HomeBernie Sanders2/5 News Roundup and OT
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“This isn’t Bernie’s first rodeo”


The Senate unanimously passed a Republican amendment Thursday that seeks to prevent Democrats from doing something they never wanted to do: double the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour during the coronavirus pandemic.

In effect, Democrats, as well as the independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, joined with Republicans to drive the fact home during a so-called vote-a-rama.

Rather than double the minimum wage before the pandemic ends, President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are proposing to raise it gradually to $15 an hour by 2025 as part of their $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

The amendment from Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, seemed intended to miscast Democrats’ position — to enact a $15 minimum wage “during a global pandemic” — and put centrist Democrats on the spot to highlight divides within the party on the wage-hike plan.

Specifically, the amendment would grant the chair of the Senate Budget Committee the right to nix a wage increase as part of the reconciliation process — a legislative maneuver that allows the Democratic-controlled Senate to pass bills in the upper chamber with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes usually required.

Sanders, who is chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said during the floor debate that he would do “everything I can to make sure that a $15 minimum wage is included in this reconciliation bill.” He rejected Republican framing that Democrats were seeking to double the wage during the pandemic.

“It was never my intent to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour immediately during the pandemic,” Sanders said. “My legislation gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period, and that is what I believe we ought to do.”

Sanders put the amendment on a non-recorded voice vote in a move that most likely deflected criticism of his drive to increase the minimum wage. The measure is nonbinding.

“We need to end the crisis of starvation wages in Iowa and across the United States,” he added.

A senior Democratic aide, granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, argued that Republicans had bungled the effort to force moderate Democrats to take a politically difficult vote.

“This isn’t Bernie’s first rodeo,” the aide said. “No one has to take a tough vote on a messaging amendment, and we can still try to pass minimum wage through the reconciliation bill.”



The ultimate fate of minimum-wage language in the reconciliation process depends not just on politics but on numbers: Democrats are awaiting a fresh estimate by the Congressional Budget Office of the spending and revenue impact of a big minimum-wage hike. And that, in turn, may inform the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling on whether such language would violate the Byrd Rule against non-budget-germane provisions in budget-reconciliation bills. You can be sure Sanders will be right in the middle of every discussion.


i understand that small business owners would be freaked out. so maybe a ubi would be better right now. phasing it in makes no sense, bc it is already way below where it should be.


Exactly. Weak sauce of Bernie to settle for 5-years phased-in.



“The number one thing that President Biden can do right now for this economy: cancel $50,000 worth of student loan debt. The number one thing he can do for young people: cancel student loan debt. The number one thing he can do to help close the Black/white wealth gap is cancel $50,000 worth of student loan debt,” says Sen. Warren.


Don’t know how I feel about this. 50k is better than the zero that Biden wants to do, but we’re asking for all student loan debt to be canceled, Liz.




Donald Trump has spent a lifetime avoiding accountability for his shady business dealings, financial misdeeds, and abuses of power. But Representative Jamie Raskin is not about to let the defeated former president get away with the high crime of provoking the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Raskin, the former constitutional law professor whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wisely tapped as the lead manager of Trump’s second impeachment tribunal, raised the stakes Thursday, when he asked Trump to testify before or during the trial that is set to begin next week. And when he pointedly signaled that refusal to testify would likely be used against the defendant.

After the Maryland Democrat and his colleagues outlined the charges against the former president, which were endorsed by a bipartisan majority in the House, Trump’s lawyers delivered a legal brief that denied irrefutable facts about their client’s incitement of insurrection. Raskin did not blink.

As a constitutional scholar and a savvy legislative strategist, Raskin understands that the impeachment managers cannot let Trump get away with his old tricks. So the lead impeachment manager has flipped the script. Instead of letting the former president game the trial, by making false claims and seeking to impugn the process, Raskin has called Trump’s bluff.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, who describes Raskin as “the best constitutional lawyer in all of Congress,” recognized the genius in this move immediately. “If Mr. Trump declines the chance to clear his name by showing up and explaining under oath why his conduct on January 6 didn’t make him responsible for the lethal insurrection that day, it’ll be on him,” observed Tribe, shortly after the representative sent his letter. “He can’t have it both ways.”

