Coronavirus Crisis Hits the Capitol

The coronavirus crisis has absolutely dominated discussion and action in Congress this week. Lawmakers typically have a one-track mind, focusing solely on one major issue at a time before zooming on to the next. But Capitol Hill’s laser-focus on the coronavirus this week has been at a different level, as barely anything else was discussed by lawmakers and the press corps. Other issues in the past 15 or so years have come close to the sense of urgency felt at the Capitol, such as the impeachment trial of President Trump earlier this year, the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, the government shutdown in 2013 and various Obamacare debates. But those didn’t have the immediate life-or-death component that the coronavirus does. Only Congress’ response to the financial crisis in the fall of 2008 can compare.

That’s not to say there’s a sense of panic on Capitol Hill. There isn’t – at least not yet. But the urgency of the situation seems to have sobered up lawmakers a bit. They know this is one issue they can’t botch, though there are no guarantees they won’t botch it. But they understand there are no do-overs this time.

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