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Romney Collects Hurricane Relief Food


As Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, both candidates canceled campaign events

Video/AP

While both presidential candidates canceled their election events for the week, they're still very much in the public eye. President Obama has been at The White House, organizing disaster relief, and Governor Mitt Romney has turned his election events into "relief events."

AP reports that the Republican presidential candidate has shifted his campaign plans in Ohio, hosting "storm relief events" in Kettering, Ohio, instead of election rallies. The relief event, where Romney collected food and other supplies for hurricane victims, was held in the arena where his political rally was supposed to be. The celebrity lineup was reportedly the same as well.

At the rally, Romney spoke behind a table laden with supplies, some of which the Romney campaign had purchased; supplies included toothpaste, bottled water, canned food, diapers, and more, the AP reports.

Meanwhile, Obama has canceled campaign appearances in Ohio on Wednesday to monitor Hurricane Sandy responses. "The election will take care of itself next week," he said, USA Today reports, adding that his first priority is making sure search and rescue teams are getting where they need to be, and food and water are given to people in need.


Romney on storm aftermath: 'People are hurting this morning'

(CNN) – With a week to go until Election Day and a day after superstorm Sandy slammed the East Coast, Republican nominee Mitt Romney swapped campaign rallies for a relief event in the all-important battleground state of Ohio Tuesday.

"We have heavy hearts as you know with all the suffering going on in a major part of our country. A lot of people are hurting this morning," said Romney, adding that he had the chance to speak with some of the governors from the affected areas.

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The storm had killed 29 in the United States with a total of 97 deaths overall, including 67 in the Caribbean, as of Tuesday.

The former Massachusetts governor thanked supporters for their generosity and equated the Ohio crowd's relief effort to those of citizens of his home state in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

After addressing the crowd briefly, the GOP nominee hopped off a makeshift stage to glad-hand with supporters and collect items as they filed past to donate relief goods like bottled water, canned foods and fleece blankets.

Romney's campaign told reporters that a Red Cross warehouse in New Jersey was accepting the donation, and distributed a statement they attributed to the Red Cross.

"The American Red Cross appreciates the support from the Romney campaign and is working with the campaign to process this donation of supplies," the statement read. "We are grateful that both the Obama and Romney campaigns have also encouraged the public to send financial donations to the Red Cross. We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood."

He did not answer questions from reporters on whether he would eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency as president - a topic the storm brought back into the political spotlight from the Republican primaries when Romney said he favored states taking a larger role in disaster relief.

Meanwhile, running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will stop by campaign offices in his home state of Wisconsin Tuesday to thank volunteers and collect items for storm relief efforts.

President Barack Obama's campaign cancelled events for Monday and Tuesday, flying back to Washington, D.C. to monitor the storm, as well as campaign events for Wednesday in Ohio.

–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Dana Davidsen and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Mitt Romney On Hurricane Sandy: 'We Have Heavy Hearts'

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney urged his supporters on Tuesday to keep up their efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and pitched in to box up donations.

"We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on in a major part of our country," he said at an appearance in Dayton, Ohio, touted by the campaign as a "storm relief" event. "A lot of people are hurting this morning and they were hurting last night."

He thanked the crowd for bringing goods, which he said will be sent to New Jersey.

"I appreciate the fact people right here in Dayton got up this morning, some went to the grocery store, I see, and purchased some things that these families will need," he continued. "I appreciate your generosity. It's part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people that are in need."

Romney is in a tough spot: If he continued campaign events as planned, he could be painted as insensitive to those impacted by the storm. But completely halting appearances could be a major hindrance to his campaign.

The campaign has since tried to thread the needle, by canceling events Monday evening and Tuesday, but then adding this event to collect goods for storm victims. He also has encouraged supporters to donate to the Red Cross.

Tuesday's event took place in a large room that, for all intents and purposes, looked like a rally location, other than a line of tables with volunteers accepting donated items.

NPR's Ari Shapiro tweeted that before the event, the campaign played Romney's bio video, which praises his work and experience.

