joe biden nancy pelosi
Former Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

President-elect Joe Biden met with top Democrats in Congress on Thursday to discuss another COVID-19 relief package, which has been stalled in Washington.
Biden spoke on a call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about the growing need to distribute aid to Americans bearing the brunt of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“They discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame-duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families,” according to a press release.
Congress initially passed the CARES Act with bipartisan support at the onset of the pandemic but has since struggled to come to a consensus on a follow-up stimulus package.
Since then, the House of Representatives has passed an additional stimulus package, but the GOP-controlled Senate has bristled at the cost. Similarly, the Senate put forth a “skinny” version of a stimulus package that was shot down by Democrats as not enough to help the American people.
The White House has been inconsistent with its messaging, with President Donald Trump at times shutting down talks and other times demanding a larger bill than the Democrats’ plan.
Pelosi, who had been in talks with the White House to negotiate a bill, has been under fire from members of her own party in the House for the continued delay, as critics ask her to prioritize the needs of Americans over the politics of the bill.
Pelosi responded to critics saying that they don’t understand the nuances of the bill as conversations continue while the US braces for surges in infections in the fall and winter months.
Alongside discussing the fallout of the pandemic and how to remedy it, the trio also touched upon Biden’s legislative plans that will spur bipartisan support.
“They also discussed the importance of finding bipartisan solutions to create millions of good-paying union jobs, including through investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and development, and clean energy,” the press release read.
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Republican Gov. Mike Parson is seeking a second term. Democrat State Auditor Nicole Galloway is running to unseat him.
Parson’s campaign has pushed proposals to boost Missouri’s economy whereas Galloway has focused her election bid on affordable healthcare.
See the live coverage and full results from the most competitive US elections.
Parson currently leads the polls and has outraised Galloway. Experts have rated the race in Parson’s favor.
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Republican Gov. Mike Parson is seeking reelection against Democrat State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The candidates:

Parson, 64, is running for his second term as governor. The incumbent has a long history in politics, formerly serving as lieutenant governor and in the state legislature. He is also a third-generation farmer and Army veteran. 

Parson has hinged his reelection bid on reviving the economy after the coronavirus pandemic doubled the state’s unemployment rate.

—Mike Parson (@mikeparson) August 22, 2020

 

Galloway, 38, has served as state auditor since 2015 and “uncovered more than $350 million in wasteful spending” by the state, according to her campaign website. She has built her campaign around ensuring money is put toward issues like making health care more affordable, blaming Parson for recent rural hospital closures and for 100,000 children losing their insurance. The state voted to expand Medicaid in a ballot measure in its Aug. 4 primary.

Previously, Galloway served as treasurer of Boone County. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and economics as well as an MBA.

The stakes:

Galloway is the only Democrat who currently holds a statewide office. If elected in 2020, she would become the first female governor of Missouri.

Missouri’s governorship has been hard to predict over the past couple decades, with both Democrats and Republicans elected to the highest office in the state. The state legislature is Republican-controlled. Moreover, nationally, the state has not voted for a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1996. Trump won Missouri in 2016 with 56.4 percent of the vote. 

The money race: Parson’s reelection effort has raised $6.7 million, more than double the $3.1 million raked in by Galloway’s campaign, according to the latest campaign quarterly filings from July.

What the polls say: Parson has held a consistent lead over Galloway, according to multiple polls tracked by RealClearPolitics.

What the experts say: The race has been rated leans Republican by Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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GettyImages 1229327774
Protective wood boards are placed on the front of the McPherson Building on October 28, 2020 near the White House in Washington, DC.

Washington DC is bracing itself ahead of the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday. 
Three people who live in the capital told Business Insider that while Washington is still pretty quiet, there’s a “tension in the air” and an atmosphere of “uncertainty” as more people fear post-election violence.
Some businesses in the capital have started boarding up, while law enforcement officials are planning for confrontation as several groups have already applied for demonstration permits.
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Two days before the US election, Washington DC is holding its breath.

The nation’s capital is no stranger to seeing demonstrations unfold on its streets, but this time around, the uncertainty and anticipation surrounding the 2020 election outcome feels different.

“It feels like the calm before the storm,” Taylor Rea, a 27-year-old consultant who lives in Washington, told Business Insider.

“I am just nervous about the results of the election … there’s a lot of uncertainty of what’s going to happen regardless of who wins” she added.

Rea, who lives in a neighborhood close to the White House, told Business Insider that while she doesn’t fear for her safety, she has a backup option if the aftermath of the election does become violent.

