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  • A day after President Donald Trump said he would support a $2 trillion infrastructure package as a way to spur economic growth stalled by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, House Democratic leaders said they were ready to develop a plan with the White House. 'We are ready,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on a Wednesday morning conference call. 'It's never been partisan.' Joined by several other top Democrats, the Speaker made the case that there is an obvious need for a fourth economic aid package dealing with the virus - what's known as 'Phase 4' to lawmakers. 'We must take bold action to renew America's infrastructure,' Pelosi added. While not setting out the exact details of a new plan, Pelosi and other key Democrats made clear there were several areas which deserved attention - not just new roads and bridges. Pelosi rattled off priorities like money to build new community health centers, resources for broadband in rural areas and smaller towns, clean water infrastructure, and then money for roads, bridges, and mass transit programs. The President has talked a lot about infrastructure, but never really taken the next step to negotiate a plan with Democrats, who now see a giant opportunity to move forward. 'For once, I agree with him on a step he wants to take,' said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The broader questions looming over the nation about the Coronavirus also apply to the Congress - as while the House is due back after Easter, it's not clear what the health situation will be nationwide at that point, and whether lawmakers will return to legislate. 'I think we come back April 20, God willing, and Coronavirus willing,' the Speaker said.
  • A federal drug taskforce has stopped more than 4,400 pounds of illegal drugs from entering the U.S. Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Patrol and the US. Attorney’s Office worked with the Mexican government to find the entrance of a drug tunnel that started under a warehouse in Tijuana, running under the border with the U.S. and ending near San Diego. Inside the pipeline, officials said agents found 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and two pounds of fentanyl with a total street value of $29.6 million. The length of the tunnel was more than 2,000 feet. It was about 3 feet wide about 31 feet under the surface of the Earth, officials said. Officials say the tunnel, which was found on March 19, was built several months ago with lights, reinforced walls, ventilation and a rail system.
  • The City of Lawton is imposing a curfew, effective April 2nd, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The curfew will run from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and applies to anyone who is not an employee of an essential business. Officials say parents could be held responsible and fined if the children violate the curfew. Lawton is the first city in Oklahoma to impose a curfew in connection with the pandemic. Lawton Mayor Stan Booker also extended his Civil Emergency Proclamation to April 30th.
  • The White House on Tuesday released new estimates of a staggering death toll associated with the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States, predicting anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths even if Americans do their best to avoid social interactions, as President Donald Trump warned the nation of a difficult road ahead. 'This is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks,' the President said at the White House. 'This is going to be a rough two week period.' In the White House Briefing Room, Mr. Trump fully embraced scientific models championed by experts which show many thousands of Americans are likely to die in the month of April from the virus. 'I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,' the President said. 'We're going to go through a very tough two weeks.' The blunt warning came on the deadliest day yet in the United States as a whole, as nearly 800 deaths had been announced on Tuesday by the time the President reached the podium at the White House. 'It's a matter of life and death, frankly,' Mr. Trump said, as he urged Americans to follow the federal request for people to hold back on their social actions. By his side again at the White House, both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx laid out the figures from a series of studies, which predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die - many in the next few weeks. Birx and Fauci repeatedly emphasized that if Americans do their part to hold down the spread of the virus, that will in turn allow many people to survive. Asked about deaths of 100,000 or more, health officials did not mince words as to whether it might or might not happen. 'The answer is yes,' said Dr. Fauci. 'As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.
  • The City of Tulsa is calling on local business owners to help keep healthcare workers safe from the spread of COVID-19.  City leaders are asking that you email them with supplies you have to offer.  The supplies must be unopened and not homemade.  Here’s a list of what they need: Items currently being accepted: New Face shields New Goggles New CDC/NIOSH approved for medical use N95 Masks/Respirators We will also accept the industrial equivalents to the medical N95 or N100 masks New Impervious Gowns New Tyvek suits New Procedure and Surgical Masks New Hand Sanitizer New Hospital Disinfectant New Infrared Thermometers New Trash Bags New Industrial or medical use Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) ensembles New Industrial or medical use Powered Air Purifying Respirator(PAPR) hoods, filters, batteries Right now, they are unable to accept donations from private households or individuals due to quality control issues and potential contamination. Send an email to covid19donations@cityoftulsa.org with a description of your items. Someone with the city will contact you to discuss your donation and arrange drop off or pick up.

Washington Insider

  • A day after President Donald Trump said he would support a $2 trillion infrastructure package as a way to spur economic growth stalled by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, House Democratic leaders said they were ready to develop a plan with the White House. 'We are ready,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on a Wednesday morning conference call. 'It's never been partisan.' Joined by several other top Democrats, the Speaker made the case that there is an obvious need for a fourth economic aid package dealing with the virus - what's known as 'Phase 4' to lawmakers. 'We must take bold action to renew America's infrastructure,' Pelosi added. While not setting out the exact details of a new plan, Pelosi and other key Democrats made clear there were several areas which deserved attention - not just new roads and bridges. Pelosi rattled off priorities like money to build new community health centers, resources for broadband in rural areas and smaller towns, clean water infrastructure, and then money for roads, bridges, and mass transit programs. The President has talked a lot about infrastructure, but never really taken the next step to negotiate a plan with Democrats, who now see a giant opportunity to move forward. 'For once, I agree with him on a step he wants to take,' said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The broader questions looming over the nation about the Coronavirus also apply to the Congress - as while the House is due back after Easter, it's not clear what the health situation will be nationwide at that point, and whether lawmakers will return to legislate. 'I think we come back April 20, God willing, and Coronavirus willing,' the Speaker said.
