Taxes, Debt, Spending

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Trump Pushes for Tax Cuts

A tax cut was one of the major pieces of legislation during Donald Trump's first term as president. He's promising another round of cuts if he's re-elected.

 

In an interview with the Fox Business Network, President Trump said that he wants to lower corporate taxes to a 20% rate and pursue additional individual income tax cuts. This would build on the tax cuts from earlier in his term. That tax package reduced the corporate tax rate to 35% and also cut individual tax rates.

 

Trump's opponent for the presidency, Joe Biden, opposes the Trump tax cuts. He is campaigning on a platform that calls for raising the corporate tax rate to 28%.

 

Supporters of these tax cuts argue that the U.S. corporate income tax rate was among the highest in the world prior to it being reduced. They say that higher corporate income tax rates hurt U.S. businesses compete worldwide. President Trump has also said that his tax cuts have helped spur economic growth.

 

Those who want to raise tax rates argue that the Trump tax cuts have only deepened the deficit. They say that higher taxes are needed to pay not only for current deficit spending, but also for new programs like Medicare for All. The president's critics also contend that his tax cuts were mainly skewed towards the wealthy.

 

Future tax cuts in a Trump second term, should the president be re-elected, would be unlikely if Democrats retain the House of Representatives or take control of the Senate.

 

Do you support cutting the corporate income tax rate to 20%? Do you think that individual tax rates should be reduced?

Congressional Democrats Introduce New Coronavirus Aid Package

House Democrats are pushing for Congress to pass an additional $2.2 trillion in aid for coronavirus relief. After failing to overcome GOP resistance to a more expensive aid package, they hope this latest plan will garner bipartisan support.

 

This legislation includes a variety of measures aimed at dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • Another $1,200 stimulus check for most taxpayers
  • $436 billion in funding for state and local governments
  • $225 billion for schools and child care 
  • Enhanced funding for unemployment benefits
  • $25 billion for airlines
  • $120 billion for restaurants

 

In May, the House passed a $3.4 billion aid package without Republican support. This was a departure from previous coronavirus bills, which were largely bipartisan. The Senate did not vote on the May legislation, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it was too expensive. Democrats and Republicans have failed to come to agreement on another aid bill, with the price tag being the main sticking point.

 

House Speaker Pelosi is facing pressure from some of her members to act on another coronavirus aid bill prior to Election Day. This latest legislation includes a variety of measures supported by Republicans, and it has a lower cost. She is hoping that this will be a good starting point in negotiations with Republican members of Congress and the Trump Administration.

 

Do you support spending $2.2 trillion in additional coronavirus aid?

New Jersey Hiking Taxes on Higher Incomes

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has long supported higher taxes on millionaires. After three years of trying to see his millionaire tax enacted, he finally got his way this week.

 

Legislators came to an agreement with the governor to increase the tax rate on the income of New Jersey residents that exceeds $1 million. The rate will go up from 8.97% to 10.75%. The state estimates that this will bring in around $390 million in new revenue. This tax hike is coupled with a one-time tax rebate for New Jersey taxpayers earning $150,00 per household (or $75,000 for a single taxpayer) of $500. The governor argues that these families have been hit hard by coronavirus and deserve some relief.

 

Gov. Murphy, who is from the Democratic Party's Progressive wing, ran for office on the platform of increasing taxes on higher income state residents. Legislators have been reluctant to embrace the governor's tax agenda in past years, however. This year, however, as the governor and legislators crafted a budget deal, they were looking for revenue to pay for coronavirus-related tax relief. They finally agreed on this tax hike to do so.

 

Supporters of the millionaire's tax contend that the wealthy need to pay more in taxes to help the lower- and middle-class residents of the state. They argue that the rich should sacrifice, especially during times of economic hardship. Opponents contend that wealthy New Jersey residents already pay high tax rates. They also note that the wealthy can easily move to other states if taxes in New Jersey are too high.

 

While the governor and legislative leaders have agreed to this tax increase, the legislature must formally vote on it. 

 

Do you support increasing taxes on people with incomes over $1 million?

 

Senate Rejects New Coronavirus Aid Bill

Yesterday, Senate Republicans tried to pass what they called a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill. Senate Democrats blocked the measure, arguing that it did not go far enough. Now prospects of passage of another aid bill for the pandemic before the election are dim.

