With less than eight weeks to go before Election Day, Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked in negotiating a new stimulus relief package. Senate Republicans, led by majority leader Mitch McConnell, put their roughly $500 billion bill up for a vote on Thursday. The vote of 52-47 failed to meet the 60-vote threshold. All Democrats and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul voted in opposition to the bill.
Although the bill was a failure for Republicans, it may help provide a rebuttal for lawmakers fighting to hold their seats in their home states. The GOP bill would have cost about a tenth of the House’s proposal. It offered $300 per week in federal unemployment insurance through December, half of the $600 proposed by Democrats. It also did not include money for a second round of stimulus checks or provide additional funding for cash-strapped states and local governments.
Congress will leave Washington in early October as the country continues to deal with the fallout from one of the biggest economic and health crises ever to hit the U.S.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Demetria Bannister, a 28-year-old elementary teacher in South Carolina, has died three days after coronavirus diagnosis.
In addition to teaching third graders at the Windsor Elementary School in Columbia for five years, Bannister hosted a student club for aspiring singers.
“Known as ‘Windsor’s Songbird’, Ms. Bannister used her musical talents to bring a great deal of joy to our school,” said Denise Quickel, principal of Windsor Elementary.
Bannister was last at the elementary school on August 28. The school district was notified that she tested positive for coronavirus Friday. The school is following procedures for disinfecting, contact tracing and notification of close contacts. [READ MORE]
Last week, 884,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless claims. The number of claims filed remained unchanged from the prior week.
As of August 22, a total of 29.6 million Americans continued to claim some form of benefits under the government’s various assistance programs.
Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota disputed a report by the Institute of Labor Economics who say the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally held last month may have caused as many as 250,000 coronavirus infections.
The Republican governor questioned the math, saying economists just “made up some numbers and published them.”
South Dakota has reported a 126 percent increase in new coronavirus cases in the last two weeks. One death has been linked to the 10-day rally that attracted more than 400,000 people from neighboring states.
A new study by the Health Care Cost Institute found that fewer Americans are using preventive healthcare services during the pandemic.
Immunizations in children dropped by about 60% in mid-April of this year compared to 2019.
Mammograms and Pap smears were down by 80% from April 2019 to April 2020.
Colonoscopies, which were down nearly 90% in April 2020, rebounded by June and were down only about 30% compared to 2019 testing levels.
Prostate cancer screenings, or PSA tests, were down 22% in April but increased to levels similar to 2019 testing by June.
Due to the pandemic, Home Depot announced it is reinventing its typical Black Friday and will instead offer Black Friday discounts for two months beginning in early November. The retailer said the change was made this year to reduce stress for consumers who usually go to their stores to grab the best deals.
The discounts will be available both in its stores and online, while its mobile app users will get exclusive early access to some discounts in November.
Mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are negotiating a deal to buy J.C. Penney out of bankruptcy and keep the retailer running.
The purchase will save around 70,000 jobs and avoid liquidation of the 118-year-old department store, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-May.
Gaming retailer GameStop is the latest retailer to announce store closings this week.
GameStop is closing about 100 more stores than it originally planned, despite an 800% increase in online sales. Overall revenues took a huge hit due to temporary closures of its brick-and-mortar stores at the onset of the pandemic.