Presented by Argentum
Welcome to The Hills Morning Report. It is Monday. 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 as of this morning: 135,205.
If the new normal in the United States requires figuring out how to live with the coronavirus, it also means puzzling through some of sciences most complex questions and absorbing a few grim truths.
As Florida on Sunday set another single-day record for confirmed COVID-19 cases, people across the country began to comprehend that the pathogen is in the air they breathe everywhere and that masks are surprisingly effective shields when coupled with physical distancing.
Although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida records more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day, the highest single-day increase in any state Teachers union president casts doubt on schools reopening full-time DeSantis on Florida schools reopening: ‘If you can do Walmart,’ then ‘we absolutely can do the schools’MORE (R) says he will not make masks mandatory in the Sunshine State, plenty of other powers have been speaking up. At least 40 states have versions of mask requirements, and in Utah on Friday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked members in the state to wear face coverings in public (Daily Herald).
Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir, a pediatrician on Trumps coronavirus task force, on Sunday during an interview on ABCs This Week called mask-wearing in public absolutely essential.
If we dont have that, we will not get control of the virus, he said (The Associated Press). The four-star admiral spoke a day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for VanceMeadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: AxiosPressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: ‘I wouldn’t trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child’MORE wore a mask for the first time in public.
As Reid Wilson reports, officials efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 have failed in much of the United States. Fatalities in some of the hardest-hit states are expected to rise this week. Forty-three states in the last two weeks have seen COVID-19 cases spike upward. In 29 states, the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus has climbed over the same period. More than 80 percent of intensive care beds are occupied in Alabama, Arizona and Georgia.
Arizonas Maricopa County medical examiners office on Friday hit 97 percent of capacity and the state called in refrigerated trucks to store COVID-19 fatalities (The Hill).
I would be lying if I didn’t say I was concerned, Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas told The Hill during an interview. We have looked at the trends out of Texas, Arizona and Florida. Those states kind of reflect the political choices that were made statewide in Missouri, and that does give us concern.
The Kansas City metropolitan area has confirmed more than 10,000 coronavirus cases. One disease model portends that Jackson County, Mo., is likely to experience more than 200 new cases every day by the beginning of August.
And if scientists are correct, the situation is worse than imagined just weeks ago: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that 40 percent of people infected with COVID-19 do not have any outward symptoms and can transmit the virus unknowingly. That is up from the 35 percent the agency estimated on May 20. Other researchers say asymptomatic cases of the virus could be 50 percent (ABC News).
The latest revisions of public health guidelines announced by researchers and clinicians come as the nations school districts and universities establish new reopening policies and economically distressed businesses with enclosed spaces and faulty air filtration systems ponder how to safely proceed.
> Trumps COVID-19 advisers: Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows – Spotlight shifts to reopening schoolsUS testing official: ‘Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right’Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummetMOREs blunt public assessments as a virologist leading the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases got him sidelined with a president who loathes being publicly contradicted and insists on optimism even when its fiction (The Washington Post). U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams finds himself in an administration defined by a White House spoiling for a fight. Hes never been alone in a room with the president, but as a member of the administration hes inextricably tangled with Trump in the public eye (The Washington Post).
> World Health Organization (WHO): U.S. allies around the world bite their tongues after Trump withdraws U.S. financial support for the WHO during a pandemic (The Hill).
> Risks and government workers: Senators last week said the administrations reopening plans for federal employees who are supposed to return to their offices and work locations are unsafe (Federal News Network). More than 1,000 Transportation Security Administration employees have tested positive for COVID-19 (HuffPost). Essential employees and frontline workers in various cities are pushing for workers rights legislation and other measures as forms of COVID-19 protection (NBC News). Many teachers say they fear returning to classrooms because of the coronavirus risks (The New York Times).
Better news!: No one died in New York City on Saturday from the coronavirus. It was a landmark for Gotham not experienced since March 13 (NBC New York). But New York state is quietly preparing for another COVID-19 surge, if it comes (The Associated Press).
A MESSAGE FROM ARGENTUM
LEADING THE DAY
2020 POLITICS: Only months out from Election Day, Democrats are making a concerted effort to tie down-ballot Republicans to the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosPressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: ‘I wouldn’t trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child’Teachers face off against Trump on school reopeningsBattle over reopening schools heats upMORE over their threat to cut funding to schools that do not resume in-person classes in the coming months.
As The Hills Julia Manchester reports, the move by the administration to lay down this marker has angered teachers unions, which are looking to take out their frustration on lawmakers on the ballot in November.
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, intrigueMORE (D), the partys Senate nominee in the state, is among the latest Democrats to go on the offensive, calling on incumbent Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVosSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump’s convention amid coronavirus uptickFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in SenateMORE (R-Colo.) to denounce the presidents stance on the issue. In North Carolina, Democrat Cal Cunningham, who is running against Republican Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVosSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump’s convention amid coronavirus uptickLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who ‘protect’ Trump in new adMORE, warned against the politicization of reopening schools, calling on Congress to do the work to ensure that schools open safely at the right time.