“Thankfully, my parents and boyfriend live nearby and both have cars, so I do have the option of leaving if I feel like I need to,” she said.

washington dc
Protective wood paneling is installed at a CVS pharmacy as businesses near the White House for secure stores as worries about election unrest mount in Washington DC, on October 29, 2020.

According to a recent YouGov poll, 74% of Americans think there will be violence following the results of the 2020 presidential election, half (53%) of which say there will be a lot of violence, while 21% say they expect a little.

But while the fear seems to be there, the city looks relatively calm from the outside.

Pictures of Washinton DC on social media on Friday showed becalmed streets, police officers setting up concrete barriers in front of Lafayette Square, and some business owners boarding up their shops out of precaution.

“There is definitely some tension in the air. Downtown shops are boarding up again, which they did before when some of the BLM protests in early summer turned a bit violent,” Laura Garcia, 24, who also lives in Washington DC, told Business Insider.

Garcia, who was living in DC during the 2016 election, says she has noticed a shift among her social circles regarding people’s involvement in politics.

“I do feel like people, in general, are a lot more passionate about politics than they were four years ago, which is a good thing,” Garcia said.

“I just kind of want to get it done and over with,” she added.

The city is preparing itself in the run-up to the election 

Police announced this week that street closures and parking restrictions will cover much of downtown in the days to come.

George Washington University has sent students a message recommending they stockpile a week’s worth of food and supplies to prepare for Election Day, according to the Washington Post.

City officials have advised shop owners to sign up for crime alerts in their area and to keep their insurance information on hand.

The CEO of ServiceChannel — a company that connects national retail chains to local contractors that protect and repair stores and the assets inside them — told Business Insider on Friday that the firm has seen an influx of requests for preventive board-ups and enhanced security measures.

“What [the retailers] determined is that regardless of who wins, there’s likely to be some turmoil around the election,” CEO Tom Buiocchi told Business Insider. “That turmoil has manifested itself, at least this year, in social unrest and protests, so they decided they need to get in front of it and protect their key locations.”

Washington DC sees an increasing police presence

But it’s not just businesses that are preparing themselves for possible unrest.

According to NBC News sources, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been told for the first time by the Department of Homeland Security to remain on standby to protect federal property in the capital, on or after Election Day.

 

dc protest
Protest against the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd outside White House in Washington

“It is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins,” DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told lawmakers earlier this month, according to the Post. 

“It is also believed that there is a strong chance of unrest when Washington, DC, hosts the inauguration in January,” Newsham added.

While law enforcement officials say there have been no specific threats, they have said that several groups have applied for demonstration permits in the city starting Sunday and for days after the election. 

‘Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat’

According to Viana Ferguson, a former Facebook content moderator who spoke at the Real Facebook Oversight event last week, users have become more vocal about the “violence they are willing to execute” toward people in the previous few months.

“We’ve applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts, and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider.

Other organizations are also keeping a close eye on any groups that could incite violence. 

“Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat to the safety and security of American voters,” the nonprofit organization Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project told the Washington Post.

In a recent report published by the organization, researchers tracked more than 80 extremist groups in recent months. They said that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon “are at highest risk of increased militia activity in the election and post-election period.”

In Portland, Oregon, the scene of months of violent protests, right-wing armed group plans to show up at ballot drop-off sites on Tuesday with weapons in plain view. Left-wing organizers are preparing to be there as well.

stone mountain protest
A counter-protester raises his hands in front of a far right militia as various militia groups stage rallies in downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia, U.S. August 15, 2020.

“There have been demonstrations on the streets for so many months now, and all over the country, so there is no doubt in my mind that think there will be some sort of protests,” Joshua Blatt, a 27-year old graduate student, told Business Insider.

“The very fact that we’re talking about the potential of any sort of violence, shows the massive changes that have occurred in the last few years. Nobody is laughing off the possibility anymore, which is worrying,” he said.

Read more:7 secrets about Washington, DC landmarks you probably didn’t knowBiden has surrounded himself with political-crisis experts from the Clinton and Obama years to swat off scandals. So far, it’s working.15 rooms in the White House you probably never knew existed, from a chocolate shop to a private bowling alleyThe White House listed ‘ending the COVID-19 pandemic’ as one of Trump’s achievements, despite record number of infectionsRead the original article on Business Insider

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Better Capitalism

FILE PHOTO: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speaks at the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) 2019 legislative conference in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
FILE PHOTO: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speaks at the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) 2019 legislative conference in Washington

JPMorgan Chase is committing $30 billion to promote wealth building and access to financial services among Black and Latinx Americans.
The money will help them access mortgages, lower their mortgage payments through refinancing, expand lending to small businesses, and open low-cost bank accounts.
The firm is also committing to boosting supplier diversity and helping its employees access financial counseling.
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JPMorgan Chase announced Thursday it is investing $30 billion over the next five years to promote racial and ethnic equity in the US. 