Romney entered the event to little fanfare, eschewing his usual campaign music and instead simply walking to the stage. After delivering brief remarks, he assisted in boxing up the donated goods, while supporters listened to a concert. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) stood next to him to accept donations from supporters who walked by.

Romney told the crowd that even small donations would help.

"We're looking for all the help we can get," he said.

Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), will visit two campaign offices in Wisconsin on Tuesday to thank volunteers who are accepting donations for the storm.

Romney and Portman continued to collect donations until around 12:30 p.m. and then moved outside to load them into a truck, a task that took about 15 minutes, according to a pool report. All told, they spent slightly less than an hour on the volunteering effort.

Romney ignored questions after the event about how he would deal with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and specifically whether he would eliminate it, according to a pool report.

Romney said during a CNN Republican primary debate that he would support handing over disaster relief to the states and private groups. He said then that it would be "immoral" to continue to run disaster relief at the federal level and increase the deficit.

CORRECTION: 2:13 p.m. -- This article has been updated to remove a statement that Romney said he would "absolutely" shut down FEMA. He did not use the word in that context.

This story has been updated to include information from after the event.


Hurricane Sandy is a crisis and opportunity for Obama, Romney

The giant storm that will power through the East Coast on Monday night and into the week presents both a crisis and an opportunity for the two men entering the last week of their fight for the White House.

President Obama canceled an appearance Monday in Orlando with former President Bill Clinton in order to return to Washington to monitor the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Sandy. His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, announced Monday that he would cancel events Monday night and Tuesday. Those were just the latest in a series of cancellations by Obama and Romney.

As the sitting president with authority over the government’s storm response, Obama sits in a stronger position when it comes to reacting to the 1,000-mile-wide storm, potentially the largest ever to strike the U.S. He’s expected to oversee the federal government’s relief efforts — a duty that has become far more than an afterthought ever since Hurricane Katrina.

PHOTOS: Hurricane Sandy

The slow response to the deadly 2005 disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast tainted the reputation of President George W. Bush, whose administration appeared inattentive and ineffectual.

Sandy’s course and duration remain not precisely known, but it’s likely that Obama will be visiting neighborhoods damaged by the storm by the weekend, just days before the Nov. 6 election.
A politician can always get in trouble if they appear to be politicizing tragic events. But a president can hardly be expected to sit on the sidelines in what will probably be one of the biggest natural disasters of his tenure.

The media has generally judged President Obama to be in good form in moments when compassion is required. Sen. John McCain(R-Ariz.), who lost to Obama four years ago, said that he thinks the hurricane presents an opportunity for Obama to demonstrate presidential leadership in the crucial hours before the vote.

Romney also will have to make some sort of response to Hurricane Sandy, though his lack of official duties in the damage zone will make his exact activities less obvious.

Expect Romney to lend support and encouragement at volunteer centers or charities, but only once his campaign receives assurances it won’t interrupt emergency relief efforts.The last thing a politician wants in such a setting is to appear to get in the way of rescue workers.

As he has on several other issues, Romney may also be asked to explain a sharply conservative opinion from the primary season — that the work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) would be better handled by the states.

During a June 2011 Republican primary debate, CNN’s John King asked Romney whether disaster relief should be handled by the states. “Absolutely,” Romney said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Romney went on to explain that debt reduction was a key motivator in driving his thoughts about FEMA.

Voters tend to like such government reductions in theory, but not so much when they need help. It’s unlikely that the majority of voters would warm to an anti-FEMA argument in the coming days, when they will be looking to FEMA to rebuild their lives.

Several years and some $2 billion have gone into an election that has blotted out many other news events. But this storm will not be pushed off the top of the agenda. Both candidates appear ready to heed that truth, even if it means a somewhat muted conclusion to loud and contentious campaign.


Obama tours storm damage Romney mutes rhetoric

BRIGANTINE, N.J. — As relief workers began clearing up the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney avoided overt partisan politics Wednesday.

Obama traveled to New Jersey to survey the damage and appear alongside Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who is among Romney’s highest-profile surrogates and who typically offers scathing criticism of the president.

“We face hard times, and we get back up. The reason we get back up is we look out for each other and don’t leave anyone behind,” Obama said.

