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D.C. Memo: A COVID operation

Federal stimulus bill; Rep. Angie Craig’s HUMBLE Act gets new attention; Klobuchar’s husband sick with coronavirus infection; and more.

photo of us capitol dome
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus bailout bill.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, the coronavirus response, keeping Washington HUMBLE, and a tip jar for service workers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Let’s get on with this.

The third and biggest bill

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus bailout bill.

This is the third and largest coronavirus response legislation package. The first provided $8.3 billion in emergency medical funding, and the second, $100 billion to expand paid leave and unemployment insurance.

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“After days of bipartisan negotiations, the emergency relief package that the Senate has passed will deliver much needed assistance to patients and those on the front lines combating this pandemic and will provide economic support for people across the country,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement. ”While this legislation is a step in the right direction, there is much more work to do and I will continue fighting for all Americans.”

A big part of it: direct cash payments from the government.

Individual taxpayers making up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income will receive $1,200 checks and $500 for each child. Married couples will each receive the same ($2,400), if they earn under $150,000. After that, the credit amount sent slowly decreases.

Individuals making over $99,000 and couples making above $198,000 will not receive the payments. Taxpayers who file as “head of household,” but are unmarried, are limited to an income of $146,500.

If you want to know how much you could receive, the Washington Post put together a handy calculator here. 

Stay HUMBLE

This week, four new members signed onto Rep. Angie Craig’s bill, the HUMBLE Act, which would ban members of congress from owning individual stocks: Rep. Ilhan Omar, Craig’s congressional neighbor in Minneapolis; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

The bill is getting renewed attention after Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) dumped millions of dollars worth of shares of stocks after being briefed on the coronavirus, potentially using the information they used in the briefings.

“What happened over the weekend, you know, it’ll be someone else to determine whether or not there was insider trading involved,” said Craig, who represents Minnesota’s Second District. “But the real question is, why in the world would members of Congress be allowed to trade individual stocks?”

Read more from MinnPost. 

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s husband has coronavirus

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s husband, John Bessler, has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

“He kept having a temperature and a bad, bad cough and when he started coughing up blood he got a test and a chest X-ray and they checked him into a hospital in Virginia because of a variety of things including very low oxygen levels, which haven’t really improved,” Klobuchar said in a Medium post. “He now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator.”

MinnPost’s Peter Callaghan has a story on how COVID-19 is hitting home for Minnesota’s most prominent politicians.

By the numbers

  • 346: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Minnesota as of today, per Minnesota Department of Health. Note that, due to lack of testing, the true number of cases in the state is probably much higher. MinnPost is tracking it all here.
  • 149,000: The number of Minnesotans that have filed for unemployment in the past eight days, as of yesterday.
  • $500,000: The amount of money raised by a Super PAC supporting Rep. Collin Peterson.

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In other news

Quote of the week

“What we want to do is terminate it,” President Donald Trump said of the Affordable Care Act. During the coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration is suing to have it repealed and said they will replace it with something better.

Something a bit different

For this week, instead of what I’m reading, something a bit different. Someone has put together a “tip jar” for service workers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Folks are named, along with their place of employment and how to tip them. You can also submit your name and information to the Google Sheet.

You can contribute or submit your name here.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.