The money is going toward multiple initiatives that will help Black and Latinx Americans access mortgages, lower their mortgage payments through refinancing, expand lending to small businesses, and open low-cost bank accounts. The word Latinx is defined as of or relating to Latin American heritage and is used a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina, per Merriam Webster. 

The move comes as other financial institutions make similar efforts. Citi recently committed $1 billion to helping close the racial wealth gap and Mastercard recently committed $500 million to do the same. 

“This is not a one and done, not even close. But we believe the depth and breadth of what we’re doing here meets the moment in our country. It is a big and important step in the right direction to address the racial wealth divide and break down racial inequities that have stood for too long,” Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility and chairman of the Mid-Atlantic region for JP Morgan told Business Insider. 

Here’s a breakdown of the commitment and the issues its tackling. 

Increasing access to mortgages and mortgage refinancing 

The financial institution is committing $8 billion to help 40,000 Black and Latinx households access mortgages. The firm is also going to help an additional 20,000 achieve lower mortgage payments by providing up to $4 billion in refinancing loans over the next five years. 

Black and Hispanic households are far less likely than white households to own their own homes, according to a report by Pew Research. The roots of this trace back to the New Deal Era, when Black Americans were not allowed to access federally subsidized mortgages, the mortgages that created suburbs nationwide. Not only that, houses had deeds that explicitly prohibited the sale of the home to non-white Americans. 

Today, Black and Hispanic Americans are denied mortgages at least twice as often as white and Asian applicants, per a Pew analysis

If they are approved for a mortgage, Black and Hispanic people pay higher rates. Recent research from the Sloan School at MIT shows that Black Americans specifically end up paying a total of about $67,320 more than other races to own a home.

Boosting the number of banked Black and Latinx people 

JPMorgan Chase is also aiming to bring 1 million people into the banking system by opening new branches in underserved neighborhoods and increasing targeted marketing in those communities. 

A 2014 report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) showed that some 68 million Americans are not in the banking system and rely on predatory lending services like payday lenders or check cashing companies. These people are much more likely to be Black or Hispanic than they are to be white, the data showed. 

It’s a trend the St. Louis Federal Reserve and McKinsey and Company have also reported on. 

In addition to being more likely to live in bank deserts — areas without a bank — cultural norms are also at play for underserved people. 

As Darius Rafieyan of NPR’s Planet Money explains: “In the African American community, they don’t see the big banks as being for them because, you know, you go back over the years, grandparents didn’t have banking relationships. Parents, in many instances, didn’t have banking relationships,” he said.

Expanding affordable housing 

Over the next five years, JPMorgan Chase is going to finance 100,000 affordable rental units by providing $14 billion in new loans and equity investments, among other efforts. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Black, Hispanic, and Native American households are more likely than white households to be low-income renters, meaning there is a severe lack of affordable homes available to them. 

Boosting small business

In addition, the financial institution will provide 15,000 loans to small businesses in Black and Latinx communities by giving $2 billion in loans.

Black and Latinx businesses have been hardest hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, data shows

“The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated long-standing inequities for Black and Latinx people around the world. We are using this catalytic moment to create change and economic opportunities that enhance racial equity for Black and Latinx communities,” Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s head of diversity and inclusion said in a press release. 

Increase diversity and inclusion within the firm 

The firm will be offering financial coaching and upskilling opportunities to its employees. It will also work to increase diversity within its supply chain, per the press release. 

In December of 2019, The New York Times published an article that featured a JPMorgan employee and a customer alleging racism within the financial institution. In response, the bank said it would make diversity training mandatory for all employees. 

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UNC Chapel Hill
Freshman Sarah Anne Cook carries her belongings as she packs to leave campus following a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Businesses in college towns in the US are still reeling from the mass exodus of students that began in the spring and has now remained into the fall.
Many schools have adopted online-only approaches to learning or implemented a hybrid approach that brings only some students back to campus.
As their primary clientele — students, their families, and other members of university communities — diminishes, some business owners face a difficult decision: temporarily shut down again or close forever.
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For nearly a decade, Chris Carini has owned Linda’s Bar & Grill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The restaurant has been serving the college town for nearly five times as long.

Carini described the place as a “local Cheers,” a nod to the 80s NBC sitcom that took place in a bar. It’s “loud enough to have a good time and quiet enough to have a conversation,” he said.

