Around one in four American workers are now out of a job. And for those of us lucky enough to hang on to employment, the pandemic has changed the way we work. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill — and the reporters like me who cover them — are no exception.
McGovern Defends Historic House Proxy Vote Against GOP Criticism
Rep. Jim McGovern of Worcester pushed back at GOP criticism of yesterday’s congressional floor vote, which allowed House lawmakers to vote by proxy for the first time under a new rule McGovern crafted as chairman of the Rules Committee.
Republicans weren’t happy about the move. They’ve filed suit to stop it, in fact. Not a single GOP lawmaker joined the 71 Democrats who cast their votes remotely via a colleague on the House floor. All members of the Massachusetts delegation were present and voted on the floor.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California called the proxy-voting rule unconstitutional, and an attempt by Democrats to “just phone it in,” rather than showing up for work. McGovern responded from the House floor.
“When he talks about no accountability in this process, I don’t even know what the hell he’s talking about,” McGovern said. “It makes you understand why so many people are cynical about this chamber.”
During a Rules Committee hearing earlier in the day — conducted remotely using digital software that some members complained about — Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), said she was frustrated by the “terrible” online format.
“We get that impression, because you’re suing us,” McGovern quipped in response. “So thank you very much, we know it’s out of love.”
Clark, Warren Lead Bill For $50 Billion Child Care Bailout Fund
Rep. Katherine Clark and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are among the lead sponsors on a bicameral piece of legislation that would create a $50 billion child care stabilization fund to help providers stay afloat during and after the coronavirus crisis.
The so-called Child Care is Essential Act would provide grants for child care providers to cover operating expenses and payroll, tuition and copayment relief for families and support for caregivers in underserved communities. A system of oversight would also be established to monitor distribution of the funds.
Clark said COVID-19 has brought the already-stressed child care sector “to its breaking point.”
“With this infusion of resources, we will stabilize our child care providers and ensure that these businesses survive, allowing our kids to return to their classrooms and parents to return to their work,” Clark said in a statement.
"Without emergency relief funding, our child care system is in danger of collapsing," Warren said in a statement.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) are also co-sponsors on the bill.
Lynch Bills Seek To Protect Fauci, Inspectors General
Rep. Stephen Lynch wants to protect the nation’s top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, from politically motivated ouster.
Citing a recent retweet from President Trump that included the hashtag #FireFauci, Lynch said he fears Fauci, who is a member of the White House coronavirus task force and widely considered the nation’s top health official, could be the target of political retribution in exchange for his calls for caution as states reopen for business.
The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), stipulates that top officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could only be removed for malfeasance, neglect of office or incapacity. Sen. Ed Markey filed a companion bill in the Senate.
“The guidance of health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and others is vital in our fight to effectively combat and overcome the current pandemic,” Lynch said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we live in a time when fact-based decision making and robust scientific analysis are constantly under attack by the Trump administration and logic and reason are deliberately discarded or distorted to mislead the American people.”
Last week, Lynch filed a bill that would protect inspectors general at federal agencies from being fired in retaliation.
4 More Things:
—Warren’s stock rises in the veepstakes: Among the nine women under consideration to run alongside presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the general election, Elizabeth Warren could provide the biggest boost, according to a new survey of registered voters from Morning Consult.
Not only did Warren enjoy the highest name recognition among those polled — at 91% — she also provided the biggest potential boost for Biden among voters under 45, along with black and Hispanic voters. But the numbers aren’t all good. The survey also found opinion on Warren split, with 38% of respondents expressing a favorable opinion and 39% expressing an unfavorable opinion.
—Pressley, CBC members blast “unacceptable” CDC racial data: Rep. Ayanna Pressley and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus dismissed the race-specific data on coronavirus cases and fatalities released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “pathetic excuse for a report.” Congress now requires the CDC to compile race-specific breakdowns of COVID-19’s impact, citing the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. But so far, the data has been incomplete.
The CDC blamed the omission on the failure of many local health officials to fully report race-specific information.
—Moulton pushes high-speed rail: Rep. Seth Moulton is pressing a $205 billion plan to build a national high-speed rail network, which he says would create 2.6 million jobs over five years and make rail travel a feasible, competitive and cleaner alternative to roads and airways. “Given the fundamental efficiencies and competitive advantages of rail — so fundamental that American freight railroads continue to fund their own infrastructure while the American taxpayer foots the bill for all our roads — there is a strong argument for shifting a larger proportion of government transportation investment to rail,” Moulton wrote in a 30-page white paper detailing his plan.
—Markey, Kennedy to debate on Monday: As polls show a tight U.S. Senate race between Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy, the two will go face to face for the first time since the Massachusetts shutdown — at an appropriate social distance, of course — in a debate hosted by a consortium of media outlets including WBUR. The debate will be broadcast live by Western Mass News. You can also watch on www.wbur.org. I’ll be live-tweeting the showdown here.
For the record: The May 14 newsletter misstated what type of political action committee Deval Patrick is starting. It is a traditional PAC.
WHAT I'M READING
- Can America’s Middle Class Be Saved From A New Depression? (New York Times Magazine)
- The Prophecies Of Q (The Atlantic)
- The Forgotten Story Of How 13 Black Men Broke The Navy’s Toughest Color Barrier. (Politico Magazine)
TWEET OF THE WEEK
--Rep. Bill Keating on his rather dramatic commute to Washington yesterday.
Mark your calendars: You won't want to miss our June 23 WBUR Town Hall on how the COVID-19 crisis could affect the 2020 presidential election. I will be joined by Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton and Democratic consultant Adrienne Elrod — both veterans of presidential campaigns — for an online chat moderated by my colleague Anthony Brooks, senior political reporter at WBUR. The event will be hosted virtually by CitySpace. And it’s free! Register now.
Correction: Due to an editing error, the number of registered voters surveyed in the Morning Consult poll was in accurate. It is 1,986. The post has been updated. We regret the error.
This article was originally published on May 28, 2020.