The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Trump, Pence tested, in more ways than one

             Presented by The American Investment Council

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Today is Tuesday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!



Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 79,528. Tuesday, 80,684.  

 

Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 now exceed 4 million.



President TrumpDonald John TrumpBarr criticizes DOJ in speech declaring all agency power 'is invested in the attorney general' Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report Powell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could 'scar and damage' economy MORE on Monday tried to contain the fallout of coronavirus infections within the walls of the White House, simultaneously projecting confidence about America’s readiness to reopen while implementing new protocols meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 among senior officials and staff members (The Hill).

 

The juxtaposition was on full display at a Rose Garden event in which nearly everyone but the president wore a mask and maintained social distance as a spring breeze ruffled a phalanx of flags. 

 

Two white banners hung near the Oval Office door declaring “America leads the world in testing.” Trump told reporters that virus testing resources have expanded, opening the door to a goal of 12.9 million tests by the end of May. “We have prevailed,” he said. “We have the best testing.” 

 

The administration’s coronavirus testing coordinator, Adm. Brett Giroir, said that “everybody who needs a test can get a test,” including those who have symptoms and those who have come in contact with individuals who have tested positive.

 

Inside the White House, those in direct contact with the president are tested for the virus daily, which is how Trump learned that two West Wing aides — one his military valet and another Vice President Pence’s press secretary —  tested positive for the coronavirus just since last week. A White House memo now directs anyone entering the West Wing to wear a mask.

 

Trump and Pence, who originally said they didn’t need to wear face coverings because they repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19, are now exposed to a different challenge: the risk that the coronavirus is moving through the West Wing and upending a narrative of reassurance to Americans and businesses to get back to work with faith in social distancing, thermometers, hand sanitizer and the availability of COVID-19 tests if symptoms emerge.

 

“I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” the president told a reporter. “We have a lot of people who work here, and one got it,” he said, as if U.S. workplaces of all types are not similarly crowded with “a lot of people coming in and out,” as he described his office.

 

Concerns among workers about health risks at a Philadelphia factory that manufactures personal protective equipment used by hospitals scuttled Trump’s plans to visit there last Friday (The Washington Post). He now plans to visit a different Pennsylvania distribution business on Thursday.

 

This morning, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump disputes CDC director on vaccine timing, says 'he made a mistake' Trump health officials grilled over reports of politics in COVID-19 response Biden says to trust scientists on COVID-19 vaccine, not Trump MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will warn the country via teleconference during a Senate hearing that Americans risk “needless suffering and death” if the country opens up too quickly (The New York Times). Fauci’s message, delivered to Congress in his first testimony since the coronavirus emergency began, will stand in stark contrast to Trump’s repeated encouragement to Americans to resume commercial and social activities they recall from before the pandemic began. “People learned a lot over the last two months,” the president said on Monday. “We are leaving it up to the governors.

 

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Trump is not credible on virus death tolls.

 

Personal precautions against infection have not prevented members of the House and Senate from contracting COVID-19 or coming in contact with others who have tested positive, forcing periods of self-quarantine and teleconference workarounds originating from lawmakers’ homes.    

 

On Capitol Hill, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep Coons beats back progressive Senate primary challenger in Delaware MORE (D-Md.) told Democratic lawmakers on a conference call that they could return Friday or next Tuesday to vote on the massive CARES 2 legislation that is expected to rival the original $2.2 trillion bill enacted in late March. 

 

According to one House Democrat, the call was “really light on specifics” about the pending legislation, although committee chairmen are expecting to walk through portions of a proposed measure today at length.

 

As legislation comes together, House Democrats are making individual plays to have their proposals included in the mammoth proposal. As Cristina Marcos reports, a group of moderates are calling on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPowell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could 'scar and damage' economy Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings MORE (D-Calif.) to include provisions that would automatically extend safety net programs, including enhanced unemployment insurance, Medicaid and food assistance through the end of next year. 

