Where Things Stand: A Sign Of The Times

This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) is seen during a recess of the impeachment trial proceedings of US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill January 30, 2020, in Washington, DC. - The fight over calling witnesses to testi... US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) is seen during a recess of the impeachment trial proceedings of US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill January 30, 2020, in Washington, DC. - The fight over calling witnesses to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial intensified January 28, 2020 after Trump's lawyers closed their defense calling the abuse of power charges against him politically motivated. Democrats sought to have the Senate subpoena former White House national security advisor John Bolton to provide evidence after leaks from his forthcoming book suggested he could supply damning evidence against Trump. . (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 26, 2020 10:58 a.m.

The fact that a Senate, that just months ago held a contentious impeachment trial, was able to pass any sort of spending bill — let alone a $2 trillion one — by unanimous consent is jaw-dropping enough.

But coupled with the fact that four sitting senators were unable to vote on the legislation because they either have the virus at the center of a global pandemic, or are quarantining due to fear of exposure — and this all feels shockingly dystopian.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul (KY) — who has the coronavirus — Mitt Romney (UT), Mike Lee (UT) and John Thune (SD) all did not vote because they are quarantining. Thune, the second-ranking Senate Republican, recently flew home to South Dakota after becoming sick out of “an abundance of caution.” The senator was escorted home by a member of his police detail, according to Politico.

There are few developments these days that fully encapsulate the unprecedented nature of our current reality, but for me, this is one of those moments. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following.

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is looking into an announcement out of the FBI that a Missouri man was killed during a sting operation. The man was planning to bomb a hospital, according to the FBI.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

More than three million people filed jobless claims in the last week, a number massively up from the 282,000 who filed claims in the week before. But the White House has claimed that the massive jump in jobless claims is “not relevant,” as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Thursday, suggesting Congress’ stimulus package would eventually smooth things out. We’ll continue to monitor White House reactions.

Today’s Rundown

8:00 a.m. ET: Trump had a virtual meeting with G-20 leaders in the Situation Room.

5:00 p.m. ET: The White House coronavirus task force will hold a news briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Governors Across The Nation Are Rejecting Trump’s Call To Reopen Economy — AP

What We Are Reading

For Abused Women, A Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers Of Its Own — Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Aviva Stahl

13 Deaths In A Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge At An N.Y.C. Hospital — Michael Rothfeld, Somini Sengupta, Joseph Goldstein and Brian Rosenthal

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