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Trump signs bill sanctioning China over Hong Kong security law

President Trump announced Tuesday that he has signed a newbill sanctioning Chinese officials in response to Beijing's national security law for Hong Kong, which dramatically curbs the city's political freedoms. He also signed an executive order ending preferential treatment for Hong Kong.

Why it matters: The bill, which will sanction both Chinese individuals interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and the banks that support them, has broad bipartisan support in Congress. Its passage into law is the latest escalation by the Trump administration against the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to strip Hong Kong of its autonomy.


Two White House officials tell Axios they expect China to retaliate against the move, but it's unclear how it plans to do so.

  • Shortly after the Senate passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act earlier this month, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that "China will react strongly and the U.S. shall bear all consequences.”
  • And on Monday, China hit back against the U.S. for sanctioning Chinese officials over their human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims by banning several prominent lawmakers, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), from entering the country.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

2020 early voting has already reached 61% of 2016's total turnout

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Friday had already reached 61% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the Elect Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

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Republicans gear up for day-of and post-Election Day litigation

Republican Party officials say they're already looking to Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Nevada as likely battlegrounds for post-election lawsuits if the results are close.

The big picture: As pre-election lawsuits draw to a close, and with President Trump running behind Joe Biden in national and many battleground state polls, Republicans are turning their attention to preparations for Election Day and beyond, and potential recounts.

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Federal Reserve expands lending program for small businesses

The Federal Reserve said on Friday it would again lower the minimum loan size for its pandemic-era small business program.

Details: Businesses and nonprofits will be able to borrow a minimum of $100,000 from the facility, down from $250,000 — a move that might attract smaller businesses that don't need as hefty of a loan. Since the program launched earlier this year, the minimum loan size has been reduced twice.

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Whoever wins the presidential election will steer the auto industry's future

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden would likely steer automotive policy in different directions over the next four years, potentially changing the industry's road map to the future.

Why it matters: The auto industry is on the cusp of historic technological changes and the next president — as well as the next Congress — could have an extraordinary influence on how the future of transportation plays out.

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Higher education expands its climate push with new degree programs, schools

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

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The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

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Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.

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