'We Have a Deal'
After a few tense hours Tuesday night when it appeared that negotiations were breaking down, Democrats finally came to their senses. Around 1:30 Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced, “At last we have a deal.”
What broke the impasse? I suspect the president's threat to veto Pelosi’s pork-filled wish list had a lot to do with it.
Here are the main components of the Senate’s compromise legislation:
Direct payments to individuals of up to $1,200 per person, plus $500 per child.
$500 billion to stabilize major industries and $367 billion for small businesses.
The loans to businesses would be forgiven if the funds are used for payroll to retain workers and minimize layoffs.
$150 billion to stabilize state budgets.
$100 billion to hospitals.
Expanded unemployment benefits covering four months of full pay, although there are new concerns over the text of this provision.
That the Senate is on the verge of passing this relief bill is obviously good news.
The bad news is that Schumer and Pelosi needlessly caused days of additional anxiety and suffering. While they constantly berate Trump’s response to the crisis, they were more interested in pushing their pro-abortion, anti-business, climate-change agenda.
Meanwhile, progressives are still grumbling and it’s not at all clear when the House will act on this emergency relief bill. We will keep you posted.
The Power of Hope & Faith
The stock market Tuesday experienced its largest gain since FDR reopened the American banking system in 1933. Some commentators say it rallied because the market believed the relief legislation would pass. Maybe. I have another theory.
Something else happened Tuesday that got a lot of publicity. I’m referring to the president’s repeated assertion that the cure cannot be worse than the disease.
During a Fox News town hall, the president said, “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down.” He added, “I would love to have the country opened back up and raring to go by Easter." Trump explained:
Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full? … You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time, and it’s just about the timeline that I think is right.
When Trump said that, I got a tear in my eye. The president was saying that there’s no better day to resurrect America than Resurrection Day. I know millions of us would be grateful to thank God in our churches that day!
Sadly, there was a vicious reaction on the left to this expression of hope. During the president’s daily press briefing, one reporter repeatedly demanded to know why he said "Easter,” as if it were some violation of the “separation of church and state.”
I believe the president’s words signaled to many investors that lockdowns and quarantines will not become our “new normal,” that there is an end in sight. Let’s hope and pray that is true.
A New Low
While President Trump is attempting to inspire the nation, the left is instilling fear with its latest theme: Trump is putting our parents and grandparents at risk of death so Wall Street bigwigs can boost profits.
This isn’t about Wall Street. It’s about Main Street!
President Trump is trying to hold down the number of coronavirus deaths and limit the serious health consequences as much as possible. While doing that, he is also trying to limit the damage to the American economy — to small businesses, to entrepreneurs, and to families — in ways that are consistent with critical public health needs.
Instead of the left’s distorted analysis, here’s what the president is essentially suggesting:
Yes, Covid-19 is dangerous, especially to the elderly and those with serious preexisting conditions and compromised immune systems. We need to protect those people.
But a prolonged shutdown will crush our economy. The resulting stress will also kill many people who watch helplessly as their businesses, livelihoods, and lifesavings are destroyed.
Ultimately, this will hurt the poor and those on the margins of society the most. The left should understand that.
In recent weeks, I have been on multiple conference calls with key administration officials, including the vice president and other top policymakers. It is clear during every call that the focus of the Trump/Pence administration is saving as many lives as possible by slowing down the virus and cutting red tape to hasten the development of a vaccine, while at the same time keeping the core economy strong enough to provide for the American people now and in the future.
A new Harris poll suggests that most Americans are also weighing the same thing: 91% expressed concern about ongoing damage to the economy.
I am thankful that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are making that judgment, rather than Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. Just something to remember in November!
How It Could Look
What could the president’s decision look like? There are several options. It’s not a binary choice of opening everything or keeping everything closed. The president could propose something like this:
Given severe outbreaks in New York, California, and Washington, strict precautions will remain in place in the areas most affected, and we will continue to assist with vital medical supplies as necessary.
In other states where cases are manageable, we think most stores and businesses can reopen.
During the next 30 days, we’re urging those 65 and older to stay home. Those with health issues should also stay home.
Everyone else should go back to work.
Anyone who develops a fever should stay home.
The media will do their best to destroy Trump if he makes such a recommendation. But a new Gallup poll finds that 60% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, including 27% of Democrats.
What Makes News
We reached a grim milestone Monday: It was the first day that more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths occurred in the United States in a single 24-hour period. And it was big news. Now here’s some perspective.
The CDC does not report daily flu deaths in the U.S. The flu season generally runs six months (180 days) from October to March. Total flu deaths this season are at least 23,000.
Tragically, we will have more days when 100 or more people succumb to the coronavirus. But so far at least 127 people a day are dying from the flu.
The 2017-2018 season was particularly bad. More than 61,000 people died from the flu then, approximately 339 deaths a day.
By the way, 2,300 unborn children are murdered through abortion every day.
Think of those headlines: 100 coronavirus deaths on a single day is breaking news, while 127 deaths from the flu gets a collective yawn. And 2,300 babies killed, most with no serious health issues, gets nothing at all.
Meanwhile, the abortion industry is demanding that it be permitted to remain open during this crisis as an “essential service,” while many truly useful businesses are closed.
The Labor Department will announce new jobless claims today. In previous crises, new jobless claims peaked at 700,000 during the worst of the Great Recession and the 1982 recession.
There are estimates that today’s figure could be anywhere from 1.5 to 2.8 million new jobless claims. The human suffering encapsulated in that figure is impossible to imagine.
This is what the president is trying to weigh as he follows the advice of public health experts in combating the coronavirus.