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Why hopes of more coronavirus stimulus checks now look dim

Why hopes of more coronavirus stimulus checks now look dim



stimulus talks

Editor’s note: This article contains the latest news on the coronavirus stimulus package. It’s updated regularly with news about coronavirus stimulus checks and related issues.

August 7, 2020 Update: Americans’ hope of a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks is drying up again as talks between the White House and key Democrats collapse. Although the two sides agree that they should send a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, they don’t agree on anything else.

Their disagreement threatens to derail all hope of more coronavirus stimulus checks. President Donald Trump has said his staff is working on executive orders in case the stimulus talks do fall apart. However, the executive order probably won’t include a second round of checks.

If Trump is forced to use an executive order because Congress won’t come to a bipartisan agreement, the order will probably include a payroll tax cut, protections from eviction, an extension for unemployment and options for student loan repayment.

The president listed those items and said he instructed his staff to keep working on an executive order including them. There was no mention of coronavirus stimulus checks, probably because that would require Congress to approve funds to pay for the checks.

His constitutional ability to issue such an order and have it be binding is in question.

No coronavirus stimulus checks if no deal by Friday

August 6, 2020 Update: The White House and Democratic leaders are slowly moving closer to a deal on the next relief package and more coronavirus stimulus checks. The two sides met again on Wednesday in an attempt to strike a deal on the next stimulus package.

They hope to have an agreement by the end of the week. If there is no deal by tomorrow, there might be no deal at all. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Republicans on Wednesday during a close-door lunch that they might stop the negotiations if a deal is not made by Friday, according to USA Today.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has kept his distance from the talks, which some Republican senators find to be a bit strange. According to The Hill, McConnell has stayed away from issues that divide Republicans over the last several years.

The issue of the next stimulus bill has been extremely divisive for the GOP. A Republican senator told The Hill that 20 Republicans aren’t on board with the GOP’s proposal for the next stimulus bill. The senator said conservatives are worried about saddling the next two generations with enormous piles of debt.

Another step toward second coronavirus stimulus check

August 5, 2020 Update: Republicans, Democrats and the White House agree that they should send Americans a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. However, negotiations on other provisions of the next stimulus package continue to hold things up.

Democrats refuse to negotiate, and they may have already won on one key area of disagreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he is “prepared to support” a stimulus bill that includes an extension of the $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits.

Republicans have wanted to reduce the amount of the extra benefit, so people aren’t being paid more on unemployment than they were getting paid on the job. McConnell’s agreement to allow the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits into the next stimulus package could go a long way toward getting the bill passed.

That means Americans have moved a bit closer to receiving the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. However, lawmakers are still far from a compromise on other provisions. Some senators are calling for their August recess to be cancelled so they can get the stimulus package passed.

House lawmakers have been told to be prepared to return to Washington to vote on the package after the Senate passes it.

A “little” progress made on deal

August 4, 2020 Update: The second round of coronavirus stimulus checks remains on hold today as lawmakers continue to bicker about what to include in the next package. Bloomberg reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated that Monday’s negotiations brought “a little bit” of progress.

However, despite that progress, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle remain wide apart in what they want to see in the next stimulus package. At this point, a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks appears to be the only thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

Lawmakers remain split over unemployment benefits as the extra $600 in weekly benefits was allowed to expire without a new deal. Democrats want to extend the $600 to allow people to continue to get paid more on unemployment than they did on the job.

However, Republicans want to reduce the amount of the extra unemployment benefit. Democrats are unwilling to compromise on the amount, demanding that it be kept at $600 a week instead of allowing a smaller amount so that a deal can be made.

In order for a deal to be made, both parties will have to compromise. That means the Republicans will have to allow more than $200 in weekly benefits, while Democrats will have to allow for less than $600.

Other key issues holding up a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks include financial aid for state and local governments and a number of pet projects lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the White House are trying to tack on.

August 3, 2020 Update: Lawmakers supposedly made some progress on negotiations about the next round of coronavirus stimulus checks and other provisions. However, news reports this morning downplay any alleged progress.

CNN is reporting that despite the optimistic talk, lawmakers are still far from striking a deal on the next stimulus package. The deadline for extending the extra unemployment benefit has come and gone without a deal. That means jobless Americans will see their income drop dramatically this week.

