Image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congress is at a crossroads in the Covid-19 panic, which resulted in government officials across America issuing illegal business closure and lockdown orders, which resulted in massive unemployment and likely permanent destruction of economic progress. Lawmakers are wrestling over whether to “go big” as Pelosi wants for the next relief bill or hit “pause” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, Austin, and Washington, D.C., May 27 – The number of deaths from economic-related suicides in Montgomery County continues to exceed substantially the number of deaths from Chinese Coronavirus, according to three well-placed sources within the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The County government continues to attempt to hide the statistics, which reveal that the government-mandated business shutdowns have caused more deaths than virus.
At present, Montgomery County has 465 active Wuhan virus cases, 424 recoveries, and, sadly, 24 deaths. A lady from Willis was the last person to die from COVID-19, when she expired yesterday.
Clearly, the governmental response to COVID-19 was a panic emanating from public health bureaucracies issuing false data projections without any factual basis. The following chart from State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe, reveals how overblown the panic actually is.
Deadlocked Congress shifts virus focus to small business aid
Deadlocked over the next big coronavirus relief bill, which will drive up the national deficit and possibly lead to hyperinflation, Congress is shifting its attention to a more modest overhaul of small business aid in hopes of helping employers reopen shops and survive the pandemic.
Bipartisan legislation that would give small employers more time to take advantage of federal subsidies for payroll and other costs is expected to pass the House this week, as lawmakers return to Washington for an abbreviated two-day session.
Yet absent from the agenda is formal talks between congressional leaders on the next “phase” of the federal coronavirus response. Democrats have already pushed a $3 trillion-plus measure through the House, but negotiations with the GOP-controlled Senate and White House have yet to begin.
“We can’t keep propping up the economy forever,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday in Lexington. It was one of his first public appearances in his home state of Kentucky since mid-March due to the pandemic.
“The ultimate solution is to begin to get back to normal,” he said. “There are three things that are essential to have full normalcy — testing, treatment and vaccine.”
Senate Republicans are divided on the next steps and wary of another sprawling negotiation where Democrats and the White House call the shots. They are also split on a central element — how much aid to provide state and local governments and other coronavirus response after earlier relief bills totaled almost $3 trillion.
Even as they hit “pause” on a larger bill, Republicans are enthusiastic about improving The Paycheck Protection Program, which was established in March under the $2 trillion CARES Act and was replenished last month. All told, Congress has provided about $660 billion for the program,
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a key architect of the aid, said in an interview that the program has shifted from one that was intended to keep paychecks flowing during the shutdown to a bridge to help businesses pay workers as they reopen — in many cases, at less than full capacity.
“It’s taken on a different level of importance now,” Rubio said. “The program has evolved from simply keeping people from getting unemployed to actually helping rehire people as these businesses open up but the cash flow lags.”
The House bill would provide a 24-week window to spend PPP funds and would eliminate a requirement that 75% of the forgivable loans be used for payroll costs. The goal is to give business more flexibility to pay rent and other overhead costs such as installing protective equipment.
Under the original program, businesses are required to spend their loan money within the eight-week window to have their loans forgiven. That deadline is fast approaching. Without forgiveness, they would face a debt burden that, for many, would be hard to bear in a struggling economy.
But the eight-week window has created a dilemma, particularly for restaurants. Under the law, they were required to rehire all their laid-off workers despite being closed or limited to takeout and delivery. Many restaurant owners feared that they would use up their loan money before being allowed to reopen, or re-opening with reduced revenue due to social distancing requirements.
The House’s return to Washington for voting Wednesday comes after Senate Republicans — who are on recess after spending the past three weeks in Washington — have been knocking the decision by top Democrats to largely stay out of session during the pandemic.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office announced it was filing a lawsuit Tuesday against the new system of proxy voting. Approved by House Democrats earlier this month, the first-of-its-kind rules change will be in practice this week as dozens of lawmakers sign up to have another vote on their behalf so they can avoid travel to Washington. Republicans call it unconstitutional.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the lawsuit a “sad stunt” as the nation’s virus-related death toll approaches 100,000.
It appears the House could be out of session for much of June as well. The House, which has more than four times as many members as the 100-person Senate, is operating under the Capitol physician’s guidance, as Washington, D.C., remains under stay-home orders.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said there isn’t much legislation ready for floor votes, and committees are just beginning to write must-pass legislation like agency budget bills, the annual defense policy measure and a major reauthorization of water projects.
Hoyer said political messaging bills, usually a feature of election years, are likely to take a backseat for now, as voting in the House has become an arduous and time-consuming process because of social distancing rules.
In the meantime, Democrats are focused on touting the more than $3 trillion measure that they passed earlier this month, a more than 1,800-page measure crafted in response to Pelosi’s admonition that they “go big” in the response.
Republicans and the White House have dismissed the bill as a liberal wish-list, but they have yet to coalesce around an alternative despite acknowledging the need for more legislative action.
One idea gaining steam among Republicans — pushed by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio — would deliver a bonus to unemployed people who return to their jobs. It’s discussed as a replacement for the $600 per week supplemental unemployment benefit that expires July 31.
“It’s something we’re looking at very carefully,” said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. He called the jobless aid “a major disincentive to go back to work.”
Governor Abbott Announces Additional Services And Activities That Can Open Under Phase II
Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday issued a proclamation expanding additional services and activities that can open under Phase II of the state’s plan to safely and strategically open. With this proclamation, water parks, recreational sport programs for adults, driver education programs, and food-court dining areas within shopping malls can begin operations with limited occupancy or regulations to protect the health and safety of Texans.
Beginning Friday, May 29, water parks can open but must limit their occupancy to 25% of normal operating limits. Components of these water parks that have video arcades must remain closed. Starting Sunday, May 31, recreational sports programs for adults can resume, but games and similar competitions may not begin until June 15. Driver education programs can resume operations immediately.
Food-court dining areas within shopping malls can also immediately resume operations, but malls are encouraged to designate one or more individuals who are responsible for ensuring health and safety practices are followed, including: limiting tables to six individuals; maintaining a six-feet distance between individuals sitting at different tables; cleaning and disinfecting tables between uses; and ensuring no condiments or other items are left on tables between customer uses.
These gubernatorial edicts genuinely raise the question: where in the world under Texas law does Governor Abbott believe he has authority to issue such edicts and limitations upon free enterprise and adult activities within a Constitutional Republic?