Tuesday morning news – July 28, 2020

GOP senators unveil new coronavirus relief proposal » Senate Republicans unveiled their vision for a new coronavirus relief package Monday. 

It would include another round of $1,200 stimulus payments to many Americans. And Senator Chuck Grassley said the plan would continue a federal boost to jobless benefits, but not at the same level.

GRASSLEY: We want to encourage work, and we’ve learned a very tough lesson that when you pay people not to work, what do you expect? 

Instead of $600 per week, he said the benefits would aim to replace about 70 percent of a worker’s lost income. 

The trillion-dollar plan would also provide liability insurance to encourage employers to bring people back to work. And it would provide another, more targeted, round of small business loans. 

Senator Tim Scott said another provision is aimed at helping one of the country’s hardest hit industries. 

SCOTT: One of the provisions from the Finance Committee on the tax side of this is to increase the deduction for meals, business meals, from 50 percent to 100 percent. That will encourage more folks to spend more money in restaurants. 

The package also includes more than $100 billion dollars to help reopen schools. 

Senator Mitt Romney told reporters that as a result of the pandemic, Medicare and Social Security trust funds are approaching insolvency faster than anticipated. He said the plan would include a bipartisan process to review the problem.

ROMNEY: We have to address the solvency of our trust funds. We also have to finally deal with the amount of debt that we’re adding up. 

Democratic leaders say the GOP plan doesn’t go nearly far enough. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion dollar relief bill back in May.

U.S. national security adviser tests positive for COVID-19 » President Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus—making him the highest-ranking U.S. official to test positive so far.

The White House insisted that, “There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president” and that the “work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow had said earlier that O’Brien’s daughter also has the virus. That is how officials think he was exposed. O’Brien also recently returned from a trip to France, where he met with top European officials.

Two big league games postponed following coronavirus outbreak » Just a few games into the new season, Major League Baseball had to postpone two games scheduled for last night due to a coronavirus outbreak. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

AJ: More than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff members tested positive in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia.

The Marlins’ home opener against Baltimore was called off. 

Last night’s Yankees-Phillies game in Philadelphia was also canceled … because the Yankees would have been in the same visiting clubhouse the Marlins just used.

Nine Marlins players and five staff members reportedly received positive results from tests conducted Friday.

The Marlins postponed their flight home Sunday night after their series finale against the Phillies. Major League Baseball said in a statement that “The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting” more test results.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

Moderna vaccine begins final-stage of testing » Some 30,000 Americans are rolling up their sleeves to receive shots … in the biggest test yet of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Phase 3 trial began on Monday … the final-stage testing of the vaccine, developed by biotech firm Moderna and the National Institutes of Health.  

Volunteers across the country won’t know whether they’re receiving the actual vaccine or a placebo. Researchers will watch both groups closely to see if the infection rate is lower among those receiving the vaccine. 

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said developers could have the results in a few months.

BANCEL: October is possible. It’s already an optimistic scenario. It could be November. Again, at this stage, it’s impossible for us to know precisely. 

The U.S. government has invested billions in several vaccine candidates as part of Operation Warp Speed … which aims to deliver 300 million doses of an effective vaccine by January. 

President Trump said Monday that a second vaccine is set to enter Phase 3 testing “in a matter of days.”

John Lewis lies in state at Capitol »

SOUND (Amazing Grace NATS): [In and under, very slowly out]

Sounds from the Capitol Rotunda … where the body of congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis lies in state in a flag-draped casket. 

On Monday, congressional leaders gathered in a solemn display of unity to honor the late Democratic lawmaker.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Lewis the “conscience of the Congress.”

PELOSI: Here in Congress, John was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the longtime Georgia congressman as a model of courage and a “peacemaker.”

MCCONNELL: Even though the world around him gave him every cause for bitterness, he stubbornly treated everyone with respect and love, all so that as his friend, Dr. King, once put it, we could build a community at peace with itself. 

Lewis died this month at the age of 80. Born to sharecroppers during Jim Crow segregation, Lewis was beaten by Alabama state troopers during the civil rights movement, spoke ahead of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 … and was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2011.

His remains will lie in state at the Capitol again today. The family will hold a private funeral Thursday in Atlanta.

People pay respects to Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., as he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda, Monday, July 27, 2020, in Washington. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP)

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