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Coronavirus update: McConnell proposes 'targeted' relief package, Dems say it's not enough
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Coronavirus update: McConnell proposes 'targeted' relief package, Dems say it's not enough

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate would vote on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats' insistence for more sweeping aid.

The Kentucky Republican released the approximately $500 billion measure as senators returned to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session, as hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill — or much else.

Republicans struggling to retain their Senate majority this fall have been divided, with some GOP senators in close races anxious to respond further to the pandemic, even as conservatives are tiring of all the spending and passing legislation in concert with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

McConnell called the package “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis, the issues where bipartisanship should be especially possible." They included school aid, new money for vaccines and testing, and a second round of the popular Paycheck Protection Program for smaller businesses.

Democrats are demanding a far larger bill, including hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments, more generous jobless benefits, and help for renters and homeowners, along with other provisions in the House Democrats' $3.5 billion relief bill that passed in May.

In other developments:

  • The top executives of nine drugmakers likely to produce the first vaccines against the new coronavirus signed an unprecedented pledge meant to boost public confidence in any approved vaccines.
  • Obesity seems to put people at higher risk for getting very sick if they’re infected with the coronavirus, and doctors are trying to figure out why.
  • The millions of American youngsters returning to online classes on Tuesday are facing technical glitches and other headaches that have plagued remote learning since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The prospect of a vaccine to shield Americans from coronavirus infection emerged as a point of contention in the White House race as President Donald Trump accused Democrats of “disparaging” for political gain a vaccine he repeatedly has said could be available before the election.
  • The National Football League and NFL Players Association say there’s been just one new confirmed positive test for COVID-19 among players and seven new confirmed positives among other personnel in the latest round of testing.
  • Leaders of six state legislatures in the Big Ten footprint have sent a letter to Commissioner Kevin Warren asking the conference to reconsider its decision to cancel the fall football season.
  • Africa's tourism sector is struggling to cope with the drop in international travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for a roundup of key virus questions.


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