Category Archives: Congress

House Republicans MAGA Economic Plan: Raise Taxes, Increase Costs for MidClass, Protect Rich Tax Cheats, Cut Social Security & Medicare. Also: Crash the Economy & Full Faith & Credit of US

U.S. Treasury Building. The House Republicans MAGA economic plan would in a nutshell raise taxes on the middle class, increase costs for the middle class (how about a 30% sales tax on everything from groceries to gas, while credit card and mortgage rates go through the roof), protect rich tax cheats, cut Social Security & Medicare, and while they’re at it, crash the economy and full faith & credit of the U.S. by refusing the raise the debt limit © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Think about why Republicans would have as their singular policy to destroy the United States economy – threaten, even actually refuse to raise the debt ceiling which will destroy the nation’s “full faith and credit”, unleash higher interest rates (cost), inflict untold pain and suffering on working people and derail the American Dream for countless millions, while coddling the richest 1% by going after the IRS and law enforcement. It’s not just to secure campaign funding and show their obeisance to their masters: they think that if they destroy the economy, unleash suffering, and, if more than two decades of history are the example, that the masses will blame Joe Biden and the Democrats (after all, they control the White house and Senate), so they will win the 2024 elections.

Republicans used fraud to win the midterms and take over the House, pretending they cared about inflation and crime, when in just these first days of their rule, their first acts have been to further erode civil rights, especially women’s reproductive rights, raise costs, worsen the national debt, harm public safety. After all, you don’t hear any Republican crow about how gas prices have fallen to pre-Putin levels and inflation rates have fallen to lowest level since March 2020, meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy put insurrectionists including Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Homeland Security Committee and fraudster George Santos on the Small Business Committee and Space, Science, and Technology, and kicked Adam Schiff off Intelligence And so much worse is to come.  Just how destructive is the Republican economic agenda? If the debt ceiling is not raised and the nation’s credit rating falls, interest rates will rise, the cost of everything will go up, people will lose jobs, houses, and there will be less tax revenue flowing into the government, more money flowing out, and the national debt will only get worse. The White House issued this memo:–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

House Republican MAGA Economic Plan: Raise Taxes and Increase Costs for the Middle Class, Protect Rich Tax Cheats, and Cut Social Security & Medicare

House Republicans had a busy first week in the majority. Under President Biden’s leadership and economic plan, we just finished the best two years of job growth on record, inflation has been coming down for six straight months, gas prices are down around $1.70 from their summer peak, and President Biden’s plan to lower prescription drug costs and energy costs is going into effect. 

House Republicans have a very different economic plan: make inflation worse, protect rich tax cheats, increase the deficit, raise taxes on middle-class families, and cut Social Security and Medicare. In their first week, they wasted no time in moving forward on these priorities:

  1. Increasing Gas Prices: The new House Republican majority has proposed and will soon consider a bill that would raise gas prices and deprive Americans of relief at the pump when supply is most needed by restricting the ability to release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. After global oil prices skyrocketed because of Putin’s invasion, the President successfully used the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2022 to expand supply that helped lower gas prices for families here at home – while laying the groundwork to refill at a profit to taxpayers in the future. But House Republicans want to tie Presidents’ hands and hamstring one of the best supply tools we have to protect Americans from disruptions that spike gas prices.
  1. Protecting Rich Tax Cheats:: Working people pay 99% of the taxes they owe, while the top 1 percent hides about 20% of their income from tax, including by funneling it through offshore accounts in tax havens that don’t report earnings. The President and Congressional Democrats passed legislation to make the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share, including by preventing them from cheating on the taxes they already owe.

For their very first bill, House Republicans voted last week to repeal that provision and let some super-wealthy people pay less in taxes than many hard-working Americans – including through outright tax fraud.

In addition to protecting rich tax cheats, the bill adds to the deficit. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it increases the deficit by nearly $115 billion by enabling wealthy tax cheats to engage in additional tax fraud and avoidance. And for ordinary middle-class people who follow the law, it would mean longer waits for tax refunds. Lose-lose for working families.

  1. Raising Taxes on the Middle-Class and Cutting Taxes on the Richest Americans with a New National Sales Tax: According to public reporting, Speaker McCarthy has agreed to bring to the floor a bill that would repeal most existing taxes and impose a new 23% national sales tax on American families. The bill would cover almost all goods and services purchases – from groceries and gas to food and medicine.

Non-partisan experts across the ideological spectrum agree this proposal would raise taxes for middle-class Americans and slash them for the wealthy, while President George W. Bush’s Treasury Department analyzed a similar proposal and found it would raise taxes by thousands of dollars each year for typical middle-class families; the burden would likely be especially great for seniors and families with children. Meanwhile, people earning millions of dollars a year would see tax cuts of $100,000 or more. 

  1. Cutting Social Security and Medicare: President Biden has made clear that Congress must deal with the debt limit and they must do so without conditions. But Congressional Republicans continue to threaten to hold the nation’s full faith and credit hostage to their demands for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cuts, and cuts to the part of the budget that funds scientific and medical research, education, consumer protection, and other basic services – even  as business leaders, economists, and other experts continue to warn about the costs of their brinksmanship for the U.S. economy. 

Meanwhile, militant Republicans like Rep. Andy Biggs are calling for the U.S. to default on its debt obligations (spending that has already been approved by Congress and spent), by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. But rather than cut spending, it would mean chaos, collapse, and catastrophe for the U.S. and a windfall for China, and at the same time RAISE costs and the national debt because interest rates would skyrocket, 6 million would lose their jobs, requiring more unemployment and social services.

Rep. Andy Biggs says outright, “We cannot raise the debt ceiling. Democrats have carelessly spent our taxpayer money and devalued our currency. They’ve made their bed, so they must lie in it.”

This is a stunning and unacceptable position that would lead to economic chaos, collapse, and catastrophe. And in so doing it would give our competitors, like China, an historic leg up in overtaking the American economy.

In line with every major outlet, CNN warned yesterday that failing to lift the debt ceiling would “tank the financial markets, suspend Social Security payments to senior citizens, hurt the economy and cause other chaos.”

Leading congressional Republicans have themselves admitted in the past that default would trigger an economic collapse, killing millions of jobs and decimating 401k plans. That’s why they voted to raise the debt ceiling without brinkmanship 3 times during the Trump Administration – with strong bipartisan support from their Democratic colleagues.

But hardline MAGA Republicans are now advocating for this outcome. This is despite President Biden having achieved unprecedented deficit reduction and despite House Republicans’ supports for tax giveaways to the rich that put trillions on the nation’s credit card.

Other congressional Republicans intend to use the debt limit to force an economic meltdown unless they can cut Medicare and Social Security, directly against the will of a bipartisan majority of the country.

“Rep. Biggs is dead wrong to actively support the ruin of millions of American livelihoods, 401k plans, and small businesses, all in the name of scorched earth partisanship,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. “Default would needlessly plunge the country into economic chaos, collapse, and catastrophe while giving our competitors like China an historic boost against us. That’s why congressional Republicans – with strong bipartisan support from Democrats – avoided default 3 times under Donald Trump, without conditions or playing chicken with our credit rating. This president and the American people will not stand for unprecedented economic vandalism. Full stop.”

Be reminded: Trump added $7.4 TRILLION to the national debt in just 4 years – that 25% (one-fourth) of the total debt of nearly 250 years. Much of that was before pandemic, largely caused by the $2 trillion giveaway to the wealthiest and to the biggest corporations. 50 corporations, with a combined $50 billion in profit paid zero tax. It’s estimated that the wealthiest hide 20 percent of their taxable wealth.

Activists Continue to Step Up Pressure to Force Santos Out of Congress

Rep. Ritchie Torres, who has introduced the SANTOS Act, comes to Great Neck to show support for the Concerned Citizens of NY Congressional District 3 efforts to have George Santos expelled from Congress. Torres is asking the FEC to investigate Santos’ web of campaign finance entanglements © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

Against a drip, drip, drip of new sensational scandals involving George Santos, and the continuing campaign to pressure on George Santos to resign or Speaker Kevin McCarthy to hold a vote to expel, Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15) joined Concerned Citizens of NY-03 in Great Neck to demand the Federal Election Commission launch an investigation into potential illegal activity and irregularities surrounding his campaign finances.

Torres, the Bronx Democrat who introduced the SANTOS Act which would punish candidates who knowingly lie to voters about their background, outlined a web of incestuous relationships between Santos’ campaign, the Devolder Organization, Redstone Strategies and NY Rising.

“Given what we know through public reporting, it is outrageous to me that Mr. Santos was even allowed to be sworn in officially as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Rep. Torres. “But now, there are serious questions that need to be answered surrounding the way in which he supposedly financed his illegitimate campaign for elected office that was built on a web of deception encompassing nearly every facet of his professional and personal life. The American people – and the people of New York’s third congressional district – deserve to be represented by someone who will serve them with honesty, transparency, and integrity. Rep. Santos has proven himself to be not only a habitual liar who’s supremely unqualified to be serving in Congress, but someone who desperately needs to be held accountable for breaking the public’s trust and potentially breaking the law.”

In a letter sent to the chair of the FEC, Rep. Torres requests an investigation into the questionable relationship between Rep. Santos’s campaign and RedStone Strategies, an unregistered fundraising entity whose apparent practices on behalf of the Santos campaign might have contributed to multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaigns Act (FECA) as reported recently by the New York Times.

Rep. Torres was joined in his calls for an FEC investigation by members of Concerned Citizens of NY-03, a new nonpartisan group of residents organized around the sole mission of upholding congressional integrity and having Rep. Santos removed from office.

