☕ Cover Shot: Capitol Hill
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: Family members sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to their grandma from outside her house.
📰 TOP STORY
A Second Stimulus Stumble: Senate Democrats blocked a rescue package totaling at least $1.6 trillion from advancing for a second straight day Monday, seeking further changes to GOP-written legislation aimed at easing the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats argue the aid package did too much for large corporations and not enough for workers, but Republicans accuse them of playing politics and using the crisis as leverage to try and jam through unrelated political “wish list” items concerning climate change and more.
A Link From the Left: The New York Times Editorial Board argues that yesterday’s stalemate was Mitch McConnell’s Fault: “Mr. McConnell said he would produce a bipartisan bailout bill. Instead, McConnell’s bill provided a lot of help for corporate executives and shareholders, and not nearly enough for American workers. It would let the Treasury Department hand out hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations — potentially including businesses owned by President Trump — without requiring a binding commitment to preserve jobs and wages.”
A Read From the Right: Mattie Duppler of the Washington Examiner contends that Democrats “filibustered a bill that had been negotiated by senators of both parties…Unbelievably, this bipartisan product was blown up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who [made] a number of unrelated demands, such as demanding forgiveness of student loans. This is a particularly craven move as many people who are suffering from the closures are service workers, working in leisure and hospitality jobs that don’t require college degrees. While their futures remain uncertain and their employers are making layoff decisions by the day, Pelosi is demanding a subsidy be paid to upper-class, well-educated elites.”
Of Note: Pelosi and her caucus did unveil their own economic stimulus legislation late last night. See what’s inside.
Flag This: Eroding faith in political institutions makes crisis recovery more difficult, NBC News writes. The good news: At least before the virus hit, a majority of Americans still expressed faith in small businesses, medical doctors and researchers, and in each other to cooperate in a crisis even if they disagree on political issues. Washington needs to meet the moment to deliver aid to the people we trust the most: each other.
🦅 US NEWS
Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?
The White House is discussing easing social distancing as early as next week amid a broader debate over how much economic loss the country can bear to save an unknowable number of lives threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. Why it matters: Healthcare professionals are concerned that easing restrictions will lead to a wave of sicknesses that will overwhelm hospitals and turn the US into the next Italy.
- One Perspective: Thomas Friedman for the New York Times asks, “can we more surgically minimize the threat of this virus to those most vulnerable while we maximize the chances for as many Americans as possible to safely go back to work as soon as possible? Imagine the stress and mental illness that will come — already has come — from our shutting down our economy, triggering massive layoffs. Is this cure — even for a short while — worse than the disease?”
- Another Perspective: The Washington Post Editorial Board says It’s too soon to relax social distancing: Getting Americans back to work “is an understandable goal, but if done wrong it will boomerang. The virus is highly contagious. Separating people by social distancing while isolating the sick helps break the chains of transmission and spares hospitals a disastrous overload, at least until a treatment or vaccine is found. In the United States, social distancing has been in place only a week or two. If the restrictions are relaxed now and people start to congregate again, the consequence might be a second explosion of infections and death.”
The Fed: Throwing It at the Wall(Street) to See What Sticks
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s whatever-it-takes moment arrived Monday. The central bank signaled it would do practically anything—extending loans to big and small businesses and purchasing unlimited amounts of government debt—to help an American economy in a race against time. What you need to know: The broad range of measures put forth by the central bank include a continuation of its asset purchasing program (but with no limit), a foray into the corporate bond market, and a lending facility for Main Street.
- A Link From the Left: The Fed is running out of options to stave off a coronavirus depression Larry Elliott The Guardian
- A Read From the Right: How the Fed’s latest move will get money to Main Street, Fox Business
🌎 US NEWS
UK Ordered to Hide Away
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered Britons to stay at home to try to halt the spread of coronavirus, imposing curbs on everyday life without precedent in peacetime. What you need to know: Johnson had resisted pressure to impose a full lockdown even as other European countries had done so, but was forced to change tack as projections showed the health system could become overwhelmed.
- A Link from The Left: The Guardian view on lockdown for Britain: necessary hardship Editorial Board, The Guardian
- A Read From the Right: No more Mr Nice Guy. In this shocking address to the nation, Boris Johnson got tough at last Michael Deacon, The Telegraph
Afghanistan Aid Abandoned
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew into Kabul on Monday in a bid to resolve a political crisis between two rival Afghan leaders that has threatened to derail peace talks and a planned U.S. troop withdrawal. The Result: the Trump administration is slashing $1 billion in assistance to Afghanistan and threatening further reductions in all forms of cooperation after the country’s rival leaders failed to agree on forming a new government. Pompeo slammed Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah—the rival Afghan politicians who have each declared themselves president of the country—for being unable to work together and threatening a potential peace deal that could end America’s longest-running conflict. Go Deeper: The Associated Press does a good job of giving an unbiased overview of the situation on the ground.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Softbank Opts for Hard Sales
SoftBank Group said on Monday that it plans to raise $41 billion through various asset sales, which will be used to buy back its stock and pay off debt. The firm did not announce which of its assets it plans to sell, but the move was applauded by investors. SoftBank’s stock soared 19% after the announcement which was the firm’s biggest one-day gain in almost 12 years.
Olympics One Step Closer to Being Postponed
Veteran IOC member Dick Pound told USA TODAY Sports on Monday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Canada and Australia already announced they will not send athletes to the games. Germany, Brazil, and Norway are also urging them to be postponed.
Dara Makes a Dash for Delivery Workers
On Monday Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi asked President Donald Trump to include delivery workers and independent drivers into the trillion-dollar stimulus package. Khosrowshahi also asked the White House and Congress to think about a “third way” to classify workers “to remove the forced choice between flexibility and protection for millions of Americans.”
📢 PRESENTED BY: THE STREET SHEET
Did you know that Goldman Sachs is projecting jobless claims could surpass 2 million this week? Or that “Zoom” is now worth more than airlines like United and American? If you missed these tidbits in the Street Sheet this past weekend be sure to sign up here. In these volatile times, the Sunday newsletter cuts through the noise to bring you only what you need to know about the world of business and finance. Click here to get started.
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination, Friday, March 20
Source: Emerson, Biden 54 Sanders 42, Biden +12
General Election: Trump vs. Biden, Friday, March 20
Source: Emerson, Biden 53, Trump 47 Biden +6
General Election: Trump vs. Sanders Friday, March 20
Source: Emerson Sanders 53, Trump 47, Sanders +6
Weekly Flag Poll from Tag The Flag
Is the United States doing a better or worse job than other countries of handling the coronavirus pandemic? Responses: +1,000. Click to vote
On This Day in 1989 Exxon Valdez crashes, causing one of the worst oil spills in history. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water with currents spreading the crude more than 100 miles from its source. Click here for pictures.
Why Don’t We Forget How to Ride a Bike? (Scientific American)
The Unique Science of Left-Handedness (Inverse)
The Meaning of Life Is a Ham Sandwich (Mark Manson)
What can the 2009 swine flu pandemic tell us about the weeks to come? Answer