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Note: We’ll be pushing the publishing of our daily news roundup by an hour or two for as long as the mayor has 11 a.m. COVID-19 press conferences.

THE NEWS:

A $2 trillion stimulus package is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives on Friday. (That is, if GOP lawmakers don’t delay it.) It’s the largest economic relief package in modern U.S. history, and the nation’s capital was snubbed.

In a Senate bill passed Wednesday, Washington, D.C. was allocated about $500 million dollars in direct aid while every state will get at least $1.25 billion. Congress intentionally treated D.C. as a territory, lawmakers tell the Washington Post

A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says D.C. is getting shortchanged “Because Washington, D.C., is not a state. One can debate whether or not it should be, but that’s a separate discussion.” 

Statehood is often not factored into Congress’ formula equations.  

“I can’t even think of a way in a funding bill that the District is treated as one of the territories, so it’s quite shocking,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser during a Thursday press conference. “It is more the rule that we are treated as a state in about all senses when it comes to housing funds or education funds or any number of federal funding formulas.”

The moment the federal government decided to treat D.C. as a territory couldn’t have come at a worse time. D.C. has over 250 positive cases of the coronavirus disease—more than 18 states. The number of positive cases is expected to grow in the coming days with more testing. Already, there have been three deaths associated with COVID-19 in D.C. The economic devastation due to COVID-19 is no secret. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said on Thursday that D.C. would have half a billion in lost revenue if the shutdown continues until June. 

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Local politicians are furious with Congress. They’ve been writing national lawmakers letting them know as much. Attorney General Karl Racine even enlisted the help of his Republican counterparts to let Congress know how unfair it is that D.C. be treated like this. Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • At Friday’s press conference, DC Board of Election announced a new plan to get more residents to vote by mail in the June 2 primary. D.C. voters can request a ballot online, by email (DCabsentee@vote4DC.com) or by calling (202) 727-2525. Two voting centers in each ward will be open from May 22 through June 2. “No voter will ever be turned away,” said chairman Michael Bennett, adding that social distancing and disinfection procedures will be taken at each poll center. [Twitter

  • Bowser announces a member of her staff passes away due to COVID-19. She learned just before speaking to press and contact tracing is underway. [Twitter

  • With 36 new positive cases, the District’s total number of patients with COVID-19 is 267. As of Thursday evening, 2,166 patients have been tested in public and private labs. [EOM]  

  • Whitman-Walker waits seven days to get patients’ COVID-19 test results back because it uses a commercial lab. “The messaging we have been getting is that we need to pursue testing through the commercial lab for our patients,” says the provider’s chief health officer. [WCP

  • In non-COVID-19 news: With school lottery results out today, families will learn their fate for the next academic year. There are different drivers of choice in each ward. [Post]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Sex moans and fart noises interrupt ANC 7B’s virtual meeting. [WCP, Twitter]

  • Even Republican attorneys general say D.C. should be treated like a state in congressional coronavirus relief package. [WCP]

  • Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen asks the Bureau of Prisons to release as many men as possible from D.C.’s halfway house. [Post]

  • Almost 25,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in D.C. [Post]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Let restless chefs entertain you this weekend with free virtual cooking classes. [WCP]

  • Critic Tom Sietsema takes on take-out reviews. [Post]

  • Big name chefs are doing their own food deliveries. [Washingtonian]

  • How the stimulus bill helps, but also fails, restaurants. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall(tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • We watched The Day After Tomorrow and discussed the pandemic and climate change in the first edition of the City Paper Arts Club. [WCP]

  • A local artist is sending art prints of hugs to combat loneliness in the time of physical distancing. [WCP]

  • The young adult story collection A Phoenix First Must Burn, which features two stories from local writers, is a sparkling read. [WCP]

  • Staunton, Virginia’s American Shakespeare Center raises $350,000 to keep the lights on. [DC Theatre Scene]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics, will pay its part-time staff for games and events missed through April. MSE had previously told City Paper that the employees would be paid through March, but MSE chief executive Ted Leonsis announced the extension in a company-wide email. [WTOP]

  • No running group is a good running group right now. Solo running is encouraged. [RunWashington

  • The Post’s sports department compiled some of the best sports documentaries to watch while there are no live sports on TV. [Post]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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