DESPITE WARNINGS, REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON FAILED TO PREPARE FOR CORONAVIRUS. A series of reports this week reveal how the White House – despite repeated, credible and urgent warnings – failed to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak and has left our public health system and Americans vulnerable. The New York Times detailed how the Trump administration ignored warnings from a simulation held last year on a pandemic flu originating in China and spreading around the world, as well as lessons from previous real-world outbreaks like H1N1 and Ebola. Now, as the coronavirus has spread to all 50 states and cases have increased dramatically, hospitals are reporting shortages of protective gear and health care workers, and states hit hardest are facing a severe delay in tests.
MCCONNELL & GOP HELD UP RELIEF PACKAGE FOR DAYS. At a time when Americans were making the adjustments and sacrifices needed to confront this public health and economic crisis, Senate Republicans inexcusably continued with business-as-usual obstruction that slowed down our national response. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent the Senate home last Thursday for a long weekend — having Senators leave Washington without working to finalize the aid package. McConnell was also “absent” in negotiations as Democratic leaders worked to reach a deal with the White House. The second major coronavirus relief package included free testing, paid sick leave, enhanced unemployment insurance and food assistance — critical resources that McConnell and Republicans delayed for days as the outbreak got worse.
LOEFFLER FACING “BACKLASH” & CALLS FOR ETHICS SCRUTINY FOR DUMPING STOCKS. New reporting yesterday revealed that political mega-donor and temporary Republican senator Kelly Loeffler offloaded millions in stock following a private closed-door Senate briefing and then proceeded to downplay the risks of the virus to the American people. She put her constituents at greater health and economic risk while looking out first and foremost for her own personal financial interest. Read more:
PERDUE ALSO FACING QUESTIONS ABOUT STOCK TRANSACTIONS. According to the AJC: “However, there are still questions about his transaction, too. Perdue invested up to $245,000 in Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, during multiple transactions around the same time that members of Congress began sounding the alarm that more should be done to address the spread of the virus. Perdue also sold up to $165,000 in stocks for Caesar Entertainment, the casino company whose facilities have shuttered to help combat the spread of the virus.”
*NEW* COOK POLITICAL REPORT: “DEMOCRATS SEE MORE PATHS TO THE MAJORITY.” A new analysis today from Cook Political Report on the fight for control of the Senate finds Democrats opening up more paths to a majority in 2020, with the odds of flipping the chamber “rising” and “now close to 50-50 odds.” Cook’s update on the Senate map includes ratings changes in Democrats’ direction in Iowa, where Senator Joni Ernst’s approval has fallen, and Texas, an emerging battleground.
Top takeaways on the Senate state of play:
IN THE STATES
AZ – Phoenix New Times: McSally Launches New Facebook Ads the Same Day She Pledges to Pause Campaigning
CO – Denver Post: John Hickenlooper wins spot on Colorado’s U.S. Senate primary ballot
IA – Cedar Rapids Gazette (Op-Ed): Greenfield: Federal aid is good first step, but Iowa needs more to manage coronavirus
IA – Iowa Starting Line: IA-Sen: Cook Report Downgrades Ernst’s Reelection Chances
NC – The Daily Beast (Opinion): Ebola Fears Helped Elect Trumpist Senator Thom Tillis. Coronavirus Fears Could Help Oust Him.
TX – Texas Tribune: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn draws rebuke for blaming coronavirus on China
TX – Austin American Statesman: Cornyn tweet to drink a Corona and not panic falls flat
TX – Austin Chronicle: Brady PAC Endorses MJ Hegar for Senate
TWEET OF THE WEEK
NEW: Perdue’s Stock Trades Surged During Pandemic, Invested in “Company That Supplies [PPE]” [AJC]
17 hrs Ago