Today on Midday, it’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Tom's guest is Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes, who is seeking election to an eighth term representing Maryland's 3rd Congressional district, which includes parts of Baltimore City, as well as portions of Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties.
Congressman Sarbanes currently serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee as well as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Since 2017, he’s chaired the Democracy Reform Task Force, a group of House lawmakers focused on minimizing the influence of special interests and ensuring fair elections.
Congressman Sarbanes is 58 years old. He and his wife live in Towson.
Today’s conversation begins with Rep. Sarbanes’ reaction to the news that broke in a tweet just before 1:00 this morning: President Trump announced that he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for COVID-19. The president is 74 years old and, like more than 60% of Americans, he is overweight, which is considered an underlying condition that could complicate his disease. Mrs. Trump is 50 years old, younger than the age the CDC considers at high risk of fatal disease. The president and Mrs. Trump will quarantine at the White House. A White House official told NPR’s Tamara Keith that the president intends to keep working. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters this morning the president is experiencing “minor symptoms” of a COVID-19 infection.
Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, has also tested positive. The White House announced that this morning Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative for coronavirus.
The implications of the president’s diagnosis are not yet clear. This morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate can proceed with the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, which are scheduled to begin a week from Monday. There have been several interactions in recent days between people at the White House, Senators, and Judge Barrett. The White House announced that Judge Barrett tested negative for the virus this morning.
Rep. Sarbanes and Tom Hall also discuss the updated Heroes Act, the House effort to provide COVID-19 financial relief to struggling families and businesses across the country; HR1, the For the People Act, a comprehensive measure that includes voting protections, ethics reforms and campaign finance overhauls; steps the House is taking to protect the Affordable Care Act from a new legal challenge in the Supreme Court; and other issues in the congressman's campaign for re-election.
We take listener calls and emails for Congressman Sarbanes.