THE CORONAVIRUS RELIEF TALKS are barely 12 hours old, and a few truths have already revealed themselves:
— THIS ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS is likely to be a long slog. It’s hard to believe the talks will wrap up by the end of July.
— TWO HURDLES need to be cleared. The WHITE HOUSE and SENATE REPUBLICANS have to get on the same page. That’s not happened yet — not even close. And Republicans need to do battle with Democrats.
AN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL described the dynamic: “THE DIVIDE BETWEEN NANCY PELOSI AND SENATE REPUBLICANS is bigger than the Grand Canyon. While everybody’s focused on [unemployment insurance] and state and local assistance as well as additional PPP, the real problem is ultimately going to be everybody adding non-related things to the bill.”
IT SEEMS INEVITABLE that this flight will feature plenty of turbulence.
AT THE MOMENT, several major issues have surfaced: Senators want more money for testing, but the administration says there is $9 billion for testing that has gone unspent. Senators are pretty much uniformly opposed to the payroll tax cut, and the administration is pushing for it. Senators want more money for the CDC for vaccine disbursement, while the administration is still reviewing options as to how to distribute an eventual vaccine. There’s a minor fight over Defense Department money as it relates to the Defense Production Act. The president wants to condition some education funding on the reopening of schools, which legislators oppose. On the talks: POLITICO … NYT … WaPo … WSJ … AP
IT’S TOUGH TO SEE which administration priorities survive here.
TODAY: White House chief of staff MARK MEADOWS and Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN will meet with Senate Appropriations Chair RICHARD SHELBY (R-Ala.) and Sens. ROY BLUNT (R-Mo.) and LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-Tenn.) at 11 a.m. in the Capitol. MEADOWS and MNUCHIN will go to the Senate GOP lunch — it seems unlikely President DONALD TRUMP will come. At 2 p.m., Speaker NANCY PELOSI will hold a Democratic Caucus call. At 3:15 p.m., MEADOWS and MNUCHIN will meet with PELOSI and Senate Minority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER.
IT’S ACTUALLY QUITE STUNNING how uniformly TRUMP’S stated policy preferences are getting dismissed on Capitol Hill. The payroll tax cut still has next to no support (quotes are a mix of our own reporting and the Capitol Hill pool):
— SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-Texas): “I think it’s problematic because, obviously, the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare are already on their way to insolvency. And then we’d raise them again, we’d raise taxes. … I’m not a fan.”
— SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-Iowa): “I think you’d better ask me after tomorrow so we can hear from the administration if they’re really serious about it.”
— SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-S.D.): “Not a fan of that, I’ve made that pretty clear. I don’t think it’s something that changes anyone’s behavior and has trust fund implications. I just think there are better ways to do it.”
SENATORS seem much more interested in getting the nation’s testing regime in order — which the administration seems far less interested in:
— ALEXANDER: “My view is, we should do whatever we need to do to make sure we have adequate tests. All roads to open school, opening, going back to work, child care go, lead through testing. And while we’re testing more than any other country, we obviously need for Dr. Collins to succeed with his Shark Tank to produce more rapid tests and we need to do pooling, which was just approved by the FDA, and to open schools, we need more tests and we ought to provide whatever financial support we should to make it safe for schools to open, and that includes widespread testing.”
YIKES … FT: “U.S. lab giant warns of new Covid testing crunch in autumn,” by David Crow: “The largest laboratory company in the U.S. has warned it will be impossible to increase coronavirus testing capacity to cope with demand during the autumn flu season, in a sign that crippling delays will continue to hamper the U.S. response to the pandemic.
“James Davis, executive vice-president of general diagnostics at Quest Diagnostics, said ‘other solutions need to be found’ to detect positive patients in addition to the nasal swab tests currently in use. The comments come as testing companies including Quest and its main rival LabCorp are already struggling to keep up with demand. With 5.5m tests being conducted a week due to a spike in cases, both companies are reporting delays of about a week in getting results to people.”
21 REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS have signed a letter urging liability reform.
WSJ’S RICH RUBIN: “Corporations Seek Tax-Credit Cash-Out in Next Coronavirus Relief Plan”: “Many large U.S. corporations are sitting on piles of tax credits they may not be able to use for years. They want Congress to let them have the money now.
“Duke Energy Corp., Ford Motor Co., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and others could benefit if Congress includes a tax credit cash-out proposal in its next economic-relief legislation. Such a move, which is among ideas being considered by lawmakers and the Trump administration, could improve corporate cash flow by tens of billions of dollars.”
