A Day Late And A Dollar Short

Getting legislation passed in both chambers of Congress is and has always been a game of give-and-take, compromise, meeting halfway.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans will get everything they hoped for in a given bill, but it is to be hoped that the hammering out process leads to something positive for the nation and for We the People.

For months, Congress has made half-hearted attempts to come to terms on a new stimulus bill that would help people and small businesses survive the winter of this pandemic.  Yes, I did say half-hearted, for the two sides have been miles apart and no concerted effort was made that I can see to come together, to put aside their own petty grievances and do their jobs.  To an extent, that was the fault of Donald Trump, who insisted he would sign no stimulus bill that didn’t guarantee immunity from liability for companies who failed to take proper precautions to protect their employees during the pandemic.  I’m sure there were other hurdles and stumbling-blocks, but this was the one that stuck in my craw.  WHY should businesses be allowed to put their employees in danger and be held harmless when one or more employees contract the coronavirus because there was no company-wide mask mandate, or staff was not kept adequately distant from one another?

So, the democrats gave in on the employer liability immunity issue and progress was made.  One barrier after another was somehow knocked down and eventually it looked like a deal would be struck.  The Republicans, however, had one demand from which they absolutely refused to budge.  It’s referred to as the “three-martini tax deduction” and what it does is allows business executives a full 100% tax write-off for the cost of business lunches, including alcoholic beverages, tips, etc.  Until now, the limit has been a 50% deduction.

Initially, the bill did not include stimulus payments to individuals, but thankfully Senator Bernie Sanders stood his ground and demanded a $1,200 payment to each person earning under $75,000 per annum.  Through compromise, it was chiseled down to $600.  The country thanks you, Senator Sanders!  Would that others had his cojones.

Negotiations continued and ultimately Democratic leaders agreed to the provision in exchange for Republicans agreeing to expand tax credits for low-income families and the working poor.  Yes, folks, this is how these things work, but seriously … more than 3,000 people in this country are dying of the coronavirus every damn day, 20 million are out of work, lines at food banks stretch for miles, millions are in danger of losing their homes, and the bill to provide minimal assistance might well have failed if Democrats hadn’t agreed that the taxpayers … those of us who actually PAY taxes … should foot the bill for some billionaire executive to take another billionaire executive out to lunch and drink the finest vodka in the place?  This is the very definition of the word ‘unconscionable’, and it is obvious, if it weren’t already, that the Republicans in Congress do not give a damn about the people of this nation unless we have millions of dollars.

At any rate, after the Democrats caving on some things, the bill has now been passed by both House and Senate and is on its way to the desk of Donald Trump for his signature.  The effect for the average person is to be a $600 stimulus check, similar to the one earlier this year, but only half the amount, $300 enhanced unemployment benefits for 11 weeks, extension of eviction protection until January 31st, some rental assistance, and a 15% increase in food stamp benefits.  All indications are that Trump will sign the bill, but at this stage of the game, given his blatant lack of concern for We the People, nothing would surprise me.

I am reminded of that old Schoolhouse Rock video …

66 thoughts on “A Day Late And A Dollar Short

  1. How did you, the people, ever let your elected officials get to such a monstrosity as this? What the hell do any of those things have to do with help for the battered masses?
    It sounds like anyone can add on any pet project they like, and if they don’t get said pet project they will vote against it. WTF! Put one item on a bill, pass it or kill it, and move on. No wonder nothing ever gets done in Congress anymore, meaning both houses. If this is what you pay your elected officials to do, you are paying them way too damn much, not to mention allowing them to give themselves raises they don’t deserve. I’m sure most democracies are just as bad, but that does not mean they should be allowed to play such games.
    Talk about an old boys’ network? Fire the whole damned lot of them, and start over.

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    • As I wrote this comment last night, my addled brain could not remember certain words that I greatly wanted to use to describe the political gamesmanship. Well, in the darkness before dawn–3 hours before dawn in Alberta–I finally remembered them.
      What both parties seem to be involved in in Congress would be what the rest of us call bribery, or quid pro quo, or even a con job, all of which would be illegal if any of us tried to do anything similar. Is that really how you want your government to operate, as usual, above the law?
      As for Fuddlestocks Donald Trump threatening to veto the bill if the amount of the payout is not increased to $2000? That is just grandstanding on his part, again trying to con regular Americans into thinking he is on their side. By the time he signs it, if he does, Americans will be lucky if they get $200 each. As for the $2000 figure, oh, that was just a typo. He meant $200 all along…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is grandstanding on Trump’s part, and I suspect he’s hoping to garner support for his false claims about election fraud. Sigh. Too little too late … he’s done … just 27 more days … not that I’m counting.

