Democrats saved union pensions after Hoffa’s long campaign

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/joe-biden/democrats-saved-union-pensions-after-hoffa-s-long-campaign-n1261125

Excerpt:

This account of the Teamsters’ drive to save retirement plans for millions of pensioners is drawn from interviews with several of the union’s officials, congressional sources and the public record. It begins with one Hoffa, the late Teamsters chief James R. Hoffa, and the Central States pension fund he started. And it ends with a yearslong campaign by his son, James P. Hoffa, to work the levers of influence in Washington to salvage the retirement money of union members.

Every Republican voted against the Covid-19 relief measure, and many of them specifically targeted the pension legislation for derision because they said it was an expensive gift from Democratic leaders to labor allies that would be funded by taxpayers.

“Americans know this bill will benefit states and unions that have been poorly mismanaged,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., said on the House floor.

Author(s): Jonathan Allen

Publication Date: 16 March 2021

Publication Site: NBC News

States with Republican governors had highest Covid incidence and death rates, study finds

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/states-republican-governors-had-highest-covid-incidence-death-rates-study-n1260700

Excerpt:

States with Democratic governors had the highest incidence and death rates from Covid-19 in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, but states with Republican governors surpassed those rates as the crisis dragged on, a study released Tuesday found.

“From March to early June, Republican-led states had lower Covid-19 incidence rates compared with Democratic-led states. On June 3, the association reversed, and Republican-led states had higher incidence,” the study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Medical University of South Carolina showed.

“For death rates, Republican-led states had lower rates early in the pandemic, but higher rates from July 4 through mid-December,” the study found.

Author(s): Dareh Gregorian

Publication Date: 11 March 2021

Publication Site: NBC News

Puerto Rico files debt-restructuring plan amid criticism

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-files-debt-restructuring-plan-criticism-rcna375

Excerpt:

 A framework that outlines how Puerto Rico will restructure at least $35 billion in public debt and more than $50 billion in public pension liabilities threatens a 10% cut to public pensions if no agreement is reached with retirees.

The amended plan of adjustment of 233 pages was filed late Monday in U.S. court by a federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances and was created by Congress to lift the U.S. territory’s government out of bankruptcy.

The plan includes a proposed cut of up to 8.5% to monthly pensions of at least $1,500. That has long been a point of contention between the board and the governor, who has repeatedly said he would not approve such cuts.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 9 March 2021

Publication Site: NBC News

Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, including $1,400 stimulus checks, with no Republican support

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senate-passes-1-9-trillion-covid-relief-bill-including-1-n1259795

Excerpt:

The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Saturday, capping off a marathon overnight session after Democrats resolved internal clashes that threatened to derail President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority.

The far-reaching legislation includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $300-per-week jobless benefits through the summer, a child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year, $350 billion for state aid, $34 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.

The final vote was 50-49 along party lines, with every Republican voting “no.” It came after Democrats voted down a swath of Republican amendments on repeated votes of 50-49 to avoid disrupting the delicate agreement between progressive and moderate senators.

Author(s): Sahil Kapur

Publication Date: 6 March 2021

Publication Site: NBC News

Puerto Rico governor rejects key deal with creditors to reduce debt due to pension cuts

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-governor-rejects-key-deal-creditors-reduce-debt-due-n1258610

Excerpt:

The impasse between the governor and a board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances threatens to throw into limbo attempts to end a bankruptcy-like process for a government that six years ago declared unpayable its more than $70 billion public debt load.

The deal was reached with creditors who hold general obligation bonds and Public Building Authority bonds sold by Puerto Rico’s government and would resolve $35 billion worth of debt and non-debt claims, according to the board. It also would reduce debt held by those creditors from $18.8 billion to $7.4 billion, a 61 percent reduction, and would provide them with $7.4 billion in bonds and $7 billion in cash, among other things.

The board said the deal would free up more than $300 million a year for government services, and that instead of 30 cents for every dollar in taxes and fees that Puerto Rico’s government collects going to creditors, it would be less than 8 cents.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 23 February 2021

Publication Site: NBC News

Buy or sell: GameStop frenzy has Washington teasing action on Reddit vs. Wall Street

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/buy-or-sell-gamestop-frenzy-has-washington-teasing-action-reddit-n1256142

Excerpt:

A number of Democrats and Republicans united in opposition this week to the strict limits imposed by Robinhood and other online stock brokerages on the purchasing of GameStop and other stocks swept up in a Reddit-fueled trading frenzy.

Disparate members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Ken Buck, R-Colo., and Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, were among those who criticized the move, with many calling for hearings that Democratic leaders say will soon take place in both the House and Senate as what began as an internet movement continues to roil Wall Street.

Lawmakers trained attention on the volatility surrounding GameStop’s stock as several others this week. The stock climbed from $4 only a few months ago to more than $400 this week, juiced by an online movement not dissimilar to others that have broadly altered the political landscape in recent years. At the same time, hedge funds that made large bets on GameStop’s stock cratering — known as “shorting” — began to pile up big losses. Then the brokerages instituted limits, leading to charges of collusion with the larger financial entities facing big losses.

Author(s): Allan Smith

Publication Date: 29 January 2021

Publication Site: NBC News