Trump’s team was just as cognizant of the peril. “The President will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News. But, as Tribe noted, “This is a transparent copout. Trump could easily testify or agree to a deposition without sacrificing his claim that the Senate has no jurisdiction to try him. His cowardice is obvious.”



Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri delivered an emotional speech on the House floor Thursday night detailing her experience of the January 6 mob invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building—which she called a “blatant, heinous, vile white supremacist attack”—and demanding that lawmakers take the basic step of holding to account those who abetted and incited the deadly violence.

“If we cannot stand up to white supremacy in this moment, as representatives, then why did you run for office in the first place?” Bush asked. “We can’t build a better society if members are too scared to stand up and act to reject the white supremacist attack that happened right before our eyes. How can we trust that you will address the suffering that white supremacy causes on a day to day basis in the shadows if you can’t even address the white supremacy that happens right in front of you in your house? Does your silence speak to your agreement is the question.”

“On January 3, we stood together to swear an oath to office to the Constitution,” Bush continued. “We swore to defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Well, it was attacked by a domestic enemy called white supremacy and we must stand together now, today, to uphold that oath and hold every single person who helped incite it accountable.”





Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) on Thursday acknowledged that while Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) apologized to congressional colleagues this week over her past controversial statements, Greene “didn’t take that back” or “regret” claims directed at Bush.

During an interview that aired Thursday evening on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Bush said she has committed to “call out,” Greene for past remarks that have surfaced in recent days, suggesting that Greene “needs to be exposed” in order for the GOP congresswoman to “evolve or be reformed.”


“there’s a whole other side to this thing. it’s called loving humanity.
go cori.


Really appreciate how Bush has risen to spearhead the refusal to let this issue go silently. She gets that the stakes are normalizing white terrorist attacks, and the absolute necessity to hold as many accountable as possible.



Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) on Thursday night made an emotional plea to her fellow lawmakers to take the deadly Capitol insurrection that ex-President Donald Trump incited on January 6 seriously, recounting the hate she’s had to face as one of the first Muslims to be elected to Congress.

“This is so personal. This is so hard because as many of my colleagues know, my closet colleagues know, on my very first day of orientation, I got my first death threat,” Tlaib said while in tears on the House floor. “It was a serious one. They took me aside, the FBI.”

“I didn’t even get sworn in yet and someone wanted me dead for just existing,” she continued. “More came later. Uglier, more violent.”

Tlaib recalled threats that mentioned her son by name and celebrated the New Zealand mosque massacre that was carried out by a white supremacist in 2019.

“Each one paralyzed me each time,” the congresswoman said. “So what happened on January 6, all I could do is thank Allah I wasn’t here. I felt overwhelming relief.”

Tlaib described how she worries “every day” for her diverse staff and that she “never thought that they would feel unsafe here.”

“And so I urge my colleagues to please, please take what happened on January 6 seriously,” she said. “It will lead to more death and we can do better. We must do better.”



President Biden issued an executive order on Thursday to increase refugee admissions and allow the U.S. to set a goal of providing safe haven to 125,000 people around the world fleeing violence, conflict and persecution during his first full fiscal year in office.

In the order, Mr. Biden called for an expansion of the decades-old U.S. refugee program, which was gutted by former President Trump, who frequently portrayed refugees as economic and security risks. After former President Obama set a 110,000-person ceiling before leaving office, Mr. Trump slashed it every fiscal year, allocating a historically low 15,000 spots in 2020.



President Joe Biden signed executive actions last week prioritizing solutions to the “existential threat” of climate change, drawing the ire of many key players in the politically powerful oil and gas industry.

Biden’s actions pressed pause on the leasing of federal lands and waters for oil drilling, set a goal of keeping 30 percent of federal lands for conservation purposes and announced the electrification of the federal government’s fleet of vehicles. The move comes a week after Biden revoked the permits for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline just hours after his inauguration, following through on a campaign-trail promise.

Leading up to the 2020 election, the oil and gas industry contributed around $1.6 million more to former President Donald Trump than to Biden. Trump painted himself as an ally to the industry on the stump and throughout his presidency — though industry insiders told Politico in 2020 that the Trump administration was “a mixed bag” and “more like ‘meh’” than the windfall they had hoped for in 2016.

