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The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19

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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 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 reported each morning this week: Monday, 246,217; Tuesday, 247,220; Wednesday, 248,687.

 

The United States has exceeded 11.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, adding a million cases in just a week (ABC News).



Democrats are again urging Republicans on Capitol Hill to return to the negotiating table to agree to a relief bill as the coronavirus rampages across the country and time runs short for lawmakers this year. 

 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Trump supporters could hand Senate control to Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (R-Ky.), who is steering negotiations for Republicans, to restart talks this week on a stimulus bill that has drifted in circles for more than three months. In a letter, the Democratic pair wrote that reaching an accord is an “urgent matter,” and rattled off statistics detailing the gloomy state of the pandemic in the United States (The Wall Street Journal).

 

“The time to act is upon us like never before,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote. “The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession will not end without our help. It is essential that this bill have sufficient funding and delivers meaningful relief to the many Americans who are suffering. For the sake of the country, we ask that you come to the table and work with us to produce an agreement that meets America’s needs in this critical time.”

 

The gulf between the two sides remains, with Democratic negotiators still refusing to discuss a deal of less than $2 trillion and McConnell saying his caucus favors a package in the region of $500 billion. 

 

Republicans did not react positively to the newest entreaty from Democratic leaders. Speaking on the Senate floor shortly after, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Pressure builds as UK approves COVID-19 vaccine Biden brushes off criticism of budget nominee Republican frustration builds over Cabinet picks MORE (R-Texas), a top adviser to McConnell, panned the letter as “disingenuous” because he said Democrats blocked two relief bills on the Senate floor worth $500 billion and $650 billion.

 

“I have been around here long enough to know the only reason you write a letter to somebody, and then release it to the press before it gets to its intended recipient, is for political purposes,” Cornyn said. “It's posturing.”

 

On Tuesday, the U.S. reported 159,000 cases, marking the 14th straight day with case numbers above 100,000 as hospitalizations grow across the country.  

 

With the pandemic still center stage, lawmakers appear more interested in keeping the government funded beyond Dec. 11, when funding is set to expire. 

 

As The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes, McConnell said on Tuesday that he wants a deal this week to keep departments and agencies in business. Congress has only 13 working days left before the deadline because lawmakers will be out of session for Thanksgiving week. Lawmakers will soon get a sense whether Congress will be able to reach a deal on a fiscal 2021 measure or if a stopgap continuing resolution will become a fallback, McConnell predicted. 

 

“I hope they’ll be able to reach this broad agreement by the end of this very week," McConnell said.

 

Adding to the drama, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHouse Democrats pick DeLauro to lead Appropriations panel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Congress faces late-year logjam MORE (R-Ala.) told reporters this week that he does not have a commitment from the White House that Trump would sign a continuing resolution (The New York Times). 

 

CNN: Fate of the stimulus looks bleak as lawmakers turn attention to spending deadline.

 

The Hill: Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure.

 

> COVID-19 reared its head on Capitol Hill once again on Tuesday as Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Republican senators urge Trump to dodge pardon controversies Grassley suggests moderate Democrats for next Agriculture secretary MORE (R-Iowa) announced he tested positive for the virus. Hours earlier, Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he would quarantine after recent exposure to the coronavirus.

 

Grassley has been working in the Senate recently and used a floor speech to urge social distancing and mask-wearing. According to C-SPAN footage, the Iowa senator was seen talking with multiple lawmakers on Monday, including Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSmall businesses don't need another stimulus — they need customers Congress faces late-year logjam Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms MORE (D-W.Va.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Compromise defense bill excludes competing nuclear testing language Republican senators introduce bill to protect government workers from being targeted at home MORE (R-Ark.). 

 

Grassley, 87, who is third in line for the presidency as the president pro tempore of the Senate, is the third-oldest sitting lawmaker. The oldest member, Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Incoming Congress looks more like America Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians MORE (R-Alaska), announced earlier in the week that he tested positive for the virus (The Hill).

