While coronavirus has dominated our lives for weeks, electoral politics took back the spotlight for a brief time this week.
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday suspended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, saying in a live-streamed speech, “I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth. And that is that we are some 300 delegates behind Vice President (Joe) Biden, and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”
Sanders congratulated Biden on being the presumptive Democratic nominee, calling him a “decent man” whom he plans to work with to “move our progressive ideas forward.”
“Then, together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump.”
That effort for unity may have come sooner than some thought.
On Thursday, Biden rolled out two new policies related to college debt and Medicare – two plans widely seen as a first overture to skeptical Sanders supporters.
There are still many states that have not voted – and many states where primaries have been delayed – so Americans will still be casting ballots if they choose. But Biden is the presumptive nominee who will face Trump in the fall.
Trump, meanwhile, has had his time dominated by dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that continues to infect and kill Americans, while also crippling the economy.
This week, the president used his vast wartime powers to order 30,000 ventilators from General Motors, including 6,000 by the end of June.
That order represents the first instance when the administration has invoked the Defense Production Act, which was was enacted in 1950 at the start of the Korean War. The act allows the government to order products from private companies and ensure that its orders are prioritized above others.
But there was also bad news on the equipment front: The national stockpile of personal protective equipment – which includes respirators, masks, face shields, gloves and gowns – in nearly totally depleted.
As millions more Americans file for unemployment and businesses struggle to stay afloat, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate sparred Thursday over competing proposals to infuse more cash into the economy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed a bill that sent an additional $250 billion into a fund meant to help small businesses. But it was blocked by Democrats, who offered a counterproposal.
The Democrats proposal included the money for the small business fund, as well as additional money that would help hospitals and state and local governments. McConnell then blocked that bill and both sides said the other side was playing politics.
Meanwhile, it was announced Thursday that an additional 6.6 million people filed for unemployment. The total is now roughly 17 million people filing in three weeks.
Stay safe out there. And as always: Make sure you’re washing your hands. – Annah Aschbrenner