The oil industry spent millions in 2020 to try to keep a GOP majority in the Senate. Valero, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, among the few corporations that give to super PACs, gave at least $1 million each this election cycle to the Senate Leadership Fund, a conservative super PAC that spent $271 million to campaign against Democrats vying for the Senate.

Biden’s decision to halt future leases of federal land, pending a comprehensive review of the climate impact, caused an uproar among oil and gas companies and trade associations. Just hours after Biden formalized the order, the Western Energy Alliance announced it would sue the Biden administration, alleging the move violates existing law.

Oil corporations emphasize that gap. The Global Energy Institute, a subsidiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, came out against some of Biden’s climate actions, claiming it would lead to widespread unemployment.

“Without the prospect of future leases, investment and planning will begin to dry up immediately, thwarting job creation and the economic growth at the worst possible time,” the Institute’s President Marty Durbin said in a statement.

The Chamber of Commerce perennially favors Republicans and dropped $5.7 million in outside spending in 2020.

The Chamber of Commerce also condemned Biden’s action to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, a project widely opposed by environmental advocates, indigenous communities and scientists.

“This is a politically motivated decision that is not grounded in science. It will harm consumers and put thousands of Americans in the building trades out of work,” Durbin said.

That pipeline is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, an oil and gas conglomerate that gave more in campaign contributions than any other company in the industry. Ninety-nine percent of its donations went to Republican candidates and committees. In 2020, the company’s co-founder and board chair, Kelcy Warren, donated a whopping $10 million to America First Action, a Trump-affiliated super PAC.

Biden’s climate actions are also drawing criticism from Republican lawmakers from oil-rich states who have benefited from industry contributions. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) announced Jan. 22 that they would introduce legislation to overturn Biden’s executive action and re-issue permits to the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was slated to pass through Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska before connecting to an existing pipeline in Kansas.

“We came so far during the last administration – from prioritizing American energy development to ending the far-left’s war on fossil fuels,” said Inhofe in a statement announcing the legislation.

Throughout his career, Inhofe has received in excess of $2.2 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies. Daines and Barrasso have each received $1.2 million from the industry.


For PB


Oregon lawmakers have filed a spate of bills aiming to reverse decades-old timber tax cuts that deprived counties of billions of dollars and to eliminate a quasi-governmental state agency that has acted as a lobbying arm for the industry.

The measures follow an investigation published last year by Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Oregonian/OregonLive and ProPublica. The newsrooms found that timber companies, increasingly dominated by Wall Street real estate trusts and investment funds, have benefited from tax cuts that cost counties at least $3 billion over the past three decades. Half of the 18 counties in Oregon’s timber-dominant region lost more money from tax cuts on private forests than from the oft-blamed reduction of logging on federal lands stemming from environmental protections for the northern spotted owl.

The investigation also documented how the state-funded Oregon Forest Resources Institute, which has an annual budget of $4 million, worked to discredit climate research deemed harmful to the timber industry and appeared to skirt legal constraints against lobbying. By law, the organization is prohibited from attempting to influence policy. Its role is to educate residents about forestry.


ty, jcb!


Nonbinding vote but it does show who the two most anti-environmental Dems will be


The Senate backed the Keystone XL pipeline in a Thursday night marathon vote, as two Democratic lawmakers broke with President Joe Biden to vote for a GOP amendment supporting the energy project.

As senators were forced to vote on hundreds of amendments to the budget resolution that would launch the reconciliation process, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) put forward an amendment backing the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Republican’s amendment called for a fund to be established to improve U.S.-Canada relations over the Keystone XL pipeline, weeks after President Biden revoked the project’s federal permit and put thousands of jobs at risk.

Senators backed the symbolic amendment in a 52-48 vote, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the chairman of the energy committee, and Jon Tester (D-MT) voting with GOP lawmakers to back construction of the pipeline.


we must come to a point where we say murdering people with the MIC and with fossil fuel production and use is no longer an acceptable excuse for “jobs.”


Exactly. We’ve normalized waging death and destruction as part of the Main Street economy in far too many states. This must be decoupled for there to be any hope of America becoming a just society.


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Mitt Romney proposes giving American families an extra $3,000 a year
Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) unveiled a plan Thursday that would provide American families with an extra $250 a month for school-aged children.

