Local elected officials mourned his passing, both in statements and on social media.
“John was a mentor, a friend, a colleague, and a guiding voice who taught me about what it is to be an elected official,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in a statement Friday. “For all of us who served on that first Council, he taught us about this new government that he had helped shepherd in that so many of us now take for granted. And as part of that education, he stepped to the side and pushed us, his colleagues, into leadership positions. I would not be County Executive today if it were not for John’s influence and encouragement.”
Source: Longtime Allegheny County councilman, labor leader John ‘Jumping Johnny’ DeFazio dies | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Democrats want a $15 minimum wage policy to be included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan.
- A $15 hourly pay scale would more than double the current $7.25 federal minimum wage.
- It still wouldn’t offer a living wage to low-paid single adults and families in many areas, according to a CNBC analysis of state cost-of-living data.
Democrats are pushing to get a $15 federal minimum wage into President Joe Biden’s Covid relief package. For many, that pay still wouldn’t be enough.
Source: $15 minimum wage won’t cover living costs for many Americans
“Saturday Night Live” called out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican, in the show’s cold open this weekend in a segment where the politicians were supposed to apologize for their separate scandals.
Both were welcomed on a show called “Oops, You Did It Again,” hosted by Britney Spears, played by “SNL” cast member Chloe Fineman. The premise of the show: Allow guests to give “lame” apologies — such as the decades’-late mea culpas the real-life Spears has received from celebrities like ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake after the recent documentary “Framing Britney Spears.”
Cuomo, played in New York tough-guy style by Staten Island-born cast member Pete Davidson, seemed a bit reluctant to take responsibility over allegations his administration withheld data about nursing home coronavirus deaths and that he threatened people who spoke out about it.
Source: ‘SNL’ cold open shows ‘angry’ Cuomo offering ‘lame’ apology for nursing home scandal | Fox News
Sen. Joe Manchin on Friday said he opposes Neera Tanden’s nomination as President Biden’s budget director due to her insult-laden tweets, but Biden says won’t pull her nomination.
Biden told reporters as he returned to Washington from a trip to Michigan that “no” he won’t withdraw Tanden’s nomination, even though she may now be rejected in the evenly divided Senate.
Manchin (D-W.V.) cited Tanden’s confrontational tweets toward Republicans and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) while she served as president of the Democratic Party-aligned Center for American Progress.
“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others,” Manchin said.
Source: Manchin opposes Neera Tanden confirmation over nasty tweets
Jeff Hammer has spent the past four decades involved in multiple fields, including business, finance, education, nonprofit and energy, which has enabled him to work across the region, state, country and even the world.
He is now looking to enter municipal government.
Earlier this week, Hammer announced he is running in the 2021 Democratic Party primary for Johnstown mayor, looking to unseat incumbent Frank Janakovic.
Hammer is a current director of sales for Transparent Energy, which procures third-party energy for retail customers.
Source: Jeff Hammer announces run for Johnstown mayor, touts ‘certain skill set’ | News | tribdem.com
Conservative talk radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday after a year-long battle with cancer, took a dig at President Biden in his final Facebook post two weeks before his death.
“Biden canceled ‘a major foreign policy speech,’ folks, over two inches of snow. I kid you not,” Limbaugh wrote late on Feb. 2.
He added a link to a story on his website titled, “Biden Sees His Shadow, Cancels Major Speech.”
A day earlier, the president pulled the plug on a trip to the State Department, where he had been scheduled to deliver his first major foreign policy speech as commander-in-chief, citing the couple of inches of snow that fell in DC that weekend.
Source: Rush Limbaugh took jab at Biden in final Facebook post
WASHINGTON — President Biden took a snow day Thursday as DC received a half-inch dusting — but Vice President Kamala Harris carried on with scheduled in-person events.
Biden postponed a trip to Michigan, where he planned to tour a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility, and the White House declared an 8 a.m. “lid” for reporters — meaning there would be no in-person events.
The president’s trip to Portage, Michigan, was preemptively canceled Wednesday evening before any precipitation fell in Washington.
The early White House “lid” meant a 12:30 p.m. briefing with White House press secretary Jen Psaki was conducted by phone.
Although the destination in Michigan was a frigid 16 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday morning, it wasn’t snowing there.
