The Hill’s Morning Report – Capitol Hill weighs action on racial justice as protests carry on
Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday. 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 110,514.
“Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognize that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.” — Nelson Mandela, 2005
Washington, D.C., over the weekend saw the largest demonstrations since George Floyd’s death, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus today want to demonstrate that calls for police reforms and racial justice have been heard in the Capitol.
Two weeks after Floyd’s death and a day ahead of his burial in Houston, House members plan to unveil a sweeping measure that would ban police chokeholds and racial profiling, require nationwide use of body cameras, subject police to civilian review boards, and impose protocols on police to limit lethal force and require officers to intervene if they witness police misconduct.
The legislation, supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), also is expected to establish a national database for acts of police misconduct.
Reuters: Democrats are set to introduce legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice, including making it easier to sue officers who kill.
Axios: The House plans dramatic action on police reform.
The Washington Post: Protesters hope this is a moment of reckoning for American policing.
The Washington Post: 1,043 people have been shot and killed by police in the last year (“Fatal Force” database).
NPR: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), co-sponsor of the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” wants to end qualified immunity for police officers.
The nation is embroiled in tumultuous conversation about ways to end racial bias and police violence, alleviate economic inequality, and defend government institutions strained by political divisions.
According to The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, today’s House measure — centered around criminal justice reform — will also tackle racial disparities well outside the realm of law enforcement, delving into issues such as health care, education and environmental justice.
Republicans in Congress say they’re open to legislative ideas to deal with policing, but an additional $1 trillion COVID-19 response measure this summer has less momentum within the GOP ranks. Friday’s report that unemployment in May was not as bleak as almost every economist had predicted has complicated Democrats’ push for more stimulus spending. Republicans had previously floated a $1 trillion bill but conservatives oppose $3 trillion passed last month by House Democrats (The Hill).
“They are less than urgent, less than inclined for another package,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) told The Associated Press over the weekend. “There is less urgency to go strike a hard deal — and this one would be a hard deal. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, I just think the urgency is far lessened.”
Nevertheless, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Saturday told Fox News there will “definitely” be another stimulus package, one day after the Labor Department reported that 2.5 million jobs were added to the economy in May (Forbes).
Adding to the fallout from the Black Lives Matter protests, particularly in the nation’s capital, is a brewing battle over the annual defense bill prompted by the administration’s response to the demonstrations. The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel reports that some Democrats have argued to “defund” the use of the military to quell domestic protests, amend the Insurrection Act and end a program that provides surplus military equipment to police, all through offering amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The new push sets the stage for conflict when the Senate Armed Services Committee considers the NDAA this coming week, with the full chamber set to take it up later this month.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said on Sunday that her rebukes of President Trump and the Pentagon are not “a spat.”
“We’re not engaged in a fight. But we are engaged in a defense of our city,” she said on ”Fox News Sunday”. “What we saw last week was basically an invasion of our city. Active-duty Army troops moved from all points of the country to threaten our autonomy.”
CNN: Trump considering an address to the nation this week about race and unity.
The Hill: Floyd’s brother is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Star Tribune: Most of Minneapolis City Council pledges to “begin the process of ending” its police department.
Tom Rogan: Police disbandment, Churchill disfigurement, or how to lose a great idea in two days.
The Associated Press: Minneapolis bans police chokeholds in wake of Floyd’s death.
The Associated Press: Duty to intervene: Police officers at Floyd’s arrest spoke up but didn’t step in.
The Associated Press: Anti-racism protesters rally around the world.
The Washington Post: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), marching with evangelicals, becomes first GOP senator to join protests in D.C.
The Hill: GOP’s Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst.
Washington, D.C., demonstrators over the weekend turned protective fencing installed around the White House last week into a colorful exhibition of signs, placards, messages and memorials (video HERE).
LEADING THE DAY
2020 POLITICS: Former Vice President Joe Biden officially became the Democratic standard-bearer over the weekend, surpassing the requisite 1,991 delegates and moving into a new phase of the campaign with less than five months to go before Election Day.
The Hill: Today, Biden to meet with the Floyd family in Houston.
With Biden’s campaign on the ascendency in polls nationally and in a number of key battleground states, The Hill’s Amie Parnes writes that he must figure out how to run as the clear front-runner. While Biden leads today, there is still tons of time between now and November, and myriad twists and turns are expected, with Friday’s unexpectedly positive jobs report serving as a prime example.
With Biden sitting on the pole, the president will slide into a familiar position as the underdog, having served in the role throughout the 2016 general election. Trump’s reelection team also has a significant financial advantage, having created a fundraising juggernaut for much of the past year while Biden started raising significant dollars only after Super Tuesday.
