Capstone National Partners
Phase 4/5 Update
“As soon as the Senate gets back … on a bipartisan basis … it will be our priority to make sure between the 20th and the end of the month that we pass the next [coronavirus aid] legislation.”
– Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on CNBC
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI suggested that she didn’t make much of the $1 trillion goal from Republicans, indicating it was a starting point. (Politico)
On The Hill: Appropriations
- The committee also advanced the spending bill for the State Department and foreign operations programs that would require the administration to send $200 million to the World Health Organization. The bill would provide $66 billion in discretionary funding, an $8.5 billion increase over fiscal 2020. The measure also would provide $10 billion for a variety of coronavirus-related emergency programs.
“The U.S. has formally notified the World Health Organization it will withdraw from the United Nations agency … a move critics say will hamper the international fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and sap the U.S. of global influence. “The exit won’t take effect until July 2021, leaving it contingent on Mr. Trump’s re-election. His rival for the White House, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said Tuesday the U.S. would remain a member if he wins.”
Trump Tries To Bully Schools (K-12 and Colleges) Into Reopening
It Feels Like Mid-March In America Again
Axios “The coronavirus is surging, deaths are climbing and the country is dreading a fresh wave of disruptions, less than four months since the first round started. The big picture: Lingering under all the happy talk of future plans is the reality of this virus — which thrives in potential super-spreader conditions like mass gatherings.
- You see it in the sports reopening plans, especially for fans who want to attend games this fall. Colleges keep having to delay their training camps, and conferences are preparing for the possibility of no sports this fall.
- You see it in the school reopening plans, with K-12 and higher education sounding hopeful but facing growing staff revolts.
- You can see it in the Sun Belt: While governors aren’t giving in to a complete state closure like the first time around, many with hotspot areas have reversed or paused reopening policies that could encourage mass gatherings.
- You even see it far in the future, where the Tokyo 2021 Olympics planners insist the games will start in July of next year — but the Japanese public overwhelmingly disagrees, the AP reports. A recent poll found 77% believe the games can’t be held next year.”
Do Americans Understand How Badly They’re Doing?
McConnell Goes Full Mask
Grim Projection: 200,000 dead by Election Day“
And Where Is Dr. Fauci?
“He chuckles, deflecting by calling it the ‘famous question’. Fauci tries to account for it as an accidental error, rather than part of a pattern of the president playing down the pandemic. ‘I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number. What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 per cent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 per cent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case,’ he says.”
On one request: The Supreme Court cleared the way for Trump’s financial records to be released to NY prosecutors. Last year, Manhattan’s DA subpoenaed his financials in an investigation into alleged hush-money payments to two women (remember Stormy Daniels?). But Trump said he didn’t need to hand anything over because he has presidential immunity. The Supremes disagreed, with Chief Justice John Roberts saying “no citizen, not even the president” is above a criminal investigation.
On another: The Supreme Court ruled that Congress (and the public) could not see Trump’s financial records…for now. Reminder: House Democrats have been looking into whether Trump lied on his financial records to reduce his taxes. But Trump has claimed he can’t release his tax returns because he’s under audit by the IRS (he can). Now, the Supremes are saying House Dems may have overreached on this one. And sent the case back to the lower courts.
Victories for conservatives: The court prioritized religious freedom in a few cases. Like ruling that religious schools cannot be exempt from a tax credit. And that employers can opt out of birth control coverage. Also, that religious institutions don’t have to follow federal discrimination laws.
Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter “This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave. President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is trailing Biden by significant margins in key battleground states like Pennsylvania (8 points), Michigan (9 points), and Wisconsin (9 points). He’s even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina. “Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska’s 2nd district move from Toss Up to Lean Democrat. Maine, once in Lean Democrat, moves to the safer Likely Democratic category. Georgia has joined Arizona, North Carolina and Florida in the Toss Up column, although, at this point, Biden would be slightly favored to win at least Arizona and Florida. Maine’s 2nd district has moved from Likely Republican to a more competitive Lean Republican. These moves alone push Biden over the 270 electoral vote threshold (to 279).”
Politico “Senate Republicans could lose nearly half of the women currently in their caucus come November after recently making painstaking gains — the latest potential blow to the party in the Trump era.
