The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! One week until Election Day. 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 co-creators, and readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each morning this week: Monday, 225,230; Tuesday, 225,735.

Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettGraham reports 'record-breaking' 9M haul during 2020 campaign The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Supreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs MORE today becomes the 115th justice to serve on the Supreme Court, succeeding the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs Cuomo likens COVID-19 to the Grinch: 'The season of viral transmission' For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty MORE and cementing a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. 


The Senate confirmed Barrett, 48, by a vote of 52-48 one month after President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE nominated her, marking a lightning-fast confirmation process that left Senate Democrats bemoaning their powerlessness to delay or stop the ascent of another conservative to the high court (The Hill). 


“This is a momentous day for America, for the United States Constitution, and for the fair and impartial rule of law,” Trump said while applauding Barrett during remarks at the White House on Monday night. “She is one of our nation’s most brilliant legal scholars and she will make an outstanding justice on the highest court in our land” (The Hill).


Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Federal student loan payment suspension extended another month Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week MORE issued a statement following the Senate vote in support of the Affordable Care Act, which comes before the Supreme Court on Nov. 7. If you want to protect your health care, if you want your voice to be heard in Washington, if you want to say no, this abuse of power doesn’t represent you — then turn out and vote,” he urged.


The Hill: Biden says he opposes term limits for Supreme Court justices. “It’s a lifetime appointment. I’m not going to try to change that at all,” Biden told reporters. 


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks GOP senators back Christian school's push for COVID-19 carve-out Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.) lauded Barrett as a “woman of unparalleled ability and temperament” and panned Senate Democrats for continuing to float the possibility of adding seats to the Supreme Court if they retake the majority and the White House next week. 


“Elections come and go. Political power is never permanent, but the consequences could be cataclysmic if our colleagues across the aisle let partisan passion boil over and scorch the ground rules of our government,” McConnell said, adding that “elections have consequences.” 


“We can stand loud and clear that the United States Senate does not bow to intemperate threats. Voting to confirm this nominee should make every single senator proud,” he said. 


The Washington Post: Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority.


Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Lawmakers pressure leaders to reach COVID-19 relief deal Biden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him MORE (R-Maine), who is in a tough reelection contest, was the only senator to break party ranks. She argued that any nomination should have been made by the winner of next week’s election. 


The move also marks a month of Democratic complaints that the GOP sprint to fill the vacancy was illegitimate, an accusation McConnell rejected. Last week, Senate Democrats boycotted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance Barrett’s nomination, handing her a unanimous vote out of the panel as part of her fast track to the Senate floor 


“This Senate majority is breaking faith in you, doing the exact opposite of what they did four years ago,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms MORE (D-N.Y.). “You may win this vote, and Amy Coney Barrett may become the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, but you will never — never — get your credibility back. And the next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited your right to tell us how to run that majority."


Schumer went on to quote McConnell’s comments in 2013 when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.) moved to invoke the nuclear option and lower the threshold to confirm non-Supreme Court nominees. At the time, McConnell said that Democrats would regret the move “a lot sooner than you think,” with Schumer changing a couple of words aimed at the GOP.


“My colleagues may regret this for a lot longer than they think,” Schumer said (The Hill).


Monday’s vote served as the final major pre-election plank in the Senate GOP agenda this year. The majority confirmed Barrett and approved $500 billion in coronavirus relief last week. Senate Democrats opposed both. 


Late Monday night, Barrett was sworn in at the White House by Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasFor Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Defusing the judicial confirmation process Will the Supreme Court take ObamaCare off life-support? MORE at a ceremony on the South Lawn — exactly one month after Barrett’s South Lawn nomination event served as a COVID-19 superspreader among Trump administration officials, senators and guests who subsequently were diagnosed with the coronavirus. This time, many guests wore masks.


The New York Times: The president hosted a nighttime ceremony on the White House lawn to swear in Barrett in a virtual do-over of a September superspreader event. 


The Hill: Chief Justice John Roberts to administer judicial oath to Barrett Tuesday.


The Associated Press: Issues important to Trump await Barrett on Supreme Court.


The move also marks a major accomplishment in the eyes of McConnell and the Senate GOP, which has now confirmed 220 judicial nominees during the Trump presidency. It also gives senators up for reelection another talking point to hammer home over the final week, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham reports 'record-breaking' 9M haul during 2020 campaign Lawmakers pressure leaders to reach COVID-19 relief deal Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country MORE (R-S.C.).


