Feb 16, 2019

Democrats look to put Republicans on the record on climate change consensus

Mitch McConnell. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats hope to put Republicans on the record on whether they support the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.

Where it stands: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bringing up the Green New Deal resolution for a vote soon — a move that shows GOP confidence that it puts Democrats in a political bind.

What's next: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that Democrats will push an amendment on acknowledgement of human-driven global warming.

"If Leader McConnell blocks amendments, we’ll know where he and his party stand: against science, against fact, ostriches with their heads buried in the sand as the tide comes in," Schumer said.

But, but, but: Thursday brought more evidence that Democrats are not all on the same page when it comes to the GND resolution, which was authored by 2 Democrats, Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

  • It's the sweeping but non-binding template that calls for massive federal investments in emissions-cutting alongside goals like job guarantees.
  • Even the bravado of Schumer's speech had a tacit admission (emphasis added): "Bring it on. You think it might embarrass Democrats to vote on a non-binding resolution that maybe some of us support but not others? Trust me, we’ll be fine."

What they're saying: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, declined to say how she would vote on the resolution when speaking at an Axios News Shapers event on Thursday.

  • "I support the goals as it relates to climate change," she said, but added that "some of the wording is of concern ... because it leaves things wide open and allows folks that are opposing it to … mischaracterize it."

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World coronavirus updates: Half of the globe is on lockdown

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

About half of the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis.

The latest: About half of deaths worldwide are in Italy and Spain, with fatalities exponentially increasing all over Europe. The global death toll exceeded 55,000 on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: 700,000 jobs lost in March, death toll still rising

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. lost 701,000 jobs in March, but the report doesn't reflect the height of the virus' impact on the economy. The jobless hits right now are like a natural disaster striking every state at the same time.

The state of play: Payments to Americans from the $2.2 trillion stimulus package will be distributed in mid-April, but those without IRS direct deposit accounts may not receive checks until August, according to a House Ways and Means Committee memo first reported by CNN and confirmed by Axios.

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Skepticism rises over government's small business bailouts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America today launched its $350 billion bailout for small businesses, and already there is widespread skepticism that the program will run smoothly or be large enough to meet demand.

What's new: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy yesterday said that the affiliation rule will be waived for any company with less than 500 employees that doesn't have a controlling outside shareholder, thus making most VC-backed startups eligible for PPP loans. This was based on a conversation he'd just had with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.