House Passes Landmark Voting Rights Bill Setting Up First Major Filibuster Fight

“Everything is at stake. We must win this race, this fight,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as Democrats rallied on the Capitol steps before the vote on Wednesday.

The sweeping reform bill would nullify the new wave of voter restrictions that Republicans are pushing at the state level.

The House of Representatives passed a landmark bill on voting rights, elections, campaign finance and ethics reform by a vote of 220-210 on Wednesday.

The For the People Act, congressional Democrats’ top legislative priority, passed with 220 Democrats in support and one Democrat (Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi) and 209 Republicans in opposition. (Two Republicans did not vote.) This encapsulates a major contrast between the nation’s two major political parties: One is pushing to expand access to the ballot, the other is trying to restrict it. 

The Republican Party is still led by former President Donald Trump, who just two months ago sought to overturn a free and fair election by invalidating votes in majority-Black cities. More than half of the House Republican caucus backed him. This led directly to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. And now Republicans at the state level are pushing a new wave of voting rights restrictions based on Trump’s election fraud lies, including in Georgia, where Republicans just lost the presidential race and two Senate seats.

Democrats see the march of these voter restrictions as both a direct attack on the principle of voting rights and the prospect of a pluralistic multiracial democracy and a direct threat to their own party’s

Read more: http://politicsandopinions.com/top-news/172219-house-passes-landmark-voting-rights-bill-setting-up-first-major-filibuster-fight

Democrats Again Limit Who Will Receive A Stimulus Check

Finance Watch Some higher-earning households would miss out on partial COVID-19 relief payments worth thousands of dollars.

After putting stricter limits on who will receive another stimulus check last month, Democrats are once again changing their proposal to give most Americans suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic $1,400.

The proposed change would deny checks to higher earners who would have received only partial checks under the previous version of the legislation, which cut off payments to individuals earning more than $100,000 and couples above $200,000. 

The new cutoffs would be $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for joint filers, according to a Democratic source. 

Democrats intended the $1,400 checks to complement the $600 payments from the last pandemic relief bill Congress passed in December, since Joe Biden and Democratic senate candidates in the Georgia runoff promised to deliver $2,000 checks. 

Individuals with incomes beneath $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 would still receive the full $1,400 under the proposed change. But the lower income limit means that some people who received partial payments from the December bill would not receive partial payments from the next one. 

Since the $1,400 checks are for both individuals and their children, some higher-earning households would miss out on partial payments worth thousands of dollars.

Eighty-six percent of American adults would still receive checks, down from 91% under the previous proposal, a decline of about 11 million, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a D.C. think tank. 

“That being said, for most people it does not make a difference and it basically makes no difference for the bottom 60% of Americans, the folks who really need help,” ITEP’s Steve Wamhoff said in an email. 

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told HuffPost on Tuesday, “There’s been a very strong effort to try and target the help for some time,” meaning moderates have wanted the funds restricted to people with lower incomes.

“Obviously, there are some senators who want to do that ― I don’t,” Wyden said.

The changes

Read more: http://politicsandopinions.com/top-news/172105-democrats-again-limit-who-will-receive-a-stimulus-check

Georgia House Approves New Restrictions As GOP War On Voting Rights Intensifies

Since Trump’s loss, Republicans “have made opposing voting rights the central tenet of their party,” one lawyer said.

The Georgia House of Representatives on Monday approved a sweeping election overhaul bill that would place new voter ID requirements on absentee ballots and limit weekend voting ― becoming the latest Republican-controlled state legislative chamber to place additional restrictions on voting in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s loss in November.

Georgia and Arizona, two states where President Joe Biden scored the first victory for a Democratic presidential candidate in three decades last year, have emerged as the epicenters of the GOP’s attempts to curtail voting rights in 2021. Arguing that expanded absentee and early voting programs sowed chaos and confusion during an unprecedented pandemic, Republicans in both states have proposed and begun passing restrictions and election reforms that would make it harder for many voters ― especially Black and Latino voters ― to cast ballots in the future.

The voter ID provision, voting rights advocates argue, would add another onerous requirement to a process that is already secure and protected by more reliable and equitable forms of verification. And the effort to limit weekend voting in Georgia, voting groups argue, is nothing more than a direct attempt to combat “souls to the polls” drives, where predominantly Black churches mobilize voters to go to the polls after Sunday services. In states like Arizona or Georgia, where Biden and Democratic Senate candidates won narrow victories, even small amounts of voter suppression could be enough to swing elections.

But the GOP is not just seeking to implement new voter restrictions in states Trump lost, or in places that feature large and growing populations of color. They are also pushing a raft of changes in states Trump won easily, and where GOP dominance of state and local elections is under no apparent threat. Republicans are attempting to limit or eliminate vote-by-mail and early voting programs that, at least in some states, they themselves implemented, and that their campaigns had historically utilized more effectively and efficiently than Democrats until last year’s election.

Fueled by their own conspiracy theories, Republicans have turned their long-running efforts to curtail voting rights into a total war on Amer

Read more: http://politicsandopinions.com/top-news/172012-georgia-house-approves-new-restrictions-as-gop-war-on-voting-rights-intensifies

Shocked by the uproar Amanda Gormans white translator quits

International Booker winner Marieke Lucas Rijneveld will not translate inaugural poet’s work into Dutch after anger that a Black writer was not hired

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and Amanda Gorman.

The acclaimed author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has pulled out of translating Amanda Gorman’s poetry into Dutch, after their publisher was criticised for picking a writer for the role who was not also Black.

Dutch publisher Meulenhoff had announced Rijneveld, winner of the International Booker prize, as the translator of the Joe Biden inaugural poet’s forthcoming collection, The Hill We Climb, last week. But the move quickly drew opprobrium. Journalist and activist Janice Deul led critics with a piece in Volkskrant asking why Meulenhoff had not chosen a translator who was, like Gorman, a “spoken-word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black”.

“An incomprehensible choice, in my view and that of many others who expressed their pain, frustration, anger and disappointment via social media,” wrote Deul. “Isn’t it – to say the least – a missed opportunity to [have hired] Marieke Lucas Rijneveld for this job? They are white, nonbinary, have no experience in this field, but according to Meulenhoff are still the ‘dream translator’?”

Rijneveld had previously welcomed the assignment, saying that “at a time of increasing polarisation, Amanda Gorman shows in her young voice the power of spoken word, the power of reconciliation, the power of someone who looks to the future instead of looking down”. But in a statement, they subsequently announced their withdrawal from the project.

“I am shocked by the uproar surrounding my involvement in the spread of Amanda Gorman’s message and I understand the people who feel hurt by Meulenhoff’s choice to ask me,” Rijneveld wrote. “I had happily devoted myself to translating Amanda’s work, seeing it as the greatest task to keep her strength, tone and style. However, I realise that I am in a position to think and feel that way, where many are not. I still wish that her ideas reach as many rea

Read more: http://politicsandopinions.com/top-news/171820-shocked-by-the-uproar-amanda-gorman-s-white-translator-quits

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