Good Tuesday morning.
NYT, A1: “Trump Threatens to Send Federal Law Enforcement Forces to More Cities,” by Peter Baker, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Monica Davey: “President Trump plans to deploy federal law enforcement to Chicago and threatened on Monday to send agents to other major cities — all controlled by Democrats.
“Governors and other officials reacted angrily to the president’s move, calling it an election-year ploy as they squared off over crime, civil liberties and local control that has spread from Portland, Ore., across the country.
“With camouflage-clad agents already sweeping through the streets of Portland, more units were poised to head to Chicago, and Mr. Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and other urban centers. Governors and other officials compared his actions to authoritarianism and vowed to pursue legislation or lawsuits to stop him.”
NEW POLL: “Majority of Voters Say U.S. Society Is Racist as Support Grows for Black Lives Matter,” by WSJ’s Sabrina Siddiqui: “Voters in growing numbers believe that Black and Hispanic Americans are discriminated against, and a majority of 56% holds the view that American society is racist, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
“The poll finds that Americans of all races and age groups share significant concerns about discrimination nearly two months after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis. Nearly three-quarters of Americans, 71%, believe that race relations are either very or fairly bad, a 16-point increase since February.
“In other signs of substantial shifts in views on race, more voters see racial bias as a feature of American society and support protests aimed at addressing it. Nearly 60% in the survey said that Black people face discrimination, and just over half said so of Hispanics, about double the shares from 2008. Support has also grown for two of the public responses to concerns about inequality: the Black Lives Matter movement and professional athletes’ practice of kneeling during the national anthem.” WSJ
COMPLETE AND UTTER MESS … LAT: “L.A. County reports record number of coronavirus hospitalizations,” by Colleen Shalby: “Los Angeles County officials have announced another record-breaking day among patients hospitalized for the coronavirus.
“As of Monday, 2,232 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms — the highest single-day number reported and the sixth consecutive day that hospitalizations surpassed 2,100. On Sunday, 2,216 patients were reported, the first time hospitalizations had surpassed 2,200. Of those currently hospitalized, 26% are in intensive care. Public health officials also reported 3,160 new cases and nine additional coronavirus-related deaths. More than 159,000 people have been infected in the county since the pandemic began.”
— TEXAS TRIBUNE: “Coronavirus kills another 1,000 in Texas in just 10 days,” by Sarah Champagne
VEEPSTAKES — JOE BIDEN on Monday night on JOY REID’S new MSNBC show “THE REIDOUT”: “I am not committed to naming any but the people I have named, and among them, there are four Black women. So, that decision is underway right now.”
TRUMP’S TUESDAY: The president will sign a memorandum at 12:15 p.m. in the Oval Office. He will hold a news conference at 5 p.m.
— MADISON CAWTHORN, who won the primary election to fill MEADOWS’ seat, will be at the White House today, sources said.
— KAYLEIGH MCENANY will hold a press briefing at 11 a.m.
BIG NEWS: EU APPROVES STIMULUS PACKAGE … DAVID HERSZENHORN and LILI BAYER: “European Union leaders agree on coronavirus recovery package: “Deal! EU leaders agreed early Tuesday on a groundbreaking plan to jointly borrow €750 billion to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 135,000 people around the bloc and sent economies across the Continent into a tailspin.
“The EU’s recovery fund, to be composed of €390 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans, will be attached to a new €1.074 trillion seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), on which heads of state and government also reached unanimous agreement — bringing the total financial package to €1.82 trillion. The deal was clinched at 5:30 a.m., capping a summit that went into a fifth day and became one of the longest in EU history.” POLITICO
COHEN WATCH — “Michael Cohen claims federal government illegally threw the book at him,” by David Cohen: “A lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of Michael Cohen claiming the former attorney for President Donald Trump was returned to prison because of his plans to publish a book about the president.
“The American Civil Liberties Union and law firm Perry Guha LLP filed the suit on behalf of Cohen, who was returned to prison July 9, seven days after he tweeted that he was finishing a book about Trump. At the time he was returned to prison, the Bureau of Prisons said Cohen had violated the terms of his home confinement.
“‘The First Amendment forbids Respondents from imprisoning Mr. Cohen in retaliation for drafting a book about the President and for seeking to publish that book soon,’ the lawsuit argues. The lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York. It seeks his immediate return to home confinement. Cohen had been let out of prison in May to serve his sentence at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.” POLITICO
BOOK CLUB — “RNC to hawk Donald Trump Jr.’s new book,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Donald Trump Jr. has a new book coming out next month, and he’ll have a powerful ally helping him sell it: the Republican National Committee.
