Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Falls Apart
- Republicans rejected a Democratic offer to agree to a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal.
- The Labor Department reported that 1.8 million jobs were added to the economy in July.
- The State Department lifted its level four travel “do not travel” international advisory.
- NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced schools across his state can reopen for in-person instruction.
Coronavirus Stimulus Deal Falls Apart
The Trump administration has rejected a Democratic offer to agree to a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced at a news conference today that they had offered to “go down a trillion” from their top-line number of $3.4 trillion, if Republicans would go up $1 trillion from their initial offer of $1 trillion.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called it a disappointing meeting adding that Republicans were unwilling to meet in the middle. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is going to recommend to the president to move forward with some executive actions over the weekend.
There are at least four executive issues that White House officials have said they’d like to target through executive orders. Those targets include an attempt to provide some relief to jobless Americans, authorized an eviction moratorium, extend student loan flexibility, and defer payroll taxes. The legal standing and logistics for such a bill without Congress remains unclear.
Trump and White House officials have been eyeing the possibility of unilateral action all week. Larry Kudlow, director of the national economic council, confirmed that the administration was looking at “repurposing” hundreds of billions of dollars that have not yet been spent from earlier coronavirus relief legislation passed in spring.
1.8 Million Jobs Added In July
The Labor Department reported that 1.8 million jobs were added to the economy in July. As positive as the new figure is, it is still well below the 4.8 million jump in jobs in June and a sign that momentum is slowing after a burst of economic activity in late spring. The unemployment rate still remains above 10 percent with 12.9 million fewer jobs than in February.
The percent of discouraged workers and the underemployed holding part-time jobs for economic reasons fell from 18% to 16.5%. Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America, says that 42 percent of the jobs lost since the pandemic hit had now been recovered, but warned the remainder would be harder to make up.
State Department Ends Level 4 Travel Warning
The State Department has lifted its level four travel advisory warning U.S. citizens against all international travel during the pandemic. Department officials said that its blanket advisory would end after four and a half months because health conditions were improving in some countries. They also said that the department would revert to its practice of issuing advisories on a country-by-country basis.
Currently, more than 50 countries carry a level four travel advisory. Among them are Brazil, India, and Russia. Travel advisories for the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Italy have been downgraded to level three, which urges residents to “reconsider travel.”
Many countries, including those in the EU, still have rules barring travelers from the United States. Department officials recommend that people wishing to travel abroad consult the department’s travel advisory list for their destination.
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Approved School Reopenings
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that schools across New York can reopen for in-person instruction this fall. Students will be required to wear masks throughout school day. Under the governor’s announcement, schools can decide to open as long as they are in a region where the average rate of positive coronavirus tests is below 5 percent, a threshold recommended by the World Health Organization to begin general reopening
Most of the state, including New York City, has maintained a positivity rate of about 1 percent. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said schools can only open here if the positivity rate is below 3 percent. Many New York school districts have planned to start the year with students in school buildings only a few days a week, while learning at home the rest of the time. The state has left the decision on how to handle sick students, how much time children will spend in class, and whether to delay in-person instruction — up to individual school districts.
Bill Gates Donates $150 Million To Serum Institute
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced it will donate $150 million to the Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker and one that is poised to play an instrumental role in mass-producing a coronavirus vaccine. The donation was set to help cover costs to scale up capacity to mass-produce two potential coronavirus vaccines.
The partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, a global vaccine alliance, calls for Serum to produce 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries and sell them at no more than $3 a dose. The company has teamed up with several vaccine developers, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to mass produce vaccine candidates that are still in trial phases.