Rep. Ritchie Torres with Jody Kass Finkel and the steering committee of the Concerned Citizens of NY Congressional District 3 who are working to replace George Santos with an effective representative © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“We are delighted that Rep. Ritchie Torres accepted our invitation to visit NY-03 so we can thank him for his leadership and encourage the FEC to take action to hold Rep. Santos accountable,” said Jody Kass Finkel, founder of Concerned Citizens of NY-03.

“It’s a shame that Speaker Kevin McCarthy thinks it is okay for the more than 700,000 people who live in this district to have no legitimate representation. Rep. Torres understands how insulting it is for us to be told to ‘Live with it. Get over it. Your voice does not matter.’ We will not be silent and deserve to have a representative who tells us the truth. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with Rep. Torres to deliver accountability for the people of this district and to finally get Santos the squatter evicted from office once and for all.”

The call for an FEC investigation is just the latest action Rep. Torres has taken to hold Rep. Santos accountable for his growing web of deception that is currently the subject of multiple law enforcement investigations. He previously filed an official complaint against him with the House Ethics Committee and is continuing to demand that Republican House leadership publicly explain what they knew and when about Santos’s seemingly never-ending trail of lies.

Rep. Torres is also sponsoring new legislation that would punish candidates for federal office who knowingly lie to voters about their background.

Meanwhile, Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, who was one of the first to demand the U.S. Attorney investigate Santos’ fraudulent campaign finances and disclosures, is now calling for the Department of Homeland Security to revoke Santos’ passport, deeming Santos a high-profile “flight risk”.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan delivers letter to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, calling for an investigation into George Santos potential crimes regarding his finances and campaign disclosures. Now, with Santos under investigation by federal, state, local and Brazilian authorities, he is calling on Homeland Security to revoke Santos’ passport as a flight risk © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“While local, state, and federal prosecutors approach potential indictments against George Santos, international authorities in Brazil have also reopened his criminal case. Given Mr. Santos potentially faces years in prison, there is significant concern that he may eventually seek safe harbor within a country lacking an extradition treaty with the U.S.,” Lazafan stated.

Kevin McCarthy who needed Santos’ vote to fulfill his dream of becoming Speaker and is too fearful to see his margin be whittled down to four, said it would be up to NY3rd constituents to remove Santos (that is, in 2024), while  3rd District constituents continue to rally, protest, petition, calling for Congress to expel Santos.

McCarthy made clear that he values politics and power, not ethics or care to serve the interests of the people, as his Golden Rule. It is almost as if McCarthy has nothing but disdain for actual representation. The whole is more than the sum of its parts, in this case, the Republican caucus, and the ends justify the means. Which makes his Republican caucus’ obsession with investigating Hunter Biden, everything Biden, the January 6 investigators, the FBI all the more shameless and hypocritical.

McCarthy has been careful to bolster Santos, especially because Santos provided the key vote to fulfill his ambition to become Speaker, and has dismissed every allegation, even that a Santos fundraiser impersonated McCarthy’s own aide to stir up donations, with the claim that the investigations have to play out, that everyone deserves due process – expecting the process to last through a two-year Congressional term (just look at the January 6 prosecutions).

“We are here as one to express our anger, frustration. We stand together united to demand Santos resign,” Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic candidate for Congress who Santos defeated, declared at a protest in front of what newly elected Congressman George Santos asserts is his Queens office © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And in a big middle finger to the district, the nation, and the institution, McCarthy decided to appoint Santos to two committees: the Small Business committee (because he’s such a genius at “investing in himself” to go from $55,000 to millions of dollars overnight) and the Committee on Space, Science and Technology (where he can do Trump’s bidding and stick it to social media giants, vote to rescind funding for research and development, for renewable energy).

That prompted some to suggest another path for removing Santos: Get every chamber of commerce to start letter writing campaign to have him removed. He can’t represent their interest because of his deceit in everything including his own business.

McCarthy chose to give Santos two important committee assignments despite the precedent of a member under a cloud of investigation being removed from a committee while it plays out, and despite the level of intensity against Santos, who has been referred to the house Ethics committee and the outside, independent committee on Ethics, even as he is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney, New York Attorney General, Nassau County and Queens County district attorneys and the Federal Election Commission.

“This is an extraordinary vote of confidence by McCarthy in Santos,” noted NBC’s senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake.

“What do you say to those around here who depend on government to protect their version of the American Dream? Resigning is the way to preserve the American Dream,” youth activist Greg Leung of Great Neck said at a rally in December at the Nassau County courthouse © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Think about it: this fraudster whose real resume includes working for a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $17 million, is in a position to affect small business funding (think PPP). And as a member of the Space, Science & Technology committee, he is in a position to extort “campaign” funding from Big Tech in exchange for favorable or unfavorable policies on the social media giants, Elon Musk’s Tesla and Space X, and every institution wanting to get funding for research and development.

Meanwhile, local Republicans have tried to insulate themselves from Santos’ stain on their election prospects by calling for him to resign (knowing that won’t happen), and saying they will refuse to work with him, which will cost the district millions of dollars in federal aid that an effective Congressmember with integrity can bring home.

Besides the $174,000 salary plus per diems for being a Congressman – the most this deadbeat has ever seen – campaign donations present an irresistible bottomless piggybank. He is a vulnerable target for bribery, blackmail and extortion, and a national security risk.

“My message to Santos: this will not end well for you. Resign to end this nightmare for the nation and the 3rd district, denied representation they deserve,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15), with Concerned Citizens of NY Congressional District 3.

“This country never had imposter seated in Congress before, and with ties to Russian oligarch and questionable finances,” Jody Kass Finkel said at the press conference with Torres. “Santos deceived voters. A liar, cheater, probably criminal. We deserve real representative, not a charlatan. McCarthy insults the 700,000 district residents by [ignoring Santos scandal], instead, says, “Live with it, get over it.

“Well, we aren’t… We understand McCarthy has a narrow majority, but the Speaker does damage to our representative form of government, to our democracy. He says he cares about voter fraud. How about the fraud perpetrated on 700,000 people of district.”

What is McCarthy afraid of, she wondered. “Recent elections show NY3 is competitive, if a free and fair election. But if Santos doesn’t pull out, we lose. How hard will it be for Republican to win a seat after two years of drip, drip revelations, or any Republican for any seat?”

“There are 535 in Congress. Of the 535, no one poses greater threat to integrity of Congress as institution than Santos,” Torres declared.

“My message to Santos: this will not end well for you. Resign to end this nightmare for the nation and the 3rd district, denied representation they deserve.”

Santos, he said, either resigns under the weight of scrutiny or a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney. “He knows he is facing local, state, federal and international investigations. The one that will be the quickest is the US Attorney.

“Stop perpetuating suffering and humiliation of constituents. Allow someone capable of serving in government to step in.”

See also:

Santos Likely Will Cost NY3 Millions of Dollars in Lost Federal Aid, Congress Even More

NY3 Constituents Protest at George Santos’ Queens Office Demanding He Resign; Call for Investigation, Special Election

NY 3rd Constituents Rally to Demand Disgraced Republican Congressman-Elect George Santos Resign

Constituents Call for Federal Investigation into Crimes Arising from George Santos Campaign

Viewpoint: Who owns George Santos? That is the question

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© 2023 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Nassau Republicans Stand Together in Calling for George Santos to Resign from Congress

Days after Congressman George Santos was inducted as a united States Congressman for NY’s 3rd Congressional District, Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph G. Cairo, Jr., along with dozens of Nassau GOP elected officials and candidates, condemned Santos for his lies, dishonesty, hurtful misstatements and false claims, and called on Santos to resign © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

Offering a kind of mea culpa and looking contrite, Nassau County Republicans stood united in calling for now-Congressman George Santos to resign, condemning Santos for his dishonesty foisted upon voters of the 3rd Congressional District to win election.

The action was viewed as reputational damage control to bolster Republican candidates in upcoming elections.

But aside from declaring that none of them – at the village, town, city, county or state level – would work with Santos and declaring him a person non grata at Republican events (fundraisers), Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr., said there was little they could do. to force Santos out Cairo said he had attempted to call now-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (whose election was secured by Santos’ vote), but had yet to receive a reply.

“The people of the 3rd Congressional District deserve a Congressional Representative who is honest and forthright. George Santos is not such a person. It’s time for George Santos to resign his seat in the House of Representatives. He has no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee, he’s not welcome here,” declared Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph G. Cairo, Jr. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“George Santos has disgraced the House of Representatives and the Republican Party with a veritable profusion of lies, dishonesty, misstatements and hurtful false claims,” Cairo declared. “The people of the 3rd Congressional District deserve a Congressional Representative who is honest and forthright. George Santos is not such a person. It’s time for George Santos to resign his seat in the House of Representatives. He has no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee, he’s not welcome here.”

But Santos remained defiant, tweeting as the press conference was still underway, “I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living. I will NOT resign!”

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said she was duped into giving Santos her endorsement., “He betrayed the public trust. He is incapable and unwilling to take responsibility for his lies. There’s no way he can be an effective member of Congress.”

Congressman Anthony D’Esposito, who represents the neighboring district, stated, “Santos violated the trust of voters and people across America.” He offered to help 3rd District constituents on the matters that, according to House rules, have to be handled by a Congressman.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who just a few weeks ago, had Santos stand alongside as he gave a proclamation to Ukraine’s General Consul, spoke up for the people of the district who are “legitimately Jews” and those who are Holocaust survivors or their descendents. “For him to make up a story that his grandparents survived the Holocaust is beyond the pale.”

“George Santos is clearly not capable of providing the integrity to which his residents are entitled,” declared Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Phillips. “George Santos is clearly not capable of providing the integrity to which his residents are entitled. He will never be my congressman, and his resignation should be forthcoming.