It seems we are entering the anything is possible state.


i heard he is pairing it with something to do with harming social security. i’ll look for it.


He partly pays for it by completely eliminating the SALT tax deduction, which just adds to the $ that high tax blue states send to low tax red states. That will be a no go for blue state Dems. How about paying it by raising taxes on all high income earners throughout the US.


Joining forces with a Republican looking to slash the security net behind everyone’s back? Sounds like Yang alright.


i’m not sure there’s anything in this bill in particular. but yes, iirc, Mitt is not a friend of our retirement money unless it comes from Wall St.

but i have to admit, yang looks decent, at least. nycvg likes him, and she/he lives there…


We know what Yang is about by now though, PB. As an also-ran candidate in the presidential primary, with little to lose, he flip-flopped on M4A when he thought he could profit from it. And then there was his anti-Palestinian, pro-Zionist apartheid statements from a week or so ago. Anyone fooled by his sham act will only find themselves to blame when he sells them out, if elected.



From his web site;

A Pennsylvania native, John was born to teenage parents just starting out on their own. At the time, his father worked nights to put himself through college. John grew up in York, PA, and followed in his father’s footsteps to Albright College, where he played offensive tackle for the Lions.

At 23, John joined up with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and his life has never been the same.

John threw himself into the program, mentoring his ‘little’ – an 8-year-old boy who had recently lost his father to AIDS and whose mother was also battling the disease. Before she passed away, John promised that he would continue to look out for her son and make sure that he graduated college. Fifteen years later, John and his ‘little’ had both held up their ends of the bargain, with his little’s graduation from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA.

But John wanted to do more. He joined AmeriCorps and served in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, where he helped set up the first computer labs in the neighborhood and taught GED classes to young mothers and fathers.

He went on to earn a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

John returned to Pennsylvania to start a GED program in the town of Braddock, one of the poorest and most troubled communities in the commonwealth. In 2005, encouraged by his students, John ran for mayor. He managed to win the crowded primary by a single vote. In his 13 years as mayor, John worked to rebuild his community, creating jobs, getting youth engaged, and bringing creative urban policy solutions to Braddock. The town now has a community center, urban gardens, and a free store run by John’s wife, Gisele.

Together, John and Gisele have fought for causes they believe in, from immigration reform to LGBTQ+ rights. When Pennsylvania lawmakers continued to push outdated discriminatory policies banning marriage equality, John stood up and officiated one of the first same-sex marriages in the commonwealth.

In 2016, John decided to run for U.S. Senate to confront the inequality crisis at the highest level of government. Although he lost the Democratic primary, John confounded expectations, earning 20 percent of the vote as a relatively unknown candidate in a four-way race.

Two years later, in 2018, John ran to be Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, and this time dominated across the commonwealth, winning a five-way Democratic primary and a commanding victory in the general election.

As Lt. Governor, John has transformed the position and made a bully pulpit of the office, advocating for economic justice and criminal justice reform.

Weeks after taking office, John embarked on a listening tour of all 67 counties, something no sitting Lt. Governor has ever done, to engage with Pennsylvanians about legalizing marijuana. In three months, the historic tour saw over 10,000 people turn out in person and tens of thousands more engage online. Following John’s final report and recommendations, the Governor announced his support for legalization for the first time.

As the chair of Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons, John has led the fight to give second chances to non-violent longtime inmates and free those who have been wrongfully convicted.

He has taken numerous steps to overhaul the clemency process in Pennsylvania, including eliminating all fees associated with applying for a pardon, making the pardons application more user-friendly, and working to move the application process online. Under John’s tenure, the Board has recommended more applicants for commutation than under any lieutenant governor in decades.

John and Gisele have chosen not to settle in the Lt. Governor’s Mansion, instead opening up the pool in the official residence to children who typically wouldn’t have access to one. They live with their three children Karl, 11, Gracie, 9, and August, 6, in a restored car dealership in Braddock with the family dog, Levi.

He is a gun owner so that alone will confuse the hell out of the average R voter


Thankfully they aren’t listening to this joker


Opinion: The Biden stimulus is admirably ambitious. But it brings some big risks, too.


Larry Summers O_U_T.

Jared Bernstein I-N.

That’s the way, I like it…


big endorsement for Andrew Yang