 

Here is ow VoteSpotter describes this new coronavirus bill:

 

To provide an additional $300-per-week payment in unemployment benefits, an expanded loan program for small businesses affected by coronavirus, $105 billion for schools to deal with coronavirus as well as to fund school choice, $20 billion for farmers and ranchers affected by coronavirus, $31 billion for vaccines, $16 billion for testing and contact tracing, and $10 billion in loan forgiveness for the Postal Service if it makes certain reforms, among other things.

 

The total cost of the legislation is roughly $650 billion, although only around $300 billion is new spending. The other $350 billion is re-purposed funds that were already authorized.

 

Senators voted 52-47 to invoke cloture on the bill, which would have cut off debate and led to a vote on the package. However, this type of vote needs 60 senators to succeed. No Democrats voted in favor of cloture, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican to vote against it. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) did not vote.

 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) faulted this bill for not including a variety of aid that Democrats think is needed, including money for food, housing, broadband, and state and local governments. He accused Republicans of putting forward a bill so they can say they tried to do something, but with no intention of actually passing anything.

 

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Majority Leader, said the Democrats were the ones playing politics. He said Democrats were more interested in hurting President Trump than in working with Republicans to aid American families.

 

The House of Representatives passed a coronavirus aid bill in July that had a price tag exceeding $3.4 trillion. 

 

What do you think Congress should do about coronavirus aid?

Trump's Payroll Tax Deferral Plan Sparks Controversy

President Trump has long supported a payroll tax cut, but Congress has been reluctant to follow his lead. In response, the president has put forward a plan allowing businesses to defer the collection of payroll taxes through the end of the year. This move has met resistance from both employers and employees, who contend that doing this may actually hurt workers.

 

The desire for a payroll tax cut has been a consistent theme with President Trump. When the initial economic effects of the coronavirus began to become apparent in March, he suggested the same thing. Congress has not included it in any coronavirus relief bill, and is not discussing such a tax cut currently. 

 

In response, Trump directed the Treasury Department to give businesses the option of deferring collection of payroll taxes through the end of the year. This is not a tax cut, however, since the deferred taxes would have to be collected at the beginning of 2021. In essence, this would give employees a boost in pay through December, but double the payroll taxes collected on their paycheck in the first few months of 2021.

 

Many business owners have refused to participate in this plan. They point out that while employees may get a temporary take-home boost in their pay, they will see a big reduction in take-home pay next year. The plan is optional for private sector employees, but mandatory for federal employees. The union representing many federal workers has asked that this tax deferral be optional for them.

 

Payroll taxes are levied on income to pay for Medicare and Social Security. Cutting these taxes would affect every worker, especially those with lower incomes. An income tax cut mainly benefits higher-income workers, since lower incomes are not subject to the tax. Payroll taxes, on the other hand, are levied on the first dollar of income, and are capped for higher-income workers.

 

Since 2009, there have been other payroll tax cuts that have been aimed at stimulating the economy. Some economists argue that since they affect lower-income workers, they provide money to go back into the economy more quickly. Others argue that there are more effective ways to stimulate the economy, such as direct payments to individuals. Some critics are also concerned about the long-term effect of cutting payroll taxes on Medicare and Social Security.

 

Do you support President Trump's plan to defer collection of payroll taxes and then collect those deferred taxes next year?

Budget Deficit Hits Record High

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced this week that the projected budget deficit for 2020 will hit $3.3 trillion -- a record high gap between government revenues and spending.

 

The projected $3.3 trillion far exceeds the last record-high yearly deficit, which occurred in 2009. In that year, the budget deficit was $1.4 trillion. As explained in this Deep Dive, the budget deficit is when the federal government spends more than it receives in revenue in one fiscal year.

 

The U.S. has had a budget deficit every year since the late 1990s, and for many years prior to then. The accumulated deficits make up the national debt. The CBO projects the national debt to exceed the total Gross Domestic Product (the measure of how much economic activity occurs the U.S.) next year.

 

Many experts say that in the midst of an economic crisis, it is not wise to focus on deficits and debt. They argue that the federal government should spend freely to prop up the economy. Other experts counter this claim, noting that the federal government was engaged in deficit spending during good economic times, too. They say that at some point our nation's large amount of debt will hurt the economy and the ability of the government to provide services.

