Thursday's Mini-Report, 3.5.20

Today's edition of quick hits.
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By Steve Benen

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Not too surprising: "The Trump administration won't be able to meet its promised timeline of having a million coronavirus tests available by the end of the week, senators said after a briefing from health officials."

* The bill is headed to the White House: "The Senate on Thursday approved an $8.3 billion House-passed emergency spending package to combat the coronavirus that has been spreading throughout the United States.

* 9th Circuit: "In the latest twist on a key Trump administration immigration policy, a federal appeals court said it will prevent the government from making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings starting next week unless the Supreme Court steps in sooner."

* Israel: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surged ahead of his chief political rival but looked set to fall two seats short of a governing majority in the country's third election in under 12 months Monday, according to exit polling."

* Justice Department: "Attorney General William Barr has named Will Levi as his new chief of staff, according to two Justice Department officials familiar with the matter."

* Trump's policy isn't working: "Iran's growing stockpile of nuclear fuel recently crossed a critical threshold, according to a report issued Tuesday by international inspectors: For the first time since President Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal, Tehran appears to have enough enriched uranium to produce a single nuclear weapon, though it would take months or years to manufacture a warhead and deliver it over long distances."

* Schumer's walkback: "Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday that he regretted saying that two Supreme Court justices 'won't know what hit' them if they vote to uphold abortion restrictions, but insisted he was not making a threat and offered no apology."

* On a related note: "The Supreme Court appeared divided after over an hour of arguments Wednesday concerning a controversial Louisiana abortion access law that critics say will leave just one doctor in the state to perform the procedure."

* And speaking of the high court: "If you have a mortgage or a loan or a credit card, you likely have more protection from deceptive practices in the financial services industry today than you did at the time of the 2008 financial crash. But at the Supreme Court Tuesday, the court's conservative majority voiced skepticism about the independent agency Congress created to protect consumers from abuse in the financial services industry."

* Betsy DeVos' change in direction: "Facing a bipartisan backlash led by Republican lawmakers, the Trump administration is backing off a bookkeeping change that would have drastically cut federal funds for rural schools -- at least for a year."

See you tomorrow.