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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Republicans Push New $25 Billion Bill to Fund Trump’s Wall – by Tightening Access to Programs Like Food Stamps

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Four Republican Senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, are introducing the WALL Act, a new bill that would authorize $25 billion to fully-fund President Trump’s border wall. There are no direct offsets – known as “PAYGO” – in the legislation to pay for a wall many consider both unnecessary and racist. But the bill would attempt to squeeze $25 billion from  immigrant and low-income parents and workers, including those who receive federal benefits like food stamps.

Instead of taking the funds directly from elsewhere in the federal budget, according to a statement from Senator Cruz, the wall would be funded by tightening requirements of government programs for low-income workers. Among them, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Other federal programs, like food stamps, would require recipients to prove citizenship.

Those who cannot prove they meet the new standards, namely, that they are U.S. citizens or legally permitted to receive benefits, would be kicked out of the programs. Others who are eligible but fearful of the new regulations may also neglect to collect them. And some may not learn they need to produce proof.

Cruz says additional funding would come by increasing “the minimum fines on illegal border crossers” and establishing a “minimum penalty for visa overstays.”

Senator Cruz provided no proof these federal welfare programs are being abused by non-citizens or ineligible workers, or that increasing fines would net $25 billion.

“Currently only the child needs a SSN, not the parent benefiting from the refundable child tax credit. The WALL Act would require the parent to have a valid work-eligible social security number,” Cruz says. “Before 2003, the Social Security Agency did not distinguish between work-eligible and non-work eligible SSNs. Therefore, there are individuals benefiting from the EITC they are not authorized to receive because they are non-work eligible.”

Cruz’s bill could prevent legal child citizens from being able to access government programs like food stamps.

HuffPost reports the claim that undocumented immigrants are “are stealing benefits from Americans” is “divorced from reality.”

But legal immigrants who are eligible for programs like food stamps are refusing to sign up, for fear they will be deported. That means some children are not getting the food they need. The WALL Act feeds those fears, not the children who need help the most.

“I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into our country,” Cruz says in his statement. “The overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans want to see the border secured.”

But polling makes clear the majority of Americans do not want a border wall.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement announcing the WALL Act, Senator Inhofe took the opportunity to advocate for his bill, the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act. Sen. Inhofe’s statement is riddled with falsehoods.

“Currently, migrants who cross the border illegally and declare asylum are released pending credible fear screenings and other legal procedures, but rarely show up for proceedings – never completing the asylum process,” he claims.

Inhofe also claims, “most migrants don’t show up for their court date.”

Both claims are 100% false.

According to PunditFact, a fact-checking offshoot of PolitiFact, an Obama-era program for asylum seekers that President Trump has since killed, boasted a 100% attendance record at court hearings. It also had a 99% show rate of check-ins and appointments with ICE.

“Around 60-75 percent of non-detained migrants have attended their immigration court proceedings, according to Justice Department data from the last five available years,” PunditFact reports, expanding their review to all migrants. “Some limited data suggests rates may be higher for asylum-seekers.”

Inhofe’s bill would also turn local police departments and court systems into arms of ICE, forcing them to issue “a criminal bench warrant for immigrants that have failed to appear for immigration court.”

Legally, that’s at best problematic, and possibly unconstitutional.

The other two GOP Senators introducing the bill are Mike Rounds of South Dakota and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

President Trump for over a year promised voters Mexico would pay for the wall. He then said it would be paid for by some sort of tariff system, and ultimately insisted U.S. taxpayers fund it so he could keep his campaign promise.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Why Have the Laws Written Down at All?’: Conservative Republican Complains About SCOTUS LGBTQ Civil Rights Ruling

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Republican Sen. Josh Hawley​ of Missouri questioned the efficacy of the religious-right movement after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination—a ruling authored by President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Hawley was far from alone with his disdain for the ruling. Anti-LGBTQ groups and outlets expressed alarm​. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote in a blog post Wednesday​, “Suddenly, we fear for our kids’ classrooms, our sons and daughters in the military, the future of adoption and competition, and the vanishing hopes of any Christian to run a business or ministry without being sued.”

On Tuesday, Perkins hosted Hawley on his radio show “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” after Hawley gave a speech on the Senate floor calling the Supreme Court’s ruling a “piece of legislation” and “seismic.” Politico reported that Hawley declared that the ruling “represents the end of the conservative legal movement.” He echoed those sentiments during his interview with Perkins.

“For religious conservatives, people of faith, who have labored here in the vineyard so to speak, I think that this result—it really is going to cause people to question: What is it we have been doing? What is it that we have been working toward if this is always the result at the end of the day? We have got to do better than this,” Howley said.

Howley said that he was ultimately hopeful that religious conservatives “of all backgrounds” would be motivated to demonstrate leadership after the ruling.

“That would be a good thing for this movement, for the country,” Hawley said.

Perkins jumped in to insist that he and Hawley were not seeking Supreme Court justices who would “legislate from the bench” in a way that fulfilled their political desires, but rather ​they sought justices who would adhere to the U.S. Constitution and “the true meaning of words.”

“There’s almost no point in writing down the laws. We might as well just let the justices just tell us what they think should be the right policy in any given case,” Hawley said​ sarcastically. “Why have the laws written down at all if the words are not going to hold the meaning they had at the time?”