 

The new deficit numbers may affect the ongoing talks to produce another coronavirus spending bill. Democrats are pushing for a bill that contains over $3.4 trillion in new spending. Senate Republicans are likely to pass spending legislation that is around $500 billion due to many Republicans' hesitation about higher spending levels. 

 

Are you concerned about the record-high $3.3 trillion budget deficit?

 

 

NJ Gas Tax Going Up

Buying gas in New Jersey will cost more starting October 1.

 

Last week, State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio announced that the gas tax would be increased by 9.3 cents in a month. This is the result of a 2016 state law that requires a steady level of revenue for transportation projects. The law requires that tax rates be adjusted yearly to obtain that revenue. This year, with driving down because of the coronavirus pandemic, gas tax revenue decreased dramatically. That set the stage for an automatic gas tax hike for New Jersey drivers in the coming fiscal year.

 

The tax hike will mean that for every gallon of gas purchased in New Jersey, 50.7 cents will be paid in taxes. Currently, the state has the 10th highest gas tax rate. After October 1, it will have the 4th highest rate in the nation.

 

This impending tax increase has critics. They say it is coming at an especially bad time for both consumers and businesses. They argue that consumers who are already suffering from high unemployment and an economic slowdown cannot afford to pay higher gas prices. They also contend that New Jersey businesses that sell gas will be hurt by this increase. 

 

Unless legislators change the law, however, this gas tax will go into effect automatically. 

 

Do you support increasing the gas tax?

New Jersey May Give “Baby Bond” to Most Children in the State

If you are born into a family that earns up to 500% of the federal poverty level, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wants the state to give you a $1,000 “baby bond.”

 

Under a proposal unveiled by Gov. Murphy this week, the state would place $1,000 in an account for most New Jersey children. That money would accrue interest and be payable when the child is 18. This would apply to any children who are in households that earn under 500% of the federal poverty level (roughly $131,000 for a family of four). Gov. Murphy estimates 75% of New Jersey children would qualify.

 

Gov. Murphy and supporters of these bonds contend that they will help reduce inequality. They contend that they will provide money for young adults who otherwise may not have a savings account, giving them a better start in life. This is part of Gov. Murphy’s legislative proposals that he contends will reduce inequality.

 

Critics of the bonds counter that they will do very little to help, since they will not accrue significant interest in 18 years. They argue that this is an expensive measure that is more about looking like the governor is helping address inequality instead of taking real measures to help the poor. The first-year cost of the program would be approximately $80 million.


New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has proposed similar legislation at the federal level. The New Jersey legislature must approve Gov. Murphy’s “baby bond” plan before it goes into effect.

Do you think the government should give every child a $1,000 bond that matures when the child turns 18?

Trump Issues Coronavirus Executive Orders

With Congress and White House negotiators unable to agree on a new coronavirus relief bill, President Trump issued four executive orders late last week aimed at achieving some of his key goals.

 

These executive orders would, among other things,

  • Delay the collection of the payroll tax for workers who make less than $104,000 a year
  • Extend the extra unemployment benefit of $400 per week (this will last until December 6 or until funding is gone)
  • Require states to pay up to 25% of extra unemployment benefits
  • Allow student loan recipients to defer payment through the end of the year, and waive all interest on federal loans through December 31

 

In addition, one of the president's orders requires the federal government to consider whether more actions should be taken to stop evictions as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

 

The president said these orders were necessary to protect Americans who were suffering because Congress would not act. However, he quickly faced criticism that he was acting in ways that were not authorized by the Constitution. Many pointed out that prior to taking office, he had criticized then-President Barack Obama for acting in the same way. Some legal experts contend that the president does not have the authority to take these measures, since only Congress can authorize federal spending.

 

In March, Congress had passed legislation that provided additional unemployment payments, but these payments ran out in late July. Members of Congress and the Trump Administration had been meeting to craft a new legislative package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, neither side could agree on a suitable compromise. It is unclear how the president's actions will affect attempts to come to an agreement. The fate of these executive orders will likely be decided by federal courts.

 

Do you support Presidents Trump's executive orders that, among other things, provided an additional unemployment payment?

Sanders Pushing 60% Tax on Billionaires' Wealth Gains

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has introduced legislation to impose a new tax on any gains in wealth by billionaires during the coronavirus crisis.

