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Mulvaney out, Mark Meadows in as Trump’s chief of staff

Meadows is the fourth White House chief of staff since Trump took office in 2017 [File: Patrick Semansky/AP] Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a significant staff overhaul, naming North Carolina politician Mark Meadows as his new chief of staff, and replacing Mick Mulvaney, who…

Mulvaney out, Mark Meadows in as Trump’s chief of staff

Meadows is the fourth White House chief of staff since Trump took office in 2017 [File: Patrick Semansky/AP]
Under fire for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a significant staff overhaul, naming North Carolina politician Mark Meadows as his new chief of staff, and replacing Mick Mulvaney, who has been acting in the role for more than a year.
Trump announced the surprise staff reshuffle in a series of Friday night tweets, saying Mulvaney would become the US special envoy for Northern Ireland.
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“I have long known and worked with Mark, and the relationship is a very good one,” he wrote, thanking Mulvaney – who never shook his “acting” title – “for having served the Administration so well”.
The long-rumoured move makes Meadows, who announced he was not seeking re-election for his House seat, effectively Trump’s fourth chief of staff since taking office in 2017.
In 2012, while seeking a seat in Congress, Meadows suggested that then-US President Barack Obama be sent “home to Kenya or wherever it is”, wading into the dubious controversy that the 43rd president was not born in the United States.

Trump impeachment inquiry: Mick Mulvaney defies subpoena

At that time, businessman Trump was also involved in the controversy.
Meadows was also entangled in a sexual harassment scandal involving his former top assistant.
Trump’s decision to appoint Meadows comes as his administration has faced criticism for its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Mulvaney had been leading the inter-agency response to the virus until Trump designated Vice President Mike Pence to lead the whole-of-government effort more than a week ago.
Mulvaney has been marginalised inside the White House for months, taking on an increasingly narrow role.
And Trump has been eyeing the change for months but wanted to wait until after impeachment, according to a person familiar with his thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorised to discuss it publicly.
Mulvaney’s allies, however, had long brushed off rumblings off his imminent departure and had said as recently as last month that he planned to stay at least through the election in November.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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calls

Meadows calls for ‘skinny’ COVID relief package, Pelosi calls request ‘deficient’

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called on Democrats Saturday to pass a “skinny” COVID relief package instead of their postal service bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the request was “deficient.” Saturday morning, Mr. Meadows, former North Carolina congressman, suggested a package could include renewing the Paycheck Protection Program and extension of unemployment…

Meadows calls for ‘skinny’ COVID relief package, Pelosi calls request ‘deficient’

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called on Democrats Saturday to pass a “skinny” COVID relief package instead of their postal service bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the request was “deficient.”

Saturday morning, Mr. Meadows, former North Carolina congressman, suggested a package could include renewing the Paycheck Protection Program and extension of unemployment benefits.

“Speaker Pelosi and Democrats: if you really want to help Americans, how about passing relief for small businesses and unemployment assistance ALONG with postal funding?” he tweeted. “We agree on these. There’s NO reason not to deliver relief for Americans right now.”

Mr. Meadows doubled down on that request to reporters and members on Capitol Hill, where he’s spending the day meeting with lawmakers ahead of the vote.

He told reporters he tried to walk in for a last minute meeting with the speaker but was told she was in a meeting.

“This is more of a partisan bill than it is a real attempt at solving the problem, but hopefully its a start to something,” he said about the Democrats’ post office bill.

“What makes everything a political issue is the fact that we’re 70 plus days out from a November 3rd election,” he added.

Mrs. Pelosi — referring to Mr. Meadows as “whats-his-name” — said it wasn’t doable because his package left too much out.

“He didn’t say anything about crushing the virus. He didn’t say anything about people who are being affected. He didn’t say anything about food insecurity among millions of America’s children. He didn’t say anything about state and local,” the California Democrat said.

“That’s completely unacceptable,” she added.

The Democrats’ bill, which they’re set to pass later Saturday, will give the Postal Service an additional $25 billion to cover revenue losses during the pandemic. It would also reverse policy changes implemented earlier this year and require that all election-mail be treated as first-class mail.

Senate Republicans said they won’t be taking up the Postal Service bill unless additional COVID relief is attached.

While the Democrats are united on wanting to pass this bill, over a hundred rank and file members have requested that Democratic leadership expand the agenda.

A large group of 117 lawmakers — that included both moderate and more liberal members of the party — petitioned Mrs. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, earlier this week to add a vote on a bill that would extend the $600 enhanced unemployment benefits, create a tiered phase-out system, and tie the benefits to economic triggers to avoid any partisan infighting to derail the benefits.

Mrs. Pelosi has resisted these calls but said she does “welcome their suggestions.”