Others who denounced Santos included Nassau Legislature’s Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello speaking on behalf of the 12-member majority; Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, State Assemblyman Ed Ra, Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino, and City of Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck. They said that none of them would work with Santos.

State Senator Jack Martins, whose pivotal role on New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission led to the redrawing of the 3rd Congressional District from being a “safe” Democratic district to being winnable for Republicans, called on Santos to resign. “People of Nassau County deserve better.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

State Senator Jack Martins, whose pivotal role on New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission led to the redrawing of the 3rd Congressional District from being a “safe” Democratic district that few Republicans came forward to challenge the incumbent to a competitive district, called on Santos to resign. “People of Nassau County deserve better. It’s probably impossible to shame the shameless, to get him to do what is right. But we are united that until he resigns, we will perform our responsibility to represent Nassau County but not work with Santos.”

Asked whether the Santos debacle reflected flaws in the Nassau County Republican Committee’s vetting process, Cairo said that in the 2020 election, when Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi was running for reelection in what was regarded as a safe district that Democrats had led for some decades, Santos was one of the few Republicans who came forward.

“He was recommended by the Queens Republicans. And he submitted a written resume,” Cairo said.

In 2020, Cairo said, “the district was strongly Democrat, and Santos was the designated candidate. When Santos lost in 2020 to Tom Suozzi, “he was angry” and, like Trump, claimed that he had in fact won but blamed his loss on the committee.

Then, in 2022, the Court of Appeals changed the district so it became winnable.

Cairo insisted he did not have an inkling about the falsities into Santos’ background until “it came to light” with the New York Times investigation and other media reports.

“Santos was not someone we knew from Nassau politics. We trusted him. Shame on us.” He said he spoke to Santos once since the deception came to light and Santos has yet to make good on his promise to explain.

“Shame on me for believing him,” Cairo said, promising to revamp the vetting process in the future.

As for the donors who were essentially defrauded, he said “some have connections overseas. Some believed in Republican philosophy, especially when they saw the odds changed, and this became a competitive district we could win.”

Asked why the Republicans are coming forward now to demand George Santos resign from Congress and not before Santos he was sworn in, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he believed in due process and giving Santos the opportunity to clear his name. “But the situation has become untenable.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Asked why the Republicans are coming forward now to demand Santos resign and not before he was sworn in to Congress, Blakeman said he believed in due process and giving Santos the opportunity to clear his name. “But the situation has become untenable. How do you deal with someone who is an out-and-out liar. I came to the conclusion recently that we don’t need the process to unfold. He needs help. A person who builds lies one on top of another needs help. This is a forgiving country. If he gets help, shows remorse, he will have a future.”

Santos is currently under investigation by the US Attorney’s office, the Federal Election Commission looking into suspected campaign funding violations, the New York State Attorney General, Nassau County District Attorney and Queens County District Attorney, in addition to being wanted by Brazilian authorities. And most recently, two Congressmen called for an Ethics Committee investigation, though McCarthy took care to effectively shut it down. While lying is not a basis for removal (though theoretically, only person of good character are supposed to be sworn into office and putting down a false address on the petition to be put on a ballot is a crime), Santos is also accused of federal crimes stemming from where his funding came from that enabled him to loan his campaign $700,000, when only two years ago, he reported income of $55,000 a year and was evicted for nonpayment of rent twice.

Santos also donated $126,000 to the Republican Committee, which Cairo said was returned to the committee that donated the funds, but other donations that Santos made to the county committee were spent on lawn signs and such.

See also:

NY3 Constituents Protest at George Santos’ Queens Office Demanding He Resign; Call for Investigation, Special Election

NY 3rd Constituents Rally to Demand Disgraced Republican Congressman-Elect George Santos Resign

Constituents Call for Federal Investigation into Crimes Arising from George Santos Campaign

Viewpoint: Who owns George Santos? That is the question

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© 2023 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

NY3 Constituents Protest at George Santos’ Queens Office Demanding He Resign; Call for Investigation, Special Election

“We are here as one to express our anger, frustration. We stand together united to demand Santos resign,” Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic candidate for Congress who Santos defeated, declared at a protest in front of what newly elected Congressman George Santos asserts is his Queens office © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

Just hours after George Santos was sworn in as a member of the house of Representatives, over 100 people gathered outside what he claims to be his office – actually former Congressman Tom Suozzi’s office – on Northern Boulevard in Queens, to demand he resign from Congress, an investigation by the house Ethics committee (the very one that the new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, said he would defund as a concession to the Sedition Caucus). They are calling on Santos to resign and for a special election to be held.

They spoke of having been betrayed, cheated, and more than that, that because Santos is effectively being frozen out of committees, even his own caucus, his constituents have effectively lost representation in Congress, access to federal funding and support. He runs from reporters, won’t answer questions or deal with representatives.

They raised concern that because of his shady finances (how the heck did a man who faced two evictions, reported a salary of $55,000 just two years ago, come to become a millionaire with a multi-million dollar business, and the ability to “loan” his own campaign $700,000, and pay out hundreds of thousands to other campaigns), Santos is a national security threat who cannot serve on any committee involving intelligence. They questioned who Santos is beholden to (at least one of his major donors is related to a sanctioned Russian oligarch), and whether he would be prime to sell secrets.

They raised concerns about undermining trust in government, altogether.

A photo of George Santos using a White Supremacy hand gesture as he raised his other hand to vote for Kevin McCarthy to become Speaker of the House, particularly upset Susan Naftol of Plainview © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A photo of George Santos using a White Supremacy hand gesture as he raised his other hand to vote for McCarthy, was featured on the sign carried by Susan Naftol of Plainview, that was received as a middle finger to constituents of one of the most diverse districts in the country, and a sign that like Trump, Santos, who at one point said he was descended from refugees of the Holocaust and was “Jew-ish” as well as biracial, would embrace anyone who supported him, White Supremacists, Insurrectionists, included.

“We demand Speaker McCarthy open an investigation, now. If Santos, allies think he can just bide his time and this will blow over, he is mistaken. We will protest, hound him until he gives us our seat back,” Ed Braunstein, State Assemblyman (District 26) and 3rd District resident, declared © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Ed Braunstein, State Assemblyman (District 26), and 3rd District resident, declared that when Santos was elected, it was his intention to work with him “for common good. That was before found out Santos was a pathological liar, a national laughingstock. There is no way to work with him, or refer constituents for help, or sign a letter with him, or work with nonprofits to seek funding from him. He is useless. Not effective locally or nationally. He is toxic in Congress – colleagues won’t sit with him. Nobody can work with him. He is compromising us being there. He should do the right thing and resign. Unfortunately, all indications are that is not his interest.

“A few days ago, while voting for Speaker, he flashed a White Power hand gesture. Queens County is the most diverse in the country – we celebrate ethnic, racial, religious diversity, and then, to look and see this clown flash the white power gesture – he is thumbing his nose at us, at his colleagues. It tarnishes the House as an institution. Every other House member should be horrified. Congress has power to open Ethics Investigation [except one of the concessions McCarthy made to get enough votes to become Speaker was to defund the committee].

“We demand Speaker McCarthy open an investigation, now. If Santos, allies think he can just bide his time and this will blow over, he is mistaken. We will protest, hound him until he gives us our seat back, Braunstein declared.

“We are sending a message to those members of Congress who don’t call on him to resign that they are accomplices. George Santos is a threat to national security,” declared Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic candidate for Congress who Santos defeated. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic candidate for Congress who Santos defeated, declared, “We are here as one to express our anger, frustration. We stand together united to demand Santos resign. We are sending a message to those members of Congress who don’t call on him to resign that they are accomplices. He is threat to national security.”

Veronica Lurvey, a Town of North Hempstead councilmember and the child of political refugees who escaped Soviet tyranny in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, declared that The Soviet regime was a regime built on lies. Lies the government told the people, and lies that the people told each other. This lead to a weakening of the social fabric…a weakening of civil society….and the rise of massive corruption that is difficult to eradicate.

“Luckily my parents were able to flee the Soviet regime and got their start in Astoria, Queens. As a first generation American, born in the US – actually I was born in NYC, I have internalized the core American values of hard work, decency and honesty.

“Mr. Santos’ lies make a mockery of every one of us whose families came to this country to achieve the American dream. What’s more, Mr. Santos’ lies erode the trust that we have in our elected officials,” declared North Hempstead Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Mr. Santos’ lies make a mockery of every one of us whose families came to this country to achieve the American dream. What’s more, Mr. Santos’ lies erode the trust that we have in our elected officials. To get anything done in government, you need to be able to negotiate, to speak with honesty. When deals fall apart because of lies, who would be stupid enough to try to enter a deal again? Honesty is the basis of any relationship and without honesty relationships fail. Mr. Santos, your relationship with the people of the 3rd Congressional district in NY has failed. You have been caught cheating. Cheating cannot be tolerated.

Over 100 turned out for a protest at the Queens address George Santos lists as his Queens office to demand he resign © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“I am here to say that for the sake of the soul of the American dream, for all the immigrants who came to the United States and worked around the clock like my parents did…I call for a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee into Mr. Santos and his background. We cannot let Santos’ lies and dishonesty erode the America that we love, the America that our families looked to as a beacon of hope. Cheaters must not be rewarded,” Lurvey declared.

Over 100 turned out to protest at George Santos Queens office, once occupied by Congressman Tom Suozzi  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The constituents are not just protesting and holding rallies, they are taking action.

A nonpartisan group, Concerned Citizens of NY Congressional District 3, has been formed, circulating petitions calling for Santos’ ouster and a free and fair special election to replace him. They are demanding the US Justice Department prosecute Santos for fraud, the House Ethics Committee to investigate, and local and national Republican leders to repudiate Santos and refuse to seat him.

