politics

Updated at 1:11 p.m. ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his 2020 presidential campaign Wednesday, bowing to the commanding delegate lead former Vice President Joe Biden established.

Multiple U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the solvency of a recently enacted $350 billion emergency lending program for small businesses, calling for Congress to pass another wave of funding as soon as this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get the Senate to approve, without objection, another influx of cash on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is aggressively advocating for a second wave of legislation on top of the recently enacted $2 trillion rescue package to confront the coronavirus pandemic, but her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is advocating for a more cautious wait-and-see approach.

Updated at 1:08 p.m. ET

The coronavirus has delayed another big event. This time it's the Democratic National Convention.

Amid ongoing questions about when traditional presidential campaigning — and the travel and large crowds it entails — will be able to resume, the Democratic National Committee has delayed its nominating convention until the week of Aug. 17. It had been scheduled for the week of July 13.

The event in Milwaukee is now scheduled for the week before the Republican National Convention, which is set to be held in Charlotte, N.C.

Alix Mattingly

A staffer for the Kentucky legislature has tested positive for coronavirus. The legislature has been meeting intermittently during the coronavirus pandemic and is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday to pass a final version of the state budget and other bills.

The staffer works for the Legislative Research Commission, the administrative arm of the legislature tasked with drafting bills, crunching numbers and assisting lawmakers. The agency is governed by a 16-member board made up of leaders from the Republican-majority legislature.

Rob Weber, public information officer for the LRC, said that the staffer is recovering and doing well, “given the circumstances.”

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

Updated at 1:39 p.m. ET

Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy wasn't interested in President Trump's attempt at Twitter-shaming another GOP lawmaker who mounted a failed attempt to drag out a vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

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The full Kentucky legislature will return to work on Thursday even though the general public has been barred from the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic, and despite warnings about group gatherings spreading the disease.

As of Wednesday evening, Kentucky has 198 confirmed coronavirus cases and five related deaths. The disease has spread rapidly since the state’s first case was announced on March 6.

The 138-member body did not meet over the last week, though a small group of lawmakers gathered to try and hammer out a final version of the two-year budget.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET

The Senate reconvened Monday afternoon with a growing sense of urgency to act on pending legislation, and a growing realization that Congress will have to take dramatic, ongoing action to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to the nation.

"The Senate is committed to meeting these uncertain times with bold and bipartisan solutions," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the floor Monday. "It's what we're going to keep doing in the days and weeks ahead."

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is heading up the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, recommending that schools, churches and employers cease in-person activities.

Leaders of the legislature say they’re evaluating how to proceed with this year’s budget writing session.

Jonese Franklin from member station WFPL talked to capitol reporter Ryland Barton for the latest edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.


Updated at 12:34 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States, beginning on Friday at midnight, in a bid "to keep new cases" of coronavirus "from entering our shores."

The restrictions, he said late Wednesday, do not apply to travelers from the United Kingdom.

Updated at 9:04 a.m. ET

Joe Biden continued his impressive string of primary wins, easily besting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho on Tuesday.

With a big delegate lead, he solidified his position as the favorite for his party's nomination to face President Trump in November. Sanders was the projected winner in North Dakota while votes were still being counted in Washington.

The results out of Super Tuesday were unexpected. Former Vice President Joe Biden rode a surge of momentum all the way to the delegate lead and is now in the driver's seat for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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