The Hill's 12:30 Report: Lawmakers near deal on stimulus

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Lawmakers near deal on coronavirus stimulus | Stocks surge | 2020 Olympics postponed one year | Trump faces criticism over daily briefings | Biden under pressure to be more visible during crisis | Trump, Pence to join Fox News virtual town hall | How Americans are helping each other during the outbreak



2021 is the new 2020:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced this morning that the International Olympic Committee will postpone this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo until the summer of 2021.

What this means: "[The change] will wreak havoc with sports schedules but should bring great relief to the athletes, organizers and health officials who had increasingly pressed that the coronavirus pandemic made it unsafe to go forward with the event."

Was this expected?: Organizers had insisted they were going ahead with preparations, even as countries expressed reluctance about sending athletes. Canada's Olympic Committee announced on Sunday its withdrawal from the 2020 games amid the pandemic. 


It's Tuesday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Trump and Pence are taking your questions:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE and Vice President Pence are participating in a Fox News virtual town hall to take questions about the coronavirus outbreak.

Timing: Pence is speaking now. Trump will join around 1 p.m. EDT. Livestream:



One of the only times where 'we're getting closer' during social distancing is actually a good thing:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHarris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting MORE (D-N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Trump downplays need for widespread testing before reopening economy On The Money: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | More than 6M file for jobless benefits | Fed launches T in economic relief | Dems, Mnuchin in talks over next aid deal MORE are getting close to a deal for an economic stimulus amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Follow along -- here's a livestream of the Senate today:



Stocks surged this morning as the Senate nears a stimulus deal.

The numbers: "The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 1,300 points, or 7.3 percent, while the S&P 500 increased 150, or 6.7 percent, in the opening minutes of trading." 



"Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump officials lay groundwork for May reopening The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans with COVID-19 immunity may lead US back to work Trump shakes up White House communications team MORE, the incoming chief of staff, joining Steven Mnuchin and Eric Ueland this morning in the Capitol as they meet with Senate leaders to close out the stimulus talks. Mnuchin said they spoke to [President] Trump this morning and hoped for a bipartisan deal today" (Via CNN's Manu Raju



Here's an interesting breakdown of what could happen, via Politico's Heather Caygle:



The president tweeted, "Republicans had a deal until Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls for investigation into reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in DHS custody Wisconsin highlights why states need a bipartisan plan that doesn't include Democrats federalizing elections Pelosi defends push for mail-in voting: GOP 'afraid' to let people vote MORE rode into town from her extended vacation. The Democrats want the Virus to win? They are asking for things that have nothing to do with our great workers or companies. They want Open Borders & Green New Deal. Republicans shouldn't agree!"



Have you been watching the briefings? What do you think about them?:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump's Coronavirus Task Force daily briefings are facing criticism from critics who are argue they are more harmful than helpful.

How so: "The daily briefings have seen Trump give misleading information, tangle with members of the media and go off on unrelated tangents. They have been conducted by the president and a rotating group of officials who have been in close physical proximity to each other-- a practice that is in defiance of the rules of social distancing that are aimed at blunting the spread of COVID-19."

For example: Trump said he may lift social distancing because of the economic impacts. "But lifting the policies too early would contravene the advice of health experts, who are worried that a flood of cases could be too much for the nation's hospitals to take." 



Remember Joe BidenJoe BidenSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' Biden joins calls to release racial breakdowns of coronavirus cases, deaths MORE? Remember the 2020 presidential race?:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Amy Parnes, "Former Vice President Joe Biden is under pressure to find new ways to command the spotlight amid criticism that he's cut too low of a profile as the coronavirus crisis has worsened."

Keep in mind: President Trump's approval ratings have risen amid the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Biden had not spoken on camera in almost a week until yesterday when he addressed the outbreak from his living. 

From a former Obama administration official: "You're constantly hearing about [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo and I know he's the governor of New York, but Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee. He needs to show his leadership."



Interesting description of what it's like to work in the emergency room right now: From Dr. Craig Spencer, Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at Columbia Medicine. It's worth reading:

Some hospitals are not allowing women in labor to have someone with them: "Women giving birth at two leading New York City hospital networks are being told they must labor without spouses, partners or doulas by their side -- leaving the expectant mothers anxious and frightened about their upcoming deliveries." The full story:



Penguins get to tour the aquarium!: I know I've shown you a video from this already, but this angle is even better. Watch:

A Maryland girl's birthday party was canceled so friends threw a parade for her:



The Hill put together a list of selfless deeds in the news amid the coronavirus outbreak. It's a good thing to check out:



Hahaha -- I think we need to get their mom on the air:





The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

10 a.m. EDT: The Senate met. The Senate's full schedule today:

10:30 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence held a call with conservative leaders.

2:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a call with educators to discuss the COVID-19 response.

3 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Situation Room.



Today: The Senate continues to work on a coronavirus stimulus package. Livestream:

Noon: Vice President Pence participates in a Fox News virtual town hall from the Rose Garden. Livestream:

1 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in the Fox News virtual town hall. Livestream:



Today is National Cheesesteak Day. It's also National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day.


And because you made it this far, here's a science experiment for you -- how many puppies can fit into this tub: