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On the roster: White House looks to Pelosi for stimulus help – Biden rolls out cradle-to-grave care plan – Team Trump burning through cash at record pace – Trump uses federal forces in showdown with mayors – Solomon of the Sawzall
WHITE HOUSE LOOKS TO PELOSI FOR STIMULUS HELP
Bloomberg: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will kick off a first round of negotiations on the next virus relief plan even as Republicans are still hashing out an agreement among themselves. With the pandemic surging across the country and economic data pointing to a stalled recovery, Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon, along with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Mnuchin and Meadows will meet earlier in the day with Senate Republicans, where the administration may face pushback from GOP lawmakers as they go over their ideas for getting schools reopened and businesses hiring. The White House and Congress have only a few weeks to come up with another stimulus to prevent the economic rout caused by the coronavirus from deepening.”
McConnell looks to hold the line – AP: “The package from [Mitch] McConnell … is expected to include at least $70 billion to help schools reopen. It will likely replace an expiring $600 weekly unemployment benefits boost with a smaller amount. The GOP’s proposed cut in unemployment assistance is designed to ensure that jobless people do not receive a greater benefit than if they were working. McConnell said his package will send a fresh round of direct cash payments to Americans below a certain income level, extend small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and create a sweeping five-year liability shield against coronavirus lawsuits. But the president’s priorities are splitting his GOP allies in Congress giving momentum to Democrats as talks are underway. The administration criticized the GOP’s push for $25 billion more in virus testing… [President Trump] insisted on a full payroll tax repeal that many Republican senators oppose. The White House also wants to link $70 billion in education funds to mandates that schools reopen.”
Lots of skepticism, little time – WaPo: “In a sign of the hard sell the White House faces, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sounded skeptical when asked about the payroll tax cut Monday evening. ‘I think you’d better ask me after [Tuesday] so we can hear from the administration if they’re really serious about it,’ Grassley said. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is giving Congress just three weeks to write the bill before adjourning for summer recess. With multiple issues dividing the two parties and creating rifts between the White House and Senate Republicans, it’s shaping up as a daunting task.”
THE RULEBOOK: EVERYBODY’S GOT ONE
“As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 10
TIME OUT: THE CASE OF THE ENIGMATIC ÉPÉE
Sports Illustrated: “The Summer Olympics, which were supposed to open this week, have seen their share of competitive scandals—but none more bold or bizarre than Soviet pentathlete Boris Onischenko and his doctored fencing sword. … Seven a.m., July 19, 1976. The athletes’ bus from the Olympic Village is snaking six miles southwest to the Université de Montréal as unlikely seatmates conduct business. … Boris Onischenko, Soviet Union, is a titan. He has won a world championship and an Olympic silver medal and been part of gold-and-silver-medal-winning Olympic teams. … Onischenko’s initial opponent is Adrian Parker, another lefthander. Onischenko lunges, and the light signaling a hit goes on. … Fight over. Onischenko’s touch seems too good to be true, at least to Parker. He removes his mask and protests to referee Guido Malacarne that he hasn’t been hit. Following a cursory examination of Onischenko’s épée—all swords must pass inspection before competition—the referee does not annul the touch.”
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NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 40.6 percent
Biden: 51.4 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 10.8 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↑ 0.4 points, Trump ↑ 0.6 points
[Average includes: Fox News: Trump 41% – Biden 49%; ABC/WaPo: Trump 44% – Biden 54; CNBC: Trump 41% – Biden 51%; Quinnipiac University: Trump 37% – Biden 52%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 40% – Biden 51%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)
Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 41.2 percent
Average disapproval: 57 percent
Net Score: -15.8 points
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: Fox News: 45% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 40% approve – 58% disapprove; CNBC: 43% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 36% approve – 60% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 42% approve – 56% disapprove.]
GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
Our favorite part of every edition of the Halftime Report newsletter is our “From the Bleachers” section where Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt responds to readers’ complaints, compliments, suggestions and tries to answer the questions voters have about government, politics and elections. He also gets asked about everything from philosophy to smoked meat to the designated hitter rule. We’re pleased to bring the concept to video with an updated Fox Nation show, “Halftime Report: From the Bleachers.” On Wednesdays and Fridays, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Chris to the test with your questions. He’ll do his best to answer and, along with Brianna, try to track down the answers they don’t know. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to [email protected] before we take our first pitch on Wednesday.