“Recognizing that no one in Washington D.C. will believe anything Santos says, constituents of NY-03 are concerned that they will not have a voice in Congress and will be shut out of critical federal support and services,” declared Jody Kass Finkel © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“This is not partisan,” said the founder, Jody Kass Finkel. “both Democrat and Republican residents feel deceived by Santos’ lies. Recognizing that no one in Washington D.C. will believe anything Santos says, constituents of NY-03 are concerned that they will not have a voice in Congress and will be shut out of critical federal support and services.”

She supplied statements from numerous constituents registering their outrage, sense of betrayal.

“People didn’t have the truth about who this guy was. In my 30-plus years in the nonprofit world lobbying for environmental, health and affordable housing issues in Washington and Albany, I’ve never seen anyone with such an arrogant contempt for the truth or his constituents. While the whole country is aghast at Santos’ lies and utter disregard for decency, the residents of NY-03 have the most to lose,” Finkel declared.

“The Constitution provides for Americans to elect their representative. The representative we got lied, is unqualified, a fugitive conman, a grifter.”

She said that the group is researching the law even citing the Adam Clayton Powell case in the Supreme Court that kept Powell in office. ”That decision hung on what was the will of the people. Santos is not the will of the people.”

She presented statements from numerous district constituents:

“George Santos is sending the exact wrong message to young people across the country,” stated 18-year old activist and college student Aidan Davis. “If he isn’t held accountable, he demonstrates that our system deems it acceptable to lie about accomplishments, fabricate entire backgrounds and work histories, and generally be dishonest in order to get ahead. He must resign.”

Long Islanders Adrian Davis and Susan Naftol join protest to demand a special election to replace George Santos as Congressman for NY 3rd District © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Shari Markovich of Little Neck stated, “George Santos duped his constituents and was elected under false pretenses, fabricating his resume and blatantly lying about his background and credentials. This is criminal and we cannot allow this person to represent our district. There needs to be a new election.”

Casey Sabella, who organized the protest at George Santos’ Queens office, noted ways that people can remain active to have him removed as NY 3rd’s Congressman including buttons with a QR code that goes to a petition calling for investigation © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Casey Sabella, who organized the protest in coordination with up with Courage for America, offered a call to action for those inside and beyond the district to demand an investigation. She produced buttons with a QR code that leads to a letter online at www.whoisgeorgesantos.com. Wear button everywhere, talk to everyone, sign the letter. Continue to talk on social media, talk to everyone, write a letter to the editor. Make clear constituents won’t allow him to hide.”

See also:

NY 3rd Constituents Rally to Demand Disgraced Republican Congressman-Elect George Santos Resign

Constituents Call for Federal Investigation into Crimes Arising from George Santos Campaign

Viewpoint: Who owns George Santos? That is the question

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© 2023 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

NY 3rd Constituents Rally to Demand Disgraced Republican Congressman-Elect George Santos Resign

“I am angry and frustrated too,” Democratic Congressional candidate Robert Zimmerman declared. “But the answer is all of us, demanding a House ethics investigation, investigations at federal, state and local levels, making sure George Santos does not stay in Congress. That’s not Democratic or Republican politics. It’s about protecting democracy, standing up for justice against corruption and George Santos’ fraud. At stake: democracy, faith in the integrity of our political system and the American Dream.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

Asked if he feels cheated out of being elected to US Congress, the Democrat Robert Zimmerman who was defeated by Republican George Santos now being exposed as a fraudster who falsified his career and finances, was emphatic that it was the constituents, the political process and democracy itself Santos cheated.

“It’s not about me,” Zimmerman declared. “It’s about restoring integrity to our political process. The fact Santos thought he could get away with it – this is the antidote. The fact we’re here.”

And they came out in sizable numbers for a press conference at rally in front of the Nassau County Courthouse, calling for Santos to resign and for the Republican leadership to refuse to seat him, and carrying signs including “Make lying wrong again,” “Santos lies. Democracy dies.” “Follow the money.”

Prosecutors at the federal, state and local level have already announced investigations into how Santos, who only two years ago reported earning $55,000 a year, managed to loan his campaign $700,000 and declare income and assets in the multi-millions of dollars.

State Assemblyman Charles Lavine reflected that everyone gathered has the same trauma as any victim of a crime, a fraud, a Ponzi scheme. “the difference is the first few get some of their money back, but we, the citizens of the 3rd District are left holding the bag, the laughingstock of the United States and international community.”

“What do you say to those around here who depend on government to protect their version of the American Dream? Resigning is the way to preserve the American Dream,” youth activist Greg Leung of Great Neck said © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Greg Leung, a youth activist from Great Neck and freshman at Boston University where he is studying political science and is thinking about entering government or politics, reflected the feelings of many young people, new voters, who have a right to be disillusioned, jaded, cynical about the political process.

“As a first generation American, in the extraordinary position of a Congressman elect, you are living the American Dream, a set of ideals that those who came before fought so vehemently to defend. The American Dream is an ideal nurtured over centuries – Government for, by the people with integrity. Lately, people like you resorted to deception to take power, eroding the American Dream you  vowed to defend in the campaign. You lied for your own gain. Most vile, you lied about the Holocaust and mass shooting…. What do you say to those around here who depend on government to protect their version of the American Dream? Resigning is the way to preserve the American Dream,” Leung said.

Linda Beigel Schulman: “This is not a matter of politics or party. It is about right versus wrong, lying versus trust, deception versus honesty. NY 3rd needs a Congressman who is honest, who we can trust.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Linda Beigel Schulman, who is a daughter of an actual Holocaust survivor as well as the victim of her son’s murder by the Parkland shooter, “1800 days ago,” spoke of the pain and trauma of being re-victimized by Santos’ false claims of his grandparents having fled the Holocaust and having had four employees killed in the Pulse Nightclub massacre.

My father lived in Ukraine, in Kiev. He slept in the forest, in bomb craters evading Nazis for years. He went to Canada and then the US. Others in his family were not so lucky. He would not speak of it, except in an interview by Spielberg’s organization.

“It is insulting and demeaning to every child of a Holocaust survivor.  “How dare you lie about being a child of Holocaust survivors, or being Jew-ish? You lied about having four employees at Pulse. How dare he try to gain sympathy. I know all too well the sense of loss, the grief from gun violence.

“Lying has become commonplace and worse, accepted. Outright lying shouldn’t be accepted by anyone. Integrity matters,” she declared. “Lies are analogous to a virus, afflicting pain, fever, sometimes killing the host. We the people have become an infected host. If we accept lying from political leaders, it will surely destroy our fiber. The antidote is we the people, here today. We are the antidote. This country was founded on We the people, not lies.’

Schulman thanked Republicans Nassau County Executive Blakeman, DA Donnelly, incoming Congressmen Anthony D’Esposito and Nick Lalota for speaking out, calling for a full investigation.

“This is not a matter of politics or party. It is about right versus wrong, lying versus trust, deception versus honesty. NY 3rd needs a Congressman who is honest, who we can trust.”

Rabbi Deborah Bravo of the MakomNY Worship Center in Bethpage, said Santos’ lies about his Jewish ancestry were particularly offensive. “To lie about being descendants of Holocaust survivors for the purpose of political gain is beyond unacceptable..No one has the right to presume this ancestry for the purpose of political gain and empathy from constituents.”

State Senator Anna Kaplan: “George Santos has perpetrated a complete and total fraud on our community, but we cannot forget that for the last three years, he was enabled and supported by the entire Nassau County Republican machine and his Republican running mates,” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

State Senator Anna Kaplan cast blame on the Republicans at the local and federal level who propped Santos up and who are complicit in Santos’ fraud.

 “George Santos has perpetrated a complete and total fraud on our community, but we cannot forget that for the last three years, he was enabled and supported by the entire Nassau County Republican machine and his Republican running mates, many of whom sit in elected office today and others who will soon take office. The questions about exactly who George Santos are not new, but they were brushed aside and minimized by local Republicans desperate to flip this congressional seat at any cost.

“Our entire community has been victimized, and we demand accountability. George Santos must be investigated by all appropriate authorities, particularly surrounding his shady business dealings and mystery millions that seem to have appeared overnight despite having no legitimate career to speak of. The outstanding criminal charges against George Santos in Brazil must be answered for. And we all deserve an apology for his reprehensible lies about his nonexistent Jewish faith and his completely fake connection to the Holocaust.

“To allow George Santos to be seated as a member of Congress would be a further knife in the heart of this community, and I’m urging Congressional Republican leadership to stop that from happening while investigations are ongoing.”

Kaplan added, “I’m also calling on every Republican in Nassau County who stood with this man over the course of the last three years to apologize to the voters, and renounce their support, along with every organization who endorsed his candidacy.”

Lavine noted, “Each of us is a victim of fraud – whoever represents the 3rd district acts not just for 3rd but the United States. But top of the list of victims of Santos’ fraud is Robert Zimmerman.”

“It’s not about me,” Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic Congressional candidate who Santos defeated, declared. “It’s about restoring integrity to our political process.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“I am angry and frustrated too,” Zimmerman declared. “But the answer is all of us. Standing here today, demanding a House ethics investigation, investigations at federal, state and local levels, making sure Santos does not stay in Congress. That’s not Democratic or Republican politics. It’s about protecting democracy, standing up for justice against corruption and Santos’ fraud. At stake: democracy, faith in the integrity of our political system, the American Dream.”

At least one in the crowd of hundreds was a Republican who not only voted for George Santos, but helped elect him.

Buyers’ remorse: George Santos’ supporter Teodora Choolfaian plans to tell Santos to resign © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Teodora Choolfaian said she left the Democratic party, registered Republican and backed Santos over the issue of COVID-mitigation in public schools. Santos came to the rallies she held, and seemed to embrace her call to end mask mandates in school.

