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Senate Democrats voted unanimously against starting debate on a $1.8 trillion coronavirus aid package on Sunday, forcing lawmakers back to the drawing board as they look to reach a deal and try to combat the spread of the virus and as it continues to wreak havoc across the U.S. 

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.) had hoped to pass the monstrous legislation today, but any hopes of doing that were dashed when the Senate fell far short of hitting the 60-vote threshold in a 47-47 tally. The four congressional leaders met earlier Sunday with the hopes of striking a deal. Instead the opposite happened as McConnell was forced to push back his planned 3 p.m. vote to kick off debate by three hours, leading to the failed vote.

 

As Jordain Carney reports, Democratic senators said that the GOP bill included several “non-starters” and walked back areas of agreement, including expanding unemployment insurance, they thought they had reached with Republicans. This led to the entire Senate Democratic caucus voting against the package that would give relief to businesses and individual Americans. 

 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (D-N.Y.) pointed to the lack of “protections for workers” and said that it did not do enough to help the healthcare industry.

 

“The legislation has many problems,” Schumer said on the Senate floor after the vote. “At the top of the list, it included a large corporate bailout with no protections for workers and virtually no oversight. Also very troubling, the bill had significant shortfalls of money that our hospitals, states, cities and medical workers desperately needed. This is a public health crisis. It is inexplicable to skimp on funding to address the pandemic.”

 

Sunday evening’s vote left McConnell furious as he lambasted Senate Democrats for delaying relief for businesses and the multitude of industries being affected by the virus. Shortly before the vote, U.S. stock futures tumbled to open trading in response to the latest developments over the spread of the virus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell more than 900 points, or 5 percent, to hit their “limit down” level, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also down around 5 percent (CNBC).

 

“The notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and the American people is utterly absurd,” McConnell said, referring to the market futures. “The American people expect us to act tomorrow, and I want everybody to fully understand if we aren’t able to act tomorrow, it will be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dither when the country expects us to come together and address this problem.”

 

“I would say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, step up,” McConnell added. 

 

The GOP leader also panned Schumer and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.) for their decision “to play Russian roulette with the market,” especially after Schumer objected to McConnell holding a re-vote on the procedural motion this morning at 9:45 a.m. — 15 minutes after the markets open. The Senate will now convene at noon and hold the re-vote shortly after.

 

Republicans also argued that Democrats erred by voting against starting debate as the  bill being considered was a “shell bill,” a placeholder that the text of the stimulus legislation would have been swapped into and by no means the final product as a final agreement between McConnell, Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues On The Money: Senate Dems pump brakes on new stimulus checks | Trump officials sued over tax refunds | Fed to soon open small-business lending program Schumer slams Trump's Rose Garden briefing on China as 'pathetic' MORE remains at large.

 

The Washington Post: Senate falls far short of votes needed to advance coronavirus bill as clash between Republicans and Democrats intensifies.

 

The Hill: Coronavirus stimulus talks hit setback as crisis deepens.

 

The Associated Press: Asian shares, U.S. futures sink as virus crisis deepens.

 

Mnuchin met separately with the Senate leaders on Sunday night. His meeting with Schumer was their fourth of the day. On his way out of the Democratic leader’s office, Mnuchin told reporters after the final discussion that the sides are “this close,” pinching his thumb and index fingers together. Mnuchin and Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, are expected to be back on Capitol Hill to resume talks at 9 a.m (Roll Call).

 

In the House, Pelosi made clear on Sunday that House Democrats will write their own bill to address the fallout from the virus after the vote on Sunday went down in the Senate (Politico). 

 

The Sunday Shows: Mnuchin: Tentative coronavirus package will include an average of $3,000 to a family of four.

 

The Hill: Blame game heats up as Senate motion fails.

 

Hours ahead of the failed vote, the virus hit close to home when Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond senator tests positive for coronavirus antibodies Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks Tim Kaine tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-Ky.) became the first senator to test positive for COVID-19. The Kentucky Republican has not experienced any symptoms and was tested out of an abundance of caution after extensive travel and events. He was unaware of direct contact with anyone with a confirmed case.

 

Paul was on Capitol Hill to vote on Wednesday, having voted against the House-passed bill last week to give more than $100 billion to boost testing for the virus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers. He also was the lone Senate Republican to vote against phase one legislation to authorize $8.3 billion for an initial response to the coronavirus.

 

More recently, Paul was among the Senate Republicans to take part in lunches on Thursday and Friday with senators. According to CNN’s Phil Mattingly, multiple senators even saw Paul in the Senate gym and the Senate swimming pool on Sunday morning. 

