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On the roster: Senate poised to pass $2 trillion stimulus/bailout - Trump said to be ready to freeze out Fauci - Not so bully: Biden founders in Trump rebuttal - Just the ramen, please
SENATE POISED TO PASS $2 TRILLION STIMULUS/BAILOUT
Politico: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that they are ‘very close’ to an agreement on a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package, raising the possibility of a Senate vote on the legislation as early as Tuesday. Following a series of late-night meetings in Schumer's office in the Capitol — and a phone call with President Donald Trump to review the status of the discussions — Mnuchin and Schumer told reporters around midnight that they hope to have the final agreement in place in the morning. ‘There are still documents that are going to be reviewed tonight and turned around, there's still a couple of open issues, but I think we're very hopeful this can be closed out tomorrow,’ Mnuchin said. While Trump had sent a late-night tweet that appeared to slam House Democrats over the demands for the rescue package, Mnuchin claimed it wasn't related to his own discussions with Schumer.”
Pelosi nods - Roll Call: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi began to embrace negotiations driven by the Trump administration and Senate on a financial rescue package Tuesday, in a turnaround that could bolster prospects for a broadly supported deal. Just a day earlier, the California Democrat had introduced a competing House bill that would offer more than $2.5 trillion to counter the pain of job losses and shuttered businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic. House Democrats had said the brewing Senate effort offered insufficient relief. But Pelosi expressed support Tuesday for a Senate deal that was expected to be unveiled within hours. ‘I think there is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours,’ she said on CNBC. While the Senate bill is unlikely to fully address concerns of House Democrats, such as expanded family and medical leave, they aren’t deal breakers, she said.”
Top Dems push for remote voting - Politico: “The chairman of the House Rules Committee is recommending against bringing lawmakers back to Washington to vote on the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Instead, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) is suggesting the chamber pass the bill by unanimous consent or a voice vote. The recommendation — made public in a letter and a report sent to Democrats Monday night — comes as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country and the Capitol. Two members of the House — Reps. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) and Mario Diaz Balart (R-Fla.) — have tested positive for the virus, with McAdams recently in the hospital. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also has the virus, and roughly a dozen more lawmakers are in quarantine. … Notably, the report — which was commissioned by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — suggests that remote voting is not a viable option at the moment. Remote voting would be ‘one of the biggest rule changes in the last century, in one of the most critical institutions in our country,’ the report says.”
TRUMP SAID TO BE READY TO FREEZE OUT FAUCI
NYT: “President Trump has praised Dr. Anthony S. Fauci as a ‘major television star.’ … But Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has grown bolder in correcting the president’s falsehoods and overly rosy statements about the spread of the coronavirus in the past two weeks — and he has become a hero to the president’s critics because of it. And now, Mr. Trump’s patience has started to wear thin. So has the patience of some White House advisers, who see Dr. Fauci as taking shots at the president in some of his interviews with print reporters while offering extensive praise for Mr. Trump in television interviews with conservative hosts. Mr. Trump knows that Dr. Fauci, who has advised every president since Ronald Reagan, is seen as credible with a large section of the public and with journalists, and so he has given the doctor more leeway to contradict him than he has other officials, according to multiple advisers to the president.”
Poll shows governors receive high praise for handling of crisis - Monmouth University: “The nation’s governors get better marks than the President for handling the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Monmouth University Poll. Still, Donald Trump receives a net positive rating for his actions around the pandemic and his overall job rating has improved slightly since last month. … More Americans say President Trump has done a good job (50%) rather than bad job (45%) dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Governors, though, get even better ratings for handling the outbreak, with 72% of the public saying their state’s governor has done a good job to just 18% a bad job. Opinion of how Trump has dealt with the crisis is decidedly partisan, with the number saying he has done a good job ranging from 89% of Republicans to 48% of independents and 19% of Democrats. Public praise for the nations’ governors is much more bipartisan at 76% of Democrats, 73% of Republicans, and 67% of independents saying their governor has done a good job dealing with the situation.”