“The RNC is buying copies of the first son’s forthcoming ‘Liberal Privilege,’ which it will offer to donors who contribute at least $75. The committee orchestrated a similar fundraising campaign last year around Trump’s previous book, ‘Triggered’ — a move that led to accusations that the RNC was boosting sales to land him in the coveted top slot of The New York Times bestseller list.
“Republican officials insist the goal is simply to use the book as a fundraising tool. The committee spent over $100,000 on copies of ‘Triggered,’ which resulted in donations totaling around $1 million, and allies of the younger Trump argued that the book would have risen to the top of the bestseller list regardless, given his loyal conservative following.”
— SIMON AND SCHUSTER announced it will publish an untitled book in 2022 by MICHELE NORRIS about race in America, “based on her journey collecting hundreds of thousands of hidden conversations for The Race Card Project archive.” She’ll also write a related children’s book.
MEDIAWATCH — “Fox stars Hannity, Carlson and fired anchor Henry in lawsuit,” by AP’s David Bauder
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
IN MEMORIAM — “Retired AP correspondent Arthur Rotstein dies from COVID-19,” by Jacques Billeaud
STAFFING UP — Cameron Trimble is joining Joe Biden’s campaign as director of African American paid media. He previously was a principal at Precision Strategies.
WHITE HOUSE ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Alex Oscarson is now deputy associate director of the Presidential Personnel Office. She most recently was a confidential assistant for the office of the White House liaison at the Commerce Department. … William Henrichs is now associate travel manager at the White House travel office. He most recently was press assistant for Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). … Brian Morgenstern is joining the White House as deputy comms director and deputy press secretary. He previously was at the Treasury Department.
TRANSITIONS — Dan Schneider is now VP of comms at the Ex-Im Bank. He most recently was associate director for comms at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. … Daniel Tomanelli has returned to the Pentagon and is now policy adviser in the office of the deputy assistant Air Force secretary for space acquisition and integration. He most recently was a special assistant in the NSC’s defense directorate, and is an OSD policy alum.
WEDDING — Abby Camp, director of coalitions and operations for the Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Braxton Wenk, administrative director and legislative assistant for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), got married July 11 in Charlottesville, Va., at the Kenwood House at Monticello. They’re planning a larger reception for the fall. They met playing on the Busch Lattes in the House Intramural Softball League. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Jennifer W. Siciliano, chief external affairs officer at Inova Health System. How she got her start: “While a student at Marymount University and with a desire to have my car at college, I answered an ad for an internship on Capitol Hill hoping that would satisfy the requirement by my parents to get a part-time job to support my ‘transportation’ needs. Little did I know this would be the beginning of what has become an incredibly rewarding career spanning the federal, state and local levels.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is 8-0 … Mick Mulvaney, U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, is 53 … Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is 68 … Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) is 75 … CNN’s Mark Preston (h/t Kevin Bohn) … Bob Shrum is 77 (h/t Jon Haber) … David Stacy … Lisa Neubauer (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Google’s Ali-Jae Henke … former Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy is 65 … Brian Parnitzke, RNC director of turnout and targeting … Peter Doocy, Fox News correspondent … SoftBank’s Christin Tinsworth Baker … John Negroponte is 81 … Steve Lerch … Nancy LeaMond of AARP (h/t son Colin Finan) … former Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.) is 73 … former Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) is 86 … Otto Heck … Samantha Summers, government affairs analyst for Whirlpool Corp., is 27 (h/t Kayla Gowdy) … Amazon’s Amber Talley …
… Michael Sessums, managing partner at Ibex Partners (h/t Catherine Sullivan) … Jessica Menter … Trita Parsi, EVP of the Quincy Institute … Molly Oczkowski … Dave Noble … Ron Colburn … Blaire Luciano Constable … Billy Schuette … Michele Young … Trudy Bedword … Pip Deely … Edelman’s Athena Johnson … Amanda K. Ruisi … Katie Gillen … Martin Bandier … Benjamin Brafman is 72 … Ted Davis … Robbie Diamond … Nia Prater … Laurie Cipriano … Julie Wadler … Katherine Schneider, deputy comms director for Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) … Jahan Wilcox … Jen Corey Baca … Adam Kroczaleski … Amanda Carey Elliott … Jen Bluestein … Shavon Arline-Bradley … Doug Mellgren … Greg Richardson … Theresa Vawter … retired Gen. Dick Tubb is 61 … Travis Thomas … Wendy Wilkinson … Meaghan Wolff