Tuesday morning news – August 4, 2020

Debate over stimulus bill drags on » Top Democrats and White House negotiators met again Monday afternoon to hammer out the details on another round of pandemic-related economic stimulus. But they made little progress.

Among the sticking points—unemployment insurance. Democrats want to extend the $600 weekly federal addition to state benefits into 2021. Republicans want to scale it back to encourage people back into the workforce.

But Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming told Fox New that’s not the only area of disagreement.

BARRASSO: Take a look at where Nancy Pelosi is. To me she’s still living on Fantasy Island. She is proposing truly runaway government spending, not aimed at coronavirus, but spending at its worst.

Pelosi pushed back on CNN, comparing the country to a building on fire.

PELOSI: Today we have an emergency. A building is on fire and they’re deciding how much water they want to have in the bucket. They’re so fussy about any anecdotal information they may have about somebody not going to work because they make $600 on this, but so cavalier about big money to companies that really shouldn’t be having it.

Democrats also want to send almost $1 trillion in new aid to state and local governments, a proposal Republicans reject. 

Latest coronavirus numbers » Meanwhile, governors in several states hit hard by the pandemic celebrated good news on Monday.

Florida’s Ron DeSantis said his state had recorded the lowest number of positive tests in a long time. And Broward Health CEO Gino Santorio said fewer sick patients are needing hospital care.

SANTORIO: It has been a challenging summer. But it is pleasing to report a reduction in the number of hospitalizations going on over two weeks here in South Florida and at Broward Health.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said his state has also seen positive trends.

NEWSOM: The seven-day positivity rate now down to 6.1 percent. Not where it needs to be and still too high. But again, it is good to see this number trending down, not trending up.

While Sun Belt states are seeing improvement, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned cases are increasing elsewhere. Birx is especially concerned about Missouri and Tennessee.

And in Washington, the White House announced Monday that random coronavirus testing for staff will now be mandatory. Last week, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien became the highest-ranking U.S. official to test positive for the virus.

Nevada approves mail-in voting » Nevada is set to become the eighth state to allow all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the November 3rd election. Lawmakers approved the move Sunday, and Governor Steve Sisolak is expected to sign the bill into law.

President Trump threatened a legal challenge, claiming mail-in ballots would make it impossible for Republicans to win in Nevada.

The state mailed ballots to all voters during the June primary. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is the state’s top election official and the only Republican to hold state-wide office in Nevada. She said she had no reports of fraud in the primary.

But she opposed the effort to use mail-in ballots during the November election. Republicans are especially concerned with provisions in the bill that expand the number of people who can collect and turn in completed ballots.

Microsoft confirms talks to buy TikTok » Microsoft confirmed Sunday that it is in talks with the Chinese company ByteDance to buy its popular video sharing platform TikTok. That announcement came two days after President Trump said he would ban the app over security concerns.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin repeated that threat.

MNUCHIN: We are not keeping TikTok in its current form, where the app can send back information and location on 100 million Americans.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Chinese software companies, including TikTok, of feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party. The company has denied those claims.

Microsoft is exploring a deal that would give it control of TikTok’s services in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The company said it appreciates the president’s concerns and is committed to buying TikTok pending a complete security review.

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that might not be enough to gain his support.

SCHUMER: How will the data be stored and secured? Will still the Chinese have links into TikTok? So before I would be for such a merger I would have to get some answers to these questions.

Microsoft expects to finalize details of the proposed buyout by September 15th.

Trump tax records case about more than ‘hush money’ » The New York prosecutor seeking President Trump’s tax records is looking for evidence of more than just hush money payments. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The Manhattan district attorney is investigating alleged payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with the president. But in a petition filed Monday in district court, Cyrus Vance Jr. said his probe into the Trump organization goes beyond that. 

He’s also seeking proof of alleged bank and insurance fraud.

Vance is asking for eight years of financial records related to the president and his businesses.

President Trump’s legal team claims that request is too broad and has asked U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero to block it.

The case could have major political implications as the November election nears. The president’s attorneys have until August 14th to respond to Vance’s filing.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) A man opens social media app ‘Tik Tok’ on his cell phone. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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