Pelosi blasts Trump actions as 'killing people' | Push for Saudis to leave OPEC
In Today’s Updates
* Phase 3 rescue bill targets several very different groups
* Hyper-partisan Pelosi says Trump actions 'killing people'
* Some lawmakers want Phase 4 bill when lawmakers return late April
* Barron's: 'If we get this right, could be opportunity of a lifetime'
* Mfg survey Wed. will signal effects from supply-chain disruptions, business closures
* Questions galore re: SBA's $349 billion program for small business owners
* White House vows to start doling out emergency loans to small businesses this week
* China’s top decision-making body said the government plans to boost spending
* Phase 3 rescue bill targets several very different groups
* Ag-related provisions in the Phase 3 rescue package
* Dr. Fauci predicts 'millions' of U.S. coronavirus cases, 100K-200K deaths
* Dr. Birx warns every city could face significant coronavirus outbreak
* IMF warns low-income countries will be hit particularly hard
* CDC issues domestic travel advisory for N.Y., N.J. and parts of Ct.
* A new low in “news” reporting on coronavirus
* Where was news coverage of DeVos and Perdue?
* How long do coronaviruses live on surfaces?
* New York postpones Democratic primary to June 23
* U.S. District Judge orders full environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline
* $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package did not include any energy provisions
Barron's tells investors: "If we get this right, it could be the opportunity of a lifetime."
Wednesday's manufacturing survey will offer an early indication of the effects from supply-chain disruptions and business closures. Friday's U.S. employment report is expected to show the first decline in nonfarm payrolls since 2010 but is unlikely to show the full depth of the crash. Meanwhile, economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expect Friday’s report to show U.S. employers shed 56,000 jobs from payrolls — snapping a record 113-month stretch of job creation — and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.7% from a 50-year low of 3.5% in February.
Readers have a lot of questions regarding the SBA's $349 billion program for small business owners. The following are some links to help respond to some of those questions. Important: Trump administration officials and congressional offices have asked me for particular reader questions about the SBA program. I have supplied some, but send your individual questions to email@example.com and I will refer them to individuals deeply involved in the program.
Chamber of Commerce Q&As on SBA programs
China’s top decision-making body said the government plans to boost spending by increasing its fiscal deficit this year, as well as speed up issuance of Treasury bonds and so-called local government special-purpose bonds to support funding of infrastructure projects, as part of the stimulus measures to curtail economic impact from the pandemic.
Push for Saudis to leave OPEC. A group of Republican senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to convince Saudi Arabia to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and instead become a "free market energy powerhouse." The lawmakers would encourage the kingdom to partner with the United States instead of OPEC, which they called "a relic of a cartelized past."
— Phase 3 rescue bill targets several very different groups. Households largely benefit from one-time direct payments and an expansion of safety net programs, while businesses will mostly benefit from tax breaks and federally backed loans & grants. Other sectors of the economy, such as health providers and states, will receive federal support in the form of grants and additional funding to help tackle the current crisis. The sources and recipients of the $2.3 trillion stimulus is provided in this chart from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:
Ag-related provisions in the Phase 3 rescue package. Charts from the American Farm Bureau Federation:
— White House vows to start doling out emergency loans to small businesses this week. Trump administration officials vow to launch a massive new loan program for small businesses via the Small Business Admin. (SBA) by Friday in an effort to prevent them from laying off workers or going out of business as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down large segments of the economy.
The $2.3 trillion bipartisan financial-rescue package signed by President Trump includes $349 billion in desperately needed relief for small-company operators whose sales have plunged or whose businesses have been ordered closed. The size of the loans is largely conditioned on how many workers a small business retains or rehires. Those with fewer than 500 workers can apply for up to $10 million in loans to pay employees, cover rent and meet other costs for up to two months. The loans would be entirely forgiven for small companies that meet government requirements.
“So, we encourage people to do that and get them back to work,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview Sunday on the CBS program Face the Nation. Mnuchin and the president’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, both said on Sunday they intend to start the emergency loan program on Friday.
The White House is working with the Federal Reserve and the SBA to set up the program, accelerate the approval process and start doling out the money. Details are still being worked out. Companies that have laid off employees would still be eligible if they rehire them, though the amount of money available would depend on how many they kept employed.
Mnuchin elaborated on his comments during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. Mnuchin said it was his “full-time focus” in delivering what was in the latest rescue package. He noted the SBA “is working very closely with the Treasury. We expect to have a program up on Friday that will be up and running that will cover half of the private workforce. I encourage all small businesses to take out these loans. Because if you can and hire back your workers for eight weeks, you will have a forgivable loan and the government will pay for that. So, again, it is very important for us that workers are protected. And this is a major part of the package.”
Mnuchin also gave some background on the third rescue package. One part of that is $500 billion, a half a trillion dollars to help dealing with various big corporations. Mnuchin said “there's two parts to this program: There's approximately $50 billion that we can make direct Treasury loans that are subject to the president and my approval. Those are specifically designed for the airline business and for the cargo business, which are national security concerns. It also gives us flexibility if there are other national security companies and let me be clear, taxpayers will be fully compensated for those loans. The other part of the package is for us to work with the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has the ability to make broad-based lending programs available. Once the Fed requests those actions, they come to me. I have to approve them in consultation with the president. So these are very important programs; we think they can provide about $4 trillion of liquidity to the American economy. Again, we expect we will get paid back on these loans.”
“Right now is to make sure this administration does everything we can to get this money into the economy quickly,” Mnuchin continued. “That's a combination of small business loans that will be available this week. And let me just be clear, this is not just normal SBA lenders, any FDIC bank, any credit union, any FinTech lender will be authorized to make these loans subject to certain approvals. Wei will also have direct deposit into people's accounts within three weeks. So they have checks. These are bridge checks. We have enhanced unemployment insurance that we're working with the states. This is all about the president's determination to support the U.S. economy.”
