The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another $1T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Wednesday. 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, 129,947. Tuesday, 130,306. Wednesday 131,480.


The United States today tops 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Reuters). 

The White House on Tuesday said COVID-19 and its effects are bleak enough to warrant more legislative help from President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE and Congress, yet the situation is safe enough for students to go back to classrooms in the fall, according to the president and his advisers.


The administration on Tuesday asked Congress to pass a new coronavirus relief bill by August and limit the price tag to $1 trillion. Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said that in order to get Trump’s signature on another stimulus measure, lawmakers must approve liability protections for businesses whose employees and customers may become infected with the virus as commerce resumes (Bloomberg News, subscription).


I think we want to make sure that people that are still unemployed or hurting are protected, but at the same time, we want to take into consideration the fact the economy is bouncing back and want to try to contain the amount of spending,” Short told Bloomberg Radio.


The administration’s priorities for another rescue bill also include a payroll tax cut, tax incentives for businesses during the pandemic and a potential back-to-work bonus. Democrats, who passed a $3.5 trillion measure out of the House in May (which was immediately dismissed by Senate Republicans), understand the next major coronavirus measure could be the last before the November elections.


Jostling for advantage will be lively in Congress later this month as many lawmakers seek to deliver more help to the unemployed, families with children, front-line workers, teachers, first responders, and cities and states whose budgets are in tatters because of falling revenues and unanticipated pandemic-related spending.


The Hill: Clash looms over the next coronavirus relief bill.


The Associated Press: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellNegotiators remain far apart on coronavirus deal as deadline looms States begin removing Capitol's Confederate statues on their own Skepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal MORE (R-Ky.), who will steer any new stimulus measure to Trump’s desk, is eyeing more federal aid as rental evictions and the end of beefed-up unemployment benefits loom for millions of Americans.


During a White House event on Tuesday (pictured above), Trump turned his attention to proposals for “safe” back-to-school options for grade school, high school and university students. The president since April has urged states to reopen schools, although the administration has acknowledged the decision is not up to Washington. Trump views school attendance in the fall as essential to encourage parents to return to work, even as the COVID-19 epidemic worsens in regions of the country. “We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools,” Trump said (The Associated Press).


Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosStudents at school system Pence called 'forefront' of reopening now in quarantine The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Democrats look to go on offense in debate over reopening schools MORE on Tuesday rejected proposed part-time school operations. Anything less would fail students and taxpayers, she said during a conference call with governors that was disclosed to the AP. “Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. Schools must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” she said.


The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes that Trump appears to bet that cheerleading for in-person school instruction in the fall gives him some political mileage, especially among parents stressed by months of home-schooling. The president and his campaign want to tie former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Trump outraises Biden in July, surpasses billion for the cycle Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE to teachers unions, a traditional target for GOP presidential candidates. Politically, Trump's position is risky as the epidemic worsens in parts of the United States and public health experts warn that young people are not always spared the health consequences of infection.


White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx told Bloomberg Radio on Tuesday that schools will need to oversee frequent COVID-19 testing of pupils of all ages and grade levels to hunt for asymptomatic and early onset infections as a way to keep classrooms and school buildings open (Yahoo News). Whether most parents would readily grant permission for such regular disease testing at schools is unclear.


Meanwhile, the administration is moving medical support into areas of “recent and intense” outbreaks in Florida, Texas and Louisiana, officials said on Tuesday.


> Florida: The coronavirus infection rate in the Sunshine State rose to 16 percent on Tuesday, indicating the spread of COVID-19 is not under control there. Florida, where the president maintains his official address, is now the nation’s coronavirus epicenter (The Washington Post). Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisOn The Money: White House warns there's likely no deal with no agreement by Friday | More generous unemployment benefits lead to better jobs: study | 167K workers added to private payrolls in July DeSantis blames Rick Scott for 'pointless roadblocks' in Florida unemployment system Trump notes GOP governor when asked why he backs mail-in voting in Florida MORE (R) (pictured below at a Miami press conference) was among governors most reluctant to shut down his state and among the first to reopen for business, but on Tuesday he extended an emergency declaration for 60 days (ABCActionNews) because of the rising number of infections reported by counties daily (Miami Herald).


