenseman Jacob Trouba was back in the Rangers’ lineup Sunday night in Pittsburgh after sustaining a broken thumb on Feb. 16 that sidelined him for eight games. After initially receiving a four-to-six week timeline for his return, Trouba began skating with the team around the three-week mark and proved to be way ahead of schedule....

Julius Randle pulled off triple crown at NBA All-Star Sunday

Preview: Knicks power forward Julius Randle didn’t pull off a triple-double, but he pulled off the triple crown at All-Star Sunday. He competed in the Skills Competition, was used as a prop in the Slam Dunk Contest and played 13 minutes in his first All-Star Game. In limited action in the main event, Randle scored two...

Lee Westwood’s casual approach nearly took down Bryson DeChambeau

Preview: ORLANDO, Fla. — The final pairing of Sunday’s Arnold Palmer Invitational represented the epitome of old school (Lee Westwood) versus new school (Bryson DeChambeau). DeChambeau was grinding on the practice range well past when darkness set in on Saturday night. Westwood was likely enjoying a relaxing glass of wine or three with his girlfriend, Helen...

Team LeBron routs Team Durant in NBA All-Star Game

Preview: Kevin Durant shouldn’t quit his day job. He’s better on the court than in the front office. His team hardly stood a chance in Sunday night’s All-Star Game, losing big to Team LeBron, 170-150, in Atlanta. Of course, Durant’s team would’ve had a better shot had Durant been available and not resting his injured hamstring....

NY should use Biden Bucks to give restaurants and retailers a tax holiday

Preview: Good news: After the horror of the past year, New York’s budget crisis isn’t as bad as it could be. Now, Team Biden is sending even more billions our way. Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and lawmakers should use part of this money to support restaurants and retailers through the most direct way possible: a...

Elites see my black baby daughter as nothing more than a carbon-emitter

Preview: An hour after my daughter was born, I found myself racing back and forth between my wife’s hospital room and my newborn’s crib in a neonatal intensive-care unit. Both faced dire health challenges. It was the worst experience of my life, but in the end, mother and baby recovered.  The ordeal taught me something: Nothing on...

Didi Gregorius incurs jersey mishap against Yankees

Preview: Observations from the Yankees’ 4-0 spring training win over the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Eight is Enough Left-hander Lucas Luetge tossed another scoreless inning and struck out all three batters he faced in the top of the sixth: Andrew McCutchen, Didi Gregorius and Bryce Harper. He now has eight strikeouts in three...

Brooklyn man arrested for shooting NYPD cop, roommate during police standoff

Preview: A Brooklyn man shot an NYPD cop and wounded his roommate in a standoff with police at their Prospect Lefferts Gardens apartment late Sunday, police sources told The Post. The suspect was taken into custody after he briefly barricaded himself inside the apartment — with his wounded roommate calling cops while hiding in a closet,...

Mets’ improved depth may be key to keeping camaraderie strong

Preview: PORT ST. LUCIE — “What I like the most is the camaraderie, the teamwork. I said it here, it hasn’t been easy. We have guys everywhere at the facility. This is a pretty big facility, having all the fields and the two buildings and different things like that. You see everyone relating really well, coaching...

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Top State Leader Says ‘Cuomo Must Resign.’ Governor Says ‘No Way.’

Preview: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that honoring calls for his resignation because of unproven allegations would be “anti-democratic.”

A Governor in Isolation: How Andrew Cuomo Lost His Grip on New York

Preview: Amid calls for his resignation, the governor is relying on a shrinking circle of advisers to help him navigate the biggest crises of his political life.

Child Tax Credit, Proposed in Stimulus, Advances an Effort Years in the Making

Preview: The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package moving through Congress advances an idea that Democrats have been nurturing for decades: establishing a guaranteed income for families with children.

What’s in the Stimulus Bill? A Guide to Where the $1.9 Trillion Is Going

Preview: The measure passed by the Senate, and headed to the House for final approval before going to President Biden’s desk, contains money for direct checks, jobless benefits, state and local aid, and more.

In Oprah Interview, Meghan Says Life as Royal Made Her Suicidal

Preview: In a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duchess of Sussex said she had asked officials at Buckingham Palace for medical help but was told it would damage the institution.

A Raw Look Behind Palace Doors as Meghan and Harry Meet With Oprah

Preview: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said royal life was so unbearable she thought of suicide, and there were talks with the family about her baby’s skin color.

Alaska’s Remote Villages Race Against Time and History

Preview: The coronavirus has spread into the most remote villages, a reminder of earlier pandemics that ravaged the state. Now there is a rush to deliver vaccines in time.

Some Elderly African Americans Are Hesitant About the Covid Vaccine

Preview: A nurse in Baton Rouge has been on a crusade to overcome resistance among older African-Americans unwilling to take the coronavirus vaccine.

First Challenge in George Floyd Murder Trial: Finding an Impartial Jury

Preview: Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in connection with Mr. Floyd’s death.

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Video Shows Rochester Police Tackling, Pepper-Spraying Black Woman in Front of Toddler

Preview: The incident took place less than one moth after Rochester police officers pepper-sprayed a handcuffed nine-year-old girl.

Fauci Warns Lifting COVID Restrictions Too Early Risks Another Wave of Infections

Preview: The new variant of the virus that was first detected in Britain appears to be spreading rapidly in the United States.

Cuomo Says “No Way” He’ll Resign as Allegations Pile Up

Preview: The New York governor has lost the support of the top two Democrats in the state's legislature.

Sen. Manchin Says Filibuster Should Be “Painful” to Use

Preview: The moderate West Virginia Democrat said it has become too easy to invoke the filibuster and making it more difficult could encourage compromise.

Two More Former Cuomo Aides Accuse NY Governor of Inappropriate Behavior

Preview: Several former staffers say Cuomo led a toxic office culture in which women were often degraded and verbal attacks on subordinates were common.

Dear Care and Feeding: My Son Misremembers His Mom’s Presence Throughout His Childhood

Preview: Parenting advice on being a single dad, grief, and sleep.

NYT: Cellphone Data Tie Proud Boys Member With Trump White House Before Capitol Riot

Preview: The contact was in addition to a leader of the far-right group calling Trump associate Roger Stone shortly before the riot.

Trump Demands GOP Stop Using His Name, Likeness for Fundraising

Preview: Republican organizations have repeatedly referenced the former president in emails seeking donations.

Senate Approves $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill Without Any Republican Support

Preview: The bill was approved after an all-nighter in which Democrats swatted away Republican efforts to push through around three dozen amendments.

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Researchers Call for 'Full and Unrestricted' Investigation Into COVID-19 Origins

Preview: A recent WHO investigation has left many questions unanswered.

Today in Supreme Court History: March 7, 1965

Preview: 3/7/1965: Civil rights marchers are attacked by the police in Selma, Alabama. The event would become known as "Bloody Sunday."

Biden Goes Big

Preview: Somehow, policy makers slid from "never waste a crisis" to "everything is a crisis," a development that is particularly irksome during an actual crisis.

"Health Experts Are Telling Healthy People Not to Wear Face Masks for Coronavirus. So Why Are So Many Doing It?"

Preview: A blast from the not-so-distant past, plus a thought about the vaccine-cautious.

Don't Play Perry Mason in This Court, Counsel

Preview: An incriminating secret recording, played in a deposition to contradict a defendant’s denial, can’t be used as evidence, because it wasn’t disclosed at the outset as part of the parties’ discovery obligations.

A Closer Look At The Unanimous First Opinion Tradition

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In Bump Stock Case, Tenth Circuit Dismisses Grant of Rehearing En Banc As Improvidently Granted

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Hard Butter Mystery Riles Canada

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The Hidden Rule of Ownership

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Today in Supreme Court History: March 6, 1857

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The trial of Derek Chauvin begins this month in the death of George Floyd. Here's what to know.

Preview: The trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer charged in George Floyd's death, starts March 8 in Minneapolis. Here's what to know.

'I didn't want to be alive anymore': Duchess Meghan tells Oprah Winfrey she contemplated suicide

Preview: Duchess Meghan revealed her new baby's gender, an early secret wedding and suicidal thoughts in an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

NBA All-Stars still bring energy and excitement as Team LeBron cruises past Team Durant

Preview: The NBA All-Stars found ways to still bring energy and excitement to a subdued game as Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 170-150 in Atlanta.

Critics Choice Awards best moments: 'Minari' kid's cute tears, Jason Sudeikis thanks Olivia Wilde

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'There is no way I resign': Cuomo refuses to quit amid scandals as top NY Dem says he should step down

Preview: New York Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said fellow Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign "for the good of the state."

Missouri pastor on leave after derogatory sermon about women, 'trophy wife' Melania Trump

Preview: "Why is it so many times that women, after they get married, let themselves go?" the pastor asked his congregation during his sermon.

