New bailout deal emerges

New bailout deal emerges

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On the roster: New bailout deal emerges – Trump sets course for slow, staggered return – Michigan’s distress deepens – Biden gets a cash infusion for strapped campaign – When only Pikachu will do

NEW BAILOUT DEAL EMERGES
WSJ: “The top House Republican said he would support adding money for hospitals to funding for a popular small-business aid program, pointing the way to a potential breakthrough in stalled talks with Democrats on the current round of stimulus spending. In an interview, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said he would pair hospital funding with an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, a small-business loan program that exhausted its initial $350 billion allocation money on Thursday. … Democrats want to expand access to the loans as well as include more money for hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments. Republicans, meanwhile, had said they want to keep the bill focused on increasing small-business aid and defer other funding debates until broader legislation is crafted. ‘Hospitals need the help. Hospitals are the modern-day soldiers,’ Mr. McCarthy said. ‘I’d like to see money in there—money in the PPP and money in hospitals—that would be a very smart move right now.’”

Talks continue – Roll Call: “Top Capitol Hill Democrats and Trump administration officials likely won’t wrap up talks over a new round of COVID-19 relief measures until early next week, according to one of the principal negotiators. … Aides to [Senate Minority Leader ChuckSchumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., discussed the evolving package with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his staff on Thursday afternoon. The negotiations have an element of urgency because the Small Business Administration reported Thursday that banks making forgivable loans through the new ‘Paycheck Protection Program’ to businesses with 500 or fewer workers had burned through all the money Congress appropriated last month for that purpose. … While Schumer noted that President Donald Trump made some conciliatory comments at his Thursday evening press conference, the president himself appeared to be in a combative mood Friday morning. Trump blamed Democratic leaders for blocking small-business aid, tweeting that they should ‘come back to Washington and approve legislation to help families in America.’”

Leadership feuds aren’t helping anything – Politico: “Instead of congressional leaders and President Donald Trump rallying to take on a virus that’s crushing the economy and killing tens of thousands of Americans, the opposite has happened. The partisan sniping and long simmering squabbles among the White House and ‘Big Four’ — Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — are more prominent than ever. The most recent example came Thursday. As an emergency rescue fund for small businesses ran dry, leaders on both sides dug in — extending a weeklong dispute about how to replenish the program and who was at fault for the delay. … While there is a legitimate policy disagreement among the parties, long-running personal quarrels among the most powerful people in Washington are also undermining relief efforts. And the idea of Congress rising above politics is laughable at the moment, even as the need for statesmanship has never been greater.”

As Trump approval tumbles, Congress climbs to 10-year high – Gallup: “As President Donald Trump works to contain the damage from the novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the rally in support he enjoyed as the nation entered a virtual lockdown has faded. His job approval rating, now 43%, has slipped six percentage points since mid-March when he earned 49% approval, which tied his personal best. … Currently, 30% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, up from 22% in early March. Congressional members’ bipartisan work that led to the recent $2 trillion stimulus package may have boosted Americans’ ratings of the legislative branch to the 30% mark this month — a feat not seen in more than a decade.”

Red states fared far better with small-business bailout – Bloomberg: “During the first 10 days of the federal government’s small-business rescue program, the spigot was wide open in Nebraska. Firms there got enough money to cover about three-fourths of the state’s eligible payrolls. It was a different picture in New York and California, where companies received less than a quarter of their share. Those findings, based on Evercore ISI estimates of eligible payrolls in each state, show the uneven distribution of the first $248 billion of Small Business Administration coronavirus-relief loans, through April 13. Under the Paycheck Protection Program… Whatever the reason, it’s inevitable that the results will be politicized, since coastal states tend to favor Democrats, and Republicans dominate the country’s center. … ‘California has been shortchanged,’ California Governor Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, said at a press briefing. ‘We’re trying to understand exactly why.’”