 

The New York Times: As Grassley tests positive, virus threatens to stall work in Congress.

 

Roll Call: Grassley’s Senate vote streak is over. He missed his first roll call in 27 years.

 

The Hill: Colorado Democrat Rep. Ed PerlmutterEdwin (Ed) George PerlmutterColorado governor, spouse test positive for COVID-19 Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview MORE tests positive for COVID-19. He says he is asymptomatic and will isolate to work from his Washington residence.

 

The Hill: Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election.

 

Grassley’s absence from the Capitol affected Trump’s nomination of Judy Shelton to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden says family will avoid business conflicts Biden says China must play by 'international norms' MORE returned to the upper chamber to provide a crucial “no” vote, which combined with Grassley’s absence helped to scuttle the nomination.

 

With three GOP members — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him GOP blocks effort to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (Maine), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him WaPo reporter says GOP has less incentive to go big on COVID-19 relief COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (Utah) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMcConnell chokes up saying goodbye to 'friend' Lamar Alexander in floor speech Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Longtime GOP lawmaker urges Senate to restore itself in farewell speech MORE (Tenn.) — opposed to the nomination and Grassley and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) currently quarantining, Republicans could not muster the needed support to reach a majority, along with a tie-breaking tally by Vice President Pence. 

 

The nomination was temporarily defeated, 47-50, with McConnell changing his “aye” vote to “no” in order to bring the vote up again. Alexander was not present at the vote, capping GOP support for the nomination at 50 votes. It remains an open question whether the nomination will come up again after Thanksgiving as Sen.-elect Mark KellyMark KellyGabby Giffords congratulates Mark Kelly with throwback photo of her own swearing-in Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Watch Live: Sen.-elect Mark Kelly sworn in MORE (D-Ariz.) is expected to be sworn in on Nov. 30 to replace Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGabby Giffords congratulates Mark Kelly with throwback photo of her own swearing-in Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Sen.-elect Mark Kelly visits John McCain's grave ahead of swearing-in MORE (R-Ariz.) (The Hill).

 

 

 





LEADING THE DAY

BIDEN TRANSITION: Trump and the GOP may be resisting, but President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE is persisting, and on Tuesday he continued to build a White House team. The former vice president envisions a diverse senior staff with whom he’s worked before and who possess key skills to get a fast start in governance and work around roadblocks left by the outgoing administration.

 

Biden on Tuesday drew from his presidential campaign to select top lieutenants, including a member of the House with ties to the Congressional Black Caucus; the first woman to lead a winning Democratic presidential campaign; two veteran campaign strategists who have deep borings in Washington; and a female White House counsel who has worked for the Obamas and Biden and who clerked for conservative Associate Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoConservative justices seem prepared to let Trump proceed with immigrant census plan for now For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open MORE (The Hill).  

 

Incoming White House Counsel Dana Remus is not a household name, but she takes on one of toughest jobs in Washington under harrowing pressure to serve the office of the presidency through national crises and a poisonous political era.

 

Politico and Law.com: Biden names former Alito clerk to top White House job.

 

The Hill: McConnell repeats that a transfer of power will happen on time.

 

Remus’s appointment instantly garnered praise on Twitter from former associates who lauded her expertise in ethics, her knowledge of the Supreme Court and the Constitution, and her “grace under pressure” combined with an ability to make “hard decisions and move on,” as former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger described her, adding that she was “a spectacular choice!”

 

The nonpartisan White House Transition Project, whose academic experts provide best practices information to incoming and outgoing White House personnel, explains that the White House Counsel’s Office is supposed to serve the presidency more than the Oval Office occupant.

 

A Transition Project essay describes what Remus will find as she heads up what will essentially be a small law firm assembled inside the White House: “The job entails a steep learning curve at the beginning, knowing where the ‘landmines’ are, being sufficiently flexible to be able to switch gears immediately and respond to breaking crises, and working with incomplete information in a 24/7, instantaneous electronic media environment. As [former] Clinton Counsel Charles Ruff observed, ‘It’s a job for which no training or experience exists for the crosscurrents of legal, political and constitutional issues.’”