> Texas: New coronavirus cases exceeded 10,000 on Tuesday in the Lone Star State, a record-breaking surge in a region inundated with community spread. There were 9,268 people in the state’s hospitals with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, another daily record (NBC News). … The nearly month long State Fair of Texas in Dallas was canceled on Tuesday for the first time since World War II because of COVID-19 risks (The Dallas Morning News).


> New York: Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo to serve as National Association of Governors chair New York City adding 'key entry point' checkpoints to enforce quarantine Iconic NY columnist Pete Hamill dies MORE (D) announced an expansion to 19 states now affected by New York’s quarantine requirement for people coming domestically into the state from other locales. “If you're traveling to New York from the following states you must self-quarantine for 14 days,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “The states are: AL, AR, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, KS, LA, MS, NC, NV, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT.”


> Masks (wear them!): Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN's Burnett presses Navarro on hydroxychloroquine in combative interview: 'You're an economist, not a scientist' Overnight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge to a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine Fauci says family has faced threats, harassment amid pandemic MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday said he is “strongly in favor” of mandating mask use amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in Alabama and nationwide. Speaking during a Facebook event with Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who is in a tough reelection contest in Alabama, Fauci said ordinances requiring mask use — such as one instituted by Montgomery, Ala., last month — send a clear message about containing the outbreak. “If you say, ‘It doesn't matter whether you put it on or take it off,’ you’re giving a wrong, mixed signal,” he said. “The message should be, ‘Wear a mask, period’” (Montgomery Advertiser).


> America falls behind the developed world: COVID-19 is out of control in parts of the United States, while European countries and China made greater strides toward containment after five months. Why? Experts say other countries locked down earlier and for longer than the United States, and other nations implemented widespread and better coronavirus testing and tracing for months (The Hill).


> Vaccine news: The federal government awarded $1.6 billion to the company Novavax to test and manufacture possible vaccines for the coronavirus, the largest single award to date under the Trump administration's “Operation Warp Speed” program. The funding will also cover a large-scale phase three trial that could begin by October. Novavax wants to deliver 100 million doses of any potential vaccine it may develop by January (Reuters).


> Attracting immediate denunciations from Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday, the Trump administration notified Congress and the United Nations that the United States has officially withdrawn from the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump declared in May his decision to terminate financial support for the international public health body based on what he said was WHO’s solicitous stance with China as the novel coronavirus spread in Wuhan and globally last year. In 2019, U.S. support for the organization amounted to 15 percent of its total budget. Trump, who has blamed the pandemic on China, has been criticized by world leaders for terminating support for WHO during an international public health crisis (NBC News).





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2020 POLITICS: The number of GOP senators planning to skip the Republican National Convention continued to climb on Tuesday, with at least five lawmakers now planning to miss the quadrennial confab in Jacksonville, Fla., in part due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.


After Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions MORE (R-Iowa) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Negotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (R-Tenn.) became the first two to announce plans, Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE (R-Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyNRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (R-Utah) followed suit. Spokespeople for the two lawmakers confirmed to The Hill their plans. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsAnalysis finds record high number of woman versus woman congressional races Group of GOP senators back more money for airlines to pay workers Republicans uncomfortably playing defense MORE (R-Maine) also will not attend, according to The Boston Globe last month. 


The reasoning among the five is mixed. While Grassley and Alexander cited the virus and the idea that they want to let other delegates be there in person, respectively, the other three senators will not be there for political reasons, one way or another. Romney and Murkowski have been the most vocal critics of Trump among the Senate GOP, with the Utah senator being the only Republican to support impeaching the president. Murkowski told reporters last month that she is “struggling” with whether she’ll support Trump in November. 


An aide for Collins said that she never planned to attend the convention, noting that she does not go when she is up for reelection (The Hill).


Emily Cochrane, The New York Times: Hemmed in by the pandemic, Collins battles for survival in Maine.


