FLASHBACK … PLAYBOOK THIS A.M.: “TRUMP, meanwhile, barely cares about the policy, people close to him say. He wants a deal. He may not realize what’s on the table, but if DEMOCRATS do their job, they can make the case that there are policies he can stomach within reach for him.”
FLASH FORWARD a few hours …
… THE PRESIDENT, at 10: 30 a.m.: “Democrats are ‘heartless’. They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).”
— BLOOMBERG: “White House Open to New $1.5 Trillion Stimulus-Deal Proposal,” by Jordan Fabian and Erik Wasson
HEY, HOUSE DEM LEADERSHIP … THIS IS A POINT ON THE BOARD for the people who want public pressure — votes, loud noises — as a way to pressure TRUMP into pushing for a deal.
BTW, Sen. JOHN THUNE (R-S.D.), the GOP whip, to WaPo’s ERICA WERNER: “I know kind of what the threshold is for what we can get Republican votes for in the Senate. And, you know, I think if the number gets too high — anything that got passed in the Senate will be passed mostly with Democratic votes and a handful of Republicans, so it’s gonna have to stay in a sort of a realistic range. If you know, if we want to maximize, optimize the number of Republican senators that … vote.”
THUNE said a “realistic range” is somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 trillion — despite resistance to that number. One White House official points out: “There are a number of GOP senators who are willing to go well north of $1 trillion, and a number of GOP senators who want to be south of $1 trillion.”
— THUNE also said $500 billion in state and local aid is a “non-starter” for Senate Republicans.
HERE’S SOME OTHER EVIDENCE that the White House may need a Covid deal soon … FLORIDA, which is governed by Trump ally RON DESANTIS, has a message for the WHITE HOUSE:
— SUNSHINE STATE SIREN: “Florida: We can’t afford Trump’s jobless aid anymore,” by Gary Fineout in Tallahassee: “Florida’s Republican governor will end a Trump program to boost unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans because the state’s bare-bones jobless program is too poor to continue qualifying for the federal boost.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis, an ally of President Donald Trump, is scrapping the extra $300 in weekly benefits because the state pays its unemployed workers too little to meet a 25 percent matching requirement. Florida appears to be the first state in the nation to halt the program because of its cost. … Republican and Democratic state legislators were surprised by the DeSantis decision, which was revealed without fanfare late Monday.” POLITICO
AND SO IT BEGINS — “Senate panel authorizes subpoenas in Republican probe targeting Obama officials,” by Andrew Desiderio: “A Senate committee voted on Wednesday to authorize more than three dozen subpoenas and depositions as part of a highly partisan, Republican-led investigation targeting former Obama administration officials’ role in the presidential transition period.
“But in a last-minute twist, the GOP-controlled panel decided to scrap a separate vote authorizing a subpoena to Bridget Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, as part of the committee’s investigation centering on Joe and Hunter Biden. Still, Wednesday’s vote represents a significant escalation of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s probes targeting President Donald Trump’s political foes — less than 50 days before Election Day.”
— THE DAILY BEAST’S @sambrodey: “Wow—Mitt Romney on the Biden/Burisma investigation just now: ‘It is not the legitimate role of government, for Congress or for taxpayer expense, to be used as an effort to damage political opponents.’”
Good Wednesday afternoon. Press secretary KAYLEIGH MCENANY is briefing shortly.
HUNT FOR A VACCINE — “Trump admin unveils plan for distributing coronavirus vaccines,” by Rachel Roubein and Sarah Owermohle: “The plan consists of an information campaign led by the Department of Health and Human Services public affairs department; ramping up infrastructure so a vaccine can be delivered ‘immediately’ once authorized; and sending 6.6 million kits of supplies needed to administer the vaccine, like syringes and alcohol pads. …
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is requiring states and jurisdictions to submit plans on how they’d administer and distribute a vaccine by Oct. 16. … Doses may be available as early as November to limited groups, but that supply may increase substantially in 2021. Final decisions on who will be first in line to get the shots will be made later. … The goal is to deliver the vaccine with no upfront cost to providers and for Americans to obtain shots without paying anything out of pocket, the Trump administration wrote in its report to Congress.” POLITICO … The report
SPORTS BLINK — “Big Ten revives football season in Trump-backed turnaround,” by Juan Perez Jr.: “The Big Ten Conference will play football this fall, after the organization’s chancellors and presidents approved a reversal of their recent decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Wednesday’s revival delivers a victory for President Donald Trump, who has demanded sports resume in an athletic conference that represents several swing states ahead of Election Day. … [T]he virus continues to spread in and around college towns in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and other states.”
