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Archive for March, 2020

“I don’t mind being criticized. I’ll never, ever complain.”

—Donald Trump on CNN, September 24, 2015.

 

“After this election I’m  going to sue every liar who said something bad about me. There won’t be a newspaper left in this country when I’m through with them. And these lying women, these bimbos, I will destroy them.”

—Donald Trump, October 22, 2016.

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“President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing, Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of The Bachelor. Numbers are continuing to rise.

“On Monday, nearly 12.2 million people watch Mr. Trump’s briefing on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielson—Monday Night Football numbers. Millions more are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC, and online streaming sites and the audience is expanding. On Monday Fox News alone, attracted 6.2 million viewers for president’s briefing—an astounding number for a 6 p.m. cable broadcast, more akin to the viewership for a popular prime time sitcom.”

DONALD TRUMP TWEETS [inappropriate on so many levels], of March 30, even as Americans were dying of the coronavirus. [If any doubts existed that everything’s all about him, they were laid to rest with these tweets.]

 

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“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3.”

—Donald Trump, on Friday after signing the coronavirus aid bill as he sought to assert presidential authority over the Office of Inspector General, which is supposed to be independent and which is supposed to provide oversight into how the $400 billion is to be spent on corporate relief. Trump, in turn, said on Friday that he would be consulting with Wall Street executives to make some of the decisions. What could possibly go wrong?

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“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”

—More governing by tweet by Donald Trump, Aug. 23, 2019. [While there is unquestionable merit to his concern over China’s stealing intellectual property from the U.S., mandating change by tweet is certainly no way to run a railroad. We do, after all, still live in a free democracy—not an autocracy.]

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We are constantly encouraged to participate in our government.

Our civics teachers in high school drummed into our heads that we should get involved.

Write your representative or senators, we are told, because it’s the best way to make your thoughts known.

Our U.S. representatives and senators even have web pages on which we may contact them about a particular issue.

Do you really want to know just how effective it is to contact your representative or senator?

Do you truly believe a warm-blooded human actually reads your letter?

Are you interested in learning how difficult it is to get your message heard over the hum of the campaign money-counting machines in your congressperson’s office?

If your answer to the last three questions is yes, read on.

I recently went onto Rep. Garret Graves’s web page and clicked on the “Contact” link and sent him an email, the basis of which dealt with the 2016 flood.

I explained that like thousands of other victims, when seeking flood relief, I was directed by FEMA to the Small Business Administration table where I was given an application form for an SBA loan to repair damage to my home which took in 33 inches of water.

No one at FEMA or SBA bothered to explain that applying for a loan made me ineligible for a FEMA grant or even if I was offered a loan and refused it, the fact that it was offered automatically made me ineligible for a FEMA grant.

Read that again: even if I turned the loan offer down, I would be considered ineligible for a grant by virtue of the fact that a loan was offered.

I explained to Rep. Graves that my home was paid for at the time of the flood and that I did not carry flood insurance because we were in one of the highest-elevated parts of Denham Springs that had never even come close to flooding.

I also informed Rep. Graves that like hundreds, perhaps thousands of other victims, I was 76 years old, retired, and would never live to see my now brand-new $124,000 mortgage paid off.

I asked him to look into the possibility of loan forgiveness for the flood victims as had been done for other disaster victims and which was being considered [and subsequently approved] for potential recipients of SBA loans as part of the then-proposed $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Here is the response I received from his office:

 

Thanks for taking the time to reach out to me about COVID-19. As we work to keep Louisianans safe and to minimize the economic damages associated with America’s response to this uniquely challenging threat, let’s keep this fact in mind: In Louisiana, we’ve seen our share of hurricanes, floods, and other disasters; people here know how to be resilient and pull through hard circumstances like this, and I’m confident that we are going to come out on the other side strong.

As you know, the United States is responding to a global outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a new type of coronavirus, called COVID-19. Unfortunately, cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread of the virus are being reported in a growing number of states. Following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.

Congress – and the entire federal government – is acting quickly to help Americans impacted by the coronavirus. We are working to provide regulatory relief, economic support, and innovations in our private industries to combat this threat. So far, the House and Senate have passed two major pieces of support legislation:

  • On March 4, we authorized $8 billion in emergency funding for health research into COVID-19 to develop high-quality diagnostic kits, more effective treatment plans, and a vaccine to prevent the further spread of the disease.
  • On March 18, President Trump signed a second piece of legislation called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This package was focused on individuals and families and ensures accessible testing, emergency paid leave, and support and flexibility for small businesses. You can read more about this bill here.

Our next step in the Congress is to pass legislation to deliver further assistance for our economy, including financial relief for those businesses and industries that are being hit the hardest by disruptions related to the pandemic response. As this bill comes together, my focus is on making sure the needs of South Louisiana’s families, individuals, and businesses are addressed.

This is a fast-evolving crisis, and things continue to change as new information becomes available every day. Please visit the coronavirus page on my website, where we are posting a running list of information, resources, and useful links to help you navigate this challenge. Additionally, please feel free to call our office or the Louisiana statewide call network (211) if you have additional questions or concerns. I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me with your thoughts and hope you’ll stay in contact as this issue progresses.

Sincerely,

Garret Graves
Member of Congress

 

So, there you have it. If you have an issue that’s dear to your heart, just write your congressperson. [S]he’s there to help.

 

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