JOBLESS CLAIMS CLIMB, BUT SENATE REPUBLICANS FOCUSED ON SCOTUS VACANCY. After letting emergency unemployment aid expire, then taking a month-long vacation and leaving millions of Americans without relief, Senate Republicans pushed a stunt bill that even President Trump said didn’t meet Americans’ needs. Now, the temporary patchwork replacement that still cut benefits is set to expire and “tens of millions of Americans are dealing with uncertain futures.” Despite reports that Senate Republicans’ refusal to work on bipartisan coronavirus relief “could impede economic growth for months to come,” “create widespread damage across America” and leave “many Americans without jobs or homes,” Mitch McConnell and his caucus have decided to focus on rushing to fill a lifetime vacancy and ignore the urgent needs of millions of hardworking families. NBC News: Jobless benefits for millions are expiring as Washington moves on
ARE MITCH MCCONNELL AND SENATE REPUBLICANS STILL BLOCKING URGENTLY NEEDED RELIEF? YES.
REPUBLICANS DESPERATE TO DELIVER EMPTY HEALTH CARE WINS. President Trump and Republicans in Washington know that voters don’t trust them to protect health care, which is why they’re running ads obscuring their toxic records and are desperately looking “for ways to win over voters on health care after failing to deliver on promises.” The latest attempt? A “frenzied rollout of proposals” from the president that experts say are “little more than a public relations ploy.” Voters will see right through these election year stunts from Republicans who support gutting the health care law that guarantees protections for people with pre-existing conditions and are enabling the ongoing GOP lawsuit to strike down the entire law in the middle of a pandemic. Washington Post: Trump looks for ways to win over voters on health care after failing to deliver on promises
ACA THREAT “POLITICALLY RISKY” FOR SENATE REPUBLICANS. The sudden heightened focus on the future of the Affordable Care Act “could be an enormous political liability for Republicans in key states come November.” As Senate Republicans rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions and other health care benefits are “in greater danger than ever.” Millions of Americans in crucial Senate battlegrounds could lose their health care coverage if the Republicans’ lawsuit against the health care law succeeds and “the broader fight over the Supreme Court has made it impossible to ignore those stakes.” Reminder: Republican incumbents and candidates support or refuse to oppose this lawsuit, and they are on the record in favor of gutting these core health care protections. Axios: The sudden threat to the ACA is risky for Republicans in 2020 election
JOHN JAMES HIDING POSITION ON SCOTUS VACANCY. After failed politician John James was caught on tape on Tuesday refusing to answer whether he supports Mitch McConnell and President Trump’s plans to rush to fill a lifetime appointment, he jetted off to DC for a fundraiser with his swampy donors. Now, new reporting reveals that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke about the Supreme Court vacancy at a Senate Leadership Fund fundraiser the same day, begging the question: Was James at this fundraiser, and does he agree with McConnell that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee should be rushed through?
Michigan Democrats are keeping up the pressure on James to break his silence, and Senator Debbie Stabenow called on James, her 2018 opponent, to answer whether or not he supports McConnell ramming through a Supreme Court confirmation vote before Michigan voters can make their voices heard.
MCCONNELL CALLS GARDNER “KEY VOTE” TO GET SCOTUS CONFIRMATION “ACROSS THE FINISH LINE.” In an email to supporters, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell boasted that Senator Cory Gardner will likely be the “key vote” to ram President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee “across the finish line.” Gardner is clearly taking his marching orders from McConnell, initially following the Majority Leader’s playbook and dodging questions about the Court vacancy before he “flip-flopped” on his own 2016 commitment and caved to Trump’s pressure. Gardner’s decision may ensure Trump secures just enough votes to rush through a justice who’s likely to oppose the health care law that protects people with pre-existing conditions, proving that the vulnerable incumbent is nothing more than a rubber stamp for McConnell and Trump. Colorado Times Recorder: McConnell: Gardner Is Likely To Be “Key Vote” That Gets Supreme Court Nominee “Across the Finish Line”
NYT/SIENA POLL SHOWS ERNST AT “DANGEROUSLY LOW NUMBER.” A new New York Times and Siena College poll released this morning showed some troubling news for Iowa Senator Joni Ernst who is trailing Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield 40%-42%. The poll found that Greenfield holds an 11-point advantage with women and “is ahead by 10 points among voters older than 65, a group that Ms. Ernst won overwhelmingly when she captured her seat six years ago.” It’s not the news that Ernst wants to hear as she sits at 40%, “a dangerously low number for an incumbent this late in the race.”
NEW POLLING: #KSSEN IS A DEAD HEAT, WARNOCK LEADS IN #GASEN. New Data for Progress polling finds that the Kansas Senate race is a dead heat as Democratic candidate Dr. Barbara Bollier and Washington politician Roger Marshall are tied. In the Georgia special election, Democratic candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock has surged and leads the field. This latest poll follows internal polling released this week that found that Warnock gained a larger share of voters than any other candidate in the race over the last few weeks, setting him up to be the top vote getter in November.
EVEN GOP INTERNAL POLL SHOWS COLLINS LOSING GROUND. Nothing screams “we’re confident about the Maine Senate race” quite like releasing an internal poll showing a 24-year incumbent sitting in the low 40s and substantially losing ground from the last internal poll you released.
DEM AD WATCH
AK – Dr. Al Gross’ latest ad spotlights how he promises to be a Senator that will actually fight for Alaska, while incumbent Senator Dan Sullivan hid his support for the Pebble Mine. Watch.
CO – Former Governor John Hickenlooper released a new ad that contrasts the many critical issues the Senate has failed to act on with the urgency Republicans are showing to push through a Trump-appointed Supreme Court justice. Watch. Hickenlooper also released another ad that shares the story of Jeanne Swaim, who was battling cancer while Senator Cory Gardner was voting to rip away health care. Watch.
IN THE STATES
AZ – Arizona Republic: On ‘The View,’ Mark Kelly recalls meeting RBG, talks Cindy McCain endorsement of Biden
AZ – Arizona Republic (Opinion): Is Sen. Martha McSally’s vow to shield health care worth anything now?
GA – Atlanta Journal-Constitution: New Monmouth poll is latest to show tight Georgia 2020 races
IA – Iowa Starting Line: Supreme Court Confirmation: Joni Ernst In 2016 Vs. 2020
IA – Cedar Rapids Gazette: Theresa Greenfield seeks more pandemic help for Iowans, end of D.C. corruption
MI – Grosse Pointe News: Peters makes his case for return to Senate
SC – American Independent: 7 times Lindsey Graham completely flip-flopped for Donald Trump
ICYMI: Ted Cruz and Rick Scott back House GOP efforts to shut down the government [The American Independent]
20 hrs Ago