The Hill's Morning Report - Dems, GOP already headed in different directions on policing reforms




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It 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 110,514. Tuesday, 111,007.


The global coronavirus caseload is now more than 7 million. The pandemic may be worsening.

Congressional Democrats rolled out sprawling reforms on Monday in an effort to combat racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests in many major cities, including the nation’s capital. 


The Justice in Policing Act, crafted by Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) leaders, aims to rein in the use of excessive force by law enforcement, particularly aggressive targeting of blacks and other minorities. The legislation would also institute a federal ban on chokeholds, mandate the use of body cams on police officers nationwide, ban military-style weapons for officers and create a database to disclose names of officers with career histories of abuse. 


Overall, if enacted, the Democrats’ measure would serve as the most aggressive check on law enforcement in decades.


“When George Floyd called out for his mother, when he was subjected to that knee in the neck, it was just a continuation of some horror that has existed in our country for a very long time,” said Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet New postmaster general overhauls USPS leadership amid probe into mail delays MORE (D-Calif.), who announced the legislation alongside Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPostal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period A three-trillion dollar stimulus, but Charles Schumer for renewable energy — leading businesses want to change that Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production MORE (D-N.Y.) and members of the CBC after kneeling (pictured above) to honor Floyd. The lawmakers wore African kente cloth around their necks.


As the Democratic proposal arrived, the party was grappling with how to handle progressive cries to “defund the police,” a term Republicans are wielding to draw sharp political contrasts with Democrats. Aware of voter support for law enforcement, Democratic leaders, headed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home without a Black woman being VP' MORE, quickly detoured to a new message.


Fortune: “Defund the police” is shorthand among activists for divesting money from local and state police budgets and reinvesting it in communities, mental health services and social service programs. The phrase gives politicians a lot of wiggle room.


Biden told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell on Monday that he does not support defunding police departments. His campaign issued a statement Monday evening saying the former VP “fully supports” provisions in the bill proposed by the 50-member CBC (CBS News).


"No, I don't support defunding the police," Biden said. "I support conditioning federal aid to police, based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community."


The Hill: Some Democrats worry talk of defunding police around the country could hand President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE a political cudgel to try to undercut Democratic candidates.


The New York Times: Biden walks a cautious line as he opposes defunding the police.


On Monday, Biden met privately with Floyd’s family in Houston ahead of Tuesday’s funeral and agreed with Floyd's daughter that her father would “change the world.”


Niall Stanage: New Jersey state police under scrutiny after killing of black man.


The Hill: Trump and allies go on the attack over the push to defund police.


Fox News: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal Pelosi, Schumer say White House declined T coronavirus deal COVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance MORE (R-Ky.) lost no time on Monday in condemning the “defund” rhetoric circulating among some progressives. Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said, “We’re already seeing outlandish calls — ‘defund the police,’ ‘abolish the police,’ — take root within the left-wing leadership class.” 


The Associated Press: Thousands mourn Floyd in Texas ahead of his Houston funeral and burial today amid calls for police reform.


The Associated Press: The Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death is held on $1 million bail.


Reuters: IBM, in a letter to Congress, calls for enactment of police reforms, says company is exiting the facial recognition business.


The Wall Street Journal: Social activism among workers seeking justice, diversity moves deeper into the workplace.


The Associated Press: New York lawmakers set to lift the veil on police disciplinary files.


The Washington Post video: A timeline and 12 minutes of images and audio appear to contradict federal explanations about law enforcement techniques used to clear protesters on June 1 so Trump could walk from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op. 


The Associated Press: France announced on Monday it will now bar the use of police chokeholds. Floyd’s death in the United States put the government of President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrance to require coronavirus tests for those entering the country from US EU leaders reach trillion deal on coronavirus recovery package Fire engulfs Nantes Cathedral in France, prompting an arson investigation MORE under increasing pressure from the French public to address accusations of brutality and racism by French police.





2020 POLITICS: The Trump campaign is planning to resume holding its trademark rallies in the next two weeks as states push forward with reopenings and as the president starts holding in-person events once again.


According to The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, details of the rallies, including the locations and safety protocols, have not been decided. The decision comes more than three months after Trump held his last rally on March 2 in Charlotte, N.C., only days and weeks before most states issued stay-at-home orders and the campaigns shifted to a virtual setting. 


In May, the president began resuming official trips, with stops in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine, and in Florida for the recent SpaceX launch. Earlier last month, Trump sounded pessimistic about the return of rallies until later in the campaign cycle, telling Fox News during a town hall at the Lincoln Memorial that he was hopeful to hold them “in the last couple of months” before Election Day.