THE RULEBOOK: YEP, YEP, YEP, YEP, YEP, YEP, YEP, YEP, YEP…
“The claims of justice, both on one side and on the other, will be in force, and must be fulfilled; the rights of humanity must in all cases be duly and mutually respected; whilst considerations of a common interest, and, above all, the remembrance of the endearing scenes which are past, and the anticipation of a speedy triumph over the obstacles to reunion, will, it is hoped, not urge in vain MODERATION on one side, and PRUDENCE on the other.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 43

TIME OUT: TIME FOR A WHITE VINEGAR COMEBACK?
Epicurious: “The best vinegars, a certain breed of cooks and chefs evangelize, speak of both place and point of view. True balsamic vinegar is a sticky lifeforce in Modena. Sherry vinegar, all oxidized squawk and rounded zip, is the homegrown acid of choice in southern Spain. Good vinegar is great. It adds kick and character to home and restaurant cooking. Perky citrus juice has its stalwart adherents, too, proclaiming lemon and lime’s ability to brighten with restraint. Distilled white vinegar has some thoughts on all this. Distilled white vinegar is clear, made from the fermentation of distilled alcohol. No murky traces of a long genealogy. It is made in an industrial setting, quick and efficient. It is the braying runt of the vinegar and acid litter, unloved for no good reason. Distilled white vinegar insists that unadulterated brashness is a cooking attribute. Why whisper of terroir and nuance when you can, well, yell?”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD 
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 45.6 percent
Average disapproval: 49.6 percent
Net Score: -4 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1 point
[Average includes: Gallup: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; Fox News: 49% approve – 49% disapprove; Monmouth University: 46% approve – 49% disapprove; CNBC: 46% approve – 43% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve – 53% disapprove.]

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TRUMP SETS COURSE FOR SLOW, STAGGERED RETURN
WaPo: “President Trump released federal guidelines Thursday night for a slow and staggered return to normal in places with minimal cases of the novel coronavirus, moving to try to resume economic activity even amid an outcry from political and health leaders about the nation’s testing capacity. Despite Trump’s desire for a May 1 reopening, his plan does not contain a date for implementation and is a vague set of recommendations for a three-phased reopening of businesses, schools and other gathering places in jurisdictions that satisfy broad criteria on symptoms, cases and hospital loads. … The plan effectively reverses Trump’s claim earlier this week that he had ‘total authority’ to declare the nation reopened. The federal guidelines shift accountability to governors and mayors, placing the onus on them to make decisions for their own states and localities based on their own assessments of the coronavirus’s spread and risk of resurgence.”

Trump delegates to the states – Axios: “President Trump’s reopening plan includes lots of hurdles for states, but the key factor for him was that he got to fire the pistol. Even though he’s delegating to governors, Trump didn’t want them to call the reopening first. And if he waited until next week he would’ve been trailing in several red-state governors’ wake. The plan (‘Opening Up America Again’) appears cautious, because doctors wrote it. But the overarching message is that the decision is up to the governors. You’ll start seeing red states announcing reopenings very soon — perhaps within days. Watch for Texas and Florida to set the standard among the red states. Alabama and Mississippi are also expected to move quickly, according to administration sources.”

Poll: Large majority thinks Trump was slow to respond – Pew Research Center: “President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak – especially his response to initial reports of coronavirus cases overseas – is widely criticized. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say Trump was too slow to take major steps to address the threat to the United States when cases of the disease were first reported in other countries. Opinions about Trump’s initial response to the coronavirus – as well as concerns about whether state governments will act too quickly or slowly in easing restrictions – are deeply divided along partisan lines.”