Republicans and Democrats agree on $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks. However, the Democrats’ refusal to pass the next package in pieces the way Republicans have suggested means that there won’t be any checks until there is agreement on other, more controversial provisions.

Unemployment remains the sticking point between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats want to extend the extra $600 in weekly benefits, but Republicans want to reduce the amount so that people don’t continue to get paid more on unemployment than they did on the job.

Key Democrats and White House officials will be meeting again today to see if any progress can be made on a deal for the next coronavirus stimulus package and a second round of checks.

July 31, 2020 Update: The Senate has left for the weekend without passing a stimulus package for the House to vote on. That means there won’t be any coronavirus stimulus checks or other provisions because lawmakers just can’t get along.

In a further demonstration of just how much bickering has been occurring on Capitol Hill, four Republican centers proposed yet another bill for coronavirus stimulus checks. Sens. Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Steve Daines and Bill Cassidy introduced the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act, which calls for $1,000 coronavirus stimulus checks.

The bill would send $4,000 to a family of four, so while it means less for individuals, families would receive more because dependents would receive $1,000 each instead of $500, like in the CARES Act and HEALS Act. The bill also differs from the CARES Act because it includes dependents of all ages, including those with disabilities and college students.

It also makes U.S. citizens married to foreign nationals eligible for the money, although foreign nationals and others with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers would not be eligible to receive the payments.

Like with the CARES Act and HEALS Act, individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for the coronavirus stimulus checks. The amount of the payments would be reduced by 5% of an individual’s adjusted gross income over those levels.

Trump wants second coronavirus stimulus check to be more than $1,200

July 30, 2020 Update: President Donald Trump has suggested that the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks could be more than $1,200. Both Republicans and Democrats have proposed a second round of $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks.

Trump told KMID-TV in Texas on Wednesday he wants the next stimulus package to be “very generous” and that the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks “may go higher than” $1,200. He said he wants to see the second check be “very high because I love the people.”

The president didn’t say how much he wants the second round of checks to be. According to NBC News, earlier in the day while leaving the White House, Trump said his biggest priorities for the next stimulus package are a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks and a moratorium on evictions.

He added that Congress can handle the rest of the issues “later,” noting that Democrats and Republicans are “so far apart” on other major issues. Both sides indicated on Wednesday that they hadn’t made any progress on striking a deal for the next coronavirus stimulus package.

Lawmakers are on a tight timeline to get something passed. The House leaves for its month-long August recess in a matter of days, and the Senate hasn’t even passed anything for the House to vote on yet.

Why families may receive more in second coronavirus stimulus check

July 29, 2020 Update: Under the HEALS Act, the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks could be larger than the first round of checks for many families. A key difference between the CARES Act, which sent the first round of checks, and the HEALS Act, is the fact that dependents of any age will be eligible for the extra $500.

The CARES Act capped the age of dependents at 17, which meant those age 18 and older did not receive the extra $500 in the family’s coronavirus stimulus check. That excluded older high school students, college students and other adult dependents from receiving $500 each.

Aside from the dependent payment, the coronavirus stimulus check provisions under the HEALS Act and CARES Act are identical. Individuals earning up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, while couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. The payments phase out after those levels and end at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples.

HEALS Act revealed with more coronavirus stimulus checks

July 28, 2020 Update: It seems more and more likely that there will be checks similar to those in the first round. However, do not get too excited even if it becomes official. The IRS is allegedly still working out glitch details, so you may have to wait even if the bill is passed soon!

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell revealed the HEALS Act on Monday, which includes a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, among other provisions. The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act comes with a $1 trillion price tag.

In addition to a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, the bill includes an extra $200 in weekly unemployment benefits, which is a decrease from the $600 that was offered in the CARES Act. The bill also includes additional funding for schools.

How much money you will get

The second round of coronavirus stimulus checks under the HEALS Act is very similar to the first round under the CARES Act. Individuals earning up to $75,000 per year will receive $1,200, while couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400.

The payments phase out after those levels, ending at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples. The coronavirus stimulus checks also include $500 per dependent of any age, which is a change from the first round of checks. The first round excluded dependents over the age of 17.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have already said the HEALS Act does not include what’s needed for the economy, such as hazard pay for essential workers. It also doesn’t address the eviction crisis ir provide more funds for food stamps.

