On Monday, congressional leaders finally unveiled the text of the coronavirus stimulus package.
The bill is 5,593 pages, meaning it is basically impossible for any member of Congress to read the legislation prior to voting on it this evening.
“Let’s say the vote is at 8 pm in the House, lawmakers could technically read the Covid relief/omnibus bill at a rough rate of about 4 seconds per page,” HuffPost correspondent Tara Golshan reported. “Basically read Infinite Jest five times over and then some in six hours.”
Here are seven shocking facts about the legislation that have been discovered so far.
Five pages on reincarnation
Beginning on page 5099 of the bill PDF file, the bill spends five pages laying out the process for determining who will be recognized as the next reincarnation of the Dalia Lama.
The language on reincarnation was spotted by Lisa Desjardins of PBS news.
Filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will be more difficult.
Unemployed workers seeking PUA will have to provide documentation within 21 days.
David Dayen, the executive editor of The Prospect, says the new rule is “an effective tax on people’s time.
This is what I was afraid of. Like much of the year, the relief comes with unnecessary administrative burdens, an effective tax on people's time. https://t.co/QImPv75NMD
— David Dayen (@ddayen) December 21, 2020
Owners of race horses got a tax break
While Americans will only get up-to $600 in direct financial aid in the bill, racehorse owners will receive a tax break.
The tax break was noticed by Lee Fang of The Intercept.
The so-called 'three martini lunch' tax deduction, used by business to deduct food and beverage expenses, is in there. pic.twitter.com/lOFLc6iYv8
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 21, 2020
If you own a multifamily rental property, ie an apartment building, the coronavirus stimulus legislation has a retroactive tax break for you pic.twitter.com/ATllvyM2cU
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 21, 2020
Two new museums will be established
One of the little-notices aspects of the bill is that it will authorize two new museums.
CNN reporter Lauren Fox noticed the bill will establish a new American Women’s History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino.
Fun fact: This omni-stimulus includes the creation of TWO new Smithsonian Museums. American Women's History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino.
— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) December 21, 2020
The new eviction moratorium only lasts for five weeks
Despite the looming eviction crisis, the new bill only extends protections until the end of January.
The length of the eviction moratorium was noted by Elizabeth Landers of Vice News.
as expected, the federal eviction moratorium is extended in this latest relief bill – but only through Jan 31 pic.twitter.com/GZibP9oJ2E
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) December 21, 2020
Stimulus bill decriminalizes unauthorized use of Smokey the Bear
Department of Agriculture propaganda icon Smokey the Bear was also included in the legislation addressing the coronavirus economic crisis.
The legislative language was reported by Erik Wasson of Bloomberg news.
Bill decriminalizes unauthorized use of the Swiss Coat of Arms or Smokey the Bear
— Erik Wasson (@elwasson) December 21, 2020
Stimulus includes “three martini” lunch deductions for corporations
While Americans wait in bread lines, big corporations got the “three martini” tax cut that was pushed by Donald Trump, as reported by Jeff Stein of The Washington Post.
And there it is — as we reported last night, the tax deduction business meals is in the covid relief package for both 2021 and 2022
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) December 21, 2020
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Trump’s DHS Chief Delayed and Altered Report on Russian Election Interference Because It ‘Made the President Look Bad’
Chad Wolf, Trump’s Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) who was unlawfully installed, delayed and altered a federal government intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election because it “made the President look bad.”
A new Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report says Wolf for months delayed a report that was initially titled, “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Electoral Dynamics.” It later was altered to “blunt” the focus of Russia’s attack on Democratic nominee Joe Biden by adding claims about China and Iran’s alleged attempts to denigrate then-President Donald Trump, who was running for re-election.
“A Tuesday report from DHS’s Office of Inspector General concluded that DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) wrongly let politics interfere with the dissemination of the report, which documented a Russian disinformation campaign surrounding President Biden’s mental acuity,” The Hill reports.
“I&A employees during the review and clearance process changed the product’s scope by making changes that appear to be based in part on political considerations, potentially impacting I&A’s compliance with Intelligence Community policy,” OIG concluded in a report that found that “DHS did not adequately follow its internal processes.”
The Inspector General’s report says “the Acting Secretary [Wolf] asked the product be held because it made President Trump look bad and hurt President Trump’s campaign — the concept that Russia was denigrating candidate Biden would be used against President Trump.”
The Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis “also told us he took contemporaneous notes of the meeting, a copy of which we obtained. The notes…read ‘AS1 – will hurt POTUS – kill it per his authorities.’”
The Office of Inspector General “concluded Wolf’s interference and other changes violated requirements that require intelligence products to be objective and independent of political consideration,” The Hill adds.
‘Smoking Gun’: Former US Attorney Labels Don Trump Jr’s Election Texts ‘Powerful Evidence’ of Fraud
Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” with host Jonathan Capehart, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance made the case that Don Trump Jr’s texts about overturning the 2020 election results — coming just a few days after the public went to the polls — could end up being the “smoking gun” investigators are looking for.
Reacting to the CNN report that the oldest son of former president Donald Trump was pitching suggestions to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on how to remain in power, Vance called the texts “powerful evidence” that could be used in a criminal indictment.
“Is this proverbial smoking gun, especially after the Ginni Thomas texts?” host Capehart asked.
“It feels like it could be a smoking gun,” Vance conceded. “This is two days after the election, the election result hasn’t been called yet, but Donald Trump Jr. is already acting on the assumption his father is going to lose the election and, of course, the entire predication that his father has for maintaining that everything he did after the election, up to and including the march on the Capitol, was legitimate was this notion that he had not legitimately lost the election.”
“So to the extent that this becomes a powerful piece of evidence that they were aware that they had lost, that they were aware it wasn’t fraud and they were going to have to come up with these alternate schemes, including fake slates of electors to get across the finish line, this really could be very powerful,” she added.
Ginni Thomas Demanded Republicans Go ‘Out in the Streets’ to Protest Election, Support Donald Trump
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas demanded Congressional Republicans take the fight to overturn the 2020 election to the streets after Donald Trump lost his re-election bid to Joe Biden.
Thomas, a veteran far-right activist and lobbyist, and spouse to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is under fire after multiple news organizations Thursday reported on 29 texts she exchanged with then-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows demanding he work to overturn the election.
“Shortly after the 2020 election,” NBC News reports, Ginni Thomas “sent an email to an aide to a prominent House conservative saying she would have nothing to do with his group until his members go ‘out in the streets,’ a congressional source familiar with the exchange told NBC News.”
That email was sent to “an aide to incoming Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind.,” saying “that she was more aligned with the far-right House Freedom Caucus.”
“Just days later,” NBC adds, Texas GOP Congressman Louie Gohmert “appeared at a ‘Million MAGA March’ near the White House and told Trump supporters: ‘This was a cheated election and we can’t let it stand.’ He talked about ‘revolution.'”
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