— Phase 4 relief/stimulus ahead? Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted: “This is certainly not the end of our work here in Congress — rather the end of the beginning.” Action so far has been “about mitigation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a Thursday press conference. “Next, we’ll go from emergency mitigation to recovery…to grow the economy and create more jobs.” She later called the new law “a very big down payment.” “There’s talk of a multi-trillion-dollar program, given the size of the shutdown,” says Stephen Moore, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “There’s a general recognition that we need something big to get some juice into the economy,” adds Moore, an outside economic consultant to the Trump administration and some congressional Republicans.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaking Sunday on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, said, “I'm not sure we need a fourth package and before we go start drafting a fourth package, I'd like to these three packages we just put out unfold. Remember, it's more than $2 trillion, the largest we've ever seen, to take care and get this economy moving. Remember, for unemployment insurance, we're adding another $600 above what your state pays. We start paying in the first week, and we give you an additional 13 weeks. What concerns me is when I listened to Pelosi talk about a fourth package, it's because she did not get the things that she really wanted to — to change the election law, a Green New Deal, expand it to make us pay for Planned Parenthood, and expand what you're seeing for sanctuary cities. Those are the things why this bill was held up for a week, but those are the things that we stopped.”
— Coronavirus update:
- Dr. Fauci predicts 'millions' of U.S. coronavirus cases, 100K-200K deaths. “We’re going to have millions of cases,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths,” he said. But he added: “I don’t want to be held to that” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.” About 125,000 cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. had been recorded as of Sunday morning, with over 2,100 dead.
Fauci said he is “not against releasing restrictions” in certain parts of the country. Loosening restrictions would mean reopening schools and other businesses that were forced to close as a result of strict social-distancing measures. It would be dangerous, however, to remove some of the restrictions unless there is adequate testing to get “people out of circulation who are infected,” said Fauci. “If you release the restrictions, before you have a good eyeball on what’s going on there, you’re going to get in trouble,” Fauci said. “So I’m not against releasing the restrictions — I’m actually for it in an appropriate place — but I don’t recommend that unless we have the tools in place.”
- CDC issued a domestic travel advisory cautioning against visits to New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid all nonessential travel for 14 days, after President Trump backed off from a proposed quarantine of the area. New York City alone has more than 30,000 cases. d Prevention issued a domestic travel advisory cautioning against visits to those areas.
- The New York City area is the current U.S. epicenter, but the surgeon general warned that Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago are becoming “hot spots.”
- Trump approved a disaster declaration for Michigan and Massachusetts on Saturday. The two states now have the fifth- and sixth-most infections, respectively, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The disaster designation, which was also extended to the island territory of Guam, makes local governments eligible for additional federal funding.
- Dr. Birx warns every city could face significant coronavirus outbreak. The top doctor from the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that no city should lower its guard against the coronavirus. Dr. Deborah Birx explained that every city in the U.S. will face a coronavirus outbreak. During a Sunday interview on Meet the Press, Birx warned cities that the spread of the virus is inevitable. "This is the way pandemics work, and that's why we all are deeply concerned and why we've been raising the alert in all metro areas and in all states. No state, no metro area will be spared," Birx explained. She continued, "And the sooner we react, and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they've put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we'll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans."
- IMF warns low-income countries will be hit particularly hard given a combination of a health crisis, sudden reversal of capital flows and in some cases a plunge in commodity prices. In Russia, where oil exports account for roughly one-third of government revenue, the ruble has fallen to its lowest level in four years. The IMF estimated that at least $2.5 trillion is needed to contain economic contraction for emerging markets.
- A new low in “news” reporting on coronavirus. NBC News anchor Chuck Todd posed this question to presidential hopeful Joe Biden on Meet the Press on Sunday morning, and many viewers called him out for it: “‘Do you think there is blood on the president’s hands considering the slow response?” The former vice president, who has been very critical of how President Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic, suggested that the question was unfair. “I think that’s a little too harsh,” Biden said. “He should stop thinking out loud and start thinking deeply... He should listen to the health experts. He should listen to his economists.” Biden also criticized Trump for his “slow response” to the outbreak and his “inability to do the things that needed to be done quickly.”
- Where was news coverage of DeVos and Perdue? Fox News has been one of the few news outlets that usually broadcast in full the Trump administration's daily press briefing from the Coronavirus Task Force. Other networks, especially CNN and MSNBC, have chosen not to televise them, saying they monitor the briefings to make sure they fact-check the information first and then selectively report on the briefings. Observers say this is the elitism the same networks/cable outlets used during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Limited reporting on DeVos and Perdue. During Friday's briefing, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were flanked by Betsy DeVos, secretary of Education, and Sonny Perdue, secretary of Agriculture, but even Fox News broke away from the briefing, not citing a reason why.
- How long do coronaviruses live on surfaces?
— Other items of note:
- New York postpones Democratic primary to June 23. New York will move its presidential primary from April to late June as deaths stemming from the new coronavirus pandemic escalate sharply. New York election officials have for several weeks considered moving the Democratic nominating contest from April 28 to June 23, when the state had been previously scheduled to hold primary elections for congressional and state legislative seats. New York Andrew Cuomo will sign an executive order moving the presidential primary as well as several special elections scheduled for the same date.
- U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline, which has already been carrying oil for three years. The easement approval for the pipeline is still "highly controversial" under federal environmental law, and a more thorough assessment is necessary, Boasberg wrote.
- The $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package did not include any energy provisions presented by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. According to a Democratic aide familiar with the discussions, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Republicans to cut either the proposed $3 billion to buy oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve or give Democrats "a litany of clean energy tax credits."