BIDEN ROLLS OUT CRADLE-TO-GRAVE CARE PLAN
Bloomberg: “Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled a $775 billion plan to bolster child care and care for the elderly that would be financed by taxes on real-estate investors with incomes of more than $400,000 as well increased tax compliance by high-income earners. The Biden campaign did not fully explain how the plan for a ‘caring economy’ would be financed, but officials highlighted some tax breaks they would seek to eliminate to raise revenue. In particular, a senior campaign official said a Biden administration would take aim at so-called like-kind exchanges, which allow investors to defer paying taxes on the sale of real estate if the capital gains are reinvested in another property. The official also said they would prevent investors from using real-estate losses to lower their income tax bills. Biden is scheduled to deliver a speech on the policies Tuesday afternoon in New Castle, Delaware. The proposal is the third plank of the Democratic nominee’s economic plan.”
Four Black women on Biden veep list, but no guarantee – NBC News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told MSNBC on Monday that four Black women are on his shortlist for vice president — putting him closer to selecting a running mate a month before he accepts the party’s nomination. Biden told MSNBC … however, that he would not guarantee that a Black woman will be his running mate. ‘I am not committed to naming any but the people I’ve named, and among them are four Black women,’ Biden said. … He said that it will take about six weeks to complete the vetting and that his campaign is doing a ‘detailed analysis’ of contenders to narrow the list before next month’s nearly all-virtual convention in Milwaukee.”
TEAM TRUMP BURNING THROUGH CASH AT RECORD PACE
WaPo: “President Trump’s campaign, the Republican Party and two affiliated committees have spent more than $983 million since 2017, a record-breaking sum toward a reelection effort at this point in the presidential campaign, new filings show. In June alone, Trump’s campaign spent $240 million and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign spent $165 million, as the two sides ramped up their general-election efforts, according to Federal Election Commission filings made public Monday. Trump has raised and spent money for his reelection since 2017, earlier in his term than previous presidents. At this point in 2012, the Obama campaign, the Democratic Party and a joint fundraising committee had spent roughly half that amount, at about $552 million, federal records show. Trump’s 2016 campaign, run on a shoestring budget, cost $878 million. Despite the historic spending, Trump has been slipping in national polls and approval ratings amid the spread of the novel coronavirus and a weakened economy.”
Local law enforcement warns of big trouble for convention rally – The Florida Times-Union: “The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will be unable to keep the Republican National Convention safe when it comes to the city next month, Sheriff Mike Williams said in a frank interview with local news outlets Monday afternoon. Right now, he says they only have ‘bits and pieces’ of a plan to handle the event. ‘Where we are today is we can’t support this plan,’ he said in the interview. ‘Where do we go from here is a good question. But where we are today, we can’t support it.’ Williams, a Republican, added, ‘There’s got to be some major re-working of what’s happening.’ He said he’d been in touch with Mayor Lenny Curry, a former Republican Party of Florida chairman who has been a vocal advocate for bringing the convention here… Williams said Curry understood the sheriff’s concerns as they have talked about them, including just before the sheriff’s news conference. Williams said he didn’t know what action the mayor could take at this point.”
White House leans on telecoms after campaign texts flagged as spam – Politico: “A test run of one of Donald Trump’s most important voter-contact programs was abruptly shut down over the July 4 weekend, potentially costing the president millions of dollars in donations and raising alarms about whether the initiative will face roadblocks in the run-up to the election. Trump’s campaign used the weekend to test-drive its text messaging program, a cornerstone of its small-donor outreach and its voter turnout plan. But after sending out over 1 million patriotic-themed messages, the enterprise was taken offline by anti-spam monitors employed by mobile phone giants. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser who wields vast control over the president’s political apparatus, quickly reached out to Verizon and T-Mobile executives to inquire about initiating communication between the campaign and the companies in hopes of fixing the problem.”