“If the election were held tomorrow, it would be a bloodbath. But there are about 150 tomorrows left,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton.
Politico: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a former prosecutor and a VP contender on Biden’s list — seized the moment on race and police reform.
> Money: On the 2020 map, Trump’s reelection effort is spending money to defend Ohio, a state the president won handily in 2016 but had been decided by the narrowest of margins in past elections, as it is suddenly up for grabs this year. As Jonathan Easley writes, the decision to devote financial resources to the Buckeye State underscores the president’s weakened polling position, with a recent Fox News poll showing Biden leading by 2 points.
The spending in Ohio is part of a trend on the campaign’s part as it uses its financial might in an attempt to shore up states that were easily in the president’s column four years ago. The campaign is also spending in Iowa and Arizona, states Trump won by 9 and 3 points, respectively.
The Washington Post: Stung by crises, the brander in chief searches for a reelection message.
Detroit Free Press: Biden doubles lead over Trump in Michigan, poll says.
> Anti-Trump Republicans: The former vice president was the recipient of a high-profile endorsement on Sunday as former Secretary of State Colin Powell threw his weight behind his campaign. Powell, who backed former President Obama in 2008 and 2012, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump has not been “effective” as president and “lies all the time.”
“I certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year,” Powell said, adding that he is “very close to Joe Biden. … He is now the candidate, and I’ll be voting for him. … I didn’t vote for [Trump in 2016]. The situation … has gotten worse.”
The Hill’s roundup of Sunday Shows: Powell “cannot in any way support” Trump, will vote for Biden.
Jonathan Martin, The New York Times: Vote for Trump? These Republican leaders aren’t on the bandwagon.
The Hill: Trump fires back at Powell for saying he’d vote for Biden.
The Hill: Republicans fear Trump may cost them the Senate.
The Hill: Turnout surges after states expand mail-in voting.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
CORONAVIRUS: The Hill this morning has an exclusive investigation by Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack and Rachel Bucchino, titled “Where was Congress?,” about the coronavirus pandemic. Find the reporting HERE.
State watch: New York City, the epicenter of COVID-19 since March, will begin reopening today, with thousands of New Yorkers and tri-state residents expected to resume jobs and movement around the city after months of struggles from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to The New York Times, roughly 400,000 workers will head back to construction and manufacturing sites and retail stores. The return to places of employment is a far cry from months ago when the city reeled from 800 coronavirus fatalities per day. In total, it has been hit with more than 205,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 22,000 people have died from the pathogen in the nation’s largest city.
In recent weeks, the rest of New York state has started to reopen, with most of upstate moving to a second phase, which allows most stores, offices and hair salons to open.
On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) lifted a curfew imposed after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests.
Megan McArdle: Cities will make a comeback after the coronavirus. They almost always do.
> International: Fatalities worldwide from COVID-19 exceeded 400,000 this morning, compared with more than 7 million reported infections. But some good news: New Zealand has no known cases of coronavirus for the first times since February (The Associated Press).
Bad news: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly clashed with public health experts, decided to end updates of the number of deaths and infections in the hard-hit country.
Pope Francis urges global caution about ending stay-at-home orders (Reuters).
In France, the government announced it will ease restrictions limiting travel from the French mainland to overseas territories in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean beginning on Tuesday. Spain is allowing Madrid and Barcelona to open the interiors of restaurants with reduced seating today. In Turkey, Istanbul residents flocked to the city’s shores and parks on the first weekend with no lockdown, prompting a reprimand from the health minister. Russia reported nearly 9,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, roughly in line with numbers reported over the past week.
Pakistan nears 100,000 confirmed infections as medical professionals plead for more controls and greater enforcement of social distancing directives. But Prime Minister Imran Khan said a full shutdown would devastate a failing economy.
India confirmed 9,971 new coronavirus cases in another biggest single-day spike, a day before it prepares to reopen shopping malls, hotels and religious places after a 10-week lockdown.
China has reported its first non-imported case in two weeks, an infected person on the island of Hainan off the southern coast (The Associated Press).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
Bonfire of Trump’s vanity, by Maureen Dowd, columnist, The New York Times.https://nyti.ms/3cB2SwE
How businesses can keep employees safe from coronavirus, by Scott Gottlieb and Lauren Silvis, opinion contributors, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3f0o4h7
WHERE AND WHEN
The House will meet for a pro forma session at 9 a.m.
The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. to consider a motion to proceed to the Great American Outdoors Act.
The president has lunch with Vice President Pence at 1 p.m., and will host a discussion with law enforcement representatives at the White House at 3 p.m.
