U.S. Senate, White House Reach Historic $2 Trillion Stimulus Agreement

The U.S. Senate and Trump Administration officials have reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus bill that would give families, small and large businesses, and local and state governments funding (in the form of loans) to survive through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We have a deal,” Eric Ueland, legislative affairs director with the White House, said at 1 a.m. ET March 25, as reported by The Washington Post.

Lawmakers in the Senate have to formally vote on the largest government fiscal bailout in history — no small task as two previous cloture motions failed to garner the 60 votes required to bring the bill to a final vote, where a simple majority would pass it.

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In addition to $1,200 checks to many people, and the establishment of a $367 billion loan program for small businesses, the bill has a $500 billion fund earmarked for cities, states and industries, including entertainment companies in Hollywood. Passage of the bill should provide movie exhibitors the fiscal lifeline they have been begging for as theaters remain shuttered during the pandemic.

The measure also includes expanded unemployment benefits and directs $150 billion to U.S. hospitals dealing with the virus that has now infected nearly 55,000 people in the country and killed almost 800, according to the Johns Hopkins University pandemic tracker.

The $500 billion fund had drawn criticism earlier from Democrats over concerns that Treasury Department disbursement of the money wouldn’t be as transparent as they wanted. When asked this week who would oversee the $500 billion, Trump said he would be the “oversight.”

That didn’t sit well with Democrats. The White House reportedly agreed to have an independent inspector general and oversight board analyze all lending decisions.

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“We got better oversight,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said. “The oversight basically is saying that … you can’t just exempt everybody and give all your corporate executives, based on the backs of taxpayers, free carnival.”

House Democrats Investigating Whether Trump Personally Sought to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives continues to ratchet up scrutiny of President Trump and his administration — now focusing on whether the President personally attempted to block AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

The merger, which created WarnerMedia, was officially confirmed last month by a federal appeals court denying an objection by the Department of Justice.

Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent letters to Makan Delrahim, chief of the Justice Dept.’s antitrust division, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, seeking documentation regarding possible interference by Trump.

Jerry Nadler

The inquiry is in response to a New Yorker story that claimed Trump personally wanted to kill the merger largely due to his dislike for Turner-owned CNN and its reporting of his administration.

“Even the appearance of White House interference in antitrust law matters undermines public trust in the Department of Justice’s integrity and tarnishes meritorious enforcement by the antitrust division,” Nadler and Cicilline wrote. “The fact of actual interference would constitute a serious abuse of power.”

David Cicilline

Delrahim has said he was never pressured by Trump to pursue antitrust litigation.

“I have never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division,” Delrahim said on Nov. 8, 2017, prior to filing the lawsuit.

AT&T originally sought to investigate Trump’s influence — a request denied by federal judge Richard Leon in the original antitrust trial. CEO Randall Stephenson called Trump’s possible interference the “elephant in the room.”

Makan Delrahim

White House Calls Out Comedian Samantha Bee for Ivanka Trump Insult

The White House May 31 wasted little time criticizing comedian Samantha Bee for calling the president’s daughter a “feckless c**t” during the May 30 opening monologue of her political show, “Full Frontal” on TBS.

“The language used by Samantha Bee last night is vile and vicious. The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as reported by The Wrap. “Her disgusting comments and show are not fit for broadcast, and executives at Time Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.”

Bee, who was commenting on President Trump’s immigration policies, opined that Ivanka Trump, as a mother and advisor to her dad, should do more to impact policies that have separated members of the families of undocumented immigrants.

Trump made illegal immigration a cornerstone of his campaign, calling for the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out immigrants he claims are flooding across the border from Mexico and Latin America.

Since the election, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have increased rounding up undocumented workers following minor run-ins with the law, including traffic citations.

“Let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices you feckless c**t!” Bee said on the monologue. “He listens to you. Put on something tight and low cut and tell your father to f**king stop it. Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes.”

TBS and Time Warner have not responded publicly to the issue.