The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington nears coronavirus relief deal

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington nears coronavirus relief deal
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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically. 

The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Schumer predicts Senate will vote on coronavirus bill today | Says leaders reached a deal after midnight | House considers remote voting | National Spelling Bee canceled | Chris CuomoChris CuomoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Chris Cuomo criticized for hypocrisy after he says he won't cover brother's controversy The Memo: Cuomo's fall raises questions for media MORE leaves his basement after COVID-19 quarantine | Llamas will crash Zoom meetings for less than $100



You better believe it:

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerA Biden stumble on China? First Black secretary of Senate sworn in Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE (D-N.Y.) said that he believes the Senate could vote on a coronavirus stimulus deal by the end of the day. https://bit.ly/3cApMEF

To the tapes!: In an interview on CNN this morning, Schumer said, “I think we will be able to pass this today … There are still a few more i’s to dot and t’s to cross but we have a deal.” 

How leaders reached a deal: Schumer said he, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinBiden brings back bipartisan meetings at the White House On The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears Mnuchin expected to launch investment fund seeking backing from Persian Gulf region: report MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE came to an agreement after midnight last night. “Staff was up all night writing,” Schumer said. 

Watch Schumer describe the negotiation process last nighthttps://cnn.it/2XUvHQQ

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 cmartel@thehill.com  — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Trump puts immigration on hold:

President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE announced last night that he will temporarily halt immigration into the United States through an executive order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Details — much is still unclear: “It's unclear if Trump made other nations aware of the decision before tweeting it out, but his past attempts to clamp down on immigration have led to chaos abroad and at U.S. airports. Trump's tweet also did not provide details on when the suspension would go into effect or how long it would last.” 

Why the timing of the announcement is important: Just a few hours before the announcement, Trump “was speaking optimistically about the ability of certain states to begin reopening their economies despite the threat of the virus.” 

Trump’s announcement on Twitter: The president tweeted, “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” https://bit.ly/3cFpUTh


From Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroState Department establishes chief officer in charge of diversity Texas governor faces criticism over handling of winter storm fallout DC bureau chief for The Intercept: Impeachment managers became 'like the dog who caught the car' when permitted to call witnesses MORE (D-Texas), the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus: "This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda. We must come together to reject his division.” https://bit.ly/2yvN2Fi

From Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate confirms Rouse as Biden's top economist Scarborough tears into 'Ivy League brats' Cruz, Hawley for attacking 'elites' Judiciary Committee greenlights Garland's AG nomination MORE (R-Ark.): "22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month because of the China virus. Let’s help them get back to work before we import more foreigners to compete for their jobs.” https://bit.ly/34TJk4g

Some context from NBC’s White House correspondent Geoff Bennett: “Immigration was already functionally shut down. The WH had closed the U.S.-Canada border and started deporting asylum-seekers without due process. International air travel has largely been suspended. Formalizing it serves as a simple way for Trump to rile up his base.” https://bit.ly/2VpOVw3


The National Spelling Bee is canceled:

Via The Associated Press’s Ben Nuckols, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is canceled this year for the first time since World War II. https://bit.ly/34QSiiT 

What about eight graders?: This decision “means kids who are in eighth grade this year will miss their final opportunity to compete in the national finals. Scripps will not change eligibility requirements for next year’s bee.”  

Dates for the next bee: June 1-3, 2021


Remote voting could actually happen:

Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos, the House is expected to vote this week to allow members to vote remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. https://bit.ly/2Km5Jhp

How it would work: “House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse plans for immigration bills add uncertainty on Biden proposal This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package MORE (D-Md.) announced late Monday that a vote is planned on proxy voting, which would allow an absent member to authorize another member physically present in the chamber to cast a vote on his or her behalf.”  

Why proxy voting as the alternative: “House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) made a recommendation last week that allowing proxy voting would be the easiest way to allow a form of remote voting without the kind of extensive security testing that electronic technologies would require.”

Where the coronavirus payments stand — lotsa confusion:

Via The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda, tens of millions of Americans are still waiting for their $1,200 economic stimulus checks, causing confusion and frustration. https://bit.ly/2zkuk3N 

Who has received the payment so far: The IRS deposited funds for 80 million people who have direct deposit set up for their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. https://bit.ly/3evxSQQ 

Even some with direct deposit set up have not received the stimulus: “A Treasury Department spokeswoman said that as of Thursday, about 1 percent of the direct deposit payments had been rejected by banks. It’s possible more could be rejected this week.”  

The impressive part: “[Experts have] said they have been impressed by how quickly the IRS started disbursing payments, even with a number of challenges including budget cuts over the past decade, antiquated technology and many IRS employees needing to work remotely during the pandemic.” 

What we knowhttps://bit.ly/2zkuk3N


Well, I’m not sleeping tonight:

Here is a video of protests against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) stay-at-home order. 



More photos from the protesthttps://bit.ly/2xMyC3v

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is out of his basement:





The House and Senate are out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is in Madison, Wis. for the day. 

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence left for Madison, Wis. 

1:40 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence tours the GE Healthcare Manufacturing Facility.

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoMajority of New York voters say Cuomo should not be reelected: poll Gillibrand: Cuomo allegations 'completely unacceptable' NY lawmakers agree to strip Cuomo of pandemic-related emergency powers MORE (D) in the Oval Office.

5:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence lands in Washington, D.C. 

Wednesday: Earth Day. Op-ed: https://bit.ly/2XTbqLz


10:30 a.m. EDT: The House’s pro forma session. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/3bqZ1Td 

2:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a roundtable with GE Healthcare employees. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2XTcWNN

4 p.m. EDT: The Senate’s pro forma session. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/3anfwyh 

5 p.m. EDT: The White House Coronavirus Task Force holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2XPPvFb


Today is National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day.

You can arrange for a llama to attend your Zoom meeting — Take my money.:

Via Business Insider’s Paige Leskin, “for less than $100, you can request a cameo appearance in your video chat from Sweet Farm's llamas, goats, and other farm animals.” Detailshttps://bit.ly/2Y0vs6K

And to brighten your Tuesday afternoon, here’s a puppy-to-baby ratio that is just a bit off: https://bit.ly/2xN35hU