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Rep. Andy Biggs on impeachment: Instead of stopping Trump, you’ll make his movement strong

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On the floor of the House of Representatives before Wednesday’s impeachment vote against President Donald Trump, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), a devoted ally of the President, said in his two-minute statement criticizing impeachment that such an action would make Trump’s movement stronger, a similar sentiment that’s been expressed by other Republicans opposing impeachment.

The article of impeachment accuses the soon-departing President of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for “incitement of insurrection” regarding last Wednesday’s Capitol riot. While the House is expected to pass the article, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday sunk any efforts to reconvene the U.S. Senate for a trial until January 19 without all 100 senators consenting.

“It is with weariness and an unhealthy, morbid curiosity that I watch the beast attempt to devour President Donald J. Trump again,” Biggs said at the opening of his brief statement during the House floor debate on whether to vote for impeachment.

MORE ON IMPEACHMENT: Rep. Swalwell compares Pres. Trump to Osama bin Laden

“The craving to crush President Trump has never been satisfied, not through investigations, not through false allegations, and not even through an impeachment without merit,” he continued.

“And the timing of this impeachment makes little sense,” he added.

MORE ON INAUGURATION: FBI Memo: Armed protests planned in all 50 state capitals ahead of Biden inauguration

“But your craving was neither a Biden victory nor was it even a Trump defeat. You believe that your hunger will be finally satiated by impeaching this president without completion of his full term of office,” Biggs continued. “You don’t merely seek victory but you seek obliteration of your nemesis.”

“Even if you are successful today and were the Senate to convict President Trump, yours would be a pyrrhic victory; for instead of stopping the Trump train, his movement will grow stronger; for you will have made him a martyr,” he argued.

Biggs then railed against media and corporations, claiming that the Democrats’ “allies in the media seek to censor conservative voices,” and went on to tout Trump’s economic and political agenda.

At the closing of his remarks, Biggs doubled down on his argument that impeachment will only make the Trump movement stronger.

“I urge you, please, do not […] attempt to douse the remaining burning embers of this movement with gasoline,” he said.

Biggs’ remarks come as he is being accused of helping organize the January 6 event that took place just before the deadly assault from rioters on the U.S. Capitol, according to Ali Alexander—one of the lead “Stop The Steal” event organizers—in some December livestreams, The Intercept reported Monday. Alexander also mentioned Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and another Arizona Republican, Rep. Paul Gosar, as being involved in the planning.

News of Biggs’ reported link to Alexander began to pick up steam Sunday, when The Arizona Republic reported it. The congressman’s spokesperson, Daniel Stefanski, denied that the pair had ties in a statement to the publication.

“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” Stefanski said. “He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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