CASH DASH — AP: “How Bloomberg’s $100 million Florida bet may shape campaign,” by Alexandra Jaffe and Brian Slodysko: “Billionaire donors have long played a central role in supporting both parties. Yet no one has proposed pumping in so much cash to support a presidential campaign in a single state. …
“Bloomberg’s advisers say his Florida investment offers multiple benefits for Democrats: It frees up Democratic cash, allowing the campaign and outside groups to focus on other key swing states; it requires Republicans to spend more heavily to make up for the disparity there; and a decisive win by Biden in Florida could help tamp down efforts most Democrats are expecting from Trump to discount the results of the election.” AP
— ROLL CALL: “Why are people sending the Biden-Harris campaign $19.08?” by Clyde McGrady: “The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. were springing into action to support one of their own, Harris, who pledged at Howard University as an undergrad in the 1980s. But why $19.08? That’s the year the AKAs, the oldest Black sorority in America, were founded.” Roll Call
THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY — “U.S. Retail Spending Grew at Slower Pace in August,” by WSJ’s Harriet Torry: “U.S. retail spending rose 0.6% in August for the fourth straight monthly increase, but at a slower pace as some extra unemployment benefits ran out. … Consumers spent more on clothing, electronics and furniture in August as students went back to school, many for online classes because of the pandemic. Spending fell on groceries and sporting goods.” WSJ
RHETORIC VS. REALITY — “Trump hails ‘manufacturing miracle’ as factories bleed jobs,” by Eleanor Mueller: “Trump’s anti-trade agenda and a pandemic-induced recession have combined to shutter factories and accelerate decades-old trends toward automation, eliminating hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs, many for good, including in the Rust Belt states he needs to win in November. …
“[T]he White House’s trade wars kicked the sector into another slump in 2019, with Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania facing declines or plateaus in manufacturing employment even back in February — well before Covid-19 forced layoffs at dozens of plants. As of July — the most recent month for which data is available — each state is down between 20,000 and 40,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels. … [M]any of the losses are likely permanent, economists say.” POLITICO
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “Politics creates economic illusion in Houdini’s hometown,” by AP’s Josh Boak in Appleton, Wis.: “Trump voters listen to his cheerleading for the economy and believe the businessman president has worked his magic. Many write off the pandemic as a speed bump for accelerating prosperity. Biden’s backers see an illusion — an economy that was recovering under Obama, but now, with the pandemic, is trying to crawl back to health, with no real plan from Trump. …
“In Appleton, perhaps the only shared view is a deep anxiety about the future. Restaurants and bars worry about customers vanishing once cooler temperatures return. The high costs of childcare and health insurance make it hard to attract workers, despite the downturn. People cannot even agree on the terms of the economic debate to come up with a solution.” AP
PANDEMIC RIPPLE EFFECTS — “Pandemic isolation has killed thousands of Alzheimer’s patients while families watch from afar,” by WaPo’s William Wan: “[M]ore than 134,200 people have died from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia since March. That is 13,200 more U.S. deaths caused by dementia than expected compared with previous years, according to an analysis of federal data by The Washington Post.
“Overlooked amid America’s war against the coronavirus is this reality: People with dementia are dying not just from the virus but from the very strategy of isolation that’s supposed to protect them. In recent months, doctors have reported increased falls, pulmonary infections, depression and sudden frailty in patients who had been stable for years. … [E]ven as U.S. leaders have rushed to reopen universities, bowling alleys and malls, nursing homes say they continue begging in vain for sufficient testing, protective equipment and help.” WaPo
USING ‘DEMOCRAT’ AS AN ADJECTIVE WAS THE FIRST CLUE — “‘Democrat Voters Against Joe Biden’ Group Has Trump Fanatics, a Psychic, but No Actual Dems,” by The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay: “Democrat Voters Against Joe Biden is a project of an existing nonprofit advocacy group called Americans for Responsible Government … DVAJB set up a website in July and began running Facebook ads this month attacking Biden.”
EYES ON THE SKIES — “House Democrats blast Boeing for ‘inexcusable’ failure to disclose 737 MAX failings,” by Tanya Snyder: “The House Transportation Committee majority’s 18-month probe into the failures that led to two overseas crashes that killed 346 people concludes, among other things, that Boeing failed to disclose to the FAA that pilots took a ‘catastrophically’ long time reacting to a surprising malfunction of the flight control system that had been discovered in testing — and which ultimately has been implicated in both crashes.” POLITICO … The findings
YOUR DAILY SHOT OF DREAD — “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust: According to survey of adults 18-39, 23% said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure,” by The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood
CLIMATE FILES — “It’s Not Just the West. These Places Are Also on Fire,” by NYT’s Veronica Penney: “Wildfires are devastating the American West, but the United States isn’t the only place on Earth that’s burning. This year, other countries have also experienced their worst wildfires in decades, if not all of recorded history.
“In each case, the contributing factors are different, but an underlying theme runs through the story: Hotter, drier seasons, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, have made the world more prone to erupt in flames.” NYT
WAPO’S ERIC YODER: “Nonpermanent federal workers could be hired for up to 10 years under Trump proposal”: “Federal agencies could hire employees for up to 10 years for work they consider not permanent, under a Trump administration proposal that a union representative called ‘a streamlined way to fire people.’ The proposed rule change would raise the maximum term for nonpermanent workers from the current general limit of four years.
“Agencies could use the extended period for projects such as medical research or information technology initiatives involving the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—as well as for other projects scheduled to last only for a specific time, under rules proposed Monday by the Office of Personnel Management.” WaPo
THEODORE JOHNSON in the NYT MAGAZINE: “How the Black Vote Became a Monolith”: “Surveys routinely show that Black Americans are scattered across the ideological spectrum despite overwhelmingly voting for Democrats. … An enduring unity at the ballot box is not confirmation that Black voters hold the same views on every contested issue, but rather that they hold the same view on the one most consequential issue: racial equality.
“The existence of the Black electoral monolith is evidence of a critical defect not in Black America, but in the American practice of democracy. That defect is the space our two-party system makes for racial intolerance and the appetite our electoral politics has for the exploitation of racial polarization — to which the electoral solidarity of Black voters is an immune response.” NYT Magazine
MEDIAWATCH — “Fox News Hit With Layoffs Amid Reorganization,” by The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin: “No on-air talent are expected to be impacted by the changes., and less than 3 percent of staff will lose their jobs in the reorg. Fox News’ parent company Fox Corp. employees about 9,000 people, and has been reorganizing its businesses by division.” THR
WEEKEND WEDDING — Lauren Moxley, senior counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee for Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Mike Schoengold, a policy adviser at the State Department for the special envoy for the defeat of ISIS, were married in a small family ceremony in Priest Lake, Idaho, on Saturday. There was dancing, huckleberry pie and late-night lake swimming. They are both adding Beatty to their last names, becoming Lauren Moxley Beatty and Michael Schoengold Beatty. Pic