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Meghan Markle says the royal family was “concerned” about her future child’s skin color

Preview: Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, CBS, March 7, 2021. | Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images In an interview with Oprah, the former Duchess of Sussex reveals a troubling encounter with the British royal family. On Sunday night on CBS, Meghan and Harry, the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sat down with Oprah for what was advertised as a no-holds-barred conversation about their experience with the British royal family. And they made one revelation that appeared to genuinely shock Oprah: Before the 2019 birth of their son Archie, members of the royal family, they said, had approached them with concerns about his skin color. There were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born” from members of the royal family, Meghan said to a flabbergasted Oprah early on in the two-hour interview. Meghan said she was not present at the conversations, but that she heard of them second-hand through Harry. “About how dark your baby is going to be?” asked Oprah. “Potentially,” said Meghan, “and what that would mean or look like.” Meghan has a Black mother and white father, and has been subject to a storm of racist harassment from the British tabloid press ever since she became associated with the royal family. Similar racist harassment came publicly from the British royal family on at least one occasion, as well: infamously, Princess Michael of Kent wore a racist blackamoor brooch to be introduced to Meghan in 2017. On Sunday night, Meghan declined to name the member or members of the family who speculated about what her then-unborn child might look like. “I think that would be very damaging to them,” she said. When Harry joined the interview, he similarly refused to name names. “That conversation I’m never going to share,” he said. “It was awkward. I was a bit shocked.” Harry added that he had this conversation early on in his relationship with Meghan. “That was right at the beginning,” he said. “What will the kids look like?” The couple also revealed that the palace expressed reluctance to grant their son Archie — great-grandson of the current Queen of England and grandson of the future King — a courtesy title, or to provide him with the security that normally accompanies that title, in violation of traditional royal protocol. “Do you think it’s because of his race?” Oprah asked. Meghan emphasized that she was not particularly concerned about Archie’s access or lack thereof to a title, but the lack of security gave her pause. And, she added, “the idea of the first member of color of this family not being titled in the same way” did not sit well with her. Meghan and Harry married in 2018 in a lavish and history-making royal ceremony. In January of 2020, they declared their intentions to step back from their day-to-day duties as senior members of the royal family. Shortly thereafter, they announced that they would be relinquishing their “royal highness” titles. Sunday night’s conversation was the couple’s first lengthy interview since departing the royal family.

The US vaccine situation is looking up — but experts say you should keep wearing a mask

Preview: A man adjusts his second face mask ahead of a funeral service in Los Angeles. | Brandon Bell/Getty Images The US set a new daily record for vaccinations on Saturday with 2.9 million shots. As the US ramps up its mass vaccination campaign, public health experts are warning against complacency — and a possible new surge in cases. On Sunday, Dr. Michael Osterholm, who leads the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, compared the current US Covid-19 situation to “the eye of the hurricane” in an interview with host Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. Of particular concern, Osterholm said, are coronavirus variants that have higher transmission rates and are believed to be more deadly. “It appears that things are going very well,” Osterholm said. “You can see blue skies. We’ve been through a terrible, terrible year. But what we know is about to come upon us is the situation with this B.1.1.7 variant ... we do have to keep America as safe as we can from this virus by not letting up on any of the public health measures we’ve taken.” NEW: @Mtosterholm says “we are in the eye of the hurricane right now” on the spread of the coronavirus. #MTP Osterholm: “It appears things are going really well, we even see blue skies ... but we know what is about to come upon us is the situation with this B117 [UK] variant.” — Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 7, 2021 One of those public health measures has been increasingly successful of late: White House Covid-19 czar Jeff Zients told Meet the Press Sunday that a record 2.9 million Covid-19 vaccines were administered on Saturday, setting a new record for the third day in a row. On average, Zients said, the US is now administering about 2.2 million shots per day, an increase of 1.3 million doses per day compared to mid-January levels. EARLIER: "It is really big progress to have enough vaccine supply for all adult Americans by the end of May," says WH Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients. #MTP "When we walked into office 6-7 weeks ago, there was not enough supply and it was pushed further out." — Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 7, 2021 And according to Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser on the White House Covid-19 response, a majority — 59 percent — of adults age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, as have about 23 percent of all US adults. Polling suggests that vaccine hesitancy is also falling in the US, even as vaccine supply increases. According to a new Pew Research Center poll Friday, a combined 69 percent of the US population has either already been vaccinated or plans to get a vaccine when one becomes available. That’s a significant step up from November, when only 60 percent of American adults said they definitely or probably would get the vaccine when it became available, according to Pew, and even more so from the nadir of US vaccine confidence in September, when just 51 percent planned to get vaccinated. Public health experts believe 70 to 80 percent of Americans will need to be vaccinated for the US to have herd immunity. Vaccine hesitancy fell even more sharply among Black Americans in the most recent Pew poll: 61 percent now say they have either already been vaccinated or plan to get a vaccine, compared to 42 percent in November. Those stats are just the latest bit of good vaccine news in the US, following the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of a third vaccine for emergency use late last month, and President Joe Biden’s Tuesday announcement that the US was “on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.” On Saturday, Biden laid out an even more ambitious target, suggesting that the US could have enough vaccines by mid-May. Biden also announced a new partnership between pharmaceutical giants Merck and Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday. The two companies are set to work together in order to step up production of Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved single-shot vaccine, which clinical trials have shown is highly effective at preventing hospitalization and serious illness from Covid-19. And billions of federal dollars for vaccine distribution are almost on the way after the Senate passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Saturday along strict party lines. The bill will be back in the House this week for a final vote, and is expected to land on Biden’s desk for a signature soon afterward. Combined, the vaccine news points to a far more optimistic trajectory for the country heading into spring and summer, as Dr. Anthony Fauci noted on Face the Nation Sunday. Will warmer weather mean less mitigation for COVID-19? Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @margbrennan, not so fast: "We've been through this movie before", warning of precedent of surges in the summer. Fauci says, however, vaccine supply will "dramatically increase" in the weeks ahead — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 7, 2021 “We need to gradually pull back [on restrictions] as we get more people vaccinated,” he told host Margaret Brennan. “And that is happening every single day, more and more people, and particularly as we get more doses, which are going to be dramatically increased as we get into April and May.” Don’t relax yet, public health experts say Despite a tide of good news in recent weeks, Fauci also cautioned against rolling back restrictions too quickly, pointing out in his Face the Nation appearance Sunday that although US Covid-19 cases have fallen sharply in recent weeks, the decline is “starting to plateau.” “Plateauing at a level of 60,000 to 70,000 new cases per day is not an acceptable level,” Fauci said. “And if you look at what happened in Europe a few weeks ago, they’re usually a couple of weeks ahead of us in these patterns, they were coming down too, then they plateaued. And over the last week or so, they’ve had about a 9 percent increase in cases.” Another infection spike? A fourth wave? Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterates his concern that COVID-19 cases have declined and plateaued around 60k or 70k cases -- he says that's “unacceptable.” — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 7, 2021 Not every state in the US has taken Fauci’s warnings to heart, however: Despite concerns about a variant-fueled surge in the US, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves both moved to lift mask mandates and loosen other public health restrictions in their states last week, alarming public health officials. “When you look at the numbers in Mississippi,” Reeves told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, “It doesn’t justify government intervention. ... Our number one tool against the virus is putting shots in arms.” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on CNN defends his decision to rescind his state's mask mandate even as public health officials insist it's a bad idea — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 7, 2021 According to the Washington Post, however, Mississippi lags the rest of the nation in vaccine distribution per capita as of Thursday, as does Texas. And while vaccines are an important mitigation tool, Osterholm advocated for maintaining other techniques to stop infections as well, telling Meet the Press, “You wouldn’t catch me tonight in a crowded restaurant somewhere, even with my vaccination.” Noting that public health guidance continues to recommend masks and social distancing, some of Abbott and Reeves’s fellow Republican governors, such as West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, have expressed confusion with Texas and Mississippi’s decision to relax restrictions early. “For crying out loud,” Justice told Face the Nation Sunday, “If we could be a little more prudent for 30 more days, or 45 more days, or whatever it took for us to get on rock-solid ground, that’s the approach West Virginia’s going to take.” West Virginia Governor @JimJusticeWV on other states lifting mask mandates during COVID-19 “For crying out loud, if you could be a little more prudent...for us to get on rock solid ground, that’s the approach West Virginia’s going to take." — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 7, 2021 Justice’s stance isn’t just supported by public health experts, but polling also suggests that it’s popular: According to a new poll by ABC and Ipsos, a majority of Americans — about 56 percent — think mask mandates are being relaxed too quickly. Zients reiterated that position to Todd on Sunday. “We need to make sure that we do not let down our guard,” Zients said. “We need to stay on this path and beat this pandemic.”