GOP to unveil proposal with coronavirus stimulus checks today

July 27, 2020 Update: Senate Republicans are expected to reveal their full coronavirus stimulus package today, but negotiations are far from over. Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News over the weekend that half of Republicans are going to vote against the package, illustrating the barriers that still must be overcome before it becomes law.

A second round of coronavirus stimulus checks is expected to receive bipartisan support. Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is introducing the package in multiple pieces, it is possible that the checks could be passed even if the other provisions he wants to see don’t pass both houses of Congress.

After Republicans in the Senate reveal their proposal, they will then start negotiating with Senate Democrats. They are on a tight timeline as the House of Representatives leaves for its August recess at the end of the week.

If anything is going to be passed, it must pass at least the House before the end of the week. The Senate leaves for its August recess at the end of next week, so it will have time to negotiate on any revisions made by the House of Representatives.

The big question now is whether bipartisan bickering and infighting in the GOP keeps a second round of coronavirus checks and other provisions from being passed.

Coronavirus Stimlus Checks Are Vital For Economic Growth

July 25, 2020 Update: The US consumer is responsible for 70% of American gross domestic produce. This is why the stimulus check debate is so vital for the US economy. Especially, with business spending out, US consumers are even more vital for economic growth. If the average American does not have some extra money to spend they could take down the whole economy with them.

More and more details about the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks are coming out. We heard that the GOP’s version of the next stimulus package does indeed include more direct payments, but the amount of those payments and other details about eligibility were not released immediately.

June 24th Coverage

Now we know that the GOP’s proposal for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks is the same as the first round. The bill calls for $1,200 checks to be sent to individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000. After those levels, the payments start to phase out, presumably until the $99,000 income level for individuals and $198,000 for couples. That makes the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks the same as the first round.

Confirmation that the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks will be the same as the first round came from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He told reporters on Thursday that their proposal “is the exact same provision as last time,” according to Bloomberg.

Update on coronavirus stimulus checks expected today

July 23, 2020 Update:The GOP are continuing to bicker over the details of the Coronavirus stimulus checks package. It appears everyone wants a wide stimulus program, but the devil is in the details. One of the big debates is about unemployment. While not the same as the checks, the two are closely tied together. The Democrats want unemployment to continue, while the GOP believes it is boosting unemployment.

Republican lawmakers say they have reached an agreement on the next coronavirus stimulus package. They expect to reveal the stimulus bill today after three full days of negotiations.

Senate Health Chairman Lamar Alexander said the agreement reflects the GOP’s priorities, which are “back to school, back to child care, back to work.” The stimulus bill includes $105 billion in funding for schools and billions of dollars for COVID-19 testing.

As expected, the bill comes with a price tag of $1 trillion. It includes a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks for families and individuals, liability protections, more forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, and incentives for businesses to retain and hire employees.

According to CNN, Sen. Roy Blunt told reporters that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to reveal the package today in pieces based on jurisdiction rather than as a single bill. That will bring the beginning of negotiations with Democrats.

GOP bickering may delay coronavirus stimulus checks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that a second round of IRS Coronavirus stimulus checks and payments will be included in the legislation he writes. However, it’s far from a done deal. Divisions among Republicans and the White House mean there is still much more negotiating to do before anything will be ready to go to Democrats for discussion.

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McConnell said Senate Republicans in general support a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. He made the remark following a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.

It was the first time McConnell confirmed that Republicans in the Senate will officially support sending a second round of IRS stimulus payments. He said they want another round of IRS stimulus payments "to help American families keep driving our national comeback."

Before Tuesday's remark, Republicans had debated among themselves whether more stimulus checks were necessary due to other priorities. McConnell's remark is important because it indicates that Senate Republicans have joined Democrats and President Donald Trump in supporting a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks.

Income cap?

Although a major milestone has now been passed with Republicans finally on board with another round IRS stimulus payments, the details remain unclear. McConnell previously said he thought Americans earning less than $40,000 a year have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Thus, it was widely speculated that the income cap for the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks would be set at $40,000. However, after his remark on Tuesday, he offered no further details about eligibility for the second round of checks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi previously said she thought people earning more than $40,000 probably need help as well, so Democrats may want the income cap to be set higher. The question will be what Republicans come up with as a starting point for negotiations with the Democrats.

Republicans want to keep the next stimulus package at a $1 trillion price tag. A couple of ways to do that would be to tighten eligibility for the second coronavirus stimulus check and to reduce the amount of it.

