Mississippi welfare scandal: Ex-Gov. Bryant threatens to sue “Mississippi Today”, demands apologies for coverage – National & International News – FRI 19May2023

NEMiss.News Favre, Reeves & Bryant



Mississippi welfare scandal: Ex-Gov. Bryant threatens to sue Mississippi Today, demands apologies for coverage.

Debt ceiling crisis: GOP “pause” talks, at an “impasse”.



Mississippi welfare scandal: Ex-Gov. Bryant threatens to sue Mississippi Today, demands apologies for coverage

Last week, journalist Anna Wolfe of Mississippi Today won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the $77 million TANF welfare scandal. Just days later, ex-Gov. Phil Bryant threatened to sue the publication for defamation over remarks made by Mississippi Today CEO Mary Margaret White at a conference in February.

Bryant alleged that White had accused him of criminal conduct in the TANF scandal. While others have been criminally charged in the scandal, Bryant has not. By Mississippi law, once a plaintiff announces a defamation suit, a news organization has 10 days to retract, correct or apologize before the suit goes forward. White has now apologized for her comments and the video containing the comments has been removed from the website.

Bryant has also demanded apologies from Anna Wolfe and Mississippi Today’s executive editor Adam Ganucheau. Neither Wolfe nor Ganucheau has apologized. 

The reporting that won Wolfe her Pulitzer includes texts between ex-Gov. Bryant and former NFL player Brett Favre. These texts and other reporting from Mississippi Today and other outlets suggest Bryant was personally involved in the scheme to divert federal funds from TANF, which stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF is meant to provide temporary cash assistance to the poorest Mississippi families. However, in just one instance of malfeasance, TANF funds were used to build a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi (at Favre’s request). Despite the texts, Bryant denies any wrongdoing.

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Debt ceiling crisis: GOP “pause” talks, at an “impasse”

The clock continues ticking down to an unprecedented default of US debt in early June. Talks at the White House between Pres. Biden and Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy have reportedly reached an impasse.

McCarthy is still demanding steep budget cuts, including new work requirements for older beneficiaries of SNAP (food stamps). When work requirements have been imposed on food stamp recipients in the past, it has not decreased unemployment among recipients since they typically face other barriers to work. Instead, the requirement simply ended up penalizing the people who SNAP is supposed to help.

Senate Democrats say the work requirements proposal are a non-starter. Democrats instead are calling on Biden to do a Constitutional end-run around McCarthy and the Republicans using the 14th Amendment. The Public Debt Clause of the 14th Amendment states that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned”. Critics of this approach say that invoking the Amendment in this way would be unprecedented, but then so would a default. A protracted default could potentially cost the US over 8 million jobs and wipe out $10 trillion in wealth by US households.

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