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Senate Stumbles on Aid; Trump Declares Disasters: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

Democrats blocked the U.S. Senate from advancing a massive aid package as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the measure fell short of her goals. President Donald Trump declared disasters in three states hardest hit by the outbreak.

As death tolls rose around Europe, Germany, Italy and Greece added limits and Sweden may take new measures. More U.S. states issued stay-home orders.

A regional Fed president said second-quarter unemployment may hit 30%. S&P 500 futures dropped 5% and hit limit down as the death toll surged.

Key Developments:

Cases topped 329,000, deaths near 14,500: Johns Hopkins dataItaly fatalities climb by 651, less than Saturday, to 5,476Spain deaths rise 30% to 1,720Emirates to suspend most passenger flightsGermany cases rise to 24,254, deaths climb to 81New York halts elective surgeries to free bedsU.S. infections top 31,000, France fatalities rise to 562

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.

Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. To see the impact on oil and commodities demand, click here.

Senate Unable to Advance Aid Measure (6:45 a.m. HK)

Democrats blocked a procedural Senate vote to advance the coronavirus economic rescue package after congressional leaders disagreed on how to spend nearly $2 trillion. This complicates Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan for the Senate to pass the bill Monday.

Both parties want immediate and extensive relief for an economy ravaged by the coronavirus. But they continue to differ on key sections, including a $500 billion chunk of the bill that could be used to help corporations, including airlines, or state and local governments.

Asked about the Senate vote at the White House, the president said: “We’ll see what happens. I think we’ll get there. To me it’s not very complicated. We have to help the worker, we have to save the companies. As soon as we’re finished with this war our country is going to bounce back like you’ve never seen before.”

Read the story here

Trump to Sign Emergency Declarations (6:10 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said he will issue disaster declarations for California, Washington and New York — the three states hardest-hit by the pandemic. The action lets the states deploy the National Guard to respond to the crisis.

As part of the response, the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy is heading to Los Angeles to provide more beds to help reduce pressure on the city’s hospital system now treating Covid-19 cases. The ship should arrive in the city within a week, officials said.

The Navy’s hospital ship Comfort, which is undergoing maintenance, will be dispatched to New York City within the next three weeks to help ease pressures on the hospitals, Trump said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also will build medical stations with 1,000 beds in New York, 1,000 in Washington state and 2,000 in California, Trump said.

Three states account for more than half of the nation’s cases.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Peter Gaynor said medical supplies are en route to the three states.

The president also praised International Business Machines Corp., Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. for helping in the fight against Covid-19.

Read the story here

More Senators in Quarantine After Paul (6 a.m. HK)

Two Republican U.S. senators said they’ll go into self-quarantine after Rand Paul of Kentucky announced that he’d tested positive for Covid-19.

The decisions by Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah have thrown a wrench into efforts by the Senate to pass a massive coronavirus economic stimulus package by Monday.

Two other Republicans, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and Senator Rick Scott of Florida, have also been in self-quarantine in response to possible exposure to the virus from other infected individuals.

Paul, who voted against two emergency coronavirus spending bills this month, tested positive for the virus and is in quarantine, according to a post on his Twitter account on Sunday.

Australia State Signals More Steps to Come (5:30 p.m. NY)

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews warned the stringent controls announced by the Australian government over the weekend were almost certainly not the last steps to be taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

He said the measures including closure of non-essential services such as cafes, bars and Melbourne’s Crown Casino would begin to take effect from noon Monday until at least April 13.

“There are many Victorians who are acting selfishly. They are not taking this seriously,” Andrews told reporters at a press conference in Melbourne Monday.

The school holidays, scheduled to start Friday in Australia’s second-most populous state, will be moved forward to Tuesday to allow teachers time to plan for online lessons if required.

Read the full story here

U.S. Acts Against Covid-19 Fraud (5:10 p.m. NY)

The Justice Department acted to block the operators of a website offering access to coronacvirus vaccine kits, the first U.S. action to combat fraud related to the pandemic.

The operators of coronavirusmedicalkit.com claimed to offer access to the World Health Organization vaccine kits in exchange for a shipping charge of $4.95, to be paid on the website, the department said in a statement.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued a temporary restraining order requiring action to block public access to the site, the department said.

“We will use every resource at the government’s disposal to act quickly to shut down these most despicable of scammers, whether they are defrauding consumers, committing identity theft, or delivering malware,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt.

Pelosi Cites ‘Big Difference’ on Aid (4:45 p.m. NY)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. House is finalizing its version of the next round of fiscal stimulus, even as Republican and Democratic senators try to resolve disputes over the Senate bill.

“There is at this time a big difference between the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act and what the Senate Republicans are proposing,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.

If the House doesn’t take up the version passed in the Senate, it will take longer for the bill to get to President Donald Trump for his signature. Negotiations in the Senate continue, since Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell would need Democratic support to pass his bill.

De Blasio Says Crisis ‘Beginning’ (4:40 p.m. NY)

New York City has 9,654 confirmed cases and 63 deaths, or about a third of the cases in the U.S., Mayor Bill de Blasio said. No one 44 years old or younger has died of the virus in the city. About a third of patients in the hospital are over 70 years old, he said.“This is the beginning of the crisis,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The next 10 days are going to get harder and harder, and we desperately need resupply.”

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said 70 uniformed officers and 28 civilians have tested positive. The sick rate is approaching double the normal rate for the department, he said.

The city also released 23 low-risk inmates who each will be monitored and supervised. An additional 200 inmates are being reviewed for potential release.

More States Issue Stay-Home Orders (4:30 pm.)

Louisiana and Ohio are joining California, Illinois and New Jersey in mandating that all residents stay at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order will be in effect until April 6, when it will be re-evaluated. The order excludes essential activities, including taking care of others and essential businesses, he said.

“We are certainly at war,” DeWine said at a press conference in Columbus. “In a time of war, we have to make sacrifices.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a stay-at-home order that takes effect Monday.

Read the full story here

Philips Accelerates Ventilator Output (4:30 p.m. NY)

Royal Philips NV is ramping up production of ventilators to double output within eight weeks, and is targeting a fourfold increase by the third quarter to meet demand from hospitals overwhelmed by patients suffering from the coronavirus.

The most-needed products are vital-signs monitors, portable ventilators and medical equipment to treat respiratory conditions, the Dutch company said in a statement. It’s hiring more employees, adding lines and increasing shifts.

Read the full story here

Balenciaga, Saint Laurent Make Masks (4:25 p.m. NY)

Luxury fashion conglomerate Kering SA said it would switch to producing surgical masks at the French workshops of its Balenciaga and Saint Laurent brands as part of the effort to fight the virus.

Both brands will start making the masks for French hospitals as soon as they have the approval of health authorities, Kering said in a statement. In the meantime, the group will donate 3 million masks ordered from China.

Luxury giant LVMH switched to producing sanitizing hand gel in factories that normally make its Christian Dior and Givenchy cosmetics and perfume.

Read the full story here

Carrefour Pays Bonuses to Workers (4:20 p.m. NY)

French retailer Carrefour is paying a 1,000 euros ($1,072) bonus to its employees in France for their efforts in facing “really difficult work conditions” during the pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Bompard said in an interview on the France 2 TV channel.

The company has taken steps to protect the health and safety of clients and employees and will continue adding measure to make its stores and warehouses increasingly secure, Bompard said.

Court Rejects Total Confinement Request (3:40 p.m. NY)

France’s highest administrative court refused to order total confinement of the population to stop the coronavirus outbreak, but said the government should review whether its rules are strict enough.

The Conseil d’Etat ruled on a request made Friday by doctors’ unions, which wanted total confinement or least stricter rules, including a national curfew and a prohibition on leaving home to exercise.

Fed President Sees High Jobless Rate (3:20 p.m. NY)

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted U.S. unemployment may hit 30% in the second quarter from virus-related shutdowns. The gross domestic product could plunge 50%.

Bullard called for a powerful fiscal response to replace $2.5 trillion in lost income in the quarter to ensure a strong eventual U.S. recovery. The Fed would be poised to do more to ensure markets function during a period of high volatility.

“This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter,” Bullard said by phone Sunday from St. Louis.

Read full story here

U.K. Warns of Tougher Steps (3:10 p.m. NY)

Boris Johnson warned his government will impose “tougher measures” if people continue to ignore calls to stop social gatherings and non-essential travel.

The U.K. newspapers reported Britons are meeting in parks and making trips to coastal towns after the government last week ordered pubs and restaurants to close. The prime minister said while he wanted to avoid the stringent measures taken by other countries, the U.K. may be forced to act, and will consider options in the next 24 hours.

“We need to think very carefully now about how we take steps to correct that,” Johnson said in a televised press conference.

Read full story here

IOC Rules Out Canceling 2020 Games (2:45 p.m.)

The International Olympic Committee will study a possible postponement of the Summer Games in Tokyo, which are set to begin July 24. The IOC said cancellation is not on the agenda, despite mounting pressure to call off the event amid the outbreak.

“A cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody,” the committee said in a statement.

The committee’s executive board will step-up scenario-planning, consulting with the Tokyo organizers, the Japanese government, various international and national athletic bodies along with broadcasters and sponsors.

“Our basis of information today is that a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature,” IOC President Thomas Bach wrote to athletes.