Republicans split over next coronavirus stimulus package

McConnell's comment about a second round of IRS Coronavirus stimulus checks payments indicates that at least one provision may have been agreed to. However, despite his comment, many Republicans may not actually support more coronavirus stimulus checks.

News reports indicate that several Republicans are speaking out against the bill as it's taking shape under McConnell's leadership. That means there may not actually be as much widespread support among Republicans for a second round of IRS stimulus checks as what is being reported.

CNN and The New York Times both report that the divisions within the GOP have gotten to extreme levels following Tuesday's close-door meeting. The meeting was aimed at negotiating provisions to include in the next stimulus package.

However, it devolved into a venting session in which key members of the GOP talked about what should and shouldn't be in the package. CNN quotes McConnell as saying that the proposal he is working "enjoys fairly significant support among Republican senators" and adding but "not everyone."

In a floor speech before the meeting, he listed the provisions he expects to include in the Republican plan. Those provisions include $105 billion in funding for schools, more targeted funding for forgivable small business loans, a second round of IRS stimulus payments, and liability protections for schools, businesses, healthcare workers and hospitals.

Negotiations delayed by divisions

While many Republicans are rallying behind the proposal, many provisions are still being discussed with the White House. One area of hot debate is a payroll tax cut, which Trump has said must be included in the package, or he might think about not signing it.

At Tuesday's meeting, many senators reportedly spoke up against the idea of a payroll tax cut. Some even questioned whether another major spending package is necessary as they expressed concern about the federal deficit and how much has already been spent to deal with the pandemic.

Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters that based on where the proposal stood after the meeting, he was "not only a no," but a "hell no." Sen. Rand Paul also said he doesn't support the bill as it stands.

Negotiations on the package were supposed to start in earnest this week, but the divisions within the GOP have significantly delayed them. Republicans still plan to reveal their package this week, but they are swiftly running out of time.

Coronavirus stimulus checks and the broader economy

Both houses of Congress will have to pass the bill by the end of next week. The longer Republicans take to come up with a starting point, the less likely Congress will be able to get something passed before the August recess. Negotiations with the Democrats are likely to be at least as difficult as the discussions among Republicans.

The August recess isn't the only deadline lawmakers are up against. The extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits also runs out at the end of the month, and millions of Americans remain out of work.

Democrats want to extend the extra $600 in benefits, but Republicans will likely seek to decrease the amount of extra benefits. However, given the division over other provisions in the bill, the GOP may not have even gotten to discussing unemployment yet, which is likely to be a key sticking point with Democrats.

The New York Times reports that top Republican officials privately said the negotiations are likely to stretch into August, which will leave millions of Americans without extra help as the pandemic continues to rage.

The post Why hopes of more coronavirus stimulus checks now look dim appeared first on ValueWalk.

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Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super…



Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

(Left) President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Right) Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump stands on stage during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images)

With Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, there will be no more significantly contested primaries or caucuses—the earliest both parties’ races have been over since something like the current primary-dominated system was put in place in 1972.

The primary results have spotlighted some of both nominees’ weaknesses.

Donald Trump lost high-income, high-educated constituencies, including the entire metro area—aka the Swamp. Many but by no means all Haley votes there were cast by Biden Democrats. Mr. Trump can’t afford to lose too many of the others in target states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Majorities and large minorities of voters in overwhelmingly Latino counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and some in Houston voted against Joe Biden, and even more against Senate nominee Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Returns from Hispanic precincts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts show the same thing. Mr. Biden can’t afford to lose too many Latino votes in target states like Arizona and Georgia.

When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in 2015, commentators assumed he’d repel Latinos. Instead, Latino voters nationally, and especially the closest eyewitnesses of Biden’s open-border policy, have been trending heavily Republican.

High-income liberal Democrats may sport lawn signs proclaiming, “In this house, we believe ... no human is illegal.” The logical consequence of that belief is an open border. But modest-income folks in border counties know that flows of illegal immigrants result in disorder, disease, and crime.

There is plenty of impatience with increased disorder in election returns below the presidential level. Consider Los Angeles County, America’s largest county, with nearly 10 million people, more people than 40 of the 50 states. It voted 71 percent for Mr. Biden in 2020.

Current returns show county District Attorney George Gascon winning only 21 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. He’ll apparently face Republican Nathan Hochman, a critic of his liberal policies, in November.

