Wuhan researchers sought hospital care in late 2019: US intel

Link: https://thehill.com/policy/international/china/555013-three-wuhan-researchers-were-sick-enough-to-be-hospitalized-in


Three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill enough with symptoms similar to COVID-19 that they sought hospital care in November of 2019, according to a U.S. intelligence report obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, the intelligence report, issued in the last days of the Trump administration, said researchers at the lab became sick “with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”


The Wuhan Institute of Virology has reportedly not provided raw data, safety logs or lab records on its work looking into coronaviruses in bats. Many consider the virus to have originated in bats before jumping to humans.

Author(s): Joseph Choi

Publication Date: 24 May 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

Trump has been receiving presidential pension since January: report

Link: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/554197-trump-has-been-receiving-presidential-pension-since-january-report


Former President Trump has been receiving a presidential pension since he left office in January, Business Insider reported Tuesday 

A spokesperson for the General Services Administration confirmed to Insider that Trump has been paid $65,000 in presidential pension payments through May 14. 

Former presidents are entitled to receive pensions after their terms under the Former Presidents Act, which Congress passed in 1958 largely in response to former President Truman’s financial troubles after leaving office in 1953.


Publication Date: 18 May 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

Cuomo: Congress must include SALT cap repeal in future legislation

Link: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/549083-cuomo-congress-must-include-salt-cap-repeal-in-future-legislation


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday urged Congress to include repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap in future legislation as House Democrats from the state are pushing to include such a repeal in an infrastructure package.

“Don’t pass another bill until you fully repeal SALT,” Cuomo said during a news conference.

Cuomo’s remarks came as he signed a state budget that raises state taxes for wealthy individuals and lowers taxes for the middle class.

The legislation Cuomo signed Monday raises the top state tax income rate to 10.9 percent for income above $25 million. It also continues phasing in tax cuts for middle-class households that were first enacted in 2016 and provides an income tax credit for certain homeowners with income up to $250,000.

Author(s): Naomi Jagoda

Publication Date: 19 April 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

NY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap

Link: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/548046-ny-house-democrats-demand-repeal-of-salt-cap


House Democrats from New York on Tuesday escalated their push for the repeal of the cap on the state and local tax deduction, threatening to oppose future tax legislation that doesn’t fully undo the $10,000 limit.

“As members of the New York Congressional Delegation, we urge you to insist on full repeal of the limitation on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction passed by Congress in 2017 and signed into law by former President Trump,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). “This issue is so critical to our state and our constituents that we will reserve the right to oppose any tax legislation that does not include a full repeal of the SALT limitation.”

Every Democrat in New York’s House delegation signed the letter except Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice.

Author(s): Naomi Jagoda

Publication Date: 13 April 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

Democrats make low-tax states an offer they should refuse

Link: https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/543992-democrats-make-low-tax-states-an-offer-they-should-refuse#new_tab


States are discovering and news outlets are reporting some surprising features of the new law. For starters, the President Biden-approved American Rescue Plan tweaks the funding formula to distribute funding based on average unemployment during the three final months of 2020 — rewarding Democratic-controlled states like New York, California and Illinois for their draconian COVID policies that resulted in the nation’s highest levels of unemployment. And it offers states billions more in Medicaid funding if they agree to boost their own Medicaid spending. 

Perhaps the most troubling is a legislative rider barring states that accept the aid from using the funds “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue” derived “from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase.” 


Publication Date: 19 March 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

Puerto Rico debt restructure plan threatens public pensions

Link: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/542318-puerto-rico-debt-restructure-plan-threatens-public-pensions


A federal control board created by Congress to address Puerto Rico’s debt on Monday filed a restructure plan that threatens a 10-percent cut to public pensions without any deal with retirees.

The board presented a 233-page plan that would reshuffle at least $35 billion in public debt and more than $50 billion in public pension liabilities, The Associated Press reported.  

The proposal, which was filed in U.S. court, includes an up to 8.5 percent cut to monthly pensions of at least $1,500 to help the territory deal with the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy filing in history. The board said it received “substantial” support for the plan from creditors, specifically those who have more than $13 billion worth of bonds.

Author(s): Justine Coleman

Publication Date: 9 March 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

New COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents fell 80 percent in a month

Link: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/540614-new-covid-19-cases-among-nursing-home-residents-fell-80-percent-in-a-month?rl=1


New coronavirus cases among nursing home residents have plummeted by nearly 80 percent from late December to early February, according to The New York Times.

In an analysis of federal data, the news outlet found that outbreaks at long-term care facilities have dropped at a rate almost double that of the general population.

“I’m almost at a loss for words at how amazing it is and how exciting,” David Gifford, the chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association, told the Times. “If we are seeing a robust response with this vaccine with the elderly with a highly contagious disease, I think that’s a great sign for the rest of the population.”

Author(s): Cameron Jenkins

Publication Date: 25 February 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

San Francisco wealth tax will fuel next blue exodus for rich earners

Link: https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/527731-san-francisco-wealth-tax-will-fuel-next-blue-exodus-for-rich-earners


That is what happened in San Francisco, where voters passed a wealth tax beyond efforts for the state or federal level. It is described as an “overpaid executive tax” which would apply to those firms in the city which pay their officers more than 100 times the median worker salary. While decisions on whether to enact tax hikes are best left to local residents instead of to the bureaucrats in Sacramento or the District of Columbia, the new wealth tax in San Francisco could now create unintended negative effects, including a significant exodus of rich earners who move out of the city.

The Bay Area is home to the widest income gap in California. Those local residents in the top 90th percentile earned over 12 times more than those local residents in the bottom 10th percentile. The combination of historic market policies and current socialist policies established such separation of classes in the state. The success of the technology industry in tandem with high tax rates and building restrictions created this situation where someone could earn over $100,000 a year and live in his car.


Publication Date: 27 November 2020

Publication Site: The Hill

Top NY Republicans seek to oust Cuomo, other officials after nursing home revelations

Link: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/538580-top-new-york-republicans-seek-to-oust-cuomo-other-officials-after


Top New York Republicans have taken to Twitter to call for an investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and other state officials following a Thursday report that a top aide admitted the government withheld the state’s nursing home coronavirus death toll. 

Several Republicans from the Empire State issued statements after the report, arguing for a probe to be launched into the government’s reported decision to withhold nursing home coronavirus data, with some going so far as to call for Cuomo to be impeached and removed from office. 


Publication Date: 12 February 2021

Publication Site: The Hill