Wednesday morning news – October 21, 2020

Senate set to confirm Barrett on Monday as PPP funding bill fails » Senate Republicans tried to push a standalone bill to the Senate floor Tuesday to refuel the Paycheck Protection Program. But the effort fell short. Democrats shot it down in a procedural vote. 

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer charged that Republicans aren’t serious about passing real relief. 

SCHUMER: Leader McConnell is now using this week to hold show votes on coronavirus relief. 

Democrats say Senate GOP proposals don’t go nearly far enough. 

McConnell accused Democrats of playing politics with the small business relief program. The GOP bill aimed to deliver a quarter of a billion dollars in PPP funding.

Meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still talking with the White House about a wide-ranging relief package in the $2 trillion range. The speaker walked back a Tuesday deadline she had set to reach a deal on a pre-election relief bill. 

Pelosi said both sides have made “good progress” in their talks and will meet again today. 

And if they do reach a deal, McConnell said the Senate stands ready…

MCCONNELL: Obviously, if that were to come over, we’d have to consider it and would consider it. 

But it’s unclear if he could muster enough conservative Senate votes to back another multi-trillion-dollar bill.

McConnell also told reporters yesterday that the Senate will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Monday. 

UK scientists to intentionally infect subjects to test vaccine » A group of scientists in the UK is preparing to launch a study that would intentionally infect nearly a hundred people with the coronavirus. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Imperial College London and a group of researchers are planning to infect 90 healthy young volunteers with the virus. 

This type of research, known as a human challenge study, is not common because some question the ethics of infecting otherwise healthy people. 

But the researchers say this technique could help them quickly identify the most effective vaccines to battle a disease that’s killed more than a million people. 

Pending approval from regulators, volunteers between 18 and 30 years old will participate in the study. 

The British government plans to invest at least $33 million in the research.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Justice Dept. files landmark antitrust case against Google » The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google. 

It alleges that the tech giant abused its online dominance to stifle competition.

The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. 

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told reporters that “Google is the gateway to the internet.” He said “It has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.”

Google called the DOJ lawsuit “deeply flawed,” adding that “People use Google because they choose to—not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.”

Supreme Court backs Pennsylvania ballot extension » The Supreme Court ruled this week that Pennsylvania can count mail-in ballots received up to three days after Election Day. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The justices split 4-4 on the Republican effort to block the September ruling from the state’s top court. That ruling ordered officials to accept ballots as long as voters didn’t mail them after polls closed. Some 18 states have also set a post-Election Day deadline.

Republicans argued that violates a federal law that sets elections for a single day. They say the decision to alter it constitutionally rests with lawmakers and not the courts. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Senior UAE delegation visits Israel » A senior delegation from the United Arab Emirates visited Israel on Tuesday for the first time since the two countries agreed to normalize relations.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… 

NETANYAHU: We are making history in a way that will stand for generations. 

During meetings in Israel, the two sides signed what Netanyahu called “concrete, practical agreements.” 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin accompanied Emirati officials on the flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv. He said the new ties create a foundation for economic growth and prosperity. 

MNUCHIN: With greater economic prosperity comes stronger security. Along with the United States, Israel and the UAE share a similar outlook regarding threats and opportunities in the region. 

Israel and the UAE announced in August they had agreed to normalize ties under a deal brokered by the Trump administration. Officials from the two countries signed accords on the White House lawn last month. 

Also this week, President Trump said the United States will remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. That is provided that Sudan follows through on its pledge to pay more than $300 million dollars to American terror victims and their families.

The announcement comes as the Trump administration works to get other Arab countries, like Sudan, to join the UAE and Bahrain in forming diplomatic ties with Israel.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) In this May 22, 2020, file photo the Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible through heavy fog in Washington. 

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