Kentucky representative may delay passage of $2.2tn package
Former US secretary of state John Kerry has unloaded on Kentucky lawmaker Thomas Massie for his role in holding up the relief bill, finding rare common ground with Donald Trump along the way.
A bit of history between the pair: Massie infamously attempted to discredit Kerry’s credentials on climate change during a house oversight and reform committee hearing last year.
New York representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, whose district has been devastated by the pandemic, rips into the corporate welfare deeply embedded the $2tn bill on the House floor.
The congresswoman’s district includes Elmhurst Hospital, where at least 13 patients died from coronavirus in a 24-hour span earlier this week.
“Our community’s reality is this country’s future if we don’t do anything,” said says. “Hospital workers do not have protective equipment. We don’t have the necessary ventilators. We have to go into this vote eyes wide open. What did the Senate majority fight for? One of the largest corporate bailouts with as few strings as possible in American history. Shameful!”
California congresswoman Katie Porter, who announced on Wednesday that she was self-quarantining after experiencing symptoms related to Covid-19, says her test came back negative and called the news “a relief”.
At least two members of the House and one US senator have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while more than a dozen are self-quarantined after brushes with people who have symptoms or have tested positive for the disease.
A Los Angeles boy who is believed to be the first teenager in the United States to die from complications due to Covid-19 was denied treatment at an urgent care clinic because he didn’t have health insurance.
“He didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him,” says R Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, California. “He had been sick for a few days, he had no previous health conditions. On the Friday before he died, he was healthy, he was socializing with his friends.”
Los Angeles County currently has 1,216 Covid-19 cases and 21 deaths, according to the county public health department’s website.
Haley Stevens, a freshman Democratic senator from Michigan whose district has been hit particularly hard by the virus, has been ruled out of order after shouting through the gavel during the House debate on the relief bill.
“To our doctors and nurses, I wear these latex gloves to tell every American: Do not be afraid!” says Stevens, who drove overnight from Michigan for today’s session. “You will see darkness! You will be pushed! Our society needs you to stand together at this time!
Mary Namorato, a New Yorker separated from her daily gym work-out, has filed a lawsuit against New York Sports Clubs, a chain of more than 50 city gyms, for allegedly refusing to refund her membership fees after the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to close earlier this month.
Namorato, who filed the suit on Thursday in Manhattan Federal Court “on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated”, claims New York Sports Clubs (“NYSC”) is “defrauding and stealing” from gym members” by continuing to charge gym membership fees to its approximately 605,000 members.
The complaint alleges that the chain’s holding company, Town Sports International Holdings, Inc. (“TSI”), has made “it virtually impossible for members to cancel their memberships and has even refused to honor many members’ cancellation requests,” the complaint says.
“At a time when New Yorkers are using all their efforts to help one another and make sacrifices necessary to meet the daily challenges associated with a the health and economic crisis created by the novel coronavirus are suffering, TSI is defrauding and stealing from customers.”
In contrast, other New York gyms, including Equinox, Planet Fitness and Blink Fitness have announced that gym membership charges have been suspended due to gym closures, Namorato’s legal representataives said.
“We are standing up for all New Yorkers who are being taken advantage of, lied to and stolen from by New York Sports Clubs,” said lawyer David Gottlieb, a partner at Wigdor LLC.
“We specifically ask the New York State attorney general’s office to join us in this fight to send a message not only to NYSC but to all businesses that this form of fraudulent opportunism has no place in our state and will not be tolerated, particularly during a health and economic crisis.”
Representatives of New York Sports Club, and its parent company, Town Sports International LLC, did not return requests for comment.
Kentucky representative may delay passage of $2.2tn package
Good morning, this is Bryan Armen Graham in New York, covering the latest on the coronavirus in the US and American politics.
The US House of representatives is set to pass a $2.2tn package later Friday to ease the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating toll on the economy and healthcare system following a 96-0 vote in the Senate, though the actions of a single lawmaker could delay proceedings by several hours.
Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie, who has voiced his opposition the bill, has threatened to demand a roll call vote, which would hold up passage until most lawmakers return to Washington for a vote, prompting backlash at a time when Americans have been urged to self-quarantine or maintain distance from one another.
“Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House,” New York representative Peter King wrote on Twitter. “Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.”
Elsewhere, Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus and will have to work leading the government’s efforts to tackle the pandemic in isolation.
In a video posted on Twitter, the prime minister confirmed he had developed mild symptoms – “a temperature and persistent cough” – over the last 24 hours and, on the advice of the chief medical officer, he took a test which returned positive for coronavirus.
Johnson, 55, said he was now self-isolating and working from home. He said thanks to “the wizardry of modern technology” he would continue to lead the national fightback against the virus.
Source: Elections - theguardian.com