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'Michael Kikukawa' via Top Talkers 
Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 4:36 PM

Reply-To: Michael Kikukawa <>
To: Michael Kikukawa <>
Cc: Xochitl Hinojosa <>, Adrienne Watson <>, David Bergstein <>, Daniel Wessel <>

Image Modified

March 25, 2020


Senate Coronavirus Bill

Coronavirus and Trump

Coronavirus and the Primary Process

Democratic Party Fighting for Americans


Affordable Care Act’s 10th Anniversary

Trump’s Fragile Economy


Senate Coronavirus Bill

Background: Last night, Senate Democrats reached an agreement with the White House and Senate Republicans on a third coronavirus response bill. 

  • The new Senate coronavirus bill will put workers and Americans’ public health — not corporations — first. Democrats won:

    • For our health care system, a Marshall Plan to provide public health workers and hospitals with desperately needed resources;

    • For workers, a dramatic expansion and reform of the unemployment insurance program to increase benefits and cover more Americans for longer;

    • Strict oversight, transparency, and accountability of all corporate loans to prevent secret bailouts;

    • For state, local, and tribal governments that are propping up local health systems, billions in real resources;

    • For small businesses, a significant expansion of fast relief via grants and loan forgiveness;

    • For students, billions in emergency education funding and the elimination of the income tax on student loan repayment assistance.

  • Trump and Senate Republicans pushed for a bill that put corporations first, and didn’t do nearly enough to support workers, our hospitals and medical facilities, or struggling Americans.

  • The bill McConnell initially put forward had inadequate resources for hospitals and health care providers, few conditions or oversight on government loans to corporations, and insufficient economic relief for struggling Americans.

  • Democrats never backed down from their top two priorities, which are achieved in this new bill: putting workers and families first, not corporations, and addressing the impending public health crisis head-on with a massive infusion of resources.

Coronavirus and Trump

  • Trump’s failed leadership and mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak has endangered Americans and significantly worsened a severe public health crisis.

    • Each day, Trump continues his failed response by refusing to take any responsibility, blaming and attacking others, contradicting experts and his own administration, repeating falsehoods, and downplaying the severity of the crisis.

  • Trump is not leading. He is playing catch-up with the more serious responses taken by state and local governments. Instead of helping governors get the supplies they need, Trump has told them to go at it alone and even attacked them for requesting help.

    • Trump has failed to deploy the full resources of the federal government to mitigate the crisis, and hospitals, health professionals, and schools, continue to say they have not received proper guidance and assistance from the Trump administration.

    • Trump squandered critical time available to distribute essential personal protective equipment (PPE), tests, and other supplies. While Trump promised for weeks to provide states with these critical medical supplies, states have not received much or any of what Trump promised and it is unclear when critical supplies will arrive.

    • Trump ignored early warnings about a looming medical supplies shortage and instead blamed governors, saying the federal government isn’t responsible for helping states obtain medical supplies or testing.

  • Trump keeps claiming achievements and promising response measures to distract from his failed response, but he has not delivered.

    • Trump announced he had invoked the Defense Production Act, but has refused to use its powers to expand production of ventilators, tests, masks, and other critical equipment despite massive shortages. Instead, Trump is relying on voluntary production that he claims has already started, but in many cases is actually months away.

    • Trump incorrectly said the FDA had approved a drug for treatment of COVID-19, which the FDA itself said is not true, and Trump claimed the drug is a “game changer,” which his own experts have had to correct.

  • Unsurprisingly, Trump refuses to take any responsibility for the damage he caused. But Trump led the federal response that got us here:

    • He repeatedly misled Americans by downplaying the seriousness of the public health crisis and claiming it would “go away” in a few months, despite warnings from public health officials and intelligence agencies.

    • He overruled government health experts who wanted to issue early warnings urging vulnerable people to reduce their exposure.

    • He falsely blamed past administrations instead of taking account for his own failure to address the testing shortage, and has continually lied about access to testing.

  • Trump’s inability to lead our country through this crisis is years in the making. Since becoming president, Trump has systematically debilitated our country’s ability to respond to public health crises.