TRUMP USES FEDERAL FORCES IN SHOWDOWN WITH MAYORS
NYT: “President Trump plans to deploy federal law enforcement to Chicago and threatened on Monday to send agents to other major cities — all controlled by Democrats. Governors and other officials reacted angrily to the president’s move, calling it an election-year ploy as they squared off over crime, civil liberties and local control that has spread from Portland, Ore., across the country. With camouflage-clad agents already sweeping through the streets of Portland, more units were poised to head to Chicago, and Mr. Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and other urban centers. Governors and other officials compared his actions to authoritarianism and vowed to pursue legislation or lawsuits to stop him.”
Trump’s makeshift federal police force – The Atlantic: “The agents out on the streets of Portland are detailed from Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Among the forces deployed in Washington last month, when Trump briefly barricaded himself within the White House, were officers from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. When the president ramped up security around statues, in response to vandalism and destruction of monuments, DHS agents were assigned that duty. None of these tasks has much to do with the stated mandates of these agencies or departments… The reason these agents are the ones being deployed is simply that they’re the ones who are available. In the absence of a federal police force, the administration is simply pulling in any federal law-enforcement officer that it has the power to reassign.”
Police unions work with feds to skirt local authorities – Daily Beast: “Leaders of cities like Portland and Chicago publicly say they don’t want federal law enforcement policing protesters. But as President Donald Trump threatens to send in the troops to a handful of America’s largest cities, some of those same locales’ police unions appear to be circumventing elected officials to work with the feds. On Monday, Trump indicated a desire to send federal law enforcement to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, and Oakland, apparently to crush protests there because police are ‘restricted from doing anything.’ His remarks came after federal agents—revealed to be Customs and Border Protection in camouflage uniforms—were deployed to Portland, Oregon, where they faced outcry for shooting a less-lethal projectile into an activist’s head and shoving protesters into unmarked vans.”
Poll: Big shift on racism, but resistance to radical change – WaPo: “A majority of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement and a record 69 percent say black people and other minorities are not treated as equal to white people in the criminal justice system. But the public generally opposes calls to shift some police funding to social services or remove statues of Confederate generals or presidents who [owned slaves], a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds. … The share of Americans saying that black people and other minorities do not receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system has risen by 15 percentage points from 2014… …55 percent of Americans oppose moving funds from police departments to social services… …63 percent saying the government should not pay reparations. … Opposition is even greater to the removal of public statues honoring former U.S. presidents who [owned slaves], with 68 percent of Americans opposed and 25 percent in support of their removal.”
TRUMP BACKERS AMBUSH CHENEY, DEMAND OUSTER
Politico: “Members of the … House Freedom Caucus tore into Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) during a heated GOP conference meeting [today], lobbing attacks at her for breaking with President Donald Trump, supporting Dr. Anthony Fauci and backing a primary opponent to one of their colleagues. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) … for all the times she has opposed Trump and began ticking off some recent high-profile examples, according to two sources in the room. … Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the head of the Freedom Caucus, even accused Cheney of undermining the GOP’s ability to win back the House and said that if someone has a problem with Trump, they should keep it to themselves. … To Jordan, … Cheney said: ‘I look forward to hearing your comments about being a team player when we’re back in the majority,’ according to two sources in the room. After the meeting, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) ….tweeted that Cheney should step down from her position as the No. 3 House Republican.”
Florida Republican accosts Ocasio-Cortez – The Hill: ‘Tensions flared on Capitol Hill this week when a Republican lawmaker challenged Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) … Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) was coming down the steps on the east side of the Capitol on Monday, having just voted, when he approached Ocasio-Cortez, who was ascending into the building to cast a vote of her own. In a brief but heated exchange, which was overheard by a reporter, Yoho told Ocasio-Cortez she was ‘disgusting’ for recently suggesting that poverty and unemployment are driving a spike in crime in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘You are out of your freaking mind,’ Yoho told her. Ocasio-Cortez shot back, telling Yoho he was being ‘rude.’ The two then parted ways. Ocasio-Cortez headed into the building, while Yoho, joined by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), began descending toward the House office buildings. A few steps down, Yoho offered a parting thought to no one in particular. ‘[F—ing] bitch,’ he said.”