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    • rawgod, I absolutely agree with you and have been saying the same thing for years now. It doesn’t matter who’s in charge, both parties are pretty much the same. they really want a government that takes everything you have and gives you what they think you need and what we really need is for them to get the hell out of the way and out of our lives. We humans, despite the gloomy characterizations that some profess on an almost daily basis, are actually capable of running our own lives and making good decisions. Yes there are stupid people in every society and it’s the stupid you hear about in the media and that goes viral on the internet because that’s what gets the attention, the clicks and the traffic. Take the attention away from such idiotic morons, get rid of warning labels and let natural selection take care of things and we’d be in an okay place. Let there be consequences again for stupid and over time, the stupid will diminish. you don’t need a bloated inefficient government for that.

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      • I agree we have no need for governments of any kind, which is why I consider myself a Responsible (to life) Anarchist, but I cannot go along with your rant about stupid people, because people are not born stupid, they are made that way. Our education system forces things on us, some of which certain people can understand, but others cannot. We are all different, and smart in our own ways, it is our cultures and societies that make us appear stupid to others. Not to be mean, Scott, but certainly you have encountered people who think you are stupid because you cannot see. I am stupid because I cannot fix a car, nor build a house. But we both know there are things we can do others cannot. Everyone has their strengths, everyone has they weaknesses. Please don’t even call anyone stupid again, that is downright insulting.
        You said it yourself just now, “We humans…are capable of running our own lives and making good decisions.” That is the Scott I have come to know and love. The one who praises Republicans and rants about Democrats is the product of his culture, him I do not like.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nope, no dice. REJECTED!
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday not to sign a $892-billion coronavirus relief bill that includes desperately needed money for individual Americans, saying it should be amended to increase the amount in the stimulus checks.
    Oh well… back to the drawing board.

    Liked by 1 person

    • and some of you ask why I don’t trust mainstream media?

      They put that as the headline knowing full well that people aren’t going to read the story or not read very much of it and that’s shameful journalism if I ever saw it.

      A more accurate headline would be “Stimulus bill rejected over unnecessary expenditures unrelated to COVID-19 relief”. Would you not agree?

      Some of you probably wouldn’t because that misleading headline further cements your “orange man bad” narrative and paints trump as the villain but any thinking person knows that it’s congress who is the real demonic force in this situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, Trump actually came through for the little guy! Both sides managed to cut the pork barrel fat, increase aid for working adults, and approve the new bill overnight for Trump to sign. I’ll give credit where credit is due – well done Congress, and President Trump!

        Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he had spoken to President Trump about the agreement and that Mr. Trump would “absolutely” sign it as it is written today. “He’s very pleased with this legislation, and the impact that this is going to have,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

        Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said the bill had been “improved substantially” since Democrats joined the negotiations. “To all Americans I say: Help is on the way, big help and quick help,” Mr. Schumer said.

        Days of frantic negotiations on Capitol Hill between Senate Democrats and Republicans and the Trump administration produced an agreement less than a week after first Mr. McConnell introduced an opening offer. Lawmakers spent the weekend in Washington in dayslong marathon sessions to reach a deal, and Democrats twice blocked procedural steps as talks continued.

        While the final terms of the bill remained under wraps early Wednesday, lawmakers had been eyeing sending one-time checks worth $1,200 to many Americans, with $500 available to children, with the assistance capped above certain income levels.

        Those payments would be in addition to a broad expansion in unemployment benefits, which would be extended to nontraditional employees, including gig workers and freelancers, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations. The agreement is also set to increase current unemployment assistance by $600 a week for four months.

        The Senate is also poised to approve $350 billion in loans to small businesses in an effort to keep Americans on payrolls as economic activity across the country comes to a standstill.

        A major challenge in the negotiations was roughly $500 billion in corporate aid, much of which will go toward backstopping Federal Reserve loans. The Treasury Secretary will have the authority to directly lend a slice of those funds, and Democrats had sought to place controls on the money. The agreement will create a new inspector general and oversight board to oversee the aid.

        Mr. Schumer wrote in a letter to Senate Democrats Wednesday morning that the legislation will also invest $150 billion in the health care system, already straining to respond to the quickly expanding number of infections across the country, and send $150 billion to state and local governments saddled with costs related to the virus. Those funding increases are among several lawmakers had intended to include in the package.

        In the same letter, Mr. Schumer said the legislation included a ban on stock buybacks for any company receiving a government loan from the stimulus package. The ban lasts the term of the government assistance plus 1 year.