“I don’t think we can have a rally with an empty stadium — with nobody in there,” Trump said. “In other words, you know, you may be able to pull it off with baseball or football or boxing or basketball. You can’t pull off a rally. … It wouldn’t work out too well. So hopefully we’ll be able to do rallies in the last couple of months” (Politico).


While the president has stayed off the campaign trail for more than three months, he was a constant presence thanks to his press events, headlined by the coronavirus task force briefings that were ultimately halted as his poll numbers slid.


For his part, Biden ventured outside his home for the first time in months on Memorial Day and during the last week.  


The Hill: Trump taps pollster to push back on surveys showing Biden with double-digit lead.


> Romney goes bold: Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans NRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia MORE (R-Utah) went further than most others in the Senate GOP on Sunday as he marched in a peaceful protest outside the Capitol and declared that “black lives matter” before indicating on Monday that he will remain mum about whether he will vote for the president in November. 


Romney was given the freedom to take the extra political step after Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns MORE (R-Alaska) endorsed former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Most VA workers find racism 'moderate to serious problem' at facilities l Trump advisers were wary of talking military options over fears he'd accidentally start war Trump advisers were wary of talking military options over fears he'd accidentally start war: report Trump prizes loyalty over competence — we are seeing the results MORE’s stinging rebuke of the president last week. But while some in the Senate GOP conference may dismiss Romney’s actions due to his dislike of the president, Trump’s approval and 2020 poll numbers continue to trend downward, giving Romney’s words and actions more credence, according to The Hill’s Alexander Bolton


On Monday, Romney told reporters at the Capitol that he intends to “stay quiet” on whether he will vote for the president’s reelection bid in November (The Associated Press).


CNN: Romney says he wrote in a presidential vote for his wife in 2016.


McKay Coppins, The Atlantic: Why Romney marched.


The Hill: GOP senators urge Trump to back off Murkowski threat.


The New York Times: Senate moves toward preserving public lands, and political careers.


> Primary day: Voters in five states will cast their primary ballots on Tuesday in a number of contests, including two that will do so at the presidential level as mail-in ballots continue to play an outsize role this election cycle. 


Ahead of today’s contests, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley interviewed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who represents a state holding its presidential primary along with a number of key primary races after an aggressive mail-in ballot campaign. 


In March, Raffensperger sent out absentee ballot request forms to all 7 million registered voters in Georgia. So far, 800,000 of the 1 million to vote in Tuesday's primary have voted by mail. The move comes as Trump has attacked mail-in voting as fraudulent. The stakes are high in Georgia, which is the only presidential battleground with two competitive Senate races.


The Associated Press: Georgia Democrats face off in Senate primary.


Politico: Three years after bursting onto the political scene and becoming a Democratic cause célèbre, Jon Ossoff is back on Georgia ballots hoping for a different result.





U.S. & CORONAVIRUS: New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically Cuomo says New York schools can reopen in-person this fall Cuomo calls on wealthy to return to New York City: 'You got to come back!' MORE (D) marked the first day of a phased reopening for business in New York City on Monday by showcasing what some experts believe will fast become the riskiest public health location for millions of returning workers: the subway system. Cuomo used a photo-op while riding a subway line to try to reassure people about transit on which the New York City economy depends.


“If it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t ask anyone to go on the subways,” the governor told reporters. “For me, it’s very simple. I just assume I’m making the decision for myself and for my children.” Subway cars are now cleaned overnight each day (The Hill).





> Forget the stealthy virus shedders? The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday caused confusion and prompted challenges from virologists and public health experts when it said asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 is “very rare,” based on data drawn from limited contact tracing in multiple countries. The finding, which is yet another revision of what experts have told the public for months, is meant to encourage governments to focus resources on people with evident symptoms of illness rather than search for those with mild cases of infection or infections that present no outward symptoms (CNBC). The upshot: Scientists are still learning. Question everything. It’s early.


> More data, please: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants states to count “probable” cases of COVID-19 and fatalities, but most are not doing it (The Washington Post). California, Florida, North Carolina and New York are not recording such information, resulting in an undercount of actual infections and deaths during the pandemic.


> Stay-at-home orders saved lives: Scary, inconvenient, lonely, devastating to workers and employers. The U.S. shutdowns are painful, BUT they prevented an estimated 60 million coronavirus infections, according to a new study published in Nature. One study estimated that before the orders to stay home, the number of infections was doubling every day (The Washington Post).  