THE RULEBOOK: MAKES THE WORLD GO ‘ROUND
“Money is, with propriety, considered as the vital principle of the body politic; as that which sustains its life and motion, and enables it to perform its most essential functions.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 30
TIME OUT: WHAT’S A NINE-LETTER WORD FOR PUZZLE
Author Adrianne Raphel give s us a brief history of word games. Paris Review: “When I began to research the history of crosswords … I was sort of shocked to discover that they weren’t invented until 1913. … But in reality, the crossword is a recent invention, born out of desperation. Editor Arthur Wynne at the New York World needed something to fill space in the Christmas edition of his paper’s FUN supplement, so he took advantage of new technology that could print blank grids cheaply and created a diamond-shaped set of boxes, with clues to fill in the blanks, smack in the center of FUN. Nearly overnight, the ‘Word-Cross Puzzle’ went from a space-filling ploy to the most popular feature of the page. … Crosswords are the Punnett square of two long-standing strands of word puzzles: word squares, which demand visual logic to understand the puzzle but aren’t necessarily using deliberate deception; and riddles, which use wordplay to misdirect the solver…”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 44.4 percent
Average disapproval: 51 percent
Net Score: -6.6 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.8 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 48% approve - 48% disapprove; NPR/PBS News/Marist: 43% approve - 50% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve - 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 54% disapprove.]
NOT SO BULLY: BIDEN FOUNDERS IN TRUMP REBUTTAL
Politico: “Joe Biden doesn’t occupy a political office, isn’t a great orator and is basically stuck in his house. It’s not much of a platform for projecting leadership during the coronavirus crisis. That was laid bare Monday as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee gave his first coronavirus shadow briefing webcast Biden’s been outgunned by President Donald Trump and outshone by some of the nation’s governors, among them New York’s Andrew Cuomo, whose crisis response efforts are drawing rave reviews. The former vice president was staid and somber, even as his remarks were marred by a few minor real-time snafus and slip-ups. The lighting in his newly converted home studio was subpar. The webcast time, 10:30 a.m., came an hour earlier than Biden had originally said the day before — ensuring a relatively small audience for a candidate who hadn’t shown his face in nearly a week.”
Poll: National race tight, but Biden leads in swing districts - Monmouth University: “Joe Biden holds a negligible 3 point lead over Donald Trump in the race for president, according to a national Monmouth University Poll. The probable Democratic nominee has a larger edge, though, among voters in key swing counties across the country. … Biden has the support of 48% of registered voters and Trump has the support of 45% if the presidential election was today. … In the nearly 2,500 ‘red’ counties that Trump won by an average of 36 points in 2016, his current standing for this year’s election is similar at 63% who support him and 32% who support Biden. In the 360 ‘blue’ counties that Hillary Clinton won by about 35 points on average, 60% of voters support Biden and 30% back Trump. In approximately 300 ‘swing’ counties where the margin of victory was less than ten points for either candidate – accounting for about one-fifth of the total U.S. electorate – 50% back Biden compared with 41% who support Trump.”
Dem super PAC clobbers Trump on corona response - Politico: “One of the Democratic Party's main 2020 super PACs is attacking President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak with new TV ads airing in four key swing states. The new ad from Priorities USA Action, which plans to spend $6 million on TV and digital ads condemning Trump’s response to Covid-19, began running in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida on Tuesday and features Trump quotes juxtaposed against a graph showing the number of positive coronavirus tests in America. At the end of the ad, footage plays of Trump saying, during a Rose Garden press conference at the White House, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Republican super PAC readies $67 million in Senate ads for fall - Politico: “Republicans' top super PAC focused on Senate races is booking more than $67 million for TV ads this fall, a massive early investment in a core group of battleground states. The Senate Leadership Fund, which is run by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is reserving $67.1 million in TV ads across six Senate states — including McConnell's home state of Kentucky — starting the day after Labor Day and running through Election Day, according to details shared exclusively with POLITICO. The sum is more than double the amount the super PAC booked in its initial TV ad investment for the 2018 midterms and at least $25 million more than they initially booked in 2016. The ads were booked to run in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine and North Carolina, all states with Republican incumbents that are considered critical to the Senate majority.”