 

Remus, a former Duke University law professor who worked for the Obama Foundation and the Biden campaign, must be legally deft from the outset with the incoming president’s promised executive orders, vetting of nominees sent to the Senate, coordination with Cabinet departments and management of ethics issues that inevitably seem to ensnare each administration in its first year.

 

On Capitol Hill, Biden’s challenging position and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s refusal to concede the election are stirring Democrats to anger and anxiety, report The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Jonathan Easley.  

 

The president-elect’s executive orders next year could help Biden keep his campaign promises to Blacks and people of color (The Hill). His Cabinet picks, some of whom will be announced before Thanksgiving, may also reflect his commitments to Latinos (The Hill). His nominees for government roles in the departments of Agriculture and Transportation, who will be charged to deliver on some of the administration’s climate change goals, will be challenged by environmental groups and labor unions (The Hill).

 

Reuters: In an unprecedented public rebuke, the heads of the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Hospitals Association released a letter to Trump on Tuesday warning that more Americans will die if the administration does not share information with states and the incoming Biden transition team in the absence of a coordinated national strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19. Government officials in at least 17 states this month have improvised and issued sweeping, temporary public health mandates as virus caseloads spike.

 

 

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

PRESIDENT & POLITICS: Trump on Tuesday fired Christopher Krebs, the top U.S. cybersecurity official, over his recent comments made to debunk claims by Trump and his allies that widespread voter fraud took place. 

 

Trump tweeted that Krebs had been terminated "effective immediately," citing what he said was a “highly inaccurate” recent statement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appointee about the security of the 2020 election. Trump also falsely claimed “there were massive improprieties and fraud - including dead people voting.” 

 

“Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, 'glitches' in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more,” the president wrote. “Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”

 

Krebs, appointed by Trump in 2017, served as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at DHS since CISA’s establishment in 2018. Krebs previously helmed CISA’s predecessor agency, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (The Hill). 

 

Last week, The Hill and multiple other news outlets reported that Krebs expected to be fired after CISA issued a statement that there is “no evidence” that the U.S. voting system was “in any way compromised.”

 

“When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary,” the statement read. “This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

 

CNN: Trump remains bunkered in the White House as the world spins on.

 

> Pentagon: Trump ordered the Pentagon to pull 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by mid-January, with Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announcing the move on Tuesday. The move cuts the number of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500, and the number of forces in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500 by Jan. 15 — only days before Trump will leave office (The Hill).

 

> Lawsuit update: The president’s legal challenges are fizzling left and right in his last ditch effort to swing the 2020 election in his favor. 

 

As The Hill’s John Kruzel writes, the legal efforts have produced very little for the Trump campaign in terms of court victories and has unearthed no credible evidence that systematic fraud or ballot tampering tainted the election, which Trump continued to claim on Tuesday. 

 

According to a tally, Trump and GOP allies have filed more than two dozen lawsuits in key battleground states following the election. The cases have centered on mail ballot extensions, procedures for correcting ballots that initially omitted key information and rules about observing the vote count, among other issues. The Trump campaign has succeeded on the merits in only a few narrow cases.

 

Adding to the problems for the Trump team, the board of canvassers in Wayne County, Mich., which encompases Detroit, reversed course late Tuesday as it voted unanimously to certify the election results. The unanimous decision marks a 180-degree turn from just hours earlier Tuesday night when the panel’s two Republicans voted against certification, sparking celebrations from the GOP and an uproar from Democrats who said the initial vote was simply delaying the inevitable (The Hill).

 

The New York Times: Trump has until Wednesday to request a recount in Wisconsin. It would cost him $7.9 million.

 

The Hill: Wisconsin completes vote canvass as Trump camp mulls recount. 

 

The Hill: Top Pennsylvania court rebuffs Trump campaign's vote-count observation lawsuit.