 

"In uncertain times, Congress can provide predictability to get our economy back on track by tying continued relief to economic triggers," wrote Democratic Reps. Scott PetersScott H. PetersModerate Democrats push leadership to pull marijuana legislation One doctor's thoughts on a hopeful future Pelosi axes idea of Saturday vote on additional COVID relief MORE (Calif.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district MORE (Va.), Colin Allred (Texas), Ed CaseEdward (Ed) CaseMORE (Hawaii), Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' US Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips wins primary MORE (Minn.), Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsRaces heat up for House leadership posts GOP leader says he doesn't want Chamber's endorsement: 'They have sold out' US Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats MORE (Kan.) and Kendra HornKendra Suzanne HornGOP leader says he doesn't want Chamber's endorsement: 'They have sold out' US Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats GOP women's group launches six-figure campaign for House candidate Bice MORE (Okla.). 

 

However, Republican lawmakers remain on their own timeline and do not seem fazed by the House push to vote on their bill in the coming days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden Hillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally MORE (R-Ky.) said Monday that he's in "constant communication" with the White House about the federal government's COVID-19 response but indicated that there is not yet a need for Congress to pass additional legislation (The Hill). 

 

“We're basically assessing what we've done already. I'm in constant communication with the White House, and if we decide to go forward, we'll go forward together,” McConnell told reporters. "I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don’t think it has yet.”

 

Pelosi criticized McConnell’s approach in an interview Tuesday night, telling MSNBC that hunger, rent and hardship do not “take a pause” (The Hill).

 

The Associated Press: Pelosi wants to go big on aid, but McConnell sees no urgency.

 

The Hill: GOP senator calls House coronavirus bill a “fairy tale.”

 

The New York Times: GOP split over state aid that could mostly go to Democratic strongholds.

 

The president said he wants the next coronavirus-related bill to include a payroll tax cut or perhaps additional direct payouts to Americans beyond the one-time payment that was included in the first, $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief measure enacted in March.

 

“We’re talking about that with a lot of different people,” Trump said. “I want to see a payroll tax cut. I want to see various things that we want. I want the workers to be taken care of, but we are talking about that. We’re negotiating with the Democrats. We’ll see what happens.”

 

The Hill: The eight key provisions expected in Democrats' next COVID-19 bill.

 

The Hill: A guide to current progress with potential COVID-19 vaccines.

 

The New Republic: With pandemic prevention and vaccine development, the United States used to be cutting edge. That was before privatization and Big Pharma.

 

 

 



SPONSORED CONTENT — THE AMERICAN INVESTMENT COUNCIL



LEADING THE DAY

STATE WATCH: No one’s going to protect your health but you,” New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew Cuomo44 percent of high earners have considered leaving New York City: poll Media's anti-Trump coronavirus spin has real consequences In defense of Trump's efforts to quell pandemic panic MORE (D) reminded New Yorkers while speaking Monday about the upcoming shift to a new reopening phase beginning on May 15 that will be regionally driven and approved locally under state-based guidelines that will ease restrictions upstate (The New York Times). State officials at all levels will determine how businesses, schools and public activities proceed by monitoring hospitalization and infection rates. Regional officials can ramp back activities if infections begin to spike or people’s COVID-19 precautions are insufficient, Cuomo said. 

 

Here’s a link to the plan, posted on Monday.

 

Nearly half of New Yorkers say they want the state’s “pause” restrictions to remain in place beyond May 15 (CBS6).

 

> Pennsylvania: Trump will visit the state on Thursday, stopping at a medical equipment distributor in the Lehigh Valley to speak about federal efforts to stockpile needed supplies during the pandemic (The Morning Call). 

 

Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is in a pitched battle with some counties in his state over the question of when to reopen, warning renegades on Monday that there will be "consequences" for county violators of his stay-at-home orders if they “reopen prematurely.”  Wolf has announced a reopening plan that shows 24 northern counties in a "yellow" phase of reopening as of last week, while an additional 13 counties in the western part of the state are set to enter the "yellow" phase on Friday. But some southern Pennsylvania counties, still in the "red," or most restrictive, phase of the governor’s plan, say they will soon start reopening.

