House Delays Vote on $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Lacking GOP Backing

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives postponed a vote on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package as Democrats tried to find common ground with the White House on a bipartisan agreement, though they remained far apart on key issues.

Democratic aides said the delay was to allow the two sides one more day to keep talking before a vote. As written now, the legislation has no hope of advancing in the GOP-controlled Senate, but many centrist Democrats were eager to pass a new bill before they returned to campaigning in their home districts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) met Wednesday afternoon for 90 minutes and failed to reach an agreement.

“We found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” Mrs. Pelosi said as she announced plans to hold a vote. “Our conversations will continue.”

The updated legislation released earlier this week shaved the price tag of economic relief to $2.2 trillion, compared with the $3.5 trillion bill the House passed in May.

“We still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do,” Mr. Mnuchin said after the meeting. “We’re going to see where we end up.”

Mr. Mnuchin and Mrs. Pelosi have made a late push to try to reach a coronavirus-relief deal before the election, despite skepticism on Capitol Hill that an agreement is possible at this stage. The House is slated to leave for a monthlong recess at the end of this week.

Separately on Wednesday, the Senate passed a short-term spending bill, approved by the House last week, keeping the government funded through Dec. 11.

Republicans and Democrats are in agreement on many of the policy items under discussion, including additional aid for small businesses, restaurants and airlines as well as money to help schools reopen safely, but they remain split over top party priorities.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaving a Wednesday meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Frustrated lawmakers from both parties have begun pushing for legislation that would extend or change the popular Paycheck Protection Program that allows small businesses to get forgivable loans, with some House Democrats considering a procedural maneuver that would go around leadership. In the Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.) attempted to pass legislation to simplify the forgiveness provisions by unanimous consent but it was blocked by Democrats who have insisted that any coronavirus legislation be more expansive.

In a call with House Democrats on Wednesday, Mrs. Pelosi said the two major obstacles for reaching a deal were Democrats’ priority to include funding for state and local governments in the aid bill, which many Republicans have dubbed a “blue state bailout,” and Republicans’ priority to have liability protections for businesses and health providers, which Democrats object to, according to a person on the call.

“They’re not there at all,” Mrs. Pelosi said of the state and local aid money, according to the person.

Many Republicans have resisted a large new round of spending and have expressed

Read more

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.

a man wearing a suit and tie: OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate | Trump official delays polar bear study with potential implications on drilling: report

© Greg Nash
OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate | Trump official delays polar bear study with potential implications on drilling: report

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.

FILL-IN THE BERN: The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after it’s leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.

Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.

The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders.

A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.

“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.

“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to carry out the mission. Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, William Perry Pendley, will continue to serve in his leadership role.”

Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, ruled Friday that Interior and the White House improperly relied on temporary orders far beyond the 210 days allotted in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act while also violating the Constitutional requirement to seek approval from the Senate.

“The President cannot shelter unconstitutional ‘temporary’ appointments for the duration of his presidency through a matryoshka doll of delegated authorities,” he wrote.

Pendley has sparked controversy over the course of the year he has led BLM due to his long history opposing federal ownership of public lands as well as comments he has made questioning climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Putting Bernhardt at the helm of the agency appears to comply with the court order from Morris.

But critics say the move centralizes power for the agency in the highest political circles after relocating more than 200 Washington, D.C.,-based positions to Grand Junction, Colo., in order to bring employees closer to the lands they manage.

The move leaves just 61 BLM employees in Washington.

“Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to centralize final decision-making in Washington,

Read more

American Four Square, Updated Kitchen, Fireplace, Bonus Room

CHICAGO, IL — This stunning American Four Square blends historic character and charm with all the amenities of modern living in a much sought-after neighborhood. The 1911 home boasts a formal living room with hardwood floors, wood-beamed ceiling, original pocket doors and a wood burning fireplace. The remodeled, open concept kitchen opens to the dining room and features stainless steel appliances, huge island and concrete counters and walk-pantry (2010). There is a main level mudroom with lockers, office space and 4.5 spacious bedrooms, 2.5 ceramic baths, upper level laundry room and a huge third-floor bonus room or master suite with a balcony. The home comes with a full finished basement (2015), fresh paint, skylights, newer concrete, newer half bath (2010) and entire exterior of home stained in 2014. Fenced-in big yard, covered front sitting porch, deck (2010), playhouse, patios, 2-car detached garage.

