After more than a week’s worth of meetings, at least some clarity is emerging in the bipartisan Washington talks on a huge COVID-19 response bill.
An exchange of offers Tuesday and a meeting devoted to the U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday indicates a long slog remains, but the White House is offering some movement in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s direction on aid to states and local governments and unemployment insurance benefits. Multiple issues remain, but some areas of likely agreement are coming into focus.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday afternoon senators will "certainly be in next week," delaying the start of the chamber's August recess.
"We'll certainly be in next week. We'll see what happens after that," McConnell said.
Here's a look where things stand based on public and private statements by key players and their staff:
Meanwhile, the NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday directed each division of the association to decide independently by Aug. 21 whether it will be able to conduct championship events safely in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower levels of football during the coronavirus pandemic.
Within hours of the board's announcement, the Division II and III presidents councils canceled fall sports championship and determined they will not be made up in the spring.
The board added that the NCAA will not permit member schools to require athletes to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 to participate in sports, and any expenses incurred by athletes related to COVID-19 must be covered by schools under current insurance standards.
In other developments:
- Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee to accept the Democratic presidential nomination because of concerns over the coronavirus, party officials said, signaling a move to a convention that essentially has become entirely virtual.
- Stark evidence of the damage the resurgent viral outbreak has caused the U.S. economy could come Friday when the government is expected to report that the pace of hiring has slowed significantly after a brief rebound in the spring.
- U.S. testing for the coronavirus is dropping even as infections remain high and the death toll rises by more than 1,000 a day, a worrisome trend that officials attribute largely to Americans getting discouraged over having to wait hours to get a test and days or weeks to learn the results.
- Virginia has rolled out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, becoming the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google.
- The NBA’s bubble is still working. The league released its latest results for coronavirus tests performed on players participating in the restarted season at Walt Disney World, and the numbers are still perfect. Of the 343 players tested since results were last announced July 29, none has been confirmed positive. That means no player has tested positive since entering the so-called bubble last month.
- Florida surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases Wednesday as testing ramped up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias, state officials said.
- A group of hotels that took, and later returned, tens of millions of dollars in federal virus-bailout money are under investigation by securities regulators for related-party transactions going back to 2018.