Romney returned to the campaign trail Wednesday, holding three rallies in Florida and repeatedly highlighting the plight of the storm victims.

“We’re going through trauma in a major part of the country — the kind of trauma you’ve experienced here in Florida more than once,” the GOP nominee said at a rally in an airport hangar in Tampa, before urging people to donate to the Red Cross. “Please, if you have an extra dollar or two, send them along and keep the people … who’ve been damaged either personally or through their property, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

With six days to go before Election Day and early voting under way across the nation, though, it was impossible to view the men’s actions without a political lens. A spokesman for the president said the New Jersey visit had nothing to do with politics, but what dominated nightly newscasts were images of Obama working with a Republican governor and a reminder of the role of the federal government at times of crises.

Obama and Christie shook hands warmly and took a helicopter tour of the damage before visiting a shelter in Brigantine where they lauded each other. Christie said Obama “means it” when he says he’s working hard for the victims of the storm and praised the president for the “personal concern and compassion” he has shown for the local residents.

Obama assured the crowd that Christie is “working overtime” for them, is at “the top of my list” of people to thank for being responsive and “aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm.”

Despite Romney’s expressions of sympathy for storm victims, a controversy flared over the Republican’s new television and radio ads in Ohio.

“Desperation,” Vice President Joe Biden said of the broadcast claims that suggested automakers General Motors and Chrysler are adding jobs in China at the expense of workers in the bellwether state. “One of the most flagrantly dishonest ads I can ever remember.”

Republicans were unrepentant.

“American taxpayers are on track to lose $25 billion as a result of President Obama’s handling of the auto bailout, and GM and Chrysler are expanding their production overseas,” said an emailed statement issued in the name of Republican running mate Paul Ryan.

The two storms — one inflicted by nature, the other whipped up by rival campaigns — were at opposite ends of a race nearing its end.

National surveys make the popular vote look tight, with Romney ahead by a point or two in some, and Obama in others.

Both sides claim an advantage from battleground state polls that also are tight. Obama’s aides contend he is ahead or tied in all of them, while Romney’s team counters that his campaign is expanding in its final days into what had long been deemed safe territory for the president in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

The storm added yet another element of uncertainty, as Obama spent a third straight day embracing his role as incumbent and Romney tried to tread lightly during a major East Coast disaster.

The president received a briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency across town from the White House before flying to New Jersey.

Meanwhile, before starting a daylong campaign swing in Florida, Romney sought to clarify comments he had made last year that suggested FEMA ought to be handed over to the states or possibly privatized.

“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters,” he said in a prepared statement. “As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”

The debate was ferocious over Romney’s broadcast ads. The radio version said that after Obama’s auto bailout, General Motors has “cut 15,000 American jobs, but they are planning to double the number of cars built in China which means 15,000 more jobs for China.

“And now comes word that Chrysler is starting to build cars in, you guessed it, China.”

Biden noted that the ads are intended to scare Ohio voters, and that the claims have been denounced by officials with both companies.

“They called it … a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats,” Biden said.

Ryan’s emailed response conceded nothing. “President Obama has chosen not to run on the facts of his record, but he can’t run from them,” it said.

Obama’s aides said the president would return to political travel Thursday with stops in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.

Polls include Obama’s storm response

President Barack Obama gets sky-high marks for his response to Hurricane Sandy in the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll.

Nearly 8 in 10 likely voters say the president has done an “excellent” or “good” job dealing with what’s been labeled a superstorm. Almost as many give positive reviews to the federal government’s response generally. Even two-thirds of those who support Republican Mitt Romney in next week’s presidential election say Obama is doing well in this area.

The results for the hurricane response question are from interviews Tuesday evening, one of the four “waves” of interviews in the current release from the Post-ABC tracking poll. The sampling error is plus or minus 6 percentage points for the one-night poll of 344 likely voters.

Averaging across the most recent four waves, the presidential contest is back to a tie, with Obama and Romney each supported by 49 percent of likely voters.

For the full four-night average, the random sample of 1,288 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Chris Christie and Hurricane Sandy give Obama a timely boost

On his Comedy Central show Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert charged that hurricanes have a liberal bias -- and who can disagree? Katrina sank President George W. Bush, Isaac knocked a day off the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and now Sandy may be messing with Mitt.