  • Address: 10848 S Bell Ave, Chicago, Illinois
  • Price: $539,900
  • Square Feet: 3200
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 2 Full and 1 Half Baths
  • Built: 1911
  • Features: This stunning American Four Square home blends historic character & charm with all the amenities of modern living! Formal living room features hardwood floors, wood-beamed ceiling, original pocket doors, leaded glass windows, & woodburning fireplace. Completely remodeled open concept kitchen opens to dining room & features stainless steel appliances, huge island, concrete countertops, shiplap wall, & walk-in pantry (2010). Main level mudroom w/lockers (2012), office space, den, 4/5 spacious bedrooms, 2-1/2 ceramic baths, upper level laundry room, plus huge 3rd floor bonus room or master suite w/balcony! Full finished basement w/vinyl plank flooring & tons of storage (2015). Fresh paint, skylights, newer concrete, newer half bath (2010), & entire exterior of home stained in 2014. Outdoor space is absolutely UNMATCHED– from the covered front sitting porch to the balcony overlooking Crescent Park– this home’s exterior does not disappoint. Beautiful corner lot, stamped concrete walkways & patio, fully fenced backyard w/huge deck (2010), playhouse, patios, 2 car detached garage & driveway. A rare opportunity to own one of the most sought after homes in the neighborhood!

This listing originally appeared on For more information and photos, click here.

Source Article

Read more

No adults in house when 11-year-old was shot at Flint home, police chief says

FLINT, MI — Police say there were no adults in the house when an 11-year-old boy was shot and critically injured Tuesday afternoon at a Flint home.

a man and a woman standing in the grass: Flint police investigate after an 11-year-old boy was shot multiple times on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in the 600 block of Crawford Street on Flint's south side.

© Jake May | May |
Flint police investigate after an 11-year-old boy was shot multiple times on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in the 600 block of Crawford Street on Flint’s south side.

Officers with the Flint Police Department responded around 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29 in the 600 block of Crawford Street, between Euston and Grand Traverse streets, for a report of a shooting.

a group of people in uniform: Flint police investigate after an 11-year-old boy was shot multiple times on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in the 600 block of Crawford Street on Flint's south side.

© Jake May | May |
Flint police investigate after an 11-year-old boy was shot multiple times on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in the 600 block of Crawford Street on Flint’s south side.

A neighbor called police after hearing people yelling that someone had been shot.

The boy had been shot multiple times and was transported to a local hospital for treatment where he is in critical condition.

Michigan State Police troopers had taken a 35-year-old man into custody at the Walmart store off East Court Street in Burton as a potential suspect in the matter, Flint Police Chief Terence Green said.

a group of people standing around a fire hydrant in front of a house: Flint police investigate after an 11-year-old boy was shot multiple times on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in the 600 block of Crawford Street on Flint's south side.

© Jake May | May |
Flint police investigate after an 11-year-old boy was shot multiple times on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in the 600 block of Crawford Street on Flint’s south side.

The man has since been released from custody after investigators spoke with the children inside the home at the time of the shooting.

“The kids weren’t truthful,” said Green. “He definitely wasn’t the one that fired the shot. We don’t think he was there when it happened.”

There were four children — ages 9 to 14 — at the home when the boy was shot, but no adults were present.

When asked if one of the other children had fired the shot, Green commented: “Can’t confirm that at this time.”

He said people have to understand police are dealing with children and they become uneasy in certain situations.

“That’s why some of the misinformation was put out there, because they were afraid,” noted Green. “The investigators did a great job sorting through all that and getting to the truth now.”

Flint police have received assistance from Michigan State Police and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office in the incident.