    • As the coronavirus spread, Trump proposed cutting funding to Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and global health programs by tens of billions.

    • Trump eliminated critical staff who would have been responsible for leading the U.S. response to deadly pandemics, and the NSC’s director for medical and biodefense preparedness remains unfilled.

    • Trump eliminated a post held by a key CDC expert who had been embedded in China’s disease control agency and could have alerted the U.S. and the world to important information about the growing outbreak weeks earlier.

    • Roughly two-thirds of Trump’s appointees who attended a pre-inauguration briefing on the possibility of a global pandemic are no longer serving in Trump’s chaotic administration.

    • Trump doubled down on backing a lawsuit to overturn the ACA, which could cause 21 million Americans to lose coverage, and Trump has expanded “junk” insurance plans that don’t protect patients with preexisting conditions or provide comprehensive coverage, including for things like coronavirus testing or treatment.

  • Even now, as schools across the country are closed, small businesses are suffering, events and sports leagues have been postponed or cancelled, and the economy sinks the closest to recession it’s been in over a decade, Trump continues to downplay the crisis and contradict experts.

    • In recent appearances, Trump is back to downplaying the coronavirus by comparing it to automobile accidents and the seasonal flu, which has a far lower mortality rate.

  • Americans deserve better — a well-coordinated, whole-of-government, fully-funded response to this public health crisis and a president that prioritizes their safety and economic security.

Coronavirus and the Primary Process

  • As our country deals with the uncertainty of COVID-19, it is critical that states provide clarity and not confusion, which could lead to disenfranchising voters. States can provide easy access to voting while still taking necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of the American people.

  • The DNC is urging the remaining primary states to use a variety of critical reforms that will make voting easier and safer for voters and election officials alike:

    • Vote by mail, which is already in use in a number of states, should be made available to all registered voters.

    • Proactively mailing ballots to registered voters, where feasible, and counting all ballots as long as they are postmarked by the date of the primary.

    • No-excuse absentee voting, which allows voters to drop ballots off at convenient locations or in the mail.

    • Expanding days and hours of early voting to reduce lines in states where in-person voting can still take place under public health guidelines.

  • The DNC will continue to monitor the situation and work with state parties around their delegate selection plans, allowing flexibility around how states elect their delegates to the national convention once those delegates are allocated based on their primary or caucus results.

  • The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, and we must do everything we can to protect and expand that right instead of bringing our democratic process to a halt.

What is the DNC’s response to Ohio moving back their primary election the night before it was supposed to be held?

  • What happened in Ohio has only created more chaos and confusion, and the Democratic Party leadership in Ohio is working tirelessly to protect the right to vote.

  • Eligible voters deserve certainty, safety, and accessibility. That's why states that have not yet held primary elections should focus on implementing measures to make it easier and safer for voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote, instead of moving primaries to later in the cycle when timing around the virus remains unpredictable.

What is the DNC’s response to Louisiana and Kentucky’s decision to move their primary outside of the window?

  • The DNC will continue to work with every state party as they adjust their delegate selection plans around coronavirus. Louisiana’s primary occuring on June 20 and Kentucky’s occuring on June 23 would violate the DNC’s rule on timing, which requires that all states hold their contests by June 9. Any violation of the DNC’s rules could result in a penalty that could include a state losing at least half of its delegates.

  • These changes will be reviewed by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.

  • Background: All contests must happen by June 9 and delegates must be elected by June 20, as stated in the rules passed by the full DNC.

Will the DNC have to cancel the convention or have a virtual convention?

  • The DNC is closely monitoring this fluid situation and is focused on planning a safe and successful convention in Milwaukee four months from now.

  • Ensuring the safety of convention attendees and local residents is — and will always remain — the DNC’s top priority.

  • As the DNC plans for July, they are in constant communication with the local, state, and federal officials responsible for protecting public health and security — and will continue to follow their guidance.

How is the DNC working with states who are delaying their conventions?

  • The DNC’s guidance to state parties is to follow the recommendations of local health officials and prioritize health and safety of all individuals. They know the situation is very different in every state and want to give state parties flexibility to change their plans to address the guidance they are getting on the ground.

