☕ Cover: President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Thursday, May 14, 2020, at Owens & Minor Inc. Distribution Center in Allentown, Pa.. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: Ed Jackson is a quadriplegic former rugby player. He wanted another challenge so he attempted to climb Mount Everest on his stairs.
📰 TOP STORY
On Friday, Democrats passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the House of Representatives that would cost more than the prior four coronavirus bills combined. The “HEROES Act”, as it’s being called, would provide almost $1 trillion for state and local governments, suspend interest and payments for federal student loans through September 30, 2020, and extend the extra $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit through January 2021. The legislation also includes another round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals: both American citizens and unauthorized immigrants. This extra provision sparked some debate just before the weekend.
On the Right: The Republican position is that relief funds should be dedicated to US citizens only, specifically those who have a social security number. Conservatives also note that if this provision passed, it would entice even more immigrants to come to the US illegally. Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia called the direct payment addition for undocumented immigrants a “poison pill” and brought forth a motion on Friday to strip this provision from the relief bill. It failed on a 198-209 vote. All Republicans and 13 Democrats sided with Riggleman. In a floor speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added, “Another round of checks for illegal immigrants. Can you believe it? We forgot to have the Treasury Department send money to people here illegally. My goodness, what an oversight. Thank goodness Democrats are on the case.”
On the Left: The Democrat’s position is that tax paying immigrants and their families should be eligible for federal stimulus funds regardless of their legal status. Under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed in late March, only immigrants with Social Security Numbers — and who fulfilled certain residency requirements — were able to receive the payments, meaning unauthorized immigrants and many temporary visa holders were excluded. As Vox notes, Democrats “have asserted that failing to offer financial aid to many immigrant families is an injustice that must be rectified, especially as the public has come to rely on immigrants to provide essential services during the current crisis. For instance, unauthorized immigrants make up about a quarter of farmworkers and 8 percent of the service sector and production workers. “They pay taxes, contribute to our economy, and in many cases are fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a call with reporters May 1.
Flag This: Whether you agree with the Democrat’s position or not, one state is moving forward with this idea regardless of Congressional approval. Starting today, undocumented immigrants living in California who are ineligible for federal financial aid amid the coronavirus pandemic can apply to a new program. As detailed by Nicole Acevedo of NBC, “Eligible immigrant families will be able to get up to $1,000 per household. The state will contribute $75 million to the fund and philanthropic groups are expected to help raise an additional $50 million to complete the fund and support undocumented Californians.” While California appears to have funds available for this program, the state will be drastically limiting funding for its public colleges and universities. The University of California, is projected to lose $376 million in state general fund spending compared to what it received in the last fiscal year. The California State University, home to roughly 410,000 undergraduates across 23 campuses, is eyeing a reduction of $404 million compared to last year’s budget. As far as we know, other countries aren’t redirecting educational subsidies to fund programs for undocumented immigrants. It’s also hard to say whether or not Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Newsom would be eligible for direct payments if they were living in another country illegally.
Zooming out, despite passing 208-199, the The HEROES Act isn’t expected to advance any further in Congress and it’s unlikely that financial aid for unauthorized immigrants will find bipartisan support in a future “phase 4” coronavirus relief package.
🦅 US NEWS
Mystery Alaska: Thousands Are Headed to Alaska’s Fishing Towns. So Is the Virus.
“The people of Cordova, Alaska, had weathered the coronavirus pandemic with no cases and the comfort of isolation — a coastal town unreachable by road in a state with some of the fewest infections per capita in the country,” Mike Baker writes for the NYT. “But that seclusion has come to an abrupt end. Over the past two weeks, fishing boat crews from Seattle and elsewhere have started arriving by the hundreds, positioning for the start of Alaska’s summer seafood rush.”
- Flag This: Alaska is now a prime example of what government leaders must balance: personal health and economic health. As GZERO Media notes, Alaskan officials, “want to protect their residents, but they don’t want to cripple the fishing industry, which generates $5 billion a year and accounts for 8 percent of statewide employment.” Keep reading.