Anne Applebaum on the authoritarian tendency in times of pestilence - The Atlantic
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., accused of securities fraud in shareholder lawsuit - Politico
Falwell set to bring thousands of students back to Liberty University despite governor’s order - Richmond Times-Dispatch
AUDIBLE: THAT SMARTS
“You know what the American people are wondering right now, Mr. President? They're thinking, ‘This country was founded by geniuses, but it's being run by a bunch of idiots.’” – Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaking on the Senate floor Monday.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“You will recognize the following line. You wrote it. Brilliant! Might be worth repeating once in a while! ‘Social media and 24-hour news have put us in greater proximity to human ignorance on a large scale than ever in our society’s history.’ Unfortunately for our society, just because you saw it on the internet or even read it in some news feed doesn’t mean it’s true. Very sad!” – Ted Boers, Rockford, Mich.
[Ed. note: Thank you, Mr. Boers! We should all remember that ignorance, the opposite of knowledge, is a danger. But we should also be on guard for its fellow travelers: Falsity, the opposite of truth, and foolishness, the opposite of wisdom. Falsity is worse than ignorance since it can lead us so quickly to disaster. But one of the real dangers of social media immersion is the way it can rob us of our sense of perspective. One of the obligations of responsible journalism is to help consumers understand not just what’s going on, but what matters more. This was easy in the days of newspapers and 30-minute evening newscasts. Things that went on the front page with big headlines were easily deemed to be more important than the article about planting spring bulbs in the lifestyle section. The lead story on the six o’clock news about the war or the election was obviously more important than the kicker at 6:29 about the wacky llama escapade. Journalists do get it wrong, but still, proportionality is a thing. Social media deprives us of these cues. Further, we are inclined to mistake frequency for consequence. If a story or topic is being much discussed, we may mistakenly assume that it matters more. Make sure that the people you love are limiting the lengths of their soaks in the briny bath of social media during these long days. It’s bad for our health.]
“You can probably find the details on the internet, but Vernors was originally a Michigan product. Short story, Man makes Ginger Ale, puts it into Oak barrels and is then called to fight in the Civil War. Comes back, thinks it is bad, but tastes some. Not sure how it is produced now since the company was bought out by one of the big soda companies decades ago, but when I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the Vernor’s floats was one of my favorites.” – Chris Haggerty, Winchester, Va.
[Ed. note: A Michigan product, indeed! And you’re right about the company lore surrounding James Vernor, its inventor. You can read more here. The drink is now produced and distributed by Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc., based in Burlington, Mass. The conglomerate produces lots of regional favorites, including some others of my own, including Squirt, Sun Drop and IBC.]
“One of the best things that ever happened to me was to fall in love with a Michigander (in her case I think I should say ‘Michigoose,’ but that's a sore point!). We'll celebrate 35 years of wedded bliss in August. She introduced me to Vernor's Ginger Ale. Now, my southeastern Massachusetts-raised grandmother used to treat us to Cliquot Club Golden Ginger Ale, usually with Frate's Dairy coffee ice cream, but sometimes with Frate's vanilla. I remember the combination fondly, but don't remember it being called a Boston Cooler. While I love my Vernors & cranberry, I'm heading for the fridge, for Vernor's and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla!” – Guy Goodwin, Lecanto, Fla.
[Ed. note: Be careful on the Michigander stuff, Mr. Goodwin! Some demand to be called “Michiganians” and believe Michigander is a slight. The term was popularized by Abraham Lincoln, then a congressman, who used it to mock Michigan’s governor in an 1846 speech. I wouldn’t want you to, ahem, run “afowl” of your wife’s home-state pride! (I couldn’t help myself!)]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
JUST THE RAMEN, PLEASE
WJLA: “One D.C. restaurant came up with an - uhm- interesting way to approach the coronavirus outbreak.D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser clamped the lid on most recreational activity in the District when she announced restaurants may stay open but only for grab and go or to make deliveries. She also said health clubs, gyms, spas, massage parlors and theaters must also close. Instead of letting the closure get them down, Toki Underground decided to put a little spin on their take-out orders. ‘Don’t just cover your mouth #hotnoodz ??,’ the Asian restaurant wrote in an Instagram post. The video shows a person casually placing a condom in each to-go takeout order in a conveyer-like fashion. Clever, or not? We'll let you decide. It's certainly an interesting spin on take-out orders, that's for sure.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“To be sure, a two-track, two-policy, two-reality foreign policy is risky, unsettling and has the potential to go totally off the rails.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Feb. 23, 2017.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.