But at the rally calling for Santos to resign, she said she believed she had been deceived by Santos. One of her concerns is the source of Santos’ funding – as recently as 2020, he reported a salary of $55,000. In this cycle, his financial disclosures reported a salary of $750,000 plus assets of millions of dollars, without accounting for the source.

She now is calling upon him to resign Santos is worse than you think,” she told reporters.

She will tell Santos as much when she sees him at the swearing in, at the Capitol on January 3, to which she has been invited.

“Follow the money”: Great Neck constituents Bob Fowler, Jody finkel, Sally Marzouk at rally calling for incoming Republican Congressman George Santos to resign © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Indeed, Santos’ campaign finance disclosures are now being investigated by the US Attorney, the New York State Attorney General and the Nassau County District Attorney.

A search of the FEC.gov database shows that Santos raised $2.933,614 for his 2022 campaign, including $1,001,151 in itemized individual contributions, $464,406  in unitemized individual contributions,  $12,950 in party committee contributions, $247,551 in other committee contributions, $487,258 in transfers from other authorized committees, $705,000 in loans the candidate made to himself.

The Santos campaign reported spending $3,017,602 in operating expenditures. (https://www.fec.gov/data/committee/C00721365/).

While a sitting congressman cannot be removed for lying about his background – though the House Ethics committee might see fit to censure him – actual federal crimes are another matter. But investigation and prosecution would take months, possibly years. So New York’s 3rd Congressional district may have to be resigned to waiting to 2024.

See also:

Constituents Call for Federal Investigation into Crimes Arising from George Santos Campaign

Viewpoint: Who owns George Santos? That is the question

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© 2022 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

New Yorkers Protest for Gun Safety Laws to End Scourge of Gun Violence Epidemic

“The NRA Has Blood on Its Hands.” UFT joins March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

[Breaking news: Just one day after the March for Our Lives events, the bipartisan Senate committee working on some compromise gun violence prevention legislation announced they had come up with a framework. The proposal calls for making juvenile records of gun buyers under age 21 available when they undergo background checks; provides money to states to implement “red flag” laws and to bolster school safety and mental health programs; require more people who sell guns obtain federal dealers’ licenses, which means they would have to conduct background checks of purchasers. President Biden immediately put out a statement that the framework “does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.” He urged rapid passage. But as you see in what the gun violence prevention activists are saying, there is much, much more to do.]

Amid the palpable outrage, frustration and fear, there is this kernel of hope that what didn’t happen after Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkville and now Uvalde, the 40,000 lives lost to gun violence last year, and the more than 200 mass shootings that have already happened this year, or the report that more children and teens are killed by guns than by disease or car accidents, may finally happen: that Congress would finally pass sensible gun safety regulations to end the public health epidemic of gun violence. And the difference is this: the election season for the midterms is already underway and Congressmen have already had their primary challenges so shouldn’t “fear” being primaried by an even more fascist candidate to appeal to the bloodlust of their base.

“I’m Scared to Be a Teacher..” UFT joins March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Over a thousand protesters – representing a huge array of groups including March for Our Lives, Youth Against Violence, teachers from the UFT and AFT, Moms Demand Action, Everytown, NYACLU, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and many more – who marched from Brooklyn to Manhattan to rally – screamed and cheered when urged to vote out any politician who refuses to put children’s lives over the gun industry’s profits.

“United States of School Shootings.” UFT joins March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“End gun worship,” Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft of Middle Church, intoned. “Vote out every politician who supports the NRA, gun lobby.”

“Love Children More.” UFT joins March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

They called for universal background checks, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other instruments and weapons of war never meant for the streets; raise the minimum age to buy a gun to 21; mandate safe storage so that a two-year old who finds a gun doesn’t kill his sibling (or what just happened when a mother handed her two year old her gun, killed his father), and Red Flag laws.

“Message to Congress: None of You are Ballotproof.” March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And mindful that it is Republican Senators (Democrats passed gun reform in the House) who have blocked every gun safety measure for the past 30 years, they called for an end to the filibuster, since there do not seem to be 10 Republican Senators of conscience.

“End Gun Violence.” March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Dr. Nancy Dodson, a pediatrician and gun safety activist, said gun violence is a public health crisis and one that is propagated by the propaganda of the gun industry, no different in its campaign to deflect and distract (mental health, not guns), than the lead paint industry who blamed neglectful mothers and even put out a children’s book to say that lead paint is good for you, and the tobacco industry.

“Hey NRA, How Many Kids Did you Kill Today,” became one of the cheers during the March For Our Lives protest in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Why aren’t there cigarette ads in magazines, commercials on TVs, toy giveaways?  Because they were sued. But the gun industry, despite 40,000 killed last year including 4000 children has near-total immunity, under the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act. This is an unjust law that must be repealed so that victims and survivors can sue,” she declared, to cheers.

“Never Again.” March For Our Lives rally in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 “It would lead to economic justice for victims and radical changes in design, advertising and sales of guns. “What is the life of a child worth? Gun manufacturers should find out in court.”

“Laws can change social norms,” she said. Drunk driving became socially unacceptable, it became a loving gesture to take your friend’s keys away. It should be the same for guns.”

That means more use of Red Flag Laws, so that it becomes culturally acceptable to say, “You’re struggling now, so don’t do something you’ll regret.”

“We have saved lives of children before and cited examples and a public health scourge through changing  culture – drunk driving… And many examples of government taking action – after one guy got on a plane with explosives in his shoe and another with explosive underpants, everyone for the past 20 years has had to take off their shoes at the airport, been patted down and x-rayed.

March Against Gun Violence: Policy & Action Over Thoughts & Prayers, takes the protest over the Brooklyn Bridge © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
New York State Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Eric Adams join organizers of the March Against Gun Violence, March for Our Lives and UFT crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to call for gun safety legislation to end the gun violence epidemic  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Ali and Aj of AJ Band described the terror of being in the midst of multiple mass shootings – outside their concert venue, someone sprayed 100 rounds , leaving six dead on the pavement just outside their tour bus where they had hit the ground, then again in Portland, then again in Atlanta they heard shots. “This should not be normal.”

Aly and AJ of the AJ Band speak of their own terror surviving a mass shooting that left six dead on the street in front of their tour bus parked at a concert venue © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Instead, the Republicans are trying to deflect, putting the onus on mental health and school security, when school districts are cutting funding for actual education, for the arts, theater and music programs that might help that alienated youth to find a better outlet.

“Books Not Bullets.” March for Our Lives rally, New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Young people must turn their passion and pain to purpose and vote,” said Attorney General Letitia James, who was with the protest from the beginning of the march through the end of the rally. “Congress won’t act until they feel the power of the people.  Vote in record numbers to end the violence.

“I am 21 and have lived through 369 school shootings.” Gun Violence is now the number one killer of children under 18, surpassing disease and car accidents. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Enough prayers, empty thoughts. This is a defining moment young people, for the country. Women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, trans rights, disabled rights, environmental protection did not start with politicians. It was all of you young people who lead and politicians who followed. Break the collective yoke around the neck of this country…Turn out and vote, vote, vote the reckless cowards out of office, the spineless, gutless who believe in power over people.”

Janella Hines, a high school teacher, speaks of gun violence in homes and how one of her students was murdered. “The trauma is experienced day after day. This is not what teachers went to school for, but we have to do it. It’s time for policy and change.”Gun safety activists are calling for Red Flag laws and universal background checks.  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Janella Hines, representing the UFT which helped organize the march, spoke for the teachers who carried signs saying, “I’m scared.” “Books not bullets.” And how when they decided to make teaching their career, they never expected that protecting children from gunmen with military-style weapons, and comforting the traumatized children after they have lost classmates, was part of the job description.

She focused not on the mass shootings that have so terrorized – in schools, churches, grocery stores, concerts, movie theaters, malls – but violence in homes. One of her student’s, named Chloe, was murdered with her sister and mother by her step father on her sister’s birthday. “The entire school community suffered the loss. The trauma is experienced day after day. This is not what teachers went to school for, but we have to do it. It’s time for policy and change.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney declared, “If guns made us safe, we would be the safest on earth. But the only place more dangerous is Ukraine, and they are at war. We are killing people because of the easy access to guns,” and called for an end to gun manufacturers’ immunity to lawsuits © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney declared, “If guns made us safe, we would be the safest on earth. But the only place more dangerous is Ukraine, and they are at war.

“We are killing people because of the easy access to guns.” She said that gun manufacturers need to be held accountable for profiting from murdering children. and called for an end to the immunity gun manufacturers, unlike every other industry, from liability lawsuits.

Congressman Mondaire Jones, if the Senate Republicans block passing the Protecting Our Kids Act, end the filibuster, and if the Supreme Court overturns gun safety laws, expand the court to nullify Trump’s three radical rightwing ideologues © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Congressman Mondaire Jones, the youngest member of the House Judiciary Committee (whose remarks inspired rebuke from Republicans and Tucker Carlson), noted that the House has passed a package of gun safety bills, but that they will likely languish, as have all gun regulations for the past 30 years, in the Senate. “Make sure the Senate hears you.”

He is a sponsor of the Protecting Our Kids Act which changes federal firearms laws, including to establish new criminal offenses and to expand the types of weapons and devices that are subject to regulation. The bill:

  • generally prohibits the sale or transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms to individuals who are under 21 years of age;
  • establishes new federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking and related conduct;
  • establishes a federal statutory framework to regulate ghost guns (i.e., guns without serial numbers);
  • establishes a framework to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at the federal, state, and tribal levels;
  • subjects bump stocks to regulation under federal firearms laws;
  • generally prohibits the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices; and
  • requires the Department of Justice to report on the demographic data of persons who are determined to be ineligible to purchase a firearm based on a background check performed by the national instant criminal background check system.