It’s unknown at this time who owns the gun or how the children came into its possession.

“We’re assuming it was located in the house somewhere,” Green said. “We don’t know who the owner is or how exactly they came in possession of it.”

He urged parents to secure their guns, from a gun lock to storing ammunition separate from their firearm, or placing the weapon in a hidden, secure location.

“Especially if kids of this age are going to be left home alone,” said Green. “We have enough gun violence without having to deal with incidents that could have been avoided.”

With an incident and investigation involving

Read more

Trump offshore drilling ban doesn’t stop NC seismic testing

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said there is very little chance of seismic testing moving forward off of the N.C. coast while offshore drilling moratoriums are in place. This photo shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, California.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said there is very little chance of seismic testing moving forward off of the N.C. coast while offshore drilling moratoriums are in place. This photo shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, California.


Although President Donald Trump has expanded an offshore drilling moratorium to federal waters off North Carolina, conservation groups are concerned coastal environments could still be endangered by seismic testing.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that moratoriums against drilling off of North Carolina and other Southeastern states do not prevent companies from conducting seismic testing, a method of mapping oil and natural gas deposits under the ocean floor by blasting loud noises from an array of air guns.. But in an interview with the News & Observer, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said he thinks the moratorium means there is “like zero” chance seismic testing will happen off of the North Carolina coast.

“The president’s action means that it’s extraordinarily unlikely, in my opinion, that there will ever be seismic done in these areas because the entire point of doing it for these companies — in order to want to sell it — is gone,” Bernhardt said.

Environmental groups disagree. Kristen Monsell, a spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said that even though the Atlantic seaboard was never opened to offshore drilling in the 2010s, several companies still submitted seismic testing applications to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

“I think that shows that oil and seismic companies will try to get into areas regardless of what’s open to leasing to do seismic to see what’s out there, and if they can find something, then push to have it open,” Monsell said.

The Center for Biological Diversity is one of many plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina trying to block the permitting of seismic testing, a lawsuit joined by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. The Department of Justice memo regarding seismic testing and the moratoriums was in response to that lawsuit.

Four companies have outstanding applications and incidental harm authorizations, allowing them to kill or ham wildlife as a side effect of the seismic activity. Another company, WesternGeco, withdrew its application earlier this year.

In a letter to N.C. Department of Environmental Quality officials, WesternGeco said its testing would have included blasting during roughly 208 days over a yearlong period, with sounds ranging from 225 to 260 decibels.

Oceana, an ocean conservancy group, is also a plaintiff in the South Carolina lawsuit. Diane Hoskins, a spokeswoman for Oceana’s advocacy partner, Oceana Action, said the moratorium’s protections do not go far enough.

“If the four companies pull their applications, that would be the level of certainty our coastal economies deserve,” Hoskins said, later adding, “This an investment in the future of offshore drilling that our states and coastal economies don’t want.”

North Carolina environmental

Read more

Early’s Farm and Garden issues apology after post about Orange Shirt Day draws ire

A Saskatoon business is apologizing and will be providing its employees with sensitivity training after remarks made by its owner and his daughter criticizing Orange Shirt Day online were deemed insensitive and offensive. 

Andi Early, whose father Spencer Early is president of Early’s Farm and Garden in Saskatoon, criticized Orange Shirt Day in a Facebook post earlier this week. In the post, Early wrote about “Identity politics” entering into the classrooms of young children, citing Orange Shirt Day as an example.

“Children should not be political instruments and we completely disagree that orange shirt day has unanimously imposed on everyone,” she said in the post, which included a picture of an orange shirt, with the phrase “not for kids” written on top.  “The more we focus on the historical inequalities the more it will foster current inequalities. We don’t participate.”

Orange Shirt Day is an annual event designed to honour residential school survivors and their families, and to raise awareness about the the injustices and mistreatment Indigenous people suffered while they attended.

The day itself was inspired by the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who had a new orange shirt taken from her by residential school staff as a six-year-old girl, according to the Orange Shirt Day website.

