Today’s Headlines: No coronavirus relief until 2021?

Mitch McConnell and John Thune
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), speaks to reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

The prospects of Congress giving economic relief to Americans during the coronavirus crisis are unlikely for the rest of this year.


No Coronavirus Relief Until 2021?

Hopes that Congress would move swiftly after the election to provide more coronavirus relief for Americans are fading as Senate Republicans continue to resist large spending measures and pressure from President Trump to take action has waned, as he digs in on baseless claims of widespread election fraud and refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

That means as new COVID-19 cases surpass 130,000 nationwide each day, families and businesses are unlikely to receive another round of stimulus checks or enhanced unemployment benefits until next year, if at all.


Failure by lawmakers to address the health crisis and its economic fallout could foreshadow a difficult road ahead for Biden as he tries to get his agenda through what is expected to be a divided Congress.

Although there is still a chance for a stimulus bill this year, the impasse means a COVID-19 relief package will almost certainly be a top priority for the new administration in early 2021. Even then, Republicans could block the bill if they retain narrow control of the Senate after two runoff elections in Georgia on Jan 5.

The GOP’s opposition to spending more money is unlikely to change even with Trump out of office, in part because Republicans didn’t suffer any major electoral setbacks in Congress to suggest the public is clamoring for more stimulus funding.

More From Washington

— Biden announced the selection of longtime advisor Ron Klain to be his chief of staff, tapping a trusted confidant with a thick resume of government service that contrasts with the inexperience common in Trump’s tumultuous and often-changing circle of White House aides.

— Trump visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans Day, emerging in public for the first time since his failed reelection bid to take part in the annual presidential rite. He did not speak.

Georgia’s secretary of state has announced a full hand recount of the presidential race, which officials expect to complete by Nov. 20.

— For years, Trump thrived on TV — watching it, appearing on it, hosting his own show. But even amid speculation he could launch a cable network, it’s unlikely “Trump TV” will materialize.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

Can We Slow the Surge?

As the number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. each day has ballooned, a winter surge of COVID-19 is now unavoidable. But experts say that the number of infections and deaths it will bring is not yet written in stone — and its magnitude depends on what we do next. Hundreds of thousands of lives may hang in the balance.

If the United States continues to relax social distancing restrictions and mask-wearing requirements, as many as 500,000 more Americans could die of COVID-19 between now and the end of February, according to scientists at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. That’s on top of the roughly 240,000 COVID-19 deaths the country has absorbed already.

But simply getting people to wear masks every time they leave their homes would reduce infection rates by 25%, experts say.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

California is on the cusp of surpassing 1 million confirmed coronavirus infections — a milestone demonstrating both the toll the pandemic has taken so far and the dangers it continues to pose.

— Now you can see the COVID-19 risk anywhere in the country, in real time.

— The Mountain High ski area has delayed its season opening after four employees tested positive for COVID-19, management said.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

China’s Navy Vs. Fishing Boats

In the South China Sea, China’s navy, coast guard and paramilitary fleet have rammed fishing boats, harassed oil exploration vessels, held combat drills and shadowed U.S. naval patrols in an escalating show of force.

Beijing’s maritime expansionism illustrates not only the Chinese Communist Party’s growing military might, but also its willingness to defy neighbors and international laws to fulfill President Xi Jinping’s sweeping visions of power. The sea is one of the world’s busiest fishing and trade corridors and a repository of untapped oil and natural gas.

Under the Trump administration — which has called China a “bully” seeking a “maritime empire”the U.S. sailed more warships than normal through the region in 2020 to assert navigation rights. But the operations have done nothing to claw back the islets and waters that five Southeast Asian nations and Taiwan claim Beijing has usurped.

These countries don’t have nearly enough naval power on their own to dissuade China. Instead the governments of Vietnam, the Philippines and other states have waged a quieter form of resistance by encouraging traditional fishing communities to continue venturing into disputed waters — placing them on the front lines of Chinese aggression.

Waxing Nostalgic

Long before the advent of cloud storage, CDs or even LPs, there was the wax cylinder, which came into being in the late 19th century. These first recordings paved the way for the music industry as we know it today. Indeed, the birth of the Los Angeles recording industry may be nestled in the grooves of some newly discovered wax cylinders.

