The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bending the COVID-19 curve proves temporary for many states

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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, 115,732. Tuesday, 116,127. 

 

Worldwide reported cases of COVID-19: More than 8 million.



As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rise in some states, the potential for renewed restrictions imposed by officials remains an option. Despite saturation news coverage, warnings from public health experts and harrowing accounts by coronavirus survivors, people are ignoring precautions, such as wearing masks and remaining distanced from others. Some frustrated officials are considering pauses in the phased reopenings of businesses, despite pressure to welcome people back to offices, schools and daily routines (The Hill).

 

Escalating case numbers are showing up in Sun Belt states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. All four of those states reported their highest single-day increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Twenty states reported more coronavirus cases in the last week than in the week prior. Ten states have recorded their highest-ever single-day counts in just the last week, according to an analysis by The Hill.

 

“We’re demonstrating we can safely reopen,Vice President Pence said on Monday during a White House event. “We can reopen our country, but we can continue to put the health, particularly, of our most vulnerable first.”  

 

During his first coronavirus briefing in more than a week, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomBusinesses plead for states to enforce mask mandates A nationwide response from an unusual place: City halls California, Florida, Texas report new single day high coronavirus death tolls MORE (D) defended his state’s progress in testing and holding the percentage of positive COVID-19 cases steady at a current 4.5 percent. “As we reopen, inevitably we're going to see an increase,” he said on Monday (SFGate).

 

Texas: “A small number” of Dallas Cowboys players and a few Houston Texans have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to sources who spoke with ESPN. Many of the players who tested positive were asymptomatic, according to the report (ESPN).

 

Arizona: Daily coronavirus numbers climbed again Monday in the Grand Canyon State, continuing more than two weeks of higher numbers of reported cases, deaths and hospitalizations. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has defended his state’s responses to the pandemic, despite a surge of new COVID-19 infections. The governor’s stay-at-home order expired just more than a month ago (AZ Central).

 

The Hill: African Americans are more likely to know someone who died of the coronavirus, surveys show.

 

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are watching nationwide coronavirus disease and fatality tallies with wary eyes. The combination of new outbreaks and persistently high unemployment scrambles a debate about whether to extend expiring unemployment benefits, which were included in the CARES Act in March to help tens of millions of people pay bills during stay-at-home orders. But the benefits are set to expire in August. Republicans object to prolonging a policy that adds a flat $600 in weekly benefits to all unemployment recipients, arguing the benefit has made unemployment more lucrative than working, thus discouraging some employees from returning to jobs they had (The Hill).

 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan Mnuchin: Next stimulus bill must cap jobless benefits at 100 percent of previous income Why Trump can't make up his mind on China MORE and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell initially defended the necessary structure of the stimulative weekly unemployment benefits. Since then, GOP lawmakers and National Economic Council Director Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE have said the $600-per-week benefit should end next month (CNBC).

 

The Associated Press: COVID-19’s heavy toll on residents and staff in U.S. nursing homes and long-term care facilities has sparked a blame game.

 

The New York Times: U.S. prison deaths tied to the coronavirus climbed 73 percent since May. 

 

Therapies: The Food and Drug Administration on Monday withdrew its emergency use authorization for the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine used as therapies for patients with the coronavirus, saying the drugs are “unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19.” The agency highlighted the “serious side effects” as a reason for the reversal.

 

In revoking the authorization, first reported by Politico, the agency noted that recent data from a large randomized controlled trial showed no difference between using hydroxychloroquine and standard COVID-19 treatment alone. However, because the drugs are on the market and approved for other uses, such therapy could still be prescribed for "off-label" use. Clinical trials studying the drugs can also continue. The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health are still conducting trails (The Hill).

 

Trump repeated on Monday he took hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis to ward off potential infection with COVID-19. “It certainly didn’t hurt me. I feel good. I feel good,” he told reporters.

 

Travel: The U.S. ban imposed in March on travelers from the United Kingdom will last for months under coronavirus restrictions, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows - Spotlight shifts to reopening schools US testing official: 'Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right' Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a weekend interview. He told The Telegraph the restrictions will likely remain in place until there is an effective vaccine. Bans are also in place for travelers to the United States from the European Union, China and Brazil.

 

The Associated Press: Rise in infections shows the need for vigilance as the world reopens.