 

This article was first published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission. 

Image by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs via Flickr and a CC license
DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Christian Right Activist at Trump’s HHS Finalizes Move Rolling Back ‘Unnecessary’ Transgender Healthcare Protections

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The Trump administration just moved to roll back hard-fought Obama-era healthcare non-discrimination protections for transgender people, just as coronavirus cases are surging in at least 21 states. The timing, too, is notable. While the President does not recognize LGBTQ Pride the move comes in the middle of the month devoted to celebrating and honoring the community, and exactly on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

The Wall Street Journal reports the new rule will take effect in 60 days, ending “a policy that expanded an antidiscrimination provision in the ACA to cover bias against” transgender people.

The move comes from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which is headed by far right wing religious extremist Roger Severino (photo).

OCR calls the protections for transgender people “overbroad” and “massive and unnecessary regulatory burdens that had been eventually passed on to patients and consumers,” while suggesting they are not “substantive.”

“This continues the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back protections in health care for LGBT people,” Bloomberg Law reports. “The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights sees preserving ‘religious freedom’ as essential to making sure health-care professionals don’t get penalized for the actions they do or don’t do in their jobs because of their moral beliefs.”

Severino is responsible for many of the administration’s most anti-LGBTQ polices.

Last year, in defending his new anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” regulation, Severino told reporters, “Patients want doctors who match their values.”

Developing…

Related:

Christian Right Activist Heading Civil Rights Office at HHS Moves Closer to Killing Protections for LGBTQ Patients

HHS Being Sued Over Policy Giving Special Religious Rights to Healthcare Professionals Over LGBT People and Women

Trump Creates New ‘Conscience and Religious Freedom Division’ at HHS to Support Discrimination by Health Care Professionals

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Trump Appointee Says US Is in the Grips of a ‘Homo-Empire’ Pushing a ‘Tyrannical LGBT Agenda’

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This story was originally published by ProPublica.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

A new Trump appointee to the United States’ foreign aid agency has a history of online posts denouncing liberal democracy and has said that the country is in the clutches of a “homo-empire” that pushes a “tyrannical LGBT agenda.”

In one post, Merritt Corrigan, who recently took up a position as deputy White House liaison at the U.S. Agency for International Development, wrote: “Liberal democracy is little more than a front for the war being waged against us by those who fundamentally despise not only our way of life, but life itself.”

Corrigan’s new position in the Trump administration, confirmed by two officials, has not been previously reported.

Corrigan previously worked for the Hungarian Embassy in the United States and tweeted that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is “the shining champion of Western civilization,” Politico reported last year. An embassy spokesman, Béla Gedeon, said Corrigan left her position there in mid-April.

Orban, a far-right politician, has cracked down on civil society, academic freedom and other liberties. USAID has recently partnered with Hungary to help Christians in Iraq, a pairing that some career USAID officials said they found unsettling.

Asked about Corrigan’s writing, acting USAID spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala said the agency has a “zero-tolerance policy of any form of discrimination or harassment based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other possible distinguishing characteristic that can define any of us.”

“All employees are held to the highest of standards and are expected to treat one another with dignity and respect. Period,” she said. “This includes political appointees, civil servants, foreign service officers and contractors.”

Corrigan did not respond to emails asking about her past comments.

Politico reported last year that Corrigan wrote on her Twitter account that “our homo-empire couldn’t tolerate even one commercial enterprise not in full submission to the tyrannical LGBT agenda.” Corrigan’s Twitter account is now private.

In October, Corrigan wrote an op-ed in The Conservative Woman, a London publication, decrying “the false song of feminism” and calling for women to take up traditional roles of mother, wife and homemaker.

“A woman today is expected by society to come to marriage and motherhood in physical and spiritual decline, if ever,” she wrote. “This is the life women have been offered by those who would rather us toil away as isolated economic units for faceless corporations, far from the natural pleasures of the domestic, far from the guardianship of a loving husband, and far from the life-giving experience of motherhood.”

Corrigan’s biography on the website described her as a “conservative political strategist.” She was on the payroll of the Republican National Committee between 2016 and 2018, according to campaign finance records.

Her stated positions put her directly at odds with the stated goals of her new employer. USAID uses a “liberal democracy index” as one of its metrics in deciding whether a country is self-reliant, and it has an entire office dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The agency’s website says it is working for a world in which LGBT people are “respected and able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence.”

Beirne Roose-Snyder, director of public policy at the Center for Health and Gender Equity, said, “An appointee who eschews gender equality, meaningful democracy and LGBTI rights cannot possibly fulfill the mission of USAID.”

Corrigan’s appointment is the latest example of the Trump administration bringing in officials to USAID whose stated views put them at odds with the agenda the agency says it promotes.

USAID’s new deputy chief of staff, Bethany Kozma, was previously an anti-transgender activist who wrote in 2016 that transgender girls are boys “claiming gender confusion.” Kozma was formerly a senior adviser for women’s empowerment at the agency.

And last week, The Washington Post reported that a Tea Party activist with a history of making and sharing anti-Islamic comments on his personal social media profiles would be the agency’s new religious freedom adviser. News of the appointment sparked criticism from Muslim groups in the U.S. and the Anti-Defamation League.

 

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