  • The White House on Tuesday released new estimates of a staggering death toll associated with the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States, predicting anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths even if Americans do their best to avoid social interactions, as President Donald Trump warned the nation of a difficult road ahead. 'This is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks,' the President said at the White House. 'This is going to be a rough two week period.' In the White House Briefing Room, Mr. Trump fully embraced scientific models championed by experts which show many thousands of Americans are likely to die in the month of April from the virus. 'I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,' the President said. 'We're going to go through a very tough two weeks.' The blunt warning came on the deadliest day yet in the United States as a whole, as nearly 800 deaths had been announced on Tuesday by the time the President reached the podium at the White House. 'It's a matter of life and death, frankly,' Mr. Trump said, as he urged Americans to follow the federal request for people to hold back on their social actions. By his side again at the White House, both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx laid out the figures from a series of studies, which predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die - many in the next few weeks. Birx and Fauci repeatedly emphasized that if Americans do their part to hold down the spread of the virus, that will in turn allow many people to survive. Asked about deaths of 100,000 or more, health officials did not mince words as to whether it might or might not happen. 'The answer is yes,' said Dr. Fauci. 'As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.
  • On the heels of a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to help the United States rebound from the negative economic impact of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled that he would be ready to support an almost equal amount of spending to build new roads and bridges in the United States. 'It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country,' the President wrote on Twitter. Mr. Trump cited low interest rates as one reason to spend extra money - a suggestion made by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve last week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well. Since 2015, when he was a candidate for President, Mr. Trump has talked repeatedly about the need for a major infrastructure plan, but has never offered Congress a way to pay for it - which has been the major stumbling block for the past ten years on building new roads and bridges. With less gasoline being used - not enough money is coming into the U.S. Treasury in federal gas taxes to support a major expansion of road and bridge construction - creating the need for a larger funding source. The President's tweet drew an immediate vow of support from the GOP Senator in charge of infrastructure efforts. 'We stand ready to answer @realDonaldTrump’s call,' Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) wrote on Twitter. 'In the Senate, we have a bipartisan bill that will invest billions in America’s highways and is ready to go.' But others, like fiscal hawk Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), weren't ready for a full embrace. 'I agree!' said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) in a tweet directed back at the President. 'Help get your Republican colleagues to agree.' The President's tweet came amid some political maneuvering on what should be in the next Congressional stimulus bill - what many refer to as 'Phase 4' of the Coronavirus response.
  • A day after telling Americans that he would extend his call to drastically scale back social activity until the end of April, President Donald Trump said his administration was making big gains in making more tests available to check for the Coronavirus, even as some elected officials said it was clear not all needs were being met. 'Over one million Americans have now been tested,' the President said from the White House Rose Garden, praising companies for developing newer processes to more quickly test Americans. 'Today we reached a milestone in our war against the Coronavirus,' Mr. Trump added. As for his move to extend social distancing until April 30, the President urged Americans to join together. 'This is our shared patriotic duty - challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days,' Mr. Trump said. While the President sternly defended his administration's record on testing - at one point rebuking a reporter for asking what he said was a 'snarky' question on the subject - there continue to be concerns voiced in both parties, and evidence from around the nation of testing shortages. 'We need to do more to ramp up our testing capacity,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on Monday, even as he praised efforts by the White House to achieve that. 'We have to do much more on testing, we’re ramping up, surging up in that capacity as we work toward some sort of medicine to address the virus,' said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). As the President reportedly told Governors on a Monday call that he has not heard of testing shortages, there are examples readily available - like this from Huntsville, Alabama. President Trump began his Monday briefing by referencing his Sunday announcement that he would extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. Voicing his support for scientific models about the spread of the virus, the President said the move to extend restrictions on social activities would pay off in a big way. “We could save more than one million American lives,” Mr. Trump said, as he has said the most likely scenario right now involves between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans dying of the Coronavirus.
  • Three days after returning to the U.S. Capitol for House debate on a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to deal with the Coronavirus, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) announced she was sick with what doctors presume is a Coronavirus infection, raising questions about whether other lawmakers could have been exposed last Friday. 'I noticed that I could no longer smell my perfume or taste my food,' Velazquez said in a written statement, noting one of the prominent signs of the Coronavirus. 'My symptoms are mild at the present time,' Velazquez added, as she noted that she started to feel bad early on Sunday morning, with an 'abrupt onset of muscle aches, fevers, nasal congestion and stomach upset.' Velazquez was one of the early speakers in the Friday debate on the Coronavirus plan. 'I am proud of the work we accomplished in this package,' the veteran New York Democrat said on the floor. Velazquez was one of a number of lawmakers from the New York area who came to Capitol Hill for the debate - even though the feds had urged travelers from that region to self-isolate for 14 days, amid concerns that the virus was being spread to other areas. Four House members have officially tested positive for the Coronavirus; one, Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) has been hospitalized since last week. Velazquez not only spoke on the House floor, and visited her office, but also was present for the bill enrollment ceremony with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. You can see her in this photo from the video feed provided by the Speaker's office, standing just to the side of Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), on the left side of the photo. Also in the room on Friday afternoon with Velasquez, Clyburn, and Speaker Pelosi were House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and a number of other top Democrats in the House. Leaders of both parties had wanted to quickly approve the economic stimulus measure on Friday, but Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) forced about half of the House to return, in order to have a quorum present for the vote. Massie did not have enough support to force a vote on the record, and the measure was approved by voice.