Two more women accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment

Preview: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference in September 2020 in New York City. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images Cuomo is facing calls for his resignation amid a growing list of sexual harassment allegations. In a pair of news reports Saturday, two more former aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused him of sexual harassment, a development that led New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to join calls for Cuomo, a Democrat, to resign. “For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign,” Stewart-Cousins, also a Democrat, said in a statement Sunday. As of Sunday, five women have come forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment. Most recently, Ana Liss, a former policy and operations aide to Cuomo from 2013 to 2015, told the Wall Street Journal the governor repeatedly inquired about her personal life, touched her, and on one occasion even kissed her hand. According to the Journal, Liss’s allegations were backed by recollections from multiple anonymous former staffers. Separately, Karen Hinton — a former Cuomo aide who also worked with the now-governor as a consultant when he led the New York Department of Housing and Urban Development — told the Washington Post in a piece published Saturday that Cuomo invited her to his hotel, asked her personal questions about her marriage, and hugged her repeatedly in a manner that was “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate” when she attempted to leave. “He pulls me back for another intimate embrace,” Hinton told the Post of the encounter. “I thought at that moment it could lead to a kiss, it could lead to other things, so I just pull away again, and I leave.” Multiple people also confirmed to the Post that Hinton detailed the encounter to them shortly after it occurred in 2000, with one friend stating that Hinton was “really creeped out. It really freaked her out.” Cuomo’s office has dismissed both accounts in statements to the Wall Street Journal and to the Washington Post, casting Hinton as “a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago” and claiming that hugs and kisses — the behaviors that make up the alleged inappropriate and unwanted physical contact — are just “what people in politics do.” Liss and Hinton are far from the only former aides to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and misconduct. Both stories are backed by additional anonymous accounts from others who have worked with or for Cuomo — including that of a federal official who told the Post Cuomo kissed her on the cheek in front of colleagues shortly after she began work at HUD — and they are the fourth and fifth named accusers to emerge in recent weeks. Previously, two other former aides — Lindsey Boylan, now a candidate for Manhattan borough president, and Charlotte Bennett — accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. A third woman, Anna Ruch, who did not work with Cuomo, recounted meeting the governor at a friend’s wedding, and says he attempted to kiss her. Whoa at this pic: A young woman says Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked if he could kiss her at a wedding, and put his hands on her face Anna Ruch said she felt “uncomfortable and embarrassed” when he did this — philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 2, 2021 Ruch’s allegations are also backed by a photo of the encounter. Her story, as well as Bennett’s, was first reported by the New York Times. Boylan first accused Cuomo of misconduct in an essay posted to Medium in February this year. According to Bennett, Cuomo asked her about her sex life and whether she was interested in older men, among other comments. “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times of a June 5 encounter with Cuomo in his Albany office. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.” Cuomo is facing a flurry of misconduct allegations right now In addition to a slew of sexual harassment allegations, Cuomo is also facing at least two other closely linked scandals that have left his political career in jeopardy. One revolves around his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York: Despite a star turn for Cuomo early in the crisis, when New York City was far and away the hardest-hit area of the country, new reports suggest that the Cuomo administration deliberately manipulated nursing home death statistics to cast New York’s response in a more favorable light — and to shield the governor from criticism. According to the New York Times, Cuomo aides — none of whom had a background in public health — rewrote a report first produced by New York state health officials to remove a statistic revealing how many nursing home residents died from the virus in the state. Additionally, a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that the Cuomo administration initially undercounted those nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent, according to the New York Times. After the attorney general’s report was released in late January, the state provided new data that increased the reported number of nursing home deaths in New York by more than 40 percent. Cuomo’s response to the nursing home scandal has also spun off into a scandal in its own right: In February, New York Assembly member Ron Kim, who is also a Democrat, said Cuomo allegedly threatened Kim’s career in politics over his criticism of Cuomo’s handling of nursing home deaths in New York, after comments Kim made to the New York Post detailing a call Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa had with lawmakers about the deaths. “Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim told CNN last month. Kim also alleges that Cuomo told him, “We’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines, and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me.” Kim’s account has since sparked the revelation of a number of other similar stories about Cuomo from New York politicians, which were bolstered by Saturday’s Washington Post story about Hinton. According to the Post, Cuomo “was often consumed by rage and irritation toward [staffers], only to be kind and charming in their next interactions. They found the sharp contrast to be deeply disorienting, with some saying it even drove colleagues to suffer emotional breakdowns.” In the same story, Kim told the Washington Post that Cuomo’s behavior was a pattern. “He feels untouchable,” Kim said of Cuomo. “Whether it’s verbal or physical abuse, or threatening lawmakers or journalists for doing their jobs, it’s come to a level where it’s so normalized that he doesn’t think twice about behaving that way.” Cuomo says he isn’t going anywhere Despite the mounting and diverse set of misconduct allegations facing Cuomo, it’s unclear what the future holds for him. James, the New York attorney general, has opened an independent civil investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, and Saturday’s revelations have already intensified pressure on the governor to step down of his own accord. Already this month, one member of New York’s congressional delegation, Rep. Kathleen Rice, has called on Cuomo to resign, and on Sunday, New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins did so as well. “New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign.” NEW: Bombshell. ⁦@AndreaSCousins⁩ calls on ⁦@NYGovCuomo⁩ to RESIGN. — Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 7, 2021 Stewart-Cousins’s statement is a blow to an already embattled Cuomo, but it’s not especially surprising: Stewart-Cousins indicated in an interview Thursday that she would call for Cuomo’s resignation if more sexual harassment allegations surfaced. Since then, two more women — Liss and Hinton — have gone on the record accusing Cuomo of sexual misconduct. New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie supported Stewart-Cousins’s stance in a statement Sunday and called the allegations against Cuomo “deeply disturbing,” though he did not explicitly issue his own call for Cuomo to resign. “I too share the sentiment of Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins regarding the Governor’s ability to continue to lead this state,” Heastie said. “I think it is time for the Governor to seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.” Thus far, however, Cuomo has resisted calls to resign, though he issued an apology of sorts for his conduct at a press conference Wednesday. “I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation, for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone. I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.” He also reiterated his refusal to step down on Sunday prior to Stewart-Cousins’s statement, telling reporters on a conference call that “there is no way I resign.” If Cuomo were to resign, however, he would be replaced by New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would be the first woman to hold the office. Even if he does stay in office, the recent tide of scandals could undercut Cuomo’s political future in the state. He will be up for reelection in 2022, if he does choose to seek a fourth term as New York governor, and as Politico points out, he might well face a difficult primary to claim the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. “Whether he resigns or not, there will be no shortage of candidates in 2022,” one anonymous source told Politico of Cuomo’s plight. “Donors and consultants have begun reaching out to prospective candidates because they see the writing on the wall.” Finally, Cuomo’s eventual political fate could have far broader implications for the Democratic Party: As Vox’s Anna North has written, “what happens next” — whether resignation, impeachment, or an eventual primary repudiation — “will show how Democrats handle sexual misconduct allegations against one of their own more than three years after the Me Too movement started making headlines.”

