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Brooks, Rogers vote for resolution to reprimand Pelosi

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Mike Rogers (R-Saks) voted “No” against the Democrats’ motion to kill H.Res. 832, which disapproved of Speaker Pelosi’s tearing apart the House’s official copy of President Trump’s State of the Union Address.

“When a Republican congressman muttered ‘You lie’ during Obama’s State of the Union, the House voted to censure him,” Representative Brooks said. “I support equal treatment. Nancy Pelosi ripped apart President Trump’s State of the Union speech with the eyes of the world on her and while President Trump was still at the podium. Her behavior is disgraceful and unprofessional and she deserves censure. I cosponsored the disapproval resolution, and I’m disappointed that enough Socialist Democrats voted to approve Pelosi’s unprofessional behavior to kill the resolution. Talk about a double standard and unequal treatment of Republicans versus Democrats!”

“Speaker Pelosi’s behavior at the State of the Union is an embarrassment to our nation,” Representative Rogers said. “The planned tearing up of the official copy of President Trump’s speech was beneath contempt and degraded the office of Speaker. She should be ashamed of her juvenile and petty actions. I am proud to be a cosponsor of H. Res. 832 to disapprove of Speaker Pelosi’s behavior. I congratulate my colleague Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) for spearheading this important resolution. It is deeply unfortunate that House Democrats refused to allow an up or down vote today on this resolution.”

“Pelosi ripping apart President Trump’s State of the Union speech reveals how much they hate Donald Trump for winning in 2016, how angry they are that the Senate acquitted President Trump of impeachment wrongdoing, and how upset they are that the Iowa Caucus was so badly mishandled by Iowa’s Democrat Party,” Brooks said. “To a large degree, Speaker Pelosi ripped up President Trump’s speech in hopes her actions would divert public attention from the Iowa Caucus debacle and the greatness of President Trump’s State of the Union address.”

Senate candidate Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “Hey Nancy Pelosi — time to rip up your Articles of Impeachment. This sham is finally over!” Byrne released a video of himself ripping up a copy of the Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.

The Democrats have the majority in the House and they predictably back their Speaker on this vote 224 to 193.

Nancy Pelosi is receiving a lot of criticism from Republicans.

Wednesday, “Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a plea for volunteers, “Last night we heard President Trump weave the beautiful story of America in one of the strongest State of the Union speeches ever delivered to our nation. America First is not just a slogan- it is action in motion. The results confirm that President Trump and Republican policies have catapulted our country into historic heights across all categories. While the world watched Nancy Pelosi rip up the president’s speech, they also saw her mean spirited hatred. As she and the Democrats, including Senator Doug Jones, sat down pouting in anger at the great successes we heard, America cheered. I urge you to look past her pettiness. Put your outrage in to action. Honor those who she ripped up by helping us help President Trump by beating Doug Jones.”

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Wednesday, Trump Victory Committee member former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr. (R-Montgomery) said.

“I thought nothing could be pettier than the Democrats that threw temper tantrums for the cameras while boycotting this important symbol of the strength of our country and our system of government,” Hooper said. “Then Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech. A speech that honored our country and the brave men and women, including the Tuskegee Airman, who fought and died so she could have the right to serve as Speaker of the House. Republican Leader Kevin McCarty said it best, “How petty of Pelosi,” he tweeted. “Ripping up a piece of paper doesn’t change the facts that were written on it — Americans are winning, in spite of the do-nothing Democrats.” For this unbelievable act of spiteful pathetic behavior Speaker Nancy Pelosi must apologize to the President and the American People.”

Trump is using the incident to fundraise and has emailed video of Pelosi ripping the speech to Republican supporters.

“Tuesday night was a great and triumphant evening for our Country,” Pres. Trump said. “While I gave a perfect State of the Union Address, Nancy threw a temper tantrum and ripped up the copy of the speech I gave her. She truly hates America.” “The Do Nothing Democrats are furious that, unlike previous Presidents, I’ve kept my promises to the American People and now America is WINNING like never before. Nancy’s actions were an absolute disgrace and she is everything that is wrong with the Washington Swamp. When I ran for President, I told you I would DRAIN THE SWAMP, and that is exactly what I plan on doing, starting with Nancy. There’s no better way to show her just how much Americans have REJECTED her than by fundraising off her little stunt, which is why I want to raise another TWO MILLION DOLLARS in the NEXT 24 HOURS.”

