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D.C. Memo: Preferably within the next hour

This week from Washington, the COVID-19 relief effort stalls, what Trump’s new executive order means for mining in Minnesota and what’s up with Minnesota’s political “power couple”?

photo of grand canyon
Emails from First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn's office requested a tour of the Grand Canyon — preferably within the next hour — from the National Park Service.
REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, the COVID-19 relief effort stalls, what Trump’s new executive order means for mining in Minnesota and what’s up with Minnesota’s political “power couple”? Let’s get on with this.

Stimulus negotiations are over

Negotiations for a new stimulus package seemed to be moving forward for weeks. Not long ago, President Donald Trump’s lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, said there would be a $1,200 check included in any stimulus package. 

But on Tuesday, President Trump said negotiations for any future stimulus are over.

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“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” he tweeted. 

Rep. Angie Craig told me that the end of negotiations caught her and many members of Congress off guard. “Our families are suffering. Our small businesses are suffering. They can’t afford any more delays,” she said. “I’m really shocked that the administration has walked away from negotiations.”

One Minnesotan I talked to told me his reaction, the moment he heard the news:  “Finding that relief isn’t coming until at least January, I walked into my office, shut my door and cried,” he said.

You can read more at MinnPost.

A tall order

When President Trump last came to Minnesota, before his positive COVID-19 test result was announced, he made a big deal about an executive order he signed related to mining. He said it would be great for Minnesota.

“A critical issue in this election is the future of the Minnesota Iron Range,” Trump said at a rally in Duluth. “You know what, that’s why I’m here.”

But what does the new executive order actually do? And does it impact mining projects, like Twin Metals, in Minnesota?

The short answer is no, it doesn’t do much. But you can read the much longer answer at MinnPost. 

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By the numbers

  • 47%: The most recent poll of Minnesota, conducted by SurveyUSA of 929 likely voters, has Joe Biden at 47 percent in Minnesota, to Trump’s 40 percent. The margin of error is +/- 3.9%.
  • $14,000,000: The Trump campaign initially pledged to spend $14 million on political ads in Minnesota, but according to the Star Tribune’s Briana Bierschbach, it has been cutting spending dramatically.
  • 1,410,011: As of October, Minnesota’s Secretary of State has received 1.4 million requests for absentee ballots. By this time in 2018, that number was around 320,000; and in 2016, closer to 270,000.

First District distractions

Yet another piece about the First District: The Star Tribune reports that Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s office requested special treatment from the National Park Service for his wife, MNGOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan. Hagedorn’s staff, using official House email, asked the Park Service if Carnahan could have a private tour of Grand Canyon National park.

Recent polling on the district match-up between Hagedorn and DFLer Dan Feehan has both candidates at 41 percent. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, talked to 885 voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 points.

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In other news

Quote of the week

“Mrs. Carnahan would love to have a private guided tour of the Grand Canyon (preferably within the next hour.) She was wondering if the same could be arranged for her as she visits Horseshoe Bend this afternoon, and Angels Landing tomorrow. Likewise, she hopes to get the entry fee waived, as she is a member’s spouse,” a staffer to Rep. Jim Hagedorn wrote in an email to the Parks Service.

What I’m reading

Spencer Ackerman, Asawin Suebsaeng, Erin Banco, & Sam Stein for the Daily Beast: White House Quietly Told Vets Group It Might Have Exposed Them to COVID

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The Daily Beast reports that the White House quietly admitted to vets that they may have exposed them to COVID-19. Additionally, in an interview with Fox Business, President Trump appeared to blame Gold Star families for his exposure to the virus.

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.