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, one of the Romney campaign’s top surrogates has been standing before microphones and going on TV to rain praise on President Obama. Yes, Chris Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, the guy who gave the keynote address in Tampa, has suddenly gotten all nonpartisan merely because his state has been devastated by a super storm. Where are his priorities?

Christie and the president toured the disaster scene together, looking and talking like a mutual admiration society and giving the distinct impression that they believe a national emergency is far more important than a presidential campaign. What’s a guy like Romney supposed to do with that with less than a week to go before election day?

What he did do was cancel a “victory rally” in Ohio -- although it really was not canceled it was just rebranded as a gathering to support the storm relief effort. Oddly enough, the event still featured a Romney campaign video from the GOP convention. Even more odd was the fact that Romney’s staff reportedly bought $5,000 worth of granola bars and canned goods at a nearby Wal-Mart, which they parceled out to attendees at the rally with instructions to hand the items to Romney as the TV cameras captured the moment.

Romney said the supplies would be trucked to someplace in New Jersey, even though the Red Cross says random shipments of food create a logistical headache for relief workers. Maybe they can dump them at Christie’s house after he is done hanging out with Obama.

In the course of this presidential campaign we have learned that Romney does one thing really well -- he can debate like a champ. Beyond that, though, he is often the embodiment of awkward. Trying to disguise a campaign rally as a hurricane relief event is just a big reminder of pre-debate Romney, the fellow who nearly scuttled his own campaign in September with one misstep after another.

Meanwhile, Obama is getting the chance to appear compassionate, effective and, thanks to Christie, above politics. Looking presidential may only sway a few votes his way, but in a race that is going to the wire, just a few can make all the difference.

In every election, political junkies watch for an October surprise that might alter the dynamics of the election. This year, the surprise may have come in the form of a massively destructive storm. Pat Robertson and the religious right seem to find messages from God in every hurricane. If this one boosts Obama, they will have to do a serious reassessment of that idea. They may deduce that, like hurricanes, God has a liberal bias.


Romney On 󈧳 Percent’: I Was ‘Completely Wrong’

FISHERSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has described his disparaging remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes as “not elegantly stated.” Now he’s calling them “just completely wrong.”

The original remarks, secretly recorded during a fundraiser in May and posted online in September by the magazine Mother Jones, sparked intense criticism of Romney and provided fodder to those who portray him as an out-of-touch millionaire oblivious to the lives of average Americans. The remarks became a staple of Obama campaign criticism.

Initially, Romney defended his view, telling reporters at a news conference shortly after the video was posted that his remarks were “not elegantly stated” and that they were spoken “off the cuff.” He didn’t disavow them, however, and later adopted as a response when the remarks were raised that his campaign supports “the 100 percent in America.”

In an interview Thursday night with Fox News, Romney was asked what he would have said had the 󈬟 percent” comments come up during his debate in Denver on Wednesday night with President Barack Obama.

“Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”

He added: “And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent.”

Critics of Romney’s 󈬟 percent” remarks noted that many of those who don’t pay federal incomes taxes pay other forms of taxes. More than 16 million elderly Americans avoid federal income taxes solely because of tax breaks that apply only to seniors, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reports. Millions of others don’t pay federal income taxes because they don’t earn enough after deductions and exemptions.

Acknowledging error is rare for Romney. Asked recently whether his TV ads had strayed from the facts, he said they had been “absolutely spot-on.” Fact-checking operations have argued otherwise.

Some conservatives rallied around Romney after the video surfaced, urging him to stand behind the remarks as accurate despite the criticism.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said in the video. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

“Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax,” Romney said, and that his role “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Romney later told reporters at a news conference called to address the remarks: “It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I’m sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


John McCain Marks Romney 'Storm Relief' Event With Aggressive Criticism Of Obama On Libya

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spoke on behalf of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a "storm relief and volunteer appreciation" event in Ohio on Tuesday, serving up a generous portion of hyper-partisan rhetoric on President Barack Obama's handling of the September attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.