Source: Biden skips Michigan trip over snow, calls early ‘lid’
Sen. Ted Cruz and his family flew to Cancun, Mexico, he confirmed in a statement to CNN, as a winter disaster in his home state left millions without power or water.
Cruz, a Texas Republican, said in the statement he flew down for a night because his daughters “asked to take a trip with friends.”
“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” he said
in the statement. “My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas. We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm. My team and I will continue using all our resources to keep Texans informed and safe.”
Source: Cruz travels to Cancun, Mexico, as Texans remain without power amid historic winter storm – CNNPolitics
In a joint statement on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, “Cancelling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy. It’s time to act. We will keep fighting.”
The comments are a rebuke to Biden and a way to put pressure on the administration after the President made clear during Tuesday night’s CNN town hall
that he disagrees with other members of his party who want to cancel $50,000 of student debt per borrower.
“I will not make that happen,” Biden said after a member of the audience said his proposal to cancel $10,000 per borrower doesn’t go far enough.
Source: AOC, Chuck Schumer unhappy with Biden’s reluctance to cancel $50,000 in student debt – CNNPolitics
Critics of President Joe Biden took aim at him as a mere placeholder to get President Donald Trump out of the White House – a self-described “transition candidate.”
Now, some will see reinforcement of that notion as the commander in waiting, Vice President Kamala Harris, is taking charge of a key presidential task.
Harris has taken on the customary presidential role of calling heads of state, The Epoch Times reported Tuesday.
Harris spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, according to a White House readout that did not mention President Biden, per the report.
Although Biden, 78, did speak with Macron on Jan. 24, it is rare for a president to step aside for vice presidents to make the calls with world leaders.
Source: VP Harris Making Biden Presidential Calls | Newsmax.com
After that vote, McConnell ripped Trump in a speech from the Senate floor
, and the two have been estranged in recent months
after working closely together during the former President’s four years in office.
“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said in the statement. “He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”
Source: Trump rips McConnell in lengthy statement after being acquitted in impeachment trial – CNNPolitics
Warnock worked with a group founded by Stacey Abrams that is now under investigation.
Warnock served as chairman of the board for the New Georgia Project in 2019, which is when election officials claim misconduct took place.
Under Georgia election rules, voting registration organizations like the New Georgia Project have to submit completed voter applications within ten days after they are received from the voter.
But officials allege that during a 2019 registration effort, some 1,268 applications were submitted to the Gwinnett County elections office after the ten-day deadline.
Source: Georgia Sen. Warnock Under Investigation For Voter Registration Misconduct
President Joe Biden on Sunday called on Congress to institute “commonsense gun law reforms,” including widespread firearm sales background checks and a ban on assault weapons — highlighting an “epidemic of gun violence” in the US on the third anniversary of the deadly Parkland school shooting.
Source: Biden calls on Congress to ‘enact commonsense gun law reforms’ on third anniversary of Parkland shooting – CNNPolitics
The act states, “All persons shall be entitled to be free, at any establishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”
It goes on to say, “No person shall (a) withhold, deny, or attempt to withhold or deny, or deprive or attempt to deprive, any person of any right or privilege secured by section 201 or 202.”
‘Skin color and gender are about as relevant to my skills and contributions to society as my having black hair.’
Source: Op-Ed: 1 Month in and Biden Has Essentially Canceled the 1964 Civil Rights Act
The blowback against the seven Republican senators who supported former President Donald J. Trump’s conviction in his impeachment trial has begun.
In Louisiana, the state Republican Party’s executive committee voted unanimously on Saturday to censure Senator Bill Cassidy, who was just re-elected in November and was among those who voted to find Mr. Trump guilty. The state’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry, said Mr. Cassidy had “fallen into the trap laid by Democrats to have Republicans attack Republicans.”
Two of the Republicans who voted for conviction, Senators Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, are not seeking re-election next year, giving them more political freedom than many of their colleagues. But they still faced rebukes at home.
Lawrence Tabas, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, called the trial “an unconstitutional theft of time and energy that did absolutely nothing to unify or help the American people,” adding, “I share the disappointment of many of our grass-roots leaders and volunteers over Senator Toomey’s vote today.”
In North Carolina, the chairman of the state Republican Party, Michael Whatley, said Mr. Burr’s vote was “shocking and disappointing.” Representative Dan Bishop, Republican of North Carolina, expressed support for censuring him.