Meadows finds similar pitfalls that doomed previous chiefs of staff – NYT: “Mark Meadows has officially been President Trump’s fourth White House chief of staff for less than three weeks. In that time, he has shaken up the communications office, angering supporters of the press secretary he chose to replace. He has tried to put in place other speedy changes, hoping to succeed where his three predecessors failed. … In the case of Mr. Meadows, it has not helped him with his White House colleagues that the former North Carolina congressman, who has a reputation for showing his emotions, cried while meeting with members of the White House staff on at least two occasions. One instance was in the presence of a young West Wing aide; another time was with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. On both occasions, Mr. Meadows was discussing staffing changes, according to the people with knowledge of the events.”

MICHIGAN’S DISTRESS DEEPENS
WaPo: “Roughly a quarter of Michigan’s eligible workforce is now trying to obtain unemployment aid, according to local officials, a staggering example of the economic carnage wrought by the coronavirus in a state that’s no stranger to financial struggle. More than a decade ago, the Great Recession ravaged manufacturing and imperiled cities from Saginaw to Detroit, leaving people homeless, jobless, hungry, and in some cases, struggling to get aid. Recovery came slowly, and unequally, as many state programs were slashed and some factory jobs never returned at all. Now, state and local leaders find themselves grappling with a more dire threat: a global health emergency that has sickened 28,000 and killed 2,000 people as of Thursday. In response, government officials are bracing for yet another economic crisis, this time perhaps on the magnitude of the Great Depression. … The economic costs to Michigan workers are likely to be great, as are the political stakes entering the 2020 election.”

Wisconsin nixes school return, extends quarantine until May 26 – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Wisconsin schools will be closed for the rest of the school year and many businesses will stay shuttered until the end of May under action Gov. Tony Evers took Thursday to contain the coronavirus in the state. The move enraged Republican lawmakers who threatened to fire the leader of the state’s health agency from her job overseeing the state’s response to the outbreak and signaled they would take Evers to court. The new order will keep hundreds of thousands of school children out of classrooms for nearly three months — some receiving no virtual instruction at all — and comes as business owners and Republicans call on Evers to roll back restrictions, not extend them. But state health officials say the restrictions in place have saved lives and resulted in far fewer cases of the deadly virus that can cause serious respiratory illness than the state would have experienced otherwise.”

Ohio to begin gradual reopening on May 1 – Dayton [Ohio] Daily News: “Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio may start cautiously re-opening parts of the state May 1 with mandates such as the use of masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing to protect workers and the public from a resurgence of the coronavirus infections. ‘We must get this right because the stakes are very high. If we don’t do it right, the consequences are horrendous,’ DeWine said on Thursday. He added, ‘It’s going to be gradual. It’s going to be rolling it out one thing after another….We’re trying to do this in a very thoughtful way.’ … A detailed plan is being developed, he said.”

Meat scarcity intensifies with plant closures – WaPo: “The coronavirus has sickened workers and forced slowdowns and closures of some of the country’s biggest meat processing plants, reducing production by as much as 25 percent, industry officials say, and sparking fears of a further round of hoarding. Several of the country’s largest beef-packing companies have announced plant closures. Before the coronavirus hit, about 660,000 beef cattle were being processed each week at plants across the United States, according to John Bormann, program sales manager for JBS, the American subsidiary of the world’s largest processor of fresh beef and pork. This week there probably will be around 500,000 head processed at U.S. plants still in operation. That’s 25 percent less beef being produced. Some of the slowdown is because of facility closures. Two of the seven largest U.S. facilities — those with the capacity to process 5,000 beef cattle daily — are closed because of the pandemic.”

BIDEN GETS A CASH INFUSION FOR STRAPPED CAMPAIGN 
Reuters: “Joe Biden is starting to get the help he needs to compete with President Donald Trump’s massive election war chest, although the Democrat has a huge shortfall to make up in the coming months. Former Barack Obama staffers are planning to raise money for the putative Democratic presidential nominee. Ex-rivals like Elizabeth Warren are using their donor lists on his behalf, and the former vice president’s campaign could soon strike a deal with the Democratic National Committee that would allow it to rake in much larger donations. Those are positive signs for a campaign that has worked furiously to figure out ways to bring in cash since the coronavirus pandemic put millions of Americans out of work and forced the 2020 White House race into a digital-only environment. Even with the newfound support, Biden remains at a significant financial disadvantage heading into the Nov. 3 election against Trump, a prodigious fundraiser who has been raising money for the general election since 2017.”