 

The Washington Post: Coronavirus recommendations are ignored as the case numbers rise. “They’re either just over it, or they’ve come to believe it’s a phony pandemic because their own personal grandmother hasn’t been affected yet,”  Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Irvine, told the Post. “People just think this is a nothingburger. So they think the risk is exaggerated.”

 

The range of sports, amusements and entertainment events canceled, postponed and reimagined without fans and audiences continues to grow. On Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the 93rd Academy Awards will be moved from February until April 25 because of the impact of COVID-19 on the movie industry. The Academy’s Board of Governors also extended the window for eligible feature films to Feb. 28. Oscar nominations will be announced on March 15 (The Associated Press). 

 

The Women’s National Basketball Association on Monday announced plans to play a reduced season, with a 22-game schedule that will begin in late July without fans in attendance (The Associated Press). 

 

 

 



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LEADING THE DAY

SUPREME COURT: Justices on Monday handed the LGBTQ community a major victory with a 6-3 ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender under provisions of civil rights law that bar employer discrimination based on “sex.” Justices Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records OVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wins by losing in the Supreme Court MORE, Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughRoberts court tempers conservative expectations OVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe Five takeaways from Supreme Court's rulings on Trump tax returns MORE and Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records OVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe Clarence Thomas's wife criticized her town's 'Black Lives Matter' banner: report MORE dissented from a majority decision written by Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchRoberts court tempers conservative expectations OVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe Five takeaways from Supreme Court's rulings on Trump tax returns MORE with concurrence from Chief Justice John Roberts (The Hill).

 

As The Hill’s Harper Neidig and John Kruzel report, Gorsuch drew reactions of surprise and anger from right-wing commentators following the landmark Supreme Court ruling. 

 

Asked about the decision, Trump said, “I've read the decision and some people were surprised, but they've ruled and we live with their decision,” adding he thought it was a “very powerful decision, actually."

 

The Washington Post: Trump’s efforts to resist gay rights runs into his Supreme Court pick.

 

The Hill: Trump says the White House would “live” with Monday’s SCOTUS decision on LGBTQ worker rights.

 

The Hill: Business groups applaud the Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBT workers from job discrimination.

 

The Supreme Court on Monday also denied a petition to hear an immigration “sanctuary” case from California (CNN). 

 

Justices also sidestepped hot-button issues dealing with the Second Amendment and legal protections for police (The Hill).

 

The court on Monday revived a permit sought by energy companies and the Trump administration to build a proposed natural gas pipeline beneath the Appalachian Trail to bring natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. The 7-2 decision, which tossed out a lower-court ruling, was a win for Atlantic Coast Pipeline (The Associated Press).

 

 

 

 

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POLITICS: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Teachers face off against Trump on school reopenings Biden wins Puerto Rico primary MORE’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Monday that they raised nearly $81 million in May, marking their highest fundraising total of the 2020 cycle.

 

The two operations, which have combined their fundraising efforts, pulled in $80.8 million last month. The total shows that political fundraising may be on the rebound from the impact of the novel coronavirus as the Biden campaign raised $20 million less ($60.5 million) in April.

 

In March, Biden’s team and the DNC raised $79 million. The Trump campaign has not yet released its May fundraising figures. 

 

According to the Biden campaign, half of those who contributed in May were new donors. The average online donation to the campaign last month was $30. Despite the strong fundraising, the Trump reelection campaign maintains a massive cash-on-hand advantage, having reported $255 million in the bank at the end of April (The Hill). 

 

On Monday, Biden’s camp kept up its strong fundraising as the former VP and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE (D-Mass.) headlined a virtual event that hauled in $6 million (ABC News). Next week, former President Obama will make his first virtual fundraising appearance (Axios).

 

The Associated Press: “It's frustrating”: Trump advertising blast has limits.

 

Des Moines Register: Iowa Poll: Trump leads Biden by 1 point in tight contest for president.

 

The Hill: Planned Parenthood endorses Biden for president. 

 

> Tulsa rally: Attendees at the president’s “Make America Great Again” rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday will be given temperature checks, masks and hand sanitizer before entering the arena, according to the Trump campaign. 

 

The precautions are the first such indications of any efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus at the first campaign rally since the pandemic started in March. Trump campaign manager Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE tweeted the checklist, noting that more than 1 million individuals have requested tickets for the event of roughly 19,000 people (The Hill).