The speaker refused to agree to any smaller packages during the COVID negotiations and defended deviating from that stance with the postal service bill.

“I’m not for splitting it up, except this is an emergency, and it has policy in it,” she said.

The talks on a larger COVID relief bill stalled earlier this month.

Mrs. Pelosi said Democrats are waiting for Republicans to bump up their topline number to around $2 trillion, while Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin says the GOP needs serious proposals from Democrats on unemployment and state and local funding.

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'encouraged'

Mark Meadows ‘encouraged’ for a narrow COVID-19 relief deal with Democrats’ postal service bill

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday morning that the Democrats’ U.S. Postal Service bill gives him hope for a “skinny” coronavirus relief package. The former North Carolina Republican congressman said that he’s optimistic this bill is a sign House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is thawing on her opposition to a “piecemeal” approach to…

Mark Meadows ‘encouraged’ for a narrow COVID-19 relief deal with Democrats’ postal service bill

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday morning that the Democrats’ U.S. Postal Service bill gives him hope for a “skinny” coronavirus relief package.

The former North Carolina Republican congressman said that he’s optimistic this bill is a sign House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is thawing on her opposition to a “piecemeal” approach to coronavirus relief.

“Let’s add in the things that we can agree upon, perhaps funding for schools, [Paycheck Protection Program], maybe the stimulus checks,” Mr. Meadows told reporters.

Democrats are set to vote Saturday on a bill that will revert any operation policies to what was in place in January 2020 and provide $25 billion in funding.

“If that’s indicative of what Speaker Pelosi might bring to the floor, I’m encouraged,” Mr. Meadows said.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, have staunchly opposed doing any short-term extensions or narrow bills to address the continued economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on schools and families, arguing that the scope of the crisis requires a comprehensive approach.

Talks between the top Democrats and the White House stalled earlier this month before President Trump signed executive orders to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, pause evictions, institute a payroll tax break and defer student loans.

Democrats blamed the Republicans for not agreeing to a middle ground between their $3.5 trillion proposal and the GOP’s $1 trillion.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said there could be some wiggle room on a top-line number, but they needed to see serious compromises on enhanced unemployment benefits and funding to state and local governments.

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Democrats

Mark Meadows: Democrats mad about Postal Service should come back to D.C. and negotiate

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said Democrats upset about recent changes at the Post Office should come back to Washington, D.C. and negotiate additional funding, potentially in another coronavirus relief package. “Why don’t they come back, let’s go ahead and get a stimulus check out to Americans, let’s make sure that…

Mark Meadows: Democrats mad about Postal Service should come back to D.C. and negotiate

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said Democrats upset about recent changes at the Post Office should come back to Washington, D.C. and negotiate additional funding, potentially in another coronavirus relief package.

“Why don’t they come back, let’s go ahead and get a stimulus check out to Americans, let’s make sure that small businesses are protected … and put the postal funding in there?” Mr. Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll pass it tomorrow; the president will sign it and this will all go away.”

“Congress needs to come back and get their act together and work,” he said.

House Democrats included $25 billion for the post office in the nearly $3.5 trillion coronavirus relief package they passed in May. The bill also included $3.6 billion for grants to states to prepare for the fall election.

Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration’s negotiators — which include Mr. Meadows — appeared to settle on $10 billion in their most recent round of negotiations, but they couldn’t strike a broader deal and the House and Senate went on vacation without passing new legislation.

The House and Senate aren’t scheduled to be back in town until Sept. 8, and votes in the House aren’t expected until the week after that.

Democrats have questioned why U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is trying to implement major changes — which he has acknowledged have affected service — in the middle of a pandemic and when many states are gearing up for more people to vote by mail in the November election.

“I’ll give you that guarantee right now: the president of the United States is not going to interfere with anybody casting their vote in a legitimate way, whether it’s the post office or anything else,” Mr. Meadows said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, California Democrat, said Mr. DeJoy needs to resign.

“He’s slowed delivery, banned overtime & decommissioned mail-sorting machines,” Mr. Schiff said on Twitter. “Right before the election. During a pandemic.”

Even more moderate Democrats said over the weekend that the postmaster general should be called to testify immediately.

“We need to subpoena the Postmaster General, and if he fails to appear, we should send the Sgt at Arms to arrest him,” Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee Democrat, said on Twitter.

Mr. Cooper said he asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call the House back into session immediately to deal with the issue.

Thomas J. Marshall, USPS general counsel and executive vice president, recently told Congress that the post office is in an untenable financial position but that there have been no edicts to delay the mail or eliminate overtime.

At the behest of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General is looking into the recent policy changes.

President Trump on Saturday praised Mr. DeJoy and said he’s trying to make the post office “great again.”

“Louis DeJoy is working very hard,” the president said. “The postal office has lost billions and billions of dollars.”

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