Joe Manchin opens the door to filibuster reform

Preview: Sen. Joe Manchin prepares to attend a Senate meeting on Deb Haaland’s nomination for Interior secretary. | Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images Sen. Manchin’s suggestion for changing the filibuster: “Make them stand there and talk.” On Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a longtime defender of the filibuster, signaled that he might nevertheless be open to filibuster reforms that could make it easier for Democrats to advance their legislative agenda. In a series of television interviews, Manchin emphasized his support for the filibuster rule, which effectively imposes a 60-vote threshold for most legislative action in the Senate. But he told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that “if you want to make [filibustering] a little bit more painful — make them stand there and talk — I’m willing to look at any way we can.” He also reiterated that same point elsewhere on Sunday, telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that “[the filibuster] should be painful if you want to use it.” Joe Manchin tells Chris Wallace that while he supports the filibuster, he thinks "it should be painful" if senators want to use it — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 7, 2021 That may not sound like a big deal, but it is: As Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio pointed out on Twitter Sunday, what Manchin appears to be describing is a throwback to the “talking filibuster,” which would likely pose a much more surmountable obstacle to the narrow Democratic Senate majority. Wow — Manchin signals an openness to filibuster reform. What he’s referring to here is the “talking filibuster,” whereby a member of the minority party can filibuster as long as he/she stays put on the floor. Once he/she relents, there’d be a vote at a simple majority threshold. — Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) March 7, 2021 As Desiderio explained, under a “talking filibuster,” any “member of the minority party can filibuster as long as he/she stays put on the floor.” But once a member finishes speaking, the filibuster would end, and “there’d be a vote at a simple majority threshold” of 50 votes, instead of the existing 60-vote threshold required to end a filibuster. That’s a big change, because there’s currently no actual filibustering required to filibuster in the Senate, at least not in the conventional sense. As Vox explained back in 2015, the modern filibuster doesn’t require a senator talking on the floor for hours on end to delay a bill. Instead, today’s filibuster is a straightforward move to reject unanimous consent on a bill that the minority can wield painlessly: According to former Vox writer Ezra Klein, “Today’s filibusters simply paralyze the Senate until the majority either finds 60 votes to proceed or gives up and moves on to another piece of business.” If that rule were changed, though — say, by going back to the talking filibuster of yore — filibusters might only paralyze the Senate until the minority runs out of members willing to hold the floor. Support for the talking filibuster isn’t really a new position for Manchin either, as Desiderio points out: In 2011, Manchin backed a similar, unsuccessful measure that would have “required that Senators who wish to filibuster a bill must actually take the floor and make remarks.” As things stand, the filibuster doesn’t affect all Senate business — judicial nominations, for example, are only subject to a simple 50-vote majority, as are Cabinet appointments — but it does limit most legislation. The one notable exception to that rule is the budget reconciliation process, which Democrats are on the verge of using to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package into law this week. But reconciliation is also an arcane, limited process that would be incompatible with many Democratic priorities under current congressional rules. Despite being the very thing that imposes a 60-vote threshold on much Senate business, the filibuster itself isn’t subject to the same threshold. If the current Democratic caucus majority in the Senate — with its 50 votes, plus Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker — wanted to eliminate the filibuster altogether, it could do so. It won’t, unless Manchin and other moderates have a dramatic change of heart — but Manchin’s comments are a reminder that Democrats could still use their majority to find a way around the filibuster if their members aren’t willing to end it outright. Filibuster changes could pave the way for a bold Democratic legislative agenda Obviously, Manchin’s comments Sunday aren’t a definite commitment to do something about the filibuster — but they’re still extremely good news for Democrats, who appear as if they will soon face a string of futile fights to win over 10 Republican votes for priorities like voting rights and a minimum wage increase. Specifically, Manchin’s change in tone, though slight, comes as Senate Democrats prepare for a fight over a voting rights package recently passed by the House of Representatives, and as high-profile party leaders begin to get behind ditching the filibuster. In an interview this week, for example, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told the Guardian that “there’s no way under the sun that in 2021 that we are going to allow the filibuster to be used to deny voting rights.” “Here we are talking about the Voting Rights Act [late Rep. John Lewis] worked so hard for and that’s named in his honor and they’re going to filibuster it to death?” Clyburn said. “That ain’t gonna happen.” As a member of the House rather than the Senate, Clyburn himself has no say over the fate of the filibuster, but he’s still an influential, longtime leader in Congress. And he’s not alone in arguing for change: Just this past week, several Senate Democrats indicated they would also be open to abolishing the filibuster to clear the way for priorities like voting rights. ‼️Another major one. In addition to being from a key swing state, Stabenow is the fourth-ranking Senate Democratic leader and chair of the DPCC, the caucus' policy and messaging arm. And just generally viewed as a very smart and savvy senator by her colleagues. — Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) March 6, 2021 Despite some movement within the Democratic caucus, the path to filibuster elimination — or even reform — still isn’t exactly clear. Democrats would need all 50 members of their majority to make it happen, and Manchin’s comments Sunday confirm that he’s still in the “hard no” camp on abolishing the filibuster, as is Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema, who has staked out an aggressively pro-filibuster position. If the Democratic Senate majority does decide to take action though, there are lots of things they could do short of blowing up the filibuster for good. As Vox’s Ian Millhiser wrote last month, with just 50 votes and Harris to break the tie, Democrats could limit which bills are subject to the filibuster, make it harder to filibuster a bill in the first place, or reduce the cloture threshold in the Senate. On Meet the Press Sunday, Manchin indicated some willingness to consider that first option, in addition to a talking filibuster, telling Todd he might be open “to a reconciliation” style approach for passing bills if Democrats are met with repeated refusals from Manchin’s “Republican friends” to work together. According to some Democrats, such as Clyburn, changing the filibuster is vital to the future not just of the Biden administration’s legislative agenda, but to the Democratic Party’s ability to compete in future elections. “If Manchin and Sinema enjoy being in the majority,” Clyburn told the Guardian, “They had better figure out a way to get around the filibuster when it comes to voting and civil rights.”

Trump tells GOP committees to stop using his name for fundraising

Preview: Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on February 28, 2021. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images Trump sent cease and desist orders to the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC on Friday. Former President Donald Trump demanded that the Republican National Committee (RNC) and two GOP campaign organizations stop using his name and likeness for fundraising, on Friday, according to a report from Politico. Trump lawyers reportedly sent cease and desist orders not just to the RNC, but the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which are spearheading Republican efforts to retake the Senate and the House in the 2022 midterms, respectively. The cease and desist effort comes less than a week after Trump’s first major post-presidency speech, at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Orlando, Florida. Trump used his keynote address there not just to reassert his leadership of the party that has twice nominated him for president, but to float a potential 2024 run for president, and to call out by name the 10 Republican representatives who voted to impeach him for inciting insurrection in January. He also attacked the seven Republican senators who voted to convict him, telling the crowd, “Get rid of ’em all,” though at least two of the seven have already announced that they will not run for reelection. Trump puts Mitt Romney, "Little Ben Sasse," Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Tomney, and all the House Republicans who voted for his impeachment on blast by name -- concluding with Liz Cheney — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 28, 2021 According to Politico’s Rachael Bade and Tara Palmeri, those Republican defectors are part of the reason why Trump chose to issue cease and desist orders Friday. The twice-impeached former president was reportedly “furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him — without his permission.” Before his pivot to politics, Trump made a career trading on his name: He’s licensed everything from Trump steaks to Trump vodka to Trump ties, not to mention a slew of towers in the US and abroad, and made millions in the process. In February, NRCC finance chair Rep. Darin LaHood told Politico that the GOP’s campaign arm would stand behind pro-impeachment members in 2022, despite Trump’s public desire to excommunicate them from the party. And NRCC chair Rep. Tom Emmer has encouraged Trump to stay out of GOP primaries. Trump’s CPAC speech made it clear that he does plan to intercede in primaries — and if enforced, the cease and desist orders Trump’s camp sent Friday could well be a blow to the GOP’s fundraising efforts heading into the midterms. In part, this is because the Republican base remains overwhelmingly loyal to Trump. For example, in a Morning Consult/Politico poll in the field late last month, 79 percent of Republicans say they retain a favorable opinion of the former president, and the majority of House and Senate Republicans have cast in their lot with him as well. Additionally, Trump has already proved himself to be a fundraising giant since his election defeat in November last year. His leadership PAC, Save America, raised more than $31 million just in the aftermath of the election, and Trump is reportedly also contemplating starting a new super PAC to boost his fundraising power. Trump is also doing his best to channel money from Republican donors through his own fundraising channels, instead of groups like the NRSC. “There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect America-first Republican conservatives and in turn to make America great again, and that’s through Save America PAC and,” he told supporters at CPAC last weekend. Should Republican donors heed the former president’s call, Trump will likely be able to influence coming elections not just by using his popularity to provide endorsements, but by using his PACs to rival efforts by the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC. As of Saturday, however, the RNC doesn’t appear to have been deterred. According to Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, the committee sent out a fundraising email invoking Trump’s agenda even after the cease and desist orders went out. As reported by @playbookdc, Trump has sent cease-and-desist letters to the RNC, NRCC, and NRSC telling them not to use Trump's name or likeness in $ appeals But the RNC appears to be ignoring it. They sent out an email today asking supporters for $ to "DEFEND" Trump's policies — Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) March 6, 2021 Trump’s exact plans aren’t clear, but he’s making sure the GOP stays his party All the money he’s raking in aside, Trump’s future political plans are somewhat unclear. He has repeatedly teased a 2024 run, and it’s not hard to see him winning the nomination again if his current support with the GOP base holds up. But Trump is also facing a unique set of post-presidential challenges that could complicate that plan — namely, a whole bunch of potential legal problems. At the very least, he’s facing ongoing criminal investigations by district attorneys in Manhattan and Fulton County, Georgia, and New York Attorney General Letitia James is also leading a civil investigation into potential fraud by the Trump Organization. There’s also a defamation suit by writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of sexual assault in 2019, and two lawsuits by members of Congress over Trump’s actions in connection with the January 6 storming of the US Capitol by pro-Trump insurgents. What’s more, Trump is facing potentially precarious financial circumstances in the near future, with a more than $100 million IRS decision about a tax refund looming and his business in difficulty. In short, he could be a bit busy with other things by the time 2024 rolls around — and that’s even assuming he wants to run, as he famously hates the actual work of being president and Twitter has made it clear he won’t have his account back to aid him, even if he runs again. For now, however, Trump’s prospective 2024 candidacy has largely frozen out the rest of the field of Republican 2024 hopefuls, and allowed him to consolidate his leadership of the party, as Bloomberg explained last month. And regardless of what he decides about 2024, Trump’s plans for 2022 are clearer. In February, he issued his first GOP primary endorsement against a pro-impeachment Republican — Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — and plans to target other intraparty opponents, such as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the only senator who voted to convict who is also up for reelection in 2022. “I do not know where other people will be next year,” Trump said in a statement Saturday, “But I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator.” Trump promises to campaign against Murkowski... — Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 6, 2021