Read full story here:

Dutch Consider Further Measures: Report (2:15 p.m. NY)

The Dutch government is mulling the closure of all non-essential stores after residents largely ignored recommendations for social distancing by gathering in large groups, according to the Telegraaf paper, which cites government sources.

The Dutch cabinet sent an emergency alert to mobile phones urging residents to keep a safe distance as people gathered in large numbers at beaches, parks and markets over the sunny weekend.

Deaths in the Netherlands rose by 43 to 179 but the pace of new cases slowed to a 15% increase overnight, bringing confirmed cases to 4,204.

Paris Mayor Seeks Tougher Limits (2:05 p.m. NY)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is among officials calling for a stricter lockdown after leaders of Mediterranean cities including Nice and Perpignan imposed curfews, fueling speculation such measures would be imposed nationwide.

“There are still too many people who go out for things that aren’t essential,” government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said in a French television interview Sunday. “We’re ready to tighten the rules of the lockdown if its necessary, but let’s keep trying to get everyone to respect the measures already in place.”

Opera’s Domingo Has Illness (2 p.m. NY)

Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo, 79, said on Facebook he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in self isolation with his family. He urged people to “stay home if you can.”

“We are all in good health but I experienced fever and cough symptoms therefore deciding to get tested and the result came back positive,” he said in the post.

“Together we can fight this virus and stop the current worldwide crisis, so we can hopefully return to our normal daily lives very soon.”

Belgium Lockdown May Last 8 Weeks (2 p.m. NY)

The national lockdown in Belgium that took effect four days ago will probably last at least another eight weeks, Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block said in an interview with De Zondag newspaper. Belgium reported coronavirus cases rose by 586 to 3,401, with deaths increasing by eight to 75.

Senator Paul Infected, in Quarantine (1:45 p.m. NY)

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said on Twitter that he tested positive for Covid-19 and is in quarantine. He is the first U.S. senator to become infected.

The 57-year-old lawmaker said he was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events.

He said he is feeling fine. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person, according to the tweet.

Merkel in Quarantine After Contact (1:40 p.m. NY)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine at home after coming into contact with an infected doctor, her spokesman said.

The doctor gave Merkel, 65, a precautionary immunization against bacterial pneumonia on Friday and the chancellor decided to self-isolate once she learned of his positive test, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in an emailed statement.

“My life has also changed fundamentally and consists mainly of telephone and video conferences,” she said, when ask how she is delaing with the situation.

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Last passengers, all Americans, leave quarantined cruise ship off Brazil coast

After 10 days stranded on a cruise ship off the coast of Brazil as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, 103 U.S. citizens and two permanent residents were finally evacuated Sunday afternoon and flown to Dallas.

They were the last of 318 passengers to be evacuated from the Silver Shadow, quarantined since a Canadian couple tested positive for the coronavirus and was taken to a local hospital on March 12. Nearly 300 crew members remain on the ship, more than half of them from the Philippines.

Brazilian officials said all the passengers quarantined on the ship tested negative for coronavirus and had their temperatures taken twice daily.

“Everyone is dealing with serious problems,” said Mimi Bendickson, a Minnesota-based real estate agent whose 80-year-old parents had been traveling on the ship since January. “But we love them and we just want them home.”

The cruise ship, which specifically caters to elderly passengers, was en route from Buenos Aires to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when it stopped at the northern Brazilian city of Recife.

It was then that a 78-year-old Canadian man fell ill, and and tested positive for the virus, along with his 60-year-old wife. Other passengers were immediately forbidden to leave their rooms.

Families were extremely concerned and filled the cruise line’s Facebook page with questions about what would happen to their loved ones. “They are going out of their minds and we are so worried,” one man wrote.

The Silver Shadow passengers were among thousands stranded in cruise ships around the world, as nations began closing their borders in response to the emerging pandemic. More than 700 passengers were infected on one ship, the Diamond Princess, which sat for days in isolation off the coast of Japan.

American relatives of those on the Silver Shadow grew more concerned Saturday after passengers from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other countries were flown home, while the Americans’ flight to Dallas was canceled. The American Embassy didn’t provide any explanation for the delay.

On Sunday, the Americans were taken from the ship to a chartered bus bound for the airport. After additional delays, the flight took off.

Bendickson said she doesn’t know exactly how her parents will get from Dallas to Wayzata, Minn., where they live. She was, however, relieved — at least for the moment.

“It’s a 10-day saga coming to an end,” she said. “We are so grateful, but also recognize that one saga ends and another begins.”

Andreoni is a special correspondent.

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Congress wants to send Americans money. Turns out it’s complicated.

A Treasury Department spokesman declined to comment for this article, and negotiations are still in flux. But here’s how former officials and experts expect the process to work — and how you might end up with thousands more dollars in your bank account within weeks.

In the Republicans’ current bill text, the IRS would take the lead, tapping a master file of this year’s and last year’s tax filers’ personal and bank information. Unlike in 2008, most people now get their refunds via electronic direct deposit, so sending them money is simple. Once the IRS sends its file to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, the payments can move fast, said Dick Gregg, a former fiscal assistant Treasury secretary and head of what’s now the Fiscal Service.

But there are a few wrinkles to iron out.

“All of this is nifty,” said former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “but you don’t get the people who don’t file.”

Coordinating across agencies, the government can also access information for people who haven’t filed taxes but already receive payments in the form of Social Security or Veterans Affairs benefits.

A trickier task is reaching the portion of Americans who neither make enough money to file taxes nor receive those other benefits — “the new working class,” as Chuck Marr, senior director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, put it. A single dishwasher without kids, a home health aide: Not only are these people among the most vulnerable to the current economic shock, they’re also easier to miss.

Electronic benefits transfer cards for people who receive food stamps and other cash assistance are one way to find them. That could require coordination with state governments to deliver the payments, said Jack Smalligan, a senior policy fellow at the Urban Institute who spent nearly three decades at the Office of Management and Budget.

But too much delay in figuring out who should get a check could hold up the entire process.

“Speed is of the essence at this time,” argued Michael Graetz, a law professor at Columbia and Treasury official in the George H.W. Bush administration. “And then if there are gaps or people didn’t get it, there should be a number to call that allows you to say that you didn’t get it.”

Starting payments by April 6, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin originally proposed, would be much faster than in 2008, when the IRS took two months to send out the first checks. That’s assuming, of course, that the president signs the bill this week.

And how the coronavirus will affect the process remains to be seen. At the IRS, where budget and staff cuts have shrunk the agency over several years, social distancing measures for employees could slow things down more. The agency announced Friday it was closing Taxpayer Assistance Centers until further notice, which could impede elderly and low-income people’s ability to file taxes quickly.

If Americans are stuck at home, those who receive physical checks may be less likely to cash them. That’s one reason sending prepaid debit cards might be a better alternative, said David Kamin, an NYU law professor and Obama OMB official.

Many outstanding questions remain about Congress’ bill and the administration’s implementation of it.

How will the IRS manage the payments while also handling a filing season that just got extended three months?

Will the payments happen in both April and May, as Treasury proposed? Or just once, in April, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s package envisions?

Will they be tiered based on income (one of the most politically contentious elements), or universal?

And in the face of new opposition last week from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other Republicans, will they even happen at all?

McConnell’s proposal currently lays out up to $1,200 in “recovery rebates” for Americans who make up to $75,000 a year, double that for couples and extra for families with children. Payments would phase out for those with higher incomes and cut off at those who make $99,000 annually. But Democrats are now working on their own proposal, creating more uncertainty about how the final bill text will shake out.

Democratic and Republican leaders have mostly favored a tiered approach, though there was disagreement over whether low-income people who have paid less in taxes should receive less.

But experts who favor the payments said a universal approach may be best to get the money out quickly.

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Brazilians turn against Bolsonaro for handling of COVID-19 crisis

As the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip in Brazil early last week, with confirmed cases already numbering in the hundreds, leading officials met to plot out measures to combat the crisis. The House speaker, the president of the Senate, the minister of health and even the chief justice were there. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, was not.

“This is not all that people are saying,” he told reporters that day, referring to deadly virus. “Even in China, it’s practically over.”

Now, less than a month after the coronavirus arrived here, with the country reporting more than 1,000 cases and double-digit deaths, the president is still struggling to adopt an air of urgency. As a consequence, the political establishment seems to be taking steps to isolate Bolsonaro himself.

“We will vote on the issues that Brazil needs not because of the president, but despite the president,” said Sen. Sérgio Olímpio, a Bolsonaro ally who has grown estranged from the president in recent months.

Bolsonaro rose to power in the 2018 election as a far-right candidate, luring Brazilians tired of being ruled by the leftist Workers’ Party, which had lifted millions out of poverty but also had overseen a massive corruption scandal.

Many hoped the weight of the presidency would moderate Bolsonaro’s divisive visage. But, after more than a year in office, the list of his political enemies keeps growing. And, even as the country looks for leadership to fight the pandemic, many have ceased to believe the president has it in him to unite Brazil.

“Leaving him talking to himself is the best option,” an editorial in Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, said Saturday.

The last straw for some came on March 15, when Bolsonaro joined a controversial demonstration called by his supporters. During that rally, according to a count by local news media, Bolsonaro touched 272 people.

His behavior seemed particularly shocking because more than 20 officials whom he had had contact with in previous days had tested positive for the coronavirus, including two ministers. The president said his own tests came back negative twice, but he has so far refused to share his results to the media.

