The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association – Negotiators ‘far apart’ as talks yield little ahead of deadline

August 7, 2020

The Millennial Action Project 2020 Future Summit for young elected leaders convenes virtually from noon to 4:15 p.m. ET with a keynote address from Martin Luther King III. Information is HERE.

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported this week: Monday, 154,860. Tuesday, 155,471. Wednesday, 156,830. Thursday, 158,256. Friday, 160,104.

The U.S. death toll could reach 300,000 by the end of the year, researchers report. 

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection worldwide exceed 19 million.

For White House and Democratic negotiators on Thursday, it was Groundhog Day, again, as the two sides made little progress and remained miles apart on a massive coronavirus relief bill despite an end-of-the-week deadline to strike an accord.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) met for more than three hours on Thursday night as they edged toward a self-imposed Friday deadline. But just like much of the past two weeks, the talks did not produce much except consensus that a deal is not imminent. President Trump says he is itching to announce executive action if talks collapse. 

“I think there’s a lot of issues we are close to a compromise position on. But I think there’s a handful of very big issues that we are still very far apart,” Mnuchin told reporters following the meeting. 

Pelosi and Schumer lamented the impasse late Thursday, with the Speaker reiterating that the White House does not understand the “gravity” of what is legislatively needed and “not enough” is being offered from the GOP. 

“We had what I would call a consequential meeting. It was one where we could see the difference in values that we bring to the table,” Pelosi said. “We’re very far apart. It’s most unfortunate.” 

The Hill: Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in.

The Washington Post: White House, Democrats fail to reach agreement on virus relief bill, and next steps are uncertain. 

The Hill: Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker. 

The Associated Press: Virus talks on brink of collapse, sides still “far apart.” 

The New York Times: The Paycheck Protection Program, enacted in March and extended in June to support more than half a trillion dollars in lending to struggling small businesses during the pandemic, expires Saturday. 

With negotiators struggling to reach a compromise, the GOP pair indicated that Trump could move ahead with executive orders in the coming days. According to Meadows, Trump phoned his negotiators three times during Thursday’s meeting, with Mnuchin adding that talks later today will determine next steps by the White House. 

“If we conclude tomorrow that there’s not a compromise position on the major issues, the president has alternatives and executive orders,” Mnuchin said. 

Before departing for Ohio earlier Thursday, the president tweeted that his staff is continuing to work on possible executive actions to stave off evictions and delay collection of the payroll taxes, among other things.  

Bloomberg News: Trump says he may act on his own Friday amid aid-talks stalemate. 

With a deal likely out of reach, the Senate left town for the weekend, but is expected to return next week instead of embarking on its month long recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that while the Senate will reconvene on Monday, senators will receive a 24-hour notice before any vote (The Hill). 

Potentially heaping pressure on lawmakers, a less-than-rosy July jobs report is set to be released this morning. As The Hill’s Sylvan Lane writes, the report is projected to show a sharp slowdown after two months of strong job gains, with expectations ranging from a gain of roughly 1 million jobs to a loss of several thousand following the 8 million added during May and June.  

Financial markets, eager to see a congressional stimulus that can boost any third-quarter economic gains, have anticipated for weeks that the House and Senate would eventually reach an agreement and Trump would sign a measure before the fall.  

The Hill: Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production.


CORONAVIRUS: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), 73, got two big surprises on Thursday. The first happened when he was told in advance of plans to see Trump in Cleveland that he tested positive but asymptomatic for COVID-19. The second shocker came hours later when he retreated to Columbus for another coronavirus test, went home to his farm and prepared to self-quarantine, only to learn that his second test of the day was negative ( Tests administered to the governor’s wife and staff members late on Thursday also came back negative. 

The second round of testing was performed through a sensitive test called a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR test, which detects genetic material from COVID-19, the governor’s office said. The earlier test delivers fast results by testing for the presence of antigens in the body, but is viewed as less accurate.  

The governor — who earned plaudits over the past five months for declaring an early public health emergency in Ohio and an embrace of masks and social distancing — underscores with his own experience the vulnerabilities of U.S. testing. The types of tests used in the United States vary along with laboratory processing. Trump often boasts of the simplicity and ease of Abbott Laboratories’s rapid tests used by the White House to screen individuals who are scheduled to be in close proximity to Trump or Vice President Pence.

DeWine said he and his wife plan to undergo a second PCR test on Saturday “out of an abundance of caution.” 

Individuals unknowingly infected with the virus but without symptoms of illness are increasingly common — and worrisome. 

Researchers are beginning to confirm that infected individuals without tell-tale symptoms can harbor just as much or more of the virus in their bodies as sick patients and can transmit the virus to others.

A new study conducted in South Korea, published Thursday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that people without symptoms carry just as much virus in their nose, throat and lungs as those with symptoms, and for almost as long (The New York Times).

It’s important data, that’s for sure,” said Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong who was not involved in the work, told the Times. “And it does confirm what we’ve suspected for a long time — that asymptomatic cases can transmit infection.

The study’s estimate that 30 percent of infected people never develop symptoms is consistent with other research. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, mentioned 40 percent during a TV interview on Wednesday.