"This president is either engaged in a massive cover-up deceiving the American people, or he is so grossly incompetent that he is not qualified to be the commander in chief of our armed forces. It's either one of them," McCain told Romney volunteers, according to NBC News.

Four Americans died in the Sept. 11 attack on the compound in Benghazi, and conservatives have questioned how the Obama administration handled both the developing situation and its aftermath.

McCain's decision to politicize the supposedly apolitical event underscores the difficulty of Romney's stated move to put aside campaign tensions after the storm. Obama canceled his functions in order to survey damage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

As the death toll from the hurricane continued to rise Tuesday morning, Romney held a similar "storm relief" event in Ohio. HuffPost's Elise Foley reported that Romney addressed only the storm, leaving aside politics, and spent most of his time encouraging supporters to do what they could to help those in need. He also dropped the traditional campaign music in an effort to tone down his appearance, but a video biography of the former Massachusetts governor's life did air before his remarks.

"We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on in a major part of our country," Romney told supporters. "A lot of people are hurting this morning and they were hurting last night."

After his remarks, Romney helped collect and box up donations that his supporters had brought for victims of the hurricane.

Romney declined after the event to address questions of a political nature, ignoring reporters' inquiries about how he would deal with disaster relief funding and whether he would visit New Jersey to survey damage from the storm.


Romney unveils plan to provide $3,000 per child, giving bipartisan support to President Biden’s effort

The emergence of Romney's child benefits plan could give the White House an opportunity to incorporate policies with bipartisan support into its relief package.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Thursday will propose providing at least $3,000 per child to millions of American families, lending bipartisan support to President Joe Biden’s push to dramatically expand child benefits.

Romney’s proposal would provide $4,200 per year for every child up to the age of 6, as well as $3,000 per year for every child age 6 to 17. Senior Democrats are currently drafting legislation as part of their $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal that would provide $3,600 per year for every child up to the age of 6, as well as $3,000 for every child aged 6 to 17.

The emergence of Romney’s child benefits plan as Democrats prepare a similar effort could give the White House an opportunity to incorporate policies with bipartisan support into its relief package. Romney has suggested Biden’s stimulus proposal is too expensive, meaning he may vote against the broader plan even if it includes much of his new child benefits proposal.

Romney’s new plan, like the one being explored by senior Democrats, would provide the benefit monthly by depositing it directly in taxpayer bank accounts. Advocates for expanding child benefits say they will make an enormous dent in child poverty in the United States, although some conservative scholars argue the benefits may discourage parents from pursuing employment. The extent of GOP support for Romney’s proposal is unclear.

Unlike Democrats’ plan, Romney’s Family Security Act would be paid for, in part, by eliminating Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a welfare program, as well as other existing federal tax credits for children and working families. Many Democrats are likely to oppose this part of Romney’s plan.

Romney is expected on Thursday night to offer the bill as an amendment to Democrats’ budget resolution, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning. The budget resolution is the vehicle for passing Biden’s stimulus package.

“The Family Security Act creates a new national commitment to American families by modernizing and streamlining antiquated federal policies into a monthly cash benefit,” a statement from the office of the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said. “This plan would immediately lift nearly 3 million children out of poverty, while providing a bridge to the middle class.”

The United States currently has among the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world, a trend exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The nation provides less financial support to families with children than all but a handful of developed countries. That has led Democratic lawmakers such as Sens. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) to spearhead legislation to expand child benefits that command near-universal support among the Democratic caucus.

Their push is now gaining bipartisan momentum in part because of social conservatives such as Romney and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who have expressed alarm about high levels of child poverty.

Romney’s plan would have a dramatic impact on lowering child poverty, according to an analysis by the Niskanen Center, a center-right think tank. The percentage of children in poverty would fall by about 32%, with close to 3 million lifted out of poverty. Additionally, the percentage of children in “deep poverty” would fall by about 50%, meaning about 1.2 million children would be lifted out of poverty, the analysis found.

“Romney’s proposal shows that there’s substantial bipartisan agreement around expanding child benefits,” said Ernie Tedeschi, an economist who served in the Treasury Department under the Obama administration. “A permanent expansion along the lines of what Senator Romney or President Biden have proposed would be among the most pro-family, anti-poverty policies in a generation.”