When to expect your stimulus check, and other questions, answered

Preview: A stimulus check from the December 2020 round of economic impact payments. | STRF/STAR MAX/IPx/AP Images Congress is about to pass a third stimulus package, including $1,400 direct payments. On Saturday, the Senate approved a $1.9 trillion stimulus package by a vote of 50 to 49, clearing the way for its final passage through the House early next week, after which President Joe Biden is expected to sign the package into law. That means a third round of direct cash payments will soon be on the way — but there are a few differences from the stimulus bill Congress passed in December. Specifically, this round of payments will be quite a bit larger for most of those who received checks previously. Instead of the $600 that was sent out in December, individuals will receive as much as $1,400, depending on their income. However, the income threshold to receive a check will also be stricter this time around, after moderate Senate Democrats used their leverage to negotiate a lower maximum eligible income with the Biden White House. Those changes mean that about 17 million fewer people will receive a third round of stimulus payments than would have under the House-passed version of the bill, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, but some 280 million people will still be eligible. Here’s what you need to know: Who qualifies for a $1,400 direct payment? Unlike previous rounds of payments, eligibility for the new $1,400 checks may be determined based on either 2019 or 2020 tax returns, depending on whether you’ve filed yet for 2020 — and whether the IRS has processed your return. In general, the federal government will use the most recent income information it has on file to determine eligibility. Here’s who’s eligible for a payment: Adults who earned $75,000 or less in their most recent tax year will receive the full $1,400, as will married couples who earned $150,000 or less, and heads of household who earned $112,500 or less. Adults who earned more than $75,000, but less than $80,000; married couples who earned more than $150,000, but less than $160,000; and heads of household who earned more than $112,500, but less than $120,000, will be eligible for a reduced payment. Online calculators can give you an idea of how much to expect, based on variables like your filing status and number of dependents. Adults who earned more than $80,000, married couples who earned more than $160,000, and heads of household who earned more than $120,000 will not be eligible for checks. Parents will also receive an additional $1,400 check for each dependent claimed on their tax returns. Unlike previous direct payments, all dependents — including college students and some people with disabilities, not just children under 17 — will be eligible. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive direct payments. Households in which one adult has legal residency and the other does not would be eligible for at least one check, however. If you didn’t file a tax return in 2019 and haven’t yet done so in 2020, you may be able to use the IRS’s free file fillable form to do so in order to receive a stimulus check. When will I receive a direct payment? It’s still unclear exactly when the latest Covid-19 relief package will be signed into law, but it’s expected to happen before March 14, when federal unemployment benefits are currently set to expire. That means checks will likely start showing up in the second half of March, depending on a few different factors. As was the case with the last two stimulus checks, direct-deposit recipients are likely to get their checks the fastest. As CNET notes, direct deposit payments began registering in accounts about two weeks after the last stimulus package was passed. So, if the relief bill is signed on the expected schedule, the first payments could start showing up in bank accounts the week of March 22. Physical checks are expected to take about a week longer than direct deposits, and should begin to go out starting March 29 or so. Lastly, economic impact payment, or EIP, cards could take the longest. The prepaid debit cards may begin to go out the week of April 5, depending on when the stimulus package is signed into law. Is there anything I need to do to get a check? As Vox’s Fabiola Cineas and Ella Nilsen explained after Congress passed its previous round of direct payments, most people don’t need to do anything to get a stimulus check. If you filed taxes in 2019 or 2020, meet the eligibility requirements, and included your direct deposit information, the payment should show up in your account in the coming weeks. If your direct deposit information isn’t on file with the IRS yet, you can still provide those details using IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool before the latest wave of payments starts going out.

The Covid-19 stimulus bill, explained in 600 words

Preview: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. | Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images Here’s what the bill tries to do — and what’s actually in it. The Senate on Saturday passed what will be the first big bill of President Joe Biden’s term: a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. The bill now goes to the House, which is likely to okay it and send it to Biden’s desk. The first thing that’s notable about the bill is how absolutely massive it is. At $1.9 trillion, the cost comes in at roughly double the stimulus package that President Barack Obama signed into law during the Great Recession in 2009. And that’s after Congress separately approved $2.2 trillion and $900 billion relief bills last year. This all adds up to a huge, unprecedented undertaking to shore up the economy. According to some analyses, the latest relief bill could actually put the economy in even stronger shape than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic, at least temporarily. The Brookings Institution projected the impact of the legislation (as proposed by Biden, so there are some differences with the congressional bill) compared to no additional support, summarizing its findings in this chart: Brookings Institution The bill accomplishes this through diverse policies — simultaneously combating the pandemic, stimulating the economy and filling the hole left in it by Covid-19, and providing broader economic relief to Americans. Here are the major items likely to make it in the bill: $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans: The full checks will go to individuals making up to $75,000 a year and couples filing jointly making up to $150,000 a year, including adult dependents for the first time. But the phaseout beyond those limits will be quicker than the previous $600 checks. A continued $300-a-week boost to unemployment insurance: Those getting jobless benefits will continue to get an extra $300 through September 6, and the first $10,200 in benefits won’t be taxable, retroactively, for households with incomes under $150,000. The increase in benefits was set to expire on March 14 otherwise. A boost to the child tax credit and other tax credits: The child tax credit will go up to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children up to 17, and more people will fully qualify. Other tax credits, like the child and dependent care tax credit and earned income tax credit, get boosts too. Funding for K-12 schools and higher education: About $170 billion is geared toward helping schools reopen, while also providing relief to students and trying to address concerns over “learning loss” as schools shut down in the last year. Improved access to health care: The bill includes a boost to individual marketplace tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), additional incentives for states to expand Medicaid, and extra subsidies for COBRA, which continues health coverage for people who recently lost their jobs. Public health efforts against Covid-19: With tens of billions in new funding, the legislation supports coronavirus testing and contact tracing, vaccines, and increasing the size of the public health workforce. Relief for state, local, and tribal governments: After a year in which some jurisdictions saw tax revenues drop and budgets tighten, the relief package will provide $350 billion to help them. One thing that won’t make it in: a $15 minimum wage hike. The Senate parliamentarian ruled the hike is not allowed under the reconciliation process Congress is using to pass the bill. And even if the hike survived the rules, Senate moderates Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — crucial swing votes — opposed and voted against the idea. Still, the remaining measures in the bill — adding up to that whopping $1.9 trillion cost — will certainly boost the economy and anti-Covid-19 efforts as the pandemic (hopefully) reaches an end. It’s a truly wide-ranging effort to help Americans as quickly as possible after a year marked by so much suffering.

5 winners and 3 losers in the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill

