House Democrats pushed through an aid package with little chance of becoming law.

House Democrats on Thursday pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that would provide aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers, advancing a wish list with little chance of becoming law.

The pandemic relief measure passed the House on a 214-to-207 vote, with at least 17 Democrats joining Republicans in opposing it. The handful of moderate Democrats who bucked their party argued that with negotiations still taking place with the Trump administration, the chamber should vote on a bipartisan deal.

Republicans had already panned the relief bill as too large.

The decision to put it to a vote anyway on Thursday evening reflected mounting anxiety among some rank-and-file Democrats at the prospect of facing voters next month without being able to point to some action to provide relief. There was also a desire among some party members to formalize their latest offer.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that there was still a chance that the talks would produce a deal, but the vote shined a light on the continued failure of Congress and the White House to come together on a new package, and the dwindling chances that they can do so before lawmakers scatter to campaign for re-election.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with each other for about 50 minutes, with Mr. Mnuchin taking an offer of a $1.6 trillion package to Ms. Pelosi’s Capitol Hill suite.

Ms. Pelosi told reporters that she did not expect a resolution on a stimulus package to emerge Thursday. But she said that she was reviewing documents sent by the Treasury Department and that “we’re going back and forth with our paper and conversation.”

During the stalemate, several industries, notably airlines, are running into severe financial constraints as the virus persists and people continue to shy away from traveling. United Airlines and American Airlines began furloughs of 30,000 workers on Thursday after Congress was unable to come up with a fresh aid package for the industry.

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‘Like zero’ chance of seismic tests off NC in next drilling ban, interior secretary says

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 officials have formally objected to seismic testing, saying the loud sounds could harm coastal activities such as fishing and tourism and are inconsistent with state coastal policies.

The U.S. Department of Commerce granted WesternGeco’s appeal to that state decision, and the matter is now the subject of a federal lawsuit. Although

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Mnuchin Sees One More Chance for Stimulus, as House Readies Vote

(Bloomberg) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he sees “one more serious try” at securing a deal with Congress on another fiscal stimulus package and suggested he’ll offer Democrats a proposal for roughly $1.5 trillion in pandemic relief.

Mnuchin said Wednesday on CNBC that the administration’s counter-offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is similar to a plan put forward by a bipartisan group of House members — which included an escalation in spending up to $2 trillion if the coronavirus pandemic persists. That’s still short of a $2.2 trillion relief package that Democrats unveiled Monday and are preparing to bring to a House vote.

Mnuchin said he hopes to have an “understanding” worked out by Thursday.

Pelosi has asked Democrats to deliver a “strong vote” for the party’s latest package, which is smaller than the $3.4 trillion they passed in May but rejected by Republicans. In a letter to colleagues, she described it a “proffer” in talks. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told fellow Democrats Wednesday his intention is to send the bill to the floor Wednesday or Thursday if there is no deal with Mnuchin.

Mnuchin and Pelosi will talk Wednesday afternoon, the Treasury chief said. Renewed optimism on the potential for a compromise saw U.S. stocks open to gains, after futures had earlier tipped another down day.

“Whether we get this fiscal deal done or we don’t, I am confident we will continue to have economic growth and rebound,” Mnuchin said. “I’m confident we can get something done, and if we don’t, we will come back and work on it after the election.”



Nancy Pelosi wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: House Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference


© Bloomberg
House Speaker Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

He also underscored that more support for airlines is critical, as carriers face the risk of a wave of layoffs. Mnuchin said that he doesn’t expect a stand-alone bill for airline aid, and that he’ll update top executives on the talks after he confers with Pelosi.

The negotiations between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats are at a critical juncture. Either Pelosi can cut a deal with the White House or the Democratic-led House will vote on her $2.2 trillion plan without Republican support, allowing members leave town for pre-election campaigning.

If no deal is reached, Democrats could vote by Thursday. Timing will depend on the result of Pelosi’s talks with Mnuchin. House Republican leaders have already rejected the proposal.

While the legislative text adds clarity to the Democratic offer, the top-line spending level is no closer to what Republicans say they’ll support. President Donald Trump has indicated he could agree to as much as $1.5 trillion in aid — but even that is more than the $650 billion put forth in a “skinny” aid package by Senate Republicans earlier this month.

