Trump

Supreme Court allows census count to end October 31, siding with Trump administration

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the U.S. Census Bureau can conclude its 2020 count on October 31 and that will give it enough time to finish with enough time to process the data before year end. The decision, which the Trump administration favored, came with a candid dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  

“Meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “Especially when the Government has failed to show why it could not bear the lesser cost of expending more resources to meet the deadline or continuing its prior efforts to seek an extension from Congress. This Court normally does not grant extraordinary relief on such a painfully disproportionate balance of harms.”

The U.S. Census Bureau, which is overseen by Trump appointee Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, announced in an August 3 press release that it would be ending its count by September 30 — a month before it originally planned. The Trump administration argued it needed to end then to crunch the data before the congressionally-mandated deadline of December 31, 2020. 

In-person data collection, a hallmark of the Census, was forced to pause in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary suspension prompted the Census Bureau to initially request an extension for the count. “To ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress of 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts,” read an April press release from the Bureau.

The administration later changed course, announcing on August 3 that it would instead be speeding up the count to meet its statutory deadline of December 31, 2020. However, this so-called “replan” came just weeks after President Trump announced plans to exclude undocumented immigrants

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Trump Administration Orders Nevada to Allow Rapid Covid-19 Tests in Nursing Homes

The Trump administration ordered the state of Nevada to withdraw a directive blocking nursing homes from using federally provided rapid coronavirus testing equipment, highlighting a debate over the proper use of the tests after reports of some false-positive results.

In a letter to Nevada officials, Adm. Brett Giroir, the Department of Health and Human Services official who has overseen U.S. testing efforts, said the state’s action is “inconsistent with and pre-empted by federal law and, as such, must cease immediately or appropriate action will be taken against those involved.” The letter was dated Oct. 8 and made public Friday.

Adm. Giroir defended the performance of the federally supplied equipment on a call Friday with reporters, saying the false-positive rate was low and the issue could be managed by using proper procedures to confirm results. The state’s action wasn’t justified, he said. Adm. Giroir declined to say what enforcement action the federal government could take against Nevada, but said he expected the state to comply with the federal order.

Nearly 100 people died during the height of the coronavirus outbreak at the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home in April, more than 10 times the number in a typical month. Among those who died were 84-year-old Isabella Kovacs and 86-year-old Joan Williams. Their stories provide a window into what went wrong at the New Jersey facility. Photo: Shari Davis/Julie Diaz

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Nevada told nursing homes on Oct. 2 to stop using the rapid-testing equipment, citing concerns about false-positive results.

The federal government has been supplying equipment from

Quidel Corp.

and

Becton Dickinson

& Co. to about 14,000 nursing homes around the country, which can use the machines to fulfill a federal mandate to test staffers. They perform

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Trump administration discourages diversity hiring by contractors

WASHINGTON D.C. (KRON) – American companies promising to hire more Black employees in leadership roles and teach their workforce about racism are getting a message from President Donald Trump’s administration: Watch your step if you want to keep doing business with the federal government.

Trump’s Labor Department is using a 55-year-old presidential order spurred by the Civil Rights Movement to scrutinize companies like Microsoft and Wells Fargo over their public commitments to diversity. Government letters sent last week warned both companies against using “discriminatory practices” to meet their goals.

Microsoft has brushed off the warnings, publicly disclosing the government inquiry and defending its plan to boost Black leadership.

But advocates for corporate diversity initiatives worry that more cautious executives will halt or scale back efforts to make their workplaces more inclusive out of fear that a wrong step could jeopardize lucrative public contracts. The agency has oversight over the hiring practices of thousands of federal contractors that employ roughly a quarter of all American workers.

“For tech companies that don’t care about these issues, the pronouncements are a dog whistle that they can carry on discriminating the way they already have,” said Laszlo Bock, an executive who ran Google’s human resources division for more than a decade and now leads software startup Humu.

Bock said those who do care, however, will see Trump’s actions as political “sound and fury” that will be hard to enforce.

“It’s not at all illegal to strive to have a workforce that reflects the makeup of your nation,” Bock said.

Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 order was designed to “adjust the imbalances of hiring that are a legacy of our racist past,” said employment attorney and public contracting expert Daniel Abrahams.

“Trump is turning it around into an instrument of white grievances,” he added.

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Trump health official blasts Nevada after state ends use of rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes

A top official from the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday urged Nevada to reverse its decision to suspend the use of two rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes, saying there is no “scientific reason” to justify its action.



Brett Giroir wearing a suit and tie: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ADM Brett P. Giroir testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 23, 2020.


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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ADM Brett P. Giroir testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 23, 2020.

Nevada health officials have ordered nursing facilities in the state to immediately suspend the use of two tests, manufactured by companies Quidel and Becton, Dickinson and Co., after the officials said the tests repeatedly delivered false positives.

Nevada officials said 23 out of 39 positive antigen test results from both Quidel and BD were later found by PCR to be negative, according to a directive issued last week. That is an error rate of about 60%, according to the document.

Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary at HHS, said Friday that false positives are a “reality” of the testing ecosystem and are to be expected. Calling the Nevada action “unjustified,” Giroir said the federal agency has sent a letter to the state threatening to take “swift action and appropriate steps” if the decision is not reversed.

This is an “unwise, uninformed and unlawful” decision, Giroir said on a call with reporters. “Nevada’s letter unilaterally prohibiting these tests is in violation of HHS’s PREP Act guidance. Under federal law, Nevada may not prohibit or effectively prohibit such testing.”

He said Nevada’s action “reflects a basic lack of knowledge” about testing and interpreting results.

Video: White House is ‘irresponsible’ to block new FDA vaccine guidelines, doctor says (TODAY)

White House is ‘irresponsible’ to block new FDA vaccine guidelines, doctor

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Trump administration targets diversity hiring by contractors

American companies promising to hire more Black employees in leadership roles and teach their workforce about racism are getting a message from President Donald Trump’s administration: Watch your step if you want to keep doing business with the federal government.

Trump’s Labor Department is using a 55-year-old presidential order spurred by the Civil Rights Movement to scrutinize companies like Microsoft and Wells Fargo over their public commitments to diversity. Government letters sent last week warned both companies against using “discriminatory practices” to meet their goals.

Microsoft has brushed off the warnings, publicly disclosing the government inquiry and defending its plan to boost Black leadership.


But advocates for corporate diversity initiatives worry that more cautious executives will halt or scale back efforts to make their workplaces more inclusive out of fear that a wrong step could jeopardize lucrative public contracts. The agency has oversight over the hiring practices of thousands of federal contractors that employ roughly a quarter of all American workers.

“For tech companies that don’t care about these issues, the pronouncements are a dog whistle that they can carry on discriminating the way they already have,” said Laszlo Bock, an executive who ran Google’s human resources division for more than a decade and now leads software startup Humu.

Bock said those who do care, however, will see Trump’s actions as political “sound and fury” that will be hard to enforce.

“It’s not at all illegal to strive to have a workforce that reflects the makeup of your nation,” Bock said.

Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 order was designed to “adjust the imbalances of hiring that are a legacy of our racist past,” said employment attorney and public contracting expert Daniel Abrahams.

“Trump is turning it around into an instrument of white grievances,” he added.

The president has also

Continue Reading