A day after the demonstration, Janaína Paschoal, a state congresswoman in São Paulo who had campaigned with Bolsonaro in 2018, voiced her shock at the president’s attitude.

“I regret my vote,” she said. “The authorities have to unite and ask him to step down.”

In an interview, Paschoal backtracked from that request, saying officials have to concentrate on the crisis and not on toppling the government. But several other conservatives have also voiced their dissatisfaction in recent days — and not just because of his reaction to the pandemic.

So far the president has failed to lift Brazil’s economy, a major campaign pledge in a country that has struggled economically for the last five years. In 2019, the economy grew only 1.1%, and the Brazilian real is among the worst-performing currencies this year.

Bolsonaro has also been criticized for attacking the Supreme Court, which has refused to provide legal backing for some of his measures, and he also has often blamed Congress for his administration’s meager achievements.

Two weeks ago, Francisco Razzo, a popular conservative author, publicly announced regret and shame for having voted for Bolsonaro.

“It’s increasingly explicit that his interest is to attack institutions, to govern like populists do,” he said. “He is interested in power and in identifying and attacking enemies.”

Perhaps none of Bolsonaro’s feuds are more dramatic than the ones he has had with the governors of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two states worst hit thus far by the pandemic. Both governors campaigned with Bolsonaro in 2018, but now have an eye on the 2022 presidential campaign.

During the last week, the president has given a number of interviews criticizing their decisions to close schools and restrict transportation to combat the coronavirus.

“We are doing what he isn’t, which is to lead the process, lead the fight against the coronavirus, not minimize it,” said São Paulo Gov. João Doria.

As the number of coronavirus cases has multiplied, congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, one of the president’s three sons, took to Twitter to blame China, the country’s most important trading partner. The Chinese ambassador in Brazil demanded an apology and tweeted that the congressman seemed to have a “mental virus” that was “infecting the friendship” between the two countries.

President Bolsonaro tried to make amends by calling Chinese President Xi Jinping, who didn’t answer, according to newspaper Valor Econômico. The Chinese wanted a formal apology from the president’s son.

As many give up on the president for leadership, the medical crisis mounts. Minister of Health Luiz Mandetta said last week that if the government is unable to curb transmission, the country’s health system would collapse by the end of April.

Kept from gathering in the streets, Brazilians have protested against the president by banging pots and pans by their windows for four consecutive days. At the same time, opposition forces have no plans to attempt ousting the president, for fear of making the crisis even worse.

Congressman Alessandro Molon, an opposition leader, said his colleagues’ energy is concentrated on fighting the public health crisis and the economic fallout.

“The president is the only one who hasn’t understood that it’s time to join efforts, to unite,” Molon said. “But if he continues to act irresponsibly, the people will push [for his removal], regardless of Congress’ wishes.”

As Bolsonaro’s troubles increase, conservatives and leftists have begun speaking the same language for the first time in years. On Friday, many stood by their windows to applaud health workers, instead of decrying the president.

“These tragedies always make us remember the values that root our society,” said Razzo, the conservative author, “regardless of what the president does.”

Andreoni is a special correspondent.

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Pelosi pushes forward with her own emergency coronavirus package

Pelosi and McConnell met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in hopes of hammering out a final agreement before the afternoon Senate vote.

Pelosi’s outlook for a deal wasn’t any better as she left the hour-long meeting, declaring plans for the House to introduce its own bill. Pelosi said the two sides were “still talking” but made clear that the Monday timeframe to pass something is McConnell’s self-imposed deadline, not hers.

“It’s on the Senate side because that’s their deadline for a vote,” Pelosi said about the Monday deadline. “We’ll be introducing our own bill and hopefully it will be compatible.”

Despite saying the House would move ahead on its own, Pelosi also continued to engage in bipartisan negotiations on the Senate bill Sunday afternoon, according to a source.

Senior House Democrats have been working on dual tracks for days — simultaneously drafting language for their own bill while also conferring with Senate Democrats on what they’d like to see in the McConnell-Schumer proposal.

The various House panels involved, from Financial Services to Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor, were told to wrap up their portions of the bill Saturday night. The House Appropriations Committee is now compiling all of the language and legislative text could be expected as soon as Monday, according to multiple sources.

Democratic leadership also huddled on a conference call on Friday night, where Pelosi reiterated her plans to release a legislative framework that lets Democrats lay a marker in the talks.

It’s unclear what exactly will be in the final House Democratic package. The caucus held several hours of conference calls this week for members to promote their ideas, including a significant expansion of unemployment insurance, direct cash payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, funding for hospitals and medical supplies, and grants to keep small businesses from folding. Hundreds of proposals were submitted from all corners of the caucus.

“I’m anxious to see what Speaker Pelosi would put on the table. She needs to be part of this conversation,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) when asked about Pelosi’s plans. “We do have a bicameral Congress and the House of Representatives will ultimately consider whatever is sent to them. And I hope we can have a bipartisan agreement when that’s sent.”

Many of those same provisions are also being negotiated in the Senate bill but some House Democrats wanted to go even further, using the urgency of the herculean package to achieve broader, long term policy goals like a massive infrastructure deal.

But even some House Democrats are privately wondering what is Pelosi’s endgame, especially given that lawmakers, including many in her own caucus, don’t even want to return to Washington at all, much less for a standoff with the Senate. Already, two House members have tested positive for coronavirus and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said he’s contracted the virus.

McConnell, meanwhile, has sought to drum up the pressure on House Democrats to support the Senate’s package, comparing it to last week’s multi-billion dollar “Phase 2” emergency package that Congress approved, which was largely crafted by Pelosi and Mnuchin.

“It would be best for the country if the House would take it up and pass it just like we did earlier this week when the House passed a bill that I had only marginal participation in because the country was desperate for results. So I hope that’s the way this ends,” McConnell told reporters.

Senate Republicans and the White House reiterated on Sunday they are ready to muscle ahead with the $1.6-plus trillion economic rescue package, which includes $350 billion for small businesses support and $250 billion for unemployment insurance. It also includes billions in relief to distressed industries like airlines, and billions more to help hospitals address the influx of patients.

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Coronavirus Task Force updates on COVID-19 response — watch live stream today

President Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force, charged with leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, are expected to hold a briefing Sunday at 5:30 p.m. as the global death toll from the illness topped 13,000.

In the U.S., where nearly 400 people have died due to the coronavirus, members of the Senate are set to reconvene to move forward with a stimulus package to help families and industries impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.


How to watch the Coronavirus Task Force briefing


The package is expected to cost between $1.5 and $2 trillion. On Sunday afternoon, senators are scheduled to vote on whether to advance the measure, teeing up a vote on its final passage as early as Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the 247-page bill Thursday, though it was swiftly met with criticism from Democrats who said the proposal didn’t do enough to help workers and provided too much for industries reeling from the outbreak, which has led state officials to urge residents to remain in their homes and order restaurants, bars and theaters to close.

Republican and Democratic negotiators worked over the weekend to hammer out the details of the “phase three” deal, but Democratic leaders said Sunday they remain at odds over several aspects of the legislation. The bill follows an $8.3 billion emergency package signed into law by President Trump earlier this month and a coronavirus relief bill signed by Mr. Trump last week.

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As crisis deepens, congressional rescue deal teeters – Boston Herald

By ANDREW TAYLOR, JONATHAN LEMIRE and LISA MASCARO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top-level negotiations between Congress and White House teetered Sunday over a nearly $1.4 trillion economic rescue package, as the coronavirus crisis deepened, the nation shut down and the first U.S. senator tested positive for the disease.

President Donald Trump tweeted “many things to discuss” ahead of an evening press briefing.

At the otherwise emptied out Capitol, the draft aid package was declared insufficient by Democrats, who argued it was tilted toward corporations rather than workers and healthcare providers. The setback sent Republicans back to the negotiating table.

With a population on edge and shell-shocked financial markets poised to reopen Monday, all sides were hoping for an agreement that would provide some relief against the pandemic’s twin health and economic crises, now believed likely to stretch for several months.

“Americans don’t need to see us haggling endlessly,” warned Senate Majority Leader McConnell, his voice rising on the Senate floor. He wants passage of the package by Monday.

But Democrats say the largely GOP-led effort does not go far enough to provide health care and unemployment aid for Americans, and fails to put restraints on a proposed $500 billion “slush fund” for corporations.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the draft package “significantly cut back our hospitals, our cities, our states, our medical workers and so many others needed in this crisis.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Pope Francis in urging colleagues to “take responsibility” as Democrats prepared their own draft.

While the congressional leaders worked to send help, alarms were being sounded from coast to coast about the wave of coronavirus cases about to crash onto the nation’s health system.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had dire, urgent news from the pandemic’s U.S. epicenter: “April and May are going to be a lot worse,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

De Blasio all but begged Washington to help procure ventilators and other medical supplies. He accused the president of “not lifting a finger” to help.

“If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise,” he said.

This as the first senator, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, announced he tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Paul, who is a doctor and close ally of the president, said in a tweet he was not showing symptoms and was in quarantine.

Paul was seen at a GOP senators’ lunch on Friday and swimming in the Senate gym pool on Sunday morning. His office said he left the Senate immediately after learning his diagnosis.

A growing list of lawmakers have cycled in and out of isolation after exposure, and two members of the House have said they tested positive.

