On Wednesday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the White House continued, seemingly unsuccessfully, to hammer out a plan for aid relief for Americans struggling to stay afloat as coronavirus case numbers climb nationwide. Through the back-and-forth and disagreements broadcast on news outlets throughout the day, more details were revealed about the GOP’s next coronavirus aid package. Although stimulus checks and unemployment assistance are the main focus of the package, the moratorium on evictions is not, which could lead to a record-breaking number of evictions in the coming weeks.
The exclusion of the policy is sure to result in a battle with Democrats, who are fighting to extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for all renters and homeowners for up to one year.
Senate Republicans released a roughly $1 trillion coronavirus aid bill this week, short of the $3 trillion package House Democrats passed in May.
Also included in the GOP package is money for a new FBI building across the street from a Trump hotel in Washington and $8 billion set aside for military weapons including F-35 fighters, helicopters and infantry carriers. Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are opposed to the addition for weapons, saying the focus should remain on pandemic relief.
As negotiations drag on in the latest coronavirus relief proposal, Trump dismissed demands from Democrats to give coronavirus relief funds to cities and criticized Republicans who disagree with adding $1.7 billion for the new FBI headquarters to the package.
“As of now, we’re very far apart,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said of the negotiations during a press briefing with Trump.
“It’s a shame to reward badly run radical left Democrats with all of this money they’re looking for,” Trump added.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Labor experts are warning the possible reduction in extra unemployment benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week could result in weeks or even months of delayed payments in some states. Reprogramming of computer systems is to blame for the delay.
Officials in several states say a flat rate is easier to process than calculating a variable percentage of individual incomes. Officials say it took several weeks to set up the current system to pay out the benefits and some, like Florida, say they have yet to get the original supplemental benefit to all residents entitled to it.
Health officials in Florida are working to stop a fast-growing coronavirus outbreak among inmates. Since Friday afternoon, the number of Florida inmates testing positive for COVID-19 has jumped 20%. In total, at least 6,217 inmates had tested positive at correctional facilities across the state as of Monday afternoon.
At least 22 Florida inmates have died from the virus so far this month, making July the deadliest month for inmates in the state since the pandemic began. At least 46 inmates had died from COVID-related illnesses as of Monday.
During the National Food Policy Conference, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said that the coronavirus is not spread through food or food packaging. He added that while the U.S. food supply chain is strong, it is currently being monitored for nationwide and regional shortages.
Two studies published in the journal JAMA Cardiology found new evidence that Covid-19 has long-term effects on heart health, even after recovery, and could go undetected. Images of 60 MRIs showed patients still had signs of ongoing inflammation of the heart muscle, two to three months after recovery. Only a third of the patients studied had been hospitalized with the virus while the rest recovered at home.
The problem may not lead to physical symptoms but could be of sign of risk for further heart damage.
In the race to find a coronavirus vaccine, the Trump administration will use the Defense Production Act to change camera and film company Kodak into a pharmaceutical company.
Through a $765 million government loan, Kodak will begin to produce generic active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The NFL Players Association reported Tuesday that 21 players have tested positive for Covid-19 since arriving for training camps last week. A total of 107 players tested positive during the off season.
The NBA and players’ union announced Wednesday that since July 20, none of the 344 players have tested positive for coronavirus. The season is set to begin on Thursday at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Texas Representative Louie Gohmert, who was frequently maskless while working at the Capitol during the pandemic, has tested positive for coronavirus. Gohmert was scheduled to join Trump on Air Force One to attend a fundraising and touring trip to Texas yesterday. In a CNN interview last month, the 66-year-old rep said he didn’t wear a mask because he didn’t yet have the virus. Several of Gohmert’s staff have been advised to get tested and isolate before returning to work.