 

S 4490 would impose a 60% tax on any gains in wealth by billionaires between March 1 and the end of the year. The revenue from this new tax would then be directed to Medicare in order to pay Americans' out-of-pocket medical expenses for the period of 1 year.

 

Taxing billionaires has long been a goal of Sen. Sanders. During his runs for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders often attacked the wealthy and suggested government policies to tax them. He estimates that this plan could raise over $422 billion.

 

Sen. Sanders argues that it is wrong for billionaires to be making more money during a time when so many Americans are suffering. He says his tax is a good way to help average Americans who are struggling with medical bills. Opponents, however, say that it is just another one of Sanders's socialist ideas that is aimed at punishing the successful. They also note the difficulty of administering the program.

 

Given the Senate's control by Republicans, this legislation is unlikely to be considered.

 

Do you support a 60% tax on billionaires' wealth gains that were made this year?

Biden Unveils Child Care, Elder Care Plan

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden this week outlined a $775 billion proposal that would expand federal spending on child care and elder care.

 

The Biden plan would:

  • Provide universal preschool for 3- and 4-year old children
  • Create a federal program to build child care facilities
  • Fund child and elder care jobs
  • Expand the use of community health care workers
  • Create a $5,000 tax credit for caregivers

 

The Biden campaign says this initiative will help millions of Americans who are caring for their children or elderly relatives. They argue that it will also create 5 million new jobs. The need for greater federal involvement in child care is something that has been a theme for Biden, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

However, the initiative also has critics, which call it too costly. They also argue that expanding federal efforts in these areas constitute government intrusion on family activities.

 

If elected president, Biden would need to convince Congress to pass this package for it to go into effect.

 

Do you think the federal government should spend more on child care and elder care?



Trump Pushing for Coronavirus-Related Payroll Tax Cut

With another coronavirus relief bill likely to move through the House and Senate in August, members of Congress are considering what should be in such legislation. President Trump wants it to have a payroll tax cut.

 

The desire for a payroll tax cut has been a consistent theme with President Trump. When the initial economic effects of the coronavirus began to become apparent in March, he suggested the same thing. Congress has not included it, however.

 

In a statement this week, a White House spokesman said:

 

As he has done since the beginning of this pandemic, President Trump wants to provide relief to hardworking Americans who have been impacted by this virus and one way of doing that is with a payroll tax holiday. He’s called on Congress to pass this before and he believes it must be part of any phase four package.

 

Payroll taxes are levied on income to pay for Medicare and Social Security. Cutting these taxes would affect every worker, especially those with lower incomes. An income tax cut mainly benefits higher-income workers, since lower incomes are not subject to the tax. Payroll taxes, on the other hand, are levied on the first dollar of income, and are capped for higher-income workers.

 

Since 2009, there have been other payroll tax cuts that have been aimed at stimulating the economy. Some economists argue that since they affect lower-income workers, they provide money to go back into the economy more quickly. Others argue that there are more effective ways to stimulate the economy, such as direct payments to individuals. Some critics are also concerned about the long-term effect of cutting payroll taxes on Medicare and Social Security.

 

Do you think the new coronavirus relief bill should include a payroll tax cut?

House Doesn’t Approve Detailed Reporting of Coronavirus Aid Recipients

The forgiveable loan program for businesses harmed by the coronavirus epidemic proved so popular that Congress had to pass two bills to fund it. But this week the House failed to pass legislation that would require the federal government to give a detailed report about who received such money.

 

By a vote of 269-147, the House did not meet the necessary two-thirds threshold to suspend the rules and pass H.R. 6782. Here is how VoteSpotter describes the legislation:

 

To require the Small Business Administration to report the name of each business that received coronavirus aid, an explanation of why that business received aid, the number of employees of each business, the lender who made facilitated the aid, and the amount of money given to small businesses owned by "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals" as well as women and veterans.

 

The Paycheck Protection Act provided forgiveable loans to businesses who shut down or saw business drop because of the coronavirus epidemic. They needed to meet certain criteria, however, such as re-hiring employees by June. The program proved so popular that the initial allocation of money soon ran out and Congress had to pass another bill to provide more funding.

 

Those who opposed H.R. 6782 said they were not against transparency, but they did not think the program should be used as a way to promote an agenda that favored certain business owners over others. The supporters argued that it is important to disclose how the federal government is spending money, especially if certain communities were being underserved.