 

Wolf tweeted that counties that do not comply could be blocked from receiving discretionary federal stimulus funds and said moving against his orders could lead to businesses being sued or losing state liquor licenses. 

 

"If your county reopens prematurely and you don’t feel comfortable returning to work, rest assured that the commonwealth will allow you to continue to receive unemployment compensation, even if your employer reopens," he advised employees in his state. "The dangers associated with #COVID19 may not be readily visible to all, but they are present. We are fighting a war that has taken the lives of too many people. And we’re winning. The politicians who are encouraging us to quit the fight are acting in a most cowardly way" (NBC News).

 

 

 

 

> Washington, D.C., region: Full service on the Metro subway and bus system that serves commuters in the nation’s capital, Northern Virginia and Maryland is unlikely to resume until next year (The Washington Post). 

 

The New York Times: Washington, the nation’s capital, moves to reopen. Washington, the city, is not ready.

 

> Illinois: Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and staff members are under stay-at-home orders after a senior aide who was asymptomatic tested positive for COVID-19 late last week. The governor has tested negative but will self-isolate at home as a precaution, as will all senior staff who were in contact with the colleague (Chicago Sun-Times). 

 

> Florida: Restaurants across parts of the Sunshine State opened their doors to dine-in customers for the first time in more than a month last weekend, showcasing variations in safety guidelines in the establishments (The Hill).

 

> New Hampshire: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu explains in an interview with The Hill how one small state stocked up on so much personal protective equipment that it ended up giving a massive donation to the federal government (The Hill).



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

INTERNATIONAL: European countries, including France on Monday, embraced gradual reopening with varied guidelines and strategies. The Associated Press published an update

 

> Russia: President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia: US trying to foment revolution in Belarus The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep US must demand equal access to Russian airwaves MORE on Monday in a national speech ordered COVID-19 restrictions eased, despite rising infections in Russia that have exceeded the tallies in Italy and the United Kingdom (Reuters). 

 

> Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands: Tourism has halted, decimating the economic foundation for 30,000 islanders, about 107 of whom have been infected with COVID-19 and are struggling to afford supplies and food without revenues. The exotic wildlife that Charles Darwin discovered in 1835, however, may see some temporary relief from the damage inflicted by hundreds of daily visitors (The Associated Press).

 

 

 

 

> Spain: COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Spain. Roughly half of the country’s 47 million people have shifted to looser restrictions and can resume socializing, shop in small stores and sit outdoors at restaurants. Its most populous cities, Madrid and Barcelona, remain under lockdown. Spanish hotels reopened with precautions — but also bleak financial prospects — because people aren’t allowed to travel outside their provinces and there are few flights from overseas (The Associated Press).

 

> Italy: Recovery from COVID-19 infection can take months among some of those sickened in Italy (The New York Times). 

 

> China: Wuhan reported its first cluster of five coronavirus infections since a lockdown was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns on Monday of a wider resurgence in the city in which COVID-19 is believed to have first infected humans (Reuters). … Shanghai Disneyland became the first Disney theme park to reopen on Monday as it welcomed reduced crowds but canceled attractions including parades and fireworks. Park employees and guests were mandated to wear masks and had their temperatures checked upon entrance (Reuters).

 

> India: India is considering allowing some domestic flights to resume on May 18 or earlier as the government looks to reopen a key part of the economy and provide relief to airlines, which haven’t been able to fly since March because of a nationwide lockdown, according Bloomberg News. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is in talks with airlines, travel agents and the federal home ministry.

 

> United Kingdom: The British government said in new guidance on Monday that Britons should wear face masks in indoor spaces where it is difficult to take part in social distancing. The decision comes after months of questions across the United Kingdom over whether to wear them, which the government has not mandated. 

