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Members of the House of Representatives are heading back to Washington D.C. to vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is in no danger of failing because one Kentucky Republican (and it’s not even Mitch McConnell) is being kind of a dick. As The Washington Post explains:
The House of Representatives prepared to vote Friday on a $2 trillion economic relief package to address fallout from the coronavirus, with scores of lawmakers begrudgingly returning to the Capitol after one GOP member threatened to raise a procedural objection.
With the economy reeling and millions of Americans seeking unemployment benefits, House leaders had hoped to pass the sweeping measure by a “voice vote” that would not require members to show up in person. Those who wanted to could come to the Capitol to speak in favor of or against the legislation that will send $1,200 payments to many Americans and free up large loans for businesses of every size.
If they used a “voice vote,” members in quarantine or who simply did not want to travel would not have to do so. There are now roughly 86,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, and 1,300 people have died just in the past few weeks.
But Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) threatened to raise procedural objections that would require a majority of the House to be present to quash, and so on Thursday evening leadership in both parties began urging members who could do so to return to Washington in order to have the numbers to overcome whatever objection Massie might raise. [Pols emphasis]
Massie may have seriously misread this situation, because President Trump is not happy:
Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
As The Washington Post notes in a separate story, Rep. Massie’s colleagues are not at all surprised that he’s needlessly throwing wrenches:
During his seven years in Congress, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has established a reputation as a uniquely irascible congressional gadfly — one who is frequently at odds with his own party’s leadership, rarely votes for major bills negotiated with Democrats, and, to make an ideological point, is willing to use the House rule book to inconvenience his colleagues.
In other words, he’s the Kentucky version of State Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs).
Just in case you thought opposition to the relief bill was relegated to some looney from Kentucky…Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) are railing about their own grievances with the legislation.
► Eight of Colorado’s 9 Members of Congress are urging President Trump to approve a Major Disaster request for Colorado. Who was the lone dissenter? Hint: His name rhymes with “suck.”
► Many of Colorado’s most prominent Republican lawmakers — including Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville — are growing increasingly vocal about their opposition to “stay at home” orders because…tyranny, or something. These actions are bad for their health and the health of their friends and family — and new polling info suggests that these positions will hurt them politically in November.
If you are interested in making specious and dangerous arguments yourself, here’s a cheat sheet to get you started on messaging.
► Not all the coronavirus news is bad news, as The Washington Post reports from the state of Washington:
The suburban hospital that handled the first onslaught of coronavirus patients weeks ago — a crush of seriously ill and dying nursing home residents that signaled the beginning of the national health crisis — is now offering cautious optimism to people across the United States who are searching for an end to the springtime nightmare: They believe they might have flattened the curve here.
At EvergreenHealth Medical Center, two miles from the shuttered Lifecare nursing home where 35 patient deaths were linked to the virus, officials say their rate of new covid-19 cases has remained steady for two weeks, leveling off at a trickle. On some days, doctors here see just one new case and haven’t seen more than four in a single day since mid-March. Few need admission to the intensive care unit, which is now half full, two weeks after overflow necessitated transfers to nearby hospitals…
…“It is a glimmer of hope,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This is suggestive that some of the things we’re doing together is having some very modest improvement. The things we did two weeks ago are now appearing in our hospitals.” [Pols emphasis]
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is co-sponsoring legislation to push President Trump to take action on speeding up production of needed medical equipment. From the Aurora Sentinel:
Crow and California Congresswoman Katie Porter introduced the Frontline Health Care Workers Assistance Act on Thursday.
If passed it would direct Trump to use the Defense Production Act, which was approved in 1950 and reauthorized last in 2018, to purchase 300 million N95 respirator masks within 24 hours, waive limitations in the Defense Production Act related to dollar limits and a 30-day waiting period for large orders.
It would also require a bevy of federal agencies to report medical supply needs using “comprehensive data.”
The situation is getting increasingly dire, Crow told the Sentinel Thursday, after a phone call with health officials from across his district.
► The New York Times is keeping track of where the United States stands in terms of providing testing for coronavirus.
► Colorado Public Radio has more information on what you need to know now that Tax Day has been moved to July 15.
► The Denver Post reports on two new executive orders from Gov. Jared Polis related to the coronavirus outbreak.
► Local municipalities are dropping their “stay at home” orders since a statewide order from Gov. Polis makes them unnecessary.
► President Trump called into Sean Hannity’s Fox News program on Thursday evening. Chris Cillizza of CNN highlights some of Trump’s bat-shittiest moments:
Why was the President spending so much time griping on the phone with one of his most ardent defenders even as the United States became the country with the most documented coronavirus cases in the world? I have no idea — but I did go through the interview and pick out the lines you need to see…
…1. Well, because of you, I made it to 10:30. So, that shows the power of … That shows you have the number one rated show on television.”
In which the President of the United States says he postponed a phone call with the Chinese President so he could appear on Hannity’s TV show. And away we go!
► As Sam Tabachnik reports for The Denver Post, Colorado is prioritizing coronavirus testing for first responders and frontline healthcare workers.
► The coronavirus outbreak is forcing layoffs for many local news outlets.
►The U.S. Forest Service in Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced a series of park closures because of coronavirus.
► Trump allies are getting nervous that the President may take a premature victory lap on coronavirus.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► Politico gets a look inside the coronavirus-altered campaign for Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden.
► Another poll shows that Fox News viewers are uniquely confused about coronavirus.
► Which special interests fared well in the $2 trillion stimulus package? Politico runs through the list, which starts here:
A provision for the FDA to approve “innovative” sunscreens—which would benefit L’Oreal, which has operations in Kentucky—appeared in the bill, which was steered in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Close your eyes and you’d never know the difference (h/t to Michael Bowman):
God only brought one guy back from the dead on Easter. Trump is here to bring back the whole economy on Easter 2020. Enjoy this clip (possibly, like, the best ever), share and be sure to subscribe to Making Podcasts Great Again (@TrumpPod) – new every week! pic.twitter.com/aUifVWRzfh
— J-L Cauvin (@JLCauvin) March 24, 2020
► Want more? Check out The Get More Smarter Podcast:
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