In Iowa, Democrat Theresa Greenfield, who is challenging Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVosErnst: Renaming Confederate bases is the ‘right thing to do’ despite ‘heck’ from GOP GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battleMORE (R) (pictured below), is also hitting Republicans handling of the virus, saying that the incumbent Republican needs to answer for this failure. Ernst sidestepped whether she supports the administrations plan.
Id have to look at that policy, Ernst said on Thursday. I want it [schools reopening] done safely and sensibly, and I think thats the right way to do it.
As an ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Friday shows, Democrats have good reason to lob the attacks. According to the survey, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of Trumps response to the pandemic.
The Hill: Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings.
Scott Gottlieb: Schools can open safely this fall.
Reuters: Trumps push to reopen schools part of his bid to boost suburban standing.
The Hill: Trump tax returns unlikely before November.
> Florida, Florida, Florida: With the continued spread of the virus in the Sunshine State, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for VanceTeachers face off against Trump on school reopeningsBiden wins Puerto Rico primaryMORE is making a hard play at flipping Florida blue, something former President Obama did twice before Trumps 2016 victory.
The president appeared in the state on Friday and plans remain for the GOP to hold the majority of its convention in Jacksonville despite the pandemic. However, Biden is in pole position less than four months before Election Day, with the latest RealClearPolitics average showing a 5-point lead for the former VP.
As Niall Stanage writes in his latest memo, while most of the attention is directed at the “blue wall” states in the Rust Belt, a Biden win in Florida would make Trump’s path to reelection vanishingly narrow. Spiking coronavirus cases, and the related controversy around the approach taken by DeSantis, a staunch Trump ally, create grave problems for the president, who won the state by a little more than a point in 2016.
The Associated Press: Its Trumps call on what the GOP convention will look like.
The New York Times: Trump wants to derail Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions hits back at Trump days ahead of Alabama Senate runoff Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in AlabamaMORE. Now Alabama will have the final say.
The Washington Post: Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE hits a rough patch as Trumps campaign manager.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
CONGRESS: Lawmakers appear poised to do little, if anything, to legislatively respond to intelligence and reports that Russia placed bounties on the killings of U.S. and allied troops.
Democrats continue to press Trump administration officials for answers on the issue, going ahead with filing bills or amendments to the annual defense policy bill to address the issue. However, Republicans are echoing the administrations talking point about the intelligence being uncorroborated, creating a steep climb for any legislative action to come to fruition.
We know that countries like Russia and Iran, in particular, are using proxies to attack Americans wherever they can find them, said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestormDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVosTexas lawmakers ask HHS to set up field hospital, federal resources in the stateMORE (R-Texas). So none of this should be a surprise to anybody whos been paying attention. But I think we will continue to try to figure ways to protect our forces against any kind of threats, whether its Russian bounties or just people who want to kill Americans. Thats where I think we need to focus on, is maintaining that force protection.
When pressed recently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestormCongress under pressure to provide billions for school openingsHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTokMORE (R-Ky.) did not directly address whether he would back a new round of sanctions against Russia, simply saying that its no secret the Russians are up to no good (The Hill).
Douglas London, The New York Times opinion contributor: Trumps shocking inaction on Russia.
> Testimony: Democratic lawmakers are pushing to hear testimony from John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummetMany Democrats want John Bolton’s testimony, but Pelosi stays mumTrump envoy says US ready to talk to North Korea but rebukes Pyongyang counterpartMORE, saying that the presidents former national security adviser should answer to Congress under oath about his time in the White House.
Bolton refused to talk to managers of the House impeachment proceedings against the president last year but in a book released last month he argued that Trump is incompetent as commander in chief and unfit to be president. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBattle over reopening schools heats upPelosi: Trump wearing a mask is ‘an admission’ that it can stop spread of coronavirusSunday shows – Spotlight shifts to reopening schoolsMORE (D-Calif.) has yet to announce a decision on whether to force Bolton to testify, saying for weeks that shes considering matters. While she decides, lawmakers have become vocal, calling for Bolton to speak to investigators about his 17 months in the White House. (The Hill).
Yahoo News: Amid Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneChris Christie: I wouldn’t have commuted Roger Stone sentenceGraham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probeSunday shows – Spotlight shifts to reopening schoolsMORE flap, GOP senator to allow Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened TrumpCNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meetingThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire falloutMOREtestimony.
> Immigration: Sen.Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battleFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in SenateHillicon Valley: Facebook takes down ‘boogaloo’ network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threatsMORE (D-Ill.) says he has a commitment from Biden and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: ‘The most corrupt president in history’A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the governmentData shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffsMORE (D-N.Y.) to make immigration reform the first major agenda item if Democrats win the White House and Senate in November.