 

Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country The Memo: Harris moves signal broad role as VP Former US attorney asks for probe of allegations Graham pressured Georgia official MORE (R-S.C.) has found himself in the midst of a storm over his conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — along with other state officials — over claims that he pressured the Georgia election official to find ways to exclude ballots from being counted. 

 

Graham, a staunch Trump ally, said on Tuesday that he has also spoken with officials in Arizona and Nevada. He has also drawn the ire of Democrats who allege that his conversations are “inappropriate” and “reckless,” as Schumer put it.

 

Graham maintains that he has reached out to state officials as “a United States senator who’s worried about the integrity of the election process” (The Hill).

 

The New York Times: In Georgia, a Republican feud with Trump at the center.

 

 

 



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

The latest vaccine news doesn’t tell the full story, by Spencer Bokat-Lindell, staff editor, The New York Times Opinion. https://nyti.ms/38MYFHY

 

Trump and his supporters are discovering how hard it is to sabotage election results, by David Ignatius, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/36KIZCn 





WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 10 a.m.

 

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the nomination of Stephen Vaden to be a judge with the U.S. Court of International Trade.

 

The president has no public events scheduled.

 

Pence will attend a U.S. Space Command briefing at 2 p.m. in the White House Situation Room.

 

Biden and Harris will meet with transition advisers in Wilmington, Del. 

 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates US to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report MORE will meet with officials in Tbilisi, Georgia, including Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili and Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.

 

INVITATION today: The Hill’s Virtually Live event at noon explores “Diabetes and the Future of Healthcare Reform,” featuring Reps. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteBipartisan lawmakers call for expedited diabetes research The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19 Overnight Health Care: Schumer, Pelosi want Heroes Act as 'starting point' in new COVID-19 relief talks | Labs warn of possible delays in test results amid surge in demand | Federal government partners with pharmacies for coronavirus vaccine distribution MORE (D-Colo.) and Tom ReedTom ReedDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Bipartisan lawmakers call for expedited diabetes research The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19 MORE (R-N.Y.), co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, plus other leading experts. Information and registration HERE.

 

The Hill’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Thursday, 11 a.m. ET:

Nearly 250 years after its founding, America is more diverse than ever before. Yet significant barriers to justice, equal opportunity and inclusion for all still exist for many Black, Hispanic, LGBT and minority Americans. What will it take for diversity, inclusion and equity to become more than just buzzwords? At this moment of national reflection, join The Hill for a conversation with change makers and stakeholders to discuss the active steps that policymakers and citizens should take toward meaningful change. RSVP.

 

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

 

 



ELSEWHERE

CORONAVIRUS: There is a reason House and Senate leaders can’t quite walk away from the idea of providing more help to state and local governments to deal with COVID-19: Projected budgetary wreckage is pushing governors to plead with federal lawmakers for assistance.

 

Between now and June 2022, state and local governments could face a shortfall of $400 billion or more, according to some estimates cited by The Associated Press. Governors from Midwestern states spoke by conference call on Tuesday to discuss a possible sequel to the March CARES Act. For months, the effort in Washington has gone nowhere. Trump and Senate Republicans chafe at the idea of spending taxpayer dollars to, as they describe it, “bail out” states with budget problems that conservatives chalk up to mismanagement rather than the coronavirus crisis.

 

Members of the White House coronavirus task force sent up flares internally to warn that the United States is in deepening trouble with COVID-19 and must act, according to NBC News. Its latest weekly report says there is "now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration."

 

The task force report, obtained by NBC, warned that current efforts to stop the spread "are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve" and that the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday has the potential to "amplify transmission considerably." 

 

U.S. mitigation orders continue to be patchwork, varying across states and communities:

 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineList of Republicans breaking with Trump grows longer Ohio governor on impeachment articles filed against him: 'We have to do whatever we can to slow this virus down' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (R) announced on Tuesday that the state will begin a 10 p.m. curfew in an effort to curb rising cases of the coronavirus. DeWine said during a press conference that the goal of the three-week curfew is to reduce the number of contacts people have by 20 percent to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (The Hill). 