 

“Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances,” the government’s rebuilding plan said. “Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically” (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

Coronavirus could finally shake up executive pay, by Clara Ferreira Marques, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/2SY1TiW 

 

Medical lockdown will cause a disease surge, by Jeff LeBenger and Mike Meyer, opinion contributors, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3fCu5BH 



SPONSORED CONTENT — THE AMERICAN INVESTMENT COUNCIL

Private equity backed company Signify Health is answering the call to serve. Learn how they are using homecare to safely extend COVID-19 testing to vulnerable people.


Learn more at www.investmentcouncil.org/coronavirus

 



WHERE AND WHEN

The House will convene in a pro forma session at noon. The full House could return Friday or early next week to consider the next coronavirus package. 

 

The Senate meets at 10:30 a.m. and will resume consideration of Brian Montgomery’s nomination to be deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing (partially via teleconference) at 10 a.m. regarding COVID-19 responses.

 

The president will receive his intelligence briefing at noon in the Oval Office. Trump will meet with GOP senators in the Cabinet Room at 4 p.m. (social distancing has not been a common practice to date in the Cabinet Room, which makes the gathering all the more interesting).

  

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its report on the U.S. consumer price index for April at 8:30 a.m.

 

The Coronavirus Report, presented by The Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons, has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!

 

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

➔ Supreme Court: Justices will hear back-to-back arguments on Tuesday via phone and livestream about Trump's efforts to block his banks and accountants from complying with subpoenas to disclose his financial information. The court's rulings could determine whether the president's tax returns become public and whether he faces an accelerated criminal investigation in New York. It will pose one of the toughest tests yet for Chief Justice John Roberts's court, forcing it to navigate politically polarizing and constitutionally weighty issues less than six months before the presidential election (The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Hill). … The Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday in a case that could decide whether states have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian reservations (The Hill). … And Justices will hear arguments on Monday over whether religious schools are immune to lawsuits such as employer discrimination claims (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

Politics: The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee narrowly outraised former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates Senate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden National postal mail handlers union endorses Biden MORE’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee in April, taking in $61.7 million, compared with $60.5 million for the presumptive Democratic nominee (The Hill). … The Washington Post: Democrats move to allow remote voting or a virtual summer convention. … Democrats could be on the verge of losing a key swing seat later tonight in California’s 25th Congressional District to replace former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObama counsels NBA players on forming a social justice committee Republicans cast Trump as best choice for women House GOP campaign chairman insists party will win back majority MORE (D-Calif.). Republican Mike Garcia will face Democrat Christy Smith, and while public polling has been hard to come by, Democrats have been left scrambling to salvage a win tonight in what will likely be a down-to-the-wire contest (The Hill).

 

Sports: Major League Baseball (MLB) owners approved a proposal that Commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) that would start the season in July at teams’ home stadiums. MLB and the MLBPA are set to meet today to negotiate a return to the field (ESPN). … The American Hockey League, the top U.S. minor hockey league, announced Monday the cancellation of the rest of the season and the playoffs for the first time since the league’s inception in 1936 (The Associated Press). 

 

> Media: ABC News’s Jonathan Karl and Fox News’s John Roberts, both White House correspondents, got into a twitter spat on Monday about, well, masks and social distancing (The Hill). (Karl is the current president of the White House Correspondents Association.)



THE CLOSER

And finally … New York Yankees player, manager and coach Yogi Berra was born on this day in 1925 in St. Louis, Mo., and died at age 90 in 2015 in New Jersey, 69 years to the day after his MLB debut. The son of Italian immigrants, Pietro and Paulina Berra, he dropped out of school after the eighth grade and began working to help his family.

 

Christened Lawrence Peter Berra, he received the nickname "Yogi" from a friend who thought he resembled a yogi from India when he sat, arms and legs crossed, while waiting to bat. 

 

Berra-isms, some of which he never uttered, live on. Or as he put it, “I never said some of the things I said.”

 

They’re too good to check, so here are 10 reminders from Berra to start the day (USA Today).

  • Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.
  • The future ain’t what it used to be.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.
  • You can observe a lot by just watching.
  • It ain’t over till it’s over.
  • We have deep depth.
  • It’s like déjà vu all over again.
  • A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
  • All pitchers are liars or crybabies.