 

After Paul’s news emerged, Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Coronavirus and America's economic miracle Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (R-Utah) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA MORE (R-Utah) began self-quarantining on the advice of the congressional physician’s office. This led to five Senate Republicans not being available at Sunday’s vote due to the virus, as Sens. Rick Scott (Fla.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation McConnell: Next coronavirus bill will be final COVID-19 package Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (Colo.) were already self-quarantining. The only other senator to miss Sunday’s vote was Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support The battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE (I-Vt.), who held a campaign event at 7 p.m. instead and was in Vermont.

 

Paul, a doctor, is one of three lawmakers to test positive, along with Reps. Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartHillicon Valley: Uber lays off 3,000 | FBI unlocks Pensacola shooter's phones | Lawmakers introduce bill restricting purchase of airline equipment from Chinese companies Bipartisan bill would restrict purchases of airport equipment from Chinese companies Red-state cities get cool reception from GOP on relief aid MORE (R-Fla.) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah).

 

According to the latest statistics, there are 35,224 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. The death toll sits at 471.

 

 

 



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LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS & STATES: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) pushed New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOcasio-Cortez rips de Blasio after police cruiser drives into crowd of protestors Cuomo calls Brooklyn clashes 'disturbing,' asks attorney general to review NYPD officer under investigation following video of female protester being shoved MORE (D) and other city leaders to further curb those flouting the social distancing recommendations, giving them 24 hours to come up with a plan to do so as the city and state have become a hotbed for the virus. 

 

Cuomo has already ordered all nonessential businesses to shutter temporarily and had impressed upon citizens the importance of remaining in their homes. However, some New Yorkers, most of whom are younger individuals, have been seen gathering in public places, including in parks and for pickup basketball, leading to Cuomo’s warning for the city. Cuomo gave de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson 24 hours to submit a plan and “correct this situation.”

 

“It has to stop, and it has to stop now,” Cuomo said. “This is not a joke” (The Wall Street Journal).

 

The warning came as the number of positive cases continues to rise at a steady rate. According to Cuomo at his Sunday press conference, the state has 15,168 confirmed cases of the virus, or 5 percent of the worldwide cases, and 114 deaths (The New York Times). The number of positive cases was up by 4,812 cases from Saturday. As of this morning, there are 10,764 confirmed cases in New York City. 

 

The New York Times: Coronavirus in New York City: Region is now an epicenter of the pandemic.

 

Cuomo and de Blasio continued to warn about the scarcity of medical supplies on Sunday, with the mayor saying that “people will die” if President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE does not act. However, the administration remained steadfast that New York and other states hit hard by the pandemic, including California and Washington, will get everything they need. 

 

“The resources that are being marshaled are going to be clearly directed to those hotspots that need it most. And clearly, that's California, Washington state, and obviously, New York is the most hard hit,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “So not only is New York trying to get resources themselves, but we're going to be pouring it in from the federal government.”

 

At Sunday’s press conference at the White House, the president announced that the National Guard has been activated in New York, California and Washington and that the federal government would provide additional resources to help those states combat the coronavirus. Trump said that various additional medical supplies would be shipped to those states in the coming days, while troops would help construct additional medical facilities at specified sites in each state. 

 

New York will receive four federal medical stations with 1,000 hospital beds, while California will receive eight medical stations with 2,000 beds and Washington will receive several stations and 1,000 beds (The Hill).

 

The Washington Post: Governors and mayors in growing uproar over Trump’s lagging coronavirus response.

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere, states continued to issue stay-at-home orders in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Among them were Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware, which join a host of states and big cities in doing so. 

 

“We haven't faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said in a statement. “We are at war. In the time of war, we have to make sacrifices, and I thank all of you for all you are doing, all you are refraining from doing.”

 

According to Reuters, roughly 1 out of 4 Americans is currently under a shelter-in-place directive or something similar.

 

Los Angeles Times: Despite coronavirus rules, beaches are still crowded. Santa Monica is now closing them.

 

The Associated Press: Virus mutes happy hours in senior haven, but golf goes on.

 

Time: Washington D.C. trying to keep crowds from cherry blossoms over COVID-19.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CORONAVIRUS & INTERNATIONAL: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took his latest step to combat the virus over the weekend and further tightened the lockdown of the country, ordering all businesses to close until April 3, save for those producing goods as part of the nation’s supply chain. 

 

The crackdown came as the number of confirmed cases and deaths continued to rise across the nation. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 59,000 cases and 5,476 deaths were confirmed. 

 

″We are facing the most serious crisis that the country has experienced since World War II,″ Conte said, adding that “only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed” (The Associated Press). 