The Hill: Trump says GOP “flexible” on convention plans.





> The left warns Joe: Progressives are issuing a warning to Biden: Don’t compromise with Republicans, or else. 


According to The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Jonathan Easley, progressive activists are worried about recent comments by the former VP about the need to compromise if he wins in November, having told the National Education Association’s Virtual Representative Assembly that it is necessary to move the country forward.


“[C]ompromise is not a dirty word,” Biden said. “It’s how our government was designed to work. I’ve done it my whole life. No one’s ever doubted my word and I’ve been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States Congress to pass big things, to deal with big issues.”


The comments have come under fire from progressives, who are pressing Biden not to stray too far from the left and warning him saying he could be costing himself some support by adopting Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Top federal official says more details coming on foreign election interference The Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  MORE’s strategy from four years ago. 


“Biden is transparently taking a bet to win over a group of anti-Trump Republicans but at the expense of what? Potentially losing some of the largest movement in history?” said progressive activist Nomiki Konst. “His excitement is extremely low and that should always be alarming for candidates.”


The Philadelphia Inquirer: Biden hires top aides to run his Pennsylvania campaign.


The Washington Post: Trump’s attacks on mail voting are turning Republicans off absentee ballots.


> Cash dash: Democrats have long pushed for a blue wave to win back power in 2020, but it’s a green wave that could put them over the top. 


As Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley write, Democratic candidates are raising gargantuan sums of money less than four months from Election Day, with Senate candidates leading the charge as they set fundraising records ahead of key battles that will determine control of the upper chamber. 


Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockRepublicans uncomfortably playing defense 300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee Lincoln Project targets Senate races in Alaska, Maine, Montana with M ad buy MORE (D) and Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee in North Carolina, raised more money in each state than any Senate candidate in history, while Sara Gideon of Maine raised more than twice as much as Collins in the second quarter.


The Hill: Jaime Harrison raises record-shattering $13.9 million for South Carolina Senate bid.


McClatchy: Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamYates spars with GOP at testy hearing Trump knocks Sally Yates ahead of congressional testimony Republicans uncomfortably playing defense MORE (R-S.C.), facing tough reelection, breaks with Trump.


The Hill: Amy Kennedy wins NJ primary to face Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-N.J.).


The Hill: New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries.


CONGRESS: Senate Republicans are cautioning the president that they are likely to override his planned veto of the National Defense Authorization Act as he cries foul about a provision to rename military bases that are named for Confederate figures.


Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, repeated the hope that Trump will not veto the annual defense bill, which the upper chamber is expected to pass after it returns from the July recess. He indicated that the Senate is prepared to override the veto.


"If it came to overriding a veto, we’d probably override the veto," Grassley said on the conference call. 


McConnell and other Republicans have pleaded with Trump not to veto the bill. The Kentucky Republican told Fox News last week that he hopes Trump will “reconsider” his plan, noting that the bill “includes pay raises for our troops” (The Hill). 





> Spending: House Democrats are seeking to sidestep a bipartisan spending deal reached last summer by including billions of dollars in emergency spending. 


The proposed emergency spending for coronavirus relief, infrastructure, veterans care and a slew of other priorities would exceed the bipartisan budget caps on funding for annual appropriations bills. The move has left Republicans crying foul as the two sides begin the process to appropriate funds for fiscal 2021.


"We are only on our first day of subcommittee markups, and I already have serious concerns about our path forward," said House Appropriations Committee ranking member Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerHelping our seniors before it's too late House approves .3 trillion spending package for 2021 GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor MORE (R-Texas). The bills, she noted, “spend billions of dollars on top of what the current budget agreement allows” (The Hill).

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Victory is close for Trump, despite the noise, by Republican media strategist Adam Goodman, opinion contributor, The Hill.


How will American cities avoid economic catastrophe? by Vince Williams, mayor of Union City, Ga., opinion contributor, The Hill.


How Facebook is combating hate and voter suppression


Facebook is taking critical, new steps to protect its platforms and the upcoming election:


— Strengthening policies against hate
— Expanding voter interference policies
— Launching new Voting Information Center


Get the latest.