Preview: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) arrives to the Capitol for a vote in Washington,DC, March 4, 2021. | Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images Sen. Joe Manchin is a winner in the stimulus bill. Losers: deficit hawks, and people hoping for a $15 minimum wage. President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package is on the brink of becoming law. While it may not have been everything many Democrats hoped and dreamed of, the bill is a pretty big deal. After days of wrangling over last-minute changes to the bill text, the United States Senate passed the relief bill midday Saturday. The vote was 50-49 along party lines. The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks to millions of Americans, extends expanded unemployment until September 6, and doles out billions of dollars toward vaccinations, testing, state and local governments, schools, and businesses. Much of the back-and-forth in recent days has been over making small changes to the legislation on the margins — margins that, to be clear, will affect millions of people. The scope of stimulus check recipients was scaled back, so that they will go to people making up to $75,000 a year ($150,000 for couples) and phase out at $80,000 ($160,000 for couples). Previously, the phaseouts were set at $100,000 and $200,000, respectively. That change cuts eligibility for an estimated 12 million adults and nearly 5 million children, though it is worth noting this bill expanded check eligibility to adult dependents, such as college students and those with disabilities. The president’s original plan was to extend expanded unemployment insurance through September, and to pay out an extra $400 a week instead of $300. There was some hope Democrats would put automatic stabilizers in the bill tying supports to economic conditions, but those didn’t make the cut, and a federal minimum wage hike will have to wait for another day. The legislation will get much-needed help to a lot of people, and that is a win for them. That a bill this sweeping is happening at all was not guaranteed: Had Democrats not won both Georgia Senate runoffs in January, it would look far different, or maybe not exist at all. Here’s a look at the winners and losers of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which is now headed back to the House of Representatives and likely to Biden’s desk in the days to come. Winner: Social democracy In 2014, sociologist Lane Kenworthy published an ambitious book titled Social Democratic America. In it, Kenworthy argues that not only would America benefit from a more expansive welfare state, but that it likely will adopt such a social democratic model in the coming years. This prediction rests in part on a two-step theory about how the US welfare state expands. First, policymakers become aware of a problem that’s best solved by expanding social benefits — poverty and economic insecurity among older adults, for example. Second, the program designed to solve it — Social Security, in this example — becomes so popular and entrenched that it’s impossible to roll back. Kenworthy’s analysis helps us understand why the consequences of the stimulus bill’s direct cash provisions — the $1,400 checks and the expanded child tax credit — could end up being even bigger than we think. In theory, these programs are designed to address the specific problem of families suffering from the Covid-caused economic disaster. In practice, they’re likely to prove so popular that there will be increased demand for more direct government provision of checks, both in crises and outside of them. Proposals like Sen. Mitt Romney’s child allowance, in which the government would send monthly checks to families of young children in perpetuity, are all of a sudden looking more like plausible legislation. Indeed, all of this was set up by the initial decision to include $1,200 direct checks in last March’s stimulus bill. As my colleague Dylan Matthews writes, it seems like we’re already seeing the idea of direct provision catch fire: Cash’s bipartisan popularity, and its ability to muster large-scale public interest and support, suggests that the future might involve a lot more policies like checks — even when the pandemic has passed. Covid-19, in other words, may have done what years of basic income advocacy could not do on its own: convinced our political class that handing out cash is a good, popular, economically effective policy. We could very well be seeing Kenworthy’s social democratic ratchet effect in real time: an economic crisis best solved by expanding government, and the popularity of this government expansion leading to its institutionalization. The US is certainly a long way from a European social democratic model, but the stimulus bill may prove to be a major step in that direction. —Zack Beauchamp Loser: Deficit hawks The Democratic left faced a few setbacks during the debate over the Covid-19 relief bill. Moderate Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) successfully pushed to deny direct payments to individual Americans making over $80,000, a change that’s likely to make the bill less popular while only cutting $12 billion from a $1.9 trillion package. And the bill does not include a $15 minimum wage, a reform championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). But these setbacks only marginally decrease the ambitiousness of one of the most aggressive spending bills in American history. In 2019, the last year before the pandemic, the federal government spent a total of $4.4 trillion. So this $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill costs more than 40 percent of the total amount the government spends in a typical year. If you lived through President Barack Obama’s first term, the extent of the Democratic Party’s turn away from deficit hawkery is nothing less than miraculous. In 2009, at the height of the deep recession that began the previous year, Obama signed an $800 billion stimulus bill intended to jump-start a struggling economy. Economists now view this mix of spending and tax cuts as having been far too small. The US economy stopped hemorrhaging in the wake of Obama’s efforts to fix it, but the Great Recession gave way to years of sluggish growth. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely that Obama could have secured significantly more funding given the politics of this era. Even his own advisers split on whether the Democratic Party should risk being labeled the party of fiscal profligacy. Two years later, after Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Obama negotiated with Republicans for a “grand bargain” to slash the deficit. He even offered to cut programs that Democrats traditionally view as sacred and untouchable, such as Social Security. And it’s likely that Obama would have agreed to such cuts if Republicans hadn’t killed any chances of a grand bargain by refusing to allow higher taxes on the wealthy. A decade later, fiscal politics has changed dramatically. Obama’s cautious approach in the 2009 stimulus bill did nothing to protect Democrats from brutal losses in the 2010 midterms. And, after Obama agreed to spending cuts in 2011 and 2013, the economy grew at a steady but unimpressive pace for the remainder of his presidency. Biden, for his part, believes one of the lessons of the Obama years is that caution is no virtue in the midst of an economic crisis. “One thing we learned is, you know, we can’t do too much here,” Biden told reporters shortly after taking office. “We can do too little. We can do too little and sputter.” The rest of the party appears to agree with him. Every single Senate Democrat and nearly every Democratic House member voted for the Covid-19 relief bill. Deficit hawkery has taken a back seat in the party, for now. —Ian Millhiser Loser: Moderate Senate Republicans In early February, moderate Senate Republicans were riding high, confident they could strike a deal with Biden on Covid-19 relief. A group of 10 Senate Republicans scored the coveted first Oval Office meeting with the new president, sitting down with Biden in person before even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Republicans thought Biden’s $1.9 trillion bill price tag was far too high, so they proposed a $618 billion counteroffer. “I am hopeful that we can once again pass a sixth bipartisan Covid relief package,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters as she exited the February 1 White House meeting. That was about as far as bipartisan talks went. A few weeks later, Collins had pretty much soured on the prospect of getting a bipartisan deal done, telling Capitol Hill reporters that talks with the White House had “stalled.” There was no real middle ground to be had on Covid-19 relief talks; the administration was sticking to its opening bid. “The administration has not indicated a willingness to come down from its $1.9 trillion figure, and that’s a major obstacle,” Collins told reporters in late February. Though the White House had said it was willing to negotiate — and certainly, some things in the final bill were different, like the lack of a $15 minimum wage — the final bill’s price tag is, remarkably, about the same as when Biden first announced it. Moderate Republicans who had gotten overtures from the White House found themselves largely left out of the process because public polling indicated the bill was broadly popular with voters of both parties. And Biden and his top economic advisers had absorbed the lessons of the Obama era on stimulus: that going big on the economy when you have the chance is preferable to going small. Speaking to reporters, Collins blamed Biden’s top staff, namely White House chief of staff Ron Klain, more so than Biden himself. “He’s doing a good job at outreach,” Collins said of Biden. “He was very attentive and gracious, into the details; there was a great discussion. And Ron was shaking his head in the back of the room the whole time, which is not exactly an encouraging sign.” Moderate Republicans ended up losing out on the first major bill of the Biden era. The remaining question is whether this could come back to hurt Biden in future congressional negotiations on his forthcoming infrastructure plan, or other big legislative priorities. —Ella Nilsen Winner: Small (and big) businesses that fought a minimum wage hike The Chamber of Commerce and businesses big and small have fought hiking the minimum wage for years. In the Covid-19 relief package, they racked up yet another victory on that front: not just with the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that it couldn’t be passed through budget reconciliation, but also that the $15 federal minimum wage amendment was defeated with eight Democratic votes. The federal base rate will remain at $7.25, where it’s been since 2009. That Democratic lawmakers gave up relatively easily on the “Fight for $15” for now draws attention to a glaring reality: There’s not consensus among the caucus that it’s a good idea. Manchin has been quite clear he’s not into the $15 idea. He’s not entirely opposed to raising wages at all; he’d just like something smaller, like, say, $11. There’s no denying that many small businesses have struggled during the pandemic, and that even in normal times, running a business — including paying employees — is hard. But it’s also hard to argue that $7.25 is a living wage anywhere in America under any circumstances. Many cities and states are already requiring higher wages, and, again, any wage increase would phase in. It’s not like everybody would have to pay $15 tomorrow. “Sometimes it’s lost on folks on folks that the wage increase is gradual,” said Rebecca Dixon, executive director at the National Employment Law Project. She also emphasized that a low minimum wage disproportionately impacts certain groups — namely, Black and Hispanic workers, particularly women. “More than half of Black folks live in the South, so when we’re talking about raising the minimum wage, that’s the only way it’s going to be raised in the South,” she said. While Democrats say they’ll keep pushing on the minimum wage, if and when that push will turn into law remains unclear. They may find some consensus on the matter, but they haven’t yet — a Senate amendment to put a $15 minimum wage back in the Covid-19 bill was voted down on Friday, with 58 senators voting against it. —Emily Stewart Winner: Joe Manchin Sen. Brian Schatz walks past Sen. Joe Manchin in a hallway of the Capitol. “Your highness,” Schatz greets him. Manchin acknowledges his colleague, keeps walking. — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 2, 2021 It’s good to be the king. And when you’re Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the pivotal vote in a 50-50 Senate, representing a deeply conservative state and knowing Democrats are lucky to even have you, you’re the king. The pandemic relief bill passed by the Senate unmistakably bears Manchin’s stamp. The Senate parliamentarian may have technically scuttled the $15-an-hour minimum wage increase by ruling it non-budgetary, but it was Manchin’s opposition to the underlying policy that doomed any chance of fixing it. It was Manchin, too, who insisted on capping check eligibility at $80,000 incomes (for childless single filers) rather than $100,000. That was even before he decided to make a real spectacle on Friday, by threatening to derail a deal that progressive and moderate Democrats had struck that morning on changes to expanded unemployment insurance. To satisfy the moderates, progressives had agreed to cut the additional UI benefits from $400 per week to $300 — but they’d last through September, and federal income taxes on the first $10,200 of benefits would be forgiven. The White House endorsed the deal, and the Senate seemed set to move ahead. But Manchin decided that deal wasn’t good enough for him, and that he might well vote for a competing Republican amendment on the topic. For procedural reasons, Democrats held open their previous floor vote for more than 10 hours — setting a Senate record — so they could frantically negotiate with Manchin behind the scenes. In the end, Manchin agreed to their proposal with fairly minor additional changes (the tax forgiveness on UI benefits would not apply to wealthier households, and the benefits would cut off in early September rather than late September). Some of his other demands may have been substantively, and perhaps even politically, ill-advised, as well. His changes to the checks created a situation where at least some upper-middle-income earners who received checks under President Trump will not get checks under Biden. The White House estimates 2 percent of households (3.5 million) who received at least some money from the December relief package won’t get any from this one. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates 5 percent of adults are left out as compared to House Democrats’ bill. Disappointing those people shaved just $12 billion off what’s still a $1.87 trillion package. So there’s a strong case that, as the Nation’s Jeet Heer writes, all this was “gumming up the work for the sake of gumming up the works, pure performative centrism without rhyme or reason.” But removed from substance, the crux of what happened is that Manchin made demands, and Democrats agreed to them to secure his vote. Because of that, he gets to be covered in the press as having forced difficult changes to the bill rather than simply going along with what Biden wants — even though, in the end, he really did go along with the vast majority of what Biden wanted. He knew he had leverage, and he used it. —Andrew Prokop Winner: Millions of Americans who need the help On Friday, as senators debated the relief bill, the Pew Research Center released a survey on how Americans are experiencing the pandemic economy. Its findings were pretty staggering: 39 percent of upper-income adults said their financial situations had improved over the past year, while 32 percent of lower-income adults said they’re worried about being able to buy food, and similar numbers said they’re worried about the cost of health care, paying their mortgages, and losing their jobs. While the stimulus bill isn’t perfect and certainly could have been more generous — unemployment insurance benefits kept at $400 instead of $300, the stimulus checks with a higher phaseout — it’s going to get meaningful assistance to a lot of people. The US is still some 10 million jobs short of where it was pre-pandemic, and expanded and extended unemployment benefits will be there to support workers as those jobs begin to return. The House version of the bill had $400 in UI benefits until August 29. Now the Senate version has $300 in weekly benefits until September 6. The package also contains an all-important provision that the first $10,200 in benefits won’t be taxable for households with incomes up to $150,000, protecting many workers from receiving a surprise tax bill they might not be able to pay. Some people who qualified for stimulus checks before won’t this time around, because their incomes are too high, but adult dependents — including college students and those with disabilities — will be eligible for checks for the first time. The expanded child tax credit and earned income tax credit will mean real money gets to real people. And, of course, funds toward testing and vaccines will hopefully make the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel a little closer and a little brighter. Democrats and many economists have warned that the risk on the economy is doing too little, not too much. We won’t know where this falls in all of that until years from now, but Biden set out to take a big swing to help a lot of people, and he did it. —ES Winner: Private insurance The stimulus package would be the most significant step in the past 10 years toward patching some of the holes in the Affordable Care Act. The most effective provision would be a two-year expansion of the ACA’s premium subsidies, which Americans can use to purchase private health insurance on the marketplaces the law established. The relief bill would increase the size of the subsidy for those already eligible for assistance (people making between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level). It would also extend subsidies for people earning more than 400 percent of the poverty level, ensuring that nobody would pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for health coverage. This would provide help to one of the populations left out of the ACA: the roughly 2.6 million people who make too much money to qualify for subsidies and are currently uninsured. Based on prior estimates of such a proposal, somewhere between 4 million and 5 million people would be expected to gain coverage as a result of expanding the subsidies. The Biden administration has already opened ACA enrollment to everybody until May 15, which would give people an immediate opening to take advantage of the new benefits. —Dylan Scott Loser: Expanding Medicaid to remaining Republican states Democrats are also trying to plug one of the other biggest holes in Obamacare: the so-called Medicaid expansion gap. The 2010 law was written with the intention that every state would expand the program to people living in or near poverty. But then the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government couldn’t force states to expand Medicaid; they must have a choice. As a result, 12 states have for the past decade refused Medicaid expansion, and an estimated 2.2 million Americans who otherwise would have been covered by the expansion are still uninsured and have no other realistic option for affording coverage. Most of them live in the South, and they are disproportionately Black. Democrats now are offering a new enticement for the holdout states to expand Medicaid. Already, under the ACA, the federal government would cover 90 percent of the expansion’s costs. Under the stimulus bill, newly expanding states would also receive a 5 percent bump in the federal funding match for their traditional Medicaid programs for two years. Because the traditional Medicaid population is significantly larger than the expansion population, the funding bump is projected to cover a state’s 10 percent match for expansion enrollees and then some over those two years. But conservative state officials don’t sound interested in taking it. Based on an informal survey of the states that have yet to expand Medicaid, the provision in the stimulus bill that provides increased funding for states that expand the program now may end up having no effect at all. That would mean millions of people in poverty remaining uninsured. I hopped on a press call this week with Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, to ask him whether the new funding incentive would prompt him to reevaluate the decision to refuse Medicaid expansion. “No, sir, it will not,” was his answer. I heard the same from other governors’ offices in the non-expansion states. “The Governor remains opposed to the expansion of Medicaid in Florida,” Cody McCloud, spokesperson for Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, said in an email. Laine Arnold, a spokesperson for Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, also a Republican, said the governor was focusing on implementing the state’s new Medicaid block grant approved in the final days of the Trump administration. “Governor [Kristi] Noem knows that expanding Medicaid is not the answer to accessing quality healthcare in South Dakota,” Ian Fury, a spokesperson for the South Dakota Republican governor, said in an email. Their intransigence has created a bizarre disparity for the stimulus legislation, which will likely succeed in extending more generous premium tax subsidies to middle-class Americans but appears destined to fail in covering uninsured people in poverty. If Democrats are serious about closing the Medicaid expansion gap now that they control Congress and the White House, they’ll need to find another way. The stimulus bill is not going to get the job done. —DS