> COVID-19’s trail: A new alliance of labs around the country backed by the CDC will work to sequence tens of thousands of coronavirus genomes, part of a real-time effort to track and trace the virus to its roots (The Hill).  


> Still spreading: WHO experts believe the worst of COVID-19 may still be ahead as a new global peak for the coronavirus emerged on Sunday (The Hill).


> Losers: The global shutdowns to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus have hurt more than 200 zoos and aquariums. They are in dire need of funding (The Washington Post).


> Winners: Hospital companies’ top executives cashed in on the government’s coronavirus bailouts while furloughing nurses, doctors and lower-level employees, according to a New York Times study.


> No rush: Companies are struggling with how to bring their employees safely back to the office and when. Some aren’t even trying until September (The New York Times).

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A national testing strategy to safely reopen America, by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, opinion contributors, The Hill.


You may pay more at the pump as OPEC cuts oil production, by Simon Henderson, opinion contributor, The Hill.


The House will meet for a pro forma session on Thursday at 9 a.m. The House Transportation Committee will hear from union representatives today at 1 p.m. during a virtual hearing about transportation sector employees on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.


The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of a public lands bill that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and establish a fund for national parks maintenance. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee at 10 a.m. will question Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump administration ends Obama fair housing rule Castro urges Dems to seize moment on social reform Overnight Health Care: Fauci says 'bizarre' efforts to discredit him only hurt the White House | Alabama to require face masks | House panel probes 'problematic' government contracts MORE during an oversight hearing about housing regulators. At 2:30 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony from Labor Secretary Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Making a difference in the age of COVID-19 GOP rolls out trillion coronavirus relief package MORE about the CARES Act, which was enacted in March, and the role of unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The president will meet with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker calls for Justice Dept. to probe international court Trump hits Hong Kong leader with sanctions Overnight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration MORE at 2:15 p.m.


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International: North Korea says it ended all cross-border communications with South Korea at noon Tuesday. Experts say the silence could signal Pyongyang is frustrated that Seoul has not renewed lucrative inter-Korean economic projects and it wants to persuade the United States to ease sanctions (The Associated Press). … A Chinese official suggested on Monday that the status of autonomous Hong Kong post-2047 will depend on how the territory behaves. Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said that the “fate” of the “one country, two systems” principle under which Hong Kong has operated will depend on what kind of “record” it presents when the Sino-British Joint Declaration eventually expires (Reuters). … Germany’s defense minister criticized Trump’s plan to withdraw more than a quarter of U.S. troops from the country, arguing that the decision could harm the NATO alliance and the United States more broadly. “That is the basis on which we work together,” said Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in response to the president’s plan to lower the troop level from 34,500 to no more than 25,000. According to The Associated Press, some of the troops could go to Poland, with others deployed elsewhere.


Recession: The National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday reported the U.S. economy braked into recession in February, ending 128 historic months of growth (NBC News). The bureau, which did not wait, as is customary, for two consecutive quarters of contraction to announce the obvious, noted that gross domestic product dropped 5 percent in the first quarter of 2020, and this quarter is expected to be worse. The bureau also disclosed in a study published on Monday that the economic shutdown sparked by the coronavirus pandemic hurt African American businesses the most among U.S. racial and ethnic groups, with a 41 percent decline of black owners from February to April (The Washington Post-Bloomberg News).   


Rescued tourist: Six days after falling into a well in Bali, Indonesia, with a broken leg, a tourist from Ukraine was rescued over the weekend. Roberts Jacob Matthews, 29, fell into a 13-foot deep well after breaking his leg while being chased by a wild dog and was rescued after being found by a farmer who heard his weak cries for help. Matthews, who survived for nearly a week by drinking water in the well, was brought to safety by a local search-and-rescue unit (The Associated Press). 


  John Prine tribute & charity: A number of top musicians and celebrities will come together to celebrate the life and music of John Prine, the late folk artist and wordsmith, on Thursday, more than two months after he succumbed to COVID-19. Kasey Musgraves, Eric Church, Sturgill Simpson and Bill Murray will all take part in “Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine,” which will air at 7:30 p.m. on Prine’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels (Rolling Stone).





And finally… The best news for those who enjoy outdoor beauty in the nation’s capital might be the reopening on Monday of the U.S. National Arboretum (part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service) to socially-distanced visitors, bikers, dog-walkers and joggers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The 446 acres and 9.5 miles of winding paths through a park-like museum of trees and artifacts will include some blocked-off areas to maintain coronavirus precautions. Information about this leafy gem in Northeast Washington is HERE.