  • The DNC will work with any state party that needs to make adjustments as needed to their delegate selection processes so they can continue without major interruptions.


  • The deadline to elect convention participants is June 20, so state parties have plenty of time to elect delegates.

  • As a reminder, presidential preference is locked at the first determining step, which is new this year.

Democratic Party Fighting for Americans

  • Trump calls Democrats the “Do Nothing Party.” The reality is that Democrats in Congress have actually done a lot, but Trump has opposed their legislation, and it has stalled in McConnell’s legislative graveyard, despite broad support from voters.

  • Congressional Democrats fought to ensure Congress’s third emergency response package puts workers and families ahead of corporations.

  • Here's a look at some of the many bills House Democrats have passed:

    • The Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.

    • The Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    • The SHIELD Act to better protect our elections from foreign interference.

    • The Raise the Wage Act to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    • The American Dream and Promise Act to provide hardworking immigrants a much deserved pathway to citizenship.

    • The Equality Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    • A package of bills to protect people’s access to health care and help make prescription drugs more affordable.

    • A bill to restore net neutrality.

    • The Climate Action Now Act to take action to protect our climate and create economic opportunities.

    • Legislation to reauthorize and expand the Violence Against Women Act.

    • Legislation to require background checks for all gun sales.

    • Legislation to help close the gender pay gap.

    • Historic anti-corruption reform.

  • While Democrats are working for the American people, what has Trump done lately?


Affordable Care Act’s 10th Anniversary

  • Ten years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the law is more popular than ever.

    • It’s no wonder — it helped tens of millions of Americans obtain quality, affordable health care coverage, made it illegal for insurers to deny coverage over a preexisting condition or charge women more for their health care than men, allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ plans, required coverage of preventative services and essential health benefits, and so much more.

  • Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, the ACA is one of our most critical tools to protect Americans from the consequences of the coronavirus.

    • Comprehensive Coverage: The ACA established what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as prescription drugs and hospitalization. Coronavirus testing and treatment are essential health benefits and must be covered by all ACA-compliant plans.

    • Access to Critical Vaccinations Without Cost Sharing: Once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, the Affordable Care Act will almost certainly cover the coronavirus vaccine without cost-sharing, because it requires plans to cover all vaccinations recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

    • Protections for as Many as 133 Million Americans With Preexisting Conditions: Under the ACA, anyone who contracts coronavirus will not be subject to future discrimination from insurance companies.

    • Coverage for 20+ Million People: Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. People with insurance are much more likely to see a doctor when they are sick and to get the treatment they need.

    • Increased CDC Funding: The Affordable Care Act established the CDC Prevention and Public Health Fund, which helps states prepare for disease outbreaks.

    • Medicaid Expansion: Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid to vulnerable populations. More than 17 million Americans now have coverage through Medicaid expansion. Importantly, Medicaid’s funding structure allows funds to increase in response to a public health emergency like coronavirus.

    • Key Support for Rural Hospitals: The ACA significantly reduced uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $12 billion, or roughly 30 percent. As hospitals prepare for an influx in coronavirus patients, it is critical that they are paid for the treatment they provide.

  • Even as he tries to destroy the law, Trump has been forced to rely on key provisions of the ACA to fight the spread of coronavirus:

    • Essential Health Benefits: Trump has labeled coronavirus tests an “essential health benefit” in order to make them free to patients with ACA-compliant plans, despite spending years pushing to loosen federal rules on what health insurers must cover.

    • Medicaid Expansion: After trying time and again to slash Medicaid and cut millions of Americans from its coverage, the Trump administration is now trying to make it easier for poor Americans to get health care through Medicaid.

    • Nursing Home Inspections: Just months after moving to roll back government inspections standards of nursing homes that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency is trying to intensify nursing home inspections.

  • Yet Trump is still arguing in court to overturn the entire health care law, including its preexisting condition protections, and doubled down at a coronavirus briefing this week.

  • At every opportunity, Trump has worked to weaken the ACA and put coverage for millions at risk. Despite promising to create better, more affordable health care, Trump and his repeated acts of sabotage have contributed to rising health care costs and a rise in the uninsured rate.

