Latest Updates & U.S. Response

  1. coronavirus

    Trump rejects Obamacare special enrollment period amid pandemic

    President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching

    The Trump administration has decided against reopening Obamacare enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, defying calls from health insurers and Democrats to create a special sign-up window amid the health crisis.

    President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching, the federal enrollment site, and insurers said they privately received assurances from health officials overseeing the law's marketplace. However, a White House official on Tuesday evening told POLITICO the administration will not reopen the site for a special enrollment period, and that the administration is "exploring other options."

    Read More »

  2. Finance & Tax

    Pelosi, Warren press Fed to ride to rescue of cities slammed by pandemic

    Congress has given the Federal Reserve a $454 billion pot of money and broad authority to back up the municipal bond market with direct purchases.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are among top Democrats pressing the Federal government to do more to help salvage municipal finances as the coronavirus wallops state and local budgets.

    "We need to do more by way of our appropriations, by way of our tax code, and by way of policy," Pelosi said Tuesday on MSNBC. "And also by way of the Fed doing more to help the state and local governments with the challenges that they face, which are massive."

    Read More »

  3. Defense

    Navy scrambles to aid aircraft carrier as more than 100 sailors test positive for coronavirus

    Most of the crew is still aboard the ship, where tight spaces make social distancing impossible.


    The Navy is racing to find solutions to the deteriorating situation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as more than 100 sailors test positive for the coronavirus, the head of the service said Tuesday.

    During an appearance in CNN, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly responded to a letter written Sunday by Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier's commanding officer, asking senior commanders for help as the ship goes through the painstaking process of testing all 5,000 crew members while it is sidelined in Guam.

    Read More »

  4. Coronavirus

    Coronavirus hits the economy where it hurts: Consumer confidence

    Steep dents in consumer optimism are to be expected with such severe and widespread economic pain.

    The coronavirus pandemic is finally starting to take a toll on one of the economy's most important strengths under President Donald Trump: consumer confidence.

    A closely watched survey of consumer sentiment published monthly showed Tuesday that Americans across the board are getting more worried about the state of the economy and how their own personal finances will fare. The index published by The Conference Board dropped to 120 in March from 132.6 in February — its lowest level since June 2017. (The index is compared to a 1985 benchmark, set at 100).

    Read More »

  5. Coronavirus

    HIV patients left vulnerable amid pandemic, experts say

    The Trump administration’s goal of halting HIV transmission by 2030 is being swamped by the coronavirus crisis.

    The Trump administration’s goal of halting HIV transmission by 2030 is being swamped by the coronavirus crisis, with many sexual health clinics closing their doors and local health departments' infectious disease staff being redeployed to emergency response roles.

    That's raising concern about the large population of people living with undiagnosed and untreated HIV, whose compromised immune systems could put them at higher risk of succumbing to coronavirus.

    Read More »

  6. White House

    White House pressures FDA on unproven Japanese drug

    After Trump's conversation with Prime Minister Abe, aides are seeking an emergency authorization for Fujifilm-owned drug.

    The Trump administration is encouraging regulators to allow a decades-old flu drug to be administered as a possible coronavirus treatment, despite career officials’ concerns about the risks and limited evidence that the drug would work as a coronavirus treatment, according to three officials with knowledge of the deliberations and internal documents reviewed by POLITICO.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed the drug, Avigan, as a possible treatment, and clinical trials are now getting underway in Japan. Chinese scientists also have touted the drug, produced by Japan-based Fujifilm, as a potential coronavirus treatment, but global regulators and U.S. researchers have long expressed concern about the drug’s risks, such as birth defects, and have warned that the Chinese data is insufficient.

    Read More »

  7. Coronavirus

    Rick Scott calls for congressional inquiry into WHO's coronavirus response

    The Florida senator has raised concerns over WHO’s relationship with Beijing.

    Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday called for a congressional investigation into the World Health Organization, suggesting the U.S. should cut off its funding for “helping Communist China cover up” the full extent of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Florida Republican, a noted China hawk, has long raised concerns about the WHO’s relationship with Beijing, which has undercounted the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

    Read More »

  8. coronavirus

    Fauci: Mask-wearing recommendation under ‘very serious consideration’

    Administration officials have offered varying assessments of the mitigation measure in recent days.


    Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed on Tuesday that the White House coronavirus task force is seriously considering guidance that Americans wear masks to help thwart the rapid spread of COVID-19.

    But the country’s top infectious disease expert also acknowledged that such a directive has been complicated by the nationwide dearth of personal protective equipment.

    Read More »

  9. Coronavirus

    Coronavirus has more Americans turning directly to farms for food

    The spike in traffic for businesses that have been delivering to customers for years has prompted others to consider adapting their business models.

    Farmers who sell boxes of meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables directly to consumers are seeing a huge spike in orders as the coronavirus outbreak changes how people buy food.

    Food delivery businesses run by local farmers across the country are flourishing as people grow wary of making frequent trips to the grocery store and choosing to cook at home instead of eating out. It’s emerged as a bright spot in the agriculture industry while other types of small to midsize farms are struggling due to many farmers markets shutting down and restaurants and schools scaling back contracts.

    Read More »

  10. coronavirus

    CNN anchor Chris Cuomo tests positive for coronavirus

    The journalist said he is feeling well and will continue to anchor his nightly show from his basement.

    Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor and brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for coronavirus after experiencing a fever, chills and shortness of breath.

    The journalist said he is feeling well and will continue to anchor his nightly show from his basement, where he is quarantining away from the rest of his family.

    Read More »

  11. Coronavirus

    Trump officials tell desperate hospitals that patients can share ventilators

    New federal guidelines on ventilator splitting emphasize it should "only be considered as an absolute last resort" for hospitals.


    The Trump administration is telling hospitals they can split ventilators between two patients and is escalating calls to scrap elective surgeries, as federal officials try to limit care rationing in facilities lacking the critical breathing machines.

    New federal guidelines on so-called ventilator splitting — an idea that's been used extremely rarely in emergency situations — emphasizes it should "only be considered as an absolute last resort" for hospitals swamped by coronavirus patients. But it underscores concerns that hospitals could soon be faced with challenging ethical decisions about how to prioritize which patients receive life-saving equipment.

    Read More »

  12. congress

    McConnell and Pelosi draw coronavirus battle lines

    The majority leader warns that he won't allow Democrats "to achieve unrelated policy items they wouldn't otherwise be able to pass."


    Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are on another coronavirus collision course.

    As Speaker Pelosi prepares the House to pass sweeping “Phase 4” economic legislation this spring, Senate Majority Leader McConnell is throwing cold water on Democrats’ hopes to address the crisis by boosting infrastructure spending and social programs.

    Read More »

  13. Coronavirus

    Rep. Max Rose deployed with National Guard to assist coronavirus response

    "I am just trying to do my duty and my small part," he said.

    Freshman Rep. Max Rose announced Tuesday he has been deployed to the front lines of the nation’s coronavirus epicenter in New York as a member of the National Guard.

    The New York Democrat will work in facilities in his own district in Staten Island — which he has represented since January 2019 — where 2,091 cases have been reported as of Monday. New York City overall has more than 38,000 cases.

    Read More »

  14. Coronavirus

    New York radio icon Mike Francesa lays into Trump over coronavirus response

    He blasted the president with the type of tirade typically reserved for the Knicks or Mets.

    President Donald Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic has cost him the on-air support of one of his most outspoken hometown defenders.

    Mike Francesa, the longtime icon of New York sports talk radio, blasted the president on Monday with the type of tirade he typically reserves for the Knicks or Mets — accusing Trump of not funneling enough medical equipment to the current epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

    Read More »

  15. coronavirus

    U.S. consumer confidence sinks as virus begins having impact

    Economists say confidence is sure to fall further as the virus’ impact takes a bigger toll on the economy.

    U.S. consumer confidence tumbled this month to its lowest level in nearly three years as the impact of the coronavirus on the economy began to be felt.

    The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its confidence index dropped to a reading of 120 in March from February’s 132.6. It was the lowest reading since the index was at 117.3 in June 2017.

    Read More »


    Pelosi: Mail-in voting will protect ‘integrity of the election system’ amid coronavirus

    The House speaker also advocated for more federal funds to be directed to the U.S. Postal Service.


    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday suggested vote-by-mail capabilities should be scaled up ahead of 2020’s remaining elections, shielding Americans from the threats in-person voting could pose amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    “In terms of the elections, I think that we’ll probably be moving to vote by mail,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding that congressional Democrats had pushed to allocate increased funding in the recent $2 trillion relief package “to get those resources to the states to facilitate the reality of life: that we are going to have to have more vote by mail.”

    Read More »

  17. 2020 elections

    How coronavirus blew up the plan to take down Trump

    Donald Trump’s reelection is likely to rise or fall on his handling of the pandemic. And there isn’t much Democrats can do about it.

    For many Democrats, it’s the election of a lifetime. Yet the question preoccupying the party for several days this month was whether their presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, could get the webcast working in his rec room.

    It was a telling obsession, one that revealed the extent of the party’s anxiety as it comes to a nail-biting conclusion: Despite all the arguments Democrats have crafted and all the evidence they have amassed against Donald Trump, his reelection is likely to rise or fall on his handling of the coronavirus crisis and its fallout alone.

    Read More »

  18. 2020 Elections

    Pandemic threatens monster turnout in November

    Election administrators and voting-rights experts say there's little time to change November voting procedures to account for coronavirus.

    Time is running out to allow millions of Americans to vote this fall without fear of contracting the novel coronavirus.

    Mail voting — the voting method that best preserves social distancing — is infrequently used in many states, and those that don’t have extensive mail voting might be unable to implement systems before November. And while 33 states, including most 2020 presidential battlegrounds, already allow any voter to cast a ballot by mail who wants to, a number of those states aren’t prepared to handle the crush of mailed-in ballots that could be coming their way in November.

    Read More »

  19. 2020

    Across the Country, Campaign Operatives Are Stuck

    A pandemic interrupts a political life cycle and hundreds of young campaign operatives find themselves in limbo.

    Most every evening in these strangest and scariest of days, on the second floor of a building that used to be a printing plant downtown in South Bend, Indiana, best friends Greta Carnes and Joey Pacific sit in the doorways of their respective apartments—a responsible 12 feet apart—and just talk.

    “Mostly small talk,” said Carnes, who was the national organizing director for the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg. “About our existential dread.”

    Read More »