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Congress

ADOL begins paying federal $600 stimulus benefit

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Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today Alabama has begun paying the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit that was established with the passing of the federal CARES Act on March 27, 2020.

ADOL began paying the FPUC benefits on April 8, 2020.  Claimants whose claims have processed should expect to see the funds within 2-3 days, if not sooner.  ADOL paid $40,060,495 in FPUC benefits to 60,848 claimants yesterday.

Under the legislation, anyone receiving unemployment compensation benefits is eligible for the additional $600 a week stimulus payment. The payment is added to the recipient’s state weekly benefit amount (maximum of $275/week). The payments will be made for eligible weeks beginning on March 29, 2020 through July 25,2020. This does not refer to the date the original claim was filed, but to the weeks being claimed.  For example, if someone filed their initial claim on March 16, 2020, and remains out of work, they will not receive the additional $600 for the weeks beginning March 15 or March 22, but would receive it for the week beginning March 29, and all weeks going forward.

ADOL will make payments retroactively for weeks already claimed since March 29, 2020.

“We understand the frustration of many Alabamians who are out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we know that they need these benefits to stay afloat,” said Washington.  “We are working as hard as we can to make sure that everyone gets the benefits they need as quickly as they can.  We are one of the first states to begin distributing these funds. We continue to urge patience as the department works to implement this vital legislation.”

Programs included in the legislation:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – provides unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes individuals who are self-employed or contract employees. This benefit is retroactive to January 27, 2020.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – provides $600 per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs. This benefit begins March 29, 2020. 

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Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances.

ADOL is encouraging anyone who believes they may be eligible for these programs to file a claim at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. Online filing is strongly encouraged.

Those who already have an active claim, or who have already filed a claim, DO NOT NEED TO REFILE to be eligible for these benefits. ADOL will begin processing PUA and PEUC claims as soon as administratively possible.

Important note: None of the benefits described above, nor unemployment benefits of any kind, are available to employees who quit without good work-related cause, refuse to return to work, or refuse to receive full-time pay. Refusing to return to work could result in a disqualification for benefit eligibility. Attempts to collect unemployment benefits after quitting a job without good work-related cause is considered to be fraud.

The CARES Act specifically provides for serious consequences for fraudulent cases including fines, confinement, and an inability to receive future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid. Employers are encouraged to utilize the New Hire system to report those employees who fail to return to work.

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CDC provides guidance for cloth masks

Brandon Moseley

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that Americans wear masks when they go out to ward against the spread of the coronavirus. On Wednesday the CDC issued guidance for cloth masks, which many Americans are making themselves to protect against the virus.

The CDC said that a cloth mask should fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face. The mask should be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the CDC wrote in a statement. “CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

The CDC cautioned that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The CDC says that cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing the mask the CDC warned.

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R) said on social media, “‪I’m wearing my mask today to make sure I’m doing my part to protect others. If you have to go out for essential work or supplies, make sure and wear a mask. Numbers are looking better in Alabama, everyone continue to do their part to flatten the curve. We can do this Alabama!!!‬”

Trump national finance committee member former State Representative Perry O. Hooper Jr. (R-Montgomery) said that Congress should provide masks to all Americans as part of the next coronavirus relief bill.

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“Experts are now in agreement. Everyone wearing a mask in public can reduce the spread of this deadly disease,” Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “We should make available for all Americans a sterile reusable mask. Funds should be made available at the state level so Governors and Mayors could decide how best to distribute these masks on the local level.”

The U.S. has 435,160 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 14,797 Americans have died in the global pandemic, including 67 Alabamians. 22,891 Americans have recovered from their illness.

Projections showing hundreds of thousands of Americans dying have been revised dramatically lower. Americans are urged to continue to practice social distancing.