    • Trump Tried to Repeal the ACA: Throughout 2017, Trump and Republicans in Congress repeatedly tried to push dangerous repeal legislation through that would have kicked upwards of 20 million Americans off their health care, undermined the ACA’s protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, and gutted Medicaid.

    • Trump Sabotaged the ACA: Trump and Republican sabotage of the ACA has contributed to rising health care costs. Last year, premiums for silver benchmark marketplace plans were 16 percent higher than they would have been had Trump and Republicans not succeeded in undermining the law and stoking market uncertainty.

    • Trump Supports a Lawsuit to Overturn the ACA:

      • Trump promised that whoever “wanted health care” would have it under his administration, but the Trump-backed lawsuit would cause 21 million Americans to lose their insurance.

      • Trump promised he would put a stop to rising health care costs and even reduce them, but his lawsuit would raise out-of-pocket costs for premiums and prescription drugs.

      • Trump promised to support preexisting condition protections and said that costs for people with preexisting conditions would be “much lower” under his leadership, but his lawsuit would end these vital protections.

      • Trump promised to protect Medicaid, but his lawsuit would end access to Medicaid for millions of Americans enrolled through the ACA’s expansion program.

  • Trump and Republicans’ efforts to repeal the ACA and sabotage American health care, and Democrats’ efforts to protect the law, expand coverage and lower costs, helped Democrats win races up and down the ballot in 2017, 2018 and 2019, including winning the House majority in the last midterm elections.

    • Health care remains the number one issue on the minds of voters, and among voters who rate it their top issue, Democrats enjoy a significant advantage. With Trump bungling the response to the coronavirus pandemic, you can bet health care will again be the top issue on voters’ minds.

Trump’s Fragile Economy

  • Trump created a fragile economy that was especially vulnerable to the downturn that has resulted from the coronavirus outbreak.

    • Despite his promises, the gap between the richest Americans and everyone else grew bigger than ever under his watch, making it more difficult for working Americans during this economic downturn.

    • Once the coronavirus hit, Trump’s lies and failed response only made things worse.

  • The coronavirus outbreak is hurting sectors that were already stretched to their breaking point by Trump’s reckless trade policies and broken promises: 

    • U.S. manufacturing was in a mild recession for the entirety of 2019, as factory production shrank by 1.3 percent. And now, the weakened manufacturing and transportation sectors have slowed the supply of vital products amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    • Farmers were struggling because of Trump’s reckless trade policies and false promises about increased purchases. While Trump continued to claim he had saved U.S. agriculture, farm bankruptcies increased by nearly 20 percent in 2019, and Trump’s own Department of Agriculture said that it expected farm debt in 2020 to rise to a record $425 billion.

    • The retail industry cut more than 75,000 jobs last year and closed more than 9,300 stores, a huge spike from the previous year. 

  • Trump’s economic policies benefited the rich while leaving millions of Americans vulnerable to the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak:

    • More than half of American jobs are at risk and millions have already lost jobs or hours because of the coronavirus outbreak, which only exacerbates the struggles for working families.

    • About half of Americans already live paycheck to paycheck and many worry daily about being able to pay their bills, as household debt hit a record high of $14 trillion at the end of 2019.

  • Trump’s economy is built on shaky foundations of short-term stimuli and corporate debt:

    • Corporations racked up $19 trillion in debt that made the economy more vulnerable to a downturn after spending the money they got from Trump’s tax cuts on stock buybacks for themselves and their wealthy shareholders. Despite Trump’s promises, corporations did next to nothing to boost workers’s paychecks.

  • Trump’s short-sighted economic policies weakened some of the tools available to fight the downturn:

    • Despite inheriting a strong economy, Trump racked up $1 trillion deficits by pushing massive tax cuts that didn’t provide a sustained economy boost to benefit workers like he promised. 

    • Trump forced the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates because of his reckless trade policies, leaving it with little room to lower rates even further and half as much firepower as it did going into the last recession.

    • Trump’s tax law eliminated provisions to help companies avoid laying off workers during an economic downturn in order to help fund a bigger cut to the corporate tax rate.