“Wrong vote, Sen. Burr,” former Representative Mark Walker, a Republican who is seeking his party’s nomination for Senate next year, wrote on Twitter. “I am running to replace Richard Burr because North Carolina needs a true conservative champion as their next senator.”
Of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Mr. Trump, only one of them, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, will be on the ballot in 2022. But she is a uniquely formidable candidate in her state, having once won re-election as a write-in candidate after losing a primary.
The Republican senators who broke with their party during the former president’s trial joined 10 House Republicans who voted last month to impeach him, triggering an earlier backlash within the G.O.P.
Source: Post-Impeachment Live Updates: Fallout Begins for Republicans Who Voted to Convict Trump
First lady Jill Biden is burnishing her reputation for springing jolly surprises: Before dawn on Friday, she helped decorate the North Lawn of the White House for Valentine’s Day with candy-heart sentiments as a message of hope and healing for Americans.
Then, in another surprise, she and President Joe Biden and their two German shepherds, Champ and Major, went for an unscheduled stroll to view the array of large red, pink and white heart-shaped signs covered with words: “Healing,” “Compassion” and “Hope.” The two, wearing masks, chatted with a trailing, shivering pool of reporters and C-SPAN crew.
One of the hearts on the lawn was signed, “Love, Jill.”
The president, dressed in old jeans and a black leather jacket with a presidential patch and clutching a coffee cup, said Valentine’s Day is his wife’s favorite day. They joked about which one loves the other more and kept an eye on their dogs while chatting with reporters.
Source: First lady Jill Biden decorates White House lawn with giant hearts for Valentine’s Day
Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah were spotted going into a room in the US Capitol that Trump’s lawyers were using to prepare for their arguments.
Trump lawyer David Schoen said that the senators were “very friendly guys” who just wanted to make sure they were “familiar with procedure” on the eve of their rebuttal to the House impeachment managers’ presentation.
When asked if it’s appropriate to meet with senators during the trial, Schoen said, “Oh yeah, I think that’s the practice of impeachment.”
Source: Three GOP senators meet with Trump’s lawyers on eve of impeachment defense presentation – CNNPolitics
Whether a former President ought to be subject to an impeachment trial is a matter of constitutional debate. Whether it’s prudent, if acquittal appears likely, is a related question. But wherever you come down on those issues, the House impeachment managers this week are laying out a visceral case that the Capitol riot of Jan. 6 was a disgrace for which President Trump bears responsibility.Long before November, Mr. Trump was saying that the only way he could lose the election was if it were rigged. On the night of the vote, he tweeted, “they are trying to STEAL the election.” In his speech that night, he called it “a fraud on the American public,” and said, “frankly we did win.” Is it a surprise that some of his fans took his words to heart?Instead of bowing to dozens of court defeats, Mr. Trump escalated. He falsely claimed that Vice President Mike Pence, if only he had the courage, could reject electoral votes and stop Democrats from hijacking democracy. He called his supporters to attend a rally on Jan. 6, when Congress would do the counting. “Be there, will be wild!” Mr. Trump tweeted. His speech that day was timed to coincide with the action in the Capitol, and then he directed the crowd down Pennsylvania Avenue.Mr. Trump’s defenders point out that he also told the audience to make their voices heard “peacefully.” And contra Rep. Eric Swalwell, who argued the incitement to attack the Capitol was “premeditated,” it’s difficult to think Mr. Trump ever envisioned what followed: that instead of merely making a boisterous display, the crowd would riot, assault the police, invade the building, send lawmakers fleeing with gas masks, trash legislative offices, and leave in its wake a dead Capitol officer.
Source: The Trump Impeachment Evidence – WSJ
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Large crowds demonstrating against the military takeover in Myanmar again defied a ban on protests Wednesday, even after security forces ratcheted up the use of force against them and raided the headquarters of the political party of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Witnesses estimated that tens of thousands of protesters, if not more, turned out in Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s biggest cities. Rallies also took place in the capital Naypyitaw and elsewhere.
The protesters are demanding that power be restored to Suu Kyi’s deposed civilian government. They are also seeking freedom for her and other governing party members since the military detained them after blocking the new session of Parliament on Feb. 1.
Source: Myanmar protesters back on streets despite police violence