Wake Up To Politics - April 10, 2020
I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP world headquarters in my bedroom. It’s Friday, April 10, 2020. 207 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.
Trump eyes May 1 reopening
President Donald Trump and his advisers are pushing to reopen much of the nation's economy by May 1, according to the Washington Post.
Trump's strident push to move past the economic lockdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic — "When can we reopen?" he asks aides regularly, according to the report — comes as some experts and models have updated their projections to predict a smaller death toll in the United States than previously expected.
But the updated projections still signal that 60,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus — and the threat remains that the virus could fade away in the coming weeks and months, only to return in the fall. "The 1918 Spanish flu hit in 3 waves," Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York tweeted on Thursday. "We are only in the first wave. We can’t assume that because we are seeing some positive signs this will be over soon or that additional waves won’t hit."
Despite this possibility, Trump has expressed optimism that the country will reopen "very, very, very, very soon," as he said at his daily briefing Thursday. According to the Post, "Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects."
According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is considering the creation of a second coronavirus task force focused on the economy, which would consist of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as outside economic experts.
--- Reminder: Nothing has been technically closed by the federal government, so nothing can be reopened by presidential decree. The CDC's social distancing guidelines are set to expire April 30, but even if they are not renewed, governors and mayors are free to keep their "stay-at-home" orders in place for as long as they choose.
--- Inside the West Wing: Some White House aides and Republican lawmakers "increasingly believe" that Trump's daily briefings "are hurting the president more than helping him," the New York Times reports, and have urged him to "limit his error-filled appearances at the West Wing briefings and move more aggressively to prepare for the looming recession."
--- Latest stats, via Johns Hopkins University, as of 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time...
Confirmed cases worldwide: 1,617,204
Confirmed deaths worldwide: 97,039
Confirmed cases in the United States: 466,299
Confirmed deaths in the United States: 16,703
--- Also: New York state now has more confirmed cases (161,807) than any other country outside of the U.S.
Senate stalemate over small business aid
"The Senate adjourned on Thursday without a deal to deliver coronavirus aid, as bad blood between Democrats and Republicans upended any notion of quick action to provide billions of dollars more in pandemic relief."
"First, Senate Democrats blocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to deliver an additional $250 billion for small businesses, arguing that McConnell (R-Ky.) wasn’t negotiating and money was needed urgently elsewhere. Then McConnell stifled Democrats’ attempts to pass a bill marrying the small business aid to $250 billion for hospitals and local governments."
"As of Thursday afternoon, it seemed unlikely an agreement would crystallize before the Senate convenes again on Monday." (Politico)
Sanders vanquished, Biden extends olive branch to the left
"Former Vice President Joe Biden released plans to expand Medicare eligibility and forgive some student debt as he works to unite a fractured Democratic base behind his presumptive 2020 presidential nomination."
"Biden announced Thursday he would lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60 and forgive federal student debt for low-income and middle-class people who attended public colleges and universities, historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), and underfunded minority-serving institution (MSI)."
"The proposals mark an initial olive branch to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), some of whom have expressed skepticism at Biden’s centrist brand of politics and were dismayed when the Vermont progressive withdrew from the race Wednesday. Biden specifically referenced Sanders’s advocacy for the two issues in a Medium post announcing his plans." (The Hill)
President Donald Trump will participate in an Easter Blessing with Bishop Harry Jackson at 12 p.m.
Vice President Mike Pence will participate in a conference call on coronavirus with African-American leaders at 10 a.m. and lead a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting at 12 p.m.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force will hold a press briefing at 1 p.m.
The House and Senate are not in session.
The Supreme Court has no conferences or oral arguments scheduled.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has no events scheduled.
*All times Eastern
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