The good news about COVID-19 is that about 40 percent of the population have no symptoms when they get infected,” Fauci said. But “even though you are likely not going to get symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak, which means that you’re going to infect someone, who will infect someone, who then will have a serious consequence.”

In the United States, the problems posed by asymptomatic spread are obvious with DeWine’s example. As governor, he circulated among a lot of people, traveled from one city to others and only discovered his infection because of a rapid-result test that most Americans cannot access. The United States is struggling to test enough people with symptoms of illness, let alone those who feel fine and go about their daily routines. 

As offices and schools reopen, the risks of community spread compound, which is why public health experts advise Americans to act as if they have the virus while inside and outdoors, at home, in offices, when they travel and while socializing, exercising or studying. 

MarketWatch: A runner can leave a “slipstream” of coronavirus for nearly 30 feet. 



> Testing: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday proposed providing coronavirus testing for lawmakers, staffers and U.S. Capitol employees. “With Members traveling to and from DC from all parts of the country, we should seriously consider providing testing for Members and all employees who work in the Capitol complex,” the 81-year-old lawmaker told Politico“I will be discussing this with my colleagues in the coming days.” House lawmakers only recently were instructed to wear masks on the floor and in hearing rooms after months of partisan debate about personal choice. 

The Washington Post: In a divided Congress, lawmakers can’t agree on coronavirus safety measures — down to the best kind of thermometer. 

> Masks: Trump on Thursday said he would not consider mandating masks and said a vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready by Election Day (considerably earlier than any of the most optimistic forecasts from pharmaceutical manufacturers and most infectious disease experts). 

At the beginning, they said `no masks,’ and people still say that, and some people don’t. I say use them, but I wouldn’t mandate it, but I say use them,” Trump, who went months without wearing a mask in public, said during a 40-minute interview with Geraldo Rivera, who broadcasts his radio show from Cleveland (listen HERE). Trump tells Rivera he and the administration have done a “fantastic” job with the coronavirus.

> International travel: The State Department on Thursday reverted to its customary system of issuing country-specific travel advisories following five months with a blanket advisory ban on all international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The department said it coordinated its decision with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (USA Today). 

The New York TimesDeborah Birx, an infectious disease specialist and physician, presses on against the coronavirus despite the sometimes harsh public spotlight.


POLITICS: Only days stand between former Vice President Joe Biden and his expected announcement of a running mate, and Democrats — including confidants of the former vice president — say the race remains fluid as different candidates gain or lose momentum.  

The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that three candidates — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former national security adviser Susan Rice and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) — are viewed as the top candidates for the position. However, sources say that there remains room for someone to surprise as Biden examines internal polling and conducts one-on-one interviews with each of the contenders this week.

Among those who could qualify as a surprise pick are Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), both of whom Biden and his team are still considering.  

“I think the list has narrowed a bit but … it’s going to be a surprise to whoever gets it,” said one source who has spoken to one of the contenders. “You know where you are but you don’t know where everyone else is. You can only speculate like everyone else.” 

> Battleground visit: The president visited the battleground state of Ohio on Thursday and took part in official and campaign business, targeting a key state where he finds himself in a tight race with Biden. 

As Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels write, Trump delivered brief campaign-style remarks at the airport in Cleveland and then traveled to the town of Clyde to deliver a speech on his economic agenda at a Whirlpool plant, where he highlighted a new executive order intended to boost domestic drug manufacturing and revealed that he had signed a proclamation reimposing 10 percent aluminum tariffs on Canada (The Hill).

CBS News: Trump falsely says Biden, a practicing Catholic, is “against God.”

The Hill: Biden says his faith is the “bedrock foundation of my life” following Trump’s claim that he is “against God.” 

> Debating debates: The Commission on Presidential Debates on Thursday said that it has no plans to alter the fall debate schedule between Trump and Biden beyond the three planned debates and one for vice presidential candidates. 

In a letter to the Trump campaign released Thursday, the commission was firm on the dates of the debates despite the campaign’s call to add a fourth event before early voting gets underway in some states in September. The first debate is scheduled Sept. 29. 

“You state that such a debate is necessary because some states begin sending out mail-in ballots before the first scheduled debate. There is a difference between ballots having been issued by a state and those ballots having been cast by voters, who are under no compulsion to return their ballots before the debates,” the commission said in the letter. “While more people will likely vote by mail in 2020, the debate schedule has been and will be highly publicized. Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity.” 

The commission did allow for the potential consideration of an additional debate if both campaigns agree (The Hill). 

The Associated Press: Congress urges Postal Service to undo changes slowing mail.

The Hill: New York attorney general sues to dissolve the NRA.

> Tennessee Senate: Bill Hagerty, a former ambassador to Japan under Trump, rode an endorsement from the president to victory in the Tennessee Senate GOP primary over Manny Sethi on Thursday night, giving him the inside track to replace retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in the upper chamber next year (The Hill). 

Hagerty took home the contest by an 11-point margin in a race that grew increasingly nasty over the final month of the debate as the two candidates traded criticisms all the way through Thursday’s election. The contest also served as a proxy battle of sorts as Trump, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) lined up behind Hagerty, while Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) backed Sethi, the conservative insurgent.