Officials in both parties privately questioned whether the differences could be bridged. Pessimism about reaching a deal was one of the factors that helped push stocks lower on Tuesday. Private economists have increasingly abandoned

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Pelosi Prepares For Rare Chance House Could Decide Election : NPR

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning Democrats of an exceedingly rare scenario where the House may need to decide the presidential election in January.

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Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning Democrats of an exceedingly rare scenario where the House may need to decide the presidential election in January.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is warning Democrats that they must win the majority, not just of the House of Representatives but a majority of each state delegation, in case the House is called upon to decide the election in January.

If the outcome of the election is not clear by Jan. 6, the decision goes to the House. But the vote is not as straightforward as Democrats having the majority of seats overall. Each state would get a single vote, which would be determined by the party that has the majority of members from that state.

Pelosi outlined the once far-fetched scenario in a letter to Democrats over the weekend. She called on her members to shift money to House Democrats’ fundraising arm, House Majority PAC, to help shore up campaign funds in battleground districts.

“We cannot leave anything to chance. House Majority PAC is doing everything it can to win more delegations for Democrats,” Pelosi said in the letter, sent from her campaign email. “It’s sad we have to have to plan this way, but it’s what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen.”

Pelosi said the letter is a response to comments President Trump made at a weekend rally in Pennsylvania where he discussed the possibility of Congress deciding the election.

“I’ve been working on this for a while, I’ve been working on almost every scheme he might have to steal the election,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “Anything we do to increase our numbers in the House, whether it’s state delegations or members of Congress wherever they are, will help us hold the House and enlarge our size, win the Senate and elect Joe Biden president of the United States on Election Day — or the few days that it takes to count thereafter.”

Trump told his supporters that he wants to avoid the election being decided by the Supreme Court or Congress.

“I don’t want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress,” Trump said. “It’s counted one vote per state. So we actually have an advantage.”

Trump was referencing the current balance of state representation in the House. Republicans represent the majority of House members from 26 states; Democrats have the majority in 22 states. Another two, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are tied.

Congress hasn’t been called on to intervene in a presidential election at any time in modern history and only twice since the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804. The most recent congressional vote to decide the presidency was in 1877.

Pelosi called on Democrats to prepare for

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Cheap House Insurance Quotes: Tips for Increasing Your Chance of Getting Affordable Home Insurance

Are you a new homeowner? Or do you wish to have cheaper insurance? Finding cheap house insurance quotes online isn't difficult. You just need to weed out the good offers from the bad. With a bit of forethought and planning, you can in all likelihood get a good deal.

Here are a few tips you can use to help you get cheap quotes and choose the one that is right for you:

1. You'll need the right amount of coverage in addition to the right policy. The amount of money you paid for your house is not going to be the same amount that it would cost to rebuild the house in the event it is badly damaged. There is always the potential for disaster occurring on the property around the house as well. Keep this in mind when determining the amount of coverage you should have. Also, carefully read over each and every policy for which you are provided a quote, including the terms and exclusions.

2. You can increase your chances of obtaining a cheaper quote if you "disaster-proof" your home. There is at least some potential hazard, no matter where you live. Even if you don't have to worry about earthquakes, tornados, or hurricanes, there is always fire to worry about. You never know when a big hail storm might cause damage to your roof. A small stream of water can potentially turn into a raging river if the rain is heavy enough. Adding reinforcements, such as storm shutters, can help you save on home insurance.

More Tips for Cheap House Insurance Quotes

3. Don't forget about security threats. Another way to get cheap house insurance quotes is to increase your home's security. You can do this in a number of ways, such as installing deadbolts, having an alarm system, off-site monitoring, and so forth.

4. Look for third party discounts, if possible. If the insurer is a senior citizen and member of certain clubs, for instance, discounts are available. You might qualify for a discount if you belong to a specific occupational organization, or through your homeowners associations.

5. Your credit score plays a role in the home insurance quotes you get. It is imperative for a any reason to maintain a good credit score. If you have poor credit or no credit at all, look for ways to make improvements or establish a line of credit. Make sure your credit reports are all up to date and contain no errors.

As long as you keep these factors in mind, you should be able to obtain cheap house insurance quotes . Begin your search for a good policy and coverage from Lemonade, which is a very reputable organization.

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