Mary C. Curtis: Coronavirus Relief Bill

CHARLOTTE, NC — All eyes on Congress to see lawmakers will include in the next stimulus package. Senate Republicans and the white house are on different pages – despite being in the same party. While Democrats say they want a deal done soon.

Political contributor Mary C. Curtis has the latest from Washington.

POLITICAL WRAP: White House Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Latest on Michael Flynn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Trump administration’s push to reopen is rattled as new cases hit close to home. Three members of the coronavirus task force will quarantine after exposure to a staffer who tested positive.

And Vice President Mike Pence says he’d be “happy” to see Michael Flynn back in the administration. It comes as the Justice Department drops the criminal case against the President’s first national security adviser.

That decision, eliciting praise from President Trump and criticism from former President Obama.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis has more in the video above.

A question of race is raised

When a reporter asked the question, it was startling because everyone is so used to the interpretive dance around the “r-word,” race, particularly when it comes to describing opposition to any move by the administration of President Barack Obama. After Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a vote on the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, press secretary Jay Carney was asked if the White House saw a racial motive. Carney said, “I think it is about politics, and I think we’ve seen this kind of obstruction far too often. For individual motivations, you need to ask the individuals.” The answer was as cagey as ever.

In Watt’s case there were other reasons given for the rejection: political philosophy, or the belief by conservatives that the congressman would favor more federal involvement in the home mortgage industry; competence, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) questioning Watt’s “technical expertise and experience,” and, of course, the brick wall of senators, such as Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has said he wants more information on last year’s attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, before he will approve much of anything.

It is also true that Republicans chose the nomination of Watt — a black Democrat from North Carolina — for the rare though not unprecedented move of filibustering a sitting member of Congress in a sub-Cabinet but still important post. (Republican Sen. Richard Burr of Watt’s home state, with Rob Portman of Ohio, did split with the GOP to support Watt.)