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51-49 Split Holds, But Steve Daines Should Keep The Plane Ready

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Maine senator Susan Collins announced on the Senate floor Friday that she plans to vote YES on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, which is likely to be held Saturday evening.

Collins talked about how she was forced to watch “special interest groups whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods” about Kavanaugh.

Though she went on for a long time and defended Dianne Feinstein from the investigation into her alleged leaking of Christine Blasey Ford’s letter, Collins eventually came around to YES.

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With Murkowski voting NO on the Republican side and Joe Manchin voting YES on the Democrat side, and Flake verbally committed to YES, that keeps it 51-49.

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With Steve Daines going to his daughter’s wedding in Montana, that makes it 50-49.

Which means it would only take one more Republican defector — Flake? — to defeat Kavanaugh on the Senate floor. However, Daines says that he has congressman Greg Gianforte’s private plane ready to go to take him back to Washington, D.C. to cast his vote if something unexpected happens.

That would tie the vote at 50-50 and send it to Mike Pence for a Kavanaugh-confirming tiebreaker.

Republicans are not out of the woods yet, but their chances are looking a lot better.

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Congress

House Republicans Hoping to Get Americans Back to Work By End of April

It’s a aspiration, not a plan.

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House Republicans are considering plans that would help Americans get back to work by the end of the month. Kevin Brady of Texas told reporters on a conference call that the caucus is preparing preliminary plans that phase the workforce back in at the end of April.

Our focus is on locking down the virus while we’re taking the steps now to prepare to reopen the economy by the end of the month if the virus permits.”

Brady was careful to qualify that there’s no guarantee the public health situation in the United States would allow such a development.

“I think we should all expect the jobs, the unemployment in the GDP numbers to feel brutal over the short term. It’s because they are. This economy is taking hits like we’ve not seen in most of our lifetimes. But it is just a short-term hit.

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Initial social distancing guidelines set forth by the White House in conjunction with the CDC were extended from two weeks to April 30th earlier in the week, suggesting the executive branch may be cautiously looking towards the end of April to begin phasing out the unprecedented disruptions to everyday American life.

It is worth noting that an early cease to social distancing and commonsense measures to deter the spread of the Chinese coronavirus could prove to be even more harmful than the negative impacts to the economy since the beginning of the virus-related recession. This can’t be rushed. But the consequences of the economic damage are real, and all Americans should look to get everyday economic life up and running against as soon as possible.

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