“If we can’t find 10 Senate Republicans of good conscience, we need to abolish the filibuster.”

He also introduced the Judiciary Act, which would expand the Supreme Court by four, to undo the damage of Trump putting three hard-right ideological partisans on the bench, orchestrated by then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to allow Obama to appoint a justice after Antonin Scalia died 10 months before the 2016 election, then rushed through Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment even though voting in the 2020 presidential election had already begun.

The young people of Youth Against Violence and March for Our Lives are propelling the movement to end the gun violence epidemic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Meanwhile, the rightwing majority on the Supreme Court is poised to overturn New York’s gun permit law, taking away a vital tool to keep guns off the streets, even as New York State passed 10 more gun safety laws.

Governor Kathy Hochul vowed to bring back the Legislature for an emergency session to address whatever the Supreme Court throws. (My idea is to require all gun owners to be enlisted in a “well-regulated militia” where they would train, drill, and be available to protect the state against foreign and domestic enemies, as the Founding Fathers intended in the Second Amendment (See: Guns Again Again).

Moms Demand Action was prominent at the March for Our Lives event in New York City © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York’s was one of some 450 events throughout the United States and the world, including a re-do of the March For Our Lives rally in Washington DC that followed the 2018 massacre.

They are hoping it isn’t déjà vu all over again, with Congress doing nothing.

The message from Jessalise Rivera: “I’m 9. Please don’t shoot me while I’m learning.”

Jessalise Rivera offers this message: “I’m 9. Please don’t shoot me while I’m learning.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here are more photo highlights from the march and rally:

March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
UFT was one of the organizers of the March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“We March for Those Who Can’t.” March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“Am I Next”. March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“The Scar Splattered Banner: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a vote!” March Against Gun Violence in New York City, one of 450 March for Our Lives events on June 11, 2022 to demand gun safety legislation and end the public health crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

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© 2022 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, instagram.com/News_and_Photo_Features/, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Biden Pleads for Congress to Act to End Scourge of Gun Violence: ‘Do something.  Just do something.  For God’s sake, do something’

After a spate of mass shootings that made the headlines – Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa – President Joe Biden addressed the nation to appeal, to demand Congress act to reduce America’s unique public health epidemic of gun violence. My fellow Americans, enough.  Enough.  It’s time for each of us to do our part.  It’s time to act,” he said, offering an agenda, a to-do list of what has to be done to at least reduce the carnage. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

After a spate of mass shootings that made the headlines – Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa – President Joe Biden addressed the nation to appeal, to demand Congress act to reduce America’s unique public health epidemic of gun violence. Even as he spoke, there were additional mass shootings – more than one each and every day. More than 100 Americans are killed each day from gun violence – just since 1968, almost twice the number, nearly 2 million, than have died in all of America’s wars going back to the Revolution, 1 million. “My fellow Americans, enough.  Enough.  It’s time for each of us to do our part.  It’s time to act,” he said, offering an agenda, a to-do list of what has to be done to at least reduce the carnage.

Here is a highlighted transcript of President Biden’s remarks:

On Memorial Day this past Monday, Jill and I visited Arlington National Cemetery.
 
As we entered those hallowed grounds, we saw rows and rows of crosses among the rows of headstones, with other emblems of belief, honoring those who paid the ultimate price on battlefields around the world.
 
The day before, we visited Uvalde — Uvalde, Texas.  In front of Robb Elementary School, we stood before 21 crosses for 19 third and fourth graders and two teachers.  On each cross, a name.  And nearby, a photo of each victim that Jill and I reached out to touch.  Innocent victims, murdered in a classroom that had been turned into a killing field.
 
Standing there in that small town, like so many other communities across America, I couldn’t help but think there are too many other schools, too many other everyday places that have become killing fields, battlefields here in America.

We stood at such a place just 12 days before, across from a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, memorializing 10 fellow Americans — a spouse, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling — gone forever.
 
At both places, we spent hours with hundreds of family members who were broken and whose lives will never be the same.  And they had one message for all of us:

Do something.  Just do something.  For God’s sake, do something.
 
After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done.
 
This time, that can’t be true.  This time, we must actually do something.
 
The issue we face is one of conscience and common sense.
 
For so many of you at home, I want to be very clear: This is not about taking away anyone’s guns.  It’s not about vilifying gun owners.  In fact, we believe we should be treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave.  I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners. 
 
At the same time, the Second Amendment, like all other rights, is not absolute.  It was Justice Scalia who wrote, and I quote, “Like most rights, the right…” — Second Amendment — the rights granted by the Second Amendment are “not unlimited.”  Not unlimited.  It never has been. 
 
There have always been limitations on what weapons you can own in America.  For example, machine guns have been federally regulated for nearly 90 years.  And this is still a free country.
 
This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights.  It’s about protecting children.  It’s about protecting families.  It’s about protecting whole communities.  It’s about protecting our freedoms to go to school, to a grocery store, and to a church without being shot and killed.
 
According to new data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the number one killer of children in the United States of America.  The number one killer.  More than car accidents.  More than cancer.
 
Over the last two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.  Think about that: more kids than on-duty cops killed by guns, more kids than soldiers killed by guns.
 
For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?  How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say “enough”?  Enough.
 
I know that we can’t prevent every tragedy.  But here’s what I believe we have to do.  Here’s what the overwhelming majority of the American people believe we must do.  Here’s what the families in Buffalo and Uvalde, in Texas, told us we must do.
 
We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21. 

Strengthen background checks. 

Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws. 

Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability. 

Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.
 
These are rational, commonsense measures.  And here’s what it all means.  It all means this:

We should reinstate the assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines that we passed in 1994 with bipartisan support in Congress and the support of law enforcement.  Nine categories of semi-automatic weapons were included in that ban, like AK-47s and AR-15s.
 
And in the 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down.  But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled.  Those are the facts.
 
A few years ago, the family of the inventor of the AR-15 said he would have been horrified to know that its design was being used to slaughter children and other innocent lives instead of being used as a military weapon on the battlefields, as it was designed — that’s what it was designed for.
 
Enough.  Enough. 
 
We should limit how many rounds a weapon can hold.  Why in God’s name should an ordinary citizen be able to purchase an assault weapon that holds 30-round magazines that let mass shooters fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes?
 
The damage was so devastating in Uvalde, parents had to do DNA swabs to identify the remains of their children — 9- and 10-year-old children. 
 
Enough.
 
We should expand background checks to keep guns out of the hands of felons, fugitives, and those under restraining orders. 
 
Stronger background checks are something that the vast majority of Americans, including the majority of gun owners, agree on.
 
I also believe we should have safe storage laws and personal liability for not locking up your gun.
 
The shooter in Sandy Hook came from a home full of guns that were too easy to access.  That’s how he got the weapons — the weapon he used to kill his mother and then murder 26 people, including 20 first graders.
 
If you own a weapon, you have a responsibility to secure it — every responsible gun owner agrees — to make sure no one else can have access to it, to lock it up, to have trigger locks.  And if you don’t and something bad happens, you should be held responsible.
 
We should also have national red-flag laws so that a parent, a teacher, a counselor can flag for a court that a child, a student, a patient is exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates, or experiencing suicidal thoughts that makes them a danger to themselves or to others.
 
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have red-flag laws.  The Delaware law is named after my son, Attorney General Beau Biden.
 
Fort Hood, Texas, 2009 — 13 dead and more than 30 injured.
 
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 2018 — 17 dead, 17 injured.
 
In both places, countless others suffering with invisible wounds. 
 
Red-flag laws could have stopped both these shooters.
 
In Uvalde, the shooter was 17 when he asked his sister to buy him an assault weapon, knowing he’d be denied because he was too young to purchase one himself.  She refused. 
 
But as soon as he turned 18, he purchased two assault weapons for himself.  Because in Texas, you can be 18 years old and buy an assault weapon even though you can’t buy a pistol in Texas until you’re 21.

If we can’t ban assault weapons, as we should, we must at least raise the age to be able to purchase one to 21.
 
Look, I know some folks will say, “18-year-olds can serve in the military and fire those weapons.”  But that’s with training and supervision by the best-trained experts in the world.  Don’t tell me raising the age won’t make a difference. 
 
Enough.
 
We should repeal the liability shield that often protects gun manufacturers from being sued for the death and destruction caused by their weapons.  They’re the only industry in this country that has that kind of immunity.
 
Imagine — imagine if the tobacco industry had been immune from being sued — where we’d be today.  The gun industry’s special protections are outrageous.  It must end.
 
And let there be no mistake about the psychological trauma that gun violence leaves behind.
 
Imagine being that little girl — that brave little girl in Uvalde who smeared the blood off her murdered friend’s body onto her own face to lie still among the corpses in her classroom and pretend she was dead in order to stay alive.  Imagine — imagine what it would it be like for her to walk down the hallway of any school again.
 
Imagine what it’s like for children who experience this kind of trauma every day in school, in the streets, in communities all across America. 
 
Imagine what it is like for so many parents to hug their children goodbye in the morning, not sure whether they’ll come back home.

 
Unfortunately, too many people don’t have to imagine that at all.
 
Even before the pandemic, young people were already hurting.  There’s a serious youth mental health crisis in this country, and we have to do something about it. 
 
That’s why mental health is at the heart of my Unity Agenda that I laid out in the State of the Union Address this year. 
 
We must provide more school counselors, more school nurses, more mental health services for students and for teachers, more people volunteering as mentors to help young people succeed, more privacy protection and resources to keep kids safe from the harms of social media.
 
