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McConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday that the Senate will not hold any more votes until Sept. 8, though members will remain on 24-hour notice in case a coronavirus stimulus deal is reached.

Why it matters: With millions of Americans unemployed, the Trump administration and Democrats remain hopelessly deadlocked and unlikely to reach a deal any time soon.


The state of play: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had initiated a phone call and made clear that the White House is "not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package."

  • “Democrats have compromised. Repeatedly, we have made clear to the Administration that we are willing to come down $1 trillion if they will come up $1 trillion," Pelosi said.
  • Meanwhile, President Trump suggested on Fox Business Thursday that he would block any stimulus bill that includes funding for the U.S. Postal Service — a key Democratic demand.

What they're saying: "If the Speaker of the House and Minority Leader of the Senate decide to finally let another rescue package move forward for workers and for families, it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

  • "The American people need more help. The coronavirus is not finished with our country, so Congress cannot be finished helping our people."

The other side: The House announced earlier this week that the chamber will not hold any floor votes till Sept. 14 earlier this week.

Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

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Trump and Xi to give dueling speeches Tuesday at UN General Assembly

President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will address the UN General Assembly just minutes apart on Tuesday morning — with Russia’s Vladimir Putin following soon thereafter.

The big picture: Trump has promised a “strong message on China.” Xi, meanwhile, is expected to laud global cooperation — with the clear implication that it can be led from Beijing.

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Trump meets with Supreme Court frontrunner Amy Coney Barrett

President Trump met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett Monday afternoon at the White House, days before he is set to announce his pick to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, two sources familiar with meeting tell Axios.

Between the lines: Barrett, a U.S. circuit court judge who has long been seen within Trumpworld as the frontrunner on the president's short list, is known widely within the White House and well-liked.

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Federal judge extends deadline for Wisconsin ballots postmarked by Election Day

A federal judge in Wisconsin on Monday extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots until up to six days after the Nov. 3 election if they are postmarked by Election Day, AP reports.

Why it matters: The ruling, unless overturned, "means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close," according to AP.

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Trump's Supreme Court plans create major opportunity for Kamala Harris to go on offense

President Trump's Supreme Court plans have created a major opportunity for Sen. Kamala Harris to go on offense.

Why it matters: A confirmation fight puts Harris back in the spotlight thanks to her role on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

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House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11

House Democrats on Monday released their proposal for short-term legislation to fund the government through December 11.

Why it matters: This is Congress' chief legislative focus before the election. They must pass a continuing resolution (CR) before midnight on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — something both Hill leaders and the White House have claimed is off the table.

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Trump announces new Iran sanctions in effort to maintain international arms embargo

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that would impose sanctions on any person or entity that contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran or is engaged in providing training and financial support related to those weapons.

Why it matters: The executive order is the first step by the Trump administration to put teeth into its claim that international sanctions on Iran were restored over the weekend, one month after the U.S. initiated the "snapback" process under a United Nations Security Council resolution.

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