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May 18, 2020

NEWS OF THE DAY

Accommodations for Convention

Trump Retaliates Against Inspector Generals

Trump Undermines Rule of Law

Coronavirus and Trump

The Right to Safe, Accessible Voting

Democratic Party Fighting for Americans

DNC WAR ROOM

Trump’s Unemployment Disaster

Trump’s Dangerous ACA Lawsuit

Trump’s Fragile Economy


NEWS OF THE DAY

Accommodations for Convention

Background: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) approved accommodations to the convention.


  • Last week, the RBC approved a resolution to confirm that the Democratic National Convention Committee has maximum flexibility to plan a safe event that guarantees every delegate can accomplish official business without putting their own health at risk.


  • This resolution will now be voted on by the full DNC, and requires approval by a majority of DNC members. DNC staff are working on a mechanism to allow the roughly 447 DNC members to vote by mail.


  • This will give the convention team the authority to make the necessary changes to the format, size, date or other aspects in order to conduct a safe convention.


  • During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact in August remain unknown, convention planners are exploring a range of contingency options to ensure all delegates will be able to cast ballots and accomplish their business, regardless of their ability to travel and participate in person.


  • Protecting the health and well-being of our host community in Wisconsin and everyone involved with the convention will drive every decision convention planners make as they put plans in place for August.


  • In the coming weeks, the Democratic Convention team will remain in constant communication with federal, state, and local public health officials—and will follow their guidance to determine how many people can safely gather in Milwaukee this August.


  • Democrats remain inspired by the people who live and work in Milwaukee and remain committed to hosting this historic moment in their hometown. The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner and we couldn't be more committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key battleground state when we host our convention there this August.


Trump Retaliates Against Inspector Generals

Background: Late Friday, Trump fired State Department IG Steve Linick, who was investigating Pompeo for using his government staff to do personal errands.


  • Trump’s late night firing of another inspector general is part of a disturbing pattern of shameful and brazen attempts to gut the independence of inspector generals who conduct critical oversight. Trump is retaliating against those who expose the truth of his administration’s failures and wrongdoing.


  • Throughout his presidency, Trump has tried to marginalize and undermine those who hold his administration accountable and speak truth to power, including inspector generals.


  • Trump gave no reason for firing IG Linick, and the recommendation to fire him came from the very person Linick was investigating for abusing government resources — Mike Pompeo.


  • This continues Trump’s retaliation against IGs upholding their oaths of office, following the law, and protecting the Constitution.

    • Trump previously fired Defense Department IG Glenn Fine to undermine oversight and transparency of the CARES Act; replaced HHS IG Christi Grimm for reporting on his administration’s failure to provide hospitals with desperately needed supplies; and fired Intelligence Community IG Michael Atkinson for following the law in his handling of the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s call with Ukraine President Zelensky.


  • Trump’s acts of reprisal threaten to prevent others from speaking out in the future. Trump must cease his attacks on those who keep him and his administration honest.


Trump Undermines Rule of Law

Background: Last week, the Trump administration sent Republican senators a list of Obama administration officials who sought to “unmask” names in intelligence reports, an extremely common request that Republicans have tried to make nefarious.


  • This is just the latest effort by Trump and Republicans to distract from Trump’s utterly disastrous response to the coronavirus. Trump is making up a conspiracy on the fly because he doesn’t want Americans to pay attention to the rising death toll and unemployment resulting from his mishandling of coronavirus.


  • Here are the facts: Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The same day President Obama imposed sanctions against Russia for that interference, Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador about Russia’s response. These conversations were picked up in U.S. surveillance of Russia, and officials obviously wanted to know why an American citizen was talking to Russia about new sanctions. They moved to reveal Flynn’s name — a very common practice that occurs thousands of times a year and has actually increased under Trump. The document released by the Trump administration even confirmed that “the unmasking was approved through NSA’s standard process.”


  • This is just more of the same from Trump. Whenever he is faced with his own failures, he turns to accusing his political opponents of crimes. Instead of worrying about the rising death toll and unemployment, Trump is tweeting about conspiracy theories.