        Democrats also secured a provision in the agreement that bans businesses controlled by Mr. Trump, the vice president, members of Congress and heads of executive departments from receiving loans or other funds from the stimulus bill. Children and spouses of those people are also banned, according to a senior Democratic aid.

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  3. I am consistently disappointed and saddened by the touting of American greatness, land of plenty, and all that stuff, only to see things like this. And then to hear people trying to sell it as “well, if there are 4 people in the household, that’s $2400!” Yeah, like that will get you through more than one month’s worth of bills. Pathetic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right, Emily. Growing up, I heard what a great nation this was, how there was opportunity for everyone. I was about 10 when I began to realize it was mostly a lie. Oh sure, there are good things about the country, but … great? I think not. And today, I wouldn’t even say good … I would say … have said … this country sucks right now. It sucks to be called an “American”, and it sucks to be stuck living in this hellhole. Sigh. Forgive me, but tonight I am angry and depressed at the games being played in Washington … games with We the People as disposable pawns.

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  4. Such an underwhelming bill for an overwhelming moment Jill. This of course should have been done months ago. The real culprit, in my view, is Mitch McConnell. That guy stands in the way of anything positive getting done for the majority of the American people. I mean, he goes to bat for the millionaires/billionaires time and time again. Then, crumbs for the rest of us. It’s gonna be a tough road for President Biden. How he navigates Congress will say so much about his presidency.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think trump should rip up that bill on national television like Nancy ripped up his state of the union address and tell them to go back to the drawing board, and come up with a bill without all the crap in it.

      If an average citizen can go through the bill and point out stuff that doesn’t belong, there is no excuse that those items can’t be removed by congress while the bill is still in draft.

      This whole thing is just inexcusable and infuriating.

      I have nothing but absolute contempt and hatred for every single member of congress who votes for this reprehensible package which does not benefit America.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course you do Scott, because that’s what I would expect you to say. I don’t like it either. But damn it, it’s something. There was a lot more in the bill Pelosi passed months ago. And if the corrupt slime Mitch McConnell would have brought it up for debate earlier, we would not be in this mess. Put the blame where it belongs please: Moscow Mitch. He’s a danger and obstacle to democracy and is nothing but a shrill for the millionaires and billionaires. Please get your facts straight. That means, no Fox News, no Newsmax, no OANN. Or, quite frankly, any of those other radical right-wing sites you go to. Try Reuters. Try USA Today. Try the Washington Post. Try AP News. Try Bloomberg. Try The NY Times. Hell, anything but that fake trash you somehow consider news. You just might find out what’s really happening in the world Scott. Not simply what you want to hear that conforms to your chosen narrative.
        Thanks for responding though, and I hope you have a nice holiday season.

        Liked by 3 people

        • how do you know that things like the washington post aren’t radical or incorrect?

          I don’t even listen to newsmax, or one america news as you seem to believe.

          Why do you guys demonize the president for calling cnn fake news, which, by the way, thogh I don’t believe they have a lot of credibility and have done much to damage their reputation, calling them fake news just insights emotionalism and doesn’t help anyone on either side.

          the point is that you demonize the president for doing this and yet tell me and other people who don’t agree with your worldview to stop listening to right wing radical journalists who don’t have any credibility which is the same as calling them fake news.

          both parties are to blame for the fiscal mess and irresponsibility we’re victim to in this country and yet you continue to blame Mitch for all of it.

          Please take a good look at your hipocrasy regarding these issues and do a little introspective self-examination. Maybe such a mental exercise will help you and others become more fair minded in the new year.

          Liked by 1 person

        • The “mainstream media”, ie. WaPo, NYT, Politico, Reuters, NPR … don’t always get it right, but … they are legitimate sources. They try. They apologize and recant when they get it wrong. The far right and far left publications are garbage that print everything from conspiracy theories to outright lies in order to gain readership.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Undoubtedly there are problems with this bill, but let’s not give Trump any opportunity to show just how big an asshole he can be, okay. As I said in an earlier comment, I simply don’t have enough hours in my days, 2 days before Christmas, to devote to doing the research on this. But this much I know … if this bill isn’t signed, people are going to lose their homes, lose their unemployment benefits, and some will starve to death. The bill MUST be signed and the benefits take effect before the end of this year … the rest will have to be dealt with later.

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        • Yes…”Red State.” UGHHH. You’re so right in the comments you made about the mainstream media. It is all about credibility. Hell, I don’t always agree with WaPO or NY Times, but they invest a lot of money into real investigative journalism and more often than not, they get it right. If Scott continues to visit these fringe whacko sites, he’ll never get it. Never.

          Liked by 1 person

          • just learned about this but it doesn’t surprise me.