The Senate just passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Here’s what’s in it.

Preview: Senate Democrats united to pass the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill. | Getty Images The package includes funding for stimulus checks, vaccine distribution, and school reopenings. The Senate — following a grueling vote-a-rama on Friday and Saturday — has finally approved a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill, bringing it one step closer to becoming law. The legislation, which passed 50-49 on a purely party-line vote, with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) not voting due to a family funeral, now heads back to the House, where a vote is expected as early as Tuesday. This step is significant and follows intense back-and-forth in the upper chamber over multiple provisions, including some — like the $15 minimum wage — that were stripped out for procedural reasons, and others, like unemployment insurance, that have been changed in response to pressure from moderate Democrats. The relief bill, once it comes to fruition, will include a massive boost for businesses and workers still reeling from the ongoing fallout of the pandemic: As of February, 18 million people were still receiving unemployment insurance and nearly 100,000 businesses had permanently shut down. This legislation includes funds aimed at addressing these needs, as well as tens of billions to help with vaccine distribution, more than $170 billion to boost schools, and $350 billion in direct state and local aid. In the Senate’s final version of the bill, many provisions are consistent with what the House proposed, while other measures have been changed: The overwhelming majority of Americans will still receive the $1,400 stimulus checks, for example, but a slightly smaller number now. Those checks were previously phased out at the $100,000 threshold for single individuals and $200,000 for couples, and the cutoffs are now $80,000 and $160,000, because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had pushed for a more targeted bill. On unemployment insurance, too, lawmakers have reduced the enhanced weekly payment from $400 to $300, and made up to $10,200 of the aid people receive non-taxable for those with household incomes of $150,000 or less. The House is slated to take up the Senate version of the bill shortly and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature. The Senate vote on Saturday cleared a serious hurdle for the legislation and means that the long-awaited stimulus could soon be approved. What’s in the bill Much of the Senate bill is quite similar to what’s in the legislation the House of Representatives passed in late February. However, there were some changes in the Senate proposal that will make a difference in who gets relief and how much — perhaps most notably on stimulus checks and unemployment insurance. Here are some key highlights of what’s in the Senate legislation: $1,400 stimulus checks: There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about who will get stimulus checks, and after lots of haggling, Democrats finally landed on some parameters. The bill would distribute $1,400 stimulus checks to single people earning $75,000 and $150,000 for couples. Payments would then be reduced and phased out for single people making up to $100,000 and couples making up to $200,000. During Senate negotiations, lawmakers changed the parameters around the phaseouts. Now, stimulus checks phase out for single people at $80,000, head-of-household filers at $120,000, and couples at $160,000. That means some people won’t get stimulus checks who did in the past. However, it is worth noting that the legislation also includes checks for adult dependents, such as college students and people with disabilities, so some people will be getting checks for the first time. Unemployment insurance: As with stimulus checks, Democrats had some back-and-forth on unemployment benefits. The bill provides an additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government through September 6, 2021. It also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for self-employed workers and contractors, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which tacks on extra weeks of state benefits, through that date. Importantly, it makes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits non-taxable for households with incomes of under $150,000, preventing many workers from receiving a surprise tax bill they can’t pay. Tax credits: The bill expands the child tax credit to $3,000 per child up to age 17 and $3,600 for children under age 6 for 2021, and it modifies the child and dependent care tax credit so that families can claim up to half of their related care expenses. It also enhances the earned income tax credit for people without children. Obamacare premium subsidies: The bill increases the Affordable Care Act premium subsidies for two years for low- and middle-income Americans, or those making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. That would make health care through the ACA marketplace more affordable in 2021 and 2022. The bill also adjusts subsidies for people who make more than 400 percent of the poverty level to make sure that nobody pays more than 8.5 percent of their income for coverage. Money for schools: The bill calls for $170 billion toward schools, including reopening and directing funds to areas such as ventilation system upgrades, reduced class sizes, and personal protective equipment to help make schools safer, and ensures the money is directed toward public schools. Schools are required to put 20 percent of the money toward learning loss, meaning efforts to make up for lost ground with students missing school. It also has funding for higher education. Vaccines, testing, and tracing: The bill directs $46 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor Covid-19. Rental assistance: Democrats are aiming to put $25 billion toward emergency assistance to renters. State, local, tribal, and territorial funding: The bill directs $350 billion total toward state, local, tribal, and territorial funding, split into 60 percent for states and 40 percent for localities. A restaurant revitalization fund: House Democrats are seeking to put $25 billion toward a new program at the Small Business Administration that would support restaurants, $5 billion of which will be set aside for businesses with under $500,000 in revenue in 2019. The restaurant industry has been particularly hard hit in the pandemic — the National Restaurant Association estimates industry losses in 2020 to be $240 billion. Energy assistance: The bill directs $4.5 billion to HHS to help low-income people pay their energy and water bills. Internet connectivity: The bill establishes a $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund to be enacted by the Federal Communications Commission, to expand internet connectivity to students and teachers during the pandemic. A $15 minimum wage will have to wait for another day Many Democrats hoped to include a provision in the Covid-19 relief package that would have increased the federal minimum wage, which has been at $7.25 since 2009, to $15 by 2025. The provision did make it through the House-passed bill, but it was struck down by the Senate parliamentarian, who ruled it didn’t fit under the rules of the budget reconciliation process Democrats are using to pass the stimulus. There was some hope that Democrats might find a different avenue for increasing the minimum wage to $15, including overruling the parliamentarian, getting rid of the filibuster, or finding some way to compel companies to pay a $15 minimum wage by taxing them if they didn’t. But ultimately, they forged ahead with the Senate bill without it. One thing that became clear as Democrats in the Senate tried to hash this out: A significant portion of the caucus doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. A Senate amendment to put a $15 minimum wage back in the Covid-19 bill was voted down on Friday, with 58 senators voting against it. The legislation may not be everything progressives wanted, but the bill’s passage in the Senate is an important step toward getting help to millions of people.

