Image: In this April 22, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. After two months of frantic response to the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is planning to shift President Trump’s public focus to the burgeoning efforts aimed at easing the economic devastation. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
Conroe, Austin, Washington, D.C., April 27 – The Montgomery County Commissioners Court will adopt a Budget Policy for Fiscal Year 2021, which will begin October 1, 2020. Surprisingly, the Commissioners Court seems to plow into another high tax – high spending budget without taking into account the economic devastation the Commissioners Court members caused in the countywide business closures they ordered and only lifted after Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave them political cover by entering into the same highly deleterious closure orders.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at 9:30 a.m., in the Commissioners Courtroom in the Sadler Administration Building at 501 North Thompson Street, Fourth Floor, the Commissioners Court will adopt a Budget Policy based upon a draft which appears nothing more than “business as usual” with respect to increased spending and enormous taxation pressure on Montgomery County families, individuals, and businesses.
Montgomery County has only 347 active Chinese Coronavirus cases among a population of 600,000. The community has suffered 9 fatalities, although at least one of those fatalities includes a gentleman who died outside of the County but still listed Montgomery County as his residence. There have been 140 recoveries from the illness.
White House aiming for Trump pivot from virus to economy
Days after he publicly mused that scientists should explore the injection of toxic disinfectants as a potential virus cure, President Trump has now rejected the utility of his daily task force briefings, where he has time and again clashed with scientific experts. Trump’s aides are aiming to move the president onto more familiar — and safer, they hope — ground: talking up the economy, in tighter controlled settings.
It’s a political imperative as allies have seen an erosion in support for the president. What had been his greatest asset in the reelection campaign, his ability to blanket news headlines with freewheeling performances, has become a daily liability. At the same time, new Republican Party polling shows Trump’s path to a second term depends on the public’s perception of how quickly the economic rebounds from the state-by-state shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the virus.
Some states have started to ease closure orders, and Trump is expected to begin to highlight his administration’s work in helping businesses and employees. Aides said the president would hold more frequent roundtables with CEOs, business owners and beneficiaries of the trillions of dollars in federal aid already approved by Congress, and begin to outline what he hopes to see in a future recovery package.
Trump last left the White House grounds a month ago, and plans are being drawn up for a limited schedule of travel within the next few weeks, aide said. It would be a symbolic show that the nation is beginning to reopen.
The shift comes in conjunction with what the White House sees as encouraging signs across the country, with the pace of new infections stabilizing and deaths declining.
Still, medical experts warn that the virus will remain until at least a vaccine is developed and that the risk of a severe second wave is high if social distancing is relaxed too quickly or if testing and contact tracing schemes aren’t developed before people return to normal behaviors.
The White House is deliberating whether to continue to hold news briefings in a modified form without Trump, potentially at a different location. Before Trump said in a tweet Saturday that they were “Not worth the time & effort,” aides had been eager to use the briefings to highlight positive trends and to overwhelm Americans with statistics. It was an effort to restore confidence in the response so that the public would be comfortable resuming more normal activities.
“We know that’s important,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We understand those messages of science and policy need to be brought forward to the American people in a nonpolitical way.”
On Monday, the White House was expected to release a recap of what the federal government has done so far to improve the availability of COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
Still, governors in both parties say much more is needed, particularly in testing, in the coming months, as they deliberate how and when to reopen their states.
“I want to get our economy back opened just as soon as we can, but I want to do so in a safe way so we don’t have a spike, we don’t cause more deaths, or an overloading of our health care system,” Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., told ABC’s “This Week.”
Birx expressed frustration that Trump’s injection comments were still in the headlines, illustrating the tensions that have emerged between the president and his medical advisers.
“As a scientist and a public health official and a researcher, sometimes, I worry that we don’t get the information to the American people that they need, when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
As the White House hopes it has turned a corner, it is also beginning to assess responsibility for critical missteps. Two senior administration officials said Trump has begun discussions about replacing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who led the coronavirus task force during its initial weeks and has been blamed for a culture of bureaucratic infighting during that period. Azar has been largely sidelined since Vice President Mike Pence took charge of the task force in late February.
Texas AG Paxton Files Lawsuit to Halt Deceptive Robocallers
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against LeadGen Sales and Marketing for initiating deceptive robocalls that violate the Texas No Call Act, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and fraudulently describes their purported health insurance for COVID-19 testing and treatment as “Trump Care health plans.” LeadGen is not sponsored by or affiliated with the federal government. Several of the deceptive robocalls made by LeadGen reached Texans who registered their telephone number on the federal and/or Texas do-not-call lists.
“Situations such as the ongoing COVID-19 crisis often bring out the best of our communities; however, some scammers view a crisis as an opportunity to make a quick buck through dishonest and unlawful practices,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Robocalls like those made by LeadGen are a blatant invasion of privacy and an attempt to deceive those they call. My office will continue working diligently to stop those who look to take advantage of Texans.”
Paxton filed the lawsuit in a Travis County District Court on Friday, April 24.
Texans who believe they have encountered deceptive trade practices or scams should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at 800.621.0508 or file a complaint online with the Attorney General of Texas Consumer Protection Bureau.
Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $54 Million To Support Older Texans During COVID-19 Pandemic
Governor Greg Abbott on Friday, April 24, announced that Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will receive nearly $54 million in federal funds to support older Texans and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 response. The funding will be used to support programs and services administered by the state’s 28 Area Agencies on Aging such as home delivered meals, help with household chores, assistance with groceries, and respite care or other services for family caregivers.
“Older Texans and Texans with disabilities face a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and they need continued support during these trying times,” said Governor Abbott. “These federal funds will help provide higher risk Texans with additional support and resources to meet their everyday needs while allowing them to stay at home and stay safe. I thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing Texas with this crucial financial support so that we can continue to serve our fellow Texans.”
“With Governor Abbott’s continued leadership, we’re committed to supporting and assisting the state’s most vulnerable population during the difficult time,” said HHS Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson.
Funding will also be used to support the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which provides advocacy and complaint resolution services on behalf of residents in long-term care facilities.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living awarded Texas nearly $54 million in funds through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic (CARES) Act recently signed into law by President Trump.