Trump has defiantly pushed back against criticism he was slow to respond to the crisis, though he continues to send mixed messages as to what, exactly, the federal government is doing.

In recent days, he invoked the Defense Protection Act, a rarely used, decades-old authority that can be used to compel the private sector to manufacture needed medical supplies like masks and ventilators, but said he had yet to use it.

The president tweeted Sunday that automakers General Motors and Tesla were given “the go ahead” to make ventilators and other products.

At the same time, Trump lashed out at the Illinois governor and others for being critical of the response. He tweeted that they should not be “blaming the federal government for their own shortcomings.”

The urgency to act is mounting, as jobless claims skyrocket, businesses shutter and the financial markets are set to re-open Monday eager for signs that Washington can soften the blow of the healthcare crisis and what experts say is a looming recession.

At issue is how best to keep paychecks flowing for millions of workers abruptly sidelined by the crisis, shore up business and create a so-called Marshall Plan for U.S. hospitals — evoking the postwar effort to rebuild Western Europe.

Officials put the price tag of the rescue package at nearly $1.4 trillion and said that with other measures from the Federal Reserve it could pump $2 trillion into the U.S. economy.

“It will get done,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on “Fox News Sunday.

Mnuchin, who was leading a third day of nonstop talks on Capitol Hill, said the plan was meant to prop up the nation’s weakened economy for the next 10 to 12 weeks.

Mnuchin said workers and businesses will get assistance to help cover payrolls for the next 10 weeks; unemployment insurance; and a one-time “bridge payment” of about $3,000 for a family of four.

Hospitals, he said, will get approximately $110 billion for the expected influx of sick patients.

The treasury secretary said a significant part of the package will involve working with the Federal Reserve for up to $4 trillion of liquidity to support the economy with “broad-based lending programs.”

But Democrats have pushed for add-ons, including food security aid, small business loans and other measures for workers — saying the three months of unemployment insurance offered under the draft plan was not enough.

They warned the draft plan’s $500 billion “corporate slush fund” does not put enough restraints on business, saying the ban on corporate stock buy-backs are weak and the limits on executive pay are only for two years.

“We’re not here to create a slush fund for Donald Trump and his family, or a slush fund for the Treasury Department to be able to hand out to their friends,” said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “We’re here to help workers, we’re here to help hospitals.”

There is also a $242 billion proposal for emergency supplemental food, hospital and public health needs, including for the Centers for Disease Control.

The details are coming from drafts of both bills circulating among lobbyists but not yet released to the public. They were obtained by The Associated Press.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

___

Bev Banks contributed. Associated Press writers Colleen Long, Hope Yen, Mary Clare Jalonick, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Alan Fram and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

___

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Trump made 33 false claims about the coronavirus crisis in the first two weeks of March

SE Cupp compares Trump crisis response to Obama and Bush

In reality, Americans needed authorization from a doctor to get tested — and even many people who did have a doctor’s order could not get access.

This was Trump deceiving the country about one of the most critical problems of the crisis.

The most revealing false claim: Trade with Europe

Trump is serially reluctant to admit error, even trivial slips he makes while reading prepared speeches. Instead of correcting himself, he usually pretends that he has not slipped at all.

During his Oval Office address to the nation about the coronavirus on March 11, Trump, speaking from a script, announced that he was imposing restrictions on travel from Europe — and then added that “these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”

As he was forced to explain on Twitter after the speech, he was not actually banning trade and cargo from Europe.
So what happened? The usual, according to reporting from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Trump’s speech said the prohibitions would not apply to trade and cargo; Trump accidentally added the word “only,” reversing the meaning; Trump plowed ahead as usual.

The most absurd false claim: Handshakes in India

Trump is regularly willing to make false claims that can be disproven using widely available video footage.

While meeting with the prime minister of Ireland on March 12, Trump was asked whether he was fine shaking hands with foreign prime ministers. Trump said they hadn’t shaken hands that day — then added, “You know, I just got back from India, and I didn’t shake any hands there.”
An Indian news website promptly published a photo gallery of seven Trump handshakes during his trip.

The coronavirus

‘Control’ of the coronavirus

“This is a very contagious — this is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control of.” — March 15 coronavirus press conference

Facts First: Experts said the US did not have the virus even close to under control. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at this same briefing after Trump left the room: “The worst is, yes, ahead for us. It is how we respond to that challenge that’s going to determine what the ultimate end point is going to be. We have a very, very critical point now.”

Trump claimed the next day that he had not meant the virus was under control — that he had meant “we are doing a very good job within the confines of what we’re dealing with.” But he had repeatedly made clear on previous occasions that he was talking about the virus when he spoke of “control.” He said in late January, soon after the US announced its first confirmed case, that “we have it totally under control.” He said in late February, when the number of confirmed US cases was in the low dozens, that “we have it very much under control in this country.”

Expectations of the pandemic

“…but we’re having to fix a problem that, four weeks ago, nobody ever thought would be a problem.” — March 11 exchange with reporters at coronavirus meeting with bankers
Facts First: The US intelligence community, public health experts and officials in Trump’s own administration had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic. Some of the warnings specifically mentioned the possibility of a coronavirus pandemic. And when this particular coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was identified in China in early January, health experts quickly cautioned it could be a major problem around the world.

“This was foreseeable, and foreseen, weeks and months ago, and only now is the White House coming out of denial and heading straight into saying it could not have been foreseen,” Harvard University epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch, director of Harvard’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, said on Sunday.

“Almost two months ago, experts were saying that the new virus in Wuhan was potentially a global threat,” Lipsitch said in an email. “One month ago, experts were saying that it was likely to be pandemic, and the White House’s response was that this was under control, despite the fact that the US’s lack of testing was demonstrably giving a false picture of the extent of infection.”

Obama and coronavirus testing

Trump claimed twice that he had reversed an Obama-era decision that had impeded testing for the coronavirus. On the first occasion, Trump said, “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing. And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion. That was a decision we disagreed with.”
Facts First: There is no regulation from President Barack Obama that impeded coronavirus testing. The Obama administration did put forward a draft proposal related to lab testing, but it was never implemented. When asked what Obama administration decision Trump might be referring to, Peter Kyriacopoulos, chief policy officer at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, said: “We aren’t sure what rule is being referenced.”

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, who was principal deputy commissioner of the FDA under Obama and is now professor of the practice at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, “There wasn’t a policy that was put into place that inhibited them. There was no Obama policy they were reversing.”

The availability of coronavirus tests

“Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.” And: “Anybody right now and yesterday — anybody that needs a test gets a test. We — they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test.” — March 6 exchange with reporters after tour of the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention
Facts First: That simply wasn’t true. There were an insufficient number of tests available, as Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged the day prior, and Americans could not get tested simply because they wanted to get tested. “You may not get a test unless a doctor or public health official prescribes a test,” Azar said the day after Trump’s remark — and even some of the people whose doctors wanted them to be tested were not able to obtain a test. (Azar claimed Trump was using “shorthand” for the fact that “we as regulators, or as those shipping the test, are not restricting who can get tested.”)

Coronavirus testing

Trump was asked about a case in which a doctor in Houston reported being unable to obtain permission to get a patient tested despite the patient having “symptoms of something” and having tested negative for the flu.

Trump responded that this was a mere “one case” and that “frankly, the testing has been going very smooth.” He also claimed: “If you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area, you get the test.” — March 12 exchange with reporters before meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar

Facts First: It was simply not true that testing had been going smoothly or that, as Trump suggested, it was simple to get a test by contacting the proper authorities.

Health officials in states around the country continued to report a shortage of tests and other problems. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress the same day: “The system does not — is not really geared to what we need right now … that is a failing. It is a failing, let’s admit it.”

Dr. Fauci said, “The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countr(ies) are doing it: we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.”

You can read a full fact check here.

The timeline

“We got hit with the virus, really, three weeks ago, if you think about it, I guess. That’s when we first started, really, to see, you know, some possible effects.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: The US had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on January 21, more than six weeks before Trump spoke here, so it’s not true that the US had not really seen even “some possible effects” until three weeks ago.

People’s knowledge of the number of flu deaths

“You know, three, four weeks ago, I said, ‘Well, how many people die a year from the flu?’ And, in this country, I think last year was 36- or 37,000 people. And I’m saying, ‘Wow, nobody knew that information.'” — March 2 exchange with reporters at coronavirus meeting with pharmaceutical companies
“So when you lose 27,000 people a year, nobody knew that. I didn’t know that.” — March 2 campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina
Facts First: Trump might not have known the number of annual flu deaths in the US, but that doesn’t mean “nobody” else did. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes annual estimates on its website.

The CDC estimates that between 12,000 and 61,000 people have died in the US in each flu season between 2010-2011 and 2018-2019; its preliminary figure for 2018-2019 is 34,157 deaths.

Flu deaths in 1990

Speaking about the flu, Trump said, “I think we went as high as 100,000 people died in 1990, if you can believe that.” — March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“…when I was hearing the amount of people that died with flu, I was shocked to hear it. Anywhere from 27,000 to 70,000 or 77,000. And I guess they said, in 1990, that was in particular very bad; it was higher than that.” — March 6 exchange with reporters after tour of the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention
Facts First: While the 1989-1990 flu season was considered bad at the time — the CDC declared that it was an epidemic — Trump greatly overstated the number of deaths. A CDC analysis in 2010 estimated that there were 26,582 deaths from the seasonal flu in 1989-1990. (The same analysis found that this number of deaths was exceeded in nine of the 17 subsequent flu seasons through 2006-2007.)