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Jones asks for faster emergency loans to small businesses

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and a ranking Republican colleague led other lawmakers in a request that the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration speed up loans to small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jones and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and other legislators in a letter Wednesday to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza asked that payroll processing companies be allowed to disburse CARES Act small business loans to speed up payments to those small businesses and to get workers paid quickly. 

“Payroll processors have the needed existing infrastructure that will enable businesses to quickly pay their workers and pending bills. Given they originate approximately 40 percent of all the payroll checks in the country and mostly cater to small businesses with 500 employees or less, involving these companies will ensure a deeper dissemination of funds nationwide to the businesses that need it most to keep their doors open,” the letter reads. 

 “It is critical that all tools be used to distribute federal funds effectively and expeditiously, including payroll processing companies used by many small businesses,” they continued. “Please consider permitting payroll processors to partner with small businesses and banks to help alleviate any potential complications for many small businesses during this tumultuous time, the letter continues. 

 Jones in a separate letter Tuesday to Mnuchin asked that the federal government expedite direct assistance payments to citizens amid the COVID-19 outbreak by allowing some to receive the money quicker through debit cards rather than paper checks. 

Senators Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Mark Warner, D-Va. and Bob Menendez, D-N.J. also signed the Wednesday letter.

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Jones asks for faster COVID-19 emergency payments

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, asked the Treasury Secretary on Tuesday to expedite direct assistance payments to citizens amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Jones and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., expressed concern that CARES Act payments made through paper checks to some citizens would not be mailed until April 24. The senators asked that debit cards be mailed instead, thereby speeding up assistance.

“It is our understanding that payments made electronically can be distributed quickly, but the Internal Revenue System (IRS) must print paper checks and mail them separately. As a result, we encourage the Treasury Department to offer a targeted group of Americans the option of receiving their direct assistance payment on the Direct Express debit cards, which are used for other federal benefits like Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits,” the senators wrote.

“While a slight lag between Congressional action and the support arriving to workers is understandable, the Treasury Department must act expeditiously to get these funds to their intended recipients,” the letter continues.

The $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package includes payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The first round of payments are likely to begin around April 13 and will be directly deposited into the accounts of those who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019.

Social Security beneficiaries who did not file taxes in recent years but who receive their benefits through direct deposit are to receive the emergency payments around 10 days after the first round of payments, also through direct deposit. Paper checks will then be mailed to other individuals.

The letter’s full text: 

April 7, 2020

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin

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Secretary of the Treasury

U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Mnuchin,

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included economic relief to Americans in the form of direct cash payments to provide support during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. In order to provide this much-needed assistance directly and quickly, we request the Treasury Department utilize its Direct Express debit card as one method, at the option of the individual, for disbursing these payments as an alternative to paper checks.

We were alarmed by the Washington Post report on April 2, 2020, that “$30 million in paper checks for millions of other Americans won’t start being sent out until April 24, as the government lacks their banking information. And some of those checks won’t reach people until September.”[1] Americans should not have to wait five months to receive their checks.

While a slight lag between Congressional action and the support arriving to workers is understandable, the Treasury Department must act expeditiously to get these funds to their intended recipients. These direct assistance payments are aimed at assisting American workers in covering the cost of essentials household items, including rent and mortgage payments, outstanding bills, and food to feed their families.

It is our understanding that payments made electronically can be distributed quickly, but the Internal Revenue System (IRS) must print paper checks and mail them separately. As a result, we encourage the Treasury Department to offer a targeted group of Americans the option of receiving their direct assistance payment on the Direct Express debit cards, which are used for other federal benefits like Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits.[2] Using debit cards could be limited to Americans eligible for this program not already signed up for direct deposit, have a bank account, or require a paper check.

As Americans across the country practice social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, we support delivering benefits automatically to as many people as possible and request that debit cards be offered as an option to distribute the assistance payment. Debit cards are a safer method of delivery than paper checks. Paper checks will force Americans to leave their homes to deposit the funds and can be a source of fraud. We appreciate your consideration of this request to keep Americans safe during these challenging times.

 

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