The Senate Intelligence Committee, run by Republicans, issued their report yesterday on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and it confirmed what most Americans already knew: that Russia hacked the election and tried to help Trump while hurting Clinton. This finding is a slap in the face to House Republicans, who have supported Trump’s myth that nothing happened and the whole Mueller investigation was a witch hunt. And of course it’s a slap in the face to Trump, who spent countless hours had tweets pretending that Russian interference was a “hoax” and the investigation into it was a “witch hunt”. Trump knows that Russian interference taints and delegitimizes his election so he’s been railing against the truth from day one, and the Senate report is a big setback. It’s reasonable to wonder if Trump’s recent decision to suspend immigration “due to the coronavirus” was a distraction from this unwelcome and unflattering finding.
Despite the outbreak-curve beginning to flatten in our region, yesterday was the most deadly day yet in America from Covid-19, with around 2,804 people dying and around 825,000 total confirmed cases. All of the experts agree that the United States is not going to emerge from this pandemic quickly or cleanly without massive testing and contact tracing. And this can only be done effectively and efficiently by the federal government, using its power and resources to push corporate America to undertake a massive centralized effort to produce and distribute tests on a wide scale, and building a single system of contact tracing that can leverage that testing. A report in Politico yesterday noted that health experts predict we will need around 30 million tests per week to properly track the virus–but we’re only testing around 1 million per week now. Not to be repetitive, but let’s be clear about something: If the states are forced to do this testing on their own, all fifty states competing with one another, some states never enforcing a lockdown, others obeying the experts, it will be a monumental clusterfuck. And this is where Trump is taking us. He’s not going to try at all, and instead, he’s passing the buck to the states. Maybe he knows deep down that his clown posse of an administration is too weak and incompetent to organize and manage such an effort. Or maybe he’s just too lazy. Or maybe he doesn’t see how it will help him get re-elected. Regardless, Trump’s desire to abandon any federal role in the coronavirus solution is a pitiful and tragic failure of leadership. “We’re a backup!” is the surrender line of a failed presidency. And countless Americans are going to pay a price, both in terms of personal health and personal wealth.
The Senate yesterday finally passed its latest $484 billion coronavirus relief bill, which now goes onto the House for a vote this Thursday. The bill expands assistance for small businesses and hospitals, and it also provides funding for testing–though it’s hard to see how that will work if each state will be going it alone. Many of the things Democrats wanted, like relief to the states and cities hardest hit, as well as further relief for individuals, will have to wait until a subsequent bill.
As a REMINDER, if you get SSI or SSDI benefits, you must fill out a tax form by NOON today to get an extra $500 stimulus payment for each child under 17. Info here:
Also, Rep Antonio Delgado will be holding his sixth tele-town hall tomorrow (Thursday, Aprili 23rd) at 4:20 pm. Call this number to join: 1-855-905-3295
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”