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From $3.5 trillion to $2 trillion: Cuts to US spending bill mean less money for families

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What does it actually mean to cut $1 trillion from the Democrats' $3.5 trillion social spending bill?

President Biden has proposed one of the most ambitious expansions of federal spending in recent memory. If he gets everything he wants, it would probably be the largest expansion of government since the Great Society, but he's not going to get everything he wants. Democrats have basically said they cannot do all $3.5 trillion in spending. They're probably going to end up around $2 trillion. So what gets cut? Well, we don't know yet. There's kind of two ways to go about this. They could either cut the number of programs that have been proposed, doing fewer things with more money on a permanent basis, or they could try to do more things, each program getting less money and potentially doing them on a temporary basis. So, a future Congress would have to extend it. What does this mean for you? Well, a lot of the money in here is designed to go directly to families, either in the form of cash payments, through the tax code, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, or subsidies for things like child care, early childhood education, and community college. And if you cut these things back, it means less money is going to go out the door to the American people. It also means less tax increases to finance it. So the implications of what's being proposed could actually end up being a big deal for a lot of Americans who would qualify for benefits under these new programs.

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Immigration reform so divisive that even Democrats can't agree

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

Is the surging immigration crisis the biggest challenge for the still new Biden administration?

I wouldn't say the immigration crisis is the biggest policy challenge, that's probably the coronavirus and getting the economy back on track and maybe a little bit of foreign policy, but it's certainly one of the biggest political challenges.

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The attack on the Capitol and the health of American democracy

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum had a disturbing takeaway from the Capitol riots of January 6th: An unignorable portion of the American population revolted against democracy itself. "That wasn't Republicans attacking Democrats," Applebaum argues. "What you saw was a group of people who were attacking the system itself."

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On Dr. Seuss and cancel culture

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week, life looking better every day in the United States, coronavirus land. But I thought I'd talk about, this week, all of this cancel culture that everyone's talking about right now. If you're on the wrong political side, your opponents are trying to shut you down and you take massive umbrage. I see this everywhere, and it's starting to annoy.

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Minimum wage won't go up for now; Texas sets reopening example

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics in Washington, DC:

Another stimulus bill is about to pass the Senate. Why won't the minimum wage be going up?

Well, the problem with the minimum wage is it didn't have the 50 votes it needed to overcome the procedural hurdles that prevent the minimum wage when traveling with the stimulus bill. Clearly support for $15 an hour minimum wage in the House of Representatives, but there's probably somewhere between 41 and 45 votes for it in the Senate. There may be a compromise level that emerges later in the year as some Republicans have indicated, they'd be willing to support a lower-level minimum wage increase. But typically, those proposals come along with policies that Democrats find unacceptable, such as an employment verification program for any new hire in the country. Labor unions have been really, really fixated on getting a $15 an hour minimum wage. They may not be up for a compromise. So, we'll see what happens.

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Senator Murphy on abolishing the filibuster, a Senate tool he has famously employed

One of the most heated debates happening on Capitol Hill right now is whether Democrats should push to eliminate the Senate filibuster in order to overcome Republican opposition to their legislative agenda. Bremmer posed this question to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a man who famously launched a 15-hour long filibuster of his own on gun control in 2016.

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After the insurrection: will Congress find common ground?

Can Democrats and Republicans agree on anything? Ian Bremmer talks to two very different lawmakers from each chamber Congress: two-term Democratic Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and freshman Republican South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace. The guests give a vivid account of their experience at the Capitol during the January 6 riots and make a case for- or-against impeaching former President Trump. They'll also weigh in on President Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package and where exactly Republicans and Democrats might be able to work together in 2021.

Senator Chris Murphy on why impeachment trial should proceed despite a likely acquittal

Although many Senate Republicans have signaled their intentions to acquit former President Trump of impeachment charges, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy thinks the trial should proceed anyway. "Ultimately we have a constitutional responsibility in the Senate to process these articles…you can't skip the accountability phase for a President who tried in the final days of his presidency to lead either a non-violent or a violent insurrection against democracy." If the situation was reversed, Murphy adds, and it was a president from his own party being impeached, he would still want to hold that president accountable. Sadly, he concludes, the same cannot be said about many of his colleagues across the aisle.

Murphy's conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World, in which Bremmer is also joined by freshman Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace. The episode will start airing on public television nationwide beginning this Friday, January 29th. Check local listings.

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