 

This bill was not rejected by the House membership; the bill merely failed to get enough votes to pass through an expedited process. House leadership could still bring it back to the floor and pass it by majority vote.


Do you think that the federal government should release data on the businesses that received coronavirus aid? Should that information include data on how many businesses run by “social and economically disadvantaged individuals” received money?

Some Fear Unemployment Benefits Keep People from Returning to Work

With millions of Americans losing work as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, some elected officials and experts are worried that expanded unemployment benefits are making the jobless problem worse.

 

As part of the coronavirus aid package, the federal government has increased unemployment benefits by $600 a month. This has led to a situation where some workers make more money with these benefits than they do at their jobs. As Congress considers whether to extend this higher payment, some are worried that doing so will hamper an economic recovery. After all, these critics of the program say, why would someone return to work if he or she can make more money being unemployed?

 

It is unclear how many people are deciding not to return to work as a result of the higher unemployment benefits. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin this week reminded people that they could lose their benefits if they refuse to go back to work if their company can re-hire them.

 

The increased unemployment benefits end this summer. Some Democrats in Congress want to extend this program through next year. Republicans argue that the government should not make it more attractive to remain without work than it is to go to work. They say that this will slow down an economic recovery and hurt business owners who need workers to return. Democrats counter that this program is desperately needed by people who are jobless through no fault of their own.


Democrats are pushing for quick passage of a new coronavirus aid bill that could include these extension of enhanced unemployment benefits. Republicans want a slower process.

 

Do you think that paying an extra $600 in unemployment benefits per week gives people an incentive not to return to work?

Progressives Push for Military Cuts to Pay for Coronavirus Aid

Members of the House Progressive Caucus want to cut military spending as a way to pay the big price tag for coronavirus aid.

 

The House Armed Services Committee is considering the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which provides authority for the nation’s military activities. This bill also sets the funding level for military spending, which is then funded through the appropriations process.

 

Last year, the Progressive Caucus wanted the act to authorize military spending at $644 billion a year. Instead, the House approved legislation that set the level at $738 billion. As the process begins this year, the caucus’s members have said they will not support legislation that does not contain a significant spending cut.

 

The members argue that with other needs taking priority, specifically the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, it is time for Congress to trim military spending. They say the nation cannot afford to keep spending billions of dollars on pricey weapons systems and other military projects that, in the views of these members of Congress, foster conflict around the globe.

 

This stance puts these Democratic House members at odds with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Many moderate Democrats do not support cutting military spending, and would likely oppose any efforts to concede to the Progressive Caucus’s demands. But without the votes of the more liberal House members, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to rely on Republican votes to pass the defense bill this year.

 

Do you think that military spending should be cut to help pay for the trillions of dollars spent dealing with the coronavirus?

House Taking up $3 Trillion Coronavirus Bill

The House of Representatives is on the verge of passing its fifth bill related to the coronavirus epidemic. Unlike the previous legislation, however, this bill's approval is set to come along partisan lines.

 

House Democratic leadership introduced the bill earlier this week. Republicans charged that they had little time to look over the details and pointed out they had no input in its writing. Among other things, the bill includes:

  • Nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments
  • $200 billion to provide hazard pay for front-line workers
  • Another round of direct payments to households
  • $175 billion in housing aid$75 billion for more testing

 

Democrats say these things are necessary to provide aid to an economy that is suffering in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. They argue that many states and local governments will face difficult choices to cut key services without federal aid. Republicans, however, say the bill is too expensive. They also note that it contains spending on items that have little to do with the current health crisis, such as tens of millions of dollars to the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Republicans also fault Democrats for putting provisions in the bill that would benefit organized labor.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he has no interest in bringing this bill up for consideration in the Senate. There will likely be another coronavirus aid bill, but for any bill to move through Congress and be signed by President Trump, it must be bipartisan.

 

Do you think the Senate should vote on the $3 trillion coronavirus aid bill?

Democrats Unveil Their Plan for More Coronavirus Aid

House Democratic leaders have introduced their version of the next phase of coronavirus relief. Its price tag is $3 trillion.

 

Among other things, this package contains:

  • Nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments
  • $200 billion to provide hazard pay for front-line workers
  • Another round of direct payments to households
  • $175 billion in housing aid
  • $75 billion for more testing

 

Under this bill, a family could receive up to $6,000 directly from the federal government. The weekly $600 increase in unemployment benefits would last through January.  