 

The Associated Press: Oklahoma governor seeks larger event for Trump’s Tulsa rally.

 

The Washington Post: As Trump casts Biden as “sleepy Joe,” his critics raise questions about his own fitness.

 

> Primary troubles: Powerful Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members are rallying behind Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelMany Democrats want John Bolton's testimony, but Pelosi stays mum China must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong Voice of America not extending foreign journalists' visas: report MORE (D-N.Y.) as he fends off a tough primary challenge from Jamaal Bowman, a progressive African American candidate. 

 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesReparations bill gains steam following death of George Floyd Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's 12:30 Report: Supreme Court ruling marks big win for abortion rights groups MORE (D-N.Y.), the caucus chairman seen as the heir apparent to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBattle over reopening schools heats up Pelosi: Trump wearing a mask is 'an admission' that it can stop spread of coronavirus Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to reopening schools MORE (D-N.Y.), threw their weight behind Engel, a pro-Israel Jewish American and longtime House member, over the weekend. So has influential House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersSupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress On The Money: Mnuchin, Powell differ over how soon economy will recover | Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress | IRS chief pledges to work on tax code's role in racial wealth disparities Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress MORE (D-Calif.), and the CBC’s political action committee, led by Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - As virus concerns grow, can it get worse for Trump? Black Caucus rallies behind Meeks for Foreign Affairs gavel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bending the COVID-19 curve proves temporary for many states MORE (D-N.Y.), the Queens party boss.

 

CBC members, however, are not criticizing Bowman, and instead, have largely praised the 44-year-old public education advocate. Instead, the key endorsements of Engel are a reflection of an unspoken rule on Capitol Hill: Establishment Democrats, including most members of the CBC, usually set aside other considerations and protect their own from outside challenges. The primary contest is next Tuesday (The Hill).

 

CBC lawmakers aren’t the only ones backing Engel’s bid. Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden leads Trump in Florida, tied in Arizona and Texas: poll We haven't seen how low it can go There's a big blue wave coming MORE announced Monday that she is supporting Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — marking her first primary endorsement of the 2020 cycle (The New York Times). 

 

The Associated Press: Senate hopeful former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Senate outlook slides for GOP The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue MORE (D) apologizes for slave comment.

 

The Hill: Democrats seize on protests, pandemic in push to flip state houses.

 

 

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CONGRESS: Senate Republicans are divided on an amendment sponsored by Warren to rename U.S. military institutions named after Confederate generals, creating political headaches for some members.

 

The president has threatened to veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act if the amendment is included in the package, something that GOP lawmakers fear is a bad look, especially after the Pentagon announced last week that it is open to renaming the bases. 

 

GOP senators are stuck in a tough position as they look to straddle the political fence. On one side, they do not want to be viewed as out of touch on racial issues at a time of widespread social protests. However, they don't want to get into a public fight with Trump, especially for those in tough races this fall (The Hill).

 

> Police reform: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok MORE (R-Ky.) told lawmakers on Monday that he wants to pass police reform legislation by the July 4 recess, giving the upper chamber roughly two and a half weeks to do so, which is considered a speedy timeline. 

 

The timeline represents a U-turn several top Republicans predicted only hours earlier as they told reporters before a meeting with the GOP leader that they did not expect to be able to pass a bill before the two-week break. 

 

"I think he, if everything can be pulled together, yeah. I think there's a sense that there's a lot of work that's been put into this and it would be nice to get it up and get it voted on," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told The Hill when asked if McConnell wants to vote before the break. 

 

Thune noted that the schedule wasn't "concrete" but that McConnell believes that Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump takes on CDC over schools Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Tim Scott says he's talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill MORE (R-S.C.) has “done a lot of work" and that he would get "a lot of support for the work that he's done” (The Hill).

 

Rolling Stone: The power of Black Lives Matter: How the movement that’s changing America was built and where it goes next, by Jamil Smith.

 

The Associated Press: Senate GOP to restrict police chokeholds in emerging bill.

 

ESPN: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: I “encourage” a team to sign Colin Kaepernick.

 

The Hill: Pelosi mulls making masks mandatory at committee hearings.