Working on transition team – NBC News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden announced during a virtual fundraiser Thursday that he is starting to put together a post-election transition team as he sets his sights beyond November. Biden, the apparent Democratic presidential nominee, also did not rule out announcing some Cabinet member selections before November’s election, which the transition team would be tasked with overseeing. In response to a donor question, Biden said he had begun to form a transition team because of the numerous vacancies that exist throughout President Donald Trump’s administration and acknowledged that he needs to begin brainstorming which talented people could fill numerous roles in many governmental agencies.”

Wasserman: Look for drastic disparities in how states hold elections – NBC News: “America’s decentralized system of voting means states enjoy broad leeway on setting election rules. Whether voters realize it or not, states’ procedures vary widely on everything from registration deadlines, ID requirements and types of voting machinery to who is permitted to vote absentee and when mail-in ballots must be postmarked in order to be counted. But in the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of federal election funding, partisan disunity and legal disputes could produce last-minute logistical confusion and drastic disparities across state lines in voters’ ability to safely access a ballot. … [Wisconsin’s primary] was a wake-up call, and all states will have months rather than days to plan for worst-case November scenarios. But there’s no guarantee politicians, election officials or judges will arrive at agreement on how best to adapt in time for an anticipated crush of voters if social distancing measures persist or must resume.”

More doubts about Milwaukee convention with staff layoffs – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “In the latest sign of trouble for the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this summer, the host committee announced Thursday that it is cutting its staff by more than half by reassigning some employees and laying off others. The Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee — the nonprofit tasked with raising $70 million for the event and recruiting thousands of volunteers — said it will slash its total staff from 31 to 14 employees. Eleven staffers have been offered positions with either the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee or as organizers for the party. That committee is responsible for planning and running the convention itself. Six host committee employees have been laid off. Committee officials did not identify those individuals, who they said will receive health insurance through August.”

Dems show strong fundraising in key Senate races – NYT: “Money poured into Senate contests across the country in the first three months of the year, bolstering some Democrats’ war chests in key races favoring Republicans, including those in which Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, are seeking re-election. In Senate contests in states like Kentucky, South Carolina, Kansas and Maine, Democratic candidates raised more money in the first quarter of 2020 than their Republican opponents, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission. In their bids to unseat Republican incumbents, some Democratic candidates reported dollar figures that were millions more than what their opponents received. Amy McGrath, Mr. McConnell’s challenger in Kentucky, reported raising over $5 million more than the majority leader did, while Mark Kelly, the Democratic candidate in Arizona, reported raising over $4.5 million more than the Republican incumbent, Senator Martha McSally.”

House Dems look strong too – Roll Call: “House Democrats have expanded their financial advantage over Republicans in battleground districts, new fundraising reports show. The reports covering the year’s first three months, which were due to the Federal Election Commission by midnight Wednesday, show fundraising did not take a significant hit even though the coronavirus pandemic upended campaigns in the weeks leading up to the quarter’s end on March 31. … With an uncertain fundraising environment ahead, a CQ Roll Call analysis found that House Democrats remain in a strong financial position to defend their majority. This analysis focused on incumbents and challengers in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as competitive, as well as seats that each party’s campaign arm is targeting. Candidates who raised less than $5,000 or who had not filed fourth quarter reports were excluded.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Lyman Stone: What’s wrong with the WHO goes well beyond the current crisis – The Dispatch

Rep. Matt Gaetz under scrutiny for office rental – Politico

Pergram: Roll call vote becomes an unlikely victim of coronavirus on Capitol Hill – Fox News

AUDIBLE: LIKE WHIFFLE?
“HOLY BALLS.” – Wausau, Wisc. Mayor-elect Katie Rosenberg (D) tweeted after winning her election on Monday.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Tune in this weekend as Mr. Sunday sits down with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“It seems to me that if the negotiations in both the House and Senate were televised, the American voter would be able to see and understand where the pettiness really lies, and vote accordingly.” – David Johnson, Bend, Ore.

