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Wake Up To Politics - June 9, 2020

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, June 9, 2020. 147 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

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Lawmakers call for police reform legislation

As nationwide protests over police brutality continued for a third week, congressional Democrats on Monday unveiled sweeping legislation to overhaul policing in the United States.

The bill, the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, the practices that led to the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, respectively. The measure would also establish a “National Police Misconduct Registry,” develop a national standard on the use of force, limit the transfer of military equipment to police departments, and make it easier for plaintiffs to sue police officers by curbing the “qualified immunity” protection.

More than 200 Democratic lawmakers — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — quickly signed on to the proposal, which was authored by Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

“Today this moment of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action,” Pelosi said Monday. “We cannot settle for anything less than transformative, structural change.”

Republican legislators are soon expected to offer their own police reform bill: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who joined a “Black Lives Matter” march on Sunday, told reporters that he is in talks with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) to craft an alternative measure.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also tweeted Monday that he had spoken with Floyd’s family and called for a “bipartisan comment” to “rooting out racial injustices so no other family has to experience” what they had.

The White House has remained mostly silent on police reform proposals; President Donald Trump praised law enforcement officers at a roundtable Monday, calling them “great, great people” and denying that police departments have problems with systemic racism.

In a tweet this morning, Trump defended a pair of Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after pushing 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino to the ground last week. “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed,” Trump said, baselessly claiming that Gugino could have been an “ANTIFA provocateur.”

One area where Trump and Democratic congressional leaders align: opposing calls by protesters to “defund the police.” Bass, the Congressional Black Caucus chair, called the mantra a “distraction” while other Democrats sought to distance themselves from it as they introduced their new legislation.

“There won’t be defunding,” Trump promised at his roundtable. “There won’t be dismantling of our police. There’s not going to be any disbanding of our police.”

Despite efforts by the Trump campaign to tie him to left-wing calls to defund police, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also signaled his opposition Monday. “As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.

Opinions of the police are steadily dropping in the U.S. amid the widespread protests. In a Washington Post/Schar School poll released this morning, 69% of American adults said that “broader problems in treatment of black Americans by police” exist, a sharp increase from the 43% who said the same after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Rundown

2020 CENTRAL: “Donald Trump is planning to restart rallies in the next two weeks in a major turning point for the president since the coronavirus shut down traditional campaigning.”

“Trump’s advisers are still determining where the rallies will take place and what safety measures will be implemented, depending on the type of venue chosen. Campaign manager Brad Parscale is expected to present Trump with possibilities within the next few days.” (Politico)

--- Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia will hold congressional primaries today. The top race to watch is in Georgia, where a crowded field of Democrats are competing for the opportunity to face Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) in the fall. The frontrunner is former congressional candidate John Ossoff, but he must win a majority of the vote against rivals like ex-Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson to avoid a runoff on August 11.

CORONAVIRUS: “As rates of coronavirus infections ease in places such as New York and Illinois and onetime hot spots move into new phases of reopening, parts of the country that had previously avoided being hit hard by the outbreak are now tallying record-high new infections.”

“Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.” (Washington Post)

--- More than 7 million cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed worldwide, nearly 2 million of them in the United States. 400,000 deaths have been recorded globally due to the virus, including 111,000 in the U.S.

ECONOMY: “United States economy officially entered a recession in February 2020, the committee that calls downturns announced on Monday, bringing the longest expansion on record to an end as the coronavirus pandemic caused economic activity to slow sharply.”

“The economy hit its peak in February and has since fallen into a downturn, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee said. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends when it reaches its trough.” (New York Times)


*All times Eastern

President Donald Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 2:15 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the Senate as Gen. Charles Brown is confirmed as Air Force Chief of Staff at 2:15 p.m. and lead a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting at 3:30 p.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m., recess for weekly caucus meetings at 12:30 p.m., and return at 2:15 p.m. for the vote to confirm Brown.

The House is not in session.

The Supreme Court is not in session.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will attend a virtual fundraiser featuring Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

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