Polling on Trump and the coronavirus

“Gallup just gave us the highest rating ever for the way we are handling the CoronaVirus situation.” — March 5 tweet
“Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record.” — March 12 tweet

Facts First: Trump does not have a “78% approval rating” for his handling of the coronavirus, nor “the highest rating ever” for a president’s handling of an outbreak.

Trump may have been wrongly describing a Gallup poll conducted in early-to-mid-February — before there were any reported US deaths from the coronavirus — that found 77% of respondents had confidence in the federal government to handle a coronavirus outbreak. But that poll asked about confidence in the government’s future acts, not about approval of its actual work to date. It also did not ask about Trump in particular.
Polls actually asking about people’s approval of Trump’s handling of the virus situation at the time found that his approval rating is much lower than 78%. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted March 11-13, 45% of registered voters approved of his handling of the coronavirus, while 51% disapproved. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted March 5-8 found that 43% of registered voters approved, 49% disapproved. (Some subsequent polls found Trump’s coronavirus-related approval above 50%.) Conversely, a CNN poll taken in October and November 2009 found that 57% approved of Barack Obama’s handling of the H1N1 flu pandemic.

Travel from Europe

“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days…There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings…These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.” — March 11 Oval Office address to the nation on the coronavirus

Facts First: Trump was incorrectly describing his own policy.

His travel suspension did not apply to “all travel from Europe”; it applied to the 26 countries in the Schengen Area, a European zone in which people can move freely across internal borders. (Trump later added the United Kingdom and Ireland, which are not in the Schengen Area, to the restricted list.)

Trump did not mention that he was exempting a variety of non-US citizens, including permanent US residents and certain family members of both citizens and permanent residents. And by referring to “Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings,” he did not make clear that US citizens can return from Europe even if they have not been screened before they take off for the US. The screening comes after they land in the US.

You can read a full fact check here.

European goods

“There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.” — March 11 Oval Office address to the nation on the coronavirus

Facts First: Though he corrected his error in a tweet shortly after his speech, Trump was not actually prohibiting trade and cargo from Europe. We’re still counting this as a false claim because he did not correct himself during a high-profile national address.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that, according to Times sources and a Journal review of drafts of Trump’s speech, the text of Trump’s speech said the restrictions will not apply to trade and cargo.
(Trump has a long history of attempting to improvise after he has made a mistake reading a speech from a Teleprompter, rather than simply correcting the error.)

A “rally” in Tampa

Talking about how his campaign has canceled rallies because of the coronavirus, Trump said, “And we had four or five of them that we were thinking about. We have a big one in Tampa, all sold out. We have over 100,000 requests for tickets, but I think we’ll probably not do it because people would say it’s better to not do.” — March 12 exchange with reporters before meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar
Facts First: There was no “sold out” Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. While Trump’s campaign was in the process of planning a Tampa rally, the event had not been publicly announced and no tickets had been publicly offered, so it simply does not make sense that the event was “sold out” or that there had been “over 100,000 requests for tickets.” The Associated Press reported that Trump’s claim was “an impossibility” and that the campaign had declined to comment; the campaign also did not respond to our inquiry.

Google’s coronavirus website

“I want to thank the people at Google and Google Communications because, as you know, they substantiated what I said on Friday. The head of Google, who’s a great gentleman, said — called us and he apologized. I don’t know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace…And how that got out — and I’m sure you’ll apologize. But it would be great if we could really give the news correctly. It would be so, so wonderful.” — March 15 coronavirus press conference

“The Fake and Corrupt News never called Google. They said this was not true. Even in times such as these, they are not truthful. Watch for their apology, it won’t happen. More importantly, thank you to Google!” — March 15 tweet
Facts First: Google declined to comment on the substance of any call between CEO Sundar Pichai and the Trump team, but it’s not true that the press did not call Google or that the press reported “fake news” about Trump’s announcement that Google was helping to develop a coronavirus website, to be completed “very quickly,” that would “determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.” Journalists contacted Google and accurately reported the company’s initial response, which made clear that Trump had exaggerated.
After Trump made the announcement, Google issued a statement on behalf of its sister company Verily, which said, “We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.” In other words, there would be no quick national website. Verily’s focus was one part of California, and the entity in charge of the effort was not Google itself (though Verily said Google engineers had volunteered to assist with the project).
Then, more than 24 hours after the initial statement from Verily, Google issued a second statement announcing that it would itself be “partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information.”

So it was fair for Trump to applaud the second statement, but its existence does not mean that media reports about the first statement were inaccurate.

New York coronavirus deaths

“And then, when you do have a death, like you have had in the state of Washington, like you had one in California — I believe you had one in New York…” — March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: There had not been any New York deaths attributed to the coronavirus at the time. (The first two deaths in the state were announced on March 14, 10 days after Trump spoke here.)

The coronavirus situation in Italy

“…I hear the numbers are getting much better in Italy.” — March 6 exchange with reporters after tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Facts First: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Italy was continuing to increase at the time Trump made this comment. As of Saturday, March 7, the day after Trump spoke here, Italy had 5,883 confirmed cases and 233 deaths; as of Monday, March 9, there were 9,172 cases and 463 deaths.

The coronavirus in the US and elsewhere

“We have very low numbers compared to major countries throughout the world. Our numbers are lower than just about anybody.” — March 6 exchange with reporters at signing of coronavirus appropriations bill

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. The US did have fewer confirmed coronavirus cases than some countries, including China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France and Germany. But it had more confirmed cases than big-population countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia and Nigeria, plus neighbors Mexico and Canada, plus many other high-income countries.

In addition, the number of confirmed cases is dependent on how many people are tested. The US was conducting fewer tests than some countries with much smaller populations.

A remark by Nancy Pelosi

“Nancy Pelosi just said, ‘I don’t know if we can be ready this week.’ In other words, it’s off to vacation for the Do Nothing Democrats. That’s been the story with them for 1 1/2 years!” — March 10 tweet
Facts First: Democrats were not going away on vacation, and Pelosi was not suggesting they were. Asked on Monday, March 9 if her goal was to have the House pass a coronavirus relief bill “this week,” Pelosi said, “I don’t know that we can be ready this week, but we can introduce this week, we can introduce it and we may be ready this week, depending on CBO (Congressional Budget Office), depending on (the House Office of the Legislative Counsel) and how quickly they can get something back to us.”
The House ended up passing the bill early in the morning of Saturday, March 14.

Canadians on the Grand Princess

Referring to the Grand Princess cruise ship that had been kept in limbo over coronavirus concerns before being allowed to dock in Oakland, Trump said on March 10, “So, the UK is taking their people, their citizens back, and Canada is about 600 people; they’re coming back. They’re being met and brought to planes and being brought very, very — in a very, very dignified fashion back into Canada.” He said on March 13, “We worked with Canada. They took their people back. And Canada has approximately 600 people…”
Facts First: Trump’s number was wrong. There were fewer than 240 Canadians on the Grand Princess, according to the Canadian government; 228 Canadians were flown from California to a military base in Ontario on a plane chartered by the Canadian government.

People on the Grand Princess

Trump said, of the Grand Princess cruise ship that was being kept in limbo over coronavirus concerns, “We do have a situation where we have this massive ship with 5,000 people and we have to make a decision.” He later amended the claim slightly, saying, “It’s close to 5,000 people.” — March 6 exchange with reporters at signing of coronavirus appropriations bill
Facts First: Trump was overstating the number of passengers on the ship. There were 3,533 people aboard: 2,422 guests and 1,111 crew members.

Trump’s student loan plan

“Amazing how the Fake News never covers this. No Interest on Student Loans. The Dems are just talk!” — March 15 tweet
Facts First: Numerous media outlets, including CNN, reported on Trump’s announcement that he had “waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies, and that will be until further notice.” (Outlets noted that the administration had not immediately provided important details of the plan and that borrowers might not see a reduction in their current monthly payments, but they were indeed covering the announcement.)

Border closures

“In a certain way, you could say that the borders are automatically shut down, without having to say ‘shut down.’ I mean, they’re, to a certain extent, automatically shut down. But it’s affecting the airline business, as it would.” And: “And we have closed down certain sections of the world, frankly, and they’ve sort of automatically closed them also.” — March 4 remarks at briefing with airline executives
Facts First: Trump did not explain what he meant by “the borders are automatically shut down.” His travel restrictions at the time, on China and Iran, did not constitute complete closures of the border; they make exceptions for American citizens, permanent residents and some of their family members.

The Europe restrictions and testing

When a reporter noted that an American could bring back the coronavirus even with Trump’s new travel restrictions on some European countries, Trump said, “Sure. But we have them very heavily tested. If an American is coming back or anybody is coming back, we’re testing. We have a tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested.” — March 12 exchange with reporters before meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar

Facts First: It’s not true that Americans or others returning from Europe “have to be” tested for the coronavirus — and no system is being set up to actually test these returning travelers.

Instead, travelers are funneled to specific airports and put through an inspection known as enhanced screening, which cannot prove whether someone has the virus. Previous US airport screening for the coronavirus has involved temperature checks, questions about travelers’ health and travel history, and an inspection for symptoms like a cough or breathing trouble. The administration’s statements about the enhanced screening for travelers from Europe made no mention of coronavirus tests being conducted.