“Out of nine Senate GOP women serving, four face highly competitive races this year in Arizona, Maine, Georgia and Iowa. It’s a dynamic that exists in part because Republicans have had some success in chipping away at the gender gap in Congress: the Senate GOP currently has an all-time high of women after nearly doubling the number of women in its conference since 2016. House Republicans have also enhanced their recruitment efforts after seeing their ranks shrink in 2018. … But Republicans face a challenging electoral environment up and down the ballot, particularly as suburban female voters have turned away from the party in droves out of antipathy for President Donald Trump. Losing those races would be a setback for the party’s efforts to broaden its representation — and to keep the Senate majority.
DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGERS are posting massive fundraising numbers. JAIME HARRISON, the Democrat running against Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.), announced he raised $13.9 million in the second quarter of 2020. STEVE BULLOCK running against Sen. STEVE DAINES, raised $7.7 million in Montana, SARA GIDEON, running against Sen. SUSAN COLLINS, raised $9 million, and CAL CUNNINGHAM, running against Sen. Thom Tillis, raised $7.4 million in North Carolina. AND — GOP CHALLENGER JOHN JAMES outraised Sen. GARY PETERS (D-Mich.) in Q2, $6.4 million to $5.2 million.
WaPo “President Trump’s relentless attacks on the security of mail voting are driving suspicion among GOP voters toward absentee ballots — a dynamic alarming Republican strategists, who say it could undercut their own candidates, including Trump himself. … GOP campaigns around the country are hearing from more and more Republican voters who say they do not trust absentee ballots, according to multiple strategists. In one particularly vivid example, a group of Michigan voters held a public burning of their absentee ballot applications last month. The growing Republican antagonism toward voting by mail comes even as the Trump campaign is launching a major absentee-ballot program in every competitive state, according to multiple campaign advisers — a delicate balancing act, considering what one strategist described as the president’s ‘imprecision’ on the subject.”
“Trying to navigate how to help your kids through online learning while still meeting work deadlines? That’s a campaign. Figuring out how to get groceries safely during a pandemic? That’s also a campaign. Restarting the economy; educating the public on the dangers of COVID- 19: campaigns. Humans have been running them our entire existence, hunting, and gathering to stay alive.
– John Rogers
Republican Senators RSVP … “NO”
So far, SIX Senate Republicans taking a pass on the RNC convention this summer: SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine); LISA MURKOWSKI (R-Alaska); MITT ROMNEY (R-Utah); CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-Iowa) and LA MAR ALEXANDER (R-Tenn.) and retiring Kansas Republican PAT ROBERTS. AND… THIS “Appearing in Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL was asked if he would be attending the convention in Jacksonville this summer. He said he didn’t have any idea whether the event would even be happening.”
Politico “First came the announcement of a downsized convention in Milwaukee that delegates were urged not to attend in person. Now, Democrats are questioning whether even gathering in smaller events throughout the country as an alternative is a plausible option after a new surge of Covid-19 cases. With infection rates exploding in several states, some elected officials, state party leaders and rank-and-file members of the Democratic National Committee are skeptical about the proposed idea of ‘mini-conventions’ across the nation — regional satellite sites for delegates and party leaders, particularly in battleground states.
“‘We should think, “What would Dr. Fauci do?” And I doubt Dr. Fauci would say go ahead and have mini-conventions across the country,’ said Rep. Ro Khanna, who is co-chairing the California delegation.
Biden Wants To ‘Build Back Better’
Why it matters: Biden’s shift to the economy meets Trump on turf the president had seen as his strength before the pandemic. Now, Biden and his aides believe the issue is an all-encompassing opening that gives Democrats avenues to attack Trump on multiple fronts while explaining their own governing vision for the country. Biden called for a $400 billion, four-year increase in government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and services, plus $300 billion in new research and development in U.S. technology firms. He proposed tightening current “Buy American” laws that are intended to benefit U.S. firms but that government agencies can circumvent. The procurement overhaul is based on ideas Biden has discussed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who offered similar proposals during the Democratic primary. Those moves would create 5 million new jobs, Biden said.”