The Wider World

Dueling coronavirus aid plans

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN (White House photo).

President Joe Biden ran for the nation’s highest office with a pledge of bipartisanship. The first test of that approach’s chances is emerging as he met with Republican senators proposing a stripped-down version of his coronavirus aid package.

Biden has called for a $1.9 trillion expenditure to combat the pandemic which has killed over 400,000 Americans and thrown both the economy and the daily routines of the public into some disorder.

On Monday the president met with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and other members of her party, who are calling for a $618 billion alternative.

According to the Associated Press, she called the meeting “frank and very useful,” although no agreement was reached. Both proposals call for more money for vaccine distribution and virus testing. But Biden’s bills would also increase payments to individuals and states and offer more money to reopen schools.

Democrats have a small majority in the House of Representatives and are tied at 50-50 with Republicans in the Senate, although Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote. If party discipline holds, Congress could pass the larger package but potentially at the cost of later cooperation between the parties.

“The cost of inaction is high and growing and the time for decisive action is now,” read a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

News: Military seizes power in Myanmar

MYANMAR flag (Wikipedia).

A military junta has seized the government in the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar. The country, long known as Burma, will now be run by Commander-in-Chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing for at least one year, overthrowing the fragile democracy there. According to the Associated Press, the military acted to take the reins of power because the civilian state hadn’t acted on claims of election fraud in voting in which the party of Suu Kyi Ki ­– who was detained by troops – won a majority of the parliament seats being contested.

THE GREENE CONTROVERSY: Democrats in the House of Representatives are preparing a resolution rebuking Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) for pushing conspiracy theories and extending a “like” on a Facebook post calling for the murder of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Greene has offered support of QAnon conspiracy theories and recently suggested that Jewish space lasers had caused the wildfires that damaged much of California last year. She has vowed “Never to back down.”

Business: Monday, Monday a good stock day

WALL STREET was bullish on Monday (Shutterstock).

Shaking off a bad week last week, Wall Street bounced back with authority on Monday, with all three major stock indexes showing strong gains.

The Dow Jones Average rose by 229.29 points to 30,211.91. The S&P 500 jumped 59.62 points (to 3,773.86) and Nasdaq was up 332.70 points  (to 13,403.39).

GAME STOP DROPS: The stock of GameStop, whose inflated prices upset the market last week, fell by 30 percent on Monday, with more declines expected this coming week.

The Weather:  Aren’t we lucky?

SUNNY WEATHER is forecast for most of the week.

While much of the Northeast is battered by heavy snow – up to two feet in some areas – strong winds and coastal flooding, we in West Orange County are enjoying clear skies on Monday after just a few sprinkles.

The forecast for the area from the National Weather Service calls for sunny conditions on Tuesday with a daytime high of 70 and an overnight low of 50. Wednesday should be a bit cooler with a high of 63 and a low of 46 at night. There will be a slight chance of rain most of the week but we should be headed toward a sunny weekend with highs in the low 70s. Coastal temperatures should be four to five degrees cooler during the day.


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