  • Trump is willing to undermine the rule of law and national security for his political gain — and his administration and congressional Republicans are more than happy to go along with him. There are numerous examples of Trump’s politicization of the Justice Department:

    • Barr overruled career prosecutors and moved to dismiss charges against Flynn for lying to the FBI — charges Flynn pleaded guilty to.

    • Barr intervened to take control of multiple legal matters that involved Trump or his associates, including Roger Stone. Barr ordered prosecutors to seek a shorter sentence for Stone, prompting four prosecutors to withdraw from the case.

    • Barr set up a process for Rudy Giuliani, who is under investigation by DOJ, to pass information intended to help Trump politically to the department.


  • Unlike Trump, Vice President Biden has committed to an independent DOJ and will never politicize our justice system or national security. The attorney general is America’s lawyer, not the president’s personal lawyer.


Coronavirus and Trump

  • Trump ignored warnings, downplayed the severity of this crisis, and failed to prepare for months, allowing the coronavirus to spread rapidly and undetected. Now we’re paying the price. Our country leads the world in confirmed cases and deaths, supply shortages continue to ravage our health care system, and workers have lost their jobs at an unprecedented pace. The crisis is worse because of Trump.


  • Trump downplayed the threat and failed to prepare. While Trump falsely blames the previous administration for his failure to secure supplies, the truth is President Obama gave Trump a response playbook, an NSC pandemic office, and a program literally called PREDICT that tracked new coronaviruses in China — all of which Trump dismantled. Trump ignored more than a dozen early warnings about the coronavirus from U.S. intelligence agencies throughout January and February. For months, Trump has lied about the severity of the disease and failed to get states and hospitals supplies.


  • Trump now claims to have “prevailed” on testing and said testing is “overrated,” but he has failed on testing. Trump made the testing crisis worse and we are still nowhere close to the capacity experts say we need to start getting back to normal. There is bipartisan agreement from senators and health officials, and from a majority of Americans, that we need dramatically more testing. Trump wants Americans to go to work without the widespread testing and contact tracing that protects him in the White House. To get America back to work, Trump must fix the testing shortage he created.


  • Trump is knowingly putting American lives at risk to further his political interests. He is claiming “mission accomplished” and declaring the worst of the pandemic over while infections continue to rise across most of the country and the virus spreads through the White House. Trump admitted that he was in a rush to reopen the country even if it caused unnecessary deaths.


  • Trump continues to contradict his own public health experts, who set the record straight in testimony to Congress this week. Dr. Bright testified that Trump ignored early warnings and still has no plan to contain the virus, and Dr. Fauci contradicted Trump on the severity of the crisis and the need to ramp up testing. At the same time, Trump is pushing the CDC to lower its death count to make his response look better, and his White House buried CDC’s initial report with more comprehensive guidance to help local authorities reopen.


  • Trump admitted that he rolled over for China. Trump ignored warnings that China was withholding data, refused to call out Beijing on its coronavirus response, and delayed taking action out of fear of upsetting his trade deal that has gone largely unfulfilled. On two occasions in January, Trump ignored advisers who urged him to press Xi Jinping for more transparency. Trump didn’t restrict travel with China until more than three dozen other countries had already done so, and more than 400,000 people flew from China to the U.S. with little if any screening in the first two months after the outbreak was disclosed.


  • Trump’s corrupt recovery has put big corporations first — letting large corporations and companies with ties to him get hundreds of millions of dollars in loans instead of the small businesses that need them to survive. Trump has failed small businesses, and in particular rural, minority, and women-owned small businesses, with his administration’s rollout of the small business Paycheck Protection Program. Trump’s failed implementation of the program excluded 90% of small businesses owned by people of color from receiving PPP loans in the first round.


The Right to Safe, Accessible Voting

  • As our country deals with the uncertainty and risks of COVID-19, it is especially critical to provide safe, accessible, and secure voting to all eligible Americans — voters should not be forced to make a difficult choice between their health and safety, and exercising their fundamental democratic right to vote.