Andi does not hold any position at Early’s Farm and Garden. However, in a response to the post, Spencer wrote, “What about the Jews, Irish, Ukrainian, Japanese, Chinese…etc,etc. Don’t ‘cherry pick’ the list. Discuss it all collectively as the human experience or not at all.”

Reaction was swift, with hundreds of comments expressing frustration and anger, and many people saying they’ll take their business elsewhere.

The business apologized for the post following the outcry, then later issued a second apology from Spencer Early from its Facebook page.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Spencer said he’s sorry for any pain the post and his response caused. 

He said upon reflection, he understands why it spurred such a strong reaction. 

“At the time, it was meant to be inclusive,” he said. “It was saying I’d like the education to be inclusive of all of these things that have happened to individuals and groups, and that was the intention of it, but it certainly didn’t work that way.” 

Early said the store will be closing early on Wednesday and that Cort Dogniez, a First Nation and Métis education consultant, will be speaking to staff about Canada’s residential school system. 

He said the opinion shared by her daughter and the remark he had made do not reflect the overall beliefs of Early’s Farm and Garden.

“Today is a day to listen,” he said in the apology.

He says the store has a good relationship with Indigenous people, including those who frequent the store from the Dakota Whitecap First Nation.

“We value them in the community. We value them as customers and if there was an interpretation of remarks that wasn’t what it was intended to be, we apologize for that, and we’ll be reaching out into

Read more

Plus-size models walk Versace runway at Milan Fashion Week, a first for the design house

Curves are making strides on the catwalk.

Versace debuted its Spring/Summer 2021 collection last week with models Precious Lee, Alva Claire and Jill Kortleve making history as the first plus-size models ever to walk the runway for the Italian fashion house.

Versace Spring/Summer 2021 collection. (Getty Images)

Versace Spring/Summer 2021 collection. (Getty Images)

“I’m still shaking,” Kortleve wrote in an Instagram post to her 177,000 followers following the show on Friday.

“I hope that we open the doors for a new generation with the same dreams but who never saw themselves in the magazines or the commercials.”

The leading ladies took the catwalk for Versace’s “under the sea” themed runway in bright blue, yellow and green dresses, interpreting modern mermaid fashion. Nautical looks featured starfish and seashell-printed dresses, striped crop tops with oversized midiskirts, and windswept hair. The collection, Versace said, was inspired by the “beauty and vibrancy of nature.”


Mainstream fashion has become more inclusive of all shapes and sizes in recent years, particularly in retail. Nike last year added plus-size mannequins to the women’s floor of its retail locations, starting at the London flagship store.


And retailers like Target, Forever 21, American Eagle and Reformation introduced plus-size collections in recent years, with Reformation telling customers, “Sorry it took us so long” in response to requests for more inclusive sizing.

Next month, pop singer Lizzo is also slated to take the runway for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty launch.

Source Article

Read more

Toyota Research Institute experiments with robots that hang from the ceiling and unfold to clean the kitchen

Researchers are using fleet learning and simulations to train robots to navigate one of the most complex environments: A home.


Visiting  private homes in Japan inspired researchers to build a new domestic robot that moves around on the ceiling instead of the floor.

Image: Toyota Research Institute

Working in a factory is easy for robots with the structured environment and repetitive tasks that come with that job. Helping with housework is a much bigger challenge. Scientists at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) are taking on that challenge by building new domestic robots and training them in a mock home.

Gill Pratt, the CEO of TRI and Kelly Kay, the Institute’s executive vice president and chief finance officer, gave a virtual tour of the TRI labs on Thursday. Max Bajracharya, the vice president of robotics and Steffi Paepcke, the senior user experience leader, explained the research and development process for building these robots. 

The team is prioritizing user experience research, human-centered design, and ikigai–the idea that each person’s life should have deep meaning and purpose. 

The institute’s philosophy is to build robots that take over tasks that have become too difficult for older adults instead of building a one-size-fits-all robot to take over all activities. One prototype is a gantry robot that unfolds from the ceiling to help with household tasks like a bat unfolding its wings. 

