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► As The New York Times reports, the United States has surpassed 150,000 deaths from COVID-19.
► Senate Republicans and the White House can barely agree on what to eat for lunch (though it’s either hamburgers or meatloaf), so they’ve made little progress on a new coronavirus stimulus bill as extended unemployment benefits are about to run dry. As The Washington Post reports, President Trump is now talking about a mini-bill:
President Trump called for a quick fix Wednesday to address expiring unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, saying the other parts of the GOP’s $1 trillion relief bill can wait.
“The rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care, we really don’t care,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to divisions between the two parties.
Democrats have repeatedly rejected the idea of a piecemeal approach that would involve a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not embraced the idea either, insisting any bill must include a five-year liability shield for businesses, health-care providers and others — a non-starter for Democrats.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking alongside Trump, said the two sides were “very far apart.”
This is the part where we remind you that the House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill (the “HEROES Act”) in mid-May. Senate Republicans have been sitting around drawing doodles in their notebooks for more than two months now.
On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis laid out a list of items that Colorado needs Congress to provide ASAP:
Polis warned of dire consequences to the economic welfare of millions of Coloradans and to the state’s ability to contain the pandemic in a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation as the U.S. Senate begins deliberating the next phase of coronavirus relief while infections surge across the nation.
“The continued uncertainty regarding the extension and funding of key federal programs for Coloradans is making many of our neighbors contemplate extremely difficult choices regarding their financial futures,” Polis said.
► Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday also called on all Coloradans to be more smarter about protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. From The Denver Post:
Coloradans who attend large events, don’t wear masks and don’t follow social-distancing guidelines are not only putting themselves but others at risk, Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday in response to concerns about a large event in Weld County over the weekend.
A concert and rodeo in Weld County on Sunday drew about 2,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic in a county that has resisted the governor’s orders for wearing masks and other restrictions to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Although county commissioners may believe they don’t have to enforce orders from the governor, Polis rejected the claim at a news conference Tuesday, saying it’s the law and the way to fight it is through the courts…
…“Attending large gatherings doesn’t just put yourself at risk but also puts your job and your family and your loved ones at risk,” Polis said. “No government policy can force anybody not to be stupid, but I’m calling on Coloradans not to be stupid.” [Pols emphasis]
► Attorney General William Barr testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, delivering a masterful performance…assuming you were expecting a disgustingly corrupt and indifferent stance on just about anything he was asked. Vox.com explains how Barr has helped to make Trumpism possible in the United States. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post marvels at Barr’s clear-eyed support for meddling in U.S. elections.
Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hear from leaders of the nation’s four biggest tech giants: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) snapped at reporters last week when asked about how the Trump administration has handled the coronavirus pandemic. As CNN reports:
Asked last week if he had confidence in the Trump administration’s handling of the virus, GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado pushed back.
“I’m not going to play political pundit for you,” Gardner said when asked if he agreed with Trump’s claim that the federal government had done a “great job” in dealing with the crisis. Asked again how he would characterize the administration’s response, Gardner said: “You want me to be a Democrat pundit. I’m not going to do it.”
► Republicans have little chance of re-taking majority control of the House of Representatives in 2020, and now they’re growing nervous that they could be falling into a deep hole in the minority. Via POLITICO:
A slew of dismal summer polls and a persistent fundraising gap have left some Republicans fretting about a nightmare scenario in November: That they will fall further into the House minority.
Publicly, House GOP leaders are declaring they can still net the 17 seats needed to flip the chamber. But privately, some party strategists concede it’s a much grimmer picture, with as many as 20 Republican seats at risk of falling into Democratic hands.
Far from going on offense, the GOP could be forced to retrench in order to limit its losses. There’s a growing fear that President Donald Trump’s plummeting popularity in the suburbs could threaten GOP candidates in traditionally favorable districts, and that their party’s eagerness to go on offense might leave some underfunded incumbents and open GOP-held seats unprotected.
Internal Democratic surveys in recent weeks have shown tight races in once-solid GOP seats in Indiana, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Montana that Trump carried handily 2016 — data that suggest the battleground is veering in a dangerous direction for the GOP.
► HHS Secretary Alex Azar is in Aurora today to “promote President Trump’s COVID-19 plan.” This should be a brief visit.
► As The Associated Press reports, President Trump’s fears that mail-balloting will doom his re-election chances have Republicans across the country scrambling on different methods of GOTV. The end result may be that Trump’s baseless warnings will end up hurting Republican turnout in November:
But while Democrats have tried to expand access to voting by mail, Republicans have struggled with what to tell their voters. Some have pushed for it, while Trump and his allies at the Republican National Committee have tried to limit expansion of remote voting.
Increasingly, GOP operatives and officials are voicing their concerns with that strategy. “Why give Democrats 10 or 11 days to vote and expect Republicans to vote on one day?” asked Rohn Bishop, Republican Party chair in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. “It puts us at a disadvantage.”
► The Colorado Sun reports on something that we’ve been saying in this space for a long time: Colorado is not a Presidential swing state anymore. This is bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner and other down-ballot Republican candidates.
► Former Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) have thus far agreed on just one debate this fall.
► Colorado Public Radio talks with Raymon Doane, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado.
► State Treasurer Dave Young is rolling out his proposal for a “secure savings plan,” as The Denver Post reports:
Young laid out the roadmap for the state’s new Secure Savings Plan, which he said will take at least two years to get up and running, but could save taxpayers $10 billion over the long haul by boosting the retirement assets of workers in the state.
“We are very sensitive to the challenges that businesses face in the current economic crisis. We want to do this in a thoughtful way,” Young said during a video call Tuesday.
The first major milestone comes Sept. 15, when Gov. Jared Polis will replace the current study board with an operating board, which Young will also chair. Those interested in serving on the board can contact Leah Marvin-Riley in the Treasurer’s Office. The new board will then appoint an executive director to run the program.
The board and new executive director will issue requests for proposals to find private firms to administer the plan and manage the money collected.
► Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman makes the same mistakes, again and again, no matter what elected office he holds.
► Colorado Senate Republicans attempted a silly political stunt on Tuesday in calling for a special legislative session so that they can attempt to de-fund schools in Colorado. Erica Meltzer of Chalkbeat has more on this boneheaded idea.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, the state is investigating the practice of using ketamine as a calming agent — something that may have contributed to the death of Elijah McClain in 2019.
► The Colorado Springs Independent wonders if Black Lives Matter in Colorado Springs.
► Coronavirus is already the third-leading cause of death for Coloradans in 2020.
President Trump on pulling troops out of Germany: “Germany’s delinquent. They haven’t paid their fees, they haven’t paid their NATO fees. They’re way off. And they’ve been off for years and they have no intention on paying it. The United States has been taken advantage of.” pic.twitter.com/b75b5GxCLF
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 29, 2020
► Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says federal law enforcement agents are leaving Portland.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Another reminder that the coronavirus doesn’t care about your politics:
► Slate.com is keeping track of President Trump’s ridiculousness:
On Thursday, Trump announced he would be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a Major League Baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 15. On Monday, the New York Times published a piece about this announcement, which, according to the paper’s sources, Trump made spontaneously, without having run it by the Yankees, because he was jealous of Anthony Fauci, who had been (actually) invited to throw out a first pitch in the District of Columbia on July 23 by the Washington Nationals. The president’s imaginary Aug. 15 first pitch has since been canceled.
► We’ll just go ahead and leave this here:
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with HD-38 candidate David Ortiz:
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