            Did you know Democrats slid in $25,000,000 for additional salary for House of Representatives into the “Covid Relief Bill”?

            They planned to give each other a $57,471 raise after blocking relief to Americans in need all year, while they keep getting a paycheck.

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              • yes I know they ldft that in and that’s just as horrible.

                and please stop giving the democrats a pass just because you’re focused on the wrong that the republicans do and should be rightfully called out.

                Your bias is so apparent, it’s sickening.

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                • Yeah, I’m biased. So what? Maybe your party can give us all a reason not to be. Maybe they should start working for the people and not just the one percent and powerful corporations. Maybe they should stop putting unqualified judges on the bench. Maybe they should worry about the deficit/debt when their in power, not just when Dems have it. Maybe they shouldn’t stand silently by while the worst president in history tries to circumvent the election and install himself with ridiculous fraud claims. Maybe they should worry about the climate for a damn change. Maybe they should stop pandering to racists/bigots. Maybe they should sign on to major corruption/election reform, which was passed by Pelosi’s House. Maybe they should sign on to comprehensive immigration and gun safety reform.
                  Why don’t they do these things Scott? I’ll wait to hear your answer. Go ahead and check your far-right media and get back to me.

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    • Unfortunately, it appears that at least some of what Scott says is in the bill, really is. You remember the term “pork barrel” politics? This seems to fit that to a “T”. Sigh. And now, Trump is threatening to veto, though for personal reasons that have nothing to do with anything. I’m ready to jump off a tall building, my friend. Nothing is as it seems at the moment, or so it would seem. (Confused yet?) Meanwhile, while Congress and Trump play games, people will start losing their homes and their unemployment next month without the protections offered in this bill. SIGH.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He does absolutely nothing for weeks, except spew a bunch of conspiracy theories and lies about the election being stolen from him. Then at the last minute he does what he does best-create chaos and uncertainty. What a complete idiot. I think he’ll probably sign the current bill eventually but he can say how he went to bat for “average” Americans and his cult will fawn all over him for it. 28 days!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I understand that money is limited for these later stimulus bills and while Ib empathise with The People who are suffering, I realise the country is in debt. Having said that, this decision should have been a shoo-in and shouldn’t have needed long sessions in any committee. There should have needed to be none of the wrangling there obviously was. There should never have been compromises made for a three- martini tax deduction because that shouldn’t have even been part of the discussions. It’d disgusting. Nor should employers be given a free pass to put employees at risk and get away with it. That’s legalised murder. You can see which side favours the wealthy.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • It seems that this bill is filled with what we call “pork barrel” politics, and I haven’t the time right now to dig as deep as I need to. However, from a humanitarian standpoint, my preference would be that the bill be signed, for as of the end of this month, people will begin losing their homes and their unemployment insurance, meaning that families will be homeless and hungry, and that, in a nation with this much wealth, is absolutely unconscionable. It seems that even the “three-martini” deduction pales in comparison to some of the garbage that has been included. Sigh. Why couldn’t our elected representatives just FOR ONCE have put the people of this nation ahead of their own interests??? Is that really too much to ask? Beam me up, Scottie!
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You cannot blame this on just the republicans for the democrats have plenty of pet projects and unrelated crap that they wanted in this bill. Here’s a list of 17 unrelated items that the president should line item veto if he has the balls to do so but he doesn’t because he’s a damn coward. Congress has no business putting these sorts of ridiculous demands in a bill that is supposed to help the average citizen and small business. Get ready to be very angry and if you’re not after reading this list, something is profoundly wrong with you, meaning anyone who reads this comment all the way through.
    1. Kennedy Center funding:

    $26,400,000 for operations/maintenance
    $14,000,000 for upgrades

    2. National Endowment for the Arts: $167,500,000
    National Endowment for Humanities: $167,500,000
    Commission of Fine Arts (7 members): $3,240,000
    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: $7,400,000
    3 $818,192,000 for the Smithsonian
    4 $10.8 million for the Institute Of American Indian And Alaska Native Culture And Arts Development Institute.
    5 $59.5 million for grants for the “Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program”.
    6 The EPA is getting $33.7 million for new or improved facilities.
    7 $150,812,000 for the offshore O&G regulators.
    8 $129 million for the Navajo Irrigation Project.
    9. $21,125,000 in grants to preserve Civil Rights Movement Sites
    10 $135,500,000 for one federal courthouse.
    11 $222,724,000 to update the IRS’s “business systems”.
    12 $208,000,000 to upgrade the Census Bureau’s computer systems.
    13 $65 million to restore salmon populations.
    14 $4.2 million for the Office Of Ethics,
    15 $9,629,000 for the Office of Budget and Program Analysis
    16 $24,192,000 for the Office of the Chief Economist.
    17 $47,000,000 for “Processing, researching, and marketing”.