The vacancy has also forced the issue onto the 2020 campaign, with Biden having faced constant questions in the past months about whether he supports court packing. While Biden has conceded that he’s not a fan of the move, he says that he will convene a special commission to consider judicial reforms if elected. Progressives, headlined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives push for direct payments to be included in COVID-19 relief deal Rubio and Ocasio-Cortez spar on Twitter: 'Work more, tweet less' Harry Styles hits back at criticism over wearing dress on Vogue cover MORE (D-N.Y.), immediately called for the court’s expansion.


Barrett will immediately begin her work on the court, which has operated remotely by phone since the beginning of the pandemic.


The Hill: Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Lawmakers pressure leaders to reach COVID-19 relief deal Biden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him MORE (R-Alaska) predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade.


SCOTUSblog background on Barrett is HERE.


Vice President Pence had been prepared on Monday to come off the campaign trail to preside in the Senate, but Republicans and the White House decided he was not needed (The Hill). Although members of his senior staff were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, Pence tested negative once again on Monday. The vice president will campaign today in North Carolina and South Carolina. 





The Hill: Trump ripped Biden during his scramble to capture Pennsylvania votes on Monday with his trademark rallies. “We win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing,” he said. The Keystone State has 20 electoral votes.


The Associated Press: Trump drew thousands of largely mask-less supporters on Monday as he began a final charge through nearly a dozen states ahead of the election. “It’s a choice between a Trump boom or a Biden lockdown,” the president claimed at a rally in Allentown, Pa., focusing on the economy and the possibility of lost jobs.


Reuters: Biden appeared near Philadelphia in the city of Chester, Pa., on Monday, meeting with about a dozen campaign volunteers and speaking with reporters. Biden said he was “not overconfident about anything” and that “with the grace of God” he would win Pennsylvania, the state where he was born. “I think we’re going to win Michigan. I think we’re going to win Wisconsin. I think we’re going to win Minnesota. I think we have a fighting chance in Ohio. I think we have a fighting chance in North Carolina. We have a fighting chance in Georgia,” Biden added.


Democrats and Biden’s team are eager to paint Georgia blue (an ambition the party has held for years), according to The Washington Post and The Associated Press


Niall Stanage: The Memo: Florida and Pennsylvania hold keys to victory. 


The Hill: Biden said he will campaign in multiple swing states this week, and he defended the pace of his schedule, which Trump frequently mocks.


The Hill: The former vice president on Friday will campaign in Iowa for the first time since he won the nomination. Also on Friday, his running mate, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden officially clinches Electoral College votes with California certification Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Trump campaigns as wild card in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-Calif.), will fly into Texas to woo voters, including in Houston. She’s in Nevada today.


The Biden campaign has made a concerted effort to boost its candidate’s favorable ratings, spending big on positive ads at a time when most challengers stay negative. In the closing days of an election, more Americans like or approve of Biden than like Trump — or liked Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary and Chelsea Clinton to host series based on their book 'Gutsy Women' Democrats see spike in turnout among Asian American, Pacific Islander voters Biden officially announces ex-Obama official Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE four years ago. He’s hoping nice guys can finish first, reports The Hill’s Reid Wilson.


The New York Times: Between a third and a half of all eligible voters typically do not participate in presidential election years and 2020 may be no exception.  


Nearly 65 million Americans have already voted, according to the U.S. Elections Project, representing 50 percent of the 2016 turnout. Republicans are chasing Democrats’ advantage in early voting totals (The Associated Press).


Poll watch: Biden's lead in polling is steady and growing in some places, compared with the situation between Trump and Hillary Clinton at a similar juncture in 2016 when the presidential race had tightened significantly (The Hill). ... The Democratic nominee has stretched his lead over Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to the latest survey of likely voters conducted by the Election Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reports The Hill’s Jonathan Easley. … In Texas, Trump leads Biden by 4 points (47 to 43) among likely voters, according to a New York Times-Siena College survey that has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points (The Hill).