But after nearly 50 years in business, Linda’s is at risk of closing permanently. It wouldn’t be the first casualty the town’s businesses have faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve lost a number of businesses already,” said Michael Parker, the mayor pro tem of Chapel Hill, which is home to the main campus of the University of North Carolina. “It’s a combination of a lack of students on campus coupled with the restrictions.”

At Linda’s, students and other members of the university community likely accounted for somewhere around 90% of clientele at the three-floor bar and restaurant, which “is usually pretty packed,” Carini told Business Insider. Even during the summer months, under normal circumstances, his restaurant still relies on university-related customers like prospective students and their families who visit to tour the university, or people coming to the school for various camps or events.

But since the pandemic hit in March, he said, “it’s not even worth being open.”

“I am losing money,” Carini added, noting the restaurant saw its earnings cut in half from January through August in comparison to 2019.

“If we continue to operate at the level we are operating, then I will no longer have funds available to me to ever re-open when we get the chance that we actually can.”  

Business owners are ‘trying to do everything’ they can to stay afloat

In August, another blow was dealt to Chapel Hill businesses. Just one week after it welcomed students back to campus for the fall semester, the University of North Carolina ditched its hybrid model and announced it would conduct the remainder of the semester entirely online following an outbreak of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, more than 40% of all COVID-19 tests administered on campus have come back positive, according to the university’s coronavirus dashboard, more than two weeks after the school ended in-person instruction. 

Don Pinney, the owner of the local diner Sutton’s Drug Store, is also feeling the impact of coronavirus on the college town. Business at the diner, which has operated for nearly a century, has been down 80% since March, and slightly improved when students were brought back to campus in August prior to the shift to virtual learning, Pinney told the Raleigh News & Observer

“We’re trying to do everything we can and pulling out all the stops,” Carini said, noting that even as the business focused on takeout and delivery orders to amp up sales, the cost of paying employee salaries and other operating expenses like business insurance outpaces revenue.

“It’s a war of attrition if we’re putting out 100% and only taking in a small percentage every month,” he said. “It becomes a point where you have to shut the doors.”

The pandemic could have a yearslong impact on college towns, even beyond the businesses that operate there

“The important thing is what’s happening in Chapel Hill is not unique to Chapel Hill,” Parker told Insider. “It happened here first. But we’re already seeing Notre Dame shutting down, and clusters of cases of many universities that have reopened or some that have not yet reopened.”

He added: “I think right now Chapel Hill is in the canary in a coal mine, but I worry when some of the things are reported it makes it seem that Chapel Hill is exceptional in that regard, and I think it’s just that it happened here earlier than other places.”

In August, Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, announced that the majority of its students wouldn’t initially return for in-person instruction this semester as part of a phased return to campus. Instead, most students began the semester virtually. Currently, the university’s plan involves returning more students to campus at the end of September.

The student exodus earlier this year, which coincided with the school’s spring break, hadn’t only hit Athens local businesses hard,  it also presented unexpected roadblocks to the entire city, Steve Patterson, the mayor of Athens and former Ohio University professor, told Business Insider. 

“The city of Athens provides clean, safe drinking water to everyone that resides in the city of Athens, including Ohio University properties, Patterson said. “And when your largest water customer doesn’t come back to full strength in the residence halls or dining facilities — the places you typically see a lot of water use — we’re going to see a real deficit in those components of city operations.” 

In May and June, Athens saw a decline of about $100,000 to the university’s water and sewer accounts. With students still largely absent from campus for the month of September, Patterson said the city was bracing for a similar shortfall.

“Then, depending on what happens in October and November, we anticipate seeing losses there, too,” Patterson added. “That’s revenue that goes into the operations, to pay the workers who work at the water and wastewater treatment plant. It goes into maintaining our water delivery system as well as our sewer system.”

There are even greater longterm fears.

Patterson said the count for the 2020 census began around the time students left campus in March. While city officials had once been optimistic that the population in Athens would increase from the 2010 data, they also feared a $40 million shortage in federal funding over the next decade if none of the 3,500 individuals who received their diploma from Ohio University in the spring were counted on the census. 

“Even being conservative and saying we lose half of that graduating class — do that math,” Patterson said. “That’s still $20 million over the course of ten years.

Census data is used to help provide lower-income neighborhoods with funds for revitalization needs like constructing and maintaining sidewalks. 

“A large portion of them still haven’t’ been enumerated,” he said, of Ohio University students. “So, we’re sitting there trying to scramble to get them to make sure they’re counted.”

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