Some liberals said Romney’s plan could be improved on by maintaining the tax credits and welfare program it proposes repurposing to fund the new child benefit. “It’s misguided to undercut the policy’s poverty-reducing impact by using deep cuts in other critical forms of support for low-income people to pay for it,” said Sharon Parrott, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Democratic-aligned think tank. “There are far better financing options that ask those who are doing the best to pitch in a little more.”

Matt Bruenig, founder of the People’s Policy Project, a left-leaning think tank, said the benefits Romney’s new plan provide to poor families far outweigh the potential downsides of eliminating these programs, which Bruenig said are complicated and hard for families to navigate.

On the right,Angela Rachidi, a conservative scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, wrote last month that extending child benefits to the poorest families would “decrease employment for low-income parents.” She also wrote that a universal child allowance would be “cost prohibitive,” given that it would cost about $110 billion per year, or more than $1 trillion over a decade.

“When you add in other benefits nonworking people get – such as food stamps and housing assistance – [to the proposed child tax credit], you start getting $25,000 in benefits, which is where you start to get concerned about employment disincentives,” Rachidi said in an interview.

Sam Hammond, a poverty expert at the Niskanen Center, said work disincentives come from sharp declines in the values of benefits as worker income increase, something he said the Romney plan avoids.

Romney’s push reflects a slowly building change among policymakers away from several decades in which tax cuts often represented the principal antipoverty strategy of both parties, said Joshua McCabe, a historian of U.S. welfare policy at Endicott College.

With few taxes left to cut after enormous tax reductions in preceding decades, policymakers have in recent years begun to look at providing direct cash payments to the poor. That trend was dramatically accelerated by the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic over the past year, as tens of millions of people were sent direct payments by the Internal Revenue Service, in a policy backed by politicians of both parties.

“Since we’ve exhausted the tax cut strategy, lawmakers have begun to creep into direct payments. But covid relief blew the lid off of that idea – it naturalized and legitimized it,” McCabe said. “This is why we now have Republicans saying this is the best way to fight poverty.”

Romney’s plan differs from Biden’s in several key ways. Romney is proposing to pay for the measure by both consolidating existing government programs and ending a policy that lets Americans deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes off their federal tax obligations, a move Democrats are expected to oppose, especially those representing areas with higher taxes.

If enacted, Romney’s plan would be deficit-neutral and finance the new child benefit through 2025, the Niskanen Center’s analysis found.

Biden has proposed a one-year expansion of the child benefit that would add about $120 billion to the deficit. Senior Democrats and Biden officials have said they aim to make the benefit permanent after it is potentially approved for one year in the current stimulus package.

Under Romney’s plan, the size of the benefit would also begin to diminish at above $200,000 in annual income for single tax filers, as well as $400,000 for joint filers. Democrats have not detailed income thresholds on the child tax credit expansion they are expected to unveil in days.

Romney’s plan would also call for the new benefit to be administered through the Social Security Administration, rather than the IRS, which some experts believe would make it easier for the federal government to reach poor families with unreliable tax return information. It would also cap the potential monthly benefit one family can receive at $1,250.


Good Morning America: Ann Romney’s Welsh Skillet Cakes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup currants
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter

Cooking Directions

Beat egg with milk. Add currants. Sift and add dry ingredients together. Work butter into flour and mix until mealy. Pour milk and currants over flour and butter mixture all at once and mix well. Wrap in wax paper and chill at least one hour. Roll the mixture about 3/8 of an inch. You may think this is too precise, but it’s very important not to roll too thin! Cut with cookie cutter. Cook on a pancake griddle greased with oil (325 degrees) on both sides. Flip the cookies when you see they are shiny. Cook it for less amount of time on the second side. Roll in granulated sugar. Let cool.

About Corey Gibson

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Journalism and Anthropology, I managed a pizza place for a year, while freelancing for various newspapers in the area. Working every weekend in sauna like conditions, never being able to take a day off and being covered in flour is something I will not miss. I hope Recapo has air conditioning.


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