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MORE POLITICS & CONGRESS: White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Alyssa Farah resigns as White House communications director Trump hits Barr over voter fraud remarks: 'He hasn't looked' MORE is in the spotlight with gaffes and missteps at a tough political time for Trump, according to The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis. On Monday, Meadows, the former North Carolina congressman, repeated his view that COVID-19 will eventually be stopped as a result of treatments and vaccines, not administration efforts to control transmissions, which made headlines over the weekend. 


“We're going to defeat the virus; we're not going to control it,” Meadows told reporters outside the White House. “We will try to contain it as best we can, but ... we need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines” (The Hill).


The Washington Post: Meadows is under fire as Trump’s chief of staff for his handling of pandemic and other crises.


Messaging about the coronavirus pandemic by Trump, Pence and Meadows this week stirred confusion and uncertainty about the trajectory of COVID-19 and federal guidance to combat it, reports The Hill’s Brett Samuels. In the final weeks of the campaign, the White House has decided to press on with little regard for the ongoing public health crisis that has killed more than 220,000 Americans. Pence has kept up his campaign schedule, with stops today in North Carolina and South Carolina, and the president has told supporters at rallies that the country is "rounding the turn" even as the U.S. sets records for infections reported in a single day.  


> Senate fight: Former Rep. Jason LewisJason LewisRep. Angie Craig defends Minnesota House seat in race clouded by legal confusion Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Klobuchar 'feeling good' about Democrats taking control of Senate MORE (R-Minn.), the GOP nominee for the Senate in Minnesota, underwent successful emergency surgery on a hernia after being rushed to the hospital in the morning with severe abdominal pain on Monday morning. 


The Lewis campaign, which labeled the ailment as “life-threatening” without immediate care earlier on Monday, said that the former congressman should be released from the hospital in the coming days. Lewis, who lost a reelection fight in the House in 2018, is running against Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Democrats expand Senate map, putting GOP on defense MORE (D-Minn.) next week (The Hill).  


The Washington Post: Jaime Harrison bets on “New South” coalition in his against-the-odds bid to oust Graham. 


The New York Times: Fighting an uphill Senate reelection battle, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) does it his way.


> Stimulus latest: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday criticized the White House for deciding against signing on to the Democrats' plan for a COVID-19 testing strategy, despite earlier public statements from Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Sweeping financial crimes bill to hitch a ride on defense measure On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K MORE indicating that there was an agreement. 


“Today, we are waiting for an important response on several concerns, including on action to crush the virus. Ten days after Secretary Mnuchin went on CNBC to declare that he was accepting our testing plan, the Administration still refuses to do so,” Pelosi wrote. 


Pelosi’s comments come after weeks of negotiations between her and Mnuchin on a nearly $2 trillion package, which would likely include another round of stimulus checks to individuals, renewed enhanced unemployment insurance, tax credits and funds for the airline industry, in addition to a testing plan. As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos notes, House Democrats have called for $75 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing as part of their relief proposal. 


Politico: Pelosi holds firm grip on power as Dems dream of a sweep. 


Commenting on Monday’s market volatility, former Trump White House National Economic Council Director Gary CohnGary David CohnThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience On The Money: Markets soar on Pfizer vaccine news | EU imposes tariffs on B of US goods over Boeing | Business groups applaud Biden's push for masks Former Trump economic aide Gary Cohn congratulates Biden MORE told Yahoo Finance during a conference, “Last week we thought, or we were being told that we’re making enormous progress with fiscal stimulus, that Secretary Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi were very, very close. We were on the verge. I think now, eight days away from an election, no one thinks we’re going to have fiscal stimulus until after an election, and I think that’s a 100 percent probability. We won’t.”


CORONAVIRUS: The United States has now established its third peak of daily new cases of COVID-19, with no signs of letting up. Local hospital systems are under stress, the average number of new daily cases of the coronavirus is at a record high and the seven-day average is up more than 22 percent compared with a week ago. The country is in trouble in communities where the weather remains hot and where the autumn chill has arrived (CNBC). 


> Curfews: As observed in European countries with high rates of transmission, communities in the United States are opting for new restrictions short of ordering total economic lockdowns. For example, El Paso, Texas, and Newark, N.J., have imposed night time curfews. El Paso residents are urged to stay home after 10 p.m. until before dawn for two weeks as a record spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals, prompting the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic center as a makeshift care center and officials to describe a “crisis stage” (The Associated Press). Newark, which is New Jersey’s largest city, announced an 8 p.m. daily closing time for all nonessential businesses beginning today. One part of the city had a seven-day average rate of 25.3 percent positive coronavirus tests (The New York Times). … Meanwhile, some Italians in Milan and Turin on Monday broke windows and started trash can fires to protest the curfews there. Police used tear gas in Turin (pictured below) and confronted demonstrators in Milan (Reuters).