“You can’t underestimate the Trump endorsement in Tennessee,” one Tennessee GOP operative told the Morning Report, adding that the race could be a sign of things to come in 2024 for the GOP. “Conservative voters may have Cruz and Paul grandstanding fatigue. They want fresher faces. Not the same tired act,” the source said, adding that the pair’s endorsements were “essentially worthless” in the state. 

The New York Times: Bill Hagerty wins tough Tennessee primary with Trump’s endorsement.

The Hill: Rep. Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) opponent pins hopes on shifting demographics in uphill battle.

The Hill: GOP congressman calls for Jerry Falwell’s resignation.


Americans have to know the truth about the powers of the president, by Tom Wheeler, opinion contributor, The Hill.

Voters should channel the Black Lives Matter energy at the polls, by Michael Higginbotham and Kimberly Wehle, opinion contributors, The Hill.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: [email protected] and [email protected]. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 

The CARES Act: Good for workers, good for America

Unions and airlines agree: a clean extension of the CARES Act will position the airline industry to support economic recovery. Learn why.


The House will meet at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The Senate will convene on Monday at 3 p.m. in a pro forma session.  

The president is in Bedminster, N.J., today and has no public events. Trump on Saturday will headline high-dollar campaign fundraising events in Southampton, N.Y., to benefit the Trump Victory Committee and Republican National Committee (CNBC). 

Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. releases the July unemployment report. Claims for jobless benefits during the week ending Aug. 1 were 1.186 million, according to the Labor Department on Thursday, a drop from the previous week but the 20th straight week of claims above 1 million. “It’s beginning to ebb a bit,” one economic analyst commented. 

The Millennial Action Project 2020 Future Summit for young elected leaders convenes virtually from noon to 4:15 p.m. ET with a keynote address from Martin Luther King III. Information is HERE.

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


➔ Hurricanes:  OK, so what else does 2020 have in store? How about a hurricane season so active and awful, the government runs out of names? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday adjusted its seasonal forecast, now predicting a far-above-average 19 to 25 named storms — seven to 11 of them to become hurricanes and three to six of those to become major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph. The agency increased the chance of an above-average hurricane season from 60 percent to 85 percent. NOAA expects to run out of traditional cyclone monikers in a few months (The Associated Press). Our advice: Consider federal flood insurance.

 Tech: Trump on Thursday issued an executive order barring U.S. firms from doing business with TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and WeChat. He cited national security (NBC News). Microsoft in the United States is engaged in talks to buy TikTok (Financial Times, subscription). … The New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast today features an interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who talks about his company’s mistakes. 

➔ Interior Department: As oil prices have dropped to historic lows amid the pandemic, a former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s was able to score significant federal relief. Since April 1, the government has suspended at least 51 leases belonging, at least in part, to oil and gas company Samson Resources, which allows the company to drill on public land. The leases were first identified by the progressive Western Values Project and verified by The Hill. At times when oil and gas prices are low, these suspensions and extensions mean that companies can develop their leases at a later time when drilling may be more profitable (The Hill). 

➔ Sports: Round 1 of the PGA Championship teed off from TPC Harding Park in San Francisco on Thursday and Jason Day and Brendon Todd hold early leads over a stacked field at -5. However, Brooks Koepka (-4) and Tiger Woods (-2) closely trail with 54 holes left to play. In keeping with PGA Tour events since June, the championship is being played without spectators. … ⚾ Major League Baseball is strengthening its requirements after coronavirus outbreaks forced the league to postpone 21 games over the first two weeks of its season. In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, the league is now requiring players and staff to wear face coverings at all times, including in the dugout or bullpen and umpires must wear face masks at all times, unless they cannot do their jobs. Players on the field of play are exempted from the mask rule. Repeated or flagrant violations could cause a team to be banned for the rest of the 2020 season and/or postseason. Since games have begun, most players have not worn masks in the dugout and have been shown exchanging high fives, failing to observe social distancing and spitting (The Washington Post).


And finally …   A big round of applause for all the Morning Report Quiz Masters who knew their trivia related to former President Nixon to commemorate the 36th anniversary of his resignation on Sunday.

️Here’s a list of those who aced this week’s quiz: Patrick KavanaghTodd Walker, Mary Anne McEnery, Terry Pflaumer, J. Patrick White, Mike Roberts, Luther Berg, John Donato and Lori Benso. 

They knew that Nixon’s resignation speech on Aug. 8, 1974 (text HERE) included three actual sentences out of four options included in this week’s Quiz. Readers who correctly guessed any of the three got credit. 

Zero other vice presidents were elected president while not being the incumbent. Nixon was the only example of a vice president successfully running for president after time passed since he had served as vice president (Time). (If elected in November, Biden would become the second). 

Nixon was paid $600,000 to take part in a series of conversations with British talk show host David Frost in 1977, a sum Frost later explained he obtained from cashing in his personal stake in London Weekend Television (Independent).

The film “All the President’s Men” won a number of statuettes at the 49th Academy Awards but did not win for best actor (imbd). 

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Rep. Sara Jacobs


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