Preserving early recordings — and the lumbering machines that play them — has been an obsession for a small group of Southern California collectors, who have been stealthily wrangling from the wild the essential sounds of the early American acoustic recording era.

But none of these guys (yes, cylinder collectors are mostly men) are getting any younger.


In the 1980s, transit officials sought to alleviate traffic on the San Bernardino Freeway by creating the diamond lane — one reserved for buses and cars with three or more passengers. At the time, the lane had the highest occupancy limit of any highway in the area.

Finding enough passengers proved to be challenging for drivers. Some resorted to scouting bus stops — safety concerns set aside — and competing with other drivers to assemble a commuter crew, according to a Nov. 13, 1987 story in The Times. At one popular stop on Barranca Avenue in Covina, drivers would pull up and shout their final destination to start a negotiation with potential passengers. Read the full story here.

A solo car driver negotiates with bus passengers
Nov. 12, 1987: A solo car driver negotiates with bus passengers on Barranca Avenue in West Covina so they can take advantage of the freeway express lane.
(Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)

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— California voters have approved Proposition 19, a new property tax break for older homeowners in the state, easing their tax burdens if they move.

— Federal prosecutors want a Los Angeles venture capitalist to spend years in prison and pay millions in fines for an array of crimes, including obstructing an investigation into Trump’s inaugural committee and concealing work he did lobbying for foreign groups.

— In 1996, the remains of a teen were found in Trabuco Canyon. Orange County investigators have released a sketch of the young man and new details about his origins in hopes that someone might recognize him.

— Orange County’s John Wayne Airport is teaming with Hoag health officials to open a clinic next spring that will include rapid COVID-19 testing, flu shots and telehealth appointments.

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China can expect Biden to keep pushing for change, but most likely with more help from U.S. allies than under Trump.

— A new research paper takes a swipe at the popular image of Alexander Hamilton as the abolitionist Founding Father, presenting evidence that he was a slave trader and owner himself.

Hong Kong’s autonomy from Beijing suffered another major blow after pro-democracy lawmakers said they would resign en masse to protest the disqualification of four fellow pro-democracy legislators by the city’s government.


— Go ahead, call her a spoiled celeb kid. But no one shades Cazzie David better than Cazzie David.

— Like it or not, Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” is getting its work visa extended for a second season.

— Amid legal filings, Britney Spears is said to be afraid of her father and will reportedly not perform until he no longer has control over her career. A judge this week allowed him to keep his role as a conservator but appointed a co-conservator — a small victory for the singer.

— A year after scoring a historic Oscar nomination for her breakout performance in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” Yalitza Aparicio is taking on another major awards show: the Latin Grammys.


— U.S. companies are stockpiling cash and are racing to raise easy money while they can, before a “COVID winter” sets in.

Purdue Pharma’s massive settlement over claims that it helped spark the opioid crisis is facing pushback in federal court, creating a potential stumbling block for the landmark deal.


— Rob Hamrick could sell sand to the desert. That’s because his brilliant white sand — which has filled the traps at Augusta National Golf Club and Masters viewers’ TV screens for decades — is no ordinary sand.

— The NBA is returning on Dec. 22, but Lakers home games will be played without fans until further notice and the Clippers are likely to follow suit.

Vin Scully is coming out of retirement, lending his voice to the official World Series film on the Dodgers’ biggest win in 32 years.

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Trump lost. Republicans need to stop indulging his denial of reality, The Times’ editorial board writes.

Proposition 15, the “split roll” measure on the Nov. 3 ballot, was always going to be a tough sell. But its loss shouldn’t mean we give up on tax reform, the editorial board writes.


— A new SARS-CoV-2 strain in mink has infected about a dozen people in Denmark, but it is not known whether the mutation makes the virus more dangerous. (Scientific American)

— The first memorial to feminist giant Mary Wollstonecraft has been unveiled, and it’s a tiny female nude. (Hyperallergic)


What will Christmas look like this year? In the midst of the pandemic, various holiday light displays have been modified or canceled to prevent large gatherings. Beverly Hills will still gussy up its downtown for the holidays, and the Dana Point Harbor boat parade is still set to ride in December. On the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a drive-through lights experience will replace a crowd-crushing holiday parade. And in El Segundo, Candy Cane Lane has gotten the hook — officially, at least.

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