> Financial market jitters: The Dow fell on Monday more than 650 points as COVID-19 cases continue to soar, hopes fade for stimulus legislation in Congress and worries about a contested election rise on Wall Street (The Hill). 


> Child care: A Yale Medical School study published this month in the journal Pediatrics found that child care facilities for young children during the pandemic have not been associated with an elevated risk of spreading COVID-19 from children to adults (Yale News). 




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! 


It’s up to John Roberts to save his court, by Dana Milbank, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2TuKQVL 


Why the Democrats’ campaign against Barrett fell flat, by Ramesh Ponnuru, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3e1yiPe 


Explore Facebook’s Voting Information Center


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The House is out of Washington until after the election.


The Senate will return to work on Nov. 9.


The president will hold rallies today in Lansing, Mich., at 2 p.m.; West Salem, Wis., at 4 p.m.; and Omaha, Neb., at 7:30 p.m. Trump will remain overnight in Las Vegas. First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpDC attorney general: Ivanka Trump 'highly misleading' on lawsuit deposition Biden warns Americans against traveling for Christmas McEnany hits Democratic leaders for not following their own COVID-19 restrictions MORE will headline a campaign event at 3 p.m. in Atglen, Pa., in Chester County.


The vice president will headline campaign events in Greensboro, N.C., at 12:30 p.m.; Wilmington, N.C., at 3:30 p.m.; and Greenville, S.C., at 6:30 p.m. 


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over 'intimidation' tactics Israel's new Gulf relations give Biden's team a new Middle East hub Pompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report MORE is in India. He will also visit Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia before returning to Washington late this week (Al Jazeera). 


Biden-Harris campaign events: Biden will deliver a speech in Warm Springs, Ga., at 1:30 p.m. (live streamed at JoeBiden.com), and attend a drive-in event in Atlanta at 5 p.m. to encourage Georgians to vote early. Harris will campaign in Nevada in Reno and Las Vegas. Former President Obama will campaign for Biden-Harris in Orlando, Fla. 


INVITATION TODAY to The Hill’s Virtually Live event about “America’s Agenda: COVID-19 & A Responsive Rx Supply Chain,” from 1 to 2:15 p.m. with Rep. Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterBipartisan lawmakers call for overhauling medical supply chains The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day Overnight Health Care: US sets a new record for average daily coronavirus cases | Meadows on pandemic response: 'We're not going to control it' | Pelosi blasts Trump for not agreeing to testing strategy MORE (R-Ga.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinBickering Democrats return with divisions Questions swirl at Pentagon after wave of departures Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (D-Mich.), lead sponsor of the Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative; Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner, Food and Drug Administration; Elena Rios, president and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association; Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusBiden seeks to use the bully pulpit he has on COVID-19 Biden unveils COVID-19 task force Biden's COVID-19 crisis team takes shape as virus rages MORE, former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Joshua Sharfstein, health policy and management professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Heather Zenk, senior vice president for strategic global sourcing with AmerisourceBergen. Information and registration is HERE.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EDT at Rising on YouTube


SUPREME COURT: Offering no explanations or road maps to underlying law, justices have issued orders in election disputes multiple times since April. The orders were responses to emergency applications, and they were issued quickly, without full briefing or oral arguments, part of what’s known as a “shadow docket” (The New York Times). ... The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Democrats' bid to reinstate a mail-in ballot deadline extension in Wisconsin (The Hill).


RETIREMENT SAVINGS: The IRS on Monday announced 401(k) and IRA changes for 2021. Read where and how you can contribute next year (MarketWatch).


MOON: There is more water on the moon than scientists once thought, according to NASA. The discovery of water on the sunlit side of the moon could bolster efforts to establish a permanent human presence on the lunar surface or to plan for longer research missions, such as to Mars. NASA aims to fly astronauts back to the moon in 2024 (NBC News). 





And finally … Reminder: It is not the fault of everyday wildlife that humans around the world have new outerwear that can pose hazards. Dispose accordingly!  ✄