The House meets Thursday at 2 p.m. for a pro forma session and won’t return to legislative business until July 20. The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a virtual hearing today at 11 a.m. to examine the national response to COVID-19. Witnesses include Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D); Tupelo, Miss., Mayor Jason Shelton (D); Umair Shah, a physician and the executive director of Harris County Public Health in Texas; and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings. Live video is planned HERE.


The Senate meets on Thursday at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session.


The president will welcome Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House at 2 p.m. to mark the enactment of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The two men will have several bilateral meetings in the afternoon and sign a joint declaration at 3:35 p.m. Obrador will return to the White House at 6:30 p.m. for a joint statement with Trump at 6:35 p.m. followed by a working dinner in the East Room 10 minutes later.  


INVITATION: Join The Hill Virtually Live on Thursday for “Health Reimagined: The Future of Healthcare.” Leaders talk about lessons from the pandemic, medical breakthroughs, treatments and cures, and eliminating racial disparities. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield; the National Institute of Health’s Fauci; Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks The Hill's Coronavirus Report: iBIO Chairman and CEO Thomas Isett says developing a safe vaccine is paramount; US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths with roughy one death per minute MORE (D-Ill.), a registered nurse; physician and American Medical Association President Patrice Harris; and more will join Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons.


The Hill’s Coronavirus Report has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!


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


➔ International: Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro, who persisted in calling COVID-19 “a little flu,” has tested positive for the coronavirus and says he is taking hydroxychloroquine. The diagnosis brings more uncertainty to Brazil (The Hill). More than 65,000 of the president’s countrymen have died from the coronavirus (The New York Times). While Brazil struggles with its heavy coronavirus caseload, it is way ahead when it comes to research into the development of a COVID-19 vaccine (AFP). … Hong Kong reports nine new cases of COVID-19, which it considers a setback in its previously successful efforts to contain the coronavirus just weeks ago (Reuters).





Supreme Court: The Washington Post disclosed on Tuesday night that Chief Justice John Roberts, 65, fell on June 21 at a Maryland country club, was taken by ambulance for medical care, required stitches for a head injury and was hospitalized overnight for observation. He did not make the mishap public until the newspaper received a tip from witnesses to the incident. Roberts in 1993 and 2007 experienced seizures but doctors ruled out a recurrence and believe the cause of his fall last month was dehydration, according to a court spokeswoman.


Urban violence: From New York City to Dallas, from Atlanta to Philadelphia to Chicago, some U.S. cities are experiencing a crushing spate of violence, shooting deaths and vandalism that experts warn defies easy, simplistic explanation (The Associated Press). 


Mary Trump pulls back a family curtain on Trump: The president’s niece, in her new book, says “cheating is a way of life” for the president. She alleges her uncle paid someone to take the SAT for him while he was in high school and that the score later helped him gain entrance to Wharton as an undergraduate (The New York Times). Trump’s spokeswoman on Tuesday called it a “book of falsehoods.”


➔ Sports: Although the 2020 Major League Baseball season has not started, the powers that be are already looking ahead to the 2021 schedule and plan to honor the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks by having the New York Mets host the New York Yankees at Citi Field. “I can’t imagine how powerful and how emotional of an event that could be,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said about the potential game (The Associated Press).


And finally … in the world of the weird Roman Trofimov of Estonia has been stranded and living in the departures area of Manila airport in the Philippines since he arrived on an AirAsia flight from Bangkok on March 20. He said his passport was taken before he went through immigration and remains missing. The airline was also unable to return him to Thailand amid restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. He was blocked from entering the Philippines when entry visas were no longer issued for arrivals. 


The desperate tourist, who says he’s getting by with a makeshift sleeping mat on the floor and donations from staff, said he asked the Estonian Embassy for help but that officials were unable to organize a repatriation flight.


Trofimov, akin to the Tom Hanks character in “The Terminal,” has been left with nowhere to go (The Sun).