(Travelers returning from Europe after the restrictions went into effect faced lengthy delays while awaiting screening, and hundreds were packed shoulder to shoulder even as public health officials were advising Americans to keep a distance from other people. Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, later announced that they had “fixed” the problem with increasing staffing.

Handshakes in India

“You know, I just got back from India, and I didn’t shake any hands there. And it was very easy because they go like this. (Takes slight bow.)” — March 12 exchange with reporters before meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar

Facts First: Trump was filmed shaking hands repeatedly in India, as Indian news website ThePrint pointed out. You can see images of his handshakes here.

Here is the full list of 71 false claims from the two-week period:

Obama, the coronavirus and swine flu

Trump said of H1N1, also known as swine flu: “And they didn’t do anything about it.” — March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

“If you go back and look at the swine flu and what happened with the swine flu, you’ll see how many people died and how actually nothing was done for such a long period of time, as people were dying all over the place.” — March 12 exchange with reporters before meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar

“And, interestingly, if you go back — please — if you go back to the swine flu, it was nothing like this. They didn’t do testing like this. And actually, they lost approximately 14,000 people. And they didn’t do the testing. They started thinking about testing when it was far too late.” — March 13 coronavirus press conference

Facts First: The Obama administration did respond to H1N1, and it’s not true the administration did not even start “thinking” about testing until it was too late.

On April 26, 2009, less than two weeks after the first US cases of H1N1 were confirmed, the Obama administration declared a public health emergency. Two days later, the Obama administration made an initial $1.5 billion funding request to Congress. (Congress ultimately allocated $7.7 billion). That same day, April 28, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention test was cleared for use. The CDC began shipping tests across the US and around the world on May 1. Between April 23 and May 31, the CDC says its influenza laboratory analyzed about 5,000 samples. In October, Obama declared a national emergency to allow hospitals more flexibility for a possible flood of H1N1 patients.
The Obama administration did face criticism over the pace of the government’s vaccination effort, but “they didn’t do anything” is clearly false.

Unemployment in Pennsylvania and Scranton

“This area of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania itself, has the best numbers it’s ever had. It’s got the best economy it’s ever had. It has the best unemployment numbers it’s ever had. And Scranton has the lowest and best unemployment numbers they’ve — and employment numbers too — that they’ve ever had, by far.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Neither the unemployment rate for Pennsylvania nor the unemployment rate for the Scranton area is at its lowest level ever. And both rates have crept higher over the past several months.

The Pennsylvania state unemployment rate was at 4.5% in December 2019, worse than the best rates under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. (The rate increased steadily in 2019 from the 3.8% rate in of April, May and June, which was the state’s lowest rate since at least 1976.)
The December 2019 unemployment rate for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area was 5.6% — worse than various rates under Clinton and Bush and also worse than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office, 5.4% in December 2016. It hit 4.0% in April 2019, which was the lowest for the area since at least 1990.)

Social Security and Medicare

“I must say, that was a VERY boring debate. Biden lied when he said I want to cut Social Security and Medicare. That’s what they ALL said 4 years ago, and nothing happened, in fact, I saved Social Security and Medicare. I will not be cutting, but they will. Be careful!” — March 15 tweet
Facts First: Trump simply did not “save” Social Security and Medicare, which still face uncertain financial futures, and there is no evidence Democrats intend to cut either program. Also, Biden did not “lie” when he accused Trump of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare: Trump’s 2020 budget proposal includes cuts to Medicare spending and spending on Social Security’s Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs.

Trump’s budget is a request to Congress, not a law, so the cuts may not happen. And Republicans are free to note that the proposed cuts would reduce projected future spending, but not be reductions from the current level of spending. Still, Biden had a reasonable factual basis for saying what he did.

(Trump also told Fox News earlier in March that “we’ll be cutting” entitlement programs, though he did not say which ones. His press secretary claimed he was talking about “cutting deficits, NOT entitlements” when he said “we’ll be cutting,” though he had been asked, “But if you don’t cut something in entitlements, you’ll never really deal with the debt.”)

Trade with Japan

“I just made a deal with Japan where they’re paying $40 billion. They never gave us anything. All they do is sell us cars for no tax coming into the — to the country.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Japan does not export cars to the US for “no tax”; the US has a 2.5% tariff on Japanese cars. It’s obviously untrue that Japan “never gave us anything,” whatever Trump meant by that vague phrase; Japan purchased $120.4 billion in US exports in 2018, according to government data. And experts say that the 2019 deal between the US and Japan does not include a $40 billion payment from Japan.
In prepared remarks in October, Trump himself said the deal “sets standards on the $40 billion in digital trade between the United States and Japan.” In other words, he suggested himself that it contained provisions addressing $40 billion in trade, not that it was a $40 billion payment.

“Japan is not paying $40 billion dollars to the United States as part of the mini trade deal,” Mireya Solis, director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution think tank, said in an email. She added: “US-Japan digital trade is worth $40 billion, but again that does not mean Japan is paying the US that amount.”

Matthew Goodman, senior vice president and senior adviser for Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said there are “no hard numbers or commitments in the US-Japan deal to support that figure, as far as I know.”

China and drugs

“When you go to a country where they have very, very stringent — unbelievably stringent, like probably we can’t do in our country — they have no drug problem. You go into China, you say, ‘How’s your drug problem?’ They don’t even know — President Xi doesn’t even know what you’re talking about. ‘We have no drug problem.’ They have quick trials. Right? Quick trials. And I won’t even tell you what the punishment is, but let me just say it’s very swift.” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

Facts First: It is simply not true that China has no “drug problem,” though Trump did not define what he meant by “drug problem.” Joe Amon, director of global health at Drexel University and a clinical professor of community health and prevention, said the statement is “definitively” false. Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, a global network of non-governmental organizations, said, “There is so much data that refutes this claim from Trump.”

Fordham noted that the US State Department released a report this very month that said China has a drug problem.In the report’s words: “While drug trafficking, manufacturing, diversion, and other drug-related crimes remain significant problems in (China), the central government continues to take steps to integrate the PRC into regional and global drug control efforts, as well as to address the country’s domestic drug problem through enforcement and rehabilitation.” Amon noted that China’s own official figures, as of 2017, listed about 2.5 million people registered as drug addicts. A 2016 report from the Brookings Institution noted that the number of registered addicts had “increased every year since the government’s first annual drug enforcement report in 1998.”
The New York Times reported in 2015 that it was widely acknowledged that the official numbers understated the extent of the problem. The Times reported: “In October, Liu Yuejin, director general of the government’s anti-narcotics division, estimated the actual number of addicts at roughly 13 million.”

Repeats

Here are the repeat false claims we have previously included in one of these roundups:

Ukraine and impeachment

The whistleblower

Trump called the whistleblower who complained about his dealings with Ukraine a “phony whistleblower” and claimed this person had described “a call that didn’t exist.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: The whistleblower’s account of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been proven substantially accurate. In fact, the rough transcript Trump released showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct. You can read a full fact check here.

Hunter Biden’s career

Trump claimed that, before Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden “didn’t have a job.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: At the time Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma in 2014, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.
Before Joe Biden became vice president in 2009, Hunter Biden, who graduated from Yale Law School, worked as a lobbyist. He became a partner at a law and lobbying firm in 2001. (He stopped lobbying late in the 2008 election.) Before that, he had worked for financial services company MBNA, rising to senior vice president and worked for the US Commerce Department.
None of this is to say that Hunter Biden’s name was not a factor in the Burisma appointment; Hunter Biden has acknowledged that he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the board if he were not a Biden. But Trump’s repeat portrayal of him as an unemployed man is inaccurate.

Economy

Prescription drug prices

Trump claimed that last year was the “first time in 51 years that drug prices, prescription, have come down.” — March 2 exchange with reporters at meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque
Facts First: The decline — shown in the Consumer Price Index, but not some other measures — happened in 2018, not “last year.” And Trump was exaggerating how long it had been since the 2018 decline; it had been 46 years, not 51. (This may seem like a small exaggeration, but it is habitual; he has made it more than a dozen times since July 8. You can read a longer fact check here.)

Hispanic home ownership

“And we’ve increased Hispanic American home ownership by more than half a million homes. That’s tremendous. We’ve seen the largest net gain in Hispanic American homeowners ever recorded.” — March 4 speech to Latino Coalition Legislative Summit

Facts First: The number of Hispanic homeowners had indeed increased by more than 500,000 during Trump’s presidency, according to data provided by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals — it rose by 176,000 in 2017, 365,000 in 2018, 277,000 in 2019. But this total gain of 818,000 was not the largest net gain ever recorded. In 2001, 2002 and 2003, the first three years of George W. Bush’s presidency, the total gain was 930,000, according to the association’s data. (The net gain during the 2003-2005 period, also under Bush, was 940,000.)

Median household income and energy

“Median household income has hit the highest level ever recorded. If you look back and you go to President Bush, it’s $450. If you go to President Obama — and that’s for eight years, remember. If you go to President Obama, for eight years, $975. And if you go to President Donald John Trump, over a period of three years, it’s almost $10,000. That’s a big difference.” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

Facts First: It’s not true that median household income gains under Trump were almost $10,000 in three years. A firm called Sentier Research says real median household income, pre-tax, was $65,666 in December 2019 — up from $61,496 (in inflation-adjusted December 2019 dollars) in January 2017, a difference of $4,170. Trump habitually adds an additional $5,000-plus on account of his loosening of regulations and supposed energy savings, but these explanations do not make sense mathematically.