This Unity Agenda won’t fully heal the wounded souls, but it will help.  It matters.

I just told you what I’d do.  The question now is: What will the Congress do?
 
The House of Representatives has already passed key measures we need.  Expanding background checks to cover nearly all gun sales, including at gun shows and online sales.  Getting rid of the loophole that allows a gun sale to go through after three business days even if the background check has not been completed.
 
And the House is planning even more action next week.  Safe storage requirements.  The banning of high-capacity magazines.  Raising the age to buy an assault weapon to 21.  Federal red-flag law.  Codifying my ban on ghost guns that don’t have serial numbers and can’t be traced.  And tougher laws to prevent gun trafficking and straw purchases.
 
This time, we have to take the time to do something.  And this time, it’s time for the Senate to do something.

But, as we know, in order to get anything done in the Senate, we need a minimum of 10 Republican senators.
 
I support the bipartisan efforts that include a small group of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way.  But my God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable.
 
We can’t fail the American people again.

Since Uvalde, just over a week ago, there have been 20 other mass shootings in America, each with four or more people killed or injured, including yesterday at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 
A shooter deliberately targeted a surgeon using an assault weapon he bought just a few hours before his rampage that left the surgeon, another doctor, a receptionist, and a patient dead, and many more injured.
 
That doesn’t count the carnage we see every single day that doesn’t make the headlines.
 
I’ve been in this fight for a long time.  I know how hard it is, but I’ll never give up.  And if Congress fails, I believe this time a majority of the American people won’t give up either.  I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.
 
Enough.  Enough.  Enough.
 
Over the next 17 days, the families in Uvalde will continue burying their dead.
 
It will take that long in part because it’s a town where everyone knows everyone, and day by day they will honor each one they lost.
 
Jill and I met with the owner and staff of the funeral home that is being strong — strong, strong, strong — to take care of their own.
 
And the people of Uvalde mourn.  As they do over the next 17 days, what will we be doing as a nation?
 
Jill and I met with the sister of the teacher who was murdered and whose husband died of a heart attack two days later, leaving behind four beautiful, orphaned children — and all now orphaned.
The sister asked us: What could she say?  What could she tell her nieces and nephews?
 
It was one of the most heartbreaking moments that I can remember.  All I could think to say was — I told her to hold them tight.  Hold them tight.
 
After visiting the school, we attended mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Father Eddie.
 
In the pews, families and friends held each other tightly.  As Archbishop Gustavo spoke, he asked the children in attendance to come up on the altar and sit on the altar with him as he spoke.
 
There wasn’t enough room, so a mom and her young son sat next to Jill and me in the first pew.  And as we left the church, a grandmother who had just lost her granddaughter passed me a handwritten letter.
 
It read, quote, “Erase the invisible line that is dividing our nation.  Come up with a solution and fix what’s broken and make the changes that are necessary to prevent this from happening again.”  End of quote.
 
My fellow Americans, enough.  Enough.  It’s time for each of us to do our part.  It’s time to act.

For the children we’ve lost, for the children we can save, for the nation we love, let’s hear the call and the cry.  Let’s meet the moment.  Let us finally do something.
 
God bless the families who are hurting.  God bless you all.
 
From a hymn based on the 91st Psalm sung in my church:

May He raise you up on eagle’s wings
and bear you on the breath of dawn
make you to shine like the sun
and hold you in the palm of His hand.

 
That’s my prayer for all of you.  God bless you.

Biden Administration Warns Congress of Severe Consequences of Failing to Authorize Additional COVID-19 Response Funding

Among the consequences if Congress does not provide additional COVID response funding is fewer vaccinations for Americans should there be a fall surge. Biden’s war-level mobilization to combat COVID has saved 2.2 million lives (more than 900,000 have already died), prevented 17 million hospitalizations and 66 million COVID-19 cases, and avoided $900 billion in health care costs. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration is sounding the alarm for the urgent need for Congress to provide funding for the nation’s COVID-19 response and is underscoring the severe consequences of their inaction: Fewer vaccines, treatments, and tests for the American people, and fewer shots in arms around the world.

The White House laid out the consequences in a fact sheet:
 
Over the past 15 months, the Biden Administration has used the resources Congress provided to mobilize a comprehensive COVID-19 response. As a result, the United States has made tremendous progress in our fight against the virus—saving over 2 million American lives, safely reopening our schools, creating jobs at a record pace, returning to more normal routines, and averting $900 billion in health care costs.

The Biden Administration launched COVID.gov, a one-stop shop website to help all people in the United States gain even better access to lifesaving tools like vaccines, tests, treatments, and masks, as well as get the latest updates on COVID-19 in their area. The Administration has worked over the past 15 months to set up over 90,000 vaccination sites, make more than 400 million high-quality masks available for free, send free tests to peoples’ homes, and stand up new test-to-treat sites where people can get tested and receive life-saving antivirals all in one place. Now, with a click of a button, people will be able to find where to access all of these tools, as well as receive the latest CDC data on the level of COVID-19 in their community.

As part of COVID.gov, a new Test-to-Treat locator will help people access pharmacies and community health centers across the nation where people can get tested for COVID-19 and receive appropriate treatments if they need them.

President Biden also implemented a new effort across the federal government to develop and issue the first-ever interagency national research action plan on Long COVID. The effort will advance progress in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and provision of services, supports, and interventions for individuals experiencing Long COVID and associated conditions.
 
In March, the President laid out a comprehensive National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to keep America moving forward safely, by ensuring that lifesaving tools like vaccines and treatments remain free and widely available to Americans, by preparing for potential surges and new variants, and by getting more shots in arms around the world. Executing this plan remains essential to sustaining the progress we have made and saving more lives. There has been an uptick in cases in parts of the country and, while cases will continue to fluctuate, this virus has proven itself to be unpredictable. Without funding, the United States will be unprepared for whatever comes next.
 
COVID-19 isn’t waiting on Congress to negotiate. Other countries will not wait. Time is of the essence. Congress must act urgently to help save more American lives and ensure we remain prepared.

Congressional inaction on additional COVID-19 response funding means:
 
Fewer Vaccines for Americans:

  • The Administration cannot secure enough booster shots for every American, if they are needed in the fall. At this moment, the United States has enough supply to support one booster shot for Americans age 16 and over, and additional boosters for immunocompromised individuals and those age 50 and older. However, if additional booster shots are authorized and recommended for the general population, we will not have the supply necessary to provide free and easy access to them for all Americans. At this time last year, the Administration was contracting for future boosters that could ultimately be needed starting in September; this allowed us to make those booster shots free and widely available as soon as they were authorized. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) needs to begin contracting for boosters imminently so that the agency can conclude contractual negotiations as soon as May to ensure delivery of sufficient supply by September. Other countries are already placing orders for future needs and as a result, will get supply before it is available for Americans. Just yesterday, Pfizer submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization for its booster for kids ages 5 to 11. If these boosters are authorized and recommended, we would not have enough supply for every child in that age group. Not having enough supply to support booster shots for everyone, if needed, puts American lives at risk, and is a completely avoidable outcome.
     
  • The Administration cannot secure new COVID-19 vaccines to protect against multiple variants for the American people. Vaccine manufacturers are working on developing vaccines that could offer broader and longer-lasting protection than our existing vaccines—and there is ongoing discussion among scientific and medical experts, including FDA’s panel of outside experts, about the potential need for vaccines with new formulations in the future to better protect us from variants. Just this month, Moderna released data on a new vaccine that could potentially offer better protection against multiple variants. The company also announced that it expects to release data on an Omicron-specific vaccine soon. This means that there could be more effective vaccines available as soon as this fall that can enhance the protection Americans receive from getting vaccinated. The United States should be securing these vaccines today, but without funding, the Administration cannot purchase doses for the American people or even ensure that America is in line for them. This could mean people in other countries have access to the best lifesaving vaccines before Americans. Vaccines have proven to be our single-most important tool in protecting people, and the best ones should be available for the American people.

Fewer Treatments for Americans:

  • The Administration cannot restock the nation’s supply of lifesaving treatments. To date, the Administration has distributed over 9.6 million courses of treatment across the country, working with states and territories, Tribes, pharmacies, federal health centers, and other partners to provide them to Americans for free. Due to a lack of funding, we have already missed the opportunity to purchase additional supply of these lifesaving treatments. To stretch our supply as much as possible, last month, the Administration was forced to cut the number of monoclonal antibody treatments distributed to states by over 30 percent. Ensuring these treatments remain free, widely available, and easy to access for people who need them is crucial to our nation moving forward safely.
     
  • The Administration cannot invest in promising treatments or secure newer, even better treatments for the American people. The federal government will not be able to invest in next-generation treatments that have the potential to provide broader protection against future variants or to treat people who may not be able to take full advantage of current treatments. Several candidates may be promising, and the United States will lose an opportunity to secure its spot in line and to support ramped-up manufacturing capacity of these treatments if we do not have funding to secure supply prior to a potential authorization or approval. Given COVID-19’s potential to mutate, it is also prudent to support and secure a range of effective treatments that attack the virus in different ways to guard against future variants.
     
  • The Administration will have to scale back purchases of treatments that protect immunocompromised Americans. The Administration has secured more than 1 million courses of Evusheld, a preventive therapy for immunocompromised people. Due to lack of funding, we have had to substantially scale back our plans to purchase additional supply. This therapy takes months to produce, and at this point, we are at risk of missing out on supply that will be delivered in the last few months of 2022. Congressional inaction will put immunocompromised individuals at greater risk as we enter this fall.