  • We urge states to implement a variety of critical reforms that will make voting easier and safer for voters and election officials — like expanding vote-by-mail, increasing early-in person voting so voters don’t have to worry about crowding and long lines, ensuring people who need assistance returning their ballots can receive it, and other commonsense reforms like drop boxes that make it safe and convenient for voters to drop off their ballots.

    • The vast majority of Americans support expanding vote-by-mail to allow voters to safely cast their ballots in November, and even Trump’s campaign pollster shows Americans overwhelmingly want Congress to provide funding for states to expand absentee voting options in November.


  • Republicans like Trump are engaging in these voter suppression tactics because they know their agenda is out of step with voters. Trump himself told us why they’re so committed to making it harder to access the ballot box: “Republicans can’t win an election” if they let more people vote. That’s because their agenda is deeply toxic with so many Americans.




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 Senate Republicans blocked the bills, despite broad support from voters.


  • House Democrats have unveiled the HEROES Act — bold legislation to protect Americans’ lives, livelihoods, and the life of our democracy. While Trump, McConnell and Republicans would rather let states go bankrupt and children go hungry, Democrats are fighting for American workers and families.


  • 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?


DNC WAR ROOM

Trump’s Unemployment Disaster

  • Instead of taking steps to prepare for the economic downturn from coronavirus, Trump downplayed the threat of coronavirus and the economic fallout that would result from his complete mismanagement of the crisis. Now he’s passing the buck, saying “nobody blames me” for the crushing unemployment, but it is his fault.



  • Trump failed to prepare us for this pandemic and we now have the worst economic shock in a generation — not as a result of coronavirus, but as a result of his failure to lead and contain the coronavirus. He ignored warnings from intelligence officials, refused to push China for transparency, failed to ramp up testing or secure essential supplies, and consistently downplayed the crisis.


  • There are very real consequences to the laundry list of Trump’s ill-preparedness and bad policy. More people are sick, more people have died, and there is exponentially higher disruption to our economy and lives.


  • We can’t trust Trump to rebuild our economy because we’ve already seen what his failed leadership looks like – an arbitrary and politically motivated effort that does not do nearly enough to protect workers. We’ve suffered the consequences. We know he’s not fighting for us. Americans deserve better.


Trump’s Dangerous ACA Lawsuit

  • During the worst health crisis of our time, Trump says he wants to “terminate health care under Obamacare” as he and Republicans seek to strip protections from as many as 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions and take health care away from 20 million Americans. Trump and Republicans still have no plan to keep Americans covered.


  • Americans are relying on our health care system now more than ever before as about 27 million Americans have lost their employer-provided insurance during the coronavirus outbreak, and 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, insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate against those with preexisting conditions by denying them coverage or charging higher rates.

    • 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 face an influx in coronavirus patients, it is critical that they are paid for the treatment they provide.


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

    • Essential Health Benefits: The Trump administration urged health insurers to make testing free by considering it an “essential health benefit,” despite simultaneously arguing in court to overturn this protection of the ACA.

    • Medicaid Expansion: After championing cuts that kicked millions of people from its rolls, the Trump administration is now playing catch-up and trying it easier for poor Americans to get care through Medicaid. But the administration’s coronavirus response is weakening Medicaid by skimping on aid for Medicaid providers to the benefit of large medical systems.

    • Nursing Home Inspections: The Trump administration announced new initiatives to protect nursing homes but has continued pushing forward with rolling back regulations aimed at preventing infections from spreading in nursing homes.


  • The ACA is more popular than ever for one simple reason: it works. The ACA has significantly reduced the number of uninsured and helped Americans get the health care they need and aren’t bankrupted just because they get sick.


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. factory output plummeted in April by the most in over a century. But manufacturing was already in a recession for the entirety of 2019.

    • 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 farm debt had already been forecast to hit a record high this year.

    • Retail sales suffered the two largest ever monthly declines in March and April. But the retail industry had already cut more than 75,000 jobs last year and closed more than 9,300 stores.


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

    • About half of Americans were already living paycheck to paycheck and many had to 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’ 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.

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