You can read a longer fact check here.

Ivanka Trump and jobs

“We’re also promoting workforce development through our Pledge to America’s Workers. Four hundred and thirty companies have already committed to providing new jobs and training opportunities to over 15 million Americans. And I give my daughter, Ivanka, a lot of credit for that … she started off with 500,000 jobs, and she just broke 15 million.” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

Facts First: Ivanka Trump has obviously not created more than “15 million jobs.” Before the coronavirus crisis, roughly 7 million jobs had been created during the entire Trump presidency.

Trump was referring to the White House’s Pledge to America’s Workers initiative, in which Ivanka Trump has sought to get companies to commit to providing “education and training opportunities” for workers. As of March 19, 2020, companies had promised to create 15.7 million opportunities, including one million by Walmart alone — but many of these opportunities are internal training programs, not new jobs. Also, as CNN has previously reported, many of the companies had already planned these opportunities before Ivanka Trump launched the initiative.

Unemployment

“Best unemployment numbers in the history of our Country.” — March 10 tweet

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating, though the February unemployment rate was indeed impressive.

The rate, 3.5%, was tied with September, November and December 2019 for the lowest since 1969. But it was not the best ever: it was substantially higher than the record 2.5% set in 1953. (Unemployment is expected to worsen substantially in March as a result of the coronavirus crisis.)

Unemployment for women

Trump said women had the lowest unemployment rate “in 71 years.”=- March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: This was another of Trump’s regular little exaggerations of an impressive accomplishment. It had been between 66 and 67 years, not “71 years,” since the women’s unemployment rate had been as low as it was in February, 3.4%; it hit that level in late 1953. (It was also 3.4% during previous months of Trump’s presidency, but we’ll ignore those here for fairness to Trump.)
Unemployment rates are expected to rise substantially in March as a result of the coronavirus crisis

An LNG plant in Louisiana

“I opened up LNG plants in Louisiana where they were for years — for 10, 12, 14 years and longer — trying to get permits. They couldn’t get permits. I got them built: a $10 billion plant in Louisiana…” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: The $10 billion LNG facility Trump visited in Louisiana in 2019 was granted its key permits under Obama, and its construction also began under Obama. Federal regulators have approved other multi-billion-dollar LNG facilities for Louisiana under Trump, but they had not been waiting anywhere close to 10 or 14 years for approval.

The estate tax

Trump falsely claimed to have eliminated the estate tax. — March 2 campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina

Facts First: Trump has not eliminated the federal estate tax. His 2017 tax law raised the threshold at which the tax must be paid, from $5.5 million to $11.2 million for an individual, but did not get rid of the tax entirely.

Foreign affairs

Venezuela’s wealth

“The tragedy in Venezuela is a reminder that socialism and communism bring misery and heartache everywhere they’re tried. I remember so many years ago — 20, less — it was the wealthiest country.” — March 4 speech to the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit

Facts First: Venezuela was not the wealthiest country in Latin America 20 years ago, as Trump has claimed previously, and certainly not one of the wealthiest countries in the world, as Trump has also claimed previously. (Trump didn’t say this time which one he meant.)

“Venezuela was one of the richest countries in the world 60 years ago. The richest in Latin America 40 years ago. But not 20 years ago,” Ricardo Hausmann, a former Venezuelan planning minister and central bank board member, said in response to a previous version of the claim.

Venezuela’s per capita gross domestic product in 2000 ($4,824) was lower than that of Argentina ($8,387), Mexico ($7,016), Uruguay ($6,817) and Chile ($5,072).

The Mexican border

“We have, right now, 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our border.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Trump exaggerated how many are being stationed near the US border in particular; Mexico’s defense minister said in October that it was about 15,000 on the US border, about 12,000 on Mexico’s own southern border.

The Soviet Union and Afghanistan

Talking about the history of war in Afghanistan, Trump said the Soviet Union “became Russia because of Afghanistan. You know, it’s a tough place.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: This was an exaggeration. Experts say the Soviet Union’s failed Afghanistan War was far from the only reason for its collapse, though the war did contribute.

Trump and the invasion of Iraq

“And I was always against Iraq — going into Iraq. I think it was one of the worst — maybe the worst decision ever made.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Trump was tentatively supportive of the war in Iraq when radio host Howard Stern asked him in September 2002, “Are you for invading Iraq?” Trump responded: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” The day after the invasion in March 2003, he said, “It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.” Trump did not offer a definitive position on the looming war in a Fox News interview in January 2003, saying, “Either you attack or don’t attack.”

Trump started publicly questioning the war later in 2003, and he was an explicit opponent in 2004. You can read a full fact check here.

Democrats

Democrats and cars

“If you like automobiles, how can you vote for a Democrat who all want to get rid of cars, as quickly as possible, especially if they are powered by gasoline. Remember also, no more than one car per family.” — March 10 tweet
Facts First: The Democrats are not proposing any limits on the number of cars a family could own. (Trump has previously claimed, falsely, that this one-car limit is included in the Democrats’ Green New Deal environmental proposal.) And while some prominent Democrats, such as presidential candidate Joe Biden, want to implement policies they believe will reduce the number of cars on the road, they are not proposing to get rid of cars by any kind of government prohibition. Biden, for example, argues that a major expansion of high-speed rail would result in millions fewer automobiles being driven.
The Green New Deal proposal calls for “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and high-speed rail.”

Obama and Kim Jong Un

Trump discussed a conversation he claimed he had with President Barack Obama about North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said, “And I have a good relationship with him (Kim). I said (to Obama), ‘Did you ever call him?’ The answer is: Yes, he did. But I will tell you, I don’t think they admit that; maybe they do. But called many times, and Kim Jong Un did not want to talk to him.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: There is no evidence that Obama called Kim even once. “This is a total fabrication,” Susan Rice, who served as Obama’s national security adviser, said on Twitter in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. “Obama never called Kim. Not once,” Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to Obama, said on Twitter after this new claim on March 5. There’s also no evidence for Trump’s previous claim that Obama begged Kim for a meeting.

Obama and the 1994 crime bill

After touting the criminal justice reform bill he signed in 2018, Trump appeared to criticize the 1994 crime bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton and supported by then-senator Joe Biden — and suggested Barack Obama, who was not yet in elected office of any kind, had something to do with it: “And, again, this was a Biden/Obama law that was — this was — and, obviously, it was — it was really a Hillary — this was a Bill Clinton and a Hillary. And it was — I guess Biden was a senator then and pushing it hard. Obama was — somebody said he was talking about it, but he had to be pretty young, if that were the case.” — March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Trump seemed to realize partway through this claim that it did not make sense to blame Obama for a bill signed into law before Obama was even elected to the Illinois state Senate — but even though he eventually conceded Obama was “pretty young” at the time, he did not make clear that Obama had nothing at all to do with the bill.

Accomplishments and promises

Veterans Choice

Trump twice claimed to have gotten the Veterans Choice health care program passed into law. On one occasion, he said others had tried to do so “for over 40 years.” On the other, he said they had tried for “almost 50 years.”

Facts First: The Veterans Choice bill, a bipartisan initiative led by senators Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, was signed into law by Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the program.

Overdose deaths

On separate occasions, Trump claimed that overdose deaths have declined for the first time “in 31 years” or “in nearly 31 years.”

Facts First: This was yet another of Trump’s signature exaggerations of numbers that are already impressive. There was a rare decline in overdose deaths in 2018, according to preliminary data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics — but it was the first in since 1990, or 28 years ago, not 31 or nearly 31 years ago.

Pre-existing conditions

“We are protecting people with pre-existing conditions and we always will.” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

“Pre-existing conditions: 100%, we take care of.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: The Trump administration has repeatedly supported bills that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void. He has not issued a plan to reinstate the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the suit succeeds, though he promised again at the town hall that Republicans would have one.

Air quality

“Nobody has done more in three years, the first three years, than we have. Now environmentally, we’re — we have the cleanest air. We have the cleanest water. Our air is as clean or cleaner than it’s ever been.” — March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

“And I say very simply: I want to have the cleanest air on the planet. I want to have the most crystal clear, beautiful water on the planet. And our conditions now are much better than they were three years ago.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: By several measures, US air was cleaner under Obama than it has been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. There were more “unhealthy air days” for sensitive groups in 2018 than in 2016, and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who studied Environmental Protection Agency data found that air pollution increased between 2016 and 2018.

Trade and China

Chuck Schumer and the China deal

“Or I watch Schumer … If you say, how great is the deal with China, oh, I don’t like it, I don’t like it. He said, ‘He took away tariffs.’ Well, I didn’t take away the tariffs. They’re paying 25 percent of $250 billion. They pay us a tariff of 25 percent on $250 billion. But he was screaming, he took away the tariffs. You know, he didn’t want the tariffs. And then, all of a sudden, when he thinks they were taken away — but we didn’t take them away. Just the opposite.” — March 4 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Trump’s deal with China reduces, though does not eliminate, some of the US tariffs on imported Chinese products. Schumer accurately described the tariff changes in a January letter in which he argued that Trump had given away leverage “with a temporary deal of some reduced tariffs in exchange for American goods and vague promises of reform.”