Fewer Tests for Americans:

  • The Administration cannot sustain domestic testing manufacturing capacity and will be unprepared for another surge in testing demand. Omicron drove unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing around the world. As cases have fallen dramatically, so has demand for testing. Demand will continue to decrease over time, and as a result, domestic manufacturers will start ramping down production across the next several weeks and months. Federal investments are a crucial way to preserve the domestic testing manufacturing capacity we have built over the last 15 months. Without these investments, it will take manufacturers months to ramp back up to rebuild capacity, so failure to invest now will leave us with insufficient testing capacity and supply if we see another surge in cases and demand for testing increases once again. This would mean empty store shelves, long lines at testing sites, and slower results which will have life-or-death consequences for people who need to take lifesaving treatments within days of becoming symptomatic. That should not be allowed to happen.

Fewer Shots in Arms Around the World:

  • The United States cannot supercharge our effort to get more shots in arms, putting us at greater risk for more variants that may prove to be even more dangerous than the ones we have faced to date. The U.S. has now delivered over half a billion adult vaccines to 114 countries. Countries need funding and assistance to turn vaccines into vaccinations. Without additional funding for our global response, we will not have resources to help get more shots in arms in countries in need—which is one of the best ways we can prevent future variants. We will also lack funding to provide oxygen and other lifesaving supplies, and our global genomic sequencing capabilities will fall off—undermining our ability to detect any emerging variants around the world.

“The reason we’ve been so successful in the past is because I was able to work with drug manufacturers, but without funding, we cannot pre-order,” President Biden stated. “We’re running out of supplies for therapeutics – antiviral pills – we desperately need. … We’ve donated more vaccinations to the world than all nations combined…. Without additional funding, we won’t be able to continue to supply. … No delays, no excuses, just action now.”

Report: Biden COVID-19 Vaccination Program Saved 2.2 Million Lives, 17 Million Hospitalizations, $900 Billion in Health Care Costs

President Biden gets his second booster. A report from Commonwealth Fund finds that Biden’s “relentless efforts to get Americans vaccinated saved millions of American lives. Our vaccination campaign saved 2.2 million American lives, prevented 17 million hospitalizations, prevented 66 million COVID-19 cases, and avoided $900 billion in health care costs,” stated White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

new study out today from the Commonwealth Fund shows that President Biden’s relentless efforts to get Americans vaccinated saved millions of American lives. Our vaccination campaign saved 2.2 million American lives, prevented 17 million hospitalizations, prevented 66 million COVID-19 cases, and avoided $900 billion in health care costs. 
 
This is the result of the Biden Administration’s efforts to use every tool to make vaccinations easy and convenient for every American, Congress providing us the vital resources we needed, and the American people stepping up and doing their part. 
 
We mounted a historic vaccination effort and invested in tests and treatments – empowering Americans with more tools than ever before to protect themselves. Together, we’ve spared millions of families the immeasurable loss that too many others have suffered, and turned unthinkable pain into extraordinary purpose and progress. 
 
Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress are now holding up critical funding we need to make even more progress – to save even more lives. Make no mistake: Inaction will leave our nation less prepared for any future surges and variants. It will mean fewer vaccines, treatments, and tests for the American people. This is deeply disappointing – and it should be unacceptable to every American. We’ve worked too hard and come too far to leave ourselves and our economy vulnerable to an unpredictable virus. The virus is not waiting on Congress to negotiate. Congress must act with urgency. 

Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Reached: Here’s What’s Included

New York City shows off a new electric bus at the Heroes Parade honoring healthcare and city frontline workers. The bipartisan infrastructure deal struck by the Biden Administration invests $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, including $2.5 billion in zero emission buses, $2.5 billion in low emission buses and deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

On July 28, 2021, President Joe Biden and the bipartisan group announced agreement on the details of a once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure, which will be taken up in the Senate for consideration. In total, the deal includes $550 billion in new federal investment in America’s infrastructure, according to a fact sheet from the White House , which details what is included:

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will grow the economy, enhance our competitiveness, create good jobs, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just.
 
The deal will create good-paying, union jobs. With the President’s Build Back Better Agenda, these investments will add, on average, around 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade, while accelerating America’s path to full employment and increasing labor force participation.
 
President Biden believes that we must invest in our country and in our people by creating good-paying union jobs, tackling the climate crisis, and growing the economy sustainably and equitably for decades to come. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver progress towards those objectives for working families across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal:

  • Makes the largest federal investment in public transit ever
  • Makes the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak
  • Makes the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system
  • Makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure in American history, delivering clean water to millions of families
  • Ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet
  • Helps us tackle the climate crisis by making the largest investment in clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure in history; electrifying thousands of school and transit buses across the country; and creating a new Grid Development Authority to build a clean, 21st century electric grid

The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results for working families. He believes demonstrating that democracies can deliver is a critical challenge for his presidency. Today’s agreement shows that we can come together to position American workers, farmers, and businesses to compete and win in the 21st century.
 
Roads, Bridges, and Major Projects
 
One in five miles, or 173,000 total miles, of our highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. Bridges in poor condition pose heightened challenges in rural communities, which often may rely on a single bridge for the passage of emergency service vehicles. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will invest $110 billion of new funds for roads, bridges, and major projects, and reauthorize the surface transportation program for the next five years building on bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bills passed out of committee earlier this year.  This investment will repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. The bill includes a total of $40 billion of new funding for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation, which is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. The bill also includes a total of $17.5 billion for major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs but will deliver significant economic benefits to communities.
 
Safety
 
America has one of the highest road fatality rates in the industrialized world. The deal invests $11 billion in transportation safety programs, including a new Safe Streets for All program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities in their communities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians. It will more than double funding directed to programs that improve the safety of people and vehicles in our transportation system, including highway safety, truck safety, and pipeline and hazardous materials safety.
 
Public Transit
 
America’s transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. The deal invests $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization.  This is the largest Federal investment in public transit in history, and devotes a larger share of funds from surface transportation reauthorization to transit in the history of the programs. It will repair and upgrade aging infrastructure, modernize bus and rail fleets, make stations accessible to all users, and bring transit service to new communities. It will replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles.  And, it will benefit communities of color since these households are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options.
 
Passenger and Freight Rail
 
Unlike highways and transit, rail lacks a multi-year funding stream to address deferred maintenance, enhance existing corridors, and build new lines in high-potential locations. The deal positions Amtrak and rail to play a central role in our transportation and economic future. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago. The deal invests $66 billion in rail to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Within these totals, $22 million would be provided as grants to Amtrak, $24 billion as federal-state partnership grants for Northeast Corridor modernization, $12 billion for partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail, $5 billion for rail improvement and safety grants, and $3 billion for grade crossing safety improvements.
 
EV Infrastructure
 
U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The President believes that must change. The bill invests $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers. This is the first-ever national investment in EV charging infrastructure in the United States and is a critical element in the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to accelerate the adoption of EVs to address the climate crisis and support domestic manufacturing jobs. The bill will provide funding for deployment of EV chargers along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop.  Federal funding will have a particular focus on rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach communities.

Electric Buses
 
American school buses play a critical role in expanding access to education, but they are also a significant source of pollution. The deal will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children. The deal invests $2.5 billion in zero emission buses, $2.5 billion in low emission buses, and $2.5 billion for ferries. These investments will drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, creating jobs and supporting domestic manufacturing, while also removing diesel buses from some of our most vulnerable communities. In addition, they will help the more than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers who breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that hurt our communities and cause students to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities.
 
Reconnecting Communities
 
Too often, past transportation investments divided communities – like the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans or I-81 in Syracuse – or it left out the people most in need of affordable transportation options. In particular, significant portions of the interstate highway system were built through Black neighborhoods. The deal creates a first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure.  The program will fund planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure through $1 billion of dedicated funding.
 
Airports, Ports, and Waterways
 
The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide. Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination too. The bill invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will support U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.
 
Resilience and Western Water Infrastructure
 
Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, airport power goes down, or schools get flooded. Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. The deal makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion. This includes funds to protect against droughts and floods, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The bill is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.

Clean Drinking Water
 
Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. The deal’s $55 billion investment represents the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history, including dedicated funding to replace lead service lines and the dangerous chemical PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl). It will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. From rural towns to struggling cities, the deal invests in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
 
High-Speed Internet

Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country. The deal’s $65 billion investment ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet with an historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment, just as the federal government made a historic effort to provide electricity to every American nearly one hundred years ago.

The bill will also help lower prices for internet service by requiring funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, by creating price transparency and helping families comparison shop, and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service. It will also help close the digital divide by passing the Digital Equity Act, ending digital redlining, creating a permanent program to help more low-income households access the internet, and establishing a new program to help low-income households obtain the devices required to access the internet.
 
Environmental Remediation

In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for Americans overall. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children’s blood. The deal invests $21 billion in environmental remediation, making the largest investment in addressing the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities and neighborhoods in American history, creating good-paying union jobs in hard-hit energy communities and advancing economic and environmental justice. The bill includes funds to clean up superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells.
 
Power Infrastructure
 
As the recent Texas power outages demonstrated, our aging electric grid needs urgent modernization. A Department of Energy study found that power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. The deal’s $73 billion investment is the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history.  It upgrades our power infrastructure, including by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy. It creates a new Grid Deployment Authority, invests in research and development for advanced transmission and electricity distribution technologies, and promotes smart grid technologies that deliver flexibility and resilience. It invests in demonstration projects and research hubs for next generation technologies like advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen.
 
Offsets
 
In the years ahead, the deal, which will generate significant economic benefits, and it is financed through a combination of redirecting unspent emergency relief funds, targeted corporate user fees, strengthening tax enforcement when it comes to crypto currencies, and other bipartisan measures, in addition to the revenue generated from higher economic growth as a result of the investments.