Gascon, elected after the May 2020 death of counterfeit-passing suspect George Floyd in Minneapolis, is one of many county prosecutors supported by billionaire George Soros. His policies include not charging juveniles as adults, not seeking higher penalties for gang membership or use of firearms, and bringing fewer misdemeanor cases.

The predictable result has been increased car thefts, burglaries, and personal robberies. Some 120 assistant district attorneys have left the office, and there’s a backlog of 10,000 unprosecuted cases.

More than a dozen other Soros-backed and similarly liberal prosecutors have faced strong opposition or have left office.

St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner resigned last May amid lawsuits seeking her removal, Milwaukee’s John Chisholm retired in January, and Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby was defeated in July 2022 and convicted of perjury in September 2023. Last November, Loudoun County, Virginia, voters (62 percent Biden) ousted liberal Buta Biberaj, who declined to prosecute a transgender student for assault, and in June 2022 voters in San Francisco (85 percent Biden) recalled famed radical Chesa Boudin.

Similarly, this Tuesday, voters in San Francisco passed ballot measures strengthening police powers and requiring treatment of drug-addicted welfare recipients.

In retrospect, it appears the Floyd video, appearing after three months of COVID-19 confinement, sparked a frenzied, even crazed reaction, especially among the highly educated and articulate. One fatal incident was seen as proof that America’s “systemic racism” was worse than ever and that police forces should be defunded and perhaps abolished.

2020 was “the year America went crazy,” I wrote in January 2021, a year in which police funding was actually cut by Democrats in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. A year in which young New York Times (NYT) staffers claimed they were endangered by the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) opinion article advocating calling in military forces if necessary to stop rioting, as had been done in Detroit in 1967 and Los Angeles in 1992. A craven NYT publisher even fired the editorial page editor for running the article.

Evidence of visible and tangible discontent with increasing violence and its consequences—barren and locked shelves in Manhattan chain drugstores, skyrocketing carjackings in Washington, D.C.—is as unmistakable in polls and election results as it is in daily life in large metropolitan areas. Maybe 2024 will turn out to be the year even liberal America stopped acting crazy.

Chaos and disorder work against incumbents, as they did in 1968 when Democrats saw their party’s popular vote fall from 61 percent to 43 percent.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 23:20

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Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington in a file image. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 22:10

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Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate…



Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate iron levels in their blood due to a COVID-19 infection could be at greater risk of long COVID.


A new study indicates that problems with iron levels in the bloodstream likely trigger chronic inflammation and other conditions associated with the post-COVID phenomenon. The findings, published on March 1 in Nature Immunology, could offer new ways to treat or prevent the condition.

Long COVID Patients Have Low Iron Levels

Researchers at the University of Cambridge pinpointed low iron as a potential link to long-COVID symptoms thanks to a study they initiated shortly after the start of the pandemic. They recruited people who tested positive for the virus to provide blood samples for analysis over a year, which allowed the researchers to look for post-infection changes in the blood. The researchers looked at 214 samples and found that 45 percent of patients reported symptoms of long COVID that lasted between three and 10 months.

In analyzing the blood samples, the research team noticed that people experiencing long COVID had low iron levels, contributing to anemia and low red blood cell production, just two weeks after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. This was true for patients regardless of age, sex, or the initial severity of their infection.

According to one of the study co-authors, the removal of iron from the bloodstream is a natural process and defense mechanism of the body.

But it can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream. This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert,” University of Oxford professor Hal Drakesmith said in a press release. “However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.”

The research team believes that consistently low iron levels could explain why individuals with long COVID continue to experience fatigue and difficulty exercising. As such, the researchers suggested iron supplementation to help regulate and prevent the often debilitating symptoms associated with long COVID.

It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,” Aimee Hanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on the study, said in the press release. “What we need is a way to remobilize the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.”

The research team pointed out that iron supplementation isn’t always straightforward. Achieving the right level of iron varies from person to person. Too much iron can cause stomach issues, ranging from constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain to gastritis and gastric lesions.

1 in 5 Still Affected by Long COVID

COVID-19 has affected nearly 40 percent of Americans, with one in five of those still suffering from symptoms of long COVID, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long COVID is marked by health issues that continue at least four weeks after an individual was initially diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or years and may include fatigue, cough or chest pain, headache, brain fog, depression or anxiety, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 12:50

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