Say Cheese: Wisconsin Reopens, And the Online Crowd Goes Wild
Last Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the state’s original safer-at-home order, which prevented Governor Tony Evers’ attempts to extend the state’s shutdown measures. Several Wisconsin bars did not wait long to reopen and residents of the Badger State did not hesitate to visit their favorite watering holes. This set off a chain reaction on social media that illustrates the partisan divide reopening has revealed in the US:
- On the Left: Mark Joseph Stern, at Slate, condemned the decision and pointed to a study showing that the state is far from flattening its curve. Stern also criticized Wisconsin’s Supreme Court saying that this specific situation is the result of what happens when “conservative judges recklessly implement the Republican’s Party’s wishes from the bench.”
- On the Right: Conservative figures, including President Trump, have praised the events in Wisconsin as a victory for democracy. The Editorial Board at The Wall Street Journal has called many governors “bullies” who are abusing their authority during this crisis and says that, “even in a pandemic, the state Supreme Court says shutdowns must follow the law.”
🌎 WORLD NEWS
The coronavirus has proven to be the latest wrench in an already-tense relationship between the US and China. Tensions have been simmering for a while due to multiple geopolitical disagreements. China’s military ambitions, the status of Taiwan, supply chain disruptions, and the deportation of journalists from both countries are a few developments that consistently cause jitters. Halfway through the first quarter, the coronavirus’ spread exacerbated these existing issues and last week two developments added fuel to the fire:
- On Friday, the Trump administration moved to prevent chip manufacturers from shipping semiconductors to Huawei Technologies, a Chinese multinational technology company. Immediately it sparked a sell-off in chips and equipment stocks.
- Then, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co said on Friday it will build a semiconductor facility in Arizona. As the New York Times pointed out, the decision was “… a Win for Trump“
- The Long Read from Foreign Policy: “Washington is pressing for a post-pandemic decoupling from China. But the last big economic split brought on two world wars and a depression. What’s in store this time?” Keep reading.
Europe’s Slow Reopening
In a decree issued early Saturday, the Italian government laid out its timeline for lifting restrictions on domestic and foreign travel. Starting today, people will be allowed to move freely within their own region, and on June 3, officials expect to lift their blanket ban on travel to and from the country. Elsewhere in Europe, Greece opened up its beaches Saturday to visitors who were required to abide by social distancing.
- Flag This: Among the world’s 50 largest economies, both Greece and Italy are highly dependent on tourism and the summer season is nearly here. Who depends the most on tourists? Here’s a map from GZERO Media.
- In separate, stark warnings, two major European leaders bluntly told their citizens that the world needs to adapt to living with the coronavirus and cannot wait to be saved by the development of a vaccine. Keep reading.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Plant-based meat sales in the US are up 264 percent since March
The US meat industry has been rocked by the pandemic, with major producers shutting down production and thousands of workers infected with the novel coronavirus in 19 states. The combined threat of meat shortages and rising meat prices means consumers have been turning to alternatives. Grocery store sales of products like Beyond Meat and Tofurky were up 264 percent during a nine-week period ending on May 2nd. Keep reading.
NFL proposal would improve draft picks for minority hires
The NFL is considering improving draft picks for teams that hire minority candidates as head coaches or general managers, sources confirmed to ESPN. Under the proposal a team could improve its third-round draft selection by up to 16 picks — going up 10 spots for hiring a minority candidate as general manager or an equivalent-level position and six spots for hiring a minority head coach. Keep reading.
Tech Takeovers: Facebook & Apple Acquisitions
Facebook announced on Friday that it will acquire GIF company, Giphy for $400 million. Facebook plans to integrate the animated-picture platform into Instagram. Speaking of tech acquisitions, Apple just acquired NextVR Inc, a virtual reality streaming company. Connect the dots: With pandemic-era acquisitions, big tech is back in the antitrust crosshairs.
📢 PRESENTED BY VINCERO
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
Results From Last Week’s Flag Poll
If there is a “second wave” of coronavirus infections, do you think the United States should implement the same lock down measures? 33% said Yes, 67% said No. Full results and comments.
This Week’s Flag Poll
Should unauthorized immigrants receive coronavirus relief funding? Click here to vote. Click here to vote.
On this day in 2012, Facebook, the world’s largest social network, holds its initial public offering (IPO) and raises $16 billion. It was the largest technology IPO in American history to that date, and the third-largest IPO ever in the United States, after those of Visa and General Motors.
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How to Go on a Digital First Date (GQ)
Question: Which states get less in federal funds than they give? Answer here…