The last-minute federal unemployment insurance compromise, briefly explained

Preview: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) questions Interior Secretary nominee Debra Haaland during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on February 24. | Leigh Vogel/Getty Images Sen. Joe Manchin singlehandedly pared back federal unemployment benefits in the new Covid-19 relief package. Early on Saturday morning, the Senate approved a modified Democratic unemployment insurance plan by a narrow, party-line vote, paring back benefits included in a still-in-the-works Covid-19 relief package that are aimed at helping the millions of Americans currently out of a job. Under the new plan, expanded federal unemployment benefits, which supplement state unemployment payments and are set to expire in mid-March — would be renewed at $300 per week through the first week of September. The first $10,200 of benefits will also be non-taxable for households under a $150,000 income threshold. That’s less than the $400 per week President Joe Biden called for in his initial $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan earlier this year — but it’s what he was able to get with a fragile 50-vote Senate majority at the mercy of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Here's how UI unfolded --> 1/ Biden: $400/week through Sept 2/ House Ds: $400/week through August 3/ Senate Deal 1 (early today): $300/week through Sept. + up to $10K in tax forgiveness 4/ Senate Deal 2 w/ Manchin (just now): $300/week thru Sept. 6, + ~$10K tax forgiveness — Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) March 6, 2021 Manchin, among the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, ground progress in the chamber to a halt for nearly 12 hours on Friday in a successful push to reduce the total cost of the package over concerns that giving people too much in unemployment insurance would discourage them from seeking new jobs and stunt economic growth. Without Manchin’s support — and that of the other 49 members of the Democratic Senate caucus — the Covid-19 relief plan would almost certainly be dead in the water, giving Manchin and his moderate allies outsized power in negotiations with their colleagues and the White House. That fact was on full display Friday, when Manchin was the lone holdout to a similar Democratic plan modeled on Biden’s proposal that would have set federal unemployment insurance at $300 per week, and kept unemployment benefits in place through the end of September. Republicans, who have also argued that generous unemployment insurance would hobble economic growth, took full advantage of Manchin’s hesitation on Friday to lobby for an amendment of their own, which would have seen the $300 per week unemployment benefit expire in July rather than September. Ultimately, Manchin signed on to both proposals, though only one will take effect. The Republican amendment, introduced by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, passed with support from Manchin, who also won concessions from Democrats on their proposal. Democrats agreed to shorten unemployment insurance by a few weeks, to a new end date of September 6, and barred those making $150,000 or more from getting a tax break on unemployment benefits. With those changes in the Democratic proposal, Manchin backed it as well, and its passage overrode the Portman amendment, according to Politico. The stimulus package has been plagued by questions over how much aid is necessary The central conflict Friday — and throughout stimulus negotiations — was over how big Congress should go to provide relief to Americans affected by the pandemic, and to fund key priories like reopening schools and scaling up a mass vaccination campaign. The bulk of the Democratic Party, including Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, has coalesced behind a plan to go big on key Democratic priorities like stimulus checks and aid for state and local governments, but Republicans, who have mysteriously rediscovered their concerns about the deficit after losing power, remain unanimously opposed. A handful of moderate Senate Democrats, including Manchin, support the Democratic stimulus plan in principle, but are also leery of too much spending. Despite overwhelming, bipartisan public support for the plan, the GOP has criticized the bill as “massively excessive.” “The Administration’s $1.9 trillion #COVID19 plan adds to our national debt without creating benefit to our economy or helping people in need,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted Thursday. “This isn’t monopoly money — these are real dollars that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren.” The Administration’s $1.9 trillion #COVID19 plan adds to our national debt without creating benefit to our economy or helping people in need. This isn’t monopoly money—these are real dollars that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren. — Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) March 4, 2021 For their part, moderate Democratic senators have succeeded in scaling back elements of the bill in recent days, including a Wednesday move to tighten eligibility for a new wave of $1,400 direct payments to Americans. “This was sort of a loose group of senators who are basically still concerned about the deficit, concerned about expenditures, and trying to ensure if we’re going to be spending $1.9 trillion that it’s directed to the people who need the most,” Sen. Angus King (I-ME) said Friday. That change, as well as the reduced unemployment benefits brokered in the Manchin compromise Friday, has frustrated more progressive Democrats. “This trend is outrageous,” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman tweeted Friday. “What are we doing here? I’m frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill.” This trend is outrageous: Eliminating $15/hr Reducing thresholds for payments (cutting off ~400k New Jerseyans) Cuts to weekly payments What are we doing here? I'm frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill. 1/ — Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) March 5, 2021 However, the bill is still on track to be signed into law. With a marathon-length vote-a-rama winding down Saturday in the Senate after an overnight slog, the bill is expected to pass the chamber sometime this weekend before being volleyed back to the House for another vote approving the Senate changes. After that, it can head to Biden’s desk for a signature. The Manchin compromise is a preview of Biden’s next two years As grueling as this week’s last-minute bargaining to keep the Democratic caucus together on Covid-19 relief has been, it likely won’t be a one-off occurrence. With at least two years of a 50-50 Senate ahead of him, as well as a slim House majority, Biden will almost certainly have to wage the same intraparty battles again and again to keep his legislative agenda rolling. Already, the White House has lost some of those battles: On Friday, eight Democratic senators, including Manchin, voted against an amendment to the stimulus package raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The vote was something of a moot point, since the Senate parliamentarian ruled last month that a minimum wage increase couldn’t actually be passed through budget reconciliation, but it foreshadows difficult fights to come in the Senate. Specifically, under current Senate rules, Democrats will need to win over Republican support for their priorities — such as sweeping voting rights and police reform bills that passed the House this week — to have any hope of passing them into law, and with some Republicans already signaling their opposition, that will be an uphill battle. The filibuster imposes a 60-vote threshold on most legislation in the Senate, though the budget reconciliation process allows the majority to skirt that requirement on some priorities. It’s possible for Democrats to get rid of the filibuster with their bare 50-vote majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie in her role as president of the Senate, but as with a minimum wage increase, moderate Democrats like Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have all the power, and right now, they’ve said they’re against it. It’s possible that could change — there’s increasing momentum on the Democratic side behind eliminating the filibuster — but even if it does, one part of the underlying dynamic will remain the same. As was the case on Friday, Manchin will likely remain the deciding vote — and continue to wield outsized power in the Senate.

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