 

Unlike other coronavirus bills, this one was not put together with input from Republicans. It represents a Democratic vision of what aid should contain, and is unlikely to garner much Republican support. The House leadership says these measures are necessary to help people sustain themselves in wake of the economic problems caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Republicans counter that this is a liberal wish-list that is far too expensive.

 

There are likely enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass this legislation. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he is not interested in moving quickly on another coronavirus aid bill. In addition, any future aid bill in that chamber will have to have support from both Republicans and Democrats to pass.

 

The House is expected to vote on this bill Friday. If enacted, this would be the fifth bill to provide federal aid to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus.

 

Do you support the $3 trillion coronavirus aid bill put forward by House Democrats?

Trump Still Pushing for Payroll Tax Cut

Congress has passed four bills dealing with the coronavirus epidemic, and is now working on a fifth. President Trump wants that bill to include a payroll tax cut.

 

This is not the first time that the president has suggested such a tax cut. When the initial economic effects of the coronavirus began to become apparent in March, he suggested the same thing. Congress has been reluctant to enact it, however.

 

Payroll taxes are levied on income to pay for Medicare and Social Security. Cutting these taxes would affect every worker, especially those with lower incomes. An income tax cut mainly benefits higher-income workers, since lower incomes are not subject to the tax. Payroll taxes, on the other hand, are levied on the first dollar of income, and are capped for higher-income workers.

 

Since 2009, there have been other payroll tax cuts that have been aimed at stimulating the economy. Some economists argue that since they affect lower-income workers, they provide money to go back into the economy more quickly.

 

The president’s support for such a tax cut is not shared by many in Congress. Democratic members argue that such a tax cut would not provide relief to those who lost jobs or who are in the gig economy. Republicans are worried about its price tag (which could reach as high as $1 trillion a year) and its effect on the Social Security Trust Fund.

 

It remains to be seen what type of tax relief, if any, members of Congress will support in their latest coronavirus relief bill.

 

Do you support cutting payroll taxes as a way to stimulate the economy?

Lawyers Argue that Trump’s Name on Stimulus Checks is Illegal

Stimulus checks going out to millions of Americans contain the name of President Donald Trump in the memo line. A bipartisan group of lawyers is arguing that this is a violation of federal law.

 

Congress passed legislation authorizing stimulus payments to tens of millions of Americans due to the economic effects of the coronavirus epidemic. Many of those payments were made by direct deposit. Some people, however, are receiving paper checks.

 

There were reports that President Trump wanted his signature to appear on the line authorizing the checks. Generally, the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury appears on government checks. Due to legal reasons, this idea could not be realized. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he had the idea to place the president’s name in the memo line of the check, something that has never been done before.

 

A group of lawyers who have worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations argues that this move was intended to boost the president’s re-election campaign. As such, they say, it violates a federal law that prohibits the use of federal employees and property for campaign purposes. They sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging him to appoint a special counsel to investigate this situation.

 

Legal observers note that no one has been prosecuted under the section of the federal code that these lawyers cite.

 

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced legislation to prohibit the federal government from using the president or vice=president’s name or image in promotional material.

 

Do you think it was appropriate to put President Trump’s name on stimulus checks?

Democrats Want Federal Funding for Faster Internet

At a time when tens of millions of Americans are working from home or going to school from home, the Internet is proving critical to connecting people. Now some Democratic members of Congress want federal funding to boost high-speed Internet.

 

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) have joined with Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) to advocate for a federal grant program for improved broadband access as part of the next coronavirus aid bill. They argue that this epidemic has shown the importance of high-speed Internet, and that some people are at a disadvantage because they don’t have this type of service.

 

Opponents of this idea say that Internet access is better left to the private sector, not the government. They argue that the government can distort the market and harm efforts to roll out broadband. They note the large increase in high-speed Internet access over the past decade that private businesses, not the government, accomplished.

 

There is ongoing discussion about what the next coronavirus aid bill should contain and when Congress should act on it. Democrats are pushing for a big aid package for state and local governments. Republicans are cool to this idea, but have not rejected it. This is the main sticking point in negotiations, and it is unclear when it will be resolved.

 

Do you think the federal government should take steps to improve high-speed Internet access?

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