    Public engagement, support services, miscellaneous supplies and expenses…
    Thanks to someone on twitter who went through the bill extracting all of these things, I just put some of them in a list, leaving out commentary as it’s not necessary.
    i would encourage each of you to take this list, write to your representatives and ask them why the hel they voted for all of this stuff when they could have stood together and said no to such stupid requests.
    The government serves us, it’s not suppoed to be the other way around.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And that’s just domestic BS! Several billion goes to foreign aid…..

      Page 1,461 of the bill, for example, authorizes nearly $135 million for BURMA (aka Myanmar) “to promote ethnic and religious tolerance . . . in Kachin, Karen, Rakhine, and Shan states”.

      What bureaucrat could possibly come up with something so absurd? You get $600. But a bunch of corrupt generals in Burma get to rake in US taxpayer funds under the guise of ethnic and religious tolerance… but ONLY in FOUR out of Burma’s 14 states.

      (Tough luck if you’re a Burmese warlord living in the state of Bago or Yangon… because obviously it would be ridiculous to give those states any money.)

      Another $45 million of taxpayer money (page 1,491) will be awarded to key government officials in Central America– places like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala– in order to “combat corruption”.

      You can’t make this stuff up– they are giving money to corrupt politicians to fund anti-corruption programs. It’s genius!

      Another $10 million of taxpayer money (page 1,486) will be given to the government of Pakistan SPECIFICALLY for gender studies programs.

      They’re giving boatloads of money to plenty of foreign countries, including Ukraine ($453 million), Sudan ($700 million), the Republic of Georgia ($132 million), Bangladesh ($198 million), Vietnam ($170 million), and several others.

      Then there’s the small matter of $33 million for “democracy programs” in Venezuela. I’m sure Nicholas Maduro will use those funds well.

      (The real irony is that, while allocated $33 million for Venezuela on page 1498, page 1347 of the bill expressly prohibits any funding for Venezuela. Unbelievable.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just a brief response, Scott. I started fact-checking, and it seems that much of what you say is true. I will be working to verify exactly WHAT is in that bill, and as of tonight, it appears to be dead in the water, for Trump says he “might” refuse to sign it if they don’t raise the individual payouts to $2,000, which isn’t going to happen. I have very limited time at the moment, so it may well be a while before I can report back on exactly what is or isn’t in this bill. But this time, it appears that you may well be right. Still … people are going to start losing their homes and starving to death in the next few weeks, so … it’s a Catch-22.

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    • You’re quite right, most of these have no place in a stimulus bill designed to help those in need and small businesses who may well go out of business. The bill is late and could miss out on helping some people unless there is a moratorium extension on evictions. The amount is much smaller than last time and smaller than hoped by the Democratic side but concessions haad to be made. Trump himself has said he’s sending it back for an amendment to $1000 for a single person and $2000 for a couple. He’s also going to get rid of a lot of overseas aid money but he did not mention a payment to Israel and what he intends to do about that nor what it’s for.
      Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

    • As of tonight, Trump is threatening to veto … I’m still not sure if there was a 2/3 majority vote in both House and Senate, but I’m thinking not. Trump claims the $600 individual payout must be $2,000 before he will sign it, which simply is not going to happen. Sigh. And, I’m hearing/reading that there is much in that bill that has nothing whatsoever to do with helping people and small businesses. My best guess is there will be no stimulus … at least not before around February, if then. And that will be too late for so many families who will, by then, have lost their homes. 😥

      Liked by 1 person

      • Trust me on this one Jill, from a European with the ideas of autocracy fused into the DNA and the folk-memories. You an’t nowhere near one….Otherwise that a-hole would have got his pathetic bratty wish with no fuss nor bother.
        Though go and ask African Americans about their opinions particularly those from southern heritages. Every nation has the stain of poor treatment of minorities .
        What you have here is a turbulence, and like any turbulence rubbish and flotsam gets thrown up in this case Intolerance and Fear.
        It can be ridden out and it can go wrong. Time will tell.
        Wishing you and yours (hi there kitties, Jolly and Joyful too!) a uneventful, peaceful, contended Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sigh … I’m feeling rather hopeless at the moment, I guess. Just too much … too much of it all.

          Merry Christmas to you, Sheila and the family from we here at Filosofa’s madhouse! The kitties send hugs … or rather, their version of hugs (sometimes painful). I hope the restrictions and current lockdown in Wales don’t keep you from getting to see the kids & grandkids. Big HUGS, my dear friend!

          Liked by 1 person

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