SWING STATE SCANDAL AS OHIO GOP BIGS BUSTED
Cleveland Plain Dealer: “[Republican] Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested Tuesday morning ahead of an announcement about a $60 million federal racketeering case related to Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law, according to media reports. … The investigation centers on House Bill 6, the $1 billion-plus ratepayer bailout of two Ohio nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions (now Energy Harbor) that Householder helped push through last year with the help of millions in dark money…. Besides Householder, four others have been arrested, according to sources and media reports: former Ohio Republican Party Chair-turned-consultant Matt Borges, prominent lobbyist Neil Clark, FirstEnergy Solutions lobbyist Juan Cespedes, and Householder aide Jeff Longstreth. All are currently in custody, according to a source. The news comes as the FBI and U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers called a news conference in Columbus at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to announce charges related to $60 million bribe to a ‘state official’ and ‘associates.’”
Leading lab service provider warns of trouble ahead for autumn – Financial Times
Georgia Dems pick state Chairwoman Nikema Williams to replace Lewis on ballot – AJC
Senate confirms new White House budget boss – Politico
SupCo brushes off House plea to fast-track decision on Trump taxes – Reuters
AUDIBLE: OH, A WISE GUY, EH?
“I want more briefings but, more importantly, I want the whole White House to start acting like a team on a mission to tackle a real problem. [Peter Navarro]’s Larry, Moe and Curly junior-high slap fight this week is yet another way to undermine public confidence that these guys grasp that tens of thousands of Americans have died and tens of millions are out of work.” – Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., per the NYT.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I really enjoyed the article on John Lewis. Every week you seem to change the way I think about things in some way. When thinking about the current social unrest, can you explain why it is happening?” – Mike Owens, Resaca, Ga.
[Ed. note: That is about the highest praise you can give a writer, Mr. Owens! As for what’s going on now, I think there are lots of straws on this particular camel’s back. But here are some factors to consider. 1) It’s an election year and politicians are prone to pandering hand incitement even more than usual. 2) It’s a pandemic year in which anxieties are heightened, resentments are felt more acutely, and frustrations are closer to the surface. 3) It’s generational. Like the Baby Boomers who sat in, loved in, marched on, etc., their children and grandchildren are on the other side of a deep generational divide. I4) It’s economic. With points 2) and 3) in mind, consider how the lack of opportunity and upward mobility for Americans, especially those with post-secondary schooling, feeds into this cycle.]
“Thanks for the commentary on John Lewis. I was never a fan, partly out of ignorance of his story and the fact that he refused to attend either Bush’s or Trump’s inauguration. It was a very nice tribute to him and afforded me ‘the rest of the story.’ Wondering if the real story of those whose statues are being destroyed would enlighten and change hearts and minds like this article did mine.” – BC Cox, Georgetown, Texas
[Ed. note: Vandals aren’t big on rationality and mobs do not listen to reason. In those cases where mobs have pulled down statues, it’s probably for the same reason that George Mallory gave for wanting to climb Mt. Everest — an undertaking that would kill him in 1924 — “Because it’s there.” Now, for your fellow individuals Americans who are, like you, wrestling with how to proceed in these uncertain, roiled times, storytelling is of tremendous importance. Those who want to preserve America’s heritage and the virtues of its founding must never tire of telling those stories. For example, I’d imagine Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of “Hamilton” have done more to preserve respect and appreciation for the founding than anything any politician has done in a generation.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
SOLOMON OF THE SAWZALL
Bangor Daily News: “A man who cut his neighbor’s garage in half with a Sawzall was on friendly terms with the man who built the structure — just not with everyone who lived on the property after he died. Gabriel Brawn used a land surveyor’s demarcation between the two lots as a guide to remove the half of the building sitting on his land when a dispute over the boundary line boiled over. … The surveyor determined that the dividing line between the properties was in the center of the 148 Grove St. driveway — and right through the middle of the garage. … The next day, Gabriel Brawn — who works in construction — took a Sawzall and skillfully cut down the half of the garage that was on his family’s property and left the remains on the other side of the surveyor’s line.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Baseball does not remind us of all that was good – it was, to take only one example, most cruelly segregated for more than half a century – but it does remind us of all that was young.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on May 12, 1989.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.