 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday pleaded with residents of his state to cooperate with coronavirus precautions as he ordered an early closing time for Maryland’s bars, banned fans from stadiums, and set new limits on hospitals and nursing homes in hopes of slowing the spike in infections. The state’s new restrictions go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday (The Baltimore Sun).

 

New Orleans will celebrate Mardi Gras without parades next year, yet another forfeiture prompted by COVID-19 and restrictions on crowd sizes and worries about revelers in bars and restaurants (The Hill). Louisiana officials have conceded that Mardi Gras celebrations in February served to spread the virus with deadly results.

 

Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownOregon governor urges hosts to 'uninvite' guests Say 'no thanks' to Thanksgiving mandates The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19 MORE (D) on Tuesday ordered new, temporary COVID-19 restrictions including takeout and delivery service only at all restaurants and closure of all gyms, museums and select businesses beyond restaurants (The Hill).

 

Masks: The Business Roundtable, led by president Joshua Bolten, an ex-White House chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, is calling for immediate government actions to address the rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, including a national mask mandate and Washington action on a relief bill.

 

“It’s not as though it’s either safety or economic recovery. There is no economic recovery without safety,” Bolten told reporters on Tuesday (The Hill). The Business Roundtable represents CEOs from major U.S. companies. 

 

Bolten is no stranger to the ramifications of global pandemics; he helped the Bush administration prepare and plan in 2005 for a potential crisis after the 43rd president became convinced it was just a matter of time (ABC News). Fifteen years ago, Bush described his administration’s deliberations about whether the federal government had the power to order a quarantine to stop the spread of a pathogen and how the government could battle a potential avian flu crisis.

 

“The development of a vaccine — I've spent time with Tony Fauci on the subject,” Bush told one of Morning Report’s journalists during a 2005 news conference. “Obviously, it would be helpful if we had a breakthrough in the capacity to develop a vaccine that would enable us to feel comfortable, here at home, that not only would first responders be able to be vaccinated, but as many Americans as possible, and people around the world. But, unfortunately, we're just not that far down the manufacturing process.” 

 

Testing: The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized the first at-home COVID-19 test. It requires a prescription (The New York Times).

 

International: Italy is experiencing its highest death toll from COVID-19 since April (The Associated Press).

 

TECH: Senators from both parties on the Judiciary Committee joined in common cause on Tuesday to pummel Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergAttorneys general plan to sue Facebook over antitrust violations next week: report Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra changes names Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE during a virtual hearing at which Republicans focused on alleged political bias, business practices and market dominance, laying the ground for curbs on the companies’ long-held legal protections. Dorsey and Zuckerberg defended safeguards against use of the two platforms to spread falsehoods and incite violence in the contest between Trump and Biden. Responding to concern from Democrats on the panel, they pledged continued vigorous action for two special elections in Georgia that could determine in January which party controls the Senate (The Associated Press). ... The gulf between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate was in full view on Tuesday on the topic of content moderation (The Hill).  

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT: Conan O’Brien announced his late-night talk show, Conan, will end its 10-year run on TBS in June 2021 and that he will move to a new, weekly (streaming) variety series on HBO Max (Yahoo News).



THE CLOSER

And finally … ⚾ Democrats’ dominance in the annual Congressional Baseball Game may soon come to an end now that their star pitcher is joining the Biden administration. Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondBlack leaders express concerns about representation in Biden administration Rep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina Biden takes steps toward creating diverse Cabinet MORE (D-La.), who was first elected to Congress in 2010, has helped lead his team to victory in eight of the past nine years at the bipartisan event that has become a summer tradition in Washington. The 47-year-old is leaving Congress to become a senior adviser to Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (The Hill).

 

The Nationals, ever hopeful after COVID-19 decimated baseball in 2020, already invited Biden to throw out the Opening Day ball on April 1 as president. Perhaps a field of dreams and some South Lawn coaching will be in Richmond’s future?