 

According to Reuters, supermarkets, pharmacies, postal services and banks will remain open, along with essential public services such as transportation.

 

However, some are cautiously optimistic that the worst could be behind them as a country and that the trendline will move in a positive direction in the coming weeks. Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, noted that the increases had narrowed from recent days, while Giulio Gallera, health chief for the northern Lombardy region around Milan, said that the increase in new patients in the area on Sunday was about half of Saturday’s increase.

 

’’We hope that this trend can be confirmed in the coming days. We should not lower our guard,” Borrelli said (Yahoo! Finance). 

 

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel went into self-isolation on Sunday after learning that her doctor tested positive for the virus. Merkel’s office said in a statement that she went into isolation immediately after learning that the doctor who gave her a pneumonia vaccination on Friday was infected, and that she will be tested repeatedly in the coming days (The New York Times).

 

 

 

 

As the United Kingdom celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called upon Britons to not visit their mothers for tea or lunch and, instead, to video chat with them.

 

“Keep your mum safe. Stay at home,” Johnson said.

 

Just like in parts of the U.S., British doctors pleaded for an increase in protective equipment to help combat the virus and warned that front-line hospital workers could die if the rise in equipment is not met (The Associated Press). 

 

Across the globe, there are more than 341,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14,765 deaths as of this morning

 

CNN: Spain to extend coronavirus state of emergency as deaths soar.

 

The Associated Press: Jordan goes on virus lockdown as Iran’s death toll mounts.

 

However, despite the doom and gloom in the U.S., there were signs of positivity across the Pacific as Wuhan, the Chinese city that birthed the pandemic, did not report a single new or suspected case of the virus for a fourth consecutive day. Meanwhile, South Korea reported its lowest number of new cases of the virus on Monday since the country’s peak on Feb. 29 (Reuters).



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!



OPINION

A scarcity of life-saving resources during COVID-19 pandemic, by Monica Schoch-Spana, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2xVS51f 

 

How social distancing could ultimately teach us how to be less lonely, by Arthur C. Brooks, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2J9v2CI 



WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets for a pro forma session at 11:30 a.m. and may return to work this week.  

 

The Senate will convene at noon.

 

The president will have lunch with Vice President Pence at 12:30 p.m., and both will take part in a press briefing alongside the coronavirus task force at 5:30 p.m.

 

Catch The Hill’s Campaign Report newsletter, with the latest from The Hill’s politics team. Sign up to receive evening updates, polling data and insights about the 2020 elections.

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube



ELSEWHERE

Politics & Campaigns: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points Biden: 'We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us' MORE says he plans to start vetting potential running mates “in a matter of weeks” and is looking at a shortlist “in excess of six or seven people,” who he has said will be female. Biden made the remarks in a telefundraiser with donors on Sunday (Politico). Biden also said that he will begin broadcasting regular briefings about the coronavirus pandemic from his home in Delaware. According to the former VP, his campaign is installing a “new high-speed line” in his home and turning a recreation room into a television studio so he can broadcast from home at a time when government officials are asking people to stay indoors (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

Virus slayer: Columbia University’s David Ho, 67, is focusing his pioneering research drawn from battling HIV/AIDS on finding a vaccine and potential antibody treatment to combat COVID-19. His aim, along with a scientific team, is to create a single pill that could treat the new coronavirus and future contagions. “Surely there will be another one,” he says. “This is the third outbreak in two decades” (Bloomberg Businessweek).

 

Sports: The Summer Olympics in Tokyo this summer were thrown into further question on Sunday as Canada and Australia announced that it would not send its athletes to the games if they are not postponed for a full year. The nations joined a growing list of countries to push for a postponement, Canada becoming the first to threaten not sending its athletes to the games (ESPN). Adding fuel to the fire, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged Monday that the Olympics could be delayed. “If it’s difficult to proceed, then we must think about the athletes first and consider postponing,” Abe told Parliament. The International Olympic Committee is expected to announce a path forward in four weeks. The games are slated to start on July 24 (NBC News).



THE CLOSER

And finally … With the vast majority of Americans practicing social distancing, some families are looking to get by with a little help from their newly-adopted furry friends. 

 

According to The Washington Post, the demand for pets has skyrocketed as more Americans have become homebound, with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue saying that on a normal Sunday it would usually find homes for 15 rescue pups at an adoption event. These days, there’s a waiting list of 40 people looking for a new doggo to care for (up from 10).

 

“And we had 30 adoptions in three hours at that event alone,” said Mirah A. Horowitz, the group’s executive director. 

 

And it’s not just dogs (and cats). Individuals have also adopted fish and rabbits.