 

Clarification to Monday’s newsletter: Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonPublic letter in Harper's sparks furor Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE's (R-Ark.) negotiations to set up a process to rename military installations named after Confederate generals came after Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (R-Ariz.) indicated she would support Warren’s amendment. Given that the Senate Armed Services Committee is split 14-13 in the GOP's favor, her support would have allowed Warren's amendment to pass.



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

What one of the founders of evangelicalism can teach us about racism, by Michael Gerson, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3hwt6nH 

 

Expecting students to play it safe if colleges reopen is a fantasy, by Laurence Steinberg, opinion contributor, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3dbyr0s 



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet for a pro forma session on Thursday at 10 a.m.

 

The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the Great American Outdoors Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a virtual hearing at 2:30 p.m. about police brutality and community relations.

 

The president says he will talk with law enforcement representatives and sign an executive order recommending policing reforms at noon in the Rose Garden. “We want law and order,” he said when asked about the goal of the order, which will leverage federal grant funds to try to influence some police policies. Trump said he will hold a “news conference at some point in the day” today. Trump will also receive his intelligence briefing at 2 p.m.

 

Pence will travel to Iowa and have lunch with Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and take a tour of Winnebago Industries, followed by a discussion with employees. The vice president will return to Washington this evening.

 

Federal Reserve: Powell testifies to the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. in the first of two virtual appearances on Capitol Hill to present  the central bank’s semi annual monetary policy report to Congress. On Monday, the Fed said it was ready to launch a previously announced corporate bond-buying program (The Associated Press).

 

Economic indicator: The Census Bureau report on retail and food sales in May will be released at 8:30 a.m. The report is expected to show a record rise in retail sales (Reuters).

 

The Tennessee-based Millennial Debt Foundation will hold the inaugural meeting of the Millennial Debt Commission at 10 a.m. The commission is made up of 16 millennial business leaders from across the nation and will examine the rising national debt and its long-term consequences. Among those advising the commission are Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump MORE (R-Fla.), Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (R-Iowa) and Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down Lawmakers introduce legislation to establish national cybersecurity director House Republican accuses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube of not doing enough to combat Chinese propaganda MORE (R-Wis.). Information about viewing the meeting is HERE.

 

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ELSEWHERE

International: North Korea on Tuesday blew up a four-story liaison office on its side of the border with South Korea at Kaesong in a rift between the countries over propaganda leaflets. The destruction represents a major setback to efforts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to coax North Korea into cooperation (Reuters).  …. In France, Paris restaurants and cafes fully opened on Monday as the country lifted border restrictions to welcome travelers from European Union nations in a renewed push to boost tourism that was halted for months by the coronavirus (Reuters). 

 

Voice of America (VOA): VOA reported on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) distributed media guidance to CDC staff members on April 30 referencing “a rule” to deny interview requests received from journalists at the congressionally funded Voice of America, according to information obtained by the Knight First Amendment Institute under the Freedom of Information Act (VOA News). … On Monday, VOA Director Amanda Bennett and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara submitted their resignations, 10 days after Trump named conservative filmmaker Michael Pack as head of VOA’s parent agency. … The White House in April publicly assailed VOA, which has guarded its reputation for impartiality at a time when the Trump administration lambasts the news media, asserting it “too often speaks for America’s adversaries — not its citizens,” a comment journalists at VOA deny. In April, one White House complaint: VOA referenced China’s reported coronavirus death toll in comparison with the rising U.S. tally of fatalities from COVID-19 (Politico).

 

➔ Executions: The Justice Department will begin executing federal death-row inmates in a few weeks following a months-long legal battle over the plan to resume executions for the first time since 2003. Attorney General William BarrBill BarrWe haven't seen how low it can go Trump lashes out at Toomey, Romney after Roger Stone clemency criticism GOP senator says Trump commuting Stone was a 'mistake' MORE directed the federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the executions beginning in mid-July of four inmates convicted of killing children (The Associated Press). A majority of Americans support capital punishment in cases of murder (Gallup).



THE CLOSER

And finally … For $4.5 million, potential real estate buyers could shelter in place in an entirely different time period inside the basement of a seven-bedroom, 12,000-square-foot Potomac, Md., mansion. The home’s basement contains a facsimile of a small-town street, complete with cobblestones, storefronts, a faux movie theater and classic cars.

 

Considering various crises leading the news this morning, who doesn’t want to go back in time?

 

See photos HERE.