After Trump made a previous version of this accusation on January 15, Schumer responded the same day: “I know what’s in the deal. I’m not sure the president does. If he knows what’s in the deal — he should throw it away and take China back to the negotiating table. I will cheer him on if he does.”

China’s agricultural spending

Trump said of Chinese agricultural purchases: “You know, the highest ever was $16 billion.” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

Facts First: Sixteen billion in Chinese agriculture purchases is not the record: China spent $25.9 billion on American agricultural products in 2012, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Who’s paying for Trump’s tariffs on China

Trump claimed that revenue from his tariffs on imported Chinese products is “paid for by China” and that it is “money from China.” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

“China is paying us billions and billions of dollars because of what I did to them with tariffs. Billions of dollars.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Study after study has shown that Americans are bearing the cost of the tariffs. And it is Americans who make the actual tariff payments.

The trade deficit with China

Trump claimed that the US used to have “$500 billion a year” trade deficits with China. — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

Facts First: There has never been a $500 billion trade deficit with China. (Trump describes trade deficits as “losing,” though many economists dispute that characterization.) The 2018 deficit was $381 billion when counting goods and services, $420 billion when counting goods alone.

Hillary Clinton and the trade agreement with South Korea

“We have successfully renegotiated new trade deals with South Korea and Japan, who were really ripping us. South Korea — remember, Hillary Clinton — the great Hillary Clinton — she said, ‘No, no we want this deal. It will produce 250,000 jobs.’ And she was right, for South Korea. They produced — (laughter) — it’s true. It got South Korea 250. So you can’t say she was wrong. She wasn’t misleading us. She said, ‘250,000.’” — March 3 speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference

Facts First: There is no record of Hillary Clinton projecting an increase of 250,000 jobs because of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). President Barack Obama said the deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.”

Obama said in 2009 that increasing the US share of trade with Asia from 9% to 10% “could mean 250,000, 300,000 jobs,” but he was not specifically attributing that estimate to the potential effects of a trade deal with South Korea. Republican Rep. Kevin Brady later used an estimate of “about 250,000 new jobs” from trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama combined, not just the one with South Korea.

The judiciary

Court vacancies

Talking about the federal judiciary, Trump said, “But the bottom line is, President Obama gave me 142 openings when I first got there.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: This is Trump’s usual exaggerated figure. There were 104 court vacancies on January 1, 2017, 19 days before Trump took office, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments.

The history of court vacancies

Trump claimed that “normally,” presidents are left “no opening” on the federal judiciary; “if you have one, it’s like you got lucky.” — March 5 Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Facts First: It is standard for presidents to inherit dozens of vacancies. According to Wheeler, there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office; 107 vacancies on January 1, 1993, just before Bill Clinton took office.

The legality of the Mueller investigation

“Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted ‘coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!” — March 12 tweet
Facts First: The Russia investigation was not illegal. Multiple federal courts have upheld the legality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment and endorsed actions he took, such as subpoenaing witnesses to testify before a grand jury and bringing criminal charges against some senior Trump aides.
The inspector general for the Department of Justice conducted an exhaustive review and determined in a report released in December that the FBI had a legitimate basis for opening the Russia investigation in July 2016, prior to Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, though his report also criticized some FBI officials for how they had handled other aspects of the investigation.

Posted on

30 Socialist Songs and Sayings To Wash Your Hands To

Twenty-second clips of Solidarity Forever, 9 to 5, Joe Hill, Guantanamera, and more.

“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain, But down here below, we are feeling great pain.”—’Yertle the Turtle,’ Dr. Seuss

To protect yourself and your family from coronavirus, we suggest socialism, and also handwashing—the Centers for Disease Control recommends you scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.

If you have nothing to think about, 20 seconds can feel like an eternity. Here are 20-second socialist and revolutionary songs, poems and quotes to get your fighting spirit up.

SONGS

Solidarity forever / 1915

Solidarity forever

Solidarity forever

Solidarity forever

For the union makes us strong

We shall overcome / Pete Seeger / 1963

We shall overcome

We shall overcome

We shall overcome, some day

 

Union Maid / 1941

Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

I’m sticking to the union, I’m sticking to the union.

Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

I’m sticking to the union ’til the day I die.

 

9 to 5 / Dolly Parton / 1980

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’

Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’

They just use your mind and you never get the credit

It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

 

This Land is Your Land / 1951

This land is your land, this land is my land

From the California to the New York island

From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me

 

Internationale – American / 1900

Arise ye pris’ners of starvation

Arise ye wretched of the earth

For justice thunders condemnation

A better world’s in birth!

 

Bread and roses / 1988

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,

The rising of the women means the rising of the race.

No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,

But a sharing of life’s glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.

 

There Is Power In A Union / 1913

There is power in a factory, power in the land

Power in the hand of the worker

But it all amounts to nothing

If together we don’t stand

There is power in a Union

 

Not Ready to Make Nice / Dixie Chicks / 2006

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time

To go ’round and ’round and ’round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should

 

Running with the Wild things / Against the Current / 2016

We got too big for the cage, you locked us up in

Let’s mark this down as the day, that we started something

So open the gate, open the gate cause when we

Finally escape, finally escape we’ll be

Tearing through the streets

Running with the wild things

 

Aint done nothing if you ain’t been called a red / 1984

Well you ain’t done nothin’ if you ain’t been called a red

if you’ve marched or agitated, you’re bound to hear it said

so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead

cause you ain’t been doin’ nothin’ if you ain’t been called a red

 

Worker’s Song / 1981

We’re the first ones to starve, we’re the first ones to die

The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky

And we’re always the last when the cream is shared out

For the worker is working when the fat cat’s about

 

Bella Ciao / 1906

Una mattina mi sono svegliato,

o bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!

Una mattina mi sono svegliato,

e ho trovato l’invasor.

O partigiano, portami via,

o bella, ciao! bella, ciao! bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!

O partigiano, portami via,

ché mi sento di morir.

 

I’ll Dance On Your Grave Mrs Thatcher / 2013

And we’ll dance

Yes we’ll dance

We’ll dance on your grave Mrs. Thatcher

We’ll dance

Yes, we’ll dance

We’ll dance on your grave Mrs. Thatcher

 

Joe Hill / 1940

I dreamed, I saw Joe Hill last night

Alive as you and me

Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”

“I never died” says he

“I never died” says he

 

Ringing of Revolution / 1966

Oh, life was a game, and work was a shame,

And pain was prevented by pleasure.

The world, cold and grey, was so far away

In the distance only money could measure.

But their thoughts were broken by the ringing of revolution.

 

Do You Hear The People Sing? / 1980

Do you hear the people sing,

Singing a song of angry men?

Is the music of a people

who will not be slaves again!

When the beating of your heart

Echoes the beating of the drums,

There is a life about to start

When tomorrow comes!

 

I’m a Socialist / Marcel Cartier / 2014

I’m a socialist, more than just a theorist

That means I keep it militant, the boss man’s nemesis

Rep the organizers, 9 to 5 grinders

Homeless and the downtrodden, true freedom fighters

I’m a socialist, more than just a theorist

That means I keep it militant, the boss man’s nemesis

 

Guantanamera / 1929

Con los pobres de la tierra

Quiero yo mi suerte echar

Con los pobres de la tierra

Quiero yo mi suerte echar

El arroyo de la sierra

Me complace mas que el mar

 

POEMS

 

The New Colossus / Emma Lazarus / 1883

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,  

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, 

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

Yertle the Turtle / 1958

Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,

Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.

“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain,

But down here below, we are feeling great pain.

I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,

But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.

 

 

Let America Be America Again / 1935

O, let America be America again

The land that never has been yet

And yet must be the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine  the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plough in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

 

QUOTES

Socialism is a scareword they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called social security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.

– Harry S. Truman / 1952

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/truman-socialism-scare-word

 

We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. … We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.

 

– Ursula K Le Guin / 2014

 

We are socialists because we believe that work must be organized for the collective benefit of those who do the work and create the products, and not for the profit of the bosses. Material resources must be equally distributed among those who create these resources.

– The Combahee River Collective Statement / 1977

http://circuitous.org/scraps/combahee.html

 

All that socialism means to me, to be very frank with you, is democracy with a small ‘d.’ I believe in democracy, and by democracy, I mean that, to as great an extent as possible, human beings have the right to control their own lives. And that means that you cannot separate the political structure from the economic structure.

– Bernie Sanders / 1986

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/bernie_sanders_830981?src=t_socialism

 

To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. It’s asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America that we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education. It’s one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live.

– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / 2018

https://www.vogue.com/article/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-interview-primary-election

 

With the development of industrial capitalism, a new and unanticipated system of injustice, it is libertarian socialism that has preserved and extended the radical humanist message of the Enlightenment and the classical liberal ideals that were perverted into an ideology to sustain the emerging social order.

– Noam Chomsky / 1973

https://chomsky.info/state01/

 

No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution – Revolution is but thought carried into action. Every effort for progress, for enlightenment, for science, for religious, political, and economic liberty, emanates from the minority, and not from the mass.

 

 

Communist manifesto /  1847

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.

They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by

the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.

Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.

The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. 

They have a world to win. 

Workers of the world, unite!


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Lu Zhao is a winter 2020 editorial intern for In These Times. She has written for publications including USA Today, UPI, SupChina, Chicago Reporter and Block Club Chicago.

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