The vice president celebrated his 61st birthday on Sunday. He was interviewed on Fox’s “Watters’ World” over the weekend, taking aim at his VP predecessor. “We see in Joe Biden a willingness to align himself with people that are rioting on the streets, destroying the property and livelihoods, claiming the lives of innocent civilians and law enforcement officers, and yet not speaking a word on behalf of those that have been victims,” Pence said. “It’s all a part of the predictable, divisive politics of the American left.” Today, the vice president leads a video teleconference about COVID-19 with governors at 11 a.m., has lunch with Trump at 1 p.m. and joins a 3 p.m. discussion with Trump and law enforcers gathered in the State Dining Room.
The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress hosts a virtual discussion at 11 a.m. with Washington Post columnist and author David Ignatius, who has a new CIA thriller out in bookstores, interviewed by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), now an intelligence and technology consultant, academic fellow, and corporate board member.
➔ News media & publishing: The New York Times announced Sunday that editorial page editor James Bennet resigned after the company published a controversial op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). It called for U.S. military intervention to respond to public protests in the wake of Floyd’s killing. Cotton’s commentary and its publication by the Times sparked backlash within the newspaper’s editorial staff and among outspoken progressives. Publisher A.G. Sulzberger on Sunday said there was a “significant breakdown” of editorial processes tied to the commentary — not the first flashpoint during Bennet’s tenure. A former White House reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief for the Times, Bennet returned to the paper in 2016 to enliven the opinions page after serving for a decade as editor-in-chief at The Atlantic. Katie Kingsbury, who joined the Times in 2017, was named on Sunday as acting editorial page editor through the general election. The Times also announced that James Dao, deputy editorial page editor, is stepping off the masthead and is being reassigned to the newsroom (The Hill). … Former White House national security adviser John Bolton plans to publish on June 23 a critical behind-the-scenes account of his time serving Trump and the administration without formal sign-off from the government (The Washington Post).
➔ Supreme Court: There are seven significant Supreme Court decisions ahead before the term ends, including high-profile fights over abortion, Electoral College procedures, LGBT rights in the workplace, the deportation status of nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants and Trump’s tax returns (The Hill).
➔ Up and away: The airline industry is soaring back to life (The Hill). … Airlines’ mask policies are spottily enforced (The New York Times). … Airlines say it’s safe to fly, but is it? (The New York Times).
➔ Seeing aliens of the deep: Scientists know more about the surface of Mars than about life in the black depths of the planet’s oceans, which is why they get excited about high-tech images of underwater life we’ve never seen. Off Western Australia recently, scientists filmed a gelatinous type of creature known as a siphonophore whose length was estimated at 150 feet — potentially the world’s longest example of oceanic life. On June 3, a study in the scientific journal described an imaging device for studying the oceans’ translucent creatures developed by a team of seven scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. The device emits a thin fan of laser light that scans through the animals, gathers backscattered rays from the inner flows and tissues, and feeds data into a computer that visually reconstructs the living organisms in subtle detail (The New York Times has 3D video reconstruction of a giant larvacean).
And finally… We want to flag two “good deeds” articles to start the week! First, CNN has an inspiring report about a New Jersey man whose livelihood was put on hold during coronavirus stay-at-home orders. His second job, delivering newspapers, inspired him and his 24-year-old daughter to create a free delivery service to help senior citizens along his paper route get groceries they sorely needed.
Greg Dailey, 50, of East Windsor, N.J., became a lifeline for 120 senior citizens who can’t or shouldn’t venture out because of COVID-19. Dailey and his daughter, Erin, have made more than 500 trips to grocery stores, as personal shoppers who deliver items on seniors’ shopping lists. They get five to 10 orders a day.
Dailey was recently approached by Love-A-Senior, a Florida-based organization, and he now plans to help establish a New Jersey chapter of the group. He wants the seniors he currently supports to remain a part of his life beyond the pandemic. “Everything’s been from a distance, but I’ve become very fond of a number of them,” Dailey said. “There’s a bond that’s been created. … I honestly can’t wait to give these people a hug.”
Our second uplifting report comes via WeRateDogs (@dogs_rates), the wildly popular Twitter account, which last week featured black-owned dog businesses (Boogie the Pug). That thread was a huge marketing plus for many of the owners, including a shop created by Sir Darius Brown, a 13-year-old who sews and donates bow ties for shelter dogs so they can look great in photographs that might link them to adoptive homes. He also sells the bow ties and donates a portion of proceeds to the ASPCA. Last week’s Twitter mention led to an instant backlog of orders, and lots of goodwill for Brown and the stray animals he works hard to save.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.