In 2009, the first year of total Democratic control during Obamas presidency, Democrats focused on health care first and then climate change, leaving many of their supporters in the immigration reform community sorely disappointed. While theres been little discussion about any specific plans, some Republicans have already indicated they would be prepared to negotiate, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probeRomney blasts Trump’s Stone commutation: ‘Historic corruption’Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who ‘protect’ Trump in new adMORE(R-S.C.) (The Hill).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share The Hills reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
Its 2022. What does life look like? by David Leonhardt, writer, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2C7gzqX
Anti-Semitic posts and tepid reactions should enrage us, by Mitch Albom, columnist, Detroit Free Press. https://bit.ly/3eiPWwl
A MESSAGE FROM ARGENTUM
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets for a pro forma session at noon and returns to legislative business on July 20.
The Senate meets at 5:30 p.m. for a pro forma session.
The president will have lunch with Vice President Pence at 12:30 p.m. Trump will participate in a roundtable at 2 p.m. with select attendees who offer testimonials about the benefits of law enforcement.
Pence will join the president for lunch.
INVITATION: The Hill Virtually Live talks to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTokAmazon backtracks, says email asking employees to delete TikTok was sent in errorAmazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: reportMORE on Wednesday at 11 a.m. about New Threats, New Defense: The Future of National Security. Interviewer: Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Fauci says focus should be on pausing reopenings rather than reverting to shutdowns; WHO director pleads for international unity in pandemic responseThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Thousands expected for George Floyd’s Houston visitationThe Hill’s Morning Report – Capitol Hill weighs action on racial justice as protests carry onMORE.RSVP HERE.
Washington Post Live will interview New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamGovernors urge Pence to promote mask-wearingWarren top choice for VP for some Black progressives Poll finds Warren most popular Biden VP choice among college studentsMORE (D) today at 1 p.m. about the coronavirus situation in her state and her inclusion on Bidens list of vice presidential contenders. Live stream conversation hosted by journalist Jonathan Capehart: wapo.st/grisham
The Hills Coronavirus Report has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!
Hill.TVs Rising program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.
Sports: The Washington Redskins, after years of resistance, will indeed change the team name, considered a slur by Native Americans and many others. According to Sports Business Journal, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is set to announce this morning that the franchise will retire its name. A new one and there are many creative ideas out there is in suspense (ESPN). The Atlanta Braves announced Sunday that the franchise will not change its name despite such announcements by other teams (the Redskins and Cleveland Indians, for example). In a letter to season ticket holders, the team said it would always keep the name but indicated the Braves will weigh the future of the tomahawk chop (ESPN).
Economy: As beach towns open, business owners say there are shortages of the foreign workers on whom they rely each summer. From Cape Cod, Mass., to Myrtle Beach, S.C., Trumps ban announced in June on green cards and his freeze on temporary visas are hurting U.S. businesses, proprietors complain (The Associated Press).
International:Iran in a report late Saturday blamed misaligned radar for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet. On Jan. 8, Iranian forces fired an anti-aircraft missile at the Boeing 737-800 shortly after its takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing 176 passengers (The Washington Post). China announced sanctions against Sens. 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 adGOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for TrumpMORE (R-Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada’s National Health Service?Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycottTrump says he’ll sign order with ‘road to citizenship’ for DACA recipientsMORE (R-Texas) and other U.S. officials in response to a legislative effort to hurt Beijing over the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. The move is largely symbolic, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declining to elaborate on the sanctions (Reuters) South Africa reimposed its national curfew as coronavirus infections surge across the country (AFP).
Target Mars: Beginning this week, there could be a bit of a traffic jam ahead for Mars. The United States, China and the United Arab Emirates are all sending unmanned exploratory spacecraft to the red planet (The Associated Press).
State watch: Stockton, Calif., is experimenting with a universal basic income for select residents, an idea advocated during the Democratic presidential primary and in various forms by some Democratic lawmakers in Washington. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, pictured below, last year launched SEED, which sends $500 per month to 125 randomly selected residents in his city over two years. The program studies recipients with one key question in mind: How is guaranteed income impacting their income volatility? So far, advocates believe the program has a beneficial effect on recipients and their families (CNBC).
And finally For Mary Daniel of Florida, where theres a will, theres going to be a way.
Daniel, 57, accepted a part-time nursing home dishwashing job during the pandemic so she could see her husband, Steve, who is a resident in the facility. He suffers from Alzheimers and the couple had been kept apart for 114 days during the spring and early summer as the coronavirus began to circulate. Marys first shift washing and scrubbing took place on July 3 and she said her husband recognized her even behind her mask.
I walked into his room and he said my name. When he said, Mary, and gave me the biggest hug, I mean, we both cried, she explained (CNN).
Presented by Argentum