The floor model looks like a praying mantis perched on a box. Researchers are using these models to develop capabilities. 

“The robots that you see today are prototypes to accelerate our research, but they are not going to be turned into products any time soon,” Bajracharya said.

Field research for robotics experts

Paepcke said the team used the “genchi genbutsu” research technique which means, “go see for yourself,” to understand how to build domestic robots.

Before the pandemic started, researchers went to private homes in Japan to understand the daily challenges older adults and their caregivers face. Paepcke said that the goal was to understand which tasks people wanted help with as opposed to building a robot that does everything. Paepcke and her colleagues described the goal of their work to amplify human ability and help people continue to do tasks and activities that they find meaningful and enjoyable.

 “A fully automated cooking robot might be physically helpful but emotionally detrimental,” she 

Researchers used the home visits to move the cleaning robot from the floor to the ceiling.  

Bajracharya said that the home visits showed that there was not much floor space available for a robot to move but that the ceiling provided more open real estate.

Researchers used virtual reality (VR) to teach the domestic robots how to clean a surface. A researcher performed the task in virtual reality to show the robot how to complete the task. Another challenge is helping robots understand how to distinguish between different surfaces such as wood, glass, and plastic.

Jeremy Ma, the Institute’s co-lead of the Robotics Fleet Learning Team, said the next challenge is to

Read more

House Republicans release recommendations for China crackdown

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a Wednesday news conference that he had been working for nearly eight months to assemble a bipartisan task force to address economic, technological, military and political threats from China. But Democrats ultimately bailed on the initiative the night before it was supposed to be announced, McCarthy said.

President Donald Trump and the GOP — who have made cracking down on China a central campaign theme — have tried to paint Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as soft on China. Democrats, of course, reject the charges and point out that Trump initially touted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s response to the coronavirus.

The GOP’s report lays out 83 key findings and makes 430 policy recommendations, two-thirds of which are bipartisan, according to McCarthy. Since its inception, the task force has met with 125 people, including policy experts, business leaders, lawmakers and current and former administration officials.

“It is not only the most thorough report on China in the history of the House, it’s bold, achievable, and bipartisan,” McCarthy told reporters. “It doesn’t just lay out the challenges, it lays out the solutions.”

The blueprint calls for securing medical and national security supply chains, striking a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan and limiting the Thrift Savings Plan from investing in certain Chinese companies. The report also calls for evaluating whether the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes against humanity in Xinjiang amount to genocide and providing a safe harbor for Hong Kong refugees.

During a press conference, task force members highlighted the stack of recommendations that already have strong bipartisan support and expressed hope that many of them could actually become law.

“I don’t know of another issue in American politics that united me and Chuck Schumer as closely as countering the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

McCarthy, when pressed on whether he thought Biden would be willing to implement these recommendations if he wins the White House, said he was concerned that the former vice president wouldn’t be as tough as the Trump administration in standing up to China.

“I would hope Joe Biden would read this report,” McCarthy said. “But that would be a real concern to me of why switching administrations would be wrong.”

McCarthy has also highlighted the China Task Force recommendations in his election-year agenda that was released earlier this month, signaling it would be a top priority for the GOP if they win back the House.

Source Article

Read more

Best Kitchen Organizers From Wayfair

Keeping your kitchen neat and tidy, is a lot easier said than done. If you’re on a mission to finally declutter, then you’re in the right place. To help make the most of your space, a few handy organizers can help inspire you to clean up your space once and for all, and most importantly, keep it that way. In order to find the best of the best, we turned to Wayfair. The site has thousands of bestsellers that customers love.

To give you a head start on shopping, we curated a list of 24 top picks for your home. Whether you’re looking for pantry organizers, a cool spice rack, or a way to keep your fridge in order, there’s no shortage of good finds here. The best part: everything is less than $50, so you can get more than just one thing. Keep reading to shop them all and find the ones you can’t live without.

Source Article

Read more