[Ed. note: My goodness, Mr. Johnson, don’t wish that on us! We already have more than enough of politicians playing for the cameras and far, far too little useful work. Sociologist Henry Landsberger described the tendency of subjects to behave differently when they know they are being observed as the Hawthorne Effect after the Chicago telephone works where efficiency experts tried to study worker productivity under different circumstances but got no useful results because workers’ awareness that they were being watched so dramatically changed their behaviors. If you televised the negotiations, half of the room would pander to the third of the electorate that supports them, the other half would preen and posture for their side and you would end up farther apart, not closer. This ties back to the pernicious problems with primary elections and individual media bubbles, but televising Congress is certainly part of the problem. One of the reasons most congressional hearings are such drivel is that the members are acting in their own narrow interest — producing a good slice of red meat for viewers at home — rather than in the broader interests of fact-finding and dispassionate oversight. Negotiations are subtle things that depend on trust among the parties. That’s not going to happen among individuals who know that video evidence of compromise and conciliation would be used against them in the next primary election.]

“The last 6-8 weeks of coping with the coronavirus has had a number of impacts: The fossil fuel industry has been drastically impacted; Fuel use for travel has been drastically cut back; Unemployment has soared; Government spending has been increased by trillions. Did we pass the Green New Deal & I missed it? Does the population feel greater or less affinity for the Green New Deal based on this trial run?” – Jerry Logan, Katy, Texas

[Ed. note: I tend to think the public appetite for large-scale federal interventions and central planning for the economy have been whetted rather than dulled by the present crisis.  Nationalists on the Republican side and socialists on the Democratic side are finding a suddenly receptive audience for ideas that once would have been laughable two months ago. And the distance between the two ideological wings is shrinking by the day. I don’t think the Green New Deal ever had a chance to be much more than a political cudgel to use against mainstream Democrats. But I do think that like the last time we saw unemployment and disruption of this magnitude 90 years ago, we will see a strong bipartisan appetite for larger, more powerful central government in terms both proscriptive and prescriptive. Joe Biden wants to reinstitute the War Production Board like we needed to build 100,000 tanks to fight the Nazis and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has a federal economic intervention plan that Harry Hopkins would have drooled over. Fans of small government and market-based solutions are going to have a very hard time getting heard.]  

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

WHEN ONLY PIKACHU WILL DO
WOFL: “Amy Kellems decided that while everyone was self-quarantined in their homes amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, it was the perfect opportunity for her and her daughter to play Pokemon Go in her empty neighborhood in Minnesota. That was until the two were pulled over in their driveway after their neighbors reported a suspicious vehicle on their street. After explaining to the officer that they were simply playing the popular gaming app that involves traveling outdoors in search of Pokemon characters you catch on your phone, Kellems posted about the incident on Nextdoor. Kellems’ neighbor saw the post and realized the ‘suspicious car’ stopping every few minutes was Amy and her daughter, and they were innocently searching for rogue Pokemon. The neighbor knew only one way to apologize for the misunderstanding. Kellems heard her doorbell ring a few days later and when she went to greet her visitor, it was her neighbor Victoria standing ‘10 feet back,’ with an apology and a Pokemon-themed cake with frosting letters that read ‘Sorry we called the cops on you.’”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“All these views wildly miss the mark because no one view can begin to comprehend so large a man. In everything–talent, imagination, writing, indeed, curiosity—[Thomas] Jefferson was prodigious, Continental and, hence, supremely American.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on May 22, 2000.

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.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.

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